Zoos are not or
should not be about who has the biggest, rarest, oldest, most, most expensive,
or the only and yet these are the things which make the newspapers more often
than anything else. It was therefore refreshing this week to see a different
range of articles appearing. You and I know that most of all a zoo must be
about quality care and husbandry by informed and professional zoo keepers. This
what our marketing departments need to be promoting more. And when it comes
down to it every writer needs to make a distinction on whether they are talking
about a good zoo or a bad Dysfunctional zoo because, unfortunately, around the
world the vast majority of zoos ARE bad zoos. They need to be named, condemned,
rooted out and closed down and the GOOD zoos need to do this not the likes of
the Born Free Foundation (Zoo check). This week the Born Free Foundation have
taken it upon themselves to announce a 15 point plan which includes "Establish a full-time and centralised independent zoo
inspectorate to ensure consistency in licensing and inspection of zoos".
Now as the Born Free Foundation attend every open meeting of the UK government
zoo inspectorate they can only be too aware that the UK has the best zoo
inspection system in the world. Okay, it's not perfect but it was good in the
first place and has been improving year upon year. Are the Born Free Foundation
suggesting that the current zoo inspectors are somehow corrupt or not doing
their jobs? Maybe yes or maybe no. By 'independent zoo inspectorate' do they
mean apart from the qualified UK Government zoo inspectors? Who are they going
to choose? Luvvies or scientists who have never lifted a finger working hands
on in a zoo in 40 years? Zoos need inspecting by experienced zoo people with
zoo experience and not outsiders. I am not saying that the current situation
cannot be improved because it could. I would very much like to see the
implementation of random unannounced inspections at any time. Just this one
inclusion would sort out so very much.
The really sad thing
is that so many bad zoos don't actually know they are bad zoos. The management
lie to themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, and they lie to their staff. Worst
of all is that they lie to the public as well. Millions of zoo visitors go home
with false information.
Perhaps the most
frequent statement levelled at zoos by the Anti Zoo Anarchists is "they
don't return animals to the wild". It is true enough as in most cases we
don't….but we will when it is safe to do so. It may be in a hundred years from
now but the GOOD zoos will be in a position to do so. The good zoos manage
populations of animals cooperatively ensuring genetic strength and vigour.
I suppose I should
make a mention of 'April the Giraffe' about whom I have not carried a single
link. Credit to the Animal Adventure Park in New York who have managed to keep
the impending birth foremost in other zoo news for over a month. By now however
I imagine the whole thing is starting to become something of an embarrassment.
So very sorry to
learn of the death of Harry Schram. I was an admirer from afar. I was never
fortunate enough to meet him but we had corresponded on and off for ten years
or more. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. His passing is a sad
loss to the zoo world.
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 53,000 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.
I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos,
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
Penguins: Court asks
CZA to be present at next hearing
Bombay high court
while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) opposing the exhibition of
Humboldt penguins at Byculla zoo, on Friday directed the central zoo authority
(CZA) to remain present in court on the next date of hearing. The court issued
this direction when the petitioner informed that CZA had issued show cause
notice to Byculla zoo for not complying with certain necessary conditions for
renewing recognition of the zoo.
Advait Sethna along with Ruju Thakkar argued before the division bench of Chief
Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G.S. Kulkarni that as per seven-year-old
data, these penguins were a threatened species and now, even more so, which is
why the degree of care they required was much greater as compared to other
animals and birds. The petitioners alleged the pool had developed cracks. They
pointed out that CZA, an autonomous statutory body regulating all zoos, had
issued show cause notice to Byculla zoo in September last year. Mr Sethna said
recognition of the zoo needed to be renewed every year and CZA issued notice to
the zoo because it did not comply with certain conditions stipulated by CZA.
Chellur asked the petitioner if anybody was
BORN FREE LAUNCHES
PRIORITY PLAN FOR REFORMING THE KEEPING OF CAPTIVE WILD ANIMALS IN THE UK
priorities identified by Born Free include Government intervention to:
Act swiftly to bring
in a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses across the UK (a
full-time and centralised independent zoo inspectorate to ensure consistency in
licensing and inspection of zoos
Introduce a ban on
the trade in, and private keeping of, all species of non-human primate across
End the import, sale
and keeping of wild-caught mammals, reptiles and amphibians as pets.*
Will Travers, who
will launch the plan, said: “The Prime Minister recently claimed that the UK
was number two in the world when it came to animal welfare. However, the lack
of attention and effort that has been paid to the keeping of wild animals in
captivity seriously undermines that claim. Without resolute action, not only
will our reputation suffer, but, more importantly, wild animals in our care
will suffer unnecessarily.”
killer whale shows, even as SeaWorld ends them
Forget the oohs and
aahs. The recent debut of killer whales at China’s largest aquarium here has
sparked concerns worldwide that the country is repeating similar mistakes that
plagued some U.S. marine parks.
experiencing a boom in marine parks as an increasing number of Chinese flock to
watch the sea creatures perform. That also has resulted in overcrowded tanks,
poor water quality and ignorance about marine mammal illnesses at the
Park operators are
ignoring animal welfare and worker safety, according to animal rights
“They are going
through a learning curve that is not necessary and completely outdated — and
they’re taking an enormous risk,” said Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist with
the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., who recently visited some of
China's largest marine parks. “A trainer will be inj
confident of accreditation after work to tackle concerns
The new manager of
Belfast Zoo has said past problems that dogged the facility and saw its
membership of an international standards body suspended have been addressed.
3 NEW SNAKES FOUND,
ONE NAMED FOR UNDERWORLD MONSTER
The quest to build a
family tree for Earth’s most diverse snake genus has uncovered three new
species—one of which is named after Cerberus, the monster guarding the Greek
At first glance,
Atractus cerberus doesn’t look especially imposing. The brown and yellow snake
doesn’t get much longer than 12 inches, and it lives an unassuming life along
the borders of forests within Ecuador’s Pacoche Wildlife Refuge, hiding under
rocks and logs.
But just a few miles
down the road from the snake’s habitat, more than 1,200 acres of forest have
been stripped bare—the footprint for the Refinery of the Pacific, a massive oil
refinery that’s been under construction since 2008. The denuded landscape reminded
the researchers who discovered the snake of the underworld. And like Cerberus,
the newfound snake “guarded”
investigating mysterious deaths of 33 reptiles
Zoo Knoxville is
investigating the mysterious deaths of 33 reptiles.
According to a news
release from the zoo, when staffers entered the building Wednesday morning they
found 30 snakes and one lizard unresponsive.
Zoo clinic staffers
and veterinarians from the UT College of Veterinary Medicine responded.
Surviving animals were evacuated and given oxygen, while others were checked
for heartbeats using ultrasound.
Of the 52 animals
housed in the building, 33 died, including three critically endangered species.
devastating. It's a lot bigger than just the individual snake in our
collection," Zoo Knoxville director of animal care, conservation and
education Phil Colclough said. "All these are pieces to a larger
conservation puzzle and in some cases with these animals,
zoos and aquariums are becoming some animals' last refuge
Lost in the
passionate debate in Vancouver about beluga whales is the sobering question all
Canadians should be asking as we celebrate our nation’s 150th birthday. Which
of Canada’s magnificent wildlife species do we want to save for the next 150
We proudly cite our
spectacular wilderness and abundant wildlife as symbols of our national
identity, but the reality would shock most Canadians. With 248 species listed
as endangered, our nation is part of the global mass extinction that has seen
60 per cent of vertebrates disappear over the past 40 years. In that same
period, 80 per cent of our
takes case to court
elephant handler is preparing to go to court to prove his ownership of an
elephant that was found in a Phuket safari, claiming the pachyderm is one he
lost 14 years ago in Krabi. Somsak...
Staff layoffs at
Calgary Zoo amid animal health division restructuring
Some veteran keepers
at the Calgary Zoo will be losing their jobs as the facility is looking to make
changes to the staff members in charge of animal health care.
are looking at a new contract with the Animal Care Centre in Strathmore and
that means that at least three staff members would lose their jobs.
already let the personnel who would be affected know but they haven’t said much
The changes, the zoo
says, are expected to increase flexibility and make operations more
Now, officials are
working to determine if the centre in Strathmore will meet their needs and, if
it does, they will go ah
African painted dog:
Perth zoologist devotes his life to saving endangered, misunderstood animal
A century ago there
were 500,000 African painted dogs in 39 countries across Africa.
Now just 5,000 to
6,000 remain in the wild.
Perth Zoo's John
Lemon has devoted his life to saving the dog.
"When I'm not
here at the zoo, I'm in Africa, that's my life," the founder of Painted
Dog Conservation Incorporated told ABC Radio Perth.
self-confessed workaholic but I really do want to try and save a single species
in my short lifetime."
with ‘Western names’ unveiled in Mumbai Zoo
Now a new
controversy has erupted over their names on the inaugural day.
“The BMC has named
the Penguins as ‘Donald, Daisy, Olive, Popeye, Bubble, Flipper and Mr Molt’ —
We strongly protest these Western names and demand that they should be renamed
with good Indian names,” Pravin Chheda, Congress’s ex-BMC Leader of Opposition
Penguins belong to the South American species found in the icy cold coasts of
Chile and Peru.
ARTIS SUCCESSFUL IN
WORLD'S FIRST ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION OF CROCODILES
Artis zoo managed to
successful artificially inseminate false gharial this week. As far as is known,
this is the first time in the world that artificial insemination was
successfully done on this species of crocodile, Artis announced in a press
The zoo has had this
endangered species of crocodile in residence since 1887. There are only an
estimated 2,500 false gharials in the wild. They can be found in Malaysia,
southern Myanmar and on the Indonesian islands of Borneo, Java and Sumatra.
dolphin heading towards extinction
New Zealand's Maui
dolphin, the world's smallest, is headed to extinction after a half-century of
lethal encounters with fishermen's nets. Even as government-funded scientists
detail its decline and opposition Labour and Greens call for net bans - which opinion
polls show most Kiwis support - the ruling National Party, headed by a fishing
magnate, denies there is any problem. CHRISTOPHER PALA reports …
10 amazing birds
that have gone extinct
In addition, this
comprehensive set also features portraits of every bird species to have gone
extinct since the year 1500, that we have reliable visual records of. Below are
just some of the hundreds of species of bird that have been wiped out by human activity
in the modern era.
Lebanese NGO rescues
maggot-infested Siberian tiger cubs destined for a zoo in war-torn Syria
An animal rights
group in Lebanon is caring for three dehydrated, maggot-infested Siberian tiger
cubs that were rescued on their way to a zoo in neighboring war-ravaged Syria.
Animals Lebanon said
Saturday that its members rescued the cubs earlier this week after they had
spent more than a week cooped up inside a cramped crate in
"unacceptable" conditions at the Beirut airport.
The cubs flew into
Lebanon from Ukraine on March 7 and were supposed to travel on to a zoo in
Instead, due to
apparent confusion about their travel arrangements, they spent a week inside
the wooden crate at the Beirut airport, said Animals Lebanon's Vice President
wrong. There was no tray in the crate for when they urinate. They were swimming
in their faeces and urine. There was no bowl for water," Shaarawi told
Images published by
Animals Lebanon show the weak cubs, covered in maggots and faeces, squirming in
the small crate as volunteers from the group work to c
Flock of Spanish
Immigrants Arrive in Israel to Help Boost Vulture Population
There are now 200
vultures in Israel, about half their number two decades ago. Their nests in
recent years have not exceeded 50, as opposed to between 90 and 120 at the
beginning of the previous decade, according to figures presented at a
conference last week. Over the past two years the Israel Nature and Parks
Authority has begun releasing the wild birds brought from Spain. However,
experts say this will only delay the extinction of the population, and other
means will be necessary if vultures are to continue soaring over Israel’s
cliffs and canyons.
The figures were
presented to the annual conference by the chief avian ecologist, Ohad Hatzofeh.
From the conference he went on to Ben-Gurion airport to help receive 10
vultures arriving from Spain.
The decline in the
vulture population has accelerated over the past two decades, mainly due to
pesticides the birds ingest when they prey on the carcasses of wild anim
Experts work to
improve ‘alala’s chances
community talk at Mokupapapa Discovery Center was more difficult than usual for
‘Alala Project outreach and education specialist Lea Ka‘aha‘aina.
Last year, talks
focused on plans for the long-awaited release of ‘alala (Hawaiian crow) back
into the wild, where they have been extinct since 2002.
This talk had to
address the reality of reintroduction efforts: Nature is an unforgiving
The first five
‘alala, all juvenile males, were released in December into Pu‘u Maka‘ala
Natural Area Reserve. But within a week, three were found dead. Necropsies
performed found that two birds were killed by a natural predator, the ‘io
(Hawaiian hawk), and one died of starvation.
The remaining two
birds were brought back to the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, home base for
several ongoing bird reintroduction and population restoration efforts,
including the ‘alala project. Plans to release a second cohort of female birds
were put on hold.
response in December was a largely an outpouring of support and encouragement,
“The public really
does have a good understanding and good continued support (of the releases),”
is in part thanks to ongoing outreach efforts. From frequent social media
updates on Facebook and Instagram to special events (a pre-release celebration
last year drew more than 600 people), word of mouth has been key in keeping
people aware of all that goes into ‘alala reintroduction.
More than 40 people
attended Thursday’s talk to learn more about what would happen next.
“This was not the
outcome that we had hoped for, but it was also not unexpected,” Ka‘aha‘aina
told the group. “It was a good reminder for all of us who work on the project,
as well as all of you out in the public, that the nature of reintroductions is
that they’re inherently chall
Leif Cocks says
multi-nationals don't care about fate of orang-utans or Indonesian rainforest
AFTER more than 30
years fighting to save our close cousins the orang-utans from extinction,
conservationist Leif Cocks has a dire warning.
“We are really on
the edge now,” Mr Cocks said. “We have to turn it around in the next few years
otherwise you can say we’ve got orang-utans in zoos or small patches of forest,
but they are doomed.”
In his new book,
Orangutans: My Cousins, My Friends, Mr Cocks makes an impassioned plea to save
the orang-utan, an animal that shares 97 per cent of its DNA with hum
Zoo’: President Widodo Petitioned to Save Starving Sun Bears at Bandung Zoo
A petition imploring
Indonesia President Joko Widodo and Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti
Nurbaya Bakar, to shut down the Bandung Zoo on Change.com has so far garnered
more than 704,900 signatures. The petition was started after video of what appear
to be emaciated Sun Bears (also known as honey bears) was posted on social
media sites, including that of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
In the video above
posted by Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, Sun Bears in a dirty moated
pen can be seen scurrying for food thrown from visitors. One faces in the
direction of the camera and swings its head from side to side; a clear sign,
according to Peta, of ‘zoochosis‘, a captivity-induced mental illness.
The latest video
shows little difference in the condition of the Sun Bears when compared with
the video below, said to have been shot at the same zoo last year, with the
exception that the most emaciated looking Sun Bear in the first video can not
be seen i
Penguins bring in
20,000 visitors to zoo on Sunday
Fearing that the
entry fee for Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and zoo in Byculla could be
increased, thousands of Mumbaikars tried to visit it on Sunday. It was also the
first Sunday since the inauguration of the enclosure on March 17.
The zoo authorities
said approximately 20,000 people had visited it on March 19. Zoo director Dr
Sanjay Tripathi said they had informed local police about the large crowd.
"We have been continuously monitoring the situation since Sunday morning.
In the recent past, there has never been such a huge crowd to visit the g
Vancouver Aquarium debate, zoo faced similar controversies
Tuk was a sad old
beast by time he died in 1997.
hang-jawed around his pen, the 37-year-old polar bear had been the only
impediment to the official closure of the Vancouver Zoo in Stanley Park.
The Vancouver Park
Board had voted four years earlier to close the zoo; then, as now with the
cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium, people hotly debated keeping mammals in
The bear had arrived
at the relatively new zoo in the 1950s as a playful cub from the Northwest
Territories, his mother shot by a Inuit hunter.
Tuk joined the other
animals at the zoo, most of them kept in small enclosures for display — as was
the practice at the time.
standards of keeping animals back then," said former zoo curator and
researcher Vernon Kisling.
have the advanced knowledge we have today."
But as Tuk got
older, the Vancouver zoo, like zoos around the world at the time, was looking
to shift its focus from a menagerie of exotic animals to a wildlife
conservation centre. For som
species at world's only cassowary rehabilitation centre in FNQ
Nestled in a pocket
of rainforest near the far north Queensland coast is the world's only
rehabilitation centre for critically endangered southern cassowaries.
suggest there are fewer than 4,500 cassowaries remaining in the wild, and while
much of their rainforest habitat is now protected, what little remains is
fragmented by roads and development.
Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre veterinarian, Dr Graham Lauridsen, said most
birds housed in the facility were either victims of car strikes, or were chicks
orphaned as a result of car strikes.
'establishing' in the UK
Great bustards are
"on the point" of becoming self sustainable in the UK for the first
time in 185 years.
The world's heaviest
flying bird was hunted to extinction in the country, with the last bustard shot
Since 2004, the
Great Bustard Group (GBG) has released hundreds of chicks on Salisbury Plain in
David Waters, from
the GBG, said if it was a "reasonable year" it would be the first
"new great bustard population" to be established "anywhere in
Yakutia’s zoo estimated at $12 million
The head of the
Russian region of Yakutia, Egor Borisov, stated the need for upgrading the
infrastructure of the Republican zoo “Orto-Doydu” located in the Khangalassky
“Yakutia needs a
modern zoo. The project is estimated approximately at 700 million rubles (that
is $12 million — editor’s note). The substantial part is how to build modern
enclosures, that is why the costs will be very large,” — Yegor Borisov told
Interfax news agency.
According to the
republican Ministry of Nature Pr
As attitudes change,
Chinese lawmakers seek better protection for rhinos and other endangered
Slowly but surely,
Chinese attitudes toward wildlife conservation are changing.
At China’s annual
parliamentary session, lawmakers from Hong Kong have submitted a formal
proposal to ban the commercial farming of bears for the extraction of their
bile and urged stronger efforts to combat the illegal trade in rhino horn,
officials said Tuesday.
were also calls at China’s annual legislative and consultative assemblies for
an end to tiger farming in China and for a ban on the use of pangolin scales in
traditional Chinese medicine.
welcomed the moves, which reflect a gradual change in Chinese attitudes toward
endangered wildlife and the use of wildlife products in medicine, as ornaments
or in food.
“This great result
for rhinos and bears just goes to show how a bottom-up approach can work, from
grass roots all the way up to the Politburo,”
Rhino Horn: Cure or
Today we're heading
into South Africa, where grim-faced game rangers ride in their Land Cruisers
clutching Vektor R4 assault rifles. They're on the hunt for poachers, who are,
somewhere in the brush, illegally killing rhinos at the rate of more than three
a day. Poaching is, by far, the most profitable industry in the nation by each
of several metrics. What could drive people to want rhino horns so badly
they'll kill for them? It's a subject that's rife with misinformation —
including, most likely, a lot of what you think you know about it.
This global demand
for rhino horn was brought into stark focus in March of 2017 when a crime was
committed that shocked everyone, as it was as horrible as it was unexpected.
Poachers broke into a wildlife preserve called Thoiry Zoo just outside of Paris
sometime during the night and killed Vince, a 4-year-old white rhino. Vince was
shot three times in the head and his front horn was chainsawed off. The much
smaller second horn was only partially cut through.
At the time, rhino
horn on the black market — often bought and sold using untraceable Bitcoin
cryptocurrency — was running about $25,000/lb (€51,000/kg). That's about 40%
more than gold. We don't know the weight of what was taken from Vince, but the
white rhino's front horn is the largest of the rhino family. Its weight
averages 4 kg (8.8 lbs). This means it's likely the poachers netted over
$225,000 (€215,000) from that one horn alone. Bold poaching in the suburbs of a
major European city like Paris becomes a lot more believable when you consider
that nearly a quarter million dollars of gold was just sitting there, virtually
Aquarium, a ‘new generation’ boutique aquarium is the Indonesian capital’s only
Developed by Taman
Safari Indonesia (TSI), the country’s leading aquarium and zoo operator, and
sited in a mall in the Podomoro City integrated development resort it seeks to
showcase the rich marine life of Indonesia’s waters.
Project May Threaten Myanmar Wildlife Sanctuary
activists say plans for a large dam threaten wildlife sanctuaries in Myanmar’s
northern Karen state.
China would finance
the proposed Hatgyi dam on Southeast Asia’s Salween River. The Sinohydro
company of China and Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority are building
The Salween is the
longest river in Southeast Asia that does not have a major dam. Now, developers
want to build seven dams on the main part of the river.
Saw Paul Sein Twa is
the executive director of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, or
KESAN. He says the proposed dam project should be stopped. He says his group
needs to study the wildlife in the area.
“The dam will flood
the area where we have f
African elephant dies at Dubbo zoo
The death of an
African elephant at Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo has marked the end of an
era for the species in Australia.
Cuddles was the
zoo's oldest inhabitant and, according to the zoo, the last African elephant in
captivity in Australia.
She arrived in 1977
from the United Kingdom with two other females and was estimated to be 46 years
Zoo staff had been
monitoring Cuddles closely over the past week as her health had slowly declined
due to digestive issues.
The Dubbo facility's
director Matt Fuller said the elephant was very special to many people,
including staff and visitors.
"She was a much
loved member of the zoo community," Mr Fuller said.
"She's got a
lot of history,
No room at the zoo
for dangerous crocodiles
Crocodile farms and
zoos are refusing to house dangerous crocodiles removed from the wild because
it is too expensive or they are running out of room.
government’s crocodile management plan has ruled out a cull and relies on
shifting problem crocs to zoos and farms. But several of the institutions
warned the solution might not be sustainable.
John Lever, who owns
the Koorana Crocodile Farm near Rockhampton in central Queensland, said he
refused to take a 1.2m male saltwater crocodile from near Cairns last week
because of the expense.
“Females are in very
high demand as breeders, they are an asset,” Mr Lever said. “But nearly all
crocodiles removed from the wild are males … when you take a large male croc,
it’s not an asset, it’s a liability.”
Mr Lever said it was
expensive to house the m
Doha Zoo animals
attract Agriteq visitors
A number of wild
animals, including chimpanzees, and a bird of prey are attracting many visitors
at the fifth Qatar International Agricultural Exhibition (Agriteq), which
opened at the Doha Exhibition and Conventions Centre (DECC).
The four-day event,
under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh
Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, hosts a large number of local and
international companies from the agricultural industry across a 12,000sq m
Among the Doha Zoo
animals at Agriteq, a pair of chimpanzees seemed to be getting the most
attention from passersby while a ‘golden eagle,’ known as one of the largest
and fastest raptors in North America, charms visitors with its elegant feathers
and stunning look.
Doha Zoo also
showcases a large python from India, some small poisonous snakes, a wild frog,
a parrot, and some young goats. The zoo houses more than 1,000 animals at a
facility in northern part of Qatar, it is learnt. “We have been taking very
good care of these animals at their sanctuary, a well ventilated and
air-conditioned facility,” an employee told Gulf Times.
There are suitable
enclosures for various types of animals, including a carnivorous section and a
clinic with a quarantine section, which treats sick animals and provides them
with proper healthcare. “We vaccinate and feed animals with nutritious food such
as alfalfa, green leaves and pellets for disease prevention, apart from
Rare Frog Discovery
Has Researchers Hopping for Joy
involving a rare California frog has researchers hopping for joy.
Nine egg masses from
the California red-legged frog were discovered on March 14 in a creek in the
Santa Monica Mountains, which stretch from Los Angeles westward along the
Malibu coast into Ventura County.
species hasn't been seen naturally in the mountains since the 1970s and the
National Park Service has been trying to rebuild the population by
transplanting eggs from a population in the nearby Simi Hills.
The discovery of new
egg masses indicates that after four years of effort, the population is showing
signs of sustaining itself without human help, although transplants will
continue, the park service indicated.
literally crying when the stream team showed me the photos of egg masses,"
Katy Delaney, a National Park Service ecologist with Santa Monica Mountains
National Recreation Area, said in a statement. "The years of work we've
put in is showing amazing progress. There's still plenty of work to be done,
Zoos across country
on alert over possible outbreak of fatal protozoan disease
The Central Zoo
Authority (CZA) has alerted all zoos across India to take preventive measures
to avert a possible outbreak of Trypanosomiasis – a protozoan disease that
have, in the past, killed more than a dozen tigers and leopards in Indian zoos.
The alert, in the
form of a circular marked as ‘urgent’, was issued on March 6 following the
death of a wild dog at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Vishakhapatnam
“We have sent the
alert to all large, medium, small and mini zoos across India, chief wildlife
wardens of all the states, around 13 civic bodies and four steel plants. These
civic bodies and steel plants also maintain small zoos with the permission of
the CZA” said Brij Kishor Gupta evaluating and monitoring officer of CZA.
Experts said that
Trypanosomiasis is usually spread by flies which thrive in unhygienic
conditions. It is mostly the big cats that get infected resulting in death in
many cases. The infected animals may or may not show symptoms such as fever,
loss of appetite, anaemia among others.
“This time, however,
it has infected a wild dog. It died o
A Chinese investment
giant just took a big stake in SeaWorld
Zhonghong Zhuoye Group will buy Blackstone Group's 21% stake in SeaWorld
Entertainment, the embattled US-based marine park operator said on Friday.
Zhonghong will buy the stake for $23 per share, a premium of nearly 33 percent
to the stock's close on Thursday.
Zhonghong – a
diversified holding company for investments in real estate, leisure and tourism
– will pay about $429 million for the stake, according to Reuters calculations.
SeaWorld Stake, Long
Held by Blackstone, Is Sold to Chinese Firm
Unique Sơn Trà
Reserve under threat
Sơn Trà Nature Reserve – the green lung of Đà Nẵng - will
turn into a desert, and the world’s
biggest population of red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) will become
extinct unless rapid development of
hotels and resorts there is not stopped.
warning was issued by the head of the representative office of the Frankfurt
Zoological Society (FZS) in Việt Nam, Dr Hà Thăng Long, who spoke to Việt Nam News about
the poor management and planning of the Sơn Trà Peninsula that has shrunk wildlife and primate habitats.
Red-shanked douc langurs have been declared endangered by the International
Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Do not build any hotels in the reserve. The Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, which was
partly hurt by unaware human activities, should be conserved in a special
regime,” Long said in an interview.
“Sơn Trà Mountain,
included in the Nature Reserve, is vulnerable to human activities that cannot
be tolerated as it was in past decades,” Long explained.
He said the 4,300ha
Nature Reserve occupies a precious and rare biodiversity of mountain, fo
investigations needed following major rhino horn seizures in SE Asia
Viet Nam continues
to take centre stage in the global illicit rhino horn trade in 2017 with two
large, back-to-back seizures totalling 67 horns in Southeast Asia that reaffirm
the country’s links to rhino horn consumption and trafficking.
In the first seizure
on 10th March, Thai Customs discovered 21 rhino horns in luggage that arrived
in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on a flight from Namibia. One of two female
suspects who had travelled to Bangkok to collect the bag, had come from Viet Nam.
Both women fled
while the luggage was being searched.
Warrants have been issued for their arrest. The two police officers and a senior official
from the Ministry of Justice, who were reported to have escorted the women with
the rhino horn-laden luggage, are all under investigation.
Days later a seizure
of 46—more than 100 kg—of rhino horns took place in Viet Nam at Hanoi’s Noi Bai
International Airport. Authorities discovered two suitcases on a flight from
Kenya containing 57 kg and 61 kg of rhino horns. Customs officials who discovered the two bags
were unable to trace the contraband back to any traveller.
The forensic testing
of rhino horn is a requirement under the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to which Viet Nam and
Thailand are both signatories. While Thai authorities have announced plans to
sample DNA from horns seized in Bangkok to determine their origin, it remains
uncertain if Vietnamese authorities are intending to do the same for the Hanoi
seizure, despite the CITES requirement.
Their reluctance may be linked to an incident last year when rhino horns
sent for sampling by Viet Nam were reportedly stolen en route to South Africa
from the luggage of a Vietnamese official.
following enforcement actions like these often come to a dead end when
officials are unable to trace the origin of the contraband, or when concealed
shipments of high-valued commod
cause uproar over 'petting'
South Africa has
been rocked by several incidences of cheetah attacks over the past week,
leading to an outcry for an end to wild animal petting.
According to Algoa
FM, a 3-year-old boy was attacked by a cheetah on a farm in the Free State on
Sadly, the boy
succumbed to his injuries en-route to a Bloemfontein hospital via helicopter.
The owner of the
farm, wildlife filmmaker Joh Varty, says on Facebook that while he takes full
responsibility for the child's death, the attack was the result of his workers'
“On the Friday night
a large amou
Pigs' teeth and
hippo poo: behind the scenes at London zoo
London zoo was
established in 1828 and is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. Created as a
collection for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the animals from the
Tower of London’s menagerie were transferred there in 1832 and it opened to the
public in 1847. Today it houses more than 20,000 animals and almost 700
ZSL is not funded by
the state – it relies on memberships and fellowships, entrance fees and
sponsorship to generate income.
is one of the senior keepers at the zoo’s Into Africa section. He says: “I
specialise in the giraffe and the okapi. The okapi is a forest relative of the
giraffe – it’s probably one of the most beautiful animals on the planet,
without a shadow of a doubt my favourite species in the world. It has a bit of
a history to ZSL, which was the first zoo to discover the okapi, and it has a
history for me as well because I used to come to London zoo with my parents as
a child and I had a book called Ganda the Okapi – I still have it at home,
actually. I used to bring the book and sit in the okapi house, which was part
of the giraffe house back then, and just sit and stare at the okapi for the
entire day. So I feel like I’ve grown up with them.
Leprosy revealed in
red squirrels across British Isles
Leprosy has been
found in red squirrels across the British Isles and scientists believe they
have been infected with the disfiguring disease for centuries.
animals carry the same bacteria that cause the human disease, research has
revealed. This results in lesions on their muzzles, ears and paws, adding to
the sharp decline in their numbers caused by invading grey squirrels, which
appear immune to the disease.
It is possible that
humans have caught leprosy from red squirrels in the past, as their fur and
meat was once prized. But the last case of leprosy contracted in the UK was in
1798, indicating the risk is now extremely low.
“We should be even
more concerned about the squirrels now and not frightened of them,” said Prof
Anna Meredith, at the University of Edinburgh and one of the leaders of the new
study. “We have found it is widespread all over the UK and Ireland, but we don’t
want people to be alarmed. It has been around a long time and there have been
no human cases for hundreds of years.”
Meredith said: “You need to be s
Bristol Zoo defends
the size of its lions' enclosure after critics call it too small
Bristol Zoo has
defended the size of its lions’ enclosure after critics claimed it is too
The zoo says the
animals are not stressed and able to display their full range of natural
The response comes
after a petition was launched which calls “to get Bristol Zoo to agree to get a
bigger, better, more suitable outside enclosure for their lions”.
Alison Holloway, who
organised the petition on the 38 degrees' website, said: “These poor animals
are in a tiny enclosure, with no real outside space to roam like lions
“They pace up and
down, staring at their spectators with blank expressions.
“There is no need
for them to be in such a sm
hurt, but bureaucrats deny caretaker is to blame
A 54-year-old female
elephant named Anarkali, housed at Byculla’s Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan,
allegedly sustained injuries on her head and tail after her caretaker used a
hooked whip (ankush) to control her. The use of ankush on animals is banned by the
court. However the zoo authorities rebutted the allegation saying that the
elephant sustained the injuries while sleeping.
However, the ankush,
the sharp-edged weapon made of iron is used on sensitive parts of elephants to
compel them to obey to the commands of elephant trainer (mahout). Its
semi-circle hook-like portion, which can cause serious harm, is usually applied
on the elephants. Jamal Khan, one of the mahouts looking after elephants at the
zoo, said, “To control an elephant you need the ankush. They (elephants) obey
you when they’re shown the ankush, oth
What does gestural
communication of great apes tell us about human language?
Our language is one
of the features that define us as human beings and distance us from all other
animals. Though no other species has developed language like us, animals
communicate with each other through a vast set of signals.
In the case of great
apes, they communicate by vocalizations, facial expressions, body displays or
gestures. Due to the phylogenetic proximity between humans and great apes, the
study of gestural communication is particularly attractive since it allows to
hypothesize how language evolved in our species. And the evolution of human
language is one of the hardest scientific topics to do research. The reason is
simple: language does not fossilize. That is why we are forced to look for
other clues to enlight us about how our language evolved and great ape gestures
can lead us much further in the search for answers than we previously thought.
First of all, great
apes employ gestures in an intentional, flexible and goal-oriented ways and
display them in various contexts like grooming, playing or feeding. For
example, to request food, great apes usually use begging gestures in which they
stretch their arms and open their hands towards
Yellow fever killing
thousands of monkeys in Brazil
In a vulnerable
forest in southeastern Brazil, where the air was once thick with the guttural
chatter of brown howler monkeys, there now exists silence.
Yellow fever, a
virus carried by mosquitoes and endemic to Africa and South America, has robbed
the private, federally-protected reserve of its brown howlers in an
unprecedented wave of death that has swept through the region since late 2016,
killing thousands of monkeys.
Karen Strier, a
University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of anthropology, has studied the
monkeys of this forest since 1983. She visited the reserve—her long-term study
site near the city of Caratinga—in the state of Minas Gerais, in January of
2017. "It was just silence, a sense of emptiness," she says. "It
was like the energy was sucked out of the universe."
Using what in some
cases are decades of historical data, Strier and a team of Brazilian scientists
focused on studying primates in Brazil's patchwork Atlantic Forest are poised
to help understand and manage what happens
China's First Orca
Breeding Center Sparks Controversy
SeaWorld announced a
year ago that it would end orca breeding at its parks in the U.S. One year
later and nearly 8,000 miles away in China, another such program is just
The Chimelong Group,
one of the country’s biggest amusement park operators, revealed that it opened
a breeding center for orcas on February 24 at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom—the first
program of its kind in China. Located in Zhukai, a city in the southeast, the
park has five males and four females ranging in age from five to 13. The orcas,
also known as killer whales, were plucked from Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk,
according to the China Cetacean Alliance, a coalition of inter
Penguins: Court asks CZA to be present at next hearing