I like elephants. In
fact they are close to being my favourite animal to work with. If the zoo is a
mistress then the elephant is the mistress you go to visit. I have worked with
around 16 animals during the past fifty years, both African and Asian and all
hands on, free contact. They have varied in age from a year old to fifty plus.
Some have been wild caught and others ex circus. I have always used an ankus
which I consider a tool and not a weapon. I have never abused any of them, I
have loved them and trusted them. I am not an expert, far from it, I don't like
the word and besides there are other species I have worked longer with and
probably know more about.
However I was
extremely disturbed by the footage this week that came out of Hannover Zoo. You
may have expected more condemnation or criticism from the professional elephant
keepers of the world but there was very little of it. Elephant keepers stick
together and it is a true statement "that the only thing that two elephant
keepers agree upon is what the third is doing wrong" and few if any will
do it in a public forum. It is much the same with the zoo community. Very few
will critique each other and some by mandate are not allowed to do so.
This week I have
seen photos of reputable zoo people together partying with some of the most
disreputable. The disreputable often have the most influence and few if any
will criticise. Pity. We will get nowhere very fast till they do. All this
'sticking together' shit or Peta, Born Free or whatever will get us next is
crazy talk. We the good zoos need to expose and condemn till the bad zoos come
in line or close down.
Returning briefly to
Hannover, I was delighted to see that almost immediately that EAZA started an
investigation. That is how it should be. It would be nice if the other
illustrious zoo bodies issued a statement as well.
One thought crossed
my mind about the new elephant facility at Whipsnade (excellent article, see
below) which I have not seen. Has it been designed in such a way that the
elephants can be managed 'protected contact' instead of the current 'free
contact' should some new law be implemented? It would be a law I was not in
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 53,600 '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.
Medewerkers van dierentuin Hannover mishandelen jonge olifantjes
EAZA response to reports on elephant management techniques at Hannover Zoo
Amsterdam, 5 April, 2017: The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) has been made
aware of a report on elephant training techniques at Hannover Zoo. The film shows staff at the zoo using an elephant training tool known as ankus, and appears to show excessive physical discipline of the animals.
EAZA recognizes two forms of elephant management: protected contact management, and free
contact management. Protected contact management involves the construction of specialised
facilities where the elephant and keeper never share the same unrestricted space and all contact is undertaken through a protective barrier.
Free contact places animals and keepers in the same space and requires direct physical contact
between them. EAZA’s Elephant Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) recognises that there are benefits to each of these systems, and as a result accepts the necessity of
scale wall with ladders to sneak into zoo
Chinese tourists in northern China are still
scaling walls to enter a wildlife attraction even after a man was mauled to
death by a tiger earlier this year after climbing into another zoo, Chinese
Visitors to the
Qinling Wildlife Park in Xian in Shaanxi province save 40 yuan (S$8.10) in
entrance fees by paying local residents for access to a ladder to climb over a
wall into the wildlife park, the Huashang
Concern over skinny
lions at Joburg Zoo
A Johannesburg Zoo
visitor, Adele Arnott and her four-year-old daughter recently expressed their
great concern for the lions at Johannesburg Zoo. Arnott explained that her
little daughter was shocked when she saw how thin two of the lions were. The
main question which Arnott asked was whether the lions were being underfed or
whether it’s something else.
Johannesburg Zoo and
City Parks spokesperson, Jenny Moodley explained that one of the lions, Letaba,
a young male white lion was donated to the zoo about two-and-a-half years ago.
Adventure standoff ends, says SBMA
A standoff that
started in the afternoon of Monday ended around 1:30 a.m. yesterday after the
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) stepped in to diffuse the tension
between rival claimants to the Ocean Adventure Marine Park, here.
there was an attempt from Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. former President
Arthur Tai to take over the facility with the help of former employees and some
In a text message,
one of the eyewitnesses stated that Tai’s “thugs were trying to take over the
park violently. They have broken down doors, put the animals in danger because
they turned off the electricity, and threatened other workers.”
recounted that guests were fleeing as the group tried to shut down the
operations of Ocean Adventure and the Camayan Beach Resort as both facilities
were full of police officers from the Morong Municipal Police Station and the
Special Action Force (SAF).
“We are dismayed
that Arthur will put the welfare of the guests and workers in danger for
selfish reasons,” a company official who refused to be n
Blood for bats
mythical or real-life?
The Philadelphia Zoo
is home to 35 such creatures, which can drink up to half their weight in blood
a day. Known as common vampire bats, the Desmodus rotundus species weigh only,
on average, 42 grams, or roughly 1.5 ounces, but can live up to 30 years.
Twelve Cheetah Cubs
Born at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
The start of spring
brought a cheetah cub boom to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
(SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, where two large litters were born over the
course of a single week. Three-year-old Happy gave birth to five healthy cubs
on March 23. Seven-year-old Miti gave birth to seven cubs March 28 — two were
visibly smaller and less active at the time of birth and died, which is common
in litters this large. Both mothers are reportedly doing well and proving to be
attentive to the 10 surviving healthy cubs, which have all been successfully
nursing. Each litter includes two male and three female cubs.
“The average litter
size is three, so this time we’ve got an incredible pile of cubs,” said
Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist and manager of the Association of Zoos
and Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), which matches cheetahs
across the population for breeding. “In just one week, we increased the numbe
Finland to receive
two giant pandas from China
Finland to receive
two giant pandas from China
Finland will receive
two giant pandas from China as a gesture of friendship during the Nordic
country’s 100th anniversary of independence this year.
The two countries
today signed a cooperation agreement over giant panda research and protection
as part of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official state visit to Finland.
The agreement means
that a giant panda couple will be send from China to Ähtäri Zoo, which is
located in the western part of Finland.
At the signing
ceremony in Helsinki, Finnish President Niinistö thanked Xi for trusting pandas
to Finnish care. Niinistö said Finland was aware that the Chinese considered
giant pandas a national tre
Czech zoo helps
return eagles, cranes into Far East wild
The zoo in the
Moravian capital Brno will assist in returning Steller's sea eagles and
red-crowned cranes into the wild in the Far East where their populations have
critically shrunk, daily Pravo wrote on Tuesday.
support, the rare species are threatened with extinction due to intensive raw
material exploitation in their habitats and also due to global warming
unfriendly to wetland.
rests in their artificial breeding and the release into the wild," the zoo
director Martin Hovorka is quoted as saying.
A few days ago,
Hovorka was elected vice-president of the Eurasian association of zoos and
aquariums (EARAZA) comprised of dozens of zoological gardens from central and
eastern Europe and Asia.
He discussed the
project of the eagle and crane return to the Far East wild in Moscow on Monday,
In cooperation with
the Brno zoo, a centre for the Steller's eagle salvation is to be established
in the Amur River area to breed young eagles and release them into the wild.
red-crowned-crane salvation project has already been
say aquarium decision 'banning research' crucial to endangered animals
Scientists say the
Park Board's decision to ban cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium has
far-reaching implications for research on endangered marine mammals in B.C.
Andrew Trites, the
director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at UBC's Institute for the Oceans
and Fisheries, called the decision "short-sighted."
A lot of research
can be done in the wild, he said, but certain research necessary to cetacean
conservation can only be conducted with animals under controlled conditions
"We wouldn't be
doing it if there was nothing to be learned. It's so critical," he said.
Trites noted, for
instance, that questions remain regarding the declining population of southern
resident whales in B.C.
animals getting enough to eat? Maybe that's what the trouble is. Well, how do
you know how much food an animal needs to eat? You can only do that if you can
determine their metabolic rates and look at their ability to assimilate and
digest different types of food. You can only do that with a captive animal —
there's absolutely no way to get that in the wild," he said.
"The banning of
keeping cetaceans in
Caring for elephants
at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
At ZSL Whipsnade
Zoo, we’re home to a herd of Asian elephants. These iconic creatures need
little by way of introduction. People around the world are enthralled by the
gentle giants, and visitors to Whipsnade are no exception.
I myself have always
been in awe of elephants; their unique appearance, deep social bonds and gentle
nature, which at times can seem at odds with their huge size, absolutely
Our elephants, a
breeding herd comprising of one bull male, and a mix of adult females and their
offspring, will move into a brand new home next week. We’ve called it the
‘Centre for Elephant Care’ to highlight to our visitors just how we look after
these mammals. Nestled within 30 acres of land, made up of seven individual
paddocks, the Centre has been designed to meet the complex needs of our herd.
obtained of the wild elephants sold into captivity in Chinese zoos
Last year more than
30 young elephants were captured from the wild in Zimbabwe and flown by plane
to China. The elephants – some reported to be as young as three – were
dispersed to a number of zoos throughout the country, including the Shanghai
Exhibition Park, the Beijing Wildlife Park and the Hangzhou Safari Park,
according to conservationists.
But what are their
lives like now?
This week, 12 of the
calves went on show at the Shanghai park. The Weibo page for the zoo says their
average age is four. The photos there were reviewed by Yolanda Pretorius,
vice-chair of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group of South Africa, who commented:
“Overall their body condition seems to be slightly below average but it does
not look as if they are starving. One of the elephants has temporal gland
secretions and I am not sure whether this is a good or bad sign. In the wild,
elephants mostly secrete from their temporal glands when they get excited.”
photos and video said to show some of the elephants currently in Hangzhou
reveal the animals behind bars and walking on concrete floors. The images were
obtained by the animal welfar
PINK PELICAN KILLED,
EGGS STOLEN IN ARTIS ZOO ROBBERY
Someone broke into
Artis Zoo in Amsterdam on Sunday night and stole 10 of 14 pelican eggs. They
also broke one pelican's leg, which resulted in the animal dying, and seriously
disrupted the group of birds during breeding season. The Amsterdam zoo filed charges
of animal cruelty, theft and vandalism, the zoo announced on Wednesday, ANP
So far no suspects
were arrested. The incident was also not caught on camera.
Artis director Haig
Balian does not know what the burglars did to the pelican eggs. "You get
strange people who have the strangest animals in house, but we have no evidence
that the intruders were deliberately looking for the eggs. It might just be vandalism.
But the ten eggs are real
The Whens And Wheres
Of Saiga Antelope Re-Population
A study evaluating
past saiga antelope re-introduction efforts has helped to rule out a planned
re-introduction site, sparking the search for more ideal candidates. These
findings, by researchers from the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of
Sciences, in cooperation with scientists from the Oxford University, has been
published in Scientific Reports. Millions of saiga antelope once roamed between
their winter and summer ranges on the vast Eurasia steppe. However, saiga
populations declined rapidly in the 1950s due to overhunting, habitat reduction
and blockage of migratory routes. Saiga populations in Kazakhstan and Russia
also decreased 90 percent in 20 years, causing them to be been listed as an
endangered species. To restore the species, the Wuwei Endangered Wildlife
Breeding Centre (WEWBC, now called Gansu Endangered Animal Protection Centre)
was established in Gansu Province, China in 1987. Eleven adult saiga from the
San Diego Zoo and the Berlin Taie Zoo were introduced to form the founder herd
during 1988–1991, and o
The World's Rarest
and Most Ancient Dog Has Just Been Re-Discovered in the Wild
The first sighting
in more than half a century.
After decades of
fearing that the New Guinea highland wild dog had gone extinct in its native
habitat, researchers have finally confirmed the existence of a healthy, viable
population, hidden in one of the most remote and inhospitable regions on Earth.
According to DNA
analysis, these are the most ancient and primitive canids in existence, and a
recent expedition to New Guinea's remote central mountain spine has resulted in
more than 100 photographs of at least 15 wild individuals, including males, females,
and pups, thriving in isolation and far from human contact.
Elmwood Park Zoo’s
animal curator David Wood dies at 61
Elmwood Park Zoo is
devastated to announce the passing of their beloved colleague and friend, David
Wood. David Wood was Elmwood Park Zoo’s animal curator for 12 years. He died
March 22 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia due to complications
from dermatomyositis. He was 61.
zoological career spanned over 40 years. He began as a keeper at the
Philadelphia Zoo in 1973. He later became the zoo’s large mammals curator.
Philadelphia Zoo, David was the first person to breed naked mole rats on
exhibit; he credited some of the success to playing radio station WMMR 24/7 to
desensitize the mole rats to noise and vibrations.
elephant becomes latest symbol of food crisis
malnourished African elephant in a Venezuelan zoo — her ribs showing through
her sagging skin — has become the latest symbol the deep economic crisis in
what was once one of Latin America’s most prosperous nations.
As pictures of an
emaciated 46-year-old elephant named Ruperta in the Caricuao Zoo began
circulating in newspapers and social media, Venezuelans have launched a food
drive to save the pachyderm.
Seoul Zoo reopens
The Seoul Grand Park
Zoo and Seoul Children’s Grand Park Zoo in Gwangjin-gu are reopened this week
after 100 days when they were temporarily closed as some birds at the zoos
tested positive for avian influenza (AI) last December.
Metropolitan Government said on Monday that the two zoos will be reopened on
March 30 as no further issues were detected during the in-depth inspection that
lasted for three months. According to the city government, the Seoul Grand Park
Zoo has taken tests and other thorough inspections by the National Institute of
Environmental Research under the Environment Ministry immediately after the AI
outbreak and all have been negative in final.
The Seoul city
decided to temporarily shut down the zoo after two storks at a breeding site
were found dead in succession on December 17, 2016. One week later, a
black-faced spoonbill that was recognized as a natural monument was also found
dead on December 24, 2016. They were all found to be infected with AI.
The Seoul city
closed the zoo and began
park in Arizona on lockdown due to armed suspect
An animal wildlife
park in northern Arizona was forced to go into lockdown Monday after reports of
an armed suspect nearby following a police chase.
in Williams, posted a statement on its Facebook page that it was on lockdown
due to a "possible armed and dangerous suspect" nearby.
what we do’: Two recent hires put spotlight on Omaha zoo’s behind-the-scenes
This winter, the
Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium made two impact hires that could shape a new
vision for conservation and create a better future for threatened cats.
One position, the
chief conservation officer, is new. The other, a reproductive biologist, filled
a crucial role left vacant for more than a year. The additions mean the zoo
might focus on fewer projects and concentrate on making a greater impact.
Promise No. 1:
Spread the word about conservation.
what we do, it’s what we’ve always done,” said Dr. Cheryl Morris, the zoo’s new
chief conservation officer. “We just haven’t been good at telling people that
we do it.”
The zoo spent $1.7
million on conservation in 2016, devoting the majority to Madagascar, where the
zoo studies lemurs and has created a habitat restoration program that has seen
more than 1 million trees planted.
There are dozens of
other conservation projects, including the propagation of endangered plants,
the reintroduction of toads into the wild a
Delingpole says reef bleaching is 'fake news', hits peak denial
It takes a very
special person to label the photographed, documented, filmed and studied
phenomenon of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef “fake news”.
You need lashings of
chutzpah, blinkers the size of Donald Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris
than you can shake a branch of dead coral at.
It also helps if you
can hide inside the bubble of the hyper-partisan Breitbart media outlet, whose
former boss is the US president’s chief strategist.
hosts world-first tiger shark birth from captive breeding
Roughly between noon
and 4 p.m. on March 23, a tiger shark gave birth in a shark display tank at
Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu Town. Tiger sharks live in ranges from the tropics
to temperate zones, and this is the first time a tiger shark has given birth from
breeding in captivity. The mother gave birth to about 30 baby sharks, ranging
from 60 to 80 centimeters in length.
The female tiger
shark was caught in a stationary net off the coast in Yomitan Village, and
afterward her breeding at Churaumi Aquarium began. She conceived at the time,
as was detectable by the swelling of her abd
Addresses Ethics of Animal Captivity
The ethical debate
over zoos – and whether animals belong in them – has resurfaced over the past
year, and now Brookfield Zoo is joining the discussion.
Lance Miller, the
head of Brookfield Zoo’s animal welfare division, recently addressed concerns
expressed by visitors to the zoo over exhibit sizes and whether they are big
enough for the animals they house.
The comments were
submitted via surveys the zoo asks guests to complete.
“We have noticed
from your feedback that you have some concerns about ‘zoo exhibits being large
enough’ for certain animals both here at Brookfield Zoo and other zoos and
aquariums,” Miller wrote in a blog post dated March 13 on the website of the
Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo. “The staff at
Brookfield Zoo share your concern about wildlife and we have the science to
help answer that question.”
The debate over
animal captivity was revitalized last May when a 17-year-old gorilla, Harambe,
was shot to death at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-month old boy
South Lakes Safari
Zoo: Owner in appeal against licence refusal
The owner of a
Cumbrian zoo, where a keeper was mauled by a tiger and hundreds of animals have
died, has appealed against its impending closure.
David Gill was
refused a licence to run South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness by Barrow
Council earlier this month amid animal welfare concerns.
His decision means
the zoo can remain open until a new company, formed by staff, can apply for its
Had Mr Gill not
appealed, the zoo would have been forced to close next month.
Mr Gill has already
handed management of the site
Aquarium succeeds in
successive breeding of whale-bone eating zombie worm
An aquarium here has
succeeded in successive breeding of a rare deep sea tube worm, often called the
"zombie worm," which survives on the bones of dead whales fallen to
the sea floor.
zombie worms that are on display at Enoshima Aquarium were originally
discovered in the sea at a depth of 225 meters -- off the coast of Cape Noma in
Kagoshima Prefecture by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and
Technology in 2012. Enoshima Aquarium has been breeding the organism with help
from the agency on site since 2016 and has found ways to successfully carry out
successive breeding of the zombie worm
Inspection finds the
reasons dolphins die early deaths in South Korean aquariums
Some dolphins living
in too small spaces without proper water temperature or medical attention
Dolphins in South
Korea’s aquariums are living in poor conditions, a recent examination showed.
The full-scale examination of dolphin welfare was the first conducted since
dolphin shows were introduced at Seoul Grand Park in 1984.
“The eight dolphin
raising facilities nationwide are poorly managed, an issue that the government
has been neglecting for decades,” said Justice Party lawmaker and National
Assembly Environment and Labor Committee member Lee Jung-mi on Mar. 29.
Between Feb. 22 and
Mar. 3, a joint private-government inspection team consisting of Lee and
representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Oceans and
Fisheries, and animal rights and environment groups such as the Korean Animal
Welfare Association, Care, and Hot Pink Dolphins conducted an examination of
health management and facilities for dolphins at South Korea’s eight dolphin
aquariums, including those at Seoul Grand Park and Ulsan’s Whale Ecology
One major problem
was the size of tanks at the aquariums, which were uniformly cramped. While
total tank area did meet the legal standards of 84 square-meters in water area
per animal and depth of 3.5 meters, many failed to meet the standard because
tanks were partitioned into various sections, the report showed. The Ulsan
Whale Ecology Experience Hall tank, where a dolphin was kept segregated,
measured just 38 square-meters, while supplementary tanks at
Plans Approved for
$500m Saigon Safari Park Including Hotel and Golf Course
Saigon Safari has
been given the go ahead.
TTR Weekly reports
that Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee have approved the project.
According to Vietnam
Net, Saigon Safari was originally to be developed by Saigon Zoo and Botanical
Gardens Company, work started on clearing the 460ha site in Cu Chi Districtin
Following years of
delays the project was handed over to Vingroup in 2015. New plans were put forward in 2015 to develop
Saigon Safari with
St. Louis Zoo Is
Officially the Best Zoo in the Country
The Saint Louis Zoo
was officially named the best zoo in the country today. The zoo took first
place in USA Today's "10 Best" contest, which asked readers to vote
for the best zoo out of twenty contestants. For about a month, people were
welcome to vote once per day for their favorite zoo.
St. Louis was in the
running with top-notch zoos from around the country, including Disney's Animal
Kingdom and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Those vacation hot spots didn't make the
top ten, however — Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and the Arizona-Sonora
Desert Museum took second and third place, while zoos in San Diego, Chicago,
New Orleans, Cleveland, Fort Worth and Columbia, South Carolina filled out the
This win has been a
long time coming. USA Today held the same 10 Best contest in 2014, and St.
Louis took second pla
Chimps pull off
cage-break at Indira Gandhi Zoo in Visakhapatnam
It was a short-lived
prison break for two chimpanzees who brought Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
(IGZP) to a halt for two hours, after they fled their day enclosure, sending
the visitors into a tizzy. Zoo keepers and authorities struggled for almost 90
minutes to tranquilise and return the free chimps to their enclosures.
authorities of IGZP, three chimpanzees - Chiko (male), Chipa and Chikitha (both
female), live in the chimpanzee enclosure. Chiko (18 years) and Chikitha (30
years) were found missing from their enclosure at around 9.50 am by the animal
keeper G Chinna Rao, who alerted the officials and the emergency response team.
The team rushed with the required tranquilisers, nets and other equipment.
Sources said that
with the failure of the solar fence
Modern zoo practices
vital to keep animals healthy
Minister for Schools
Education and Archeology Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan has stressed the need of
learning modern zoo practices to keep animals healthy and safe in Pakistan.
concluding ceremony of a two-week International Technical Training and Skill
Development in Animal Keeping program at a local hotel on Friday, the minister
said that local zoo keepers and wildlife officers would benefit from the
experience and knowledge of British trainers.
Vice Chancellor Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir, Dean Faculty of Life Sciences Dr Naeem
Khan, Director British Council Lahore Kevin McLaven, Chairman Department of
Zoology Dr Javed Iqbal Qazi, Dr Zulfiqar Ali, trainers from various
universities from the United Kingdom, wildlife officers, zoo keepers,
researchers and a large number of students were also present on the occasion.
Mashhood said the British Council and private sector are collaborating in
different projects which are valuable for the government. Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir
said the PU would play its role in preservation of wildlife. “The Punjab
University will not only work for improvement of life standard of the people
but for bright future of the country,” he added. Kevin McLaven said the British
Council is working for improvement in standard of education and provision of
academic leadership in Pakistan.
The British Council
would enhance its relations with PU further in future, he added.
Dr Naeem Khan said
the training programme is hi
‘Know a wolf by its
howl:’ Inside the tactics of Busch Gardens’ trainers
A young bald eagle
surveyed his surroundings, acutely aware of a light March breeze, before
seizing small chunks of fish in his beak.
Just six pounds, the
eagle nervously rustled his wings as a golf carts whizzed by his perch,
snatching up new pieces of fish after each cart turned the corner.
Lafountain held the eagle, named Lincoln, awarding him small pieces of fish
when he stayed calm. Lincoln, who was found with an eye injury and is blind in
that eye, is training to become comfortable near golf carts, Lafountain said.
Lincoln is one of at
least five dozen domestic and wild animals that live in Busch Gardens
Williamsburg, a SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment company.
In the wake of
several years of bad press and dropping stock values for their parent company
SeaWorld – revolving around a documentary called “Blackfish,” which criticized
SeaWorld’s treatment of captive orca whales – Busch Gardens officials assert
they provide above and beyond care for their animals in captivity.
“I don’t think
anybody is perfect, but I certainly feel, through the 20 years, I’ve had to
experience the people I’ve worked with and the animals I’ve been fortunate to
take care of, that at the end of the day, we’ve done the best we can,” Zoo
Flying foxes are
facing extinction on islands across the world
Flying foxes are in
deep trouble. Almost half the species of this type of fruit bat are now
threatened with extinction.
The bats face a
variety of threats, including deforestation and invasive species, but the main
one is hunting by humans, says Christian Vincenot, an ecological modeller at
Kyoto University in Japan, who highlights their plight in a perspective article
in Science this week.
The bats are hunted
for food, for their supposed medicinal properties and for sport. They are also
killed by farmers to protect fruit crops. Around half of the 90,000 bats on the
Indian Ocean island of Mauritius have been killed in a government-sponsored
cull in the past two years alone.
The threats are
particularly severe for those species that live on islands scattered across the
Pacific and Indian Oceans, which is most of them – 53 of the 65 species of
flying fox are island-dwellers. “Islands exacerbate all these issues, because
there are fewer places for the animals to hide,” says Vincenot.
But it is also
islands that have the most to lose if the bats ar
The Fascinating and
Complicated Sex Lives of White-throated Sparrows
Could this be the
world’s most interesting bird? Sure, it doesn’t look that interesting. In fact,
at a glance, it seems like a run-of-the-mill sparrow.
It doesn’t live in
far-off exotic places, either: It may be outside your window right now. The
White-throated Sparrow is common and familiar, hopping on the ground under bird
feeders all over the eastern states in winter. It appears by the hundreds during
migration in places like New York City’s Central Park and Chicago’s lakefront
parks. But this seemingly ordinary backyard bird has a secret identity—or,
actually, four secret identities. And it's these multiple personalites that
place the White-throat at the center of mysteries scientists are still working
Watch a flock of
White-throats in spring and you’ll notice they have two kinds of head patterns.
Some wear snappy stripes of black and white across the top of the head. Others
have more modest head stripes of dark brown and tan. That superficial difference
might not seem like a big deal, but it reflects a remarkable divergence in the
lifestyles of these individuals.
For years it was
assumed that tan stripes indicated a young White-throat. As late as 1947, in
his classic Field Guide to the Birds, Roger Peterson described the adult’s
“striped black and white crown” and said the immature was “duller, but with the
same essential recognition-marks.” By that time, there’d been hints already
that the colors might not be just a function of age. For example, in The Birds
of Massachusetts in 1929, ornithologist Edward Howe Forbush mentioned a
two-year-old banded White-throat that “had not attaine
Protest stops Sri
Lankan elephant bound for Auckland Zoo from flying
A baby elephant
destined for Auckland Zoo has been stopped from leaving Sri Lanka following
protests from animal rights activists.
six-year-old female elephant from Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, was gifted to
New Zealand by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo in February
A zoo spokeswoman
said at the time that it was the "next step in a long-standing and
carefully planned programme of co-operation between Auckland Zoo and Sri Lankan
Nandi, who was born
in captivity, was the right age and had the right temper
population boosted after successful breeding in WA
population has been boosted after a colony recorded its first successful
breeding inside the largest feral predator-proof zone in Western Australia.
aquariums cut ties with body that banned dolphins caught in Taiji drive hunts
Two aquariums in
Japan said Sunday they canceled their membership of the Japanese Association of
Zoos and Aquariums due to the organization’s decision to no longer allow the
acquisition of dolphins caught in controversial drive hunts off the town of
Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture.
Enoshima Aquarium in
Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum Kaikyokan,
in Yamaguchi Prefecture, said they withdrew from JAZA on Friday because of
opposition to the decision made in May 2015.
JAZA banned its
members from acquiring Taiji dolphins after the World Association of Zoos and
Aquariums urged the Japanese association not to take animals caught in the
drive hunts amid international outcry that the practice is cruel. JAZA was
threatened with expulsion from the global body.
The decision left
the 89 zoos and 63 aquariums that belong to JAZA with no choice but to stop
taking dolphins fro
Zoo Science for
Keepers and Aquarists
New study finds
rhino horn openly for sale in notorious Myanmar wildlife markets
TRAFFIC, WWF and Oxford Brookes University have found evidence that rhinoceros
horns are being openly offered for sale in Mong La, the notorious wildlife
market situated in Myanmar on the border with China.
Surveys of Mong La’s
markets in 2014 found a single rhino horn. In 2015, a second rhino horn, a
single horn tip, small discs from the core of a horn, horn powder and horn
bangles were observed, all openly for sale in high-end shops. The whole horns
and horn tip were all believed to be from African White Rhinoceroses.
The shops selling
horn also stocked a range of other protected wildlife, including whole elephant
tusks, carved elephant ivory, carved hippopotamus teeth, and Tiger skins.
“The species on
offer, including high-value species not native to Myanmar and several African
species, suggest that organized criminal syndicates are involved in the
wildlife trade between Myanmar and Africa, sometimes via China,” write the
authors of the paper Rhinoceros horns in trade on the Myanmar–China border,
published today in Oryx.
Mong La is known to
cater mainly for Chinese tourists, with prices quoted in Chinese RMB and many
transactions carried out in Chinese.
According to the
paper, “Rhinoceros poaching in Africa is a direct result of increasing demand
in Southeast and East Asian countries where cultural, historical, medicinal and
more modern beliefs render rhinoceros horn a luxury good, an investment opportunity
and a status symbol.”
Earlier surveys by
the same researchers in 2006 and 2009 did not find horn for s
curator's love of animals proves timeless
As a young animal
keeper at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Tad Schoffner knew when he had gained
acceptance from the approximately 120 rhesus monkeys on Monkey Island. It was
when they started ignoring him, but only because they trusted him.
Schoffner, after he had fed the monkeys and cleaned the exhibit, to sit among
them and observe. He noticed that a dominant male held sway. The male wasn’t
the biggest in the group but he had established himself as one tough monkey.
“I found it funny
that he would be on one side of the island, and a squabble would break out on
the other side, and he would just stand up and look at them, and that would
stop everything,” Schoffner says. “It wa
SEAWORLD AS A
The first SeaWorld
park opened in 1964 but it was another 15 years before they introduced the
concept of education, when they were legally mandated to do so - the park's
founder even admits that the park was created "strictly as
entertainment". A further 15 years passed before SeaWorld made the
decision to put something back into conservation and so the SeaWorld &
Busch Gardens Conservation Fund (SWBGCF) was born. Although technically (and
legally), the fund is a separate entity from SeaWorld itself, it's hard not to
see the connection between the two!