Saturday, May 13, 2017

Zoo News Digest 13th May 2017 (ZooNews 956)

Zoo News Digest 13th May 2017  (ZooNews 956)

Exeter Change menagerie - 1812
We have come a long way since 1812 but sadly there are still zoos like this.
We all get tarred with the same brush.

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

The Zoo Jobs arm of Zoo News Digest is extremely popular.  I am always interested to see how much interest the various posts get. Although there be a great number of hits on the Facebook Page these are no measure of how many people actually read the various advertisements. This week has proved to be something of a record. The 'Trainee Elephant Keeper' advertisement from Blackpool Zoo attracted an amazing amount of interest. In just three days 26,592 people have read that advert (and the numbers are rising still). If just a tenth of those actually apply someone is going to have their work cut out sorting the wheat from the chaff. At least they will be reasonably sure they will get the right candidates.

Back in February I made the following statement in:
"So SeaWorld is coming to the UAE……We have heard this before and it never happened. Around a year ago there was another story about it setting up in Saudi Arabia but I have heard nothing since so perhaps that got shelved too. This time though there have been several press reports about the plans for the UAE. All of them have been in a similar vein and say something along the lines of "the first dedicated marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center in the UAE, with world-class facilities and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life." Noble intentions I'm sure and I greatly admire the work that SeaWorld does in this area but such a statement suggests that the UAE is in great need for such a center. If there is then this is news to me. The UAE already more than adequately cares for turtles…. and whale and dolphin strandings are as rare as hens teeth. Perhaps it is uncharitable of me but would we suddenly see a sudden need to 'rescue' Dugongs? So rare in captivity…I have only seen one and I believe the only two captive specimens on display are being held in Australia. A Dugong exhibition would be impressive, special and different…..but needed? Of course I could be totally wrong….but watch this space. We already have dolphin shows in the UAE and at least three collections holding them so there would be a need to come up with something to set themselves apart especially as Orcas are out of the picture."

And then onto this week when I came across this statement in the Khaleej Times

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
It is the first Seaworld marine park to be opened outside the US. Planned in Abu Dhab's Yas Island, the park is supposed to be the ideal ground for recreation as well as be a platform for awareness where people will be sensitized how endangered and rare species like dugong can be conserved and protected. Come 2022 and you will be able to soak in the exhilarating experience.

I said at the time "watch this space". Pure guesswork but does this indicate I was guessing correctly?

So the South Lakes Safari Zoo has been given a reprieve. I wish the new management team the very best of luck.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 56,000 '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, 


China’s ‘animal hell’ zoo displays dead snake, dazed bear and crocodile living with rubbish
Hainan zoo ordered to clean up its act
A zoo in southern China has been described as an animal hell by a visitor with one creature seen dead in its box by a reporter and a pond for a crocodile piled with rubbish, according to a news website report.
The Haikou Golden Bull Ridge Zoo on Hainan island looked like the area had been abandoned on Tuesday, according to the report by

Stem Cells for Zoos: Conservation with Cellular Technologies
Stem cells are recognized for their therapeutic promise in regenerative medicine. A contributor looks at how they are also used to save endangered species.

Four hours north of Nairobi, closely safeguarded by armed security, the last remaining northern white rhinoceros are waiting for extinction. Only three animals are left, all three of them living in a 700-acre enclosure within the Ol Pejeta Conservancy Park: there is Sadu, a 43 year-old male, the 27-year-old female Najin and her 16-year-old daughter Fatu. Once roaming great parts of Eastern and Central Africa, heavy poaching diminished their number to just a handful of individuals.

The last successful birth of a northern white rhinoceros was in 2000, with all following reproduction efforts in captivity staying unsuccessful. Natural reproduction is sadly out of reach for the last three individuals, with Sadu having a low sperm count, a difficult leg injury of Najin and a uterine disorder in Fatu that prevents her from becoming pregnant.

The sad truth is that many more species will share this dark prospect with the three rhinos. With largely human-made threats ranging from excessive poaching, loss of habitat, climate change and disease, many species are simply not capable of adapting fast enough to endure the ever increasing environmental pressure they are facing. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is providing detailed information on the co

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
It is the first Seaworld marine park to be opened outside the US. Planned in Abu Dhab's Yas Island, the park is supposed to be the ideal ground for recreation as well as be a platform for awareness where people will be sensitized how endangered and rare species like dugong can be conserved and protected. Come 2022 and you will be able to soak in the exhilarating experience.

Scientists May Be ‘Vastly’ Underestimating The Extinction Risk Facing Some Species
The IUCN Red List paints a grim picture of the biodiversity loss we are facing as a planet. In 2016, tens of thousands of mammals, birds, insects, plants and other organisms were found to be under threat from extinction, according to the list. Of that number, more than 5,000 were considered critically endangered, including iconic species like the leatherback turtle, the Antarctic blue whale, and both subspecies of orangutan — all creatures right at the precipice of vanishing forever.

But as staggering as those numbers may sound, they may still be vast underestimates, according to a recent study out of Columbia University that challenged the accuracy of methods used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to determine the status of species. 

Specifically, the researchers concluded that the IUCN has been “systematically overestimating” the size of the habitat in which species can thrive ― errors that have possibly led to an underestimation of the number of organisms under threat of extinction wor

A Gene Mystery: How Are Rats With No Y Chromosome Born Male?

Zoo Knoxville finds 'toxic agent' likely killed 34 reptiles in March
Leaders at Zoo Knoxville believe a "toxic agent" caused the deaths of 34 reptiles in one of its reptile buildings in March.

No animals have been kept in that building since then, and the zoo said Friday the building will no longer be used to house animals.

Originally, the zoo said 33 reptiles died overnight in late March. Zoo Knoxville President and CEO Lisa New now connect 34 reptile deaths to the possible toxic agent, including a hatchling that died a week later.

The reptiles died sometime between the hours of 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, and 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 22, the zoo said.

Veterinarians at the University of Tennessee College of Vet Medicine determined that the necropsy results, which showed swollen blood vessels and changes in the liver and the heart, were most consistent with a toxic agent.

However, the zoo added, substances like carbon mono

Edinburgh’s giant panda was artificially inseminated two months ago, zoo reveals
EDINBURGH Zoo panda Tian Tian has been artificially inseminated after coming into season at the earliest time since arriving in Scotland.

As a result, zoo chiefs are now more confident than ever that the giant panda will produce a cub – the UK’s first – this summer.

The decision to go ahead with artificial insemination came after the zoo decided there was now no prospect of Tian Tian and Yang Guang mating naturally.

Panda experts at Edinburgh Zoo began monitoring her hormone levels in December and artificially inseminated Tian Tian mid March when she hit peak oestrus levels.

PANDA BREEDING FURY Edinburgh Zoo bosses blasted after revealing fifth attempt to get giant panda Sweetie pregnant

Watch: Inside South Lakeland Safari Park
As the new team in charge of South Lakeland Safari Park formally take over, ITV Border goes behind the scenes at the zoo to see what's on the new owner's agenda.

Cumbria Zoo Company Limited was granted the new licence on Tuesday, to run the troubled zoo where hundreds of animals and a zoo keeper died.

The Chief Executive told Hannah McNulty animal welfare is their top priority.

Dreamworld animals depressed during park closure in wake of Thunder River Rapids tragedy
DREAMWORLD’S animal stars suffered extraordinary depths of depression in the wake of last year’s Thunder River Rapids tragedy — and joy at the park’s reopening — research has revealed.

More than six months on from the disaster which claimed four lives, Dreamworld life sciences manager Al Mucci has told a Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia conference that mood levels of animals in the park plummeted during the two-month closure, but quickly rebounded when visitors returned.

Taking samples from the droppings of Dreamworld’s tigers and koalas, biologists from the University of Queensland were able to measure levels of cortisol, a hormone which varies depending on triggers such as stress, fear or anxiety.

Cortisol levels typically spike after visits from the Dreamworld vet for injections or following periods of construction in the park.

Readings skyrocketed after the park closure in

John Nightingale's song to save a place for whales hits some wrong notes
Vancouver Aquarium president John Nightingale raised some eyebrows this week as he defended the need to keep rescuing and capturing cetaceans.

As the debate about cetaceans in captivity enters a new round of debate, Nightingale's level of rhetoric and his revisionist history of the charged issue rose.

Nightingale claimed the Aquarium didn't deliberately use whales for entertainment —"we never did shows" — and described displays as feeding and training sessions with onlookers.

He said a ban on cetaceans would mean many more of them would die and that he was "flabbergasted" that politicians would even suggest such a thing.

The Role of Architectural Design in Promoting the Social Objectives of Zoos
A Study of Zoo Exhibit Design with Reference to Selected Exhibits in Singapore Zoological Gardens

Cowbirds' Secret Identity Is Unlocked By A Vocal Password
Cowbirds have a big problem: because they are raised by foster parents of different species, they are faced with an identity crisis. But they deal with this by relying on a vocal password to unlock their inner secret identity and to trigger learning of who they really are

Battling to save the Ethiopian wolf – Africa’s rarest carnivore
Most members of the Canidae family, such as wolves, dogs and foxes, are versatile and opportunistic animals, thriving in many habitats and some even living in urban and suburban settings. In contrast, Ethiopian wolves are highly specialised to life in the Ethiopian highlands. Also called the “Roof of Africa”, it encompasses 80% of Africa’s land above 3,000m.

They are remarkable rodent hunters, with long muzzles and slender legs. Their tight social bonds help them protect their precious family territories from competitors. For a canid of their size (about 14-20kg - the weight of a medium-sized dog), Ethiopian wolves are unique at surviving on small prey (most highland rodent species weigh less than 100g) and are solitary foragers. With their striking red coats and black and white markings, they appear physically distant from their closest relative, the grey wolf.

These qualities made them successful colonisers of an expanding ecosystem as the African glaciers retreated during the end of the last ice age, but paradoxically have contributed to their demise.

Due to a warming continent, in the last 100,000 years the tree line has gone up by 1,000m encroaching on open Afroalpine grasslands and meadows. Due to the pressure of humans, livestock and domestic dogs, the wolves are now restricted to tiny

Parasite living inside fish eyeball controls its behaviour
A common parasite that lives in fish eyeballs seems to be a driver behind the fish’s behaviour, pulling the strings from inside its eyes.

When the parasite is young, it helps its host stay safe from predators. But once the parasite matures, it does everything it can to get that fish eaten by a bird and so continue its life cycle.

The eye fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum has a life cycle that takes place in three different types of animal. First, parasites mate in a bird’s digestive tract, shedding their eggs in its faeces. The eggs hatch in the water into larvae that seek out freshwater snails to infect. They grow and multiply inside the snails before being released into the water, ready to track down their next host, fish. The parasites then penetrate the skin of fish, and travel to the lens of the eye to hide out and grow. The fish then get eaten by a bird – and the

Three new sub-species of snow leopard discovered
A recent research paper in the Journal of Heredity reveals that there are three sub-species of snow leopard. Until now, researchers had assumed this species, Panthera uncia, was monotypic.

Studying snow leopard scat from wildlife trails and marking sites revealed three primary genetic clusters, differentiated by geographical location: the Northern group, Panthera uncia irbis, found in the Altai region, the Central group, Panthera uncia uncioides, found in the core Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau, and the Western group, Panthera uncia uncia, found in the Tian Shan, Pamir, and trans-Himalaya regions. This is the first range-wide genetic analysis of wild snow leopard populations.
The snow leopard is considered the world's most elusive large big cat and inhabits a vast area of around 1.6 million km2 across 12 countries in Asia. It is a high-altitude specialist that primarily occupies mountains above 3,000m in elevation, a habitat characterized by low oxygen levels, low productivity, temperature extremes, aridity, and harsh climactic conditions. The snow leopard is the largest carnivore in its high-altitude habitat in many areas and is under substantial threat throughout its range.
The snow leopard remains the last of the five big cats to be the subject of a comprehensive subspecies assessment. This gap in research is a direct result of three challenges: the snow leopard inhabits remote regions that are often politically unstable and therefore harder to access, opportunities for radio or GPS tracking are limited because snow leopards are difficult to obser

Sexual dimorphism in African elephant social rumbles
This study used the source and filter theory approach to analyse sex differences in the acoustic features of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) low-frequency rumbles produced in social contexts (‘social rumbles’). Permuted discriminant function analysis revealed that rumbles contain sufficient acoustic information to predict the sex of a vocalizing individual. Features primarily related to the vocalizer’s size, i.e. fundamental frequency variables and vocal tract resonant frequencies, differed significantly between the sexes. Yet, controlling for age and size effects, our results indicate that the pronounced sexual size dimorphism in African elephants is partly, but not exclusively, responsible for sexual differences in social rumbles. This provides a scientific foundation for future work investigating the perceptual and functional relevance of specific acoustic characteristics in African elephant vocal sexual communication.

Seoul Zoo eager to restore Korean leopards
Seoul Zoo said Thursday it is pushing to introduce Amur leopards in an effort to restore Korean leopards, which died out in the region during Japanese colonial rule in the early 20th century.

To that end, the zoo will hold a seminar on the conservation of Amur leopards by inviting renowned zoologist Jo Cook, the head of the London-based Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance on Friday, Seoul Zoo head Lee Ki-seop said. Cook is also the chief manager of a program to breed and manage Amur leopards at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
"We plan to intensively introduce our preparations, including a leopard pen, as Jo Cook's judgment is crucial in introducing Amur leopards," he said.

While in Seoul, the ALTA leader is scheduled to discuss the zoo's introduction of Amur leopards from Russia or Europe after inspecting their breeding facilities, Lee said.

According to the zoo, extinct Korean leopards are genetically identical to Amur leopards, which are currently found only in the Russian Far East and northeastern China. The Korean Peninsula was their major habitat in the past.

Many Korean leopards were found on the peninsula even until the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Their population rapidly declined due to indiscriminate poaching during the Japanese colonial rule (1910-45). Moreover, their habita

French marine park challenges ban on breeding killer whales and dolphins
A French marine park plans to fight a newly introduced ban on breeding killer whales and dolphins in captivity, saying that putting it into practice could be cruel.

The ban was announced last week as part of government attempts to improve the living conditions of captive marine mammals in marine parks.

It mirrors a move in California to outlaw breeding of killer whales and which was aimed at bringing an end to the practice of holding the creatures in tanks for human entertainment.

Jon Kershaw, Wildlife Director at Antibes' Marineland in southern France, told Reuters TV that the new law communicated by the environment ministry on Saturday could hurt the animals.

"To impose this law, and I am talking about imposing, on the animals, we will have to put them under stress. We will separate them. We will give them chemical treatments for fear of them reproducing. I am sure that this will have an effect on the animals' life expectancy, so it's not normal, it's not logical to establish on the one hand a decree made for protecting animals, and on the other hand harming them like that. I don't understand," he said.

He said he intended to fight against implementation of the law, first by establishing what legal action can be taken and by launching petitions.

French activist Caroline Camus of 'Sans Voix PACA,' an organisation in the Provence, Alpes Cote d'Azur (PACA) region whose name trans

Not a lizard nor a dinosaur, tuatara is the sole survivor of a once-widespread reptile group
Have you ever heard of the tuatara? It’s a reptile that decapitates birds with its saw-like jaws, lives to about 100 years old, and can remain active in near-freezing temperatures.

It’s also the sole survivor of a lineage as old as the first dinosaurs.

May 2017 marks 150 years since the tuatara was first recognised not to be a lizard.

Most tuatara exist on windswept offshore New Zealand islands, where they spend their days in burrows or basking lazily in the sun.

In the evening they are more active, and use their large eyes to spot a variety of prey such as beetles, spiders and snails. They also occasionally eat lizards, frogs, baby tuatara and birds – the headless bodies of birds are not infrequently reported from their island homes.

Although capable of bursts of speed, tuatara have a reputation for slowness. They grow slowly, they reproduce slowly and they live for a long time.

Interestingly, they are most active at cool temperatures (5-18) that would put many other reptiles out of action. New Zealand lizards have similar traits, suggesting that these characteristics are relatively recent adaptations to local conditions.

The tuatara is often referred to as having a third eye because of a light-sensitive organ on the top of its head, similar to the ones found

Why India is going bananas over birth control for monkeys
 On a typical afternoon in a posh neighborhood here, a troop of rhesus macaque monkeys climb the wall of an apartment building to the rooftop water tanks with a specific goal.

Swinging like circus performers until one of the water pipes snaps off, the monkeys rush to drink the spraying water.

Government responds to turtle concerns
Government has defended the decision to relocate turtles from the Great Sound during the America’s Cup after questions were raised by Greenrock.

In a statement this afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Environment said: “It is well known in the sea turtle conservation community that where there are turtles and boats, there will be collisions.

“Every year, noticeably during boating season, the BAMZ Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre sees turtle injuries resulting from strikes from marine craft.

“After considering the options, it was decided that the risks to the turtles resulting from collision outweighs the risks associated with a temporary holding period until there is a reduction in boating traffic.”

The plan was initially announced on Sunday, with a statement saying that turtles would be caught in the Great Sound and transported to a purpose-built ocean enclosure near the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo this month and next.

Jonathan Starling, executive director of Greenrock, responded that while the charity understood the reasoning for the action, it had concerns about the impact of the relocation on the turtles and the wider environment.

Among the specific issues raised by the charity were the risk of the turtles harming each other, spreading illnesses and disruption of the animal’s eating habits.

In their latest statement, government responded to many of the questions, saying that efforts were being made to minimise any impact on the turtles.

“Turtles are currently captured and released annually via netting procedures as part of local research and conservation efforts,” the statement said. “Bermuda has established procedures with experienced personnel. This effort will build on that expertise.

“The turtles will be released inside a purpose-built enclosure. The enclos

Rescue plan could stress out turtles
A plan to relocate sea turtles in advance of the America’s Cup has sparked concerns from environmentalists about the impact on the animals’ health.

The plan is intended to protect turtles from the heavy marine traffic anticipated in the Great Sound.

However, Greenrock executive director Jonathan Starling said confining the turtles could lead to illness and stress while failing to prevent other turtles from entering the race area.

“We recognise the reasoning behind the action,” Mr Starling said.

“We are hopeful that this action will, indeed, reduce the potential for sea turtles to be injured or killed during the heightened marine activity of the America’s Cup. If it even saves one turtle that otherwise would have been killed, that’s great.

“Despite this, there are questions that need to be asked.”

The Ministry of the Environment announced on Sunday that it would be temporarily relocating sea turtles from the Great Sound to a “purpose-built ocean enclosure” near the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo until the end of the event.

In response to the news, Mr Starling posed a range of questions about the feasibility and ecological impact of the plan, including what the impact would be on the relocated turtles.

“There are welfare considerations about keeping a concentrated number of turtles in a much smaller enclosure to what they’re familiar with,” he said.

“There is a risk of increased disease in such a situation — particularly fibropapillomatosis, a form of highly contagious tumours. There is a risk of turtles hurting each other f

Overfishing is hammering South America’s rare river stingrays
Argentina’s giant river stingray can grow up to 1.5 meters long and weigh more than 200 kilograms. But its massive size is no protection against fishermen, who are hunting freshwater stingrays at a worrisome pace, according to a new study. Scientists have long known that saltwater rays, sharks, and other cartilaginous fish face daunting challenges including overfishing and loss of coastal habitat. But this is the first look at the population status of river stingrays, which have evolved to live exclusively in freshwater. South America boasts the greatest diversity, with 32 species in the Amazon and other rivers. In the new study, researchers netted stingrays from six species in Argentina’s Paraná River from 2005 to 2016 and used those numbers to estimate their population. Their finding: Five species saw their numbers plummet up to 25% a year, they report in the current issue of Biological Conservation. To find out why, the team checked each stingray for a missing tail—a sure sign that a fisherman had once caught it. When fishermen hook stingrays in Argentina, they typically cut off the stingers to make them safer to handle before throwing them back into the river. The researchers discovered a higher proportion of healed tails in smaller populations, which suggests that fishing is taking a tol

10 selfish reasons to save elephants
It sometimes feels as if we are living in the elephant’s darkest hour. China may be closing down its domestic ivory trade and the EU getting to grips with smuggling, yet the poachers continue their bloody business. Meanwhile, forests are being destroyed, herds’ migration routes are being blocked, and humans and elephants are competing ever more fiercely for land, food and water.

So this is a good time to point out that humans have plenty of selfish reasons to make space for elephants. It’s not a question of giving them a free lunch: they can pay their own way.

Reintroducing flamingos in the British Virgin Islands
There are few things I enjoy more than waking up in the morning, looking up to the skies and seeing a flamboyance of flamingos flying past. But until very recently, flamingos didn’t exist in this part of the world.
I spend a lot of my life working on animal conservation. One cause very close to my heart is trying to reintroduce species that have previously disappeared from British Virgin Islands. Many of you will know about our conservations efforts with lemurs on Necker Island, which continue to thrive here in the BVI. But our efforts with flamingos may be less well known.

Millionaire zoo owner at centre of RSPCA cruelty probe ‘made £300k by flogging a herd of buffalo to a HUNTING ranch’
A ZOO owner at the centre of a cruelty probe made £300,000 selling buffalo to be killed by hunters, it is claimed.

David Gill is also accused of flogging deer knowing they would be shot at a ranch.

They were among almost 2,500 animals he is said to have sent to a ranch as he could not afford to feed them.

Wildcats are returning to the Netherlands
Wildcats are making a comeback in the Netherlands and their numbers are increasing, Trouw writes on Wednesday. The occasional wildcat (Felis Silvestris) had already been spotted in the southernmost tip of the country in the 1990s but according to research carried out by nature organisation Ark Natuurontwikkeling in 2014 and 2015, wildcats are crossing the border with Germany into Limburg more frequently and in greater numbers. Wildcats are very difficult to distinguish from a normal tabby and the only real way to identify them is to look at their dna which usually happens when one is run over by a car, Trouw writes. ‘We knew drifters came to South Limburg e

Breaking news: Zoo licence granted by councillors after seven hour meeting
The future of a controversial zoo has been secured for the next four years during a crucial meeting today.

Cumbria Zoo company ltd was granted a licence to operate south lakes safari zoo by members of Barrow Borough Council's licencing regulatory committee.

But directors of the new company, formed in January, have been told they must meet a long list of conditions not risk breaching their licence.
Cumbria Zoo boss Karen Brewer said it felt 'liberating' to finally be in control of the Dalton attraction's destiny.

"This is the first time that I can sit before you and give you my own thoughts rather than those of my former employer.

"It feels like all the hard work of the last 17 weeks have finally paid off.

"It also feels liberating to be in control of the destiny of the zoo," she added.

The decision was made following a site visit to the zoo this morning and a tense six hour meeting at Barrow Town Hall.
Written evidence was read out from former zoo employee James Potter while a representative from the Captive Animal Protection Society also urged councillors to reject the licence application.

But Cumbria Zoo directors attempted to allay fears for the welfare of animals with the introduction of the firm's new curator; Austrian zoo consultant Andreas Kaufmann.

Mr Kaufmann confirmed he had been offered a job at Dalton zoo last year but had turned it down because he did not want to work under the leadership of its founder David Gill.

He said: "The main difference now is that there are professionals in place who cooperate with each other and know the value of expert veterinary advice.

"Now, there is nobody ignorant or non-edu

Dan Fumano: Will rocky relationship between park board, aquarium end up in court?
The head of the Vancouver Aquarium said he’s not ruling out the possibility of taking the Park Board to court over the future of whales and dolphins in Stanley Park, with tensions between the two sides at an all-time high.

On Tuesday, members of the public — as well as aquarium management — will get their first look at details of proposed bylaw amendments to ban the import and display of live cetaceans in Vancouver parks.

A staff report, including the proposed amendments, will be available online Tuesday, and the park board will then vote on the proposal at a meeting next Monday evening (May 15). If the board votes to enact the amendments, the change would take effect immediately.

“Until we see the exact wording of the bylaw, nobody is quite sure what the park board is intending to do,” said Aquarium CEO and president John Nightingale. Asked if a legal challenge could be a possible response, Nightingale replied: “All options are open.”

Nightingale, who has worked at the aquarium for 24 years, said the relationship between his organization and the park board, right now, is “as tense as it’s ever been.”

And as the two sides have exchanged increasingly pointed barbs in public over recent months, it becomes tougher to imagine how the relationship can be salvaged.

There’s a recent precedent for a legal skirmish between the two sides, but there was never a resolution. In July 2014, the park board passed a

Malaysia seizes $2m pangolin scales
Malaysia has seized more than $2 million worth of scales from pangolins, the world's most poached animal, at Kuala Lumpur airport in the largest haul seen in the country, officials said on Monday.

Customs officials acting on a tip-off discovered 712kg of scales at the airport's cargo warehouse, where they had been shipped in 18 sacks using false documents, Customs Department assistant director-general Paddy Abdul Halim said.

Wildlife and National Parks Department deputy director of enforcement Rozidan Md Yasin said an estimated 1,400 pangolins had been killed to produce the amount of scales seized.

Malaysia has previously been singled out by wildlife conservationists as a transit point for the illegal trafficking of endangered species to other Asian countries.

Shy and near-sighted, pangolins only venture out from the safety of their burrows or tree-top homes at night to scour for insects. When startled, they curl up into a ball -- a technique that is futile against the cable snares set by hunters.

All eight of the world's species of pangolin, which range from 30cm to 100cm length, are threatened with extinction.

The scales were shipped from Africa in two se

Vietnam works to end bear bile farming
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development statistics from 2015 revealed that only about 1,200 bears are kept on bile farms across the country. A record of 4,300 bears bred in Vietnam was reported in 2005.
However, the Vietnamese Government, organisations and community must make greater efforts to close bear bile farms forever.
According to the Education for Nature-Vietnam, the Republic of Korea sterilised all captive bile bears to prevent the expansion of the population of bears that are exploited for their bile. About 660 sterilised bears on 36 farms will be the last to suffer for their bile.
Gilbert Sape, head of Bears and Traditional Medicine at the World Animal Protection (WAP), said the sterilisation programme is a landmark step towards phasing out the bear bile industry in the country.
The 14-year programme, funded by the Korean Government with the support of the WAP and Green Korea United (GKU), aims to prevent new bears from entering the industry, he said.
It sends out a clear message that it is unacceptable for g

Taiwan seizes 3 'world's most expensive' tortoises at airport
 A Malaysian tourist was caught on Sunday at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for trying to smuggle into Taiwan three angonoka tortoises, which are listed as critically endangered species by international wildlife conservation organizations and reputed to be the most expensive tortoise on earth - worth about NT$1 million (US$33,150) each.

The Malaysian man arrived at Taiwan's main international airport via Malaysia Airlines at around 3:30 p.m. and three tortoises were found in his luggage, Taipei Customs said.

The three animals were identified as angonoka tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora), a critically endangered land tortoise species endemic to Madagascar that has been included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and is listed as one of the world's three most threatened turtles in the Worl

Czech Zoo First in Europe to Help Save Endangered Crocodile
The Crocodile Zoo in Protivín made a world record last week, as it succeeded in being the first country outside of tropical lands to rear one of the most endangered species of crocodile – the Indian gavials (Gavialis gangeticus).

On May 4, 2017, a total of 14 small and healthy Indian gavils hatched at the Protivín zoo, after the zoo had spent six years of working with gavials from India.

Houbara bustard rebounding due to UAE efforts
Once on the brink of disappearing in the UAE and beyond, migratory Houbara bustard populations have rebounded, thanks to the introduction of 250,000 birds bred in captivity and released into the wild by Abu-Dhabi-based International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC).
Today, untold numbers of the birds flock from Asian countries to the UAE to winter in warmer climes and this is a testament to decades of work to bring back the Houbara, said Ali Mubarak Al Shamsi, acting head of Communications and Public Relations at IFHC.
It’s one of many success stories being celebrated on May 10, World Migratory Bird Day, held every year to recognise efforts to protect bird species, their resting sites and habitats along the many wintering routes.
Organisers of the Migratory Bird Day said they laud efforts such as the IFHC to protect birds on often perilous journeys to their wintering grounds.
“Migration is a perilous journey and exposes the animals to a wide range of threats, often caused by human activities. As migratory birds depend on a range of sites throughout their journey along their flyway, the loss of wintering and stop

Will optimistic stories get people to care about nature?
Nature doesn't make the news often these days. When it does, the story usually revolves around wildlife on the brink, record-setting climate extremes or ruined landscapes. However, that is not the whole story. There is also good news, but it often receives little attention.

Lazarus species: Five cool animals we wrongly believed extinct
Will Bill Laurance and his team find Tasmanian tigers lurking in Australia’s remote Cape York peninsula? Numerous animals that were thought to be extinct have recently been rediscovered. Here are our top five species that came back from the dead – and two more that might also have been written off too soon.

Guest Speaker: Grey Stafford – Observations From an Ageing Zoo Guy
I had the privilege to meet Dr. G. Stafford several times. We had some great talks over time what gave me more inspiration to make sure our community goes forward in what we are good at. Dr. Stafford is one of the advocates that fights for the animals we care for. I can honestly say that he would be one of the guys who I’m looking up to. The first time I came in contact with him was actually not in person nor by email. Dr. G.Stafford wrote a book called Zoomility. The Book is a great asset in my assortment and I keep on telling others to read it as well. The book is simple to read and gives you flashbacks to your own animal training experiences, definitely one to suggest for the trainers out there. The book gave me the first contact with Grey.

Armed men occupy Subic's Ocean Adventure: official
Around 70 armed men have taken over the Ocean Adventure theme park in Subic Bay, the chair of the government agency overseeing the free port said Thursday.
It was not immediately clear why the suspects occupied Ocean Adventure since Feb. 13 and barred employees from entering, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Martin Diño told DZMM.
"Nakakalungkot kasi supposed to be, dapat hindi nakapasok ang mga iyan," Diño told radio DZMM.
(It saddens me because they should not have been allowed to enter in the first place.)
"Full coordination na kami ngayon sa kapulisan at lahat ng authority para ma-takeover kasi that's a continuing threat, 'yang nangyayari d'yan."
(We are coordinating with the police and the authorities to take over, because what's happening there is a continuing threat)

IN WHAT employees and guests initially thought was a terrorist attack on Valentine’s eve, a group claiming to be majority shareholders of the company over-powered security personnel to take control of Ocean Adventure, a marine theme park in this former US Naval Base, some 79 km. northwest of Manila.

“We have come under attack by nearly 70 armed mercenaries, who came in the night,” Robert C. Braun, chairman of the Board of Directors of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. (SBMEI) which runs Ocean Adventure, said in a statement, “first abusing and evicting the women from the staff dormitory, displacing security… they broke down doors, forced open a vault and coerced scared staff to attend to their demands… nothing about this is other than thuggery.”

Immediately after the physical take-over, the intruding group convened a “majority shareholders” meeting and appointed Scott N. Sharpe, said to be one of the founding owners of the company, as Chairman, vice Braun, and also President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), vice Arthur D. Tai.
Tai and Sharpe’s group are locked in a dispute over the company’s ownership that has reached Olongapo City’s Regional Trial Court, which recently dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

However, Sharpe’s group apparently took the dismissal as a go ahead to take-over the company, making their move on Valentine’s eve sans a court order nor decision on the question of ownership.

Sharpe’s group is identified with SBMEI’s former President and CEO Timothy J. Desmond, now temporarily free on a P3M bail bond after going into hiding to evade two warrants for his arrest issued by an Olongapo City Court for allegedly gypping businesswoman Virginia Dio of over $2M intended as investment at the theme park but which he allegedly used for his personal benefit, instead.
SBMA’s Position

“This is an intra-corporate dispute that needs to be resolved between (the contending) parties,” SBMA Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said, “SBMA is not a party to (the) said dispute.”

However, Eisma said she is not supporting the take-over of Ocean Adventure by Sharpe et al.

“No one can just claim to own something and simply take it away by force,” Eisma said, ““we have laws and procedures that must be obeyed and respected.”

“Until such time that they are able to obtain a decision by a competent court declaring them to be the rightful owners, we will continue to recognize only company officers whose names appear on current legal documents,” Eisma added.

She said SBMA’s Regulatory and Legal teams have been mobilized “to look on what actions can we take on their failure to coordinate with SBMA.”

Philand Security and PNP SAF

Sharpe’s group engaged the services of Philand Security Agency, Inc. despite its lack of accredition with the SBMA, and therefore, should not have been able to operate, moreso, cause their guards to brandish firearms in the Freeport as they are presently doing as security personnel at Ocean Adventure.

Heavily-armed personnel of the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), at the behest of Sharpe’s group, were also present during the “intrusion” despite their lack of jurisdiction and non-coordination with SBMA authorities.

Like Eisma, the SBMA Law Enforcement Department (LED) was kept in the dark by Sharpe’s group and was alerted only by calls and messages from terrified employees who were allegedly being detained against their will inside the park’s premises.

Olongapo Mayor Rolen C. Paulino, upon learning of the stand-off by frantic messages he received from employees and relatives residing in the city, also rushed to Ocean Adventure.

Paulino and Eisma were able to enter the premises and talked to the employees, some of whom were relieved to be escorted out while some chose to remain to attend to the guests.

“I commend the employees who chose to stay despite the adversity because they worry about the service of their guests,” she said, “these are dedicated workers with the work ethics of the Olongapeño and I am very proud of them.”

Sharpe and company may have taken over Ocean Adventure physically and the dispute may now be oblivious to the guests as operations appear to have normalized but hostilities may yet flare-up at any given moment, keeping Eisma and the rest of the SBMA leadership on their toes, up until when, there is no telling at this time. -30-

Name sought for rare albino orangutan rescued in Indonesia
A conservation group is asking the public to name a rare albino orangutan that was rescued from villagers on Borneo island last month, hoping it will become a symbol of efforts to save the critically endangered species.
The 5-year-old female great ape is being kept in a dimly lit quarantine enclosure with round-the-clock veterinarian care after being rescued in the Indonesian part of the island on April 29, Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation spokesman Nico Hermanu said Wednesday. She's the first albino orangutan to be encountered by the foundation in its 25 years of conservation work.
The foundation said in a statement that the orangutan has become an ambassador for her species and it wants a "meaningful" name for her that will reflect the significant conservation challenges that orangutans face in the wild.
It said she is sensitive to sunlight due to a complete absence of pigmentation and physically fragile, which is com

Strike deadline looming for Toronto Zoo workers
The Toronto Zoo and the union representing its workers will be back at the bargaining table on Wednesday, ahead of a midnight strike deadline.

CUPE Local 1600 said while some of the issues have been resolved, other issues the union considers critical remain outstanding.

Job security is a key part of the talks. The union said it is concerned the zoo could contract out work.

“We haven’t made enough progress and I am concerned about our ability to conclude negotiations before the deadline,” Christine McKenzie, president of CUPE 1600, said in a release.

McKenzie said if they are close to reaching an agreement, the union is prepared to negotiate past the strike deadline.

“Ultimately, that decision will hinge on what level of commitment to achieving a settlement we see from the zoo throughout the day,” she said.

The union represents more tha

Staff at Canada's largest zoo walk off the job in contract dispute
More than 400 employees at the Toronto Zoo have walked off the job to back their contract demands.
CUPE Local 1600 says the walkout began at midnight Wednesday at Canada's largest zoo after the two sides failed to come to terms on the key issue of job security.
"We are incredibly disappointed to have to take strike action, but the Toronto Zoo's refusal to move on job security left us with no alternative," said local president Christine McKenzie in a statement.

Chester Zoo duped into handing over £1.2m to fraudsters in email scam
Chester Zoo was tricked into paying a £1.26million invoice into the bank account of a gang of fraudsters who claimed to have built them a new "safari experience", a court heard.

The attraction fell victim to a scam after receiving an email that purported to be from a contractor informing them their bank details had changed.

But the letter was a forgery and the new account related to a closed tapas restaurant owned by 40-year-old Ashad Ali.

Beaver Water World speaks out over death of Colin the caiman and apologises for misleading public
Beaver Water World has "sincerely" apologised after admitting to misleading people over the death of one of the zoo's most beloved animals, which Tandridge District Council is investigating.

Colin the caiman – a reptile from the same family as alligators and crocodiles but typically smaller – was found dead at the Tatsfield zoo and charity on April 9 having been let into an outdoor enclosure where it was colder.

Despite this, a sign on the glass of Colin's former enclosure had been displayed for several weeks afterwards stating that he had been rehomed.

Baby Endangered Royal Turtles Hatch in Koh Kong Province
After being guarded for three months, nine royal turtles—an endangered species found only in Cambodia—hatched in Koh Kong province this week and were taken to a nearby conservation center, an NGO said on Wednesday.

There are fewer than 10 royal turtles left in the wild, but the new hatchlings are among 216 being protected at the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center, said Eng Mengey, a communications officer for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in an email on Wednesday.


** ***
** **

New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

If you have anything to add then please email me at
I will include it when I get a minute. You know it makes sense.

Recent Zoo Vacancies

Vacancies in Zoos and Aquariums and Wildlife/Conservation facilities around the World

About me
After more than 49 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and many more before 'hitting the road' and writes about these in his blog

Peter earns his living as an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer. Currently working as Curator of Penguins in Ski Dubai. United Arab Emirates. He describes himself as an itinerant zoo keeper, one time zoo inspector, a dreamer, a traveler, an introvert, a people watcher, a lover, a thinker, a cosmopolitan, a writer, a hedonist, an explorer, a pantheist, a gastronome, sometime fool, a good friend to some and a pain in the butt to others.

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

No comments:

Post a Comment