Monday, May 8, 2017

Zoo News Digest 8th May 2017 (ZooNews 955)

Zoo News Digest 8th May 2017  (ZooNews 955)


One Really Big Jigsaw



Peter Dickinson

elvinhow@gmail.com

Dear Colleague,

There have been two Whistle-blower Stories recently. I don't know the full ins and outs about either. What I do know is that it takes tremendous courage to waive anonymity and come out and say what you truly believe is wrong. Some may argue that they should not have gone to the media and should have gone down other avenues. Maybe yes and maybe no. Perhaps they did. Speaking personally I have blown the whistle once, a long time ago. I did not go to the press because even way back then I distrusted them. I went directly but separately to the four highest authorities. Did it make any difference? Not in the slightest. So perhaps I should have gone to the press. The chances are though that my name would have been dragged through the mud and I would never have worked in a zoo again. We all fear that. That is why there is less whistleblowing than, and I am convinced of this, than there should be. In the company I am working with now you can blow the whistle any time and be guaranteed anonymity….but your matter of concern will be investigated. The zoo community need something similar. There are things wrong out there, bad things. People write to me about them with increasing frequency (I am talking about worldwide here). But always there is the "Please don't mention my name or I will lose my job". There is very little I can do…but I try behind the scenes. Everyone knows everyone in this game but nobody wants to muddy the waters.

More recently I have moved away from avoiding the press. This with regards to the importation of Great Apes into the Gulf. Totally illegal and yet it continues to take place. What can you do? I have written letters to the newspapers explaining the tremendous death toll that precedes a single animal arriving here. There is not a paper that is brave enough to print my letters.

Disgusted to receive the following from somebody on Linkedin "I can see that you keep primates and I am glad to inform you that in Uganda we have rear and endangered primates like mountain gorillas, pangolins, and climbing lions would you also be interested in them." I don't keep primates and it bothers me greatly that the same offer is being made to others in the Gulf.

I note from "Daytripper: Shenzhen Safari Park" that they have some new pigs. DNA played around with so they remain mini pigs. Interesting yes but personally I don't think they belong in a zoo….unless it is the sort of zoo which displays two headed snakes, two headed turtles, Tigons, Ligers, White Tigers, White Lions or the like. Good Zoos are not freak shows or funfairs, the two should never mix.

The hot news over the past few days has been the ban in France of the breeding of Dolphins and Killer Whales…..or has it? I include two links to the same story which differ in interpretation. I suggest you read them both. Whatever the truth of the matter the involvement of the Animal Rights Anarchists is obvious. I have never visited any marine mammal facility in France but neither have I ever heard of any specific criticism. If there is something amiss….and I keep saying this, it is up to the good zoo community to come down on any malefactor like a ton of bricks. We must police our own, we really must! We must not leave it to those often well meaning groups who know nothing, nothing at all. They are conservation/research poison.



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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.

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France bans captive breeding of dolphins, killer whales
France on Saturday banned the breeding in captivity of dolphins and killer whales under tighter rules that campaigners hope will eventually herald the end of shows involving the animals.

Environment Minister Segolene Royal had on Wednesday signed a version of the legislation introducing "tight controls on the reproduction of dolphins", her ministry said in a statement.
But she has since decided the rules need to be "more radical", her ministry told AFP on Saturday, particularly after learning that "some animals were drugged" in aquariums.
The new rules ban the captivity of all whales, dolphins and porpoises, except for orcas and bottlenose dolphins already held in authorised aquariums.
Animal rights activists hailed the ban as a "historic French advance".
"In plain terms, this means the end of breeding, exchange and import programmes," five conservation groups including One Voice and Sea Shepherd said in a joint statement.
"Without possible replenishment, this quite simply means the scheduled en





Captivity conditions for whales and dolphins set to improve
New decree imposes a ban on whale breeding and guarantees larger basins for animals

An order to "guarantee the welfare" of animals in France’s dolphinariums and marine mammal parks – including banning whale breeding in capitivity - has been signed off after almost two years of discussions.

The text, worked out by the government, industry professionals, associations and the National Museum of Natural History, repeals obsolete legislation dating back to 1981. It imposes more draconian standards on parks containing whales and dolphins.

The decree was signed on March 28 by ministers, but its publication had been blocked at the last minute by Environment Minister Ségolène Royal to "reassess things with NGOs" (non-government organisations).

According to several sources, Mrs Royal was concerned about the negative publicity that animal welfare associations, particularly One Voice and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, would create, and so wanted to amend elements of the text. These organisations are fighting for a full ban on cetacean captivity.

On April 10, five NGOs - led by C’est assez! and the Animal Rights, Ethics and Science Foundation - wrote to the minister asking her to publish the order before the end of the current government’s five-year term.

It was ultimately the intervention of Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, president of bird charity LPO which prompted Mrs Royal to go ahead. "The associations asked me to be their ambassador,” said Mr Bougrain-Dubourg. “I spoke with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and Robin des Bois [an environmental NGO], who admitted it was a first step. This reassured the minister."


And from:


About a week ago it was reported MARINELAND Antibes would stop the breeding of orcas. A representative of the zoo was quoted, that the four orcas in their care would be the last generation.
If this is right, the Marineland is violating the EU Zoos Directive and the EAZA guidelines in our opinion.
Article 3 of COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 1999/22/EC relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos says, that facilities like Marineland has to kepp 'their animals under conditions which aim to satisfy the biological and conservation requirements of the individual species'. A breeding ban prevents the biological requirements of the species like Orcinus orca.
In the wild orca pods normally constist of adult animals and juvenile animals or calves. Reproduction is part of their social life and important for the social structure. Preventing this natural behaviour has nothing to do with modern animal husbandry and is, in our opinion illegal and violationg the EU Zoos Directive.
The EAZA Code of Ethics say: 'All members of EAZA
must [...] Ensure an ethical approach when undertaking any marketing and PR work and to ensure that animals are not put at risk of physical or mental injury, and are used in an appropriate manner so that a positive and respectful image of the animal(s) is projected'.
Moreover and more important the EAZA Standards and for the Acommodation and Care of Animals in Zoos and Aquaria say:
1.4.1. 'Facilities for keeping animals shall allow maintaining a social unit that refects the live history of given species in the wild'.
1.5.1. 'Animals kept in EAZA collections should be encouraged to perform as much of their natural behaviour repertoire as possible and acceptable.'
3.1.1. 'Reproduction is an integral part of the quality of life and natural behaviour of each living animal.' In the whole capter (3. Population Management) the EAZA doen't allow a general breeding ban on species.
To summarize these points: a breeding ban is not in accordance with EAZA guidelines from our point of view, because only breeding management is allow and a breeding ban violates 1.5.1. and 1.4.1. as much as it is against the Code of Ethics.
We really hope th quotation of the responsible person was simply wrong and this is all a big misunderstanding, because of wrong reports and/or wrong translation. If Marineland really would implement a breeding ban on orcas, it wouldn't be no modern dolphinarium any more, because it's not in accordance of the Zoos Directive and EAZA guidelines. We really hope Marineland Antibes will soon confirm their plans to continue breeding as they said after SeaWorld published their wrong decion to stop breeding and start decreasing the welfare of their orcas because of this.
We all should remember: There's no way to implement a breeding ban without irresponsible risks for the welfare of dolphins. It's unnatural, far to dangerous and not in the animals' interests. Furthermore there's no way to legitimize such a breeding ban scientifically or ethically. We hope the Marineland keeps this in mind and what was publsihed by media was just a huge misunderstanding.






Dalton Zoo whistleblower claims he had to 'beg' for kitchen scraps to give animals fresh food
A WHISTLEBLOWING Dalton zoo worker claims he was regularly forced to beg for kitchen scraps in order to provide healthy food for animals kept on site.

In an explosive letter to council bosses, South Lakes Safari Zoo employee James Potter states he was chastised for throwing away mouldy bread meant for some exhibits before he eventually resorted to buying reduced price fruit and vegetables from a Barrow supermarket in order to keep them fed.

And while Mr Potter has informed licencing officials within Barrow Borough Council that the poor feeding practices went on under zoo founder David Gill's regime, he alleges they have become WORSE since the attraction was taken over by Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, led by chief executive Karen Brewer, in January.





EXCLUSIVE: ZOOKEEPER CONCERNED ABOUT EUTHANASIA DECISIONS AT SF ZOO
A zookeeper is at odds with zoo management over a recent animal euthanasia decision at the San Francisco Zoo. Last month, the zoo euthanized a sick baby monkey but his caregiver says it didn't happen soon enough.

That zookeeper spoke exclusively to ABC7 News.

The animal keeper, Dayna Sherwood, loves her job and all the animals she cares for at the zoo. But she's worried publicity concerns factored into the end of life decision instead of just the health and well-being of the animal.

She also disagrees with zoo management about when the monkey's euthanasia was scheduled.

"He was breathing through his mouth because his nose was pushed to the other side of his face." Sherwood describes the rare cancerous tumor that suddenly appeared on a young patas monkey's face, shocking San Francisco




TREE KANGAROO CONSERVATION PROGRAMME




Plans underway to rebuild endangered golden bandicoot population
They are more valuable than diamonds and smaller than an Aussie Rules football, but they are in trouble.
The golden bandicoot used to roam across much of the country, but now you can only find them in small patches across Western Australia.
"Our great grandparents would remember them fondly," Australia's threatened species commissioner Gregory Andrews said.
"Until the 1930s, they were a common species."
Mr Andrews has a target to see the number of golden bandicoots start increasing by 2020.
"Golden bandicoots are a stunning little animal.





Elephant Herpes Virus: Find Out Why The Disease Endangers Young Elephants
Elephant herpes virus is described to have different types. The virus might cause an infection leading to deaths of young elephants.

According to Phys Org, the carriers of elephant herpes virus types 1, 4 and 5 were commonly mentioned to be Asian elephants. On the other hand, types 2, 3 and 6 of the virus was noted to be carried by African elephants. The first carrier Asian elephants were considered more dangerous than the latter due to its virus inflicting animals in wildlife and zoos worldwide.





Daytripper: Shenzhen Safari Park
Daytripper is a regular column that aims to help people get the most out of their PRD experience by proposing fun excursions that can be made in a single day to explore the local culture and nature of the region.

They were a media sensation.

Though small, and identically dappled, the arrival of the black-and-white pigs at Shenzhen Safari Park was covered by CCTV, the Shenzhen Television Station and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post. Why?

Their DNA has been adjusted, rendering them pet-sized for life.

A short jaunt in Shenzhen Safari Park – which we can safely call a ‘zoo’ – leads to a concrete paddock, where the pigs are asleep in all their genetically modified glory.

Though not snatching headlin







Slaughter ban will reduce cow to a zoo animal; RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat should take note
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat wants a ban on cow slaughter across the country. It does not surprise given that it has always been the pet demand of the Sangh Parivar. But coming from him at a juncture when cow vigilantism is on the rise, it is certain to make the debate over the issue more intense. Now, will the debate address the big question: Will such a ban be actually beneficial for the cause of the humble cow?

Let’s be clear on a few things about the cow debate in the country. It’s not about cruelty to animals. If that was the case, the advocates of cow protection would be sympathetic to buffaloes and other animals being killed for food and other human uses. It is not about vegetarianism. In that case the demand would be for a wholesale ban on meat. It is not for the well-being of the entire cattle population either. The m





Be prepared to pay 20 times more to enter Byculla zoo in Mumbai
You may soon have to pay 20 times more to visit Veermata Jijabhai Bhosale Udyan, also known as Byculla zoo. The proposal to increase the entry fee from Rs5 to Rs100 likely to be approved by the market and garden committee on Monday.

Political parties in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), barring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), have already given their nod to the proposal last month. The move comes after members of Save Rani Bagh Botanical Garden Foundation, along with former civic chiefs Sharad Kale and DM Sukhtankar, met BMC chief Ajoy Mehta last month and asked him not to increase the entry fee for the botanical garden — one of the largest open spaces in the city.

The proposal, if approved by the markets and garden committee will be tabled before the standing committee, where Shiv Sena, which holds majorit





Patricia Randolph's Madravenspeak: Despite extinction crisis, hunters push to kill wolves and sandhill cranes
As humanity hurtles toward catastrophe, our legislators turn a blind eye to reality and continue to pander to forces of destruction and death. Instead of caring for the fragile life of this earth, legislators like state Sen. Tom Tiffany and U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson continue to ignore the science of the Endangered Species Act, pushing to kill our endangered wolves.

And the hunters want to kill cranes. They apparently are bored with killing other wildlife. Maybe they want a wolf with a crane in his mouth to hang on their walls.

It is not that difficult to connect the dots between the status quo and certain trajectory toward an unlivable and desolate home planet. The skies are emptying, as are woods and oceans — not through any natural force, but only by the violence of man. Chris Hedges writes in his recent “Reign of Idiots”: “Europeans and Americans have spent five centuries conquering, plundering, exploiting and polluting the earth in the name of human progress. ... They believed that this orgy of blood and gold would never end, and they still believe it.”

Tiffany held yet another wolf hate conference, in early April, that was completely skewed to myth, lies, and fearmongering. He should be reminded that Richard Thiel, retired DNR wolf biologist, said on Wisconsin Public Radio, “I have worked with wolves in Wisconsin for 30 years. I have pushed them off of de





Kakapo conservation – grasping at straws or crowdfunding conservation icon?
The ever-increasing human population is pushing more and more species towards the brink of extinction. With over 600 endangered species, New Zealand is struggling to prioritise ever decreasing funds from a stretched Department of Conservation (Kirk, 2015). So, how are these tough decisions reached? Many empirical methods have been used to assess whether a species is ‘worth’ conservation intervention. Some are simple and straightforward equations, while some are very convoluted involving many different variables. A novel term coming to the forefront as we realise that not all species can be saved, is triage. Triage in this sense, is the process of prioritising conservation activities; allocating scant resources to achieve maximum conservation returns (Bottrill et al., 2008).

Kakapo are an example of a species that may be designated a ‘lost cause’ if the triage approach were implemented by DOC. This nocturnal, flightless, extremely vulnerable bird was decimated by the combined efforts of human and invasive mammal predation, helped along by habitat loss. Now listed as ‘extinct in the wild’ by the IUCN red list, the only known kakapo are managed on pest free islands (Clout & Merton, 1998).

The history of kakapo is a sad and altogether too familiar one. Once, you could supposedly, “shake six from a single tutu bush” (Langton, 2000, p. 250). But follow





Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre to expand education program
AARAKIN Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre is “ecstatic” to have secured grant money to bolster its education department.

The not-for-profit organisation was awarded a $20,000 grant earlier this year that will significantly boost the centre’s education program.

The facility acts as a rehabilitation centre for injured black cockatoos before re-releasing them into the wild.

All three species of black cockatoo in Western Australia – Carnaby’s black cockatoo, Baudin’s cockatoo and Forest red tailed black cockatoo – are all under threat of extinction.

Kaarakin volunteer co-ordinator Kathy Dewhurst said the grant was a “godsend” and would expand its education program.

“It will enable us to go out to the schools and speak to them about the plight of the cockatoos,” she said.

“Funding the staff is something we have trouble doing, but now (education officer) Julie Loxton





Monkey trio escapes zoo enclosure, attacks two humans
Two (human) individuals were injured over the weekend when a group of monkeys escaped from their cage and caused a bit of havoc during their few hours of newfound freedom.

The incident took place at the Yangon Zoo around 9am this past Sunday. A zoo employee wanted to clean the monkey enclosure, and so temporarily moved the animals to another cage. However, the door of the temporary cage was only ‘secured’ with a piece of wire that one zoogoer thought would be funny to remove, consequently letting out its inhabitants.

The three monkeys were eventually caught, but not before they attacked two women, one local and one Australian.

According to the local woman’s son, his mother was bitten while trying to protect her grandchildren and pregn






Zooquaria





Thought for Behaviour: 3 Schedules to Motivate Your Animal
Do you know that us people work on a fixed ratio schedule? Or that we have a fixed interval schedule on a daily basis? That a lot of us in between what we do have a variable interval schedule? You might wonder what does he mean?  Im going to explain how those 3 schedules work. Before I get there I want to talk about where the schedules of reinforcement come from.

The psychologist who invented Operant Conditioning, what was based on the theories of Thorndikes “Law of Effect”, Yes, I’m talking about B.F. Skinner. He made a discovery about how animals can learn in a faster rate by focusing on the consequence of the behavior presented. One of his famous quotes what I use on a daily base is:

“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important then the amount” B.F. Skinner (1952)

It’s a very interesting thought process and definitely not new these days in animal training. The skill within animal training I personally try to develop is to see what else will motivate an animal by focussing on the consequence of the behaviour that’s asked for. Schedules of reinforcement is the overall explanation of the consequences we give our animals. But reinforcement goes way further then just a piece of meat, a piece of fish or some tasteful fruit. Reinforcement can be as well the excitement, energy and enthusiasm the trainer brings with him. Remember the blog about the 3 E’s? Read it right here. I’m very passionate about






Rescued pangolin paves way for repopulation plan
After three months of rehabilitation, an orphaned baby pangolin rescued by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) will go home to the wilderness in a few months.

But Sandshrew will continue to be monitored after its release into the forests here, where wild Sunda pangolins roam. Sandshrew was named for its resemblance to the character in computer game Pokemon.

Its health and movements will be tracked by scientists, researchers and veterinarians, who hope that Sandshrew's rehabilitation could be a model for an eventual pangolin re-introduction programme.





We Asked the Government Why Animal Welfare Records Disappeared. They Sent 1,700 Blacked-Out Pages.
In January, the USDA deleted a public database that included inspection records from zoos, circuses, and research labs. In the agency’s response to our FOIA request, it still refuses to say why.
They exposed abuses at roadside zoos, uncovered controversial government-funded animal experiments, and revealed the mistreatment of circus elephants. They confirmed dog breeders weren't running puppy mills and that horse trainers weren’t exploiting their racers and jumpers. The records in U.S. Department of Agriculture’s online animal welfare database allowed journalists, investigators, and the public to look up inspection reports and violations of animal welfare laws.

But nearly three months ago, the the USDA removed its database of animal abuse records from its public website, with no explanation.

National Geographic wanted to know why. We filed a Freedom of Information Act request in February for records relating to the decision to take the database offline.

In bold disregard for transparency, the department’s response Friday consisted of 1,771 pages of completely black





Mongoose pups conceal identity to survive
Young mongooses may conceal their identity—even from their own parents—to survive.

Killing of pups is common in mongoose social groups, and researchers from the University of Exeter believe offspring may do best if they hide which adults they are related to.
Concealing identity reduces the risk of attack by less-related adults, the researchers say.
But it means mothers may not be able to tell pups apart, and therefore cannot pay special attention to their own young.
"In most species we would expect mothers target care at their own offspring, but mongooses seem unable to do this," said Dr Emma Vitikainen, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
"We think this is because mothers synchronise birth to the same day, and pups may have evolved to conceal their identity.
"In the banded mongoose infanticide is common, and it might be too dangerous for the pups to advertise which adults they are most closely related to, as this could expose them





Long lost monitor lizard 're-discovered' on Papua New Guinean island
Scientists have recently found and re-described a monitor lizard species from the island of New Ireland in northern Papua New Guinea. It is the only large-growing animal endemic to the island that has survived until modern times. The lizard, Varanus douarrha, was already discovered in the early 19th century, but the type specimen never reached the museum where it was destined as it appears to have been lost in a shipwreck.

The discovery is particularly interesting as most of the endemic species to New Ireland disappeared thousands of years ago as humans colonized the island.
The monitor was discovered during fieldwork by Valter Weijola from the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku, Finland, who spent several months surveying the monitor lizards of the Bismarck Islands. It can grow to over 1.3 metres in length and, according to current information, it is the only surviving large species endemic to the island. Based on bone discoveries, scientists now know that at least a large rat species and several flightless birds have lived in the area.
- In that way it can be con





Dubai officials tour the safari project
A delegation of officials from different local departments in Dubai visited the Dubai Safari project and were briefed about the progress of the facility on Tuesday.
It may be recalled that Dubai Municipality is all set to open the doors of this prestigious project’s first phase, housing 3,500 animals, after the end of the summer months this year.
The delegation included Hilal Al Merri, director-general, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM); Yousuf Lootah, executive director, Tourism and Investment Development Department at DTCM; Khalifa Bin Dari, executive director, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services; Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, deputy director, General Department of Operations at Dubai Police; Brigadier Abdullah Al Gaithi, director, General Department of Protective Security and Emergency at Dubai Police; and Brigadier Rashid Khalifa Al Falasi, director, Office of the Director General for Rescue and Firefighting at Civil Defence.
Mohammad Mubarak Al Mutaiwe’e, assistant director-general of Dubai Municipality for Communications a
  




New study defines the environment as an influencer of immune system responses in dolphins
Two populations of wild dolphins living off the coast of Florida and South Carolina are experiencing more chronically activated immune systems than dolphins living in controlled environments, raising concerns of researchers about overall ocean health, and the long-term health of bottlenose dolphins. The research, publishing May 3 in the scientific journal PLOS ONE is the first study of its kind analyzing the role the environment plays in the overall health and immune response of dolphins in the wild compared to those in human care.





Wild dolphins are sicker than captive ones: US study
Wild dolphins are exposed to more pollutants than their captive counterparts, which could explain why they face higher rates of illness and disease, US researchers said Wednesday.

The study in the journal PLOS ONE analyzed the health of two wild dolphin populations -- one group in Florida and another in South Carolina.

They were compared to two populations of captive dolphins in Georgia and California, which turned out to be far healthier.

Fewer than half the wild dolphins studied were "clinically normal," and many had chronically activated immune systems, signaling they were fighting off disease.

"This is likely a result of encountering pathogens, parasites and anthropogenic pollutants in the ocean that do not exist in closely managed zoological habitats," said lead author Patricia Fair, research professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.

In humans, this kind of chronic immune response has been linked to cancer, heart disease and increased vulnerability to infectious disease.

Co-author Gregory Bossart, chief v





Inspectors back new licence for zoo where nearly 500 animals died within 4 years
Councillors are being recommended to grant a fresh licence application for a Cumbrian zoo where almost 500 animals died within four years. David Gill, the owner and founder of South Lakes Safari Zoo, was refused a renewal of his licence by Barrow Borough Council in March but the tourist attraction stayed open as he lodged an appeal against the decision. Since January the zoo h





Like the idea of swimming with dolphins and cuddling tigers? Campaigners reveal the dark side of the animal tourism industry
For any animal lover, the chance to get up-close with the world's most exotic creatures sounds like a dream come true.
Peer behind the curtain, however, and according to campaign group Peta, you'll find it's actually a living nightmare for the animals involved, such as dolphins, tigers and elephants.
Here, MailOnline Travel speaks to the largest animal rights group in the world to reveal ten holiday attractions you might want to think twice about visiting this summer. 





Komodo dragon attacks tourist in Indonesia
A komodo dragon, one of the world's largest lizards, attacked a tourist in Indonesia who was trying to photograph the giant creatures feasting on a goat, police said Thursday.

Singaporean Loh Lee Aik, 67, was rushed to hospital with leg injuries after being pounced on by the venomous creature.
Sudiyono, the head of the Komodo National Park—islands in central Indonesia that form a protected habitat for the lizards—said it was the first attack by one of the creatures on a foreign tourist since 1974, when a visitor from abroad was killed.
Loh had been staying at a village on Komodo island before setting off in search of the lizards Wednesday.
But he failed to take a park ranger with him, something all visitors to the islands are advised to do.
"He was probably very excited taking pictures of the komodo, he didn't realise another komodo was approaching him and then he was bitten," l





Endangered dholes to run free in Eastern Ghats
Captive-bred population of wild dogs from Vizag zoo could establish itself in forest habitat

Endangered and hard-to-spot dholes, or Indian wild dogs, will soon test their fortunes in the Eastern Ghats. The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP), running a conservation breeding centre for the species, plans to reintroduce a pack of 16 into the forests.

A suitable site for the “soft release” is under study, curator of IGZP B. Vijay Kumar said. “We are looking at 10 to 15 acres around Narsipatnam and Chintapalle regions near Visakhapatnam. A team will monitor the released animals and their progress for a season. Before they enter the forest, we will radio collar them,” he said.

The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad will map the genetic variability of the packs before they go into the wild. “The pack should be genetically strong and have th





Meerkat call patterns are linked to sex, social status and reproductive season
Within a group of meerkats, call patterns vary with factors including sex, rank and reproductive season—but not with stress hormones, according to a study published May 3, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jelena Mausbach from University of Zurich, Switzerland; Marta Manser from University of Pretoria, South Africa; and colleagues.





Elephant herpes: Super-shedders endanger young animals
Many herpesviruses infect only a few animal species. Elephants also have their own spectrum of herpesviruses, which can cause infections that end in death. Asian elephants are carriers of virus types1, 4 and 5, while African elephants carry types 2, 3 and 6. Type 1 is particularly dangerous for young Asian elephants and has led to numerous deaths in the wild and in zoos worldwide. In Switzerland as well, three animals have died of "Elephant Herpes" in the last 30 years. How the elephants transmit the disease, however, and how they become infected, has been largely unknown until now.





Toxic coral spores suspected of poisoning seven people south of Adelaide
A family of seven living just south of Adelaide is in hospital because of suspected poisoning from spores released by coral from a household aquarium which was scrubbed with a cleaning brush.

Ambulance crews were called to the house on Sunday Parade at Aldinga Beach, about 2:30am, when the residents fell ill.

They were taken to Flinders Medical Centre and remain in a stable condition.

Decontamination crews have worked at the home throughout the day.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) and police were then called to the scene, which has been cordoned off.

The CFS said it traced the problem to the aquarium because of what the family members had said and the symptoms they were displ





Toronto Zoo workers could be off the job next week
Contract talks continue with Toronto Zoo’s management, but a strike or lockout could start by May 11, according to a CUPE president.
About 500 unionized staff at Toronto Zoo could soon be off the job, raising questions about whether the animal-filled attraction would remain open to the public.

Contract talks continue between CUPE Local 1600 and zoo management, but there is a possibility of a lockout or strike as early as May 11, local president Christine McKenzie told reporters Thursday at city hall.

“They want to eliminate all of our job security (contract) language which would really threaten the conservation and the education and the research work that we do . . .” she said before a meeting of the zoo board.

Contracting out staff positions to the private sector would threaten the integrity of behind-the-scenes programs including the breeding of endangered Canadian species and getting them back in the wild, McKenzie said. The u





Lion cubs born in Chile after world first veterinary procedure
wo baby lion cubs were presented to the public at a zoo in Chile on Thursday, born after a pioneering veterinary procedure that involved a reversed vasectomy of their father.

The cubs' mother "Masai" became pregnant after the father "Maucho" underwent the procedure, which vets at Buin Zoo in the suburbs of Santiago said took months of planning and a five-hour operation.

Both parents had been rescued from circuses.

"This is the first successful reversal of a lion vasectomy reported in the world," said Marcelo Marconi, a urology





Researchers one step closer to understanding deadly facial tumor in Tasmanian devils
New findings in research funded by Morris Animal Foundation offer valuable insight on how to fight devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) that has resulted in a catastrophic decline in wild Tasmanian devils. Researchers have shed light on how the tumors successfully evade the immune system, which may offer possible strategies to protect the endangered devils from this devastating disease.





Denmark gets its first wild wolf pack in 200 years
A wolf pack is roaming wild in Denmark for the first time in more than 200 years after a young female wolf journeyed 500km from Germany.

Male wolves have been seen in Denmark since 2012 and the new female could produce cubs this spring in farmland in west Jutland after two wolves were filmed together last autumn.

It is further evidence that the wolf is returning to well-peopled landscapes after centuries of persecution, with wolf packs also re-establishing themselves in France and Germany and individuals sighted in Holland and even Luxembourg. Before the new population, Denmark’s last wolf was killed in 1813.

“We expect that they will have cubs this year or the next,” said Peter Sunde, a senior researcher at Aarhus University.

“People were very surprised when wolves first appeared in Denmark but they are highly mobile and are just as adaptable to cultural landscapes as foxes are. The only problem historically is that we killed them.”

DNA from two faeces samples have





Dubai Safari Park will offer Dubai Zoo animals a better quality of life






Forensic scientists caught a deer munching on a human carcass for the first time ever
Forensic scientists have to do a lot of weird things in order to solve crimes and identify bodies. Sometimes that involves leaving corpses outside to rot, to better understand what happens during and after decomposition. In fact, there are entire facilities devoted to studying the decay of donated human remains, like the 26-acre Forensic Anthropology Research Facility (FARF) in San Marcos, Texas.
In July 2014, researchers left a body in a wooded part of FARF. They wanted to learn about how different scavengers leave their marks on human remains, so they set up a motion-sensitive camera to see who would stop by. In this part of Texas, it’s not unusual to see foxes, turkey vultures, raccoons, coyotes, and other carrion-gobblers picking at a corpse. Bu





Slovak lynx Cyril released in Germany
The biggest forested area in Germany became the new home for a Eurasian lynx from Muránska planina. Environmentalists from Zoo Bojnice released Cyril the lynx in the Palatinate forest. It’s the fourth lynx from the Slovak wilds to be released in this area.

“When saving animal populations that have almost disappeared from a large part of Europe, international cooperation is very important. Lynxes from Slovakia are helping to repopulate this predator in Germany,” said Rastislav Rybanič, the head of the Environment Protection, Biodiversity and Landscape Department of the Environment Ministry, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

He added that Slovak lynxes released in Germany in 1970s settled down, but a small gene pool was a problem..

The project of saving the lynx in Germany is organized under the supervision of experts for saving felines from IUC




  
Exotic pet cafes in Thailand cause delight and concern
It is a Sunday afternoon and a sunlit cafe on Bangkok's outskirts is buzzing with patrons. The air smells of french fries and disinfectant. Kittens and corgis are darting around between the legs of customers, who are trying to poke at two parakeets shuffling warily along the edge of a wooden shelf.

Excited murmurs ripple through the crowd as a waitress announces that the playpen is ready for the next round of customers. One by one, the patrons squirt disinfectant on their palms and enter a glass-walled room to cuddle a squad of meerkats.

Asia may have seen its share of pet cafes, but none quite with the menagerie offered in Thailand. Aided by relaxed laws and a thriving wildlife market, at least four exotic pet cafes have sprung up recently around the capital.





Another Embarrassing Work Story
Okay, last week got heavy.  But thanks to all of you who responded! I got a lot of great, supportive feedback :)

This week though, I think I owe you guys not JUST a light-hearted entry, but one where I make myself look like a complete and utter moron.





Albatrosses counted from space
They are using the highest-resolution satellite images available to gauge the numbers of Northern Royal albatrosses.
This endangered animal nests almost exclusively on some rocky sea-stacks close to New Zealand’s Chatham Islands.
The audit, led by experts at the British Antarctic Survey, represents the first time any species on Earth has had its entire global population assessed from orbit.
The scientists report the satellite technique in Ibis, a journal of the British Ornithologists' Union.





Hope, love prevail in conserving endangered Philippine cockatoo
Veronica Marcelo, 51, wakes up early in the morning to go to the coconut-fringed shoreline facing the Rasa Island Wildlife Sanctuary – the stronghold of the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo, locally known as the katala.

She has been doing this for nearly 17 years now, bringing with her a logbook and a pen to monitor the number of katala moving off the island to forage for food.

Marcelo serves as a volunteer for Sagip Katala Movement (SKM), a community-based organization formed under the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program (PCCP). SKM is mostly composed of women who devote time to look after the threatened bird species that visits the coastal barangay of Panacan every day.

"I manually count the katala I see flying over and perching on the coconut trees," says Marcelo. "I don’t find it mundane. When you’re used to doing this task and truly fall in love with it, your day won’t be complete without attending to it."

Rasa Island is one kilometer off the coast of Barangay Panacan in Narra, a first-class town in southern Palawan. From the mainland, you will be stunned by its verdant mangroves set against the azure sky and cerulean sea.

Five wildlife wardens from the indigenous group Tagbanua a





Parachuting birds into long-lost territory may save them from extinction
Saving the Spanish imperial eagle was never going to be easy. This enormous bird, which once dominated the skies above Spain, Portugal, and northern Morocco, saw its numbers drop to just 380 breeding pairs in 2014, thanks to habitat loss, poaching, poisoning from farmers and hunters, and electrocution from power lines. Now, a new study highlights a potential way of restoring eagle populations to their former glory: dropping them into long-abandoned habitat.

One common approach for bringing threatened species back from the brink is to reintroduce them to the places they were last known to live. For example, the sea eagle in Scotland—which was hunted to extinction on the Isle of Skye in 1916—was successfully reintroduced in 1975 to Rùm Island near its last known breeding ground. But not all such efforts bear fruit: When scientists tried to release the same bird to its former range in western Ireland in 2007, the newcomers fell victim to the same poisoning that had done them in 107 years earlier.

“The tendency is to think that the last place that an animal was present is the best place for the species, but this isn't always the case,” says Virgini





zoOceanarium named consultant for China’s mammoth-scale Taihu Longemont Animal Paradise
Leading zoo and aquarium consultancy, The zoOceanarium Group, is providing consultancy services to the Taihu Longemont Animal Paradise in Huzhou, China.

Believed to be the biggest project of its kind in the world, the attraction encompasses three animal theme park attractions and occupies over 7 square kilometres.
zoOceanarium’s role relates to the design and review of the three parks: a 12-km Drive-through Safari, a Zoological Park and a Marine Life Park.

Once complete, the mammoth-scale facility is planning to exhibit 11,500 animals, representing 425 species.
The project aims to deepen the visitor experience with wildlife exhibits and interactive experiences. It will also be a centre for scientific research and conservation education.

Taihu Longemont Animal Paradise is part of a vast, $2.9 billion leisure complex situated to the south of Taihu Lake.

Aside from the animal attractions, the development will incorporate a theme park, an ancient Chinese town and an international circus. Further amenities include hotels, theatres, a convention centre, a bonsai garden and a wetland.

Back in March, zoOceanarium announced its decision to become a corporate sponsor of zoological organisation, Species360. The non-profit maintains a database of all the animals and species in the care of its 1,054 members around the world.





GUEST COLUMN: Common ground exists on issue of mistreatment
The guest column the Northwest Florida Daily News ran by the fringe group with the misleading name “Center for Consumer Freedom” could not have been more off-base. This group is a constant apologist for various animal-use industries like puppy mills and factory farms, so it is not surprising to hear them say they are saddened to see the doors shuttered on an era of elephants and other wild animals being carted across the country for days on end, coercively trained, and living in near constant confinement or tethered to chains.
Having worked to end the mistreatment of elephants and other wild animals in circuses and travelling shows for nearly two decades, I cannot express to readers enough just how terrible the long suffering of these animals is. As is usually the case with any organization Will Coggin and the Center for Consumer Freedom attack (and the list of groups include not only The Humane Society of the United States, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving, th





Mum of Scots zookeeper mauled to death by tiger hits out over 'atrocious' wildlife park's new licence application
Fiona McClay, whose 24-year-old daughter Sarah was killed at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria in 2013, said there were issues about how the park was being run after almost 500 animals died in four years.
The mother of a zookeeper who was mauled to death by a tiger says the wildlife park should be refused an operating licence, despite it being given backing from government inspectors.

Fiona McClay's daughter Sarah, 24, from Glasgow , was killed at South Lakes Safari Zoo, formerly known as South Lakes Animal Park, in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, four years ago.

She says it should not receive any official sanction as there continue to be concerns about how it is being run.

In March, then owner David Gill's claim for a licence to run the zoo was unanimously refused by Barrow councillors after they heard there were 486 animal deaths at the zoo between January 2013 and September 2016.





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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 http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

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"




photo
Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
      

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