Monday, July 17, 2017

Zoo News Digest 17th July 2017 (ZooNews 962)

Zoo News Digest 17th July 2017  (ZooNews 962)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

"Plastic to be phased out at major American aquariums"...This has got to be some of the best news ever. Sadly there is only 19 aquariums signed up to this. It should/must be ALL zoos and ALL aquariums EVERYWHERE. Every collection in the industry needs to commit to sustainability. There is a need to look at palm oil in whatever they sell and act on it. Where solar power is practicable they need to be working towards it. This is forever commitment. Our industry needs to lead from the front.

"Mr Williams Mabasa, the spokesman for the South African National Parks, said that four male lions escaped from the Kruger National Park, at Mpumalanga Province on Sunday."….Think about it…."four male lions escaped from the Kruger National Park". Not from a zoo but from  Kruger National Park! (Although the Park was referred to as a 'zoo' in some news reports) This is not the first time as few others 'escaped' a few months back. How do wild animals escape from the wild? These unfortunate escapees were shot a week later. There really isn't a wild left anymore. As long as people continue to breed at the rate they are the situation will worsen every single year.

So who are "Zoo Protection Forum" busying around Indian Zoos. I am willing to bet that not one of them has actually done any real work in a zoo. I can find nothing about them on line. Forums of this type feed upon the ignorance of their members. I am not saying that Indian zoos don't need a big kick up the backside but self-styled 'experts' are not the ones to do it.

So the "widely recognized as one of the foremost animal trainers in the world" (by who???) Doc Antle has done it again…taking chimps to the movies. I wish that one day that he bangs his head and common sense will coming flooding in. He and his disreputable organisation are true masters at publicity but for all the wrong reasons.

Sad to relate the passing of Jim Dolan. My sincere condolences to his family friends and colleagues. The zoo community has lost one of the Greats.
This little story amused me….
had seen online where a concerned Hamster owner had taken their pet in its cage, to the vets, because it hadn't moved for some considerable time , and feared the worst. It transpired the Hamster had popped a fridge magnet into its pouch while having some out-of-cage fun, and had stuck itself to the cage upon its return…

Lots of interesting links follow.

Did You Know?
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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, 


One of the things that really worries me in terms of the zoo industry right now is the ever-growing HSUS presence within AZA. The animal rights industry is not a friend to the zoo industry, and while it’s nice that they’re encouraging better welfare now, if you read anything their CEO Pacelle has written it’s obvious what HSUS’ long-term goal for zoos is. (His most recent book lauds how forward-thinking it was that Detroit completely got rid of their elephants and that other groups are following suit). HSUS also has a history of setting up partnerships that protect whomever they’re working with from AR attack but only on the condition that they help HSUS destroy someone else: such as this one, from 2010, where the agriculture groups in Ohio agreed to help push through legislation restricting all exotic animal ownership in return for HSUS not going after them for a period of time. Most of what we’ve been hearing about lately from HSUS is that AZA is effectively partnering with them to help police the zoo industry… which is not what anyone in the field thinks we are doing… and I can’t get confirmation because AZA’s PR guy hasn’t returned my email. At this point they’re letting Pacelle speak entirely for any partnership that exists, and what Pacelle says does not bode well.

The official AZA partnerships with HSUS started out in what seemed like fairly reasonable ways - the first big announcement was in March 2016 that Seaworld was partnering with them at the same time that they chose to end their orca breeding program. It was a pretty contentious decision at the time, but Seaworld’s CEO gave a reasonable explanation of what was going on when he spoke at AZA’s September 2016 national conference. Manby emphasized the need to work together on things that the organizations could agree on, like ending shark finning and whale hunting and promoting sustainable seafood initiatives. He emphasized that Seaworld and HSUS would “work together on the things we [can] agree with - that we all love animals, we all want to save them, we all want to do what’s right for them (…) we won’t agree on everything, but we agreed to work together where we can make big differences.” I didn’t like the collaboration then, but I could respect that partnering on those sorts of programs would make them more effective - and it certainly increased consumer faith in Seaworld as a company (Manby cited an 8:1 favorability increase and a 5:1 increased likelihood that guests would visit resulting from the partnership with HSUS). The full text of that partnership announcement can be found here.

At the AZA 2016 conference, there was a panel on the ‘Public Perception of Zoos and Aquariums’ that I, like I think most people, assumed would be comprised of either people who worked directly with the public or city and state officials. Instead, two of the four speakers who were apparently added at last minute were huge figureheads of the AR Movement: a previous HSUS COO and the current HSUS VP of Wildlife Protection (who previously had spent 12 years at the organization that became Born Free USA, one of the most anti-zoo animal rights organizations in the country). Over the course of the panel, it was made clear how much they wanted AZA to work directly with them on policy issues, especially helping them pass regulations that restrict “roadside zoos.” There were a number of really sketchy things that occurred - that literally nobody from an AZA institution called them out on - such as both the panelists and that AZA moderator being utterly unable to define what ZAA accreditation does or why the organization exists in the first place even though they were actively denouncing them during the panel, and one of the HSUS people lying about what happened during the HSUS/Ringling lawsuit. Of the four people on the panel, the two people with HSUS associations spoke for a majority of the time and seemed to receive a pretty positive reception from the audience.

In May, the CEO of HSUS re-characterized the partnership with AZA as such in a blog post: “We look forward to working with AZA to expose these bad actors, to pass meaningful legislation to help all animals, to educate the public about the wide set of animal welfare issues, and to blow the lid off phony accreditation programs that have little meaning or value. For zoos operating under the old models and standards, there’s no escaping the cultural and policy shifts that are occurring.” This statement echos what the HSUS representative said at the 2016 conference - that they want AZA to help them get rid of other accrediting groups like ZAA - and indicates the cooperation between the two on the topic is now current rather than just desired. It also indicated that AZA had decided to start working with HSUS on legislation and that they were, effectively, now going to be part of helping force change in institutions they did not accredit. I immediately emailed AZA’s PR guy to ask if this was an accurate characterization of what appears to be a partnership between the two organizations, but he’s chosen not to respond. A quick survey of the media and some conversations with staff all over AZA institutions has painted a picture where there has been complete radio silence from the staff of AZA about their interactions with HSUS… until the leaked email about the Big Cat Public Safety Act last week.

The email that leaked from Ashe - the President and CEO of AZA - appears to have been sent to all of the directors of AZA institutions, informing them that they should be prepared to publicly back a draft of the Big Cat Public Safety Act that has been drafted in concert with HSUS and others who remain unmentioned. There’s not much information in the email, although it does mention an attached summary that was not publicly leaked with the screenshots of the email. What worries me about this is that Ashe has been in office for less than six months - he hails from Fish and Wildlife, where he was publicly pretty friendly with the CEO of HSUS - and the first thing he’s doing is publicly aligning AZA with HSUS on a piece of legislation that is purposefully written to massively damage any non-AZA facility’s ability to continue to display big cats. What’s more, the few proposed changes mentioned in his email make it sound like the suggested language changes would even further favor AZA (e.g., he mentions it has been redrafted so that “we” - only AZA - are able to allow public contact with cats as long as it’s in alignment with conservation reasons and people do

The Lion’s Share
A briefing on how South Africa’s trade in lion bone is driving consumer demand for tiger parts and products

So Mr Antle does it again. What goes on in his head?

Myrtle Beach Safari Chimps Attend New "War for the Planet of the Apes" Premiere

Another Crime Against Nature By The Myrtle Beach Circus

To The Maryland Zoo Team
For those of you who don't know, Maryland Zoo has had two giraffe births within the past few months.  The latest, a male named Julius, was born on June 15th.  What happened afterwards is a story that so many of us have experienced, but have a lot of trouble not only processing internally, but expressing to people who have no idea what it is like to care for animals in this way.

Our critics often take opportunities where animals are ill, injured, or dying to rake us over the coals.  Most people, even those who do not necessarily support zoos or aquariums, are decent human beings who do NOT leave heartless, cruel Facebook comments about these situations.  However, it is the small minority of thoughtless people who mak

Zoomarine Italia Achieves Humane Certification for Animal Welfare
Today, American Humane, the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare and well-being, announced that Zoomarine Italia has achieved certification by the American Humane Conservation program, becoming only the second Humane Certified™ institution in Europe.
The American Humane Conservation program is the first-ever certification program singularly dedicated to helping ensure the well-being and humane treatment of animals living in zoos and aquariums across the world. The program enforces comprehensive, evidence-based welfare standards developed by an independent Scientific Advisory Committee comprised of world-renowned leaders in the fields of animal science, animal behavior, animal ethics, and conservation.


Why I Believe In Zoos
@liceham my anger in this reply is in no way aimed at you! I am super grateful you gave me a reason to write down some of my thoughts on this subject, and I love that you’re informing your own opinions. I think you’re great!
I’m really sorry this took me so long to reply to; I have a lot of feelings on this subject and I wanted to make sure I expressed all my points well.
I like your use of the phrase “low-key anti-zoo” because I feel like it sums up the feelings of a vast majority of people sort of 40 and under (although my favorite is “I don’t believe in zoos”. It’s a zoo, not fucking Narnia). I think the “zoos are bad” mentality has become part of our cultural consciousness, something that we absorb as truth in our childhood or adolescence and then never question as adults who are capable of informing our own opinions. I don’t blame people for having low-key anti-zoo feelings, though. Zoos in America were terrible places until not too long ago, and I feel like the Animal Rights movement did great things in bringing animal welfare into the public eye. Unfortunately, I feel like the majority of people who tell me they “don’t believe in zoos” generally don’t know why they have those feelings. They can point to one or two broader topics like, “wild animals should be wild” or “animals aren’t meant to be entertainment”, but they usually can’t clarify beyond those basic points, and they usually haven’t bothered to inform themselves about what zoos are doing in terms of conservation, animal care and outreach programs. And that makes me mad, because usually people tell me they don’t like zoos AFTER they find out that I’ve been a zookeeper my entire life, and that’s really shitty because it’s like they are telling me they don’t like me and everything I’ve worked for, and that they know more about zoos and animal care than I do. And they don’t.  They just have this opinion that they’ve grabbed out of concoction of naked celebrity PETA ads, shittily-sourced internet articles and propaganda-ish “docum

The anti-zoo movement and the zoological community’s silence
I put “anti-zoo” rather than “anti-cap” in the title on purpose. Because it’s not actually anti-captivity. These people I’m talking about are perfectly happy keeping pets, livestock and other animals in captivity - it’s only zoos and aquaria - the “least evil” of them all, as far as I can tell - that are on the receiving end of their hate and vitriol.
This has been on my mind for a while, and I’m finally making a post on it, because the drop that finally made the cup overflow for me now was a post Kolmården Zoo made on their Facebook page yesterday. If you follow any zoo’s Facebook page, you’ll see they’re posting their various creative Christmas-themed enrichment for their animals the last few days. And Kolmården posted this video, of a lion tearing away at a tree, with the words “Do your cats also climb in the Christmas tree? A tip is to hang the tree in the ceiling so it won’t flip over! Merry Christmas from everyone at Kolmården.”
This was met with comments of “that POOR animal”, comparisons to Joseph Fritzl, “they need FREEDOM”, and you know the rest. Apparently, a lion playing with a toy in complete safety, being warm and fed and never having to worry about a thing in her life, was the worst thing these people had ever seen.

Grand birthday bash planned for Delhi zoo’s oldest inmate
For the first time in 56 years, Rita is getting a grand party for her birthday, one that promises to be quite unlike any other celebration.

For a start, no one knows exactly when she was born.

All that is known of the origins of the Delhi zoo’s oldest inmate —— and its only chimpanzee —— is that she came to the national capital from the distant shores of Amsterdam in 1964.

The chimp may no longer be the crowd-puller she once was due to her advancing age, but her long association with the zoo and “human-like” characteristics have endeared her to many.

“As its oldest inmate, she is a crucial part of the park.

She shows many human instincts. For instance, she wants to interact with her visitors, but old age forces her to stay back,” Raja Ram Singh, Joint Director, National Zoological Park, told PTI.

It will be more than just a birthday celebration, the official said, while promising an “emotiona

Stress test—how scientists can measure how animals are feeling
To help determine how stress is affecting animals across Australia, researchers at Western Sydney University are utilising non-invasive methods to help farmers, zookeepers and pet owners ensure their animals are happy and healthy.
Stress is an important biological response for animals as it helps their bodies prepare to fight or flee from danger. But many animals in the modern world are forced to coexist with humans in farms, zoos or homes, and the onset of chronic stress can have devastating results, both for them and their owners.
"Stress can affect the weight of farm animals, leading to losses for animal producers, and can disrupt the breeding patterns of endangered animals in captivity," says Dr Edward Narayan, Senior Lecturer in Animal Science, from the School of Science and Health.
"Here at Western Sydney University we are working with clients to collect animal scats under routine husbandry and run them through our laboratories to measure stress levels."
When a stress result is sparked in an animal, the brain-body starts to release biomolecules such as cortisol, which is the main stress hormone in large animals such as hum

Breeding hopes as new elephant attraction taking shape
Blackpool Zoo’s biggest ever attraction is edging closer to completion and bosses are excited that the resort could become a breeding centre for one of the world’s most iconic endangered species. The new £5m Project Elephant is taking shape on a one unused plot. And with construction work on both the paddock and main building nearing completion the scale of the scheme is becoming clear. Senior Large Mammal Keeper, Adam Kenyon, said: “From starting it on a piece of paper to where it is now is incredible. “When you start off with it in your head you have a vision of what it looks like. “When it comes to fruition i

New zoo in Yekaterinburg to be 17 times bigger than previous one
The administration of the Russian city of Yekaterinburg has presented a concept for a new zoo within the framework of the international exhibition 2017 INNOPROM, the body’s official website informs on Monday.

The report notes that a zoo will be a sort of gift for the 300th anniversary of Yekaterinburg. The space for animals is only part of the site built within the 300-PARK project in the area of Novokoltsovsky located in the south-west of the city.

“A new zoo occupies almost 35 ha, which is 17 times more than the territory of the existing one,” the statement reads.

According to a commercial director of Sin

Bertha’s death a reminder of Mali’s misery
The statement quoted in the report on Bertha the hippo supposedly
having lived a happy life in Manila’s zoo is false (Metro, 7/12/17). Manila Parks and Recreations Bureau Director James Albert Dichaves tried to refute Jason Baker, vice president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), by claiming that Bertha was “happy interacting with our zookeepers.” That statement is laughable. Has anyone really monitored the daily number of hours zookeepers romp around with the animals?
I visited Manila’s zoo soon after the petitions for the release of Mali the elephant began around 2010. The zoo was in a pitiful state; there was hardly any greenery in any of the cages. The few zookeepers I saw seemed disinterested in the animals. I was told that a vet sometimes visited Mali, who has been in the zoo since she was given as a baby to Imelda Marcos by the Sri Lankan government.
To look at Mali’s misery is heartbreaking. Mayors Alfredo Lim and Joseph Estrada ignored all demands by Peta to be allowed to take her to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. Absur

 Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs. 
This course provides students with the tools and skills needed to set up and manage a successful enrichment and training program that meets AZA accreditation standards. While some time will be spent on the concepts of training and enrichment, this course is not a workshop to develop enrichment ideas or learn animal training skills. This course focuses on developing the components of a successful program and learning the leadership skills needed to successfully implement that program.

Puerto Rico economic crisis hits island’s only zoo
The economic crisis afflicting Puerto Rico for the last decade has also taken a toll on the island’s only zoo, with critics saying it is sorely understaffed and struggling to care for its animals on a limited budget.

Conditions at Dr. Juan A. Rivero, a 45-acre zoo featuring over 300 species in the western coastal town of Mayaguez, have deteriorated so far as to catch the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which cited dozens of violations at the park in its most recent report from this spring.

Designs reveal how historic London Zoo aviary will become home for monkeys
IT is a neighbourhood known for its billionaires and ambassadors, actors and artists.

The newest residents to snap up a des-res in Primrose Hill, however, are set to be a troupe of Colobus monkeys with their eyes on a Grade II-listed beauty close to Regent’s Park.

The New Journal reported last year how the Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo – the soaring steel mesh landmark visible from canal tours – is to be turned into a home for primates, and now the plans for the conversion have reached the desk of planners. The £7.1m project to convert the aviary, which dates from 1962, will be overseen by globally renowned Modernist architects Foster and Partners.

The plans confirm the monkeys will be joined by African grey parrots, miniature deers called Red Duikers and waterfowl. Westminster Council hold the final say over whether it can go ahead, although Camden’s planning department has been surveyed too due to the proximity of the borough boundary. Designs show how a new monkey house will be connected to the aviary with a walkway for the monkeys to running above the Cumberland Basin footbridge.

The work is vital to improve the environment for the zoo’s animals, the application states. It is currently home to a variety of birds including peacocks and white ibis, but in a report to Westminster Council, heritage planning firm JLL

Ops to shift 7-year-old tigress for unique mating experiment begins
In a first-of-its-kind conservation breeding experiment here, seven-year-old tigress Lee of Maharajbagh zoo is being shifted to Gorewada rescue centre to mate with male tiger Sahebrao, which suffers from a limb disability.
The operations started on Saturday afternoon but were called off in the evening as the tigress refused to enter the cage that was readied for it.
Officials said the operations will resume on Sunday morning.

One-of-a-Kind Aquarium Comes to Jerusalem
Israel is known as the land of the Bible. It's a land rich in archaeological treasures and a place of innovation and technology. It even has a biblical zoo, where Jerusalem is opening the first aquarium of its kind in the Middle East. 
A massive tunnel under the Mediterranean Sea exhibit is bound to be one of the main attractions at the new Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium in Jerusalem.

The tunnel is part of the aquarium's 400,000 gallon tank that's now part of Jerusalem's biblical zoo. It will hold sharks and other fish from the Mediterranean Sea.

Country’s Oldest Tiger in Captivity Dies in Assam State Zoo
Swathi, the oldest living tiger in captive environment in the country, died on Sunday at the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati. The tigress was 21 years old.

Born in Mysore Zoo on 28th January, 1997, Swathi was brought to Guwahati in 2005 even as she had already given birth to five cubs there. In Guwahati, the Royal Bengal Tigress gave birth to six more cubs, of which Birina – also a tigress is currently in the Assam State Zoo.

“She was not keeping well for some time. She died at around 0200 hours this morning,” Zoo authorities said on Sunday. Since the last two years, Swathi was kept away from public as she was unable to move. She was being nursed at a shelter.

The average life span of a tiger varies between 14 to 16 years and crossing twenty is only in exceptional cases.

Following its death, the Assam State Zoo is now left with four tig

World's large carnivores being pushed off the map
Six of the world's large carnivores have lost more than 90% of their historic range, according to a study.
The Ethiopian wolf, red wolf, tiger, lion, African wild dog and cheetah have all been squeezed out as land is lost to human settlements and farming.
Reintroduction of carnivores into areas where they once roamed is vital in conservation, say scientists.
This relies on human willingness to share the landscape with the likes of the wolf.
The research, published in Royal Society Open Science, was carried out by Christopher Wolf and William Ripple of Oregon State University.
They mapped the current range of 25 large carnivores using International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List data. This was compared with historic maps from 500 years ago.
The work shows that large carnivore range contractions are a global issue, said Christopher Wolf.
"Of the 25 large carnivores that we studied, 60% (15 species) have lost more than half of their historic ranges,'' he e

Baby western swamp tortoises set for release into wild
Three of Australia's rarest reptiles have been given a health check as they prepare to move from captivity into the wild.

Adelaide Zoo is one of just two zoos worldwide to house and breed the western swamp tortoise.

The zoo is celebrating a successful breeding season, which saw four baby tortoises hatching, each the size of a coin.

Native to Western Australia, in the mid-1980s it was estimated there were fewer than 50 tortoises left in the wild.

They now only live in the wild in two small habitats in the S

The sixth mass genesis? New species are coming into existence faster than ever thanks to humans
Animals and plants are seemingly disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs died out, 66m years ago. The death knell tolls for life on Earth. Rhinos will soon be gone unless we defend them, Mexico’s final few Vaquita porpoises are drowning in fishing nets, and in America, Franklin trees survive only in parks and gardens.

Yet the survivors are taking advantage of new opportunities created by humans. Many are spreading into new parts of the world, adapting to new conditions, and even evolving into new species. In some respects, diversity is actually increasing in the human epoch, the Anthropocene. It is these biological gains that I contemplate in a new book, Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature is Thriving in and Age of Extinction, in which I argue that it is no longer credible for us to take a loss-only view of the world’s biodiversity.

The beneficiaries surround us all. Glancing out of my study window, I see poppies and camomile plants sprouting in the margins of the adjacent barley field. These plants are southern European “weeds” taking advantage of a new human-created habitat. When I visit London, I see pigeons nesting on human-built cliffs (their ancestors nested on sea cliffs) and I listen out for the cries of skyscraper-dwelling peregrine falcons which hunt them.

Climate change has brought tree bumblebees from continental Europe to my Yorkshire garden in recent years. They are joined by a

Wildlife faces climate’s survival and sex problems
Climate change could cast a dark shadow over the bees of Europe, with global warming posing sex problems for the sea turtles of the Atlantic.  

Two separate studies confirm the worries that rising carbon dioxide levels, and soaring planetary temperatures, could devastate the creatures of the wild.

There are an estimated 550 species of bee in Germany, many of them solitary and short-lived: females devote their few weeks in the sun to feeding, reproducing and leaving food for their offspring.

What becomes of vital importance is the moment of hatching: if a bee emerges from hibernation too early, there is no food available, and starvation can follow. And spring has advanced steadily through the decades.

Researcher decodes the secret language of ring-tailed lemurs
Why do lemurs go "hmm?" It's not because they don't know the words, but the answer may provide important clues about how ancient human ancestors may have socialized with each other. In research published in Ethology, U of T Mississauga primatologist Laura Bolt recounts how vocalizations by Madagascar's ring-tailed lemurs may aid in protecting them from predators and bolster social cohesion within the troop.

How we're using ancient DNA to solve the mystery of the missing last great auk skins
The great auk, Pinguinus impennis, was a large, black and white bird that was found in huge numbers across the North Atlantic Ocean. It was often mistaken to be a member of the penguin family, but its closest living relative is actually the razorbill, and it is related to puffins, guillemots and murres.
Being flightless, the great auk was particularly vulnerable to hunting. Humans killed the birds in their thousands for meat, oil and feathers. By the start of the 19th dentury, the north-west Atlantic populations had been decimated, and the last few remaining breeding birds were to be found on the islands off the south-west coast of Iceland. But these faced another threat: due to their scarcity, the great auk had become a desirable item for both private and institutional collections.
The fateful voyage of 1844
Between 1830 and 1841 several trips were taken to Iceland's Eldey Island, to catch, kill, and sell the birds for exhibitions. Following a period of no reported captures, great auk dealer Carl Siemsen commissioned an expedition to Eldey to search for any remaining birds.
Between June 2-5 1844, 14 men set sail in an eight-oared boat for the island. Three braved the dangerous landing and spotted two great auks among the smaller birds that also bred there. A chase began but the birds ran at a slow pace, their small wings extended, expressing no

 Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings.  This course provides zoo and aquarium staff with a background in training theory and an understanding of the skills necessary to train animals. It includes a historical perspective of animal training as well as terminology and an overview of training techniques. Selected training concepts and skills will be taught via animal demonstrations, group activities and individual skill development opportunities.

Lebanon's PM has tigers to tea to talk animal trafficking
A truck carrying the caged animals was brought into the courtyard of Hariri’s residence, where the prime minister posed for pictures with the organization behind the animal’s care as a way to raise awareness on the issue of animal trafficking.
Jason Mier, director of Animals Lebanon, thanked Hariri for intervening in the matter. “We were only able to free them [the tigers] because of the support of the prime minister, Saad Hariri, who helped through the Council of Ministers,” Mier said. “We petitioned the government to take them in our care and it has taken us a full four months – and this should have been [an easy] case.”

Top of the south kaka breeding programme launches at Nelson's Natureland Zoo
To the untrained eye it looked like a first kiss, a touching of beaks on a tree branch.

But the first meeting of the male and female kaka, a nationally vulnerable native parrot, at Natureland Zoo on Monday was more innocent than that.

"They were just going up to say hi," said Meg Rutledge of Natureland Wildlife Trust.

Plastic to be phased out at major American aquariums
Working to reduce the massive amount of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, 19 of the nation’s top aquariums on Monday will announce that they are phasing out most plastic products — from plastic bags to straws to plastic beverage bottles.

The effort, which will also include the creation of exhibits explaining how people can find alternatives to plastic, is an attempt to raise consumer awareness among the 20 million people who visit the 19 aquariums, which include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Francisco’s Steinhart Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

The aquariums say their goal is a market-based approach that they hope will steer the buying habits of the public to change the vast supply chains that manufacture, deliver and sell products to businesses across the world.

They compare the campaign to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s highly successful “Seafood Watch” program, which has provided 57 million wallet-sized cards to shoppers since 1999 telling them which types of fish are best or worst to buy based on a green-yellow-red scale.

As consumer demand changed, that program contributed to Walmart, Target, Safeway, Whole Foods and many of the largest retail stores in the United States announcing that they would sell only seafood

4 Ways to Train an Emergency Recall
One of the first behaviours I choose to train are Call overs and Recalls. I personally think it has so many great aspects to it just because it allows you to look at your animals from a closer range right away. On top of that you give every animal the chance to be trained what I think is very important. Through recalls you can start a great enrichment program as well. We will be talking about the emergency recalls, they are a little bit different than the usual Recalls or Call overs how I call them. With Emergency recalls you actually practise the most accurate scenarios that could happen in the animal’s environment. While Call overs you do not necessarily have to go through a full desensitisation plan for scenarios that could happen. The fun part is that we can connect any criteria to this behaviour, for example you can say come to me or come to a position, you can say males to the left and females to the right (what could help you with social feedings), it can even be part of your first group separation to close the first gates on your own. There are plenty of ways to train this behaviour, I listed a couple with my least favourite first and then the most favourite ones last.

Animal Training Academy - Dr. Susan Friedman – Behavior works/Psychology professor at Utah State University

Cheetahs in captivity need a better diet
Which is more stressful: being free, but having to fight for your own food and survival, or being confined in captivity, with all your food and security needs provided for?

In cheetahs it seems that unnatural food – rather than captivity itself – is the cause of their known health problems in captivity.

Captive cheetahs commonly suffer from chronic inflammation of the stomach lining, various forms of kidney failure, apparent low libido and immune system abnormalities, which are rarely seen in their wild counterparts. Also, members of the cat family are known to groom themselves meticulously, yet captive cheetahs are often covered in burrs and biting flies and hardly seem to notice these discomforts. Cheetahs in zoos and other facilities have shorter life expectancies and lower breeding success than other big cats in captivity. In these confined environments, cheetahs often produce large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol and many believe that, for cheetahs, life in captivity is simply too stressful.

Besides stress, many have proposed that a lack of exercise, low genetic diversity and the provision of unnatural

Lions Escape: Nigerians In South African Province Urged To Be Cautious
The Nigeria Union, South Africa, on Tuesday urged Nigerians resident in Mpumalanga Province to be cautious following the escape of four lions from the zoo in the area.

Mr Williams Mabasa, the spokesman for the South African National Parks, said that four male lions escaped from the Kruger National Park, at Mpumalanga Province on Sunday.

The Tourism and Parks Agency of Mpumalanga province, where part of the Kruger Park is located, said it was helping rangers and the police in their search for the lions.

3 escaped lions in South Africa are shot and killed
Officials in South Africa say three lions that escaped from the country's biggest wildlife park have been shot and killed.

The national parks service said Friday that a farmer near Kruger National Park killed one lion and wounded another after a cow carcass was found on his farm. It says park staff in a helicopter located the remaining lions and decided to kill them rather than dart and return them to the park as originally hoped.

Officials say the uninjured lion had to be killed partly because lions that eat cattle develop a taste for livestock and could pose

Houston Zoo supports local Texas conservation efforts
At the Houston Zoo, one can see animals from areas all over the world, but behind the scenes, the zoo is helping out with conservation efforts close to home.
According to Peter Riger, vice president of Wildlife Conservation, the zoo partners with nearly 30 conservation programs across a dozen countries and the state of Texas.
The zoo partners with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) on two important wildlife recovery programs for the Attwater's prairie chicken and the Houston toad.
The Attwater's prairie chicken is native to Texas. Its population used to be in the hundreds of thousands across the prairie of southeast Texas.
"It is estimated that less than 100 adult birds are left in the wild," Riger said.

 Bird behaviour in a changing world: with a special focus on bird senses
14 - 15 September 2017
International symposium at the Zoological Society of London

Bird Sense 2017 brings together a distinguished list of international researchers to explore how birds perceive the varying landscapes in which they live, and how we might tackle challenges faced in their welfare, conservation, and pressures from anthropogenic change.

Birds inhabit every continent of the world and virtually all available ecological niches, from cities to the frozen tundra, from tropical rain forests to deserts, and from mountain ranges to the ocean. But in our human-modified world birds face many challenges their ancestors did not: the glass fronts of tall buildings, wind turbines and power lines, artificial daylight that turns night to day; and noisy air traffic that moves faster than any of their natural predators. How is their behaviour changing to cope with increasing anthropological pressures?  Combining workshops talks from international speakers, this symposium will discuss how birds see, smell, taste and make sense of their environment, and aims to understand how research into bird behaviour can contribute to future conservation and avian welfare practices.

Topics include
Taste and how it is affected by visual skills
Using targeted noise deterrents to reduce human avian conflicts
Sensitive birds in a noisy world: the impacts of noise pollution
Sweet and umami taste preferences in birds
Pressure perception in poultry: welfare implications
Do bird echolocation and conservation fly together?

Call for posters
The organisers invite proposals for posters to be exhibited at the symposium.  To submit a proposal, please fill in the poster proposal form via the webpage and email it to before 31 August.

For all enquires contact Jennifer Howes, Scientific Events Coordinator:; Tel 020 7449 6227.

Lion walks out of its enclosure at Rajkot zoo
A sub-adult lion sneaked out of its enclosure at Rajkot Zoological Park popularly known as Pradyuman Park on Wednesday morning. However, its keeper managed to shoe the big cat back into its enclosure within a few minutes even as zoo authorities termed it “a very minor incident” before the public visiting hours.
Sources said that Harivash, the three-year-old male lion escaped from its enclosure located in the heart of the park at around 8:30 am. “Caretaker apparently forgot to lock the door of animal retiring room on the edge of the enclosure after offering breakfast to lions. Minutes later, a lion pushed open the door of the retiring room and walked out of the enclosure. Within minutes, the caretakers came to know about it. Since Harivansh was borne in the enclosure and had some rapport with its caretaker, it responded to calls and w

City’s zoo from hell
More charges are to be laid against the East London Zoo by the national council of SPCAs (NSPCA) following the death of a female gibbon monkey called Peanut who died of TB and may have been infected by humans.
Peanut died in her enclosure on July 2, four months after her mate died of the disease and following an NSPCA request she be euthanased after she was found to be a TB carrier. Further contraventions of the Animal Protection Act would be added to the charges, NSPCA wildlife protection unit national inspector Cassandra MacDonald said.

BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said “legal recourse was welcomed” because the zoo had nothing to hide.

The new charges follow after a male Chacma baboon called “William” was put down in May after MacDonald found him suffering from paralysis in his hind legs. When a warning that the baboon be examined by a vet was not complied with, William was euthanased on site because his condition had deteriorated to the point where his open wounds became infected and infested with maggots. Ma

Stricter wild animal permit requirements impact North Texas Fair and Rodeo
People shouldn't expect to see tigers or other potentially dangerous wild animals at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo anymore.
After eight Bengal tigers made an appearance at last year's fair, the Denton Police Department's Animal Services Division created a written policy in February that outlines more stringent requirements for issuing wild animal permits. The requirements flat-out prohibit "dangerous wild animals," which, according to state law, includes tigers, lions, bears and cougars.
Glenn Carlton, the fair association's executive director, said last year's exhibit raised some concern from a "handful" of people about whether the animals were being kept humanely. While police officials said there were no issues reported in last year's exhibit — the city approved permits for the tigers — Deputy Chief Lenn Carter said the department received secondhand complaints with similar concern

A History of Primate Reintroduction
Attached is A History of Primate Reintroduction. The History is a fully copyrighted and protected book that is being published on this website for broad, rapid, and free distribution and review. I like to think of the History as a tool for colleagues and students (and anybody else who is interested), present and future, to increase the efficiency and success of future reintroductions and to improve the wellbeing of reintroduced primates.

The History provides as much descriptive information about each reintroduction program as I could find. For some programs I’ve added some subjective impressions of the human and nonhuman primates involved and about the program’s context. The appended table summarizes the descriptive information.

I was able to document 202 primate reintroduction programs (please see Definitions, pp. 238-246) that involved 22,999 individual prosimians, monkeys, and apes. The precision of that number is misleading because some sources do not state how many primates were actually reintroduced, and at least one program probably exaggerated the number that were released.

The term Reintroduction is used in the History a

Publish and don’t perish – how to keep rare species’ data away from poachers
Highly collectable species, especially those that are rare and threatened, can potentially be put at risk from poaching if information describing where they can be found is published. But rather than withholding this information, as has been recently recommended, scientists should publish such information through secure data repositories so that this knowledge can continue to be used to help conserve and manage the world’s most threatened species.

Scientists are encouraged to publish data so their discoveries can be shared and scrutinised. However, a recent article has identified the risks of publishing the locations of rare, endangered or newly described species.

The example of the Chinese cave gecko shows that these concerns may be warranted. The species went extinct at the location where it was discovered, potentially at the hands of scientifically literate poachers.

But instead of withholding such information, we sug

To pace or not to pace? A review of what abnormal repetitive behavior tells us about zoo animal management

Wildlife park may move to Sugud
The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park will probably be shifted to Sugud in Penampang, but the proposed move is subject to the approval of the district office and feedback from the surrounding communities as well as allocation from the government, said Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director Augustine Tuuga yesterday.

He cited the limited space at the park’s present site as the main reason for shifting, saying that although the Lok Kawi site covers an area of 280 acres, only 70 acres were utilised as the remaining were hilly terrains which also served as water catchment areas for the surrounding communities. The area in Sugud is about 2,000 acres.

A meeting had been held and that the proposal to shift the wildlife park came about two years ago, Augustine told reporters during a tour of the wildlife park yesterday following negative feedback concerning the condition of the animals and birds at the wildlife park.

With regard to negative allegations that had been made viral on the social media, Augustine viewed some of them as an exaggeration.

“We accept criticism. If they can properly channel the comments to us we can accept it … but some of the comments were too much for us to accept, hence we called you (reporters) here to see for yourself. We feel not all that has been said is true,” he told those present.

He said that the department decided against answering the allegations one by one and opted instead to bring members of the media to see for themsel

PETA says Feld closing Center for Elephant Conservation
After Feld Entertainment terminated its 146-year-old Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in May and retired its elephant act a year before that, one of its long-time animal-rights nemeses says the Ellenton-based live-show production company is now planning to quietly disperse its herd of pachyderms.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, long critical of Feld’s Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC) in rural Polk County, says mounting expenses from its 200-acre Indian elephant retirement home is a likely motivating factor.

“Feld is an entertainment company, it’s not in the business of conservation,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “It doesn’t make financial sense for them to maintain elephants. These elephants are sick, they’re crippled, they’re dealing with psychological stress, and Ringling sees an opportunity to get rid of one of its major costs.”

Billionaire Ringling owner Kenneth Feld ann

Gujarat to set up its own bustard breeding centre
With collaboration of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and expertise offered by United Arab Emirates (UAE) the state government is planning to set up a breeding centre for great Indian bustards (GIB) at Naliya in Kutch. This will be the first breeding centre in the state for the birds, which are currently on the Red List of threatened species maintaine

What about one more zoo in Coimbatore?
Coimbatore may get another zoo and a conservation centre on its lake bunds if the suggestions in the interim report submitted by Oasis Designs Inc to corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan on Friday are implemented.
The report not just details the projects, designs, suggestions and challenges of the massive rejuvenation process that will be done on the eight lakes located inside the city but also the vario

Forum inspects Zoo cages
The newly constituted Zoo Protection Forum yesterday inspected the cages of the Assam State Zoo.
The seven-member delegation of the forum noticed that the drinking water containers in the cages were dry. Deer were licking the wet mud in thirst, the delegation observed.

According to the forum, the hippopotamuses were also kept in a very unhygienic condition. Similar was the condition of the crocodiles. “The condition of the cages has been deteriorating day by day. There is only one permanent cleaner at the zoo at present. The X-ray machine in the zoo hospital is lying defunct. Many animals were staring at death,” the forum said.

The forum is in the process of drafting a memoran

Phuket Aquarium steps up conservation efforts
Opens the new Aqua Dome in a bid to promote marine environmental awareness
Phuket Aquarium has opened its new Aqua Dome@Phuket Aquarium in an effort to raise awareness of marine environmental issues, bolster marine conservation and slow down the degradation that Thailand has witnessed in its coastal areas over recent years.Phuket Aquarium, part of the internationally recognized Phuket Marine Biological Center, offers lively aquatic displays, interactive exhibits and fascinating audio and video presentations to take visitors on a journey through various aquatic environments, from mou


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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

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