Friday, July 28, 2017

Zoo News Digest 28th July 2017 (ZooNews 964)

Zoo News Digest 28th July 2017  (ZooNews 964)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I was saddened to learn that the Thai authorities have once again ordered Edwin Weik of to stop rescuing wildlife in Thailand and hand over all animals to authorities. If it were not for Edwin and his supporters the tigers would still be in the Tiger Temple being abused. Edwin does some excellent work in very difficult circumstances. One wonders just why they want him to stop.

I see the Tiger and Goat story is doing the rounds again. You won't find it in the links below though. Absolutely pointless cruelty feeding live animals to tigers in the first place.

Tomorrow is International (Global) Tiger Day. It still remains that one of the biggest threats to tigers is some zoos. International Tiger Day

I know when I post the right article when I see the comment "Why is ZooNews Digest posting this?"…..That article, whatever it is will generate the most comments and discussion. That is just what ZooNews Digest is about. Education.

It strikes me that some zoos are going to do a big re-think on their attractions or end up one the Expedia black list.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 61,000 Followers on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 823 Zoos in 154+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 


Sanctuaries in Africa offer to take exotic pets from UAE following amnesty
Two sanctuaries based in Namibia and Kenya have offered to take wild animals owned by wealthy people in the UAE following an amnesty period that allowed animals to be rehomed. 
The deadline was July 1 and two of the largest havens for rescued cheetahs and chimpanzees say they have yet to be contacted despite efforts to form links with private owners of wild animals in the UAE.
Patricia Tricorache, at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, said her research into illegal sales estimates that as many as 500 of the wild cats could be held privately in the UAE.
Sanctuaries like the one run by the CCF for illegally traded cats are crucial for the survival of the species, as many would not survive if returned to the wild.
In January 2014 a group of CCF experts visited the UAE to train veterinarians and cheetah-housing facilities in cheetah care.
“We hoped that through this training we could improve conditions for pet cheetahs,” said Ms Tricorache. “However, there is much secrecy on this issue, so we are unable to determine whether the training improved conditions for some of the pet cheetahs in the country.”
Despite forging links with cheetah owners in the UAE, the CCF has not been contacted by any owners about sending some of the captive animals to Namibia.
Federal law 2 of 2016 regulates the possession, trade a

Modern Manners: Zoos and aquarium etiquette — Should ethics be a factor in your trip?
This week’s column has to do with a popular summer activity for people of all ages — going to the zoo or an aquarium.

There is a long history of displaying animals for the viewing pleasure of humans. According to a timeline on CBC Radio Canada (, the earliest known zoo dates back to 3500 BC in Hierakonpolis, Egypt, once a large urban center. In 1000 BC, Chinese Emperor Wen Wang founded the Garden of Intelligence, which covered 1,500 acres with animals housed in metal cages in a park setting, and has a name which alludes to the educational potential of establishments like these.

Jump to 1752, and the oldest zoo still in existence, the Tiergarten Schonbrunn, was opened in Vienna, Austria. In 1814, the first North American zoo called Down’s Zoological Gardens was opened in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1853, the first public aquarium was opened in the London Zoo. The first zoo that opened in the United States was the Philadelphia Zoo, which opened in 1890 after being delayed 15 years due to the Civil War.

In 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums was founded and establishment must pass their inspection for accreditation. Since then, many zoos have opened, some with an emphasis on a more safari type experience where you can see animals roam in open spaces similar to their natural habitats.

In recent years, zoos and aquariums have been scrutinized over the treatment of their animals, and some have made changes to accommodate the animals to live a life closed to what they would in the wild. While I often have ethical questions regarding the captivity of animals in climates t

Is cuddling tiger cubs conservation? Experts warn it leads to too many tigers languishing in cages
A lifelong animal lover, Lisa Graham was intrigued when she saw photos on social media of friends cuddling and petting baby tigers at zoos.
So she made a trip from Lutz for her daughter's 11th birthday to Dade City's Wild Things, wondering what it would feel like that close to a tiger.

But when the Wild Things volunteer walked to their picnic table cradling a cub, barely old enough to stand, her excitement turned to pity.

The cub, she said, was lethargic, barely moved. She wondered if it was even old enough to be away from its mother.

As Graham and her daughter took turns stroking the cub's fuzzy coat, cupping its face, the volunteer repeatedly reminded them no personal pictures were allowed.

"I thought it was a little strange they were so adamant about no pictures being taken," Graham said. "When we started walking around, I knew immediately why. This is cruel."
In the forests and swamps of their native Asia, wild tigers are at extinction's doorstep.

Killed off by poachers for their bones and hide, and run out of habitats by human intruders, only an estimated 3,000 remain in nature.

But across the world from their native lands — in roadside zoos, suburban back yards, highway rest stops, and cement cages — an overpopulation of captive tigers is swelling in the United States.

More than 10,000 big cats are thought to be living in captivity in America, but exact numbers are impossible to know as some states have no laws on keeping tigers as pets. There is also no reliable reporting system for those who breed and ship cubs over state lines, hopelessly blurring inventory counts the federal government is supposed to take each year on licensed exhibitors.

No practice is fueling the overpopulation faster than the cottage industry of cub encounters, where tourists can shell out hundreds of dollars to cuddle and swim with weeks-old tigers at zoos.

The business model depends on having a steady stream of babies. But when cubs outgrow the photo-op stage by 40 pounds, the unwanted adults, with instincts to roam dozens of miles, often end up in the pet trade or languish in cages at roadside zoos, said Meredith Whitney, Animal Rescue Officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

RM15mil sanctuary for elephants soon
Johor Health, Environment, Information and Education Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said a contractor was appointed in May to start work on the 100ha project.

“The first phase will see about 15 elephants being housed in the sanctuary located along Jalan Lombong, not far from the Kota Tinggi waterfall, where the wild animals can roam freely,” he said.

He said the first phase was scheduled for completion at the end of next year and with that, help improve the conflict between wild elephants and humans in Kluang and Kota Tinggi.

He added that the sanctuary would also doubled as a tourism attraction for nature lovers to get close to the elephants.

“Johor’s vast forests are habitats to about 140 wild elephants where Segamat, Kluang, Mersing and Kota Tinggi are their stomping grounds,” he said.

As many members already know, the Buffalo Zoo has a new President and CEO. Norah Fletchall took over as the head of the Zoo at the end of May. She comes to Buffalo from the Indianapolis Zoo where she served as COO.  We sat down with Norah and asked her some questions so that Western New Yorkers can get to know Norah better as she starts her new role here at the Buffalo Zoo.

When did you become interested in working with animals and what was your first job in the Zoo field?

From falling in love with horses as a youngster to spending hours fishing with my family I have always felt very connected to animals. My first job in the zoo field came purely by chance when I answered a classified ad for zookeepers at the St. Louis Zoo. With a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences and my experience with horses and cattle I quickly found myself caring for hooved animals ranging from sheep to kudu to giraffes and zebras. Within weeks I knew this was the career for me.

Beyond One Health—Zoological Medicine in the Anthropocene
In contrast to some of the well-established core disciplines of veterinary medicine, such as radiology, surgery, and internal medicine, zoological medicine is often perceived as a relatively recent development. However, as early as 1831, local veterinary practitioner Charles Spooner became the first zoo veterinarian at the London Zoological Garden in the United Kingdom. Shortly thereafter, he was followed by William Youatt, who remained in that position for 17 years while also establishing the world’s first veterinary journal, the Veterinarian, which reported on the diseases of wild animals. In 1865, the zoo also hired a pathologist. During the same period, in 1870, Max Schmidt, the director of the Zoological Garden in Frankfurt am Main in Germany, wrote Vergleichende Pathologie und Pathologische Anatomie der Säugetiere und Vögel (Comparative Pathology and Pathological Anatomy of mammals and Birds) (1). In North America, the Philadelphia Zoo employed a pathologist in 1901, and in the same year the New York Zoological Society (now the Wildlife Conservation Society) established the first zoological m

On Patrol With The Rangers of Tangkahan
The Leuser is one of the most biodiverse and important ecosystems ever described and is under serious threat from logging, oil palm, mining, roading and the Aceh spatial plan. It forms part of the largest wilderness area in South East Asia and is vital to the health of the entire planet, storing millions of tons of Carbon in its ancient peat swamp forests.

Animal Park big cat keeper Amy Waller: ‘My dad still has nightmares!’
When talking to Longleat’s Team Manager of Carnivores, Amy Waller, the Wizard of Oz lyrics ‘Lions and tigers and bears – oh my!’ spring to mind.

This year Amy celebrates her 10th anniversary at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire!

What’s on TV talked to the experienced zookeeper about how she came to have this unusual job and why she’s still not used to seeing herself on BBC1’s Animal Park with Kate Humble and Ben Fogle…

Zookeeper isn’t an every day job – how did it happen?
“I’ve always had a passion for animals. I grew up five minutes away from Longleat and used to hear the lions roaring from our house, it’s probably when my interest started. But I never thought it was something I could do as a career! Instead I did a degree in landscape architecture. When I finished university I came home and needed a job, so I applied for summer work at Longleat – and I’ve been here ever since!”

So you worked your way up?
“Yes, it started as a seasonal job 10 years ago! I’ve worked my way up and am now team manager of the carnivores. All my experience has been working on the job. I absolutely love it! Later in this series of Animal Park you’ll see I was lucky enough to go to Kenya and learn more about lions. It’s incredible I w

Zoos & Animal parks in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has more than 30 zoos or animal parks. Most of these belong to the Dutch Animal Park Association (NVD), and the larger ones are also part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Varying greatly in size, shape and popularity, these institutions can be found all around the Netherlands, both in remote nature areas and in the centres of big Dutch cities.

History of the zoos in the Netherlands
Zoos have existed in the Netherlands since 1838. They were initially showpieces for the elite, but were soon welcoming less rich citizens as well. The status and fame that went with showcasing exotic species by far outweighed the welfare of the animals. Many of the older zoos were originally founded by people with no previous expertise in animal care, and grew from curious private collections to generally accessible attractions.

Dutch zoos today
Today, zoos no longer solely serve the purpose of entertainment. The parks educate visitors on the many animal species that roam our world, and form a platform for pursuing animal rights, preservation and welfare, as well as discussing the boundaries between using and abusing nature.

How to become a conservation data scientist
I met Dr. Dalia Conde for the first time in July at our staff retreat in Minnesota. Her personality is as big as her passion for her work. Picture a biologist who has tagged jaguars in the rainforest, a conservation scientist advocating the value of data for her work, and a leader casually riding her bicycle through the office with a huge smile on her face. Even if you weren’t already committed to conservation, you couldn’t help but be inspired by her infectious energy and vision.

Training With A Laser Pointer
The Human Specie is an interesting specie to work with. They have strong social bonds and detailed complex thinking. Some are extraordinary smart and some are super fit. I think its very interesting how people respond to situations and there for I can just look at people for a long time. Just to see their behaviour. I would like to call this Popcorn time. Why people give responses the way they do are in many cases a learned behaviour from previous experiences. What makes popcorn time fun to have. Over time you acknowledge moments you had before and know how to respond to them because you experienced it before. Its similar to animals, animals learn on the way. There are apes out there who use tools such as rocks to crack nuts. We know rocks could be dangers for our fingers. When such an apes uses this rock and doesn’t have an idea about the danger it will learn at one point the dangerous matter by hitting his fingers. The funny part is the animal still keeps going because of the motivation of the nut he wants. Trial and Error a lot of us call these survival strategies. Its very interesting how and why people do what they do and its even more interesting when we talk about animals.

A personal thought came to my mind when my sister visited me last month. We had some talks about drinking water etc and that’s where I remember a friend of mine I used to dance with. He studied in a school for sports and he said to me one day “Peter it is actually very simple, in your whole life you have to take care of one thing and that’s yourself”. I thought “oke” back then but now I think yeah that makes a lot of sense actually. I mean nobody will poor water in your body accept yourself. Nobody can make you fit if y

Bienvenue! French zoo announces first ever panda pregnancy
A scan by zoo vets on Wednesday revealed that Huan Huan, on loan to Beauval zoo in central France from China along with her male partner Yuan Zi, is expecting her first cub.
"It's exceptional. We just exploded in joy as we've been waiting such a long time for this moment," the zoo's communications director Delphine Delord told AFP.
"It also gives us hope for the conservation of pandas, which in nature are in danger of extinction."
The nine-year-old pandas are the only giant pandas living in France, and they arrived in Beauval in 2012 after intense, high-level negotiations between Paris and Beijing.
Only 19 zoos around the world, outside China, have been allowed to house pandas.
But breeding pandas, in captivity or in the wild, is notoriously

Elderly Przewalski’s Horse Dies at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are mourning the loss of Minnesota, a Przewalski’s horse who was humanely euthanized yesterday morning. At 29 years old, Minnesota was considered geriatric for his species; the median life expectancy for male Przewalski’s horses is 15 years in human care. A final pathology report will provide more information.

Animal care staff had been closely monitoring Minnesota for health issues related to his advanced age, including chronic dental disease, weight loss and lethargy. Working closely with Zoo nutritionists, keepers modified Minnesota’s diet to ensure that he was receiving the optimal amount of daily nutrients. When his condition did not improve, Zoo veterinarians anesthetized Minnesota to try to determine the underlying cause of his symptoms. Despite conducting a full physical exam and analyzing blood samples, veterinarians were unable to determine the exact cause of illness. Over the weekend, staff determined that his quality of life had worsened and elected to humanely euthanize Minnesota based on his poor long-term prognosis.

Born at the Minnesota Zoo April 10, 1988, Minnesota arrived at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., in June 2004. He came to the Zoo in June 2005 but returned to SCBI in February 2008. In 2014, Minnesota came back to Washington, D.C., to serve as a non-breeding companion for Rose-Marie, the Zoo’s 31-year-old female Przewalski’s horse. Keepers describe Minnesota as a good-natured horse who was very attentive to Rose-Marie and stuck close by her side whenever they explored their habitat.

Most zoo animals participate in a breeding program called the S

Dubai Safari Park animals will have best facilities, says director
Dubai Safari Park’s technical director says it animals will have the best facilities when the attraction opens its doors to the public.
Following pressure from wildlife groups in Africa about the importation of animals, Timothy Husband insisted baby elephants and other animals in Dubai will not be used for rides.
Reports that a Swedish-owned game farm in Namibia allowed the capture and export of five baby elephants for Dubai were denied.
Mr Husband said the new attraction will be a market leader when it opens later this year, or early 2018.
The wild animal specialist and zoo keeper was bought in by Dubai Municipality three years ago to oversee the new park, and use his 40 years of knowledge to help create a safe, animal-friendly environment.
Desert elephants from Namibia were chosen as they are regarded as adaptable to the harsh UAE climate.
He said there was never a plan to import wild elephants, but he was hoping to import older elephants who had been rescued in Namibia.
“The elephants I chose were going to be culled,” Mr Husband said. “They were teenagers. We were never going to take babies, as they must be schooled by adults.
“If you have babies without adults, they will become delinquent and unmanageable. The elephants I was looking at in Namibia were around 10 years old.
“We changed our path from the company that was supplying them, as we were not comfortable using them.”

Humans go ape over bellowing gibbon at Nagoya zoo
A punky gibbon has shot to stardom here because his bellowing roar sounds like he's aping a drunken middle-aged office worker bungee jumping off a skyscraper in the bowels of a bar-packed downtown district on a particularly boisterous Friday night.

Quite ironic since those type of roaring "ossan" (a nonsubtle way of saying "oldish guy" in Japan) cause most of us to run a mile when encountered in everyday life.

The male siamang Keiji, however, is pulling in punters at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens due to what is being called the "ossan's call."

Plant hormone boost for New Zealand’s critically endangered night parrot
New Zealand’s nocturnal and flightless parrot, the kākāpō, may be famous for trying to mate with the head of biologist Mark Carwardine, but this unique species is facing some serious challenges.

With fewer than 160 birds alive, kākāpō are critically endangered. One reason for their dwindling numbers is that they only breed every few years, when native trees produce masses of edible fruit or seeds.

Our research suggests that the birds’ breeding success depends on oestrogen-like hormones (phytoestrogens) found in these native plants.

Death of four cubs at Islamabad zoo: negligence or infanticide?
Four cubs, at the Islamabad Zoo, that died earlier this month were fed high intakes of Welmingnch milk as an alternative to lioness milk that turned out to be a slow poison for the cubs, experts believe.
Marghzar Zoo Deputy Director Veterinary Dr Bilal Khijli claim that all of four cubs born to an African lioness died early July after lioness distanced herself from her cubs and stopped feeding them; alternate lioness milk [very costly to import] was not available in Pakistan, so authority was left with no other option but to feed them Welmingnch milk [as spelled by Dr Bilal Khijli], after consulting with experts. As a result, all of them died.
When contacted, Dr Ali Ayaz of NGO Animal Shelters said that powder milk cannot replace the milk of lioness; though, the said Welmingnch milk is artificial milk and it requires a specific process of diluting a minute quantity of powder with water.
In a case of failure to match the quantity or overfeeding, it can cause dire consequences. He said there must

Dubai Safari Park to include sanctuary for rescued exotic animals
A sanctuary for exotic animals rescued from illegal private collections or handed in during an amnesty will form an important part of the new Dubai Safari Park.
More than 1,000 animals from the ageing Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah will also be transferred to the new 119-hectare site near Dragonmart.
Hundreds of indigenous birds could also be released back into the wild from the closing zoo, including a flock of about 100 cormorants.
The new park will house a quarantine facility to temporarily house any exotic pets that are handed in, before they can be rehomed.
That will be either in the park itself, or to other registered facilities that meet the relevant criteria of good care and professionalism.
“People can surrender their animals here,” said the park’s technical director, Timothy Husband.
“We have a policy if the animal looks like it has recently been wild caught. We have a great connection with Emirates airline where we can get these animals back to the wild, or a sanctuary in the wild.
“If it looks as if they are captive bred, we can assess them if they are genetically good by looking at their health and by taking a blood sample we can enter them into an international stud pool.
“It takes about a year for an animal to go through that process. It’s like working on a stolen car to make it legal again to drive. It is a slow process.
“We can offer these animals to other zoos, but they must meet our high standards.”
Wild animal experts estimate as many as 100 cheetahs could be held illegally in private zoos and collections in the UAE.
An amnesty on exotic pets owned in the UAE expired on July 1, but owners wishing to surrender their pets are advised they should still consider handing them over to authorities to be rehomed.
Federal Law No2 of 2016 regulates the possession, trade and breeding of dangerous animals, and came into force at the turn of the year.
Those found in possession of such pets could face a Dh100,000 fine under new laws.
Sharjah imposed an emirate-wide ban in late 2014 but continues to find such animals in private ownership.
As we reported last month, lions, dangerous snakes and distinctive birds were among 14 creatures to be confiscated from private properties in the emirate.
Animals such as cheetahs have also been found in the past.
“We don’t know exactly how many cheetahs are illegally kept as pets in the UAE, but I have heard somewhere between 100 and 500,” said Patricia Tricorache at the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
“Research I’ve been carrying out of online advertisements for cheetahs in the Arabian Peninsula includes over 1,200 cheetahs offered for sale between 2012 and 2016.
“If at least 100 pet cheetahs in the UAE are subject to the new law, they will need more than one facility to house them.”
Even in professional facilities, the death rate for captive-bred cheetah cubs less than six months old is more than 30 per cent, according to the 2015 International Cheetah Studbook – an online voluntary register of captive cheetahs around the world.

Mandai eco-link for animals to be ready by end-2019
An elevated wildlife crossing in Mandai will be ready for animals to use by the end of 2019, allowing creatures such as the Sunda pangolin and lesser mouse deer to move between forested areas in the upcoming eco-tourism hub.

The 44m-wide eco-link, which will be 9m above ground and span the width of Mandai Lake Road, is part of developer Mandai Park Holdings' (MPH) plan to facilitate safe crossings for animals. Over the years, there have been reports of animals ending up as roadkill as they attempt to cross Mandai Lake Road.

Yesterday, MPH gave details of the bridge, and announced a slew of other green measures for the area, now that construction for the nature hub is under way. By 2023, a new Rainforest Park and relocated Bird Park will join the existing trio of attractions there - the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari.


Turkey mobilizes to save zoo animals from war-torn Syria
lready tackling the humanitarian aspect of the Syrian crisis that has displaced millions and killed thousands of people, Turkey is now turning to zoo animals in danger amid the ongoing war.

Several animals in a zoo affected by clashes in Aleppo were evacuated in a joint operation by a Turkish animal rights group, the Austria-based animal charity Four Paws, and the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry, which oversees the national park authority that provides shelter for wild animals. Three lions, two tigers, two bears and two hyenas were among the survivors of the intense clashes in Aleppo and were transferred to a wildlife shelter in the Karacabey district of the northwestern city of Bursa. The animals will be rehabilitated for the trauma they suffered in the bombed-out Syrian city and for injuries they sustained at the abandoned Magic World Zoo. After their treatment, they will be housed in animal shelters in Karacabey. During the second stage of the rescue operation, officials plan to evacuate two more lions as well as two dogs from the Syrian city on July 29.

Speaking about the issue, Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu said wildlife is a shared heritage of the international community and they are committed to actio


My family and other Aspinalls: exclusive interview with Damian Aspinall's wife Victoria
The first day that Victoria Aspinall visited Howletts, the sprawling wild animal park in Kent that she now calls home, the arm of her white Burberry blouse was pulled clean off by an overly amorous gorilla. A salutary tale should follow about how designer labels and animals don’t mix but Victoria fell for the gorilla trick, which is lucky for the man who is now her husband, the conservationist Damian Aspinall – because if you fall for Damian you’ve got to fall for his gorillas, too.

2017 Orangutan SSP Husbandry Survey

Dozens of Laotian elephants 'illegally sold to Chinese zoos'
Dozens of elephants from Laos are being illegally bought by China to be displayed in zoos and safari parks across the country, according to wildlife investigator and film-maker Karl Ammann.

According to Ammann, so-called captive elephants in Laos sell for about £23,000 before being walked across the border into China by handlers or “mahouts” near the border town of Boten. Thereafter they are transported to receiving facilities, which buy them from the agents for up to £230,000 per animal. “That is a nice mark-up,” says Ammann, “and makes it exactly the kind of commercial transaction which under Cites rules is not acceptable.”

Ammann and his crew stumbled on the illicit trade between Laos and China earlier this year, while investigating the sale of 16 Asian elephants from Laos to a safari park in Dubai. None of the elephants had the necessary permits for export. The translocation was stopped by a direct order from the new Laotian prime minister at the last moment, while an Emirates Airlines Cargo 747 was already on the tarmac in Vientiane, the country’s capital.

Scale of pangolin slaughter revealed – millions hunted in central Africa alone
The true scale of the slaughter of pangolins in Africa has been revealed by new research showing that millions of the scaly mammals are being hunted and killed.

Pangolins were already known to be the world’s most trafficked wild mammal, with at least a million being traded in the last decade to supply the demand for its meat and scales in Asian markets. Populations of Asian pangolins have been decimated, leaving the creatures highly endangered and sharply shifting the focus of exploitation to Africa’s four species.

Pangolins are secretive, nocturnal and some species live in trees, making them very hard to count and the total size of the populations in Africa is unknown. But the new analysis, based on data collected by hundreds of local researchers at scores of hunting sites and bushmeat markets across central and west Africa, found up to 2.7m are being killed every year, with the most conservative estimate being 400,000 a year.

The Battle Over 2,500-Year-Old Shelters Made of Poop
Far up the coast of this ice-dominated island—north of the Arctic Circle; north of the glacier that spawned the Titanic-sinking iceberg; and north of the northernmost American military base—two birds of prey are locked in a vicious battle for food and territory.

Kurt Burnham has spent the past decade watching the fight take shape. He studies falcons at the High Arctic Institute, in Orion, Illinois, and he has traveled to Greenland most of the summers of his life.

For many of those trips, he helped survey peregrine falcons that use western Greenland as a summer nesting ground. But about a decade ago, he began tracking something new. As climate change tempered the Arctic’s frigid summers, peregrines were expanding their range north—farther north, he found, than there were ever records of them traveling before. Peregrine pairs began returning, summer after summer, to nest on the island’s northernmost cliffs.

They were not alone there. Another bird of prey, the gyrfalcon,

Understanding the Public’s Trust in Zoos and Aquariums
In the latest edition of their Destinology research series, St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations probes the public’s views in Communicating Conservation: Strengthening the Public’s Trust.

Conducted in partnership with H2R Market Research, Destinology surveyed 1,006 people across America to better understand their perception of conservation and the role of zoos and aquariums.
“More than three-fourths of our respondents support wildlife conservation and are looking for ways to participate in it,” says John Kemper, Vice President and head of Zoo Design at PGAV Destinations. “And these respondents aren’t just members – they’re people who don’t even regularly visit zoos and aquariums.”

One of the most striking findings of Communicating Conservation is that the public’s number-one priority is that the care of the animals in residence must be exceptional. Guests want to be sure that a zoo or aquarium’s animals are receiving the best care possible, before they can be comfortable enough to support the institution’s conservation initiatives.

The report begins by exploring 2016 national visitor trends at zoos and aquariums: visitation rates,

Penguin enclosure is turned into a blood bath after urban fox breaks into Chessington zoo and slaughters EIGHT BIRDS
Zoo staff at Chessington World of Adventures have been accused of lying to customers after it emerged eight of its penguins were slaughtered by a fox.
Visitors to the zoo have been greeted by a cordoned off 'Penguin Bay' after the incident at the end of June, and were told it was because of 'remodelling'.
But they have now said a savage 'urban fox' killed the birds, with one source claiming it happened when the penguins were not being monitored correctly. 
The playful 'Penguin Bay' was quietly cordoned off after the incident and a sign was placed on the enclosure gate after management apparently kept the news internal.
The sign stated: 'Our Humboldt Penguins are currently enjoying their other home behind-the-scenes while we make alterations to Penguin Bay.'
The only penguins on show to park visitors at the moment are those made from fibreglass, after eight of their famous flightless birds were killed and one maimed.
Employees at the world famous park were apparently warned not to talk about the fox attack.

Statement on the above:


Cotswold Wildlife Park escaped wolf shot dead
A wolf has been shot dead after it escaped from Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire.
Visitors to the park were told to stay indoors when the female animal, named Ember, was discovered outside the perimeter fence at 11:00 BST on Friday.
The park's managing director said staff tried to tranquilise the three-year-old Eurasian wolf, but it was out of range.
Earlier this year Ember gave birth to five cubs, the first wolves to be born at the park in its 47-year history.
Visitor Penelope Bennett said on Twitter: "Wolf on the loose at the Cotswold Wildlife Park and we are all shut in the walled garden."

STATEMENT on the above: Investigation Outcome

July 2017
The investigation following the sad events on Friday 21st July concluded that there was no breach of the Wolf enclosure perimeter fence, and no access had been left unlocked or open. However, it did reveal a problem with the electric fencing around the enclosure’s perimeter. The wiring is powered independently, away from the mains electricity, by a fence energiser. The voltage is tested every day by the keepers, using a hand-held fence reader, and the readings are logged. During the routine test on Friday 21st July, the reading revealed no abnormalities and was consistent with other readings dating back to the enclosure’s construction in 2006. But a second fence reader showed a much lower reading. Further tests on-site proved that the fence energiser had developed a fault, and this is now being investigated by the manufacturers. The original fence reader also proved faulty for giving the initial and incorrect high reading. The Wolf enclosure was immediately fitted with a new energiser and a new sensor has also been installed for the daily checks. It is believed the failure of both pieces of equipment contributed to the Wolf escaping the enclosure.

At no point during this incident were any of our visitors in any danger. The safety and well-being of all our visitors is our first priority. We are confident that this incident was an isolated case and that the replacement equipment, combined with an even more intensive electric fence-testing regime, will ensure that our Wolf enclosure will provide a safe and secure home for our Wolves.

Since Friday, keepers are optimistic about Ash’s behaviour towards his cubs. Ash, our male wolf, is displaying encouraging ‘natural’ behaviour as a single parent to his ten-week-old cubs, who are close to being fully weaned. The cubs, a mix of both male and female, are now eating naturally as they would in the wild with the support of their father. Other than ensuring plentiful, regular and appropriate food supplies, the keepers maintain a “hands off” policy. This means that we must let nature take its course, in accordance with the guidelines of the European Captive Breeding Programme, in which the Park participates. We must also bear in mind that Ash is young and this is his first litter. However, we remain confident that the cubs will continue to grow from strength to strength, that Ember’s genetic heritage will endure, and that her life, though short, will have been worthwhile.

The school holidays have begun – as always, we have a full programme of events to enhance our visitors’ time in the Park and to maximise their experience with the animals. We have all the relevant safety measure in place to ensure a safe and secure visit for everyone – now and in the future.

Lions And Monkeys And Bears Used To Live In The Tower Of London
Despite its 940-year history, the Tower of London still manages to keep many of its secrets under lock and key. Did you know, for instance, that beefeaters have their own pub there, or that recently it hosted a Game of Thrones world premiere?
In the first episode of a new podcast about London’s unknown history, the team from Fierce City have delved deep into the archives to shed light on another of the Tower’s surprising features: its menagerie. Here, we share some of their findings on the zoo that stood for more than 600 years.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Henry I, the fourth son of William the Conqueror, founded Britain’s first zoo at Oxford’s Woodstock Park in 1100. Although ensnared by the exotic appeal of leopards and lynxes, his primary concern wasn’t animal welfare: the creatures were released to indulge his pastime of hunting.
A hundred years later, King John brought the animals to London and the Tower menagerie was established, eventually settling near its main Western entrance, where the gift shop now stands. Over the coming centuries, the building would host zebras, ti

Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies
The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld’s former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company’s San Antonio park, SeaWorld said.

Veterinarians were treating 3-month-old Kyara for an infection last weekend, but her health continued to decline, the Orlando-based company said in a news release.

“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement. “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara’s pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”

Since first orca capture, views have changed (2008)
A veterinary team will conduct a post-mortem examination to determine the ca


Sabah wildlife park must be relocated: State minister
Sabah’s Lok Kawi Wildlife Park must be relocated in order for it be managed successfully, said Sabah’s tourism, culture and environment minister Masidi Manjun.

The minister said that the park’s current location in Lok Kawi was fairly congested and not fully utilised due to its hilly terrain.

“If we are looking ahead, then we have to move to bigger and better forests. Wildlife shouldn’t be contained in small enclosures. It is difficult to see them in real natural habitat in small enclosures,” he said, adding that the proposal to relocate the park started a few years ago.

The land in question in Sugud, located in an adjacent district nearby, will be more than 10 times the size of the current park at 1,619 hectares compared to 113 hectares but is currently gazetted as a firewood reserve for the local villagers.

Other leaders, namely deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin has object


Snooty, world's oldest manatee in captivity, dies in 'heartbreaking accident,' 2 days after birthday
Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity and the most popular manatee in the Tampa Bay Area passed away Sunday morning after just turning 69 years old on Friday.

The Museum says Snooty's death was a heartbreaking accident.
In a press release sent out Sunday morning, officials with the museum say Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. They say early indications are that an access panel door that is normally bolted shut had somehow been knocked loose and somehow Snooty was able to swim in.

Cheetahs often don’t thrive in captivity. We set out to find out why
Cheetahs have been tamed, used for hunting and kept in zoos in countries across Asia, Europe and Africa for centuries. However, they have never really thrived under captive conditions.

Between 1829-1952 there were 139 wild-caught cheetahs displayed at 47 zoological facilities. Most of these animals survived less than a year with 115 deaths and no births recorded during this period.

Despite improvements in husbandry conditions in zoos and other captive facilities around the world, cheetahs continue to suffer from a number of unusual diseases that are rarely reported in other captive cats. These include gastritis, various kidney ailments, liver abnormalities, fibrosis of the heart muscle and several ill-defined neurological disorders.

Post mortem findings in cheetahs housed at captive facilities in both North America and South Africa found that over 90% had some level of gastritis when they died. Similarly, the incidence of kidney disease affected more than two-thirds of ca

Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days: Part 1
There are a number of causes of Bad Days At Work, even for a seemingly glamorous job like a zookeeper.
The general public probably thinks our bad days entail at least one of the following components:

Getting a light sunburn
Animal deaths
Not getting licked (or whatever behavioral sign of affection innate to the animal in your care) enough

But really, the only item on that list that really makes a horrendous day is #3, which is not what I am going to focus on in today’s blog.

No, I am going to focus on those really horrible, no good, bad days that pop up out of nowhere and rain chaos and sorrow DESPITE nobody being really sick or dying. 

More vaquitas remain than thought: Profepa
Counting porpoises is doubtless a challenging task but the federal environmental attorney declared this week that the number of remaining vaquita porpoises is higher than estimated earlier this year.
The environment secretariat has previously challenged the estimate by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA) that only 30 of the porpoises remain.

On Thursday the head of the environmental agency Profepa said scientific studies have revealed there are at least 100.

Badaling Wildlife Park Visitors Still Can't Follow Rules One Year After Fatal Tiger Mauling
Almost a year to the day a woman was mauled to death by a tiger, another visitor to Beijing Badaling Wildlife World has again willfully disobeyed park regulations inside its carnivorous animal enclosure.
At around 10am on Saturday, a stopped black SUV was seen with a black sun bear next to it, standing up on its haunches and extending its head inside the open window of the driver's side.
As seen in the video taken by the driver in the following car from behind, the sun bear is reaching so far into the black SUV that its head is not visible. One of the bear's legs is perched on the vehicle's running boards, and at one point the bear is even able to lift itself off the ground completely.

From the perspective of the camera, we can't see what's going inside the black SUV with its tinted windows. However, it appears the occupants of the vehicle are feeding the bear when at one point a sausage flies out the window.
Approximately 10 seconds into the video, the black SUV drives away, at which point the bear drops down and begins eating food on th

Mobile animal exhibits

Expedia Announces Changes to Wildlife Animal Attraction Booking; Pledges More Education and Greater Transparency
 Expedia, Inc. today announced that activities involving certain wildlife animal interactions will no longer be bookable on its online travel sites. Relying on guidance from industry-leading wildlife and animal protection groups, Expedia will undertake a thorough review over the next few months and will remove activities from its websites and other distribution channels.

Today's announcement also comes with the launch of a new initiative committing the company to improving education for travelers about animal welfare. Launching later this year, travelers searching for animal-related activities will be presented with detailed information about specific activities offered through Expedia on a new Wildlife Tourism Education Portal.

Working in concert with globally renowned and respected zoo, anti-animal trafficking and animal protection groups such as The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, Born Free Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, Expedia is determined to put animal welfare and standards of care for animals involved in these wildlife activities at the forefront of the travel planning discussion.

"Expedia can play an integral part in educating travelers about the diverse views related to wildlife tourism, so they can make informed decisions that align with how they travel and how they interact with the animals that share our planet," said Jen O'Twomney, vice president, Expedia Local Expert®. "As travelers, it is important that we know more about the places we go, the activities we engage in, and the ways in which we leave lasting impacts on our destinations. As we help people go places, we want to help them do it

ARE ZOO KIDDING? How Australia’s most wanted fugitive survived for months hiding in a ZOO stealing bananas from elephants, decapitating tortoises and raiding rubbish bins
A NOTORIOUS Australian fugitive ate the insides of tortoises and stole food from zoo animals during his headline-grabbing seven years on the run, it has emerged.

Malcolm Naden, a murderer and former abattoir worker, famously managed to evade police capture from 2005 until 2012.
Now a new book has revealed he decapitated a Galapagos tortoise and devoured its insides during time spent hiding in a New South Wales Zoo.

He also stole bananas from elephants, slept in the roof space of a zoo managers’ hut and cooked himself meals on coin-fed barbecues.

According to the Daily Mail, his seven years spent on the run are have been detailed in a new book called The Contractor.

The book recounts a security contractor’s time spent chasing Naden through the bush after he was contacted to locate a suspected “homeless person” living in Western Plains Zoo in 2005.

Food had been vanishing from staff accommo

'World's Oldest' Female Hippo Dies Aged 49 In Adelaide
The world's oldest female hippopotamus has died at Adelaide Zoo at the age of 49.

Susie, a crowd favourite at the South Australian zoo since 1975, passed away on Thursday after a battle with a number of age-related problems, according to Adelaide Zoo.

Zoos SA vet David McLelland told the ABC Susie was humanely euthanised this week.


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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

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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