To me 'Fake News' is
something that has been cobbled together by the likes of 'The Onion'. It can be
ridiculous or amusing and sometimes just a bit believable. Claiming a story is
Fake News is becoming a way out on social media these days. People use it as an
excuse not to investigate further and not to think. Thinking is so very
important. A different opinion to you or I does not make a story fake and
neither does a lack of information. Last month there was a story from a certain
African zoo where a Baboon had escaped then in another paper it was a Gorilla
and yet another stated it was a Chimpanzee. Do you believe this was Fake News?
I don't believe so. Simply a case of mis-identication. Those of us working in
zoos are only too aware that if we were only in it for exhibition we would only
need one spotted cat. In the course of the day we would hear people declare
"Wow look at the Leopard…Cheetah…Jaguar". You choose. In fact if you
had a Tiger you are still likely to hear the same claims. So no….not fake news
and newspapers get it wrong all of the time. Declaring White Lions and White
Tigers as Rare or Endangered as newspapers do is, to my mind, fake news because
they are not. Sadly this fakery is being propagated by the zoos themselves who
put out the news to the newspapers.
Last week I put out
a link to a story about Animal Prostitution and Bestiality. Many claimed that
as fake. It wasn't though. Very sadly it was mostly true (and disgusting)
though the article lost credibility through some of the photographs it
included. In my zoo career I have come across half a dozen instances of sex
with zoo animals and heard of a dozen more. Very happily it is a rarity in the
unusually, a month or so back I posted out a notification to the next SEAZA
(South East Asian Zoological Association) conference only to be told a few days
later that the notification was a FAKE. This was a sneaky one as they were
actually taking bookings and pocketing the money.
Disgusted by the
recent press attacks on the RZSS. The anti-zoo anarchists are infiltrating the
media. I would not be in the slightest bit surprised to learn they were being
paid by these blinkered organisations to take up these posts so they can
promote their biased crap.
I wish people would
get it into their heads that I do not write the stories I post on Zoo News
Digest. I don't. Neither is it the 'Good Zoo News Digest'…this is news in the
raw and the subject matter remains articles that would be discussed by
professional zoo keepers. Note, I say discussed and thought about, agreed with
or condemned. How long does it take to become a professional zoo keeper? Well I
suppose that is open to discussion but I have always maintained it is a minimum
of three years….and ideally in one collection. If you need 'Good' Zoo News
there are plenty cutey cutey news sites out there.
Lots of interesting
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 60,000 Followers on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 820 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,
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
Big cats could be
released onto Dartmoor - and sheep farmers have big concerns
Plans to reintroduce
lynx into the countryside have taken a step forward following a new license
application, causing fresh concern among sheep farmers.
The Lynx Trust,
which has long campaigned for the wild cats – once native to the British Isles
– to be brought back, has recently applied for a license from Natural England
and Scottish Natural Heritage to reintroduce the animals.
believe that such 're-wilding' efforts – currently focused in Scotland and
Kielder Forest in Northumberland – could help to control the deer population,
and be beneficial for farmers by reducing fox and badger numbers.
Monkey escapes at
Woburn Safari Park not reported
A monkey escaped
from its enclosure three times in a day and was not reported to the regulator.
The Barbary macaque
got out of its pen at Woburn Safari Park but remained inside the Bedfordshire
exploits were only revealed after an anonymous letter to Central Bedfordshire
Council, which issues the zoo's licence.
The zoo said the
incident had "posed no
Jakarta zoo looking
for female gorilla
Ragunan Zoo in South
Jakarta is set to establish cooperation with a Japanese zoo to bring a female
gorilla to the city.
Since 2002, Ragunan
Zoo has acquired three male gorillas and the primates have now reached breeding
age, said Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat.
However, the zoo
does not have any female gorillas.
"Now, they are
17 years old and ready for breeding. Hence, we are looking forward to
cooperating with a Japanese zoo to barter a male for a female gorilla,"
Djarot said during a recent visit to the zoo, which charges entry fees of Rp
4,000 (30 US cents) for adults and Rp 3,000 for children.
Djarot, however, did
not explain which Japanese zoo was being considered to cooperate with Ragunan
Ragunan Zoo, which
occupies 148 hectares of land, is home
to 2,080 animals.
The zoo has an
abundance of some animals, such as pelicans, elephants, orangutans and
Its Sumatran tigers
alone number 40.
To deal with the
overpopulation issue, th
KILLING PILOT WHALES
IN THE FAROE ISLANDS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!
Sea Shepard spread
the above picture around the world. Their purpose was to make the Faroe people
look like the cutthroat bloodthirsty butchers so the public would send Captain
Paul Watson a few million dollars of tax-free money. However, before you send
Sea Shephard one thin dime or judge the Faroe people, you need to know the
The whole world eats
and slaughters animals. The killing part ain't pretty. There is no beautiful or
humane way to take an animal's life. However, circumstances might occur under
which taking a life quickly can by justified versus allowing the animals to die
a brutal, horrible death.
And don't forget,
hundreds of thousands of lives are often lost during natural disasters. Do you
blame Mother Nature or do you blame God when thousands of people die in a flood
or an earthquake? I blame the stupid people for living in an earthquake or flood-prone
zone. But can you blame poor people who can't afford to live anywhere els
Zoo Science for
Keepers and Aquarists
escape from their den at Paignton Zoo
escaped from their den into a secure corridor at Paignton Zoo and caused
thousands of pounds damage ripping apart water pipes, electrical wiring and
considered closing the zoo because staff were unable to get to all three
together to dart the escaped lowland gorillas, which each weigh up to 30 stone
It was decided to
leave the primates overnight on Friday in a secure corridor in the dens of the
Ape Centre at Paignton Zoo. But they have left a trail of destruction behind
which could take weeks to repair.
The CITES authority
in the Netherlands reasserts Loro Parque in the Morgan case
It sounds absurd
that after 7 years since Morgan appeared dying on the Dutch coast and five
judicial pronouncements stated that her return to the sea would mean her death
and her deafness has been proved, there are still organizations committed to
denounce Loro Parque demanding her release. But that is a well-known strategy
of some self-proclaimed animalistic groups: seeking the impact on the media and
social networks to get attention and funds. Although they know perfectly well
that Morgan has no chance of being released and that there is a firm sentence
of the highest Dutch court that ratifies it since 2014.
The Free Morgan
Foundation has got us used to the scandal strategy. They file a complaint
against Loro Parque, they publish campaigns in the media creating social alarm
and worrying honest people who love animals and so they obtain funds for their
organization. But when the administrations dismiss and reject these allegations
as unfounded they never recognize their mistake and never make it public. They
do not even put negative resolutions on their website to acknowledge its
members. That is fraud.
for Animals: A Conversation with Jon Coe, Legendary Zoo Designer
Jon Coe has been at the cutting edge of zoo
design since helping establish immersion habitats in the 1970s. Throughout the
years he’s been the one to break the mold with revolutionary ideas for animal
habitats: a space where gorillas live in a lush replication of the African
rainforest, an African savanna where you can’t see other people looking out at
the animals, animals such as tigers and orangutans rotating a series of
habitats and even trails that let animals explore the entire zoo grounds. Coe
has not only defined the art of habitat design but pushed zoos worldwide to
continue to be innovative and create dynamic, enriching spaces for their
animals. Here is his story.
Misleading and/or Inaccurate Content
Lion Country’s new
owner plans to expand conservation, education at zoo
The founder of a
Connecticut-based wildlife center, who also has ties to Wellington’s equestrian
community, plans to buy Lion Country Safari in western Palm Beach County in a
deal that is expected to be finalized during the third quarter of the year.
founder and director of the nonprofit Leo Zoological Conservation Center in
Greenwich, Conn., has “agreed to purchase America’s first cage-less zoo,” Lion
Country said Tuesday in a news release announcing the impending sale.
Money Over Morals:
Colombia’s Conservation Failure
*This article would
have been published in the next few weeks. However, it is being published ahead
of schedule and without being entirely complete due to the recent, savage, and
completely FALSE public accusations made by Eduardo Serio of Black Jaguar White
Tiger against a heroic young woman who sought to help us and others take a
stand against Serio, his lies and his abuse.
Colombia, six lions live in dilapidated circus carriages, the bars eaten with
rust, the floors partially rotting. Four lionesses exist cramped together in
one, two males in the other. They languish, the distasteful reminder of a
country that tried to take a step forward in conservation by banning animal
acts in circuses, but failed to consider the lives of the animals they were
supposedly protecting. When Colombia made it illegal to utilize animal acts in
circuses, it did so without having any feasible way to care for the hundreds of
animals suddenly made homeless by their own policies. There was, and remains,
scant documentation on the precise number of animals owned by circuses before
the ban, or the number of ani
Let's Get Some Shoes
to me a few days ago that inspired this week’s blog (with a little
encouragement from Suzanne Smith...thank you!).
This event was both puzzling and frustrating, but it lead to some really
great memories as I thought about which ones to populate this entry with.
happened? Well, someone stole my flip
Court upholds gun
ban at zoo
A St. Louis Circuit
Court judge ruled Monday that the zoo has the right to ban guns.
The ruling makes a
temporary ban that was issued in 2015 permanent. In 2015, gun rights activist
Jeff Smith said he planned to lead a group of armed people into the zoo,
challenging the zoo’s gun policy.
ruling, the zoo released the foll
Talking Turtles II:
WCS Discovers More Turtles That Talk
Scientists from WCS and other groups have
found that the pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) has joined a select
group of chatty chelonians that can vocalize. The researchers recorded 182
simple calls from seven individuals in the wild and in a private breeding
facility and found that the turtles communicate with each other while feeding,
basking, and nesting.
published their study in the journal Copeia. Authors include Camila Ferrara,
Aquatic Turtle Specialist for WCS; Richard Vogt of the Instituto Nacional de
Pequisas da Amazônia; Carla Eisemberg of Char
500kg of rhino horn
up for grabs as South African breeder hosts first ever online global auction
The world’s biggest
rhino breeder has announced plans to sell part of his massive stockpile of
horns in a global online auction‚ sparking concern that this could undermine
the 40- year-old international ban on rhino horn trading.
Billed as the
world’s first “legal rhino horn auction”‚ the three-day sale is scheduled for
midday on August 21.
businessman and game rancher John Hume‚ who has nearly 1‚500 rhinos at his game
farm in the North West‚ has a stockpile of nearly six tons of horns that he
wants to sell. This after he won a series of court battles earlier this year to
overturn the eight-year-old moratorium on the domestic sale of rhino horns.
Hume – along with
other private rhino breeders — has been removing horns from his herd for
several years. The animals are anaesthetised and the top section of the horn
removed so that they can regrow naturally as part of a “bloodless‚
In an attempt to
halt the unrelenting slaughter of rhinos in Africa and Asia by poaching
syndicates‚ a ban on the international sale of rhino horns came into force in
1977 by member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES). This was followed by a 2009 ban on the sale of rhino horns
within South Africa that coincided with an unprecedented spike in horn
Now that Hume has
overturned the moratorium on domestic sales within South Africa‚ he plans to
sell 500kg of horns in an online auction
Ever Heard of “The
Window of Opportunity”?
Right at this moment
I’m in a dilemma if I should train the next 2 weeks for a triathlon. The race
is called IronMan, it’s a big triathlon race. I’m not able to do a full one but
half should be ok, although that’s what I think. The hardest part is that 2,5
weeks is not a lot of time to train for a 1,9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run
so decisions have to be made to do it yes or no. My window is not very big due
to the time that I need for myself to practise. If I’m to late deciding I might
not go full into my practises for this race. It’s kind of a condition test for
myself but let’s see.
But let’s talk a bit
more about decisions… We make many decisions in our life time, some good and
some bad. Some will be quick and some will be super slow. Why are some
decisions slower and others quicker? If we have a lot of time to decide, us as
people will take this time till the last second where we have to decide. If we
get a particular option and have to decide we will decide right away, this
decision connects to the consequence we get afterwards. For example, I’m
doubting about my decision for this IronMan challenge because I’m not forced to
make a decision yet. I don’t mean forced in a bad wa
Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!
NEW EXHIBIT PRESENTATION
Predators of the Serengeti is an exhibit complex at Oregon Zoo for some
of Africa's endangered carnivores, such as lions cheetahs and African
wild dogs. Zoo visitors have the opportunity to contribute directly to
the Action for Cheetahs in Kenya conservation and research projects.
BIRD-FRIENDLY BUILDING DESIGN
Fatal accidents due to glass and light are a serious threat for wild
birds. Bird silhouettes do not prevent birds from crushing into glass.
They may however mislead about their ineffectiveness. Please take bird
silhouettes off your glass panels and windows and use effective methods
to prevent birds from crushing into glass.
Monika Fiby gave a presentation at the International Zoo Design
Conference in Wroclaw, Poland, on the prevention of bird collisions on
The American Bird Conservancy released the 2nd edition of its
comprehensive and illustrative guidelines for bird-friendly building
design, including measures such as the use of non-reflective glass,
incorporating visual markers, muting reflections and other design-based
strategies. Please spread the word about these guidelines and ask
architects to follow them.
SHEPPARD, Christine (2015): Bird-Friendly Building Design, 2nd edition.
American Bird Conservancy. The Plains, VA, USA. (download: 3.6 MB)
We would like to thank Christine Sheppard, Ph.D., Bird Collisions
Campaign Manager for the American Bird Conservancy, for the permission
to present this much needed and highly recommendable document.
The original resource is here:
We keep working on ZooLex ...
The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and
Singapore Zoo turns
44: Milestones of the popular attraction
On June 27, 44 years
ago, the Singapore Zoo was officially opened by then Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for Defence Goh Keng Swee.
It has become one of
the country's most notable attractions, and now attracts some 1.7 million
visitors each year. It houses more than 2,800 animals from over 300 species of
mammals, birds, and reptiles.
It has also become
one of the world's best rainforest zoos.
concerns over lion bone trade
The South African
Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has blatantly ignored public opinion
by formally approving the export of 800 lion skeletons to Asia this year. This
in spite of international condemnation from
conservationists and local stakeholders.
The numbers of
African free-range lions have declined alarmingly over the last few decades
with only 20,000 remaining today, down from 30,000 just two decades ago.
“It is irresponsible
to establish policy that could further imperil wild lions,” said Dr. Paul
Funston, Senior Director of Panthera’s Lion Program earlier this year when the
DEA first proposed its plans.
However, the DEA
says the export will only be from captive-bred lions which is legal under the
Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Lions in South Africa
are listed under Appendix II, which means their products can be traded
internationally - but only “if the trade will not be detrimental to the
survival of the species in the wild.”
The DEA believes
that the sale from captive-bred lions will reduce the Asian appetite for wild
lion parts from a growing market for exotic products such as tiger-bone wine.
Lion bones have lately been sold off as tiger bones, since the latter has
become extremely rare.
But, says Funston:
“South Africa’s lion breeding industry makes absolutely no positive
contribution to conserving lions and, indeed, further imperils them.
In 2016, according
to Panthera, 90% of lion carcasses found in the Limpopo National Park in
Mozambique all had their skulls, teeth, and claws removed while rates of
poisoning lions specifically for bones increased dramatic
Role of zoos is
conservation, zoo veterinarians say
Among those who
share this perspective are Drs. Scott Larsen, president of the American
Association of Zoo Veterinarians; Mike Adkesson, AAZV president-elect; and
Sharon L. Deem, president of the American College of Zoological Medicine.
Some people believe
wild animals don’t belong in zoos. Dr. Larsen, vice president for veterinary
medicine at the Denver Zoo, said, "There’s a lot of public sentiment that
for zoos to continue to exist, they need to be involved with conservation. They
need to be very focused on animal welfare and enrichment, providing quality
lives for these animals as individuals and as ambassadors for their species in
the wild, and enlightening people about conservation issues."
professionals feel strongly about the message they’re sending and the welfare
of the animals, Dr. Larsen said. "It’s not just ‘Are we patching up
behind the scenes and in the field
A flurry of activity
surrounded Kasha, an Amur leopard, as he lay, intubated and anesthetized, on an
technician cleaned the big cat’s teeth, including his long canines. Two
veterinarians in training programs took a blood sample from a hind limb. Dr.
Mike Adkesson listened to the leopard’s heart.
Kasha was undergoing
a routine full work-up at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois, a suburb
of Chicago. The zoo has seven veterinarians on staff: Dr. Adkesson, vice
president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, which
operates the zoo; three other clinical veterinarians who are specialists in
zoological medicine, one also an anesthesiologist; a clinical resident; a
post-residency anesthesiology fellow; and a radiologist.
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians dates to 1946, and the American
College of Zoological Medicine to 1983, having multiple vete
PhD student first
Malaysian to get UK award for hornbill research
THE floor of the
dense forest off the Kinabatangan River in Sabah is the playground for Ravinder
Kaur, who maps her grid in search of natural cavities for hornbills among the
thickets of the big trees.
She eats, sleeps and
breathes hornbills, and for good reason too, as she and her team have just been
honoured with the 2017 Future Conservationist Award by UK-based Conservation
Leadership Programme, the only Malaysian to receive the award for 2017.
Her hornbill project
is a long-term commitment towards building artificial nesting boxes for
hornbills and studying the nest-hole crisis.
Her focus is now on
Kinabatangan, in Sandakan, Sabah. It is a degraded forest, she said, as there
was a lack of big trees, but it is also a regenerating forest.
“We find bigger
species of hornbills living here,” she said, referring to the Rhinoceros and
Brexit threatens to
clip the wings of UK butterfly exporter
That is the concern
of Richard Lamb, general manager of the Stratford Butterfly Farm in
Stratford-upon-Avon, which bills itself as “the UK’s largest tropical butterfly
paradise”. It has its own zoo-like attractions, which the company says draws
about 150,000 visitors a year. It also supplies butterflies for similar parks
around the world. Last year, Stratford sold £1.2m worth of pupae, around
750,000, about half in the EU. “We’re a good business,” Mr Lamb says.
Yet, depending on
the fine details of the UK’s exit deal with the EU, Mr Lamb fears Brexit could
“wipe out” a large chunk of his business, and threaten the livelihood of his
far-flung suppliers. “All arou
aquarium-born sea otter celebrates 21st birthday with ‘ice cake’
aquarium-born sea otter in Japan celebrated her 21st birthday Wednesday, in an
event highlighted by a colorfully decorated cake made of ice given to her at an
Having reached an
age thought to be equivalent to over 80 human years, the sea otter, Pata, was
handed the cake at a poolside by visitors chosen for the event at Osaka
Aquarium Kaiyukan, where she has spent her whole life.
Pata then returned
to the water and ate the cake while floating. The birthday gift — a special
version of the ice blocks she receives every day as a treat — had “icing” on
top which was shaped like a fish and a heart, and brightly colored in green,
orange, yellow and blue.
Visitors at the
event also cheered and took photos to mark the occasion. Pata is the oldest of
the 12 sea otters kept at aquariums in Japan, which had been home to 122 of the
northern species i
zoos and why they’re still thriving
A donkey thrown into
a tiger enclosure to be eaten alive. A brown bear so malnourished it looks like
a bag of bones. Siberian tigers so obese they were mocked by visitors. A
crocodile living alongside piles of rubbish in a dried-up pond, and a snake
lying dead in its tank, unnoticed by its keeper.
How One Zoo Helped
Save the Mountain Gorilla
Imagine sitting on
the ground in a clearing in Africa and having a group of gorillas saunter over
to you. That was Charlene Jendry’s first experience with the endangered
mountain gorillas of Rwanda in 1992. “The females, who were carrying babies on
their backs, came over and touched me,” recalls Jendry, then a gorilla keeper
at Ohio’s Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on her first trip to Karisoke Research
Center, established by primatologist Dian Fossey of Gorillas in the Mist fame,
inside Volcanoes National Park. “Their mouths were so close I could feel their
For someone who
cared for gorillas in a zoo but had never seen them in the wild, this was the
manifestation of a dream—especially since the number of the endangered species
she met, the mountain gorilla, had dwindled to around 250.
“It was amazing and
magical,” says Jendry. “I went out in the park to visit the gorillas every
One night the dream
took a terrifying turn. Park patrolmen radioed to say they had shot three
gorilla poachers. Two were dead but they were bringing one critically wounded
poacher to the camp for emergency treatment. Jendry and her campmates, none of
whom were medical doctors, scrambled to provide first aid for someone who was
illegally hunting the very gorillas they were trying to save. As they worked to
keep him from going into s
industry in crocodile farms
Thailand is home to
some of the world's biggest crocodile farms, where tourists can see the giant
creatures lounging in the hot sun, chomping on chicken, or swarming in emerald
Some 1.2 million
crocodiles are kept on more than 1,000 farms in Thailand, according to figures
from the Thai department of fisheries. Some are equipped with slaughterhouses
and tanneries to produce luxury products.
Crocodile Farm is one of Thailand's biggest, and has been operating for 35
all-in-one farm, creating jobs for the people, creating income for the
country," said Wichian Rueangnet, the owner of Sri Ayuthaya, which has an
estimated 150,000 crocodiles.
Sri Ayuthaya is
registered with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), allowing it to legally export products made from
the critically endangered Siamese freshwater crocodile. One of its top buyers
everything from raising crocodiles to slaughtering, tanning and exporting
crocodile products," Wichian said.
products include Birkin-style handbags, which sell for up to 80,000 baht
($2,358) each, and crocodile leather suits, which fetch around 200,000 baht
($5,894), Wichian said.
Crocodile meat is
sold for as much as 300 baht per kg (2.2 lb). The bile and blood of the
reptile, made into pills because they are believed to have health benefits, are
worth 40,000 baht
Rare animals among
body count at Scottish zoos
More than 900
creatures in the care of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) died
in captivity last year, including several hundred rare snails bred for
Figures released by
the charity, which runs the 82-acre Edinburgh Zoo and a wildlife park in the
Scottish Highlands, show that about 25 animals were put down on health grounds.
Dozens more perished
within weeks of birth, among them several animals designated as under threat by
the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red
They included a
female socorro dove, which is extinct in the wild; four cotton-top tamarins and
three visayan warty pigs (both critically endangered species); a barbary
macaque and two painted hunting d
The CITES authority in the Netherlands reasserts Loro Parque in the Morgan case