Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Zoo News Digest 4th July 2017 (ZooNews 960)

Zoo News Digest 4th July 2017  (ZooNews 960)

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

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 zoo world.
Then, most 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 links follow.

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, 


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.

Conservationists 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 zoo's grounds.
The monkeys' 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 Zoo.

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 giraffes.

Its Sumatran tigers alone number 40.

To deal with the overpopulation issue, th

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 truth.

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

Three gorillas escape from their den at Paignton Zoo
Three gorillas escaped from their den into a secure corridor at Paignton Zoo and caused thousands of pounds damage ripping apart water pipes, electrical wiring and ducts.

Experts initially 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 (teenage gorillas).

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.

Zoo Interviews
Reimagining Spaces 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.

BLACKFISH ANALYSIS: 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.
Marcella Leone, 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.

Somewhere in 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
Something happened 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. 
So what happened?  Well, someone stole my flip flops.

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.

After Monday’s 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.

The researchers 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.

South African 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‚ horn-harvesting” operation.

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 poaching.

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!



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.



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.

DEA 'ignores' 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."

Most zoo 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 lacerations o

Zoo veterinarians, behind the scenes and in the field
A flurry of activity surrounded Kasha, an Amur leopard, as he lay, intubated and anesthetized, on an examining table.

A veterinary 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.

Although the 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 Helmeted H

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

Japan’s oldest aquarium-born sea otter celebrates 21st birthday with ‘ice cake’
The oldest 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 Osaka aquarium.

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

China’s terrible 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 breath.”

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 day.”

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

Thailand's thriving 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 green pools.

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.

Sri Ayuthaya Crocodile Farm is one of Thailand's biggest, and has been operating for 35 years.

"We're an 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 is China.

"We do everything from raising crocodiles to slaughtering, tanning and exporting crocodile products," Wichian said.

Crocodile leather 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 conservation.

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 List.

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


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New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

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

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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 http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

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

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

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