Monday, August 28, 2017

Zoo News Digest 28th August 2017 (ZooNews 969)


Zoo News Digest 28th August 2017  (ZooNews 969)


Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

Big problems with ZooNews Digest. For some inexplicable reason I am unable to post out on Blogger. I have tried and tried to no avail but have not yet given up. The Digest is important to me. I have been pulling it together now for more years than I care to remember. It is a one person operation and currently takes 30-40 hours out of my week….always remembering I have a full time job as well and my zoo consultancy work on top of that. It is a labour of love, I make no money out of it. I have turned down work and even moved countries just so I can get it out every week or so. I really don’t need this headache now.

Each and every week I receive at least a dozen requests "Hi Peter, I'd like to join your LinkedIn network." I check them all for a wildlife or zoo connection. If there isn't one I ignore it but if one exists then I will considering accepting it. I look deeper. Often that connection is not a good one and I want nothing whatsoever to do with them and so I refuse. What really bothers me is when I discover they have connections to highly respected colleagues of mine. I am left wondering if I am the only one who checks.
I note that Taman Safari is still parading tigers around on leads. The importance of stopping such nefarious practices was discussed and condemned at the SEAZA conference a few years back and yet it still goes on. Perhaps if those few remaining Australasian collections who continue with this unnecessary titillation then Indonesia will stop too.
Talking of SEAZA it would appear that the venue for this year's Conference has changed yet again. The first time I posted notification it was apparently for a fake website. The site was taking money and continued to take money for some weeks after I was informed by SEAZA that they were aware. Then the 'real' website appeared stating the conference would take place in Davao. Well I suppose a move from there is a good one as it is a bit hot politically down that end of the Philippines. Pity though as it is a beautiful area.
So now see here it is in Manila:
Pata zoo was in the news again….but you won't find the link below because it was fake news. It did though cause a lot of discussion on Facebook. Pata zoo is not a good zoo, it is bad one but it is not a very bad one. There are far far worse out there. The thing that really seems to get people is that the zoo is in a department store. If we ignore all the other inadequacies what is so wrong with the location? All zoos are made up of buildings…join a bunch of buildings together and you have something not so dissimilar to Pata. But the animals don't have access to the outside I hear some cry. Well, as I said there are far far worse places with the animals outside
I followed an argument, not for the first time, where this line came up "Are you suggesting your captivity is better than my captivity?". Well yes I am. Dysfunctional Zoos should not be allowed to keep animals. No criticism intended to caring keepers but they really need to think long and hard about the collections in which they work. There are more bad zoos out there then there are good ones.
Again, not for the first time I came up with this statement by Jennifer O'Connor, Senior Writer of the PETA Foundation
"Returning captive-bred animals to their natural homelands is difficult and costly, and most zoos don’t even attempt it. Most programs to reintroduce captive-bred species to the wild have failed and no captive-breeding of endangered big carnivores (such as tigers, lions, or leopards) has ever resulted in the release of those animals back into the wild."
Come on Jennifer and other Animal Rights Anarchists….do your homework. Be honest. Tell the REAL truth!

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 61,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 62,000 likes) 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,

Indonesian travelling shows where dolphins perform in the name of education

More than 90 dolphins are held in captivity in Indonesia and trained to perform tricks in shows as part of the country’s so-called conservation efforts. Their future is uncertain as the government continues experimenting with a captive breeding programme to increase dolphin population in its waters.

Taman Safari Indonesia Welcomes Orangutans Livia and Lindung

Taman Safari Indonesia (TSI) has now added a collection of orangutans after obtaining a donation from a private company.
Tony Sumampau, Director of TSI, said this donation is very helpful in the effort of orangutan conservation conducted by TSI at Cisarua West Java. The donation is in the form of orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) from a private company.
He explained with the donation is expected to be a good example for others to do the same. "As a form of concern for the preservation of orangutans", said Tony, Sunday (27/08/2017).
The contribution to orangutan conservation is provided by Rehau Indonesia, a private company engaged in the field of plastic management. The handover is linked to the commemoration of World Orangutan Day commemorated every August 19th.
The donation of conservation fund donations was conduc

From Dundee to Dubai: Omahan does ground-breaking research far from home
That anticipation is what is sending Crichton and her husband, Harold Isenberger, back to Dubai for what Crichton says is the last time. But she’s said that before.
It’s hard to let go of years of work in reproductive biology, including seven years at Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium working with the big cats and gorillas.
“I love keeping my hand in science, which has been my life,” she says.
It brought her to the United States from Australia in the 1980s and also led to her marriage.
Back then, she was studying bat reproduction in Ar
Lifestyles of the dodos uncovered
Readers familiar with the “Thursday Next” series of comic novels written by UK author Jasper Fford might recall that one of the conceits therein is that a plan to bring dodos back from extinction results in a plague of the birds.
In real life, of course, plans to revive the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) – which went extinct in its homeland of Mauritius in the seventeenth century – remain, at best, wishful thinking.
Whether such a thing is technically possible is doubtful, and whether it is ethical is the subject of much debate. However, at least one 2017 study suggests doing so might be a good idea because the dodo, as a “flagship” species, could be useful in generating a whole wad of cash to fund other research.
If it ever happens, then a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports may come in useful, at least in helping bamboozled zoo-keepers understand the behaviour of their ne
Doing our best for captive and wild species
When your major is zoology many family and friends may ask, “Are you going to work in a Zoo?” I would get that question frequently and my standard answer was always, “No.”
I always liked zoos and the education message they offered, but I had no idea what I was in for once this wild ride began. I didn’t know where my zoology curriculum would take me when I began my courses at North Dakota State University. The only thing I was certain of is I truly wanted to work in the conservation field.
I started college after serving in the military and at the age of 28. I transferred from North Dakota State College of Science with an associate degree in pre-medicine, chosen because of the excellent science and math department offering the credits necessary to transfer to the zoology department at NDSU, a program I had heard many compliments. My time at both schools was most rewarding. The instructors were approachable and helpful and my advisor always made time to assist me. There was a great camaraderie between students in the d

Giant panda is pregnant, Edinburgh zoo believes

Tian Tian, the female giant panda at Edinburgh, is believed to be pregnant and may give birth very soon, the city’s zoo has disclosed.
The news came to light in correspondence between Edinburgh zoo and the Scottish government written in late July, which suggested Tian Tian’s due date could be as soon as Friday 25 August.
The animal’s pregnancy follows four previous failed attempts to make her conceive. After efforts to make her mate naturally with her erstwhile partner at Edinburgh zoo, Yang Guang, ended in failure, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) turned to artificial insemination using his sperm and frozen samples from a bear which had lived and bred at Berlin zoo.
Birth of Edinburgh Zoo panda could bring £30m to city

THE birth of a baby panda would bring “huge benefits” not just for Edinburgh Zoo but the city as a whole, tourism leaders have said. Excitement has been in full flow after news broke that Tian Tian – the UK’s only female giant panda – was pregnant and could give birth within a matter of weeks.

LOLing: Guaranteed When You're A Zookeeper

Ahhh I am so sorry I missed last week.  I was on vacation in the middle of the northwoods (awesome!) but that also entailed a 16 hour road trip with a two year old to get there and then to get home.  After 5,007 rounds of Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed, I forgot what time/year/planet it was.
Also, there has been a lot of sadness in our community lately.  So today's blog is light.

Yesterday, I heard an interview on NPR with an author who wrote a novel exploring the concept of “BFF”.  She talked about how as kids, our relationship with our BFF is fairly non-verbal; we just play and have lots and lots of belly laughs.  As we approach middle school, this starts to change, leading into an adulthood where we may or may not have a BFF….and if we do, it isn’t the same as when we were young kids.

HSUS and Other Radicals Conspire Behind Closed Doors at Detroit Zoo

Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle has been playing defense. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the largest accrediting body of zoological institutions in the US, invited Pacelle to deliver a keynote address at its annual meeting next month, and the blowback has been significant. One zookeeper with 27 years’ experience  publicly slammed the invitation, saying that not a single zoo staffer he spoke with supported giving Pacelle a platform.
Pacelle has been desperately trying to convince zoo and aquarium directors that he’s not anti-zoo (a tall task, since he is). This week, Pacelle tries to bolster his credentials by asserting he “gave a keynote at a conference hosted by the Detroit Zoo that brought together animal welfare leaders, zoo leaders, and scientists to talk about advancing animal welfare” earlier this year.
That’s not what the event looks like to us. But it is classic Pacelle and his PR machine.
The event was put on by the Detroit Zoo. We’ve written before about the zoo’s CEO, Ron Kagan, who was caught lying on his resume and who calls PETA an ally.
It turns out Kagan’s event was hardly some mainstream animal welfare symposium. The event was invite-only, excluding directors, animal care, and veterinary experts of major institutions from attending.
But who did get an invite? The participant list reveals a long roster of activists:
Delcianna Winders, a longtime PETA la
Catching up with Bernard Harrison, Singapore's very own zoo tycoon

Bernard Harrison has never played Zoo Tycoon. A shame, really, seeing as he is Singapore’s very own zoo tycoon, and would probably have invaluable tips to share on building exhibits in the ‘00s video game. But the 66-year-old zoologist, best known as the executive director of the Singapore Zoo from 1981 to 2002, and the CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore from 2000 to 2002, has put his extensive knowledge to good use—in real life. Today he runs a zoo consultancy business, Bernard Harrison & Friends, with his wife in Bali, where he advises on creative zoo design and ecotourism.
Born to a Malaysian Chinese mother and British father, Harrison credits his father, a prominent zoologist himself, for piquing his interest in animals. After graduating from Manchester University with a degree in animal behavior, he “stumbled into the Singapore Zoo by chance”. 22 and fresh-faced, he was scheduled to do a Ph.D, but saw an advert for hiring staff at the newly opened zoo. The rest, Harrison says simply, is history.
Harrison and his 29-year run at the Singapore Zoo are a legacy that won’t be forgotten any time soon. A bigwig in the international zoo scene, he is credited with putting the Singapore Zoo on the global map, having conceptualized the Night Safari, as well as the “open zoo” concept—which showcases animals as free-roaming within their enclosures. But above all, he’s likely to be fondly remembered for his fierce dedication to his staff and his job. Reminiscing on the “brilliant” days of his time at the Zoo, Harrison doesn’t shy away from expressing affection towards the t
Zoo Horticulture.jpg

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:                

I have been remiss. No Zoo Botanical News since May!   August’s stories at (NEWS/Botanical News) reveal some of the latest ecology and botanical research that you have perhaps missed:

·         The ranchers’ war on predators becomes a war on ecosystems as a new study of dingoes has shown. Where herbivores were safe from these predators plant cover suffered.
·         In Morocco herders encourage their goats to climb Argan trees to browse. Plucky researchers followed the goats and learned that they later spit out Argan seeds, propagating the valuable trees.
·         Everybody knows that plants evolved spines and thorns to deter larger herbivores. WRONG! A new theory suggests that the target is much much smaller.
·         It warms the heart to see barren areas green up with new plant growth. Unless those areas are Antarctica, which is turning green
·         When this tree is planted in the Northern hemisphere it always leans south. When planted in the Southern Hemisphere it always leans north. Why?
Join me and a few of my zoo horticulture heroes at the Annual Conference of AZA in Indianapolis next month for a panel exploring how horticulture connects zoos and aquariums to their communities, building strong local networks of support while improving the lives of visitors and neighbors. How many of our departments can make that claim? “Communities Come Together Over Gardens: Using Horticulture To Connect With Our Neighbors” on Wednesday, September 13 at 10:00am features horticulturists from the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, Mesker Park Zoo & Botanical Garden, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the Shedd Aquarium.
Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors!
Follow on Twitter, Facebook Or visit –  new stories every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

[TRIBUTE] Renown wildlife filmmaker Alan Root dies aged 80

Renowned filmmaker Alan Root died on Saturday morning at age 80.
He was born on May 12, 1937 in London, the United Kingdom, and moved to Kenya as a child.
Root is known for movies including 'Serengeti Shall Not Die, Lights', 'The Year of the Wildebeest' and 'Action, Africa!', and wrote the book 'Ivory, Apes & Peacocks: Animals, Adventure and Discovery in the Wild Places of Africa'.
The filmmaker received more than 60 awards including two Emmys, a Peabody and The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.
In his tribute, Delta Willis, former publicist for Survival films in the US, said: "He crafted narratives about ecosystems, with a full cast of symbiotic natural players, and not a croc-wrestling presenter in sight".
Root will be remembered for his contributions, captured in Willis' full tribute below:
From the wildebeest migration to chicks inside a hornbill nest, Alan Root brought the magic of Africa to millions of television viewers around the world. Not only do many scripts from the 70’s remain timeless, but his innovative filming techniques foreshadowed technology.
In lieu of a Go-Pro on a drone, Root used a hot air balloon as a filming platform. Without a tiny lens to insert into a bird’s nest, he inserted a pane of glass on a cutaway of the tree trunk, filming through that window.
But perhaps the most important distinction, he crafted narratives about ecosystems, with a full cast of symbiotic natural players, and not a croc-wrestling presenter in sight, helping to establish a genre known as Blue Chip films: compelling music, intelligent writing
Advanced Evolution of Chinese Zoos

I’m writing this piece in the fifth hour of the fourteen hour flight to the U.S. from Beijing. I’ve already watched two movies, had a couple glasses of wine, and did some work. I’m reflecting on my whirlwind trip in Ordos, Inner Mongolia for the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens’ (CAZG) 2nd annual conference, where although I was only there for 24 hours, I presented twice for a total of 5 hours. While these stats are quite impressive, the most impressive thing about this trip was the evolution that I am seeing in Chinese zoos and aquariums.
I’ve been coming to China for 8 years, for projects and for exploration of the potential market for zoo designers here. Although PGAV has been fairly consistently engaged in project work in this massive country over the last decade, most of that has been related to theme parks. The sudden and intense growth of the middle class has created a thirst for leisure activities, and while museums, water parks, historic cities, natural areas, and theme parks have been highly targeted for updates and new projects, the desire for modern, innovative zoos has lagged behind. In my opinion, this is directly related to the state of Chinese society’s relationship to animals and nature: the persistent desire for tiger and rhino parts for traditional medicines; exploitation of baby animals, especially tiger cubs, for photos at zoos; the market for ivory as status symbols; the levels of pollution in the water and air.
Malaysia to host ICCB 2019

The Society for Conservation Biology announced Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as the host city for the its 29th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB 2019). The Congress will take place 21-25 July 2019 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Malaysia was announced as the location during the SCB Members Meeting at ICCB 2017 in Cartagena, Colombia.  Close to 1,500 people attended ICCB 2017. Given its convenient location in Asia, the 2019 Congress is expected to attract even more attendees.
Where They Weigh Scorpions and Measure Lions

How do you get an emperor scorpion to hop up onto a scale to peer at its weight?
Or persuade a yawning Asiatic lioness to stand still for a minute so that you can take her measurements?
At the London Zoo, they do it very carefully — with patience, scales and bribes.
Mark Habben, the head of zoological management at the Zoological Society of London, said on Friday that 70 keepers had begun just such an undertaking the day before: the zoo’s annual weigh-in.
Armed with giant rulers, big (and little) scales, along with the animals’ favorite food, they are measuring, weighing and counting most of the 750 species in care of the zoo.
Because the zoo has about 20,000 animals, he said in a phone interview, “this will go on for the next couple of weeks.”
The Wildlife Justice Commission concerned about the consequences of the rhino horn auction in South Africa

The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC, is extremely concerned about the possible consequences of the private rhino horn auction that it is taking place in South Africa this week, organised by South African rhino breeders, as it will likely fuel the demand for rhino horn in Asia.
This auction is taking place after the country’s Constitutional Court effectively lifted the 2009 moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn last April. International trade was banned in 1977 by CITES, which South Africa is part of.
“There is essentially no domestic demand for rhino horn in South Africa, so it is inevitable that these horns will end up in Asia, because that is where the demand is,” said Olivia Swaak-Goldman, Executive Director of the Wildlife Justice Commission. “This auction risks stimulating demand at a time when governments and NGOs are working to reduce consumer demand in Asia. This demand cannot be met by farmed animals and therefore risks leading to increased poaching, putting even greater pressure on rhino numbers in South Africa, where nearly three rhinos are poached every day.”
WJC investigators witness the illegal trade of ‘raw’ rhino horn and ‘rhino products’ every day in Asia.
In a recent undercover operation, WJC operatives were offered 76 rhino horns by a single wildlife trafficking network. At USD 18,000 per kilogram, these horns are valued at nearly USD 20 million and represent a minimum of 50 poached rhinos.
“During our 2015 investigation in the village of Nhi Khe in Viet Nam, we documented the trade in rhino products from an estimated 573 rhinos.” said Olivia Swaak-Goldman. “Law enforcement capacity and effectiveness are improving in countries like Viet Nam but they nee

Conservationists alarmed over rising elephant skin trade

Conservationists have raised alarm over the increase in elephant skin trading in the country that targets mother elephants and calves, which could lead to the extinction of wild elephants in the country.
Conservationists have raised alarm over the increase in elephant skin trading in the country that targets mother elephants and calves, which could lead to the extinction of wild elephants in the country.
“Unlike ivory poaching, which targets tusked males, the sudden increase in the demand for the skin means the poaching is indiscriminate, with mothers and calves being poisoned and skinned,’’ said Nay Myo Shwe, Tanintharyi Conservation Programme coordinator, Fauna & Flora International Myanmar.
“If this continues it could lead to the extinction of wild elephants in Myanmar,” Nay Myo Shwe warned.
On World Elephant Day on August 12, national and inter
After Animal Attacks, Beijing Calls for Safer Zoos

Following several disastrous encounters between people and animals, Beijing has drafted new safety standards for wildlife parks that will make sure the two groups stay separated, Beijing Youth Daily reported Thursday.
The proposed safety standards, originally made public on the municipal government’s website on Friday, say that wildlife parks where tourists can drive their own cars should install fences, moats, or glass walls “to make sure no contact whatsoever is possible between the vehicles and the animals.”
Published by the Beijing Municipal Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision, the rules would also require parks to have clear safety notices with emergency numbers for tourists to call if needed.
Also on Friday, a tourist was bitten by a black bear at Badaling Wildlife World, on the outskirts of Beijing. Ignoring the park’s warnings, the man, surnamed Che
Shafer: Accredited zoos have an important conservation role to play

Is it time to shut down road-side zoos, circuses and facilities unwilling to commit to the highest standards of welfare? Absolutely – without a doubt.
But the poor conditions representing zoological operations of a bygone era should not be confused with the standard of care and research provided at Canadian institutions accredited by the country’s leading accreditation and animal welfare body, Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA).
Out of hundreds of zoos operating within Canada, only 31 are accredited by CAZA. Although some provinces like British Columbia require CAZA accreditation through regulation, the reality is that the majority of unaccredited zoos operating in Canada are doing so with little to no oversight due to a lack of legislation and enforcement across the country.
This unregulated landscape fosters a culture where it is legally acceptable to keep exotic animals without standards on proper care, and increases the already prominent black market for the sale of exotic animals. This breeds a culture where animals are being mistreated, not provided the proper care, and puts a black eye on the zoological facilities within Canada who staff animal welf
Top Animal Planet Show Slapped With Fine for Mistreating Animals

In January 2014, Mother Jones published an investigation into the once-popular Animal Planet reality show Call of the Wildman, exposing how producers routinely trapped wild animals to perform bogus “rescue” scenes for the cameras. Sources described repeat acts of animal neglect on and off set: Bats were stranded in a Houston hair salon, an endangered zebra was drugged and tackled, and a stricken coyote was trapped and caged—all while producers skirted basic animal welfare protections.
Now, more than three years later, federal investigators have formally cited Animal Planet producers for a slew of violations under the Animal Welfare Act and have issued a fine.
The show, which followed the purportedly real-life antics of the Kentucky animal wrangler known as “Turtleman” for four seasons, came under scrutiny after a series of Mother Jones investigative reports spar
Can Monarto Zoo save the southern white rhino?

THEY weigh up to four tonnes, stand as tall as a footy player, charge at up to 50km/h, and channel all that force through a horn that grows to a metre in length.
No wonder they call a group of rhinos a crash.
But if all that sounds like the white rhinoceros is one of the world’s most terrifying animals, then Zoos SA chief executive Elaine Bensted begs to differ.
“They’re like labradors,” she says affectionately.
And for one of the most hunted and endangered creatures on Earth, that’s a problem.
As more have been killed, so many more babies and young ones have been raised by humans in African orphanages, teaching them to trust people.
Released back into the wild, that puppy-like faith, and their poor eyesight, has made them even more vulnerabl
Interspecies Hybrids Play a Vital Role in Evolution

In 2006, a hunter shot what he thought was a polar bear in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Closer examination, however, revealed brown patches on its white fur, uncharacteristically long claws and a slightly hunched back. The creature was in fact a hybrid, its mother a polar bear, its father a grizzly. Although this cross was known to be possible — the two species had mated in captivity before — this was the first documented case found in the wild. Since then, it has become clear that this was not an isolated incident. Conservationists and others worry that if climate change continues to drive grizzly bears into polar bear territory, such interbreeding will become more common and will devastate the polar bear population. Some have even proposed killing the hybrids in an effort to conserve the species.
But grizzlies and polar bears, as it turns out, have been mating since the species diverged hundreds of thousands of years ago. Polar bear genomes have retained mitochondrial DNA from ancient grizzly bears, and grizzlies have inherited genes from hybridizing with polar bears. “People worry that if they interbreed, polar bears will lose their beautiful white coats,” said Michael Arnold, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Georgia. “But the truth is these organisms have not been looking entirely like themselves for a long time now.”
“If this mixing is a common natural event,” he warned, “then killing hybrids to prevent them from mixing with the ‘pure’ parent genomes is not a management technique we should do lightly.” In fact, it may be that the genetic variation introduced by this kind of hybridization could save the polar bears, whose su
Ski Dubai Penguin Team - Bowling Night Team Building

Top Animal Planet Show Slapped With Fine for Mistreating Animals

In January 2014, Mother Jones published an investigation into the once-popular Animal Planet reality show Call of the Wildman, exposing how producers routinely trapped wild animals to perform bogus “rescue” scenes for the cameras. Sources described repeat acts of animal neglect on and off set: Bats were stranded in a Houston hair salon, an endangered zebra was drugged and tackled, and a stricken coyote was trapped and caged—all while producers skirted basic animal welfare protections.
Now, more than three years later, federal investigators have formally cited Animal Planet producers for a slew of violations under the Animal Welfare Act and have issued a fine.
The show, which followed the purportedly real-life antics of the Kentucky animal wrangler known as “Turtleman” for four seasons, came under scrutiny after a series of Mother Jones investigative reports sparked outrage
Top 10 Weirdest Animal Laws on the Books

Every state has laws about animals. Some of those laws protect animals, others do the exact opposite and then some are just strange. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, has come across a lot of odd laws over the years—as the organization reviews legislation and opportunities to expand legal protections for animals. Attorneys review local, state and federal statutes, ordinances and regulations and have compiled 10 of the weirdest animal laws around the country. From jumping frog competitions to llama encounters and dog grooming prohibitions, these laws are bound to confuse even the most law-abiding citizen.
Only bad hair days for dogs in Juneau!
Thinking of treating your four-legged friend to a day of primping and pampering? In Juneau, Alaska, that’s a no-go. According to a local ordinance, no animal can “enter into any barber shops or establishments for the practice of hairdressing or beauty culture.”
Don’t hurt the Bigfoot!
If Bigfoot is real, he is safe in Skamania County, Washington. The scenic Northwestern County considers the Sasquatch, Yeti, Bigfoot or “Giant Hairy Ape” an endangered specie



Chimps and bonobos had flings—and swapped genes—in the past

Tens of thousands of years ago, modern humans slept around with Neandertals and swapped some genes. Now, it turns out one of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, also dallied with another species. New research reveals that chimps mixed it up with bonobos at least twice during the 2 million years since these great apes started evolving their own identities. Although it’s not yet clear whether the acquired genes were ultimately beneficial or harmful, the finding strengthens the idea that such cross-species mating played an important role in the evolution of the great apes.
"What they found was really cool," says Michael Arnold, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens who was not involved in the work. "It adds to a growing body of work showing that species exchange genes," says Peter Grant, an evolutionary biologist from Princeton University who was also not involved with the study.
Bonobos (Pan paniscus) live in Democratic Republic of the Congo, just across the Congo River from their closest living relatives, the chimpanzees (P. troglodytes), who are spread out between western and central Africa. (Chimps are bigg
Secret life of the dodo revealed

Scientists are piecing together clues about the life of the dodo, hundreds of years after the flightless bird was driven to extinction.
Few scientific facts are known about the hapless bird, which was last sighted in 1662.
A study of bone specimens shows the chicks hatched in August and grew rapidly to adult size.
The bird shed its feathers in March revealing fluffy grey plumage recorded in historical accounts by mariners.
Delphine Angst of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, was given access to some of the dodo bones that still exist in museums and collections, including specimens that were recently donated to a museum in France.
Her team analysed slices of bone from 22 dodos under the microscope to find out more about the bird's growth and breeding patterns.
"Before our study we knew very very little about these birds," said Dr Angst.
"Using the bone histology for the first time w
Can Monarto Zoo save the southern white rhino?

THEY weigh up to four tonnes, stand as tall as a footy player, charge at up to 50km/h, and channel all that force through a horn that grows to a metre in length.
No wonder they call a group of rhinos a crash.
But if all that sounds like the white rhinoceros is one of the world’s most terrifying animals, then Zoos SA chief executive Elaine Bensted begs to differ.
“They’re like labradors,” she says affectionately.
And for one of the most hunted and endangered creatures on Earth, that’s a problem.
As more have been killed, so many more babies and young ones have been raised by humans in African orphanages, teaching them to trust people.
Released back into the wild, that puppy-like faith, and their poor eyesight, has made them even more vulnerable to the poachers, who hunt their horn.
It’s not bone, but keratin — the same material our hair and nails are made of — and it is extremely valuable, peaking at a reported $65,000/kg in 2012. The Chinese and Vietnamese are dri
Workshops to promote tiger conservation

Tiger conservation, which draws a lot of criticism in Myanmar, is stepping up its promotion of the tiger reserve through regional workshops, organised by the forestry department, in recent weeks.
The regional workshops aim at developing best-practices and collecting suggestions from locals living near the protected area designated by the national tiger action plan in 2003.
“During our second regional workshop in Sagaing on August 20, we found that locals from Sagaing and Kachin pay attention to tiger protection.  That is a good sign,” U Khin Mg Win, director of the forestry department told The Myanmar Times.
Myanmar has been implementing a plan for tiger conservation since 1998. Accordingly, local communities take care of the designated area; while at the same time benefiting from its sustainable use through ecotourism.
“In the workshop, we talked about management plans, the different projects affecting the area, and the need for preys for the tigers,” he said.
Illegal gold mining and timber trafficking in the forest have
The Elephant In The Sacred Space

The whole of India celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi, the manifestation of the elephant headed deity, today. He is considered the remover of obstacles (Vinayaka) and a story from the Tulsa Zoo in the United States may be amusingly relevant to this aspect of Ganesha.
The incident happened in 2005, when a statue of Ganesha at the elephant house was kept at the Tulsa Zoo and the creationist lobby opposed it saying it amounted to ‘an anti-Christian bias toward Hinduism'. They also wanted to order the zoo authorities 'to balance its evolution science exhibit' with a display of the genesis account of creation.
Later, fearing a backlash, the creationists stated that they would also accommodate six or seven creation myths along with 'Adam and Eve'. However with more than three hundred creatio
Duke University receives two endangered lemurs from Madagascar

The Duke Lemur Center announced Thursday that it transferred the 5-year-old male and 3-year-old female 9,000 miles from Madagascar to their new home in North Carolina. They were born in a conservation center in Madagascar.
The center says there could be fewer than 1,000 blue-eyed black lemurs in the wild.
The center says it took three years of planning and 60 hours of travel to get them to the U.S. Duke says it's the first time lemurs have been imported to the U.S. from
Chester Zoo through the years

Rhino horn sales: banking on extinction

South Africa has just launched the first ever legal rhino horn auction. If you are based in South Africa and would like to buy some rhino horn you can place your bid here.
This is not a government auction, although it is sanctioned by the South African government. It has been organised by private rhino rancher, John Hume, who took the government to court and won the right to sell 265 rhino horns weighing about 500 kg. Trade in rhino horn is illegal in most countries, but the black market value of one kilogram is said to be USD 100,000—more than the price of platinum.
The astronomical price of rhino horn is driven by demand in Asia that has fuelled the current epidemic of rhino poaching in South Africa. Rhino deaths from poaching have risen from almost zero ten years ago to more than 1,000 per year since 2013.
Rhinos are listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that horns cannot be legally taken out of South Africa into any other CITES member state. So this auction is targeting buyers in South Africa … even though there is no market there for rhino horn. What is going on?
Although the horn can only be sold within South Africa, where the business language is English, the rhino horn auction we
Pressure mounts to ban animal interactions in SA

The walls are closing in on animal interaction operators in South Africa as international tourism role-players distance themselves from unethical wildlife experiences.
International travellers are looking for ethical, responsible experiences and circuses and petting zoos where animals are kept solely for human entertainment are no longer generally accepted.
Responding to the changing sentiments of tourists, tourism authorities and operators have taken an active stand against animal interactions, scrapping them from their itineraries.
Following international movements, SA's major tourism representatives are catching up with international trends in order to protect South Africa's status as a responsible and ethical tourism destination – and it’s no easy feat.
No place for mere compliance   
One of the main topics at the annual Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) conference on 17 and 18 August was a panel discussion titled 'Animal interactions - how to craft a compliance process'.
But dealing with compliance only is not enough says Ian Michler, Consultant and Campaign Co-leader for Blood Lions. “This will allow many
Black-footed tree rat rediscovered in Kimberley after three-decade absence

Parks and Wildlife staff on a monitoring expedition to the Bachsten Creek in the remote north-west Kimberley caught a glimpse of what appeared to be one of the native rats last year.
To confirm its existence, they installed a dozen remote cameras in the bushland over the wet season.
Parks and Wildlife Service ecologist Ben Corey said the cameras were collected after eight months in the field.
"Many species, such as the endangered northern quoll and golden-backed tree rat, as well as sugar gliders and scaly-tailed possums were recorded," he said.
"However, the biggest surprise was photographic evidence of the bla
Identifying it’s time to change – the washing machine effect Career success comes to a halt.

I was very young when, at the age of 12, I started my professional career at a small private zoo, Ballarat Wildlife Park. I pretended to be the next Jane Goodall and aspired to work with gorillas like Diana Fossey, only it was impossible from Australia unless I worked in a government zoo. Never the less, these conservation champions became my role models and formed a huge part of my professional career.
Scientists split over snow leopard status

Scientists are deeply divided on whether snow leopards are still endangered species, a BBC investigation has found.
Some big cat exerts say their population has stabilised and increased in a number of places.
This, they claim, has slowed the overall rate of decline.
Others argue that there has been no robust scientific study to prove either that the population has stabilised.
Amid the disagreement, top officials from 12 countries within the snow leopard range are meeting in Kyrgyzstan to further strengthen conservation of the elusive big cats.
The differences of opinion among scientists have intensified as a downgrading of the threat to snow leopards - from "endangered" to "vulnerable" - is expected from the IUCN Red List soon.
The Red List is the most comprehensive inventory of the conservation status of different species.
The list maintained by the international nature c
Column: Zoos are becoming endangered species

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences asserts that a sixth mass extinction is underway. Primarily pointing to the extinction of several species, as well as the deterioration of animal habitats, the paper warns that habitats and animal populations are decreasing at an alarming rate.
The conservation of endangered and threatened species is a critical issue. Ironically, animal activist organizations who claim the moral high ground are seeking to destroy two of the primary tools for supporting animal conservation: zoos and aquariums.
These institutions support conservation while conducting research across the globe on species ranging from primates to insects and everything in-between. The aptly named Phoenix Zoo has spent 50 years bringing back the Arabian Oryx (think, desert deer) from the brink of extinction and has reintroduced the animal to its native habitat. The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. did the same with the golden lion tamarin. Countless other zoos have helped with these and the survival of other endangered species. Using the best science, zoos also have an internation
Elephant retirement home may open in Haute-Vienne

A retirement home for elephants is hoping to open in Haute-Vienne (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), with two ex-zoo keepers aiming to welcome the first animals in 2018.
Set to be named the ‘Elephant Haven’, the project is based in Saint-Nicolas-Courbefy, south of Limoges, which is said to provide the exact right climate needed to welcome elephants who require extra help and support out of the wild.
The sanctuary is the creation of Belgian couple Sofie and Tony, who previously worked at Antwerp zoo, and have lived in France since 2015.
Supported by André-Joseph Bouglione, who is the grandson of the founder of the Bouglione Circus company, the duo has recently obtained permission from the relevant local authorities to open the home - although some of the finer details are yet to be worked out, and the opening date has not yet been 100% confirmed.
Sofie told The Connexion that now they have permits they can begin building the elephant houses. "In September, we will receive a digger donated by Hitachi, whic

The Remarkable Story of How the Bison Returned to Europe

The mention of bison roaming conjures images of specific places: Yellowstone and the Badlands, the Great Plains and prairie preserves. The wide-open spaces of North America, past and present. But Europe? Chances are, your mind does not connect bison and Europe.
But yes, there are bison in Europe. In fact, story of the European bison’s rescue may be even more dramatic and more perilous than the more well-known saga of the North American bison’s near-miss with extinction.
Hanover zookeepers did not mistreat their elephants, prosecutors conclude
In April public broadcaster ARD published video footage it said showed keepers at Hanover Zoo mishandling their elephants. Prosecutors have now decided that the keepers acted within the law.
Hanover prosecutors dropped their investigation into the zookeepers on Tuesday, concluding that there was insufficient evidence that they had broken laws pertaining to animal welfare, the Nordwest Zeitung reports.
In April, ARD broadcast a report based on footage shot at the zoo by animal rights group Peta. The report claimed that keepers beat young elephants with hooks in order to get them to perform tricks for zoo visitors.
In one instance caught on film, Report Mainz said that one zookeeper can be seen dragging a baby elephant up by the neck, causing the young animal to cry out.
On another occasion an elephant reportedly tried to escape, but two keepers appear to run after it and threaten the animal with their elephant hooks. Then through beatings and threats, they appear to get the elephant to walk in a circle, sit on its behind and "beg", the TV show reported.
But prosecutors, who commissioned an independent assessment of the video evidence, decided that the treatment of the elephants served their own welfare as well as the safety of the keepers.
Hanover zoo keepers use the “direct contact” method of training elephants, whereby keepers are present in the enclosure with the animals. The keepers use elephant hooks to assert their dominance in the group of wild animals.
The prosecutors' report points out that the training served a purpose that was for the benefit of the animals - keepers need to be able to clip their toe nails and look after the souls of their feet to ensure they don't get infections.
Prosecutors further stated that while the elephants may have felt pain via the use of the hooks, there was no evidence that this had led to long-term distress. They said they found no evidence that the animals displayed signs of trauma, shyness around humans, or a desire to escape.
Many zoos no longer use the direct contact method of training elephants. Speaking to ARD in April, Professor Manfred Niekisch, dire
Male Persian Leopard to Return Home from Portugal for Mating

The managing director of Eram Zoo, Iraj Jahangir, declared that on August 25, a male Persian leopard will be brought back to the country from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
It will be transferred to Eram Zoo in Tehran, according to a Farsi report by Tasnim News Agency.
Jahangir went on to say that the plane carrying the leopard will land at Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran at 10:30 am.
He added the rare animal, which had in a way migrated to Portugal, is being handed over to Iran for mating with a female Persian leopard and breeding.
Jahangir noted, “We already have a pair of leopards in the park. However, due to the old age of the male leopard, which has led to the infertility of the female animal, we decided to transfer another male leopard to the park. Mating and breeding are our two main goals.”
The leopard, which is in fact returning to
Chile rejects iron mine to protect penguins

Local firm Andes Iron wanted to extract millions of tons of the metal in the northern Coquimbo region and build a new port to ship it out.
A committee of ministers said the project did not offer sufficient environmental guarantees, echoing warnings by environmental groups.
"The compensation measures were insufficient and could not guarantee the protection of species of concern," such as the Humboldt penguin, said Environment Minister Marcelo Mena.
"We are not against economic development or projects that are necessary for the country's growth, but they must offer adequate solutions for the impact they will have."
Coquimbo lies on the coast south of the three islands that make up the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve, home to numerous wildlife species.
Among them is the endangered Humboldt penguin, distinguished by pink rings round its eyes and a black stripe across its chest.
Estimates of the overall number of Humboldt penguins vary, but there are estimated to be several thousand in the reserve.

Let’s start with a working definition of ‘science:’
“Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence” – Science Council
Furthermore, ‘science’ is not static, but is based on the best available evidence and should be impartial to politics, or wedded (biased) to any theoretical dogma – credible ‘science’ is impartial.
“Speaking as a scientist, cherry picking evidence is unacceptable…..when public figures abuse scientific argument… justify policies that they want to implement for other reasons, it debases scientific culture” – Stephen Hawking
So, in response to questions raised (NW750, June 2017) by Mr P Van Dalen to the Minister, Department: Environmental Affairs (DEA), May 2017, we have some insight into the DEA’s ‘thinking.’
Q.1 – “How was the proposed quota of 800 lion skeletons established?”
In response, the DEA tells us that:
“The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) reviewed available information regarding the export of lion bones, lion skeletons and captive produced lion hunting trophies from South Africa between 2005 and September 2016. Based on the CITES trade database information and two studies, (i) Bones of Contention: An assessment of South African trade in African lion bone and other body parts and (ii) Southern African Wildlife trade: an analysis of CITES trade in the South African Development Community (SADC) region – a study commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the Scientific Authority recommended an export quota of 800 skeletons per year. The Scientific Authority considered the recommendation by SANBI, and the comments were received by the Department of Environmental Affairs and made a recommendation to the Minister, relating to the final quota.”
Visitor Mauled at Beijing Badaling Wildlife Park Complains Staff Criticized Him for Breaking Rules

A man that escaped serious injury from a black bear mauling at Badaling Wildlife World says he is unsatisfied with the "critical tone" the park has taken towards him for breaking its rules.
A man named Chen had his left shoulder bitten by a black bear last Friday when he and his friend were driving through the free roaming section of Badaling Wildlife World's carnivorous animals area.
Chen said he knew park rules forbade visitors from rolling down their car windows, but said he didn't see anything wrong when he saw other drivers opening their windows to feed the black bears.
Taman Safari's animal parade pays tribute to Independence

Thousands of visitors packed Taman Safari Indonesia (TSI) in Bogor, West Java, to observe and photograph the unique species that featured in an animal parade on Sunday to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of Indonesian independence.
Seventy-nine animals were exhibited in the parade held on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20, including tigers, elephants, several species of birds and snakes, and camels.
Taman Safari spokesperson Yulius said the animal parade was an annual event and was held not only to entertain the park's visitors, but also to encourage them to care more about animals, especially species endemic to the Indonesian archipelago.
Ahead of Independence Day, TSI announced that 54 species had been born in 2017 at its conservation center, including a Kalimantan orangutan. The park is now awaiting the birth of a calf of the Javanese wild bull, which was conceived through artificial insemination.
TSI director Jansen Manansang said that of the 54 animals comprising exotic and endemic species successfully bred at the conservation park, 16 were rare and protected species: a Komodo dragon, a Javan hawk-eagle, a lesser bird-of-paradise, a Malay tapir, Goffin’s co
‘Hakka patas’ Animal rights and related matters

Some days ago, I received an article on elephant conservation by Jeremy Hance in The Guardian of August 12th. Much of the piece concerned the ‘Elephant Sanctuary’ in Tennessee, USA, which was established over 20 years ago on 200 acres and now covers 2700 acres. It presently hosts 10 elephants and sightseers, parties and casual visitors are unwelcome and not admitted.
The staff is very experienced in the various aspects of the management of the sanctuary. They are, also, devoted to their charges. One such is Otto Fad, Animal Behaviour and Research Specialist (see below), who notes that ‘elephants have deep psychological needs’.
The article on ‘Elephant Conservation’ was published in support of 2017’s ‘World Elephant Day’ (WED2017). This was co-founded on the 12th August 2012 by the Canadian film director, Patricia Sims and the ‘Elephant Re-introduction Foundation of Thailand’, which was founde

Following the lifting of a ban on domestic trade in rhino in South Africa, private rhino owner John Hume is controversially set to auction 500kgs of rhino horn online. Although he can’t post it off to international buyers (they have to keep it in South Africa) he has been marketing to an international audience – having translated the auction site into Mandarin and Vietnamese.
The South African government has given the green light for the rhino horn auction. On his auction site John Hume has responded to people’s concerns about the effect trading in rhino horn will have on poaching. We have copied his responses here and have tried to explain to him why they are invalid and carry no weight.
Horn of contention: Behind the controversial rhino horn auction

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has shown it has neither the political will, the necessary clout nor the resources to properly regulate the domestic trade in rhino horn, let alone prevent a multi-million dollar trans-national rhino horn-smuggling racket that would violate a forty-plus year old treaty that outlaws the international commercial trade in rhino horn.
The warning was sounded by conservationists, legal experts and NGOs on Monday after Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa’s 11th hour refusal to deliver a permit, authorising rhino farmer John Hume to trade 264 rhino horns through an online auction, backfired in the North Gauteng High Court on Sunday.
Speaking from Cape Town, environmental lawyer Cormac Cullinan warned the so-called "legal" domestic trade would serve as a cover for the illegal international trade in horn, just like other scams run by trans-national organised crime syndicates and Asian triads.
"As long as one unscrupulous person can get a buyer's permit, all the horn can be channelled out through that person or entity as a nominated alternative buyer. They will find a way to corrupt any monitoring scheme and the horn will leave SA. The department should have intervened much earlier.
"Although the DEA may discover that the purchaser no longer has th
Enter the Dragon: The Dynamic and Multifunctional Evolution of Anguimorpha Lizard Venoms.

While snake venoms have been the subject of intense study, comparatively little work has been done on lizard venoms. In this study, we have examined the structural and functional diversification of anguimorph lizard venoms and associated toxins, and related these results to dentition and predatory ecology. Venom composition was shown to be highly variable across the 20 species of Heloderma, Lanthanotus, and Varanus included in our study. While kallikrein enzymes were ubiquitous, they were also a particularly multifunctional toxin type, with differential activities on enzyme substrates and also ability to degrade alpha or beta chains of fibrinogen that reflects structural variability. Examination of other toxin types also revealed similar variability in their presence and activity levels. The high level of venom chemistry variation in varanid lizards compared to that of helodermatid lizards suggests th
The Rich Orangutan Histories

I first visited the Simunjan-Sebuyau-Sedilu peat swamp landscape in the late 1980s, as a member of the National Parks and Wildlife Office’s conservation education team drumming up support for the conservation of orangutans and their habitats. The visits to the landscape continued into the 1990s and 2000s including three additional conservation education programs and my PhD was conducted in this area, and in fact, in the deeper parts of the peat swamps at Sedilu.
In my most recent visit to the landscape meeting with longhouse folks, some of whom are now octogenarians, and their children, who had helped with orangutan surveys in the area back in the late 1950s and mid 1970s, was such a pleasure. These were the people described in Barbara Harrisson’s book Orangutan, and they recounted to me their interactions and work with the famed biologist and the animals she studied. Their stories were particularly poignant as I had previously been able to make contact with former British colonial officers (now based in the UK) who helped with logistics in the 1959-60 field surveys for George Schaller. They were ex-Sarawak forest department as well as museum staff of that period, some of whom have passed on.
The government was finally able to protect
Why tiger snakes are on a winner

Australian tiger snakes have "hit the jackpot" because prey cannot evolve resistance to their venom.
While that may sound foreboding, University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences expert Associate Professor Bryan Fry said this discovery had medical benefit for humans.
That's because tiger snake antivenom has an extraordinary level of cross reactivity against other snake species, and can therefore neutralise the lethal effects on humans in snakebite cases.
"The level of conservation in the toxin sequences is not only really unusual, but this is why the corresponding tiger snake antivenom is so useful in treatments against bites from many Australian snakes that affect the blood in the same way," Dr Fry said.
"No other antivenom in the world is so spectacularly effective against such a wide range of snakes this way and now we know why."
Dr Fry said the research had overturned a central paradigm of ve
The woman with the zoo's most dangerous job

Wherever she goes, Stephanie Natt is the most interesting person in the room, so you might as well pull up a chair and listen. Whatever anyone else does for a living, she can probably top it. All she has to do is reveal her job and the questions begin.
She’s lead keeper for wild cats at Hogle Zoo, which means she has the most dangerous job in any room, one in which one mistake — one moment of, say, forgetting to lock a door — could make her the dinner entrée. So when someone asks her what she does for a living, she’s got a ready audience — if she wants it.
“Sometimes I just tell them I sell insurance,” she says.
That’s because any mention of her real job “leads to a billion” questions and sometimes she’s simply not up to it, but usually she feels obligated to go with the truth.
“Especially when I encounter someone who is anti-zoo,” she says. “I educate them. Nine times out of 10 I can convince them of the need for zoos.”
Natt mentions all this while answering a billion questions from a newspaper writer and photographer as she makes her morning rounds, inspecting, training and feeding lions, tigers and leopards. As lead keeper, she is responsible for every aspect of caring for the big cats — feeding, breeding, habitats, “de-pooping” (her word) the enclosures and the emotional and physical health of the animals.
This morning she is feeding the lions cow bones as a post-breakfast snack while performing mock injections by poking them with a stick. This is to prepare the cats for a time they might require a jab from a hypodermic needle. The two large males, brothers Baron and Vulcan, suffer this indignity patiently.
“(The cats) all have different personalities, just
The End of Session Signal…

Can you imagine you are having an amazing day doing what you love, interacting with friends, campfire, drinks and beautiful memories you share? The Idea of feeling super content because you are with valuable friends that one moment to the other moment when somebody says we all go home… where you feel a little bit of disappointment although you understand people have to go home. There is a little sadness in you because people you love didn’t stay the whole evening. Just because you have such a great relationship and click with them and you just feel 500% comfortable being around such friends.
Now to the animals…
We have a great interaction with playtime, high success rate in your training, and cuddles what the animal seems to enjoy. Without asking the animal the animal keeps on following you and just seems to have the urge to be with you because you have such a great relationship and you are such a variety in the animal’s life. Till the moment, you say to the animal ok its done and you leave. How will the animal act after you left? We will never know
Great American Eclipse? Animals at the zoo could not care less

Eclipse Day was just another day at the office for the bonobos and other residents of the Fort Worth Zoo.
The Great American Eclipse of 2017, in which the moon’s shadow blocked 75 percent of the sun here, came and went without even a wave from the bonobos.
Nor did there appear to be any irregular animal behavior in the other exhibits. Fact is, it just didn’t get much darker than usual at 1:08 p.m., the time of maximum partial solar eclipse in North Texas.
Taronga Zoo has announced the opening of their new Tiger exhibition today. The long-awaited Tiger Trek, is the first exhibit of its kind, one that combines the excitement of seeing four endangered Tigers with an educational program designed to makes participants aware of the grievous threat palm oil production has on the species.
The exhibit takes audiences on a tour of wild Sumatra, beginning with an aircraft that transports visitors to a replica of a village in the Way Kambas National Park. Walk through the village, to the corner of the national park to see the four endangered Sumatran tigers.
The conclusion of the journey is what makes the exhibit exceptional. The exhibit ends in an average everyday superma
Captive big cats show stress in different ways

Observing wild animals in zoos is a refreshing break from everyday monotony for most of us. For the zoo animals, on the other hand, it’s a stressful life. Animals in zoos show certain specific behaviours not seen in their wild counterparts: elephants sway their heads from side to side, chimps rock back and forth, bears bite their feet, giraffes lick walls, and leopards pace in their cages, to name a few. Known as ‘stereotypy’, these behaviours are coping responses commonly observed in captive wild animals.
Being held behind bars – literally or figuratively – can be depressing for anyone. Wild animals, as such, are not evolved to exist in the zoo environments, and they tend to face a number of challenges in captivity, for which they are not equipped. The climatic conditions, the food provided, and the size and nature of captive habitat are very different from what exists in the wild or natural habitat.
Stereotypic behaviour is a repetitive pattern of action displayed by such animals, which have no obvious purpose; it is a sort of restlessness. Although not directly linked, stereotypy has been associated with factors related to captivity such as enclosure or cage size, social atmosphere with conspecific (their own species), human intervention, etc. The behaviour, therefore, suggests that the animals p
Crime fighters urged to step up fight against organised gangs behind multi-billion dollar wildlife trade

When a Thai smuggler was arrested in 2014 carrying 5 million baht ($190,000) in cash he was allegedly on his way to buy protected rosewood from a forest near Bangkok.
Key points
Wildlife crime is worth up to $29 billion a year
But there is little investigation into how smugglers use organised networks and money laundering
In one scam Thai prostitutes posed as rhino hunters, so the animals' horns could be sent to Asia
But the man's sister owned a zoo in north-east Thailand, and a counter-wildlife trafficking organisation had suspected there were links between the zoo and tiger trafficking from Malaysia and Thailand.
Thanks to that tipoff, a routine wildlife crime was exposed as something more sinister.
Thai authorities launched a financial investigation into the smuggler as well as the zoo's operations.

The 1st World Conference on Sheep

Open letter to Thanda Tau – Where do your lion cubs go?

These beautiful creatures have never known their lion moms. Abandoned, says Thanda Tau. Rejected.
Instead, the cubs are bottle fed and raised by humans. In the first six months of their life, they need to endure up to 10 hours of human interaction seven days a week. Being touched and cuddled by a range of strangers.
Even though Thanda Tau states that “it is not their intention to generate an income from their animals”, in the hour or so I was at Thanda Tau on a Friday in the middle of winter outside the school holidays, I saw three groups enter their cub petting enclosure. A total of about 10 people, paying R80 per adult for the privilege to touch a lion cub.
Imagine the potential visitor numbers during the summer school holidays, especially considering this roadside petting zoo is conveniently located on the N3 – the main artery between Gauteng and Durban.
After about six months of being cooped up in a small enclosure, putting up with a continuous stream of visitors, these girls have reached th


** ***

** **



New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

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

Recent Zoo Vacancies

Vacancies in Zoos and Aquariums and Wildlife/Conservation facilities around the World

About me
After more than 49 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and many more before 'hitting the road' and writes about these in his blog

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

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | | Skype: peter.dickinson48