Monday, August 21, 2017

Zoo News Digest 21st August 2017 (ZooNews 968)

Zoo News Digest 21st August 2017  (ZooNews 968)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

So the online Rhino Horn Auction gets approval to take place. This is a domestic auction as international trade remains illegal. So just what sort of South African is going to purchase a big chunk of keratin? That's just what it is and we all know that. Regardless of the price paid for it it is effectively valueless sitting as a paperweight on somebody's desk in South Africa. Whoever makes a purchase has other plans, of that I have no doubt. "The South African government insists that protections are in place to prevent horns from leaking onto the black market". I would be very interested to know exactly what these are….Is somebody going to check on the purchases, every week, every month? There are so many loopholes in this auction that it is inevitable that horn will sneak out the back door to Vietnam.

I found the article by Wayne Pacelle of interest. He has not quite convinced me he is not one of the bad guys but it has opened my mind enough to accept him as a speaker at the AZA conference. I try to be open on all matters and opinionated as I am on so many things I am always prepared to change my mind (even on Rhino Horn sales) if a convincing argument is put forward.

There are a lot of interesting links below. They all need a look. This said I would ask you to spend some time this week listening to the talks given at International Animal Welfare Congress 2017. There is much of interest there to people working in zoos.

Did You Know?
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If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 


It's Now Legal to Sell Rhino Horn in South Africa. The World's Top Breeder Makes His Move.
About 1,500 rhinos roam John Hume’s ranch in South Africa’s Klerksdorp, located a hundred miles from Johannesburg. Every 20 months or so Hume, who breeds more rhinos than anyone in the world, tranquilizes the animals and dehorns them. He does this to ward off poachers and for the potential to one day cash in on his more than six-ton stockpile.

That day has finally come. On Monday, Hume plans to hold an online auction to sell 264 rhino horns to South African residents.

A moratorium on buying and selling rhino horn within South Africa has been in place since 2009, but in 2015 Hume and another rhino horn breeder filed suit to overturn it. A final court ruling in April opened the way for the domestic trade to begin again, though the ban on the international trade, established in 19

S. Africa opposes online rhino horn auction
South Africa on Friday moved to halt an online auction of rhino horn starting next week, as outraged conservationists said the sale would undermine the global ban on rhino trade.
The three-day auction by South African John Hume, who runs the world's biggest rhino farm, comes after a ban on domestic trade in the country was lifted three months ago.
Hume's lawyer Izak du Toit claimed the permits had already been approved—but not issued.
The High Court in Pretoria started hearing the case on an urgent basis on Friday.
The court is expected to make a decision on Sunday, shortly before to the auction is scheduled to open at midday (1000 GMT) on Monday, officials said.
"The Minister of Environmental Affairs is opposing the application," the government said in a statement on Friday, declining to comment further.
Hume and some other campaigners say poaching can only be halted by meeting the huge demand from Asia through legally "harvesting" horn from anaesthetised live rhinos.
He has stockpiles of six tonnes of horns and wants to place 500 kilogrammes or 264 horns, under the hammer.
South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, some 80 percent

Zoos and animal welfare groups
Guest column
Zoos and animal welfare groups
An effort to work together
By WAYNE PACELLE Special to the Democrat-Gazette
What a disappointment to read Randal Berry's scattershot attack on me and the Humane Society of the United States that appeared in Perspective on Aug. 13. It was sparked by the invitation I received to appear at the national conference of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the organization that maintains rigorous standards for accreditation for its member institutions. Berry at one time worked for the Little Rock Zoo as a keeper, and is apparently in touch with professional operatives attacking HSUS on behalf of animal cruelty perpetrators, since he repeated so many of their canards and caricatures chapter and verse.

I've spoken at many zoos around the country through the years, and 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. At that conference, I once again reiterated my support for AZA-accredited zoos.

There was nearly unanimous agreement among participants about the value of AZA-accredited zoos and mainstream animal welfare advocates uniting. HSUS values the important work of the Little Rock Zoo and strongly supports its current leadership. The Little Rock Zoo and HSUS have partnered on important legislation to protect wild and exotic animals, and HSUS has long supported the Zoo's conservation education efforts.

Berry is apparently unaware of the progress that zoos have made on the issue and is still carrying an us-versus-them banner, even after he's been long gone as a reptile keeper at the zoo. He trots out so many false claims about me and HSUS that it's hard to know where to begin. He says we're against the slaughter of animals for food, but I wonder how he squares that claim with the reality that HSUS has a National Agriculture Advisory Council and 11 state agriculture councils, with every member a working farmer or rancher and also a leader at HSUS. We have farmers on our staff, including a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Tennessee. If Berry is a serious-minded person, he has some fact-checking to do.

It was HSUS that worked to pass the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act in the Congress in 1958, and we've been committed to those issues ever since. In the last five years, we've negotiated more than 300 agreements with the biggest food retailers--from McDonald's to Wal-Mart to Cracker Barrel--to modify their purchasing practices to improve the lives of animals.

Berry goes so far as to suggest I don't love animals. That will be news to my rescue beagle, who comes to the office with me every day and is my beloved sidekick just about everywhere I go. And it will be news to my rescue cat, who often drapes herself around my neck. I encourage Mr. Berry to read my New York Times best-selling book on the deep connection that I and so many others feel for animals titled The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.

Yes, among some, HSUS is controversial--among puppy millers, "kill buyers" in the horse slaughter business, animal fighters, wildlife traffickers and whalers, and other people and industries who are perpetrators of animal cruelty. As long as I'm around the organization, it'll stay that way.

HSUS and its affiliates are the largest provider of animal care in the world, touching in 2016 more than 300,000 animals through our animal rescue deployments, rural veterinary programs, international street dog sterilization and vaccination programs, wildlife response teams, and direct care sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers. But we cannot rescue our way out of the problems of animal cruelty. That's why in addition to setting the country on a trajectory to end the extreme and intensive confinement of animals in agriculture, we've also driven these other reforms:

We've made malicious animal cruelty a felony and outlawed dogfighting and cockfighting in every state. In the mid-1980s, only four U.S. states had felony penalties for malicious acts of cruelty.

Our campaign against Canada's commercial seal hunt has saved 1.4 million seals from being clubbed or shot in the last decade, and we've fought alongside others in dramatically reducing the global killing of whales.

We've helped to drive down euthanasia rates by 90 percent since we launched our campaign in the 1960s to promote spay-or-neuter and adoption. Today, there are 1.5 million adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in shelters every year, compared to more than 15 million in 1970.

We've also spearheaded the effort to crack down on the ivory trade and other forms of wildlife trafficking, passing bills in more than a dozen key states and backing federal rules on the topic.

We're proud to work with law enforcement across the country and to work with retailers like Wal-Mart. And we're pleased to have a strong working relationship with AZA and other reputable groups on animal welfare. We work in all 50 st

Conserving the Cooter: Turtle research in southeast NM
Eastern New Mexico University professor and biologist Dr. Ivana Mali and her students were on the hunt this summer for a small, yet precious species in the Black River in Southeastern New Mexico.

The Rio Grande River Cooter, a turtle of small size with "striking" markings, was drawn to traps she baited with shrimp and sardines.

Conservation efforts in Abu Dhabi mean new hope for endangered species
There is some encouraging news on the conservation of wildlife in the 2017 Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi report released on Sunday.

A yearlong project to study the Arabian Sand Cat reported 27 sightings in the Baynouna area, while a major census found 701 Humpback Dolphins, meaning that the world’s largest single number of the species live in the waters around Abu Dhabi.
Satellite tracking of the rare spotted eagle followed their migration path through the UAE, showing that they rested here in Spring and Autumn on a journey of 19,000 kilometres.

A chance discovery recorded extremely rare 10 Helleborine Orchids (Epipactis veratrifolia), the only species of orchid native to the UAE.

Fears of koala wipeout as hundreds face lethal injection
HUNDREDS of koalas are being sentenced to death by lethal injection as Queensland’s wildlife crisis deepens.

Most injured koalas taken to the RSPCA wildlife hospital at Oxley in Brisbane do not make it out alive and there are new fears the cuddly Australia marsupials may be heading for extinction.

Of the 323 koalas taken to the hospital in the past 12 months only 80 were returned to the wild, RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said.

“They died of their injuries or had to be euthanised,” he said.

“It is very disturbing.”

Love beckons for recovering chimp in Brazil refuge
Marcelino is calling to her, but Cecilia cannot be with him. Not yet. He may be handsome, but she has suffered a lot and isn't ready for a relationship.
This is not a soap opera. It is just the way things go in a Brazilian refuge for abused and depressed chimpanzees.
Cecilia, 20, sits on a rooftop and gazes wistfully around—perhaps remembering her childhood spent in a cramped zoo, or her two friends who died there.
Luckily she is now in the best place to have her depression treated: the Sorocaba Great Primates Sanctuary.
She is alone in her enclosure, but with toys and plenty of space, it beats being in a zoo. And her carers say she is slowly getting better.
Legal chimp precedent
Cecilia came to Sorocaba four months ago from Mendoza in Argentina, after making legal history in a case brought by animal rights' groups.
The judge ruled that Cecilia was being held in unsuitable conditions at the Mendoz

Zoo gorilla dies of cancer, days after constipation surgery
A 49-year-old lowland gorilla at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas died Sunday after tests revealed she had late-stage ovarian cancer that had spread, four days after undergoing surgery for constipation.

The zoo said in a statement that after Tiffany failed to improve since her surgery Wednesday to clear "a significant amount of stool" from her colon, the gorilla was taken Sunday for scans that revealed two abdominal masses later identified as tumors linked to stage-four ovarian cancer.

During a surgery later Sunday, the zoo said, "it

Ignore the headlines about wildlife conservation – we don't need to resort to warzone tactics to protect endangered species
International interest in wildlife conservation in Africa seems to wax and wane in line with outraged or triumphant news headlines. Whether gnashing its teeth over Cecil the Lion's son, or cheering on last week's public destruction of two tonnes of ivory in Central Park, the international community is having all the wrong debates. Should we tackle poaching by targeting demand? Do we need more armed soldiers? But these do not need to be the only options when it comes to protecting endangered species.

Contrary to the recent increase in stories around militarisation of conservation, wildlife parks are not war zones and citizens should not have to be in a “battle” with animals to gain access to land. The word “engagement” is often thrown around like a panacea. But it really does work. For example, at the M

Oman wildlife rangers losing the battle to poaching and housing estates
Hamed Al Marzooki lifted an Arabian gazelle calf from the seat of his four-wheel drive and placed it in an enclosure at the back of his house. The calf had an injured leg. Not only that, but it was alone and defenceless after its mother was shot by poachers.

As a ranger with Oman's Environmental Office for the Preservation of Protected Animals, it has fallen to Mr Al Marzooki, 48, to nurse the calf back to health and then release it into the government’s protected Al Kamil Wal Wafi park in the eastern region.

The 220-square-kilometre park is home not only to gazelles, but also to red foxes, wildcats, oryx, eagles and wild goats. Oman has five more of these protected parks around the country but it is losing the battle to protect wild animals because of poaching and now the development of housing estates for low income citizens close to parkland. 

“Every year these animals go down in number. Poaching

Conservation and ethical care of sharks, skates, rays and chimeras
 The Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual details the hands-on ethical care of sharks, rays, skates and chimeras. The Manual is intended to assist in the development of new exhibits, aid the training of husbandry personnel, prepare scientists for hands field work and answer specific questions about the care of this important taxonomic group.

International Animal Welfare Congress 2017
A collection of more than 20 videos which will be well worth spending some time watching and listening

I wanna be like you-hoo-hoo: How chimps like to imitate humans by pouting, swaying and bobbing their heads
Just as King Louie sang in the film The Jungle Book, scientists say chimps at the zoo really do want to be like you . . .
Swedish researchers noticed how zoo visitors liked to imitate chimpanzees, with clapping, head-slapping and armpit-scratching among the more common gestures by humans.
But after three weeks of secret observation, scientists found the chimps were also aping the humans outside their enclosure — by pouting, swaying their bodies and bobbing their heads.

Death by 50m camera clicks: As THREE SeaWorld killer whales die in a year, a former trainer says when the show is over, the gentle giant's lives are a 'disgrace to humanity'
A thousand tourists hold their breath as a giant killer whale leaps skyward, the sun gleaming off its smooth back.
As if auditioning for a Disney movie, the two-and-a-half ton leviathan performs an elegant backflip before landing with a thunderous splash.
It's a Thursday afternoon, but SeaWorld in San Diego, California, is packed with visitors, many of them British, all drawn by the undisputed star attractions: ten huge killer whales performing two shows daily.

Killer Whales, SeaWorld and the Truth About John Hargrove
In his book Beneath The Surface and in his public statements, author and former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove tries to have it both ways.

On one side, John Hargrove is espousing animal activist dogma. On the other side, John Hargrove is praising his experience in the marine park industry, praising SeaWorld and trying to help a celebrity buy killer whales.

The only thing that is clear, John Hargrove has a book to sell you.

The Real John Hargrove loves SeaWorld and his time as a trainer. From his interviews with a young intern who was looking to become a marine mammal trainer, to his engagement with people on social media about his love of killer whales, or touting off the sound care the animals receive at SeaWord – the Real John Hargrove espouses the benefit and joy of working with captive killer whales and his employer, SeaWorld.

Now Book John Hargrove needs you to buy his

2 bears, not 1, killed Swedish wildlife park employee
Swedish public radio says two bears — not one — killed an employee at one of Europe's largest wildlife parks earlier this month.

Prosecutor Gunnar Jonasson told SR on Friday that the bears dug their way under a fence and mauled to death an 18-year-old man who was cleaning an enclosure at the Orsa Rovdjurspark in northern Sweden.

Jonasson declined to say why only one of the bears was euthanized after the attack. The investigation into what happened on Aug. 4 is not yet complete.

The unidentified employee died at a hospital.

The Orsa Rovdjurspark, 330 kilometers (205

Highland Council say no serious issues have been found at Black Isle animal park
More than 125,000 people have backed a petition calling for the visitor attraction to be closed amid accusations of poor animal welfare.

Highland Council and the Scottish SPCA have been criticised by Animal Concern Advice Line (ACAL) for not taking more stringent action against the park.

The petition against Black Isle Wildlife Park, now renamed Noah’s Ark Animal Park, attracted 125,394 online backers, of which 25,384 were from the UK. It has been sent to the council and the SSPCA.

But Highland Council said it had investigated all complaints in conjunction with Animal and Plant Health Agency appointed veterinary inspectors and the SSPCA, and found no "serious" animal welfare or neglect problems.

A spokeswoman added: "A number of visits to the park have been conducted by officers both unannounced and scheduled as part of these investigation in order to carry out a thorough inspection of the park, the condition of the animals and the welfare arrangements.

"The park also has their own appointed veterinary practice and our e

Inside the Chinese 'animal sanctuary' where endangered Siberian tigers are trained to perform in circus and pose for pictures with tourists
A safari park is usually a place where visitors go to watch animals roam around in vast open spaces under the knowledge that they are treated well.
But this sanctuary in Harbin, China has been branded a large-scale breeding farm where the Siberian Tigers are kept in unnatural conditions and are made to perform for visitors.
Visitors to the park are able to pay extra money to throw live animals into the enclosure and watch the tigers 'hunt'.

International Vulture Awareness Day

Grown-up chimps are less likely to help distressed friends
There, there! Adult chimpanzees are less likely than younger ones to console their companions in times of distress. The finding raises questions about how the capacity for empathy changes with age in our closest relatives – and us.

When a chimpanzee gets upset, perhaps after losing a fight, companions will often sit with them and provide reassurance by kissing, grooming or embracing them.

The same is true of young children. By age 2, children typically respond to a family member crying by consoling them in a similar way.

We know chimpanzees have personalities: individual differences in their behaviour that are consistent over time. But it was unclear whether their empathetic tendencies are part of their personality, and whether they

When collecting bird sperm, method matters
Different methods of collecting bird sperm produce different sperm lengths, potentially affecting the conclusions of fertility studies.
Scientists who are studying fertility in birds often use sperm length as an indicator of reproductive success. In birds, sperm length is a measure of how well the sperm can swim, and therefore their chance of success.
However, when collecting sperm, researchers often use a combination of different methods. Now, scientists at Imperial College London, the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany and the University of Linköping, Sweden have found different methods preferentially produce different lengths of house sparrow sperm.
This could potentially affect the outcomes of fertility studies. The results are published today in PLOS ONE.
The research team at Imperial College London, led by Dr Julia Schroeder, studies both a captive population of house sparrows and wild sparrows

Wild otter filmed alive in first Japan sighting since 1979
A wild otter was caught on film on Nagasaki Prefecture’s Tsushima Island in February, marking the first sighting of the mammal in Japan in 38 years, a University of the Ryukyus team said Thursday.

It is not known whether the observed otter was a Japanese river otter — which was once found across Japan but is believed to have gone extinct — according to the team of researchers. A river otter was last spotted in 1979 in the city of Susaki, Kochi Prefecture.

Hunting for otter fur and pollution in river habitats had caused a sharp decline in the animal’s population.

The Environment Ministry said an analysis of excrement samples collected on Tsushima Island in July suggested the presence of two Eurasian otters. One is believed to have come from South Korea or Russia’s Sakhalin island, but the origin of the other animal remained unknown.

The team said a camera set up for an ecological survey of the Tsushima leopard cat captured the otter. In the footage, the otter is of adult size and appears to be in good health and nutritional status, the researchers told a news conference at the ministry.

The team said the animal could either be a Japanese river otter that has survived, a Eurasian otter that has crossed the sea from South Korea about 50 km away, or a species that has been brought by humans.

There are more than 10 species of otter in

Thieves stealing Venezuela zoo animals to eat them, say police
Venezuela authorities are investigating the theft of animals from a zoo in western state of Zulia that were likely snatched to be eaten, a further sign of hunger in a country struggling with chronic food shortages.

A police official said two collared peccaries, which are similar in appearance to boars, were stolen over the weekend from the Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in the sweltering city of Maracaibo near the Colombian border.

“What we presume is that they (were taken) with the intention of eating them,” Luis Morales, an official for the Zulia division of the National Police, told reporters on Tuesday.

The chaotic collapse of the country’s socialist economic model has created chronic food shortages that have fuelled malnutrition and left millions seeking food anywhere they can find it, including in trash cans and dumpsters.

President Nicolas Maduro blames food shortages

Drunk man jumps into zoo enclosure to feed bear condensed milk but animal bites his hand off in bloody attack
A drunk man had his hand bitten off by a bear after he jumped into the animal's zoo enclosure to feed it condensed milk.

The 42-year-old's bloody attack was caught on CCTV as he ignored warning signs to climb over a fence in Irkutsk, Russia.

Celebrating vultures: The unsung heroes of the ecosystem
Vultures get a bad rap, but they actually play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They’re also super awesome.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park brought 9-year-old black vulture Duke to the News 8 Morning Extra Set to show off his feathers in front of the equally beautiful Heather Myers.

Vultures are becoming endangered and the zoo is celebrating the species with International Vulture Awareness Day at the park from September 2-4.

On that day, the zoo will feature the bird in various educa

8th National Zookeeper Training-Workshop

Oct 16 - Oct 18 · Biodiversity Management Bureau · Quezon City, Philippines

9 Actual Animal Issues More Important than Killer Whales at SeaWorld (and How to Get Off Your Ass and Actually Start Making a Difference)
The country seems to be obsessed with the 22 killer whales living at SeaWorld. I applaud people’s passion on wanting these animals to have the best lives possible. However, don’t be distracted by what the media is telling you is important. There are actual animal issues occurring today – but nobody is talking about them…let alone taking action.

Here are 9 actual animal issues more important than Killer Whales living at SeaWorld.

Chinese Firm to Build US $40 Million Elephant Conservation, Breeding Center in Laos
A Chinese state-owned enterprise said on Saturday that it will build a U.S. $40 million elephant conservation and breeding center in northwestern Laos’ Sayaboury province and develop it into a for-profit tourist attraction by the end of the year.

At a celebration of the first World Elephant Day in the province on Aug. 12, the Sino-Lao Tourism Investment and Development Company Ltd., announced its plans to build the center in Sayaboury city for a species that has become increasingly scarce in the Southeast Asian country.

Company manager Mu Yian Yu told attendees through an interpreter that the company will invest $40 million in building the conservation center during the upcoming dry weather season which begins after October.

“The Sino-Lao Tourism Investment and Development Company will develop the center this year,” he said, adding that provincial officials have granted the firm a 50-year land concession for the center.

“In two years we will have boats, hot air balloons, and elephant shows,” he said.

A Sayaboury official, who requested anonymity, said the Chinese firm is building the elephant center as a tourist attraction.

“They are developing a tourist attraction in Sayab

"He started this place on a wing and a prayer": celebrating 30 years since Monkey World began
IT’S 30 years since a zookeeper from New York showed up in Dorset with a single-minded determination to build a rescue centre for apes.

Today, a decade after Jim Cronin’s untimely death, Monkey World has followers around the world.

His widow Alison, who met Jim in 1993, says locals in the 1980s must have found it hard to imagine what Jim had in mind.

“Mostly local people were rather bemused that there was this strangely accented American in the area who claimed he was going to rescue monkeys and live on the edge of Wareham Forest. That was all conside

Guest Speaker: Gabrielle Harris – Who Are We?
Gabrielle Harris is a great person I had the privilege to meet at on of the IMATA conferences I attended. She has a perspective on animal training what I like very much. Very thoughtful presentations are presented by her such as this one: Awareness of Control as Primary Reinforcer

She wrote a book called Touching Animals Souls and will be translated at the end of this month to German. Her second book is on the way as well and will be available in English and Czech.

She is a great writer and in this guest blog she proves this once again.

 Education for Nature – Vietnam's Wildlife Crime Bulletin!

All work, no pay: the plight of young conservationists
Nika Levikov swore she would never work as a waitress again. But, today — with a master’s degree in conservation science from Imperial College London — she’s taking orders, delivering drinks, and cleaning tables to support herself.

After two years of looking for paid work as a conservationist around Europe and four months doing unpaid work in East Africa, Levikov moved to the island of Malta to work at Greenhouse Malta. Levikov, who owes over $100,000 (£77,644) in student loans, described her work at the small environment NGO as “casual” and “freelancing” — some hours are paid, others are volunteer — while the group looks to secure more funding.

“The reality many of us face is that we will have to babysit, clean toilets, and serve drinks as we try to gain the experience we need in conservation to finally get that dream job,” said Levikov, a former intern at Mongabay, who just turned 30.

“I’m not blaming anyone for my current situation in which I am utterly broke and still crossing my fingers that in the near future my career will finally take off,” she told Mongabay. “Indeed I was wrong in thinking that all my hard, unpaid work would lead to something or that having a degree fro

Introducing ZooWise

Zoo Keeper jailed for 10 years for supporting IS
 A Zoo Keeper was jailed a total of 10 years for supporting the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group via the Telegram application and for possessing IS related paraphernalia.

In sentencing, High Court judge Datuk Indera Mohd Sofian Tan Sri Abd Razak said the guilty plea is not a must for an accused to be given privilege.

The judge sentenced Mohd Sharullizam Ramli, 31, to a ten-year jail term for supporting the IS.

The offence was committed at Batu 11, Gombak, between March 25, 2016 and June 29, 2016,

He was also sentenced to a 3-year jail term for having in his possession a flag, a headband and a car sticker with the IS logo.

The offence was committed at 1.20pm on July 19, 2016.

However, the accused will only serve a ten-year jail term, as the judge ordered for both sentences to run concurrently, from the date of his arrest, on July 19, 2016.

In mitigating for a lenient sentence, defence counsel N.Sivanesan said his client works at Zoo Negara and earns a salary of RM1,300.

He also told the court that Mohd Sharullizam's

SeaWorld Euthanizes Killer Whale Kasatka; Matriarch Had Lung Disease
Six weeks after being rumored near death, killer whale matriarch Kasatka has died at SeaWorld San Diego, the park announced late Tuesday night.

Nearly 42 years old, Kasatka was euthanized around 8:15 p.m. at Orca Encounter after a long bout with bacterial respiratory infection, or lung disease, officials said.

“Despite their best efforts, her health and appetite significantly declined over the past several days despite continually tailored treatments,” SeaWorld said. “Kasatka’s veterinarians and caretakers made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her to prevent compromising her quality of life.”
Kasatka — the mother of four, grandmother of six and great grandmother of two orcas — “passed away surrounded by members of her pod, as well as the veterinarians and caretakers who loved her,” SeaWorld said.

The park said Kasatka’s behaviorists shared a special bond with the killer whale and were deeply saddened by her passing.

The loss leaves 10 orcas in San Diego — five females and five males, who appear to be doing well, SeaWorld said.

“But we’re monitoring and watching for any changes in their behavior,” said a statement. “While the loss of Kasatka is heart

The court case against Marineland might be over, but we can still consider this saga a 'win'
Despite years of bad press and seemingly credible allegations of animal abuse, it comes as little surprise that cruelty charges laid against Marineland by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) were withdrawn last week. The Crown said there was no reasonable chance of conviction.

Animal cruelty convictions are notoriously rare in Canada. But though the law may not recognize it, the very nature of Marineland — to confine animals to unnatural environments for entertainment and profit —  is cruel.

This case shows that the struggle to shut down these zoos using the power of the courts is still very much ongoing. Nevertheless, it can and should be considered a win: the case succeeded in keeping years-old investigations into Marineland's treatment of animals in the news, and catalyzed all sorts of valuable discussions about the purpose these facilities serve in the 21st century.

Turning a profit

Under the guise of education and conservation, marine parks and zoos exploit captive animals to entertain humans and to turn a profit. Make no mistake, Marineland, like SeaWorld, like the Bowmanville Zoo, like the Ringling Bros. Circus, is a business. Its product: animals captured from the wild or bred in captivity, sentenced to life in small, unnatural environments where they are forever denied the ability to engage in natural behaviours, some even forcefully trained to perform.

Animal welfare can never be the top priority when profit is at stake because the condition of the animals will always come second to the bottom line. As a result, captive wildlife oft

EAD releases further 54 Scimitar horned Oryx into wild in Chad
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, have just released a further 54 Scimitar horned Oryx into the wild in Chad. This latest release is a significant milestone for progress of the initiative, which seeks to reintroduce this extinct-in-the-wild species.

This largest reintroduction yet brings the number of animals in the wild to 89. The reintroduction efforts of the last year have seen the population grow with 16 calves now recorded in the wild.

EAD, along with their project partners, the Chadian Ministry of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Sahara Conservation Fund, aims to achieve a wild free-ranging, self-sustaining population of 500 animals in the Ouadi Rime Ouadi Achim game reserve in Chad. It is believed that the last Scimitar horned Oryx disappeared from Chad in the late 1980’s and the species was officially declared "Extinct in the Wild" globally by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, in 2000.

The animals selected for the reintroduction come from the ‘world herd’ that EAD has been curating at its breeding facility in Delaija, Abu Dhabi. Many of the animals that make up the world herd were generously donated to EAD from the collection of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The genetic diversity of the blood-stock has been increased with the addition of animals that have been kindly donated from a number of zoos and private collectors across the globe.

A very careful selection process takes

How llamas conquered the world
Llamas recently have become a relatively common sight around the world. Whether you live in England or New South Wales, Canada, or New Zealand, you don’t have to go too far to find a llama. Indeed thousands of llamas are registered in the UK, where the species has emerged as a popular (if seemingly unlikely) choice for many aspiring livestock owners and is winning new admirers by the day.
While the llama is currently on the up, its history has not always been so rosy. Reared intensively by the Incas, llamas suffered severely at the hands of the Spanish conquistadors and still lack the genetic diversity they enjoyed in Pre-Columbian times. But over the past few decades, llamas have flourished as a global commodity, fulfilling novel roles and gaining an international profile.
So how has the llama gone from near extincti

An investigation into the UK’s largest public aquarium chain


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I will include it when I get a minute. You know it makes sense.

Recent Zoo Vacancies

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

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

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

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

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