Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Zoo News Digest 7th November 2017 (ZooNews 974)

Zoo News Digest 7th November 2017  (ZooNews 974)


Peter Dickinson



Dear Colleague,

So Dubai Zoo has closed its doors for the last time. It leaves me with mixed feelings. I am delighted that the animals will move to the new Dubai Safari with more space and better facilities. What makes me sad is that the little green oasis that was Dubai Zoo will be lost to people of Jumeirah, the nannies and housemaids. Dubai Zoo was busy every day of the week because it was easily reached and affordable (less than AED5) and acted as a meeting point and somewhere to relax. Where are these people going to go now? There is not a direct bus to the Safari…and if there was it would take over half an hour to reach. A taxi would take about the same amount of time and you won't get much change out of AED60 (one way) and that is before you pay the entry fee for Dubai Safari which is expected to be AED20 to AED30 for children and AED50 to AED85 for adults. This is going to be way out of the budget and time allowance of the former visitors to Dubai Zoo. As yet no plans have been announced for the Dubai Zoo but I say let's keep it. Gut it, rebuild it and turn it into a Bird Garden which Dubai can be proud of.
I first visited Dubai Zoo in the early 1970's and if I am completely honest it has not changed very much in that time. It needed to go, it existed in a sort of time capsule. In spite of what many of the letters to the press made out the animals were well cared for within the space available. Downsizing was not possible as it acted as a rescue centre for confiscated exotics and you can only put so much into a pot before it overflows.

It holds the record for longest continuously operating zoo on the Arabian Peninsula though it was not the first. I recollect visiting the original Kuwait Zoo in 1955. Not a pleasant place. I recall being disappointed at not having the opportunity to visit the Royal elephant stables which were located close by. In Ahmadi too (1952) we had was quaintly termed "The Nursery". It would have been inspected as a zoo if it were in the UK. The Nursery held locally caught animals such as gazelle, foxes, eagle owls and more. For all I know The Nursery is still going but the Kuwait Zoo is now into its third or fourth metamorphosis.

There was a bit of discussion these past few weeks about the newly formed 'Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance' whose aims are "to eliminate private ownership and the commercial exploitation of wild cats in the United States." I have no connection to any of the alliance members (and don't wish it) but that I am in 100% agreement of that italicised statement. Wild cats, regardless of species should not be in private hands. They should not be hybridised and indiscriminately bred and sold. This sort of abuse is doing the species any favours. It is NOT conservation. Wild Cats need to be housed in good zoos in accredited official breeding programmes. Conservation is NOT keeping and breeding animals. It goes far deeper than that. Sadly there are many two bit breeders out there who cannot see deeper than the first half inch.

I was happy to learn that the Russian keeper (Nadezhda Srivastava) that was attacked by the tiger in Kaliningrad Zoo survived and is in stable though critical condition. These things happen…unfortunately, and, to me "the reason of the tragedy was the violation of security regulations" does not have much meaning because it suggests she entered the enclosure with the tiger deliberately. No, this was keeper error once again and by a keeper with many years' experience. These things happen.
I do have these shadows of doubt when I see newspaper statements like "Before today, the tiger had never attacked a human before". This suggests that entering the enclosure with the animal was a regular occurrence. You and I know that this would never be the case.


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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,

Female zookeeper is mauled by a tiger and left fighting for life before shocked visitors throw rocks to scare it away in Russia
This is the horrifying moment a Siberian tiger attacked a young female zookeeper in full view of visitors.
The big cat, called Typhoon, sprang on the keeper at Kaliningrad Zoo, in Russia, after its cage was accidentally left open while she brought food to the animal.
But her life was saved as shocked onlookers shouted and threw stones at tiger until it backed away.
Some men even lifted a table and chairs from a nearby cafe, hurling them over the fence to distract the predator so the keeper could escape.

New Great Ape Species Described: the Tapanuli Orangutan
A team of Indonesian and international scientists have described a new species of orangutan, in a paper published on November 2nd in the scientific journal Current Biology.
The researchers demonstrate that the Tapanuli orangutan, Pongo tapanuliensis, is genetically and morphologically distinct from both Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus) and Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii), and is therefore a separate species. According to the findings, the Tapanuli orangutan is in fact more closely related to the Bornean orangutan
than it is to the Sumatran orangutans living further north in and around the Leuser Ecosystem, in Aceh and North Sumatra Provinces. The three orangutan species —Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli—began to diverge from their common ancestor about 3.4 million years ago.

A new species of orangutan? I doubt it.
Until this week, there were two species of orangutan: the Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus) and the Sumatran (Pongo abelii), living on different islands. These were considered subspecies until 20 years ago, when the measured divergence of their mitochondrial DNA sequences led to them being separated as distinct species.

But now a new paper in Current Biology by Alexander Nater et al. (the “al.s” are numerous: see below for free reference, with the pdf here) adds a third species, P. tapanuliensis, also from Sumatra. Since new great ape species aren’t often described—the last was the Bornean/Sumatran orangs, and before that it was the bonobo, recognized as distinct from the chimp in 1933)—this has gotten a lot of attention, including in the BBC, in Science, and  the Guardian.

But this biologist isn’t going along. Not only do I see this new “species” as merely an isolated and genetically differentiated population (as are many human populations regarded as H. sapiens), but I’d also contend that there is only one species of orangutan overall, with these three groups all being subspecies. Sadly, a lot of systematists don’t see it that way, as they seem to think that any isolated population, if it can be told apart morphologically or genetically from others, warrants being named as a new species. Yet to evolutionists, a “species” is not an arbitrar

A new species of great ape: a family member we must urgently fight to save
If I could be a fly on the wall at any point in the history of science, it would be to watch the young(ish) Charles Darwin – long before his ideas on our shared ancestry with apes were published – enter the orangutan enclosure at London Zoo in 1838. Within the enclosure there resided Jenny, a young and playful orangutan acquired by the British empire. Darwin went to sit with Jenny and observe her; in his hand was a mirror.

His scrawled notes on what happened next (published here) tell it best. Jenny was apparently “astonished beyond measure at [the] looking glass, looked at it every way, sideways, & with most steady surprise … after some time stuck out lips, like kissing, to glass ... Put body in all kinds of positions when approaching glass to examine it.”

These hastily written words come from a time when there was still a great mystery about the apes, with many of the zoo’s punters considering them a charismatic perversion of human form, far beneath us on the great chain of being. This encounter was undoubtedly a big moment for Darwin. It’s possible that he came to view Jenny’s behaviour and playful and inquisitive style as differing from humans only by a matter of degree, not form

Former Jersey Zoo keeper leading efforts to conserve new great ape
The new species of orangutan, the Tapanuli, was first written about in an article in the scientific journal, Current Biology, by a team of Indonesian and international scientists.

Former Jersey Zoo keeper Dr Ian Singleton set up the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, which was founded in 1999, and has been working on improving protection of the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat since 2005.

There are now fewer than 800 Tapanuli orangutans left in the world and the population has already been divided over three forest blocks separated by roads and agricultural land.

Researchers say that urgent conservation e

There are fewer zoos than you would expect in the United States. It’s commonly thought that there are over two thousand zoos in the country, but that number actually derives from an error in a National Geographic article almost fifteen years ago. The real number is actually much, much lower: data compiled in August 2017 indicates that were only approximately 500 zoological facilities in the country - a number which includes both zoos and aquariums.

Dubai Zoo goes silent after 50 years of roaring success
After 50 years of creating fond memories, the Dubai Zoo permanently closed its doors on Sunday. The animals at the zoo are being shifted to the bigger and better Dubai Safari that is scheduled to open on December 2.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of the Dubai Municipality, honoured the keepers who developed and kept the zoo going strong, offering residents an educational and entertainment experience for the last 50 years.

Keepers and employees will also be shifted to use their expertise in operating the safari.

As the zoo closed its gates at 5:30pm, Dr Reza Khan, principal wildlife specialist at the Dubai Municipality - who served at the zoo for the past 25 years - said it's the end of an era, not only for Dubai but also for the Arabian Peninsula.

 Celebrating Plants and the Planet:                

One of the strongest rationales for conservation is how much we still do not know or understand about nature. October’s news atwww.zooplantman.com (NEWS/Botanical News) reminds us that nothing is as it seems:

·         Moths depend heavily on receiving pheromone clues to locate mates. But their fragrance reception organs weren’t originally looking for mates. They were looking for plants.
·         Last month we looked at research showing plants reserve the best quality nectar to attract defending ants rather than for pollinators. Now scientists have found that nectar is also used to distract herbivorous insects from eating more vital plant parts.
·         Radical cockroach news! Cockroaches for the first time discovered to be seed dispersers.
·         Meteorologists couldn’t explain why Amazon forest seasonal rains begin months before weather patterns bring moist ocean air. It turns out that the trees are fueling the wet weather on their own.
·         Forest elephants are not all alike. Asian elephants use forests and affect forests very differently from how their African relatives do.

We are getting overwhelmed by slick, resource-hungry technological solution to climate change. A new report concludes that great benefits would come from simply protecting wild and green places http://bit.ly/2ihI0UA

Roudsar leopard released back to wild
On February 5, Arezoo which is named after her habitat in Roudsar, northern Gilan province, was found while suffering from serious damages by getting caught in snare.

The animal was transferred to Tehran. Given the extent of the damages the vets had two choices: medical euthanasia or spinal surgery.

Whale learns same language as dolphins, research finds
A whale that was living close to a pod of bottlenose dolphins has learnt to speak their language, according to new research.

Two months after the beluga whale was introduced into a new facility with the dolphins, scientists found that it began to imitate their whistles.

The four-year-old whale was moved in 2013 to live in the Koktebel dolphinarium in Crimea, with details of the discovery reported in science journal Animal Cognition.

Smuggled, Beaten and Drugged: The Illicit Global Ape Trade

Endangered vaquita porpoise dies after being captured off San Felipe
One of the last remaining vaquita porpoise has died just hours after being captured by scientists off San Felipe in Baja, Mexico.

The endangered marine mammal died as part of a last-ditch effort to establish a captive breeding program on the Sea of Cortez.  Only 30 of the porpoises remain in the wild.

The team of scientists – many based in San Diego – had been trying since October 12 to capture as many vaquita as possible in order to put them in seaside pens.  They hoped the effort would bring the vaquita back from the brink of extinction.

The team is meeting Sunday to determine whether the effort will continue, according to Sam Ridgway, the founder of San Diego’s National Marine Mammal Foundation (NPPR).  The group is in charge of the VaquitaCPR team of scientists on scene in San Felipe.

“They are having meetings today and going through their extensive checklist on what to do next,” Ridgway said.

“It’s very unfortunate.  It’s very sad that the animal died.  That’s al

Care for the Rare: A Conversation with Jake Veasey, Animal Welfare Expert and Director of Care for the Rare
Currently Director of Care for the Rare and Veasey Zoo Design working with governments, zoos and NGOs on wild animal welfare, conservation and zoo design, Jake Veasey is one of the world’s leading zoo animal welfare experts. He was central to the renaissance at both the Calgary Zoo in Canada and the Woburn Safari Park in the United Kingdom, Veasey is most passionate about the role of zoos at the interface between conservation and animal welfare. Here is his story.

Spotlight: Zookeeper enjoys bad weather, saving snails, in Tahiti
A business likely runs a risk when they send an employee for two weeks to Tahiti, that South Pacific paradise of cozy bungalows, black sand beaches and Gauguin vibrations.

The St. Louis Zoo, however, had nothing to worry about when Glenn Frei headed to the islands for two weeks in October to release an endangered species of snails into their original inland forest habitat.

“I’m not much of a beaches-and-ocean kind of guy really; I’m a bug person,” Frei said.

Underscoring that fact with emphasis, Frei noted that his most memorable moment had been visually “following a slime trail from one of the snails about 15 feet up the side of a tree.”

Frei has been an invertebrate keeper at the insectarium since 2005 and is a member of the zoo’s Species Survival Plan for the endangered snail.

That project began in 1993 and aims to save the endangered Partula nodosa snail and return it to the Papehue Valley in Tahiti.

This was the third year in which snails nurtured in St. Louis w

Peel Zoo, in Pinjarra, is up for sale for $699k
THE perfect business opportunity for an animal lover is on the market — complete with almost 100 creatures.
Anyone wanting to follow in the footsteps of Matt Damon’s character in We Bought A Zoo can buy Peel Zoo.
The 2.8ha zoo in Pinjarra, about 17km south of Mandurah, is home to a menagerie of native birds, mammals and reptiles.
The advertised price of $699,000 includes all of the animals and transfers the current long-term lease to the new owner.
Broker Brad Wallace said the business, which opened in 2005, was run under management and buyers need not have any previous experience with zoos.
After just over a decade of operation, current owners Narelle MacPherson and David Cobbold are selling up after buying the much larger Warrawong Sanctuary in South Australia.
Mr Cobbold said Peel Zoo had pro

Evolutionary history a better key for conservation targets
An “extinction crisis” is affecting every continent on earth, but a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B has identified Australia, Central Asia, Spain and North Africa as among the most vital areas in need of protection “for conservation of the mammalian tree of life”.

Researchers led by Dan Rosauer from Australian National University have taken a new approach towards gaining the most conservation benefit from limited resources, both in terms of money and land.

Efforts that focus on preserving specific endangered species based on how many of each remain are well known and often highly visible. But the new study takes what its authors believe is a more realistic and effective global approach to conservation at the family tree level, taking into account a group’s evolutionary history — its phylogenetic diversity — and also how much territory is available to be set aside for the animals’ preservation.

The study uses maps of about 4700 land mammals’ habitats, and genetic information on how species are related to each other, to identify important places across the world for protecting mammal diversity. It identifies key places on every continent, including parts of coastal Queensland, Australian deserts near Alice Springs, Sumatra and Java, Madagascar, India, China and Spain.

The researchers say their method is a substantially more effective solution “for conserving the diversity of mammal evolution along with minimum target areas for habita

A Healthy Appetite for Innovation and Change: A Conversation with Alejandro Grajal, President and CEO of Woodland Park Zoo
During his time at the Wildlife Conservation Society, National Audubon Society and Brookfield Zoo, Alejandro Grajal proved himself a great student in conservation psychology and an ambitious, forward-thinking zoologist ready to spark change. In 2016, he became President and CEO of Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, one of the best institutions of its kind in the world. Grajal is in the process of implementing his strong vision of zoos as social agents of change leading a social movement for conservation at Woodland Park Zoo. Here is his story.

The Takhi returns - Protect the Wild Horse and its Habitat
The Takhi returns23Protect the Wild Horse and its Habitat.
The unprecedented economic progress made globally over the past few decades is mindboggling. But you need not be technophobic to realize that the improvement of so many livelihoods comes at a huge price to other forms of life: they disappear. That should not be taken lightly, for once a species is gone, it will never come back. And some of the extinctions which we don’t even notice – under water, under soil – may cause irreparable ecological damage. Thus, one of my key duties in Switzerland and abroad is to find ways in which nature and people can co-exist, allowing both to thrive. Flourishing economy and flourishing ecosystems are not mutually exclusive. All it takes is respect for the needs of both and the determination to support both. This does mean self-limitation. The maximum is not enough. Only the optimum is. Fifty years ago, the takhi, venerated by our forebears, was on the brink of extinction. A handful of people cared enough to avert its disappearance. They considered it shameful for mankind that such an emblematic species should die out. This year we celebrate 25 years of the takhi’s return to its final refuge in Southwestern Mongolia. This brochure provides some insights into what – and who – made the return possible and how they did it. Bringing back a species that had been completely wiped out in the wild has not often been tried. The reintroduction of the Mongolian Wild Horse – a large mammal – to the Gobi semi-desert, one of the most challenging habitats on ear

In Makira, Flying Fox Teeth Are Currency…And That Could Save the Species
On the island of Makira, hunters use the teeth of giant bats known as flying foxes as currency. Now, perhaps paradoxically, researchers suggest this practice could help save these bats from potential extinction.

The giant tropical fruit bats known as flying foxes are the largest bats in the world. Of the 65 flying fox species alive today, 31 are under threat of extinction, and 28 of these threatened species live on islands.

Makira is one of the Solomon Islands, which lie roughly a thousand miles northwest of Australia. Makira is home to two types of flying foxes — the bigger Pacific flying fox (Pteropus tonganus), a common species that is not endangered, and the smaller Makira flying fox (Pteropus cognatus), which is threatened with extinction.

Circuses will cease to be ‘jumbo’ fun henceforth
Captive elephants had indeed been the mainstay of big circus companies for a very long time. But not any longer. The Central Zoo Authority(CZA) has refused to issue ‘no objection certificates’ to all the circuses for keeping the elephants, besides coming out with specific norms on elephant rehabilitation and rescue centres for the state governments.

The documents available with Express show the authority which deputed a team to evaluate the captive animal facility in various circuses, including Rajmahal, Ajanta, Natraj, Kohinoor, Great Golden Circus, Great Appollo Circus and Empire Circus, had found major violations by the circus companies following which their

Galapagos species are threatened by the very tourists who flock to see them
Native species are particularly vulnerable on islands, because when invaders such as rats arrive, the native species have nowhere else to go and may lack the ability to fend them off.

The main characteristic of an island is its isolation. Whether just off the coast or hundreds of kilometres from the nearest land, they stand on their own. Because of their isolation, islands generally have a unique array of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else. And that makes all islands one of a kind.

However, islands, despite being geographically isolated, are now part of a network. They are globally connected to the outside world by planes, boats and people. Their isolation has been breached, offering a pathway for introduced species to invade.

The Galapagos Islands, 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, provide a great example. So far, 1,579 introduced species have been documented on the Galapagos Islands, of which 98% arrived with humans, either intentionally or acc

Zebra ‘poo science’ improves conservation efforts
How can Zebra poo tell us what an animal’s response to climate change and habitat destruction will be?

That is what scientists from The University of Manchester and Chester Zoo have been investigating in South Africa. Together the team have been using ‘poo science’ to understand how challenges or ‘stressors’, such as the destruction and breakup of habitats, impact on populations of South Africa’s Cape mountain zebra.

To measure ‘stress’ levels of the animals the scientists have been analysing glucocorticoid hormones in the Cape zebra’s droppings. Glucocorticoid hormones are a group of steroid hormones that help regulate the ‘flight or fight’ stress response in animals.The research, which is published in the Functional Ecology journal, found that zebras are facing multiple challenges, including poor habitat and gender imbalances, which are likely to compromise their health, have repercussions for their reproduction and, ultimately, a population’s long term survival.

Dr Susanne Shultz, the senior author from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) at Manchester, explains: ‘Faecal hormone measurements are easy to collect without disturbing the animals and provide a window into the chronic stress animals are experiencing. Using these indicators we can establish the health of both individuals and populations.’

The team have used a ‘macrophysiological approach’ for the first time ever to evaluate the effectiveness of an ongoing conservation plan. A macrophysiolog

Small-minded? Shrews shrink their skulls to survive winter, study shows
They use echolocation to explore their habitat and produce an unpleasant scent to avoid being eaten by cats. But the common shrew has another survival trick: as winter approaches, its skull shrinks and then regrows in the spring.

Dubbed “Dehnel’s phenomenon” after the scientist who first spotted the effect, the shrinkage has previously been studied by looking at the skulls of shrews that died at different times of year.

But since the changes weren’t followed in the same animals, it was not clear whether other factors might be responsible, such as smaller shrews being better able to survive the winter months.

Now researchers say they have finally shown the phenomenon is real.

“Now for sure we can say this is happening [within] individuals – we can really talk about the shrinkage and regrowth,” said Javier Lázaro, co-author of the research from the Max Planck Institute

Recent Hurricanes Pushed Rare Island Species Closer to the Brink
As Hurricane Irma slammed into south Florida in September, Dan Clark, manager of a complex of four national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys, had evacuated and was at his mother’s house near Tampa. His eye was on the weather and his mind was on the multitude of plants and animals that inhabit the unique refuge system he oversees, which includes the well-known Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.

There are about 20 federally endangered species in the Keys, and many of them exist nowhere else on Earth. “The dang eye of the hurricane tore right through the prime habitat for many of our most at-risk species,” said Clark.

One animal of particular concern was the Key deer, a charismatic, small subspecies of the white-tailed deer. Key deer were nearly eradicated by poaching during the 1950s, when the population dropped to 25. North America’s smallest deer, the animals rarely weigh more than 95 pounds and stand about three-feet tall at the shoulder. They live only in the Florida Keys.

“The deer can swim well, even in a storm surge situation, but not in 130 miles-per-hour winds,”

Sharks now protected no matter whose waters they swim in
IT’S been a good week for beleaguered sharks. A cross-border conservation pact signed by 126 countries this week promises for the first time to extend extra protection to sharks and several other migratory species, whichever countries they stray into.

Among the biggest winners at the global Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) were whale sharks: the world’s largest fish. They are a vulnerable species and their population has been falling. Governments added whale sharks to appendix I of the convention, promising to protect them domestically from killing or capture, and to safeguard their habitats.

Conservationists welcomed the move because it means whale sharks will finally be protected at offshore “hotspots” to which they migrate, including Madagascar, Mozambique, Peru and Tanzania.

Several other sharks made it on to appendix II, which obliges countries within a species’ migratory range to collaborate on measures to protect them, for example by regulating fishing or banning finning.

Tracking Takhi on the Steppe
When I am not chasing elephants around in Myanmar or at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia, I spend the remainder of my time working with reintroduced Przewalski’s horses in Mongolia. The Przewalksi’s horse (pronounced shah-VAL-skee) is the only truly wild horse in the world.

A field with grass, flowers and mountains in the background in Hustai National Park in Mongolia
After going extinct in the wild in the 1960s, they have been successfully reintroduced at a number of locations in northern China and Mongolia.Our work in Mongolia is based around the population of Przewalski’s horses—or takhi, as they are called in Mongolia—at Hustai Nuruu National Park, where we study their movement behavior and ecology in collaboration with park ecologists and colleagues from the Minnesota Zoo. The takhi have a very strong social structure, and we currently track dominant mares in social groups of females, called harems, guarded by a single stallion.

Hustai Nuruu National Park is a two-hour drive from the capital Ulaanbaatar, a city that is rapidly expanding alongside foreign investment and mining money that has poured into the country in recent years. We usually stay in a hotel near Sükhbaatar Square, just outside the houses of parliament. Ulaanbaatar is a fun and strange city, in many ways, including the brilliant smiley faces that someone has painted on manhole covers. Traffic is insane, and things like traffic lanes and pedestrian crossings seem to be purely aspirational.A coal-fired power station in the middle of the city and the smoke from wood fires in the sprawling ger district somewhat dampen the environmental effect of nearly everyone driving hybrid cars from Japan. A ger is a traditional Mongolian circular tent referred to as a yurt in other countries. Ulaanbaatar also has a fantastic dinosaur museum full of brilliant fossils that I, unfortunately, failed to see during this trip.

Contractor Who Was Fired For Penguin Fiasco, Returns To Byculla Zoo
No lessons learnt The controversial firm, Highway Construction, has been awarded two contracts worth Rs 120 crore to construct 17 animal enclosures

The BMC seems to have enclosed itself into another controversy with the Byculla zoo, this time round for its revamp. The civic body has awarded Rs 120-crore contracts to Highway Construction, a firm infamous for bagging - and subsequently being kicked out of - the Humboldt penguin project over dubious claims.

Why Animals Do The Thing

Under critical scrutiny, it’s been apparent for a while that many animal rights organizations and sanctuary groups are far more intertwined than they appear to be. With the official announcement of a new alliance on October 27th, the relationships between these various entities and their long term goals are now much easier to discern. The eight members now publicly collaborating to end private ownership and commercial use of big cats in the United States through the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance are not actually the discrete entities they appear to be at first glance; their executives and funding sources are so interconnected that the organizations have been aligned long before this alliance was officially formed.

Restoration of iconic native bird causes problems in urban areas
After a century-long absence, kākā were successfully reintroduced in Wellington in 2002—but the restoration of the iconic native bird has ruffled a few feathers.
Kākā are a delight, says Victoria ecologist Associate Professor Wayne Linklater. "They're wonderful birds to watch and listen to, and you watch kids' faces light up around them."
But, just like their cousins the kea, kaka are boisterous, brainy and also potentially problematic in urban areas.
An emerging challenge in Wellington's suburbs is kākā damaging property—gouging into trees, roofs and buildings.
"Kākā are cavity nesters and, like most birds, attract in numbers where there is food," explains Wayne. "They're quite happy living in cities, where there are human-made cavities and food everywhere."
This has led to neighbours arguing about whether people should be feeding kaka, says Wayne.
"Wellingtonians love feeding birds and connecting with wildlife—somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of residents at least occasionally feed birds in their backyard. It extends from throwing out some scrap food to placing large quantities in bird feeders.
"It could be that for many kākā their primary food source is people's backyards, and this is driving them to gather in particularly large numbers in some neighbourhoods."
Wayne and his research team are investigating th

How a Vaccine for Chickens Can Help Save the Lemurs
One of the many challenges faced by the Antaravato community is food security. Since time immemorial, they have hunted and eaten terrestrial wildlife for food, including birds, tenrecs, bats, carnivores and lemurs. While this meat is rich in nutrients and has historically been plentiful, wildlife stocks have steadily declined in response to overhunting and environmental changes. This scarcity is in part responsible for the severe malnutrition found throughout Antaravato, where approximately 35 percent of all children exhibit growth stunting. In contrast to its nutritional value, contact with wildlife presents a risk for infectious disease transmission, making it a risky source of food. To protect the health of both the Antaravato community and their surrounding wildlife populations, the MAHERY (Madagascar Health and Environmental Research) team is piloting nutritional interventions that provide sustainable poultry sources as an alternative to wildlife hunting.

Eurasian lynx escapes from animal park in Wales
A lynx has escaped from a wildlife park in Ceredigion.
The Eurasian lynx, which is about twice the size of a domestic cat, escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, near Aberystwyth.
Police said they have been told the animal went missing some time during the last five days.
Park operators said there has never been an attack recorded on people - but warned the public it could retaliate "if cornered or trapped".
Staff said the lynx should not be approached if spotted - as it is a wild animal and has sharp teeth and claws.
"We have fully-trained keepers on hand to deal with the situation," said a park official.
"She is not used to hunting live prey but will chase rabbits and rodents when she gets hungry.
"Lynx can travel about 12 miles a day, but the chances are she hasn't gone far.
"We will be putting out camera traps around the perimeter of the zoo and relying on sightings by the public. Once we learn her loca

A Conversation with Peggy Sloan, Director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Peggy Sloan, Director of the North Carolina Aquarium in Fort Fisher, thoroughly believes in the value of aquariums as opportunities for conservation and to inspire the public to take action. Throughout her career, she has been proactive in solving puzzles related to ocean conservation by participating in regional and national partnerships. Sloan has led the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher towards more involvement in field conservation. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA.) Here is her story.

Saving whales and dolphins the right way
The Senate has been dealing with a quiet controversy over a piece of legislation that falls into an all-too-common trap: it looks good on the surface but would have terrible and perverse consequences if passed into law. The bill in question is S-203, which purports to end the captivity of cetaceans, but would in fact have a profoundly negative impact on our ability to protect whales and dolphins.

Humans are pushing life on our shared planet to the brink, with ever-increasing pressures on other species and their fragile ecosystems. Earlier this year, scientists said a “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is underway, and it’s worse than they thought. Entire families of plants and animals, including birds, amphibians, reptiles, arthropods and mammals, are disappearing—up to 140,000 species per year—making it the greatest loss of biodiversity since the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Virtual reality ‘paradise’ allows interaction with giant pandas
Cutting-edge virtual reality technology enables visitors to watch giant pandas in a new show which opens in 2018.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding based in Sichuan province is fine-tuning the plans. The centre has finalised a contract with a Beijing company to provide the VR technology in July.

There will be high-res images of pandas at rest and play in bamboo forests in the new facility which will turn the first and second floors into the VR attraction. The VR glasses will make the views of the pandas incredibly crisp and authentic.

Visitors can “feel and hold” the virtual animals, according to Chen Cheng, an information officer at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

The entertainment centre also holds a cinema where visito

Traces of Alzheimer’s Disease Detected in Wild Animals for the First Time
An international team of researchers has uncovered tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s disease in dolphins, marking the first time that the age-related disorder has been detected in a wild animal.

Until very recently, scientists thought that only humans were susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. That changed back in August of this year when researchers from Kent State University detected traces of the disease in chimps, or at least, the brains of chimps who died from natural causes at zoos and research centers. A new study published this week in Alzheimer’s & Dementia is now the first to find two key markers of the disease—protein plaques and tangles—in a wild animal, namely dolphins. This latest finding is further evidence that Alzheimer’s is not a human-specific disease, and that other animals can be used to study the dreaded condition.

Most animals die very shortly after the end of their fertile years, but dolphins and orca whales, like humans, tend to live past their reproductive years (cool fact: female orca whales go through menopause). This got Oxford University scien

For the Love of Rattlesnakes, Scrub All GPS Data from Your Nature Photos
Dr. Chris Howey, an assistant professor at the University of Scranton, slid over a Post-it with the coordinates I had come for. "Turn off anything that transmits location before you visit it," he said. "Make sure the GPS-embedding is off on your camera. And be careful."

The coordinates were for something better than a place that sold a really, really good cup of coffee, or an illegal outdoor marijuana patch known only to stressed out, local graduate students. They led me, sweating and crawling with spiders, to a special, out-of-the-way pile of rocks that soon promised to hold a slithering congregation of venomous timber rattlesnakes preparing to den for the winter.

As a species, rattlesnakes are almost quintessentially American. Some Appalachian Christians still practice their faith by holding the serpe

A Small Zoo That Does Big Things: A Conversation with Keith Winsten, Director of the Brevard Zoo
With the tagline ‘a small zoo that does big things,’ the Brevard Zoo is one of the best small medium sized zoos in the nation. Located in Melbourne, Florida, the zoo has established itself as a leader in conservation for zoos of its size especially in terms of Florida’s Atlantic coast. Nothing in the Brevard Zoo is over 25 years old and it has benefited from experiences such as kayaking and ziplining. The zoo is led by Keith Winsten, who comes from a zoo education background. He has a reputation for helping pioneer nature play in zoos. Winsten has proven himself to be an ambitious leader who has helped raise the reputation of the zoo. Here is his story.

Devon zoo pitches in to save species of tiny frog
A breeding group of tiny frogs has been set up in Paignton Zoo in an effort to save the species.

There are Europe-wide efforts to save the Majorcan midwife toad. The diminutive size, big eyes and shiny golden-green colouring make this toad extremely appealing.

Like all midwife toads, the male carries the eggs as they develop, wrapping the strings of eggs around its legs like pearl necklaces to keep them moist and protect them from predators.

Strange Circumstances Surround Mtahleb Zoo Fire
Wildlife Park zookeeper debunks media reports fire was caused by gas leak
It has been twenty days now since a major fire destroyed the Wildlife Park in Mtahleb, and a magisterial inquiry is still ongoing to discover the cause of the flames. However, the park’s zookeeper has now debunked the original media story claiming the fire had been sparked by a gas cylinder which had blown up inside a kitchen.

“The fire was not caused by a gas leak,” Christopher Borg told Lovin Malta. “Gas cylinders did explode but this was because they had caught fire and not because they had caused the fire.”

Borg, who used to live in a house inside the zoo, said he had woken up at around 5am when the lights inside his house started flickering on and off due to a short circuit. He went outside to switch off the electricity and turn on the generator, when he saw a massive fire

Council approves new $1.6m elephant despite Sri Lankan court hold up
The only thing stopping Auckland from getting a third elephant is a court case in Sri Lanka.

In May 2011 Auckland Council approved $3.2m to transport two gifted elephants from Sri Lanka to New Zealand.

Anjalee joined veteran elephant Burma at Auckland Zoo in 2015.

Dubai Zoo to close on November 5
The 50-year-old Jumeirah Zoo will now be closed in preparation for the opening of the Dubai Safari project, Dubai Municipality announced on Wednesday.
In a press release, Khaled Al Suwaidi, director of Leisure Facilities Department at Dubai Municipality, said the zoo will be closed on November 5.

He said the Municipality has moved most of the animals in the Zoo to Dubai Safari, the  first of its kind Safari Park in the Middle East, which is slated to be ready by the end of November.
"The Zoo has been a testimony to the leadership's commitment and keenness all these years to be ahead in wildlife conservation and providing entertainment serv

Why wild animals can never humanely be used as photo props
Social media is fuelling global demand for wild animal selfies, but behind the holiday snaps is a lifetime of suffering for the animals and personal danger for the tourists.
The seemingly insatiable desire for likes, clicks and shares on social media means that people are going to extreme lengths for the perfect selfie, often endangering themselves and the animals they so desperately want to capture in that envy-inducing image.
At the same time, companies are coming up with ever inventive ways to use animals to entice tourists. Not only can tourists pay to see dancing bears, monkeys performing tricks and clapping sea lions but they can also visit crocodile farms, walk alongside lions, cuddle bears and kiss cobras.
It is a tragic cycle of exploitation and cruelty which, with greater awareness and by working together, we can stop.

The Emotions in Stereotypic Behaviour
I enjoy observing animals very much. The amount you learn by just sitting there and looking at your animals. Do we actually know our animals we work with or do we only know them from when we train them? It’s questionable if we actually know our animals. From people they say when you go through rougher times you get to know a person better and better. This does work the same with animals. I mean when you see animals being aggressive to each other you get to see more behaviours from that animal you thought you knew what sometimes has surprisingly funny outcomes.

When we discover by observations that our animals have particular stereotypic behaviours we tend to say the animals are bored. It’s hard to say what’s going down in the body of the animals we work with but what we know is that they do it for a reason. What that reason would be is the question. We tend to say that the animals are bored but isn’t that a problem we actually made ourselves?

Here is a link to a Video where you can see a

Conditions at Ponderosa zoo 'failed to meet Government standards'
Two separate inspections carried out within months of each other have given Heckmondwike’s Ponderosa zoo a clean bill of health, the Examiner can reveal.

Yet a vet’s report shows there was concern about clinical record-keeping and that veterinary records for the treatment and care of animals was inadequate.

Crucially, it failed to meet government standards.

And following concerns over the number of deaths it was suggested that more animals be subjected to post mortem examinations to ensure staff had a reasonable idea of the cause of death.

Officials had reported that 18 of the largest

On the trail of Sabah’s elusive clouded leopards
A wild Sunda clouded leopard trapped and fitted with a satellite collar by conservationists in Sabah’s east coast Kinabatangan will provide vital data to the elusive big cat in the area.

The male leopard weighing 24.75kg was captured in one of the purpose-built traps placed along the Kinabatangan River on Saturday.

It was collared as part of an intensive satellite-collaring programme to study the animal in the fragile Kinabatangan landscape.

The project by the Sabah Wildlife Dep­artment (SWD), WildCRU (Oxford University) and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) focuses on research and conservation of the leopard.

“We are planning to collar more along the

Rhinos to be kept in ‘boma’ before gifting to China
Discussions have been held with the Chinese officials regarding transfer of the rare one-horned rhinos to China from the Chitwan National Park.

An eight-member Chinese team including wildlife experts that arrived Nepal three days back toured the park and took stock of the situation, said Mana Bahadur Khadka, the Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Reserve.

“A kind of agreement was made to dispatch the two pairs of rhinos below four years old to China within three months if no hurdles come along the way,” said Khadka adding that the date for dispatch could differ due to the upcoming tiger census and election in Nepal.

One pair of rhino will be sent to the national parks in Guangzhou and Shanghai in China. These rhinos will be kept in a boma, a special enclosure, in Sauraha area in

Genetic study uncovers evolutionary history of dingoes
A major study of dingo DNA has revealed dingoes most likely migrated to Australia in two separate waves via a former land bridge with Papua New Guinea. The find has significant implications for conservation, with researchers recommending the two genetically distinct populations of dingoes be treated as different groups for management and conservation purposes.

Bye, turtles? Jurong turtle museum to close in March
The museum currently holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of tortoise and turtle items. It has 3,456 turtle items and over 500 live animals, spanning 40 different species.

Hope soars for imperilled vultures
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is honoured to have played a key role in bringing hope to threatened vultures around the world, as a new and far-reaching global plan is put in place to protect these iconic birds in 128 countries.

Vultures are under immense pressure from a range of human activities. These threats have resulted in a rapid decline in Africa and Asia particularly, where most of these spectacular birds are now listed as Critically Endangered. But the 124 conservation actions contained in the newly-adopted and exciting Multi-species Action Plan (Vulture MsAP) mean that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Old World vultures.

The EWT has been working tirelessly to drive the development of this global plan, and at the recent Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Vulture MsAP was formally adopted. The adoption of this global plan will drive concerted conservation action to address the neg

Op-Ed: The hunting forum you didn’t know existed
In 2005 the Department of Environmental Affairs set up the Consultative Wildlife Forum as a way, it said at the time, to engage with private entities about wildlife policy, the prime objective being sustainable use. The composition of the forum – which excluded conservation NGOs and included a raft of hunters, crocodile farmers, bow hunters, taxidermists, sports anglers and wing hunters – gave lie to any impartiality.

Today South Africa’s little-known Consultative Wildlife Forum provides a platform for hunters and those with vested wildlife consumptive interests to shape government wildlife policy. It’s a space only a privileged few have access to and NGOs whose focus falls outside the interest of wildlife producing and hunting are denied access. It’s a body you didn’t even know existed – until now.

According to a report by Dhoya Snijders, the forum was set up on the recommendation by three panels of experts who were commissioned by the then Minister of Environmental Affairs, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, to study the sector of wildlife utilisation, hunting and ranching. The aim being to improve communications between government and stakeholders in the industry, while looking at how to involve local communities in the sector. However, the forum, which meets quarterly, spe

The Pacific Rim: A Conversation with Gary Geddes, Retired Director of Point Defiance Zoo and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
Both managed by Metroparks Tacoma, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park concentrates on animals native to the Pacific Northwest while the Point Defiance Zoo focuses on animals, both from land and water, of the Pacific Rim. Much of their success is due to the tenure of Director Gary Geddes, who led Northwest Trek from 1981 to early 2017 and the Point Defiance Zoo from 2000 to 2017. Geddes’ vision and dedication helped both institutions reach record attendance and become at the forefront of zoo conservation. Here is his story.

Capercaillie's to breed in captivity in bid to boost numbers
SCOTLAND’S most threatened bird, the capercaillie, is to be bred at a wildlife park in a bid to help build a back up population of the disappearing species.

The popular native bird - whose Gaelic name translates as the “Horse of the Woods” - was reintroduced to Scotland in 1837 from Swedish stock after becoming extinct the previous century.

A steep decline in recent years has seen the largest member of the grouse family included on the “red-list” of species of highest conservation concern.

Scientific evaluation of rhino diets improves zoo
A recently published study in the journal Pachyderm highlights the ongoing effort of accredited zoos to address challenges and improve the sustainability of endangered species populations in their care. The study, co-authored by scientists from San Diego Zoo Global and Mars Hill University, evaluated fertility issues in captive-born southern white rhinos and determined that diets including soy and alfalfa were likely contributors to breeding challenges.

"The captive southern white rhinoceros (SWR) population is not currently self-sustaining, due to the reproductive failure of captive-born females," said Christopher Tubbs Ph.D, San Diego Zoo Global and lead author of the paper. "Our research into this phenomenon points to chemicals produced by plants present in captive diets, such as soy and alfalfa, as likely causes."

Soy and alfalfa are commonly included in feeds for many herbivorous animals under human care, however these diets have high levels of phytoestrogens that disrupt normal hormone functions in some species. The study reviews historical data on the reproductive success of southern white rhinos in zoos in North America. These studies discovered that female rhinos born in captive environments showed lower reproductive levels. At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, animal care staff switched to a low phytoestrogen diet for southern white rhinos in their care in 2014. The nutritional change app

SeaWorld launches TV advert to combat ‘public perception issues’
Theme park giant SeaWorld has launched a new TV advert in San Diego to bolster its public image and broadcasts across the United States next year.

The Park to Planet TV slot features stunning views of the ocean, marine mammals, undersea exploration and the rescue of sea lion. A voiceover says: “From park to planet, see it here, save it here.”

At the end of the ad, viewers are informed that by visiting the parks, they could assist SeaWorld in contributing $10 million per annum, which goes towards conservation and animal rescue.

The 30-second TV ad began airing in San Diego two weeks previously. This follows a three-month digital-only campaign that the marketing team at SeaWorld say is receiving a positive response from online viewers.

The Wonderfully Unexpected: A Conversation with Vik Dewan, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo
The Philadelphia Zoo may be the first zoo in the United States but it has established itself as one of the most progressive zoos in the world.  In 2011, it began the implementation of Zoo360, a system of trails that enable animals to explore above and alongside of guests visiting the Zoo. This year, Philadelphia Zoo received The Innovation Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Zoo’s fearless leader is Vik Dewan, a banker turned exceptional zoo director and conservation advocate. Here is his story.

Polar bear death at Lincoln Park Zoo shines spotlight on the species
At the beginning of polar bear breeding season this year, both Brookfield and Lincoln Park zoos were full of hope. Each had a new female to complete a potential breeding pair and at Lincoln Park, the male, too, was relatively new, patrolling a state-of-the-art multimillion-dollar habitat.

But the zoos’ fortunes have taken a dramatically different turn. Brookfield's female, Nan, is denned up for the coming months in case a cub should result from her observed mating with the male, Hudson. Lincoln Park is mourning the death last week of its female, Kobe, a seemingly robust 16-year-old whose health went into sudden decline in recent weeks and who, after tests showed signs of kidney failure, was euthanized Oct. 19.

“It’s a tough loss,” said Dave Bernier, general curator in the animal care department at the Chicago zoo. “Our staff is still getting over it. She was a great animal to work with. ... Really an interesting bear. There was just something about her that was very endearing.”

Although her former partner, the 7-year-old Siku, searched for Kobe at first, Bernier said, polar bears are by nature solitary, and Siku showed no obvious ill effects from the loss Friday morning. First the animal rolled in the snowbank at one end of his 8,400-square-foot habitat, then he headed to the pool at the other, plunging in and repeatedly forcing an air-filled 55-gallon plastic drum beneath the water’s surface.

At the pool’s plate-glass front wall, third-graders from the North Side Walt Disney Magnet School jumped and dipped along with t

Analysis: The thorny ethics of hybrid animals
Ligers, the hybrid offspring of lions and tigers, may sound like mythological chimeras but they are, in fact, real.

The creatures are primarily man-made, since the habitats of these two big cats overlaps only in India’s Gir Forest. Their mashup names belie their origin stories, with an offspring taking the first half of its name from its father and the second half from its mother. Endless fun can be had with this naming convention:

Lion father + tiger mother = liger. Tiger father + lion mother = tigon. Leopard father + jaguar mother = jagleop. Lion father + jagleop mother = lijagleop.

The fun drains out of this exercise, however, when you learn of the health issues associated with these hybrids. Ligers, for example, grow big… too big for their own organs, in fact.

50 years of taking people close to animal world
With just one week left to close its gates forever, the Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah has completed 50 years of taking UAE residents close to the animal world.
One of the first zoos in the Arabian Peninsula, the facility opened its doors to the public in May 1967.

It was Otto J. Bulart, an Austrian engineer, who built the zoo after he was given permission to start an animal corner by the then Ruler of Dubai late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Dr Reza Khan, principal wildlife specialist at Dubai Safari and Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News on Saturday.
Dr Khan has served the zoo for 25 years, including 20 years as its head, till he moved to the Dubai Safari project in 2014.
“During the first couple of years, it housed only a few animals like two lions, some monkeys, some hoofe

Bats And Tequila: A Once Boo-tiful Relationship Cursed By Growing Demands
At a Halloween happy hour recently in Washington, D.C., a small crowd gathered to celebrate the relationship between bats and spirits.

Not spooky spirits. Instead, think tequila and mescal.

"We're here at a bar tonight to talk about [bats], because they are intimately tied to agave," announced Mike Daulton, the executive director of Bat Conservation International, a nonprofit devoted to the well-being of bats.

You can't have tequila without agave, the spiky desert plant used as its base. And it's hard to have agave without bats — because a few species of these winged creatures are the plant's primary pollinators. Agave co-evolved with bats over thousands of years. As a result, it's one of the very few plants that pollinates at night. Daulton says industrial agave farming adversely affects both plants and bats.

New Hope for Threatened Iguanas of Cabritos Island
The Critically Endangered Ricord’s Iguana and the Vulnerable Rhinoceros Iguana can once again thrive on Cabritos Island, Dominican Republic after the successful removal of a suite of invasive species.

After extensive monitoring by a team of international organizations, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, SOH Conservation, and Island Conservation confirmed Cabritos Island’s native iguanas are poised for recovery following the successful removal of introduced, damaging (invasive) donkeys, feral cats, and cows from the island. The effort began in 2013 with the training of a local field team in island restoration techniques. Since then, the Critically Endangered[1] Ricord’s and Vulnerable Rhinoceros’ Iguanas have gone through multiple breeding seasons where the invasive species populations were greatly reduced or absent, and evidence of recovery is everywhere. Wes

The Dallas World Aquarium, Peruvian Conservation Group Release Rescued Amazonian Manatees
Nearly 3,000 miles from Texas, in the remote Amazon rainforest of Peru, a team of veterinarians, biologists and conservationists from The Dallas World Aquarium’s manatee rescue project has successfully released five rehabilitated Amazonian manatees back into their natural environment near Iquitos, Peru.

Court bans zoo from letting children swim with crocodiles and alligators
At a unique zoo in Hesse, visitors can get up close and personal with deadly reptiles such as crocodiles and alligators. But on Thursday a court judge denied the zoo's appeal to be allowed to continue with these practices for children.
Crocodile Zoo in Friedberg, Hesse, has faced troubles recently as its maverick way of bringing visitors closer to its animals has been deemed too dangerous by regional conservation authorities.

In the zoo, visitors can touch, feed and even swim with the crocodiles without barriers or protection, as long as they are accompanied by an experienced guide.

But on August 25th, the nature conservation authority of Darmstadt's regional council decided that visitors could not come into contact with the animals without a barrier to protect them unless they were over the age of 18 and had

After 40 years, Cincinnati Zoo's Thane Maynard still exudes a contagious level of enthusiasm and fun
Forty years ago, University of Michigan grad student Thane Maynard received an offer to work at the newly built Procter & Gamble Education Center at the Cincinnati Zoo. After hearing the news, he said, the dean summoned him to the office to tell him not to take the job.

Maynard said he politely listened, but took it anyway. With a starting salary of $9,000 a year and his wife hailing from the area, he figured, "What the heck."

"I was fortunate, completely just the right place at the right time," Maynard said. "I talked to the director, one thing led to the next, and I started on Halloween day 1977."

How the panda became China’s diplomatic weapon of choice
A traditional Chinese gong clangs. Adoring sighs break out as a red curtain is pulled aside. Behind it are China’s newest ambassadors to the west — a pair of chubby black-and-white bears sitting on their haunches munching bamboo stalks.

Standing in front of the glass just metres from the pandas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel beams and pumps her hands up and down like an excited schoolchild. Beside her, Chinese President Xi Jinping watches like a proud parent as Ms Merkel coos at the animals, loaned by the Chinese government to Berlin’s Tierpark Zoo for the next 15 years at an annual cost of US$1 million (S$1.36 million).

“This event is symbolic of relations between our two countries,” Ms Merkel says as she introduces three-year-old Meng Meng (“little dream”) and her seven-year-old prospective mate Jiao Qing (“darling”). “We’ve worked very closely over the past year in the G20 framework and now w

What has the EU got to do with elephant protection?
There are two main answers to this question. First, Europeans are global citizens and elephants are an outstanding part of our global treasury of charismatic and irreplaceable wildlife. Secondly, Europe plays a surprisingly significant role in the continuing trade in elephant ivory which threatens their very existence as a species. This needs to be changed fast, and we have an opportunity to do it in the next few weeks.

A century ago, there were perhaps as many as five million elephants inhabiting Africa’s forests and savannahs.

Today, fewer than 500,000 remain.

The reasons for this devastating decline are complex. Expanding human populations are placing ever increasing demands on land, and elephant habitat is shrinking fast. Ancient migratory routes are being cut off as agriculture and infrastructure expand. As elephants come into ever closer contact with people, conflict inevitably results.

But the single most significant driver of decline is th

'Ban on rhino horn sales not protecting the animals'
 Calls to legalise the trade in rhino horn are to come under the spotlight at this week’s 2017 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice, which gets under way in Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands on Monday.
More than 350 scientists, conservationists, legal experts, wildlife managers and environmentalists will gather to share ideas about what can be done to address biodiversity loss, wildlife crime, habitat destruction and pollution of the ocean and river catchments.

Organised by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in association with Wildlands, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the symposium aims to promote greater public engagement in conservation and strengthen environmental policies and laws to ensure survival of endangered species.

This year’s symposium covers a wide range of topics from converting whale watching into conservation action and the use of drones for conservation monitoring through to progress made by the Peace Parks Foundation in creating a massive transfrontier park incorporating areas of far northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique and Swaziland.

Debris pollution of the Durban harbour, the impact of microplastics on fish and the Rethink the Bag concept in addressing plastic pollution also feature on the five-day programme. What is likely to spark the

The Golden Triangle's Illegal Wildlife Trade
Tigers, elephants, bears and pangolins are four of the most widely traded species in the Golden Triangle, the border area where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar connect, according to a new report.

Rhinos, serow, helmeted hornbill, gaur, leopards and turtles round out the list of threatened species that are openly sold in a region that is Ground Zero in the illegal wildlife trade.


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

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

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

"These are the best days of my life"

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

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