Giza Zoo - December 2017
Photo credit: Diego Cecilio
My albeit too short vacation in the UK was mostly enjoyable. I picked up some nasty bug towards the end and am still trying to shake it off three weeks later. The weather in England was mostly miserable but days warmed by spending time with family. I stayed in Norwich. Nice City and somewhere I only ever recall driving through twice before in my life.
I was saddened to learn of the fire in London Zoo and the animal losses. Almost as soon as I learned of the tragedy I wondered how long it would be before PETA or the Born Free Foundation were putting the boot in. They were a lot quicker than I expected. It really sickens me that they seem to take pleasure out of the grief of others. There are some really sick people out there. Perhaps it has something to do with the burden of guilt that they carry. I don't think that any of them really care about animals.
Now we have lion cubs from Gaza offered up for sale on the internet. Inevitably the next thing will be some well minded group trying to rescue them. Well let me tell you for nothing that unless you sneak in at night with a group of Ninjas you are going to have to purchase them. This is what it is all about. There have been no 'rescues' out of Gaza Zoos....money has changed hands every time. It takes complications and cash to purchase a 'rescue'. Do it this time and it will happen again and again.
I was woken the other day by the phone on my pillow buzzing wildly. There were several excited messages and one short video clip of a tiger. This had been taken just moments before. The location was in deep snow at the edge of a forest in Northern China. My informants said that this was the first time a tiger had been seen for over 70 years....so good news.
The ZooNews Facebook page has been buzzing this past couple of weeks. I am considering having a bit of a re-think and actually banning people from the page. Up to now I have only ever banned one person ever....after all the page is there to inform and educate. This latest 'raid' started when I posted this:
The problem, if
that’s what it was, was when I posted a collage of photos and headed it
"Why have the authorities not arrested this guy?" I had been sent
similar collages of the same guy a couple of times before. Highly distasteful
showing off with baby orangutans, chimpanzees and much more. Selfyitis in the
extreme and something which promotes posing with animals and all the bad that comes with it. Well my comment brought something of a shitstorm from the 'posing
with exotics extremists'. They are as bad as the Animal Rights Anarchists in being unable to think or see reason. Or possibly they just don't care. An "I'm all right Jack" attitude.
A couple of days
later I followed up on this with a one lined statement "If you are in
favour of exotic animals as pets you are on the wrong page". Clear and
precise in my eyes. I am against exotic animals as pets. I have been for many years....no change of tack. It grieves me to see
all these tigers, lions, baby chimpanzees and orangutans and much more being
cuddled for selfies. Every last one of them torn from their mothers teats to
give some sicko a thrill.
Perhaps I should
have gone one step further and added I was not against the responsible
ownership of exotic animals in private hands….but definitely against the 'pet'
bit. Once again the 'Posing with exotics extremists' waded in accompanied by an
army of hair splitting pedantics. Then there were the nasty personal attacks by little or know nothings. All this is nothing new, I have had worse, even death threats for sticking up for what I believe and know is right.
I find it laughable
when some of these say "I will now stop following you" or words to
that effect. Do they expect me to change my mind or say sorry? They should just
go ahead. They won't though because they want to wait to comment again, they are trolls at the end of the day.
The most distressing thing about Facebook is people being allowed to comment when they have so very obviously not read the link that has been posted....and some have not even read the heading...and yet I persist. Education can be tough.
Lots of links below.
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 73,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 73,000 likes) and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 823 Zoos in 154+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.
I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos,
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
London Zoo to reopen
TOMORROW after deadly fire killed aardvark and left four meerkats missing
AN AARDVARK was
killed and four meerkats are also believed to have died after a huge fire broke
out at London Zoo this morning.
Eight people were
also injured when the blaze ripped through the enclosure, with nine-year-old
Misha the aardvark, who shared an enclosure with the meerkats, killed in the
ZSL London Zoo
statement - 24 December 2017
ZSL London Zoo can
confirm that at approximately 6am on Saturday 23 December a fire broke out in
the Animal Adventure section of the Zoo, and spread to an adjacent shop.
We have keepers
living on site and they, along with our security team, responded incredibly
quickly to move animals to safe locations within their enclosures.
The London Fire
Brigade were on the scene within minutes and the fire was brought under control
Those staff who were
first on the scene have been treated on site for shock and smoke inhalation.
Sadly our vets have
confirmed the death of our nine-year-old aardvark, Misha. An initial
post-mortem showed that she most likely died from smoke inhalation whilst
sleeping. The four meerkats unaccounted for are presumed to have died.
All other animals in
the vicinity were assessed by our vets over the course of the day, but there is
no evidence they were affected. We will continue to monitor them over the
We are all naturally
devastated by this, but are immensely grateful to the fire brigade, who reacted
quickly to the situation to bring the fire under control.
It’s too soon to
speculate on the cause of the fire but we are working very closely with fire
investigators to ascertain the cause.
with fire experts attending yesterday, we are able to safely open the zoo
The Zoo with be open
from 10am today, Sunday 24 December.
campaigners REVEL in London Zoo fire saying zoo creatures will ALWAYS suffer
perished in the fire yesterday at London Zoo and four missing meerkats are also
presumed to have died.
PETA (People For The
Ethical Treatment Of Animals) said on Twitter: “Caging animals always comes
“No amount of time
in a zoo can take away wild animals' natural instincts to roam, hunt, care for
their young, or, when a fire breaks out, to flee – something which is
terrifyingly impossible to do locked in a cage.”
DON'T BE FOOLED BY
EMOTIVE ANTI-ELEPHANT TOURISM #PROPAGANDA - #PHAJAAN OR #CRUSH by Belynda
NARKIEWICZ·THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2016
There are organisations and people out there
that want you to believe and think there are 100's of #crush #phajaan #torture
#training videos representing the #cruel way in which ALL #elephants are
trained in Thailand (wild and domesticated). I spent 3 days actually viewing
them (it was difficult) and what I found was the SAME footage used in ALL those
different videos. The footage is filmed in the remote highlands of northern
Thailand, west of the village Mae Jaem. Journos, photographers, PeTA and other
interested parties were invited to witness this brutal centuries old ritual
called 'crush' or 'phajaan'. This was organised by ENP (named Elephant Heaven
at the time) in 2002. How this was organised and planned in the first place
should make one wonder. A young female and a young male captured from the wild
were put through this inhumane practice on separate days while the Westerners
looked on documenting, photographing, and filming it - ENP & PeTA's emotive
campaign to stop the traditional breaking of the wild elephant's spirit begins.
You watch this video that looks disgustingly sickening and so blatantly cruel
and downright torturous and you cant believe what you are viewing. Your heart
aches (as did mine) for the poor wild young elephants that are and have gone
through this. It has to stop! I 100% agree.
The video is going viral - our human emotion plays a big part, your
emotions are outraged. The feeling one got from seeing this disgusting video,
becomes a need to ensure your friends see it and feel what you felt. Everyone
has to know about this cruelty that is inflicted on these young wild elephants,
so you share and they share this new found knowledge about #crush/phajaan and
ALL those wild elephants now working in tourism. People write about it, people
are talking about it, more videos are created using the footage, more photos
are released, screenshots are taken from the videos to create posters etc all
from that couple of days in 2002. Now
the Chinese whispers have set in - emotive headlines and photos, and general
lack of peoples willingness to actually read detail or double check facts,
because what they see and feel for some reason doesn't need any further
investigation. The original information, all of a sudden is placed/branded on
ALL and EVERY elephant in Thailand because in order to train an elephant it has
been through this. WRONG! So now from
what began in 2002 about the phajaan/crush ritual for breaking the spirits of
wild captured elephants to become submissive to humans in order for them to be
trained has now been morphed into ALL and EVERY single elephant you see in
Thailand. Especially if they are used for riding and painting and doing shows.
This phajaan/crush technique is not necessary for domesticated elephants. I
have also noticed in the last 6 months some of the ppl who once used the words
ALL and EVERY are now using the word "MOST". Lots of people realise
if you see ALL and EVERY its a red flag and people are calling them out on it.
Not one person on this planet can use those words about training of Thai
elephants, not an expert and certainly not a keyboard warrior. The misinformed
are misinforming others and now this morphed information has morphed into a
campaign about anti elephant tourism. Those involved in the beginning when it
was about stopping the ancient cruel practice of breaking a wild elephants
spirit will NEVER admit or try to clarify this because it has overtaken and
helped their 2002 original campaign. The Thai wild population depends on the
Thai domesticated population to keep this species from becoming extinct -
destroy elephant tourism, then one is fast tracking them into extinction. Break
it down and its as simple as that! Again, I state, this crush/phajaan technique
is not necessary for domesticated elephants. So for those who say I need to do "research"
about what really goes on with domesticated elephants in Thailand, and that Im
ignorant or blinded by brainwashing and or that I choose not to see the truth;
and that I should watch ALL those videos about phajaan/crush - think again and
further your own research, but you will need to dig deep and sift through ALL
that propaganda. I challenge you to research the timeline of how the word
spread about the "training" of Thailand's domesticated elephants and
show me ALL those videos of different incidences of the breaking of young
elephant's spirits that makes it "evidence" that this happens to ALL
or even MOST.The word 'phajaan' means divorce/separation. The true phajaan
ceremony is used to give blessing and strength to the party/parties involved.
Examples would be a married couple divorcing and want a ceremony to pray for
strength to get through it; or a child leaving home to go and live far away
will be separated from his or her's family; or an animal being separated from
its mother; or a child going off to school. Phajaan does not mean 'crush' or
'training' - it's a ceremony.
Gaza zookeeper puts
lion cubs up for sale on Facebook
The owner of a
private zoo in the Gaza Strip has put three lion cubs up for sale, saying he
can no longer afford to feed them.
Mohammad Ahmad Jumaa
took to social media to advertise the animals at 3,500 Jordanian dinars
Auctions in Zimbabwe Are Booming—And Legal
“If you are looking
for the toughest of leathers and the sturdiest of boots, elephant is the hide
for you, as nothing compares to the strength of a custom elephant cowboy boot.”
So reads the website
of the Paul Bond Boot Company, one of the firms that turn the gnarly-patterned
hide of Earth’s largest land animals into boots, wallets, belts, suitcases,
jackets, golf bags, pool cues, furniture, car and motorcycle seats, gun holsters,
and whatever else well-heeled customers may fancy. Better yet, adds Paul Bond,
“the tanning options are second to none, with several different textures and
How do you celebrate
half a century with an elephant?
Rosamond Gifford Zoo
in Syracuse, New York recently honored their herd’s matriarch, Siri, as she
turned 50 years old! Asian elephant herd mates Romani (41), Targa (34), Doc
(20), Kirinia (22), Mali (20), and Batu (2) were all on hand to celebrate the
amazing occasion. The Zoo held a highly successful series of events, including
Pennies for Pachyderms, a fundraiser for elephant conservation of which the
International Elephant Foundation was a recipient.
World Elephant Day festivities, the Asian Elephant Extravaganza included a
county proclamation declaring 2017 the “Summer of Siri”! Everything from
Pachyderm Parties to special docent-led tours, to a Watermelon Smash was held
to bring the entire community together to celebrate two generations with Siri.
We at IEF are so
thankful for and in awe of the commitment by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo team that
we thought you might like to learn a little bit more about them from Director
Ted Fox and President of the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Janet Agostini:
and Inspire: A Conversation with Chuck Wikenhauser, Director of the Milwaukee
The Milwaukee County
Zoo came on the map in the early 1960s with its groundbreaking predator-prey
exhibits where carnivores and hoofed animals were put in close proximity,
separated by moats. Since that time, the zoo has maintained one of the largest
varieties of animals in the nation and one of the highest attendance levels for
the size of its metropolitan area. For the past nearly 28 years, Chuck
Wikenhauser has been director of the zoo, where he came after serving in the
director’s career at the Pittsburgh, John Ball and Peoria Zoos. Wikenhauser has
helped the zoo modernize exhibits, develop state-of-the-art husbandry programs
and become a larger player in conservation. Here is his story.
Many Captive Species
Have Permanent Sanctuaries: Finally, Whales and Dolphins Will Have Theirs
Animals kept in
terrestrial and water zoos—zooed animals—clearly are not living anything that
resembles a normal life. They suffer from all sorts of psychological and
physical disorders and have lost the freedom to make choices and to control
their own lives.
This piece and
interview is a nice followup to an essay I wrote about an international meeting
at the Detroit Zoo. Among the topics discussed at the meeting and in my
interview was turning zoos into sanctuaries that are more for the individual
animals. Because I fully support this move, I was pleased when neuroscientist
and cetacean expert Lori Marino, president and chairperson of the board of the
Whale Sanctuary Project, agreed to do an interview about this exciting new
Marc Bekoff: Why did
you and others found The Whale Sanctuary Project?
Lori Marino: We
founded the Whale Sanctuary Project in 2016 because it became absolutely clear
that, despite the mounting evidence for poor well-being in orcas, belugas and
other cetaceans at marine parks, there was no existing alternative. So it was
equally apparent that the next step in efforts to phase out the keeping of
these animals in tanks was to create a permanent seaside sanctuary. Permanent
sanctuaries exist for captive elephants, primates, bears, and members of all
sorts of other species and there is no reason why that model could not be
applied to captive cetaceans.
Many people ask why
Santa's very big
helper! Grinning orangutan guzzles down milk and rides on a 'sleigh' during
festive party at a Philippines zoo
The animals at
Malabon Zoo in the Philippines were joined by 200 orphans and Roman Catholic
The event on
Thursday starred smiling orangutan Pacquiao, named after Filipino boxer Manny
Zoo's founder Manny Tangco, who pushed
Pacquiao around in a trolley, said: 'Christmas is for animals too'
Lynx death: Borth
zoo lodges appeal against wild cat ban
A zoo which had two
of its lynx die within days of each other is to appeal against a ban stopping
it from keeping certain dangerous animals.
Borth Wild Animal
Kingdom, in Ceredigion, has lodged an appeal with Aberystwyth Justice Centre
The ban was enforced
after a Eurasian lynx was "humanely destroyed" following its escape
in October and a second lynx died in a "handling error".
said it was aware of the appeal.
The zoo has been
closed since Lilleth, the Eurasian lynx, escaped and was killed by a marksman
after the council decided she posed a risk to the community.
It had planned to
reopen on 1 December but this was quashed after the zoo failed to secure a
firearms licence from Dyfed-Powys Police.
The proposed ban on
Gaza zoo tries to
sell lion cubs fearing cost of care
owner has put three lion cubs up for sale, fearing he won't be able to afford
to feed them as they grow.
Mohammed Jomaa said
on Friday that many people were interested in the cubs, going for $3,500 each.
However, none of the offers were serious, he added, as potential buyers share
the same concern.
Instead, they bring
their children to pet the two-month-old cubs at the southern Gaza zoo.
Most of Gaza's 2
million residents have other priorities. Poverty, unemployment and constant
power shortages, coupled with the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the territory
since 2007, have stifled the economy.
welfare groups have evacuated monkeys and lions,
chimpanzees will pay to watch punishment
You’re nice. You
don’t enjoy others’ suffering, except of course when they’ve done wrong and you
want them punished for the transgression. Maybe you’d even pay to watch that
justice meted out. That desire is apparently natural in humans and animals, and
it starts pretty young.
Small children and
chimpanzees are gleeful when they see just punishment for antisocial behavior,
according to a study published Dec. 18 in Nature Human Behavior (paywall) by
researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in
Leipzig, Germany. “When misfortune befalls another, humans may feel distress,
leading to a motivation to escape,” the study explains. “When such misfortune
is perceived as justified, h
Grand Zoo... A
Kuwaiti dream project
While many would
like to visit the current Zoo in Al-Omariya area, especially during the winter
season, a dream for a grand facility to host animals of various kinds is still
lingering in the minds of people living in Kuwait.
The Public Authority
for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAFR) recently proposed a
KD-112-million (USD 336 million) Grand Zoo project to be opened west of Jahra
Top officials at PAAFR, including Director General Faisal
Al-Hasawi and Deputy Director Dr. Ali Al-Qattan, told KUNA that the project,
which will attract millions of visitors, was still in its early
The project will be separated into five zones, which includes
parking, entry and exit gates, and open-air animals' displays, in addition to
areas for services, paths, and utilities.
The project will generate
job opportunities for both Kuwaitis and expatriates. The private sector might
be involved in the process of building the Zoo.
The project had been
planned since the 1970s and 80s; however, it was put on halt due to the Iraqi
The project came back
Entire Nubian ibex
herd euthanized at LA Zoo due to deadly herpes virus
The Los Angeles Zoo
euthanized its entire Nubian ibex herd after it was found to be the source of a
deadly strain of the herpes virus, which posed harm to other hoofed animals on
Zoo officials said
in October, six African antelope became ill and suddenly died. During the
investigation, a strain of malignant catarrhal fever, or MCF, was found in the
Nubian ibex at the zoo. The disease develops from the herpes virus and can
cause death in other even-toed hoofed animals.
MCF cannot be
transferred to humans, zoo staff noted, but in order to protect the other
hoofed animals at the zoo, the Ibex were euthanized in November. There is no
cure for MCF.
ibex could not be sent to any other facility housing hoofed animals, as those
animals could contract the disease and die. It would have been irresponsible of
the Zoo to send
Face an Uncertain Future in Nepal
Issue 99, Winter 2017
images that feature monkeys, apes in unnatural settings
decided to ban from their repository all images that feature monkeys and apes
dressed or photographed in unnatural setting.
The decision came
after animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(PETA) made an appeal to them and said that images of animals in unnatural
settings can harm conservation efforts and reinforce illegal wildlife trade.
removed and banned photographs and videos of monkey and ape species from their
collection as well as from their subsidiary, Bigstock.
RHINO POACHING IN
AFRICA SPIKED BY 9,000 PERCENT IN SEVEN YEARS, DEVASTATING REPORT SHOWS
As many of us are
aware, African mammals are under threat from poachers. Illegal hunters go after
endangered elephants, rhinos, leopards, and other animals for their tusks,
horns, and hides. With decades of slaughter in the Kenya and South Africa, it’s
hard to visualize how many lives have been lost.
But a new report
from the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) indicates the problem may be worse
than previously thought, particularly when it comes to the rhinoceros.
According to the report, rhino poaching increased by more than 9,000 percent
between 2007 and 2014, increasing from 13 animals per year to 1,215 per year.
The report, “Poaching Deaths: Visualized," illustrates the staggering
HUNTING’S THREAT TO
How can ‘canned’
possibly be a major threat to conservation on the basis advanced by Flack;
namely, the absence of fair chase – where in theory, the hunter’s quarry has a
(limited) chance to evade its own unnatural death? What on earth does fair
chase have to do with conservation?
Whether a target is
fairly chased or not, it still bleeds and dies and is removed from the
environment. On the contrary, there is
an argument that the canned hunting of captive bred lions causes less damage to
lion conservation in one respect than hunting wild lions, with all the damage
the latter causes to pride dynamics.
No, the real
objection that Flack has to canned hunting is that it is a reputational threat
to the existence, ‘good reputation’(sic) and profitability of the whole hunting
industry. He fears that the increasing public disgust ‘canned’ is causing is
pulling down the whole trophy hunting in
Physiology of Tigers in Zoos: Integrating Stress Physiology and Behaviour to
Monitor Their Health and Welfare
Big cats in zoos can
face challenges associated with captive environments such as inadequate
biological adaptation, increased occurrence abnormal behaviour and
health-related problems. Conservation physiology is an emerging theme and a
dynamic field of research, which aims to reduce these challenges of big cats
captive management programmes through new scientific research integrating
physiology and behaviour. This field of research applies cutting-edge
physiological tools (e.g. non-invasive reproductive and stress hormone
monitoring) in combination with traditional methods of behaviour and veterinary
health assessments to provide a holistic account of how big cats respond to the
captive environment. This book chapter discusses the applications of conservation
physiology tools in the captive management of tigers in zoos. Our goal is to
bolster tiger captive management in zoos by studying their stress physiology.
Overall, the application of conservation physiology tools into captive
management programmes for tigers and other big cat species can provide valuable
information for evaluating and managing stress, thus improving tiger welfare.
Tayto Park zoo wants
statistics on deaths withheld
Tayto Park has
sought to prevent the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
releasing details of animal deaths at its zoo, claiming that the information
would damage its business and result in negative publicity.
which is the licensing authority for Irish zoos, has published information
relating to animal mortality rates at Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park, which
revealed that a total of 227 animals died at the two facilities in 2015.
However, Tayto Park
has taken steps to prevent the release of the corresponding data in respect of
its own animal collection. It wrote to the department in September to outline
its objections to the publication of the statistics.
The objections were
based on the contention that the release of the information would result in
negative publicity for the the
ZOO OBJECTS Tayto
Park seeks to prevent releasing details of animal deaths at its zoo – claiming
that the information would damage business
Zoos are good for
Debate.org, 59 percent of respondents are against zoos. It seems that people
consider zoos to be inhumane for animals; however, I believe that this belief
misconceptions of animals in zoos are that they are unhappy and being held
against their will, or that they are being treated poorly. Although not every
zoo in the world lives up to the highest standards of care, there are some
public zoos, such as the Minnesota Zoo, which do take great care of their
animals. In fact, most of today’s modern zoos enable the animals to full
habitats with more than enough space for them to roam freely and be happy.
As Satch Krantz,
director of Riverbank Zoo and Garden stated, “You’ve got to make sure you have
animals that are not just physically healthy, but mentally healthy, moving
around during the day and doing things in a natural way.”
The Foundation for
Biomedical Research r
South China zoo
allegedly trains dolphin
A South China zoo is
being investigated by fishery authorities for allegedly training an endangered
dolphin for a commercial performance.
humpbacked dolphin performed for visitors to the Nanning Zoo in Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region on Saturday, according to a video sent to the Global Times on
It was shot by Hu
Chunmei, secretary of the Endangered Species Fund of the China Biodiversity
Conservation and Green Development Foundation.
In a clip Hu showed
to the Global Times, the China Class A protected animal shoots a ball at a
basket and performs other tricks to receive fish from a trainer. Loud applause
and cheers greet the performance.
will be conducted, Mo
female Sumatran rhino has cancer.. and the prognosis isn't good
surviving female Sumatran rhinoceros, Iman, has finally emerged from her mud
wallow at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu, and is now receiving
Iman had been
diagnosed with a tumour in her uterus last week. Since then, she had been
camped out in her wallow, hampering any chances of her caregivers to extend
Dogs (and Monkeys)
It’s an unfortunate
situation in which to find yourself when your favourite domestic animal likes
to harass and kill your study species. That, however, is the scenario we have
to deal with regularly in Bouhachem where domestic dogs owned by villagers harass
and sometimes kill the Endangered Barbary macaque. Apart from worrying how this
might be affecting macaque mortality, there is the tendency to want to “do
something”, but anything we do has to be done carefully as the Barbary macaques
are as scared of people as they are of dogs. In the example of the wounded
female in the article, we saw off the attacking dogs and stayed around to
ensure the female was unmolested as she made her slow, painful progress from
the ground up into the tree. As soon as she was safe in the tree, we left
because her nearby family members were too frightened of us to return to her
side. You can download the artic
Crocodile lizard and
snail-eating turtle among 115 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong
A brightly coloured
crocodile lizard, a thriving mole population and a mountain-dwelling bat are
among an astonishing 115 new species of flora and fauna discovered in Asia in
A report by wildlife
charity WWF has revealed three previously unknown mammals, 11 amphibians, two
fish, 11 reptiles and 88 new plants were found by researchers and scientists in
the Greater Mekong region.
The large river
basin stretches across parts of Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and is
already recognised as one of the world’s richest areas for biodiversity.
The new finds also
include a new vibrantly coloured frog, a striped loach, a snake and a bent-toed
"inflict pain on wild or exotic animals" banned by Pittsburgh City
Council. Zoo and Shriners Circus warn of impact
Council has approved a ban on the use of tools "capable of inflicting
pain, intimidating or threatening pain" on wild or exotic animals. The
legislation sponsored by Council President Bruce Kraus does not single out the
Pittsburgh Zoo or the Shriners Circus but both opposed the bill and their
representatives testified against it during more than an hour of public comment
in a packed council chamber before the 6-to-3 vote of approval. Opponents
maintain the new rules will jeopardize the safety of Pittsburgh Zoo staff and
force an end to the charity-fundraising Shriners Circus event in Pittsburgh.
Some people in
circus clown costumes carried signs opposing the bill. One Shriner wearing a
fez shouted at council members as he left the meeting.
Your Mind is the
Day by day I’m
trying to live and focus on the moment I’m in right at this point. It’s not
easy I mean I’m always looking forward to events that will happen in the
future. For example, I will have Christmas with my family and I’m looking
forward to it at the same time I’m training dolphins what I should enjoy in the
moment. If I’m too busy with what is going to happen in the future I forget
what is going on in the moment. These days I’m doing more and more endurance
sports, I’m reading a book that helps me going forward in this sport. The funny
part is that when you do endurance sports that many endurance athletes will say
that a lot is depending on what you are thinking. Especially when you want to
perform or go for a long run.
I read a blog the
other day about animals being always in the moment. What means that they
wouldn’t look into the future planning choices for later events. It’s an
interesting thought especially now we humans plan many things ahead of us all
the time. Could animals do the same? Planning events to happen? While working
out for my 2
Leading with Heart:
A Conversation with Jackie Ogden, Retired Vice President of Animals, Science
and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Since it opened Disney’s Animal Kingdom in
1998, the Walt Disney Company has been a global leader in animal science and
conservation. From 2007 until early 2017, the company’s Vice President of
Animals, Science and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts was Dr.
Jackie Ogden. Until her recent retirement, she steered Disney’s Parks and
Resorts team to provide top notch animal welfare, save species from extinction
around the world and nurture the conservation leaders of tomorrow. Ogden is
regarded as a compassionate leader in the zoo profession, served as Chair of
the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and mentored several important zoo
professionals. Here is her story.
A Great City Has a
Great Zoo: A Conversation with Phil Frost, Director of the Baton Rouge Zoo
Having served as a
director since 1981, Phil Frost is one of the longest serving directors in the
American Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Since 1998, he has served as
director of BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo. Currently, the Zoo is exploring a possible
relocation. The goal is to find a more centrally located piece of land to main
interstates and roadways, thereby opening it up to more tourist & local
visitation, additional corporate support – all in an effort to become a
world-class facility. As director, Frost is the zoo’s biggest champion to the
possible move and wants to give new life to the zoo he’s devoted nearly 20
years to. Here is his story.
The Top Ten Ocean
Stories of 2017
his year, the depths
of the world’s oceans revealed a host of watery secrets, from octopuses that
live in teeming underwater cities to the discovery of a massive new sunfish.
Here at the Smithsonian, we highlighted key stories of ocean conservation successes
at our first-ever Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, D.C. Hopeful
stories continued to make news headlines: This year, sea turtle numbers are on
the rise and two new marine protected areas were established—one off the coast
of Easter Island and one in the Pacific Ocean off the Mexican coast.
At the same time,
the seas also proved the source of tragedy and concern, from record-breaking
storms to the decline of whales and porpoises to the continued reign of ocean
plastic. As we do every year, the National Museum of Natural History’s Ocean
Portal team sifted through the deluge to bring you the top ocean news of the
year, both good and bad. We hope at least one of these stories will leave you
with a sense of optimism for the year to come.
Oldest Polar Bear in
Captivity in U.S. Turns 37
The oldest polar
bear in captivity in the U.S. celebrated her 37th birthday this week.
The polar bear's
name is Coldilocks, and she lives at the Philadelphia Zoo where she's been
since 1981. The zoo celebrated her big day with the birthday song and a cake
only a polar bear cold love, made of peanut butter, honey, raisins, and fish.
Zoo officials say
most polar bears only live for 23 years in captivity. They credit Coldilocks'
long life to the care she receives from the zoo's veterinary staff and her
positively linked to infant survival and growth in a cooperatively breeding
is a system where helper individuals care for breeding individuals’ offspring.
As a result, social environment is likely to play a key role in regulating
reproductive success. In primates, cooperative breeding is only found in the family
Callitrichidae. Callitrichid males typically provide more infant care than
non-breeding females, and in many callitrichid species, the presence of
multiple males has been linked to infant survival. Leontopithecus chrysomelas
(the golden-headed lion tamarin) is an endangered callitrichid found in the
Atlantic Forest of Brazil. We used long-term data for wild L. chrysomelas to
assess the influence of social group composition on reproductive success. Our
survival model found that infant survival was negatively associated with group
size, but this cost was mitigated by the presence of multiple adult males vs a
single adult male. We also found that infants raised in groups with multiple
adult males exhibited faster growth rates and higher adult weights than infants
raised with a single adult male. This study adds novel evidence for the
positive influence of adult males on callitrichid reproduction, demonstrating
that adult males influence infant growth, as well as survival, in wild
populations of cooperatively breeding primates. We suggest that social group
composition, particularly the presence of adult males, be considered in future
conservation strategies given its importance for reproductive success.
House of Commons
Hansard Animal Welfare
I beg to move,
That this House has
considered the Government policy on animal welfare.
It is a pleasure to
speak under your chairmanship, Mr Robertson. It is often said that we are a
nation of animal lovers and in many respects we are a world leader in animal
welfare. That is something we can be proud of.
In the months since
the general election we have seen a blizzard of activity from the Government
that will build on that proud record. They have committed to putting CCTV into
all abattoirs to prevent abuse; they have committed to increasing the maximum sentence
for animal cruelty from six months to five years; they have committed to
closing down the ivory trade in the UK, to remove loopholes allowing new ivory
to be sold as if it is old ivory; they are banning neonicotinoids, pesticides
that are wiping out bees and many other pollinators; they are bringing in
measures to tackle plastic waste that is clogging up our oceans, as we have all
seen on the extraordinary “Blue Planet” series; and they are banning
microbeads, those tiny particles of plastic that are causing mayhem to marine
On a bigger scale,
we have seen over the past few years the creation of a network of giant marine
protected areas. Our 14 overseas territories represent the fifth-largest marine
estate in the world and include some of the most important biodiversity hotspots
in the world. This Government have committed nearly 4 million square kilometres
Governments unite to
conserve the world’s heaviest flying animal
countries of the world’s heaviest flying bird, the great bustard, will
coordinate the conservation of highly threatened populations of the species
after a unanimous show of support at the Conference of Parties to the
Convention on Migratory Species.
Weighing up to 46
pounds, the great bustard (Otis tarda) is the heaviest animal capable of
flight. This iconic species is at risk of disappearing from the historic heart
of its range: the Central Eurasian steppe. While global populations of great
bustard are considered Vulnerable to extinction by IUCN, populations in Asia
are at much higher risk, with likely less than 2,000 individuals remaining
across a vast region. A proposal to improve cooperation to conserve the
remaining populations was approved at the recent Conference of the Parties to
the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS),
an agreement with 125 signatory countries.
The Proposal for a
Concerted Action for the Asian Great Bustard was developed and promoted by the
Eurasian Bustard Alliance and Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of
Mongolia after our research revealed the highly migratory behavior of the great
bustard in Asia. International cooperation will be key to conservation of these
populations of great bustard, which experience threats including poaching,
poisoning, and collisions with power lines along their migratory journey.
A Concerted Action
consists of a three-year period of increased communication and cooperation
between range states, with the goal of improving the status of the species. The
Concerted Action on the Great Bustard in Asia was proposed to parties of the
Convention on Migratory Species for consideration by the Government of
Mongolia, which had previo
Les Zoos dans le Monde
Other Groups Demanding Changes To Controversial City Council Bill
The Pittsburgh City
Council is expected to take up an issue on Tuesday that could affect what tools
people who work with animals can use, and it could change the way the
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium operates.
“We work really hard
on trying to set up conservation programs and breeding programs, and we won’t
be able to do those things if you effectively take away all those tools that we
use,” said Henry Kacprzyk, the curator of reptiles at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
The bill, proposed
by City Council President Bruce Kraus, is a revision of an earlier proposal
that would have banned live animal acts from the city.
The revised version
will allow the acts, but ban tools like electric prods, whips, or bull hooks.
portion takes the tools away we need to properly handle the animals, so
essentially we can’t bring the animals,” said Paul Leavy, of the Shrine Circus.
Both the zoo and the
Shriners say the wording of the bill gives the wrong impression – that many of
the so-called “tools” outlined are outdated and no longer considered
“Things that are in
this bill, such as hacksaws, pitchforks, baseball bats, they’re not used. We
would never condone any kind of abuse on our animals,” said Leavy.
“We don’t use force
to get compliance fr
Panda-feeding is not
all about playing with cute bears, it has life risks
Panda feeder Wei Hua
is still recovering one year after a ferocious panda attack.
He was on a mission
to train artificially bred pandas to adapt to the wilderness when, in late
2016, he was mauled by the very target of his benevolence.
Long, visible scars
now cover his head, legs and arms. His left little finger has also lost the
ability of movement, and he has to practice walking every day. Still, he longs
to return to work and back to his beloved pandas.
Wei graduated with a
postgraduate degree in wildlife protection in 2007 from a university in Guangxi
Zhuang Autonomous Region. Very soon he became head of the panda department at a
Guilin city zoo.
However, a visit to
the panda research base in Ya'an, Sichuan Province, changed his life. He quit
his zoo job in Guilin in 2013 and immediately moved to Ya'an, where he worked a
menial job clearing panda dung.
In order to
rehabilitate China's wild panda population, the panda research center in Ya'an
holds a program to train and release captive pandas back into the wilderness.
After being trained,
female pandas are left in an enclosed section of forest to breed and raise
their cubs, which will eventually be released back into the wilderness when
they grow up.
Wei applied many
times to participate in the rehabilitation program and was finally included in
2015. The program's staff must wear special "panda suits" sprayed
with panda urine, which reduces the scent of humans in the panda's world.
One day in December
of 2016, Wei was checking
Lots of links below.
The Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAFR) recently proposed a KD-112-million (USD 336 million) Grand Zoo project to be opened west of Jahra Road.
Top officials at PAAFR, including Director General Faisal Al-Hasawi and Deputy Director Dr. Ali Al-Qattan, told KUNA that the project, which will attract millions of visitors, was still in its early stages.
The project will be separated into five zones, which includes parking, entry and exit gates, and open-air animals' displays, in addition to areas for services, paths, and utilities.
The project will generate job opportunities for both Kuwaitis and expatriates. The private sector might be involved in the process of building the Zoo.
The project had been planned since the 1970s and 80s; however, it was put on halt due to the Iraqi invasion.
The project came back
Theophrastus, Aristotle’s student, began the Western study of plants about 2,300 years ago. So it is especially wondrous that we are still discovering so much. December’s news at www.zooplantman.com (NEWS/Botanical News) highlights just a very few of these wonders:
· Travelers to southeast Asia and foodies worldwide know of the durian’s legendary smell. Fans love the fruit in spite of it. What are the evolutionary benefits of such a robust stench? Ask an elephant.
· The benefits of ants to trees are well studied. But apparently there is more to discover. The trees even benefit from their guests’ feces.
· An asteroid killed the dinosaurs. Except when something else did them in.Take simple algae, for example...
· The raging fires in California’s wine country are a devastating human tragedy. Yet even the vineyards that did not burn may be changed forever. The vines do not forget the fires they have survived.
· Field biologists studying foraging parrots through binoculars concluded that the birds are seed predators. Only when the researchers heedlessly ventured into the bush did they discover the real relationship between parrots and their food sources. A case for foolishness in research.
solved: Why deer have deformed blood cells just like some people
Deer and sickle cell
anemia sufferers have something in common: Their red blood cells contort into
abnormal shapes. Now, researchers have pinpointed the molecular change in
deer’s blood cells that causes this distortion. The discovery solves a mystery
that has puzzled researchers since the 1840s, and it may help scientists nail
down how misshapen blood cells defend some people from malaria.
Working out the
molecular basis for sickling in deer is “a great step,” says pediatric
hematologist Vijay Sankaran of Harvard Medical School in Boston, who isn’t
connected to the research.
with sickle cell anemia carry a mutation that tweaks the structure of
hemoglobin, the molecule that ferries oxygen through our blood. This DNA glitch
makes β-globin—one of the two
types of proteins that make up hemoglobin—stickier, causing the hemoglobin molecules to adhere and form stiff
fibers. In turn, the fibers warp th
It's Really Hard to
Know When a Zoo Animal Is Pregnant
Sex at the zoo is a
highly managed affair.
When zookeepers do
not want a species to reproduce, birth control is in order. “Chimps take human
birth-control pills, giraffes are served hormones in their feed, and grizzly
bears have slow-releasing hormones implanted in their forelegs,” writes The New
York Times. When zookeepers do want a species to reproduce—especially an
endangered or threatened one—the couplings must be carefully arranged. An
animal might travel 1,500 miles to meet a partner.
But after all this
meticulous planning, zookeepers can hit a wall of uncertainty: It’s sometimes
quite hard to know whether a female is pregnant. In the case of pandas, their
keepers might not be entirely certain until the baby pops out.
There are animals
where it’s easier, sure. Great apes, for example, are related enough to humans
that regular old pregnancy tests can work. The problem is getting individual
apes to pee on a stick. To get around this, the St. Louis Zoo built special
gutters where the great apes slept, which would route the urine outside. In the
morning, someone would go out to collect the urine. “But the female has to be
alone to do that,” says Cheryl Asa, a former director of reproductive research
at the zoo. The system worked well for great-ap
horn trade: don’t charge in blind
Between 2008 and
2016, poachers killed more than 7100 rhinos in Africa. South Africa, which has
nearly 80% of Africa’s rhinos, was the worst affected country, with more than
1000 rhinos killed each year over the last four years.
In 2015 and 2016,
the total number of rhinos poached represented almost 6% of South Africa’s
rhinos (if white and black rhinos are added up together), which is similar to
the estimated population growth rate. This suggests that the situation is close
to a tipping point where rhino deaths exceed births.
Statistics for 2017
haven’t been tallied, but the numbers are likely to be high again. Before 2008,
South Africa was losing fewer than 25 rhinos to poaching per year. There is no
consensus about the reasons for the increase in poaching.
Rhinos are killed
for their horns, which fetch high prices on the black market. There are
suggestions from 2012 that end user prices were as high as USD$65000/kg. Most
poached rhino horns are smuggled to Asia, where their uses range from
traditional or modern medicine to making ornaments. It’s also speculated that
criminal syndicates store some in stockpiles in the belief that prices will
increase in future.
In an attempt to
stop the poaching, South Africa has developed a multi-sectoral approach that
includes state and private entities and combines law enforcement with
interventions like translocations. The poaching rate appears to have levelled,
but this strategy hasn’t reduced killings to sustainable levels – or prevented
the involvement of organised crime in rhino poaching.
Since limiting the
supply of horn to the market has not succeeded, another strategy is to consider
the opposite: increasing the supply by legali
The Maui Ocean
Center hopes to have 20 percent of all its marine life on display acquired from
aquaculture facilities — rather than the wild — by 2020, the center’s curator
said last week.
“We believe this is
the future,” John Gorman said during a Maui Nui Marine Resource Council meeting
Thursday at the Pacific Whale Foundation office at the Ma’alaea Harbor Shops.
“We’re talking with (institutions) to get this geared up so they’re more predominant
and the industry standard rather than wild capture.”
coincides with a state Supreme Court ruling in September. It determined that
the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ practice of doling out
permits for commercial aquarium fish collection must comply with the Hawaii
Environmental Policy Act.
The following month,
a Circuit Court judge ruled that existing commercial permits for use of fine
mesh nets to catch aquatic life for aquarium purposes are illegal and invalid.
The judge ordered the DLNR not to issue any new permits pending environmental
recreational permits, however, are still valid.
The department has
maintained that existing aquarium fishing practices are “sustainable and
environmentally sound,” according to its website. The DLNR also commented that
it “appreciates that dozens of local businesses and families depend on the
industry for their livelihoods.”
About 98 percent of
fish in aquariums worldwide are caught in the wild, according to For the
Fishes, a Hawaii nonprofit dedicated to prot
Santa Barbara Zoo
prepares to evacuate over Thomas Fire
The Santa Barbara
Zoo prepared to evacuate animals on Saturday after raging wildfires in Southern
California put the zoo in a voluntary evacuation zone.
Zookeepers rushed to
place animals in carriers in case the city issued a mandatory evacuation for
the area, which is threatened by the Thomas Fire that is now sweeping through
Santa Barbara County.
dolphins leave no trace after summer
The whereabouts of
two released dolphins are still unknown, casting doubt whether it was
appropriate to free them after some 20 years of captivation.
Bottlenose Dolphins were released in to the wildness at waters off Jeju Island
last July. The two dolphins, caught in the late 1990s by fishing nets, were
sent to a zoo in Seoul, to perform dolphin shows.
crowdfunding campaign to protect endangered bird
A Toyama zoo has
launched a crowdfunding campaign to collect funds to protect an endangered
Japanese bird designated as one the nation's special natural treasures.
funding from the state and local governments as well as a private fund, the
three-month campaign started on Dec 1 with an aim of raising 10 million yen
($88,780) to breed rock ptarmigans, called raicho (thunder bird) in Japanese,
according to the Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo.
As of Saturday, 1.65
million yen had been collected. Contributions from 3,000 yen can be made and
donors will be rewarded with gifts such as pins of the bird, pictures, name
plates and tours to see the species on Mt Tateyama in Toyama.
"We want to
solicit wishes to save rock ptarmigans. It will be great if we get support from
across Japan and abroad," said Yuji Ishihara, curator of t
Advocates push orca
breeding law as SeaWorld’s policy appears murky
The announcement was
rolled out to the world as a pledge. A promise.
In March 2016
SeaWorld declared it would end killer whale breeding, making the orcas in its
care in the United States and abroad its last generation to live in captivity.
Later that year,
California passed a law solidifying that change, banning breeding, performing
and introduction of any new orcas into captivity in the state. Now advocates in
Florida, home of SeaWorld’s global headquarters, are pushing for the same legal
protection, fearful that "corporate policy can always change," said
Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney Lindsay Larris.
Rep. Ben Diamond,
D-St. Petersburg, drafted the Florida Orca Protection Act ahead of the 2018
Legislative session but said he is still debating whether it will be one of the
six bills he is limited to filing.
With SeaWorld in
rebuild mode after years of decline and plummeting attendance, Larris said
there’s an urgency to protect orcas in Florida amid the unpredictably of a
struggling, publicly held company.
But in a recent
transaction that occurred across the Atlantic, done with no public announcement
or fanfare, it appears SeaWorld has already acted against its own policy, the
Tampa Bay Times has found.
On the Spanish
island of Tenerife, SeaWorld last month surrendered six killer whales that had
been on loan to Loro Parque after the zoo’s president, Wolfgang Kiessling,
Behaviors: A Conversation with Jeff Ettling, Director of the Sedgwick County
At 247 acres in Wichita, Kansas, the Sedgwick
County Zoo is one of the biggest and best zoos in the nation. Much of this
growth was due to Mark Reed, the zoo’s director from 1991 to 2016. This growth
reached a pinnacle when Elephants of the Zambezi Valley opened, a
state-of-the-art home for six African elephants recreating the Zambezi Valley.
Jeff Ettling, the zoo’s new director, has pointed to Elephants of the Zambezi
Valley as the standard for where the zoo should go in the future. He also wants
to drastically expand the zoo’s field conservation work. Here is his story.
Plan to move Dusit
Zoo to Pathum Thani taking shape
The AGENCIES in
charge of Dusit Zoo in Bangkok yesterday confirmed that there is a plan to move
the zoo to another site in Pathum Thani province, but refused to divulge
details or make any comments.
His Majesty King
Maha Vajiralongkorn on Thursday granted the deed for 300-rai plot in the Klong
Hok area of Pathum Thani’s Thanya Buri district, to be used for the new zoo and
the new head office of the Zoological Organisation of Thailand. Natural Resources and Environment Minister
General Surasak Karnjanarat received the deed from HM the King during an
audience granted to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and senior
government officials at the Amporn Sathan Hall inside Dusit Pal
Dusit Zoo quashes
Dusit Zoo has
quashed rumours it has immediate plans to close amid claims it will relocate to
Pathum Thani. Rumours that the zoo was about to close in preparation to move
the new location were false,...
Room heaters to keep
city zoo animals warm in winter
With mercury levels
coming down in the city, 1,500-odd inmates of the Nehru Zoological Park are
taking advantage of the cosy conditions inside their tiny enclosure created by
the authorities to keep them warm this winter.
The officials have
not left single stone unturned to help the animals to brave the chill without
much discomfort. They have installed room heaters in the enclosures, straw
seats and covered the enclosures and cages with sheets of gunny bag.
“We are keeping
animals warm and healthy by providing the artificial temperature in their
cages,” said Nehru Zoological Park assistant director (veterinary) M.A. Hakeem.
Special care is
being taken for cat family, including lions, tigers, and leopards. Their cages
are covered and are under the supervision of veterinarians. Apart from
providing warm atmosphere, their di
Bumper season for
kiwi egg collection
A bumper harvest of
kiwi eggs has marked the first half of this year’s kiwi conservation work in
the Maungataniwha Native Forest in inland Hawke’s Bay. Conservationists working
for the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust have lifted 32 eggs so far, compared
to 46 for the entire season last year, and are reporting viability rates of 80
percent as opposed to the normal rate of around 65 percent.
Trust staffer Barry
Crene said four of the Trust’s monitored kiwi had abandoned their nests this
year, possibly due a very wet Spring. He had received reports of similar
behaviour from other kiwi conservation projects across the North Island.
Crene said the
Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust would start lifting eggs from the second
clutch before Christmas.
Animals killed in
barn fire at Little Ponderosa Zoo
Several animals were
killed in a barn fire at the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton on Monday.
The fire started in
the back of the main barn, which houses about 200 animals, including birds,
reptiles, primates, dogs and even camels during the Christmas season.
The fire was
reported at 12:13 p.m., according to Anderson County Sheriff's Office Chief
Deputy Mark Lucas. All five county volunteer fire departments responded and
were able to confine the damage to one barn.
ZOOS SUPPORTING ZOOS
FOR ANIMAL WELFARE
Yorkshire Wildlife Park has had an on-going MoU and partnership with Hanoi Zoo,
Vietnam to support improvements in animal management and care. Wild Welfare helped introduce the two zoos
and have provided peripheral support to both parties, however, Animals Asia
Foundation have taken on the bulk of the on-going negotiations, translation and
expert (veterinary and keeping) support through their in-country staff. This
collaborative approach by a number of different organisations is a great
example of how sharing expertise, resources and advice can help make a
difference and support the changes that the zoo is hoping to make that can
significantly make a difference to the animal’s lives within the zoo. Earlier this year, Yorkshire appointed a
dedicated member of staff to work with the zoo. Colin Northcott is the Deputy
Carnivore Team Leader at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, and in November visited Hanoi
zoo for the second time this year to oversee some of the on-going activities
Park has been thrown a lifeline by the council
Park has been given the opportunity to make its case in a new planning
application to East Herts District Council (EHDC).
A petition was
launched earlier this month when it was revealed that Ventura was facing
enforcement action due to a lack of planning permission.
more than 3,000 signatures online, officers from EHDC met with Ventura’s
director, Ashley Palmier.
It is understood
that Ventura has been asked to resubmit a detailed planning application,
outlining the “special circumstances” needed to justify its location o
Dubai Safari set to
open 'in a few weeks'
Dubai Safari, home
to the most diverse array of animals in the UAE, is set to open "in a few
weeks" as finishing touches continue to be added to the city's latest
sprawling 119-hectare animal kingdom, which initially had planned to open on
National Day, is now likely to open early next year.
Last month, safari
chief Tim Husband told Arabian Business that the park was 90 percent completed.
Dispelling the myths
of Jumbo: How 'world's biggest' elephant who inspired Dumbo suffered from
violent night time rages and wasting bones
He was revered as
the world's biggest elephant, thought to have inspired the creation of Disney
classic Dumbo and even attracting the attention of royalty.
Jumbo the giant
elephant attracted millions of visitors from across the globe to his home at
London Zoo, and gave countless rides to his adoring fans - including Queen
Victoria 's children.
His name also led to
the word Jumbo being popularised, as a reference to something large, and for
decades he was believed to be the biggest elephant to have existed.
As much as he was an
attraction in life, Jumbo was also remembered in death as a hero. He was cut
down in his prime at just 24, apparently dying after rushing head first into a
train - an act of great sacrifice to save his keeper and a smaller elephant companion,
However behind his
'celebrity' status, was an elephant that suffered from violent night time
rages, intense toothache and bone problems - possibly caused by the very public
who adored him as they rode on his back and fed him sticky buns as a
welcomes 991st penguin chick
brings big relief to aquarium shark
An aquarium in South
China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region said it's been keeping a close eye on
a 200-kilogram shark that just had successful surgery in a sensitive spot.
The resident nurse
shark at Underwater World in the provincial capital of Nanning had apparently
pushed too hard to pass an undigested fish in September, resulting in a
prolapsed anus, park employees said.
were finally called in on Thursday morning for the tricky procedure on the
3-meter shark they had to perform while keeping it submerged.
difficult part about the surgery was doing it underwater," said Wei Jinni,
an employee at the park.
Two vets and six
technicians worked in w
Male monkeys with
masculine faces draw long lingering glances
Female monkeys spend
more time staring at males with strong masculine facial features. But it’s not
clear why their gaze lingers like this.
Face structure often
varies between male and female members of a species. In humans, men tend to
have heavier brows, squarer jaws, deeper-set eyes and thinner lips than women.
believe that facial masculinity signals mate quality, but this is hotly
contested. To find out, Kevin Rosenfield, who was at Roehampton University in
the UK when the study was performed, and his colleagues examined facial
preference in monkeys.
They studied 107
free-ranging female rhesus macaques on the island of Cayo Santiago in Puerto
Rico. Each female was simultaneously shown two photos of male faces, one of
which was more masculine than the other. Masculine features included bigger
jaws, longer noses, and smaller eyes.
When the two faces
CITES again ignores
The 69th meeting of
the CITES Standing Committee just wrapped up and again nothing was done to
address the lax trade regulations that currently allow live great apes to be
illegally traded for the exotic pet and commercial zoo industries.
In fact, the CITES
Secretariat itself ignored an instruction addressed to it in CITES Resolution
Conf. 13.4 ‘Great Apes’, which states in part, “2. DIRECTS the Secretariat to:
(d) report to the Standing Committee on the implementation of this Resolution at
each of its regular meetings.”
The Secretariat did
not prepare a report on Great Apes for this meeting, the only species ignored
in this way. If the CITES Secretariat does not follow its own resolutions how
can we expect governments to do so?
Fights Animal Abuse With New Alert System
Instagram is rife
with photos of cute wild animals—including the exotic and endangered. A picture
of someone hugging a sloth or showing off a pet tiger cub is just a click away
on the massively popular photo-sharing platform, which serves 800 million users.
But starting today,
searches for a wide range of wildlife hashtags will trigger a notification
informing people of the behind-the-scenes animal abuse that makes some
seemingly innocent wildlife photos possible.
Instagram will now
deliver a pop-up message whenever someone searches or clicks on a hashtag like
“#slothselfie.” The message reads, in part, “You are searching for a hashtag
that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or
People can then
click through to a page Instagram set up in its Help Center to provide a lot
more information on wildlife exploitation. Instagram will use the same process
A giant step
backward on the treatment of orcas in captivity
It was my great hope
that SeaWorld’s March 2016 decision to end its orca breeding and theatrical
performance shows would be a catalyst prompting all other marine theme parks to
get on board and move to the next, better chapter in our relationship with cetaceans.
We imagined that the company’s commitment would close the chapter on the days
of capturing or breeding them for public display and behavioral stunts. Once
that chapter finally closed, future generations would look back with
befuddlement that for so long human beings kept some of the most intelligent
and awe-inspiring creatures on the planet in small pools, never intending to
let them swim free again.
Media reports have
now come to light about a situation that threatens to prolong the era of
captive display of orcas. Loro Parque Zoo, based on the island of Tenerife in
Spain, took custody of a rescued femal
Gorillas can develop
food cleaning behavior spontaneously
Researchers from the
University of Birmingham, University of Tubingen and University of St. Andrews
have suggested that gorillas are capable of learning food cleaning behaviours
without having to witness it in others first.
Though the authors
acknowledge that general purpose social learning between individuals can help
to increase the behaviour in frequency, their study of captive gorillas -- who
haven't crossed paths with those who are already known to show the behaviour --
shows that food cleaning can be reinnovated spontaneously.
published in PLoS ONE, challenge the interpretation of recently published data
that suggested that wild gorillas acquire food cleaning primarily by learning
A captive population
of western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) at the Wolfgang Kohler
Primate Research Centre in Leipzig Zoo, Germany, was provided with clean and
dirty apples by the research team.
When the gorillas
were provided with dirty apples, coated with sand, all subjects showed evid
Sumatran tigers fall
17 per cent and have just two strongholds
Sumatran tigers are
running out of places to live. Their population fell by 16.6 per cent between
2000 and 2012, and the remaining tigers are trapped in shrinking forests.
“We’re really at a
tipping point in terms of how much habitat is left that tigers need for their
long-term survival,” says Matthew Luskin at Nanyang Technological University in
The Sumatran tiger
(Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a subspecies of tiger, only found on the
Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is critically endangered, due to poaching, the
expanding oil palm industry and rampant deforestation.
Luskin and his
colleagues spent a year tracking tigers through Sumatran forests, using cameras
to track each individual animal. They combined their data with other
scientists’ results, allowing them to accurately estimate how many Sumatran
tigers are left.
Perth Zoo born
numbats to be released into wild with radio collars
Festival came late for ten numbats who were fitted with radio collars on
Saturday – the must-have marsupial accessory of 2017 – ahead of their release
at Mt. Gibson Sanctuary this week.
A total of 19 Perth
Zoo born numbats will be set free in the wild as part of a breeding program
that aims to bolster numbers of the critically-endangered critters.
A Conversation with
Beth Rich, Deputy Director of Animal Care and Health at the Milwaukee County
In the upcoming years, the Milwaukee County
Zoo will be going through its largest renovation in decades with several modern
exhibits opening. In 2019, the zoo will open Adventure Africa, featuring a
state-of-the-art habitat for African elephants. After that, black rhinos, river
hippos, polar and grizzly bears, seals and sea lions, orangutans and many
others will be getting new digs as well. A huge player in this modernization is
Beth Rich, Deputy Director of Animal Care and Health at the Milwaukee County
Zoo. Here is her story.
The Jackpot Myth
materialistic world, many of us are addicted to money because now we can buy
stuff. Money can buy it all and some of us would even argue that money can even
buy happiness. We go to a casino or buy lottery tickets to hope for the
jackpot. Of course, it’s great when you win the jackpot we all can agree to
that but then what? I want to point out the following… did you ever heard of
those people who win the jackpot and how quickly they lose their friends or
family and in some cases, they change completely as a person? They don’t really
know what to do with all this money and lose everything in the first 6 months,
is this because they think they can rule the world with money? I don’t know.
Anyway, the point is do you need the jackpot to be happy? Do we think that with
money you can buy happiness? To be honest I think less is better. You probably
have seen some photos passing by camping in the forest of Sweden, its one of
the best things in the world I think, you don’t need a lot to be happy to be honest.
I think we set a very high standard for our expectation to the world.
But what does the
jackpot mean for the animal?
training we describe the jackpot as the moment when we reinforce with a big
feeding right after you want to stop the session because you reached a very
good approximation in your training. We are all doing it. But is the jackpot so
effective as we talk about? Yes, I do think it’s very effective. So Peter why
do you call this blog the jackpot myth the
Loro Parque confirms
that Morgan (one of the orca females housed in our facilities after being found
almost dead and rescued in 2010 in the Wadden Sea) is pregnant. Pregnancies are
a very frequent phenomenon in a modern zoological institution which takes care
of tenths of thousands of animals from over 500 species. Commonly the
gestational status of the animals is not communicated to the public, but in
this case we have taken into consideration the exceptional public interest for
This diagnostic was
reached after a uterus ultrasound exploration due to a periodical medical
check. The pregnancy was confirmed only four weeks ago.
The orca keepers and
the veterinarian team of Loro Parque have the knowledge and expertise necessary
to follow up the gestation, providing Morgan with the highest standards of
animal care in the world.
considers the reproduc
Op-Ed: Hunters and
predator breeders take aim at Star journalist
Association has served summons on Independent Media as publishers of The Star
and a journalist, Shannon Ebrahim, following the publication of her article,
Canned lion hunting damaging Brand SA. It’s claiming damages of R1,000,000.
In what is clearly
an attempt to muzzle criticism aimed at its members, SAPA appears to be
reaching beyond the journalist to environmental NGOs and activists she quotes
who campaign against cruel hunting practices. Independent and Ebrahim will
defend the action and believe they have a strong case on the merits.
The summons singles
out the acclaimed documentary Blood Lions and specifically its lead consultant,
Ian Michler, for what SAPA claims to be false statements that the hunting of
“canned” lions is cruel, barbaric and macabre and that they are raised in cages
to be shot by foreign thrill-seekers.
particularly stung by what it perceives in Ebrahim’s article to be a claim that
its members are involved in illegal, unethical and poaching practices and
unacceptable labour practices. Also that most operators and breeders are
There is a strong
possibility that when Independent Newspapers defends the case, SAPA will be
confronted by more than it bargained for. It is likely to be called upon to
contend with claims and investigations of damning evidence from a wide range of
organisations and environmentalists quoted in the Star article.
Blood Lions, for a
start, has visual evidence of cruelty on farms where lions are reared for the
bullet. Captive lion breeding for hunting has also been condemned by the
African Lion Working Group (comprising 100 registered scientists), the
Endangered Wildlife Trust, Panthera, Wildlands Trust, Wild Cat Conservation
Group, International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Fund
for Animal Welfare, Four Paws, Coalition Against Lion Hunting, the NSPCA and
the Humane Society International. All could probably be called on to give
evidence in support of Ebrahim.
The quote on damage
captive-bred hunting was doing to South Africa’s international image came from
the then Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom.
“I think it has
already damaged Brand South Africa,” he said on camera in Blood Lions. ‘The
practice of canned lion hunting or breeding in captivity comes with a lot of
negativity and therefore it does and probably will do further reputational
damage unless we take some more decisive measures to discourage it.
“Our first step is
to be in one mind as a country about whether we want this – is this something
that we feel proud of as a nation? My feeling is I’m not proud of it.”
Dr Andrew Venter,
the CEO of Wildlands, said he would be prepared to support Ebrahim if called
to. “The South African captive lion breeding and associated hunting and bone
trading activities,” he said in response to the summons, “are not regarded as
bone fide conservation activities by the vast majority of conservation
organisations, both in South Africa and globally, including the IUCN”.
significant concern around the conditions under which the lions are bred,
reared, hunted and slaughtered, with many conservationists and hunters finding
the industry to be immoral and unethical in its behaviour and practice.”
Commenting on the
lawsuit, the executive director of Humane Society International, Audrey
Delsink, said: “It is intended to intimidate this journalist and others who see
it as their duty to expose the cruel lion breeding industry for what it truly
is. Ebrahim gave accepted representations of South Africa’s captive breeding
and exploitation of lions. She merely collated general opinion and consensus of
this shameful industry.
“SAPA should not
waste the valuable time and resources of the judiciary, as well as this
newspaper and journalist. This is a clear attempt to muzzle public opinion.”
Support for Ebrahim
and Independent also came from tourism specialist Colin Bell. “One in seven
South Africans are directly dependent on the tourism industry to put food on
the table. My concern about the canned lion industry is that it potentially can
damage Brand South Africa in such a bad way. Why risk that for the benefit of a
Shortly after SAPA
issued the summons, it was slammed by 27 of the world’s top conservation and
research organisations and individuals on another matter: a letter it wrote to
the US Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, requesting the lifting of the ban
by US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS ) on the importation of captive-bred
In an open letter to
Zinke, the lion conservation community refutes SAPA’s claim that hunting of
captive bred lions presents conservation benefits to wild lions. “There is no
published, peer-reviewed evidence to support this statement,” they wrote. “The hunting
of captive-bred lions neither benefits biodiversity conservation nor the
conservation of wild and free-ranging lions.”
SAPA also claimed
that if captive lion hunting was stopped, increased pressure would be placed on
wild populations, but they provide no evidence whatsoever to substantiate this.
“SAPA states that if
USFWS does not allow for the importation of lion trophies then these lions will
be euthanised. It is unclear how this outcome would differ biologically from
killing them in a captive hunt, or for their bones? Either way, the lions will
be killed. 4
“We wish to express
that SAPA’s letter is fraught with inaccuracies, false statements and a flawed
viewpoint that is shaped for the economic benefit of captive lion breeders.”
Zoo vet technician
helps rehabilitate endangered species
Jess Jimerson, a
Houston Zoo veterinarian technician, recently came back from spending two weeks
in Vietnam where she helped assist with the medical care of a local endangered
species of pangolins.
Jimerson was able to
have this opportunity because of the Zoo's Staff Conservation Fund, which
provides grants for staff to do conservation work around the world in their
what animals have high needs that I could potentially meet with my skill set? I
started looking at pangolins because they are a critically endangered species
and there are eight different species of them, so I knew there were probably at
least, in two different continents, facilities that might need help,"
Jimerson heard back
from Save Vietnam's Wildlife, a young organization that was started in 2014,
that hoped to improve their care of pangolins, and learn more about the animal,
since little is known now.
The pangolin is a
small mammal that is found all over mainland southeast Asia and in the islands,
as well as in Africa. Four species live in Asia and four in Africa. Pangolins
are elusive, being nocturnal and solitary. They like to stay in trees. Their whole
body, except for their underside, is covered in scales. Pangolins do not have
teeth, and they mostly eat insects like termites and ants. They do not do well
in captivity, partially due to the
Reaching People: A
Conversation with Ted Beattie, Retired President of the Shedd Aquarium
Since starting at
the Cincinnati Zoo in the late 1970s to his retirement from the Shedd Aquarium
in 2016, Ted Beattie was one of the most iconic and well-respected leaders in
the zoo and aquarium profession. His work in marketing paved the way for zoos to
market their exhibits and bring in guests through events and experiences like
Zoo Lights and Boo at the Zoo. Beattie helped put both Zoo Knoxville and the
Fort Worth Zoo on track to grow and develop during his stints as director.
However, he spent the majority of his career as President of the Shedd Aquarium
in Chicago and established it as one of the best aquariums in the world and a
leading force in conservation and science. Here is his story.
Business of Extinction
monitoring endangered pink dolphins in Brazil's Amazon
hydroelectric projects, pollution and fishing, Amazon pink river dolphins were
now being tracked and monitored via satellite, an initiative in the Brazilian
region to increase knowledge about a species on which little data exists.
Considered to be the
"Ambassadors of the Amazon River", the freshwater dolphins were
included by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in the
category of animals about which there is "insufficient data", reports
Perth Zoo records
keeper marks 40 years employment
NOT many people can
say they have been employed with a company for more than 40 years but Chris
Wilson is an exception, with an exceptionally uncommon job.
Mr Wilson joined the
team at Perth Zoo in 1977 and was the 20th keeper that had ever been employed;
an occasion so momentous it was recorded in that year’s annual report.
Starting as a bird
keeper, Mr Wilson held that position for about 10 years until his previous
experience working at a lion park in Wanneroo landed him the position of senior
zookeeper for the African savannah exhibition, which he left in 1997-98 after
suffering a severe back injury.
“When I first
started work the industry it was male dominated and we only had about 20
keepers that looked after over 420 species, in comparison to nowa
Walrus calves' big
move sparks calls for aquarium boycott
An animal rights
group is calling for a boycott to protest the transfer of two baby walruses
from Quebec City to Vancouver.
The walrus calves
are expected to move from the Aquarium du Québec, where they were born, to the
Vancouver Aquarium before Christmas.
group, called the Lifeforce Foundation, says captive breeding can interfere
with natural lifestyles, and that taking the walruses away from their mothers
is insensitive and cruel.
"Why is there a
rush to get them here by Christmas? Is it some kind of Christmas
promotion?" said founder Peter Hamilton.
The aquarium said
that despite the timing of the move, they are hoping to introduce the calves to
the public in the spring.
The calves, a female
named Lakina and a male named Balzak, made headlines when they were deliver
Separated since the
dinosaurs, bamboo-eating lemurs, pandas share common gut microbes
A new study from
North Carolina State University, the Smithsonian and Duke University finds that
bamboo lemurs, giant pandas and red pandas share 48 gut microbes in common -
despite the fact that they are separated by millions of years of evolution.
lemur's evolutionary tree diverged from that of both panda species 83 million
years ago - that's 18 million years before dinosaurs went extinct," says
Erin McKenney, a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University and
lead author of a paper on the study. "These species are also separated by
thousands of miles and the Indian Ocean. Red pandas and giant pandas aren't
closely related either, with their most recent ancestor coming 47.5 million
years ago. Lemurs are primates, red pandas are related to raccoons, and pandas
are related to bears.
"Yet all three
species share these 48 gut microbes - more than 12 percent of the microbial
types found in each species' gut," McKenney says. "The only common
feature is their diet: all three species live almost exclusively on
Bamboo is not easy
to eat. It is physically tough, difficult to break down, a
Sea lions have
unique whiskers that help them catch even the fastest fish
of Galapagos sea lions hunting was perhaps the highlight of the latest Blue
Planet II. For the first time ever, these marine mammals were filmed working as
a pack to drive tuna fish in to shallow, rocky waters where they could be caught.
Yellowfin tuna are typically able to outswim all predators but the fastest
sharks and marlins, yet the much slower sea lions were able to outsmart them
thanks to an amazing display of movement and cooperation.
I've studied these
animals for years as I'm fascinated by their remarkable whiskers. So what is it
about sea lions that makes them such excellent hunters? Here are three of their
One of the things
you can see clearly in the Blue Planet II footage is just how quickly the sea
lions respond to the movements of the fish. They are able to sense exactly
where the fish are and react almost instantly, in order to herd them towards
Sea lions have
amazing senses that allow them to detect fish, even in murky underwater
environments. Like many predators, their eyes point forward so that they can
easily focus on their prey. They can also open their pupils really wide to let
lots of light in to their eye which helps them to see clearly underwater.
French Zoo Offers
Rare Look at Baby Manatee
A newborn manatee is
charming visitors at the Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, France. Baby
Kali’na was born late October, coming in at around 33 pounds, and has since
been under the meticulous care of her first-time-mother, Lolita. The
six-year-old mom gave birth to twins—a rare occurrence among manatees—but
Kali’na’s underweight sister was weak and drowned.
Manatees have long
pregnancies, typically around 12 months. The mother gives birth in the water
and guides her baby to the surface for its first breath. But the calf usually
begins to swim on its own within an hour.
The man who risks
his life to rescue zoo animals from war zones
Zoo animals are
seldom seen at airports, but Queen Alia International airport in Amman, Jordan,
is remarkable for its exotic arrivals. On 11 April, a flight landed carrying a
bear called Lula and a lion called Simba, the only two surviving animals from Mosul
zoo in Iraq. More than 40 other animals had died during the fight to liberate
Mosul from Isil – either caught up in the bullets and blasts, or from
By the time Simba
and Lula were rescued, they were emaciated, wounded and deeply traumatised. It
would take two weeks for Simba to leave his shelter and explore his new home.
Then, on 10 August, airport staff welcomed five lions, two tigers, two bears, two
hyenas and two husky dogs from the Magic World – a zoo just outside Aleppo,
Syria, which didn’t look much like a zoo after six years of civil war. Around
110 animals had died, the keepers were nowhere to be seen, enclosures were
filled with filth and mortar shells, and the few creatures not wiped out by the
war were getting worse by the hour.
The safe arrival of
these animals in Jordan marked the culmination of a particularly hard few months for Amir
Khalil, 52, a vet who works for Four Paws, an Austria-based animal-rescue
organisation, and the instigator of both operations. Rescuing the animals was costly and
dangerous. An Isil suicide bomber
Dusit Zoo should
become a park
With a new land plot
given to the Zoological Park Organisation by the palace, the country will soon
welcome a new bigger zoo. The land, which was among nine plots bestowed to the
government by His Majesty...
sensitive California condor population
were concerned Friday that a wildfire that has already consumed 143,000 acres
was marching toward a California condor nest where a turkey-sized fledgling was
close to taking its first flight.
“There are limited
opportunities to protect that nest, which is in a cave on a hillside,” said
Kirk Gilligan, deputy project leader of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s
Hopper Mountain California Condor Recovery Program. “But, if necessary, aerial
water drops could cool things down.
“This fledgling is
expected to take its first flight out of the nest any day now,” he added.
“Trouble is, condors don’t generally get very far on their first flight.”
The nest is in the
Los Padres National Forest’s Sespe Condor Sanctuary, along Sespe Creek and
about six miles west of the community of Fillmore.
As of Friday
morning, the nest was about two miles west of the advancing Thomas fire.
endangered California condors, the Sespe is home to mountain lions, deer,
coyotes, black bears and a herd of about 30 bighorn
Exhibits Are Like
Movies: A Conversation with Ace Torre, CEO and Principal of Torre Design
For the last four decades, Ace Torre and his
firm Torre Consortium have been household names in the zoo design industry. He
has become renowned for his innovative habitat designs often incorporating
strong cultural, architectural and historical themes. Notably, Torre master
planned designed most of the key exhibits at the Audubon Zoo, the Memphis Zoo,
the Lowry Park Zoo and the Virginia Zoo. Here is his story.
Local fire crews
help save elephant at Topeka Zoo
The Topeka Fire
Department was called to a scene they don’t respond to every day.
35-year-old African elephant was found lying down when staff arrived at the
Topeka Zoo Sunday morning. According to zoo officials, she was lying on her
side in an indoor space with other elephants standing guard.
When staff tried to
encourage Shannon to stand up, but failed, they called in the Topeka Fire
Department Technical Rescue Team and the Animal Search and Rescue Team to help.
“The first phone
call we made was to the fire department,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley.
“They were willing to help.”
The teams began the
process of getting straps under Shannon’s side and attached her to a rigging
system. When all was ready, the rigging was attached to a specialized hoist to
help lift her up.
With the majority of
Shannon’s body weight off t
Shannon the African
elephant, 35, dies at the Topeka Zoo
African elephant named Shannon died Monday at the Topeka Zoo.
animal, was found lying on her side for the second day in a row.
The Topeka Fire
Department used straps and other equipment to lift her to an upright position,
but the animal expired, the zoo announced in a tweet at 11:06 a.m.
Zoo director: ‘I
don’t know if we would have done anything different’ regarding medical
treatment of dead elephant
Brendan Wiley said
that before the 5,500-pound elephant was pronounced dead at 10:41 a.m. Monday
by the zoo’s chief veterinarian, Shirley Llizo, the Down Elephant Protocol was
put into action for a second day in a row, utilizing four years of training by
zoo staff, Topeka fire department rescue crews and a Kansas City-based equine
On Sunday morning,
zoo staff found Shannon lying on the floor of the zoo’s elephant building. They
believed she had been on the floor for several hours. Most elephants lie down
for a couple of hours to sleep, Wile
Scientists Fight to
List Cheetahs as Endangered
A group of
passionate scientists have come together to demand that the International Union
for Conservation of Nature list the cheetah as endangered.
Researchers with the
National Geographic Society's Big Cats Initiative released a new study in the
journal PeerJ on December 11 with updated numbers of the cheetah population in
southern Africa—the biggest of its remaining habitat.
millions of pieces of data from prior observations, the team says there are at
least 3,577 adult cheetahs in the region, with a buffer area that could support
a few thousand more. That number is the largest population of free-ranging
cheetahs in the world, and less than half of the estimate published November
2016. As it stands,
Two weeks of free
entry to Dubai Safari
much-awaited wildlife park Dubai Safari will be officially open to the public
in January, a top official announced during the soft launch of the Dh1-billion
facility on Tuesday.
For two weeks until
then, visitors will be given free entry, Hussain Nasser Lootah,
director-general of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.
He said the date for
the official opening will be announced by the end of December. “We have opened
on a trial basis now. We hope to open officially after two weeks,” Lootah said.
Later, he added, the
visitors will be given free entry for two weeks.
“Our vision for this
project, which is more than just a wildlife park, is to offer a highly engaging
edutainment experience that fosters education on animal welfare, inspires a
sense of learning about wildlife diversity and raises awareness on what makes
wildlife protection a top priority,” Lootah said.
residents and tourists along with members of the media got a sneak peek of the
new animal world — rich with greenery and waterbodies in the desert city —
after the soft launch.
tourists, who turned up assuming the park was officially open from Tuesday,
entered for free to have a close encounter with various species of animals
roaming in open enclosures.
White lions from
Timbavati in South Africa, orange and white Siberian tigers, giraffes,
chimpanzees, hippos, peacocks, ostriches, antelopes, crocodiles and even hyenas
stole the hearts of visitors, especially children.
treated to a world’s first experience of driving through a waterbody in which
crocodiles are exhibited. Driving through hippo and tiger exhibits was another
first experience in the UAE while a water enclosure also offered an underwater
viewing of a pygmy hippo, also for the first time in the country.
Dubai Safari is also
home to the UAE’s largest walk-through aviary and largest troop of baboons, the
glimpses of which enthralled the visitors.
However, there was
sad news from the enclosure of the white lions. The keepers of the lions
confirmed to Gulf News that one of the first set of white cubs born to parents
‘Beauty’ and ‘Big Boy’ died soon after hitting headlines for being named by
kids in a social media contest.
“We only have the
male cub now, whom we are used to calling Banda though he was named Leo in the
contest,” one of the keepers told Gulf News.
The female cub named
Snowy was not given any other name by the keepers and died just after the
contest, the keepers said.
Also, the visitors
were disappointed that the biggest attraction expected to be at the safari — a
group of elephants — had not yet arrived.
technical director of Dubai Safari, said elephants and other animals would soon
join. He said with more than 2,500 animals representing 250 exciting species,
Dubai Safari is home to the most diverse array of animal species in the UAE.
The first phase of
the Dh1-billion project sprawling over 119 hectares in Al Warqa’a 5 includes
Asian, African and Arabian villages and an open Safari Village that offers a
guided safari drive.
Paw prints of big
cats form the symbol of the project that is home to the nation’s first open
safari, where visitors will travel around in environmentally friendly electric
vehicles to see animals roaming around in the wild.
said the Asian, African and Arabian villages housing zoo enclosures of animals
will be open from 9am to 9pm from Wednesday.
However, the Safari
Village where visitors can go for an open Safari drive will be open from 9am to
6pm, with tickets being issued only till 4pm.
The park replaced
the 50-year-old Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah which housed around 1,000 animals, birds
and reptiles. They were shifted to Dubai Safari last month.
Utmost care is being
given to the animals, right from their selection itself. Tests are done to
ensure their fitness and experienced trainers and keepers from different parts
of the world have been hired to take care of them.
hospital, which will be extended with a research centre having a state-of-the
art lab, is part of the project to offer treatment and care for the animals.
artificial rocks, misting fans and chilled water will be used to keep them cool
during summer. Pools, muddy ponds and other waterbodies will also provide
natural habitat for animals.
Officials said Dubai
Safari will host a breeding programme at the conservation centre that aims to
release animals into the wild each year.
Dh1b: Project cost
119 hectares: Area
4 villages housing
animals, birds and reptiles
2,500 animals of 250
Two siamang gibbons
escape from Auckland Zoo enclosure
Two swinging gibbons
made a leap for freedom from Auckland Zoo over the weekend.
At about 9.20am on
Sunday Auckland Zoo's siamang gibbons Intan and Kera escaped to an area outside
their enclosure, but they didn't get any further.
curator of mammals Warren Spencer said the pair "gained access" just
before the zoo opened for the day.
Squirrel Sex Is
It began with a bolt
of lightning on June 7 and ended with a fire that eventually encompassed a
staggering 48,000 acres of southeastern Arizona. By the time the blaze had been
extinguished this past July, thousands of trees had been lost, including the vast
majority of habitat for the already critically endangered Mount Graham squirrel
(Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis). Surveys conducted this past September in
the high-elevation forests of the Pinaleño Mountains, about three hours east of
Phoenix, revealed that the squirrels’ population had fallen to an estimated 35
animals and that at least 80 percent of their habitat had been damaged by the
Could this be the
end of the Mount Graham squirrel, which was already once thought to be extinct
and has been protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1987?
The answer to that
question may lie not on the mountain itself but in the halls of Phoenix Zoo’s
Arizona Center for Nature Conservation, where five Mount Graham squirrels form
the core of a captive-assurance program that could help save the species from extinction.
There’s just one
catch: We need to figure out how to get them to breed first.
That hasn’t been
easy, says Stuart Wells, the zoo’s former director of conservation and science,
who was in charge of the program until last month. The squirrels, it turns out,
are extremely territorial, aggressive loners who attack and even kill other squirrels,
including potential mates, that invade their home turf. That makes it
impossible to keep the captiv
cheetah population much smaller than believed
cheetahs in southern Africa have declined as farming and other human activities
push deeper into the free-roaming cats' range, a new study co-led by Duke
University doctoral student Varsha Vijay finds.
Fewer than 3,600
adult cheetahs remain in the region, which covers an area larger than France. A
majority of the surviving cats -- 55 percent -- are found within only two
This new assessment
is 11 percent lower than the International Union for Conservation of Nature's
most recent population estimate in 2015, adding urgency to calls from
scientists to uplist the cheetahs' conservation status from
"vulnerable" to "endangered" in the IUCN's Red List.
Vijay and her
colleagues published their findings Dec. 11 in the open-access journal PeerJ.
To conduct the
study, they mapped and analyzed more than two million collared cheetah
observations made between 2010 and 2016 across 789,700 square kilometers of
open grasslands in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"This is the
area with the largest population of free-ranging cheetahs left on Earth.
Knowing how many cheetahs there are and where they occur is crucial for
developing suitable conservation management plans for the species,"
Jungle Jack: A
Conversation with Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo
Few zookeepers are as iconic as Jack Hanna.
From 1978 to 1992, as director he transformed the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
into a great zoo and one of the biggest tourist attractions in Ohio. Hanna
helped promote the zoo first by taking animals around the state for programs
and later by making national appearances on television. In 1992 he became the
Zoo’s Director Emeritus, a role he still has today. The Columbus Zoo now one of
the best zoos in the world. Here is his story.
How Animals Think!
Im always trying to
look at responses when people get the chance to do what they like to do or even
when they have the control over choices. My mom always said you should do
something you love and this is the way she has raised us. All of my siblings do
something they like to do. The choices that we could make for our future made
us more successful. I was reading a book what is called “Animal Minds” where
they are talking about riding a horse, every time this person riding the horse
walked back home she would come to crossing that would lead her home. At this
moment, the horseback rider the horse which way do you want to go. The rider
and the horse knew that both roads would lead back to their home. The funny
part was that sometimes the horse chose left and sometimes the horse chose
As trainers, we seem
to be very locked into what we want from the animal instead of thinking about
what the animal would like. Of course, we can never have the answer on those
questions of what they think and why but by observations we can see quick enough
what they would like themselves. What the animal would like most of the time
comes down to having some control over the session what I think is very
Look at Saonoi for
example. She is an Asian Elephants who lives at Kolmarden Zoo in a herd of 5.
Every morning the animals get washed and checked out completely. Saonoi’s
success is pretty high except the behaviour that doesn’t have a high success
rate, washing. When Saonoi is completely dry, she doesn’t want to be washed,
although when she is a little bit wet the problem won’t be there. We can say
here that it’s the
Big Cat Rescue is
Caring for Big Cats and Ending the Trade
For the second time
in less than a week, Big Cat Rescue has new cats arriving at the sanctuary!
We are taking in and
will be the permanent home for an 11-year- old male jaguar named Manny and a
16-year- old female leopard named Nat from Omaha’s AZA-accredited Henry Doorly
Zoo. What a December to Remember for the sanctuary!
Jamie and her team
of Big Cat Rescuers are driving the cats to the sanctuary in our new Dodge van
that we just purr-chased thanks to the incredible generosity of donors like you
who read about our desperate need for a new van in our July annual appeal letter!
We are so very grateful to have this van that is not only bringing Manny and
Nat to their forever home right now but will help us rescue many precious
exotic cats for years to come!
Omaha’s Henry Doorly
Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska is constructing expansive new natural habitats for
Follow that stork!
How animals move through cities – mapped
allows us to map the movements of animals in stunning detail. These seven maps
from Where the Animals Go offer a glimpse into the lives of animals trying to
make their way in our increasingly urbanised world
Chinese need to
alter conservation message
business communities first arrived in Africa, they never thought seriously
about wildlife conservation issues. "It is just about animals, how
important could this be?" they thought. Many Chinese businessmen who have
been in Africa for more than a decade told me how buying ivory and eating
wildlife were normal in the old days.
But now the
situation is totally different. "Wildlife conservation, skills transfer
and youth employment are our top three public diplomacy focuses," a
Chinese diplomat in Kenya told me one time.
Research by wildlife
conservation NGOs indicates that in China, the percentage of people who know
about wildlife conservation issues - like elephants being killed to take their
tusks for ivory - is very low. Fewer than 1 percent of Chinese people would have
actually seen ivory in China, and some are even surprised there are legal ivory
sales in China.
The situation in
Africa is totally different. According to research, Chinese in Africa have
extraordinary exposure to the illegal wildlife trade. In some countries, when
governments did not pay much attention to the ivory trade, almost all Chinese
would buy ivory trinkets - at least a bangle. Eating wild animals such as
pangolins, antelopes and turtles was common, especially for Chinese
construction workers who camp near wildlife habitats.
Few Chinese working
and living in Africa would claim to be innocent of knowing where the wildlife
products come from, and how illegal it is. Despite knowing ivory comes from
slaughtered elephants and that pangolins are protected, Chinese in Africa did
not say no due to three reasons: first, growing up in China and being less
educated, they are not very conscious of wildlife conservation and why it is
important. Lots may think: "Humans still have challenges, who cares about
animals?" Second, wildlife products are significantly cheaper in Africa
Scientists Identify Early Indicators of Pregnancy in Cheetahs
A new study from the
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is helping make headway in an
area of animal management that has historically proven challenging: the
breeding of cheetahs under human care. The study, which was published Dec. 13
in the journal PLOS ONE, has identified a specific protein, immunoglobulin J
(IGJ), that is more abundant in the feces of pregnant cheetahs during the first
month of gestation compared to those that are not pregnant. This finding could
not only lead to the first-ever early cheetah pregnancy test but could also
help zoos and other cheetah facilities address long-standing reproductive
Until now, animal
managers have not been able to determine whether a female cheetah is pregnant
until at least 55 days into the pregnancy, in part because cheetahs frequently
experience pseudopregnancies, exhibiting behavioral, physical and hormonal signs
of pregnancy after mating even if they are not pregnant.
“If you spend weeks
or even months breeding a pair and then you have to wait two more months to
find out if the female is actually pregnant, it puts a hold on your breeding
operation until you know,” said Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist,
co-author of the paper and coordinator of the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), which matches cheetahs across
the population for breeding. “This has made it really difficult to make timely
decisions about preparing for the birth of cubs and repairing female cheetahs
with new mates. With an early pregnancy detection method—and one that is
non-invasive—we will be able to make management decisions sooner and more
effectively across the SSP.”
The paper also
provides the first step to understan
hatch at Monterey Bay Aquarium
This video shot by
the Monterey Bay Aquarium may be the first-ever video of a baby nautilus
hatching. This mysterious species has existed in the ocean since the Triassic
dinosaur period, and survived multiple mass extinctions.(Video courtesy the
Monterey Bay Aquarium)
elephants: a study of human and animal habitats
association formed after outcry over captive-bred lion hunting
A new association,
representing the interests of professional hunters opposed to hunting
captive-bred lions, has been formed in South Africa.
Hunters’ Association of South Africa (Phasa) president Stewart Dorrington was
elected as the body’s first chairperson.
News24 the mandate of the Custodians of Professional Hunting and Conservation
South Africa (CPHCSA) was to “promote only ethical and responsible
conservation-based hunting principles, such as hunting only under fair chase
The formation of the
new body followed an urgent meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday, attended by
some of the top guns in South African hunting circles.
It comes less than
two weeks after constitutional and policy changes of PHASA (Professional
Hunters’ Association of South Africa) sent shock waves throughout the industry.
At its annual
general meeting PHASA members voted to reverse the body’s 2015 resolution and
policy, which opposed promoting the hunting of captive-raised lions.
decision, PHASA members, including seven past presidents, resigned en masse,
with sponsors and internationally-recognised hunting organisations voicing
their strong disapproval.
hunting bodies, including the Operators and Professional Hunting Associations
of South Africa, the Namibia Professional Hunting Association, Boone and
Crockett Club, and the Nordic Safari Club, immediately stripped PHASA of its
membership status on the continent and abroad.
There had also been
a growing number of outfitters and professional hunters who have brought the
South African hunting industry into disrepute.
“The decision to
form the CPHCSA was necessitated by PHASA’s unpopular decision last month.
Fellow neighbouring countries’ associations, sponsors and many PHASA members
voiced their disgust and condemnation of this inexplicable action,” Dorrington
“The launch of
CPHCSA breathes new life into professional hunting and conservation, and we aim
to restore the integrity of the vast majority of South African professional
hunters,” he added.
The Sumatran Rhino
Has Been on The Brink of Extinction For 10,000 Years
The Sumatran rhino
is one of the most threatened species on the face of the planet, but until now
we never knew how bad things really were for the smallest, hairiest rhinoceros.
Scientists in the US
have sequenced the genome of Dicerorhinus sumatrensis for the first time, and
the results tells us not only that the population peaked almost a million years
ago, but it's been staring death in the face for nearly 10,000 years.
has been well on its way to extinction for a very long time," says rhino
expert Terri Roth from Cincinnati Zoo's Centre for Conservation and Research of
Fears over the
Sumatran rhino's future aren't new, with the IUCN Red List of Threatened
Crows are the only
birds that have learned to carve hooks from sticks and hunt for food
intelligent chimpanzees do not have the ability to craft hooks.
Crows have the
mental capacity to craft hooks out of sticks and use them as tools to fish out
food, find researchers in the University of St Andrews (UA). Apart from
Caledonian crows, only humans have demonstrated this ability.
The crows were found
to be able to fashion sticks from the side branches of certain plants and make
crochet-like hooks that they then used to fish out insects from between
branches and other hard-to-reach spots.
Secretary publishes bill to strengthen animal welfare
The Government has
published a draft bill - Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of
Sentience) - which would increase the maximum prison sentence for animal
cruelty tenfold, from six months to five years, in England and Wales. The draft
bill also sets out that the government “must have regard to the welfare needs
of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government
policy”. Subject to consultation on the draft bill, the government will
legislate to deliver both aims.
The plans underline
the government’s commitment to raising animal welfare standards, ensuring there
will be enhanced protections for animals as we leave the EU.
Is a Bottleneck
Effect Endangering Chinese Alligators?
The sleek Chinese
alligators living inconspicuously in the murky wetlands of the Yangtze river
are being pushed to the edge of extinction again. Less than 120 individuals
survive in the wild. The trouble is that the captive population, present in
sufficient numbers in two natural reserves in China, might be suffering from a
population bottleneck, according to a recent study from Zhejiang University,
Such a bottleneck
happens when the population of a species shrinks so much that the surviving
individuals are not just fewer in number but also contain fewer genetic
If we were to
compare the long strands of DNA between two individuals of the same species, we
would find some subtle differences. These differences help the population adapt
to changing environmental conditions, withstand the outbreak of new diseases,
etc. The larger the number of individuals in a naturally healthy population,
the larger the number of variations that confer adaptability – and more
resilient will the population be to changes in its environment.
However, this is not
the case when the population shrinks. Fewer individuals means fewer
differences. For example, certain genetic variations present in some members of
the population migh
Probe into ‘abused’
chimps kept in cages at Kuantan safari park
A safari park in
Kuantan, Pahang, has allegedly been abusing three chimpanzees by keeping them
locked in cages for over two years and never releasing them in the park’s
Sources told FMT
that the two female apes and one male, named Botan (aged 16), Sumomo (18) and
Gonbei (29), were kept in cages, akin to solitary confinement, in the Bukit
Gambang Safari Park after the park was purchased from a Japanese company in
Images and a video
obtained by FMT from the sources showed the apes in cages measuring four by
three metres. The cages were placed next to each other.
The chimpanzees were
seen behaving aggressively in their cages.
In the video, one of
the chimpanzees hit its metal cage repeatedl
Ciudad del Carmen
Zoo will close due to lack of care for the animals
Due to failure to
heed an order to properly care for and feed the 362 animals that inhabit the
Recreational and Zoological Park of Ciudad del Carmen, the Federal Office of
Environmental Protection (Profepa) ordered the temporary suspension of all the
activities at the zoo.
In addition, the
Profepa inspectors who visited the site reported that five felines and two
hippos will be relocated in Silvestre Life Management Units (UMA) nearby,
either from Tabasco or Yucatan.
The Opportunity to
Do Something Global: A Conversation with Pat Simmons, Director of the North
Pat Simmons has
often been regarded as one of the leading zoo directors in the country for the
past three decades. She spent thirty years transforming Akron Zoo from a run
down, financially struggling institution to a thriving boutique zoo with a
variety of animals around the world, up close encounters for visitors, strong
community support and strong education programs. In 2014, Simmons moved to the
North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, the largest walkthrough zoo in the world. As
director, she has helped the phenomenal zoo continue to foster global change
and be well positioned to grow in the future. Here is her story.
The Problem with
Polar Bear Propaganda
On December 7,
National Geographic shared a video in which an emaciated polar bear, hair
clumped and skin hanging off its bones, drags itself over the tundra on Baffin
Island, scavenging an animal skull from a rusty barrel. “This is what climate
change looks like,” a caption declares ten seconds in. The captions go on to
assert that with shrinking sea ice, polar bears are losing their platform from
which to hunt seals and are starving as a result. The video quickly went viral.
Though the footage was widely viewed and shared, not all agreed with the
assessment from SeaLegacy, the conservation group that produced the video.
“Climate change has
very little to do with it,” says Eric Ootoovak, a hunter and the vice-chair of
the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, at
the north end of Baffin Island. “You can really tell he’s sick. He’s not starving.
If he was starving, he’d be able to move a bit more than that.” (On Twitter,
biologist Jeff Higdon also suggested the polar bear might have had cancer.)
and Inuit in Canada have long had a fraught relationship, and it has only
recently begun to improve. In 2014, Greenpeace apologized to Inuit for its
decades-long campaign against seal hunting, which had led the European Unio
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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/
or on Hubpages http://hubpages.com/profile/Peter+Dickinson
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"
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Skype: peter.dickinson48
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | email@example.com | Skype: peter.dickinson48