Sunday, January 21, 2018

Zoo News Digest 21st January 2018 (ZooNews 980)

Zoo News Digest 21st January 2018  (ZooNews 980)


Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

I was greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Michael Hutchins. Although we had never met face to face we had known each other for years. I looked forward to his daily Facebook postings as there was always something of interest or amusement. I know I will miss him every day as will his family who he clearly loved very deeply. RIP Michael.

So the Penguins on the beach WAS fake news. I thought so. Amusing though.

Lots of interest follows. 


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,

Thai cops arrest alleged kingpin in illegal wildlife trade
THAI police have arrested an alleged kingpin in Asia's illegal trade in endangered species, dealing a blow to a family-run syndicate that smuggles elephant ivory, rhino horns and tiger parts to Chinese and Vietnamese dealers.

Boonchai Bach, 40, a Vietnamese national with Thai citizenship, was arrested yesterday evening over the smuggling of 14 rhino horns worth around US$1 million (RM4 million) from Africa to Thailand.

His downfall follows the December 12 arrest of Nikorn Wongprachan, a Thai National Parks and Wildlife Conservation official, at Bangkok's main airport as he attempted to smuggle the rhino horns from the quarantine section to a nearby apartment.

The horns were smuggled into Bangkok by a Chinese man, who was arrested a day before on arrival from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Beloved zookeeper and Jackson teen identified as victims in Scott St. double homicide
Jackson police are investigating a double homicide that happened Friday afternoon on Scott Street.

One of the victims has been identified as Percy King. 57-year-old King was a beloved zookeeper at the Jackson Zoo from 1997-2011 and served as a member of the Jackson Zoo Board starting in 2017.

The Jackson Zoo sent this statement on the tragedy:

Penguin attraction: Byculla zoo's earnings sees 12-fold increase
Revenue of Veer Jijamata Udyan – popularly known as Byculla zoo - increased 12 times on monthly basis thanks to Humboldt Penguins brought from South Korea, reports Hindustan Times. The zoo authorities, who had hiked the entry fee after putting up the penguins on display, recorded earning up to Rs 70 lakh per month in the second half of 2017, equivalent to its annual income before the fee hike.

The zoo had put the penguins on display in March 2017. In following August, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) reportedly

Celebrating a Life Devoted to Saving Species: A Conversation with the late Dr. Michael Hutchins, former Chair of Conservation and Science for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
As the zoo and conservation community mourns the untimely passing of Dr. Michael Hutchins, I thought it would be appropriate to share an interview I conducted with him this past fall. Hutchins was a true warrior for zoo conservation, as evidenced by his influence as William Conway Chair of Conservation and Science for the Association of zoos and Aquariums. Additionally, he wrote and edited over 200 publications including the influential texts Second Nature and Ethics on the Ark, created the AZA’s Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), led the Elephant Planning Initiative, launched the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force and served on the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Advisory Council. Hutchins was a mentor and friend to me and I’m very grateful for his time and generosity. Here is his story. 

 January 2018

Since 1975, we have lost half of our cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population worldwide with only an estimated 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild, confined to just 9% of its historical distributional range. Cheetahs are now predominantly found in Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Mozambique. For this reason, scientists are calling for a reclassification of the IUCN cheetah status from Vulnerable to Endangered.

Southern Africa is considered a regional stronghold for cheetah, with an estimated population of 4,500 adults, however its numbers are rapidly dwindling too. In South Africa, its status is classified as Vulnerable, mostly due to environmental pressures, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, and human-wildlife conflicts. The latter often leads to landowners illegally killing so-called “problem” animals.

Bird flu prevention zone extended to cover whole of England
A bird flu prevention zone has been declared across the whole of England, Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens has confirmed today.

This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. It comes as 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus in Warwickshire.

Last week 17 wild birds tested positive in Dorset and a total of 31 infected birds have now been identified at that site. Defra took swift action to put a local prevention zone in the area on Friday (12 January). However, as these latest results show the disease is not isolated to a single site the decision has been taken to extend the prevention zone across the country on a precautionary basis.

Testing of the birds found in Warwickshire is ongoing, however, it is highly expected that this will be the same H5N6 strain of the virus which has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months. Public Health England have advised th

The Value of the Desert: A Conservation with Karen Sausman, Retired Director of The Living Desert
The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California is dedicated to connecting visitors with wildlife and plants from deserts around the world. It all began with the vision of Karen Sausman, who served as the facility’s director from its inception in 1970 to 2010. She began as director in a time when women were not supposed to be keepers much less directors and is regarded as one of the field’s legendary directors. Here is her story.

Little-known Orange-fronted Parakeet Nearing Extinction
The Critically Endangered Orange-fronted Parakeet faces extinction if conservation and education efforts do not catch up to the rapidly declining population.
Rarer than the Kiwi but far less recognized, the Orange-fronted Parakeet is facing extinction. This and many other little-known New Zealand native birds are at risk of extinction due to the threat of invasive predators such as rats and stoats. It’s not that these birds are less in need of conservation, it’s just that some charismatic species receive more attention that others.

The Orange-fronted Parakeet is one species that has suffered from a lack of direct conservation interventions. The species was once spread throughout New Zealand but hunting and invasive species have brought the population to 150-200 adults found only in Canterbury.

Squirrel Sex is Complicated
Only 35 Mount Graham squirrels remain in the wild, but five captive squirrels could hold the key to their long-term survival—if we can get them to breed
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 or damaged, impacting the already degraded habitat for the 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 fires.

Could this be the end of the Mount Graham squirrel, which was already once thought to be extinct and has bee

Hotels, resorts threaten rare primates
Recent rapid construction of more than 20 hotels and resorts in Sơn Trà Nature Reserve is threatening the survival of highly endangered langurs and other wildlife. Human activities, such as illegal logging and hunting, also continue to badly affect the lives of the primates and wildlife in the reserve.

The 4,400ha Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, known for its rich biodiversity, is home to more than 1,300 red-shanked douc langurs and more than 1,000 plants and 370 animal species.

The langurs were declared endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2013, but this was recently redefined as critically endangered – nearly extinct.

Six of the monkeys were killed by motorcyclists in 2015-17, and two cases of illegal hunting were uncovered. Two red-shanked douc langurs were reportedly killed for eating. And about 10ha of forest have been illegally logged between 2014-16.

Thousands of traps and tonnes of r

Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep whales and dolphins
The Vancouver Aquarium has made a major revelation today. They will no longer display cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The Aquarium made the announcement Thursday, noting that they are opting to put an end to the program, despite it having “overwhelming support” year after year.
This is not to say, however, that the Aquarium’s rescue and rehabilitation arm will no longer care for whales and dolphins. As the Aquarium notes, they will do so for short-term cases, and then seek other venues for transferring cetaceans that need long-term care.

The Aquarium explains: “Rescued animals are transferred to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre – located outside Stanley Park – for critical, short-term care, with the aim to rehabilitate and release back to the wild. Should a rescued cetacean need ongoing care, the animal care team will identify an appropriate long-term facility and work to arrange for a transfer of the patient.”

The Aquarium acknowledges that this is quite a shift for the organization, however, it is “a move that is in line with our commitment to our community, country, and to the world’s oceans.”

Additionally, the Vancouver Aquarium

AZA Statement on Cetacean Announcement by Vancouver Aquarium

Life in the information age is both exhilarating and challenging. We’re more plugged into technology and instant info than at any time in our history … but we’re also far less connected to our natural world.

The understanding and inspiration fostered in the galleries, exhibits and habitats at Vancouver Aquarium has never been more important; and our role as an interpreter of the natural world never as critical.

Despite independent polling, year over year, that clearly shows overwhelming support for our cetacean program, we have made the difficult decision to no longer display cetaceans at Vancouver Aquarium, with the exception of doing what is best for Helen and any need to use the Aquarium for the temporary accommodation of a rescued cetacean. Moving forward, we will focus on raising awareness of the many ocean issues impacting other vulnerable marine animals.

The ongoing discussions about whales and dolphins in our care have been a distraction from real threats to the ocean and have sidelined the critical work we lead. We aim to inspire people in every corner of the planet to participate in creating healthy oceans, and it’s time to get on with it.

The launch of Ocean Wise in 2017 as the parent global ocean co

Former research chimps at North Georgia sanctuary go outdoors for the first time
With reactions ranging from excitement and curiosity to fear and trepidation, 15 former lab chimps took their first steps outdoors this week at the Project Chimps sanctuary in North Georgia.
The 236-acre sanctuary is currently home to 31 chimpanzees who have spent their entire lives in captivity as subjects used in biomedical research.

On Tuesday, with the completion of the Peachtree Habitat -- a six-acre, forested habitat at the sanctuary-- nine females and six males ranging in age from 11 to 27 ventured out in two gender-separated groups to frolic and forage for food just as they would in the wild.

It was the first time they had the chance to exercise their free will with regard to their environment, said Ali Crumpacker, executive director of Project Chimps.

“Imagine never having stepped outside your own home and only knowing carpet or your porch under your feet. That’s

Concerns raised about ice-cream-eating bear at drive-thru in Alberta
 Concerns are being raised about a video of a Kodiak bear from a central Alberta zoo being taken through a fast-food drive-thru and being hand-fed ice cream by the restaurant's owner.

The video, posted on social media by the Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail, shows a one-year-old captive bear named Berkley leaning out the driver's side of a truck's window for her treat at the local Dairy Queen.

"We've got Berkley in the drive-thru testing out some ice cream so she can pick out her birthday cake," says a man identified as Mark in the video. "We've added some peanuts to this batch and she seems to like it -- so I think we've got a winner here."

Hope rises for critically endangered monkey thanks to conservation efforts
The Myanmar snub-nosed monkey may survive because of work by communities, NGOs and the Myanmar and Chinese governments.

In 2010, a scientist working for Fauna & Flora International (FFI) discovered a new primate species in Myanmar, the following year scientists in China confirmed the same species in the neighbouring forests of Yunnan province. Two years later, Rhinopithecus strykeri, the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey AKA the "snubby," was declared critically endangered – becoming one of the most endangered primates on the planet due to small population size and threats from hunting and habitat loss.

Eight years on and now scientists have released a new report revealing how the primates are faring. Remarkably, things are looking relatively up. While the species remains in critical status, joint action by communities, governments and NGOs have resulted in a dramatic improvement in the outlook for the beloved snubby..

"Straddling the border lands of the Eastern Himalayas between Kachin state in Myanmar and Yunnan pro

Use of primate 'actors' misleading millions of viewers
More needs to be done to educate audiences, including viewers at home and filmmakers, on the unethical nature of using primates in the film industry, says a leading expert in a new study.

Brooke C. Aldrich, trustee at the charity Neotropical Primate Conservation, highlights serious concerns around the wider implications of using primate "actors" in films, including the trivialization of their conservation and welfare needs and representing them as suitable pets to viewers.

The new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Anthrozoös, analyzed two decades of English-speaking film trailers from the period 1993-2013 to understand the modern use of primate "actors" in the film industry. Primate "actors" have been featured in major Hollywood films such as The Hangover Part II, The Wolf of Wall Street and Babe: Pig in the City.

Results indicated that primate "actors" in more than half the cases studied are shown amongst humans and performing "human" actions the vast majority of the time. The study also found that these individuals were shown "smiling" - which in most primate species can surprisingly indicate fear or submission.

Of further concern is how the use of primates as actors in films may misrepresent their conservation needs. A previous study by Steve Ross and colleagues found that 35% of respondents mistakenly thought chimpanzees were not endangered due to their frequent appearances in film an

New light on the mysterious origin of Bornean elephants
How did Borneo get its elephant? This could be just another of Rudyard Kipling's just so stories. The Bornean elephant is a subspecies of Asian Elephants that only exist in a small region of Borneo. Their presence on this southeastern Asian island has been a mystery. Scientists have discovered that elephants might have arrived on Borneo at a time of the last land bridge between the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia.

How 200,000 antelope suddenly died
Scientists have finally solved the mystery of the antelope mass extinction event which killed 60% of the animal's population.
The world's scientists were baffled in 2015 when 200,000 antelope suddenly dropped dead in Kazakhstan.

More than 60% of the global population of saiga antelope died in just three weeks in May 2015, with entire herds mysteriously collapsing across the Betpak-Dala region of Kazakhstan.

Saiga antelopes are already a critically endangered species, and despite being a cousin species to the springbok and gazelle, is on the cusp of extinction.

BIAZA NEWS - Winter 2018

Rhino mating attempt at Assam zoo turns fatal
A rhino mating attempt turned fatal at the Assam State zoo here after the female succumbed to injuries, zoo officials said on Monday.
Gaobura, the two-year-old male rhino, seriously injured Shanti, the one-and-half-year old female rhino, during a mating attempt on Friday. Shanti was left with backbone injury, including several bruises on her body. She succumbed to injuries on Saturday.

Wolf escapes wildlife sanctuary near Reading
A wolf has escaped from a wildlife sanctuary near a school in Berkshire

Police were called at 8am on Thursday with reports from a member of the public that the animal had escaped from the UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Reading.

The wolf, called Torak, was captured early in the afternoon and is on its way back to the sanctuary.

Teresa Palmer, 62, who founded the park, helped to encourage the 12-year-old animal into a trailer around eight miles away from the park.

Gibbons from Howletts Wild Animal Park, Canterbury, returned to wild Java
Cheeky gibbons have finally been released into the wild after travelling more than 7,000 miles to the Indonesian jungle.

Six gibbons made the journey back to their native homeland in Java, Indonesia, after they spent their entire lives at a wild animal park in Canterbury.

The apes were flown over 7,300 miles to a primate rehabilitation center near Bandung, Indonesia, where they were released into enclosures.

The power of partnership: could animal rights organsiations and zoos/aquariums join forces?
I spoke with several AZA (The Association of Zoos & Aquariums) members who were outraged that the association was extending an olive branch. From what I understand, many members protested by not attending the conference at all. Some even threatened to cancel their AZA membership. This got me to thinking about the potential power of partnerships; of keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer.

In conversations with zoos and aquariums in recent years, it seems the (excuse me for this) elephant in the room has been the focused, laser-like attention on our community from anti-marine and zoological park activists. We’ve all seen the many articles unfairly finger-wagging, the extremist commentaries and editorials, and the mainstream promotion of proposed, “frankly sophomoric” (to quote a colleague’s description) self-proclaimed “industry-changing” zo

Canine distemper confirmed in Far Eastern leopard, world's most endangered big cat
Russian Federation (Jan. 17, 2018) - The Far Eastern or Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is already among the rarest of the world's big cats, but new research reveals that it faces yet another threat: infection with canine distemper virus (CDV). A new study published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases describes the first documented case of CDV in a wild Far Eastern leopard.

The case involved a two-year-old female leopard that was found along a road that crosses the Land of the Leopard National Park, in the Russian territory of Primorskii Krai.

"The leopard was extremely sick when she was brought in, and had severe neurological disease" said Ekaterina Blidchenko, veterinarian with the National Park and the TRNGO Animal Rehabilitation Center. "Despite hand-feeding and veterinary attention, her condition worsened, and a decision was made to euthanize her for humane reasons."

Although CDV is well known in

It Is Not the Animal That Would Kill You, Its WORSE!
At this point I’m working with animals for my 13th year. It has been quite a ride and learned a lot on the way. Even today I learn new things all the time, or about people or about the animals we work with. In the blog I would like to talk about the most dangerous part with working animals and believe it or not its not that lion or that elephant you work with.

Imagine you have a sales job. Your job is selling phones, phone contracts, accessories etc. You are that person that wants to reach every target or even more. You are very successful in what you do and keep have the number 1 place in the company. Everything works out for you and you seem to grow fast. Not having failures and a team that’s likes you, you feel like needing some more challenges.  After 3 years you decide to move on because you think you can’t learn more at the place you are. You find a company that sees your achievement and decides to take you in. Because you are so confident and believe in yourself you jump in.

Than it happens you think you can and you believe in yourself so much that you fail completely and you get fired. This actually happens failry often, this person is complacent with his current situation. He gets used to how good he is and is not aware of changing it. He gets to comfortable with this and thinks he can rule the world. That part

How three monkeys staged a daring escape at Dublin Zoo during Storm Ophelia
Three cheeky monkeys staged a daring escape at Dublin Zoo after Storm Ophelia blew the roof off a section of their enclosure last October, newly released records have revealed.

The three juvenile Sulawesi crested macaques jumped a staggering 20 feet from a climbing frame in their habitat onto an electric fence overhang, before making their way around zoo grounds.

The zoo was closed at the time of the incident, meaning there were no visitors on site. A zookeeper noticed that the monkeys were missing when he checked the enclosure at 9am and raised the alarm.

An emergency team immediately responded and located the three fugitives hanging out in a tree close to their habitat, around 65 feet off the ground. The area around the tree was secured and a cherry picker was deployed to the site.

Staff attempted to shoot the macaques with tranquiliser darts from the cherry picker, but this proved unsuccessful due to hig

 Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



Himalayan Mountains is a themed area at the Karlsruhe Zoo in Germany 
with snow leopards and the previously presented red pandas. The snow 
leopard exhibit is a renovation of a former bear exhibit and allows very 
flexible management of the cats. Karlsruhe Zoo takes successfully part 
in the European conservation breeding program for snow leopards.

Here is the German original version:

We would like to thank Jonas Homburg from ZooLex for preparing this 
presentation and Eva Kaltenbach from Zoo Karlsruhe for editing.



Thanks to Eduardo Díaz García we are able to offer the Spanish 
translation of the previously published presentation of "Stoat Heat" at 
Otter Zentrum in Germany:


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and

A SAFE Haven
In the midst of an ongoing extinction crisis, Dan Ashe, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, believes the conservation work of AZA members is more important than ever.

“As modern zoos and aquariums, nobody cares more about animals than the people who work at these facilities,” he said.  “As facilities that exhibit animals, we have an obligation to take care of those animals in our facilities and provide exceptional care for them. But we also have an obligation to care for them in nature.”

Taipei Zoo considers closing for 12 days every year
Taipei Zoo said it is mulling closing the park for 12 days per year for renovations and is inviting the public to vote on the possible measure using the city’s i-Voting Web site.

The zoo welcomes 3 million visitors per year and only closes on Lunar New Year’s Eve, zoo officials said on Saturday, adding that closing the park from June 19 to June 30 each year would allow it to improve facilities.

People can vote online from 9am on Feb. 13 to 5pm on March 12, the zoo added.

The zoo uses a rotation system to close different exhibits every Monday for maintenance work, zoo spokesman Eric Tsao (曹先紹) said.

The need to stagger work on different enclosures and facilities extends maintenance time, which increases costs and prolongs disturbances to animals, Tsao said.

The idea of closing the park for a specified period every year was proposed after looking at the operations of zoos in other countries, he said, citing Japan’s popular Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido, which closes for three weeks every year at the end of winter.

“Zoo workers would still need to be at the park every day while it is closed to the public to take care of the animals. We could allow special groups to visit

Bill to ban orca breeding filed in House faces pushback from SeaWorld
 A bill that would outlaw the breeding and performing of killer whales in Florida has cleared the initial hurdle that kept it off the table last year: getting a lawmaker to file it in the first place.

In an effort to solidify a voluntary policy change SeaWorld made two years ago, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, introduced in the House of Representatives the Florida Orca Protection Act. It moved to the Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee on Friday, but Moskowitz said he anticipates a fierce blowback from the marine park that could hinder progress.

"They had been out there trying to prevent the bill from getting filed by any representative," he said. "If they hear the bill, members will vote for this, so (Sea World) is going to work to prevent it from being heard."

Former Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota, was interested in filing the bill in 2016 but changed her mind after meeting with SeaWorld officials, she confirmed. Representatives from the marine park met with Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersb

Tiger out of cage, visitors in panic
A male tiger cub fled from the security enclosure of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Safari Park in Chakoria upazila of Cox's Bazar on Friday.

The 2-year-old tiger cub could not be captured till Sunday, causing panic among the visitors to the safari park.

Authorities of the park said that the number of visitors has decreased after the incident.

Local sources said, on Friday morning the security workers went into the enclosure for maintenance work. As soon as the door of the cage opened, the tiger cub escaped into the nearby forest.

Rejecting claims of panic, Mazharul Islam Chowdhury, an o

USDA says Topeka Zoo’s elephant program passes inspection
Following the death of Shannon the elephant, a Veterinary Medical Officer of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA began a focused inspection on the Topeka Zoo’s elephant program.

The inspection began on Jan. 3 and ended Tuesday, Jan. 16. The zoo was presented with a report showing there were not any non-compliant items found during the inspection.
“I think the USDA was very impressed with our preparedness to address a down elephant situation,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “Significant time was spent during the inspection to identify whether or not key staff were appropriately involved during the 24-hour period before Shannon passed.”

The actual cause of death for Shannon still has not been determined.

A gross necropsy was performed on Dec. 11. and tissue samples were collected for a histopathology evaluation. That is being done by th

Emergency rescue training for elephants at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
On Wednesday, staff at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo were preparing for the worst case scenario: helping a fallen elephant get back on its feet.

Crews were practicing with two-ton sand bags and hoisting them up with a specialized crane system.

This equipment had to be used in early January. It was to save Malaika, a 32-year-old elephant who had fallen asleep and fell over.

Malaika is just one of several older elephants at the zoo. Staff members say as these animals get older they have a hard time standing up. They can only be sitting for a few hours before it becomes dangerous.

President & CEO Bob Chastain said, "Three hours, four hours, maybe slightly more, and if they don't get up they'll start having serious compl

Wildest dreams a reality for zoos chief Elaine Bensted
ild African-style adventures, birds of prey flying overhead and tourists sleeping to the chilling laugh of hyenas – South Australia is set to have it all.

Two of the state’s best tourist attractions, Adelaide and Monarto zoos, are set for big changes on the back of rising visitor numbers which hit more than half a million in 2016/17.

At the helm of the plan is Zoos SA CEO Elaine Bensted who officially opened Monarto’s latest heart-stopper, Lions 360, in November 2017.

Retiring caretaker to part with elephant
Kaohsiung’s Shoushan Zoo has said that long-time elephant caretaker Chang Yung-hsing (張永興) is to retire next year and part with an African elephant named A-li (阿里) that he has cared for over the past 39 years.

Chang was 23 when first started caring for the then-five-year-old female elephant, zoo director Chuang Hsuan-chih (莊絢智) said.

“The man and the elephant share a profound rapport,” Chuang said.

Now 44, A-li is one of three African elephants in Taiwan and the only one in Shoushan Zoo. The other two are in Taipei Zoo.

Shoushan Zoo officials are concerned that Chang’s retirement could depress A-li and they have been familiarizing the elephant with her new caretaker over the past three years, Chuang said.

Captive elephants can become attached to their human caretakers a

MAZPA Wants Zoo Employees To Improve Animal Handling Skills
The Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (MAZPA) wants zoo employees to get training and improve animal handling skills so that the animals are well cared for besides avoiding persecution and bringing harm to the caregivers.

Its chairman, Dr Kelvin Lazarus said the training included nutritional aspects, zoo management, animal handling and appropriate environment.

The training could improve their level of competence and understanding of proper methods of handling animals and wildlife which was necessary to avoid any risks to either the handler or the animal itself.

“The welfare of animals is a matter of priority, so one of the most important means is to ensure that animal handlers receive adequate and appropriate training, MAZPA assists and fully supports this endeavour,” he told a press conference here, today.

Earlier, he officiated the 10-day MAZPA Field Work Course here beginning today to train and improve the quality of professional services in the industry jointly organised by the Melaka Zoo and Night Safari.

Fifty participants from zoos in the country, and

Flamingo Land CEO Gordon Gibb on wild animals, wilder rides and a new resort in Scotland
Though many come for its rides, Flamingo Land also boasts what is technically the country’s second most-visited zoo, behind Chester but ahead of ZSL London Zoo.

“The animal collection is my passion,” says Gibb. “It’s more rewarding than any of the commercial success we have had and complements the theme park well. There are no queues, no height restrictions, no reason to split the family group up. The zoo offers a welcome gear change to the visitor experience.”

Setting Zoos in Motion: A Conversation with Anne Baker, Retired Director of the Rosamond Gifford and Toledo Zoos
 Dr. Anne Baker served as Director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse from 1993 to 2006 and Executive Director/CEO of the Toledo Zoo from 2006 to 2012. Renowned for her excellent leadership, commitment to animal science and sensitive, thoughtful management of staff, she served as the first female president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in over fifty years. Baker helped elevate the stature of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and brought profound cultural change while at the Toledo Zoo. Since retiring in 2012, she has served as Executive Director of Amphibian Ark. Here is her story.

Chicago Zoological Society Takes Lead on Multi-Institutional Cetacean Study
The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, is taking the lead in the largest-ever, multi-institutional study of how physical habitat, environmental enrichment, and animal training impact the welfare of cetaceans in zoos and aquariums worldwide. This study will take place across 44 accredited facilities in seven countries where scientists will gather data regarding approximately 290 common and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, 20 beluga whales, and eight Pacific white-sided dolphins.

Asia’s appetite for Africa’s animals causes concern
An unquenched Asian taste for wine and herbal medicine laced with extracts of wild animals is driving poaching of rare species in Uganda and across Africa, conservationists have said.

Thousands of animals have been stolen and exported to China, Indonesia and Philippines for use in traditional medicines in recent years.

“For example in South Africa, people export lion bones to China, where they use them as Chinese traditional medicine.  Africa is losing lions to Chinese industries which make wine mixed with lion bone powder,” Edith Kabesiime, the wildlife campaign manager for Africa from World Animal Protection (WAP), told The Observer.

“These industries crush lion bones into fine powder and mix it in wine to make people feel tough like a lion after taking it,” she said.

She said, a few years ago, the Chinese used extracts from Asian tigers, but when animals dwindled, a ban on the use of tiger bones was enforced.

“In South Africa, they legally export lion bones to Asia. Part of our campaign will focus on convincing the South African government to put a hold on exportation of lion bones to Asia since China has put a ban on use of their tigers. Why are they using our lions? It will be a problem in future when all of them have been destroyed,” she sai

Saudi Wildlife Authority: Vulture population threatened by human impact
Scientific studies by researchers from the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) show that a huge number of vulture deaths are a result of poisoning, which will eventually threaten the wildlife ecological balance.
In a study on how vultures are facing threats, Dr. Mohammed Shobrak from the SWA in Taif said that vultures were one of the most threatened families of birds in the world and their decline had been shockingly rapid.
Some species in Africa and the Indian subcontinent have declined by more than 95 percent in the past few decades, a rate faster than that of the passenger pigeon or the dodo.
The biggest driver of these declines is human impact, either by poisoning (intentional or otherwise) or from maltreatment. As a result many Old World, vultures are now critically endangered, meaning they are at risk of beco


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

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

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

"These are the best days of my life"

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

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