Happy New Year
White Tigers, White Lions. Why is it that some zoos cannot get it through their heads that they are not doing Tigers or Lions any sort of favour by keeping and breeding these anomalies. They are so inbred that they are anti-conservation. Although I can sort of see the point in exhibiting them they should not be bred. I have pointed this out to many zoos over the years which announce the arrival of these animals with great fanfare. Those zoos which deigned to reply have always said they had no intention of breeding them and yet every one of them has (accidentally). As to rarity….no they are not. Beautiful they may be they are as common as muck. A little over 10 years ago I was asked to manage a collection of 200 white tigers. Heaven knows how many there are now just in that one place.
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,
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
Government Partnerships: A Conversation with Rich Block, CEO of the Santa
The Santa Barbara
Zoo is one of the finest small zoos in the nation located on the Pacific Ocean.
In the last decade, it has become renowned as a leader in the conservation of
several California species including the Channel Island fox and the California
condor. Rich Block has served as the
zoo’s CEO since 1998. Prior to coming to the Santa Barbara Zoo, Block worked at
a number of other zoos, worked at the World Wildlife Fund for several years and
served as Executive Director of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
Here is his story.
Red-fronted lemurs recognize photos of their own species
lemurs (Eulemur rufrifrons) appear to be able to recognize individuals
belonging to the same species (conspecifics) from photographs, a study
published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology suggests.
Researchers at the
German Primate Center found that red-fronted lemurs spent significantly more
time looking at pictures of conspecifics than at pictures of other, closely
related species (heterospecifics).
Rakotonirina, the corresponding author said: "We were surprised to find
that the animals appear to be able to differentiate among closely related
sister species. For example, males of the rufous brown lemur (Eulemur rufus)
and the red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) are difficult to distinguish by
the human eye. However, we found that lemurs seem to be able to do it."
The time lemurs
spent looking at pictures correlated with genetic difference; the more
genetically different individuals were (which corresponded to how different
they looked), the less time lemurs would spend looking at their pictures.
Females showed a more pronounced response than males. This may indicate that
female red-fronted lemurs perceive and respond to differences in fur patterns
and coloration to recognize viable mates from their own spec
In Defense of
Biodiversity: Why Protecting Species from Extinction Matters
A few years ago, I helped lead a ship-based expedition
along south Alaska during which several scientists and noted artists documented
and made art from the voluminous plastic trash that washes ashore even there.
At Katmai National Park, we packed off several tons of trash from as distant as
South Asia. But what made Katmai most memorable was: huge brown bears. Mothers
and cubs were out on the flats digging clams. Others were snoozing on dunes.
Others were patrolling.
During a rest,
several of us were sitting on an enormous drift-log, watching one mother who’d
been clamming with three cubs. As the tide flooded the flat, we watched in
disbelief as she brought her cubs up to where we were sitting — and stepped up
on the log we were on. There was no aggression, no tension; she was relaxed. We
gave her some room as she paused on the log, and then she took her cubs past us
into a sedge meadow. Because she was so calm, I felt no fear. I felt the gift.
In this protected
refuge, bears could affo
Chiang Mai zoo puts
white tiger cubs on display
The Chiang Mai Night
Safari on Tuesday introduced its new additions of three white tiger cubs ahead
of Chinese New Year celebrations.
cubs were two males named Fufu, or wealth, and Facai, good luck, plus one
female, Ping-an, peace, acting zoo director Netnapa Sutthithamdamrong said.
Barrow MP hails
victory as new independent zoo inspectorate to be launched
BARROW MP and zoo
campaigner John Woodcock hailed the introduction of a new zoo inspectorate as
'a huge victory for safer zoos'.
The Animal Welfare
Plan, launched today by Cumbrian Labour MP and shadow Environment secretary Sue
Hayman, would introduce a new independent zoo inspectorate to raise standards
of animal welfare and improve the quality of licensing and inspections in zoos.
comes following catastrophes in zoos across the country, resulting in abuses of
welfare and deaths of hundreds of animals in their care. One of the most stark
examples was that of South Lakes Safari Zoo, whose failings were revealed when
the data on the numbers and causes of fatalities and illnesses in that zoo were
published, and the zoo’s lic
Polar Bear in Captivity Dies at 38
polar bear has died at the age of 38, a zoo in Perm has announced.
Polar bear Amderma
was captured in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region in 1989 and her carers
estimate she was born in 1980. After brief stays in zoos in Moscow, St.
Petersburg and Kazan, she finally found sanctuary in Perm.
The death occurred
on Feb. 7, but was not reported by the zoo until this week. "She lived
there happily for 21 years, giving birth to five healthy cubs," the zoo’s
press service said in an online statement.
Dublin Zoo announces
arrival of Baby elephant
Dublin Zoo is
celebrating the birth of an Asian elephant calf.
Proud mum, Anak,
gave birth to the healthy male calf on Saturday, February 10 after a 22-month
Yes, 22 months!
The new arrival is
Anak’s second calf and the seventh elephant calf born at Dublin Zoo in less
than four years.
“We are delighted to
welcome our new arrival to Dublin Zoo and happy to report the calf is healthy,
strong and was standing within minutes of his birth,” said Gerry Creighton,
Operations Manager at Dublin Zoo.
“It is fascinating
to watch the younger females interact with the calf, as they are working
together to protect him. Witnessing the sights and sounds of an elephant birth,
is important to inexperienced females in th
Pachyderms on the
The 2018 King’s Cup
Elephant Polo Tournament is set to kick off from March 8 to 11 on the banks of
Chao Phraya River, next to Anantara Riverside Bangkok, with a full range of fun
elephant festivities for the whole family.
Now in its 16th
edition, the festival has become one of the biggest charitable events in
Southeast Asia with approximately US$1.5 million (Bt50 million) raised to date,
which has gone to various charities that benefits the elephants of Thailand.
These include housing for the mahouts and families, shelters for the elephants
and a mobile blood centrifuge and elephant ambulance for the Thai Elephant
Conservation Centre (TECC).Funds from this year’s event will be donated to
various projects including the Zoological Parks Organisation of Thailand, which
supports veterinary and educational projects to improve the year-round lives of
elephants and mahouts in the Surin Province. The donations have also funded
workshops for mahouts and vets on how to keep elephants happy as well as a
conservation education tri
Exposed: Inside the
Mind of a Lion Murderer
Why would anyone be
interested in killing a lion? Even if it was for free, which it is not. As a psychologist this is what I try to
In 2014, after
visiting South Africa, I wrote an article titled “Lion Canned Hunting, the
person behind the ‘Hunter’”. This was before the infamous “Cecile the Lion”
incident which sparked the world and exposed the brutal and pitiful practice of
canned hunting. At the time, the psychopathic industry of canned hunting was
unknown to most people. On the first of July 2015, Cecil the emblematic lion in
Zimbabwe, is killed by an American dentist and exposed this barbaric kind of
hunting to the world. Hearing of this industry for the first time, people were
shocked and disgusted that this existed and was even legal. I decided to look
back since my article was written and see how things have evolved and analyse
the persona who indulges in such practices.
Guest-Friendly, Engaging Zoo: A Conversation with Randy Wisthoff, CEO/Executive
Director of the Kansas City Zoo
Randy Wisthoff has been a household name in
the zoo business since he served as Associate Director at Omaha's Henry Doorly
Zoo from 1987 to 2003. During this time, he served as right hand man to
director Lee Simmons as he turned the zoo into a world-famous institution with
many cutting edge exhibits that were best of its kind. In 2003, Wisthoff became
CEO/Executive Director of the Kansas City Zoo, a large institution that had
just been privatized in order to realize its potential and operate more
efficiently. He has made the zoo much more guest friendly, added several
popular animals and engaging experiences and led the zoo to having more than
one million guests. Here is his story.
Unseen killers are
wildlife's worst enemies
construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta is the man of the moment. His name is on
everyone's lips, after he and three of his entourage were arrested and charged
with poaching in Unesco's...
First elephant born
at Woburn Safari Park beats the odds to survive Ebola-like virus
Asian elephant at Woburn Safari Park has beaten the odds to recover from an
aggressive disease which is fatal in 80% of recorded cases. Similar to the
Ebola virus in humans, elephant endotheliotrophic herpes virus (EEHV) can
seriously weaken the circulatory system in juvenile elephants leading to rapid
Look to penguins to
track Antarctic changes
records of Antarctic environmental change. The birds’ feathers and eggshells
contain the chemical fingerprints of variations in diet, food web structure and
even climate, researchers reported February 12 at the American Geophysical Union’s
2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting.
environment has changed dramatically in recent decades. Overfishing has led to
a decline in krill, small swimming crustaceans that are a key food source for
birds, whales, fish and penguins in the Southern Ocean. Climate change is
altering wind directions, creating open water regions in the sea ice that
become hot spots for life.
These changes have
cascading effects on food webs and on the cycling of nutrients. “Penguins are
excellent bioarchives of this change,” says Kelton McMahon, an oceanic
ecogeochemist at the University of Rhode Island
Penguins are at the
heart of the Antarctic food web, and their tissues are known to capture details
about what they’ve eaten. Different food sources contain different proportions
of carbon and nitrogen isotopes, forms of the elements with different num
Six white lions
introduced to Taman Safari on Imlek
Visitors of wildlife
park Taman Safari Indonesia (TSI) in Bogor had the opportunity to observe six
white lions brought in from Canada at the end of January.
The white lions were
introduced for the first time to the public during an education program held
during Chinese New Year, locally known as Imlek, at the park’s baby zoo on
Indonesia director Jansen Manansang said the six white lions – four females and
two males – were brought to Indonesia from Canada on Jan. 28.
White lions were
rare, he said, and it was predicted that there were only around 100 of them
left in the world.
Jansen further said
that the spe
White Lion Breeding Is Not Conservation
Association of Zoos
and Aquariums and U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance Join Forces
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking
Alliance (USWTA) announced their joining of forces in a united effort to fight
the global epidemic in wildlife trafficking. Effective immediately, Sara Walker
former Executive Director or the USWTA, will join the AZA staff in Silver
Spring, Maryland and the USWTA is now a program of the AZA.
trafficking is a global epidemic, and is driving some of the world’s most
beloved animals to the brink of extinction,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO
of AZA. “AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are world leaders in saving animals
from extinction, and this strategic alignment with travel, media, and consumer
products business leaders, as well as conservation NGOs, will create and
sustain powerful momentum.”
Pioneer of pheromone
studies Ratan Lal Brahmachary no more
Brahmachary, distinguished biochemist and a pioneer of tiger pheromone studies
in India, died in the wee hours this morning (13 February 2018) in a nursing
home in Kolkata, India. He was 86.
Widely known for his
research in pheromones, the biochemical messengers in living organisms,
Brahmachary made significant contributions in tiger behavioural studies
researching the animal for over 50 years.
was an astrophysicist by training and a student of eminent Indian theoretical
physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. Brahmachary shifted streams to study pheromones
at the Indian Statistical Institute under its founder Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis.
He studied many species of wildlife, notably big cats, and undertook research
trips to his favourite continent Africa fourteen times.
An ardent admirer of
entomologist Gopal Chandra Bhattacharya, Brahmachary studied ethology in the
Amazon basin in South Americ
following death of Zoo’s ex-birdkeeper Shep Mallet
Shep Mallet, whose
real name was John, was a former curator of birds at the wildlife park, where
he worked for around 35 years.
He was a colourful
character in the history of the Zoo and was known for his jokes and pranks –
and for always wearing his wellies.
Dr Lee Durrell,
honorary director of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, paid tribute to
Mr Mallett, who was born in Southampton to Jersey parents. He died on 9
Dr Durrell said:
‘Shep was a great character in the annals of the Zoo and Trust, perhaps most
famously for working with Gerry on a breeding programme for the rare
white-eared pheasant in the 1960s, before most zoos were doing such things.
‘He was also known
for his jokes and pranks, which everyone fell for. With his white hair and
beard in later years, visitors often mistook Shep for Gerry, and he would lead
them around the Zoo, chatting gaily about this and that animal, as if he were
Gerry. Everyone went away happy.’
Writing on Facebook,
former colleague Chris Haines said: ‘Shep was very enjoyable to work with. He
was a great fount
interest - Operation, Management and Development of Belfast Zoo
Closing date: 12
noon on Friday 16 March 2018.
To obtain a copy of
the prospectus and questionnaire email market.engagement@V4services.com
Our world and our
nation are undergoing rapid social change, which I believe is at the root of
our current, unsettling and disruptive politics. Think how our collective
societal views have changed, and continue changing, on things like gay
marriage, LGBTQ equality, marijuana legalization, and in our professional
orbit, animal rights, protection, and welfare. Change is disruptive, and that
is reflected in today’s social dialogue and politics—coarse, angry, and
sometimes a bit scary.
The comforting news
is that our overall course of change is positive.
Bornean Orangutans Lost Since 1999, Cutting Population By Half
Earlier this month,
an orangutan was found brutally shot to death in Borneo. In January, one was
found decapitated and floating in a river. In 2017, oil plantation workers were
accused of killing and eating one of the island's orangutans.
These stories are
examples of small, incremental intentional killings of the island's endangered
species. But according to a new study, published in the journal Cell Biology,
such losses are adding up—contributing to the overall, long-term decline of a fragile
study pulled from data collected by 38 different research organizations. When
Maria Voigt, the study's lead co-author and a researcher from the Max Planck
Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the German Center for Integrative
Biodiversity Research, crunched the numbers, she found just under 150,000
Borneo orangutans were lost between 1999 and 2015—roughly half the population.
experienced habitat loss, the study found the primates were disappearing
largely from forested areas, l
Pangolin trade still flourishing despite ban
Pangolins are small
mammals that only move around at night. Hardly a zoo has been able to keep one
alive. And yet, they sit above the elephant and rhino as the most illegally
trafficked animal in the world.
amazing: With shiny scales and pointy heads, they look like miniature
dinosaurs; baby pangolins ride around on their mothers’ tails; they slurp ants
with 25cm-long tongues; and they can curl up into an armoured ball that foxes
any predator – except humans. Being so elusive, not much more is known about
meeting in January 2017 in Singapore concluded that increased demand from China
for pangolins has led to "great declines" in populations across
Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Laos.
“Pangolins have been
used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, but growing human
populations and greater wealth across China have increased demand,” says the
Worldwatch Institute. “Pangolin fetuses, sca
The Paradox Of The
Ever since I was a
young child I have been fascinated by the animal kingdom, especially its more
exotic members. When people asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, I
always replied I wanted to have a zoo. The response would be laughter; having a
zoo is no job for a nice Jewish boy. Then I decided to become a rabbi, which
was met with even greater disapproval; being a rabbi, I was told, is certainly
no job for a nice Jewish boy.
But then I started
to look into what the Torah says about the animal kingdom. To my delight, I
discovered a wealth of fascinating material, and for the next twenty years I
studied, wrote, and taught about it. In addition to rabbinic ordination, I co
The Living Museum: A Conversation with Dave
Zucconi, Retired Director of the Tulsa Zoo
During his 27-year tenure as Director of the
Tulsa Zoo, Dave Zucconi transformed the institution into not just a modern zoo
but also an accredited museum. He came up with the vision for the LaFortune
North American Living Museum, a groundbreaking exhibit that incorporated animal
habitats with museum-quality interpretation. Zucconi served as President of the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums and as Chair of its Accreditation Commission.
He wrapped up his career in zoos by serving as Director of the El Paso Zoo for
three years. Here is his story.
New Meetings and Conferences updated Here
If you have anything to add then please email me at email@example.com
I will include it when I get a minute. You know it makes sense.
Recent Zoo Vacancies
Vacancies in Zoos and Aquariums and Wildlife/Conservation facilities around the World
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