Monday, February 5, 2018

Zoo News Digest 5th February 2018 (ZooNews 982)

Zoo News Digest 5th February 2018  (ZooNews 982)


Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

The Animal Keepers, Trainers and Wildlife Professionals of the Middle East night out last week was a big success with staff from around eight different collections attending. It was very much a knees up and drinking type of event and a lot of fun was had. There was much catching up done and new friends made. I think all agreed that we must do it again soon…before Ramadan.

I note that South Lakes are getting it in the neck once again….this time unfairly. A lion died of barbiturate poisoning. All very sad but it is hardly the zoos fault and so why drag up all of the past. I have no special affection for the South Lakes but they do need a chance. If I cast my mind back over the past fifty years I recollect two carnivores under my care poisoned by barbiturates. Both survived but they were asleep for a very long time. I daresay there are many out there in the zoo world with similar experiences. Meat is received from the supplier in good faith who, in turn receives it from their suppliers in good faith. Sometimes there is a glitch along the way but it is hardly the zoo to blame.

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,

Top French court reverses ban on breeding whales, dolphins
France’s highest administrative court on Monday overturned a ban on breeding killer whales and dolphins in captivity after ruling there had been irregularities in the decree putting the legislation into place.

HSUS—AZA: Golden Bridge to Zoo Obsolescence
Why has Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) taken such a proactive interest in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)? After decades of opposing zoos and all forms of captive conservation, Wayne Pacelle appears to have changed tactics in his bid to close the book on zoos. What if he could harness the active cooperation of AZA? He may then be able to influence a change of direction from within. To that end Pacelle spent the summer of 2017 speaking about how collaboration between HSUS and AZA is the way of the future. With long time friend and political ally, Dan Ashe, now at the helm of AZA, Pacelle may be empowered to usher zoos into a self enforced obsolescence.

The new twist in the HSUS—AZA partnership was unveiled when Dan Ashe announced that Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, would be the keynote speaker at the AZA Annual Conference 2017. Ashe added, “[Wayne] Pacelle has an important perspective to share with conference attendees.” Facebook blazed with opposition posts, and an online petition to disinvite Pacelle from the conference garnered more than 700 signatures. Nevertheless, Wayne Pacelle was welcomed as the keynote address.

January 23, 2018

Dear Council member O’Farrell:
It is my understanding the Los Angeles City Council Arts, Entertainment, Parks and River Committee is scheduled to hear Councilmember Paul Koretz’ motion (council file # 17-0453) to relocate the Los Angeles Zoo's male elephant, Billy, to a sanctuary. It is to oppose this motion that I am writing to you today.
The Los Angeles Zoo has been a continuously accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for nearly 40 years. AZA accreditation is regarded as the gold standard for animal care in a zoological setting, an honor for only 10 percent of U.S. zoos. The zoo and their staff represent the very best in the zoological profession, and it is demonstrated every day as they care for their elephants.
In 2011, the AZA Board of Directors adopted even more rigorous and detailed standards specific to the care of elephants at AZA-accredited zoos. They have been refined and updated several times since then to reflect the state of the art in modern science and zoological practices related to caring for elephants. AZA affords the very highest priority on the health and safety of elephants and the professionals working with elephants, and we monitor both of those aspects through our rigorous accreditation process.
The Los Angeles Zoo last went through AZA’s accreditation process in December 2016. As part of that comprehensive inspection, the AZA accreditation team reviewed the zoo’s elephant program. During that inspection, the team found that the zoo’s elephant program met or exceeded all of AZA’s Elephant Standards, and reported those findings to the AZA Accreditation Commission.
In addition to providing superior care to their elephants, the Los Angeles Zoo is part of the 96 Elephants coalition, seeking to educate the public on the poaching of African elephants and the resulting illegal ivory trade. The elephants at Los Angeles Zoo are ambassadors to their cousins in the wild, and help tells the story to the tens of thousands of visitors to the zoo each year.

As you may know, I was nominated by former President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the United States Senate, to be U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director from 2011- 2017. During my tenure we were able to lead the global fight to protect elephants from illegal trafficking, ban domestic ivory sales, establish global leadership by crushing ivory stockpiles in Denver and in Times Square, and apply successful diplomatic pressure to secure commitment from China to close their domestic ivory trade. We could not have achieved these things for wild elephants without the support of the Los Angeles Zoo, and more than 120 other zoos who joined with us. The public who visit these great zoos, and who see elephants in excellent care, are more likely to support efforts like our regulations banning domestic ivory sale. I understand that you care for elephants, and applaud your dedication, but respectfully ask your reconsideration.
It is the sincere hope of the AZA that you reconsider this motion, and keep Billy at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Best regards,
The Honorable Daniel M. Ashe
President and CEO, AZA
Former Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Top 10 Zookeeper Qualities!
Working in a Zoo is a special type of lifestyle. You are a devoted keeper taking care of the animals you work with. Zookeepers work day and night if necessary, they work any day of the week to give the highest standard of care to the species on their sections. When animals are sick the zookeepers are there to give them that special care no matter the day or time. Zookeepers have a mission and that mission all comes together through protecting species through educating families and give them a lifelong experience about the nature we have to protect.

MP calls for 'criminal investigation' into lion's death at Furness zoo which features in TV documentary
THE Furness MP has called for a 'criminal investigation' into the death of a lion at South Lakes Safari Zoo, which features in a BBC documentary being broadcast next week.

BBC Two documentary, Trouble at the Zoo, charts the journey of the new company that is working to turnaround the Furness animal park, and will be broadcast on Thursday at 9pm.

BBC Studios filmed the observational documentary between April and September last year. It follows the zoo hitting the headlines when it was revealed that almost 500 animals had died there in under four years and that zoo founder David Gill was denied a new license to run the park.

Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd took full control of the park in January last year. The new company made improvements to the zoo's animal welfare, enclosures and facilities and inspectors noted those changes. Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd was awarded a license

ZOO OF DOOM STRIKES AGAIN Lion dies after being poisoned at South Lakes Safari zoo

Credit: Jedimentat44/flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Naked mole rat found to defy Gompertz's mortality law
A team of researchers at Google-owned Calico Life Sciences LLC has found that the naked mole rat defies Gompertz's mortality law. In their paper published in eLife, the group describes their study of the unusual-looking rodent and describe some of its unusual traits.
Naked mole rats are very nearly hairless. They evolved that way by living in a harsh underground environment. They are also almost ectothermic (cold blooded). And now, it seems they do not age—at least in the traditional sense. Reports of long-lived mole rats prompted the team at Calico to take a closer look—they have a specimen in their lab that has lived to be 35 years old. Most "normal" rats, in comparison, live to be just six years old, and they age as they do so.

Naked mole rats also have some other interesting biological features—they very rarely develop cancer, they experience very little pain and they have been found able to survive without oxygen for up to 18 minutes by going into a plant-like vegetative state. Also, they never reach menopause, and can have offspring right up until their death—and their hearts and bones never show signs of aging. But it was their longevity that was the focus of this new effort.

The team collected what they describe as 3,000 points of data

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Launches First-of-Its-Kind Seafood Slavery Risk Tool
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program – already the global standard for environmentally responsible seafood – today launches the Seafood Slavery Risk Tool, the first solution of its kind to help businesses assess the potential risk of forced labor, human trafficking, and hazardous child labor in fisheries. The tool is available at

The Seafood Slavery Risk Tool – originally created with Liberty Asia, Seafish and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and now jointly run by the aquarium with Liberty Asia and SFP – produces a rating indicating the likelihood that human trafficking, forced labor and hazardous child labor are occurring on fishing boats in a specific fishery. Businesses can use the tool to identify seafood sourced from fisheries that have these issues and take steps to address them.

"Understanding the environmental impact of fishing and aquaculture is key to seafood sustainability," said Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. "The working conditions of

International Animal Training Month – February 2018
2). Match to Sample training penguins with Anna Svensson (Swedish trainer)
Recipient of the IMATA (International marine animal trainers association) research advancement award in 2015.

To celebrate international animal training month – 2018 we are going to focus on Sweden & learn about some amazing animal training projects from some amazing Swedish trainers. You will receive the following 5 items below for FREE over the month of February …
Watch the Video

Saudi bug hits zoo keepers in Kerala
R. Deepu, a keeper at Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, is making a beeline to Riyadh Zoo in Saudi Arabia as an animal keeper on a salary of 2000 Riyal (Rs 34, 000 plus). Already four keepers from the city zoo had joined zoos in Saudi Arabia and Fujairah in UAE recently seeking better lives.

Deepu began his stint as a daily wager mahout in 2001 to take care of Maheshwari, the 88-year-old elephant which breathed its last on July 2017.  Four years ago, Vellayani native Deepu was made a permanent keeper where currently he is taking care of 10 Liontailed Macaques and three Nilgiri Langurs. Deepu comes from a poor family backg

Senate bill to ban plastic straws in Hawaii passes committee
Most food and drink establishments have them, but a senate bill that would get rid of plastic straws in Hawaii is moving forward.

The bill passed the Committee on Agriculture and Environment Wednesday afternoon.

"This law can start a ripple effect if straws are banned from companies like McDonald's and Starbucks," said Riley Brooke Kamahele, a 10-year-old who runs a non-profit called the The Plastics Project. 

Kamahele was just one of many who testified in support of the bill.

"Plastic straws are absolutely one of the most picked up and littered items we find," said Rafael Bergstrom, of the Surfrider Foundation as he talked about beach clean-ups.

Kathleen Penland, who submitted testimony on behalf of Hawaii Association for Behavior Analysis, also supports the plastic straw ban. 

"It's harming our animals it's harming our honu, and it's polluting our beaches, terribly," said Penland. 

The bill would outlaw the sale and distribution of plastic straws in Hawaii-- any violators would be fined. Violators will also be required to pi

Saving zoo has cost me my marriage
Moving on: Anna with a rhino at Manor House Wildlife Park, which she is leaving to rebuild her life in France. She is divorcing her husband Colin MacDougall, the father of her daughters Bibi and Dixie. And she’s in no doubt at all about what caused the collapse of her 16-year relationship.‘The stresses and strains and expense of running our wildlife park have destroyed our marriage,’ she declares. ‘I’m moving lock, stock and barrel to France, and I’m getting divorced. ‘I still well up thinking about all the beautiful Welsh countryside and the nature. I had the best of times there, but they became the hardest of times. We had so much work to do we never saw each other. I’m having to start all over again with nothing and it’s

A salty cure for a deadly frog disease
It's been described by scientists as the "most devastating wildlife disease ever known" — a deadly fungus that has caused the mass global extinction of hundreds of frog species.

But researchers at the University of Newcastle have discovered a simple solution in the form of salt.

The deadly disease
Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease caused by the chytrid fungus and blamed for wiping out more than a third of the world's frog species.

It is a type of fungus that spreads infection by releasing small bodies known as "zoospores."

It gets into the skin of frogs, disrupting the flow of electrolytes and eventually gives them a heart attack.

University of Newcastle ecologist Sim

Vol 6 No 1 (2018)

Activist demands answers over death of Siberian tiger at zoo
Stop Global Warming Association president Srisuwan Janya will file a petition to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday, demanding an inquiry into the Ubon Ratchathani Zoo over the alleged delay in investigating the “unnatural death” of a Siberian tiger.

Srisuwan said the endangered tiger was killed after it ate food mixed with pesticides on April 13 last year but nobody at the zoo or the Zoological Park Organisation had provided any information about the death. In fact, he alleged that they had tried to cover it up.

Canned lion hunting - a buffer against what?
Canned lion hunting – SA Govt  ‘Scientific Authority’ says everything is awesome.

But even Safari Club International has thrown PHASA and canned lion hunting under the bus – making this insane Non-Detriment Finding ( NDF) largely irrelevant..

In government Gazette No. 41393 published  23rd January 2018, the South African government Department of Environmental  Affairs (DEA) set out its non-detriment findings (NDF) for the African lion.

This is of extreme importance to the hunting industry since without an NDF, no lion hunts would

How do seals and science intersect at the Alaska SeaLife Center?

Through scientific research training!

As a mammalogist at ASLC, my responsibilities through our training program are to first train our resident marine mammals for husbandry and veterinary care to ensure their well-being, and second, to train the animals to cooperate in behaviors and activities that support science.

Wellington Zoo picked to help world zoos go green

False advertising on sea turtle CT scanner costs S.C. Aquarium $400,000, lawsuit claims
A $443,000 CT scanner for sea turtles that required no special shielding seemed like a good deal at the time, but it didn’t turn out that way.

It wasn’t until the room to house the scanner in the South Carolina Aquarium’s new Sea Turtle Recovery Center was finished that staff found out they had been misled, according to the suit filed Wednesday against Epica Medical Innovations and parent company Epica International, maker of the Pegaso CT scanner.

In April 2015, the staff was corresponding with an Epica sales representative about their scanner. The diagnostic machine is d

In pursuit of the tortoise smugglers
In February 2016, Richard Lewis, a wildlife conservationist working in Madagascar, was contacted by a veterinary clinic with an unusual request. “Someone went to a vet and said: ‘Can you take a microchip out of a ploughshare?’” Lewis recalled. “So they called us.”

The ploughshare tortoise is one of the rarest tortoises on the planet: with fewer than 50 adults thought to be left in the wild, each one is worth as much as $50,000 on the global exotic pet market. Like gold or ivory, their very rarity is part of what drives smugglers’ interest. Lewis runs the Madagascar programme of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which operates a captive breeding site where ploughshares are reared for more than a decade before being released into the wild. Both buying and selling ploughshares, or keeping them as pets, is illegal, and the breeding site is heavily defended, with barbed wire and round-the-clock armed security. As a further measure against smuggling, the organisation implants every ploughshare it encounters with a microchip. Anyone hoping to remove the microchip is likely to be involved with tortoise trafficking.

The Durrell Trust’s staff vet met with the man a few days later. It turned out that he had five ploughshares in total. As soon as the vet told him that what he was doing was illegal, he disappeared. But the very next day, alerted by staff at Durrell, an off-duty police officer was on hand at another clinic when the man tried once again to have the microchip removed.

For Lewis, what happened next was deeply dispiriting. “The person was arrested, went to court, was found guilty, and gi

Subtropical Paradise: A Conversation with Eric Stephens, Retired Director of Zoo Miami
Eric Stephens worked at Zoo Miami for the first 35 years of its history, 17 of those as director. He led the 324 acre zoo (the only one in the continental United States in a subtropical climate) through immense growth. Among Stephens' accomplishments were obtaining a $180 million bond, dramatically improving the zoo's attendance and business operations, building the 27-acre Amazon and Beyond (a massive departure from the zoo's previous habitats) and expanding the zoo's conservation efforts. Here is his story.

Escaped small mountain cat recaptured at Salt Lake City zoo
A small mountain cat who escaped at a Salt Lake City zoo has been recaptured after two days on the lam.

Zoo officials say they used mice to lure the young Pallas’ cat named Mushu into a live trap late Monday.

Hogle Zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen says in a statement that Mushu was holed up in a small construction area near his enclosure, an ideal hiding spot for the elusive creature.

The Pallas’ cat is smaller than the average housecat and not dangerous. Mushu will be examined by vets before he’s returned to his exhibit.

The Sunday-morning disappearance mar

From the Newspaper to the Indianapolis Prize: A Conversation with Paul Grayson, Executive Vice President at the Indianapolis Zoo
 Paul Grayson is the longest-tenured employee of the Indianapolis Zoo and has been with the institution for its entire history at its White River State Park location. Currently the zoo's Executive Vice President, he has served in a variety of different roles and watched the zoo evolve into a world-class institution at the forefront of conservation. Here is history.

Can Israeli scientists save Darwin’s finches?
Early discoveries from these tiny songbirds, which measure no bigger than a sparrow, are credited for having helped Charles Darwin develop his theory of evolution by natural selection. Now, 11 of the 13 finch species found in the Galápagos are in danger of extinction due to a parasitic fly’s fatal impact on the populations.

A research team from the Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment is embarking next week on an expedition to the islands to help save the iconic birds that have become the Galápagos’ symbol.

Hong Kong votes to ban ivory sales one month after China embargo comes into force
Hong Kong has voted to ban the trade of ivory in a landmark decision after years of campaigning.

Politicians voted in favour of amending an existing law to outlaw sales of ivory in the Chinese territory by 2021.

The proposal also includes significantly stiffer penalties for the smuggling of ivory and other highly endangered species to deter black market sales.

Researchers say Hong Kong is the world’s largest ivory market.

Did human-chimp hybrid ever exist? Scientist claims 'humanzee' was born in lab before being killed by panicked doctors
A renowned scientist has made a sensational claim that almost 100 years ago, a human-chimp hybrid was created in a lab in the US - before later being killed by panicked doctors.

Evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup claims his former university professor confirmed that a successful 'humanzee' experiment occurred in Orange Park, Florida in the 1920s.

It would mean that a female chimp was artificially inseminated with human sperm, before successfully falling pregnant with a half-human, half ape child.

Gallup told The Sun : "They inseminated a female chimpanzee with human semen from an undisclosed donor and claimed not onl

BORTH WILD ANIMAL KINGDOM - Statement on Facebook Page
We apologise for being quiet on social media lately, but we have been working day and night for the whole of January on improvements to the zoo. The mood since the new year has been a lot more positive as we work towards tackling the many problems that were highlighted in our inspection last November.

As you may have heard we were given 120 conditions, or faults that need to be addressed, on our license which is the most any zoo in the UK has ever been given. Well in the past few months we have met or are working towards meeting 119 of those conditions. Some are minor, such as keeping the petrol can for the quad bike in a locked shed, rather than behind a locked gate, some are major such as updating the electrics (so far two thirds of the entire site have been completely rewired).

Practical work has been carried out on every single enclosure to make sure they are fit for purpose. Our focus has been on safety and animal welfare rather than cosmetic improvements, so we have put in new double door systems for the keepers and climbing apparatus for the animals with lots of enrichment to keep them busy. Lots of rusty wire and rotten wood has been ripped out and replaced. Much of what we have had to address has been record keeping and paperwork. Our staff have always been dedicated to the care of the animals, but we have brought in a new, highly experienced managerial team to teach them about modern zoo protocols and how to document everything. We are confident that we will meet all 119 of those 120 conditions.

The only condition that we are contesting is number 80, the recommended removal of our category one animals. This refers to our cats, crocodiles, large snakes and monkeys. We believe this was judged on the basis that Tracy and Dean as managers did not have enough experience with these animals to give them the specialist care they require. Maybe they were right, but we have always had the animals’ welfare as our main concern. Not only have we brought in new experienced managerial staff we have also been consulting with many industry experts at other zoos on best practice. Our current enclosures have all been given a makeover, but we will be building new, much bigger enclosures for our animals when we open access to the hill in the near future and we want to make sure they are the best we can possibly make them.

The appeal hearing date has been set for 27th April but before that we have a pre-trial review on the 22nd March to assess the evidence and study expert witness statements. We are hoping that by that date we have enough evidence to prove that we addressed any concerns that Ceredigion Council may have with our establishment and it doesn’t have to go any further. We hope to work in partnership with the council and create a suitable home for these animals that is safe and secure and that we can all be proud of.

We continue to be closed at the moment while we finish some of our refurbishment work, but we do intend to complete it and reopen on Saturday 17th February in time for half term. We are sorry for any inconvenience, but I hope you will like the changes we have made when you next visit.

Animal Trainers Are Key to Argentine Zoo’s New Mission
Personal trainers not only work in gymnasiums – they’re also on duty at zoos where they keep the animals in good condition and ease their move to new environments that give the wild creatures a new sense of freedom, a vital aspect in the renovation of the Buenos Aires Ecopark.

Close to 100 trainers are supervised by the Animal Behavior Sector, which in the case of Ecopark – one of the most popular zoos in the country – is coordinated by Maria Eugenia Dahdah.

In an interview with EFE, the Argentine specialist said it’s essential to get the animals used to the presence of veterinarians, to the food they are given and to their enclosures as part of the new mission of this zoo with its 100-year history.

Since 2016, this zoo spanning 16.7 hectares (41 acres) has been reconstructing much of its area and restoring historic monuments on its grounds to make it more suitable for animal life and send its vis

Architect of Animal Experiences: A Conversation with Gerry Creighton, Operations Manager, Animals and Grounds and Elephant Program Manager at the Dublin Zoo
 Dublin Zoo has evolved into a leader in animal wellness and modernization among European zoos. Having its origins in 1831 as a Victorian zoo, many enclosures were extremely dated and in desperate need of help when Gerry Creighton started working as a member of the Animal Care Team in 1985. “The Irish government stepped in during the 1990s and gave us financial support and provision of additional land in Phoenix Park” Creighton recalled. “Now, it’s one of the most progressive zoos in Europe. We have very high standards of animal care and our habitats are some of the finest you’ll see. The people of Ireland have taken the zoo to their hearts [as] they appreciate these habitats where the animals can express specific species behaviors. We have reached 1.2 million visitors per year, with the population of Ireland less than five million. The zoo is a real part of Irish society.”

Pandasia: the revitalisation of Ouwehands Zoo
How a radical redesign – and Xing Ya and Wu Wen, the giant pandas – transformed the Ouwehands Zoo into a thriving attraction and a centre for conservation.
Robin de Lange is the Director of Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, in the Dutch province of Utrecht.  He spoke to Blooloop about how the zoo has turned from a struggling attraction into a huge success.  He also discussed its conservation initiatives and the exciting arrival of giant pandas Xing Ya and Wu Wen from China.

Robin de Lange’s background is in marketing and management. He first worked as marketing manager for Duinrell, an amusement park based in Wassenaar, The Netherlands. Then, fourteen years ago, he joined Ouwehands Zoo as Director.

CCTV captures elephant's jumbo crossing

How drones are being used to protect the Amazon's dolphins
The drone is hovering above the Amazon river, but its battery is running low. André Coelho, the chief pilot, steers it back to safety with skills perfected by playing video games. Long hours practising on Need for Speed have become a surprising asset in the effort to conserve the dolphins that live in the river.

Marcelo Oliveira, a conservation specialist at WWF Brazil, stands on the bow of the boat with arms aloft. He plucks the white drone from the air, changes the battery, and swiftly sends it back into the sky.

How illegal wildlife trade decimated Nigeria’s vultures
At a market in Ibadan there are some fifty women selling both dead and live vultures, and they are part of a growing ring of bird merchants. Unknown to many, international vulture routes criss cross Nigeria, conveying vulture eggs, heads and feathers to eager patrons, who then pass them on to the traders, the next link in the chain. But the bird has been prohibited from any form of sale or usage by CITES, the convention on international trade in endangered species. Yet, in many markets across Nigeria the vulture is openly, sometimes secretly, sought, sold and bargained for, despite the fact that the country has an endangered species act.

Holding lions, conservation and Brand South Africa captive
Earlier this year, officials in the state of Florida, USA introduced legislation to ban the captive breeding of orcas as well as the keeping of them for entertainment purposes. Seen as a necessary and progressive step in line with our greater understanding of wild species, this move follows on from California successfully passing similar legislation in 2016.

It is against this backdrop that it’s worth reviewing South Africa’s current situation with regards to lion breeding and the commercial exploitation of these animals. 

It’s been almost three years since the release of the feature documentary Blood Lions, and its global campaign to bring awareness around the issues portrayed in the film. Done in partnership with numerous local and international agencies, the film and campaign aims to do for lions what Blackfish has done for orcas.

To date, these efforts have brought numerous successes, at times way beyond initial expectations, and for this we owe huge thanks to all these committed partners. However, there is much work that remains as the indiscriminate breeding continues and thousands of predators remain on farms or i

Tail-fin first: See a baby dolphin born at a Swedish zoo
Watch the tail-fin slowly emerge from his mother Fenah, as the third generation of dolphins is born at Sweden's Kolmården zoo.
The baby, who has yet to be named, was born on January 4th at Sweden's biggest zoo, which is two hours' drive south of Stockholm.

"He's practising using his fins, swinging from side to side and steering himself," zookeeper Filip Johansson said in a statement.

"Those first weeks in a dolphin calves lives are critical. We can thank our expertise and experience that further animals in our care have one again had a successful birth."

The calf was just one meter long at birth, and weighed just 15kg. When fully grown he will weight more than 200kg.

Dolphins raised in captivity will soon get a new, more natural home
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is re-examining what counts as humane when it comes to the life of its dolphins. Facing increased disillusionment over such spectacles, the aquarium plans to move its dolphins to an enclosed outdoor sanctuary that mimics a natural environment. How much can change for dolphins that were raised in captivity? Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports.

Realistic venomous snake bite emergency exercise at John Ball Zoo
John Ball Zoo's venomous reptile keepers, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine students and professionals from Spectrum Health teamed up Thursday, Jan. 25, for a venomous snake bite emergency exercise.

Over 80 professionals from the three institutions combined their skills for the five-hour simulation. A combination of simulated human patients, computer controlled manikins, along with human actors helped re-create symptoms of a venomous bite.

The collaborative drills were an excellent opportunity for the zoo staff, medical students and professionals to gain experience in the emergency of handling venomous snake bites.

"There's actually about 5,000 to 8,000 snake bites a year in the united states," said Bryan Judge, whi is a medical toxicologist and emergency medical phys

4 Months After Zoo’s Release, 11 Endangered ‘Alalā Thriving in Hawaii
You usually hear them before you see them. There’s no mistaking the loud and often synchronized cacophony of caws from 11 ‘Alalā, also known as Hawaiian Crows, released into a Hawai‘i Island Natural Area Reserve last fall.

These birds, seven young males and four young females, represent what conservationists hope is the beginning of a recovered population of this critically endangered Hawaiian crow on the island.

‘Alalā have been extinct in the wild since 2002. Since the birds took flight from a remote forest aviary in September and October 2017, they have been under the daily, watchful eye of a monitoring team from San Diego Zoo Global.

In partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others, San Diego Zoo Global reared the ‘alalā at its Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program centers on the Big Island and on Maui.

The ‘alalā are tracked daily by researchers monitoring signals from the lightweight radio transmitters each bird wears, as well as watching them with the naked eye or through binoculars. Their movements, their flights, what they eat, where they roost, their behaviors and virtually everything else about these birds is closely monitored and carefully recorded. Of high interest to all the folks involved in The ‘Alalā Project is how the birds individually and collectively react to threats from predators. An initial release of ‘alalā in 2016 was halted and surviving birds were brought back into captivity after two were attacked by another native bird—their natural predator, the ‘Io or Hawaiian hawk. Prior to their release, the birds now living in the Pu‘u Maka‘ala NAR received extensive anti-predator training.

Paris zoo reopens after last truant baboons found
Paris's main zoo was set to reopen Saturday after the last of around 50 baboons who had escaped from their enclosure were found overnight, the zoo authorities said.
A spokeswoman for the National Museum of Natural History said two females and a baby were tracked down at around 4:15 am.

The zoo was expected to reopen around noon.

"The professionalism of the wildlife teams at the Paris zoo allowed for a happy ending ... we are analysing the precise circumstances of the incident," the spokeswoman said.

The baboons remain in the area of the "grand rocher", a landmark central mountain inaccessible to the public at the zoo in the lush Vincennes area of the French capital.

The breakout was first noticed by a zoo worker, who saw the primates gathering in a service corridor used by personnel

Mass call to rescue EL’s zoo animals
Thousands of wildlife lovers, many from Buffalo City, have signed a petition to rescue the bears, lions, a tiger, wolves, a jaguar, chimpanzees and other animals at the ailing 82-year-old East London zoo.

Paris zoo is evacuated after around 50 baboons escape their enclosure
The biggest zoo in Paris went into lockdown today after around 50 ‘large and potentially very aggressive baboons’ escaped from their enclosures.

All were seen running amok in the French capital’s Zoological Park, in the Vincennes woods, soon after midday, but it is thought just four remain on the loose.

‘It’s not known how they got out, but everything is being done to try and get them under control,’ said a source at the zoo, which opened in 1934.

‘The whole area has been shut down, with only trained professionals involved in the security operation.

Baby chimp makes surprise arrival at Wingham Wildlife Park
The birth of a chimp at Wingham Wildlife Park has surprised keepers - because the mum was on the pill.

But they are hugely excited by the new arrival 11 days ago, which is the first chimp born in Kent.

The troop of seven chimps arrived at the park in October 2016 after a long campaign to bring them to Wingham from a research centre in America where they had spent all their lives.

Eight Humboldt penguins arrive at Fakieh Aquarium
Fakieh Aquarium, one of the popular attractions offered by Tarfeeh Fakieh, has proudly welcomed the latest residents of Jeddah – eight Humboldt penguins who now live in their beautiful penguin tank which opened to the public on Jan. 29.

“Everyone loves these adorable birds and we are delighted to bring the first ever group of penguins to Saudi Arabia,” said Zaki Sadayo, executive manager of the aquarium. “After their long journey from Peru they are now happily settled in their new home at Fakieh Aquarium where we care for them with love and affection, and where they will delight children and adults alike with their irresistible cuteness.”

At the unveiling of the new penguin tank, Ms. Sara Al-Ghamdi, head of education at Fakieh Aquarium, informed the attendees that the eight Humboldt penguins were born in Peru and range in age from two to four years. Their previous home was the Parque Zoologico de Huachipa, where they were cared by the zoo keepers since their birth.

Humboldt penguins can live for 15 to 20 years and can grow as high as 70 cm and weigh from 3.5 to 6 kg. The species is native to South America, mainly to the coasts of Chile and Peru. They have feathers that protect them from the weather and

Orcas can imitate human speech, research reveals
High-pitched, eerie and yet distinct, the sound of a voice calling the name “Amy” is unmistakable. But this isn’t a human cry – it’s the voice of a killer whale called Wikie.

New research reveals that orcas are able to imitate human speech, in some cases at the first attempt, saying words such as “hello”, “one, two” and “bye bye”.

The study also shows that the creatures are able to copy unfamiliar sounds produced by other orcas – including a sound similar to blowing a raspberry.

Scientists say the discovery helps to shed light on how different pods of wild killer whales have ended up with distinct dialects, adding weight to the idea that they are the result of imitation between orcas. The creatures are already known for their ability to copy the movements of other orcas, with some reports suggesting they can also mimic the sounds of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions.

Amid SeaWorld lobbying, bill to ban orca breeding in Florida is killed
state bill to ban orca breeding and future captivity in Florida was killed by a legislative subcommittee, the Tampa Bay Times is reporting.

The Florida Orca Protection Act, which aimed to turn into law what SeaWorld voluntarily adopted in 2016, was pending in the House of Representative’s Natural Resources Public Lands Subcommittee but did not make the agenda of bills to be heard Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

"This shouldn’t be a controversial issue because it’s just making law out of what SeaWorld says its corporate policy is," Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney Lindsay Larris told the newspaper. "There’s no accountability. It should be the lawmakers holding them accountable."

SeaWorld spokesman Travis Claytor had said the Orlando-based company has already committed to end orca breeding. “The legislation is unneeded and distracts from the great work being done to positively impact Florida’s wildlife,” he said, according to the Times.

SeaWorld had three lobbyists regi

SeaWorld spurns orca protection bill
SeaWorld Orlando has worked hard to change its image in the wake of the "Blackfish" documentary. Among those changes was the end of its orca breeding program.

However, as Channel 9’s Jamie Holmes has discovered, SeaWorld has lobbied against The Florida Orca Protection Act, which would have made it a Florida law to permanently stop whale breeding in captivity.

World’s oldest flamingo dies aged 83 at Adelaide Zoo
At the ripe old age of 83, the greater flamingo was put down on Friday morning after the bird's quality of life had significantly deteriorated due to complications associated with old age.

Known as Greater, the flamingo – whose sex is unknown – arrived at the zoo in 1933 but records are not clear whether it came from Cairo or Hamburg Zoo.

Giraffe Care Workshop

October 1 – 5, 2018
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs, CO USA

Join us for this exciting workshop that aims to create a community of giraffe professionals who leave the conference committed and empowered to continually improve giraffe welfare, both in situ and ex situ.
The workshop will be a hands-on, exciting new way to learn about giraffe. While there will be some lecture material throughout the week, most of the time will be spent allowing attendees the chance to gain valuable experience participating in roundtable discussions, hoof trimming demonstrations, operant conditioning techniques, and more!
The workshop will focus on areas where Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff currently has strengths. Attendees will be split into groups to move through the various giraffe-specific modules. Participants will gain knowledge and experience in the following topics: training, browse, hoof care, conservation, teamwork, roadblocks, enrichment and guest/giraffe interactions.


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

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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