Monday, March 5, 2018

Zoo News Digest 5th March 2018 (ZooNews 986)

Zoo News Digest 5th March 2018  (ZooNews 986)

Asian Elephants - London Zoo - 1914

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

My business trip to Cairo lasted longer than originally anticipated. In fact there was a time or two that I thought I would never get away. Cairo is one of those cities which you will either love or hate. For myself I reckon I could grow to love it but as things stand there are places I love a lot lot more.
One advantage of the 'overstay' was I got the chance to visit Giza Zoo. First time I tried was two years back. It was Tuesday and so it was closed.
Over the years I have met a number of people who have worked in Giza Zoo and worked with some of them. They did not have anything much to say about the place and now I know why. As to visiting zoo people only one had anything good to say. Non zoo people have often given glowing reports. Now I can have my say. Well it was pretty horrible but not the worst collection I have visited. I felt sorry for the animals and that's a feeling I should never have in any zoo. The paths are dangerous. The place has a strong odor of sewage about it. Rubbish abounded. For the most part animal accommodation was extremely poor and much of it dating to about 1905 or so....and I am not joking.

Cairo Lion House 2018

Image result for london zoo old lion house
This was the London Zoo Lion House circa 1950's. It looked just like this on my first visit

In fairness to Cairo the largest enclosure in the zoo was the Lion enclosure but that was no help to those in the original old building.

The Giza Zoo was at one time famous for its huge population of free flying Sacred Ibis. I did not see a single one. Egrets appear to have taken their place.

One of the things which happens as you grow older is that you were actually there when something originally happened or was said. Then you sit back and watch how things develop over the years. There is nothing so true than the statement ,"if you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth"...only it doesn't really...does it? The internet is a case in point. Never ever use it as your primary source of research. Often the same bullshit is copied time over time. You read it on five or six different websites and so can easily believe it to be true. It often isn't.

Lots of interest follows. 


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 74,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 74,000 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,

Popular Al Ain Zoo turns 50; 7 mega projects announced
The garden city of Al Ain will soon be known as the global leader in wildlife tourism thanks to Al Ain Zoo's major expansion plans to mark its golden jubilee this year.

After a successful half century as the region's leading wildlife conservation sanctuary and a favourite family destination, the Al Ain Zoo, in its 50th year, has announced seven mega projects including an Elephant safari, Lion Pathway, a Wild Reserve Project, Elephant village, Kuala Land and Sand Cat Breeding Centre, and also a shelter for rescued animals.

The 8 Million Species We Don’t Know
The history of conservation is a story of many victories in a losing war. Having served on the boards of global conservation organizations for more than 30 years, I know very well the sweat, tears and even blood shed by those who dedicate their lives to saving species. Their efforts have led to major

Science-based management essential to achieve St Petersburg goal of doubling the number of tigers by 2022
The India story on tiger conservation has been a good one. The number of tigers in the wild increased from 1,706 in 2010 to 2226 in 2014. An all-India tiger census currently is underway, and preliminary state surveys suggest a substantial increase in the country’s big cat population. India is one of the 13 tiger range countries therefore a substantial increase in its tiger population is good news. However, serious gaps in the management of tiger conservation areas across range countries could ma ..

Giant pandas' home in Finland opens to public
The new home of Chinese giant pandas Huabao and Jinbaobao in central Finland officially opened to public on Saturday following a two-and-half-week trial period.

They landed in Finland from China in January this year, and spent one month in quarantine. "Now they have adapted perfectly well," said Jukka Salo, a zoologist working with the Ahtari Zoo, some 300 kilometers north of Helsinki.

Salo said the pair were completely ready to meet the public. During the experimental days, they were curious about people, and did not react in bad way to the appearance of people. "They are truly ambassadors of China," added Salo.

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila was among the hundred guests taking part in the official opening ceremony at the zoo on Saturday.

Talking to the press, Sipila said the arrival of the pandas was "a great thing" for Finland, and it was the result of the bilateral trust.

He said the cooperation on the resea


US to help save endangered PH pangolin
Help is on its way to save the Philippine pangolin, also known as the “Balintong,” from possible extinction.

This particular pangolin species that is endemic to the Palawan province is at risk extinction out due to heavy hunting because of its valued scales and meat.

To counter this, the country’s first-ever population study of the Philippine pangolin was recently launched during the celebration of the World Wildlife Day, which were attended by visiting United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II and officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR).

Findings from the USAID-supported study, conducted in collaboration with local universities and Conservation International, will inform policy to protect this endangered species, which is the world’s most trafficked mammal.

Hardy visited Palawan this week to engage with development partners and reinforce the US government’s commitment to the province’s sustainable growth.

According to the US Embassy in Man


Showing the Truth About Predators: A Conversation with Adrienne Rowland, Director of Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
Since opening in 2000, Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay has inspired the residents and tourists of Las Vegas to look past the misconceptions of predators, especially sharks. Much of the success of the organization has been because of Adrienne Rowland, the aquarium's director since 2008. Her commitment to providing top-notch animal care, insightful experiences, professional development, excellent guest service and storytelling has let Shark Reef Aquarium flourish. Rowland currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, helping steer the direction the organization goes in. Here is her story.

How Some U.S. Ape Sanctuaries Fail Their Animals and Staff
Kaleigh Rhoads recalls that cloudy afternoon in May 2015. She’d just picked up a new intern from the airport when she received a disturbing call: A chimp named CJ had escaped from her enclosure and was at large in a building employees call the Chimp House.

“My jaw just dropped,” she says. Chimps may look friendly, but they’ve been known to maim or kill people.

Rhoads, 24, had recently finished training at her dream job as a caregiver at Chimps Inc., an animal sanctuary in Oregon then home to seven chimpanzees. Nestled on a five-acre farm with a stunning view of the Cascades, Chimps Inc. is a place where the apes are photographed trying on hats and chowing down on watermelon. In the two-bedroom house where trainees live, a plaque commemorates one o

Lioness that mauled woman to death at African wildlife park may be killed, as it emerges it was being taken for a walk by social media star 'lion whisperer' when it attacked its victim
A lioness that mauled a woman to death in a South African wildlife park was being taken for a walk by a self-styled 'lion whisperer' when it launched the attack, it has emerged.

The 22-year-old visitor died from devastating injuries after being pounced on by a lioness named Ndira while it was out walking with expert and social media star Kevin Richardson in the Dinokeng Game Reserve.

Mr Richardson, 44, whose intimate interactions with big cats have won him millions of fans around the world, said today: 'I am devastated and my heart goes out to this young woman's family.'

Ndira, who was hand-reared by Mr Richardson, may meet the same fate as her victim after the park admitted 'no decision has bee

Flight range, fuel load and the impact of climate change on the journeys of migrant birds
Climate change is predicted to increase migration distances for many migratory species, but the physiological and temporal implications of longer migratory journeys have not been explored. Here, we combine information about species' flight range potential and migratory refuelling requirements to simulate the number of stopovers required and the duration of current migratory journeys for 77 bird species breeding in Europe. Using tracking data, we show that our estimates accord with recorded journey times and stopovers for most species. We then combine projections of altered migratory distances under climate change with models of avian flight to predict future migratory journeys. We find that 37% of migratory journeys undertaken by long-distance migrants will necessitate an additional stopover in future. These greater distances and the increased number of stops will substantially increase overall journey durations of many long-distance migratory species, a factor not currently considered in climate impact studies.

Project to save horseshoe crab wins green prize in Singapore
ITE College West student Eunos Chong had never met a horseshoe crab face to face until a project he started about two years ago made him passionate about protecting the endangered creatures.

As part of a project for the SembCorp Marine Green Wave Environmental Care Competition, Mr Chong, 18, and three of his schoolmates designed and manufactured a "Horseshoe Crab Propagation System", a system of tanks and an incubator for breeding and rearing horseshoe crabs.

And on Thursday (Feb 23), they took home the winning prize in the junior college/ ITE category for their project.

EAZA Group on Zoo Animal Contraception
We are the EAZA Group on Zoo Animal Contraception, a group formed to gather knowledge on the use of contraception in captive wildlife within Europe.

We are an active part of the European zoo community, producing contraceptive guidelines  for individual institutions, as well as working with breeding programme coordinators and studbook keepers.

New animal park to open next month
After two years of construction, Safari World, one of the biggest zoos in the kingdom, will opened its doors to visitors next month in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district.

With a capital investment of $9 million, the park will exhibit around 800 animals, including bears, ostriches, kangaroos, giraffes, tigers, dolphins and deer.

According to the zoo’s website, there will be shows featuring crocodiles, orangutans, tigers and different types of birds.

Ly Yong Phat, president of LYP Group and owner of the park, told state-run media outlet AKP that the zoo will be the largest of its kind in Cambodia, and explained that it was previously located in Koh Kong province.

“We moved from Koh Kong to Phnom Penh to take advantage of the large number of visitors to the capital,” he

Op-Ed: South Africa’s involvement in export of Asian tigers and link to trade in tiger products
In the last five years, according to the Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) trade database, South Africa has exported over 200 live captive-bred tigers, mostly to Asia and the Middle-East. These figures exclude the dozens of tiger trophies, bones, claws and skulls exported over the same period.

Most (almost 100) were exported to Vietnam and Thailand, both countries which form part of the cat’s natural range. Other Asian countries favouring South African-bred tigers include Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan and China. All these countries – along with South Africa – are implicated in the legal and illegal trade in tiger products.

The trade is most likely driven by the demand for tiger bone wine, a form of traditional medicine used for the treatment of bone or joint-related ailments such as arthritis. Tiger bones are boiled down until they form a glue-like substance, which is then dried in cake-like blocks from which shavings are mixed with wine and consumed.

The insatiable demand for tiger wine has decimated tigers throug

Facilitating Wildlife, Wild Places and Communities Globally: A Conversation with Gordon McGregor Reid, Retired Director of the Chester Zoo
The Chester Zoo is not only regarded as one of the premier zoos of the world but as a conservation powerhouse. This is largely because of the ambition and leadership of Dr. Gordon McGregor-Reid, who led the zoo from 1995 to 2010. Among his accomplishments at the institution were rebuilding much of the zoo, putting into place world-class animal wellness practices, doubling attendance to become the 2nd most attended paid attraction in the United Kingdom and setting up a strong field conservation program. Reid served as an important leader in the profession as President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and wrote many important papers on zoo conservation. Here is his story.

A Day in the Life of an Amazonia Keeper
“Our male titi monkey, Henderson, is very curious, which makes him a great animal to work with. One of the ways that we monitor his health is by conducting husbandry training sessions inside the forest. Because the exhibit is open and the animals roam freely, we want him to be familiar and comfortable with coming to a designated spot voluntarily. To communicate with him, we use a target stick with a blue ball on the end. When he sees that target, he knows that he should follow it and touch his nose to the ball. If he does, he receives a reward from me, usually in the form of peanuts, grapes or—as is the case today—a bright red strawberry. We do these sessions with him at least twice a d

Judge bans Dade City’s Wild Things from owning tigers
After a "calculated and deliberately deceptive" plot to evacuate tigers from their zoo in the middle of an animal welfare lawsuit, a federal judge on Friday ruled Dade City’s Wild Things should never be allowed to possess tigers again.

The ruling confirms that Wild Things owner Kathy Stearns, her husband, Kenneth, and son, Randall, violated a court order in July by transporting 19 tigers to Oklahoma to avoid a site inspection by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a 1,200-mile haul where one female gave birth and all three cubs died.

PETA sued Wild Things in October 2016, alleging its tiger cub petting business violates the Endangered Species Act by pulling cubs prematurely from mothers, forcing them to interact with the public and confining them to tiny cages when they outgrow the photo-op stage.

Because of the Stearnses’ "flagrant disregard" for the court, Magistrate Judge Amanda Sansone ordered a default judgment in PETA’s favor in the underlying lawsuit, that the Stearnses pay PETA’s legal fees and dismiss Wild Things’ counter claims. Sansone stopped short of imposing criminal sanctions on the Stearnses, stating there was "no need to pile on contempt proceedings."

Law of the jungle: Taronga sues rival over 'Sydney Zoo' name
Taronga Zoo, with its sweeping views of Sydney harbour from Mosman, is suing the operators of a planned second zoo in the city’s west over its proposed use of the name Sydney Zoo, claiming it is misleading and deceptive without the qualification it is in "western Sydney".
Plans for the $36 million cage-free Sydney Zoo in the Western Sydney Parklands at Bungarribee in Blacktown were revealed in 2015 and the venture received final planning approval in September last year.
The not-for-profit Taronga Zoo has launched a Federal Court bid to stop the proponents using the name Sydney Zoo on the grounds it is likely to mislead th

SeaWorld: What happens next after leadership shake-up?
Since there were no heavy crowds to fight through Friday, Eveline Brinks knocked off all the SeaWorld Orlando’s thrill rides in less than two hours.

“You get butterflies in your stomach,” said Brinks, 23, who is from the Netherlands, after she rode the park’s newest and fastest roller coaster that posted a generous wait time of five minutes. “The adrenaline.”

The Orlando-based theme park company’s challenge is getting more visitors like Brinks through the turnstiles as the company is undergoing a major leadership shake up after the latest quarter earnings report showed more declining attendance and revenue.

CEO Joel Manby, SeaWorld Entertainment’s leader since April 2015 who made the decision to stop orca breeding, stepped down this week. He is replaced by interim CEO John T. Reilly, a former Park President of SeaWorld San Diego and Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

The company has battled public perception issues and a backlash, especially with millennials, from the anti-captivity documentary “Blackfish.

UN issues 25TH edition of endangered species stamps highlighting species protected under CITES
The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) has unveiled a new series of 12 stamps, as it has done every year since 1993, featuring 12 species protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The 25th edition launched today at an event at the UN Headquarters in New York to celebrate UN World Wildlife Day features species included under CITES over the past 25 years.

CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, said: “We are most grateful to the UN Postal Administration for its generous support over the past 25 years in using its beautiful stamps to raise awareness of CITES-listed species. This year is the first time these stamps are released on UN World Wildlife Day, being the day CITES was signed in 1973, and also marking the 45th anniversary of the Convention. We understand that these stamps are among the most popular series issued by the UN and we hope this wonderful cooperation will be continuing for the next 25 years and beyond.”

Mr. Thanawat Amnajanan, Chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, said: “For 25 years, the UNPA has been working with CITES to issue stamps to celebrate many beautiful and varied forms of wild flora and fauna, and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides. UNPA is proud to celebrate this 25th anniversary milestone with 12 different variety of species that were added to the CITES list in the past 25 years.”

The CITES-listed species featured on the stamps are the red-cre

South African lion breeders hear whispers of doom
The fatal mauling of a 22-year-old female visitor to “lion whisperer” Kevin Richardson’s tented camp in the Dinoken Big 5 Game Reserve stole headlines on February 27,  2018 from Parliamentary action promising to turn the South African wildlife breeding and viewing industry upside down––and,  perhaps,  to plunge the nation into the sort of economic chaos that has plagued neighboring Zimbabwe since 2000

Man sets free four leopards from enclosure in Goa zoo
A zoo situated inside the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary had to be locked down for the day after an intruder set free four leopards from their enclosure in the early hours of today, zoo officials said.

They informed that three adult leopards and a cub were set free forcing them to close the zoo so that visitors who would have arrived during the day were not harmed.

He said that the enclosure, the gate of which was broken by the intruder, had five leopards inside, including two cubs, at the time of the incident.

When the incident came to light, authorities closed the zoo gates and managed to track down two adult leopards- Mandu and Anajli- and a third one- Julie- a little while later, they informed.

The cub which was set free was found

Nicole Scherzinger bottle feeds a chained lion and plays with orangutans dressed in clothes as she visits a zoo in Dubai
The X Factor judge was seen playing with an orangutan, who was dressed in a pair of shorts and a vest top, as well as some others dressed up and riding a toy car.

The exotic animals belong to Princess of Dubaï Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum's and are kept in the zoo there.

Nicole has just returned from a trip to Dubai, where she enjoyed an impressive looking Pilates session.

Experts: Kemaman Zoo has some shortcomings
Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (Mazpa) has made several recommendations to the Kemaman Zoo, following an investigations into claims that animals there were mistreated.

Lazarus told Malaysiakini that there were some shortcomings, but it was not done intentionally.

"I wouldn't say the zoo is in poor conditions, but there are definitely room for improvement," he said.


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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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