Photo credit https://www.warriors4wildlife.org/
Lots of interest follows.
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 75,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 75,000 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.
Habitats and Quality of Life: A Conversation with Douglas Richardson, Head of
Living Collections at the Highland Wildlife Park
has long been an established authority on animal welfare in European zoos. Over
the course of his career, he has worked at the Edinburgh Zoo, Bronx Zoo,
Howlett's Wild Animal Park, London Zoo, Bioparco di Roma and Singapore Zoo.
Richardson currently serves as Head of Living Collections at the Highland
Wildlife Park, part of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Under his
watch, the park has welcomed the first polar bear cub born in the U.K. for 25
years and hopes to reintroduce Amur leopards into the wild. Here is his story.
@ Highland Wildlife Park Douglas Richardson …
That Python in the
Pet Store? It May Have Been Snatched From the Wild
In the market for a
new pet? Maybe something a bit exotic? For many consumers, reptiles and
amphibians are just the thing: geckos, monitors, pythons, tree frogs, boas,
turtles and many more species are available in seemingly endless varieties,
many brilliantly colored, some exceedingly rare.
Conversation with Peter Giljam
Peter Giljam is the
animal training coordinator at Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden. He is a specialist in
marine mammals and has previously won the People’s Choice Award at the 2013
IMATA conference. He became the vice president of IMATA in 2016. Peter blogs
regularly on the topic of animal training at Zoospensefull.com.
Vol 10, No 4 (2018)
deployed to Dalton zoo and man arrested
officers were deployed to Dalton zoo and a man arrested on suspicion of
blackmail following a report of vandalism at the park.
Cumbria Police said
armed police were called in to attend South Lakes Safari Zoo as a precaution on
The force confirmed
that a 56-year-old man, from the Seascale area, was arrested on suspicion of
blackmail and that he had been released on police bail.
Cumbria Police and
Cumbria Zoo Company
Hangzhou to build
giant panda research and breeding center
The park Saturday
signed an agreement with the China Conservation and Research Center for the
Giant Panda on the breeding project.
Construction of the
center, which covers an area of 6 hectares, is scheduled to start this year and
be finished by 2022.
Currently, there are
four giant pandas in Hangzhou, two at Hangzhou Zoo and two at Hangzhou Safari
Park. The project is scheduled to bring in another 20 giant pandas by 2022.
Li Desheng, an
expert from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda,
said there were many zoos with giant pandas across the country, but there were
only a very few research and breeding centers.
The center will also
conduct giant p
Tiger farms and
illegal wildlife trade flourishing in Laos despite promise of a crackdown
Laos, a landlocked
country in Southeast Asia, has long held a key role in the global wildlife
trade. Corruption and a flow of easy money across its porous borders have
allowed the illegal trafficking of pangolins, helmeted hornbills and other
wildlife products, as well as the country’s notorious tiger farms, to thrive.
In 2016, the Laos
government told the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in 2016 that it intended to shut down the tiger
farms. However, a Post Magazine investigation has found the farms are
flourishing, with another major operation having opened since the pledge was
made. One expert described the trade in tiger parts used for medicines and
potency treatments as “out of control”.
ONLY 12 VAQUITA
PORPOISES ARE LEFT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD
Last year the count
was 30. When this year’s count came back at 12, optimism for the survival of
the vaquita porpoise drained out of researchers’ hearts. Little hope remains
for the species whose lives have been snared by illegal gillnet fishing in the
Gulf of California.
Spanish for “little
cow,” the vaquita were only discovered in the 1950s. Half a century later, they
are the most endangered cetacean, on the brink of vanishing forever. The
world’s smallest porpoise species, the vaquita average around 5 feet in length
and 95 pounds. Tucked between the Baja Peninsula and mainland Mexico, the only
habitat for the species is the northern part of the Gulf of California. Though
the area has been set aside for protection for the vaquita, their numbers have
continued to plummet. The major cause of death is drowning, caused by
entanglement in illegal gillnets.
from ARTIS released into the wild
Last weekend, two
young griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo were
released into the wild on Sardinia. After some hesitation, one by one the birds
left their temporary aviary, spread their wings and soared into the sky.
They joined a group
of twelve other vultures that had been released and went on to explore their
new environment. The released birds hatched in ARTIS in April and May of last
year. One of these chicks was raised by a pair of male griffon vultures. The other
is the offspring of two griffon vultures from Spain that were wounded in the
wild and subsequently housed in ARTIS. While their injuries meant those birds
could not be returned to the wild, their offspring is now living freely in
nature. ‘A very special moment for ARTIS,’ says ARTIS Director Rembrandt
Bonobos also share
their game with 'strangers'
Meat-making and the
distribution of the hunt by dominant males is a celebration with chimpanzees
that does not happen every day or every week. It is also a way to strengthen
ties between males in the group and to seduce females into sex. That is
important for the ties within the group.
Bonobos are closely
related to chimpanzees, but it has only recently become known that they too ate
meat, from a trapped monkey or forest antelope. Women are dominant in bonobos.
In accordance with that social structure, they are also females who distribute
the meat to friends and allies. Now it is also seen that bonobos share their
game with members of a neighboring group, something that would be unthinkable
in chimpanzees, as two primatologists write in Human Nature (online April 5).
The closely related
bonobos and chimpanzees share a common ancestor with humans (who must have
lived somewhere 8 to 5 million years ago). It is often argued in science that
the aggressive behavior of bonobos could be more like the behavior of distant
prehistoric people than the much m
Dubai Safari to
operate under new management
Under the directives
of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime
Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Meraas has signed an agreement with
Dubai Municipality to manage Dubai Safari.
Meraas has also
appointed Parques Reunidos, a world-renowned operator of animal parks, to
oversee the day-to-day running of the destination in line with international
Phuket Zoo under
fire over animal conditions
The news follows
Brit photographer Aaron Gekoski reporting “horror” conditions at Safari World
and Pata Zoo in Bangkok, as well as Phuket Zoo, through a report posted by UK
newspaper The Sun online.
The report noted
despairing conditions for animals and blasted Safari World in Bangkok for
forcing orangutans to perform shows to entertain tourists, including having the
apes perform a fake boxing match with female orangutans wearing skimpy bikinis
and posing as “ring girls”. (See story here.)
Piyawat Sukon, Chief
of the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Thaew Conservation Centre in Thalang,
today (April 10) confirmed to The Phuket News that Phuket Zoo is already under
orders to improve conditions for apes and monkeys kept there – if it wants to
keep its license as a public zoo.
The Khao Phra Thaew
Non-Hunting Area Office is the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation (DNP) office responsible for the welfare of wildlife animals in
Phuket and neighbouring provinces.
Mr Piyawat pointed
out that Phuket Zoo was instructed to improve conditions fro animals during an
inspection about three months ago by a committee of the Zoological Park
Organization (ZPO), which is the ulti
The Champion of the
Ghost of the Forest: A Conversation with John Lukas, Former Director of White
Oak Conservation and Conservation Manager at the Jacksonville Zoo
During his thirty
years as Director of White Oak Conservation, a conservation center and breeding
facility for endangered species in Yulee, FL, John Lukas left a significant
mark on reproductive science and sustainability of a variety of endangered
species, notably white rhinoceros, cheetahs, Grevy's zebras and okapi. He made
sure one dollar for every two dollars spent on animal care at the facility went
to saving species in the wild. Lukas founded the International Rhino Foundation
and the Okapi Conservation Project (he is considered the world authority on
okapi.) He currently serves as Conservation Manager at the Jacksonville Zoo.
Here is his story.
Success Starts With
Observation; Antecedent Arrangement
How many of us look
around the exhibit, to all the animals and the people etc before starting a
training session? Throughout my experience I have seen many start of sessions
that already went into incorrect animals from the start. Antecedent arrangement
is more important than you think. Sometimes its better to skip a session then
to force it.
More than just
menageries: First look at zoo and aquarium research shows high output
Most of us think of
zoos and aquariums as family destinations: educational but fun diversions for
our animal-loving kids. But modern zoos and aquariums are much more than
menageries. According to a new study, the institutions are increasingly
contributing to our knowledge base on biodiversity conservation and other
Through an analysis
of scientific literature, the study's authors determined that researchers at
zoos and aquariums have contributed at least 5,175 peer-reviewed articles to
conservation, zoology, and veterinary journals over the past 20 years.
"This paper is
the first quantification of research productivity of zoos and aquariums. It
shows a trend of substantial and increasing publishing through time," says
Eric Larson, a freshwater ecologist in the Department of Natural Resources and
Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. "Zoos and aquariums
are definitely players in scientific research."
The 5,175 papers
came from 228 zoos and aquariums, all of which are members of the Association
of Zoos and Aquariums. As part of its accreditation standards, the AZA requires
conservation and research activities. Larson and his co-authors wanted to see if
these standards were having an effect in terms of research output. Clearly,
mattered, too. The authors looked at the age, size, financial status, type, and
mission statements of the 228 institution
Hamilton Zoo curator
Samantha Kudeweh's death result of cost-cutting - WorkSafe
ultimately claimed zookeeper Samantha Kudeweh's life when she was mauled by a
Sumatran tiger, according to a WorkSafe report into her death.
Hamilton Zoo was
critically understaffed and changes made to a gate system on the tiger
enclosure where Kudeweh was killed in 2015 contributed to the tragedy, the
The crucial change,
installing a two-gate airlock system and repositioning the keeper gate
following a near-miss encounter between another keeper and tiger in 2013, meant
Kudeweh, 43, could not easily see the tigers' exit gates were open.
And simple changes
including painting sliding-gate counterweights a bright colour could have saved
Kudeweh's life, but the paint was deemed too expensive to buy, according to the
report - released to the Herald under the Official Information Act.
tigers, lions, bears could be their downfall: study
Iconic animals like
elephants, tigers, lions and panda bears are everywhere in movies, books and
toystores. But their wide pop culture presence skews public perception of how
endangered these animals really are, researchers said Thursday.
Online surveys, zoo
websites, animated films and school questionnaires were scoured by US and
French researchers for the study, published in journal PLOS Biology.
Using these sources,
scientists made a list of the top 10 most charismatic animals: tigers, lions,
elephants, giraffes, leopards, pandas, cheetahs, polar bears, gray wolves and
found that almost 49 percent of all the non-teddy bear stuffed animals sold in
the United States on Amazon were one of these 10 charismatic animals.
In France, 800,000
"Sophie the giraffe" baby toys were sold in 2010, more than eight
times the numbers of giraffes living in Africa.
Lead author Franck
Courchamp of the University of Paris said that these animals are so common in
pop culture and marketing materials that they create a "virtual
population" in people's minds, one that is doing far better in perception
companies using giraffes, cheetahs or polar bears for marketing purposes may be
actively contributing to the false perception that these animals are not at
risk of extinction, and therefore not in need of conservation," Courchamp said.
The average French
citizen "will see more virtual lions
Pittsburgh Zoo application to import elephant semen from Canada
battle to end the practice of keeping elephants in captivity, the organization
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is opposing a recent federal
application from the Pittsburgh Zoo to import elephant semen from Canada to
help improve the genetic diversity of its elephant herd.
“PETA will call on
[U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service to reject the application because elephants do
not do well in captivity,” said Rachel Matthews, associate director of captive
animal law enforcement with the PETA Foundation, citing research on elephants
But Barbara Baker,
president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, downplayed the
research PETA cites — calling much of it outdated — and argued that importing
the semen from Canada “will add brand new genetics to the U.S. elephant
The zoo — which has
never successfully artificially inseminated an elephant — will attempt to use
Zoo refrains from
putting out giraffes, prefers castration
The Usti zoo has had
castrated the first of its two redundant male Rothschild giraffes that would
have had to be put out otherwise, its spokeswoman Vera Vrabcova has told CTK,
adding that the surgery was demanding and also risky for the animal.
After growing up,
giraffe males cannot remain with their mother herd. However, other zoos from
the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), of which the Usti zoo is a
member, have no capacities to accept a foreign male.
The lack of space
for swelling giraffe herds is a problem of all European zoos.
The Usti zoo
discussed the fate of its two adolescent males for many months.
"As a member of
the EAZA, our zoo is bound to observe the recommendation of experts, which is
either euthanasia or other means to prevent further reproduction of the given
animal. We sought a more positive solution, also because the [breeding] coordinator
promised us to have a castrated male placed in a facility outside the
EAZA," zoo director Roman Koncel said.
The other male can
remain in Usti, posing no danger of fu
Are Earth’s wild megafauna doomed?
Pop quiz: How many
species of big, land-dwelling animals are there in the world?
Count all the
different kinds of big cats, bears, wolves, wild dogs and other carnivores
weighing at least 15 kilos. Add large herbivores — 100 kilos or more — such as
bison, zebra and deer, along with rhinos, elephants, large apes, giraffes,
hippos, wild pigs, tapirs...
What’s the final
The answer, based on
this widely used definition of terrestrial megafauna, is 101.
That modest number
is sure to shrink to double digits, and could continue to diminish at an
alarming rate, biologists warn.
Three fifths of
these iconic creatures are already listed as threatened with extinction by the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which tracks the
survival status of Earth’s animals and plants on its Red List.
PARK CLOSES IN BALI
Wake Bali Dolphin’s
tanks are empty as facility has been closed down.
First opened in
August 2014, the park featured a 10 x 20 meter chlorinated pool containing four
wild-caught bottlenose dolphins. While Wake Bali claimed the mammals were
“previously stranded and rescued by fishermen”* in reality, they were
illegally-caught from the wild waters in the area of Java for the purposes of
interacting with paying tourists. Dolphin Project held a protest in front of
the facility on opening day, where our activists were attacked and injured.
Swedish zoo kills
500 rescued lizards with liquid nitrogen
More than 500
reptiles rescued by Swedish police from animal smugglers have come to a grisly
end, being killed instantly by being dropped into liquid nitrogen.
Police last month
made headlines across Sweden when they discovered 760 lizards, 67 turtles, 18
snakes, two crocodiles, one water monitor and eleven frogs in a disused shop in
the small town of Löberöd.
The animals were
placed at the Tropicarium Rescue Centre at Kolmården Zoo near Norrköping, which
spent 100,000 kronor on extra terrariums to house them, and had to pay staff
overtime to look after them.
lack of any information about the animals’ origins meant that they could only
be passed to institutions, and as only 50 of
insemination, an option for captive breeding of Asiatic cheetahs
A French team of
vets will soon travel to Iran to help Iranian experts implement artificial
insemination in a hope to rebuild stagnant cheetah populations, YJC qouted
Me’marian as saying.
The two Asiatic
cheetahs, well known as Delbar and Kushki, are physically ready to undergo the
procedure of assisted reproduced, he highlighted, and however, he didn’t
provide any further details on the exact time of the project.
Iranian team were only exploring other options for breeding the cheetahs in
captivity wishing for the animals to conceive naturally, but now after some
years they are thinking of actually implementing artificial insemination
In 2007, a hunter
named Kushki bought a male cheetah cub from hunters who intended to kill him
and gave the cub to the Department of Environment (DOE). The cub was named
after his savior. The male cub was moved to Pardisan Zoo when he was seven
months old. Four years later, a female cheetah cub found by a shepherd in
Shahroud, Semnan Province, was saved by DOE and named Delbar. She was held in
captivity until the autumn of 2014 when she too was moved to Pardisan Zoo to
meet her potential mate.
The Asiatic cheetah,
also known as Iranian cheetah, is a critically endangered cheetah subspecies
surviving today only in Iran numbering at about 50.
cheetahs are inhabiting in protect
New specimen of one
of world's rarest turtle species found in Vietnam
Turtle experts said
they have identified a fourth specimen of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle
(Rafetus swinhoei), one of the world's largest known freshwater turtle species,
also one of the world's rarest, in Vietnam's Hanoi capital, local media reported.
The Hanoi-based Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (ATP/IMC), a
Britain-based conservation charity, said they have identified the fourth
specimen of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle in Xuan Khanh Lake in Hanoi's
outskirts, daily newspaper Vietnam News reported. ATP/IMC researchers and an
ecologist at Washington State University matched environmental DNA collected
from water samples from the lake to known samples from the species, and then
confirmed the presence of at least one giant turtle living in the lake. The
finding helps to raise the number of these turtles living around the world to
four and opens up the opportunity for breeding one of the world's rarest
animals. This finding brings new hope, with the possibility of bringing wild
animals together in a controlled environment for captive breeding, daily
newspaper Nhan Dan (People) reported. However, the conservation and future of
this, the world's rarest turtle species, is far from guaranteed, a great deal
of effort is now ne
Are Illegally Selling Animal Parts on Facebook, Advocates Say
Facebook is displaying advertisements for
well-known American corporations on group pages operated by overseas wildlife
traffickers illegally selling the body parts of threatened animals, including
elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger teeth.
In a secret
complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, wildlife
preservation advocates allege that Facebook’s failure to stop illicit traders
using its service for illegal activity violates the social network’s
responsibilities as a publicly traded company.
respond to requests for comment. Its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was expected to
testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday about other issues.
The complaint, a
copy of which was provided to The Associated Press, was initially filed in
August on behalf of an undercover informant represented by the National
Whistleblower Center, a non-profit legal advocacy gro
Fit for porpoise:
Gene changes made 'river pig' unique
endangered Yangtze River porpoise is a distinct species, meaning it cannot
interbreed with other porpoise types to pass on its DNA, a major analysis of
the creature's genome revealed on Tuesday.
dolphin-like creature, which sports a permanent, almost human grin on its
snub-nosed face, is the world's only freshwater porpoise.
But there are only
about 1,000 individuals left in the wild—a number shrinking by 14 percent per
year—and conservationists warn the critter is poised to follow the long-snouted
Yangtze River dolphin, or baiji, into extinction.
For the latest
study, intended to spur conservation efforts, an international research team
analysed the genome of the Yangtze River porpoise and compared it to 48 other
finless porpoises from different regions.
revealed that the animal known as "river pig" in China was a
"distinct" species and "genetically isolated from other porpoise
populations", the experts wrote in the journal Nature Communications.
porpoises were classified as a single species with three sub-species, of which
the freshwater Yantze River group was one.
From a South Norfolk
Farm to one of the UK’s most well known zoos and one of the region’s top
visitor attractions in East Anglia.
When Harold Goymour
retired in 1952 after selling a thriving bakery business and bought a farm in
Banham as a country retreat, with a view of enjoying country life with his wife
Ethel, who would have thought that what started as a mixed livestock, arable
and fruit farm would evolve into one of the UK’s most well-known zoos and major
tourist attractions in East Anglia.
The farm sold
produce, such as apples and strawberries, directly to the public and was also
home to a small collection of ornamental pheasants which attracted a good
number of customers to the area, despite the fact that Banham was not one of
the easiest places to find, and to this day can prove elusive to the first-time
At this time it was
easy to go into a local pet shop and buy anything from a crocodile to a
chimpanzee, a bear cub to a lion cub! There were no import restrictions, no
conservation and no rabies quarantine regulations, animals were being brought
into the country by enthusiastic people wanting exotic pets.
However, as some of
these exotic pets grew larger and their natural instincts started to emerge,
they became dangerous to the household. The farm began to receive offers of
exotic animals; people were begging the farm to take on their increasingly
unmanageable pets. The first to arrive were two Canadian timber wolves, three
Australian dingoes and a Himalayan bear.
Banham Zoo evolved,
and in February 1968 the first visitor admission rate was charged; two
shillings and sixpence for adults and one shilli
'UK's last lion
tamer' Thomas Chipperfield refused licence
The UK's last lion
tamer has been refused a licence to use three big cats in a travelling circus.
Chipperfield's appeal against the decision, made by the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in July, was also dismissed in court.
A Defra spokesman
said it remained "absolute" in its commitment to ban wild animals in
Mr Chipperfield, of
Winchester, Hampshire, said no welfare concerns were raised and he plans a new
27-year-old polar bear Inuka found to be in declining health after April 3
Inuka, the first
polar bear to be born in the tropics, is in declining health, Wildlife Reserves
Singapore (WRS) revealed on Thursday (April 12).
resident of the Singapore Zoo, which is run by WRS, went through a health
examination on April 3 and results showed that it has a stiffer gait that is
particularly noticeable in its hind limbs.
shuffling gait has resulted in abrasions on its paw pads, while age-related
muscle atrophy is clearly evident, WRS, said in a statem
The Center for
Species Survival: A Conversation with David Wildt, Head of the Center for
Species Survival at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia was founded by Ted
Reed, the late longtime director of the National Zoo, in 1975. Its purpose was
to be a place where the zoo’s scientists could work with animals living in more
naturalistic spaces without concessions to guests. It is home to the Center for
Species Survival, whose goal is to research, propagate and manage endangered
animals. “The idea [of the Center for Species Survival] is to secure
populations of endangered species through scientific investigations,”
articulated David Wildt, leader of the center. Here is his story.
Video of Bolingo the
gorilla doing handstands in a zoo branded 'irresponsible'
experts have condemned an entertainment park for teaching a gorilla to do
Video of Bolingo
copying his keeper as she stands on her hands at a US attraction has been
shared hundreds of times on social media.
animal, kept behind glass, experiments and learns to put his feet to the spot
where her feet are up.
Chris Draper, head
of animal welfare and captivity at the Born Free Foundation in Britain, said
the video highlighted the shortcomings of keeping wild animals behind bars.
Charity Freedom for
Animals (formerly the Captive Animals Protection Society) condemned the
“Releasing a video
like this to the public is damaging and completely irresponsible,” said
spokeswoman Nicola O’Brien. “This just teaches people that animals can be
trained to perform tricks and are here for our entertainment.
Only four species of
mammals that fall under the Hyaenidae family, Hyaena brunnea, Crocuta crocuta,
Hyaena hyaena, and Proteles cristata, exist today. Of the four, striped and
brown hyenas, Hyaena hyaena and Hyaena brunnea respectively, are listed as near
threatened in the ICUN red list (Wiesel 2015). These carnivores are very
misunderstood due to lack of research and education about them. Many
misconceptions regarding the Hyaenidae family are mysteries worth revealing.
These dog-like animals have an interesting history and a purpose in our world
million years ago, during the Miocene epoch, the evolutionary story of the
hyenas began to tell its tale. Hyenas, though similar in characteristics to
dogs, share their ancestry with felines. Hyenas fall in to the suborder
Feliformia, and their common ancestor dates back to about twenty-five
zoos to attain world-class status
The Department of
Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) is urging zoos in the country to
change the concept or exhibit designs in efforts to attain world-class status.
director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said that the time has come for
the country’s zoos not to be solely tourist destinations and profit-oriented.
He cited a number of
well-known world-class zoos such as in Thailand (Zoo Khao Kheow) and in
Singapore which were a hit among visitors.
“We hope the concept
of the zoo is changed because besides improving the economy it will provide job
opportunities to the people.
“The zoo also
functions as a centre of conservation, research, education and wildlife
handling,” he told reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU)
between Perhilitan and Bukit Merah Resort Sdn Bhd in Ecopark Bukit Merah
Renew the Zoo: A
Conversation with Chris Pfefferkorn, Senior Vice President of the Birmingham
After spending 18 years in leadership roles at
the Oregon Zoo, Chris Pfefferkorn became Senior Vice President of the
Birmingham Zoo in 2015. He was impressed by the zoo's willingness to take on a
number of unique projects- such as establishing the first bachelor herd of
African elephants in the nation, breeding a number of rare birds and being one
of a handful of zoos to take part in the eastern indigo snake recovery program.
Pfefferkorn is currently helping lead the zoo through the Renew the Zoo capital
campaign, which will give the zoo a new entry plaza and Asian Passage, a modern
Asian exhibit featuring species like tigers and orangutans. Here is his story.
The King of the
jungle has been losing its habitat over the past decades and you are more
likely to see lions, especially cubs, in cages or fenced enclosures than ever
before. But what is the fate of the thousands of lions being bred in captivity
around South Africa?
Lessons From Lemurs:
To Make Friends, Show Off Your Smarts
Do smart kids make
more friends? If others see their cleverness paying off, then yes — at least,
that seems to be true for our primate cousins, ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur
catta), report a team of Princeton University researchers.
“We were able to
show clever lemurs — some of our earliest primate relatives — increasing their
social centrality as the result of their problem-solving,” said Daniel
Rubenstein, Princeton’s Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology and a professor of
ecology and evolutionary biology and the senior author on the April 5 paper in
the journal Current Biology.
“Our findings are
highly significant because no other study has previously shown that the
relationship between learning and social network position are feedback-based,
such that learning influences network connections and position in addition to
being influenced by it,” said Ipek Kulahci, the first author on the pape
Assam: State zoo ill
maintained, alleges CSM
In a press meet held in Guwahati on Sunday,
Chiriakhana Suraksha Mancha (CSM) general secretary Rajkumar Baishya has
alleged that the authorities of Assam State Zoo & Botanical Garden are
neglecting the upkeep of the zoo while duping the general people that with
every passing year it has been making improvement in the zoo infrastructure and
On the other hand,
the CSM has pointed out that the number of deer in the zoo is rapidly
declining. Stating that earlier the number was 1200 and now the number it has
declined to 400, the Mancha expressed its suspicion that zoo officials and
staff could be consuming deer meat.
Further, the CSM
alleged that the cages and dens are very ill maintained, throwing to the wind
important aspects like hygiene and proper health of the animals.
The Mancha has
further alleged that invaluable items like ivory was earlier lost from the zoo
earlier. While a probe committee was formed, its report has not been made
public. The Mancha alleged that same is the case with other probe reports
pertaining to the zoo.
WildGenes - The Science of Conservation
are the real threats
I am glad we finally
have an acting secretary for fish, wildlife and parks who understands the
threat posed by so-called endangered species. Susan Combs, formerly comptroller
of Texas, described additions to the endangered species list as “incoming Scud missiles”
and has long waged an active campaign against the insidious golden-cheeked
warbler. I could not be more delighted that she is Ryan Zinke’s selection.
She sees what far
too many environmental advocates do not: that these are all creatures who would
devour us if they had their way. Why should we do them the courtesy of
preserving their habitats, even going so far as to reteach the panda how to
reproduce? Pandas would not do so for us. Combs’s personal white whale (not the
blue whale, although that is also an endangered specie), the aforementioned
warbler, cannot physically harm us, as it is too small and too busy piping a
King cobras in
Thailand: why some villagers worship the snake and others drink its blood
A king cobra lay
under grandpa’s bed, peeking from behind the elderly man’s leather sandals. The
large snake was discovered by Jak, a 10-year-old boy who raced into the room
after a wayward chicken ventured in from the courtyard.
The fraught politics
of the polar bear: how an Arctic icon has been exploited
he first polar bear
cub to be born in the UK for 25 years recently emerged from its mother’s den at
the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. It has already been spotted slipping
about in its ice-covered enclosure and a list of potential names will be released
by next month.
Yet it’s the story
of a different cub that best reveals the species’ plight. In 2013, an orphaned
polar bear arrived at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada, from the Arctic
town of Churchill on the edge of Hudson Bay. When sea ice is in short supply,
bears have been forced to scavenge for food in towns. This was most likely what
the cub was doing the day
Hearts melt seeing
the wildlife in the Dzanga Sangha rain forest. But is it wrong to focus on
animal welfare when humans are suffering?
The cutest primates
on earth may be Inguka and Inganda, gorilla toddler twins who playfully tumble
over each other here in the vast Dzanga Sangha rain forest, one of the best
places to see gorillas, antelopes and elephants play.
The only risk: They
are so heedless and unafraid of people that they may tumble almost into your
lap — and then their 375-pound silverback dad may get upset. His name is
Makumba and he expresses displeasure with a full-speed charge, hurtling toward
you until he’s only inches away.
Procedures; Urine Sampling
All of us who have
animals in their life are connected to veterinarian technicians. Animals do get
medical challenges running through their lives. As animal caretakers we have to
try and be pro-active to these situations and scenarios. To be able to check
our animals in a voluntary manner we need some basic behaviours to be trained.
The animals have to have a good relationship with the trainer and understand
control, targets, call overs, follow, tactile etc. for further sampling but
this doesn’t have to be the case.
Marine mammals for
example, we need those basic behaviours because they are more of their time in
the water. When we have those steps ready we can go on with body checks. Those
further checks are important to go into training for fluid samples. With marine
mammals we do daily body checks where we ask the animals in all type of body
positions to be able to have a proper look. When these behaviours such as line
ups, mouth open etc have a well-established positive history we can move on to
the next step
Taking on the Zoo on
the Bay: A Conversation with David Anderson, Retired Director of the San
career in zoos paralleled their growing involvement in saving species, first
with the development of Species Survival Plans to build sustainable populations
of endangered species in human care and later with growing contributions to
field projects. After serving as General Curator at the Audubon Zoo in New
Orleans, Anderson spent fourteen years at the helm of the San Francisco Zoo.
Among his accomplishments there were privatizing the zoo, getting a $40 million
bond for capital improvements and significantly growing the zoo's conservation
footprint. This is his story.
realistic prospect of ‘extinct animal’ zoos
marvelling at snow leopards in a conservation park. A foodie who wants to taste
pangolins without breaking the law. A game hunter tracking a black rhino which
will be replenished after the kill.
To some people,
these scenarios seem like dystopian nightmares. To others, they’re exciting
prospects. And as the science advances, they may be more feasible than they
might first appear. Some researchers are even exploring how animal cloning
could change the tourism industry by 2070.
Puffin beaks are
fluorescent and we had no idea
A scientist in
England has made an enlightening discovery about Atlantic puffins — under a UV
light, their bills glow like a freshly cracked glow stick.
"It was sort of
discovered by accident," said Jamie Dunning, the ornithologist who first
saw the beaks light up.
works with twites, another type of bird, but he had been wondering if puffins
had Day-Glo beaks for a while, since crested auklets — seabirds in the same
family — also have light-up bills.
authorities at loss at how to deal with illegal tiger farm
Last year, Hanoi
police arrested Nguyen Mau Chien and accomplices who are members of a
trans-boundary wildlife trafficking ring with 36 kilos of rhino horn, two
frozen tiger cubs, and other wildlife products.
The authorities also
found out about Chien's unlicensed tiger farm. Chien set up a farm with 12
tigers in 2006 but one had died and no new tiger has been added to the farm
In 2007, Thanh Hoa
Province People's Committee fined Chien for his illegal tiger farm but allowed
him to continue running it. Five years later, the provincial forest ranger unit
issued the licence for Chien's farm to breed and preserve the tigers. The license
expired last year and this remains the only tiger farm in Thanh Hoa.
On March 20 this
year, Chien was given 13 months of imprisonment and his wife was imposed a
suspended sentence of six months. He also admitted that two frozen tiger cubs
were taken from the farm.
The Education for
Nature-Vietnam asked the provincial authorities to seize the tigers as the farm
was illegally set up in the first place and it didn't do anything to help
Thieu Van Luc, vice
head of the provincial forest ranger unit, said they had contacted many
conservation centres but none wanted to take the tigers because they can't give
them suitable living conditions.
After a meeting with
the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam CITES Management
Authority, the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and the Education for
Nature-Vietnam, it is concluded that the authorities can't seize the tigers yet
as there is no official con
thieves bitten as animals at Wellington Zoo fought back
armed with bolt cutters would have suffered bite marks after a troupe of
squirrel monkeys at the Wellington Zoo fought back during an overnight
Wellington Zoo today
reported a monkey had been stolen - but later confirmed the animal had been
The female squirrel
monkey had been presumed stolen after zookeepers this morning discovered the
enclosure had been broken into and could not find the female monkey.
Karen Fifield, chief
executive of the Wellington Zoo Trust, told media staff were concerned by the
would-be thieves' sophistication.
Giraffe dies after
falling into trench at zoo
A male giraffe at
the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur died on Thursday night. “Rahman, a
20-year-old giraffe, fell into an eight-foot deep trench inside its enclosure
and suffered serious injuries. The zoo’s animal keepers used a crane to hoist the
animal out. It was then shifted to the zoo hospital, where the doctors declared
the animal dead at 11.50 p.m.,” zoo officials
The saola’s biggest
supporter explains why he looks for an animal no one can find
encountered his first saola in the late 1990s. The mammal, which is considered
one of "the most surprising zoological finds of the 20th century,"
lives deep in the Annamite Mountains and is the only genus of its kind. When
Robichaud learned that a saola was being held in captivity in Laos, he went to
observe her. He was taken aback by what he found: a calm, endearing creature
that did not fear humans. It was these characteristics that led him to stay
with her for 18 days — up until the day she died.
The Kulan is back in
the Central Steppes of Kazakhstan
For the first time
in more than a century kulan – or Asiatic wild ass – are now roaming the
central steppes of Kazakhstan. On 24th October 2017, a first group of nine
animals was released into an acclimatisation enclosure on the edge of the Altyn
Dala protected area in central Kazakhstan. The animals had been transported
1200 km by helicopter from Altyn Emel National Park in the southeast of the
country. They will be released in early spring.
When Whales and
Harry Brower Sr. was
lying in a hospital bed in Anchorage, Alaska, close to death, when he was
visited by a baby whale.
body remained in Anchorage, the young bowhead took him more than 1,000
kilometers north to Barrow (now Utqiaġvik), where Brower’s family lived. They
traveled together through the town and past the indistinct edge where the
tundra gives way to the Arctic Ocean. There, in the ice-blue underwater world,
Brower saw Iñupiat hunters in a sealskin boat closing in on the calf’s mother.
Brower felt the
shuddering harpoon enter the whale’s body. He looked at the faces of the men in
the umiak, including those of his own sons. When he awoke in his hospital bed
as if from a trance, he knew precisely which man had made the kill, how the
whale had died, and whose ice cellar the meat was stored in. He turned out to
be right on al
breakthrough offers hope for African wild dogs
Dr Damien Paris and
PhD student Dr Femke Van den Berghe from the Gamete and Embryology (GAME) Lab
at James Cook University, have successfully developed a sperm freezing
technique for the species (Lycaon pictus).
The highly efficient
pack hunters have disappeared from most of their original range across
sub-Saharan Africa due to habitat destruction, human persecution and canine
disease, leaving less than 6,600 animals remaining in the wild.
Dr Paris said
population management and captive breeding programs have begun, but there is a
"One goal of
the breeding programs is to ensure the exchange of genetic diversity between
packs, which is traditionally achieved by animal translocations. But, due to
their complex pack hierarchy, new animals introduced to an existing pack are
often attacked, sometimes to the point of being killed," he said.
Dr Paris said the
new sperm freezing technique could now
Walking with lions:
why there is no role for captive-origin lions Panthera leo in species
challenges and few successes in reintroducing large cats from captivity to the
wild, the release of captives has widespread support from the general public
and local governments, and continues to occur ad hoc. Commercial so-called lion
Panthera leo encounter operations in Africa exemplify the issue, in which the
captive breeding of the lion is linked to claims of reintroduction and broader
conservation outcomes. In this article we assess the capacity of such
programmes to contribute to in situ lion conservation. By highlighting the
availability of wild founders, the unsuitability of captive lions for release
and the evidence-based success of wild–wild lion translocations, we show that
captive-origin lions have no role in species restoration. We also argue that
approaches to reintroduction exemplified by the lion encounter industry do not
address the reasons for the decline of lions in situ, nor do they represent a
model that can be widely applied to restoration of threatened felids elsewhere.
I say, I say, I say:
What's the difference between a king penguin and liquid?
colonies move and organise themselves in a way that is "astoundingly"
similar to how liquids behave, according to research published today.
The penguin probe,
led by Richard Gerum of the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg in Germany, looked
at how king penguin colonies organise themselves at the start of breeding
When the time comes
to procreate, the normally laid-back birds turn into territorial, pecking
beasts who will – like the towel-brandishing holidayer – maintain their
position for weeks, even in the face of predators.
The research is the
first to investigate the structural order – the behaviour that allows for
communication and navigation, as well as protecting against predators – of king
The hunt for
London's thylacines shows a greater truth about Australian extinction
On a cold, dark
night in the winter of June 2017, hundreds of people gathered on the lawns of
Hobart's Parliament House to join a procession that carried an effigy of a
giant Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) to be ritually burnt at Macquarie Point.
In an act called
"the Purging", part of MONA's Dark Mofo festival, participants were
asked to write their "deepest darkest fears" on slips of paper and
place them inside the soon-to-be incinerated thylacine's body. This fiery
ritual, a powerful cultural moment, reflects the complex emotions that gather
around this extinct creature.
More than a
spectacle, the Dark Mofo event can be read as a strange memorialisation of loss
and a public act of Vandemonian absolution in respons
Let's bring animal
trainers and scientists together
In 1903 the brothers
Wright showed the world their first airplane, called the Flyer. It was airborne
for only 12 seconds!
In 1974 the F16
Fighting Falcon ruled the skies. In only 71 years airplanes developed from a
simple structures into deadly fighter machines.
Animal training has
been on going for at least 6000 years, and still we don't understand it
entirely. Animal motivation stems from more than stimulus control, reinforcers
and or punishers, and many other aspects are important such as choice, control,
social opportunities, play, trust, and security. The sciences of behavioural
learning principles, together with the latest research in the animal welfare
domain should lead us to not only science-based but also ethical based decisio
astronomy software to save species
using astronomical techniques used to study distant stars to survey endangered
The team of
scientists is developing a system to automatically identify animals using a
camera that has been mounted on a drone.
It is able to
identify them from the heat they give off, even when vegetation is in the way.
Details of the
system were presented at the annual meeting of the European Astronomical
Society in Liverpool, UK.
The idea was
developed by Serge Wich, a conservationist at Liverpool John Moores University,
and Dr Steve Longmore, an astrophysicist at the same university. He says that
the system has the potential to greatly improve the accuracy of monitoring
Phew, it wasn’t the
programme to save tuatara has been cleared of infecting wild animals with a
A disease from a
nasty fungal family that kills snakes and bearded dragons has been found in New
Zealand’s threatened tuatara, but tuatara seem unbothered.
It appears the
ancient reptiles might have harboured Paranannizziopsis australasiensis for
aeons without anyone realising.
feared the worst when lab tests revealed a previously-unknown fungus infesting
the sores of at least five tuatara and a bearded dragon at Auckland Zoo.
quarantines rabbits to protect them from deadly virus
A disease that’s
killed hundreds of feral rabbits in British Columbia has prompted a Metro
Vancouver zoo to take precautions to protect its bunnies and those of the
animal care manager of the Greater Vancouver Zoo, said four of the animals have
been placed under prolonged quarantine to guard against the spread of rabbit
The virus that
affects European rabbits has been detected in the Vancouver Island communities
of Nanaimo and Comox as well as in Delta, B.C.
It includes fever
and convulsions and kills a rabbit within 36 hours.
Prasad said the
rabbits were quarantined on March 14 and three of them were available for
viewing only during the Easter weeken
HOW ZOOS HELPING LFP
LOST US LUSH’S SUPPORT
This week we were
very sad to receive the news that our application to Lush to hold a Charity Pot
party at our local Lush Oxford store was denied because we accept funds from
zoos. We first learned about the Charity Pot fund from our lovely associates at
EAST, who are linked to a zoo (that is also a rescue centre), Monkey World. We
subsequently have attended many conferences run by zoo conservation groups that
have had Lush-funded attendees. It never occurred to us that Lush was anti-zoo,
and indeed, we have always been funded by zoos and during that time, have done
3 Charity Pot parties, ran an event in the opening week of Lush’s flagship shop
in Oxford street, our team members have worked for Lush and wrote articles
about Little Fireface Project for the internal staff newsletter, and our team
has passionately supported the
Secrets of Zoos
Zoos are a
constantly evolving workplace. Over the past 50 years, exhibits have gotten
increasingly naturalistic, diets for certain species have become more
standardized, and captive breeding programs have turned into nationwide
campaigns. Yet if one thing’s remained constant, it’s the fact that keeping the
animals in our zoos both happy and healthy requires a great deal of time,
coordination, expense, and old-fashioned willpower. It’s not an easy job, but
most zookeepers say they wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Zoo Uses Honey From
Bees to Treat Injured Sea Turtles
A zoo in Melbourne,
Florida, is using honey from bees to help other animals at the zoo. In a video
posted to their Facebook page, the Brevard Zoo explains how the honey is being
used to treat injured sea turtles.
According to the
video, five sea turtles are being treated with the bee honey to help naturally
heal open wounds on their shells.
Sweden becomes first
Nordic country to X-ray living giraffe
keepers at Kolmården wildlife park have X-rayed one of the zoo’s giraffes,
becoming the first in Scandinavia to conduct the challenging examination.
The examination was
made possible by modifying the giraffe’s stables and installing new X-ray
equipment, reports SVT Öst.
The giraffe, Garp,
was trained for several months before undergoing the test, which consisted of
an X-ray of its jaw.
Living wild animals
such as giraffes are not usually capable of being still to the extent required
for accurate X-ray images to be taken.
But there are
several medical benefits to the test, as well as a reduction of risk associated
with tranquilising a large beast such as a giraffe.
treatments that can be performed on conscious animals that cooperate with
zookeepers reduce the risk of stress and injuries that can occur in association
with tranquilising,” Kolmården vet Bim Boijsen s
‘They’ll rip your
face off’: How humans inherited warlike aggression from chimpanzees
inherited warlike nature and aggressive characteristics from chimpanzees, one
of our closest living relatives.
Goodall hit home the point in the recently-released documentary Jane, about her
life studying chimpanzees, starting in Eastern Africa more than four decades
Back then, Goodall
thought chimpanzees were friendly apes, and neither frightening nor as
dangerous as Africa’s big cats, lions, leopards and cheetahs.
But as her research
would reveal, chimpanzees were dangerous and the DNA they share with humans
gave humans our dark side, The Mirror reported.
“I didn’t know
chimpanzees can rip your face off,” Goodall said. “I had no idea of their
brutality. There was no one talking about that.
“There were no
people out in the field whose research I could read about, except one man who
painted himself with baboon poo and sat in hides, hoping chimpanzees would
“Sometimes I was
frightened of things
New Meetings and Conferences updated Here
If you have anything to add then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 50 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 | email@example.com | Skype: peter.dickinson48
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Skype: peter.dickinson48