Sunday, April 22, 2018

Zoo News Digest 22nd April 2018 (ZooNews 990)

Zoo News Digest 22nd April 2018  (ZooNews 990)

Image result for earth day 2018 + penguins

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

Happy Earth Day to all. I only hope the Earth becomes happier this year. Right now it’s a bloody mess.

I reckon the biggest news of the past few days is the movement of the Spix’s macaws from Al Wabra. Read all about this below. A well thought out and very important move. I am however a little concerned about the other animals in the collection.

I note David Gill is in the news again. He can't stay away. Judging by the comments on the articles I have seen he won't be forgiven.

Every month I get two or three dealer lists by email. I have never subscribed so I am none too sure where they got my email. The lists are of academic interest and so I skim through and delete them. I never pass them on so please don't ask. This week I came across the three items grouped together below. They, I thought demonstrated so much of what is wrong of much of the zoo world today.

Siberian Tigers 3,200 Euros

White Tigers 7,500 Euros

Tabby Tigers 22,000 Euros

Siberian Tigers were the cheapest and they the only true tiger subspecies of the three. The only ones of actual real value to conservation? Probably not because they appear on a dealer list and so it is extremely unlikely they are in any managed breeding programme.

In terms of conservation the white tigers are of no value at all. As a zoo animal they are highly interbred and even deliberately crossed with other tiger sub species. There is no official breeding programme for them and they take up valuable space that could be utilised for true species which need help. There are far too many White Tigers in zoos around the world and most holders are producing more White Tigers and invariably in press releases announce them as "Rare Endangered Species" whereas in truth (beautiful or not) are trash which harms conservation in many ways.

Tabby Tigers! Well what can I say? The biggest freaks cost the most money. What are the zoos which exhibit these going to say? Good zoos do not exhibit freaks and especially those deliberately genetically engineered by man. Freak - definition - a person, animal, or plant with an unusual physical abnormality.

For Your Interest
The Tiger Subspecies Revised, 2017
So, how many different tiger subspecies are there, 8? 7? 6? Err...... 2?

My health? Slowly getting there. More hospital visits to come but I am well on the road to recovery.

Did you know that advertising your vacancy or product on ZooNews Digest can potentially reach 77,000 + people?

Lots of interest follows. 


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 77,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 77,000 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,


Today we remember the passing of the late Sheikh Saoud bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani who left us prematurely in November 2014, as we make this announcement.

Al Wabra has been actively working with other organizations in conservation projects since its inception some 20 years ago. But our flagship species and project has to be the Spix’s macaw. Much controversy arose with the arrival of 2 large collections on the Qatari shores (starting in 2002), but Al Wabra and Sheikh Saoud proved all their critics wrong by placing these Spix’s in state of the art facilities, with specialists from around the world. His dedication to the project and saving the species brought new life to the waning program of old. The amazing research opportunities that have been afforded to this species is remarkable and unheard of in other species conservation projects. All thanks to the private generosity of Sheikh Saoud and his family. Over the last few years the Spix’s program has moved in leaps and bounds bringing us to the brink of making history and seeing these birds back in the wild again. With our Spix’s macaw program partners including the likes of the Brazil government (and their partners in Brazil), Parrots International, Wildlife parks Singapore, Parrots Reproduction Consulting, and Cornell Universities Genomics Core Lab in Qatar, we have come so far.

One partner that has stepped up time and time again to help us reach our goals, is the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP). We have an excellent working relationship with this organization, and again they have come to the party to help us secure this species for the final stages to the release. After the death of Sheikh Saoud there were many concerns, and we are happy to say that his Heirs with Sheikh Hamad and Sheikha Sara and the helm, to their credit kept Sheikh Saoud’s dream alive. Now they will push on with decisions in the program and their land in Brazil for the next stage of this project.

Al Wabra’s owners have grave concerns with the current and prolonged blockade on Qatar by its unscrupulous neighbors, with threats that bring this region into serious political turmoil. Although the Leader of Qatar has done a fantastic job to shield his country from these threats, our owners are no longer willing to keep such an important collection of animals here, due to the time issues to get them out if it escalates. In short Al Wabra is sending all it’s important species out of Qatar, the Spix’s and Lear’s macaws have arrived at ACTP in Germany, where they are being housed in state of the art facilities, while the new facilities are built on our land in Brazil. As soon as the facilities are finished (expected before the end of 2018), plans will be put in place to very quickly move a large number of the birds to the Brazil facility. Sheikh Hamad and Sheikha Sara, are convinced that this is the right thing to do, and feel by securing these birds they are able to secure their fathers dream and legacy. All the equipment related to the birds will follow them so as not to waste it, and also decrease additional costs in buying new equipment, costs that could be spent on other necessary and useful aspects of the project. Al Wabra will be retaining ownership of the birds and thus still playing an active decision making role in the project to safeguard their Sheikh Saoud’s legacy. Dr Cromwell Purchase and his Blue Macaw Assistant Donovan De Boer will be following the birds and joining the ACTP team in Germany.

We would like to thank ACTP for their help in making this happen, as the costs of expanding their facilities with specially setup quarantine areas and new veterinary hospital to ensure the sectional quarantining of their facilities to best protect from any outbreaks, and section specific staff is huge and their investment in this, has shown us how dedicated they are to conservation. The German, Brazil and Qatar governments and CITES departments have worked together very well to make this happen, and we thank them all for their support and efforts. It was a mammoth tasking putting all the transfers together for 120 Spix’s macaws, but we are happy to say it was a successful move with no injuries or losses. We would like to thank all our supporters for their years of support, and we look forward to sharing more successes with you.

EXCLUSIVE: Zoo boss David Gill breaks his silence about new company and the future of the park
HE is nothing if not controversial and throughout his life David Gill has continued to hit the headlines. Now, for the first time since a series of scandals hit the zoo he built up from scratch, the 56-year-old has given a 'no holds barred' interview to reporter AMY FENTON.

WHETHER you love him or hate him few people in Furness will fail to have an opinion about self-confessed controversy courter David Gill.

In today's, Saturday's and Monday's Mail we are running a series of articles in which the man who was once dubbed Dalton's Dr Dolittle looks back candidly at his life and opens up about what really happened during some of his more infamous moments.

Today's feature sets the scene with Gill looking back at how his zoological empire came about; from the humble beginnings of his animal rescue centre in the back garden of his Romney Avenue home to becoming a hugely-popular attraction welcoming 100,000 visitors by only its second year.

David Gill on safety concerns at the zoo and his life-long dispute with the council
Second in a three-part series sees zoo founder defend his rebellious attitude
IF there was one iconic song you could choose to reflect David Gill's colourful zoological career then Frank Sinatra's My Way wouldn't be a bad choice.

Some might say he pushed boundaries and brought something new to the traditional zoo experience while others might say his radical and sometimes rebellious way of working was a step too far.

One of the issues highlighted by inspectors amid a raft of concerns about South Lakes Safari Zoo related to the free-roaming animals allowed to wander around areas of the park.

While this was a feature much-loved by many visitors, particularly youngsters, inspectors appointed by licensing authority Barrow Borough Council weren't impressed.

A number of incidents involving members of the public being nipped by naughty lemurs led to the zoo's lemur and squirrel monkey population being cut and public access restricted.

David Gill speaks out about animal deaths at Dalton zoo
FOR years before he left, and well before a series of shocking animal welfare scandals hit South Lakes Safari Zoo, David Gill knew his time at the helm was up. He spoke to AMY FENTON about his departure and the much-reported autopsy report detailing the deaths of hundreds of animals.

IN February 2017 a report was published charting the official cause of death for hundreds of animals at South Lakes Safari Zoo during the previous four years. Some died of hypothermia, emaciation and infighting due to overstocked enclosures.

Mr Gill accepts it was his head on the line and that the blame had to ultimately lie with him.

"I absolutely know that responsibility has to lie with me," he says.

 African leaders gather in London for illegal wildlife talks
African leaders gather in London to discuss ambitious proposals to protect endangered species across Africa.
The Duke of Cambridge, the Foreign Secretary and leaders of African Commonwealth countries met on Friday 20 April for high level talks on tackling the illegal wildlife trade in advance of the next international conference in London later this year.

Ambitious proposals to tackle the crime were discussed and debated, including opportunities to boost cross-border law enforcement so that more elephants and other animals can move more freely and safely in Africa.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

“Many African countries are already working together and taking robust action to protect and preserve their precious wildlife but this is a serious problem driven by international criminal syndicates.

“It is only through ambitious African-led initiatives that we will stop this deplorable crime for good, and we are ready to help. Here in the UK we are taking forward our own plans for a ban on domestic ivory sales, and in October I will co-host an international

Danish zoo director advises against wolf 'panic measures'
Suggestions by politicians that Denmark’s wild wolf population could be fenced inside special reserves is a “panic measure” with no basis in common sense, according to Copenhagen Zoo’s scientific director.
Bengt Holst, who is also chair of the Danish Animal Ethics Council (Det Dyreetiske Råd), said that wolves were the target of a ‘smear campaign’.

“There has unfortunately been a smear campaign against wolves, which is not a very constructive way in which to deal with the wolves,” Holst said.

“I think we’re going to end up acting out of panic and I think this proposal [to create fenced reserves, ed.] is a sign of that. Politicians should have a bit more ice in their veins and rather make use of a major information campaign,” he continued.

Politicians from the three largest parties in the Danish parliament – the Social Democrats, Danish People’s Party and Liberal – all said on Friday they approved of reserves in which Danish wolves would be contained.

The idea has emerged in the wake of intense debate over control of the animals following the arrest and subsequent charging of a m

Process to restore sturgeon in Lake Erie started
Officials at an Ohio zoo have begun the process of restoring a fish species in Lake Erie that’s nearly extinct.

The Blade reports the Toledo Zoo will raise about 1,500 young lake sturgeon this summer. The zoo recently received tanks to for the fish.

Zoo conservation director Kent Bekker says eggs to raise the hatchlings will arrive in June and fish will be released into the Maumee River in August or September. The Maum

Bees aren’t the only pollinators with problems
Think of a pollinator and you’ll almost certainly think of a bee. Maybe a butterfly, but probably not: bees are bona-fide pollination celebrities, their importance recognized and predicaments lamented. It’s quite unlikely that you’ll think of a bird, much less a bat or a lizard — yet they too transport pollen and help landscapes bloom, and are experiencing declines both troubling and overlooked.

“While much scholarly and media attention has been focused on insect pollinators,” write researchers led by ecologist Fabrizia Ratto

Who Cares If They're Cute? This Zoologist Accepts Animals On Their Own Terms
Zoologist Lucy Cooke says humans have got it all wrong about sloths. "People think that because the animal is slow that it's somehow useless and redundant," she says. But in fact, "they are incredibly successful creatures."

Cooke is the founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society and the author of a new book called The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife. The book aims to set the record straight on some long-held misconceptions about the animal world.

"The sloth is not the only animal that's being misunderstood in this way," she says. "I thought it was time that we rebranded the animal kingdom according to fact and not sentimentality – because we have a habit of viewing the animal kingdom through the prism of our own rather narrow existence and judging animals on our terms."

The book discusses creatures big and small, furry and slippery: eels, bats, hippos, frogs, storks, and more. "I wanted to showcase a range of stories," Cooke says. "I wanted to show misunderstandings that date all the way from Aristotle to Disney."

She sat down to talk with us about h

Chinese government fly ‘high quality panda semen’ 5000 miles to Scotland in cub bid
Semen from male panda Yang Guang has been replaced after “high quality panda semen” was flown 5,000 to the Scots zoo.

 Plans to use the deposit this summer were scrapped after animal rights protesters put pressure on bosses.

The unused semen is being stored at the zoo after it was announced last month the breeding programme had been cancelled.

Zoo chiefs released a statement stating they would use the year to assess the breeding process and the panda enclosure.

Chair of trustees of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland said: “The female panda will shortly come into season.

Coming to the Rescue of the Endangered Philippine Eagle
“At least one Philippine eagle is killed every year because of shooting,” laments Jayson Ibañez, research and conservation director of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), a non-government organization based in Davao City in southern Phillippine. Ibañez says that deforestation due to timber poaching and slash-and-burn farming also significantly endanger this rarest of eagles.

Only an estimated 400 pairs of Philippine eagles remain in the wild, landing the raptor on the “critically endangered” list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Preventing the Philippine eagle population from dwindling further remains a tough battle, with pessimists decades ago disparaging its conservation as a “lost cause.”

This formidable challenge gave birth to the Philippine Eagle Center, a volunteer and donor-dependent organization formed by the foundation 30 years ago. The center is dedicated solely to the conservation of the majestic bird with a seven-foot wingspan — and the only blue-eyed raptor on Earth.

The eight-hectare center, on the outskirts of Davao City, made history in 1992 when it successfully hatched Pag-asa, the first captive-bred Philippine eagle.

True to her name, Pag-asa — which means “hope” in Filipino — gave the center's personnel the courage and inspiration to continue pur

Crocodiles Alter Skin Color in Response to Environmental Color Conditions
Many species alter skin color to varying degrees and by different mechanisms. Here, we show that some crocodylians modify skin coloration in response to changing light and environmental conditions. Within the Family, Crocodylidae, all members of the genus Crocodylus lightened substantially when transitioned from dark enclosure to white enclosures, whereas Mecistops and Osteolaemus showed little/no change. The two members of the Family Gavialidae showed an opposite response, lightening under darker conditions, while all member of the Family Alligatoridae showed no changes. Observed color changes were rapid and reversible, occurring wi

Emperor penguin behaviour is not black and white, say New Zealand scientists
Little is known about adult birds’ behaviour when they leave breeding colonies, but new research has shed some light on their foraging habits
Found only in Antarctica, they’re also the tallest and heaviest penguin species on Earth, growing up to 122cm high, and weighing between 22 and 45kg.

Five years ago, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Dr Kim Goetz’s research tagged of them and remotely observed them travelling between 273 kilometres and nearly 9000 kilometres, while completing dives that ranged up to a record-breaking 32.2 minutes.

But it was finding the penguins in the first place that was most intriguing.

“Our original goal was to tag breeding penguins at Cape Colbeck after their annual moult at the end of January. But because the voyage was delayed we didn’t get there until early March,” Goetz said.

“We didn’t expect penguins to still be there and thought we would have to locate them on the pack ice which was going to be more difficult.”

To their surprise, some adult emperor penguins had stayed at Cape Colbeck, and were quickly tagged.

When they did eventually l

Zoo, aquarium research shows high output
Zoos and aquariums have contributed at least 5,175 peer-reviewed articles to conservation, zoology and veterinary journals over past 20 years.
Most people think of zoos and aquariums as tourist destinations: educational but fun diversions for animal lovers. However, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, modern zoos and aquariums are increasingly contributing to the knowledge base on biodiversity conservation and other scientific topics.

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 veterina

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Statement on Michigan’s Large Carnivore Act
On Tuesday, April 10, Michigan House Bill 5778 was introduced to make changes to Michigan’s Large Carnivore Act. Due to a drafting error in the original law, since its enactment in 2000, it has been a violation of the law to breed large carnivores in the state of Michigan. In response to H.B. 5778, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) issued the following statement:

AZA applauds the time and thought that has gone into drafting changes to Michigan’s Large Carnivore Act. It has taken far too long to get a simple error corrected, so that AZA-accredited zoos can do what they are recognized globally for doing: scientifically and ethically managing their animals while leading efforts to save animals from extinction.

We urge the Michigan legislature to enact the simplest fix that will correct the original drafting errors and allow AZA-accredited facilities to legally breed large carnivores in Michigan. AZA's accreditation standards are nationally and internationally recognized as the zoological profession’s “Gold Standard," and assure the health, safety and welfare of

Mammals on the EDGE: Conservation Priorities Based on Threat and Phylogeny
Conservation priority setting based on phylogenetic diversity has frequently been proposed but rarely implemented. Here, we define a simple index that measures the contribution made by different species to phylogenetic diversity and show how the index might contribute towards species-based conservation priorities. We describe procedures to control for missing species, incomplete phylogenetic resolution and uncertainty in node ages that make it possible to apply the method in poorly known clades. We also show that the index is independent of clade size in phylogenies of more than 100 species, indicating that scores from unrelated taxonomic groups are likely to be comparable. Similar scores are returned under two different species concepts, suggesting that the index is robust to taxonomic changes. The approach is applied to a near-complete species-level phylogeny of the Mammalia to generate a global priority list incorporating both phylogenetic diversity and extinction risk. The 100 highest-ranking species represent a high proportion of total mammalian diversity and include many species not usually recognised as conservation priorities. Many species that are both evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE species) do not benefit from existing conservation projects or protected areas. The results suggest that global conservation priorities may have to be reassessed in order to prevent a disproportionately large amount of mammalian evolutionary history becoming extinct in the near future.

The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation (Convening Science: Discovery at the Marine Biological Laboratory)

Zookeeper Achievement Trophies That Should Exist In Real Life
Here at Zookeeper Gear we know our profession can often be a thankless one. Sure, you may get the occasional (sincere) “nice job” from your supervisor or sometimes even an appreciative zoo visitor that is wowed by your Keeper Chat. But unfortunately, some of the most important aspects of what we do go unnoticed more often than not.

But today we say “No More!” to this injustice. It’s time someone finally acknowledged that which we zookeepers do best.

Anyone who’s ever played any sort of video game, whether it be Playstation 4 or Candy Crush on iPhone, knows just how damn satisfying it is when you get that little surprise “ba-ling” sound with the on-screen pop-up each time you earn a special achievement trophy. Therefore we propose the concept of zookeeper achievement trophies, each issued for only the most defining skills in our collective repertoire.

Presenting, in no particular order:

Immersive Choreography: A Conversation with John Gwynne, Retired Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Exhibits, Graphics, and Arts Department (EGAD)
It could be argued there has never been a more talented and influential zoo designer than John Gwynne. During his tenure as Head of Design at the Exhibits, Graphics and Arts Department at the Wildlife Conservation Society, he designed many of the most immersive, detailed and compelling habitats ever built, particularly at the Bronx Zoo. Along with his team, including Walter Deichmann and his mentees Lee Ehmke and Sue Chin, and in close collaboration with Director Bill Conway and General Curator Jim Doherty, Gwynne propelled a movement for zoo design that told stories, recreated specific ecosystems and gave guests a strong conservation message. Here is his story.

AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Assist with Radiated Tortoise Rescue in Madagascar
Turtle Survival Alliance Launches Rescue Mission to Nearly 11,000 Critically Endangered Radiated Tortoises Discovered in Massive Poaching Bust

Animal Experts from AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Dispatched to Madagascar to Conduct the Rescue

On Tuesday, April 10, more than 10,000 critically endangered radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) were discovered by local police in a non-descript private residence in Toliara, Madagascar. The floors of virtually every room in the house were covered with tortoises that had no access to food or water. As of Friday, April 13, hundreds had died from dehydration and illness. Experts from several zoos and aquariums have been dispatched with medical supplies, and will administer medical care for the sick or injured tortoises and general animal care.

It is not known how long the tortoises have been in the home and some arrests have been made. The local police in partnership with

Swimming with SeaWorld’s Captive Dolphins
Some years ago, I took a boyfriend to SeaWorld in San Diego. He had few wants in life and swimming with dolphins was on his bucket list, so I booked us an extravagant SeaWorld experience and we drove down from Los Angeles.

Keep in mind, this was before the release of Blackfish. It was back when everyone felt the way about SeaWorld that they do about zoos; you hate that the animals are trapped in these small spaces but you justify pushing aside that sick feeling because it’s a “learning and conservation center” or because you just really want to see those spectacular creatures up close regardless of their cages.

I had swam with wild dolphins a number of times and spent most of my life in the ocean so I was excited to watch my boyfriend experience the magic these animals had consistently shared with me. He was nervous.

When we first entered the dolphin swim center, we went through a brief class. The instructor told us not to make any sudden movements, not to touch the dolphins until prompted, and not to keep our heads underwater. Then, we changed into some spiffy used

Best of Both Worlds: A Conversation with Joe Smith, Director of Animal Programs at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Since it opened in 1965, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has blossomed into one of the best medium-sized zoos in the nation. Few understand the zoo's power to connect its community with wildlife than Dr. Joe Smith, Director of Animal Programs. Smith was promoted to the position after serving as Veterinarian at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo for several years. Outside of his responsibilities at the zoo, Smith has a passion for orangutan conservation and serves as an Advisor on Veterinary Issues for the Orangutan Species Survival Plan. Here is his story.

Zoos of the US and Canada courtesy of Nayer Youakim. 

Follow link below for clickable map

14 griffons successful released in Sardinia to restock the threatened local population
More than 150 volunteers, vulture enthusiasts, members of the public, local officials, journalists and staff from project partners have gathered this weekend in the Parco Naturale di Porto di Conte to listen to a day of talks and presentations on the latest progress on the conservation of the griffon vulture in Sardinia, and to release 14 griffons vultures – 12 brought from rehabilitation centres in Spain by the VCF, and two captive bred in Artis Amsterdam Zoo – into the wild, to help restock the small Sardinian population.
Eight of these birds were equipped with GPS tags by VCF staff and colleagues from the university of Sassari, that will allow us to track the individuals, determine their foraging areas, check their survival and eventually identify mortality causes. All griffons were also colour ringed and some of their feathers decoloured to allow for identification in the field – a technique which is not harmful to the birds and far less intrusive that the wing tags sometimes used in this species.
Sardinia once had healthy populations of three vulture species – bearded, cinereous and griffon vultures, but

Etihad Cargo and conservation fund transport endangered birds
Etihad Cargo and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), one of the world’s leading conservation programmes, have recently transported a shipment of more than 100 vulnerable Houbara bustards for release into their natural habitats.
In the past three years, the partnership between the two organisations has led to the successful relocation and integration into the wild of more than 3,000 Houbara across the world, said a press release issued by Etihad and IFHC on Wednesday.
The venture, which is part of the Shaikh Khalifa Houbara Reintroduction Programme, began in 2014, when the two organisations signed a partnership agreement. In 2017 alone, more than 2,000 birds were transported safely to countries in Asia and North Africa, which have more hospitable environments, thereby increasing the birds’ long-term survival.
The Houbara birds are bred in centres in Abu Dhabi, managed by IFHC, and then released into their natural habitats in countries across the world.
Justin Carr, vice-president of Etihad

A new sea sanctuary for dolphins
Thrilled to see Virgin Holidays teaming up with the National Aquarium in Baltimore  to support North America’s first dolphin sea sanctuary. Once it is up and running in a few years’ time, this pioneering project will offer a natural and much larger home for the National Aquarium’s captive population of seven bottlenose dolphins – and hopefully set a wonderful example for both marine entertainment and tourism operators who have faced increasing pressure over the welfare of whales and dolphins, collectively known as cetaceans.

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Rodent Thermoregulation: Getting into the 'Comfort Zone'
Research studies have documented variable data outcomes based primarily upon the environmental temperatures at which rodents are maintained during study. Indeed, by increasing rodent housing temperatures from those typically used in conventional laboratory animal facilities, rodent models of obesity, atherosclerosis, tumor development, and microbiome manipulation show increased cohesion with comparable human disorders.

To better understand why human-similar physiological outcomes are blunted, if not lost, under standard rodent housing temperatures, researchers and laboratory animal personnel should be aware that rodent body temperature is a critical determinant of translational medicine.

Keepers at Dallas Zoo concentrate on feeding, nutrition
When it comes to feeding and caring for a newborn, if a new mother can't — or won't — do it on her own, keepers at the Dallas Zoo are more than ready to step in and lend a hand.

In fact, as soon as zoo staff confirm that an animal is pregnant, they start planning to do so. Of course, the animal experts prefer to leave it all up to the parents, but occasionally it's a necessity, they say.

The Dallas Morning News reports sometimes hand-rearing means preparing bottles and formula, and other times it means chopping up mice to feed to baby birds.

Zoo Animals: Husbandry, Welfare and Public Interactions
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Zoo Animals: Husbandry, Welfare and Public Interactions
Click to enlarge
Editors: Maja Berger and Sarah Corbett
Book Description: 
Zoo Animals: Breeding, Welfare and Public Interactions begins by suggesting that maintaining biologically functional and compatible social groups is a primary welfare concern for zoo-housed animals. An overview of the welfare impact of social groupings of a number of zoo-housed animals is presented, and the extent to which zoos are able to cater for individual species needs is discussed. The opening chapter concludes by outlining areas for further research into factors that may affect the social compatibility of zoo-housed animals, and discusses the potential long-term implications for housing socially complex animals. Next, the authors explore the evidence surrounding the use of ambassador animals in zoo education programmes. The reported impact of ambassador animal programmes on zoo visitors in terms of visitor learning, attitude, and behaviours are reviewed, and areas for further research are highlighted. The subsequent chapter covers how quality of life can be measured and evaluated in the zoo. It will also discuss aspects of welfare compromise, and how research into species’ behaviour allows us to rectify issues that may cause a poorer quality of life. The use of natural history information (e.g. behavioural ecology, evolutionary adaptations, and life history strategy) to the planning, design and implementation of husbandry protocols is explained and reviewed. Later, the authors suggest that if zoos are to improve their effectiveness at conservation they should consider the application of cognitive enrichment, a type of occupational enrichment where significant cognitive challenge is provisioned over a protracted timeframe to ensure cognitive enrichment remains. Learning is considered the key to improving both individual welfare and species or population conservation. Afterwards, several key examples of folklore husbandry that may currently be impacting captive management in zoos are examined, focusing particularly on the provision of environmental parameters and elements of exhibit design. These keeping practices are interpreted and evaluated in light of current biological and captive management studies to identify and address areas of husbandry that can be improved upon. In the closing chapter, the authors suggest that if zoo managers know little about the biology and ecology of a species, it is unlikely they are able to provide them with captive conditions that represent optimal welfare. Although zoos are now more committed to research than they were in the past, the research they have undertaken so far has mostly been focussed on a few taxa, which represents a small proportion of the diverse collection of species kept by them. (Nova)

SCBI Scientists Find Elephant Poaching Crisis in Myanmar
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists and Clemson University scientists are tracking elephants via satellite collars in Myanmar, where their efforts to understand how Asian elephants use their habitat has revealed a troubling rise in poaching. These elephants are being poached for their skin, not ivory. That means males, females and calves are all victims of poaching. Their work on the ground to detect and prevent poaching and reaching out to the local community is helping save this critically endangered species. 

Zoo kangaroo killed by rock-throwing tourists in China
One kangaroo was killed and another injured at a Southeast China zoo last month because tourists won't stop throwing rocks at the marsupials to make them hop.

Employees at Fujian Province's Fuzhou Zoo said the 12-year-old female died in March after she was struck multiple times by stupid tourists throwing sharp rocks, media reported Thursday.

One of them shattered her left toe, said a zoo employee surnamed Chen, while another ruptured her kidney. This proved to be fatal.

Days later, zookeepers spotted visitors throwing rocks at a 5-year-old male. Thankfully, he only suffered a few scratches.

It was not reported if charges were pressed against the tourists.

Employees said they have for years been trying to stop tourists from throwing rocks in order to get kangaroos to hop around.

Despite efforts to remove stones in the area and surveillance cameras at the park, the problem still persists.

"These adults see a kangaroo sleeping and go pick up rocks to hit it with," said a zookeeper surnamed Zhang. "We've cleared out all the rocks from the habitat area, and the

My partner, fellow writer Cinnamon Maxxine, had agreed to travel up from the Bay Area through Oregon, to Olympia, Washington, and back in a week's time for these book signings. After long days of rainy driving, I searched online for something to brighten up our trip and came across the Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center and Sloth Center, a small wildlife conservation enterprise in Rainier, Oregon, that holds occasional educational tours and sloth sleepover parties.

Sex of polar bear cub at Highland zoo is revealed
The sex of the first polar bear to be born in the UK for 25 years has finally been revealed. Staff at the Highland Wildlife Park discovered the cub is male during his first routine health check this morning. Members of the public will be asked to help choose a name for the cub. Una Richardson, head keeper responsible for carnivores, at Kincraig near Kingussie, said, “It was very exciting to find out we have a little boy.

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Panda health fears over housing plan near Edinburgh Zoo
A planning application for homes near Edinburgh Zoo could be called in by ministers amid concern it could disturb the zoo's pandas.

Concerns have been raised that it could affect the animals during construction.

Scottish ministers have asked the council to notify the government if permission is granted for the 78-home redevelopment of Corstorphine Hospital.

Ministers could decide to take the decision from the council by calling in the application.

Horrifying moment giraffe accidentally kills itself in a zoo after getting its neck stuck in a branch while trying to scratch an itch
Visitors to the attraction, in Yunnan Province, were horrified to see the large animal's neck lodged between thick branches.

Worried zoo staff used a ladder to reach Hairong's head but turned to sawing one of the branches off when they could not push the animal's neck out of the gap.

Video provided by a bystander showed the giant collapsing to the ground in its enclosure after one of the branches was removed and its neck was finally freed.

The animal then accidentally smashes a zoo employee on the head while on the way down.

Ocean World Adventure Park Achieves Humane Certification for Animal Welfare
First Facility in The Caribbean to Earn Certification through Worldwide American Humane Conservation Program
Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic, has achieved certification through the global American Humane Conservation program for the welfare and humane treatment of the animals under its care. Ocean World passed a rigorous third-party audit to become the first institution in the Caribbean to earn the prestigious Humane Certified™ seal of approval.

In early March 2018, Wild Welfare teamed up with our old friend and partner, the Akademie für Zoo-und Wildtierschutz e.V. and in collaboration with the Welfare and Ethics committee of South-East Asian Zoo Association (SEAZA), responded to an invitation from Taman Safari Indonesia to visit their Safari Parks in Bogor and Prigen in Java respectively, and a third on the island of Bali.

Presentations were made to the entire staff bodies of all three facilities – totalling nearly 600 people altogether – starting with a guide to the Five Domains of Animal Welfare Compromise by Mr. Willem Manansang, Chairman of the Welfare and Ethics Committee of SEAZA, followed by an introduction to the principles of the welfare of wild animals in zoos by our own Field Director, Dave Morgan.

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Baboons used 55-gallon barrel to escape from San Antonio research facility, officials say
Texas Biomedical Research Institute officials are making changes to their enclosure after four baboons briefly escaped from the facility on Saturday.

The animal care team determined the baboons rolled a 55-gallon barrel upright near a wall of their open-air enclosure, then climbed it, which allowed them to escape.

The enclosure was built nearly 40 years ago, according to a news release from the facility.

Human and animal conflict of the nation's menagerie
Giving birth standing up, a mother giraffe collapsed with its legs stretched out straight in opposite directions. Somehow, with great difficulty, it managed to stand up again only to collapse again in the same fashion.

About 40 veterinarians, biologists and staff members could only watch in helpless horror as the poor giraffe, in unspeakable agony, struggled to hold on to life and died a few hours later.

“We were all at a loss as to what to do. Fortunately, the baby survived,” recalled Indonesia Safari Park director Jansen Manangsang of his heartbreaking, harrowing hours of waiting. He blamed himself for being unprepared to face such an unexpectedly difficult delivery.

As the director of the country’s top zoo that also doubles as a conservation institution, Jansen is concerned not only for the animals inside the park, but also for the endemic species found elsewhere across the archipelago.

In the Peleonan Forest on Siberut, the largest of the Mentawai islands, Jansen pointed out, there were four endemic primate species: the Mentawai gibbon, also known as bilou; the Siberut macaque; Mentawai langur, also known as joja; and pig-tailed langur, also kno

The Real Ivory Game
China’s new domestic ban on the ivory trade presents all the makings of an excellent global public-relations exercise. But it is a meaningless move in a country where enforcement against wildlife crimes is often just another exercise in window-dressing and lip service.

One morning in December, I woke up to a news item on television featuring another Donald Trump Twitter statement — this time saying that China had been caught red-handed sidestepping the United Nations embargo on North Korea with ship-to-ship transfers of oil products on the high seas. It felt like déjà vu — certainly in the context of the rules and regulations associated with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), also a UN body meant to control illegal international trade.

Partnerships continue to drive endangered species conservation success as endangered African Wild Dogs are reintroduced to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique after decades of absence
In a monumental initiative driven by the South African Wild Dog Advisory Group (SAWAG), a founding pack of 15 African Wild Dogs has been translocated from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to Mozambique for reintroduction into Gorongosa National Park, marking the return of this species to the Park after an absence of more than 25 years, and signifying the first ever wild dog introduction into Mozambique.

Using cute animals in pop culture makes public think they're not endangered – study
Animals such as elephants, tigers, lions and panda bears are everywhere in movies, books and toy stores. But their wide pop culture presence skews public perception of how endangered these animals really are, researchers say.

Online surveys, zoo websites, animated films and school questionnaires were scoured by US and French researchers for the study, published in journal PLOS Biology.

Horses – Same Techniques But Different
As human beings we like to discriminate animals due to their states in our lives. We like to say because the dog is in my house he should understand who is the boss. We like to show everybody how much we love our animals without knowing if they actually like or love us if we can make this statement. We consider a horse a noble animal, ok pretty fair because a horse has done a lot for us in the history of mankind. I would say in 90% of historical stories horses play a vital role. There are plenty of cultures we have where we play a dominant role in the animals life and well-being. There are believes out there that we should be the Alpha in the group. There are believes out there that the animal should know the line. I can keep going like this but it’s not what we do I want to talk about. The reason I mention all those points is because I want to talk about outcomes through consequences of behavior and the potential feelings “what we are guessing at all times”.

Zoo Denies Claim of Gender Discrimination
The Memphis Zoo denies that a former female employee “was discriminated or retaliated against” because of her gender.

Kimberly Terrell, a female conservation biologist, sued the zoo in December. She claimed she was fired from her job as the zoo’s director of research and conservation based on gender discrimination.

Her attorneys are suing the zoo for damages in excess of $75,000, including back pay, lost benefits, employment reinstatement, punitive damages, and all court fees.

J. Mark Griffee, the attorney for the zoo, responded to Terrell’s original lawsuit in mid-March, saying her claims of discrimination were unfounded.

“Memphis Zoo denies Dr. Terrell was discriminated against or retaliated against on account of her gender,” Griffee wrote in

Endangered wild cattle face multiple threats
A study has found that the endangered Bornean banteng (wild cattle) is highly threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and heavy poaching.

Dr Penny Gardner, lead author and programme manager of banteng research at Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), said logging and high temperatures affect the banteng by limiting their activity and influencing how they use the habitat.

“We monitored locations created by timber harvesting, such as abandoned roads and dense forest in reserves that were logged six, 17 and 23 years ago,” she explained.

Dr Gardner said the study showed that recently-logged forests were hotter for longer than forests that had regenerated for more years.

Zoo trains professionals on great ape cardiac monitoring
KeraJaan, lovingly referred to as KJ, raised his long arms and pressed his chest against the cage while a Cameron Park Zoo primate keeper used a small machine to check his heart.

When Laura Klutts turned to explain the process of monitoring and improving cardio health in great apes, the orangutan let Klutts know he was not amused her attention had strayed from him. KJ adjusted his position and offered a few growl-like noises, causing the room full of zoo professionals to laugh.

Klutts said, “chest,” prompting KJ to once again raise his arms and press his chest against the cage, allowing the primate keeper to continue the echocardiogram.

Then, to his delight, KJ received a spoonful of his favorit


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About me
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

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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