This is ZooKeeping
The articles posted on Trip Advisor confused me a little, especially as most travel companies seem to be moving away from animal activities. For myself I am not against animal activities....just some of them, and all should be judged on their own merit. Posing with Tigers and Orangutans is a definite NoNo for me but riding elephants ain't necessarily so. Depends on the background. What really gets me though is those people who condemn the use of Tigers and Orangutans for posing but are only too happy to pose for similar photos on social media when they "rescue" the same. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. How are people expected to learn?
RIP Murray Roberts.
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 78,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 78,000 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.
Two women attacked
by warthogs at exotic wildlife park
A warthog attacked
two employees at an exotic wildlife park in Texas Thursday.
It happened at TGR
Exotics Wildlife Park in Houston. The park gives visitors a chance to get
close-up views of animals like giraffes, tigers and monkeys, KTRK reported.
The Harris County
Sheriff’s Office said the employees were attacked while feeding two warthogs.
They were left with severe cuts and scrapes.
They were taken to a
local hospital for treatment.
"Well it was
described to me as they were severe injuries. Obviously, the warthogs have
tusks. The male warthog has tusks, so it could be punctu
biologists yet again
New research from
the University of Bristol has highlighted how little we know about giraffe
behaviour and ecology.
It is commonly
accepted that group sizes of animals increase when there is a risk of
predation, since larger group sizes reduce the risk of individuals being
killed, and there are 'many eyes' to spot any potential predation risk.
Now, in the first
study of its kind, Bristol Ph.D. student Zoe Muller from the School of
Biological Sciences has found that this is not true for giraffes, and that the
size of giraffe groups is not influenced by the presence of predators.
Zoe Muller said:
"This is surprising, and highlights how little we know about even the most
basic aspects of giraffe behaviour."
investigates how the grouping behaviour of giraffes differed in response to
numerous factors, such as predation risk, habitat type and the characteristics
Habitat type had
some effect on group size, but the main effect on group size was in the
behaviour of adult females, who were found to be in smaller groups when they
This is contrary to
another popular belief that female giraffes form large groups to communally
care for their young—this study, published this week in the Journal of Zoology
presents the first
longest-serving zookeeper spent 50 years working with the animals
After more than half
a century caring for the animals, Wellington Zoo's longest-serving keeper
Murray Roberts has passed away.
When Roberts first
started at Wellington Zoo he was allowed to work in sandals and take his
favourite elephant for a walk in the town belt.
After retiring in
November 2016, Roberts remained on with the zoo in a casual role, but finally
stopped working in recent times due to health reasons.
have fewer fecal germs than human beds, study finds
We all have our
nightly rituals: A nightcap and a bestseller, a vigorous floss, a last
compulsive scroll through Twitter. Chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives,
have their bedtime habits, too. Every evening, a chimp makes a new bed, in the
literal sense, weaving branches and sticks into baskets that hang as high as 30
feet above the forest floor. Humans who have slept in these nests, like
anthropologist Fiona Stewart, describe them as cramped but effective wards
against predators and bloodsuckers.
For the first time,
scientists have probed the nests to see what sort of insects, other
creepy-crawlies and microbes share a chimpanzee’s bedding. The researchers say
they wanted to compare wild-nest inhabitants with bugs of a more familiar sort
— meaning what skitters or lurks between our sheets.
lifestyle, with regard to their microb
injured in bear attack
A Bukit Gambang
Safari Park senior ranger is recuperating in hospital after he was mauled by a
Ishak Rashid, 51,
who was attacked by a male bear about noon, was injured in the face and legs.
His condition has been described as stable.
In a statement
today, the safari park’s communications department said Ishak, from Kedah, had
been traumatised by the unexpected incident.
Overweight and inbred, banned exotic animals are handed over to Dubai Safari
including chimps, baboons and lions that were illegally held in homes across
the UAE have been handed in to Dubai Safari as part of an amnesty.
It has been 16
months since Federal Law 22 on the trade of wild animals took effect - stating
that only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres are
allowed to keep dangerous, wild or exotic animals.
The law also revoked
permits issued to other authorities to import such animals.
It has been a busy
first six months for Dubai Safari under the stewardship of its technical
director, New Zealander Timothy Husband.
The Art of Elephant
Elephants are by far
some of the smartest creatures on our planet. They have complex social
structures, readily engage with people and other animals, and have even been
shown to exhibit self-awareness. Being able to bridge the communication gap
with elephants has proven to be a straightforward endeavor overall; elephants
in human care are talking to us all the time through body language, rumbles,
grunts, trumpets, and even chemical signals (which unfortunately we are
unable to perceive without laboratory analysis!). Training in SE Asian range
countries has evolved quickly over the past thirty years much like it has in
the West. Animal behavior has become more and more understood and developed
into a science with measured actions and definable results. However there is an
art to what has been handed down generation to generation in the mahout culture
and much of it is exactly what has proven to work in textbook training methods.
to Elephant Care
Tethering is an
integral part of responsible, everyday elephant management in human care.
Facilities all around the world use ropes and chains for restraining their
elephants for a wide variety of reasons. A regular husbandry routine that
includes tethers habituates the elephant to the use of tethers and ensures that
they can be used at any time, without stress or discomfort to the elephant.
Whether during routine check-ups, socialization, birthing or at nighttime, this
training can greatly help mahouts, keepers and veterinarians give a higher
standard of care to their elephants.
When we talk about
tethers, it usually means chains or ropes. While chains may look menacing,
there are many reasons that they are preferred to ropes: chains are strong,
durable, easy to clean, able to be repaired without compromising the integrity
of the tether and, when used properly, lower the risk of injuring the skin.
Ropes do have a proper place in the restraining and training of animals, but
for the purposes of this article, we will focus on the importance of chains in
First and foremost,
elephants in human care benefit from the use of chains because chains allow
keepers to work more closely with the elephants. While an elephant may have a
lifelong bond with and trust its keeper, it doesn’t necessarily feel that way
about a ve
can best be understood when their natural history is taken into consideration.
Because they are the largest land animal, they must eat a lot of food to keep
that huge body fed. As megaherbivores, elephants have a voracious appetite and
consume so much plant material that they actually have an effect on shaping
their environment. They are known as “ecological engineers” or “keystone
species,’” terms that come from the Owen-Smith Keystone Herbivore
Hypothesis. In conjunction with this, elephants are hindgut fermenters and only
process about 40% of their food. On average, elephants spend 20 hours a day
foraging and four hours a day sleeping. An elephant’s diet is priority number
one in human care. An elephant’s diet not only provides proper nutrition to
keep it healthy, it accounts for almost the entirety of its daily activity.
how the island of Sulawesi continues to captivate biologists
“We now come to the
Island of Celebes, in many respects the most remarkable and interesting in the
whole region, or perhaps on the globe, since no other island seems to present
so many curious problems for solution.” (Wallace 1876)
Wedged in between
the continental landmasses of south-east Asia and Australia lies the vast
island realm of Wallacea. Named after Alfred Russel Wallace, the 19th-century
explorer and naturalist who traversed this area, it hosts floras and faunas
that are incredibly rich and often include species found nowhere else on Earth.
The natural history of Wallacea is complicated, and heavily dictated by
geological forces such as plate tectonics and volcanism.
As the oldest and
largest island within Wallacea, Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes) hosts a
rich fauna with a large number of species that are unique to the island.
Although its fauna is predominantly Asian in origin, it is the only island in
south-east Asia with marsupials (the bear cuscus and dwarf cuscus), a typical
Australian element. In addition, it hosts the smallest primate in the world,
the tarsus tarsier, which fits in the palm of your hand. You can find miniature
buffaloes, or anoas, whose lovable appearance is said to hide an aggressive
departure came amid questions on finances, communication, culture
Former Cameron Park
Zoo Director Jim Fleshman was asked to resign last month amid top-level
discussions about the zoo’s culture, communication failures and perceived
favoritism in hiring practices, messages between representatives of the city of
Waco and the Cameron Park Zoological and Botanical Society reveal.
obtained text messages and emails related to Fleshman’s April departure,
through the Texas Public Information Act. The communication also shows efforts
zoo society officials took to conceal the reasons behind the sudden leadership
president of the zoological society, which operates and helps fund the
city-owned zoo, did not respond this week to requests for comment for this
resignation, finalized April 16 and publicized April 24, came amid an inquiry
into cash-handling practices at the zoo, conducted by the accounting firm BKD
LLP. The inquiry is ongoing, Assistant City Manager Br
Lion attack Brit
Mike Hodge finally released from hospital after vicious mauling by Shamba the
lion – as his South African safari park reopens
SAFARI park lion
attack survivor Mike Hodge has reopened the Marakele Predator Centre where he
was viciously mauled live on a tourist video and nearly killed three weeks ago.
British born Mike,
72, was attacked by Shamba the lion who he had raised since a cub and suffered
such severe injuries that he had to be airlifted by air ambulance for life
gorilla born at Howletts Wild Animal Park breaks world record
Animal Park is celebrating the birth of a beautiful western lowland gorilla -
and a new world record.
The latest arrival
means the total number of births at the breeding sanctuary is 139, firmly
cementing the Bekesbourne park’s reputation as the most successful breeders of
the endangered species in the world.
The baby, born last
Saturday, will be named when keepers can determine the sex. The offspring is
mum Dihi’s fifth, however, for proud father, Ebeki, this is his first and he is
reported to be taking to his new fatherly role very well.
‘Huge milestone’ as
Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park joins BIAZA
After a year as a
provisional member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria
(BIAZA), the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park (AWCP) has been awarded full
Membership of BIAZA.
BIAZA is the
professional body representing over 100 zoos and aquaria in Britain and
Members must comply
with specific codes of practice and standards of animal husbandry, as well as
undertaking significant work in the field of animal welfare, conservation,
education and research.
The AWCP, set in the
stunning Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, is one of the smallest zoos in the
This is a huge
milestone for the AWCP, w
A new population of
at least 700 blue whales has been found living between the North and South
Islands of New Zealand.
The gigantic marine
mammals are genetically distinct from whales found in the neighbouring Pacific
and Antarctic Oceans, suggesting they are a separate group that lives
permanently in the region.
While they are not
as large as their Antarctic cousins, the New Zealand population can still reach
lengths of around 22 metres.
Caged tigers can get
stressed and dangerous at prom. Did we really have to say that?
Less than a century
ago, about 100,000 tigers roamed the Asian continent. Today, because of
poaching and habitat loss, there are only about 3,200 of them left on Earth.
But how is anyone to take the plight of these magnificent, noble, endangered
animals seriously when they see them being used as party props, like the one
recently displayed at Miami's Christopher Columbus High School prom?
The tiger, a lemur,
birds and an African fennec fox were hauled out in the midst of pounding music,
flashing lights, fire dancers, and a crowd of rambunctious teenagers. Instead
of immediately acknowledging that a colossal mistake had been made, school officials
offered the dubious "reassurance" that two Miami-Dade police officers
were present the entire time.
The stressed tiger
was frantically pacing and trying to find a way out of this horror show. If the
animal had succeeded in making a break for it, do school officials think that
the police opening fire would have been a reasonable
of scientists suggest that octopuses might actually be aliens
Normally when you
see a story about someone claiming that aliens are hanging out here on Earth
its origins can be traced to a misguided conspiracy theorist or crackpot
ranting on YouTube. So, when an international group of actual scientists
releases a report theorizing the existence of an alien species living right
under our noses, it’s worth a look.
The paper, which was
published in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, attempts to tackle
the question of how life originated here on Earth. The researchers embrace a
number of different proposed explanations and discuss their implications, but one
particularly interesting note is their proposal that cephalopods (squid,
octopus, and cuttlefish) may have originated somewhere other than Earth. Woah.
Magic Number: A
sketchy "fact" about polar bears keeps going ... and going ... and
Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced the listing of the polar bear as a
threatened species in May, the political trench warfare over global warming
flared up anew.
professed surprise that a reluctant Bush Administration acted at all. Global
warming deniers said the decision was ludicrous. They cited a polar bear
population — a five-fold increase since the 1970s, a doubling since the 1950s,
a quadrupling since the 1960s.
After wading through
about thirty such references from readers of our CNN blog and hearing them from
multiple radio and TV pundits, I got to thinking: Are any of these numbers
true? And where do they come from? I embarked on a global quest, traveling by phone,
email and Google, to find the truth.
My first stop was
Bjorn Lomborg's 2007 book, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to
Global Warming." Lomborg, the Danish economist whose work provides a
torrent of talking points for Conservative pundits, says there were
"probably 5,000" polar bears in the 1960's.
The book's footnotes
cryptically attribute the Number to "Krauss, 2006."
for me that the "Krauss" in question is Clifford Krauss, a reporter
for The New York Times, who wrote on May 27, 2006, about the conflict between
polar bear protectors and trophy hunters: "Other experts see a healthier
population. They note that there are more than 20,000 polar bears roaming the
Arctic, compared to as few as 5,000 40 years ago."
Krauss, now a
Houston-based correspondent for The Times, told me he couldn't recall the
source of the 5,000 number, but said that he understood the number to be
"widely accepted." Lomborg also emailed me a reference for another,
different figure he said he'd discovered after the book's publication: A report
from the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture's S.M. Uspensky,
Southern White Rhino
at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Pregnant Through Artificial Insemination
Researchers at the
San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research announced Thursday morning
that they have confirmed a pregnancy in one of the southern white rhinos living
at the Nikita Khan Rhino Rescue Center.
The pregnancy, created through artificial insemination with sperm from a
male southern white rhino, is an important milestone in the ongoing work to
develop the scientific knowledge required to genetically recover the northern
white rhino, a distant subspecies of the southern white rhino. Only two
northern white rhinos currently remain on Earth (unfortunately both are
“The confirmation of
this pregnancy through artificial insemination represents an historic event for
our organization but also a critical step in our effort to save the northern
white rhino ,” said Barbara Durrant, Ph.D., director of Reproductive Sciences,
San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. “The sperm had excellent
motility and the procedure went very well –
we are excited to confirm a pregnancy has occurred but we have a long
time before we can declare a real success with the birth of a healthy southern
white rhino baby.”
lasts from 16-18 months. The artificial insemination of a rhino named Victoria,
occurred on March 22 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park . Victoria is one of six
Around: A Conversation with Ralph Waterhouse, Retired Director of the Fresno
began his career at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and learned a lot from the
zoo's director, the late Earl Wells. He then went on to be the first general
curator of the Minnesota Zoo, dubbed the zoo of the future when it opened in
1978. Waterhouse would then direct the Blank Park Zoo (1982-1987), the Kansas
City Zoo (1987-1991) and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo (1991-2003.) He is credited
with improving all three zoos he directed and setting them up for the future.
Waterhouse also served as Chair of the Accreditation Commission of the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Here is his story.
Nations Step Up to
Protect Pangolins in The Face of Strong Demand in China And Vietnam
It may come as a
surprise to many to discover that a lowly anteater tops the list of the world’s
most trafficked endangered mammals.
The pangolin, also
known as a scaly anteater, can vary in size from only 12 to 39 inches long.
But the small
creatures can fight off animal predators with their sharp claws and scales that
act as a kind of armor.
possess little defense against human predators.
A rising demand in
China for the meat and scales of pangolins reached the point several years ago
that all eight varieties of the animal were deemed vulnerable or critically
According to the
Swiss-based International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN), pangolins
account for as much as 20 percent of all illegal wildlife trade.
The IUCN says that
more than a million pangolins wer
Before you visit a
zoo or aquarium… look for the logo!
The Cape May County
Zoo is proud to have been accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums
(AZA) since 1989. The AZA logo is the most reliable way for people to choose
zoos and aquariums that meet rigorous accreditation standards.
Look for the AZA
logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium. It’s the easiest way to know that
you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for
animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.
Fewer than 10 percent of the approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by
the U.S. Department of Agriculture are AZA accredited. AZA is a global leader
in wildlife conservation and your connection to helping animals in their native
provides the Cape May County Zoo access to the Species Survival Plan (SSP), the
hallmark conservation initiative of all accredited zoos and aquariums. The SSP
cooperatively manages captive populations of threatened or endang
Hungary boy gets
death threats for inadvertently killing meerkat
Hungarian boy has received death threats on social media after he inadvertently
killed a meerkat that bit his finger at a zoo.
The boy was visiting
the Kecskemet zoo in central Hungary when he reached through a fence and was
He then shook the
meerkat so hard to the ground that he broke its back.
Zara the meerkat was
one of the prize attractions at the zoo and the incident, which occurred on 14
May, has been met with anger and condemnation.
The boy, who was on
a visit to the zoo as part of a school outing, is said to have ignored warning
signs that meerkats bite before reaching through a fence to get closer to the
News of the death of
Zara, who was pregna
Asian elephant gives
birth to a calf in Chester zoo three months after her keepers thought she had
lost the baby
An elephant at
Chester Zoo has 'astonished' keepers by giving birth on Thursday, nearly three
months after her due date.
The baby boy was
born to experienced mother Thi Hi Way, who is already a great-grandmother and
matriarch of the herd.
The newborn was the
seventh calf born to 35-year-old after a 25-month pregnancy.
Zoo Logic with host
Dr. Grey Stafford is a weekly conversation with zoo, aquarium, and animal
experts about Nature, pets, animal training, welfare, research and education,
sustainability, zoo politics and legislation, and all things animals! On Zoo
Logic, we’ll go behind the scenes with animal professionals and influencers
from around the world to explore the latest Zoos News and issues affecting
wildlife, wild places, and people. Communicating with humor, cool stories, and
candor, we’ll discover the interdependent connection between civilization,
conservation, and commerce.
What it Means to be
Of the five living
rhino species, three – the black, Sumatran and Javan rhinos – are classified as
Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Red List
is maintained by IUCN, the World Conservation Union. “IUCN” stands for the International
Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s first global environmental
organization, founded in 1948. The world’s oldest and largest global
environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than
1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer
scientists and experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by more
than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public,
NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN’s headquarters are located in
Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.
IUCN functions as a “United Nations” for conservation. Dr. Bibhab Talukdar is
IRF’s Asia Coordinator and Chairman of IUCN’s Asian Rhino Specialist Group. Dr.
Susie Ellis, IRF’s Executive Director, serves as a Red List Authority and is responsible
for assessing the status of
Surprising Level of Self-Understanding
“Elephants are well
regarded as one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, but we still
need more empirical, scientific evidence to support this belief,” said Rachel
Dale, a Ph.D. student at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna,
Austria, and first author of a paper reporting the results in the journal
Scientific Reports on April 12, 2017.
“We know, for
example, that they are capable of thoughtful cooperation and empathy, and are
able to recognize themselves in a mirror. These abilities are highly unusual in
animals and very rare indeed in non-primates. We wanted to see if they also
both animals and young children is usually tested using the ‘mirror
self-recognition test’ to see if they understand that the reflection in front
of them is actually their own.
Only a few species
have so far shown themsel
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