Friday, June 7, 2019

Zoo News Digest 7th June 2019 (ZooNews 1030)

Zoo News Digest 7th June 2019  (ZooNews 1030)

Welsh Mountain Zoo - by Shaun Wilson
Photo by Shaun Wilson


Dear Colleague,

My health has been compromised this week. As Zoo News Digest is a one man operation it means I have not had the energy to move all the links across from Facebook so anything important will still be found there.

I will try my best to keep on top of things but it isn't easy.

"good zoos will not gain the credibility of their critics until they condemn the bad zoos wherever they are." Peter Dickinson

Lots of interest follows


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 110,400+ Followers on Facebook( and over 110,500 likes) and has a monthly reach often exceeding over 1000,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 900 Zoos in 155+ 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,

Tasmanian wildlife park denies allegations race horse carcass fed to lions, after Greens probe animal's death
Representatives from Tasmania's Office of Racing Integrity have visited an animal park in the state's south as they investigate the death of a race horse, amid allegations the carcass may have been fed to lions.

'Footballers are like mongoose' - Germany's zookeeper
The last time Germany striker Alexandra Popp played at a World Cup, she had to put her education on hold. Four years later, she is a fully qualified zookeeper and hopes to lead Germany to World Cup glory in France.

PETA’s latest demand: End ‘circus-style’ dolphin shows at SeaWorld
PETA, which has spent the last several years haranguing SeaWorld about its treatment of killer whales, is now turning its attention to dolphins, claiming they are subjected to physical and psychological trauma — including scarring and open wounds — at the company’s marine parks.

The Toronto Zoo is trying to reinvent itself. Its very survival may be at stake
At a committee meeting shortly after Toronto city council passed its 2019 budget, the Toronto Zoo's newly minted chief executive officer tried to convince councillors to back a winter light show at the zoo to boost attendance.

He wanted to borrow $5 million for the production and have the city guarantee the loan.

It did not go well.

Dolf DeJong's presentation was long on buzzwords, short on facts.

Scientists Confirm Facultative Parthenogenesis in Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Asian Water Dragon
he Smithsonian’s National Zoo was the first to confirm facultative parthenogenesis in Asian water dragons, a species of lizard. A female Asian water dragon (left) hatched August 2016 and is the only surviving offspring of her 12-year-old mother

It may not be romantic or adventurous, but careful data collection and accurate record-keeping is vital to the conservation of species and habitats. A paper published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the value of data collected by South West zoos and aquariums.

Wild Planet Trust - the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall – funds active conservation work on the ground in countries around the world, but the patient data entry of zoological registrar Sarah Lavin is every bit as important.

In Defence of Elephant Tourism
It would be difficult to find a sector of the tourism industry more polarising than Asian elephant tourism. For thousands of years Asian elephants have played both practical and symbolic roles for humanity; shaping human settlements and holding prestigious positions in religious ceremony. But it seems captive elephants and their current role in modern-day society are facing their highest level of scrutiny and criticism yet. Fervent Western values imposed onto countries with vastly different socio-economic and geopolitical contexts are threatening to undo the positive changes that are quietly occurring at many elephant camps. Instant industry reform at all elephant camps is logistically unfeasible; there are over 10,000 captive Asian elephants that need managing. But positive industry ch

Topeka Zoo: Protocols weren't followed before tiger attack
A veteran zookeeper didn't follow procedures for handling potentially dangerous animals in April when she was attacked at the Topeka Zoo by a tiger , zoo officials said Thursday.

A report detailing the zoo's internal investigation says "multiple" zoo protocols that dictate what should happen before a person enters a space previously occupied by a tiger had prevented attacks at the zoo for decades.

British comedian speaks out against treatment of lion in Kurdistan Region
British comedian, actor, and director Ricky Gervais is joining a chorus of voices on social media condemning the recent mistreatment of a lion at its 1-year birthday party in the Kurdistan Region.

"Dirty, worthless filth," Gervais tweeted on Wednesday in response to a video that has gone viral on social media showing a man smashing a birthday cake into the face of a lioness and dragging it across the floor of a cafe in Duhok province.

Gervais, who is also an animal rights activist, was responding to a tweet by a popular biologist and activist, Daniel Schneider, who regularly shares videos of animal and environmental abuse.

"Each and every person in this video needs to have cake thrown in their face, every hour on the hour, for the rest of their lives. Why is it so hard to #BeKindToAnimals?" wrote Schneider.

Each and every person in this video needs to have cake thrown in their face, every

This Amazon bird’s eggs are black-market gold. Here’s why.
Amid the throng of tourists returning from Brazil’s tropical beaches, one traveler stood out to Swiss customs officials at Zurich airport. His walk, they later recalled, was “funny.” Suspecting he was trafficking drugs on his body, they searched him. When they got to his underpants, they didn’t find narcotics but 25 eggs of Amazon parrots and macaws he was smuggling from Brazil. He’d strapped the eggs to his midriff to keep them warm during the 11-hour flight.

 Barcelona Zoo investing €64.6m in ‘animalist’ project
Barcelona Zoo is investing €64.6 million in a project, which will turn the attraction into the first ‘animalist’ zoo in Europe, putting animal welfare, conservation, research and education first.
This comes as Barcelona City Council approves a new law, prohibiting the breeding of animal species that cannot be released into the wild.

 Zoo's Fight Over Gorilla Ndume's Return To Cincinnati Continues
The Cincinnati Zoo is asking a federal court in California to set a date for a gorilla named "Ndume" to return to Cincinnati.

According to court documents, Ndume was scheduled to fly to Cincinnati on June 4, but The Gorilla Foundation where he currently lives objected because of concerns about a stomach bacteria.

African or Asiatic? DNA tests to decode origin of lion cub
The Alipore Zoological Gardens officials have decided to go  ..

Frogs find refuge in elephant tracks
Frogs need elephants. That's what a new WCS-led study says that looked at the role of water-filled elephant tracks in providing predator-free breeding grounds and pathways connecting frog populations.

Publishing in the journal Mammalia, the researchers found that rain-filled tracks of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were filled with frog egg masses and tadpoles. The tracks can persist for a ye

Cherry Brook Zoo at risk of closing again after guinea pig 'rage killing' allegations
Saint John's Cherry Brook Zoo has been cleared of animal cruelty allegations involving the "rage killing" of guinea pigs, but the zoo has lost up to $200,000 in funding because of the controversy and is once again at risk of closing, says its executive director.

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:                

Humanity’s impact on the Earth is proving more and more devastating and we are under great pressure to act smarter, think harder, design better to build a sustainable future. But the science isn’t all there: some of our best intended actions are failures. June’s news at (NEWS/Botanical News) presents several examples of good intentions not being sufficient to get the job done:

·         A growing interest in native plants is changing how we think of landscapes. But are the native plants we obtain from nurseries really good for the environment?
·         Facing a devastating bacterial disease that kills orange trees, citrus growers have won approval to spray orchards with generous doses of antibiotics used in human medicine. The same antibiotics whose over-use has created antibiotic resistant superbugs. You can’t make this stuff up.
·         Eco-loving consumers are demanding shade-grown coffee. But are these coffee farms good for birds? Not necessarily.
·         While invasive species imperil ecosystems around the globe, some invasive species are successfully providing  the ecological services of now-extinct species..
·         The most cost effective way to combat climate change is to plant forests. Really? Actually even forests can be part of the problem.

Tree rings are being used today to provide climate scientists with better understanding of climate trends. One group has used the remains of a 700 year-old tree to tell its life story

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors!

Follow on TwitterFacebook Or visit –  new stories every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

Female Asiatic lion to join male companion in Iran
The female lion, born 4 years ago, now is coming back to its motherland after being extinct for 8 decades, YJC quoted Iman Memarian as saying on Saturday.

The 6-year old male lion was sent to Tehran Zoological Garden from Britain’s Bristol Zoo on May 1, he said.

He went on to say that the lion has undergone genetic tests and diagnostics under the EAZA supervision, and the results have showed that the animal is completely healthy.

Both will be kept at Tehran Zoological Gard

A Zoo for Who? Are these spaces of learning or enclosures of torture?
Zoos are not panopticons. The animal comes first.
I was seven years old, and I was staring at the most magnificent thing I had ever seen.

A muscular Big Cat was a few metres away from me, and I didn’t interest him. I watched as it yawned, showing yellow teeth the size of pocket knives, its huge paws — the size of a child’s face — stretched out languidly before it. This wasn’t a Big Cat I had ever seen before. It wasn’t striped like a yellow-black tiger or spotted like a yellow-black leopard. Instead, it was all black. The head was bulbous, careful, insouciant. This was the Jaguar — apex predator of Central and South American rainforest.

Exotic Monkeys, Lion Cub, Smuggled In Nylon Bags; Rescued In Bengal
Wildlife officials on Saturday rescued three exotic monkeys and a rare 3-month-old lion cub from traffickers in Kolkata. The animals were found in tightly sewed nylon shopping bags in a car.
Officials chased down an SUV, in wh

Euphrates softshell turtle threatened with extinction in Iran
The Euphrates softshell turtle (Rafetus euphraticus), also known as the Mesopotamian softshell turtle, is a species of softshell turtle in the family Trionychidae. It is found throughout much of the Euphrates–Tigris river basin in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iranian Khuzestan province.

This freshwater turtle can weigh up to 20 kg (44 pounds), and it has a smooth leathery shell that can reach up to 68 cm (2.2 fit) in length. They are mainly found in a wide range of freshwater habitats such as rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and marshlands.

How hunters capture conservation
An investigation by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting reveals how the trophy hunting industry set up a conservation ‘front’ group to persuade the authorities to allow hunting of threatened wildlife.

The group - ‘Conservation Force’ - is funded by hunting interests and has gained access to CITES meetings, sat on key IUCN committees, and influenced a number of major decisions affecting threatened wildlife.

Can you be a victim of a displaced animal?
The theory of animal training helped me a great deal until I worked with orcas. But little did I know that my skills would then be tested constantly along the way. A sea-lion was one thing, moving on to a killer whale was another. I got this job through a good friend of mine that I met on conference in 2008, since then we have kept in regular contact and one of the topics we always discuss is how a trainer can gain the success they need to grow in this field.

We both agree, that working with sea lions builds your understanding of basic behaviours needed to work those animals. However, a good background is then necessary to work the big animals, such as walruses or orcas. I discovered this only by the experiences I had along the way.

Lemur yoga: Fueling the capture of wild lemurs? (commentary)
In April, the BBC — whose website is visited by 13.2 million people in the UK every day — published a fawning article about an English hotel that, in collaboration with the Lake District Wildlife Park, is offering lemur yoga classes featuring endangered ring-tailed lemurs. Knowing full well that this media coverage would negatively impact lemurs living in the wild, we contacted the BBC and The Guardian, hoping to mitigate the damage. Neither media company responded to our emails or tweets, and as of yesterday, there are more than 100,000 Google search results for the words “lemur yoga bbc.” The story has now been featured in the Guardian, New York Post, and This Morning, among many other outlets.

When playing with the zoo animals isn't really play
A meerkat, a warthog and a tamandua (a mini-anteater of sorts) look like they're having a ball with the objects that their human caregivers provide.

But this is serious business for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden keepers and animals. This is called enrichment.

It is the work of both the human and the animal, all in an effort to make the animal feel challenged. To help it using is stalking skills. It's climbing and burrowing and hunting instincts. And, because this is a zoo, to familiarize the animal with certain behaviors to minimize any anxiety about procedures that have to be done to keep her

The Philippines is Fast-Losing an Endangered Buffalo Species Found Only in its Islands
In the Philippines, there’s an animal that appeared on the one peso coin. Basketball teams are named after the same animal, as was a widely used public vehicle in the country – the Tamaraw FX. A bill is also pending to declare the tamaraw as the country’s national land animal.

The tamaraw can be distinguished from the carabao or domesticated water buffalo used as farm animals across Asia by its smaller size, v-shaped horns, and light markings on the face. They’re found only in the highland meadows and forests of Mindoro Island, about 130 kilometers south of Manila.

Elephants' Impressive Ability to "Smell" Numbers May Also Be What Saves Them
sian elephants are extremely smart, but even the wise make mistakes. By looking for food in all the wrong places, they create conflicts with humans when they scrounge from crops or rummage through garbage cans. Fortunately, a discovery about their impressive, mathematically precise sense of smell, described Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests a new way to shoo them away from human areas without hurting them.

When One Protected Species Kills Another, What Are Conservationists to Do?
In a world where wildlife is threatened like never before in human history, the conservationist's mission seems clear: work to stop wildlife from going extinct, and to recover populations that have declined to the brink of extinction. In general, protecting wildlife means reducing a species' mortality by mitigating or eliminating threats. This has often been as simple as shielding or restoring a key habitat, or removing a non-native species that competes for resources.

Malaysia’s first tapir conservation centre to be built in Jelebu
Malaysia’s first tapir conservation centre will be built in the Kenaboi Forest Reserve/State Park, Jelebu in Negeri Sembilan, according to Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) state director, Wan Mat Wan Harun.

“The rationale behind it is Perhilitan hasn’t got a dedicated conservation centre for a comprehensive tapir treatment, rehabilitation and breeding programme yet, despite the number of animals being rescued rising every year.

‘Best bear exhibit in the country’ opens near Bristol
The UK’s largest and most ambitious brown bear exhibit is set to open at a South Gloucestershire attraction this summer.

Called Bear Wood, the new multi-million pound woodland exhibit at Wild Place Project will also be home to wolves, lynx and wolverine. The attraction, set to open in late July, will be the only place in the UK where bears and wolves will coexist in ancient woodland as they would have done thousands of years ago.

Introduction To Vision
Australian's have the ability, to redesign our future, "start again" because of our massive landscape, by starting from scratch, we can restructuring another economical system where THE PLATFORM ITSELF becomes the BIGGEST WINNER, not any one individual living organism or Nonliving organism, but a combination and balance of both.

We need to transform the way that humanity understands the koala, and re-evaluate the way we live amongst our wildlife. We, as a society, have zoning laws because we understand that we need to protect and control our own behaviour as well as our national parks and oceans

Why is it controversial to declare a species less threatened?
Last year, we moved the Pink Pigeon from Endangered to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, its recovery the result of decades of conservation work. When we move a species to a lower threat category, it sounds like a cause for celebration - but why doesn’t everyone agree?

A baby White Lion, and a watchful dragon: Why China's enthusiasm for animals rings so false
'Tiger, tiger' may not be burning as bright. But the lighter-coloured, furrier cousins of the big cats seem to be having it even worse. There are only 13 white lions left in the wild, according to the Global White Lion Protection Trust — ironically, they aren’t even on the endangered list.

So, when Hungary’s Szeged Zoo

Elephant export amendment spurs outcry from activists
Joining the campaign, the Chartthaipattana Party's director Nikorn Chamnong said that people are confused as to why the regulations have been changed, after live elephant exports were suspended for over a decade. He added that the change will lead to elephants suffering from living in environments that are unlikely to be fit for them.

"We need to consider whether the amendment is suitable or not. We are worried that the law will increase the number of Thai elephants in foreign zoos," he said, adding that the cabinet should consider the exports on a case-by-case basis.

Potawatomi Zoo responds to lawsuit over alleged sexual harassment, animal mistreatment
The Potawatomi Zoo is aware of the lawsuit filed in federal court by former employee Jennifer Davis. Because this is an ongoing lawsuit, the Zoo cannot address the specific claims made.

The Potawatomi Zoo is one of 236 zoological institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the United States, which means that it is held to the highest standard of animal care and husbandry. It is inspected regularly by AZA, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture and is in good standing with both.

Those Cool Selfies You Take With Tigers & Elephants In Thailand Have A Disturbing Story Behind Them
Animals have been abused and tortured at the hands of human beings for their entertainment for so long now that people don't seem to find it unethical in any way.

To top that, some countries have cruel 'animal activities' in the name of tourism which further increase the demand for these said animals. One of such nations is Thailand; known for its 'domesticated' tigers and elephants.

Farts: which animals do, which don’t, and why
Dani Rabaiotti, a PhD zoology student at the Zoological Society of London and co-author of the book, studies how climate change impacts African wild dogs. But in early 2017, her brother asked her, “Do snakes fart?” and she didn’t know the answer. So she posed it to an expert on Twitter. (Spoiler: They do.)

Poaching threatens South America's only bear species
The woman in the market stall fills a glass with a reddish liquid, calling out what’s in the brew: white rum, seven types of tree bark, honey, pollen, a snake's head, the huanarpo macho plant, and the key ingredient—the penis bone of an Andean bear.


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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. Until recently 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 storyteller, 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

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