Thursday, December 31, 2009

The New Sonarpur Zoo Plans Are In Doubt

Doubts over zoo

State forest minister Ananta Roy on Wednesday expressed doubt over the setting up of the proposed zoo in Sonarpur because of some problems with a group of residents.

The 140 families living on the plot identified for the zoo have demanded that they be given alternative accommodation as well as jobs. “We are


A See Through Goldfish

Japanese Researchers Create See-Through Goldfish

See-through goldfish could be used for research purposes, or make an expensive pet

South Korean scientists may have created a glowing cat, but Japanese researchers have successfully developed a transparent goldfish.

The clear goldfish allows observers to see the tiny fish's beating heart, which allows scientists to observe living creatures and reduces the numbers of dissections.

"You can see a live heart and other organs because the scales and skin have no pigments," said Yukata Tamaru, Mie University associate professor, in a statement to the AFP. "You don't have to cut it open. You can see a tiny brain above the goldfish's black eyes. Having a pale colour is a disadvantage for goldfish in an aquarium but it's good to see how organs sit in a body three-dimensionally."

The goldfish could live up to 20 years and can grow up to 10 inches in length. Researchers can view the fish as it grows from a speck up to a five-pound goldfish later in life.

Japanese researchers from the Institute for Amphibian Biology of Hiroshima University are expected to begin mass producing see-through frogs sometime

>>>Read Full Article>>>

Rhino Poaching Is On The Increase

Poaching of rhinos rising globally: Report

Poaching of rhino is on the rise globally, according to a report recently published by International Union for the Nature Conservation (IUCN) and TRAFFIC International. The poaching of the endangered animal in Nepal is also increasing at an alarming rate, with more than a dozen rhinos poached this year.

Greater one-horned, lesser one-horned, Sumatran, black rhino and white rhino are scattered in Africa and Asia. Nepal boasts of greater one-horned rhino.

The greater one-horned rhino (rhinoceros unicornis) is currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. There were 612 greater one-horned rhinos in 2000 in Nepal but the number fell to 444 in 2008.

Thirteen African countries are home to the black and white rhino species, with a total population of 21,700. According to the report, 470 white and black rhinos have been poached between 2006 and 2009, with 69 per cent shot dead.

In Asia, targeted poaching seems restricted to greater one-horned rhino. In Nepal, between mid-1999 and mid-2007, more than 149 rhinos were reportedly poached, with severe effects on rhino number in Chitwan and Bardia national parks, where 52 per cent and 86 per cent deaths were attributed to poaching. While rhinos continue to decline in Bardia, Chitwan’s numbers are now increasing following improved political stability, states the report.

The greater one-horned rhino inhabits in Nepal and India only. The poaching is rampant in India too. The report says, in India, most rhino poaching has occurred in Kaziranga NP, with 20 killed in 2007, 10 in 2008 and seven in 2009.

The report states the

Javan rhino (rhinoceros sondaicus) is now critically endangered. Ujung

Kulon NP in west Java, Indonesia currently conserves between 38-44 rhinos.

“The resurgence of rhino horn trade in Vietnam, possibly China and other parts of Asia is of paramount concern, but remains poorly documented, especially the extent of usage and trade in end-use markets in Asia,” states the report. It pointed Kathmandu as the transit for the trade of horns



In transit or destination, Delhi is poachers’ capital

In transit or destination, Delhi is poachers’ capital

There is little connection between an ultraviolet-ray light sourced from Australia and clumps of fish meat with bones carefully picked clean, but together the two form a perfect gift for the Capital’s unusual guests — two baby crocodiles.

Poached from Tamil Nadu’s Hogenakkal Falls and rescued from the poacher’s luggage at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Railway Station, the baby crocodiles are being taken care of by the NGO Wildlife SOS here.

In the past one year, Delhi has witnessed several rare and protected species — dead and alive — brought in via illegal channels from across the country. The authorities have found nine leopard skins, four ‘sambar’ deer skins, 100 shawls made from shahtoosh (Tibetan antelope ‘chiru’ hair) and seven otter skins.

Several NGOs — along with the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Delhi Crime Branch, CBI and


A Thought for 2010 - Please Read

Reflections on a Mote of Dust

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Excerpted from a commencement address delivered May 11, 1996. Dr. Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot expands on these ideas.

Image from Voyager 1, 1990.
I hope that reading the above has given you pause for thought. I wish and hope all the best for you and yours and everybody in 2010. I had read 'Reflections on a Mote of Dust' a couple of years ago and it had slipped from my mind. I am grateful to my colleague Shubhobroto Ghosh for sending it to me today. I needed reminding. I believe we all do. - Peter Dickinson

Sainsbury's Help To Save The Iberian Lynx

Sainsbury's pulls plug on plastic corks to protect endangered species

All of Sainsbury's own-brand wines will be sealed with corks certified by the Forest Stewardship Council by the end of 2010

                                Photo By:

The corks popping from bottles of bubbly tonight will release more than a toast to the new year: a safer home for Europe's last big cat, the Iberian lynx, and other endangered animals.

To help the celebrations be more environmentally friendly in future, Sainsbury's has pledged that from 2010 all the corks used in its own-label drinks will be from guaranteed sustainable sources.

Its first champagnes and sparkling wines sealed with the cork – certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and sourced from the most sustainably farmed forests in the world – will be bottled next month. A full-scale switchover for the rest of the supermarket's 6m bottles of own-brand wine, champagne, and sparkling wines using the FSC-certified corks will be completed by the end of 2010.

The move is the largest yet by a single UK retailer. A spokesman for the Co-operative Group said it planned to introduce

FSC-certified corks in 2010 on about a third of its own-brand wines.

The use of FSC corks could reduce the threat of extinction of a number of endangered species living in forests such as the Mediterranean Cork Oak forests. These include the Iberian lynx, of which there are fewer than 100 remaining, and the Iberian imperial eagle, of which only 150 breeding pairs remain.

Cork oak trees are unique in their ability to regenerate after their bark has been harvested. This means that cork forests undergo fewer disturbances than conventional commercial forests, creating a unique and valuable eco-system. FSC certification is considered the best way to protect this environment for the long-term benefit of communities living and working in these regions, as well as the indigenous wildlife. In order to gain certification, cork producers have to ensure that they have minimal impact on biodiversity in the area, while also ensuring that harvesting practice is fully sustainable.

But while Sainsbury's move was welcomed by conservationists as a step in the right direction, it is a small step. Natural corks are used for about 80% of the 20bn bottles produced globally each year.

The growing popularity of plastic corks and screw caps has raised fears about the long-term future of cork oak forests. Sainsbury's wine maker, Barry Dick, said the type of closure used to seal bottles was based on quality, style and appellation laws which stipulate the type of closure that best suits each individual wine. Natural corks are important for certain types of wine – particularly for bold reds – because they allow oxygen to interact with wine for proper ageing, for example.

Dick commented: "Where we use cork, it is important to us to make sure that the harvesting of that cork makes a positive contribution to the wildlife in the area, while at the same time managing traceability, consistency and quality to ensure our wines taste their best."

Julia Young, Manager of WWF's Global Forest and Trade Network in the UK said: "The fragile cork oak forests are part of the unique natural heritage of the Mediterranean; a valuable and threatened forest region right on our doorstep. Leadership like this sets the bar for UK retailers as Sainsbury's achieve a first going into the New Year, and an iconic forest habitat faces a more secure future."

Charles Thwaites, executive director of FSC UK, added: "We tend to associate trees with everyday goods such as timber, paper and tissues. But supporting the cork industry so that cork-oak forests continue to thrive is vital to the local ecology, especially

>>>Read Full Article>>>

Eight creatures that live on the edge

Eight creatures that live on the edge

Forget BASE jumping and snowboarding - you need a microscope to find the most impressive examples of a life truly lived at the extreme. 'Extremophiles' can be found thriving in conditions from concentrated acid to radioactive waste. Meet the microbes that never say die.


Fungi are known for chowing down on anything, but even in this company C. sphaerospermum stands out. That's because it thrives on radiation. Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, believe that the black fungus converts ionising radiation into usable energy, just as green plants convert sunlight. It appears that C. sphaerospermum copes with the DNA-damaging effects of radiation by having multiple copies of the same chromosome in every cell. This fungus is happy living even in the heart of the Chernobyl reactor, where it was discovered in 1999.


Not many bacteria have a nickname, but D. radiodurans has earned its moniker, Conan the Bacterium. It is one of the most radiation-resistant organisms on Earth, able to withstand 10,000Gy (measurement unit for absorbed radiation) of ionising radiation. In contrast, just 5Gy can kill a human. D. radiodurans is also able to deal with UV radiation, desiccation and extreme cold. Like any true hero, its power is now being used for good: D. radiodurans and other bacteria from the same genus are now being engineered to help clean up radioactive sites left over from the Cold War.


Fifty to 60oC is hot enough to scald a person, but it's perfect for the thermophilic bacterium C. aurantiacus. It's found growing in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, USA, where it uses a primitive kind of photosynthesis to get its energy from light. But unlike most photosynthetic organisms, C. aurantiacus is not restricted to places where it can see the Sun: this versatile bacterium also grows happily in the dark using aerobic respiration.


If C. aurantiacus likes it hot, another likes it boiling. P. furiosus thrives in 100°C environments around sulphurous volcanoes on the sea floor. Some extremophiles have slow generation times to cope with their living conditions, but not this 'hyperthermophile': it can reproduce in just 37 minutes. Instead, P. furiosus deals with heat-induced DNA damage by having a DNA-building enzyme with proofreading capabilities, called pfu polymerase. The enzyme works so well that it has become one of the most important tools in DNA research.


Fancy living in battery acid? The microbial colonies that form snottites do it with ease. Simple colonies of fungi and bacteria, mostly from the genus Acidithiobacillus, snottites are found in limestone caves where sulphur-rich water comes into contact with oxygen. They oxidise hydrogen sulphides to get energy and produce sulphuric acid, so their immediate environment is very acidic, with a pH of between zero and one. Because the colonies are so simple - usually just a few species - and because they are isolated in their caves, snottites are important models for studying bacterial ecology and evolution. And the name? The colonies hang down from cave roofs in gooey formations that have the consistency of, well, snot.


S. Americana grows in a bleach-like pH of 8 to 10 in Mono Lake, a large volcanic basin in California. The lake has no outlets, so evaporation has left a super-salty, alkaline environment for S. Americana, which lives in the oxygen-less mud at the bottom. Astrobiologists hope that fossils of similar 'haloalkaliphiles' may be found in the Gusev Crater on Mars, which may once have been a landlocked lake like Mono.


A flatulent cow's stomach may not be your idea of a good home, but for a capnophile - a lover carbon dioxide - like M. succiniciproducens, it's heaven. M. succiniciproducens converts CO2 into succinic acid, a precursor to the fatty acids that its cow host can use as energy. Succinic acid is also an important industrial chemical, used to produce biodegradable


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Zoo News Digest 27th - 30th December 2009 (Zoo News 638)

Zoo News Digest 27th - 30th December 2009 (Zoo News 638)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

Well part of the festive season is out of the way...just a little bit more to go and life will be back to normal. Or at least I hope so. I hope to continue on as before and am grateful to the six people who have subscribed to the Digest this week (For Subscription details see HERE). Necessity really. I believe Zoo News Digest works for you, I don't like taking charity, I would rather give it but I do put the hours in every day to make your life that bit easier.

Meanwhile my non attachment and independence from any particular zoo or organisation will allow me to continue with critical comment without the risk of losing my job. The only problem there is the almost daily abusive emails. These in the main from Craig Busch or Tiger Temple fans but a smattering of others too. They can be most unkind and threatening at times. C'est la vie. I have a thicker skin at the end of this year than I did at the start.

Do you know I was actually twice offered quite a generous cash payments to NOT mention a certain 'zoos' in Zoo News Digest when the press was unfavourable? I refused.

Please post in comments below if you feel so inclined.

This blog has readers from 119 countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eire, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lapland, Lao, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Montserrat, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wales, Zambia.

The ZooNews Digest continues to be read more often by more staff in more zoos than any other publication.

Please consider advertising on this blog as I need the money but understand.... I am of stubborn principle and will not advertise products or services that I disagree with no matter how much you pay me.

Please feel free to use the comment section at the end of this Zoo News Digest.

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If not why not? ZooNews Digest is read by more zoo people than any other similar publication. I will advertise up till the event.

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Read how with my "Quick Guide to Hub Construction." I truly believe it will be worth your while.

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On with links:

'Chicken' frog saved from pot

PAIGNTON Zoo has joined a global conservation project with the arrival of a rare species.

It is now home to a giant frog which has two misfortunes — it is both tasty and large enough to be a meal.

The mountain chicken, or giant ditch frog, is one of the largest frogs in the world weighing in at more than 2lbs.

A zoo spokesman said: "The mountain chicken might be one of the most-confusing animals in the world. It is not a bird and it doesn't live in the mountains but

WWF Scotland release hit-list of 2010’s doomed species

SCOTS conservation experts have pin-pointed the planet’s most at-risk species in 2010.

Butterflies, tigers and tuna are among the 10 most threatened species according to a new WWF Scotland report released today.

They believe climate change, poaching and deforestation in 2010 will leave some animals at “a greater risk than ever.”

And they added that Scotland’s pledge to cut emissions by 42 per-cent by 2020 was a vital part of global efforts.

Director of WWF Scotland, Dr Richard Dixon, said: “We have a window of opportunity in which to step up and pull back some of the world’s most splendid animals from the brink of extinction.

“We urge everyone who wants to live in a world with tigers, polar bears, and pandas to make it their New Year’s resolution to help save these amazing and threatened species before it’s too late.

The fact that the majority of the species listed this year are being directly or indirectly impacted upon by climate change underlines the urgent need for world leaders to hammer out a legally-

Turtles can act like chameleons to deceive predators and prey alike

In a new research, scientists have determined that turtles can act like chameleons, by matching the colour of their skin and shells to the colour of their habitat's substrate, which helps them to deceive predators and prey alike.

According to a report in Natural History Magazine, the research was carried out by John W Rowe, of Alma College in Michigan, US, and his three colleagues.

They collected gravid female midland painted turtles and red-eared sliders from the wild, brought them to the lab, and injected them with oxytocin, a hormone that induces egg laying.

They assigned the hatchlings to two control groups, which they kept for 160 days on either a white or a black substrate, and to two "reversal" groups, which they kept for 80 days on white or

Clouded Leopard Conservation in Assam, India

As we near the end of 2009, we have been receiving progress reports from several of our grant recipients. One is from Karabi Deka and Jimmy Borah whose project, “Status, distribution, and ecology of small cats in Assam, India with a focus on the clouded leopard as a flagship species,” received funding from the CLP. This is the first project we have supported outside of our usual area of emphasis in Southeast Asia. We received a number of requests for India-based projects this year. In fact, we had an all-time high number of proposals submitted in 2009. Although we wish we weren’t so limited in our ability to provide support, it’s exciting to see how the number of clouded leopard and small cat field efforts has boomed over the last few years. With such dedication to uncovering the ecology of these cats and bringing much needed awareness to local communities we are confident that

Seoul Zoo to Go Eco-Friendly

Seoul Zoo is going to be revamped as an eco-friendly ecological park by 2020.

"We will make Seoul Zoo an international tourist destination by renovating it as a park of the future where a zoo and theme park will be combined together in eco-friendly way," Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said.

The renovation proposal was made by a consortium of five companies from Korea, the United States and Singapore.

The plan divides the zoo into a free public park and a paid theme park called "The Living World."

The theme park will consist of four zones where visitors can experience different ecosystems while enjoying various attractions on a 3.

Blackpool Zoo's double celebration

CHAMPAGNE corks are popping all round Blackpool Zoo as staff celebrate two fantastic firsts.

It has been officially confirmed the first ever Western Lowland gorilla to be born at the zoo will arrive in Summer 2010, just as the attraction marks the 10 year anniversary of Gorilla Mountain.

Expectant first-time mother Miliki, who turned 16 on Christmas Day, has been at Blackpool for six years and successfully mated with the latest addition to the group, Bukavu.


And it's also De Brazza monkey magic for Mia, who was seven months old on Christmas Day, as she is successfully reintroduced to her group after being hand-reared by keepers at the zoo.

Mia's mother died when she was 12 days old and her care was taken over by staff.

Jude Rothwell, marketing and PR co-ordinator

Zoo’s growth continues

While most of us will be glad to see 2009 in the rear view window, it has been a year of great success at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Attendance was excellent and, in fact, the Oklahoma Zoological Society edged tantalizingly close to the 20,000-member families mark. The society also drew record crowds for the annual "Ostrich egg breakfast” and a new event, "Zoobrew.”

These events and other fun-filled "ZooFriends” activities enabled the nonprofit organization to donate nearly $1.2 million to the zoo. This was a 42 percent increase over the previous year and is an obvious tribute to the leadership of Dana McCrory, the society’s executive director. Her enthusiasm also might explain why almost 80 percent of ZooFriends members renewed their memberships this year.

Dwight Scott, the zoo’s executive director, also continues to excel. Working with more than 130 dedicated employees, Scott hosted the Association of Zoos and Aquariums midyear meeting. More than 350 zoo professionals attended this

NC Zoo looks to expand popular polar bear exhibit

Officials at the North Carolina Zoo are hoping a multimillion-dollar expansion of one of its exhibits will lead to expansion in the number of inhabitants in the exhibit.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports that officials want to create a polar bear breeding program at the zoo, a move that could mean additional revenue.

The $4.7 million expansion to the polar bear exhibit will accommodate some of the critical elements female bears crave in raising cubs: space and privacy.

Private zoo operator loses ID Supreme Court fight

An Idaho man whose now-defunct private zoo in Nampa was a magnet both for school kids and disputes has failed to fight off a 2006 conviction for misdemeanor possession of exotic animals.

TheIdaho Supreme Court ruled last week there was no evidence that Jerry Korn signed contracts in 2005 to transfer his exotic animals from his Nampa site to a new location in Payette County before Payette County passed a law forbidding exotic animals on June 1, 2005.

Korn contended the Payette County ordinance illegally impaired his contracts, but Justice Joel Horton wrote Korn failed to prove he'd finalized the contracts

White tiger victim 'played dead' in cage

A German zookeeper who was bitten on the neck by a white tiger says she played dead to avoid being killed.

Nearly two weeks ago, Karim the male tiger attacked Linda Gruhn, 30, while she was cleaning its cage.

Ms Gruhn had her neck broken in the attack and was airlifted to hospital.

"It all happened so fast," she told German newspaper Bild.

"He suddenly appeared behind me and grabbed me.

"I thought any minute it's over ... instinctively, I played dead."

But the animal — which had slipped th

Poacher killed in shootout

A rhino poacher was killed and two others injured in a fierce exchange of gunfire between a group of poachers and game rangers on Christmas day, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) said on Monday.

“Two suspected rhino poachers were wounded and one killed in an exchange of gunfire with field rangers in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park on the evening of December 25,” EKZNW said.

Field rangers in the iMfolozi section of the park heard shots in the western part of the Makhamisa section of iMfolozi at about 19:40 and responded immediately.

“Using torches the field rangers

Poachers still continue to hunt Sumatran tigers

Poachers still continue to hunt the remaining Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris) in the Bengkulu forest, conservationist Radius Nursidi of the Profauna nature conservation organization said.

"Based on its survey in March, Profauna found at least 12 tiger traps in the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center (PKG) in North Bengkulu," Radius said here on Tuesday.

He said that Profauna conducted the survey only in one area, namely around the PKG forest park where it found at least 12 tiger traps." he said.Poachers also hunt elephants in the Seblat forest park, he said.

Due to the illegal hunting of elephants and tigers in the Seblat PKG forest park in Putri Hijau subdistrict, North Bengkulu, the population of the

Zoo employee testifies that he never saw animals mistreated at Arlington business

A Fort Worth Zoo employee who bought and sold animals for himself at U.S. Global Exotics testified Tuesday that he never saw animals being mistreated at the north Arlington business.

Mike Doss, who was not representing the zoo, disputed the testimony of witnesses for Arlington that the business improperly housed animals and denied them food, water and veterinarian care.

The owners of U.S. Global, an Internet-based exotic-animal wholesaler, are trying to regain custody of more than 26,000 animals seized by the city Dec. 15 during an animal cruelty investigation. Tuesday was the fifth day of the custody hearing before Municipal Judge Michael Smith.

"I was impressed," Doss said of what he saw during regular visits to the business since 2006 to buy animals or sell those he had raised at home.

"They obviously invested a lot of money in their caging systems and how they took care of their animals."

Doss, who cares for coldblooded land animals at the zoo, said there are several plausible reasons why some of the snakes, lizards and turtles seized from

Como Zoo polar bears will no longer bum you out (maybe)

Remember the days of visiting the Como Zoo and coming across the polar bear exhibit? Maybe your brain blocked the painful memory from your mind. Yes, the zoo is free (sweet!) but you still felt like a terrible person enjoying your day when those enormous polar bears looked like they were plotting their own suicides.

We don't blame them. Even we felt their pain when we'd come by years later to see the polar bear doing the exact same swimming routine in what looked like an over-sized kiddie pool for giants. You could put your hand on one spot on the glass and the polar bear would give you a "high-five" every time. You'd even see kids get a little bummed out by the sight of it. Or how about the other one that walked along one of the concrete barriers, swinging its head so oddly you wondered if the poor animal was stable.

Not anymore folks! Twin brothers Buzz and Neil are getting brand new digs at Como Zoo that should be open in about

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at GSU partners with Zoo Atlanta

Georgia State University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) recently partnered with Zoo Atlanta to go forth with cognitive research, especially with the zoo’s great apes. The partnership has already proved to be a symbiotic relationship; not only has the CBN gained valuable research, but the Center also assisted in the birth of the giant panda cub, Mei Lan.

Though the beginnings of this collaboration were as early as late 2003, the Center has worked with the zoo to develop the Orangutan Learning Tree, which officially opened in April 2007. Other projects include gorilla cognition and tool-use and the Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda breeding program.

The biggest project, the Orangutan Learning Tree, is an exhibit at Zoo Atlanta where orangutans have access to a large touch-screen computer where they can perform certain cognitive tasks while the visitors outside observe. The visitors also have a computer screen in the

Detroit Zoo's lions, visitors to get closer

The Detroit Zoo wants visitors to get a closer look at its big cats and has announced plans to raise $1 million to make over the lion habitat.

Plans call for filling in a dry moat barrier that gives visitors an unobstructed view of the animals and replacing it with a glass wall, which will nearly double the space for the lions and afford visitors a closer look, zoo spokeswoman Patricia Mills Janeway said.

"Warming rocks near the glass will provide the lions with a toasty perch from which to view visitors. Trees, plantings and rocks in the visitor area will mirror those in the lions' habitat, making the experience seem that much more immersive," Janeway

More rare animals seized

CAMBODIAN authorities made five major seizures of protected wildlife in the third quarter of this year, according to newly released data from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Wildlife Enforcement Network.

ASEAN recorded just two major arrests by Cambodian law enforcement for the first six months of 2009, but three large-scale seizures came in August, followed by two more in September.

Following the August 18 seizure in Battambang province of two Asiatic black bears, which are recuperating under the care of the local branch of Wildlife Alliance, Cambodian authorities confiscated 163 kilograms of live Bengal monitors in a bust in Kampong Cham province on August 26.

Just two days later, a veritable menagerie of rare creatures was seized in Phnom Penh, including 15 monocled cobras, 67 elongated tortoises and 15 giant Asian pond turtles. September saw busts in Kandal and Svay Rieng provinces that included 15 live Sunda pangolins, three live water monitors and 25 dead purple swamphens.

Chheang Dany, deputy director of the wildlife protection office at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said it was difficult to quantify the value of the confiscated wildlife, as demand for particular species is hard to measure. Difficult economic circumstances and

What's better than one keyboard-playing otter? Two keyboard-playing otters, of course!

In June, we were shocked and awed by the staggering sight of an otter playing a keyboard. Little Dua, an Asian small-clawed otter, was a resident of California's own Monterey Bay Aquarium, and his caretakers decided that he needed more excitement in his life. The solution: Supply him with his own Yamaha keyboard and enough snacks to convince him that playing it was worth his while.

Dua's not exactly Elton John -- heck, he can't even play Chopsticks -- but we gave him an A for effort, and watching him tickle the ivories became one of our favorite pastimes. (Don't tell our boss.) Imagine our delight, then, when we heard from aquarium staffer Karen Jeffries about a new keyboard-playing-otter video -- this time featuring two otters playing a duet!

These two, like Dua before them, are Asian small-clawed otters -- no coincidence, since the species is known for its manual dexterity. (In the wild, the little guys -- and we do mean little, since the species is the smallest of all the world's otters -- use their

Bristol Zoo praised in annual inspection

Bristol Zoo has passed its annual inspection with flying colours.

Staff at the zoo are celebrating after official inspectors gave them a near-faultless zoo licence, and said they had "nothing but praise" for the Clifton attraction.

Every zoo in the country has to have an official licensing inspection by its local authority, to ensure that animal welfare and care is of the highest standard.

Part of the inspection involves an audit, which looks at animal diet plans, veterinary care, zoo policies and procedures, conservation and research programmes, health and safety, security, education and staff training.

Afterwards recommendations are made for

Owners of protected animals have six months to register

Owners of endangered species will be required to apply for permits from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) starting today.

The requirement — even for endangered species as pets — is the result of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 coming into force.

Perhilitan legislation and enfor­cement director Saharudin Anan said all owners of such species have six months beginning today to obtain the necessary permits.

“They have six months’ grace to register before enforcement begins,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Besides pet owners, pet shop owners and any other individuals who could be in possession of such species of animals will also have to obtain the necessary permits.

Common household pets which are on the endangered species list include tortoises such as the star and radiated tortoises. Other exotic pets such as imported snakes and reptiles are

Six-month amnesty open to abuse

A non-governmental organisation has expressed concern that the six-month grace period for all owners of endangered species including pets to apply for permits will be abused by animal traffickers.

The Traffic South East Asia said that traders may reuse the permit to import and sell more of the same animals during the grace period.

Its acting director Chris R. Shepherd said: “This is called laundering.”

It was reported that owners of endangered animals were required to apply for permits in the next six months beginning yesterday as the result of the International Trade of Endangered Species Act coming into force.

Shepherd said the grace period could provide an opportunity for criminals to smuggle wildlife, register for it and be forgiven for the next six months.

“As most criminals know where the loopholes are and how to exploit them, there is a serious risk of the amnesty

Homesick zoo tigress on hunger strike after being shifted

It's been eight days since Radha, a 17-year-old tigress in the city's zoo has eaten anything. She is being administered glucose intravenously. Zoo authorities, who have not been able to make her eat say it's a case of mental trauma due to relocation to a new home.

The relocation from one zoo to another seems to have traumatized tigress, who is also suffering from old age. She stopped taking food since she was shifted from Aji Zoo to the newly built Pradyuman Park Zoo about eight days ago. In order to prevent her condition from deterioration, the

Zoo penguins help Antarctic birds

Penguins at a Leicestershire zoo are helping scientists with a new project to track the movements of their cousins in Antarctica.

The macaroni species at Twycross Zoo is trialling new tags that record light levels and time to work out where they are for up to three years.

If trials are successful the tags could be used on penguins at the south pole.

Scientists say the wild birds' movements are poorly understood, as they can travel thousands of miles.

Tags 'caused sores'

The British Antarctic Survey developed the 1.5g data logger built into a soft leg ring, after

Bannerghata zoo has work to do

If your visit to Bannerghatta Biological Park turns out worthwhile, it’s because of its decent, tourist-friendly infrastructure. However, when it comes to wildlife care, the Park is yet to plug certain loopholes.

A visit to a zoo always sounds like a fun-filled activity for kids and adults alike. Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) located on the outskirts of Bangalore in Anekal district is no exception. Easy accessibility, parking spots, surprisingly well-organised ticket counters, and numerous food kiosks make the outing a delightful experience.

A near-perfect picture? Not quite.

What started off as a picnic spot in 1971 is now a notified ‘large zoo' spread over 320 hectares housing over 1,500 animals. All zoos in India come under the purview of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), New Delhi, and a state-level body, which in Karnataka is the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK), Mysore. The CZA is a statutory body constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act to monitor the ‘standards and norms for housing, upkeep, healthcare, and overall management of the animals in Indian zoos.'

Like many other zoos in the country, BBP has also submitted a master plan-2010-2019 stressing particularly better animal housing facilities on a par with the norms prescribed by the CZA. The plan points out that nearly 50 percent of the outdated enclosures at BBP need to be upgraded and around 15-20 of them replaced.

With animals being acquired haphazardly over the years, some enclosures such as those of Himalayan black bears and lion-tailed macaques are considerably smaller than what the CZA norms prescribe, admits BBP Executive Director Milo Tago. "BBP's development was arbitrary and unscientific. The CZA came into existence in 1992. Only then did standardization come into place," he adds.

Tago stresses that dismantling the existing structures would take time and considerable expenditure. "That is why we have submitted a 20-year master plan. Until new enclosures come up, I cannot move the existing animals out of their place," he adds. "Right now even my office is not according to the CZA-specified norms. If I demolish this, where will I sit?"

Do tourists' interests come first?

While the plan awaits the CZA's approval, it is surprising to note that the park has well-developed infrastructure for tourists. Paved walkways, sheltered seating areas, and even a playground for children are spread over the park. Does that

Mistletoe fires underwater passions at aquarium

Mistletoe has tricked less than amorous leafy sea dragons (Phycodurus eques), right, at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, Dorset, into a mating frenzy. The close relatives of sea horses look similar to the traditional Christmas greenery, and in an effort to breed them for the first time in Europe, staff put some mistletoe in their tank. Fiona Smith, display supervisor at the centre, said: “The males have suddenly started

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Plus there is more on the Blog...added to daily. Just the zoo interest stuff



The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved inthe running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


Okay this is NOT zoo related but with the festive season coming up it is worth clicking on the link to make a choice or really original gifts. Most of these you will not find anywhere else! Even if you are not feeling festive you will find gifts with a difference for any occassion.


The Trunk Test - Wonderful - Please Watch

Watch CBS News Videos Online


A bit of fun - Zoo Vet Endangered Animals





PDF (191Kb)

Effect of food quality and availability on rainforest rodents of Sri Lanka

--Pamoda B. Ratnaweera & Mayuri R. Wijesinghe, Pp.581-588

Abstract HTML PDF (265Kb)

Non-volant small mammals of the Western Ghats of Coorg District, southern India

--Sanjay Molur & Mewa Singh, Pp.589-608

Abstract HTML PDF (1042Kb)

Biological aspects of sea snakes caught incidentally by commercial trawlers off Goa, west coast of India

--Vinay P. Padate, Lalita V. Baragi & Chandrashekher U. Rivonker, Pp.609-616

Abstract HTML PDF (490Kb)

Plant parasitic nematodes associated with Indian Pennywort Centella asiatica (L.) Urban in Manipur

--N. Romabati Devi, Pp.617-618

Abstract HTML PDF (116Kb)

Description of a new species of the genus Indiopius Fischer (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) from India

--Ahmad Samiuddin, Zubair Ahmad & Mohammad Shamim, Pp.619-620

Abstract HTML PDF (552Kb)

Description of male Orthochirus krishnai (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from India, with comments on its taxonomic status

--Amod M. Zambre & D.B. Bastawade, Pp.621-623

Abstract HTML PDF (213Kb)

Rediscovery of Vosmer’s Writhing Skink Lygosoma vosmaerii (Gray, 1839) (Reptilia: Scincidae) with a note on its taxonomy

--M. Seetharamaraju, R. Sreekar, C. Srinivasulu, Bhargavi Srinivasulu, Harpreet Kaur & P. Venkateshwarlu, Pp.624-626

Abstract HTML PDF (250Kb)

Some observations on vultures in Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh

--Aniruddha Majumder, Santanu Basu, K. Sankar & Qamar Quresh, Pp.627-628

Abstract HTML PDF (112Kb)

Avifaunal diversity in the University Campus of Kurukshetra, Haryana Pp.197-252

--Sanjeev K. Gupta, Parmesh Kumar & Manoj Kumar Malik, Pp.629-632

Abstract HTML PDF (167Kb)

Visit the site HERE 


Interesting Wolf Video


ZooLex  in December 2009

~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,

We have worked for your enjoyment!



The Hamill Family Play Zoo at Brookfield Zoo in Chigago, Illinois, offers children opportunities for nature play and experiences of caring for nature. This is an interesting example of how zoos can provide authentic nature experiences and encourage empathy for animals. Thorough evaluation was completed before design and construction and after opening to ensure that these goals are met.



ZooLex Gallery:


We wish to thank all those who have taken their time to compile and submit information for exhibit presentations, particularly Suzan Megens, a trainee at Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands, Richard van Sluis and Maite Eikelenboom, students at van Hall Larenstein University in the Netherlands, and Lauren Axtmann, our ZooLex intern in July 2009.

They all used the ZooLex template for preparing exhibit presentations:

With your support we have been able to publish 214 presentations (including translations) of 128 exhibits from 74 zoos in 17 countries in the ZooLex Gallery so far.

Articles in ZooLex:


In addition to Gallery presentations, ZooLex publishes articles and links online in its Research section:

We wish to thank Sven Seiffert, Team Leader of Horticulture at London Zoo, for setting up and managing a Wiki on plant use in zoos and Four Paws for making their manual on "Enrichment at Bear Sanctuary Arbesbach" available on ZooLex.

We welcome references to articles on zoo design. Please contact  for announcing or publishing such articles on ZooLex.

Promotion for ZooLex:


ZooLex was represented by our manager Monika Fiby at the AZA Conference in Portland and at the ICZ Conference in Seattle.

Jon Coe and Monika Fiby are both landscape architects, zoo consultants, and editors for ZooLex. In November they moderated workshops at Frankfurt Zoo in Germany about masterplanning and exhibit design.

ZOOS' PRINT is a magazine published by the Zoo Outreach Organization Z.O.O. ( The monthly issues of the magazine regularly include ZooLex exhibit presentations.

ZooLex Editors and Correspondents:

In 2009, we could gain three new editors:

* David McGuire, Vice President, Architecture and Planning,

Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri, United States of America

* Enquan Zhang, Director of Conservation Education Centre,

Beijing Zoo, Beijing, China

* Lee Ehmke, Director and CEO, Minnesota Zoo

Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States of America

The quality of ZooLex publications is ensured by our editorial board

whose members edit and comment on all newsletters, Gallery presentations

and papers prior to publication and dissemination. We wish to thank all

our editors for this valuable support.

In 2006, translations were provided by Monika Lange, Barbara Brem, Andrei Kotkin, Ivan Lozano, Eduardo Diaz Garcia, Enquan Zhang, Lauren Axtmann and Monika Fiby. We appreciate this help.

With the support of our ZooLex correspondents we are distributing the monthly ZooLex Newsletter in English, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, French and German to about 8000 people, mostly working in zoos.

Cooperation with WAZA:


A link to the ZooLex Gallery is available on the website of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums at 46 out of 74 zoos presenting their exhibits in the ZooLex Gallery are WAZA members. Longevity and accessibility of the ZooLex Gallery is guaranteed by an archive at the WAZA office.



Companies and organizations listed in ZooLex Firms offer special services and products to zoos and similar institutions. Moreover, these companies make an indispensable financial contribution to support the continuing work of the ZooLex Zoo Design Organization:



Design Workshop:


A workshop on zoo design will be held at Zoo Salzburg in Austria from March 25 to 26, 2010.

Workshop program:

Information and registration:

When you are interested in hosting a ZooLex workshop please contact us:



Season Greetings to all our supporters and readers and our best wishes for 2009!


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization

registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional

zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and



ZSL Science and Conservation Events 2009-2010



Singapore Zoo Safari Run 2010
6th February 2010
Singapore Zoo and Night Safari


Association of Zoos & Aquariums 2010 Mid Year Meeting


2010 Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) Annual Conferences

Join us in Pittsburgh, PA for our 10th Anniversary “Defining a Decade: Animal Management – Past, Present, and Future” to be held April 25-30, 2010. Conference programming includes: Dr. Vint Virga, a Veterinary Behaviorist as keynote speaker, formal presentations, numerous workshops and seminars, a poster session, and site visits to animal facilities.

Registration is OPEN!! Go to and find the conference 2010 page to click on the registration link.

All conference details can be found at The conference will be held at the Hilton Pittsburgh located in downtown Pittsburgh. Mention that you are with the ABMA and receive a special room rate of $119/night. Reservations must be made by March 23, 2010 at 412-391-4600. Contact Nicole Begley at or 412-323-7235 ext 216 with questions.

First Call for Papers

Presentations by attendees are always a highlight of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance Conferences. We are now seeking submissions for the paper and poster sessions. This year’s theme is:

“Defining a Decade: Animal Management - Past Present and Future”

If you have a behavior management accomplishment, case study, project, or similar dialogue you’d like to share with the delegates, especially one that resonates with the theme of the conference, it is time to put together an abstract and submit it!

Regular Submission deadline: January 15, 2010

All authors notified by: February 28, 2010

Submissions must be mailed electronically via e-mail to: Faxed copies and snail mail will no longer be accepted. Abstract submission guidelines can be found on the submission form at

Please keep in mind that not all abstracts will necessarily be accepted for presentation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Conference Content Advisory Committee Chair, Emily Insalaco, at


BVZS Spring meeting 2010. Theme "Preventative Medicine"

Venue Torquay and Paignton Zoo. Dates will be April 23rd to April 25th. More information will be posted soon. The Conference Hotel will be the Barcelo Imperial Hotel (Hotel Torquay, Barceló Torquay Imperial Hotel, Southern England)

Accommodation rates are £80.00 per room including breakfast regardless of occupancy.

Rooms can be booked via the hotel website as above website using the “BVG” code in the promotion code on the left hand side of the webpage. Alternatively rooms can be booked via central reservations on 08701 688833 quoting “British Veterinary Group”

60 rooms have been placed on an allocation for delegates Any unconfirmed rooms shall been released 21 days prior to the event, subject to availability.

Further details about the Hotel can be found here

For latest details including a call for papers click HERE

Registration form can be downloaded here

The English Riviera website does offer an online accommodation booking facility for those delegates who wish to book an alternative standard of accommodation.


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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We have a lot of new events planned for 2009 and 2010, some in collaboration with Chester Zoo, Odense Zoo, Reaseheath College and Howletts and Port Lympne.

Please check on
for the latest information and programs.

There will also be information on upcoming conferences and workshops in the animal field, like the PASA workshop in Kenya later this month.
Please let us know if we are missing one, or if you are organising an event so we can add it to the calendar. Thank you.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,




Howletts and Port Lympne Student Enrichment and Welfare Course in collaboration with AnimalConcepts.
27th – 29th January 2010

Instructors: Sabrina Brando and Mark Kingston Jones

Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks are pleased to announce a course on Enrichment and Welfare to be run by Sabrina Brando and Mark Kingston Jones.

Sabrina runs AnimalConcepts, an international consultancy company specialising in enrichment, behaviour and animal welfare. Sabrina has 17 years experience in the field and collaborates with many facilities, universities and research institutes.

Mark has been involved in the animal welfare field since 2004 and now works at Howletts and Port Lympne as the Enrichment and Research Officer for both parks organising workshops, talks and working with keepers to design and implement enrichment ideas. He has been involved in two ‘The Shape of Enrichment’ workshops, in the UK and Indonesia, and has presented 9 talks on topics relating to animal welfare at conferences, both nationally and internationally.

This course is designed specifically for college and university students (past or present) who do not currently work within a zoo setting but are looking to do so as a career. Over three days students will gain a background in animal welfare and working with different species, as well as providing practical skills in designing, building and testing enrichment within the settings of both Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks, in Kent. Our aim is to provide valuable experience and the addition of useful skills to a would-be keeper’s CV. Please note you must be 18 or over to attend this course.

Lecture topics include: An overview of welfare and enrichment, animal husbandry and learning, choice and control, enclosure design and breaking into the zoo world. Additionally there will be talks and practicals with keepers involving working with carnivores, primates, ungulates, elephant management, getting involved in in-situ conservation, rope splicing and fire hose weaving.

The workshop registration fee of £150 includes:
All workshop materials
Practical sessions
Lunches during the 3 days, as well as drinks and snacks during the scheduled tea breaks.

Information on discounted accommodation is available on request and the number of available places is limited, so please book early.

For further information and to request a booking form please contact:
Kim Guillot at Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks

Final deadline for registration is: 31.12.09


For Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies please visit:

For notification of Zoo related Meetings, Conferences, Courses and Symposia go to:


ZooNews Digest is an independent publication, not allied or attached to any zoological collection. Many thanks.

Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson


UK: ++ 44 (0)753 474 3377
Thailand: ++ 66 (0)861 382 450

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
Suite 201,
Gateway House,
78 Northgate Street,
United Kingdom

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