Friday, February 26, 2010

A Habeas Corpus writ for a Chimpanzee

Translated with Google Translate from Spanish to English (I have not tidied the text in any way) - Peter

                  Jimy, en su jaula del zoo brasileño. Foto: Proyecto Gran Simio
The chimp called Jimy and lives in a cage in a zoo in Brazil. Project Great Ape International believes that it is sad, isolated and without any entertainment, so you have formally requested their release through a legal procedure that is commonly used for humans.

Backed by a team of lawyers and scientific personalities from Brazil, have filed a habeas corpus before the courts of the city of Niteroi, in Rio de Janeiro state. Among those supporting the initiative are several Spanish scientists and the writer Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa.

They argue that for years the chimpanzee lives isolated and besieged by the public at a small private zoo, according to the complainants, does not meet the minimum operating conditions required by Brazilian law.

Not for the first time there is a 'Habeas Corpus' in Brazil to release an animal. Several years ago, Dr. Heron, a law professor at the University of Salvador used it to release a chimp called Switzerland who lived alone in a zoo in the city of Salvador in Bahia State (Brazil). The judge agreed, thus became the first animal in the world to be recognized as legal subject in legal action.

When I was passing sentence, Switzerland was poisoned by night. The perpetrators of her murder were never arrested even though the Great Ape Project suspicion that the authors of this death were related to the zoo and its release.

For Jimy, Judge of First Instance has managed the petition, denied habeas corpus and the case has been appealed to the higher court, where a court with multiple judges this time, will make the decision. If you refuse, the leaders of this initiative are planning to appeal to the Supreme Court of Brazil.

Original Story:

Indonesian Tiger Puzzle

Before I start I would like to clearly state that I am in no way attacking the work of (Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia), an organisation that I know next to nothing about (their web address is not working). Having seen the terrible conditions that animals are kept in in some Indonesian zoos (notably Banjarnegara and Batturaden ), it is somewhat reassuring to know that someone out there wants to do it properly.

There are puzzles though. This sanctuary is appealing for cash (and I'm not saying they don't deserve it) to build an enclosure for 4 tigers and to pay for their continual upkeep. Why? These animals were confiscated by Indonesian Government officials and placed in ASTI. Surely it is the Indonesian Government who should be covering all costs? If not them then the 'owner's' of the animals up till at least the trial and the guilty party is decided upon. As they were able to support tigers, deer, birds of paradise etc then surely they still should. These ASTI tigers are, I am guessing, the ones siezed from South Tangerang.
There is a huge confusion here. The paper...The Jakarta Globe states that :

"Five endangered tigers, including three cubs, have been discovered in the apparently illegal possession of a man with a long-standing penchant for keeping tigers in the great concrete wilds of Tangerang" This on the 5th February

Then on the 21st February we have "Wildlife officials found a full-grown female tiger and three cubs along with other exotic animals during a raid on a house in Pondok Cabe Ilir, South Tang­erang, the second such discovery this month."

Unless someone has made a big mistake then this is two collections of tigers in Tangerang. A total of 9 animals...being 3 adults and 6 cubs. There is undoubtedly a connection between the two collections. I still question as to where the other tigers are because I cannot believe that the owner of the first siezure, who had been keeping tigers for 25 years, had only produced a single litter. Ten litters in such a time span would be an under estimate.

Up to now these tigers have not been DNA tested. The idea of returning them to the wild is, I believe, not really a seriously viable option though they have done it only very recently. see Tigers Are Released In Spite of Protests (some video footage included).

If it turns out that these are actually pure Sumatran Tigers and not related to those at Taman Safari Indonesia (the DNA could possibly show that*) then these animals would be extremely valuable to the captive breeding programme and should move on to a participating zoo. Far better than having them wasting away at ASTI.

Recently we have had protests and comments from many including myself to the Indonesian government plan to rent out tigers to the rich.

Indonesian Tigers as Pets. Good Idea or Not?
The Indonesian Tiger Dumping Plan Stinks

I don't know whether they are having a rethink because there has been no news. It would be appalling if they were to start charging places like ASTI for keeping tigers which they confiscated. Do they charge Taman Safari? What is the arrangement there? Surely the Park is paid by the goverment for tigers placed with them *.

No doubt we will learn more in coming weeks.

*Taman Safari recieves on an irregular basis wild caught Sumatran tigers for various reasons. These are held in an off show unit within the park.

Below, in part, is the ASTI letter:

Dear Friends:

On Saturday night, 20 Feb 2010, four tigers were delivered to the ASTI (Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia) site, a family of one mother with three rather large cubs (two females and one male). The animals had been confiscated by the Indonesian government from a private house in Jakarta, where they had been caged since 2003 following their purchase from animal traders. While these animals appear to be Sumatran tigers, we are awaiting the results of DNA tests for confirmation of this. Take a look at the attached photos to see three of these beautiful big cats, Dea one of the girls, her brother Flandy, and their mother Ziva. The other female cub (not shown) is called Leony.

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, losing their habitat fast as development encroaches unrelentingly on forests on the island of Sumatra. It is estimated that only about 400 of these beautiful animals remain in the wild. If these tigers disappear, the loss to Indonesia and indeed to the planet will be immense.

We at ASTI are doing our best to care for the four newcomers. Their future depends on the results of their DNA tests, which will confirm whether or not they are Sumatran tigers. However, in anticipation of the family’s possible lengthy stay with ASTI, we are already making plans to build a new very large enclosure for them. It’s extremely tragic that these majestic animals have been taken from their natural habitat and forced to become caged animals, and we hope very much that should they in fact be Sumatran tigers, they will have a chance at rehabilitation and release.

Can we work together to make the Year of the Tiger a better year for these animals? Please help us to give the proper care to these four tigers so that we can fight to save tigers from extinction. Their new enclosure will cost about US$10,000, and their grocery bills will be close to US$1,000 per month. Your donation right now will help us with their food, shelter and medical attention. Please see the information below for how to make a donation.

In sincere appreciation of your help,


Chair, Board of Management
Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia (ASTI)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Condolences to all at Sea World

As at the time of writing there are 2,744 news items on Google relating to the tragic death of Dawn Brancheau at Sea World Orlando. I have even heard people chatting about it in the street. Everybody has something to say. I haven't.... other than to offer my sincere condolences to Dawn's family and friends and all at Sea World.

The choice of news links to include was immense but I have chosen just three.

Zoo Educator Weighs in on Seaworld Trainer's DeathA 12,000 pound killer whale grabbed a veteran Seaworld trainer, pulled her inside a pool, where she drowned.

This is the third time this particular animal, Tillikum, had been involved in a death.
The Wildlife World Zoo's Dr. Grey Stafford spent many years working with marine animals and has a lot of experience working with killer whales. We talked to Dr. Grey about the fatal incident at Seaworld

Hanna: Trainer Wouldn’t Want Killer Whale Harmed

Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna says a trainer killed at SeaWorld Orlando would not want anything to happen to the killer whale that dragged her from a platform and thrashed her around.

Hanna is the Columbus, Ohio, Zoo’s director emeritus and says he knew trainer Dawn Brancheau professionally for the last 10 years.

Brancheau died Wednesday when the 12,000-pound whale Tilikum dragged her underwater.

Hanna says Brancheau was a beautiful person and probably
Whales and people: Tilly is not to blame for this avoidable tragedy
Tilly, a wild-born killer whale (orca), killed her trainer at SeaWorld Amusement Park in Florida. Many people have asked me about this tragedy so here are a few comments. Details about this most unfortunate incident are available in major media around the world but the accounts vary. First, let me be clear that this is a tragedy for all the animal beings involved. Second, let me be clear that in my opinion this could have been easily avoided if Tilly had not been "on show" and had been allowed to live out the rest of her life in dignity. Animals can be unpredictable, including members of our own species, and captive animals are often highly stressed to begin with. That Tilly had a history of attacking humans does not mean that she was any more likely to attack again, but this should have been taken into account in how she was housed. In a TV interview I saw this morning her former trained in British Columbia said it was his understanding that when Tilly was sold to SeaWorld she would not be used in shows. But, unfortunately, she was. While the details remain unclear, it is totally possible that Tilly was surprised or "freaked out" by something that happened and responded as she did because she was afraid of something unusual. This would be especially so if the trainer had actually slipped into the tank (rather than her being grabbed) as this would have been unexpected by Tilly. Many animals will run away from something that surprises or stresses them but TIlly could not because she was in a cage and there was no where for her

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When The Olympics Are Over The Bear Killing Begins

Watch the video and learn more by clicking HERE

One "Sport" That Doesn't Deserve A Trophy

Government trophy hunt puts iconic spirit bear and Olympic Games symbol at risk

In a few weeks, the B.C. government plans on reopening the trophy hunt of bears in the internationally celebrated Great Bear Rainforest. And the spirit bear, which was featured in the Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies, could be one of its targets.

The future of the white Kermode or spirit bear is being put at risk because black bears that carry the spirit bear’s white fur gene are fair game for trophy hunters.

The genetically distinct Haida black bear and the grizzly bear, which is listed as a Species of Special Concern by the Canadian Federal government, can also be killed senselessly for sport.

Coinciding with the release of a Vancouver Sun full page ad, supported by over 20 million people from 40 countries, conservationists have released a map showing that less than two percent of the white Kermode or spirit bear range actually protects the bears from trophy hunting in B.C.

"How can British Columbia be celebrating the spirit bear in the opening Olympic ceremony and as an official mascot to the Olympics when trophy hunting is allowed in over 98 percent of the animal's genetic range?" asks Ian McAllister of B.C.-based Pacific Wild.

"It just doesn't make sense to protect only the white coloured bears when the black bear also carries the gene that produces white cubs." said Kitasoo-Xai'xais bear viewing guide Doug Neasloss.

Read More

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zoo News Digest 20th - 23rd February 2010 (Zoo News 652)

Zoo News Digest 20th - 23rd  February 2010 (Zoo News 652)

Dear Colleagues,

The Panorama documentary on the Palm oil industry was interesting but sadly I don't think hard hitting enough. I hope though that the viewing figures were high enough to force some of these big businesses to change their ways.

The documentary on the Lions transport and travel to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park was with the exception of one glitch, both enjoyable and professionally done. It was interesting to see a little of the zoo and the new home. The generosity of the airline providing free transport did not seem to get a mention which I think is a big pity (or did I miss it?). One thing which I have not heard or seen mentioned anywhere was whether the Oradea Zoo has been compensated in any way for the loss of their lions. Does anyone know?

This morning saw the return of the abusive emails. It was nice to have had a few days free of them.

One email (not an abusive one) caused me to reflect back over overtime during my time in zoos. I have worked in several and I don't actually remember being paid overtime in a single one. I recall the phrase "nature of work" being quoted on more than one occassion. To be honest I was never too worried. I loved my work, always started early, finished late, worked on days off, turned up on holidays...even gave them up from time to time. It wasn't 'nature of work' with me (and so many others) but recognition that zoo work was not a job but a vocation, a way of life.

Over the years I saw a lot of changes not just in zoos and how they work but in the keepers role within the general scheme of things. Working weeks have changed from the standard 48 hours down to 40 and lower. Back in the old days I frequently worked 100 hour weeks but was only ever was paid for the standard. Yes, definitely changes have taken place. What am I leading up to? Money? No not at all. I am just drawing attention to the fact that whereas working hours have changed that keepers roles have too and some zoos have failed to take that into consideration. Some have of course and I thank those on behalf of keepers everywhere.

Enrichment is perhaps the biggest change in zoos. It never got a mention in the sixties or seventies (though good keepers did it even then). Management now expect it of their keepers, and rightfully so. But has this been taken into the keepers working day formula? Is it included along with dealing with the leopard who refuses to be gated, the chimpanzee who won't come in? Keepers have the enrichment to do along with the accompanying paperwork. Added all together it is extra on top of the routine problems. So with the shorter working hours and with more work have extra staff been employed? Perhaps if management were not allowed to leave till the last keeper had finished work in each day that a greater appreciation of the problem would be recognised.

The opposite though seems to have been happening with staff cuts and lay offs. This leads to stress in the remaining staff, stress leads to mistakes, mistakes leads to doors being left open and doors left open can lead to escapes. So who is to blame here? Management for overburdening their staff or the staff themselves. I am not on anyone's side here. I have worked in both roles. I just thought attention should be drawn to what I percieve could be a very real problem and explain some mistakes in husbandry and other work areas which have already been made.

The AZA is almost being accused of collusion with Topeka Zoo before it has even done an investigatory inspection of the place. Ms Doyle's suggestion of conflict of interest is as wrong as jury tampering in my eyes. I don't for a moment doubt that the inspection will be done professionally and the people involved should not be expected to wear green tinted sunglasses to do it. The AZA are the people to do it. Not the IDA.

It reminds me a little of the old days long before the arrival of Zoo Licensing Act in the UK. Then it was the Zoo Federation (now BIAZA) which did the zoo inspections. They set a standard which zoos hoped to reach. If they met the standard then they could join, and by joining pay for the upkeep of the regulatory body. Back then there was always those who failed inspections who pointed fingers and talked of 'old boys club'. I suppose there was an element of this which did exist but it would have been much more true to say that it was a 'sour grapes' situation. Those who could not meet the standard moaned rather than made an effort to improve on sometimes appalling conditions.

At the time I recollect the setting up of a rival organisation which consisted in the main of Scotia Investments chain of zoos and a number of Safari Parks (most of which are now closed). I forget the name they gave the organisation now. They were set up specifically to give their seal of approval to zoos which could not meet the standards required by the Federation (BIAZA). Their standards were as one can imagine very much lower governed as they were by commerce rather than animal care. All water under the bridge now until we now have what is probably the best zoo legislation in the world taking care of zoos in the UK. No! I am not saying that the UK has the best zoos...I am saying they have the best, most sensible legislation. Always room for improvement though.

If you are in a position to do so please lend support to the Emperor Valley Zoo. It sounds an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs where a government would consider nationalising a zoo so that they can specifically steal 7 acres of land. If it is not criminal then it should be.

"The zoo caretaker, however, is unfazed by the growing criticisms, saying its successful breeding programme of tigers in captivity showed that the cats are not abused." - Now there is a truly ridiculous statement. If true then it means tiger farming is just fine...and we know it isn't

I note we now have another Thai temple dealing in Tigers...albeit fake ones. Mind you there was a "leopard skin and five skins from other cat species along"... interesting and definitely illegal.

So we have some cruel half wit selling Lemurs out of the boot of a car in Eire. The story goes on to say "We were amazed at being offered Albino tigers, African tigers, zebras - you name it, there's no animal that couldn't be bought." African Tigers... are these South China Tigers? Or the first White Tigers to be born in the wild for x number of years? (both stories carried in Zoo News Digest in recent months). Whatever. I hope that a thorough and complete investigation is carried out and particularily on the DNA of these Lemurs and the origin of the animals found. Someone must know where they came from. Heads should roll.

Lots of news this past few days. Again top heavy with tigers but it really needs to be.

I had a biopsy done yesterday. It is giving me some pain today and making my sight fuzzy. I now have to wait some weeks before learning the results. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I am very grateful for the two donations this week. Thank you.

Several Zoo Vacancies posted in the past couple of days. Click HERE

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On with links:

90-year-old cockatoo eyes Guinness record

He used to have a mass of white feathers and on his head was a crest that unfolded like an umbrella. But at 90, this umbrella cockatoo swings silently in his cage, shivering even when the midday sun is up.

The cockatoo, named Arthur, may have exceeded the average lifespan of birds like him, but he has lost all his pearly white feathers and his gorgeous crest.

His custodians strive to take good care of him in the hopes that Arthur will beat the current Guinness title holder for the oldest umbrella cockatoo, which is 130 years old.

“Let us see if Arthur can beat the existing Guinness title holder,” said Giovanni Stephen Romarate, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Zoo.

Arthur was a pet of Romarate's grandfather who lived in the town of Dalaguete, Cebu province, but his grandfather, Guillermo Canaya died at the age of 84 years old. Arthur was left in the custody of his father.

Early this year, Romarate brought Arthur to the zoo to let him live among other animals.

“I just recently brought him to the zoo because my father first hesitated because Arthur is so old he came l from my grandfather,” Romarate explained.

Arthur is the oldest of all 68 animals in the Cebu City Zoo in barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City.

Romarate said most umbrella cockatoos, also known as white-crested cockatoos, get cataracts past 40 years of age but Arthur was well taken care of by his family.

"They used to sing a duet 'My Way' and 'Matud Nila' with my lolo but his voice box

AZA both advocate and regulator

The organization deciding the fate of the Topeka Zoo's accreditation next month walks the line between being an advocate for its members and being their watchdog.

A panel for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on March 3 will hear the Topeka Zoo's case for why it should retain accreditation, a status that provides the facility numerous privileges.

The AZA, founded in 1924, is "dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation," its Web site says.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces the Animal Welfare Act and has the legal teeth to close a zoo, the AZA is a nonprofit organization whose accreditation is seen as the gold standard in the zoo world.

But a national animal advocacy group and a former Topeka Zoo employee say the AZA is more interested in promoting zoos than in ensuring animals' welfare.

They point to the financial benefits the AZA receives from keeping the Topeka Zoo as a member. They also note the organization's reaccreditation report for the zoo in 2007 didn't mention any of the animal deaths that only later would come to light.

The AZA says it has dual roles. It acts as a trade organization promoting its membership — zoos in this case. But it also has an independent accrediting arm, and an AZA official points to the zoo accreditations it has revoked in recent years as proof it isn't pulling its punches.

Status symbol

Most at stake for the Topeka Zoo when it goes before the AZA accreditation commission next month is its reputation.

"Losing accreditation doesn't mean you can't operate, but you lose the status of being one of the best in the country," said AZA spokesman Steve Feldman.

Without that status, Feldman said it is difficult to attract top talent, which can exacerbate any problems at a zoo.

But the zoo also risks not being able to loan its animals to other AZA zoos or being able to accept loaned animals. Asked if any animals currently on loan to the Topeka Zoo from accredited zoos would have to be returned, Feldman said some zoos that own animals "only prefer to have those animals in accredited institutions, but not necessarily."

Dual roles

Catherine Doyle questions whether the AZA has a conflict of interest in reviewing the zoo's operations.

Doyle, campaign director for the advocacy group In Defense of Animals, said the AZA's nature was illustrated in what she termed knee-jerk support for the Topeka Zoo.

In a September letter to the editor in The Topeka Capital-Journal, AZA executive director Kristin Vehrs responded to a recent story about a hippopotamus dying hours after she was discovered in 108-degree water. Animals dying are a part of the "circle of life," Vehrs wrote.

"For the article to portray this most natural of occurrences as unusual does a disservice to readers," she wrote.

Doyle points to a Kansas State University veterinarian's subsequent report stating the unnatural water temperature significantly contributed to the hippo's death.

"Like any other trade group, the AZA promotes the interests of its members," she said. "That's not the same as the interests of the animals."

Doyle said the AZA gives no particular weight to animal welfare during its big-picture accreditation reviews, "no more than signage or concessions."

Feldman said the AZA serves in numerous capacities. Vehrs was writing in support for one of the AZA's members, Feldman said, but her role is separate from the accreditation program. He said that arm of the AZA is independent from its trade organization and has offered progressively tougher standards in its 35 years of existence.

"It's the toughest in the world, and that's why the zoo is relying on the AZA," Feldman said.

'Good old boys'

Terry Gingrich, a 17-year operations worker at the zoo who recently was laid off, said the AZA reminds him of a "good old boy's club."

"As long as you're paying your fee, everything is OK," he said in a recent interview.

Since 2000, the zoo has paid $62,000 to the AZA in the form of annual institutional dues, individual fees and educational services.

Feldman said approximately 60 percent of the AZA's budget is derived from member payments. But that doesn't affect the "very serious and meaningful" accreditation process.

"It's fairly common for organizations to charge fees for that membership service, but that doesn't compromise the integrity or the toughness of assessment," he said.

He pointed to hospitals as an example of facilities that are accredited by organizations that receive dues from the members it has to review.

Gingrich and Doyle questioned how thorough the AZA's 2007 accreditation inspection could be if it didn't turn up any of the animal care issues subsequently cited by the USDA.

On the West Coast, the AZA was criticized for its accreditation process in 2007 after a tiger killed three men at the San Francisco Zoo. The tiger's containment wall was under the standards of the AZA, though it had accredited the zoo three years earlier without noting a problem.

Feldman said at the time the wall heights were just guidelines and that a zoo could still be deemed safe as long as there was protection against tiger escapes.

Doyle said the AZA often grants variances for zoos not in compliance, something Gingrich said happened in Topeka.

"They have these guidelines that they're supposed to go by," Gingrich said. "Why have these guidelines if you're not going to follow them?

Feldman countered that the AZA has had no problem revoking the

Paignton Zoo Trials Vertical Farming
Interesting Video - Please Watch HERE

Conger eel's last journey: Anglesey to the Caribbean

One resident of Anglesey Sea Zoo will be bidding farewell forever this month.

Their largest conger eel will be released into the Menai Strait and begin its epic journey back across the Atlantic to give birth to its young.

It's thought the giant eel will return to somewhere near the Sargasso Sea in the Caribbean, which is where all eels are born before heading for Northern Europe, including Anglesey.

"They're excellently adapted to live in conditions like the Strait," said Dylan Evans, owner of the Brynsiencyn zoo.

"They can swim backwards just as well as they swim forwards, so they know they won't have to turn around if they go into places like refuse pipes in search of food. That makes them very opportunistic.

"They're incredibly highly evolved. Like most fish, they have lateral lines which run down the body, giving information on the external temperature, water movement, how close they are to things; they can even pick up electric signals.

"They eat anything they can - fish, squid, whatever goes by."

The eel's size - over 2.5 metres long and 80 kilos in weight - plus its diminishing appetite, indicate it has probably reached its 15th year, and so is ready to return to its birthplace.

"We wouldn't encourage the release of anything into the environment if it had been treated with any form of medication, which we do if some species get sick," said Dylan.

"It might affect the wild population. But the eel tank isn't connected to any other; the water from the Strait comes in and the waste goes out. There's no difference to the natural system."

So Dylan is preparing to don his diving gear, place a net around the eel and help gently lift it up into a round transportation tank; which is important as such animals feel calmer in containers without corners.

The eel will then be taken at high tide down to the shore and released into the sea.

Final destination

Then on a one-way mission to pass on its genetic material, the eel will begin digesting its own body fat rather than waste time and energy hunting en-route.

"Every hunter is itself hunted," said Dylan. "The more time it spends hunting for food, the more time it's exposed to potentially disastrous consequences."

He's not sure how long it will take for the eel to cross the ocean. But on reaching i

Woo - At the Zoo - A Valentine Take

Government to grab zoo land

Prime Minister Patrick Manning and his administration are refusing to ditch what is believed to be a plan hatched at Cabinet level to acquire the just over seven acres of prime Port-of-Spain land on which the 58-year-old Emperor Valley Zoo stands. As a result, the Zoological Society of T&T has filed for judicial review, seeking to restrain Manning, who is named as the prime defendant, from continuing to move to change the legal framework under which the society operates. The legal challenge was filed by the San Fernando law firm headed by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, late last month, and a date for hearing is being awaited. The zoo has been in operation as a statutory body since November 8, 1952, and is home to more than 190 species of animals. It exists on state funding, earned income and donations. (See other story).

According to the statement of claim filed by the law firm, alarm bells rang in the society’s boardroom when it received official word last July from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, that Cabinet at its July 1 meeting had decided to repeal the ZSTT (Incorporation) Ordinance, No 12 of 1952, and replace it with “a more detailed legal and regulatory framework consistent with current legal design of statutory bodies.” The society responded with a pre-action protocol letter, dated July 31, demanding the rescinding of this decision, without success. And by letter dated November 4, the society again objected to the legislative reshuffle, but was informed there was no turning back, the statement indicated. Maharaj told the Sunday Guardian that Manning was specifically named as the main defendant in the claim for judicial review, because he heads the Cabinet. He added: “The Government, apparently, wants to nationalise the zoo, but the Government does not own the land on which the zoo operates. It is owned by the trustees of the society."

“To operate, the zoo needs people with special skills who love animals. “If the Government takes over the zoo, it can put that prime property to other use.” He said the judicial review application was the society’s way of fighting for the promotion of animal rights and for the public to have the continuing right to view the animals in their St Ann’s home, which is next to the Botanical Gardens, which in turn borders President’s House. He said he intended to argue that the Cabinet decision was unlawful, on the grounds it would likely breach the society’s right to the enjoyment of property, as guaranteed by the T&T Constitution. Maharaj is demanding that the Cabinet records, detailing all the discussions that took place leading to the decision to amend the ZSTT Ordinance, be produced in court.

Lutchmedial: Zoo in throes of expansion

Gupte Lutchmedial, the society’s president, said the Government would be going against its established policy to interfere now with the running of the zoo by an NGO like his society. Lutchmedial said the society had a market plan approved by the Tourism Ministry, which involved an upgrade of the zoo that would lead within five years to there being no need for a subvention. Some 200,000 people visit the zoo each year, and the plan was to up the fee from the current $15 for adults and $7 for children to around $25. He groused to the Sunday Guardian that it seemed to him the Government was intent on roping in the zoo in its quest to control everything in T&T. However, Lutchmedial insisted that the society had no intention of backing down, and indeed was intent on partnering with the Manatee Trust to use 369 acres of land in Nariva to house larger animals in the zoo.

He agreed with attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj that running a zoo

Dame Judi Dench joins campaign against World Cup fan zone

Dame Judi Dench has written to Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Culture Minister Ben Bradshaw urging them to abandon plans to make Regent’s Park a “fan zone” during the World Cup, the West End Extra has learned.

Dame Judi fears the event, which is expected to draw 20,000 football fans to the park every day during the summer tournament, will severely disrupt performances at the historic Open Air Theatre, of which she is a trustee.

The theatre’s director confirmed the distinguished actress had written the letter, saying she was “deeply worried” about the impact of the event that directly clashes with a 15-week summer season of performances.

It comes as London Zoo issued a statement warning that the fan zone would create a “serious animal welfare issue” and was “wholly inappropriate”.

Experts predict noise levels will exceed 100 decibels, equivalent to Concorde on take-off, when the crowd cheers a goal.

William Village, executive director

The truth behind elephant brainpower

Are elephants so smart that they can spot the difference when they hear people speaking different languages?

Armed with a giant loudspeaker in the back of a land rover, it is a possibility that researchers have been exploring on the plains of Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

They have also been trying to see if elephants can count lions and figure out the age of other elephants.

Elephants do not have good eyesight but their sense of hearing is acute. It is much more sensitive than ours. The same is true for their sophisticated sense of smell.

The scientists on the research team have been playing sounds or laying down scents which elephants would encounter in nature, but doing so in clever ways that reveal elephant knowledge and thought processes.

Mental skills

Dick Byrne, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at St Andrew's University has studied the cognitive abilities of primates and has been carrying out the experiments with elephants at Amboseli, using different scents to probe mental skills.

He said: "They've proved to have abilities which have only been found elsewhere in the great apes

Zoo needs volunteers to help track frogs, toads

Forensic Science Laboratory will now help conserve tigers

What if Gujarat had not accepted the offer to exchange its lions with tigers, the state will offer its expertise to conserve the National Animal. Forensic Science Laboratory and Forensic Science University jointly will train as many as 30 senior Indian forest services (IFS) officers responsible to conserve the endangered species especially tiger, in the forests of the country.

"This will be a five-day training programme to be started on Feb 22, and will be focused mainly on wildlife crime management," director, DFS, Gandhinagar, JM Vyas told DNA. Vyas said apart from senior officials from the country, officials from Gujarat will also take part in the training programme.

The training has been organised by Tiger Conservation Authority of India especially to focus on conservation of Tigers. "The focus of the training will be mainly on the aspects used to conserve the animals and on precautionary measures to eradicate wildlife crimes in the country," a source told DNA.Aspects related to wildlife crimes like DNA fingerprinting, toxicology

Saved? Syon Park's Tropical Forest finds new home

After months of uncertainty, the Tropical Forest at Syon Park may finally have found a new home.

The hundreds of rescue animals at the Brentford-based Tropical Forest have faced an uncertain future since the news the zoo would be closed down and moved to make room for a hotel development. In a bid to save the zoo, one councillor – Jon Hardy – even swam with piranhas.

But thankfully Hounslow Council has found a possible site for the zoo.

A plot of land adjacent to the Urban Farm in Bedfont is to be considered by councillors as a potential new area for the relocation of the 20-year-old zoo in the next couple of months.

If successful it will mean the Tropical Forest will not have to move away from its Hounslow home.

Zoo owner Tony Purdy said he was pleased at the news the Tropical Forest may soon have a new home – but said even if relocation to the new site was approved it would not be without its complications.

He said the attraction is struggling to raise enough money to be able to rebuild in a new location at all.

He said: “We’re trying to raise funds pretty quickly within the next two months or so, as we have to be out of here by the end of September.

"It’s going to cost £1.5m to £1.6m in total to move, and we still need another £500,000.”

The zoo, which has been at its current premises for more than 20 years and has just welcomed its 500th rescue animal, was told it had to move from its original home to make room for the new Hilton hotel being built in Syon Park.

In a desperate plea to the owners of their current zoo, Mr Purdy said what the site really needed was a few more months to get everything ready

PETA seeks investigation into Palm Harbor primate sanctuary

An international animal rights group is chiming in on the Feb. 12 chimpanzee attack at a local primate sanctuary.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has written a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's animal care division urging an investigation of the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor.

The organization asked the agency to revoke the sanctuary's license if it finds violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The sanctuary's outreach coordinator, Debbie Cobb, said she's not surprised that PETA complained to the USDA.

"Animal rights and PETA people just want to be in the news," Cobb said.

Last week, sanctuary volunteer Andrea Maturen, 22, was attacked by a chimpanzee named Shawn while Maturen was cleaning an adjacent cage. Two chimps got out of their cage and entered the one that Maturen was cleaning because workers failed to secure a lock between the cages and to move the chimps to a cage farther away, authorities said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated the incident and found that the sanctuary was not criminally liable.

PETA's letter recounts details of the attack and the concerns of a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy, who found sanctuary workers evasive, uncooperative and deceptive on the day of the attack.

"The recent attack and the facility's reportedly uncooperative response to local authorities indicate continued dangerous and unprofessional conduct at (the facility),"


With a mild break in the weather many made this Saturday a day at the zoo.

“This is the greatest zoo we've ever been too we enjoy it immensely,” said visitor Tom Sabatine from Pennsauken, New Jersey.

At the Cape May County Zoo visitors had a chance to see their favorite animals up close and in person. Some onlookers couldn't help but notice that a few exhibits are in pretty bad shape.

“It's sad to see how much devastation just from the storm. We never even thought it would hurt the zoo,” said Angela Sabatine.

The storm that crushed Cape May County earlier this month did not hold back on the county's zoo. The wind and weight from the storm damaged five exhibits, including the home of two bald eagles.

“There's a tremendous amount of damage to the zoo and park,” said Zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Hubert Paluch.

During the blizzard that left so much damaged zoo staff had to rush to bring many animals out of harms way. Like most of the county they had to work without electricity.

“It was incredible for us to try to track through the snow and try to just make pathways for ourselves to get to the animals,” said Paluch.

Now zoo officials say all that damage is adding up. They say the storm could have caused as much as several hundred thousand dollars worth.

“We're still evaluating the all the damage that took place and are coming

A native Washingtonian ends up in Hawaii

About 300 bird species are on the Checklist of Birds for the Hawaiian Islands. They fall roughly into four groups. One of the largest consists of those that were introduced to the islands from all over the world. These are the birds most visitors encounter.

A second group includes the seabirds and shorebirds that nest on the islands and the migrants that winter on Hawaii’s warm beaches and golf courses. The Pacific golden plover and the wandering tattler are winter migrants. Seabirds like the terns, boobies, tropic birds, shearwaters, frigate birds and albatrosses are among those that nest in the islands.

Accidentals are another bird group. Every winter, we hope to see a surprise or two. These are mostly water-related birds that lose their way. The lucky ones end up on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Accidental gulls often make the island’s birding “hot line.” We didn’t see any gulls this winter but there was a surprise waiting.

Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historical Park on the Big Island’s northwest coast is a favorite birding spot where we look for the gray francolin. They’re fairly common there. These are grouse-like birds and not particularly shy. A family of four put in an appearance and made the day for visiting birder friends. They weren’t

Longleat monkeys will be fenced-off after herpes scare

Visitors to Longleat safari park will be able to see monkeys again after they were shut away from the public earlier this week - but from a distance.

The drive-through monkey jungle at the safari park was closed after one of the creatures was found to have Simian B herpes, which can be fatal to humans.

Staff are building a new fenced-off enclosure in the existing jungle so visitors can see them from afar.

It is expected to reopen at the Wiltshire park later this year.

The creature was found to have the virus during routine tests of the rhesus monkey colony at the safari park in March last year.

The monkeys are regularly tested

FOTZ sticks snout into elephant issue

Friends of the Topeka Zoo opposes retiring retiring the zoo's elephants.

Not much of a surprise, but they hadn't voiced their opposition publicly until a recently added article on their Web site.

"The Topeka Zoo elephants future is at stake!" the headline states.

In Defense of Animals, a national animal advocacy group, and the more-local Animal Outreach of Kansas will talk to a city council work session Tuesday night about their desire to move the zoo's elephants - Tembo and Sundra - to an elephant sanctuary in

Insight on tiger breeding

A controversy involving a private zoo which bred tigers in captivity under questionable circumstances will be the focus of a Starprobe report in the coming days.

The zoo is doing a roaring business, including renting out tiger cubs for as high as RM5,000 a day. But it has come under intense scrutiny by nature groups to do right by these big cats in the Year of the Tiger.

The zoo caretaker, however, is unfazed by the growing criticisms, saying its successful breeding programme of tigers in captivity showed that the cats are not abused.

He claimed that the zoo had a special permit

Monkeys more sensitive to damage to their habitat than previously thought

A new research has determined that monkey populations in threatened forests are far more sensitive to damage to their habitat than previously thought.

The research was conducted by Dr Andrew Marshall, from the Environment Department at the University of York and Director of Conservation at Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, in collaboration with colleagues.

As part of the research, an analysis of monkeys living in Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains suggests that the impact of external factors, such as human activity, on species numbers is felt in forests as large as 40 square kilometres.

Researchers also found that the health of monkey populations is closely related to the type of habitat found between forest fragments, rather than the distance that separates them.

The findings have broader implications for conservationists as the number of monkeys and the variety of species

Man held over eating zoo warthog

A MAN has been arrested after he and nine others on the run ate a warthog that strayed from the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe.

Isaac Musisi, a resident of Nakiwogo landing site, was arrested last Thursday.

“Staff at the centre tried to lure the warthog back but they were unsuccessful,” said the Entebbe crime investigations chief, Fredrick Wetaya.

As it wandered, it got to Nakiwogo, which is about two kilometres from its habitat.

It is reported that residents caught it and slaughtered it,” Wetaya stated.

Musisi recorded a statement in connection with the incident, according to a Police officer.

He is to appear in court on charges of killing a protected animal and failure to hand over a carcass.

It is a crime to kill a wild animal, according to the wildlife Act.

The centre’s chief, Dr. Andrew Seguya, said residents near the facility were sensitised on how to handle

The Red Wolf Man

From his home in East Asheville, Warren Parker can hear the red wolves howling at night. To him, their night-piercing cries are comforting.

Parker, 75, lives near the Western North Carolina Nature Center, home to a pair of endangered red wolves -- Rufus and Angel -- and their cub Mayo, plus some gray wolves and foxes.

"I absolutely love hearing the wolves," Parker says. "In the summer, I'll sit on the front porch and listen to them."

As he listens, the memories of his colorful career come flooding back.

Parker, the first national director of the federal government's Red Wolf Species Survival Program, could easily be called the Father of the Red Wolf. Thanks to his efforts, the red wolf is no longer doomed

Tale of the Cat

"Without the breath of the tiger there will be no wind, only clouds, and certainly no rain." —The I Ching

"I'll be quite honest with you," says Ron Tilson, director of conservation at Minnesota Zoo, co-author of a new edition of the encyclopedic Tigers of the World and, with decades of fieldwork in Asia's tiger habitats under his belt, an authority — maybe the authority — on our most endangered big cat. "I've never seen a wild tiger."

There's more. "I'm actually allergic to tigers," continues Tilson, 66. "If I touch them, I break out in hives." He chuckles. "Figure that. I'm the world expert. Never seen one. And I'm allergic to them." (See pictures of the 10 animals facing extinction.)

While the allergy is incurable, Tilson might yet see his first wild tiger, in a central Chinese wilderness he is playing an almost godlike role in creating. Thanks to a unique collaboration between Minnesota Zoo and China's State Forestry Administration (SFA), a plan is under way to reintroduce the South China tiger, the rarest of the world's five surviving subspecies, back into its natural habitat. In this Year of the Tiger, the project has secured $3 million to restore a 250,000-acre (100,000 hectare) nature reserve straddling the borders of Hubei and Hunan provinces. (Read "No Valentine? Celebrate the Year of Tiger Instead.")

Half of this grant has been provided by the Chinese government, whose high-level interest in the project is easy to understand. Panthera tigris amoyensis is the progenitor of all modern tigers and the only subspecies unique to China. "You have a culture that reveres the tiger," says Tilson. "It's part of their fabric." By pulling a Chinese subspecies from the brink of extinction, China seeks not only to overturn an appalling record on conservation and the environment but also to gain a powerful new icon of national resurgence — not a cuddly giant panda this time but a formidable predator that eats herbivores for breakfast.

Tigers have never before been reintroduced to the wild. This is partly because scarce conservation resources are usually devoted to what Tilson calls "a failed strategy": protecting what few tiger habitats remain. "There needs to be a new paradigm," says Tilson. His answer? "Let's create wildernesses, as opposed to trying to protect the little fragments that are left." Hopes for resurrecting the South China subspecies rest largely on a captive population of 67 tigers, held in zoos across China. It will be challenging. Derived from just six animals — two male, four female — caught between 1958 and 1970, they are so inbred that they are virtually brothers and sisters. But, Tilson adds, "China is an economic juggernaut, a military powerhouse. As part of that portfolio they need to bring back the icon of Asian wilderness. And that's the tiger." (See "Saving the World's Endangered Species.")

Back to the Future in half a century, the wild south China tiger population in China has been reduced from perhaps 4,000 to — Beijing disputes this — none. During Mao Zedong's time they were considered a pest and extermination campaigns were launched against them. Also taking a toll were loss of habitat, declining prey numbers and, as the economy took off, growing demand from traditional Chinese medicine for every part of the animal: whiskers, penis, bone, even feces.

Not one but four subspecies of tiger — Siberian, Indochinese, Bengal and South China — have been all but killed off within China's borders. In 1993, Beijing banned the nation's domestic trade in tigers and their parts and, today, China is one of 175 parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which outlawed tiger trafficking globally. But Chinese demand still drives a lucrative pan-Asian trade in poached tigers, which other countries blame for the accelerating decline in their own wild populations. In India, 88 tigers were killed in 2009 — double the previous year's figure. (See pictures of India's contraband wildlife.")

China, where tiger-hunting was legal until 1977, is not the only country with a poor record of conservation. Tigers are also found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam — but only just. A century ago, there were an estimated 100,000 tigers in the wild in Asia. Now their numbers are at an "all time low" of 3,200, estimates the WWF, which in January warned the animals could be extinct in the wild by 2022 — the next Year of the Tiger — unless new efforts are made to save them.

Today, penalties for harming tigers in China are harsh — a villager in Yunnan province was recently jailed for 12 years for killing and eating what might well have been the country's last wild Indochinese tiger. But the laws are patchily enforced. In December the SFA released a directive promising better protection of wild tigers and a sterner crackdown on the illegal trade. Many conservationists remain unconvinced. "We've heard these words before from China," says Mike Baltzer, leader of the World Bank – backed Global Tiger Initiative at the conservation group WWF. "We're waiting to see if they really have any teeth." Vivek Menon, executive director of the Wildlife Trust of India, says China's responsibilities are clear. "They've saved the panda," he says. "Now they must do the same for the tiger."

Tilson is used to skeptics. "Don't you read the newspapers?" he was asked by an outraged prospective donor in the U.S. "The goddamn Chinese eat their tigers and put them into medicine." But Tilson is convinced that China's economic and human resources make it uniquely placed to put tigers back in the wild. The South China project could help revolutionize Chinese attitudes to endangered species and kick-start other attempts to revitalize biodiversity. "China is at a tipping point in its conservation history," he says.

See pictures of species on the brink of extinction.

See TIME's covers about animals.

Reversing a Trend tilson's early relationship with chinese officialdom was almost scuppered by an inconvenient truth. In 2000, he and Minnesota Zoo teamed up with the SFA to make a census of wild South China tigers. They surveyed eight reserves in seven provinces over 18 months, set up hundreds of camera traps and investigated reports of any sighting — but found none. It was the first documented case of a tiger subspecies disappearing from the wild since the Javan tiger did so in the 1970s. Western colleagues cautioned Tilson that his gloomy conclusion would irritate the SFA. "They were right," he says, laughing. "It really irritated them. I was pretty much shunned for almost two years."

But one day Tilson got an out-of-the-blue call from the SFA inviting him to Beijing. China planned to reintroduce South China tigers to the wild and wanted Tilson to be the lead scientific adviser. In 2006, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the SFA and Tilson's South China Tiger Advisory Office based in Minnesota Zoo, and the long task of reintroducing tigers to the wild began. (See the top 10 invasive species.)

Tilson had to first work out which of the eight surveyed areas might support tigers once again. The winning candidate was the rugged Hupingshan-Houhe reserve, which lies within the tiger's historical range. Its terrain isn't too mountainous (contrary to popular belief, tigers prefer lowlands) and there is plenty of natural vegetation (other areas were blanketed with pine or bamboo trees). The human population, mainly elderly vegetable farmers banished there during Mao's political purges, is sparse and willing to relocate. Not that anyone is likely to stay put when the new neighbors arrive, jokes Tilson. "Once you get face to face with a tiger, you leave," he says. "They are formidable animals."

The next task is restoring the wilderness. Tigers need large habitats and abundant food; just one tiger will eat up to 12 pounds (5.4 kg) of meat a day, the equivalent of a large deer every week. Creating a tiger Eden virtually from scratch feels a bit like playing God, admits Tilson, but restoring the prey (mainly deer) will be "real easy," since all these species once lived in Hupingshan-Houhe in numbers that supported tigers. "We're not trying to reintroduce a bunch of animals and predators into a system that never had them before," he says. (See the top 10 animal stories of 2009.)

Once the wilderness is complete, the tricky part begins: breeding the tigers to inhabit it. The last remaining South China tigers could die out within a few generations unless their genes are supplemented with those from other subspecies. It is not an image China's propagandists will want to project: a captive population of "Chinese" tigers, enfeebled by decades of inbreeding and reliant on genes from, say, a Vietnamese subspecies before they can survive in the wild. But ultimately, says Tilson, the Chinese will have to accept this hybridization "because it's already been done and they have no other cards to play." It could be up to 10 years before the first pregnant tigers are taken to a remote, enclosed area within the reserve to deliver the cubs that will eventually populate it. Although captive-bred, the mothers will teach their young how to hunt and kill prey. "This ability is hardwired," says Tilson. "They don't lose it."

Into the Wild Tigers breed easily — they are cats, after all — and some 5,000 are kept on farms across China. The recent SFA directive pledged to better regulate these farms, but not to shut them down. This makes a mockery of China's avowed concern for tigers, say many conservationists. The farms ostensibly make their money from tourists, although some illegally sell tiger meat and parts. How can the same SFA officials who plan to save the South China tigers ignore the fate of thousands of their farm-raised cousins? The authorities argue that if public demand can be met by farms then wild tigers won't be poached. But conservationists believe these same facilities fuel demand and fatally undermine conservation efforts. Steven Galster, director of the Bangkok-based wildlife and human-rights group FREELAND, says the SFA is using the reintroduction scheme "to justify captive-tiger breeding operations in China, some of which are actually selling tiger bones. Those sales are sending very mixed signals to Chinese consumers, perpetuating demand for tiger parts, which in turn sends a signal to poachers across Asia that this lucrative business is still taking orders." (Watch TIME's video "Wild Wallaby Rescue in Tasmania.")

How lucrative? By China's own estimate, the traditional-medicine industry has lost an average of $266 million a year since the domestic ban was imposed in 1993. That landmark legislation remains "critical" to the future of wild tigers, says Li Zhang, associate professor of conservation biology at Beijing Normal University. "The Chinese government needs to strengthen its enforcement of the ban," says Zhang.

Ron Tilson opposes tiger-farming — "The day I see tigers on meat hooks is the,8816,1964894,00.html

After tigers, genome databank now for leopards, elephants:

Wildlife scientist

Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun will soon take up the task of developing genomic databank for leopards, elephants, bears and musk dear, said WII scientist S P Goyal.

Goyal, an expert in wildlife forensic techniques, was in Gandhinagar today to participate in the five-day wildlife crime management programme organised by the Gujarat Forensic Science University (GFSU) jointly with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Traffic-India.

This is the first time GFSU is organising a workshop for the conservation of tigers in the country. “WII under its ‘Tiger genome project’ is developing a database which will help in developing policies to stop wildlife crime,” he said. There are around 200 species across the country, which are categorised under

Baby Lemur Gets a Leg of Steel After Successful Surgery

A baby ring-tailed lemur, an endangered species, underwent surgery at Michigan Veterinary Specialists and is now on it’s way to leading a normal life at a rescue sanctuary.

Peanut, a baby ring-tailed lemur, underwent surgery at Michigan Veterinary Specialists where her fractured femur was fixed with a steel plate and screws. After two hours in the operating room, Peanut was on her way back to leading a normal lemur life at the Summer Wind Farms Sanctuary.

Court orders seized birds to be sent to Kankaria zoo

The exotic birds that were seized by government railway police officials on Sunday, will now finally find a home at Kankaria zoo. The decision was taken after the court intervened in the matter late on Monday evening.

The government railway police station at Ahmedabad railway station seemed more like a makeshift birdhouse on Monday with 199 exotic birds there. After a harrowing 40-hour ride in the parcel van of Howrah Express, the birds were sent to the police station. Then came the dilemma as to who would take custody of the exotic birds which would die if freed. After a long tussle between police and city zoo authorities, the latter accepted the birds. The zoo authorities complied after court's intervention.

Government railway police station officials had seized a consignment of birds on Howrah Express at 1.30 pm on Sunday after a tip-off on illicit bird trade. Inside a large cage wrapped with a cloth were 200 birds of various types - white cockatiels, grey cockatiels, falcon cockatiels, fischer love birds, rosy love birds and lutin

Cracking of 2007 lion poaching case

The investigation into the sensational 2007 poaching case will be a model case for the wildlife conservators participating in the five-day long 'Wildlife Crime Management' course being held at Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS), Gandhinagar.

The programme was inaugurated by director general of police, Gujarat, SS Khadwawala on Monday.

The training programme for forest officers of the country has been

organised by Tiger Conservative Society of India, Wildlife Institute

of India- Dehradun, Traffic-India and DFS. Many forest conservators from Gujarat are participating in the programme.

Principal chief conservator of forest, Pradeep Khanna told DNA that the lion poaching case of Gujarat will become a model for investigation into wildlife crimes throughout the country. Talking about the investigation into the case, director Forensic Science Laboratory, JM Vyas said that a team of the FSL camped in Gir and ensured that all evidences were properly collected and analysed.

He said the measures that were taken to help solve the case could also prove helpful in solving other wildlife related cases in the country.The challenge

Shock over poaching clip

Conservation groups are shocked over a video clip showing poachers proudly posing for the camera with a tiger which they had allegedly killed.

The clip, which was captured using a mobile phone, was highlighted in a report by Britain's Channel 4 News and posted on its web site on Saturday.

It stated that the footage was recorded in northern Malaysia around the end of last year.

The clip showed several people standing around a tiger carcass and discussing how they had killed the animal.

Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor said the killing was disrespectful to the Year of the Tiger, especially with the low tiger population in Malaysia.

"They should be hung for that. The law needs to be urgently

You can watch the video by clicking HERE

Trapping the monkey problem

Despite their “cute” image, which so enamours them to visitors, the monkey population in Nevis is now well above acceptable limits and this is having a severe negative impact on local agriculture. Cuban monkey expert, Dr. Santos Cubillas of the Cuban National Zoo, who has been conducting a study of the local monkey population, estimates that their numbers have grown to at least 7,000 and perhaps to as many as 10,000 – one monkey for every member of the human population.

On Thursday, 4th February, the Department of Agriculture unveiled a central part of their strategy in combating this increasing pest. They have constructed a prototype large trap; one theoretically capable of capturing a whole small troupe of monkeys, not just one individual animal at a time. The trap is currently situated at New River and a deputation travelled there to see the contraption first hand. The senior member of the group was Dr. Kelvin Daley, Permanent Secretary to the Departure of Agriculture, and upon seeing the trap, Dr. Daley immediately pointed out that, being out in open ground, it was not in the best possible location. “Monkeys are cautious and suspicious creatures and they stay in the cover of the brush as much as possible. They would need to be feeling very confident to venture this far from the cover of thick and tall vegetation. This positioning may be convenient for those placing the trap; but it is not convenient for its intended customers.”

The trap is a low-tech device and therefore should not be subject to the risk of mechanical failure. It is sprung by a covert human observer, some distance away, yanking a cord which should slam shut the trap door, once a sufficient quantity of monkeys are inside it; the trap having been previously heavily baited

Thailand: Monk Arrested Selling Cats Dressed as Tigers

Thai police have confiscated approximately 200 animal skins from a temple in Thailand's North Eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. The abbot had been skinning the animals, believed to be mainly domestic cats and dogs, before dying them to resemble that of a tiger and selling them to the public as religious charms.

Nakhon Ratchasima, 23rd of February 2010 [PDN]: Acting on a tip off from locals who saw a suspicious number of animal skins being dried in Wat Simalai Songdhamma, officers from the Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) seized 204 animal pelts from a temple in Pak Chong District.

Initially the skins appeared to be those of tigers and other big cats, but closer examination by experts revealed there to be only one leopard skin and five skins from other cat species along with one crocodile skin. The others were found to be dog and cattle skins painted with stripes to resemble tigers.

During questioning, the monks told authorities

Toronto Zoo elephant program draws criticism

The Toronto Zoo is facing heavy criticism for the December death of matriarch elephant Tara, the fourth elephant fatality in four years.

In Defense of Animals, a California-based watchdog, recently rated the Toronto Zoo number two among the Top Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America.

The Toronto Zoo made the Top Ten list because of “deadly” conditions for these animals, including the lack of space and cold climate that has produced four death, the group said.

“This is the highest mortality rate for any zoo in North America in the last four years,” said Catherine Doyle, elephant campaigner for the group.

Meanwhile, an elephant expert from Sweden, Dr. Joyce Poole, is urging city council to shut down the elephant program entirely.

In a letter sent on behalf of the group Elephant Voices, Poole pressed council to send the three remaining elephants to a sanctuary, arguing Toronto is no place for elephants.

But some say the hostility toward the zoo is unwarranted. Ward 38 councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, a zoo board member, said the Toronto Zoo is quickly becoming

Finch Fighting: A New Breed of Animal Cruelty

America's more-unsavory pastimes have long included underground cockfighting and dogfighting scenes, but now reports point toward a new animal-cruelty trend: finch fighting.

Last week, Massachusetts authorities seized more than 20 of the birds -- 6-inch "little bursts of yellow" as described by The Boston Globe -- after a home inspection in Ashland, a small town about a half-hour's drive from Boston. More than 20 Brazilian men were at the house, and some were detained by immigration authorities.

The raid recalled the arrests in Connecticut last summer of 19 Brazilians involved in a bird-fighting ring, and indeed, the similarities are no coincidence: Despite being banned 20 years ago in Brazil, canary fighting, as it's commonly called, remains popular in the

Tata Steel's Jayanti Sarovar: A bat sanctuary

THE SOUTH Asian Bat Monitoring Programme is one of the brilliant conservation efforts. It aims to create awareness about bat conservation issues by educating biologists and nature lovers about the biology of bats.

The focus of the organisation in India is the flying fox or the fruit bats. As per the United Kingdom-based Bat Conservation Trust and South Asian Bat Monitoring Programme, there are more than 1,100 species of bats across the world accounting for one-fifth of the global mammal species and 25 per cent of the mammalian diversity in South Asia. While the large fruit bats live in tropical South Asia, their small carnivorous counterparts live in Europe and the United States.

The little-known Jayanti Sarovar Bat Sanctuary- Jharkhand state's lone urban reserve of flying foxes or giant fruit bats - is spread across 0.69 hectare of a deeply wooded isle in the Tata Steel Zoological Park. Zoo authorities and local researchers claim that flying fox population here has logged a sharp rise from 500 in 2008 to 700 in 2009. A truly remarkable conservation indeed.

Tata Steel Zoo authorities and local environmentalists led by professor Sharma are conserving and thus saving the bats by giving them seclusion, protecting them from human contact and filling the island with more greenery. A passionate b

Asia's greed for ivory puts African elephant at risk
Slaughter by poachers intensifies as governments seek to increase legal sales

There has been a massive surge in illegal ivory trading, researchers warned last week. They have found that more than 14,000 products made from the tusks and other body parts of elephants were seized in 2009, an increase of more than 2,000 on their previous analysis in 2007.

Details of this disturbing rise have been revealed on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the world ivory trading ban. Implemented on 18 January 1990, it was at first credited with halting the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of elephants.

But the recent growth in the far east's appetite for ivory – a status symbol for the middle classes of the region's newly industrialised economies – has sent ivory prices soaring from £150 a kilogram in 2004 to more than £4,000.

At the same time, scientists estimate that between 8% and 10% of Africa's elephants are now being killed each year to meet the demand. The world's largest land animal is again threatened with widespread slaughter.

"It is a really worrying situation," said Richard Thomas, director of Traffic, the group that monitors trade in wildlife. "However, it is not absolutely clear what should be done." Indeed, the issue is so confused that a conflict over the ivory trade is expected at

Not M-P, Gir lions are going to China

Chief minister Narendra Modi may have refused to part with any of the Gir lions for a sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, but the Asiatic lions are still at risk of ending up in China — dead.

The success of the state government in nabbing the poachers who, in 2007, killed eight lions in Gir has lulled many into believing that Gujarat’s Asiatic lions are now safe. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

The fact of the matter is that the existence of lions everywhere is constantly threatened by poachers. Wildlife experts say that the main reason why lions are prized by poachers is the high demand for lion bones in the international market.

“The purported medicinal value of lion bones fetches high prices for them in the international market,” Samir Sinha, head of TRAFFIC India, told DNA on Monday, at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar. TRAFFIC India, a division of WWF India, does research and analysis and provides support to efforts to curb wildlife trade in India. China is believed to be the main market for lion bones but Sinha categorically said that there are several other countries among the “consumers”.

“Chain investigation of poacher gangs is not taking place,” he said. “We should try to get to the people who control the whole market. But all that we have done is crack the network of gangs operating within the country.” Sinha said that the exact value of the lion’s body parts is not completely clear yet. “But there is certainly a perception that its bones have medicinal value,” he said. “There does not seem to be much demand for the other body parts, except for the knuckles. But we are exploring further. The important thing is that there is value to lions, be

Tiger farms: A conservation idea red in tooth and claw?

Could "tiger farms" -- where the animals would be bred in captivity then culled for their body parts -- help save the critically endangered animal in the wild?

"Regulated tiger farms could provide enough tiger products to reduce the pressure on wild tigers from poaching," said Terry Anderson, executive director of the Property and Environment Research Center, a non-governmental organization that looks at market-based approaches to conservation.

The idea has been put forward by owners of China's tiger breeding centers that have remained open as entertainment parks since China banned the international trade in tiger parts in 1993.

Anderson says that the focus on the issue of killing the animals means many animal rights activists lose sight of the potential of what he calls a "conservation-commodity solution."

"Tiger farms will help reduce the demand for wild tigers if the market is well-regulated. It would be wrong to say that by eliminating the market we eliminate the demand for tigers," said Anderson in reference to the continuation of the illegal trade in tiger parts, which are are prized for having healing and aphrodisiac qualities and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

"Like elephants, there are ways to capitalize on the value of these animals and conserve them."

A controlled market for tiger parts, done in tandem with the creation of fenced tiger sanctuaries for the animals in the wild, could stimulate tiger tourism, Anderson

Interesting comments in the above link - Peter

Zoo responds to AZA report

24-page document calls for new position of registrar to foster communication

In an effort to address its systemic problems, the Topeka Zoo on Monday released an extensive plan of action including the creation of a new position aimed at reducing staff intimidation and timelines for hiring a new director and veterinarian.

The 24-page document, accompanied by more than 50 attachments, was sent to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in response to a recent critical report by the group.

The documents represent a blueprint of the zoo's upcoming presentation to an AZA panel that will decide March 3 whether the zoo retains its accreditation.

The city has moved quickly in the past week to address concerns. Late last week, the city laid off four zoo employees, three of them top management positions. With those moves, the zoo now operates without five of its top six positions.

Shifting the management structure appeared to be a theme of the zoo's response.

"Personnel changes have established a solid foundation for a new leadership team at the Topeka Zoo to restore the trust and confidence of the citizens of the city of Topeka and of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums," wrote interim director Dennis Taylor.

Some of the biggest news coming from the response was the creation of a new position

Man arrested for lemur trading

A man has been arrested after trying to sell four lemurs from the boot of his car to an undercover journalist in Co Down.

Animal Welfare officers have hailed the operation a success but said it reveals the scale of the lucrative trade in exotic animals in Northern Ireland.

Lemurs are an endangered species native to Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa.

They are protected under international law and under new legislation which was introduced in Northern Ireland two years ago called the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.

But a similar law is not in force in the Republic which allows criminals to continue their trade in exotic animals through the south.

Animal Welfare officers said they have been shocked at the scale of the illegal activity.

"During the investigation, we discovered there were large amounts of animals being traded," said the USPCA's Stephen Philpott.

"We were amazed at being offered Albino tigers, African tigers, zebras - you name it, there's no animal that couldn't be bought."

It was in the car park of the Outlet in Banbridge that four lemurs were seized from the boot of a car on Friday morning. It followed an undercover operation by a national newspaper reporter, the

Lengthy and interesting video attached in the above - Peter

Television show examines issue of bear poaching

The plight of California's wildlife will receive some exposure on the small screen starting Friday with the airing of a Planet Green television episode about bear poaching.

The hourlong episode of the "Crime Scene Wild" program was filmed nearly two years ago and has already aired in Europe. Its first showing in the United States is at 6 p.m. Friday on the Planet Green Channel, part of the Discovery Channel network, available on most cable and satellite providers in the Sacramento area.

The episode covers the international trade in bear parts for their

New Conservation Area Planned for Javan Rhino

Ujung Kulon National Park is planning to develop a 3000 hectare conservation area for the endangered Javan rhino next year in an effort to boost the population of the endangered species by 2015.

“The conservation area is also expected to become a world-class wildlife park that could also help to boost the number of domestic and foreign tourists,” said Enjat Sudrajat, a spokesman for the national park, on Tuesday.

The plan was first made public in June when wildlife authorities announced they would divide the lone herd of Javan rhinos into two populations.

The new herd would be relocated only as far as the Gunung Honje area, which borders the current population’s habitat in the Semenanjung Ujung Kulon area.

By starting a new herd, authorities believe the animals will be encouraged to breed faster.

Enjat said the conservation area will be developed in cooperation with the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI) and a number of international non-governmental organizations such as the International Rhino Foundation.

YABI’s secretary Agus Darmawan expressed his optimism that the effort would be successful since the project would involve scientists and conservationists who are very familiar with the species.

Indonesia is home to two out of the five rhino

Coventry Zoo hippo attack 'sparked global concern'

THE EXPLOITS of Harry the Hippo went international this week as the Telegraph learned his attacks at the former Coventry Zoo caused panic as far afield as Texas.

We reported the bad-tempered hippopotamus had been responsible for two attacks on young keepers back in the mid-60s.

Now it has emerged the first victim – Richard McCormick – had replaced a 15-year-old Spanish student who left just two days earlier.

Richard was mauled and dragged under water in September 1966, while fellow zookeeper Paul Blatch broke both arms, his collarbone, leg and ankle when crushed behind a metal door by two-tonne Harry a year later.

Ricard Domingo, a Spanish teenager, had also been working at the Whitley zoo part-time while carrying out work experience at city printing company WW Curtis.

His father was the owner of a Barcelona printing firm and news of the attack led to frantic transatlantic phone calls from company directors worried the youngster was the victim.

Ricard went on to become the head of public TV broadcasting in Barcelona and until last week believed Richard McCormick had been killed in the attack 44 years ago.

Former WW Curtis worker Mike Jennings-Bates, 69, from Wellesbourne, told how Harry’s exploits caused concerns across the globe.

Johor Zoo aims to get giraffes and white tigers

The Johor Zoo is in negotiations to acquire a pair of giraffes and white tigers to attract more visitors and boost revenue this year.

Zoo manager Zakaria Zainuddin said it was negotiating with Zoo Negara for the pair of giraffes as part of a breeding-loan programme.

“We expect to conclude the negotiation by June this year,” he said here yesterday.

Zakaria said the zoo had also applied to the Wildlife Department to acquire a pair of white tigers from Bangkok Zoo.

“We submitted the application for a special permit last year to enable an exchange of animals between the two zoos.

“The tigers are really special and quite rare in this part of the region,” he said, adding that he expected to know the status of the application within this year.

Zakaria added that the new animals would be an attractive addition to the zoo’s current batch of 15 species of animals, totalling about 240.

The zoo, he said, aimed to attract more than

From The Blog -

Tiger Farming Exposed

Wild Dog Response

Don't Pose With Tigers

Caracals Blamed for Killing Cattle

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


Don't Forget:

ABWAK annual Symposium 2010

6th - 7th March

FlamingoLand, Yorkshire

For further info click Here

*******************************************************************************  in February 2010

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United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Fort Worth, Texas Field Office 501 W. Felix Street, Suite 1105 Fort Worth, Texas 76115

Jasen Brent SHAW


Date of Birth: March 08, 1973 Hair: Brown

Place of Birth: New Zealand Eyes: Green

Social Security: 645-58-8226 Height: 5'08"

Texas DL #: 20954838 Sex: Male

Alien Registration: A 055079108 (DV-2 Status) Citizenship: New Zealand

Residence: 504 Edinburgh Lane Business: 1007 Oakmead Drive

Coppell, TX 75019 Arlington, TX 76011

Mobile Phone: (972) 679-1537 Business Phone: (817) 652-3000

FWS LID: B259307/P251028

Have copy of wanted poster with his photo if wish to receive.

Violation(s): SHAW is wanted for violations of the Lacey Act (16 USC 3372) and is underinvestigation for Smuggling (18 USC 554), Conspiracy (18 USC 371) and Aiding and Abetting (18 USC 2).

Federal Arrest Warrant: Issued on February 10, 2010 - Northern District of Texas

Cause No. 4:10-028-MJ

Vehicles: 2007 Chevrolet Express Van (TX-15P-XK4) / 2007 Chevrolet Express Van (TX-07Z-WG5) / 2009 Jeep Sahara (TX-TYX-505) / 2001 Dodge Caravan (TX-DNG-

539) / 2010 Chevy S.S. (TX-BF2H123) / 2006 Hummer (TX-64N-VP2)


This subject is considered a flight risk. If encountered, contact the U.S. Fish andWildlife Service Case Agent Richard Cook at (817) 334-5202 or (817) 851-2420
or 1-800-XSECTOR. Agent Call sign is Texas FWL 661

Passed on to me by


Tiger Attack

Now this next item is not politically correct, nor is it geographically correct and is certainly not factual. It also contains more than a sprinkling of colourful language but I found it amusing,



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