Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zoo News Digest 26th - 30th June 2011 (Zoo News 765)

Zoo News Digest 26th - 30th June 2011 (Zoo News 765)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

The offers to return 'Happy Feet' home though well meaning are, I feel, misguided. I am all for rescue and rehabilitation but the circumstances here are unusual. Everyone within the zoo and science world know this to be the case and should stand against the move now before it gets all blown out of proportion. This Penguin is much better off in captivity. The colony from which he came are going to be a lot better off if this wanderer does not return home.

"Tierpark"... a German Zoo? Of course it is, but which one? Referring here to the pair of Jaguars arriving at Taman Safari Indonesia in exchange for a pair of Javan Leopards. I wondered if they arrived as a breeding pair? The male (in translation) is described as "unisexual" whatever that may mean. If they do breed I wonder if the cubs going to end up being hand reared and tethered on chains?

Taman Safari has no shortage of Javan Leopards as wild animals sometimes sneak into the zoo grounds and have to be trapped. Previous attempts at relocating them many miles away has only led to them returning 'home'.

The so called 'fight' by the Idiot Lion Man, Al Essawy, was apparently stopped at the last minute. You can read and see more of what this imbecile was up to in the link below. Sad to learn later that the lion has not yet been confiscated from the idiot lion man nor has he been locked up as he should have been. I am reliably informed that things within the police force are in some disarray since the the unrest. Unhappily then the chances of this shameful exhibition being repeated are quite likely.

I note the blame game continues over the sad and unnecessary death of Dalu Mncube. I think the real point here is that it was NEVER EVER necessary for ANYONE to enter the enclosures with these big cats. Unfortunately the practice had already become established. If it not been established then Dalu would still be here today. Practically no reputable modern zoos have their staff working 'hands on' with big cats. Just the title 'big cat handler' is more circus than conservation. It isn't clever, it isn't necessary and it is an accident waiting to happen.

Take time to read the EU Zoo Inquiry Dolphinaria report. Whatever you feelings about keeping whales and dolphins in captivity I think that you will agree that there are some collections that being purely commercially exploitative here. It should not be that way. I have nothing against anyone making their living through animals (how could I?) but if you take you must give back. Some of these establishments apear to be just take take taking.

The story "Aquarium sued over child’s illness" has frightening implications for Aquariums with 'touch tanks' so it will be interesting to see how things will develop. Having personally experienced Mycobacterium marinum infections on two occassions I know just how painful it can be and would not wish it upon my worst enemy.

I was saddened to learn of the death of Luke Yeomans from a King Cobra bite. He really loved those snakes. A sad loss. My sincere condolences to family and friends.

I came in from the social wilderness this week for a dinner date with Duan on one night then Nok, Nong and Younger Sister on another. Yesterday evening with the lovely Dee-Ann. Finished the night feasting on Chickens feet and pumpkin seeds. Heaven! Sadly I think I must retreat back to the wilderness once again...besides I can't afford to do otherwise. Elections at the weekend. Hoping that it all goes peacefully.

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Galloway park's oldest captive-born lynx turns 21
A cat thought to be the oldest captivity-born Eurasian lynx living in the UK has celebrated its 21st birthday in southern Scotland.
The lynx, named Frank, came to the Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park near Kirkcudbright eight years ago.
It was born in 1990 at Riber Castle Wildlife Park at Matlock in Derbyshire and moved to Staffordshire before reaching Dumfries and Galloway.
GWCP conservation manager John Denerley said Frank was a "really good lynx".
"I like looking at him up close," he said.
"He moves really slow."
Mr Denerley said the Derbyshire park where Frank was born was well-known for its Eurasian lynx

Zoo gets new director
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has a new director. He's the new king of the jungle, so to speak. Ted Fox has been appointed as the new director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.
Fox has been at the zoo for 20 years, most recently as a curator. His achievements include helping develop the zoo's Humbolt Penguin exhibit and raising the first Andean Condor chick to be used for conservation education in Venezuela.
Fox replaces retired director Chuck Doyle, with whom he worked closely.
"It's been seamless. We've worked really closely in the last six months to make this as good as it can be, to not miss a step in terms of all the progress we've made and all the plans that are on the table and the future of the zoo and we're pretty much in sync in terms of what we think is important, said Ted Fox, Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director.
One of Fox's first official acts as director

Mr Antle gets a mention here:

Just What is the Point Mr Antle?

DNA kits to help combat rhino poachers
South African National Parks (SanParks) last week received 1 000 DNA kits from the University of Pretoria to ensure effective prosecution of rhino poachers.
According to SanParks, the kits from the faculty of Veterinary Services of the University of Pretoria will go a long way in ensuring management of the rhino population and effective prosecution of rhino horn poachers.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Pretoria, SANParks CEO David Mabunda said that, throughout the years, DNA evidence had ensured that criminals were locked up as the analysis of information collected proved to be the only working weapon that could be disputed to halt criminals in their tracks.
"This will certainly go a long way in changing the trend of suspects found in possession of rhino horn only being charged with possession as the horns in their possession will be linked to a carcass lying somewhere in a national park or game reserve," he said.
According to Mabunda, the kits would also assist rhino managers with the individual rhino in their care: "The scourge of rhino poaching we are faced with needs





Two jaguars in Taman Safari Indonesia
Two jaguars (Panthera Onca) have arrived in the Taman Safari Indonesia conservation area, a director said Sunday.
“The two animals look like leopards,” Taman Safari Indonesia director Tony Sumampau said on Sunday, as quoted by
The jaguars arrived on May 15 from Tierpark, a German zoo, but they must be quarantined for about three weeks before being displayed to the public on

Taman Safari Indonesia

Too many tuatara with nowhere to go
The country's longest-serving tuatara breeder now has more of the reptiles than he can easily find homes for. Southland Museum and Art Gallery tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley, of Invercargill, started out 27 years ago with just two of the endangered "living fossils".
Now he has a colony of 80.
"I've got about 30 animals under 4 years of age which I need to move on shortly."
The museum's tuatara surplus is the result of Mr Hazley overcoming many captive-breeding problems and he is getting 20-30 fertile eggs each year.
"With the new acrylic roof I got from Germany that let's all the UV (ultra-violet light) through, I'm getting a 90% survival rate rather than a 90% failure.
"I'm sending eggs to Victoria University from now on because I'm saturated."
Mr Hazley would like to liberate some of his animals on a tiny pest-free island in Foveau,0


The only long term, in situ conservation project for the endangered Barbary macaque now has a website
I hope you find it of interest.


Female Cuban crocodiles endanger own species
Already in decline, they are often interbreeding with American mates
Two different crocodile species living in Cuba have been shacking up, producing hybrid offspring that have now been identified with genetic analyses. The interbreeding could threaten one of the species, the already declining Cuban crocodile, researchers say.
Scientists were aware that the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) interbred in captivity. But this is the first genetic study to confirm hybridization in the wild.
The researchers found that American crocodiles living in Cuba are more closely related, genetically, to Cuban crocodiles than to American crocodile populations found along mainland Central America.
Researchers analyzed the DNA of scales clipped from the tails of 89 wild-caught Cuban and American crocodiles from Cuba, Central America (Costa Rica and Panama), Grand Cayman Island and Jamaica. Two of the samples came from North American zoos.
Because the researchers included mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mothers, they could tell that the hybrid offspring had come from a matchup between


An intersting video and well worth watching. I just wished he had gone into the importance of managed breeding programmes. There may well be more captive tigers in the US than in the wild in India but many are White of Generic and so of little use to conservation. (Thanks to John Dinely for pointing me towards this video)

Delhi zoo may shift its three elephants
More than a year after the idea was first mooted to whether shift the three elephants from the National Zoological Park to the wild or not, the fate of these elephants is still undecided. Following an idea mooted by the environment minister Jairam Ramesh, the Central Zoo Authority had issued a direc tive to all the zoos, which have any elephant population and also asked the chief wildlife warden of respective states to facilitate their transfer to open areas for free movements of the pachyderm.
Dr Brij Kishore Gupta, CZA's evaluation and monitoring officer, said, "CZA's evaluation committee would be submitting a report in July first week."
The park, popularly know as Delhi zoo, has three elephants: one is an African male apart from an Indian couple. There were 87

Decision to shift elephants from Byculla zoo to come next month
The fate of the two elephants in Byculla zoo will be decided in the next one month. A two-member expert committee visited the zoo on Thursday evening, to check if the two female elephants, Laxmi, 53, and Anarkali ,46, could be exempted from the central zoo authority’s (CZA) directive about sh ifting elephants in captivity to sanctuaries or national parks. “Most likely that these two elephants will be exempted as they are old and will not be able to be rehabilitated,” said a CZA official.
Following the CZA directive in November 2009, the zoo officials had written to them on several occasions asking them for an exemption for the two elephants on grounds that they were aged and would not be able to adapt to the new surroundings, or fend for themselves.
A two-member team from the elephant inspection committee formed by the CZA visited the zoo and took details about the animals, their feeding pattern and their routine.
“These two experts are on a visit to all the zoos that have asked for an exemption. They will submit their report to us in a month, based on which we will decide on the exemption,” said Brijkishore Gupta of the CZA.
The CZA circular had stated that the large animals required a large area to move around freely and that the environment of a zoo could be restrictive.
The elephants have been in captivity for more than 35 years. Currently both of them have one common enclosure of 4000 sq feet in area.
Forest officials from the Bilaspur reserves had inspected the elephants, to check if they were fit to be sent there for patrolling duty. They were found to be too old and were rejected.
As per rules the retirement age of an elephant is 65 years. The Byculla zoo elephants are around or above 50 years and no sanctuaries or national parks are willing to accept them.
The Byculla zoo authorities had also written to the state’s chief wildlife warden and the conservator of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli, suggesting that the


Journal of Threatened Taxa

June 2011 - Vol. 3 - No. 6 - Pages 1805-1884


St. Louis Zoo Holds Dinner In Honor Of Bees
When some see a colony ofbees they want to run away as far as they can. Not so for bee lovers who gathered at the St. Louis Zoo on Thursday night. A special dinner and honey tasting allowed bee lovers to learn as much as they could. The Monsanto Insectarium at the St. Louis will also have additional bee information on display this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"About one third of the food that you eat from any given meal comes from pollinators," said Ariel Bubak,0,1309629.story

By Battling a Big, Bored Cat, Strongman Roars to Egypt's Aid
Critics: Loser in This Lion Fight Is Pride; Did the Sleepy Beast Snack on a Donkey?.
Self-styled strongman Al Sayed al Essawy had an idea for lifting his country out of its post-revolution economic funk: Fight a lion.
Which is why on Saturday Mr. Al Essawy stepped into a steel cage with a 660-pound lion here in the middle of a wheat field in this farming hamlet. He glared at the lion and bared his teeth. He carried a "shield" made out of an old satellite dish.
Addressing the crowd of a few hundred Egyptians bused in for the spectacle, Mr. Al Essawy roared: "Who is the lion?"
"You are the lion!" a couple dozen shouted back.
The lion itself looked bored. One man in the crowd claimed it had just been fed a whole donkey and was therefore sleepy.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Mr. Al Essawy had wanted to fight the lion in the shadow of the Great Pyramids. His idea was to send a message to the world that "in Egypt you can see events that you can't see anywhere else." February's violent revolution here has taken a big bite out of tourism, which employs some 10% of all Egyptians.
The fight drew condemnation from animal-rights activists and tourism officials. Egypt's tourism minister, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, vowed this month to "personally" prevent the "barbaric" act from taking place by demanding that the ministry of interior intervene to stop the fight.
For Mr. Al Essawy, the official reaction only reflects the government's unsophisticated sense of how to market itself. Mr. Al Essawy insisted that his intent

Expert says relaxing atmosphere key for successful zoo
The Henson Robinson Zoo doesn’t need a big exhibit with giraffes or lions to pull in the crowds.
As long as the zoo offers visitors a comfortable, relaxing place to see interesting animals, it should be able to succeed, said Charles Mayes, a principal at the Portico Group, a Seattle firm that has put together master plans for zoos across the country.
“I don’t think you need to have a big ‘wow’ factor,” Mayes said. “Zoos need to understand who their community is and who they are attracting. It’s the quality of the experience.”
Comfort is key
Last year, Springfield’s zoo hit a five-year attendance record of 83,411 people.
Other zoos across the country also have seen attendance increases, and most attribute the trend to


ZOO'S PRINT Magazine - June 2011

June 2011 Vol. XXVI No. 6



"We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning" - Werner Heisenberg, Nobel Prize winner in Physics (1932) in Physics and Philosophy (1958)
Among the hundreds of images and descriptions of what is possibly the cutest living animal, the Giant Panda, one particularly sticks in my mind, the anecdote about an animal that goes to eat in a restaurant. The animal looks at a dictionary lying on the table and finds the entry on Giant Panda saying : "Giant Panda - Bearlike animal found in China. Eats, shoots and leaves." The animal takes out a revolver slung around its waist, shoots in the air twice, startles customers and leaves. The epithet is meant to serve as a lesson in English language syntax. It is not known if real Giant Pandas raid restaurants for food or carry revolvers around their waists, but there were plenty of offerings connected to this animal during a recent trip to China.
When I heard that my participation in a conference on animal protection was confirmed in early June 2011, I drove everyone around me and the organizers into a tizzy because I spoke of nothing but Giants Pandas till the time I actually landed in China. I forgot about everything else apart from the obsession to see a live Giant Panda in person, the symbol of World Wildlife Fund that is meant to serve as a beacon for conservation worldwide. I harried my co passenger Rohit Gangwal, of a wildlife protection group from Jaipur named Raksha that we would rush for the zoo as soon as we set foot in Chengdu in South Western China.
No sooner had the plane landed that my Giant Panda dream erupted


HI All

I have an initial one weeks work (all expenses paid) for a
vet to travel to a zoo in west africa. The zoo is undergoing
massive redevelopment , but I need a vet to help me review
animal health, and set up a veterinary programme for the

please contact for more information

Guilty plea by Zion Wildlife Park
Zion Wildlife Gardens has pleaded guilty to health and safety charges over a zoo keeper who was mauled to death by a tiger.
Dalu Mncube, 26, was killed by a 260kg white tiger as he cleaned the animal's cage in May, 2009.
The Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei rose to fame through the Lion Man television series.
The Department of Labour laid charges under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act for "failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work".
Zion, which was charged as an entity without any individuals named, pleaded guilty at a scheduled defended hearing in the Whangarei

Craig Busch and Zion Wildlife Gardens

Show to focus on little known wildlife in Arabian Peninsula
Abu Dhabi Corniche exhibition to have 100 photographs
An outdoor exhibition of the relatively unknown wildlife that survives in the Arabian Peninsula despite harsh desert conditions, habitat encroachment, poaching or hunting, will take over the Abu Dhabi Corniche in December before touring the Gulf region.
Displayed in the shape of a falcon's eye, the large-scale WILD ARABIA with National Geographic Al Arabiya exhibition will display 100 photographs of some of the most amazing species from the Arab region, chosen by National Geographic in Washington.
"The inspiration for creating an outdoor gallery comes from our architect and exhibition designer Franck Minthe who has designed many large-scale outdoor galleries in some of Europe's most beautiful squares over the past ten years," said Caterina

Sea release best option, says penguin researcher
A Massey University researcher says releasing Peka Peka’s emperor penguin off the south coast of New Zealand is the best option, should it return to full health.
Associate Professor John Cockrem, from the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, spent three weeks camping and working with emperor penguins at a large colony at Cape Washington in Antarctica in 2004. He spent that time studying stress responses in the birds.
Dr Cockrem has consulted with Department of Conservation staff about the bird’s well being since it was found on the beach last week.
He says there are a number of options being discussed. “Taking it back to Antarctica would be an issue on several levels,” Dr Cockrem says. “The weeks

Rhinos at the Houston Zoo: Their Story

Knowsley Safari Park to have 1970s prices to celebrate 40th anniversary
CLASSIC car owners from the 1970s are to be given a chance to turn back the clock when Knowsley Safari Park marks its 40th birthday later this year.
The first cars full of visitors rolled through the Park’s gates on July 3, 1971, in the days when a Morris Marina was the great hope of the British motor industry and a Ford Capri Mk 1 was the boy racer’s car of choice.
Now owners of surviving Marinas and Capris, along with other gems from the era will be allowed back into the park at 1970s prices as part of this year’s birthday cele

Shark fin ban goes into effect Friday

Wildlife park pleads guilty over killing
The father of Lion Man Craig Busch says he is not surprised the wildlife park now run by his ex-wife has admitted guilt over the death of big cat handler Dalu Mncube.
Mr Mncube, a keeper at the Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei, was mauled to death by a 260kg white tiger in 2009.
The 26-year-old, from South Africa, had been cleaning the animal's cage when he was attacked.
Yesterday, at the Whangarei District Court, Zion Wildlife Gardens pleaded guilty to failing to protect Mr Mncube.
The Department of Labour laid charges under the Health and Safety Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work and failing to ensure that no hazard harms people lawfully at work.
The park pleaded guilty to both charges and will be sentenced on July 14.
Yesterday Craig Busch's father, Kevin Busch, said he expected the guilty plea from his former wife and the Lion Man's mother, Patricia Busch.
Ms Busch and her son have been involved

Zoo curator was animals’ advocate
Darell Pickering greets Mo, one of the Tulsa Zoo’s Aldabra tortoises, in this 2006 photo. Pickering, a longtime curator and reptile expert at the zoo, died Friday at age 53. Tulsa World file The reptiles expert was dedicated and passionate about his work.By TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
OWASSO — Although Darell Pickering’s friends were a little on the stolid side, he was pretty good at getting them to come out of their shells.
Pickering, a former Tulsa Zoo curator of reptiles, had worked with them closely enough, in fact, that he knew each of the zoo’s giant tortoises by its own distinct personality and, likewise, the zoo’s lizards and snakes.
But for Pickering, the 300-pound tortoises would always occupy a special place.
The zoo started its breeding program for Aldabra tortoises in 1999 as part of efforts to preserve the endangered species.
With 83 hatchings to date, the success of the program, in which Pickering played a big part, has earned worldwide recognition and awards.
“Darell was the one who made the program go,” curator Barry Downer said. “He was originally the primary keeper. He babied those animals and made sure they were given everything they needed.
“It was his dedication and time that helped

Berlin Zoo Belatedly Commemorates Jewish Shareholders Persecuted by Nazis
Werner Cohn, a retired sociology professor living in New York, remembers a sea lion called Roland from childhood visits to the zoo in Berlin. Cohn’s father was a shareholder in the zoo, which gave the family free admission.
“My father would go there every morning for breakfast,” Cohn, 85, said by telephone. “We would go there on our own as children and meet our friends to play.”
His family fled in October 1938, a few weeks before the Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht. Cohn campaigned for decades in letters to the zoo to find out what happened to his father’s share and the stock of other Jewish shareholders in Zoologischer Garten Berlin (ZOO) AG.
It is only since 2002 that the zoo has begun examining its anti-Semitic Nazi-era policies, which entailed excluding Jews as board members, stockholders and, finally, as visitors. And it has only now found a way to commemorate the shareholders -- with a plaque on the Antelope House, unveiled yesterday.
“Everyone is aware of the fact that it is too late,” Hermann Simon, a historian specializing in Jewish history and

Paignton Zoo Elephant goes to Specsavers
Eye specialists have given Paignton Zoo's African elephant Duchess a check-up.
The experts carried out an ultrasound examination on the 40 year old elephant, who weighs in at nearly 4 tonnes. She has a mature cataract causing blindness in the right eye and an immature cataract in the left, where there is still some vision.
The procedure was carried out by Claudia Hartley, Head of Small Animal Ophthalmology at the Animal Health Trust, based in Suffolk. Claudia works closely with Veterinary Specialist Ophthalmologist Jim Carter from South Devon Referrals, based at Abbotskerswell Veterinary Centre. The two have been monitoring Duchess's eyes for some time.
Sarah Chapman, Veterinary Associate at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, explained: "We wanted to check that the lens in the right eye was still in place and not moving around the eye, which could cause a blockage and pain.
"We have been training Duchess for this procedure for the last few weeks as we didn't want to have to sedate her. This has taken many hours of keeper and vet time - we didn't want to rush things and put her off."
Local anaesthetic eye drops were put in Duchess's eye so she couldn't feel anything, then the ultrasound probe

20 Most Ridiculous Zoo Signs on Earth

Many more here:

Zoo Signs

Kabul Zoo: A Symbol Of Afghanistan's Past Stabs At Modernity Is Buzzing Again
Once in the frontline of Afghanistan’s civil war, the Kabul zoo attracted hungry militiamen, not tourists. But now it is bringing in peaceful crowds again.
In the shade of the tall fir trees, a small crowd walks past a fountain and along the menagerie’s dry paths. Behind the wire fences, animals bask placidly in the sun. White and brown bears, peacocks, macaques, gazelles, wolves, eagles, owls and parrots capture the attention of their friendly audience. It is important to find time for relaxing, even in troubled Afghanistan.
Along with the Shar-eNow park (famous for its Bollywood movie theatre) and the Babour gardens, Kabul zoo is one of the havens for the capital’s inhabitants to forget their everyday worries and fears of the future. The day before, not far from the zoo, a suicide squad attacked a police station, killing nine people. Within a few hours, the streets were empty. But today, the people are out again, sweeping into the markets, crowding the sidewalks. Life must go on.
The zoo’s visitors reflect the mixed urban population of Kabul. A young man in jeans walks next to a woman in a blue burqa. Inside the aquarium a woman points out the shimmering colors of the fish to her handicapped son. The child is amazed. Opposite the gazelles’ pen, a refreshment stall sells sodas and kebab sandwiches. Some visitors doze in the cool shade of the trees. The zoo is surrounded by the winding hills of Kabul, a cirque of rock flanked with ochre adobe houses. The light is so bright that the stony ridges seem to be on fire.
Aziz Gul Saqeb is the director of the zoo, his personal battleground. He invites us into his large office with its purple, flowery rugs. The computer and television show some affluence, signs of an Afghan state striving to exist. The zoo, the pride of 1960s Kabul when King Zahir Shah undertook the modernization of the country, must live again. It’s a question of principle. Trained in India, the young director sought support for the zoo from abroad. The Zoological Society of London and the North Carolina Zoo answered his call. But with serious debts, recovery is painstaking.
Animals as war casualties
It was the civil war that steadily devastated Kabul zoo, which was situated right on the front line. Following the collapse of the communist regime in 1992, Mujahdin factions plunged the country into violence and chaos. With no one to feed them, the animals, once numbering 400, died of hunger. Fighters helped themselves as though the zoo were a butcher shop’s backroom. Deers and ducks ended up in the cooking pots. But the bears, tigers, monkeys and eagles, escaped the hungry militiamen, who considered their consumption to be “haram” (forbidden). These animals died of negligence, or were hit by stray bullets. When the Taliban came to power in 1996 they limited the damage. Aziz Gul Saqeb says “they built new outer walls” and “gave food to the surviving animals.”
The tragedy of Marjan the lion sums up the zoo’s misfortune. Ah, Marjan! Kabulis still talk about him with emotion. He was paraded as a national emblem. His story is a parable for Afghan martyrdom. The Germans gave Marjan to the zoo in the late 1960s, when the director of the zoo was Prince Nader, the King’s son. Next to the Bactrian deer (an extremely rare species), Marjan was the pride of the institution. In 1993, at the height of the civil war, a daredevil had the strange idea of slipping into his den to defy him. Marjan made short work of his opponent, who quickly died. The next day the victim’s brother took his vengeance by throwing a grenade at the lion’s snout. Marjan lost one eye and his teeth.
“Look how he suffered,” murmurs Aziz Gul Saqeb as he shows a photo of the disfigured lion. Marjan’s face was scarred, he was permanently blinded,

Tourists upset Morocco Barbary macaque monkeys
The macaques became edgy when tourists took their photograph
The most innocuous interactions with tourists can upset endangered Barbary macaques, say scientists.
A study revealed that macaques at a site regularly visited by tourists showed signs of anxiety when people got too close, fed them or tried to attract their attention for a photograph.
The scientists monitored the monkeys' behaviour and also tested the animals' droppings for stress hormones.
The results are published in the journal Biological Conservation.
"There's been a lot of interest, recently, in tourism and how it affects wild animal populations," explained Dr Stuart Semple, a scientist who specialises in the study of primates at the University of Roehampton in London, UK.
Like humans, macaques fidget and scratch when nervous "But while there are studies that show tourism does affect animal behaviour, we've tried to look at it much more

Elephant in Japan zoo waits for city mate
Fuku-chan, a 13-year old female elephant in Japan’s Fukuyama city, will have to wait longer for an Asian mating partner to be imported from Mumbai or other parts of India. Yoshihiko Matsuura, director general of Economic and Environment Affairs Bureau, has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corpo ration (BMC) chief Subodh Kumar to facilitate a male elephant’s visit to his zoo for mating purpose.
The letter dated June 22, a copy of which is available with HT, says that Fuku-chan is a Malaysian elephant, weighting 2670 kg, 230 cm tall, fully grown and is reaching mating age. “What worries us is its (female elephants’) unstable mind. Arrival of a male as her mating partner will solve the problem,” says the letter. The Japanese want only an Asian elephant as its mating partner.
But BMC officials said they were unable to help the Japanese because the city doesn’t have a male elephant. “Rajkumar, the only male elephant was in the city zoo but we had to shift him to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala three years ago because he also needed a mating partner. The local court had directed us to shift him to Kerala,” said a BMC official requesting

Go for the ride of your life with the News 8 Cheetah Cam
Six months ago News 8 asked San Diego Zoo Safari Park officials a strange question: "Would it be possible to mount a camera on the back of a sprinting cheetah?" January, February, March, April and May passed, but we finally got an answer: Yes.
Last week photographer Bruce Patch and I spent the day at the Safari Park with animal trainers who impressed us to no end. Cheetahs are the fastest mammals on earth and they can be a handful. Licking, purring, eating and running are just a few of their favorite hobbies.
We were most interested in the running part, and after months of planning our camera was mounted on the back of Majani. We hope you enjoy our video of the cheetah running at top speed at a point of view never offered before by the Safari Park.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park officials asked us to pass along some information just in case you love what you see and want to see more.
The new Shiley's Cheetah Run opens on July 2, 2011, as part of Summer Safari African Extravaganza.
Cheetah Run is a unique experience that allows guests to witness the worlds

Aquarium continues to draw crowds on third day
Turkey's largest aquarium, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş in İstanbul on Saturday, continued to draw huge visitors on Monday, its third day of operation.
Entry was free for the first three days following the opening of the İstanbul Aquarium, and there will be a 50 percent discount on entrance fees during its first week.
The aquarium is located in Yeşilköy.
Visitors are able to see 15,000 species of fish at the İstanbul Aquarium, which features 16 regions of the world, from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Inside the aquarium are an exploration trail, an interactive rain forest and

Chestnut Centre's Giant Otter Family, 2011

Rare parrots bred at zoo after 19 years
Zoo keepers have succeeded in breeding three rare parrots after 19 years of trying. The Philippine cockatoo chicks are being hand-reared at Chester Zoo in Cheshire after they were hatched in incubators.
The chicks, which look like "tiny dinosaurs", are so small they are being kept in an ice-cream tub which is doubling up as a crib.
Andy Woolham, team manager of parrots and penguins, said: "I might risk the wrath of my wife in saying this, but after 19

Madagascar's 'tortoise mafia' on the attack
Madagascar's poachers, known in conservation circles as "the tortoise mafia", are increasingly hunting down the Indian Ocean island's reptiles, threatening them with extinction.
The tortoise mafia, who allegedly include corrupt government officials and smuggling syndicates, are satisfying a growing demand locally for tortoise meat and abroad for exotic pets and tortoise shells used in aphrodisiacs.
"Everybody is eating them and everybody is trafficking them and as soon as people are brought to trial, there are mafia organisations who help to get them out," says the head of Madagascar's Alliance of Conservation Groups, Ndranto Razakamanarina.
Another conservationist, Tsilavo Rafeliarisoa, says two poachers were caught last year in southern Madagascar with 50 tortoises.
This was a small breakthrough in efforts to protect the island's endangered tortoises, which include the Ploughshare, Spider, Radiated and Flat-tailed s


Fauna and Flora International - Vietnam Programme is looking for an organization to share their office with.

Our office is located at 340 Nghi Tam Road, Tay Ho District, Hanoi. The office is a new building with good off-road and secure parking for motorbikes and bicycles.

The building has 3 floors. The two main floors have three large and light rooms, with bathrooms on each floor.

The space we offer for sharing is one room of 25-30 sqm with separate bathroom. In addition to a floor we would provide shared access to the top floor (furnished with tables and chairs) for meetings and to the kitchen. We will also provide electricity and water, cleaning, security and ADSL network services.

We are offering this office space and shared facilities to another organization, ideally an NGO with related interests to FFI, for the cost of USD500 per month.

We are happy to be contacted further for more information and other queries.

Please contact Le Yen Anh at the address below.


Le Hong Viet

Administrative Assistant

Fauna & Flora International

340 Nghi Tam Road, Tay Ho District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: 84-4-37194117

Fax: 84-4-37194119



Cheating on the cheetah
The proposal to implant the African Cheetah deep in the desert is bizarre. It reflects the lopsided thinking of India’s conservationists.
Big Cat Diary must really be high on the Indian conservationists' watching list. It is one of the more exciting programmes on one of the naturalist channels. And it must have had an impact on the minds of those who plan and execute conservation programmes across the country. For the Indian executive really seems to have a big cat obsession. Any conversation about conservation invariably revolves around one of the cats. And big cat stories are pretty much all that there is to read, and watch, when it comes to covering conservation in India.
The latest to hit the news is a proposal to implant the African Cheetah in a specially designated zone deep in the desert. So deep that the specially designated zone will be closer to Kandahar than it will be to Delhi, geographically anyway. And implant, because that is what the proposal entails, releasing about half-a-dozen cheetahs in the desert, where it will be a foreign entity. Nothing could be a more bizarre proposal, and nothing could be more reflective of Indian attitudes to conservation than importing, and implanting, the African Cheetah into the desert.
It is a bizarre proposal because the African Cheetah is an alien to Indian conditions, terrain, and climate. The DNA of the African Cheetah never matched with that of the long lost Indian cousin which, in fact, was closer to the Iranian species, some of which are still thought to exist in the wild. The extinction of the Indian Cheetah is forever recounted as one of the great losses in the world of nature and all its beauties. And it is truly one of the great losses, and a tale of immense tragedy. Any wildlife lover recoils at the mention of that terrible loss of such a graceful animal.
But it is gone, and there is nothing that can be done to revive the Indian Cheetah. Certainly not by importing the African Cheetah. They cannot become Indian in any sense of the word. All imported animals, and other species of nature, extract another greater cost when implanted in an alien land. The African Cheetah will undoubtedly do the same, wherever it were to be introduced in India.
Which then begs the question: Why the desert? The idea currently doing the rounds amongst the decision-makers is to clear a specially designated part of the zone called the Shahgarh Bulge. It is a distinctive bulge on the map of India. And it is a distinctive eco-system in itself. The most sparsely populated part of the desert, which is in any case thinly peopled, Shahgarh is distinctive in its extremely soft sand and its enormous shifting dunes. So soft and so enormous that the border fencing with Pakistan failed in this bulge.
Sand dunes move with a greater rapidity and cover a greater distance in this part of the desert than any other. Cheetahs imported and implanted into Shahgarh will have an easy passage into Pakistan, far easier than the smugglers who largely avoid this stretch of treacherous terrain. For there is little in terms of shade, water, and natural foodstock. The charming oases are few, and far in between.
The Shahgarh Bulge is not the African savannah, the climate and terrain most suited to the peculiar hunting skills of the cheetah. After all, it is only for the hunting footage of the cheetah that it makes the charts on big cat programmes. Even in its most suitable terrain, the cheetah has the poorest survival rates among the big cats. So how can the African Cheetah be expected to hunt prey that is far lesser in numbers in Shahgarh

Feds Ignore Mexican Wolf Science for 10 Years;
Endangered Animals Have Paid Steep Price for Mismanagement
This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the release of the Paquet Report by a blue-ribbon panel of independent scientists who urged that management of endangered Mexican gray wolves be changed “immediately” to ensure urgently needed “dramatic improvement” in wolf survival and reproduction rates. Instead, for 10 years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had convened the scientists (led by renowned wolf biologist Dr. Paul C. Paquet), has offered excuses as to why it has not yet made the requisite reforms.
As a result, the report’s warning that “the wolf population will fall short of predictions for upcoming years” has come to pass, putting the Mexican wolf at increasing risk of extinction due to genetic inbreeding caused by too few wolves that are too closely related to each other.
“A decade has gone by with no action from the government,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has long advocated for the wolves. “The result has been that the Mexican wolf population limps along every year and never grows to the point where its long-term viability can be ensured.”
The 86-page Paquet Report — officially titled Mexican Wolf Recovery: Three-Year Program Review and Assessment — recommended that the Fish and Wildlife Service “Immediately modify the final [reintroduction] rule (Parsons 1998) and develop the authority to conduct initial releases into the Gila National Forest” in New Mexico. The area makes up three-quarters of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area but biologists can only release wolves there that have been previously captured from the wild after having been released into Arizona’s smaller portion of the recovery area, or after having been born in the wild in Arizona or New Mexico. (Forty-seven of the 50 wolves that could be counted in the wild in January of this year were born in the wild; just three were born in captivity and released.)
The portion of the recovery area in Arizona, on the Apache National Forest, has limited room for additional releases because territorial wolf packs already occupy the best habitats; this year’s half-million-acre Wallow fire has further limited possibilities for releases in Arizona. The provision in the 1998 reintroduction rule limiting initial releases to Arizona stems from the greater political clout that ranchers in New Mexico wielded at the time. No other endangered animal’s management is limited by state lines.
The Paquet Report also recommended: “Immediately modify the final rule to allow wolves that are not management problems to establish territories outside the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.” This reform, also

Some fish smart enough to use simple tools
Fish are not exactly known to be smart, but new evidence suggests that they may even be able to use simple tools.
Researchers from Macquarie University and Central Queensland University reported on a tusk fish smashing open shells on an anvil to access the meat inside.
Tool use has long been associated with the rise of humans. For a long time, it was thought to be unique to humans, but studies soon showed that primates also used tools for various tasks such as cracking open nuts.
More recently, it has been revealed that a variety of birds also manufacture and use tools, which suggests that tool use in animals may be more common that once thought, according to a Macquarie statement.
“The pictures provide fantastic proof of these intelligent fish at work u

Giraffe Gets New Cast - Cincinnati Zoo

Happy orangutans live longer in zoos
Happier orangutans are more likely to live for longer, according to a study.
A team of researchers in the UK and US devised a method to measure the happiness, or subjective well-being, of captive orangutans.
In a follow-up study seven years later, the scientists found that happier primates were much more likely still to be alive.
The findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
The team, led by Dr Alex Weiss from the University of Edinburgh, asked the people who worked closely with each captive orangutan to participate in the study. He asked the keepers and carers to complete a questionnaire about individual animals they knew well; assessing the orangutans' personalities and attitude.
"The assessment was modelled on [established] methods of assessing human well-being," Dr Weiss explained to BBC Nature.
The questionnaire posed four key questions, including how much time the orangutan in question spent "happy, contented and enjoying itself". It also asked the human participants to imagine how happy they would be if they were that orangutan for a week.
By working out a happiness score for each of nearly 200 animals, the team was able to see how happiness influenced the orangutans' lives. Seven years later, when they revisited the study, they could see a clear association between happiness and longevity.
Fitter, happier
Professor Richard Byrne, a primate expert from the University of St Andrews who was not involved in this study said that "the findings were clear".
"[The team has] worked out that the difference between an orangutan being rated as very happy, compared to very unhappy, equated to 11 additional years of life-expectancy," said Professor Byrne.
But, he continued, "the authors rightly

New deal for orangutans in Kalimantan
A new tri-party agreement on the protection of the Bornean orangutan in Kalimantan, Indonesia will give Singapore-based Wilmar International, one of the world’s largest palm oil producers, a chance to prove it can be part of a sustainable future for the apes.
Details of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Wilmar, the independent non-profit Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) and the government of Central Kalimantan, were released in a statement last week.
The three signatories agreed to a formal partnership aimed at long-term protection of the orangutans and their habitat.
Wilmar’s head of corporate social responsibility, Jeremy Goon, said the company had been in discussions with BOSF for some time on how to address the plight of the orangutans.
BOSF, which has a policy of accepting no money from companies, has rescued over 1,000 apes and currently cares for more than 800 orangutans that are waiting for safe, permanent land to call home.
“We recognise that this issue is more than just an environmental challenge, so the involvement of the local government will help escalate our efforts for orangutan conservation,” said Mr Goon.
Those efforts will include developing and testing oil palm plantation management methods that ensure orangutan conservation, including habitat enrichment, the establishment of protected

EU ZOO INQUIRY 2011 (40 Page Report)
DOLPHINARIA A review of the keeping of whales and
dolphins in captivity in the European Union and EC Directive
1999/22, relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos.

Here below is what Dr. Jane Goodall had to say recently

Message about captive dolphins from Dame Dr. Jane Goodall

Remember this is just one persons personal opinion. I believe she is making a mistake by lumping all dolphinaria together....and I am none to keen on the word "forced". Read the comments below the video clip if you watch on YouTube.

2011 AZA Annual Conference

Zoo wants penguin released into the Southern Ocean
An expert group, which includes Wellington Zoo, says the emperor penguin, nicknamed Happy Feet, should be released in the Southern Ocean.
The bird became ill after eating sticks and sand since arriving from Antarctica.
It turned up on Peka Peka beach on the Kapiti Coast last week, thousands of kilometres from its home.
It has since undergone three operations at Wellington Zoo, and could spend months there before it is well enough to be moved.
But the Department of Conservation, Te Papa, Massey University and the Zoo on Wednesday

Condemnation over Happy Feet delay
International outrage was levelled at the Conservation Department after its early decision to leave Happy Feet to fend for himself at Peka Peka Beach.
Emails released to The Dominion Post reveal the scale of condemnation directed at DOC by people from around the world who believed intervention should have come sooner.
The emails also show how close Happy Feet was to being euthanased.
X-rays taken by Pacific Radiology yesterday showed the juvenile penguin was making good progress and half the sand had been passed from his stomach – the rest was expected to pass naturally.
Wellington Zoo vet science manager Lisa Argilla warned he was not out of the danger zone yet.
"If there's a stick we can't see. It just needs to angle incorrectly and it could jam and cause problems."
Although it was difficult to put a date on it, Happy Feet would probably stay at the zoo for a month before he could be released.
He would probably be given access to the "pool room", although icebergs may need to be made and placed in the water to make it colder.
Dr Argilla refused to comment on the potential for Happy Feet

Judge: Minnesota Zoo will close in shutdown
If the state government shuts down, you'll have to cancel that trip to the Minnesota Zoo.
A court ruling Wednesday by Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin states, "any additional operations of a zoo, even when in large part paid for by admission charges and other receipts, are not critical core functions of government."
An undetermined number of zoo staff would remain to care for the animals and to ensure they are secure, but other employees to keep the Apple Valley zoo open are not considered essential should there be a shutdown, Gearin ruled.
The zoo's concert series would go on as planned. Those concerts are run by a private booking agency, zoo Director Lee Ehmke said.
He added that the zoo was hoping to get on a list of appeals that will be heard by a special master, and that the zoo was also exploring other legal options.
Because the zoo takes in enough money in admissions to make it through the summer, supporters had argued it should not be forced to shut down. The zoo gets less than 30 percent of its funding from the state, but its employees are still technically state workers.
The closure could harm the zoo financially because it would fall during one of its busiest times of the year, Gearin acknowledged in her ruling. But, she added, "those concerns need to be recognized an

Czech zoo names runaway red panda after convict
Jihlavá Zoo has a new attraction — a naughty red panda named after the Czech hitman ‘Kajínek’ for pulling a runner
On his second day in residence at the Jihlavá Zoo, a male red panda that had only just been transferred from Germany made a run for it — and has now been branded for life, at the tender age of one. Zoo staff had placed him in a run designed for another bandit of the animal kingdom — the raccoon — to see how he would like it. But the lesser panda, as the species is also known, is a great climber and soon had made The Great Escape.
“Red pandas are rather calm during the day, becoming more active at dusk. But our [new] panda was in the trees most of the time … and more active than we anticipated. Combined with his curiosity

'Singing penis' sets noise record for water insect
A tiny water boatman is the loudest animal on Earth relative to its body size, a study has revealed.
Scientists from France and Scotland recorded the aquatic animal "singing" at up to 99.2 decibels, the equivalent of listening to a loud orchestra play while sitting in the front row.
The insect makes the sound by rubbing its penis against its abdomen in a process known as "stridulation".
Researchers say the song is a courtship display performed to attract a mate.
Micronecta scholtzi are freshwater insects measuring just 2mm that are common across Europe.
In a study published in

Suspects arrested for killing three tigers
Police say mother, two cubs were poisoned
Police and wildlife officials have arrested two suspected poachers believed to be responsible for killing a female tiger and its two cubs in March.
One suspect, Nai sae Tao, a Hmong hilltribe man, was picked up by officials at his hut in a paddy field in Tak's Umphang district on Monday.
The other man, Hoang Van Hien, 42, was arrested at a resort in the same district the following day.
The two are believed to be among five poachers who entered a forest area bordering Huai Kha Kaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuaries to hunt for tigers, killing a female tiger and its two cubs using poison.
Officials seized a camera from the Hmong suspect containing a picture of him sitting on the back of a dead tiger.
Saksit Simcharoen, chief of the Wildlife Conservation Office in Nakhon Sawan, said he was confident the dead tiger had lived in the sanctuaries as officials had seen it when it was alive.
There are close to 100 tigers in Huai Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuaries.
"It was not a tiger from Burma as initially claimed by the suspect


Aquarium sued over child’s illness
The parents of a child who developed a bacterial infection after petting stingrays at the Tennessee Aquarium has filed a federal lawsuit seeking $2.4 million.
Aquarium officials issued a news release late Friday acknowledging the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, but denied responsibility for the boy’s condition.
“While we sympathize with this young man’s situation and wish the family well, we do not believe that we are responsible,” aquarium spokesman Thom Benson said in a release.
The infection, which cropped up after the child was at the aquarium in November, is known as “fish-handler’s disease.” Reached by telephone Friday, Benson said five water tests in November showed no trace of the bacteria and the exhibit was not closed
The complaint by Christopher and Catherine Callaghan, of Cobb County, Ga., claims that their child touched stingrays and sharks in the aquarium’s exhibit and within six days developed signs

What's killing the Fishing Cat?

Breeder of king cobras dies from snake bite
A snake breeder has been killed by one of his king cobras only days after speaking about how he was trying to save the "dangerous but misunderstood" species from extinction.
Luke Yeomans, 47, kept a collection of 20 adult and four juvenile cobras in a compound behind his house in the village of Eastwood, in Nottinghamshire, and had been planning to open it to the public this weekend to educate people about what he called an amazing species.
Nottinghamshire Police said officers called to the property at 2pm yesterday found Mr Yeomans' body. He had suffered a suspected heart attack after being bitten by a venomous snake. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the snake was contained.
Mr Yeomans had spoken to the BBC about his king cobra sanctuary and lifelong passion for snakes: "People say I am mad but I say it's better than people saying you're bad. I think everything I am doing is good."
He started the project in 2008 in reaction to the depletion of the cobra's natural habitat in the forests of south-east Asia and India, and planned to breed another 100 snakes by the end of 2011.
"I am maintaining this breeding colony of king cobras as a safety net – to protect the species from possible extinction," he said. "Until mankind changes the way he treats the natural world, a living ark is required for the survival of many animal species."
Writing on his website previously, Mr Yeomans said: "With 30 years'

Wimbledon treats are a hit at Chessington Zoo
Tennis-themed treats were served up to Chessington Zoo animals on what was the hottest day at Wimbledon.
Keepers have been serving up tennis related treats for the past 40 years as part of their enrichment programmes to stimulate animals.
The ace traditional strawberries went down a treat, but activities were toned down compared to the past.
In 1971 the zoo photographed a gorilla playing with a tennis racquet and ball in 1971.
Keeper Michael Riozzi said: "It's crazy what the keepers could do in the past. In those days we could take the gorillas out into the park to


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Just What Is A Tiger Worth?

Just What Is A Tiger Worth?

The trade in Tigers continues with shady deals done out of the back doors of the dysfunctional zoos.

Sri Racha Tiger Zoo has hundreds of Tigers and continues to breed them in large numbers. They are not alone. There is the Tiger Temple, Tiger Kingdom, Million Years Stone Park amongst many others.

There is NO contribution to conservation.

Just where are all the animals going? There is no mass die off, no tiger plague. These are not short lived animals. The numbers increase every year. They are not being released to the wild and there is only a limited number of zoos who need generic inbred tigers and most of these have them anyway.

Todays Bangkok Post (Monday 27th June 2011) presents these interesting figures in an article entitled 'Wildlife muggling trails go even deeper' by Wassayos Ngamkham.

A Tiger is worth 1,000.000 Thai Baht because all its parts can be used.

The skin itself can be worth hundreds of thousands of Thai Baht dependent on colour and size.

A Tiger penis will sell for between 30,000 and 50,000 Thai Baht.

Meat and Bones will fetch prices of 5,000 and 6,000 Thai Baht per kilo.

Cost of the blood is negotiable and is sometimes used in the preparation of Yaa Dong.

Teeth and claws are sold as separate items and used in the making of amulets.

Now it may seem that there is a large and obvious trade in Tiger parts in Thailand but there isn't. Tigers are slipping out the back door, leaving the country. Some years back there were plans to microchip every tiger in captivity in Thailand. It would be interesting to know just how many have been done up to now.

Note: At todays exchange rate you will get 30.9 Thai Baht for $1 and 49.4 Thai Baht for £1
Now you can work out just how much a tiger is worth.


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Idiot Lion Man Was Stopped!

The idiot Lion Man was stopped, but it was very much a last minute sort of thing and going by the photograph, a well attended event. I drew attention to the proposal of this idiotic spectacle some time ago and wrote it up in:

Not a pleasant video


This was followed up by my colleague Dina Zulficar in Cairo who alerted and reminded the authorities. Here is the message she sent me yesterday:

"Dear Peter

Please find updates from Egypt regarding the Essawi Case:

After maneouvers with authorities, all day today, Essawi gathered the press in Mansoura, at 1pm, all don't know where he would hold the alleged fight, at 3pm, all left Mansoura following Essawi by cars to unknown destination. After 2 hours driving Essawi stopped at "Kalabsha" a small district near "Gamasa" on the coast, turning right and left in between vegetations.. and there was the lion in a cage.

Egyptian Police Authorities were all alert, Essawi started the fight BUT was stopped shortly by the police and the fight was called off.

Currently the authorities are taking necessary actions. In time, shortly interrogations outcome will be declared by authorities.

at 7 pm fight was called off: someone called - twitted about it and uploaded some pictures, than he said that Essawy called off the fight and made a speech.

Essawi kept manouvering all day today, at last he stopped in the bushes of a vegetation area which no once could imagined. Thank God Police took action.


Dina Zulfikar"

Thank you Dina for you noble efforts to prevent this atrocity taking place.


For regular updated Zoo News, Views, Reviews and Vacancies please visit
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Please Visit
The Zoo Professionals Book Store
if you are looking for a book. This is an Amazon affiliate and you will get a good deal

 you can subscribe to the largest and longest established zoo related ezine
by clicking

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If you can write, you can earn. Write about what you like or what you know about. Build up a passive income which will earn you money daily. No catch, no charge. Click on the link below and you could start earning today