Saturday, October 29, 2011

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 29th October 2011 (Zoo News 792)

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 29th October 2011 (Zoo News 792)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

So Surabaya Zoo hits the news again because something this case a Komodo Dragon. People die, animals die, trees die. I am sure they will do their best to find out what it died of. Is it news? Probably not and so they spin the article back to incidents of over a year ago which were never explained after investigation. Personally I think the young animals were eaten by larger ones. Next the article states "one of the country’s most notorious zoos". What? How do they mean "notorious"? As far as Indonesian zoos go then Surabaya is pretty good. Check out some of my articles on zoos there. I wonder if this is another move to have the place closed down so the land can be used for commerce and so prevent it being a continual challenge to its nearest zoological competitor?
My suspicions were raised still further when the next story appeared and we have statements like "It would be much better if the [animals] were removed until a fixed management is formed. The deaths of the animals is the cause of the power struggle among the zoo’s management people"...oh come on, how much sense does that make? If the management truly are at fault here then change the management. You don't need to remove the animals to do that. It is not as if Surabaya is a small zoo. So where would the animals go....and then would they ever come back again? No I think not. Chances are the cream of the crop would go to the faultering competitor zoo. To me it is so blatantly obvious just what is going on here....and yet it isn't made clear in these two latest stories. Big business wants the land and their nearest zoological competitor based in Pasuruan wants the place closed down. You don't have to dig too deep to find a connection, I just wish an honest reporter would do a bit of the digging.

So PETA are now on the back of the movie "We Bought a Zoo". That's wonderful it will give a lot more publicity and a lot more people will go to the cinema as a result. I wonder if the line "you don't even need any special knowledge to run a zoo – what you need is … a lot of heart" was put in especially to stimulate just that sort of interest. I happen to actually agree in part with PETA here and yes you do need 'special knowledge' to run a zoo (or the staff do) and I am delighted to see that PETA recognises this. You need a lot of heart too... which of course explains why so many in zoos work the hours they do for the wages they do.

I am amongst many who was upset that the animals released in Ohio were killed. Sadly it was the correct and right action to take. It was. It is because it was that I get a bad taste in my mouth when I see adverts selling  "Never Forget Zanesville Animal Massacre" T-shirts. I say cheers to the police for taking the correct action in the circumstances. We may not like it but killing these animals was the right thing to do. It was, and I don't believe that 'massacre' is the word to use. It is suggestive of My Lai and it definitely wasn't that.

I see Mareeba is in the news again, this time indirectly linked to trophy hunting. Very sad. What surprises me is that this story has not been picked up by more newspapers.

I don't always agree with what Louis Theroux has to say and some of his television presentations make me cringe but his article on exotic pets (see first link) makes a worthwhile read.

I spent the cool of the evening wandering around Dubai Zoo. The place was very busy as it was the weekend and with only 2 AED to get in is probably the cheapest day out in Dubai. Dubai Zoo continues to get slated by the know nothings. Room for improvement? Yes definitely but today I found the whole place to be clean, neat and tidy. Nothing was especially overcrowded, the animals all looked healthy and there was no sign of stress. Plenty of signage (though a bit mixed) and, as far as was possible, they had gone the extra mile in protecting the animals from the public. I would like to have seen more evidence of enrichment but who is to say what was happening behind the scenes. You can read a report I wrote on Dubai Zoo I wrote a couple of years ago if you click HERE
I was pleased to see that there were still two Gorillas here as I had heard rumours that one had died. I would have hated for Dubai Zoo to have been the latest addition to the list of Lonely Gorillas

Thank you Toronto City Council for the ban of the sale and use of Sharks Fins. A big pat on the back there. It shows level headed thinking. What happened to the thinking when it came to deciding what to do with the Toronto Zoo Elephants? The decision as to where they should be moved should never have been left to a group of people who have not the faintest clue about Elephants. It is wrong, it is insane! I believe sending them to the PAWS sanctuary is a big mistake and made for all the wrong reasons. It would seem that Christopher Hume agrees but from a different angle.

As I headed out on the town last night to meet up with my date I could not help but notice the flashes of colour. The random flashes of small coloured lights decorating the balconcies of many terraces. Diwali, the festival of light. Lovely to see. Such a pity that 100,000 turtles has to die. For a single animal to die for the sake of ANY religion is wrong in my eyes.

Great to see more zoos installing solar panels. It's got to be right.

There was an interesting comment this week to my article 'Zoo Misconceptions'. It stated:

"Also, I read a peer-reviewed article once (provided in the link below) that found that most people who are anti-zoo either (1.) have never been to a zoo or (2.) have only been to one zoo in their entire lives, and by sheer bad luck, that one zoo turned out to be a bad zoo. These latter anti-zoo people must have been appalled by the less-than-adequate conditions, and falsely concluded that ALL zoos are as bad for the animals as the one they visited."

I had not previously read the article but can well believe it. I must have met a thousand plus people when outside of my zoo environment who, when learning of my work, condemned zoos. Practically without exception they fitted into the the categories listed above.

In relation to the above I wonder if the topless Femen activists have actually ever been around Kiev Zoo? Ready enough to condemn it but do they know something the rest of us don't? All I ever see in the press is a re-hash of the same old story, never anything new. Just what is the truth about Kiev? In another link I saw this "Every year the Zoo is claiming the lives of hundreds of rare and exotic animals, that die a horrific death of hunger, cold or disease". What? Really? Truly? Now that really would be disturbing if it was true but both you and I know it is not. It will though be picked up on by the Animal Rights people who will swallow it hook, Line and Sinker. Incidentally I think blood and entrails in very poor taste.

It is many years since I worked with a Kinkajou. Great little animals till they get riled. I was bitten a time or two. I was interested to read the story about the girl with the infected bite... Kingella potus

Things are really rough back in Thailand right now with the floods. Dao is back in Isaan in the rice paddies every day frantically trying to save the crops from further flooding. Understandably people are all a bit on edge even down as far as Pattaya. It looks very much like she will have to give up her bar to keep the peace. I reckon that that will be a bigger blow to me than her as I have never been happier in my life than in that little corner of Asia.

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Exotic pets: Why do Americans keep dangerous animals?
There are more tigers in captivity in the US than in the wild in the whole of Asia, according to some estimates. But the trade in exotic pets has dangerous consequences for man and beast alike, writes Louis Theroux.
I was in the back garden of an elegant home in rural Missouri with a ticklish question hanging in the air. Should we let the big chimpanzee out of his cage?
For several weeks I'd been on a kind of suburban safari, on the trail of America's large and growing population of exotic wild animals that are kept as pets.
In Indiana, I'd had a close encounter with a baboon called Tatiana. I'd also spent several days getting to know a few of the more than 150 tigers at an "Exotic Animal Sanctuary" in Oklahoma, though mostly through the bars.
But this chimpanzee, called Cooper, was a step up on the exotic animal danger-scale. He belonged to a couple called Jill and Brad James.
The owners of a funeral home, they'd raised two daughters when they decided to take on Cooper. Later, to give Cooper some company, they added a second, younger chimp called Tucancary into the mix.
Even in the world of exotic animals, chimps are considered somewhat contr

Delhi zoo to get a major facelift
Aquarium, insectariums and a butterfly park along with different zones representing different geographical areas of India will be part of the revamp work to be carried out at the National Zoological Park over the next two decades. Authorities at the park, popularly known as Delhi Zoo, are all set to unveil the masterplan with focus on its overall upgrade and increasing its inhabitants.
The draft plan, which is almost finalised, envisions that Rs 150 crore will be spent on the park's upgrade over the next two decades.
Ever since 2008, thanks to reasons ranging from a court case to changes in the administration, had delayed the zoo's masterplan, which is under the purview of the Union ministry of environment and forests.
Major re-hauling works include a new comprehensive visitor centre along with automated parking and a fine dining

Future of Jersey's Durrell wildlife trust 'more secure'
The future of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is much more secure, says its chief executive.
In 2010, the wildlife charity had to cut jobs at the park in Jersey because of financial difficulties.
Paul Masterton said thanks to hard work from everyone at the trust, "things were looking up".
Speaking from the new visitor centre in Trinity, which he believes has helped, he said the the trust was on track to break even by 2014.
He said: "I am very proud to say that through a lot of hard work from everyone here at the trust

Journal of Threatened Taxa
ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)

October 2011 | Vol. 3 | No. 10 | Pages 2109-2152
Date of Publication 26 October 2011

Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson's Zoo Targeted by PETA
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson shouldn't be surprised if they get a call from Leonardo DiCaprio.
Just this morning, DiCaprio took to his Twitter to express his dismay over the horrific slaughter of escaped wild animals in Ohio.
But what does this have to do with Damon and Johansson?
Well, their new movie, We Bought a Zoo, is now being targeted PETA for the very same reason.
Based on Benjamin Mee's memoir, the film stars Damon as a father who moves his family to the countryside to help save a struggling zoo. Johansson plays a keeper at the animal park, which is home to an assortment of lions, tigers, zebras and bears, among other creatures.
PETA says it has sent a letter to Zoo director Cameron Crowe urging him to include a warning at the end of the movie about the dangers of owning wild animals.
"We Bought a Zoo conveys the misleading and downright dangerous message that no special knowledge—just a lot of heart—is needed to run a zoo," PETA's Lisa Lange said in a statement.
"As the tragedy in Ohio gruesomely illustrates, wild animals aren't Disney

Are whales slaves?
Animal rights campaign Peta has filed a lawsuit against SeaWorld based on the 13th amendment of the US constitution which outlaws slavery. Can killer whales be regarded as slaves?

PETA opposes marine park in Sindhudurg
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an American organisation, wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday, urging him “to put a stop to the ill-conceived and reckless plan” of building a marine park in the coastal district of Sindhudurg.
The State government has proposed an aquarium-based theme park in Sindhudurg on the lines of SeaWorld, a chain of marine mammal parks and ‘oceanariums' in the United States. Spread over 200 acres, the Indian counterpart is reportedly estimated to cost around Rs.500 crore.
In an email to Mr. Chavan, PETA stated: “The proposal for a marine park in Sindhudurg flies in the face of growing worldwide condemnation of confining wild animals or otherwise using them for human diversion. As people around the world learn more about the miserable lives of animals in oceanariums and other captive environments, they are staying away…We respectfully ask that you give serious consideration to immediately

Zoo has response plan for animal escape
If a lion or bear managed to escape from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, officials there know exactly how to react.
The zoo has a thick manual, called the “animal escape procedure document,” that explains what to do in an escape situation. It is updated every year. Staff members drill in a special-response team twice a year, bringing in outside law enforcement and emergency teams for help.
That knowledge helped the zoo’s animal experts as they helped respond to the massive exotic-animal case near Zanesville on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It is not something we take lightly,” said Dusty Lombardi, vice president of animal care. “We were the perfect zoo to respond to this. We have put ourselves in many different scenarios.”
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said his office did not have a plan in place for how to deal with an outbreak of animals of this magnitude, despite their knowledge of Terry W. Thompson’s farm and the problems they had there in the past. He said some people have a misconception that the animals escaped, but they were let loose, and officers could not have foreseen that, he said.
“Even if we had a plan for what happens if a lion gets loose, or what happens if two tigers get loose, or what happens if we have a lion and bear loose, there would never have been anything put in place for this,” he said.
Lutz said had this been just one or two animals escaping, and it had been earlier in the day, he has no doubt in his mind that they could have contained those animals and waited for wildlife  in October 2011

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Borealia is a display at Helsinki Zoo that gives visitors an impression of wildlife native to wetlands in Finland. The walkthrough aviary is an indoor exhibit where birds species can be seen that typically migrate to the South in winter:



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Attack of the jellyfish
Scientists debate the ‘rise of slime’ theory
In September, 62-year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, which had never been done before. But after making it roughly halfway there, Nyad had to abandon her goal. It wasn’t sharks that forced her to quit, but jellyfish: she received a number of stings, including to her face. The pain had become unbearable, she said, and made it dangerous for her to continue.
In the Gulf of Mexico, fishermen were complaining about them, too. Just over a year after the BP oil spill, a blanket of milky white moon jellies was clogging the water, slowing down business. This summer, media reports said jellyfish were being spotted on south Florida beaches “in record numbers.” Across the Atlantic, in the U.K. and the Mediterranean, bathers worried about large swarms of jellies (which are called blooms). A nuclear reactor in Scotland was temporarily shut down in June after jellyfish clogged its seawater filters. Off the coast of Japan, reports suggested Nemopilema nomurai, or Nomura’s jellyfish, which are as big as refrigerators, are increasing, but researchers aren’t sure exactly why.
Scientists have been sounding alarms about the “rise of slime” for at least a decade. As fish and other marine species are killed off by threats like overfishing, pollution and climate change, some say jellyfish—which have lived through Earth’s five mass extinctions—are taking over. Increasing jellyfish populations could be disastrous, hurting tourism, impeding shipping routes and crowding out the fish we typically rely on for food. But as dramatic as it sounds, experts are by no means in agreement. Among the small, tight-knit community of jellyfish scientists, the question of whether our oceans really are becoming a jelly-filled ooze is hotly debated.
Several types of jellies live off the Canadian coasts, including a tiny red one of the genus Crossota, which lives deep in the Arctic ocean and has appeared on a Canada Post stamp. They’re remarkable animals. “A jellyfish’s body is unlike any other species,” says Dave Albert

Irukandji syndrome

Zoo says exotic animals are doing well, but now owners wife wants them back
The Columbus Zoo is reporting that the surviving exotic animals from Zanesville, Ohioall appear to be healthy and adjusting to their new environment.
Terry Thompson, the Zanesvilleman whoset the animals free before committing suicide owed well over $70,000 in back taxes to the state. He had two liens filed against him last year.
Dozens of animals, including Bengaltigers, lions, wolves, monkeys and bears were freed from the Zanesville, Ohio, animal preserve and 48 of them were shot and killed by local police.
Three leopards, a grizzly bear and two Macaques were the only animals that survived. They are now in the care of Jack Hannah and the Columbus Zoo. The animals are said to still be showing signs of stress, but that they

15 baby gharials die at Chhatbir Zoo in 10 days; staff to be trained
Owing to consequent death of 15 babies of a gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) in the last 10 days, despite the authorities being regularly in consultation of the experts, the field director has planned to send some of the zoo officials to undertake special training for breeding of gharials.
The gharial had given birth to sixteen babies in June this year at Chhatbir Zoo. Of these, only one could be saved after being kept under optimum temperature.
Of these fifteen, the last three died on October 18, as per the officials.
Chhatbir Zoo Field Director Basanta Rajkumar said, “Gharials are cold-blooded species and their hibernation begins as soon as winters approach. Over the past two years, similar deaths had been reported during the season change. Despite all the precaution measures, we managed to ensure the survival of the babies for four months only.” “To avoid any similar situations next winters, we have planned to get send our team for a training;-staff-to-be-trained/864233/

Komodo Dragon Dies at Surabaya Zoo
A female Komodo dragon has died of unknown causes at one of the country’s most notorious zoos.
The eight-year-old reptile was found dead in her enclosure at Surabaya Zoo at about 11 p.m. on Sunday, zoo spokesman Anthan Warsito said.
He said there had been no indications beforehand that the dragon was ill. I nitial suspicions were that the animal had died from some sort of infection, although tests would be needed

Concern as More Animals Die at Indonesian Zoo
An Indonesian forestry agency has threatened to forcibly evacuate animals from Surabaya Zoo after another spike in deaths.
The East Java Natural Resources Conservation Center, an agency that falls under the Forestry Ministry, said on Thursday that it believed the lack of fixed management was contributing to the deaths of the animals.
Lutfi Ahmad, head of the center, told that if more deaths occurred, the zoo would lose all its animals.
“It would be much better if the [animals] were removed until a fixed management is formed. The deaths of the animals is the cause of the power struggle among the zoo’s management people,” Lutfi

Peta takes aim at We Bought a Zoo
Cameron Crowe asked to tame forthcoming film's cavalier attitude to owning wild animals in wake of Ohio zoo tragedy
With its assertion that "you don't even need any special knowledge to run a zoo – what you need is … a lot of heart", the trailer for Cameron Crowe's forthcoming We Bought a Zoo raised a few eyebrows when it debuted in September. Not least, it appears, among the members of US animal rights group Peta, which is calling for the movie to display a warning pointing out that taking charge of a menagerie of exotic creatures is actually a rather daunting task.
The group's request comes after the shooting last week of nearly 50 animals in a tragedy at a zoo in Zanesville, Ohio. Police were forced to kill 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions, as well as dozens of bears, monkeys and leopards, after the owner of the private facility released them from their cages before allegedly shooting himself to death.
"We Bought a Zoo conveys the misleading and downright dangerous message that no special knowledge – just a lot of heart – is needed to run a zoo," Peta vice president Lisa Lange said in a statement. "As the tragedy in Ohio gruesomely illustrates, wild animals aren't Disney characters. They have very special needs

Loving the Chambered Nautilus to Death
It is a living fossil whose ancestors go back a half billion years — to the early days of complex life on the planet, when the land was barren and the seas were warm.
Naturalists have long marveled at its shell. The logarithmic spiral echoes the curved arms of hurricanes and distant galaxies. In Florence, the Medicis turned the pearly shells into ornate cups and pitchers adorned with gold and rubies.
Now, scientists say, humans are loving the chambered nautilus to death, throwing its very existence into danger.
“A horrendous slaughter is going on out here,” said Peter D. Ward, a biologist from the University of Washington, during a recent census of the marine creature in the Philippines. “They’re nearly wiped out.”
The culprit? Growing sales of jewelry and ornaments derived from the lustrous shell. To satisfy the worldwide demand, fishermen have been killing the nautilus by the millions, scientists fear. Now marine biologists have begun to assess the status of its populations and to consider whether it should be listed as an endangered species

Take away his tigers
It all started in 1996 with six illegal tigers reportedly bought by the Thanh Canh Enterprise
in Binh Duong province. The law at that time, as it does today, stated that it was illegal to keep wild animals unless they were of legal origin. However, enforcement of the law back at the time was weak, and ten years later in 2006, the owners had acquired more than 100 animals including endangered
primates, about 60 bears and many other species, many of which lacked legal permits, according to local authorities.
In addition to the original tigers, a secret breeding program had produced offspring, which
authorities suspect were being sold into the trade. In fact, in 2007, a tiger cub was observed
at Thanh Canh by ENV investigators, at a time when the owners were claiming that there were no births.
In 2007, the issue of private individuals keeping tigers came under the national spotlight and lacking facilities to place confi scated tigers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
settled on registering the tigers at six existing establishments. The idea was that the owners
would be keeping them for “conservation”, and would be prohibited from any form of commercial
trade in the tigers or th

Conservationists round on Chinese whale shark aquarium
It is China's most audacious tourist attraction yet, a sleek metal-clad aquarium holding a pod of five whale sharks, the largest fish in the world.
Since it opened last month, some 30,000 visitors have flocked to the Whale Shark Aquarium in the northern city of Yantai, enchanted by the languid movements of its star attractions.
In a fillip to national pride, the owners have boasted that there is no other aquarium in the world where tourists can see five whale sharks swimming together.
But conservationists have opened fire, accusing the aquarium of cramming the whale sharks into a tank that is far too small for them.
When they reach maturity, each of the five whale sharks is likely to be 33ft long and weigh nine tons, while their tank measures just 88ft by 52ft.
By contrast, the tank at the Georgia Aquarium in the United States, which hosts four whale sharks, is ten times the size.
"I am quite pessimistic about the fate of these whale sharks," said Hua Ning, a campaigner at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Beijing. "This aquarium only wants to make a profit and are using these creatures as a publicity gimmick. The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and it needs a vast area of ocean to swim in.
Keeping them in a tiny space will put a lot of pressure on them and there will be corresponding consequences." Xiao Bing, an environmental activist in Xiamen, added: "In other countries, they prefer to take visitors out to sea in order to see large whales and fish. This is a low-cost way of enjoying nature, and mainland investors should look at this

Review of the world's first photography exhibition underwater
Having lived in Brighton a fair few months, it seemed almost criminal that I hadn't been down to The Brighton Sea Life Centre, the oldest operating aquarium in the WORLD. So when the chance to witness the first ever underwater photography exhibition arose, I decided to dive right in (sorry).
Celebrations Of The Sea, which features portraits of professionals whose lives are dominated by the ocean, and is sponsored by John West, is the first exhibit of its kind, and opened in the Victorian aquarium, which has been fully operating in Brighton since 1872.
The portraits are displayed in tanks occupied by various sea creatures, and were produced by acclaimed marine photographer Kate Westaway, who has photographed marine life across the world, and notably Angelina Jolie, during the filming for Tomb Raider.
The first thing I notice when entering the aquarium, is just how beautiful the architecture is; the typical Victorian design, with its wrought iron supports twisted into beautiful shapes and the incredibly high ceilings, provide a beautiful backdrop for this incredible attraction, and ultimately

Chimpanzee escapes her enclosure at Dallas Zoo
Koko, a 25-year-old chimpanzee at the Dallas Zoo, briefly escaped from her enclosure Tuesday morning but stayed in an area not open to the public and was quickly caught, officials said.
Police were summoned about 10:20 a.m. by zoo officials, who said a large adult female chimpanzee had gotten loose, Senior Cpl. Sherri Jeffrey said.
Authorities closed the Wilds of Africa exhibit and moved visitors as zoo workers quickly reached the chimp and shot her with a tranquilizer dart.
"Koko is groggy but doing fine," zoo Deputy Director Lynn Kramer said. "Our staff was never in any danger, and the public was never in contact

Exotic Animal Survivors From Zanesville Farm In Ohio: How You Can Help
Though the Columbus Zoo has now taken in the sole six survivors from the Zanesville, Ohio, farm tragedy, the animals still need additional help.
No one is sure as to why Terry Thompson, 62, released more than 50 animals from his private farm and committed suicide, the AP reports. But, activists and nonprofits are stepping in to make sure that those that escaped death are properly cared for and that such a tragedy doesn't happen again.
See the list below for ways you can help:
Help The Survivors
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Wilds is currently caring for the three leopards, two Celebes macaques, and one young grizzly bear that survived the tragedy on Tuesday. Though

Neotropical Primate Conservation
No 17 - October 2011

Baby emperor penguin attracts visitors to Wakayama animal park
A newborn emperor penguin was unveiled to the public Thursday at an animal park in Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, the only facility in Japan that has succeeded in breeding such birds, the park operator said.
The baby penguin was born Oct. 18 using a special incubator at Wakayama Adventure World, one of two facilities in Japan offering public viewing of emperor penguins, as the 14th emperor penguin there.
According to Adventure World, it is difficult to breed emperor penguins as it requires an environment similar to penguins' natural habitat of Antarctica for hatching.
The baby, the sixth emperor penguin born

Richardsons give $5M to Assiniboine Park
Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park has received a $5 million gift from the Richardson Foundation, the single largest gift in the park's history.
The donation is earmarked for the interactive Journey to Churchill exhibit, announced earlier this year. The province has said the exhibit will be a world-class attraction for the park which is being developed as part of a massive $200-million redevelopment of the park, lead by the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.
Journey to Churchill, along with one of its major components, the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, is part of a $31-million commitment made by the province last year.
Scheduled to open in October 2013, the exhibit will include a Polar Bear Conservation Centre for academic research on the Arctic environment and polar bear conservation, public education programs, and a polar bear rescue and relocation network for orphaned or injured animals.
The $25-million exhibit will also include underwater and above-ground viewing opportunities, with polar bears

Killer crane got zoo keeper sacked
Bruce the Brolga was known to have temper
A keeper at Wellington Zoo was sacked after she left a small female bird in an enclosure with a killer Australian crane named Bruce.
The peahen was promptly attacked and was so badly hurt it had to be put down.
The crane, named Bruce the Brolga, was known to have a violent temper. It was aggressive toward humans, had previously attacked a wallaby, and was the prime suspect in the killing of other birds, including another brolga crane.
Kelly Green, a keeper at the zoo for four years, was suspended from her job and was later dismissed. She appealed against the dismissal through the Employment Relations Authority.
Its report said Ms Green told a supervisor she had expected the peahen – the female version of a peacock – to fly out the top of the cage in the July 2010 incident.
"She said that she had noticed it had looked a bit slow and

Indonesia may host man-made 'orangutan island'
UK conservationist plans to create four new islands in northern Sumatra for sick and injured orangutans currently in cages
A British conservationist is leading an audacious plan to create a chain of man-made islands in northern Sumatra that would liberate the Indonesian island's population of caged orangutans.
Dr Ian Singleton aims to create four islands of grass, shrubs and trees for sick and injured orangutans – those who are unable to be reintroduced to the natural habitat – to roam, freeing them from the 3x4m cages in which they currently reside.
Singleton is currently in the process of securing land for the islands. The ideal location would be near the coast with a consistent supply of fresh water via a stream or river.
Diggers, operated by local contractors, will then carve up the land to create moats, thereby encircling the land with water. The earth removed by the digging will be used to landscape the islands to make them ape-friendly.
Orangutans, which can't swim, will be reluctant to leave the islands due to the water, although Singleton plans to erect an electric fence to ensure the creatures don't drown.
"Depending on the site, it shouldn't take us too long to create the islands, as long as the moats don't leak," Singleton told the Guardian from northern Sumatra.
"The biggest challenge is finding the right land that has the right security and a water supply that isn't full of effluent."
"Finding a clean stream in Sumatra can be difficult as there's lots of pollution, but we have the option

Vienna Zoo polar bears 'will suffer'
Bosses of Austria’s most popular zoo have rejected animal rights activists’ appeals to stop setting up a new polar bear enclosure.
Vienna’s Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Zoo) plans the creation of a Eisbärenwelt (Polar Bear World) by 2014. Now Frank Albrecht of the Österreichischer Tierschutzverein – a leading organisation for the protection of animals – harshly criticised the touristic attraction over the project. He told the Kurier that polar bears would certainly not feel well at the new compound "no matter how large it will be."
Albrecht said yesterday (Tues) that 70 to 95 per cent of polar bears in zoos suffered from behavioural disorders. "Polar bears always suffer," he said about animals kept at zoos. Albrecht also criticised the costs of the project of nine million Euros and called on Schönbrunn Zoo to stop building the Polar Bear World enclosure.
Gerhard Kasbauer, vice chief of the zoo, said in a first reaction to Albrecht’s attack: "It is true that polar bears are rogues. This is why the new compound will feature two separate parts."
Speaking to the Kurier newspaper, Kasbauer also said that breeding was becoming more important due to climate change effects on polar bears' natural habitats. He stressed the zoo had no plans to make changes to the construction project.
There are currently no polar bears at Schönbrunn Zoo. The zoo – which will celebrate its 260th anniversary next year – was awarded Best Zoo in Europe 2010 for a second time in a row after 2008 when the examination was also carried out. Leipzig Zoo in Germany came second in the most recent survey by the Zoological Society of London, Great Britain. The Zoologischer Garten in German capital Berlin was ranke'will_suffer'

All lions and tigers need a good home
Our tour at the Conservators’ Center in Caswell County was winding to an end Saturday afternoon before Julia Wagner brought us to the “star attraction.”
He’s Arthur, a handsome white tiger. Arthur was a malnourished cub when he arrived three years ago, but he’s plenty big and healthy looking now.
“He is not smart,” Wagner confided to a group of about 15 visitors. “He is challenged by a lot of things. But he’s sweet.”
Wagner, the center’s director of outreach, shared observations about the individual characteristics of many of the nearly 100 animals we saw during our hour-long tour. A former keeper, she’s clearly in love with her work.
The population includes 10 tigers, 21 lions and two leopards, as well as servals, a caracal, bobcats, a lynx, wolves, an ocelot, binturongs, lemurs and many other species.
My visit was prompted by last week’s tragedy near Zanesville, Ohio. The owner of an exotic animal farm opened the cages, then killed himself. Local authorities, whose priority was public safety, gunned down 35 lions and tigers.
So here, about 15 miles northeast of Burlington, occupying 40 acres of woodland and a former farm, is a facility with nearly as many large cats, as well as other potentially dangerous animals. Yet it’s not a state zoo or even a public-private facility like Greensboro’s Natural Science Center.
In fact, North Carolina is one of a handful of states — with Ohio — that doesn’t regulate private ownership of exotic animals. There are as many as 150 lions and tigers at federally licensed facilities in North Carolina, according to some estimates.
Last week’s incident inevitably raises questions about the need for tighter restrictions or an outright ban on private ownership.
The issue gets Mindy Stinner’s attention. She is the 12-year-old center’s co-founder and director. High standards and regular inspections to assure public safety and animal welfare are fine with her, but not a prohibition that would close her operation. It’s too important. For most of the animals at her facility, “we were the last resort before euthanasia,” she


State of Ohio intervenes to keep exotic pets in zoo
The state of Ohio intervened on Thursday to stop six exotic animals from being transferred back to the widow of the man who released them and dozens of other creatures last week shortly before killing himself.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture said it issued a quarantine order for the three leopards, two monkeys and one grizzly bear currently held at the Columbus Zoo, citing concerns "the animals could be infected with disease as a result of the conditions in which they were reportedly held."
Earlier on Thursday, the zoo said it had been notified by attorneys representing Marian Thompson that she planned to collect the six animals and return them to the couple's farm

After 20 Years, Zoo's Long-Promised Elephant Exhibit Nears Completion
A new elephant exhibit, promised at the Honolulu Zoo for nearly 20 years, is now just a few weeks away from completion. The new $12 million elephant habitat may help the zoo regain its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The zoo's two female elephants, Vaigai and Mari, will move out of their cramped, old exhibit in about two weeks and into their new one-and-a-half acre habitat that is roughly 10 times larger than their old one.
"This is a much larger exhibit so you're probably going to, for the most part, see them further off in the distance," said Honolulu Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo.
Mollinedo said the zoo will keep a construction fence around the exhibit for several weeks after the elephants move in, before officially opening it on Dec. 12.
"So we can let the elephants adjust to their new home, 'cause they're going to be nervous here. This is a new environment," he said.
The facility has two separate habitats, so the zoo can eventually bring in a male elephant that will live apart from the females until he breeds with them.
The new habitat has almost a resort-like quality, with two swimming pools and waterfalls, so the elephants can swim and

Breeder slams Bob Katter executive Rob Nioa's trophy 'hunting'
THE trophy hunting of rare antelopes on a Northern Territory game park has sparked outrage from the businessman who originally raised the "extinct in the wild" animals for his private collection.
The African scimitar oryxes are being offered for trophy hunts for between $50 and $5000 an animal on a 4046ha area at the Mary River Australia Safari Park, about 250km south of Darwin.
Mr Anderson said he bred the herd up to 100, which he sold to the Mareeba Wildlife Park in Queensland, but when the park failed to gain permission for authorities to bring the animals into Queensland, the Mareeba zoo operator on-sold them to Mary River ...

Spooky Looking Hatchlings Arrive for Halloween
Pharaoh cuttlefish float like ghosts in the dimly-lit depths within the Boneless Beauties gallery at the Tennessee Aquarium. With eight arms and two long tentacles, these creatures conjure up images of the Kraken, the legendary sea monster. However, these animals are rather timid. “Cuttlefish are cephalopods related to squid and octopus,” said Carol Haley, the Aquarium’s assistant curator of fishes. “Like octopi, cuttlefish have chromatophores, special cells they use to change the color of their skin. They do this for camouflage, to express

Baby Cuttlefish at the Tennessee Aquarium

Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation Rescues Another Endangered Tiger, Begins Relocation Process
Relocation Supported by Asia Pulp & Paper as part of ongoing tiger conservation programmes
The Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation (YPHS) has today announced the successful rescue and planned relocation of an endangered two-year-old Sumatran tiger. The tiger, named Bima, was rescued in Riau Province, after being caught in human-tiger conflict.
This follows the successful rescue last August of another Sumatran tiger, named Putri, which was subsequently relocated to Sembilang National Park, in eastern Sumatra. The two rescues were both supported by Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), which has been a long standing partner of the YPHS.
"We are thrilled to have rescued Bima, and to have added him to the ranks of the Sumatran tigers that we have helped protect," said Bastoni (single name), the senior YPHS conservationist, who led the team that saved Putri and cared for the tiger for several months before its eventual release in Sembilang National Park.
"Our relocation process is extremely delicate. Safely rescuing a tiger that has come into contact with humans, conducting a thorough medical assessment, ensuring it remains safe and healthy, and ready

25 staff given notice as top tourist attraction announces closure
NEXT year’s season will be the last for one of south Lincolnshire’s biggest tourist attractions.
A significant drop in visitor numbers along with rising costs mean the directors of Long Sutton Butterfly and Wildlife Park have been left with no alternative but to close.
Director Peter Smeaton said the decision was sad but did not come as a surprise to the ten full-time and 15 seasonal staff, who have been given 12 months’ notice.
He said: “It’s a combination of increased costs and red tape. One example is our zoo licence, where one of the conditions that they have imposed is that we have to put up a high security fence around the park at a cost of about £200,000.
“Our biggest cost is wages, where there have been increases in the minimum wage, the second is heat and the third is feed. Every single item that we buy has gone up.”
Mr Smeaton says the park, which has been running for 24 years, is currently losing about £100

Toronto and Taiwan Make Strides for Sharks
The good news just keeps rolling in for sharks – this time from Toronto and Taiwan.
Yesterday the Toronto City Council voted to ban the sale and use of shark fins in the city; the ban will take effect in September 2012.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has announced its intention to ban the practice of shark finning starting next year, a step forward in promoting the sustainable fishing and humane treatment of sharks. Shark finning is the practice of cutting the valuable fins off of sharks, and throwing the dead or dying body back in the ocean. Shark fins are used to make shark fin soup, a popular and expensive dish that is served primarily in China and

Shark Fin Soup

Zoo keepers fuming over vote sending elephants to sanctuary
The Toronto Zoo’s elephant keepers are up in arms over a late-night city council vote to send the animals to a sanctuary rather than an accredited facility.
“No offence to any city (councillors) that made the decision, but they’re quite honestly not qualified to make a decision on what’s best for these elephants,’’ an angry Vernon Presley, one of seven elephant keepers at the zoo, told the Star Wednesday night.
Council voted 31-4 late Tuesday to send the zoo’s three remaining elephants — Toka, Thika and Iringa —to the sprawling Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., rather than a zoo accredited with the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The zoo’s board of management voted in the spring to close the elephant exhibit for cost reasons, and the board’s first choice was an AZA facility.
In the meantime, animal rights advocates, led by former Price is Right host Bob Barker, launched an aggressive campaign to have the trio packed off to PAWS. Barker has offered to put up some of his own money toward the $100,000 to $300,000 cost to move them south.
Behind the scenes, zoo officials, staff and animal rights interests have been debating the merits of the sanctuary. Proponents say PAWS and others like it provide warmer climates and huge swaths for elephants to roam. But critics say sanctuaries have lower standards of care and don’t operate transparently.
Last week, a zoo official said talks were going well with an AZA facility in the U.S., a destination favoured by the elephant keepers. That’s now been scuttled by council’s decision.
Presley, who hasn’t been to the PAWS sanctuary, said AZA standards require regular routines with elephants, including drawing blood, trunk inspections and daily exercise such as strength and flexibility training, elephant “yoga’’ and cardio work.
PAWS co-founder and co-director Pat Derby said Wednesday she’s “surprised and excited’’ Toronto’s elephants are coming to her facility, which offers 30 hectares for African elephants, 20 hectares for Asian elephants and a barn with heated floors. They also have a Jacuz

Hume: Let’s hope elephants do forget
At this point it’s hard to say who’s in greater need of our help — Toronto’s pachyderms or its politicians.
Undoubtedly, the city’s three elephants will be happy to put their enclosures at the Toronto Zoo behind them and head for sunnier climes.
But what has this got to do with city council?
Perhaps because the elephants are “city property” — a thoroughly obnoxious concept — council felt the need to get involved, for all the right reasons, of course.
Then again, maybe the elephants presented an opportunity for a rare display of official compassion.
Good intentions aside, council has no business sticking its collective nose into matters that require more expert input. Or have we reached the point where even the fate of these unfortunate creatures is political?
City councils have always been happy to devote

Mystery Still Shrouds Alleged Orangutan Slaughter in E Kalimantan
Last September, a newspaper in Samarinda, the capital of East Kalimantan Province, received photos from a local resident allegedly showing orangutans being slaughtered.
The alleged orangutan killings reportedly had occurred from 2009 to 2010 at Puan Cepak village, Muara Kaman sub district, Kutai Kartanegara District, East Kalimantan Province. Kalimantan or Borneo Orangutans (Pongo Pygmaeus) are often considered as a pest by plantation companies.
Chairman of the East Kalimantan Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) Mukmin Faisyal has urged police to investigate the alleged killings of the endangered and protected animals.
"I ask the legal enforcers to fully investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to court, no matter what excuses they have. The primates must be protected," Mukmin Faisyal said in Samarinda recently.
He regretted that the rare primates living in East Kalimantan are seen as a pest at oil palm plantations and not protected by certain parties. The forestry ministry’s forest protection and nature conservation director, Darori, said in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Sumatra, recently that his office in cooperation with police, has carried out an investigation into the case.
He suspected that certain companies o

A report says the Javan rhino is now extinct in Vietnam (VIDEO)
A critically endangered species of rhino is now extinct in Vietnam, according to a report by conservation groups.
The WWF and the International Rhino Foundation said the country's last Javan rhino was probably killed by poachers, as its horn had been cut off.
Experts said the news was not a surprise, as

Rhinoceros Farming in China

Can Asia’s large mammals be saved from extinction?
The Javan rhino isn’t the only south east Asian mammal whose future looks bleak, says the WWF’s A. Christy Williams
Earlier this year, when I received the results of DNA analysis of rhino dung and tissue samples gathered from the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, it confirmed our worst fears. The last Javan rhino in the country had been poached in early 2010. It’s an event that could be the first milestone on a potentially inexorable slide towards the extinction of several large mammals in south east Asia.
In the 1990s, as the region opened up after years of war, there was a real feeling of joy and optimism amongst conservationists, when several large mammals were either re-discovered (the Javan rhinos in Cat Tien) or newly discovered (the Saola, Giant Muntjac in Laos and Vietnam) and protected areas, on paper at least, were being set up at a rapid pace. Non-government

100,000 turtles sacrificed in ritual slaughter to celebrate Hindu festival
A Hindu festival that celebrates light has been shrouded in darkness following the sacrificial slaughter of up to 100,000 turtles.
Shown in these horrifying images, critically endangered species including the northern river terrapin and the black soft-shell turtle, are sacrificed in the name of religion.
The ancient ritual takes place during the celebration of Kali Puja, which started in Bengal yesterday.
Held once a year, and corresponding with the festival Diwali, sacrifices are made to Kali, the Hindu goddess of power.
During Kali Puja, market streets are teeming with devotees who purchase and consume thousands of turtles.
One of the species found on Dhaka's markets is the northern river terrapin.
Around 25 individuals are known to exist, making it one of the rarest animals on earth.
On paper it is offered the same level of protection as a tiger.
Another targeted species is the black soft-shell, which has only recently been officially been found in the wild and it has a single population in a pond in the region of Chittagong.
Even though many of the turtles are critically endangered and feature on Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, the slaughter

Trees blamed for lack of air
A day after 136 students collapsed at a Kompong Cham high school while standing at attention as punishment for not showing deference to the national flag, the local police chief offered a unique explanation for the mass fainting – trees.
“According to the hospital’s analysis, the reason why the students fainted is [because of] the huge tree in the school compound and the farmland surrounding the school, which absorbed the oxygen,” said Heng Meng, police chief of Chamkar Leu district, adding that the punishment could not be blamed as one of the teachers “also [had difficulty breathing] and felt dizzy”.
Heng Phal Rith, school director of Bosknor high school in Chamkar Leu district, also cited the hospital’s report in blaming the incident on a lack of oxygen, adding that he “did not punish the students. It is just a rumour”.
A doctor from the local hospital, Iv Then, said that

Zoo Miami Celebrates New Solar Array Donated by FPL
FPL and Zoo Miami celebrated the unveiling of the first solar array installed on the Zoo grounds, located in the Amazon & Beyond exhibit on top of the trellis area in the main plaza.
Part of FPL’s Next Generation Solar Education Station program, the solar array is a donation from Florida Power & Light Company and the result of a partnership with Zoo Miami and the Zoological Society of Florida to expand the zoo’s green initiatives.
The Zoo Miami Next Generation Solar Education Station features operational solar panels similar to those in service at FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Energy Center in Arcadia, Fla. The array of photovoltaic panels converts sunlight directly into electricity, producing on average 617 kWh

Fort Worth Zoo installs 4,000-square-foot solar panel to power facility
Texas is continually making headway in the amount of solar energy used, most recently with the September installation of a 4,000-square-foot solar array system powering several buildings at the Fort Worth Zoo.
The new 47.5-kilowatt solar panel system was installed on the roof of the zoo’s administration building and is expected to produce more than 93,000 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity per year, saving around $300,000 over the system’s 30-year lifetime.
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club donated $140,000 to the zoo to pay for the solar panel

Sad end to an unusal friendship between dog, elephant
Officials at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., said Friday that Bella, a rescue dog whose longtime companion had been Tarra the Asian elephant, was killed earlier this week.The best friends were the stars of the sanctuary and even had a book written about them.

Femen Against Kiev Zoo Administration
Today topless Femen activists expressed their indignation standing on the roof of the entrance to the Kiev zoo. They distributed bowels and blood over the floor demanding to stop corrupted administration from stealing material resources of the zoo and sentencing the species to extinction. According to them, the zoo must be closed, the animals sent to zoological gardens and zoo administration put in cages instead of the animals.

And another link

Elephant gives birth after a two year pregnancy - the longest ever recorded at a British zoo (GREAT PHOTOS)
Elephants are notorious for their long memories, but now they will be renowned for their lengthy pregnancies.
Long-suffering Asian elephant Azizah was carrying her baby for 700 days - 84 longer than the average -and finally gave birth at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, last Tuesday.
It is believed to be the longest pregnancy ever recorded at the British zoo - nearly two extra months over the normal gestation period of 22 months.
And the baby, at just 16 stone (104kg) at birth, is

Exotic pet bite infects Chattanooga girl
When Jada Thurmond showed up at the emergency room complaining of stabbing stomach pain Sept. 18, the doctors treated her for a virus and sent her home.
By the next morning, the 16-year-old was battling a fever of 102, suffering severe headaches and urinating blood. Her mother rushed her to Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
That's when Thurmond told her mother and doctors about the kinkajou bite. To which everyone replied, "Kinka-what?"
"I had never heard of the animal, and neither had the doctors," said Thurmond's mother, Miika Montgomery. "I was Googling it, they were Googling it. ... If it had been a dog or a cat or a raccoon, they would have known exactly what to do, but


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8th International Gorilla Workshop

Apenheul Primate Park and Gaiapark Kerkrade are very exited and proud to invite all Gorilla specialists to join the 8th International Gorilla Workshop.

It will be held 11 – 15 june 2012 in the Netherlands. Three days in Apenheul Primate Park and the last day in Gaiapark Kerkrade.

Behind the scenes a enthusiastic team of staff from both zoos is already very busy preparing to make this Gorilla Workshop just as successful as its predecessors.

The main topics of the conference ensures that it is going to be a meeting with surprising insights, fruitful discussions and up to date information concerning conservation both, in- situ and ex-situ. All topics that will make this International Gorilla Workshop a memorable conference, that will motivate and inspire all participants.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Roar of the Rut

Red Deer Rut Heats Up

The weather might be getting colder, but things are heating up at the Highland Wildlife Park as the annual deer rut gets into full swing.

Top stags Thor and Snap are vying for dominance, and as the weather grows colder the rut will become more intense.

Head hoofed stock keeper Morag Sellar, who has kept a watchful eye over this year’s rut, said: “Now the breeding season has begun, both our fully grown stags Thor and Snap are battling for dominance.

“The objective of a stag during a deer rut is to round up all the females in the group into what’s called a harem, and mate with each one. At the moment Thor seems to be faring the best, while Snap is falling behind— but everything could change.

“A red deer rut typically lasts four to six weeks. During the rut visitors might hear the deep bellowing of the stags. They might also catch sight of the stags wallowing and covering themselves in mud, this is intended to make them appear more handsome to the female deer and also to intimidate rival stags.

“When the stags are about to fight they walk side by side, before facing each other square on. With seven-pronged antlers these deer are capable of doing significant damage, but they are remarkably robust animals.”

The Highland Wildlife Park is home to around 40 deer. Along with the adult stags Snap and Thor, there are two juvenile stags in the group, Atlas and Wanderer.

Morag said: “Atlas and Wanderer are still a bit too young to really get involved in the rut. They have been roaring and showing some interest, but they are soon chased away by the older males.”

While this time of year is full of drama for the red deer group, life will begin to quiet down as the deer rut comes to an end.

In March the stags will cast off their antlers and begin to grow new ones, while in June to July any red deer calves will be born.


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Monday, October 24, 2011

Penguins Have Some Hubble Bubble Fun

Penguins Have Some Hubble Bubble Fun

Keeping over 200 playful and intelligent penguins entertained can be a challenge, but keepers at Edinburgh Zoo are experts at penguin enrichment.

This week they treated the penguin colony to a shower of bubbles from the popular bubble making machine.

Bird Section Team Leader Colin Oulton said: “Penguins are inquisitive and intelligent birds, so it is important we offer them a variety of enrichment. We have a number of ways of providing enrichment, but the bubble machine always gets a good response. All three of our penguin species will chase the bubbles and try to catch them in their beaks.”

“Other ways of providing enrichment include scattering their food across the pool which encourages the penguins to catch food as they would in the wild. We also hang up CD’s which scatter patterns of light into the enclosure which they show great interest in, and during the winter we pile up snow for them to investigate.”

“During a snowfall our penguins will chase snowflakes and try to catch them, in much the same way as they do with the bubbles.”

Edinburgh Zoo is home to the largest outdoor penguin pool in Europe and the resident penguin colony includes three varieties of penguins—Kings, Rockhoppers and Gentoos.

Rockhopper penguins are classed as endangered on the IUCN Red List following a rapid decline in the wild population, meaning this species faces a high risk of extinction. Gentoo penguins are also under pressure from climate change, over fishing, marine pollution and habitat loss.


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