Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Forest School Leader Course

David Taylor RIP

Saddened to learn today of the passing of Zoo Vet, David Taylor BVMS, FRCVS, FZS. I first met David in 1968 when he was already an established zoo vet. Our paths crossed on multiple occasions till his retirement in March 2008. He had then worked with exotic animals for more than 50 years.

David was not just a colleague but a personal friend as well. We worked together in five different zoos. He knew me, some of my girlfriends and my now ex wife and he watched my children go up. He was almost family. He was even kind enough to mention me in a number of the books he wrote. David was as prolific a writer as he was a storyteller. An evening out with David and a few beers and one tale followed another. Some were tall but most were truthful as we in the zoo world know that truth can be stranger than fiction. Joking aside David had an immense knowledge of a huge variety of creatures. He was a great vet and one who appreciated that it was the keepers who had the understanding and knowledge of the animals he came to treat.

David made friends wherever he went and I know that they will be sad to learn he has now gone. I recollect arranging to meet him in the bar of the Al Ain Hilton Hotel some years back. I was a half an hour late. When I arrived he had no less than a dozen people around him. Strangers only a little while before but new friends by the time I got there. Such was David. A lovely man.

David’s funeral will be held at the Church of St. John the Divine in Richmond Surrey (just west of London) at 1200 on 19th February.
All are welcome. If anyone wishes to send a short message, it can be read out at the service.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vietnam bear sanctuary saved from eviction

Vietnam bear sanctuary saved from eviction
Animals Asia’s Vietnam bear rescue centre has been saved from the eviction threat that has been hanging over it since 5 October 2012. A communiqué issued by the Vietnamese government confirms that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has concluded that the rescue centre’s operation should be maintained, and that construction on the project’s second phase should continue.

This decision ensures that the 104 bears living at the centre that have been rescued from the bile industry will stay, 77 local Vietnamese staff keep their jobs, and Animals Asia who fund and operate the centre will not suffer the financial losses of US $2 million as previously feared.

Animals Asia is a charity that is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals in China and Vietnam. The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, located in Tam Dao National Park, is dedicated solely to the rescue of previously farmed bears in Vietnam.

Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam Director, Animals Asia commented:
“We are very grateful to the Prime Minister for his commitment to the bear rescue centre. We look forward to working with the government to end bear bile farming and help conserve the bear species.”

Jill Robinson MBE, Founder and CEO, Animals Asia commented:
“Our priority has been to rehabilitate these bears after their years of trauma from being locked up in small cages and milked for their bile. If we had been forced to relocate it would have had a terrible impact on their wellbeing. We want to sincerely thank the tens of thousands of supporters from around the world who wrote letters, sent e-mails and signed petitions calling for the eviction to be stopped.”

The rescue centre was established based on the Vietnam government’s 2005 agreement with Animals Asia to fund and develop a facility on 12 hectares of the park that would permanently rehabilitate and house 200 endangered bears rescued from the illegal bear bile industry. Based on this agreement, Animals Asia has invested more than US$2 million in building and infrastructure.

There are over 10,000 bears – mainly moon bears but also others such as Malayan sun bears and brown bears – kept on bile farms in China, and around 2,400 in Vietnam. They’re “milked” regularly for their bile, which is stored in the gall bladder. The bile is used as a form of medicine, even though many herbal and synthetic alternatives are available. Starved, dehydrated and riddled with ailments, the bears suffer a living hell.

Animals Asia is working to end bear bile farming in China and Vietnam, where bears are kept in small cages for up to 30 years so their bile can be extracted through catheters, needles and open wounds.


How do bears learn, problem solve, communicate, and respond to their environment? Join us at Advancing Bear Care 2013 - Understanding Bears to explore the cognitive and physical needs of captive bears, and learn how to provide stimulating complex natural environments to meet those needs.

Some of our compelling speakers are;

Dr. John Beecham - Bear Rehabilitation Research

Dr. Gay Bradshaw - Theory and practice animal psychological rehabilitation and conservation

Gabriella Fredriksson - Sun Bear Environmental Education Facility, Indonesian

Dr. Jill Robinson MBE - Animals Asia Foundation

Advancing Bear Care 2013 will be held at the Holiday Inn in Clinton, New Jersey in partnership with the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge in Clinton, New Jersey on October 3rd to 6th 2013, inclusive. In addition, there will be two post conference trips held on Oct 7th, Zoo Day and Oct 8th Helping Hands-On Building Project at the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge.

Go to Bear Care Group for an update on guest speakers, problem solving workshops, hike into bear habitat to understand how bears live and learn in the wild, visit Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, poster presentations, Bear Book and Art Den, and Silent Auction.

Zoo News Digest 1st - 26th January 2013 (ZooNews 841)

Zoo News Digest 1st  - 26th January 2013 (ZooNews 841)

The problem...or at least part of it
(Read the first article)

Dear Colleagues,

It is becoming something of a tired excuse but I am late in posting out because of internet problems. I'd like to think that I now have the problem solved but I thought that last time, and the time before and the time before that. I continue to throw money I can ill afford at the problem. It helps for a time. Anyway, things seem okay today so I will get this out. (since I wrote this further problems arose...but  to quote Baldrick 'I have a cunning plan')

Real News has been a bit sparse so far this year. Mainly it has been about collections counting animals and using old Christmas trees for enrichment or food. It really seems to appeal to the press...they love stories like that.

The number of Rhinoceros which were killed during 2012 was frightening. Looking at the tally for 2013 already it look like it is going to be another bloody year. No doubt we will see renewed calls for the legal sale of horn in the coming months. Call me whatever you like but I believe that some of these 'poached' animals are not poached at all. These are inside jobs. It is the way that some of these 'rhino conservationists' are making their money. Killing their own animals and sneaking horn out of the back door. I reckon an investigation of some bank accounts would find some very dirty work being done. No, I can't prove it, and I am not going to point a finger at any particular people but my gut feel tells me I am right. Do not be surprised to see stories about this in the not too distant future.

Food? So a northern zoo are getting a bit of flak for eating surplus antelope. I see no problem with that. Nor should anyone who eats meat. Then we get stories in the press about horse meat being found in beef burgers. My only complaint here is that if it is labled beef then I expect beef and not horse or dog. I have no problems with eating horse either. I am concerned with the welfare issues and want any animal I eat to have been humanely killed....and yes, I would prefer to kill it myself with speed and caring. I mention dog because I do have a problem with that. More a personal thing really. The idea of eating a carnivore is somehow unnatural to me. I have eaten dog though but never knowingly till afterwards. Some of my very closest friends regularily consume dog. To them it is a cultural norm. One of these has several dogs around his house at any one time. He loves his dogs and they clearly look upon him with great affection. He cares for them and all are in good condition and well fed. But if unexpected guests arrive he will kill one of his dogs to feed them.
On the other hand I don't like the way dog's are farmed for meat or grabbed off the streets of Thailand. I abhor cruelty to animals wherever it takes place. So returning to where I started, I don't believe that any reputable zoo should get criticism for utilising their animals for food. If the same animals were used for feeding their big cats then it would only be the disillusioned and the insane who would object.

Apparently scores of crocodiles perished in a zoo in Shenzen, China. The story says the deaths were a result of rubbish being thrown at them. Do you believe it? I don't. For a start the article goes on to say "that only two of the 11 crocodiles" were still alive. Scores? Scores? If they got this wrong then I am pretty sure the rest of the story is rubbish. I don't doubt that they had rubbish thrown at them. Zoo visitors do this the world over and crocodilians get more than their fair share. No, almost definitely these crocodiles died for some other reason.

Detroit Zoo has a new lion. Okay, fair enough, good story, lots of press coverage....but did they need it? Could they not get one closer than Qatar? Was this a gift they could not refuse? Something more or less forced upon them to accept? There is a lot of this goes on. Ask zoos around the Middle East. As the rich and famous tire of their pets they 'donate' them to their local zoo. The zoo's don't want them but often have no choice. It is a very difficult situation to be in and one that is not often talked about lest they upset their well meaning, but uniformed, donor. There are dozens of stories untold here.

So we have a zoo that has run out of money. The stories in the press say the animals are going to starve to death. Elsewhere the question is asked "What is EAZA going to do?". They should discuss the situation of course but if a collection is not a member of EAZA then why should they do anything at all other than expert advice? There are too many collections around the world which choose not to become members of the organisations who really care and know what they are talking about. Dysfunctional zoos abound. Sometimes these places band together and form their own little groups so they can circumvent the rules and ignore the conservation related rules and regulations they don't like. They know who they are...they don't like me. They promote lies in their websites, they falsely educate and they exploit the animals they have. They really don't give a hoot about conservation. Lining their greasy pockets is their main concern. I am not knocking the staff working for these collections (well not all of them) because most of these really care about the animals they work for. Sadly some of the others have been brainwashed by their employers and so know no better.
So what to do about Naples Zoo? Simple really. Find homes for the animals which are of conservation or educational value and euthanase the rest. The sooner this is done the better. Lets not have them farmed out to the so called 'rescue centres' and 'sanctuaries'

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.


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The Rhino Horn Crisis and the Darknet
Sometime last fall, I logged into an underground message board in the anonymized recesses of the Internet they call the darknet in search of rhinoceros horn.

Once thought to posess magical abilities, and now used primarily for supposed medicinal purposes across Asia, rhino horn is now an incredibly rare commodity that's worth more than cocaine, gold, or platinum. In Southeast Asia, a single horn--ripped from the head of a dead rhinoceros by a poacher working for a crime syndicate--can sell for half a million dollars or more.

After I posted my request, plenty of people wrote back, though it wasn't clear who was trying to sell and who was trying to scam. But one respondent sounded more serious. His email handle was "Keros," the Greek word for horn, and he dismissed my request as amateurish, explaining that the horn trade isn't something to take lightly. "Anyway," he wrote, "my material is black rhino horn pure keratin hunted in Namibia. I have three in the US right now."

As strange as it sounds, the international rhino horn trade has, like everything else, gone digital. Last year, a nationwide law enforcement sting called Operation Crash netted seven individuals, including a Texas rodeo star who'd been making horn deals via Facebook. That bust marked a rising trend for the sale of an item that can fetch $90,000 or more per kilogram. Enforcement has cracked down on overt sales in the U.S., but vendors have taken a cue from the drug trade and moved deeper into the Internet. Alongside heroin and MDMA, rhino horn is now being advertised through the impossible-to-trace connections of the darknet.

The illegal wildlife trade, including the sale of exotic animals and the parts of endangered species, has exploded in recent years to become a massive black market worth some $20 billion a year. Fueled by booming Asian economies and organized crime, African paramilitary groups, and appetites for exotica in the US, the trade is threatening some of the world's rarest and most charismatic species.

That includes tigers and elephants, as well as lesser-known species like pangolins, all of which have seen their numbers decline due in part to poaching. But the growth of the trade is best exemplified by the demand for rhino horn, which is falsely believed to have medicinal and psychoactive properties.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the past twelve months have seen the worst spate of rhino poaching in recent memory. Poachers have become notably more militarized, while rangers, despite the growing use of drones and other surveillance tech, have struggled to catch up. South Africa, which is home to the vast majority of Africa's white rhinoceroses and just under half of black rhinos, saw the bulk of rhino poaching activity.

The increase in poaching, fueled by skyrocketing prices for rhino horn, reflects a preceding increase in demand. Whether they use it for traditional medicine or, more recently, as a party drug, buyers are paying more for horn than ever, and they’re being supplied by organized crime, speculators, and corrupt officials, who have connected through crime rings and the Web to develop a global wildlife trade ne

Such is Ignorance.....on the Care2 petition site
Protect White Tigers from Instinction
White tigers are wonderful creatures; people kill them because of that. They take their fur to make coats and attach their heads to the wall. But kill them to have their beauty with them is completely senseless. To find real beauty we need to search in nature where the white tigers can live in peace and harmony. To realize this ......

‘Who says Flipper is sad?’—Ocean Adventure CEO, in defense of aquariums, zoos
“The Sadness Behind the Smile” Campaign of Earth Island Institute (EII) touted by Ric O’Barry, Trixie Concepcion, and AG Sano provides a fascinating glimpse into the power of sophisticated media activists to use the public’s well-intended emotion to overcome simple common sense.

If you are to believe Ric O’Barry, Trixie, and friends, all dolphins by virtue of being held in a display facility are sad, depressed, unhealthy, and short lived. Amazingly, these dolphin gurus know this without ever having laid eyes on the animals in question.

Do animals have emotions? Of course they do. Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat for a pet has shared moments with their buddy where the animal’s contentment was obvious. Having worked with marine mammals as well as all manner of exotic species for almost 40 years, I can say that dealing with animal emotions is key to any animal handling program for research, animal welfare, or entertainment purposes.

No animal trainer can be successful with a marine mammal without a strong, positive, personal bond with that animal. What I can also tell you is that it takes a long time of watching the animal before you can make an educated guess about its emotional state.  And it never gets better than an educated guess even for the pros.

What is absolutely beyond doubt is that Ric O’Barry, Trixie Concepcion, AG Sano know nothing of the emotional state of our animals or of the 25 dolphins from Resorts World Sentosa

Sadly the second part to this video is no longer available on YouTube because the nasties had it removed.

Who's going to find me some friends? Mali the world's loneliest elephant wants to pack her trunk and go to Thailand after 33 YEARS on her own
Campaigners are calling on the Filipino government to free the country’s only elephant and allow her to be sent to Thailand to spend her final years among her own kin after three decades of solitude.
Mali the elephant has spent 35 years in a barren concrete pen at the Manila Zoo without any inter-species contact and only a small pool to entertain her.
A celebrity backed PETA campaign is now demanding that the elderly elephant's years of loneliness come to an end and that she is reunited with other elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand.
Mali was torn from her mother in Sri Lanka at the age of three and sent to the Philippines as a gift to then-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1977.

She has since spent her days in loneliness and boredom in the small enclosure at the zoo in the capital and is reportedly suffering from a number of ailments as a result of her captivity and age.

Chile's Endangered Huemul Deer

Nice and sneezy does it as Twycross Zoo tackles elephant illness
It might not be glamorous, but Twycross Zoo's analysis of Asian elephant mucus has put them at the very front of research into a disease which plagues the species.
Zoological director Sharon Redrobe is part of a team of experts who have taught four female elephants at the zoo to sneeze into bags in a bid to understand more about elephant herpes.
They have developed a pioneering a way of testing the mucus for the disease – known as EEHV – which currently has no cure and can kill.
As part of her research, she has spent a year regularly testing three adult elephants and a calf at Twycross who all have the disease.

Video: Behind the Scenes at Marineland
Former trainer Phil Demers describes conditions at Marineland, citing the effects of sporadic water problems on the health of seals, sea lions, walruses and dolphins. He says there aren't enough trainers to ensure the well-being of the sea creatures

Zoo to run out of food in 48 hours threatening animals with starvation as Italy's financial crisis hits
Hundreds of exotic animals at Naples zoo are facing starvation, as keepers declare a state of emergency with food supplies set to run out in 48 hours.

Zoo keepers at the compound in the southern Italian city, said within two days hay, fruit and all other food will be finished, leaving the 300 tigers, giraffes, elephants and other animals, high and dry.

Italy's dwindling economy has hit the once-famous zoo hard, leading its managers to declare bankruptcy in 2011.

Zoo-Bound Elephant Calves Back in Zimbabwe's Wild
An animal welfare group says five baby elephants held in captivity in western Zimbabwe for shipment to zoos in China have been returned to the wild.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Monday the calves were taken to a state-run national park over the weekend where they will undergo "rehabilitation and integration" with existing elephant herds. The babies' real mothers could not be traced.

State parks and wildlife officials agreed on their release, the group said, and "the capture of wild animals for zoos or similar habitats, irrespective of location" is expected to be stopped.

Four baby elephants were flown to China

Zoo boss faces sexism storm
THE head of one of the most famous zoos in the world is fighting to keep his job after referring to female employees in an internal memo as “0,1” – the zoo’s code for breeding mares.

Bernhard Blaskewitz, 58, head of Berlin Zoo, which enjoyed global celebrity through the stardom of polar bear Knut, said he was merely “being polite”. But critics say he did not use the internal shorthand “1,0” used to denote male species at the zoo.
Reports said the “0,1” prefix was put

Zoo chief sorry for female animal sign
The Berlin Zoo director apologized to his staff Tuesday for using a zoo sign for female animals to refer to women colleagues in an internal memo.
The sexism allegations stem from Bernhard Blaszkiewitz writing “0,1” next to the names of female staff members in a memo. In zoo shorthand, “0,1” denotes female animals and breeding mares.
He did not refer to male staff members with the “1,0” prefix, which denotes male animals.
Blaszkiewitz told staff his action had led to “misunderstandings and also misinterpretations” at the zoo, which six years ago gained international reknown as home to the polar bear cub Knut.
The zoo's supervisory board agreed to retain Blaszkiewitz during an emergency meeting on Monday.
Blaszkiewitz was also under fire for saying that staff members at the zoo had collected Christmas bonuses even if they

Dogs kill 31 blackbuck in zoo, director suspended
As many as 31 endangered blackbuck were found killed by stray dogs inside the Kanpur zoo on Sunday morning. The dogs attacked the blackbuck on Saturday night after entering the zoo from where the boundary is broken.

Two dogs were found eating the carcasses inside the zoo on Sunday morning by the forest guards during the routine morning inspection. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Rupak De said the guards killed both the dogs immediately. Another dog that was found roaming inside the zoo area was also killed, he said.

De said the dogs seemed to have entered the zoo from the area where the boundary wall was damaged. He said the wall was being repaired and the guards used to tie wires across the open area after the construction work got over in the evening to stop anyone from entering. However, they did not tie the fence wires last evening, he said.

Following the incident, De conducted an inquiry and submitted the report to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is also the Minister for Forests. Yadav suspended director of the Kanpur zoo K Praveen Rao, forester J P Awashthi, forest guards

Officials bury dead animals without informing authorities: new zoo director
Even before 31 blackbuck were killed by canines inside Kanpur zoo on Saturday night, stray dogs are believed to have entered the zoo several times before and killed some animals which were buried by the zoo officials without informing the higher authorities.

On Tuesday, forest officials exhumed the carcass of a chital from within the zoo. The newly appointed zoo director K Thomas said the carcass appeared to have been buried about ten days back. It will now be sent for autopsy.

Thomas said the whole area where killed animals are alleged to have been buried without any autopsy by the zoo officials was being scanned to search for any other buried carcasses. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Rupak De said he was waiting for the post mortem report of the exhumed chital to find out how the animal died, adding that the malafide of the zoo officials could not be ruled out.

Thomas said the second autopsy of 31 blackbuck killed by the stray dogs on Saturday night had been completed and the report sent to the Forest Department. The government had ordered the second autopsy after the first post mortem report revealed that 18 out of 31 endangered animals had died of shock. The stray dogs had entered the zoo from the area where boundary wall of the zoo is broken for more than six months.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is also Minister for Forests, had suspended the six officials, including then zoo director K Praveen Rao on Sunday for dereliction of duty. An

'Frozen Zoo' for Thailand's vanishing breeds

Two baby elephants born at Chester Zoo
Two Asian elephants have been born within a few months of one another at Chester Zoo.
The youngest calf arrived on Monday to parents Sithami and Nayan after a 22-month gestation, and was on its feet within three minutes of being born.
Another female, Sundara, born in 2004 had a calf at the end of November, the zoo said.
Curator of mammals Tim Rowlands,said it was "wonderful" to watch them bond with the herd of eight

Villagers slaughter 700 dolphins in retaliation
VILLAGERS of Fanalei in South Malaita have caught and slaughtered about 700 dolphins yesterday amidst condemnation by dolphin activists and Earth Island Institute (EII).

The mass capture and slaughter was made after villagers refused to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sealed with EII.
 The two-year MOU expired in April last year.

Chairman of Fanalei Honiara based association Atkin Fakaia said his people resorted to their normal way of hunting dolphins after EII failed to honour the agreement.

“In the MOU, EII promised to give us $2.4 million, but they only gave us $700, 000,” Mr Fakaia said.

He said people cannot wait because they need money to survive in the local economy.

“They go back to hunting dolphin in order to sell the dolphin teeth and meat to earn money,” he said.

EII director Lawrence Makili blamed the Fanelei-Honiara based association for allegedly misusing the more than $400,000 he gave towards the end of 2011

Activists against inclusion of penguins, zebra in Mumbai zoo
An animal rights group Tuesday objected to the inclusion of exotic animals in a Mumbai zoo, citing its bad conditions.
In a letter to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) said that exhibiting exotic animals at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan Zoo in Byculla in Mumbai is not a good move since the zoo is infamous for its apathy towards the animals.
Earlier this month, Mumbai's civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had announced its plans to revamp the zoo after it received a nod from the CZA.
After the revamp, the zoo is planning to exhibit 18 Indian animals like hyenas, jackals, wolves, sloth bears, wild dogs, porcupines, mouse deer, sambars, common otters, Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, leopards, jungle cats, and five exotic species like emu, hippopotamus, jaguar, zebra and Humboldt

WATCH: Three-Year-Old Plays with Alligators at Australian Wildlife Park
Charlie Parker is being billed as Australia’s youngest wildlife ranger.
The 3-year-old boy is fearless, and he loves reptiles.  His best friend is Pablo, a boa constrictor that measures 8 feet in length.
Photos of Parker playing in the water with an alligator named Gump have people buzzing about the boy.  But wildlife is the family business, and Parker’s father, who runs Ballarat Wildlife Park in Victoria, Australia, says his son’s love of animals must be genetic.
But is Parker too young for this kind of contact with dangerous animals?
Animal expert Jack Hanna told ABC's Good Morning America that proper supervision of wild animals is critical.  Without that, people are placed in in January 2013
~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~
Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!
Madagascar is the theme of an exhibition in the totally renovated and refurbished historic Lion House at the Bronx Zoo in New York. The renovation was done for more sustainability and is LEED certified. An extensive interpretation program was implemented, and evaluations have shown that most visitors to the exhibition learn about the threats to Madagascar's fauna and actual conservation efforts.
Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to offer the Spanish
translation of a previously presented exhibit of Stichting Apenheul in the Netherlands:
Amazonia - Monos arana y capibaras

Russian zoo star Adam the ostrich dies after being found with his feet frozen to cage floor during power cut
A well-loved Russian ostrich has died from hypothermia after his feet froze to the floor of a cage during a power cut on a cold night.

Adam the ostrich, the star of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Zoo and its unofficial mascot, frantically tried to free himself after becoming stuck to the concrete floor, leaving feathers covering the cage.

He was found dead by zoo keepers early on Monday morning

Burlco Zoo Warned Against Selling Off Animals
A Burlington County zoo under federal investigation is being warned against selling or donating exotic animals to people without keeping records or checking to see if there are valid licenses to possess them.    

Recent animal welfare inspection reports have cited the zoo in Springfield Township for a slew of animal neglect and facility maintenance issues.  The reports also fault Animal Kingdom for donating four wolves to an unidentified woman in October without recording the transaction.  By December, when inspectors returned, the

Topeka will pay $45,000 penalty for zoo complaint
The city of Topeka will pay a $45,000 penalty to settle a federal complaint over rules violations at the city's zoo
The city of Topeka will pay a $45,000 penalty to settle a federal complaint over rules violations at the city's zoo.
The city council voted Tuesday to settle the complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December 2011. The USDA alleged 51 rules violations at the zoo dating from 2006.
Shelly Starr, of the city attorney's office, said the civil penalties were based on violations resulting in nine animal deaths.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports zoo director Brendan Wiley says he's happy the matter is resolved so the zoo can move into a new era.
Wiley became director after the USDA criticized

China's Zoos Subject To Renewed Scrutiny After String Of Animal Abuse Cases
What on Earth is going on in China's zoos?
Despite promises in 2010 by officials to crack down on the widespread abuse of animals in Chinese zoos, horrific stories of abuses inflicted by zoo visitors continue to emerge.
A Jan. 19 report from a zoo in Shaoguan City alleges that a 27-year-old man climbed into an ostrich enclosure, then proceeded to bite the bird to death in front of onlookers. The man was later arrested and taken to the hospital, according to The Nanfang.
Other disturbing incidents have also been reported recently.
In early January, visitors to Hangzhou Zoo were caught on camera apparently pelting lions with snowballs.
Days later, zoo workers at the Rural Grand View Garden, located in Shenzen, discovered their crocodile pit had been filled with rocks and trash by visitors attempting to force the hibernating creatures

Critically Endangered Parakeet Population Grows on Predator-Free Island Reserve
Few people have ever seen a critically endangered Malherbe’s parakeet (Cyanoramphus malherbi) in the wild. Luis Ortiz-Catedral has not only seen more of the
birds than just about anyone else, one of them has landed on his head.

He has also witnessed something that almost no one else has ever seen among this species: mating. Ortiz-Catedral—now head of the ecological restoration group
at the Charles Darwin Foundation and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust—was on New Zealand’s remote Maud Island in 2009, where he was studying the rare
birds. “I was observing a nest with a friend,” he recalls. “We were interested in estimating how long the incubation stints of females lasted. We were very
still and attentive. Then a male came and landed on the nest entrance and called. The female came

Poachers kill four rhinos in Zimbabwe
Poachers killed four white rhinos in a raid on a privately-run game reserve in northeastern Zimbabwe on New Year's day, the parks department said Friday.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the animals' horns had been sawed off the carcasses, but were yet to
be moved when rangers discovered the killings at the Thetford Estate in the farming town of Mazowe.
The raid raises fears that a rhino poaching epidemic in South Africa may be spreading to neighbouring countries.
"The animals comprised two adult males, one adult female and one sub-adult male and are valued at $480,000," Washaya-Moyo said in a statement.
"A total of eight rhino horns were recovered... as well as 18 spent cartridges fired from a suspected 308 hunting rifle or an FN automatic rifle."
She said Zimbabwe, with an estimated population of around 700 rhinos, lost 19 to poachers last year, a slight drop from 23 the previous year.
Poaching is rife in Zimbabwe's game reserves, fuelled by cross-border syndicates from Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa.
Perpetrators are armed with advanced technology and aircraft, often outstripping wardens' resources.
The rhino is targeted for its horn which is believed to be

Herpetological Conservation and Biology
New Issue Announcement
Volume 7, Issue 3              December 2012

Virginia zoo director going to jail in connection with drowning of wounded wallaby
Meghan Mogensen, 27, who worked at the Reston Zoo, will serve a month behind bars and will be restricted from making any future decision about the care of
zoo animals.
A Virginia zoo director has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, months after she allegedly drowned a wounded wallaby in a bucket of water.
Meghan Mogensen, 27, will serve a month-long stint in jail for the charge and will be banned from making any future decisions about the care of animals if
she continues to work at a zoo or sanctuary, the Washington Post reported.
The Silver Spring, Md. resident’s guilty plea marks the end of a long, tragic ordeal that began at Reston Zoo in Reston, Va. in January 2012.
The animal at the center of the trial, a wallaby named Parmesan, reportedly suffered an eye injury while jumping around his pen at the zoo that month.
Zookeepers initially put a bandage

London’s ‘zoo census:’ Counting the menagerie


Two giraffes killed in fire
Wildlife park building destroyed
Two giraffes died in a fire at a wildlife park in Wisconsin Dells Sunday, according to Wisconsin Dells police.
A caller reported a burning building at the Timbavati Wildlife Park at 2220 Wisconsin Dells Parkway at 5:57 p.m.
Kilbourn firefighters arrived to find the giraffe enclosure building fully engulfed.
Two four-year-old giraffes died in the fire and the building was destroyed, according to police.
Police said they have no reason to

Never Forget The Five Freedoms

The oldest swinger in town: Colo, the first gorilla born in a zoo, marks her 56th birthday at her Ohio home with a tomato feast - her favorite food
She is one wise primate.
Colo the first gorilla born in a zoo, is turning 56 and celebrating her birthday with some special treats at her central Ohio home.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums says Colo, a female western lowland gorilla, is the oldest gorilla in any zoo

Canterbury farmer saves rare penguin population
A rare penguin population - which was headed for extinction - appears to have been saved thanks to the efforts of one determined farmer.

The White-flippered penguin is one of the smallest and most endangered penguins in the world. It is endemic to Canterbury, breeding only on Banks Peninsula
and Motunau Island.

A recent Department of Conservation survey of the bird's population at the Banks Peninsula colony found that in the past four years, the White-flippered

First contact with huge Antarctica emperor penguin colony – in pictures
A previously unknown colony of around 9,000 emperor penguins has received its first human visitors. Scientists from the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Antarctic
polar research base visited the colony on Princess Ragnhild coast after its location was revealed in a study of satellite images by scientists from the
British Antarctic Survey

Wolves escape from Haliburton reserve after vandals cut fence
The clock is ticking for three wolves who escaped from the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve on New Year’s Eve after vandals cut holes in both the inner
and outer fences containing them.
Haida, the 7-year-old alpha male of the pack, was shot and killed by an unknown person on Jan. 1, according to officials from the reserve. He was among those
who escaped.
The remaining three — an adult female named Granite, and youngsters Logan and Lonestar — present no great danger to public safety, but because they are
accustomed to life in captivity will struggle to survive as winter wears on.
Peter Schleifenbaum, owner and manager of the reserve, estimates that life for the three wolves will become more difficult in three weeks, as their fat
stores run down and they have to hunt for food — something the captive wolves are not used to doing.
“They’re in good shape and wolves can sustain these temperatures for a long time, but after three or four weeks things are going

West African lion virtually extinct: Population numbers are dangerously low with just 34 left in Nigeria
The west African lion is on the verge of extinction, according to experts after a marked decline in recent years.

It is estimated there are just 645 genetically distinct wild lions left in western and central Africa, with as few as 34 remaining in the whole of Nigeria.
Now experts from conservation group LionAid say they are ‘in real danger of extinction’.
According to the group, there are no lions left in 25 African countries and populations are barely surviving in ten.

Clusters of lions remain in Burkina Faso, Niger, the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Chad but are already extinct in countries such as Ghana, The
Ivory Coast and Togo. 
Thirty years ago there were 200,000 lions roaming wild across the continent – but now there are only between 15,000 and 32,000 left.
West African lions have been largely forgotten due to political apathy to conservation.

Dr Pieter Kat, trustee of LionAid, told The Guardian: ‘There has been a catastrophic decline in the populations of lions in Africa, and particularly west
‘These lions have been neglected for a very long time and do not have adequate protection programs.’

He said the west

Jeff Stier: Circus prevails in elephantine struggle
How's this for a "man bites dog" story? A major nonprofit activist group is paying a corporation to settle litigation. Usually it's the other way around.

Over a decade ago, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals joined forces with other animal-rights groups to sue Ringling Bros. as part
of a campaign to keep animals out of zoos and circuses. The lawsuit alleged that the circus was abusing elephants.

Zoo bosses accused of barbecuing their own animals for a staff party
Bosses at a Swedish zoo have been accused of barbecuing their own animals for a staff party.

The Parken Zoo in Eskiltuna, west of Stockholm, put two of their own wildebeest on the menu for the event, it is claimed.

Financial constraints were said to be behind the decision to cook the animals.

Taste of freedom beckons Flipper
The firm that runs Alton Towers plans to create the first sea sanctuary for captive dolphins
A BRITISH company is to found the world’s first permanent dolphin sanctuary aimed at rehousing the captive animals that once entertained crowds in marine
amusement parks and aquariums.

Merlin Entertainments, which operates Alton Towers and the London Eye, wants to create the sanctuary in a Mediterranean bay, using a network of underwater
fences and nets. The sea bed would be equipped with 3D cameras so visitors on shore could see what the dolphins were doing without interfering with them.

The firm, which also runs 40 Sea Life centres and other aquarium-based attractions around the world, has been criticised for keeping dolphins, seven of which
are split between two sites in

Kessingland/ Banham: Africa Alive and Banham Zoo to transfer to charitable trust by February
THE owner of two East Anglian zoos is hoping to complete their transfer into the hands of a charitable trust by February 1, providing bank clearance can be
Martin Goymour had hoped to confirm the establishment of the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), comprising Banham Zoo, near Diss, and Africa Alive, at
Kessingland, near Lowestoft on New Year’s Day.
However, the announcement has been delayed by the need to secure bank approval for the transfer with the new charity effectively being a new company.
Mr Goymour said that, due to the economic downturn, the bank was being “particularly fastidious” in carrying out checks before agreeing to the transfer.
However, he added there was a positive to come from the delay which was that the company had more time to plan for

Zoo director defends treatment of elephants
Emily, an Asian elephant, came to the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford in the 1960s, a different time before more focus was put on the welfare of animals.

Ruth, another Asian elephant, was rescued from an abusive private owner by court order in the 1980s, and became a companion.

The two have lived at the zoo ever since.

"They are both very human imprinted, and truthfully, these two elephants thrive on human attention much more than on elephant attention. They look forward to
seeing their keepers and friends every morning and it is very heartwarming, not only from the keepers to the elephants, but from the elephants to the
keepers," said Keith Lovett, director of Buttonwood Park Zoo.

However, for the third time in nine years, the zoo has come under fire by a national animal rights group called In Defense of Animals that says the colder
winter climate and lack of space are making life miserable for zoo's only

Zoo volunteer keeps cleaning up behind animals at age 92
Longtime volunteer, 92, still brings humor by the bucket to his ‘job’
A grandfatherly man wearing a baseball cap and glasses shuffles into the kangaroo exhibit at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, slowed only slightly by aching, 92-
year-old knees.
He plops down what looks like a long-handled dust pan and uses a small rake to push a pile of marsupial poop into it. Then he moves on to the next pile and
does the same thing.
Jack Bonturi has been volunteering to do what appears to be thankless labor for 30 years. To him, it’s not drudgery. He makes

Oregon Zoo researcher works to unravel the mystery of the Superfrog
From the sad story of a Northwest native amphibian species in steep decline leaps ... Superfrog!
 An Oregon Zoo research associate has discovered that Oregon spotted frogs living at a marshy lake in Mt. Adams' shadow grow bigger and move faster than
those anywhere else in the Northwest, enabling them to escape the jaws of their chief predator, non-native bullfrogs.
The discovery may give scientists and wildlife managers new tools in the effort to save Oregon spotted frogs, federal Endangered Species List candidates that
have disappeared from 95 percent of their former British Columbia-to-California range.
Kyle Tidwell, a behavioral ecologist working toward his doctorate at Portland State University, began studying Oregon spotted frogs in 2010, while

China zoo crocodiles in Shenzen pelted to death with trash and rocks
Scores of crocodiles perished in a Shenzen, China zoo recently, after suffering a barrage of trash and projectiles from callous visitors.

The crocodiles, which were hibernating during the winter months and as a result did not move often, appear to have been pelted with random objects because
visitors wondered if they were "alive" or not, wrote, which translated portions of a Shenzen Evening News story.
Zookeepers eventually came to clean out the trash that had built up in the pool, and then discovered that only two of the 11 crocodiles that were resident in
the exhibit were still alive.

The Shenzen Evening News reported the reptiles resided at the Rural Grand View Garden, located in the Guangming New Zone of Shenzen.

Staff claimed that they, for inexplicable reasons, found it difficult to stop the tourists from pelting the animals with garbage

Detroit Zoo takes in lion from royal family of Qatar
Simba, a four-year-old male lion once owned by the royal family of Qatar, has found a new palace at the Detroit Zoo. The king of the jungle arrived in the
United States from Saudi Arabia in October.
The family received Simba as a gift, but after a few years felt he would be better off in a more appropriate environment, said Robert Lessnau, curator of
mammals for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS).
“The owners recognized that they didn’t have the expertise to properly care for lions and made the sensible decision to find Simba a good home,” he said.
“We’re happy to provide sanctuary for Simba at the Detroit Zoo.”
Now part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP) for lions, Simba will eventually contribute to this important
cooperative management plan to ensure genetically healthy, diverse and self-sustaining populations of threatened and endangered species in AZA-accredited
Simba joins the Detroit Zoo’s two female lions. Bikira, 20, was born at an Arizona zoo and came to Detroit when she was 9 months old. Erin, estimated to be
11 years old, was rescued from a junkyard in Kansas in 2009. In the future, the AZA’s lion SSP will identify

Dolphins slaughtered
A TOTAL of 134 dolphins were reportedly hunted and slaughtered on Ata’a in the North East region of Malaita province last week.
 Reports received from sources within the region confirmed this to the Solomon Star.

Various sources who wished to remain anonymous revealed to this paper that, the dolphins were brought in shore using traditional Malaitan hunting methods, by
dolphin hunters and fishermen from the village.

“More than a hundred dolphins were brought in by the fishermen from Ata’a.

“All have been slaughtered for their teeth which is very valuable to us Malaitans, and its meat which feeds many people during special occasions,” the source

Regional Director of Earth Island Institute (EII), Lawrence Makili, when queried on the matter confirmed that he had received confirmed reports that 134
bottle nose dolphins were last week hunted and slaughtered by the people of Ata’a in North East Malaita.

Mr Makili said that EII condemn the actions of the people in hunting and slaughtering the dolphins, especially as it is still against the Fisheries and
Marine laws and regulations of the country.

“It is the people’s right to hunt the dolphins for their own consumption, however EII condemns such actions done to a very much huge number of dolphins as

“However EII will still fight to protect the lives of dolphins not only in the country but all over the globe,” Mr Makili said.

Mr Makili also warned other communities around the country who plan on capturing or slaughtering dolphins for personal gains not to involve in such

“People will use such actions as precedence to continue on capturing dolphins so that they can benefit from EII.

“EII however wish to inform them that we are already engaged with four communities in the country, assisting them through development program

Wildlife park calls for help with food
Wildlife park workers are urging people to donate unwanted food to their animals instead of throwing it away.

The call comes after new research which has shown that up to half of the world’s food is wasted.

The study by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said that between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of the four billion tonnes of food produced around the
world each year goes to waste.

A high proportion of this is then sent to landfill.

Now staff at Shepreth Wildlife Park want people to do their bit for the environment by donating waste fruit and vegetables to the park to help feed the

The park needs up to 20kg of fruit and vegetables to feed animals such as llamas, fruit bats and wallabies every day and currently spends up to £100 a week
on groceries from

Chester Zoo Takes on Westminster
Chester Zoo joined other British and Irish zoos to set up camp in the Palace of Westminster last week for the first ever zoos and aquariums exhibition.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) launched the exhibition to raise awareness of the value and importance of good, high quality

The exhibition, entitled ‘Zoos and Aquariums in Conservation and Education’ highlighted some of the conservation and education work carried out by BIAZA’s
members both in the UK and abroad.

As part of the exhibition there was a display highlighting the work that Chester Zoo does through the Assam Haathi Project in India which helps to mitigate
human-elephant conflict

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


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Saturday, January 19, 2013

ABWAK Symposium 2013 - RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

ABWAK Symposium 2013 - RZSS Edinburgh Zoo


AGENDA: Saturday 2nd March

ITEM:        Final draft programme, subject to change without notice
Registration opens: Edinburgh Zoo Education Centre
Welcome Address.
Ross Snipp
Chair of ABWAK (& Zoo Manager, Flamingo Land)
Chris West
Chief Executive, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Key note speaker – The Future of Zoos
Lesley Dickie
Director, EAZA
Keeper development
Greg Clifton
Primate Keeper, Twycross Zoo & ABWAK Council
How the ICZ helped me (ABWAK ICZ grant recipient)
Yianna Cooling
Head Keeper, Paradise Wildlife Park
Coffee break 10:55 – 11:15
Sign up for keeper tours
Role of zoos and zookeepers in capacity-building for ex-situ conservation
Tim Wright
Deputy Head of Conservation Training, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
A One Plan Approach
John Partridge
Senior Curator of Animals, Bristol Zoo Gardens
Reports and updates from the Association; Election of Council
Ross Snipp
Chair of ABWAK
12:30 -1:00
Edinburgh Zoo keeper led tours – limited numbers for each:
Hoofstock(20-25), Primates(20), Living Links & Budongo (25), Carnivores (20) , Penguins (20), Koalas (8 people only)
RZSS keepers
1:00 – 2:15 – LUNCH and Time in the Zoo (note giant panda viewing is booked for Sunday)
Also @ 1:45 -  Lecture Theatre
Jo Elliott Records Officer at Edinburgh Zoo- ZIMS demonstration
2:15 – Penguin Parade (to be confirmed)
Keepers and the Media
Charlotte Macdonald
Living Collection Curator, Twycross Zoo
Advances in Raptor training and husbandry
Mark Habben
Zoological Manager, ZSL London Zoo
Fish Net – Conservation of Freshwater Fishes
Brian Zimmerman
Aquarium Curator, ZSL London  Zoo
3:30 – 3:50 coffee
Living Links & Budongo Trail – research facilities and exhibit
Alison Dowling
Senior Keeper, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
Breeding Inca terns (Larosterna inca) in a free flying mixed exhibit
Amy Fitzgerald
Senior Keeper, Living Coasts, Torquay
7pm Symposium Dinner, Mansion House, Edinburgh Zoo (£25) pre-booking required
4:30 – 5:00
And apparently zoo keepers used to handle animals too…
Douglas Richardson
Animal Collection Manager, RZSS Highland Wildlife Park

ABWAK Symposium 2013 – RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

AGENDA: Sunday 3rd March

ITEM: Final draft programme, subject to change without notice
Arrival, Coffee & Biscuits:  Edinburgh Zoo Education Centre
Welcome address
South East Asian Wildlife Trade – Why we need an EAZA Campaign
Stewart Muir
Director Newquay Zoo & ABWAK President
Wake up to Climate Change before it’s too late
(and prepare for the next EAZA campaign)
Stephen Woollard
Head of Discovery & Learning, RZSS
& ABWAK Vice Chair & Editor
Management of a pride of lions at Flamingo Land
Martin Lees
Flamingo Land
Coffee 10:50 – 11:10
Beyond Browse
Simon Jones
Curator of Plants & Head of Sustainability, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
11:30 -12:30
Panda Tours & Browse in The Zoo
N.B. Pre-booked timed tickets to see the pandas; plus time to look at browse/time in Zoo
Lunch 12:30 – 1:15
Returning the fen raft spider back to the wild in the UK
Karen Lambert
Lead Keeper, Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates, Chester Zoo
Enrichment & Training In Reptiles
Grant Kother
Reptile Keeper, ZSL London Zoo
Giant Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo
Alison Maclean
Team Leader Giant Panda and Carnivores,
Edinburgh Zoo
Making Choices for to-morrow…… for today
Darren Beasley
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
2:35 – 2:55 Coffee
New ‘Penguins Rock’ Exhibit
Colin Oulton
Team Leader of Birds, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
Aquaponic Systems – Green filters
John Maxwell
Askham Bryan College
Breeding of Lear's Macaws
Lisa Bath
Harewood Bird Gardens
4: 00 – 4:15
Close & Q&A
Ross Snipp
Chair of ABWAK
5:00 Zoo Closes
Thanks for Coming – for those staying over: restaurants/bars in Edinburgh for the night!


Optional trip to the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park in the Cairngorms National Park
(polar bear, Amur tiger, Japanese macaque, musk ox, Scottish wild cat and more)
Coach £20 subject to numbers booking – approx. 8am leave Edinburgh and approx. 17.00 back in Edinburgh
Please tell us if you are interested in this trip.
If coming by car you may drive yourself (approx. 120 miles north of
Edinburgh) – but please let us know you intend to go to obtain free entry and to meet staff there.