Monday, February 25, 2013

Zoo News Digest 17th - 25th February 2013 (ZooNews 844)

Zoo News Digest 17th - 25th February 2013 (ZooNews 844)

I don't believe that any zoo anywhere should be breeding
The above photo shows just one of the reasons why I feel this way

Dear Colleagues,

230 animals go missing??!! This is a bit of a worry. A few animals being moved out when a zoo changes hands is not unusual but such a big number is a little disturbing. This appears to be a story within a story so if anyone can tell me more of what is going on then I would greatly appreciate it.

Zoo licence move 'killed animals'- A very emotive statement and one I do not believe....unless the move was carried out by people who had not a clue about what they were doing. Sad of course.

The story about Guangzhou Zoo hiring Marxist Keepers amused me. Not so very strange as I recollect a UK zoo insisting that its staff were non-smoking vegetarian socialists. Things may have changed of course but there are still collections out there who make some very odd requirements of the personnel they employ.

It may not seem zoo related but it is fish in captivity or 'in human care' in Seaworld speak, but the oddest thing this morning. My hub 'Is the Fish Spa a Con or a Cure?
got an astonishingly high number of visits. I went into the stats to see where the visitors were linking from. It wasn't Google but another site. I moved on to investigate. Unfortunately it was one which is banned in the UAE. I will be none the wiser for a while then.

In the last Zoo News Digest I mentioned Shedd Aquarium and their energy saving. This brought a letter from Andrew Swales of Hamerton Zoo....please see this below. This is what all zoos should be doing. We talk about conservation but surely that applies to conservation of energy too? We need to set an example to our visitors. Hamerton is only a small place but is doing more than the majority of large zoos...indeed some are doing nothing at all.

Which leads me straight on to aquariums. I believe that every aquarium which exhibits sharks needs to have massive space dedicated to the threats they are facing in the wild from shark finning.....and every last one of these aquariums needs to take their 'Jaws' displays and dump them in the rubbish. Let us stop promoting fear and folklore. Aquariums need to actually help the species they keep.

The article 'Research Aimed at Big Cat Comfort' I found especially interesting. I think you will too.

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


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Letter From Hamerton Zoo:

Good Evening

It is interesting that you draw attention to the Shedd Aquarium piece regarding the saving of US$7000 per annum by changing light bulbs.

At Hamerton Zoo Park, UK in November 2012 we installed 2 wind turbines which will produce around half a million kW hours of electricity each year, wiping out our entire electricity bill of UK£30,000 per annum at one stroke and making us a net producer of electricity, as the Park will only use part of the turbines production.

In just the first 2 months, Hamerton Zoo Parks turbines produced enough electricity to power 25 family homes for a year, and saved enough carbon to equal running 12 cars for a year, taking 4 around the world flights and producing 20,000 newspapers.

Plans are in hand to add a further 50 kW of production this spring in the form of a solar-pv installation, a technology which neatly compliments wind power by producing most of its energy at times when wind speed is naturally lower.

Andrew Swales

Zoo saga takes new twist as 230 animals go missing
The case involving the deaths of a sun bear and a stallion at the Malacca Zoo and Night Safari took a new twist when it was alleged that some 230 zoo animals were “unaccounted” for.

The discovery was made on Jan 1 in a stock list when the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) handed over management of the menagerie to a private consortium, said a zoologist.

Dr Razeem Mazlan Abdullah, who is the animal welfare and ethics sub-committee chairman of the zoo operators, breeders, pet and wildlife traders association (P4PHM), said the list of missing animals included several mammals, reptiles and birds that vanished in just two weeks after the first listing was completed on Dec 20.

“A big question mark is what had happened to all of them and where have they been placed or transferred to,” he said yesterday.

The P4PHM has a membership base close to 4,000 individuals.

Dr Razeem, who has more than two decades of zoology experience, believed the animals were probably handed over to other zoos and individuals without abiding by the required procedures.

“To my knowledge, protected and endangered species should not be handed over to anyone by Govern-ment zoos without approval from the Natural Resources and Environment Minister,” he said, adding that the discrepancy appeared before the handing

New chimpanzee arrives at the Oregon Zoo, only to find an old friend
She's 35.
He's 42.
When she moves -- so far, anyhow -- he follows.
The separations in between, though, must make the guy pine. The evidence: Last time they were split and he finally relocated to her town, the moving truck's doors opened, he saw her standing there and he burst into applause.
This time, only last month, when he transferred from Oklahoma City to Portland and caught sight of her again, he erupted with excitement, vocalizing, gesturing and reaching out to groom her ... because that's the chimpanzee way.
His name is Jackson.
Her's is Jennifer Davis. Since December 2011, she's worked as the Oregon Zoo's curator of primates and Africa.
By chance, choice and good fortune, the chimp and zookeeper have kept company on and off since 2001, when she studied zoology at University of Florida and volunteered with primates at the Jacksonville Zoo. She planned to enroll in veterinary school but the apes, with their complex brains, intricate social systems and charismatic personalities, hooked her, she says. She's worked with them ever since.
Jackson, the first male chimp at the Oregon Zoo since Charlie died in 2009, and introduced this week to the zoo's females, was born in the wild in Africa. He was captured and sent to the Jacksonville Zoo when he was 1 or younger, which must have been traumatic for him, Davis says. Same with his early years -- an era before zoos built naturalistic exhibits, held groups of chimps instead of solitary animals, and adopted hands-off handling techniques, letting apes be apes.
For years, Jackson never saw another chimp, Davis says. Humans fed him, watered him, played with him and disciplined him in ways, she says, that often were harsh.
By the time she met him he was 30 and lived with a small group of female chimps that also had come from unfortunate situations. "They were loveable misfits," she says.
In 2005, Davis moved to the Oklahoma City Zoo, which had four chimps but wanted more. By 2007, while still with the zoo, she joined the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for chimpanzees, which manages the chimp population in AZA-accredited operations across North America. Davis was among the first to know when zoos wanted to move chimps in or send them elsewhere, so she heard right off that Jacksonville planned to phase out its chimpa

Last wartime letters of Peter Falwasser, Chester Zoo aquarist 1916 -1942
Arriving at the office in Oakfield House in Chester Zoo  70 years ago this week, the first week of February 1943, the wartime postman (or more likely postwoman) carried  some sad news.  One letter was  postmarked Manchester 31 Jan 1943 (about the time and date that I draft this blog 70 years on) and stamped with an attractive orange  2d and green 1/2d stamp bearing the portrait of the Queen’s father George VIth. Within was a short handwritten letter on one piece of paper:

Leopard, pair of zebras to join Mandalay’s zoo
Two new zebras and a rare leopard will soon be added to the collection of animals in Mandalay’s Yadanabon Zoological Garden, a zoo administrator said.

The decision to add a leopard follows the death last Friday of a female leopard at the zoo.

“A female leopard died a natural death because of its age. We have cleaned and sterilised the cage.

An eight-month clouded leopard will arrive after it is checked by veterinarians,” a zoo keeper said. He said the zoo was also adding a pair of zebras, a species it does not have at present.

The cat was donated to the zoo by a monk last July. The clouded leopard, whose scientific name is Neofelis nebulosa, is an endangered species protected by law in Myanmar. 

Yadanabon zoo, established in 1989, is located

Zoo licence move 'killed animals'
RESCUE animals have died from stress according to owners who were forced to move them because they didn’t have the right paperwork.

Mistley Place Park is facing up to the sad conclusion of a mix up with their licence.

The animal sanctuary was told it needed a zoo licence to stay open after inspectors said wild animals were not allowed to be on public display.

Owners Maureen and Michael Taylor said the licence would cost them £10,000 and force them to shut the park, so instead set about rehoming the animals and moving

Almost a fifth of world's reptiles on brink of extinction
It has been estimated that 19% of the world’s reptiles are threatened with extinction.
The claim is made in a paper published last week by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in conjunction with experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC).
Printed in the journal Biological Conservation, more than 200 world renowned experts worked on the study, which assessed the extinction risk of 1,500 randomly selected reptiles from across the globe.
Out of the estimated 19% of reptiles threatened with extinction, 12% classified as critically endangered, 41% endangered and 47% were classed as vulnerable.
Three critically endangered species were also highlighted as possibly extinct. One of these, a jungle runner lizard Ameiva vittata, has only ever been recorded in one part of Bolivia.
Levels of threat remain particularly high in tropical regions, mainly as a result of habitat conversion for agriculture and logging. With the lizard's habitat virtually destroyed, two recent searches for the species have been unsuccessful.
Dr Monika Böhm, lead author on the paper, said

This little YouTube video has apparently gone viral. INCREDIBLE battle cat Vs

Interesting yes. But you might like to read my article Cat Hero
More fantastic domestic cat Heroes.


Winter here in the north lets the mind ponder the wonder of trees. Sure they provide shade in the heat, sculptural beauty in winter, homes to wildlife and more or less renewable resources to humanity, but what else is going on? February’s links at (NEWS/Botanical News) consider a variety of research on trees and human communities :

· In the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade: the massive loss of trees to Emerald Ash Borer presented researchers with a rare opportunity to study what happens to human communities that lose their urban forest. The causality is unclear but the results are startling: a serious decline in human health.

· Deforestation in Uganda and subsequent government reforestation programs have offered other interesting research insights. A tree is not a tree. Although there are now trees again, the ecosystem and the human communities are impoverished by the non-native forests. Only industry is happy.

· Cloud forests are found in many parts of the world from Central American mountains to Middle East deserts. These ecosystems developed to take advantage of particular weather conditions. Climate change is the latest in a line of devastating events. Can researchers learn about these ecosystems before they disappear?

· Last month we shared an article criticizing biofuels as poor contributors to real sustainability. Now leaked government documents reveal that biodiesel from palms and some other sources rival oil as generators of pollution.

· Plants are resilient, though. Not passive travelers on Earth’s surface, some plants reshape the planet to benefit their community. Research on marsh plants shows how some species reshape the land to suit their needs.

Considering the recent run-ins with asteroids and meteors, it seems a good time to visit this site and understand the world we live in:

Enjoy the trip!

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors! Follow on Twitter: – a new story every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.


Tigers’ inbreeding taking its toll
The chronic issue of inbreeding the Punjab Wildlife is confronted with for several years took the life of a four-and-a-half-month white tiger cub (Zona) on Sunday night at the Lahore zoo, officials told Dawn.

In the past too, the inbreeding resulted in the deaths of several tigers at the zoo and other wildlife parks.

Officials say the present zoo administration, however, has taken some practical steps to tackle the issue of inbreeding. It has also consulted national and international wildlife experts.

On the direction of the Punjab Wildlife Department director-general, a three-member committee has been constituted to probe into facts behind the death of Zona.

The committee is consisted of Wildlife director Abdul Qadeer Mahal, Biodiversity World Wide Fund for Nature director Uzma Khan and Zoo Management Committee member Dr Riffat Suleman Butt.

The committee will submit its report within three days while it will hold its meeting on Sept 29.

White tiger cub (Zona) was suffering from congenital deformities like brittle bones (suspected rickets). X-Rays show the fracturing of long bone of distal condyles.

Zoo veterinarians, who attended the postmortem at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, reported that many bones fractured previously got healed but the process of fracture was continuous due to weak bone.

A zoo high official told Dawn that all possible measures were adopted to save the animal and national and international experts were consulted, but the cub could not survive.

Giving the background of cub’s death, the official said that brown Bengal tigress (Rozi) had given birth to four cubs in April, 2010. The white Bengal tiger (Sam) was the father of these cubs who is related to the same bloodline of brown Bengal tigress (Rozi).
 Two were stillbirths and one was born weak who died the next day. Since the tigress was unable to feed her cub, Zona was provided feeding through formula milk (Esbilac & KMR) for three months.

The cub started meat consumption and gradually reduced the milk intake. The body weight and other activities were normal, but the cub suddenly developed paraplegia of hind limbs on Aug 23. The recessive gene present in the white tigers causes paraplegia and immune deficiency. The inbreeding makes survival of white tigers difficult.

Quoting certain examples, the official said that a brown Bengal tigress had given birth to four cubs in Lahore Zoo Safari in April 2009. The father of these cubs was brown Bengal tiger and was shifted from the Bahawalpur Zoo. He was also of the same bloodline of

Guangzhou Zoo to Hire Marxist Keepers
A zoo in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has specified a good grasp of Marxist theory as a requirement for its newly advertised keeper vacancies, sparking widespread satirical humor online.

Duties of a zookeeper include feeding the animals, inspecting their droppings, cleaning their cages, and giving out basic information about them, the advertisement recently posted on the zoo's website said.

"Applicants should possess relevant professional knowledge of zookeeping, including: an understanding of the principles of Marxist philosophy and of Mao Zedong Thought and socialism with Chinese characteristics," the ad said.

An employee who answered the phone at the zoo confirmed that these were among the criteria for selection.

"Our criteria are based on the public knowledge base, which isn't something decided by us," the employee said.

Online satire

The advertisement was rapidly passed around on China's popular microblogging services, where netizens joked about how knowledge of the ruling Chinese Communist Party's ideology might apply to the vocation of zookeeper.

On Sina Weibo, user @braveNikkita asked: "So, what, are they going to brainwash the monkeys now? Are they afraid of a rebellion?"

User @runde88 quipped: "The animals in the zoo have it better

65-year-old businessman nabbed over poisoning at zoo
Police have detained a 65-year-old businessman from Kulai Besar, Johor, over the poisoning of a Malayan Sun Bear and an Arabian stallion at Malacca Zoo and Night Safari on Sunday.

Sources told The Star that investigating officers launched an operation codenamed “Vendetta 172” after CCTV footage showed the man in the zoo premises with food packages before feeding time.

He is said to have fed the animals with poison as revenge against the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) which had seized 60 animals from a zoo he owned two years ago.

A special investigation team headed by State Deputy CID chief Superintendent P.R. Gunarajan identified the man through a CCTV footage with the food packages before feeding time at 5.30pm on the day.

Police detained the man at his home yesterday at 1am.

State CID chief Assistant Commissioner Raja Sharom Raja Abdullah said police also confiscated a vehicle and several other items from the man.

“The suspect admitted to being involved in the case, but it is too early to reveal his motive,” he said.

ACP Raja Sharom said police were investigating the case under Section 429 which carries a jail term of five

Bristol Zoo's new wildlife park will open in July - despite lack of funding
BRISTOL Zoo plans to open a new wildlife park on the edge of the city this summer.

The zoo is pushing ahead with its ambitious plans despite failing to find the finance needed for the £70 million project.
Zebras and antelopes will be among the first occupants of the park, which the zoo hopes to open by July.

Planning permission to open an "eco-zoo" on part of a 136-acre site near Cribbs Causeway has been in place for three years and the Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society has owned the land for nearly 50. Plans for the country's first national wildlife conservation park at the Hollywood Tower Estate were first announced in 1999 and it was originally intended to open

Pat Derby dies at 70; rescuer of exotic and performing animals
Derby, a former Hollywood animal trainer turned activist, and her partner, Ed Stewart, operated a 2,300-acre sanctuary near Sacramento.
Pat Derby could coax Willie the bear with a handful of jelly beans, make Christopher the cougar twitch his tail on command, and even kissed Rijo the tiger.

But when it came to Walt Disney, she had less patience. Derby, a Hollywood animal trainer turned animal rights activist, once walked out on him in the middle of filming for "Disney's Wonderful World of Color" after he subjected her bear cub to two hours of retakes under the hot studio lights.

She always got along better with animals than people, anyway, she often said. "I am not a natural at public relations," she once wrote.
Derby, who later devoted her life to protecting and rescuing exotic and performing animals, died Friday after a long battle with throat cancer, said her longtime partner, Ed Stewart. She was 70 and died at their home in San Andreas, southeast of Sacramento and the site of a sprawling, 2,300-acre animal sanctuary they established in 2000.

In the 1960s and '70s, Derby was known in Hollywood circles as a trainer of anteaters, tigers and grizzly bears. She worked on the TV shows "Flipper," "Lassie" and "Gunsmoke" but later quit to become one of the most vocal critics of the abuse of animals in show business.

Her 1976 book, "The Lady and Her Tiger," was a stinging expose of the industry's practices and angered much of the Hollywood elite. Her organization, the Performing Animals Welfare Society, or PAWS, became a leading voice calling attention to the plight of animals,0,1066989.story

At the National Zoo, work will go on
If deep federal budget cuts go into effect, curators will stay on the job and animals will be fed. But sequestration could mean fewer exhibits and less time for research
Rebecca Miller, an animal keeper on the National Zoo’s American Trail, feeds Calli, a sea lion. Miller works with four other keepers at the exhibit, which includes beavers, wolves, ravens and more. Officials are scrambling to make sure the care at the zoo keeps flowing, even as potential deep spending cuts known as sequestration threaten to put the squeeze on other functions, including education, research and administration.

Fellsmere's National Elephant Center ready to take animals | Photo gallery
The National Elephant Center, which was a dream for 20 years and a building plan for 10 months, is no longer just a dream or a plan.
“We are a facility capable now of taking elephants,” Executive Director John Lehnhardt said Wednesday, after celebrating the completion of the 30-acre first phase.
Some 50 Fellsmere city officials, Indian River County officials, local business and community leaders and board members of the center gathered to hail the project so far and look to future phases.
“I’m always asked when the elephants are coming,” new board Chairman Keith Winsten told the crowd. “And the answer is we can’t give you a real date.”
While the month of April has been discussed, Lehnhardt would only say “by late spring.” He said he has had numerous discussions with various zoo officials, but said he doesn’t have any agreements.
Now, however, he said, the discussions will become more serious and lead to agreements because he has a facility to offer.
The center occupies 225 acres on Fellsmere Grade, about 3 miles north of downtown Fellsmere. It’s a collaboration of 73 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The center is planned to provide a place for aging elephants, transient animals being relocated from one zoo to another and permanent elephants whose original zoos no longer can keep them.
Melbourne’s M.H. Williams Construction Inc. broke ground in April on the first phase, with the keeper’s station, an all-metal barn and four paddocks and enough pasture and ponds for up to nine elephants.
“I am so impressed with the size,” Phil Flynn, executive director of Fort Pierce’s Save the Chimps sanctuary, said as he gazed around the barn. “With chimps, everything is smaller, but this is so huge.”
In fact, figures show the 13,000-square-foot structure, open to the air, rises to a roof peak at 30 feet high.
Lehnhardt said the new elephants will arrive in the barn and be kept in quarantine for a week or so — unless their individual health calls for a longer stay — while staffers outside the bars feed them various elephant grasses, scoop up waste, go over their records, introduce them to any resident elephants, shower them and teach them how to respond to positive reinforcement.
Jeff Bolling, the center’s chief operating officer, said the walls in the barn will be movable so elephants can meet or be kept apart

Dead Mice Are Going To Be Dropped On Guam From Helicopters (Really)
Here's the latest plan scientists have come up with to kill some of the estimated 2 million brown
tree snakes that have wiped out many other animals on Guam:
In April or May they're going to lace dead mice with painkillers, attach them to little
parachutes, drop them from helicopters and hope that they get snagged in the jungle foliage.
Then, if all goes well, the snakes — which as their name implies hang out in trees — will eat the
mice and die from ingesting the painkillers' active ingredients.
We aren't kidding. That's what The Associated Press is reporting from Guam's Andersen Air Force
Base, near where this experimental airdrop will happen.
To work, the snakes are going to have to discover their snacks from the sky fairly quickly.
According to the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:

Forest staff stir hits zoo services
Animal care services at Nandankanan Zoological Park here were partially affected on Friday following separate strikes by forest staff and temporary zoo workers.

Around 100 temporary zoo workers staged a dharna demanding wage hike and permanent jobs. The agitation coincided with the statewide indefinite strike by deputy rangers, foresters, forest guards in support of their demands beginning from Friday. Since Nandankan has around 30 such staff, around 130 abstained from work adversely affecting feeding and care of animals, zoo sources said.

Zoo authorities, however, asserted that the strike had minimal effect. "Around 40% staff were on strike and there was hardly any impact on the zoo's functioning," Nandankanan assistant director Kamal Purohit told TOI. After a poor turnout for two consecutive days due to the nationwide bandh observed by trade unions, the zoo received 20,000 visitors on Friday, he added.

The around 8,000 forest staff, under the banner of Ungazetted Bana Seva Sangha, are pressing for their three major demands. They have been demanding salary according to the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, regularisation of around 475 contractual foresters and forest guards and a promotion policy for them.

"Our intention is not to create inconvenience

Slam-dunking otter sparks questions about training zoo animals
A popular online video of a sea otter playing basketball has opened an ethical debate over how appropriate it is to train zoo animals to behave in certain ways.

While Eddie's antics seem like fun and games, officials at the Oregon Zoo have said the slam-dunking is actually helping the aging animal exercise its arthritic joints.

Tim Sinclair-Smith, director of zoological operations at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo, spoke to CBC's Information Radio on Friday about the ethics of training wild animals being kept in captivity.

In the case of Eddie, Sinclair-Smith said the Oregon Zoo has found a unique way to help the sea otter deal with its medical issue.

But he said the Assiniboine Park Zoo would not do what an aquarium in Sebastopol, Ukraine, did recently, training a dolphin to come out of its pool and crawl on its belly across the deck as a trainer leads it along.

Sinclair-Smith said the Winnipeg zoo prefers to let animals behave naturally, or in ways that would benefit

Are giant pandas worth saving?
Who wouldn’t want to fly across the world and spend a week with giant pandas? They are undeniably cute. Everyone is obsessed with those black and white fuzzy faces. We celebrate when one is born at a zoo. We know their names. We’ll watch a YouTube video of them over and over again. This one, which shows a baby panda sneezing, has more than 150 million hits. I dare you not to click the link.
For this story, we traveled to Chengdu, China, a city of 14 million people. It’s the capital of the Sichuan province in southwest China. Chengdu is known for spicy Sichuan chili dishes that make your tongue go numb, but also for being the hometown of the giant panda. Back in 1987, when it became apparent that pandas were seriously endangered in the wild, the Chinese created the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Starting with just six pandas from the wild, they’ve successfully bred more than 100 pandas.
Here, female pandas are monitored constantly to pinpoint the one day of the year – or the few hours -- when they’ll be able to conceive. They are typically artificially inseminated. Test tubes of panda sperm are kept in vats of liquid nitrogen. Mothers stay with their babies for a while but they’re eventually put back on the breeding program so the cycle can start again.
Sarah Bexell, an American who has worked at Chengdu for 13 years, says the lives of the staff revolve around the fertility cycle of the female pandas. “When our cubs are about to arrive, some of our staff live there 24-7,” she said.  She’s also a coauthor of a new book called, “Giant Pandas: Born Survivors.”
The cubs I saw on this visit were four months old and just learning to walk. Their fur was soft as silk.
Too much for one species?
The work done at Chengdu and other breeding centers costs millions of dollars a year. Experts believe more money is probably being spent to save the giant panda than any other species in the world.
But is that a good idea? 
While this may sound like heresy to panda lovers, is it possible that we’re spending too much to save the giant panda?
“I think we have to make tough choices,” British wildlife expert, Chris Packham, said. “I think that, ultimately, we have to be pragmatic as well as sentimental. You know, we can't allow our heart to rule our conservation head…  And if we channel this much into just one species, then many others, which could be far better helped, many other not just species, but communities and ecosystems, could be better protected at the expense of one fluffy, cuddly bear.”

Packham is in the minority here, but a growing number of scientists agree.
Bexell and her colleagues at Chengdu’s breeding center are not among them. They firmly believe the panda is worth saving. And they worry that without the panda as a symbol for the conservation movement, people

How the Life of a Chipmunk in Michigan Came to Save Elephants and a Million Acres in Cambodia
Cambodia, the first Asian nation to join the IUCN in 1958 is also a significant signatory to the United Nations global Convention on Biological Diversity mandating that member nations draw up sustainable Biodiversity Action Plans. Cambodia’s recent 2010 plan, by any standards, represents a remarkable aspiration towards nation-wide ecological sustainability, indigenous human rights and biodiversity conservation.
Cambodia’s prospects for sustainable agriculture and for enlarging her protected area network, ensuring the sanctity of more and more precious
habitat, encouraging eco-tourism and training the next generation of young ecologists are extremely promising. Currently, “Cambodia’s protected areas system includes 7 national parks (742,250 ha), 10 wildlife sanctuaries (2,030,000 ha), 3 protected landscapes (9,700 ha), 3 multiple use areas (403,950 ha), 6 protection forests (1,350,000 ha), and 8 fish sanctuaries (23,544 ha).”

5 rhino horns seized in The Netherlands
 Remarkable seizure in The Netherlands illustrates extent of illegal rhino horn trade
On 21 February 2013 a remarkable seizure took place in The Netherlands, showing that the illegal rhino horn trade is stretching far beyond the African countries where rhinos are killed for their horns and those countries where they are consumed, particularly Vietnam and China.
Inspectors of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority seized 5 rhino horns in an industrial building in Diemen, near Amsterdam. The horns belonged to a man and woman from Almere who had offered the horns for sale. The couple has been taken into custody for questioning. The criminal investigation is being conducted by the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and the police, and led by the Dutch public prosecutors office.

No information is yet available on the origins of the horns. They could be smuggled from Africa or have been acquired (bought or stolen) in the EU, either from a private collection or a museum or auction house.
Thefts of rhino horns have been rampant across the EU over the last few years. Given the fact that rhino horn is currently worth more than its

Les Zoos dans le Monde
Research Aimed at Big Cat Comfort
Thermal imaging could help zoos design better enclosures
The temperature is five degrees below zero. Animal science PhD student Judy Stryker says she’s freezing, but the Siberian tiger she’s observing in a zoo is panting. For him the weather is almost too warm, and he’s panting just a little because that’s the way tigers stay comfortable.

The lions in another enclosure – Stryker says they’re brothers – sit together on a heated pad set in the ground. Unlike their tiger cousins, they find this weather a little cool and enjoy relaxing in the heated area.

Stryker says zoo designers are giving more thought to the comfort and well-being of the animals living there than in past years, when their goal was to make the animal habitats interesting for the people who come to visit. Her research encourages that shift by giving zoos one more factor to consider: thermo-regulation, or how the animals maintain a comfortable body temperature.

“I’m looking at the big cats and trying to compare the different species,” she explains. She studies jaguars, lions, pumas, snow leopards and Siberian tigers and uses a thermal camera to produce images that translate temperature into colour. The results are what Stryker calls “some pretty neat technicolour pictures of animals.”

Her research has a number of goals. One is to develop an understanding of how these animals behave throughout the day in a zoo environment. Her results so far will seem familiar to owners of domestic cats: they sleep a lot. Stryker also says the big cats may be crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk and less active during the day and night, although more work is needed to confirm this.

She’s also hoping to validate the use of the thermal camera to determine the actual body temperatures of the animals. Earlier this year, Stryker and others in a research group led by Prof. Esther Finegan visited a zoo with nine Bengal tigers, where the staff are trying to train their tigers to tolerate rectal thermometers. If the training is successful, one of the zoo keepers will take rectal temperatures while Stryker is taking thermal images. This will allow her to more accurately calibrate the connection between the animals’ core temperatures and the external temperatures captured by the thermal camera: eyes, inner ears, urine and fecal matter as it is voided.

If the thermal camera can provide an accurate way to determine an animal’s internal body temperature, it could provide a non-invasive method of assessing the animal’s health, says Stryker. “We often don’t know that a dangerous carnivore is sick until we see obvious behaviours. This technique could detect a fever or elevated temperature and help us recognize illness sooner.”

Thermoregulation can be a challenge for these big cats. They don’t sweat the way we do, so they pant to get rid of excess heat. Many will lie spread-eagled on their backs, to expose the stomach – where they have the least fur – to the air. They may also seek out shady areas as the day heats up.

“A tiger might be sleeping under a tree for five hours, but he’ll move a little bit every 15 minutes as the shade patch moves, so that he remains in the shade patch,” says Stryker.

When they have access to water, tigers will swim or sit in the water on hot days. So will jaguars, but not as much. At the Toronto Zoo, most of the large cats can be sprayed with misters in the summer to help them cool off.

Some cats, including the Siberian tiger and the snow leopard, grow thick winter fur and are well-adapted to the cold. Others, like the lions and jaguars who live naturally in warmer climates, are comfortable in the warm Toronto summers but curl up together in cool weather and spend time in the cave shelters in their exhibit area. In really cold weather, the Toronto Zoo moves them into heated indoor enclosures.

“Keeping warm uses up a lot of energy for an animal,” points out Stryker, and not being able to reach a comfortable temperature can be stressful for them. But it is overheating that is actually more dangerous since it can cause brain damage or even death.

The next step in Stryker’s work will be to apply this research to exhibit design. “There is so much that goes into the design of zoo enclosures, and now I hope we can add something else: thermal comfort.”

Some of the design elements are simple, she says: making sure the animals have access to sufficient shad

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, February 16, 2013

Zoo News Digest 10th - 16th February 2013 (ZooNews 843)

Zoo News Digest 10th - 16th February 2013 (ZooNews 843)

'White' Elephant in Myanmar 

Dear Colleagues,

I had a message from Linkedin last week to say that my profile view was in the top 1% bracket for 2012. Wow I thought. How did I do that? It was not as if I tried or made an effort even. A bit of quick maths. There are 200 million Linkedin members. That make me one in with two million others. Doesn't sound so good when put that way. Look at it another way I am way ahead of 198 million users.

I was lucky enough to attend the first day of the 13th annual Conservation Workshop for the Fauna of Arabia hosted by the Environment and Protected Areas and held at the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah. Unfortunately too busy to catch the other days. My love affair with Arabian Wildlife began in 1951 and has only grown since then... along with a bit of despair.

There has been less real 'zoo news' about since I last wrote. As can be expected there are the usual stories about white animals. Why? Because they appeal to the press and are photogenic. I don't hold with them 'promoting conservation' unless there is a large and very clear sign on their enclosure stating that they are unnatural purposely bred freaks of nature. Okay I agree the odd 'natural' one does pop out. I have no problem with that. Let them make their contribution to the gene pool. But herds of white wallabies or flocks of white rheas is completely wrong.

We have had Valentines Day of course. Every zoo and its sister has jumped on that for publicity and why not? The press love it and it does no harm. Difficult to come up with something really original though.
Then there are the almost weekly 'name the animals' stories. Okay it gets the publics interest but sometimes gets me a little annoyed when I read "Zoo needs help naming.....x y z animal". Perhaps Joe public think we are clueless? Auctioning off names is a great idea and generates funds. Why more collections don't go down that route I don't know.

So the Senate OKs Bill To Let Public Handle Bear Cubs because 'Bear ranchers argue that allowing people to interact with cubs is a vital part of their business'. Bear Ranchers? Just what is a Bear Rancher? Just the name rings of animal exploitation. It stinks of 'Canned Hunt'. Just like all those poor little Lion cubs being reared in South Africa. I don't really need to know more because anyone who deliberately hand rears anything specifically for public interaction is wrong in my books.

Then there is the pastor who wants his snakes returned "We use them in our religious ceremonies. And I believe...if I don't have them there to use, then I'm not obeying the word of God," he said. I am mainly Pantheist and so have no 'religion' as such...though admit to regular Buddhist Temple visits with my other 'wife' when I am back home in Thailand. I have however read the Bible and cannot for the life of me think of any mention of necessary snake handling.

I think we can all learn something from the Shedd Aquarium. See link.

Talking of love affairs, which I was earlier. My good 'friend' and her family visited the Dubai Zoo this week. She is not a zoo person. She said that they had thought that the Giraffe were worthwhile and that the Gorilla was amazing. They were however hurt to see a live mouse dropped into a tank with a snake. The mouse was not killed whilst they were there but they were horrified that this should take place. They really felt for the mouse and two of the family were moved to tears. Sound familiar? No doubt you have experienced or heard of similar reactions before. What may surprise you however is that my friend and her family are Chinese and of poor farmer stock.They genuinely cared for this wee mouse. I thought I should tell you this so you can think of it when you read comments on Facebook or Twitter condemning all the Chinese people because of the behaviour of a few. To me it is the same as lumping all zoos together.

Sticking with the mouse for a moment. I don't believe in 'live feeding'. In 99% of cases it is totally unnecessary. It is carried out partly out of laziness and partly to titillate the public or satisfy the morbid desires of the staff involved. I am no softy. I have in the course of my duties killed more animals than most people have had hot dinners but I hate cruelty. It is not as if I have never 'live fed' because I have but if live feeding can be avoided then it should be avoided. There is rarely a realistic reason for doing something so barbaric.

Giant Isopod. Fascinating...take a look.

'S.Africa opposes total ban on rhino horn exports' "because It would also "discourage the involvement of private landowners in the conservation of white rhinoceroses and undermine national"...Just what does that say to you? To me it simply says that what I have been saying all along is true. These so called 'conservationists' don't actually give a f*** about the rhino. They are in it for the money. As I said in the last Zoo News Digest somebody really needs to look into the bank accounts of some of these people.

The Story "Unearthed elephant ring from Cleethorpes' Marineland Zoo will be preserved under barn at new Pleasure Island farm attraction" made me feel just a little bit old. I was curator of this place way back when and preserving something which had been unearthed sounds very archeological. As to the 'ring' I thought of a ring for chaining but when I read further I realised that was not what they meant at all. Using a ring to describe an elephant enclosure has a very circus sound to it and Cleethorpes was definitely not a circus. Many faults undoubtedly but I put that squarely on the purely commercial money grabbing owners of the place.

So, in a very short space of time we have had the biggest and the second biggest crocodiles die in captivity. One wonders which collection has the biggest now. Surely this must be 'Yai' held in the Samutprakarn Crocodile Park and Zoo. He was reputed to be 19ft 8 inches when I visited back in 2006.

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


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International Zoo News Volume 60/1 January/February 2013

World's second-biggest crocodile Holey euthanased at Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
QUEENSLAND has lost a second animal icon in a week, with the death of the world's second-biggest crocodile in captivity.
Holey, a 5.1m, 42-year-old saltwater crocodile, was euthanased at the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Friday after vets discovered an aggressive
cancer had spread through its body.
Its death followed that of Australia's oldest elephant, 58-year-old Siam, at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday.
Holey was believed to be the world's second largest saltwater crocodile in captivity after 5.48m croc Cassius on Green Island.  A 6.17m crocodile, Lolong,
was previously the biggest in captivity but died in the Philippines earlier this week.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary senior vet Dr Michael Pyne said losing Holey, who had been at the park for 10 years, was like losing a family member.
“It was a very heartbreaking decision to euthanize such a majestic animal however it was a unanimous decision by a panel of resident and independent
consultant vets based

Town's tears for enormous 20ft crocodile called Lolong who died
A TOWN in the southern Philippines plans to hold funeral rites for the world's largest saltwater crocodile which has died after becoming ill in an eco-tourism park.
THE mayor of Bunawan town in Agusan del Sur province said the remains of the one-tonne reptile, named Lolong, will be preserved in a museum to keep tourists coming and prevent their community from slipping back into obscurity.

The creature, which measured 20.24ft (6.17 metres), was declared dead on Sunday a few hours after flipping over with a bloated stomach in a pond the park in Bunawan town.

Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said the town had started to draw in revenue and new developments thanks to the crocodile.

"The whole town, in fact the whole province, is mourning," Mr Elorde said.

"My phones kept ringing because people wanted to say how affected they are."

In a news conference, Mr Elorde fought back tears as he recalled how the town took care of the crocodile not as an animal, but like an "adopted son".

Guinness World Records had proclaimed it the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity last year. The reptile took the top spot from an Australian crocodile that measured more than 17ft and weighed nearly a tonne.

The crocodile was named Lolong, after a government environmental officer who died from a heart attack after travelling to Bunawan to help capture the beast. The crocodile, estimated to be more than 50 years old, was blamed for the deaths of several villagers before Bunawan

Senate OKs Bill To Let Public Handle Bear Cubs
The Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would let the public touch and get photos with bear cubs in the state.

In December, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation because it also would have allowed more facilities to acquire and keep large carnivores. But he said
he supported a provision pertaining to bear cubs.

An Upper Peninsula bear ranch had to stop letting visitors pose for photos while feeding black bear cubs last year after being told it was illegal.

The bill would let the public handle bear cubs at 36 weeks old and weighing under 90 pounds.

“These are wild animals; they’re not domestic animals; they are not meant to be domestic animals,” said Tara Harrison, a veterinarian at Potter Park Zoo in
Lansing, who opposes the legislation. ”It takes thousands and thousands of years to domesticate animals. So even though they may tames these bears down, they
still are a risk to people.

“Anytime you take away an animals from its parents and you’re hand-raising them, they now have abnormal behaviors. And it’s not healthy for the babies — they

Giant underwater isopod on 4-year hunger strike, frustrating Japanese aquarium
Takaya Moritaki is tasked with feeding the giant isopods at the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture. He prepares bowls of mackerel for the crustaceans and, for
one of them, it was the fourth year anniversary of its refusal to eat anything at all.
If you haven’t seen a giant isopod before – or maybe have seen a picture and disregarded it as a hoax – it looks like a really big version of a pill-bug, or
a potato-bug, or a woodlouse. The resemblance is very keen because they’re closely related aside from the lifestyle and obvious size differences. The giant
isopod lives 100 meters under the sea. They are shrewd scavengers who have adapted to going for long periods of time without food. However, when food is
present, they can have ravenous appetites, sometimes even biting and cutting through underwater cables.

For Mr. Moritaki’s isopods though, this has not been the case. The Toba Aquarium has two giant isopods, one of them affectionately named “No.1”, which has
been on a hunger strike since 2 January, 2009. Mr. Moritaki has tempted No.1 with whole mackerel in front of the media, placing the dead fish in front of the
isopod’s face. At first, No.1 b

Reptiles and religion: Ky. pastor wants seized snakes returned, says he needs them for worship
A Kentucky pastor is fighting to get his snakes back after police in Tennessee confiscated them, CBS affiliate WKYT reports.
Pastor Jamie Coots says without the five snakes he's not obeying the word of God - plus, he says, his religious rights were violated when authorities seized
the reptiles during a traffic stop.
It started on Jan. 31 on Interstate 40 in Knoxville, Tenn, where it's illegal to have any type of poisonous snake. Pastor Coots, of the Full Gospel
Tabernacle in Jesus Name, in Middlesboro, Ky., was stopped by police for dark tinted windows, and they saw the snakes - three rattlesnakes and two

Coots had just purchased the reptiles for $800.

A Tennessee wildlife officer confiscated them.
"It's really frustrating to say the least," Coots told WKYT.
He said he's been fined before for his snakes, but they've never been taken away.
"Years we've traveled and went and got them

Small Reminder why we should not go into enclosures with big cats especially as it is never necessary

Shedd Aquarium set to become first smart-powered aquarium in U.S.
Shedd Aquarium, Chicago’s most popular cultural attraction, has rolled out a plan that will launch it as the first clean energy-powered facility of its kind
in the country.
“It’s a brand new initiative,” said Elise Waugh, a communications and public relations coordinator at Shedd. “It’s going to be something that other
institutions can look to as a model for their own.”
A Master Energy Roadmap aims to cut energy consumption of the 83-year-old indoor public aquarium in half by 2020. Robert Wengel, the aquarium’s vice
president of facilities, said about 10 million kilowatt-hours, enough to power 750 houses, are expected to be saved annually.
“It’s a comprehensive strategy,” Wengel said. “We’re going to go from an energy saver, which is what we are now, to an energy leader and to an energy
Shedd has begun the journey toward energy efficiency by changing the exhibits’ lighting systems

It’s time to look beyond the tiger
Fighting wildlife crime, other issues related to preserving India’s biodiversity don’t really get much of a mention
When it comes to the budget for conservation in India, the tiger gets the lion’s share, followed by the elephant trundling along in second place. Fighting
wildlife crime and other critical issues related to preserving India’s biodiversity don’t really get much of a mention.

As finance ministry mandarins get down to the business of drawing up the budget for the next financial year, they might do worse than ease up a little on
what seems to be an obsession with the tiger to the exclusion of all other species, although this is the 40th anniversary of Project Tiger, India’s flagship
conservation programme for the national animal.

The national budget for 2012-13, which was announced in March last year, allocated Rs.2,430 crore to the ministry of environment and forests, with Rs.340.06
crore of this going to wildlife preservation.

Project Tiger, the Union government-sponsored scheme under the National Tiger Conservation Authority, got Rs.167.7 crore of this, while Project Elephant got
Rs.22.58 crore. Fighting wildlife crime, which is wreaking havoc on India’s biodiversity and setting back decades of conservation efforts, got Rs.6.3 crore.
This when even insurgent groups are using wildlife crime as a means to fund their activities.

Project Tiger covers about 2% of the country’s geographical area. Is it robust enough to ensure conservation in a mega-diverse country such as India? At the
recently held standing committee meeting of the National Board for Wildlife, conservationists questioned the forests ministry about the preservation of
endangered species that are not within the tiger habitat. The only response seemed to be that the ministry couldn’t do much because of the lack of funds.

India’s wildlife conservation measures are largely lopsided, species-specific and biased towards megafauna, with an extraordinary fascination for the tiger.
A popular theory advocated by some conservationists goes like this—If you save the tiger, you also save the forest ecosystem, as the tiger is at the apex of
the food chain and is an excellent indicator of the health of other species.

Why this obsession with the tiger? “There are many species that are dying, but not many are bothered. What about species in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
or the Himalayas, where we do not have tigers? How will Project Tiger save them? What about riverine and marine species and the vast grasslands of Gujarat
and Rajasthan?” asked Asad Rahmani, director, Bombay Natural History Society, and a member of the national board.

“Project Tiger is a success, but a greater support of all types of habitat protection and biodiversity conservation is needed,” Rahmani said. “Remember, the
tiger is only a part of biodiversity.”

India is one of the 12 mega-diverse countries in the world. It is home to 7.6% of all mammalian species, 12.6% of birds, 6.2% of reptiles, and 6% of
flowering plant species on the planet.

Altogether, 132 species of plants and animals from India are tagged as critically endangered in the Red List of threatened species drawn up by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The tiger is not on the list and, out of 15 critically endangered bird species in India, eight are not found in any tiger reserve.

In 1972, when the tiger was notified as the country’s national animal, replacing the Asiatic Lion, the Great Indian Bustard was all set to be nominated the
national bird, but it lost out to the peacock, as the name got embroiled in arguments over pronunciation. Today,

S.Africa opposes total ban on rhino horn exports
South Africa announced its opposition to a total ban on rhino trophy exports, saying it has beefed up hunt rules amid a poaching crisis that has killed 96
animals this year.
The government backed a recommendation by the UN wildlife trade regulator CITES secretariat that a proposal halting trade in rhino trophies and products be
rejected at an upcoming meeting.
"We also welcome CITES’ acknowledgement of the recent significant steps taken to improve the management of rhino hunting," said environment minister Edna
Molewa in a statement.
Kenya has proposed that a zero export quota be put in place in Swaziland and South Africa, which has the world's biggest white rhino population and allows
legal hunts.
It is one of dozens of proposals on the global wildlife trade that will be voted on at next month's meeting of the 176-member country body in Bangkok.
The CITES secretariat said that South Africa had taken "significant steps to improve its management of rhino hunting".
Rather than trophy hunting having a negative impact on white rhino population, it said "available information suggests the contrary".
South Africa overhauled its rhino hunt rules amid a scandal over abuse of permit system that saw prostitutes organised to pose as marksmen to smuggle horns
to the international market.
The stricter rules had "resulted in a significant reduction in the number of hunting applications received", the environment ministry said.
The proposed ban, of several years, would halt a potentially sustainable and beneficial management model, said the CITES secretariat.
It would also "discourage the involvement of private landowners in the conservation of white rhinoceroses and undermine national and local rhino management
strategies", it added.
The proposal would also apply more restrictions than in other countries where rhino

J/Brice to design outlets at $40m Jeddah aquarium
US-based hotel and resort design firm J/Brice Design International has been appointed to design three restaurants at the upcoming Sea Wonders Aquarium in

The restaurants include an American-themed family restaurant called Ocean Drive after the art-deco revival in Miami’s resort area; a chic Japanese sushi
restaurant, and a shisha bar, located on the Red Sea shoreline The Promenade.

“Our participation in this remarkable center is a logical addition to our immersion in the Saudi marketplace, serving as a springboard for future cultural,
educational, and entertainment themed projects as the nation strives to meet demand for notonly hotel properties, but for entertainment, conferences,
academic facilities and other associated consumer outlets during this period of major expansion,” J/Brice Design CEO and founder Jeffrey Ornsteins said in a
press statement.

The US $40 million Sea Wonders Aquarium, developed by The Fakieh Group, will comprise 7000 marine animals of more than 200 species, including sharks,
dolphins and sea lions.

The aquarium, which includes conference facilities, can accommodate 14,000 visitors a day

Today at Big Cat Rescue Feb 9 2013 Big Cat Rescue Wins
Legal victory against tiger cub exploiter!
Many of you have followed our two year long legal battle against Joe Schreibvogel and GW Exotic Memorial Animal Park. Schreibvogel constantly breeds tiger
cubs to use to make money by charging people to pet or take photos with them, both at his park and on a “road show” that exhibits at malls and fairs. As part
of our increasing focus on advocacy work, we have contacted these venues to educate them about why we believe this was mistreatment of the animals and why it
was also bad business because it offended the many people who love animals and oppose this exploitation.
Among his many other unprofessional responses and attacks on Big Cat Rescue and Carole personally, in 2010 Schreibvogel decided to use the name Big Cat
Rescue Entertainment for his traveling exhibit. He created a logo where the words Big Cat Rescue looked very much like our logo, and even starting using a
phone number with our area code, to create confusion and damage

Gentoo penguin dies at Calgary Zoo after swallowing wooden stick
A Gentoo penguin has died at the Calgary Zoo after swallowing a wooden stick it found inside it’s enclosure.

The news was revealed to the Calgary Sun this week, more than two months after the incident.

The penguin died as a result of complications from surgery, autopsy results found an abscess in her esophagus.

It’s the second confirmed death of a bird at the zoo, after a Great Grey Owl became trapped in a connecting gate and died while it was being transferred.

There’s no word yet as to how the penguin found the stick and how it wound up in its environment.

Dr. Steven Emslie with the University of North Carolina chalks it all up to an unfortunate accident.

The marine biologist, whose made a career out of working with Gentoos, tells 660News the birds are naturally curious and playful.

“It was probably picking it up and somehow accidentally swallowed it,” he says. “It may have been thinking it was perhaps food because they feed the penguins
with food on the ground there.”

He admits while he doesn’t have all the facts, he believes it could have been at the zoo or in the wild.

“Unless it happened again, I wouldn’t really be concerned about

Foreign Funding Saves Sun Bears in Balikpapan
A plan to relocate rescued sun bears from a sanctuary in Balikpapan has been scrapped after the Vietnamese and Dutch governments stepped in with an offer to
fund the care of the animals.
Andi Burhanuddin Solong, the speaker of the Balikpapan City Council, said on Tuesday that the offer of aid was made two weeks earlier, adding he was
surprised that the plight of the bears had drawn international attention.
“The representatives from the Vietnamese and Dutch governments asked that we not move the sun bears away from that location,” he said.
“They have expressed their readiness to provide operational aid for the care of the six sun bears in the sanctuary, and I agree that they should stay.”
The plan to move the bears and turn the 9.5-hectare site into a commercial campsite was initially proposed by the City Council and the municipal
Last month, Andi said it was no longer feasible to maintain the sanctuary as a conservation

Sultan Thaha Airport to become “zoo airport”
Jambi Governor Hasan Basri Agus said on Wednesday that the Sultan Thaha Airport in the province would become a “zoo airport” as it would be integrated with
the Taman Rimba Zoo in Jambi.
“Integrated with the zoo, the Sultan Thaha Airport will become a zoo airport and this is the one and the only zoo airport in the world,” he said. The airport
would also be integrated with an MTQ compound which was home to several buildings which replicated Jambi traditional houses from each regency and
municipality in the province. It was also possible to have a hotel in the area, he said.
Hasan said flight passengers could first visit the zoo before they proceeded to the airport’s departure terminal. With the zoo airport, passengers could also
have a great place to spend time if t

Unearthed elephant ring from Cleethorpes' Marineland Zoo will be preserved under barn at new Pleasure Island farm attraction
WORKMEN have unearthed historical artefacts dating back to when enormous creatures roamed Cleethorpes – but we're not talking dinosaurs.

The old elephant ring from Cleethorpes Marineland Zoo has been discovered deep underground during work on the new Furry Friends Farm attraction at Pleasure Island.
The ring has remained in perfect condition since the zoo closed in 1974 – but its discovery will unearth fond memories for many.

Pleasure Island owner Melanie Wood – whose father, Robert Gibb, coincidentally worked for the zoo – is thrilled

Thriving Afghan zoo’s plans to expand worry its champions
In 2001, as the Taliban government collapsed, the Kabul Zoo had been almost destroyed by years of war and neglect. Exhibits were bombed out, and many of the animals had been maimed, been eaten by hungry Afghans or died of hunger.
That’s when the North Carolina Zoo stepped in with more than $400,000 it had collected in donations. Other foreign groups pitched in, and the donations eventually reached nearly $2 million.
The result: Despite being no larger than a suburban U.S. high school campus, the zoo has become one of the most popular leisure attractions in Afghanistan – so popular, in fact, that ticket sales generate more money than it costs to operate the attraction.
Now Kabul’s mayor wants to make the zoo more than five times larger – with more animals, more space and more crowd-pleasing species from places such as Africa.
Those who helped revive the zoo say that might be a big mistake.
"Getting them to understand what they can do that will be sustainable, given their resources and the climate there, is difficult," said David Jones, the director of the state-owned North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which covers 150 times more land than its counterpart in Kabul.
Jones, who’s long been involved in helping zoos in the developing world, said the idea of a sprawling zoo with more species from more places raised a host of issues, including simply the cost of heating and cooling animals’ housing in Afghanistan’s climate, which is known for its big swings in daily and seasonal temperatures.
Jon Coe, one of the world’s best-known zoo designers, was hired in 2011 as part of a $120 million aid package to improve the city from the U.S. Agency for International Development. His design for the zoo emphasized native species, education, conservation, the health of the animals and sustainability over flash. The area for animals would grow only moderately. The emphasis would be on species native to Afghanistan. Land across the Kabul River that’s been earmarked for expansion would become a conservation-minded river park tied in with the zoo.
The idea was a zoo that Kabul could afford to run properly even if the foreign funding that now fuels the city’s budget dries up, Coe said in an email from his home in Australia.
His design, though, has failed to satisfy the mayor, Mohammed Younas Nawandish, a short, mustachioed, wildly popular buzzsaw of a man dubbed "The Builder of Kabul."
For one, Nawandish says, the animal enclosures must expand across the river, where Coe had foreseen a family-friendly park.
"The condition of the zoo is very good, but unfortunately we don’t have a lot of animals," Nawandish said in an interview. "We will change that. It will be an excellent park, and at the same time a zoo, and it will be very nice."
Nawandish, a civil engineer by training, is famed for 17-hour workdays and striding the streets of the city day and night, looking for things to improve. Backed with Western aid money, he’s paved miles of dirt roads, built dozens of parks and playgrounds, installed streetlights and planted thousands of trees. He has huge plans to construct entire new neighborhoods.
As for the zoo, he wants animals that will amaze.
"I want elephants,” he said.

Tales of what happened to the animals during the nation’s civil war and the period of Taliban control are part of the zoo’s lore: A handful of unpaid zookeepers dodged bullets to get supplies to the animals. Taliban soldiers slept in the zoo, eating the rabbits and deer, and shooting other animals for fun.
The aquarium was damaged in the fighting and shelling destroyed a parrot enclosure. Most famously, Marjan the Lion lost an eye, his hearing and his teeth to a grenade. He died in 2002, but he remains a symbol of the zoo.
As the zoo’s plight became known, the N.C. Zoo Society, the North Carolina Zoo’s private fundraising arm, hoped to get about $30,000. Instead, more than $430,000 poured in. The money helped rebuild exhibits, pay staff and buy animal feed. The North Carolina Zoo also helped with animal care, staff training and a business strategy.
The zoo today is clean, and the modest enclosures and animals appear to be in good condition. There’s a food stand, a Ferris wheel, security cameras, more than 100 species of animals and insects, and 40 employees. Officials claim that attendance was 600,000 last year.
The zoo now has an education center that 30,000 students visited last year, and it’s been allowed to join international zoo groups, including the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which will give it access to high-quality training for the staff.
The zoo is popular in part because it’s a safe, peaceful refuge, particularly for women and children, in a city that has few.
On a recent Friday, despite snow on the ground and near-freezing temperatures, hundreds turned out. Several of them liked the mayor’s plan.
Abdul Aziz, 45, a taxi driver, had eight members of his family in tow.
"You’re always coming into the zoo and seeing the same animals each time," he said. "This is my third visit this winter, but the animals are the same. We certainly want more animals. Expansion of the zoo gives us the opportunity to come every week, maybe, and get familiar with different kinds of animals."
The mayor says the bigger zoo will pay its way by attracting more people. Jones is skeptical, though, because the market size won’t change. It’s unlikely that many people would travel from outside Kabul to go to the zoo, he said.
There are plenty of Afghan animals that could form the heart of a terrific zoo along the lines Coe suggested, Jones said. Among them are one of the world’s most diverse groups of cats, including snow leopards and Asiatic lions. Other exciting species include the Markhor, a massive mountain goat with bizarre spiraling horns.
"They’ve got a lot that is really interesting, and

--------------------- in February 2013

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We have worked for your enjoyment!
The African House for Giraffes at Prague Zoo is part of a mixed species exhibit. Giraffes, zebra, gnu, ostrich and antilopes are displayed together in an outdoor African savannah exhibit. Meerkat can be seen next to the building whose design is inspired by African villages. Indoors, visitors can see red river hog, aardvark and various African bird species.
Recent additions to publications on ZooLex:
National enclosure standards in New Zealand and Switzerland:
- Containment Facilities For Zoo Animals. MAF Biosecurity New Zealand.
  Standard 154.03.04. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
  Wellington, New Zealand (2007). (628 KB)
- Minimum Requirements for the Keeping of Wild Animals.
  Schweizer Tierschutzverordnung TSchV vom 27. Mai 1981
  (Stand 4. Sept. 2001) SR 455. Bundesbehörden der Schweizerischen
  Eidgenossenschaft. Bern, Schwitzerland (2001). (56 KB)
Suggestions for barrier designs by the Indian Central Zoo Authority:
- GUPTA Brij Kishor (2008) Barrier Designs for Zoos.
  Central Zoo Authority. Ministry of Environment & Forest, India. (50,7 MB

Chimps at Chester Zoo use grooming as a currency
Chimps at Chester Zoo use grooming as a currency, according to new research from an LJMU scientist.

Dr Nicola Koyama from LJMU’s Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, found evidence to support a mating market with the chimps at Chester Zoo, with sexually receptive females receiving and being able to demand more grooming from males.
 The research, which has been published in the journal ‘Animal Behaviour,’ showed that, over a three-year period, males gave more grooming to females when they had swelling on their bottoms (indicating the time of ovulation) and when there were fewer females with swelling they were able to demand more grooming from the males.
 The scientists also discovered that males who

Knut the polar bear becomes museum display
Adorable in life, still attracting admirers in death: Knut the polar bear's hide has been mounted on a polyurethane body and is going on display in a Berlin museum.
The Natural History Museum on Friday unveiled the statue prepared by taxidermists featuring the famous Berlin Zoo bear's fur and claws, with the synthetic body and glass eyes.
The display runs through March 15. Knut will then be added to the museum's scientific collections.
Knut was hand-raised after his mother rejected him. He rose to stardom in 2007 as a cuddly cub, appearing on magazine covers, in a film and on mountains of merchandise. He died in 2011 after suffering from encephalitis.
The museum dismissed

Rhino Mystery
TARONGA Western Plains Zoo has a long-term plan to solve the mystery deaths of four female white rhinos almost a year ago.
Senior keeper of white rhinos Pascale Benoit yesterday revealed the zoo had frozen and stored samples in the hope that future scientific advances could make them useful in determining why the animals died.
Ms Benoit, who still wipes away tears when she speaks of the dead rhinos, has previously stood at the open-range zoo's white rhino exhibit and counted 10 of the "magnificent" and endangered creatures.
There were five females and two males in residence when the killer illness reared its ugly head in early 2012.
The only female to survive was Mopani, that, like staff at the zoo, has struggled to comprehend the dramatic loss.
Yesterday Ms Benoit reported that she was seeing the "old Mopani come back" thanks to a 2.5 tonne beauty that may kick-start the white rhino breeding program.
Female white rhino Likewizi was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo but has lived most of her life at Victoria's Werribee Zoo.
Her return to Dubbo, to become a companion to Mopani and a mother, is lifting spirits.
Mopani and Likewizi are becoming thick as thieves.
"It was almost a godsend for Werribee to return Likewizi to us," Ms Benoit said.
"There has been a complete turnaround."
Motherhood it not a fait accompli for Likewizi, yet to produce a calf.
She left Dubbo in 1989 because her sire was the only male in the white rhino enclosure.
Across the next six months Likewizi will undergo a series of fertility tests.
"The plan is we'll do some hormone therapy just before she goes with the bull," Ms Benoit said.
"A little bit similar to what they do when preparing for IVF.
"If we get her to breed, that's going to be a bonus, and we can start increasing our numbers again."
The zoo has its eye to the future and across the world, searching for the reason why its treasured inhabitants died without explanation.

"We keep monitoring other populations and wild animals, the feelers are out there just in case we see it anywhere else," Ms Benoit said.
The senior keeper sai

Revealed - secrets of the Torquay penguin keepers
On land they are funny little people, waddling like cartoon characters. In water they are torpedo-swift swimmers – they dart past the underwater windows with a sideways glance that seems to say "Fooled you!"
Living Coasts, Torquay's "coastal zoo", is home to two species, Africans – officially listed as endangered – and macaronis. It is one of the largest flocks of penguins in the UK. The main penguin keepers are Lois Rowell and Amy Fitzgerald.

Like all top zoos, Living Coasts has a mission to make a difference. It puts money into international research to help penguins in the wild and gives to SANCCOB, the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.
"Keeping penguins is not like keeping other birds," said Lois. "They can be difficult," admits Amy. "But penguin keeper is my dream job. I love how penguins interact with people, how they respond to and recognise their keepers. They have a fun, happy-go-lucky nature."

Lois explains that it's harder to keep crested penguins than African penguins.

"African penguins are used to weather like ours, although the sea currents are colder. The macaronis come from sub-Antarctic islands where temperatures are more extreme. They could overheat here if not carefully managed. They need plenty of shade, and we have an industrial fan which sprays a fine mist of cold water."

The breeding habits of macaroni penguins are unusual. They lay two eggs – the first is only about 60% of the size of the second, has less chance of being fertile and is usually kicked out of the nest before the second is laid.

Lois says: "African penguins are burrow nesters, so to check the nest we have to lie down and use a torch. This can be quite hazardous if the penguin objects, as they have very sharp beaks. I have had a torch broken by an angry penguin!"

What do you have to look out for when you are caring for penguins? "As with any colony bird, some individuals are more outgoing than others," says Amy. "It is important to ensure timid birds get every-thing they need."

Living Coasts has a reputation for being good with penguins. What's the secret?

"Experience, enclosure design..." says Lois. "The sand is deep, so the Africans can dig down to nest. We add half pipes to stop the burrows collapsing, but otherwise the penguins dig their own nests.

"Also, there's natural seawater from Tor Bay. The enclosure is large and the location is ideal, right on the coast with plenty of clean sea air."

How many of the penguins can the keepers recognise? "All of our penguins are tagged for ID. We keep detailed records of parentage

The moment a killer whale calf was born in SeaWorld San Diego
A killer whale at San Diego SeaWorld has given birth to a 300lb calf.
Kasatka gave birth after an hour of labour, following a

Marineland lawsuit accuses former trainer of plotting to steal walrus
Marineland has sued whistleblower Phil Demers for trespassing on the park’s property, claiming he also schemed to steal Smooshi the walrus.
Marineland has sued former trainer Phil Demers for trespassing on the park’s property, claiming he also schemed to steal Smooshi the walrus.

The $1.5 million suit against Demers, who worked as a senior marine mammal trainer, says he unlawfully stormed the park during a live stadium show on closing day last Oct. 7. Demers was with other activists, says the suit.

Demers was one of eight initial whistleblowers who told the Star last August that sporadically poor water had caused blindness and other health problems among seals, sea lions and dolphins.

In an interview Thursday, Demers said he “never went in” and has proof from others who were involved that day in a protest outside the park.

“The notion that I’m ‘plotting’ to steal Smooshi is absurd,” he said. “I also doubt my second floor apartment would hold a walrus.

“My hands are full enough with my cats.”

The suit says: “Mr. Demers and others agreed on or about October 7, 2012 to unlawfully gain entry into Marineland at a time known only to them, utilizing Mr. Demers’ knowledge of Marineland security as a former

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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