Monday, April 28, 2014




Presented by: Active Environments and Shape of Enrichment

Hosted by: Moody Gardens, Galveston, TX

Dates:  December 8-12, 2014 (Ice breaker evening of December 7)

Instructors: Gail Laule, Margaret Whittaker, and Valerie Hare

Active Environments and Shape of Enrichment are proud to present the sixth Training and Enrichment Workshop for Zoo and Aquarium Animals.  The Workshop returns to its original host institution, Moody Gardens, which thanks to Hurricane Ike, is newly renovated and offers exciting opportunities for participants.  This unique five-day Workshop is designed for keepers, aquarists, managers, supervisors, curators, and veterinarians working with all species of animals held in zoos, aquariums, rescue centers, and sanctuaries.  The Workshop will present an array of topics related to the behavioral management approach to caring for captive animals, with a focus on environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement training, and the problem-solving process.  

Workshop format includes lecture, discussion, small group projects, demonstrations, and hands-on training and enrichment opportunities with Moody Garden’s diverse collection.  Skills taught are directly related to enhancing staff’s ability to manage animal behavior, improve animal welfare, and provide optimal care for captive animals.  The Workshop format is designed to maximize the value for each participant and to address your specific situations, needs, problems, and objectives.  Be prepared to interact, share, and participate to make the experience as useful and relevant to you as possible.

The registration fee is $1100 and includes the following:
·        6 nights stay in the Moody Gardens Resort Hotel (double occupancy)**
·        All workshop materials
·        All breakfasts, lunches and snacks during the workshop
·        Icebreaker, 1 dinner, and closing banquet
·        Commemorative Workshop t-shirt                             
** Single room rate including registration fee:  $1,500
Local fee (minus hotel):  $675
If using credit card, add 5% processing fee.

For more information contact:
Active Environments, Inc.  Tel: 805-737-3700   
E-mail Katie Zufall:
Moody Gardens, Diane Olsen:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Zoo News Digest 19th - 25th April 2014 (ZooNews 893)

Zoo News Digest 19th - 25th April 2014 (ZooNews 893)

Meerkats in the new Edinburgh zoo exhibit

Dear Colleagues,

The biggest story of the week was 'Baby meets Bilby', a tremendous win for Taronga Zoo.

I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Nick Ellerton. Every time a colleague I know passes away I become only too aware of my own mortality. My sincere sympathies to friends and family.

A different kind of shock, coupled with dismay and disgust hit me when I learned that Pairi Daiza Zoo had moved in a pair of White Tigers. Commitment to conservation? That's a lie. I don't care how you dress up the argument as I can see right through the holes in it. In fact I could drive two double decker buses abreast through them.

Today was World Penguin Day. Sadly this was ignored by most press. I can't say that I am surprised.

The weather here is really starting to heat up. Lilli and I continue our evening walks but leaving it now to well after sundown.

I am extremely grateful for those few donations I get for advertising on Zoo News and the Zoo Jobs page. They help keep my internet bill down. Thank you.

My surface mail mail box is just not working out. Mail is going astray. Even lost my last but one passport for a while. So for now please send all paper mail, books for review etc to :

Peter Dickinson
10 Cheshire View
Appleyards Lane

Bear in mind it is NOT where I live. My mail will be forwarded to me to wherever I am from there. My contact phone number remains the same:

00971 (0)50 4787 122


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

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5 February 1949 – 29 March 2014

At the beginning of the UK zoo renaissance during the 1980s, Nick Ellerton was working at Chester Zoo as Assistant Curator of Mammals.  As a young and rather handsome man, his knowledge of wildlife and his over-all demeanor belied his years and he was, right from the outset, one of the “old school”  who throughout his long and varied career never lost sight of the most important aspect of zoo keeping – animal welfare.

In those formative days Nick was one of the driving forces behind the early committees that pre-dated most of the animal TAGs that we know today.  He was “the young pretender”, considerably younger than most of his counterparts, with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to get things done, along with a healthy acceptance of collateral damage along the way should the established old guard need the occasional push or shove in the right direction. 

His knowledge of wildlife, wild places and conservation was staggering.  So too was his depth of expertise across a vast array of exotic animal species kept in zoos.  Against a backdrop of increasing complexity in terms of the way animal collections operate, Nick was the unfailing pragmatist who always provided straightforward and down-to-earth solutions to any problems or issues that came along.  Nick Ellerton held the passionate belief that zoo animals should be left to behave like animals and should not be over managed or used merely as objects of entertainment.  He sat on the first Anthropoid Ape Committee and later on he was one of an original group of concerned people who began to question the way we look after elephants in captivity.  Ironically, nearly four decades later some of those same questions and concerns about captive elephant care persist and remain unanswered.

Nick was a social, avuncular person who was passionate about all aspects of his work and the natural world in general. He made friends easily but held strong, sometimes immovable views that, as with anyone unafraid to stand up and be counted, meant he had his critics too.  Nick was never one to compromise his values or shy away from controversy and he was certainly not one of those people who felt the need to be liked by the politically correct majority.  He could morph seamlessly from a formal, high-powered business meeting to the classic raconteur over cocktails and dinner. 

It has been my privilege and pleasure to have known Nick Ellerton, both as a work colleague and as a good friend.  In my mind`s eye, during quiet moments of reflection, I can picture him in various settings around the world, from watching elephants in Sri Lanka to tracking chimps in Nigeria. The best, and perhaps the situation most representative of Nick, is to imagine him on a warm summer’s day fishing the salmon run on the Tay, a half drunk bottle of red resting in the grass. This is how and where I will remember him - because this was the place he loved best.

Neil Spooner
Animal Director
Howletts Wild Animal Trust
Nr Canterbury
Kent CT4 5EL
Tel: +44 (0) 1227 723904
Fax: +44 (0) 1227 721853

April 2014 Edition

Captive lions risk brain damage from deformed skulls
Samson was two when he went under the knife. It took six hours to remove the lump of bone that had become embedded in his brain, causing him to lose balance and stagger about. Before the operation could begin, his thick mane had to be shaved off the back of his neck. Afterwards, the news of his recovery made headlines worldwide. It isn't every day that a lion gets a brain op.

Samson, a Barbary lion at the Hai-Kef zoo near Tel Aviv in Israel, was probably the first member of his species to be treated for a life-threatening skull malformation in 2005. But it now seems he is not alone in suffering from the condition, which disproportionately affects lions living in captivity.

Zoos report a high incidence of death in young captive-bred lions. Many of these deaths have been anecdotally linked to bone malformations, especially a thickening at the base of the skull. Abnormal bone growth around the foramen magnum – the hole that the brain stem passes through to connect the brain to the spinal cord – can squeeze parts of the brain that control things like balance and movement. This causes tremors, loss of balance and unusual head tilts – hence Samson's strange behaviour back in 2005.

Until now, it wasn't known whether these malformations were specific to zoo animals, or just as frequent in the wild. So Joseph Saragusty of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany, and colleagues compared 575 lion skulls – 512 from wild lions and 63 from lions that had been raised in captivity. They found evidence that the foramen magnum was significantly smaller in captive animals.

The skulls came fr

What the Heck is a Bilby?
Photos of Prince George enjoying a curious meeting with a bilby named after him while on a trip to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Sunday not only elicited a collective “aww” from the Internet, but also posed the (very serious) question: what on earth is a bilby?
Not quite a rat or possum, the short and plump little critter is a marsupial found in the Australian bush and outback that acquired its name from an Aboriginal word belonging to the Yuwaalaraay people of northern New South Wales, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The long nose and face closely resemble another native Australian animal, the bandicoot, which some people may recognize from the wide-eyed cartoon character of the video game “Crash Bandicoot.”
While both are ground-dwelling animals, bilbies have longer, more sensitive ears, a typically white-tipped tail and silkier fur. They are omnivorous (watch those fingers Prince George!) and feed mainly on insects like spiders, very small animals, seeds and fruit,

Pairi Daiza Zoo - Just What are they Playing At?
After the recent much publicised arrival of Giant Pandas at the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium the collection seems to have lost the plot. Pandas are rare and under threat in the wild and are part of a managed breeding programme. The press made mention of this so many times that one could easily be brainwashed into thinking that conservation was really important to them.

But now?

Well now they have brought in a young pair of White Tigers which shows the exact opposite applies. White Tigers are not rare or endangered. They are not even a subspecies. They may be beautiful but they are deliberately inbred freaks of different really to a two headed turtle.

Maintaining and exhibitin

Why Palm Oil Isn’t the Enemy
If you watched last night’s premiere of “Years of Living Dangerously,” the new Showtime series about the impacts of climate change, you likely found yourself thinking palm oil’s pretty bad stuff

Night Safari founder Bernard Harrison suggests 'un-zoo' as unique attraction
The man who founded the Night Safari - a world-first when it opened in 1994 - has another radical idea.

Mr Bernard Harrison revealed yesterday that he has suggested to the Singapore Tourism Board the creation of an "un-zoo", in which visitors can enjoy "random" up-close encounters with trained animals like monkeys and otters.

Such encounters, orchestrated by guides, will be more exciting than seeing animals "behind glass", he said.

He was speaking to more than 100 civil servants

Zoo faces cruelty charges over cub deaths
It’s the latest twist in a story that has made the news worldwide, and that began earlier this month when a male brown bear, known as Misha, killed one of its two offspring – “baby bear 3” – after repeatedly tossing it into the air in full view of shocked zoo visitors.

Kurt Nünlist, a train driver from Solothurn, says the Dählhölzli wildlife park behaved recklessly in allowing the 360-kilogram male to share an enclosure with its mate and her two cubs. After the “predictable” killing of one cub by its father, the zoo authorities took the decision to euthanise the second baby, sparking a public outcry.

Nünlist says Dählhölzli must be held accountable for its actions, which would otherwise be “swept under the carpet”.

“I have laid charges of animal cruelty with the police and these have to be legally investigated,” Nünlist tells The Local. “Whether the zoo authorities acted out of naivety or stupidity, it was animal cruelty and they can’t get away with that.”

Approached by The Local, the zoo was unavailable to comment on the case.

Under Swiss law “pain, damage or suffering must not be unjustifiably inflicted on an animal, nor must any animal be subjected to severe anxiety. The neglect, overexertion or mishandling of animals is forbidden,” according to the Swiss Veterinary Office, FSVO.

Carsten Hertwig, bear expert with the Swiss branch of the Four Paws animal rights organisation, is supportive of Nünlist’s action. “From a moral and ethical standpoint we agree with him: it is animal cruelty. But only time will tell what his legal chance of success is,” he tells The Local.

“Four Paws is highly critical of the zoo’

How do zoos prepare for dangerous animal escapes?
As the Easter Bank Holiday gets under way, many people may be contemplating a trip to their local zoo. This is generally accepted as a safe, family-friendly activity but in fact, escapes by wild animals are not unheard of.

Imagine the scenario. Unpredictable carnivores break through the steel wire of a zoo enclosure and are on the loose. It is every zookeeper's nightmare.

Yet for keepers at Colchester Zoo six months ago, that fear became a reality when five wolves managed to escape.

Somehow they had broken through a special steel mesh fence - a fence the zoo says was checked on a daily basis. Three wolves were shot dead and two were tranquilised. To the zoo's relief, though, no members of the public were harmed.

Industry experts say the zoo's handling of the incident, from an operational perspective, was successful and the rarity of such escapes highlights the great lengths zoos g

April 2014 | Vol. 29 | No. 4 | Date of Publication 23 April 2014
Editorial: Zoos helping Zoos is the last ditch effort for improving ALL zoos
-- Sally Walker, Pp. 1-2
Hunting of avifauna in proposed Tsangyang Gyatso Biosphere Reserve, Western Arunachal Pradesh
-- Kripaljyoti Mazumdar, Prasanna K. Samal and Abhik Gupta, Pp. 3-7
Announcement: The 41st Annual AAZK National Conference, Orlando, FL, September 8-12, 2014
P. 7
Accredited Zoo Best-Practice: Example Animal Escape Protocol for a Zoo, (from Chapter Emergency Readiness and Crisis Management of the book ZOOKEEPING)
-- Donald E. Moore, Pp. 8-10
Census of Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) at Singalila National Park and its surrounding area, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
-- Bhupen Roka and A.K. Jha, Pp. 11-14
Enclosure Signage Habitat Range Maps for Zoological Gardens: An Inclusive Design Approach
-- Michael David William Richards, Pp. 15-18
Colour variation in Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii (Sykes, 1832) in Kannur District, Kerala
-- R. Roshnath and Ashli Jose, Pp. 19-21
Announcement: Environmental Events Calendar-Second Quarter of 2014
P. 21
Studies on a collection of aculeate Hymenoptera from Nayachar Island, West Bengal
-- P. Girish Kumar and Gaurav Sharma, Pp. 22-26
Surgical management of malocclusion due to overgrown incisors in Indian palm squirrel (Funambulus palmarum)
-- Prajwalita Sutaria, Tarun Sutaria, H.B. Prajpati, V.D. Dodiya and P.B. Patel, Pp. 27-28
Behavioural Observation of Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) at new off display breeding centre of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling
-- S. Rai, A.K. Jha & U. Rai, Pp. 29-30
Regional Asian Elephant Veterinary Workshop in Myanmar
-- Zaw Min Oo, Ye Htut Aung and Wan Tun, Pp. 31-32
Book Review: The Story of Asia’s Elephants by Raman Sukumar, Text: Milind D. Patil
Pp. 33-34
Education Reports
Pp. 35-36
Announcement: ISIS - International Species Information - Job Vacancies, Back cover
P. 40

Czech snow leopard sent to Calcutta — finally
The Jihlava zoo at last succeeded, on the fourth try, in delivering a rare snow leopard to a partner zoo in India today, after three unsuccessful attempts when the transfer was thwarted by unexpected obstacles, the zoo's spokeswoman Kateřina Kosová told ČTK.
Fici, the three-year-old leopard male, was raised in Jihlava and he was to leave for Calcutta on April 9 to reinforce the snow leopard population in India's Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park.
"Today we've been informed that the snow leopard has reached India at last," Kosová said.
On April 9, Fici's planned departure from Jihlava was cancelled in the last moment over the Indian partner's refusal to take the animal over in the evening hours.
Another date of departure was set for April 14, when a van with Fici set out from Jihlava for the Prague airport, some 120 km far westwards. However, the D1 motorway was jammed due to ongoing repairs, which delayed the van and Fici missed his flight.
"On the third try, the leopard arrived in Prague but the air carrier's staff returned him to us because they disliked his transport box," Kosová said.
She said Fici was traveling in a box which the zoo had used to transport animals many times before.
Similar problems are a rarity in the Jihlava zoo, Kosová

 "Animal Training Workshop for Zoo Professionals" Heidelberg, Germany 
May 11, 2014
Presented by Barbara Heidenreich, this day-long seminar covers the fundamentals of animal training and how it can be applied in zoological parks and similar facilities to solve behavior problems, train cooperation in medical care, stream line husbandry and educate the public. Hosted by Zoo Heidelberg. Visit this link to learn more about the zoo.  The fee is 100 euros. To register Email:  Deadline to register is May 1! See the flyer here
Barbara'sForce Free Animal Training
PO Box 150604
Austin, TX 78715
Phone: 512-423-7734


Zoo Animal Training Services
Parrot Training Resources
Rabbit Training Resources

Let’s Keep Zoos
The year that we were married, my husband and I were given a truly wonderful gift: a honeymoon safari to southern Africa. It was an amazing experience. We now have all the magical memories that one would hope to bring home from a safari: the fresh lion kill, the mother elephant tenderly caressing her baby, the warthog crashing through the undergrowth with a leopard in hot pursuit. I could go on (and on and on), but nothing’s more pretentious than regaling people with tales of your honeymoon safari, so I’ll just reiterate once more: completely fabulous.

You meet a lot of rich people on safari. For a youth-hostel veteran such as myself, it felt odd to be wined and dined like some kind of colonial grandee, which is pretty much how it goes in these high-end safari lodges. Our fellow guests (not struggling academics like ourselves) were clearly more accustomed to this kind of service. We met wealthy bankers and businessmen

Revealed: UK aquarium cashes in on whale circus... despite 'leading global fight to free captive animals'
In front of a stadium of screaming crowds, three Beluga whales dance, wave and high-five.
It seems like innocent entertainment, attracting thousands to Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai every day.
But today, the company that owns the park and dozens of others worldwide, including Alton Towers, has been accused of animal cruelty and ‘double standards’.
Merlin Entertainments, which owns 44 SeaLife aquaria across the globe, claims to be leading the fight to free Beluga whales and dolphins from captivity, and makes no mention of their performing trio – Junjun, Uka 1 and Uka 2 – on their British websites.
Its websites state: 'Sea Life believes it is wrong to keep whales and dolphins in captivity. No matter how spacious, no captive facility can ever provide such far-ranging, highly social and highly intelligent animals with the stimulation they need for a good quality of life.'

'Indonesia's deforestation is a disaster for the planet' - audio slideshow

Orca Profiles in Captivity: The San Diego 10
Dame Jane Goodall (famed British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace) was asked a question. “Why did she do what she did for the chimps she has advocated for all her life?” She answered by sharing a true story.

A captive lab chimp had never lived outside a cage his entire life. Now freed by Jane and her team of researchers and scientists, the frightened primate sat and watched the other chimps in a large zoo compound—free of cages and offering grassy, rocky, chimp-appealing offerings, including the sight and sound of others like him. He was terrified by such a contrast—from darkness to light.

A growing crowd of onlookers watched silently as the terrified chimp was being acclimated to his new world and then in a united gasp of disbelief witnessed the chimp run and fall into the watery moat surrounding the enclosure. Not knowing what to do, never having experienced being in water before, he began to flail in terror and sink.

At that, a man in the crowd instantly jumped over the railing, dove into the water and pulled the huge ape up and out of the water to safer grounds. The man was even able to get there faster than the watching zookeeper who was as horrified as were all the on-lookers. The man made sure that the chimp was breathing alright. Climbing over the railing back to the crowd he turned to see the chimp yet again running in fright and falling back into the water. Again, the man jumped over the railing, lifted the heavy, flailing chimp back up onto the grassy enclosure and waited until now the chimp seemed to realize that he was home and calmed down.

After what seemed like eternity, everyone observed the chimp being welcomed by the others in the troop and appeared safe at last. Finally, someone in the crowd turned to the man and asked him, “Why did he do that? What would compel him to risk being killed by a huge, drowning ape that could have easily mauled him in fear?” And the man sai

Research Training Seminar in collaboration with Syddansk Universitet in Odense, Denmark.
Dates are May 12th - 15th, 2014

Killer whales should not be held captive
Wonder why you see dozens of people protesting outside theme parks with animals as the star attraction? These activists will not back down until something is done about animals being held captive. The recent documentary “Blackfish” has raised awareness of the well-being of the orcas SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. uses in its shows, creating controversy. It is obvious that these orcas are massive animals that are confined in a small space. This movie is an eye-opener about the harsh realities of these enormous creatures and how SeaWorld should not be allowed to hold orcas in captivity. Working with a 5-ton sea mammal is a life-threatening job that can have bad consequences. Tilikum is the largest orca in captivity, weighing 12,000 pounds, and is being held at SeaWorld Orlando. His life consists of entertaining people for money, swimming in a confined space and then going back into his cell. Tilikum is linked to three deaths, two trainers and a drifter who happened to jump in the wrong pool. One of the reasons why this creature was driven to kill was all the stress that he endures w

SeaWorld rescues whales from predators
SeaWorld’s Shamu show provides such substantial benefits to killer whales in the wild and to the entire ocean that it would be tragic to shut it down.
Killer whales in the wild face habitat and prey depletion, and the International Institute for Conservation of Nature is unable to get specific data on the numbers in the wild.
The SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. facilities contain the majority of killer whales in captivity with SeaWorld investing $70 million in their facilities in the last three years according to SeaWorld’s website.
Killer whales’ behavior places them in a uniquely vulnerable situation. As apex predators they have no natural predators, and damage to a species on their food chain undercuts their food supply. Meaning damage to the ocean is likely to impact these whales.
They are frequently exposed to humans due to their hunting range being in close proximity to the shoreline. With humans come pollutants, and killer whales have been found with dangerous levels of human-made pollutants from salmon c

End public display of animals
This summer, Assiniboine Park Zoo is set to open a new $90-million polar bear exhibit, Journey Into Churchill, as part of a $200-million redevelopment. The zoo’s website says the new exhibit will "combine elements focused on research, conservation, education and public display to provide a venue that will bring the North to mainstream Canadians."

The work of Assiniboine Park Zoo in its efforts to aid both polar bears, as well as northern communities often affected by their unwelcome presence, is certainly commendable.

The problem I, along with many other Canadians, have is with the primary purpose of zoos, that "public display" of animals. At a time when much of the collective Canadian consciousness is moving away from industries and businesses that exploit or harm animals (the banning of gestation crates, boycotting of marine parks, closing of pet shops, etc.) more Canadians are seeing zoos as yet another institution that should be going the way of the dodo bird.

Like most zoos, Assiniboine Park Zoo has always operated with the apparent purpose of educating the public and conserving animal species. Times, however, have changed, and no longer can zoos hang on to the same rationales that once made them legitimate.

Modern technologies, such as the Internet and other interactive tools, along with our current knowledge regarding the harms of keeping animals captive, now render zoos unjustified and unethical. Interactive educational tools, such as those already found in modern museums and science centres, offer suitable alternatives to displaying live animals under the guise of education. In fact, a great portion of the new Journey Into Churchill exhibit will not feature any live animals. So, why have them at all?

In the case of one Assiniboine Park Zoo polar bear, Aurora, who was captured as a cub after being discovered alone in a residential area of Churchill, Assiniboine Park Zoo officials would have us believe they offered happily-ever-afters to both the bear and the community it was potentially threatening. Unfortunately, such a tale is just that, a tale.

The problem with relocating wild animals to zoos is regardless of monetary investment, natural habitats cannot be replicated in zoo settings. Zoo animals are infamously stressed and bored, unable to roam, hunt or engage in other important natural behaviours. Zoos do implement "environmental-enrichment programs," aimed at

Nomination Deadline
1st May

Chimps on the Loose: Why I Skip Zoos
You may have seen the video of seven chimpanzees that escaped the Kansas City Zoo the other day after the ringleader broke off a 6-foot-long tree branch that he then used to scale a wall.

The wily primate quickly motioned to his pals, who followed him up the makeshift ladder to freedom.

The chimps cavorted along the wall — apparently far enough away from zoo visitors to prevent a panic — for about 90 minutes before staff lured them back into their enclosure with malted milk balls.

I’m glad no humans or animals were injured, though I’m a little disappointed the chimps fell for such a simple trick. I can only imagine what was going through their heads at the time:

“Free! We’re free! Yippee! At last, we can go wherever we want, whenever we want ... ooooh, candy! Hey guys, check it out! Chocolate!...”

A zoo veterinarian I’ve met once remarked that of all the animals she deals with in captivity, including lions, tigers and cheetahs, the ones she fears most are chimpanzees because they’re not just powerful and nimble, but also maliciously clever.

Like most TV viewers and movie fans I used to chuckle at the antics of such “celebrity” chimps as Cheetah of “Tarzan” fame; J. Fred Muggs, a mascot on the “Today” show; and all the others that appeared regularly in commercials, sitcoms and on the big screen, performing silly stunts that alternately delighted or exasperated human co-stars, including Ronald Reagan in “Bedtime for Bonzo” and Clint Eastwood in

“Every Which Way but Loose.”

The humor gradually lost its charm, and then forever soured after the horrific Travis tragedy in 2009 when a former chimp actor kept as a pet by a misguided Stamf

Free Morgan: Sunday People and Born Free launch appeal to help scarred and wounded captive killer whale
The Sunday People reports animal rights groups, including the Free Morgan Foundation, are ­lobbying to liberate her from what they call her Spanish hellhole
As Morgan the orca leaps through the air under her trainer’s instructions, British tourists cheer the ­awesome spectacle.

None of the holiday families know that this captive creature – performing as loudspeakers pump out Gloria Gaynor’s hit song I Will Survive – was born free in the ocean.

The killer whale now performs what environmentalists describe as demeaning circus tricks in a “concrete coffin” up to three times a day.

And they fear Morgan’s two-and-a-half-year incarceration at Loro Parque Zoo on the Spanish holiday island Tenerife has taken a heartbreaking toll.

Campaigners say the anguished mammal is covered in scars and ­painful open cuts and bruises after repeatedly bashing her head and body on the side of her enclosure.

They describe it as a deliberate and horrifying display of frustration.

They say the young animal, part of the dolphin family, also has over 600 bite marks from repeated bullying by larger adult orcas at the park, Tenerife’s biggest tourist attraction with one million visitors a year.

Now animal rights groups, including the Free Morgan Foundation, the Born Free Foundation and British Divers Marine Life Rescue, are ­lobbying to liberate her from what they call her Spanish hellhole.

With the help of acoustics experts, they

North Carolina Zoo gets environmental distinction
The North Carolina Zoo, in Asheboro, NC, got a big honor for its environmental efforts.

This week the zoo was recognized as an Environmental Steward by an advisory board appointed by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  The honor is for organizations that demonstrate superior performance beyond what is required.

“Attaining Steward status is a culmination of the tireless efforts of the entire zoo staff towards operating in a more environmental sustainable manner and being an


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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Peter Dickinson
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Mailing address:
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Pairi Daiza Zoo - Just What are they Playing At?

Pairi Daiza Zoo - Just What are they Playing At?

After the recent much publicised arrival of Giant Pandas at the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium the collection seems to have lost the plot. Pandas are rare and under threat in the wild and are part of a managed breeding programme. The press made mention of this so many times that one could easily be brainwashed into thinking that conservation was really important to them.

But now?

Well now they have brought in a young pair of White Tigers which shows the exact opposite applies. White Tigers are not rare or endangered. They are not even a subspecies. They may be beautiful but they are deliberately inbred freaks of different really to a two headed turtle.

Maintaining and exhibiting (and worse still...breeding) White Tigers is not the role of the good modern zoo. It immediately marks out the collection as a Dysfunctional Zoo. This is sad

One of the newspaper stories covering the arrival of the White Tigers states "An exceptional animal since the planet currently count just over 200: only a few in the wild and all others in zoos and circuses, which are subject to scrupulous breeding programs."

This is incorrect as:

There are more than 200 in China alone.
There are none in the wild
And sadly it should say 'unscrupulous breeding programs'

In fact there is NO official breeding programme for the White Tiger simply because they are freaks of nature. Will it be White Ligers next?

It is when I hear about zoos going down this dirty road that I really start to wonder about the direction that organisations like EAZA and WAZA are headed. They really need to do something. Condemnation would be a good start.