Thursday, October 22, 2015

Zoo News 4th - 22nd October 2015 (ZooNews 911)

Zoo News 4th - 22nd October 2015 
(ZooNews 911)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

There I am in the photograph of those attending the WAZA conference back on the 12th. Can't see me? Well I am not surprised, there were so many people there. So many in fact that I doubt that I spoke to more than an eighth of those attending. My general humor was none too good either as I had only recently had a tooth out and the pain was constantly nagging. In fact it still is. I haven't been to a WAZA conference before but was familiar with many of those attending with them being subscribers to ZooNews Digest either on FaceBook or on the email version. Others too as regulars on the Zoo Biology Group.

The venue for the conference was an excellent one. My second visit to the Danat Hotel in four years. It evoked memories as I was one of the VIP guests at the opening of the facility thirty four years before. I recall it as the first time I ate fresh oysters. There was a mountain of them there. I must have eaten at least forty of them and eaten a hundred times that since. It was a little sad for me to have room facing Jebel Hafeet. I loved that mountain. Back in the day the only way to reach the top was by climbing. There was no path, not even a goat track to the top. There were Tahr up there and indeed myself and colleagues rediscovered them. Now though there is a highway to the top lit by night and plush hotels and entertainment. It is almost as if the heart has been ripped out of it.

It was good to catch up with familiar faces but they, like myself have aged and sometimes I had to look twice. It has on the whole being a strange couple of weeks, WAZA aside there have been other friends and colleagues visit too.

I am now slowly pulling bits together to attend the SEAZA conference in Singapore at the start of next month. Really looking forward to it. At the end I will be flying off to Manila for a weeks holiday in the Philippines. Check on Manila Zoo, Manila Ocean Park and possibly Avilon Zoo, none of which I have visited in a while. Then I will take a bus down to Subic to see Ocean Adventure. Then to Clark and pay a surprise visit on my very close Filipina friend...perhaps not a good idea but I'm going to do it anyway. She has only recently had serious surgery. I hope I don't cause a relapse. Opportunity to see how our Sari Sari store is doing. I will take the opportunity to visit the small zoo in Clark too.

Lots of interest in this edition of the news. The article on the density of penguin feathers struck me as especially interesting and not because I am mainly working with Penguins right now. No, it is because if we read or hear something often enough we take it as the truth....and that is something I have faced a lot recently. Oft repeated lies that are turning into facts...and repeated by people who believe them (or at least I think they do). I reckon it is better I remain silent on the issues for now. Maybe one day...but I will then be accused of lying. Sobeit.

The thought of T.I.G.E.R.S. having any involvement with an actual conservation project fills me with horror....and that Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation make me cringe every time I see it hit the press.

Please find links to the two new WAZA publications below. These are the new updated version of the World Zoo Conservation Strategy. All zoo professionals need to read these.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 

Interesting Links

Zoo News Digest - 10 years ago

Australia Zoo being investigated over animal mistreatment allegations after death of crocodile and iguana
AUTHORITIES have launched a second investigation into the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital over allegations of animal mistreatment.

It comes as a manager at the centre of the animal welfare scandal was yesterday seen being marched off the premises for alleged staff harassment.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the same curator has also been implicated in the shocking deaths of a saltwater crocodile and endangered species of iguana at the zoo.

VETS: Irwin family’s zoo hospital in crisis

Biosecurity Queensland has launched an investigation into animal welfare concerns at the hospital and will examine case files.

It is the second investigation by a government agency after the Veterinary Surgeons Board also responded to an official complaint. The RSPCA has also received two more formal complaints about the zoo, which it has forwarded to Biosecurity Queensland.

Several sources say the turmoil and staff turnover engulfing the wildlife hospital actually started at the zoo where the manager was initially employed. He is accused of enforcing decisions which led to the death of a 13ft male saltie named Shaka that died after it was transferred from its warm pond in winter into an enclosure with a cold pool.

Despite staff warning that the cold-blooded animal would not be able to digest its recent meal in cold water, they were told to continue with the “croc jump” which was being filmed for American TV.

Sources say an endangered crested iguana named Turaga also died after the same manager bagged the animal incorrectly for transport to Melbourne Z

Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
 Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”
More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”

While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information

Killing Kasatka… When Animal Activism Comes Before Animal Welfare
I know a lady. She is the calm, wise and benevolent leader of a group of 11 killer whales. She and her family do not live in the wild. Their home is one of the most advanced marine life habitats in world, located in San Diego’s Mission Bay. Her name is Kasatka. Her family is unique in many ways. Perhaps the most notable quality is the fact that over the last decade Kasatka's family has prospered more than any generation of zoological whales before them. But today, Kasatka and her family are threatened with extinction. Extinction not caused by pollution or climate change, but rather an invisible foe, emanating from human machinations and agendas. More than a week ago today, the California Coastal Commission voted to end this family’s future.

Snap up some crocodile oil, the latest skincare ingredient
It’s ironic that lurking beneath a crocodile’s skin is an oil said to remedy extremely dry skin.

Irony aside, it’s also just a little bit freaky sounding right? Crocodile fat in our beauty creams to relieve our own scaly skin?

But experts want us to snap out of our reptilian preconceptions because their research points to crocodile fat as a skincare ingredient that can help psoriasis, eczema, inflammation and irritation. Their fat contains a frightening number of naturally occurring skin healing ingredients - in particular skin-repairing, anti-oxidant-rich, vitamin E and A, joint soothing linoleic acid, cell-regenerating oleic acid, skin-softening sapogens and antiseptic terpines. 

The oil is also brimming with naturally-occurring omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids, known for their moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties, and also for the fact that humans can’t naturally synthesise them.

One company basking in the data is South African brand Repcillin, who manufacture Nile crocodile oil specifically, and trade out of the UK’s epicentre of crocodile business: Sutton. Repcillin explains first that its products have been approved by the Organic Standard Soil Association, Fairtrade, Not Tested on Animals and Eco Salt to name just a few of its wellbeing certificates.

Which lends itself nicely to our second burning question around any potential crocodile cruelty. “Crocodile fat is an animal by-product and until very recently has been discarded. The fat from the crocodile is collected when the meat is trimmed and prepared. There is only 600g of fat available from a single cr

There are other strange things
Nightingale Feces Facial

Chris Freind: Let orca breeding continue at SeaWorld
There’s always been something fishy about state government in California.

For decades, it has employed a nanny state mentality in passing ever more restrictive laws — many outrageously stupid — that serve only to erode the freedoms of Californians and the companies for which they work. That “government knows best” attitude, which has stifled the state’s economy and alienated its citizens, has led to a dramatic reversal in the migration of Americans to the Golden State, with millions leaving to seek a more productive life elsewhere.

Such arrogance was on full display recently as the California Coastal Commission in approving SeaWorld’s expansion of its killer whale (orca) tanks, also took it upon itself to ban SeaWorld from breeding any of the 11 killer whales it has in captivity. If such an egregious ruling stands, it could prove a deathblow to the state’s premier aquatic park, and, ironically, hurt the very animals it claims to be helping. SeaWorld is appealing the decision, and, should any common sense be left in our judicial system (though admittedly that’s a big “if”), it will prevail and expand its operation so that future generations can experience firsthand the wonders of sea life that would otherwise be impossible.

Given that SeaWorld has been under attack by misguided and often ill-informed zealots, both in the animal rights movement and government itself, let’s bypass the fish ta

First Pet Dogs May Have Come from Nepal, Mongolia
Dogs may have become man's best friend in Central Asia, specifically in what is modern day Nepal and Mongolia, a new genetic study suggests.

When Did Dogs Become Man's Best Friend?
When exactly did our pups not only get in our homes, but be LET in on purpose, and take over our lives?
Dogs evolved from Eurasian grey wolves at least 15,000 years ago, but just where and how they made the historical leap from roving in packs to sitting before human masters has been a matter of debate.
Aiming to resolve a long-standing mystery about where dogs were first domesticated, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the "largest-ever survey of worldwide canine genetic diversity," said scientists.

The international team, led by Adam Boyko at Cornell University, analyzed more than 185,800 genetic markers in some 4,600 purebred dogs of 165 breeds, along with mor

Islamic jihadists butchering endangered elephants, selling ivory on black market
With Islamic jihadists groups in the Eastern Hemisphere ranging from the Philippines to the Western Sahara, the same jihadists have done everything from selling crude oil on the black market to plundering the homes of those unlucky enough to be living in a region occupied by them. And with much of the globe peppered with that many terrorist organizations, the growing cost of beheading innocent victims, displacing millions of people and the rising price of explosive vests mean the implementation of a global caliphate can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

As it turns out, al-Qaeda affiliates literally thousands of miles apart are both raising money in like fashion. With a history of video recording slitting the throats of captives and also burning prisoners alive, now the jihadists have taken to slaughtering a number of endangered species, then selling body parts on the Asian and Middle Eastern black markets, as reported by Lucie Aubourg of the new media VICE News portal on Oct. 20, 2015.

In the Northwestern African nation of Mali, various Islamist terrorist groups such as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad; Ansar Dine, the Movement for Unity and Jihad, and the one group most recognized by Westerners, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have all taken to killing the endangered desert elephant just for their ivory. In a May 21, 2014 joint report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and international police force Interpol entitled "Illegal trade in wildlife: the environmental, social and and economic consequences for sustainable development" an estimated 90 percent of elephants killed in Africa each year (numbering 20,000-25,000). Using their best diplomatic-speak, the UN and Interpol have stated the rare beasts have been butchered by "non-state armed groups, in or near conflict zones."

VICE's Aubourg cited, MINUSMA — the UN's peacekeeping mission in Mali — has released on their official website (thus far, only in French) that 57 elephants were killed in the Islamic jihadist-thick north of Mali during the first h

Marine Aquarium Conference of Europe
18th - 19th of June 2016

2 spotted hyenas born in Giza Zoo
 Two baby spotted hyenas were born in Giza Zoo, which announced it hosts a “beautiful group of hyenas,” Youm7 reported Wednesday.

According to Giza Zoo, spotted hyenas live together in large groups to hunt their prey, and are led by females. Females give birth to 1-2 babies per year after a 110-day pregnancy period.

Hyenas, one of Africa’s iconic predatory mammals, live in center and south of the continent. Hyenas are also important for the environment; while they are scavengers and eat carrion, although they are skilled hunters.

Spotted Hyenas are also known for their sound, including the “laughing” sound.

They are situated next to the African ele

New species of giant tortoise brings Galapagos tally to eleven
A new species of giant tortoise has been identified in the Galapagos, taking the tally in the archipelago to 11.

For more than a century, taxonomists have lumped together all the giant tortoises on the central island of Santa Cruz. In a 2005 study, geneticists revealed that the island might be home to more than a single species. After a decade-long investigation, researchers have now formalised this distinction.

“People knew they were a little bit different but they didn’t know how different,” says Adalgisa Caccone, a geneticist at Yale University.

The two species inhabit different parts of the island. They might be just 20 kilometres apart, but they are as different from each other as any other tortoises in the archipelago, says Caccone.

Based on genetic evidence, it appears that tortoises reached Santa Cruz not once but twice. The first species probably arrived from neighbouring San Cristobal or Espanola arou

Look at this. Normal colored Lion Cubs! This is good news. They are not announced as rare, threatened or endangered as all of the all too common white lion cubs are. In fact it is getting close now to the overbred interbred white lions are becoming more common than 'real' lions in captivity. 

(Provided Photo/Indianapolis Zoo Public Relations)

Indianapolis Zoo welcomes 3 new African lion cubs
The Indianapolis Zoo welcomed three new members who were born on Sept. 21.

The three new African lion cubs are the first to be born at the zoo since 2003. A female and two males were born to their parents, mother Zuri and father, Nyack.

The ethical history of zoos
Love them or loathe them, there's a zoo in almost every big city. Although for many visitors they're just another tourist attraction, modern zoos see themselves as valuable centres of education, scientific research and conservation. Keri Phillips visits the zoo.
People have collected and kept animals—often to symbolise power—for thousands of years. During the 18th and 19th centuries, what were known as menageries, often royal collections, were turned into zoos, and ultimately opened to the public.

Although zoos had already been established in Vienna, Paris and Madrid, the London Zoo, established in 1826, marked the first step in the evolution of the modern zoo, according to Dr Nigel Rothfels, the author of Savages and Beasts; The Birth of the Modern Zoo.

BREAKING NEWS: Animals Asia to rescue eight bile farm bears in Vietnam
Animal welfare charity Animals Asia will this week start a two-day rescue of eight bears from bile farms in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam.
It follows a decree from Vietnam’s Prime Minister that the province must end bear bile farming and that Animals Asia be given the go-ahead to rescue the bears. The team will visit seven different properties on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October to rescue the bears ahead of returning to Animals Asia’s sanctuary in nearby Tam Dao.
There the bears will be rehabilitated and integrated in open enclosures with 139 bears previously rescued from the bile trade.
This latest mission follows several successful rescues from Quang Ninh in recent months – so far this year Animals Asia has rescued 24 bears from Quang Ninh and 8 bears from other provinces with the support and help of Vietnam’s Forestry Protection Department and the local authorities. It’s believed that the vast majority of the bears rescued to date have suffered bile extraction. Many bear owners claim they are keeping bears merely as pets to circumnaviga

Busting Myths About Penguin Feathers
Emperor penguins reputedly have the highest feather density of any bird, with around 100 feathers per square inch of skin (15 per square centimetre). This “fact” crops up on Wikipedia and a host of other websites, and seems to trace to a statement made in a 2004 National Geographic news story.
When Cassondra Williams from University of California, Irvine, first started looking into penguin feathers, she was shocked to see how many unsubstantiated statements there were, and not just on websites. Various scientific papers claimed that penguins had anywhere from 11 to 46 feathers per square centimetre, and none of them—none—described any methods or cited any sourced behind these estimates. They might as well have come up with random numbers.

“Since we had access to several penguin bodies, we decided to find out for ourselves,” says Williams. The bodies in question belonged to emperors that had been died of natural causes in 2001 and 2005, and had been stored in a freezer ever since. By carefully plucking, counting, and describing the feathers on these specimens, Williams and her colleagues found several surprises.

First, these birds had a maximum of 9 feathers per square centimere—a lower density than any of the earlier reports

Gulf World's Penguin "Fat Boy" Turns 32 Years Old
A long-timer at Gulf World Marine Park celebrated a milestone Tuesday.

Fat Boy the African black-footed penguin turned 32 years old. He's the oldest penguin in the park.

The celebration kicked off with a meet and greet with the birthday boy. They also auctioned off a piece of artwork drawn by Fat Boy himself.

African black-footed penguins usually live into their mid-20's in the wild. But Fat Boy's trainers say he won't stop kicking anytime soon!

"Fat Boy has excellent care by our veterinarian Dr. Sags," Gulf World's Marketing Coordinator Sam Tuno said. "He is monitored very closely, and he also is given laser therapy weekly for his arthritis. So he lives a very great life. He doesn't have predators, so he

Bringing Amur leopards back from the brink – an interview with ALTA coordinator, Jo Cook
Native to Russia’s Far East and North East China, the wild population of Amur leopards has recently seen a revival, with estimates suggesting as many as 80 leopards now surviving in the wild – a figure double that of eight years ago. Sadly, this Critically Endangered subspecies still clings precariously close to extinction.

We decided to talk to Jo Cook, coordinator for the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA), the Amur leopard European Endangered species Programme (EEP), and the Amur Leopard Global Species Management Plan, about the future of Amur leopards, the role of good zoos, and the subspecies’ plight in the wild.

Cairns Tropical Zoo to shut doors after 35 years
ONE of Cairns’ oldest wildlife attractions, Cairns Tropical Zoo, will be shutting its doors in six months, after being sold to a local developer.

Zoo managers Peter and Angela Freeman announced the shock decision yesterday to close the much-loved Palm Cove attraction on March 31, after it had been operating for more than 35 years.

The popular zoo has the largest wildlife collection in the Far North, boasting crocodiles, alligators, Komodo dragons, cassowaries, brolgas, wombats, pademelons, cotton top tamarins, lemurs and dingoes.

How Zoos are Distorting Our View of the Natural World
For thousands of years, humans have put wild animals on display for the sake of our entertainment. The earliest zoos were merely collections of exotic animals that served as a way to flaunt one’s wealth. These animals lived in luxurious cages that hardly resembled any life they would lead in the wild. It wasn’t until the early 1900s in Germany that an emphasis was placed on ensuring animals had natural looking habitats while in captivity. Efforts to improve the environment for captive animals increased from there and slowly evolved into the modern zoo habitats many of us are familiar with today.

New jaguar, tiger reserve approved for Riviera Maya
A new animal reserve for the state of Quintana Roo has been approved. The reserve, which has been approved by the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), will be an ongoing project to bring tigers and jaguars into the region.

The new reserve, called Reserve Bengal Felina, is owned by Reserve Bengal SA de CV which plans to start with 18 jaguars (Pantera onca) and tigers (Pantera tigris), both they say, are of high ecological importance in their regions of origin.

State delegate of Semarnat, Jose Luis Izaguirre Funez, said the project was approved because the owners of the reserve are committed to the rescue and preservation the species, which are listed in the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM)-059.

According to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the project will take on an ecotourism approach as a wild sanctuary with the animals being on exhibition to national and international visitors. There will be a fee to enter the reser

White Ligers, Born To White Tiger And White Lion, Are A First
Cute and very innocent, Apollo, Samson, Yeti and Odin are unaware of their extreme uniqueness. Four of a kind, they could grow to be the biggest cats in the entire world, OMG Facts reported.

There are only around 300 white lions and 1,200 white tigers left on the planet, so the cubs' father Ivory and mother Saraswati are extremely rare in their own right. Brought together at Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina, they have produced the first ever white lion-tiger hybrids - commonly known as ligers.

Producing a liger is a critical cross-breeding operation. But Dr. Bhagvan Antle and his team were successful in producing the beautiful little creatures.

There are approximately 1,000 ligers in the world - m

Just What Is The Point Mr Antle?
There has never been a greater need than now for cooperation between zoos around the world. Not only with conservation breeding programmes and exchange of information and knowledge but in weeding out those who are working on the principles of 'ignorance is bliss' and 'let me see how much I can get away with'. Not only are animals suffering but the wrong educational messages are being promoted. The biggest problem here is that the press so often fail to check their facts and ordinary lies become compound lies.

Related to the above

Corruption meets Anti - Conservation

Another Crime Against Nature By The Myrtle Beach Circus

Latest Coup From The Myrtle Beach Circus

94th southern white rhino calf born at San Diego Zoo
A three-day-old female southern white rhino calf bravely went horn-to-nub with her “auntie,” an adult female rhino named Utamu (pronounced O-ta-moo), early on Oct. 16, 2015, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The calf, named Kianga (pronounced Key-AN-ga), which means sunshine in Swahili, was born Oct. 13 to mom, Kacy, and father, Maoto (pronounced May-O-toe). Keepers report mom is fairly tolerant of the other rhinos being curious about her baby, but she tries to keep them at a distance. Given that Kianga seems to be quite rambunctious and is a very curious little calf, keepers say mom will have her work cut out for her.

Estimated to weigh around 120 pounds, the little ungulate with big feet will nurse from her mother for up to 12 months; she is expected to gain about 100 pounds a month for the first year. When full grown, a

ASAG Travel Grants: Information and Applications

What it means to be a good zoo
OPINION: This week, Wellington Zoo is opening our newest precinct, Meet the Locals He Tuku Aroha.

Sharing our love story for Aotearoa New Zealand, this is Wellington Zoo's celebration of our animals, our people and our environment.

But Meet the Locals He Tuku Aroha is symbolic of so much more.

The completion of this labour of love also celebrates Wellington Zoo's ten year Zoo Capital Programme (ZCP) redevelopment and is testament to the esteem in which our Wellington community holds us.

The past 10 years of investment has seen us transform - not just physically, but also experientially.

Over the years, the new physical space has allowed us to become a good zoo in so many other ways.

We've cared for our three customer groups - our animals, our staff and our visitors.

Animal welfare will always be our first priority, and alongside world class spaces to care for our animals, we have also created better working conditions for our staff, and fantastic innovative experiences for our visitors.

Good zoos help their visitors build connections with animals and help them understand the roles they can play to care for the environment we share.

We have brought our conservation work, our animal care, and our sustainability initiatives to the forefront – turning the zoo inside out to share all of the things that make Well

Singapore offers 25 animals to Karachi zoo
The management of Singapore Zoo has offered 25 animals to Karachi Zoo on exchange basis, said Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui on Monday.

“A list of animals is in the making on demand of Singapore Zoo. The list would then be sent to Singapore so that animals could be acquired from them in exchange,” he said this while addressing a meeting with the advisory committee of zoo that has been formed by the government. Measures for improvement of zoo were discussed in the meeting.

Senior officers, experts of different departments, members of civil society and representatives of media were also present on the occasion. Siddiqui said the measures for uplift of the Karachi zoo had yielded positive results. He sai

Animal activist wages hunger strike against sale of zoo animals
An animal activist is fasting and camping outside Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon’s house in Anguk, Seoul in protest of the sale of “surplus” zoo animals in the capital city to a slaughter house.

President of Coexistance of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) AJ Garcia has fasted for nine days so far and been sleeping on the bitumen a few meters from Mayor Park’s garage.

CARE presented evidence to the government that Seoul Zoo, which is run by government staff, has been breeding excess animals and selling them for slaughter allegedly for the l

Seoul Zoo to buy back sold animals
Days after a hunger strike by a U.S. civic activist, a public zoo caved in and agreed to buy back the animals that were sold in an auction upon concerns that some of them had been sold to a slaughterhouse.

Seoul Zoo, which is run by Seoul Metropolitan Government, said Monday that it has decided to buy back the animals that the zoo had sold at an auction in August.

A.J. Garcia, the U.S. branch president of civic group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth, had launched a hunger strike in front of the Seoul mayoral residence from Oct. 9, claiming that 33 auctioned animals including goats and deer were actually sold to a slaughterhouse. He urged the zoo to repurchase the remaining animals.

Seoul Zoo had denied Garcia’s claim, arguing that the first buyer of the animals appeared to have sold the animals to a slaughterhouse without their knowledge. It also stressed that the sale of animals was part of the zoo’s long-term reform to control the num

Zim sends lion and lioness to China as 'state gifts'
Three months after more than 20 elephant calves were exported to China from Zimbabwe, China's state Xinhua news agency has announced that the Asian country has received two lions from the southern African country.

In a clip posted to its official NewChina TV YouTube channel this week, Xinhua said the lion and lioness were a "state gift" from Zimbabwe and would live in a wildlife park in Shanghai.

Footage showed the lions' crates being driven through some gates and then one of the lions - which appeared very restless - behind a wire fence in what looked like a concrete cage.

The report said a square had been built at the park with trees, pergolas and sandpits "that replicate the lions' living environment in Africa".

Pictures showed that the park was overlooked by high-rise buildings.

The news has already an

There Are Whales Alive Today Who Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written
That’s right, some of the bowhead whales in the icy waters today are over 200 years old. Alaska Dispatch writes:
Bowheads seem to be recovering from the harvest of Yankee commercial whaling from 1848 to 1915, which wiped out all but 1,000 or so animals. Because the creatures can live longer than 200 years — a fact George discovered when he found an old stone harpoon point in a whale — some of the bowheads alive today may have themselves dodged the barbed steel points of the Yankee whalers.

Extra staff needed for zoo safety
Hamilton City Council is advertising four zoo keeper roles at Hamilton Zoo.

Chief executive Richard Briggs said the roles are to replace a staff member who has moved into another role and the other three are required to enable the zoo to put in place the two keeper protocol that was announced following Samantha Kudeweh's death.

"After Samantha Kudeweh died, we immediately introduced a two-keeper process for management of tigers," said Briggs. "This was to ensure we were providing our staff with the right level of on-the-job suppor

Have you got your conference for 2016 booked already? 
If so please let me know

Dolphins in Air on Way to Phuket Marine Theme Park, Says Protest Posting
Several dolphins are being airlifted now to the Thai holiday island of Phuket, according to a Facebook posting by opponents of the Phuket Dolphinarium.

The notion of a theme park for dolphins has met with strong opposition from expats living on the island, local university students and wildlife advocates around Thailand.

Split Zoo to Close After 89 Years
More than a year and a half has passed since the announcement that the Split Zoo on Marjan will be closed, and that will finally happen by the end of this month, when the institution will close its doors after 89 years in existence. The final decision was made after a meeting of members of the Commission for the Relocation of Animals, which last week reported to the city authorities that they have found new, better homes for the majority of animals, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on October 18, 2015.

"We have been informed that the conditions for the transfer of animals have been fulfilled, and that new homes have been found. The transfer process could start by the end of this month, which would mean that the Zoo would close its doors to visitors, in order to prepare for the transfer process", said the Split deputy mayor Goran Kovačević, adding that the priority for relocation have those animals for which Marjan is not their natural habitat. "During the forthcoming period, we will announce a call for suggestions how to use the space on Marjan. Of course, we expect ideas in accorda

The place where wolves could soon return
The last wolf in the UK was shot centuries ago, but now a "rewilding" process could see them return to Scotland. Adam Weymouth hiked across the Scottish Highlands in the footsteps of this lost species.
In Glen Feshie there stand Scots Pines more than 300 years old, and in their youth they may have been marked by wolves. It is beguiling to think that now, camped beneath them, boiling up water for morning coffee.
Last year I walked 200 miles across the Highlands to see how those that lived there would feel about the reintroduction of the wolf. The wolf's population has quadrupled in Europe since 1970, and the fact that they remain extinct in Britain is increasingly anomalous.
With the return of the beaver, the success of the wild cat, a growing call for the return of the lynx, as well as an EU directive obliging governments to consider the reintroduction of extinct species, could it be time for the wolf's return? David Attenborough thinks so. Yet 250 years since their eradication, the animal is st

Nola the white rhino may be last of her kind
The queen of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park loves apples and a good toenail trimming. She is indifferent to carrots and not at all fond of antibiotics. She enjoys a soak in her pond and an enthusiastic back scratching from her doting keepers.

She is Nola, the Safari Park’s endangered northern white rhino. And despite the apples and the pedicures and the doting, this has not been her best year.

Saigon Zoo wants tiger exchange
According to the zoo’s planning for the 2013-2015 period, the zoo will have 14 tigers, including 10 yellow and four white tigers. However, its currently has 16 tigers, including 11 yellow and five white tigers.
The zoo has reported to the HCM City authorities that its current facilities and fund don’t meet standards to raise the existing tigers and animal welfare. The zoo wants to exchange its tigers for other animals with domestic and foreign zoos.
In July, for the first time a pair of Canadian-imported white tigers at the Saigon Zoo gav

Russian Animals to Be Protected From Dissection Barbarism in Foreign Zoos
The Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, Sergey Donskoy, said that the Ministry of Natural Resources will not allow foreign zoos to publicly dismember animals from Russia.
If such attempts are made the agreement on the exchange of animals between zoos may be revised at the initiative of Russia.
There are specific reasons why zoos exchange animals and one such reason is to maintain genetic diversity, that is, to prevent the crossing of closely related animals.
In 2014 Moscow Zoo transferred a black antelope, two snow leopards, Dagestan goat, gorilla and screw-horned goat to European zoos. Now these animals live in Denmark, Poland, Finland, Estonia, France and Germany.
Sergey Donskoy said that t

Hunter pays $80,000 to kill one of the biggest elephants ever seen in Zimbabwe
A 40 to 60 year old elephant, and one of the largest ever seen in Zimbabwe, has been shot dead by a German hunter.

The tragic scene permeated the internet Thursday night as news of the majestic animal’s death traveled west. According to The Telegraph, the UK paper which broke the story Thursday, the elephant was the biggest killed in Africa for almost 30 years.

The trophy hunter, an unknown German man, reportedly paid £40,000 ($80,000 CAD) to shoot the animal in Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park on October 8.

He travelled to Zimbabwe for a 21-day game hunt to hopefully shoot any of the country’s big five animals, such as lions, elephants, rhinoceros, buffalo or leopards. The £40,000 permit was reportedly purchased to kill a large bull elephant while being guided by a local professional hunter.

The elephant’s tusks were so large, they touched the ground and weighed 122 pounds, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.

This comes only a few months after an American dentist named Walter Palmer killing a black-maned lion named Cecil the Lion, who was very popular among the Zimbabwean conservation park’s visitors. Palmer was p

Who let the crocs out?
Two yellow eyes emerge from the green water, along with rows of sharp teeth, and the rest of the two-metre crocodile appears into a rare sunny afternoon at the end of the monsoon season in a city near Bangkok.

He finds a space among the other crocodiles to rest after feasting on fish, his dark skin contrasting with the pale concrete floor of the pit, one of many at Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo, the world's largest farming facility for the reptiles.

The young male lives among 60 000 other crocodiles behind double concrete walls, metal fences and steel grates. But not every farm has such escape-proof measures.

"There are no detailed rules on how the pits should be," said Chanin Sangrungrueng of the fisheries department in the central province of Ratchaburi, 100km west of Bangkok. "The rule only states that the pits should be 'sturdy and strong'."

In October, 28 crocodiles escaped in the province, but were all captur

Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo
The Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo is located 10km out from and on the outskirts of Bangkok and not too easy for the casual tourist to Thailand to reach unless they visit with a scheduled tour. A taxi is not that expensive and is probably the best choice as it gives you a bit of freedom along with the opportunity to stop and look at other sites along the way.
The crococodile farm claims to be the largest in the world (founded in 1950) and to have the largest number of crocodiles and to be 'world renowned'. It may well be all or some of these but it is a 'tacky' place and will leave a bad taste in the mouth of the zoo professional. It is interesting though and well worth visiting for the good bits. They do apparently have genuine conservation involvement and are actually involved in research.
This is one of a series of zoo reports that was actually included within my travel journal ‘The Itinerant ZooKeeper’. Initially I started to extract the zoo data but found the reading was diminished by it. So look on it as a zoo/travelogue. The only major edits I have done is a little censoring an

Why a Denmark Zoo Publicly Dissected a Lion
Despite online outrage, a Denmark zoo publicly dissected a lion this past Thursday in front of a crowd of 300 to 400 children. Although the lion was killed earlier this year for conservation purposes, the dissection made news when it was scheduled to take place during Danish schools’ fall break so that children could attend. Despite calls from online petitions and animal rights organizations to cancel the dissection, officials at the Odense Zoo are standing by their decision

Hunters shoot elk in Norwegian zoo
Two elk in a Norwegian zoo have been shot dead by mistake by a group of hunters who did not realise they were shooting through a wire fence.
The accident took place at outside Narvik in northern Norway when the hunters opened fire at what they believed were wild elk.
However their elk hounds had managed to get into the beasts’ enclosure, which convinced the hunters that the animal were roaming the countryside.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s capybara dies following attack by anteater
A capybara was attacked by an anteater in a Fresno Chaffee Zoo enclosure and had to be euthanized, zoo officials confirmed.

The animals had shared the enclosure for more than seven years, said Scott Barton, the zoo’s director. The anteater-capybara enclosure is not part of the new African Adventure exhibit.

Zookeepers don’t know what caused the attack last week, but Barton theorized that the anteater may have been frightened by the capybara, a giant rodent similar to a guinea pig.

“What set it off,” he said, “we have no idea.”

Zoo veterinarians, he said, thought the capybara’s injuries were too severe to save it.

Capybaras and anteaters are from South America. They are commonly placed in the same enclosures in zoos around the world.

Anteaters have extremely sharp

Animal welfare and conservation experts in Al Ain for global conference
Conservation and animal welfare experts from across the world gathered in Al Ain for the 70th World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conference.

It is the first time a Waza conference has been held in the UAE but it was fitting because Sheikh Zayed, the nation’s Founding Father, “was a conservationist before it became fashionable”, keynote speaker Peter Hellyer, director of research at the National Media Council, and columnist for The National said.

“Fifty years ago, recognising that uncontrolled hunting was pushing the Arabian oryx towards extinction, he arranged for the capture of two pairs from the desert and began a captive breeding programme,” Mr Hellyer said.

“A few years later, he set aside an area of land close to Al Ain as the country’s first zoo. It was then, and still is today, the largest zoo in the Middle East in terms of its area.

“In the years that have passed, the concept of conservation has become a central part of Government planning.”

Meeting at the new Sheikh Zayed

Zoos and aquariums: The ‘front line of conservation’?
The zoo in your city may be thousands of miles from the savannahs of Africa — but its effect on wildlife conservation may be many times greater.

At least one conservationist says that researchers and staff at the world’s zoos and aquariums — not just scientists in the field — hold the key to assuring the future of wildlife conservation.

“[Zoos and aquariums] have this incredible responsibility and power to actually change the way many of us think of conservation and wildlife,” said M. Sanjayan, executive vice president and senior scientist at Conservation International (CI).

The massive public audience of these institutions gives them influence, Sanjayan said in a recent keynote at the annual conference of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “There are 183 million people [a year] who come through your institutions,” he said. “That’s an important responsibility that you have, and that gives you enormous power.”

Sharing highlights from his career as a researcher and journalist, Sanjayan spoke about a shift in the focus of conservation from wil

'The European Union wants me to kill my raccoons', claims Watchet zoo director
MISSY the raccoon may have to be put down thanks to new European Union legislation, according to a local zoo director.

Chris Moiser, zoo director at Tropiquaria in Watchet, said that the EU has introduced a new regulation regarding 'invasive species' which are animals that have been translocated from their natural area and established themselves in another, usually to the detriment of the indigenous ecosystem.

Mr Moiser said that part of this regulation dictates that commercial keepers (which include zoos) have two years in which to either transfer the animals deemed 'high risk potential invaders' to research facilities, a conservation facility, or to kill them.

Raccoons are on this list due to the way they have caused havoc in Germany by attacking vineyards and domestic wildlife.

In the Second World War a number of raccoons escaped from a bombed fur farm and their population has exploded to the point that there are

Causing a splash: A majestic and ferocious Bengal tiger takes a swipe at a photographer's camera during a dip at a zoo in Indonesia
Getting close to a tiger is either brave or reckless but a photographer in Indonesia put his nerves to the test to capture some truly spectacular pictures of the beautiful big cat.
Fahmi Bhs, 41, from Indonesia, got within an arm's length of Sinar the Bengal tiger during feeding time at Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta and almost lost his camera when the striped jungle cat took a swipe.
Sinar was taking a dip during feeding time which offered Fahmi the ch

Twycross Zoo boss in national gong as visitors increase
THE boss at Twycross Zoo has received a national award recognising her work in animal conservation.

The zoo's chief executive Dr Sharon Redrobe has won the prestigious Vitalise Businesswoman of the Year Award 2015 in recognition of the difference she is making to animal conservation.

It comes as the zoo, eight miles from Swadlincote, will see £55 million investment over the next 20 years.

Dr Redrobe was one of six finalists in her category, in a ceremony in Birmingham on Friday involving more than 500 women.

She is renowned internationally as a wildlife vet and a passionate conservationist with more than 20 years' experience working in academia, charity and business sectors.

She has focused on advancing knowledge of the natural world through university lectureships, addressing global conferences, publishing research, establishing award-winning programmes at three UK zoos and starring in a zoo-based television series.

She has held senior management positions in two large charitable zoos and is on the board of an African-based ape rescue charity.

Dr Redrobe is currently spearheading Twycross Zoo's ambitious masterplan, which will transform the 88-acre site in rural Warwickshire through a major £55 million capital investment programme over the next 20 year

White Tigers Aren't An Endangered Species -- Or A Species At All
Footage posted Monday of three white tiger cubs born in Crimea's Skazka Zoo might be adorable, but the cuteness of the little tigers belies the sad truth about breeding them.

Zoos and other exhibitors sometimes present white tigers with misleading language suggesting they are a separate species, usually in need of protection. Anecdotal evidence indicates some people are under the impression that white tigers are a variety of Siberian tiger specially adapted to a snowy environment.

But really, white tigers are white because of a rare, recessive mutation that causes white fur. All white tigers documented in the wild by scientists have been Bengal tigers. Bengal tigers are endangered, but the white ones are not a distinct species -- they're just Bengal tigers of a different color.

However, most of the white tigers in captivity are "highly inbred" hybrids of Bengal and Siberian tigers (also known as Indian and Amur tigers, respectively), according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a nonprofit that accredits zoos in the United States.

Zoos are only able to continue producing

Negative Consequences of Bans on the Breeding of Captive Cetaceans
San Diego’s SeaWorld joins the Vancouver Aquarium in a category both would have preferred to avoid. The California Coastal Commission (Commission) recently “ordered SeaWorld San Diego to halt captive breeding of orcas as a condition of getting a permit to build a larger exhibit space for the 11 marine mammals,” as reported by Tony Perry at, a year after the breeding of cetaceans in captivity was banned at the Canadian aquarium.

The public record of the Commission’s deliberations, available online at, includes several letters from SeaWorld’s attorneys, providing their interpretation of federal and state laws governing the care of cetaceans, which preclude the Commission’s ban as preempted by federal law.

In a letter dated October 1, 2015,  SeaWorld’s ongoing breeding programs are described by SeaWorld’s Sr. Staff Veterinarian, Dr. Hendrik No

To Euthanize or To Not Euthanize
On Sunday, Sept. 20 a veteran female zookeeper from New Zealand was attacked and killed by a Sumatran tiger at New Zealand’s North Island Hamilton Zoo. The Sumatran tiger is a rare tiger species so rare The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) estimates fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers exist today. This puts them on the list of being critically engendered due to the constant poaching and high demand for tiger parts and products. According to the WWF this subspecies of tiger is only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra with the exception of these tigers in New Zealand. These tigers enjoy Tropical broadleaf evergreen, forests, peat swamps and freshwater swamp forests. This is not the first incident of this kind for a New Zealand zoo as this had been the third death in six years for zoos in New Zealand. The tiger in question was named Oz and was one of five Sumatran tigers at the zoo and was eleven years old and h

“Don't Shoot! I'll Put the Animals Back! Please!”
Late in the evening on Saturday, June 13, a heavy rain fell on Tbilisi, Georgia, for several hours. Zurab Gurielidze, director of the Tbilisi Zoo, was at the movies with his wife for most of it. The zoo, the largest in Georgia, sat on 22 acres in the middle of downtown. It was founded in 1927, five years after Georgia was absorbed into the former Soviet Union. Last year, 500,000 people—10 percent of the country’s population—came to glimpse African penguins, East Caucasian turs, a white rhinoceros, elephants, bears, wolves, and a dik-dik, a miniature antelope. Residents of nearby apartment buildings often called at night to say the lions were roaring loudly—were they perhaps sick? Staffers patiently explained that lions are nocturnal; they feed after dark. People paid particular attention to Shumba, the zoo’s rare white lion cub. Abandoned by his mother at birth in December 2013, hand-raised by the zoo, and now the companion of a black poodle named Karakula, Shumba had become a national celebrity, appearing on television and inspiring intense devotion from both residents and zookeepers, who called him “the white prince.”

A little after midnight, when Gurielidze and his wife checked in on the zoo, the rain had stopped, and the grounds were calm. The animals—lions, tigers, bears, and jaguars—were quiet. Gurielidze, a rugged 55-year-old with cropped gray hair and light eyes, went to check on the lower-lying parts of the zoo, which were prone to flooding during heavy rain. The predator enclosures there, w

Reintroduction of Hawaiian crow could happen as early as next year
The alala hasn’t been seen in the wild for about 13 years, but an effort to prevent Hawaii Island’s native crow from going the way of the dodo could soon begin to pay off.

According to a draft of the state’s revised Wildlife Action Plan, there are now 114 alala being raised in captivity — enough to begin reintroducing the birds to the island’s forests as early as next year.

But any celebrations at this point might be premature.

Scott Fretz, the state’s Fish and Wildlife chief, said funding still needs to be secured to support reintroduction — which includes tracking, veterinary support and predator control — and give them the best chance of survival.

He didn’t have a cost estimate immediately available, but a 2008 alala recovery plan drafted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the total cost of implementation at $14.38 million over a five-year period. That estimate included breeding in addition to reintroduction and other support costs.

“We’ve got some funding to do this; we don’t have all the funding we need,” he said.

“We’re still looking for a complete funding package to sustain it in the long term.”

Fretz said additional funding could come from state or federal sources.

“We do plan to do the release within the next five years,” he said.

The alala’s historical range included low- and high-elevation forests around Hualalai and western and southeastern slopes of Mauna Loa. The crow, one of Hawaii’s many endemic species, wasn’t found anywhere else in the world.

Fretz said reintroduction would occur at two locations: Upper Ka‘u Forest Reserve and Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve.

An earlier attempt to reintroduce alala in South Kona in the 1990s proved unsuccessful as the birds became susceptible to disease and predation. Of the 27

Sometimes The Good Guys Win, The CA Ban of the Elephant Guide Has Been Vetoed!
If you are involved in the animal business and especially the exotic animal business it is very easy to get discouraged with all the negative publicity and nasty legislation that we are confronted with daily. Every once in a while though we get some good news. Today California Governor Brown vetoed SB 716 the bill that would have banned the use of the elephant guide in America’s largest state.

What is really interesting is why he vetoed the bill. The veto letter states ” Each of these bills creates a new crime– usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed”. This is a very astute assessment by the governor because that was the exact argument that was made against this bill in the first place. Very strong animal cruelty laws are already in place in the state of California, so if elephants are being abused as the animal activist groups claim, then it is already illegal!!! The truth of course is that the guide is not abusive and is never intended to be, it is just a husbandry tool, nothing insidious.

This is without a doubt a huge win for those who fought tooth and nail to stop this bill. The Johnson’s at Have Trunk Will Travel did an amazing job mobilizing people in the industry to write, email, call, and tweet out against this bill. As an industry we need to learn from this hard fought victory in CA. We are stronger together than apart and this has made that abundantly clear.

I wish that I could tell you that this fight was o


Animal store owner crushed by python
The owner of a reptile store in Newport, Ohio, was recovering after police pried off a 20-foot python that was wrapped around his head, neck and torso, crushing him on Monday.

Two officers pulled the the 125-pound snake off Terry Wilkens, owner of Captive Born Reptiles, police chief Tom Collins said.

Wilkens was not breathing when officers freed him, Collins said, but he resumed breathing before he was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Collins said the victim appeared to be doing O.K. at the hospital and was talking.

The call came around 11 a.m. and Lt. Gregory Ripberger and Sgt. Daron Armberg were at the store within minutes, Collins said.

"It was only by the grace of God that one of the officers knew how to deal with snakes," Collins said.

Ripberger grabbed the snake by the head and worked to uncurl it off Wilkens' body. Collins and other officers pulled Wilkens by his legs to free him.

The snake had begun to coil around Ripberger's arm before the officers were able to return it to its enclosure.

"It was a horrific event," Collins said.

Collins said Wilkens was feeding the snake

Hundreds of baboons to be relocated from OU
Six hundred and seventy-six baboons will be removed from a University of Oklahoma facility in El Reno as it winds down within three to four years.

Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Vice President James J. Tomasek said in a statement that OU is working closely with the National Institutes of Health to develop a comprehensive plan for the placement of the baboons. The OUHSC is also exploring the possibility of placing the baboons at sanctuaries after receiving communication from the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. 

The removal of the baboons has prompted concerns over the possibility of euthanasia from members of the animal rights community. 

"The Health Sciences Center baboon program will not euthanize any baboons solely for the purpose of reducing the size of the colony,” Tomasek said.

In September, OU President David L. Boren announced the facility would be shuttered. Tomaske said the the decision was based on the decreased prioritization of the program within the OUHSC research strategic plan and the projected financial and staff time costs of continuing to operate the program.

The announcement followed an internal review of the facility, which had been ordered by Boren a month earlier. Inspection records maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service indicate that the facility had been cited numerous times in

Japanese zoo confirms swap, tries to allay fears
The director of Hirakawa Zoo in Japan has reportedly publicly stated his zoo wishes to acquire two Asian elephants currently housed at Teuk Chhou Zoo in Kampot province as part of a controversial animal swap deal.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday in the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima, where Hirakawa Zoo is located, Masamichi Ono confirmed the trade is in the process of being agreed and was initiated by his zoo, according to remarks made available by a Japanese animal-rights campaigner monitoring the transaction.

According to Ono, despite previous reports the trade would be completed in early 2016, it is unlikely to go ahead in the near future.

“We think it will take some years to complete the trade as we are negotiating with Cambodia for the first time,” he was quoted as saying during the press conference at Kagoshima City Hall.

Ono claimed representatives of the Hirakawa Zoo did not see any neglect or suffering during an August visit to Teuk Chhou Zoo, which will receive animals from Hirakawa in return.

But he said he was unaware EARS Asia were involved in the care of elephants Kiri and Seila, despite the fact the conservation NGO had funded their current enclosure and all of their care for the past three years.

Late last month, Teuk Chhou Zoo owner Nhim Vanda ejected EARS Asia from the zoo, amid mounting pressure for the trade to be called off.

Since learning of the proposed trade in August, EARS Asia has voiced its strong opposition due to fears that the journey would be overly

Animal rights advocates calling for boycott of 18 elephants
ANIMAL rights advocates are calling for boycott of the 18 elephants from the county’s game parks that are in the process of being exported to the US zoos.

The advocates were promoting a petition on the internet calling for people all over the world to sign it.

By 5pm yesterday 2 371 people had signed the petition against the importation of the elephants to the U.S.

Others who are supporting the petition are elephants captured in zoos, import and export of animals, animal rights, prevention of wildlife loss, suffering, protection, right to roam free, animal welfare amongst others.

Dallas Zoo is one of three US zoos applying to import 18 elephants from a government park in Swaziland.

According to a statement by the three zoos, which also include the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha and the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, the removal of 18 African elephants is necessary "to prevent further degradation of the landscape" and in order to make room for critically endangered rhinos. The import applications are for 15 female and three male elephants, which could arrive in the U.S. later this year if the necessary permits are approved. These permit requests are currently under consideration by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Swaziland wildlife authorities.

If the permits are approved, each zoo will get six elephants.

These elephants were all born in the wild in Swaziland and their exact ages are unknown, but it is confirmed that 15 are sub-adults, estimated to range in age from six to 15 years old. Three others are young adult females with estimated age ranges from 20 to 25 years old.

This is not the first time Swaziland has exported ele

Zookeeper's legacy will live on
I had a dream (closer to a nightmare) the other night that I was attacked by a lion. I'm not sure if there's a Freudian thing going on here, but playing the psychoanalyst, I theorised that it was a product of suppression.

I had been upset, like most would have been, by the news of the tragic death of the zookeeper in the city, killed by a Sumatran tiger. What does one do with such information after the shock, the bewilderment, the sympathy and then the questions?

What you do is suppress it, because what else can you do? The thing has happened, it can't be undone and the poor woman is dead. It is terrible and heart-rending but it can't be made better. After feeling sick for all those involved, one tries not to dwell on it. The newspaper is put away and life goes on.

But these things have a habit of working their way up from the depths of the subconscious to appear in literal or symbolic form. Subterranean disturbance will find a way out.

As for the prospect of putting down the tiger, that has sensibly been averted, because what end would that serve other than some misplaced sense of revenge? And it would simply negate the reason the animal was there in the first place – to help save the vanishing species. And why kill the beast because of human error, if that was the case? It's not the tiger's fault, it's just being a tiger held in a captive state.

There are those out there who feel that zoos themselves should not be part of the landscape, that they should all be dismantled and the animals set free to be themselves in the wild, their natural home. Zoos are simply artificial constructs, it's argued, built for the pleasure of the top animal, which happens to be us.

I remember in the bad old days being taken to the Auckland Zoo and seeing the polar bear manically walking back and forth like some deranged patient in a care facility. It was retracing its exact same steps over and over across the concrete "snow" and as I left the viewing platform, I felt vaguely sorry for the thing. There was also a gorilla in a cage about the size of a wardrobe.

All that's changed today. In fact, zoos have become a kind of home away from home as keepers try to replicate, as close as possible, living conditions for the animals as they would have found them in their natural habitat. Out in the wild, life can be, as English philosopher Thomas Hobbs once quipped, nasty, brutish and short. Life is pretty cushy in today's zoos by comparison. On the outside, there is often the threat of some predator pulling you down by the waterhole for lunch. No such chance in a zoo. Plus vet facilities are on tap. Hunger, disease and competitive conflict are relegated to a thing of the past. If all the animals knew this

Human Impact May Be Causing Crocodile Species To Interbreed
It may sound like the beginning of a cheesy horror movie, but crocodile species actually do naturally hybridize in the wild. Hybridization is generally considered a threat to most animals, as it creates individuals with reduced fitness—meaning they are unable to reproduce. In Mexico and Belize, it has been hypothesized that American and Morelet’s crocodiles have been hybridizing due to sightings of crocodiles that have a mix of physical characteristics from both species. In a new paper in Royal Society Open Science, Evon Hekkala of Fordham University and colleagues investigate the causes of this hybridization in Belize.

Man survives lion attack in Bahawalpur zoo
A pair of lions on Saturday attacked an employee of the zoo when he attempted to signal them into the enclosure after feeding them.

Ayaz Nabi, the zoo employee, was mauled by the pair early in the morning before visitors intervened by pelting the lions with stones to spare him.

According to the zoo sources, Nabi sustained severe injuries to

Keep it Green: Zoos save endangered species
Take an extreme example. There are about 2,300 tigers left in the whole of the Indian jungle, but in the state of Texas alone, there are some 2,000 tigers, all in zoos or wild life parks. As a simple matter of fact, I spotted at least five in Phuket Zoo, whereas the last free-range tiger on the island was killed some forty odd years ago.

Some species, on the verge of extinction, or extirpation, have been saved by conservation programs initiated by zoos. Classic examples include Chinese pandas and the orangutan, but other less heralded species have benefited from these initiatives.

Minnesota Zoo has a program called ‘Adopt a Park’, aimed at helping save the Javan rhino. However, it is estimated that only three per cent of global zoo resources are actually spent on conservation, and a significantly lower proportion on the far more crucial issue of habitat conservation. It is of little use ‘saving’ threatened species, if there is nowhere in the wild to return them to.

Moreover, animals bred in captivity create their own problems. One is in-breeding, a genetic weakness caused by limited populations, while another and more serious concern centers on their inability to survive in the wild. Most released creatures will die within weeks - from predation or hunger. There is also some limited evidence that ‘surplus’ zoo animals are sold to circuses - with their unenviable reputation for animal cruelty – and to unscrupulous businessmen who allow them to be shot for so-called sport. Big game hunting is obviously not dead.

Are most people aware of these issues?

The answer sadly is a resounding ‘No’. Zoos, however, can,

Tapirs to reduce Japan 'nightmares'
Two Malayan Tapirs are about to embark on a journey of their lives to Japan, where the animal is regarded as the "eater of nightmares".

Im, a two-year-old male tapir, and its mate, three-year-old Bertam, will be placed at the world-class Nagasaki Bio Park for 10 years under a conservation programme by Malaysia and Japan.

Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa said tapirs were known as "Baku" in the country's mythology, a creature believed to eat people's nightmares.

"The tapir is a charming animal. It is large and has a cute snout. The two tapirs will have a reason to be welcomed and loved by people in Japan.

"Hopefully the arrival of the Malayan Tapirs will reduce our nightmares," he said at the signing ceremony of t

Stanley Zoo in County Durham: Recalling a forgotten animal attraction
Lambton Lion Park and the Bigg Market Winter Zoo have both evoked memories for Chronicle readers in recent months.

Our features on the long-gone animal attractions in County Durham and Newcastle city centre respectively sparked much response and recollection.

Also read: The winter zoo which was housed in Newcastle's Bigg Market in the mid-1960s

But more than one reader also asked about yet another, largely forgotten, North East zoo.

The attraction in Stanley, County Durham, drew families and school trips in the late-1960s/early 1970s, but ther

SeaWorld's fight over killer whales is not over
If there’s a star at SeaWorld San Diego, it’s the 11 killer whales. So does the animal park have a future without Shamu?

That’s the threat the San Diego park is facing after the decision last week by the California Coastal Commission to ban captive breeding of the park’s killer whales as a condition of building a much larger $100 million holding facility.

The vote, condemned by the park, comes as SeaWorld tries to fend off criticism highlighted in the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” accusing the marine park of neglecting and abusing its killer whales.

SeaWorld has rejected those accusations but faced plummeting attendance and a constant barrage of public criticism. It planned to win back public support by building a much larger living environment for its orcas — a 450,000-gallon pool and a 5.2-million-gallon tank in place of its 1.7-million-gallon pen.

The Coastal Commission approved the plan, but placed restrictions that could mean an end to SeaWorld’s orca program. Without breeding or bringing in new orcas, its animals would grow old and die in the park, ending the shows permanently.

Auckland Zoo releases 300th kiwi
Twenty years ago, conservationists predicted the kiwi would be extinct by 2015.

But on Saturday, Auckland Zoo celebrated the release of its 300th hand-reared kiwi chick, which joined an estimated 70,000 others in the wild.

Little Tihoihoi hunkered down in a custom-built burrow on Rotoroa Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf after being introduced to a captive crowd.

Why a Delhi zoo is returning a jaguar from Kerala
Salman, the jaguar was borrowed on a 'breeding loan' from the Thiruvananthapuram Zoological Garden last October
Obesity has been identified as a life-threatening condition among human beings. But as officials in the Delhi zoo have realised over the last year, it can stall life in the animal kingdom too. That’s why they are returning Salman, a 12-year-old jaguar, to Kerala with this stinging verdict: “he’s too fat to breed”. Salman was borrowed on a “breeding loan” from the Thiruvananthapuram Zoological Garden last October, but has since shown “complete disinterest” in pairing up with the lone female jaguar in the National Zoological Park here, say Delhi zoo officials. They say Salman has “reached out for its meals more keenly than for Kalpana”, the female jaguar. “He was brought on a breeding loan but it has been over a year and Salman has shown no interest in mating. In fact, the female is seen trying to entice him but he lies in a corner and refuses to respond. He is too fat to breed,” Delhi zoo curator Riaz Khan told The Indian Express. “Now we know for sure nothing is going to happen. So it is best that we send him back home. He was brought for a purpose and if he is not fulfilling that purpose then what is the point in keeping

Leopard cub briefly escapes cage at Potawatomi Zoo; Zoo temporarily put on lockdown
Cell phone video from visitors sequestered indoors at Potowatomi Zoo shows the scene...

"I thought I'd done something wrong." Ron Niedbala of Edwardsburg said.

Niedbala was one of those visitors.

"I didn't know for sure what was going on. I thought it was just a monkey had gotten out." he said.

It was worse than was a leopard cub.

"And an Amur Leopard is a code red, which is our highest code, which means that our staff dispatches to the site of the animal escape." Marcy Dean, Potawatomi Zoo's Executive Director said.

Dean says it's the only code red she's ever seen in her nine years at the zoo.

But it's a situation the zoo prepares for.

"We do practice codes throughout the year and so everybody is always acutely aware when a real code happens what their position is and where they jump into action." Dean said.

Dean says the cub was out for abo

With a thumbs up from Artis Zoo Director Haig Balian, demolition of one of the oldest structures at the Amsterdam institution began. The old animal cages that houses the big cats stood since the zoo’s creation in 1838.

“The gallery dates back to the 19th century, a time when other views in the areas of animal welfare, architecture and landscaping prevailed. These views are as outdated as the building itself,” Balian said. “The demolition of this property is one of the milestones in our renewal process,” he noted in a final farewell to the “old Artis.”

Renovations at Artis include the opening of the Micropia microbe museum, more space for animals and plants, and further education opportunities. The renewal began about 12 years ago, with more focus on the balance between man and nature, the zoo said.

Artis hopes to grow into a leading institute within this fi

There Are More Captive Tigers In The U.S. Than In The Wild Worldwide. This Bill Could Change That
In Carole Baskin's dream world, there would be no lions and tigers in cages. That includes at her own facility -- a certified sanctuary called Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa, Florida.

Big Cat Rescue is home to 89 lions, tigers, ocelots, sand cats, bobcats, cougars and other big cats. Baskin keeps a spreadsheet of how each animal got to her, along with information about the animals that she's been contacted about but hasn't taken in.

It's a grim read. There's a bobcat kept as a pet, whose owner no longer wants him. A lioness seized in a drug raid. A tiger and a lion who used to be with the circus. A coatimundi losing his home because his owners are getting divorced. A cat merely identified as a "hybrid" found in the back of a U-Haul, along with a dead bobcat. Three tigers who need to go somewhere because the zoo where they're living says they can't afford to feed them anymore.

If they get to Tampa, these guys are lucky. Big Cat Rescue is such a nice place that its lions and tigers get to spend two weeks a year on vacation. They're removed from their already-large regular enclosures and dispatched to one of two 2.5-acre enclosures filled with grassy knolls, ponds, trees, hiding spots, toys -- all sorts of things to help keep them as happy as possible.

Which Baskin thinks, even with this, isn't happy enough.

"We absolutely believe that wild cats don't belong in cages and everything we do is working toward the day that we don't have to exist," she said.

Her newest effort is campaigning for a bill introduced in Congress last month. The Big Cat Public Safety Act would essentially ban most private ownership of lions and tigers, and a handful of other big cats.

Zoos certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the most-respected accreditation organization, would be allowed to keep and br

Blind leopards stretch rescue centre capacity
Ranibagh Rescue Centre for injured leopards in Haldwani has space only for two animals at a time. These days, it has an overload. There are seven leopards with age-related eye disease and other injuries in its care. While two are housed at the rescue centre, the other five leopards are in Nainital Zoo. Once injured, leopards take to hunting easy prey and are more likely to turn maneaters. Their release in the wild, thus, is not done.

Three leopards in the care of the rescue centre have eye trouble. These are all animals tranquilized and brought to the centre for treatment. Their full recovery is not a certainty, so officials say these three will not return to the wild.

Tejasivini Patil, divisional forest official, said, "A nine-year-old leopard has developed cataract. There is no lens available for a leopard's e

Hundreds of protected tortoises seized in Madagascar
On 29th September, Malagasy Customs and border police officials scanning luggage discovered a staggering 771 wild native tortoises concealed in two wooden boxes at Antananarivo’s Ivato International Airport.

The seizure was described by Customs as the largest ever of its kind at the airport. The consignment included 8 Ploughshare Tortoises—considered to be the world’s rarest tortoise—and 763 Radiated Tortoises although 20 of the animals are understood to have died subsequently.

The surviving Radiated Tortoises have been handed over to the Turtle Survival Alliance and the Ploughshare Tortoises to the Durrell Conservation Trust for rehabilitation, before their release back into the wild.

Both Ploughshare and Radiated Tortoises are found only in Madagascar and both are classified by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Critically Endangered, largely as a result of collection for the pet trade and habitat loss.

Jean Victor Ravony Tsaramonina, Head of the Air and Border Police told a media conference how the contents of the containers had been misdeclared and

In 1 year, Great Indian Bustard population falls from 44 to just 13 in Rajasthan
This might sound like a clarion call. If things go the way they are, the coming generations would be reading about the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), the state bird of Rajasthan, the way they do about the dinosaurs. Listed as critically endangered (IUCN 2011) under Schedule I (the highest protection status, Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, the GIB is numerically closest to extinction and its conservation efforts are heading nowhere.

The figures are alarming. One year back, a Wildlife Institute of India (WII) survey counted 44 Great Indian Bustards in Rajasthan. However, one mo

Denmark Zoo to Terrify Children By Inviting Them to Witness Lion Dissection
A zoo in Denmark is planning to dissect a lion next Thursday and is encouraging students who are off for fall break to come watch.

Nina Collatz, head of animal keepers at the Odense Zoo, told BBC Newsbeat that the lioness in question was nine months old when it was humanely killed earlier this year after no other zoo would take it in. AFP reports that the Odense Zoo had too many lions

Could elephants' 'superhero' cancer guardian protect humans too?
Elephants almost never get cancer.

The mystery of why that's so launched an investigation three years ago by a team of Utah scientists. Now they're going public with some answers that might open a whole new front in the war on cancer.

"You would expect elephants — (because) they're so large and so big, they have so many cells in their body dividing all the time to get to be so large — you'd think just by chance alone they'd have to get cancer," said Dr. Joshua Schiffman, the lead scientist on the project.

"Elephants must be protected somehow from developing cancer," said Schiffman, who does research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and treats cancer patients at Primary Children's Hospital.

"And then we realized we need to figure out what that protection is so that we can help the kids and families that we take care of, some of them that are actually at increased risk for cancer," he said.

The scientific effort involves an unusual team: Utah's Hogle Zoo, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Primary Children's Hospital and

Recent zoo history blog posts - London And Chessington Zoo in the Blitz and London Zoo WW1

1.       London and Chessington Zoo in the Blitz 1940 WW2

2.       Penguin and Keeper related WW1 / London Zoo story

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About me
After more than 47 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and writes about these in his blog

Peter earns his living as an international independent zoo consultant, critic and writer. Currently working as Curator of Penguins in Ski Dubai. United Arab Emirates. He describes himself as an itinerant zoo keeper, a dreamer, a traveller, a people watcher, a lover, a thinker, a cosmopolitan, a writer, a hedonist, an explorer, a pantheist, a gastronome, sometime fool, a good friend to some and a pain in the butt to others.

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Peter Dickinson
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