Tuesday, December 20, 2016

$5million prize open to anyone

$5million prize open to anyone in the region to help re-shape global cooperation and tackle risks to humanity
•        US$5 million offered to entrants from the region and the world, for bold ideas to re-model global governance for 21st century
•        Global Challenges Foundation hopes to stimulate urgent global debate about how the world community manages global risks – such climate change, violent conflict and extreme poverty
•        Entries should look at ways to contribute to the re-shaping of global governance in order to safeguard future generations
•        Open to individuals from all fields including academia, politics, business and civil society

A US$5 million prize competition has been launched by the Global Challenges Foundation – an independent Swedish organisation- to seek innovative solutions  -  to identify new models of global co-operation capable of handling the most serious threats to humanity including climate change, violent conflict and extreme poverty.  The competition is open to individuals, groups and organisations in the region - and across the world.

The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape was launched by the Stockholm-based Global Challenges Foundation, set up in 2012 with the aim of deepening understanding of global risks and galvanizing more effective responses to them. 

The prize competition is based on the premise that human innovation can help us rise to the challenge of 21st century risks that transcend national borders and can affect populations all around the world.

“Today’s risks are so global and so urgent that they require novel thinking to help eradicate them,” said Global Challenges Foundation founder Laszlo Szombatfalvy, an investor, author and philanthropist who built his career in Sweden through the successful analysis of financial risk. “The world is trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s tools. We believe a new shape of collaboration is needed to address the most critical challenges in our globalised world.”   
The New Shape Prize will ask entrants to design frameworks for international decision-making equipped to address today’s global challenges with a focus on climate change, major environmental damage, violent conflict (including nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction) and extreme poverty. Entrants are also asked to consider the implications of a rising world population, forecast by the United Nations to reach 11bn by 2100. The prize is open to anyone – individuals, groups and organisations – anywhere in the world.

“We believe that the human ingenuity that has allowed us to eradicate diseases, bring down poverty levels and stabilize the hole in the ozone layer, can, if properly channeled, play a role in averting the greatest risks to our survival,” said Mr Szombatfalvy. “If we can tap this creativity and apply it to designing a better decision-making system for the world community, then we will have a chance of preserving our world for future generations.”

The Global Challenges Foundation is publicizing its New Shape Prize worldwide, partnering with respected institutions on multiple continents in an effort to reach the brightest minds and most visionary thinkers whether they come from academia, policy-making, civil society, business, technology or law. This outreach effort includes collaborating closely with experts and practitioners currently working within existing global governance institutions such as the United Nations.

The Global Challenges Foundation emphasized that the prize competition was not seeking solutions to the individual risks in question, but for the global decision-making structures that would allow the world community to tackle them more effectively.
The competition is open until May 24, 2017. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of academic experts. The best proposals will then be judged by a high level international jury comprised of respected figures of global stature. Final awards will be made in November 2017.

The Global Challenges Foundation said it was committed to promoting the winning ideas following their announcement in order to generate debate around how they could be implemented and will look to support promising entrants to develop their ideas where appropriate.

Through its New Shape Prize, the Global Challenges Foundation hopes to stimulate urgent global debate at the highest levels about how the world community manages global risks and to contribute to the re-shaping of global governance in order to safeguard future generations.

For more information about The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape, see: http://www.globalchallenges.org/

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

Monday, October 31, 2016

Zoo News Digest 31st October 2016 (ZooNews 940)

Zoo News Digest 31st October 2016 
(ZooNews 940)

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

Happy Halloween.

Today sees the start of the SEAZA Conference in Taman Safari.  Is this an opportunity for them to clean their act up? I'd like to think so but I doubt it. So many zoos worldwide have dealings with and have visited this collection and yet nothing is done. The photos I include below (at the end of the Digest) speak for themselves and are activities going on today…perhaps absent during the conference, perhaps not because some in Asia and elsewhere are imitating the wrongs. Two, three, four wrongs do not make a right. I fear it will not change until there is a radical shake up in SEAZA or a complete change of management in the Taman Safari group.

And imitate people do. One organisation which played a role in the closure of the infamous Tiger Temple displays pictures of themselves playing with tigers….the very activity they were trying to stop. I condemn it. Imitation causes imitation. I really can't comprehend why they can't see this. Just because they do a bit of good does not give them the right to do wrong....and their followers want to do the same.

Sadly, very sadly there are many zoos in the West and Australasia which turn a complete blind eye to the activities of Asian zoos (SEAZA members or not) because they hope to (and have) obtain animals from these facilities. It's wrong and they know it. They need/must speak out. Regrettably my speaking out has turned me into something of a 'persona non grata' to some. Sobeit.

As can be expected I have had a few anonymous emails telling me to lay off my condemnation of certain collections and activities. No apologies from my side because I won't. Remember I am PRO good zoo and anti bad zoo and beyond corruption. If the zoo world cannot  clean up its act and be seen to be doing so then they cannot expect to be taken seriously.

There are a number of 'zoos' out there for which I sometimes question their morality and raison d'etre but have tremendous respect for their publicity machines. One British zoo has managed to remain on the first page of Google for well over a month now. I watch it slide up and down that page every day occasionally hitting the number two spot. The zoo itself is not doing anything particularly clever but their webmaster is and so I must admire. The big problem as I see it is that in the eyes of the masses it gives it greater credibility over the collections which really do count and that's a pity.

Trip Advisor against animal exploitation? Think again. I would like to remind you of their top ten US zoos. How Seriously Do You Take TripAdvisor?

I did the survey of the "Public consultation as part of the REFIT evaluation of the Zoos Directive" …see links below. It wasn't easy for me due to my rather strict analysis of what makes a GOOD zoo. However I did it alone. The Born Free group are telling their zombies how to answer the questions! This, to me is the same as paying for votes and if not judged as corruption then it should be.

As I stated in the last Digest….hardly a single newspaper took up the story of the young Egyptian girl killed by the escaped leopard. If the same thing had happened in the West the papers would still be buzzing.
The story of the keeper killed by the tiger in Africa got scarcely a mention either. We really need to know what happened. If you know...email me privately.
So sorry to lose my friend and colleague April Bradley this month. All the more tragic and painful because she was so young. None of us knows or understands the problems which others are carrying. My heartfelt sympathies to her family and friends.

It was my birthday a few weeks back. I try to forget these things....and sometimes do. This year I had a huge number of birthday greetings. It took me three days to acknowledge all. If I missed anybody, I'm sorry and thank you!

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 27,900 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 


Zoo says accusations of panda abuse groundless
The Lanzhou Zoo in Northwest China's Gansu Province denied any abuse of a panda after pictures allegedly showing a huge amount of blood on the animal's back sparked an uproar among the public, saying the panda might have been struck by bamboo.

Wang Huitai, deputy head of the Lanzhou Zoo, told the Global Times Sunday that the giant panda named Shulan was found injured on her back with a less-than-one-centimeter abrasion on Friday and "we believe it was caused by a bamboo strike."

The zoo veterinarian regarded the wound as not serious and sprayed some iodine around it, which might have been mistaken as the alleged blood, added Wang.

The State Bureau of Forestry on Saturday pledged to further investigate the case.

Viral pictures s
howed that 22-year-old Shulan was w

Stem cells generated locally help blind sea lion at SeaWorld see
SeaWorld is turning to stem cells harvested in the labs of local biotech companies to heal its park animals.

Last week, 10News anchor Itica Milanes was given an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look as a sea lion was given second chance at life thanks to the unique medical treatment.

SeaWorld has rescued thousands of sea lions through the years, with most stranded or starving. Recently, one that washed up in La Jolla had a much bigger problem -- the young male sea lion was almost blind.

Park veterinarian Dr. Todd Schmitt said, "We're not sure of the underlying cause. There may be some underlying trauma. It's basically creating a haze across the cornea that is causing vision impairment for this animal."

SeaWorld caretakers realized he couldn't see, so he couldn't catch any fish. In the wild, he would starve to death or be easy prey.

"So this is general anesthesia, like you or I would have," Schmitt said prior to beginning the procedure.

Jennifer Haselow moved to San Diego

Orangutan escapes Kansas zoo enclosure, returns on her own
 A Kansas zoo confirmed an 11-year-old orangutan briefly escaped from her enclosure Tuesday morning and the facility was placed on lockdown.

The Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita said visitors to the facility alerted zookeepers around 10 a.m. to an orangutan outside of her enclosure, and officials quickly confirmed 11-year-old Sumatran orangutan Tao had made her way to a public area.

After death of penguin at its zoo, BMC wants contractor to replace dead bird
A day after an 18-month-old female Humboldt penguin, Dory, died at Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo in Byculla, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has directed Goatrade Farming Company, the procurement agency, to provide another penguin as replacement. In the face of severe criticism from political leaders and animal rights activists for the death, the zoo authorities and civic officials insisted that the plan to place for public viewing the Humboldt penguins, natives of Peru and Chile, would not be rolled back, though the inauguration of the penguin enclosure will be postponed to D

A group of architects striving to renovate Karachi zoo
A team of seven architects headed by Zain Mustafa, who is also an architect and designer, are striving to renovate the Karachi zoo to improve the quality of life of the animals there.

The talented design group of 7 creative minds headed by animal rights activist and architect Zain Mustafa and mentored by PTI architect Samar Ali Khan visits the Karachi zoo every Friday to re-design the whole place for making it more animal friendly.

The group made a presentation “Karachi Zoo- Revival Conceptual Visualizations” for the awareness of the masses.

The presentation was made right in front of the disturbed screeching Chimp Raju. They said their initial conce

Zoo sends Puerto Rican Toad tadpoles to habitat
The N.C. Zoo recently shipped just over 400 Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico for release into the wild.

The shipment is part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan program, which aims to manage the population of these amphibians in the wild and prevent their extinction.

In 1984, the Puerto Rican Crested Toad became the first amphibian to be protected under the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. At more than 32 years, it is the longest continuous running reintroduction program for an amphibian species. To date, 19 participating institutions have sent over 350,000 tadpoles to Puerto Rico.

The toads are kept in isolation from general zoo populations to prevent the spread of disease to the wild. Although the toads have bred naturally in captivity, hormones are generally used to time all breedings to coordinate shipments and

Calgary Zoo opens Canada's 1st greater sage-grouse breeding facility
There's some good news for one of Canada's most endangered birds.

The Calgary Zoo has just opened the first captive breeding facility in the country to help restore the greater sage-grouse population, which experts estimate has fallen below 400 individuals.

"I see the greater sage-grouse as an iconic part of our Canadian heritage; a key component of our prairie ecosystem," said Axel Moehrenschlager, director of conservation and science at the zoo.

How One U.S. Zoo is Supporting African Wildlife Conservation
Despite the sensation of  tough gravel, I never expected a rhinoceros to feel so soft around the back of the ears and mouth.

Staff at the Seneca Park Zoological Society in Rochester, New York had graciously allowed me to come face to face with Bill, the resident southern white rhinoceros who, funnily enough, was more interested in being petted than eating his helping of bananas.

“He loves contact,” one of the keepers said as I reached out to touch his horns. Aside from the pleasant thought of the bond that humans have shared with animals for centuries, seeing those massive horns brought to mind the uncertain future that wild rhinos throughout Africa currently face.

Though normally reporting conservation stories from remote corners of sub-Saharan Africa, I’d arranged a visit to Seneca Park Zoo to find out how management and staff are leading the charge in saving threatened and endangered wildlife.

Bill, now 12, is part of the zoo’s Step Into Africa program, which includes lions, elephants, baboons, and even a Maasai manyatta (encampment) exhibit, commonly found throughout southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.

While I was given a behind-the-scenes tour of h

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium set to launch sub-Antarctic penguin ride
Travel in a raft through a sub-Antarctic environment and get close to a spectacular colony of king and gentoo penguins at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

This first-of-its-kind penguin exhibit, due to open in November, is inspired by Macquarie Island – an Australian-owned island in the Pacific Ocean.

Explorers (guests) will be surrounded by penguins and a flurry of snow, whistling winds and the stunning southern lights, before arriving at the Macquarie Island Explorer Hut. Here they can observe these creatures on land and under water and learn more about life on the remote island.

Merlin Entertainment’s Rob Smith said: “The ride allows guests to make amazing discoveries about life on Macquarie Island, the different personalities of cheeky gentoo and maje

Longleat safari park worker framed male colleague with bogus emails to cover up one-night stand with another zookeeper
Hayleigh Flak, 28, was concerned Craig Brooks would expose her affair with his friend and pretended to be a customer, falsely accusing him of being abusive.
A married Longleat safari park worker framed a male colleague with bogus emails in an attempt to cover up a one-night stand she had with another zoopkeeper , a court heard.

Hayleigh Flak, 28, who previously worked as a pole dancer, slept with a colleague who worked with her on the same shift at the Wiltshire wildlife park.

The military wife, who is currently 16 weeks pregnant with her third child, admitted harassing workmate Craig Brooks when she appeared at Chippenham Magistrates' Court today.

The court heard Flak, who runs a lifestyle

The Guardian view on zoos: respect our animal relatives
Gorillas are not just animals, Sir David Attenborough said this week, explaining: “They are related to us; they get stressed. A gorilla is not a fish.” Leaving aside the fact that fish can also get stressed and are probably also related to us, albeit more distantly, he surely has a point. Humans, at this advanced stage in their evolution, may like nothing better than to parade themselves on Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor, but gorillas still value a bit of privacy and do not necessarily enjoy performing for visitors.

That, some think, may have been a factor in the escape of a dominant male gorilla called Kumbuka from his enclosure at ZSL London Zoo. The attraction went into lockdown while the gorilla was located – he was in a secure keepers’ area – and tranquillised, although not before he had downed five litres of undiluted blackcurrant cordial. It does not appear to have done him any lasting harm, and the zoo was able to give assurances that the public were never in any danger from his adventure. But the incident has been a public relations disaster, particularly because the management initially failed to explain how the animal was able to escape; the answer, it emerges, was two unlocked doors. Some commenters on social media enjoyed the spectacle of human visitors, who had been advised to seek sanctuary in secure buildings a

Meet the man who bought a zoo: Ten years on
Exactly ten years ago this man made the biggest decision of his life – he bought a zoo.

Now he's got an internationally bestselling book, a television series and a Hollywood blockbuster under his belt.

World's mammals being eaten into extinction, report warns
Hundreds of mammal species - from chimpanzees to hippos to bats - are being eaten into extinction by people, according to the first global assessment of the impact of human hunting.

Bushmeat has long been a traditional source of food for many rural people, but as roads have been driven into remote areas, large-scale commercial hunting is leaving forests and other habitats devoid of wildlife.

The scientists behind the new analysis warned that, without action, the wiping out of these species could lead to the collapse of the food security of hundreds of millions of people reliant on bushmeat for survival.

The work comes against the backdrop of the natural world undergoing the greatest mass extinction since a giant meteorite strike wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago, with species vanishing far more rapidly than the long term rate, driven by the destruction and invasion of wild areas by humans and their livestock and hunting.

The researchers, whose study is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, used the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list to identify the endangered land mammals that are primarily at risk from hunting for food. They found 301 such species, representing 7% of all the land mammals assessed by IUCN and about a quarter of all e

Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art
Threatened forest icon may be a hybrid of two extinct species.
The European bison (Bison bonasus) may be the continent’s largest land mammal, but its origins have long been a mystery. Hunted for millennia and pushed into the wild corners of Europe as agriculture expanded, the bison — also known as wisent — were reduced to just a few zoo specimens by the late 1920s. Today, a semi-wild population roams Białowieża Forest, near the Poland–Belarus border, where they slip between hornbeams and mighty oaks, their curly coats and horns lending an aura of the Pleistocene to the ancient forest.

It took a reach into the past using ancient DNA and cave art to unveil the wisent’s origin story. Researchers published the species’ family tree on 19 October in Nature Communications1.

The team took almost a decade to complete their work. Much of the analysis used ancient mitochondrial DNA derived from 65 bison specimens ranging from 14,000 to more than 50,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until technological advances made it possible to examine nuclear DNA that researchers were able to produce a coherent

Scientists Warn Federal Agency's Plan Would 'Result in Extinction of Red Wolves in the Wild'
The same scientists who provided the population viability analysis to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the red wolf have sent a rebuttal to the agency, accusing it of "many alarming misinterpretations" in its justification for removing most of the remaining animals in the wild.

Gorillas deserve more than captivity for human thrills
When it comes to the fascination with exotic species, the ancient Egyptians seem to have got there first. Archaeologists working at a cemetery in Hierakonpolis, a thriving city by the Nile in the fourth millennium BC, have uncovered a zoo’s worth of skeletons of baboons, hippopotamuses, leopards, elephants and crocodiles. These were not pampered pets; the remains reveal scars from beatings and broken bones from tethering.


ABMA Response to TripAdvisor Announcement
Animal Behavior Management Alliance Newsletter        

As you may have heard, TripAdvisor recently announced that it will no longer book hundreds of animal attractions where tourists come into physical contact with captive wild animals, including endangered species. The Animal Behavior Management Alliance values all of our members and understands that this announcement will affect many of you. In an effort support all of our members and animals, ABMA has issued the following statement:

"Trip Advisor has released a policy change that no longer allows the booking of attractions where tourists come into physical contact with exotic animals in human care, including endangered species. The Animal Behavior Management Alliance supports managed human interactions with animals that are safe, monitored, educational, and that rely on animal behavior that is achieved through positive reinforcement conditioning. These kinds of interactions & contact with animals can be the most memorable and are crucial to the conservation and preservation of all species in the world that we share because, they inspire in a way that other educational paradigms cannot."

ABMA is delivering this statement to TripAdvisor and other appropriate parties. Our members represent the most progressive and innovate professionals in the animal care community. Our members continually set new benchmarks in positive reinforcement focused animal behavior management, ultimately improving the lives of countless animals! We look forward to your continued support and contributions.


ABMA Board of Directors

Tasmanian devil milk fights superbugs
Milk from Tasmanian devils could offer up a useful weapon against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to Australian researchers.
The marsupial's milk contains important peptides that appear to be able to kill hard-to-treat infections, including MRSA, say the Sydney University team.
Experts believe devils evolved this cocktail to help their young grow stronger.
The scientists are looking to make new treatments that mimic the peptides.
They have scanned the devil's genetic code to find and recreate the infection-fighting compounds, called cathelicidins.
PhD student Emma Peel, who worked on the research which is published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, said they had found six important peptides.
These appear to be similar to peptides

So Long, Congo’s King Kong? Dramatic Population Decline of World’s Largest Gorilla
The largest living primate, Grauer’s gorilla, lives only in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Before civil war broke out in the region in 1996, the population was estimated at 16,900 individuals, but it has since been difficult to conduct population assessments.

Mumbai zoo in licence jeopardy?
The city's zoo that has been much in the news of late for its new inhabitants — the eight Humboldt penguins — is finding itself under the spotlight again, but this time for a different reason. As per reports, the Mumbai zoo is facing a stiff notice from the CZA (Central Zoo Authority) for allegedly flouting norms by failing to maintain conditions of its animal enclosures and occupants. The zoo authorities are to rectify matters and draft a reply until December.

Penguin dies of infection at Mumbai zoo, activists ask police to probe
A day after a Humboldt penguin died at the Byculla Zoo barely three months after it was procured, animal activists in Mumbai filed a complaint with the police alleging negligence by zoo authorities and demanded an investigation into the matter.
Non-governmental organisation, Plant and Animals Welfare Society – Mumbai (PAWS) also wrote to Central Zoo Authority asking it to visit Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo and check whether ideal conditions have been provided for the seven remaining penguins.
On Sunday, a one-and-a-half-year-old female penguin named Dory, died at the zoo’s quarantine facility owing to liver dysfunction and an intestinal infection.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had spent Rs 2.57 crore to buy the South American species found in the cold climes of coastal Peru and Chile . The birds were brought to Mumbai in July amid oppo

A mysterious affliction has killed four endangered aye-ayes at the Duke Lemur Center in the last 24 hours.

All four -- two males and two females ranging in age from 7 to 28 years -- were stricken suddenly and died in the emergency care of two of the world’s foremost lemur veterinarians.

“We have experienced a tragedy,” said Lemur Center Director Anne Yoder. “The staff is devastated.”

“This happened very quickly,” said operations director Greg Dye. A technician entering the enclosure where the stricken aye-ayes were housed noticed lethargic behavior at around 3 p.m. Tuesday and transported two animals to the center’s emergency room within minutes. “The first one died within 20 minutes

 Celebrating Plants and the Planet:               
You just can’t make this stuff up. October’s stories at www.zooplantman.com (NEWS/Botanical News) show that in botany truth is stranger than fiction:

·         A fly that specializes in feeding on honeybees captured by spiders is lured into a flower for pollination purposes via the manufactured scent of dying honeybees. Oh, and there they are trapped.

·         Why do some Northern Flickers have feathers tinged red while most do not? The explanation lies with an invasive shrub.

·         If you travel the Arctic tundra, you may come across lush wildflower gardens scattered through the harsh terrain. These are the ancestral homes of arctic foxes.

·         Pollinator gardens have become the trendy landscape, but to pollinators not all pollinator plants are equal. If the purpose of the garden is to support pollinators, then it is not enough to have pretty flowers.

·         A very few plant species have iridescent blue leaves, apparently an adaptation to shady spots, but just how does this leaf color help a plant survive in darkness? It results when leaves bend light waves to get more out of them!

Why do animals have such misleading names? https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CuKixJlWgAAElB-.jpg:large

Zoo harassing dalit staff: Parishad
Mysuru Divisional State, Central Semi-Government and Aided Institutions SC/ST Officers and Employees Parishad on Wednesday accused Mysuru Zoo authorities of harassing dalit employees.
Four on-contract dalit employees of Mysuru Zoo were suspended recently without giving any valid reasons, the parishad claimed.
Parishat President Shantaraju on Wednesday told reporters that atrocities against dalit employees have increased at the zoo. "Over 80% of its employees belong to backward communities or minorities and yet, they face a lot of harass

Puan the grumpy Perth orangutan is declared world's oldest
A 60-year-old primate at Perth Zoo has been declared the oldest living Sumatran orangutan in the world.

But do not expect Puan to show much enthusiasm.

Staff at Perth Zoo said while the primate was in surprisingly good health, she had become a little grumpy in her old age.

"Puan's a difficult one," primate keeper Martina Hart said.

"She gets a bit impatient, she stamps her foot when she wants something quickly.

"She demands a lot of respect. She deserves a lot of respect, she's not someone who'll show you outwardly that she's particularly interested in you."

It has taken staff at Perth Zoo several years to clarify how old Puan is.

It was believed she was born in the wild in 1956, earning her

The American Zoo Debate: Sanctuary or Threat?
The zoo has always been a family fun excursion. Here, in habitats that are as close to the ones in the outside world as possible (except for the aspect of freedom, of course), people can come and visit some of the most stunning creatures this earth has to offer. One such place, the San Diego Zoo, has even grown into one of the most popular attractions ever seen. This nonprofit zoo is more than respected and literally brought in $30 million dollars more than it spent last year alone.

Woman killed by tiger at breeding centre in Free State
A senior supervisor at Laohu Valley Reserve near Philippolis in the Free State, South Africa, was killed by a tiger over the weekend. The Laohu Valley Reserve is a roughly 350km² private reserve that was established in 2002 as a breeding centre for the South China tiger. The reserve is not open to the public, as the tigers are part of a project that aims to rewild the animals for eventual return to protected reserves in China. 

Highway Construction won contract for penguin enclosure by telling BMC it has a JV with US firm specialising in aquatic exhibits. Mirror finds there’s no such pact, which means a company for roads and civil works is heading the project.

The company building the penguin enclosures at Byculla zoo was awarded the Rs 50-crore contract because it said it had struck up a partnership with a US firm specialising in aquatic systems. But Mirror has discovered there is no such joint venture between M/s Highway Construction Company and Austin-based SIVAT Services, and the BMC blindly believed the agreement’s existence.

SIVAT, in an email to Mirror, said it only discussed the possibility of a joint venture with Highway Construction, which has experience only in road and civil works, but the talks didn’t move forward because of cost concerns. It insisted it had no involvement in the pengu

World’s Most Endangered Alligator Making a Comeback – in Shanghai
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) reports that eggs of critically endangered Chinese alligators discovered recently in a nest in a Shanghai wetland park have hatched and that baby alligators have been photographed and identified swimming in the area. The announcement signals a huge success for the species and for ongoing reintroduction efforts initiated by East China Normal University, Chongming Dongtan Wetland Park, and WCS with the help of U.S. zoos including WCS’s Bronx Zoo, and the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

“This shows that even the most endangered wildlife can recover if given a chance,” said Aili Kang, WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs. “Without the efforts of our partners and colleagues in China, we wouldn’t have had this great outcome that demonstrates that people and predators can co-exist in one of the most densely populate

Lions, tigers and conspiracy theories
It may not rise to the level of the Kennedy assassination or the moon landing, but the Zanesville animal escape has become a prime breeding ground for conspiracy theories.

Authorities see the events of Oct. 18, 2011 as an open-and-shut case of a single man who let all but a few of his 56 exotic animals free before taking his own life. Many, including Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna, remain unconvinced that an individual could release so many dangerous animals without being injured or killed in the process. Others take their theories even further to include elaborate plots involving murder, political intrigue and cover ups.

"Was someone else involved, it's a question I've always had," said Hanna, who rushed to the scene from a speech he was giving in Pennsylvania to help advise law enforcement on how to handle the animals. "I've wondered how this man went around and opened all the cages, he couldn't have done it."

The Muskingum County Sheriff's Office didn't find evidence that would lead it to any criminal charges regarding the release of the animals and the death of animal owner Terry Thompson, Sheriff Matthew Lutz said. By early 2

Shark industry, lobbyists take sides in shark finning debate
Competing interests in Florida’s debate over shark fishing are taking sides in Washington D.C., lobbying lawmakers over a bill that seeks to ban trading shark fins.

Timothy Cama of The Hill reports on a trade group called the Sustainable Shark Alliance, a new ad hoc industry player in the $2.2 million business which works primarily in Gulf and East Coast waters around Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and New Jersey.

The alliance is battling the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, which would expand on an existing congressional ban on shark finning. The bill, sponsored by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands, attempts to outlaw cutting a fish’s fin and returning it to the ocean

Some Animals Have Picky Eating Habits...and These Guys Are No Exception
There is this hilarious thing floating around the Internet about toddlers' weird eating habits.  If you haven't seen it, you can check it out here.  But basically, it is photo after photo of grumpy-looking young'uns and a brief, quippy description of their quirky nourishment conundrums.

Survey - Exhibit information, Tapirs housed in zoos around the World

Zoos and Zookeepers: The Roles of an Industry and its People (A Four-Part Series)
Part One: What is a "Zoo" and A Brief History of Them

           Before I jump into the nitty-gritty of this four-part series, a little background on myself and what I aim to give readers with these pieces. My name is Blaine Peluso-Miller. I am, proudly and professionally, a zookeeper; a zookeeper that is slowly growing his roots in an industry and profession that has its fair share of successes and failures, proponents and opponents, and controversies and misconceptions, like every single business and industry in the world, past, present, and future. Educating the public is one of the most important things that a zoo can do; especially with the global ecological problems that we are facing today. But all too often, questions remain unasked and unanswered or worse the wrong answers are presented with extreme bias and it causes distortion of reality and brings about misconceived perceptions.

           Like a majority of professional zookeepers and animal caretakers, I have always loved animals (and the natural world) and wanted to make a difference for future generations of people and wildlife; it was these two things that really propelled me into this industry in the first place. I started as a seasonal naturalist at a local state park in New Jersey during college, educating the general public about our planet, the natural world, and the creatures that inhabit it. After that I was hooked on zookeeping as a career path and profession, but I digress. What I am writi

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Zagreb Zoo Opens after a Two-Year Reconstruction Project
Reconstruction works at the Zagreb Zoo have finally been completed after two years, and as of today all parts of the Zagreb Zoo are again available to visitors. The modernized zoo was opened this afternoon by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, reports Index.hr on October 16, 2016.

“On the island, we have built a large dwelling for Dalmatian pelicans, the first in Croatia after a hundred years”, said Tomislav Krizmanić from the Zoo. “We have also built a new habitat for African birds, the Madagascar area with a living area for Madagascan animals, a souvenir shop, the new main entrance to the Zoo, an education centre and a restaurant”, said Kriz


‘It’s hardly surprising he got fed up’: Sir David Attenborough defends the gorilla that escaped from London Zoo and blames the glass enclosures and ‘shrieking’ visitors for winding him up
Sir David Attenborough has defended the gorilla which escaped from its enclosure at a zoo and urged visitors to be more respectful when observing animals.
The veteran naturalist, 90, said that it was 'hardly surprising' that the gorilla got 'fed up', after being subjected to intrusion by visitors for most of the day.
Visitors to ZSL London Zoo described fearing for their safety as they were ordered to take cover in buildings when the mammal got out of its den last week.

Rob (Robert) J Ollason MBE
One of the great zoo educators of the 20th century and a key player in the International Zoo Educators association (IZE) history and development, Rob Ollason, died in Edinburgh 10th October 2016.
Rob was born in the Shetland Islands, and graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1961 and after some years teaching art and design in Edinburgh and Shetland, then spent 5 years in Kenya.
At the end of 1976 he took up the post of Education Officer / Head of Education at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo, a post he held until his retirement 27 years later.
Rob became involved and engaged with various zoo committees and activities, especially the development of zoo education, and was a member of the IZE Board for over 10 years. He hosted the IZE conference in 1984, and was President of IZE from 1992-1996. He also hosted several UK Federation of Zoos (now BIAZA) zoo education and other conferences and helped inspire and encourage a generation of educators and zoo professionals.
Through the '80s and '90s Rob, alongside his team, especially Mary Patterson, and with the encouragement of RZSS Director Roger Wheater, developed innovative new zoo education programmes and facilities at Edinburgh Zoo. This included diverse schools programmes, interpretation, keeper talks, summer schools, volunteer scheme and overseas tours.  
On his retirement at the start of 2004 Rob was awarded the MBE in recognition of his contribution to education. After leaving Edinburgh Zoo Rob continued to travel and spent more time doing his art work, including taking part in an art exhibition back in Shetland.
Rob was a real gentleman and contributed greatly to the life and work of many colleagues across the world and his contribution to zoo education is noted in many zoos. I remember meeting him on many occasions and always felt his warmth and generosity of spirit and encouragement. I also felt a real sense of responsibility and honour when I took up the post of Head of Education at RZSS a few years after his retirement.
He was also author of the popular book ‘Penguin Parade’ and wrote many papers on zoo education. He will be sorely missed and remembered fondly by all of us.
Stephen P. Woollard
(RZSS Education 2005-2015)

Returning endangered animals to the wild
It has been 35 years since the Japanese crested ibis disappeared from the skies of Japan. This year, “genuinely wild” chicks, the offspring of ibises born out of captivity on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, left their nests for the first time in 42 years. The effort to reintroduce the ibis is one of several similar initiatives — rare even overseas — to preserve endangered species that have disappeared from the wild.

Ibises learn to fly, find food

A total of 174 ibises were being bred at seven locations throughout Japan, including the Environment Ministry’s Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center on Sado Island, as of Sept. 25. They are ibises provided by China since 199

Public consultation as part of the REFIT evaluation of the Zoos Directive

PETA Says Florida Zoo Abuses Baby Tigers
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has set its sights on a private Florida zoo that allows visitors personal interaction with cute and cuddly tiger cubs.
     In a federal lawsuit filed in Tampa, PETA claims Dade City's Wild Things and its owners are violating the Endangered Species Act.
     The complaint, peppered with eyewitness accounts and references to previous federal violations, takes aim at the zoo's programs that allow patrons to handle, pet and swim with tiger cubs.
     Dade City's Wild Things holds more than 200 animals, including primates and reptiles, on 22 acres of land in Pasco County, Florida.
     Among its draws are opportunities for up-close interactions with tiger cubs, baby alligators and monkeys, including a chance to swim with them.
     Under Florida law, patrons can only have contact with tigers under 25 pounds.
     The zoo's owners — Kathryn Stearns and her son, Randall Stearns — are also named as defendants.
     Randall Stearns, president of the zoo, declined to comment on PETA's allegations, saying he has not yet seen the complaint.
     According to the lawsuit, Dade City's Wild Things staff forced cubs to interact with patrons by forcibly grabbing the animals and not allowing them to escape.
     PETA also claims the cubs are prematurely separated from their mothers and suffer under bad conditions.
     "The Endangered Species Act prohibits harming and harassing tigers," said Brittany Peet, PETA's director of captive ani

Zoo rhino poaching case still under investigation
The most shocking rhino poaching incident that rocked the Free State when two white rhinos were killed in the Bloemfontein Kwaggafontein Zoo is, after more than six months, still under investigation.

This is according to Free State Environmental Affairs MEC, Benny Malakoane. He said during an oral question-and-answer session in the legislature that the investigation is being handled by the police.

The dead rhinos were found during a routine patrol, with three gun shots each. Malakoane says all I

What we lose when we lose the world’s frogs
Last month, a frog died in an Atlanta botanical garden. With it went an entire species never to hop along the Earth again. Biologists at Zoo Atlanta who’d looked after the frog for the past 12 years called him “Toughie.” He was a charismatic, glossy-eyed specimen and the very last Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog in the world.

Joseph Mendelson, the director of research at Zoo Atlanta, had been prepared for this. When the Rabbs’ frog was discovered in Panama in 2005, some 80 percent of the population had already been lost to disease. A few were removed in hope of a revival. Alas, the last female died in 2009. In 2012, when another male died, Toughie became the sole survivor of his kind.

Still, his death hurts, in part because of one of his beautiful biological quirks: The Rabbs’ were the only species in the world where the fathers let the babies eat the skin off thei

Durrell wins inaugural Conservation Award from The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Last night Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was awarded the first ever Conservation Award from The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

In a ceremony that took place at WAZA’s 71st Annual Conference in Puebla, Mexico, the conservation charity’s CEO Dr Lesley Dickie accepted the award from WAZA president Susan Hunt and Manfred Niekisch Chair of CSC.

Commenting on the amazing achievement, Durrell’s Honorary Director, Dr Lee Durrell, said, "I am overjoyed with the news that Durrell has won the WAZA Conservation Award and so proud that we are the first ever recipient.  It validates the efforts begun by Gerald Durrell so long ago to prove that zoos could become agents of species survival, and his firm belief that all zoos should strive towards this goal.  Now more and more zoos and aquariums tackle conservation issues proactively and engage their visiting public in what needs to be done and why.  I hope the award heralds an era of even greater commitment to conservation by our community.  I am delighted that our new CEO, Dr Lesley Dickie, is able to attend the WAZA conference and accept this prestigious award on Durrell's behalf." 

This, the first ever Conservation Award was introduced by WAZA in order to promote and recognise conservation efforts and success within the WAZ

Zoos and aquariums have seen a rapid growth in interactive experiences in recent years. From walk-through, swim-through or drive-through exhibits and shows, to direct animal contact that includes activities such as touch pools, touch paddocks and petting areas, the interactive experiences on offer vary. Their popularity has increased as they are deemed to demonstrate an engaging educational experience, with education being a key objective for the modern zoological collection. Although animal interactions are popular, the welfare impact of such interactions is still relatively unknown. Many facilities do support positive interaction programmes that can be rewarding for both the animal and visitor, but equally there are some that demonstrate only minimal planning having been given to how the animal’s welfare may be affected by different experiences.

Legally, any animal interactive programmes a zoological collection offers should comply with all applicable regional, national and international legislation. However, in many countries there are no specific regulations pertaining to such programmes and as such, institutions are reliant on either other legislative standards that may have an impact on such programmes (health and safety etc.) or regionally specific guidelines from their respective regional zoo asso

Edinburgh Zoo earns its stripes through tiger research
Edinburgh Zoo is developing pioneering conservation techniques to boost the survival of endangered cat species ranging from tigers to the Scottish wildcat. Although primarily known as a leading tourist attraction, with more than 600,000 visitors each year, the zoo is aiming to increase the profile of its research work, which plays a vital role in internationally coordinated efforts to preserve diversity of life.

Plans for new company to take over Dalton zoo's licence revealed
A NEW company intends to take over the licence of South Lakes Safari Zoo, it was revealed during a meeting today.

A plan is due to be submitted to transfer the licence from the Dalton attraction's current licence holder, David Gill, to a different company which he has no connection to.

China's 'extinct' dolphin may have returned to Yangtze river, say conservationists
Chinese conservationists believe they may have caught a rare glimpse of a freshwater dolphin that was declared functionally extinct a decade ago having graced the Yangtze river for 20 million years.

Scientists and environmentalists had appeared to abandon hope that China’s baiji, or white dolphin, could survive as a species after they failed to find a single animal during a fruitless six-week hunt along the 6,300-km (3,915-mile) waterway in 2006.

Yellowstone bison genetics transferred to another zoo herd
Jennifer Barfield has salvaged life from the slaughterhouse floor.

That’s where the Colorado State University professor has collected ovaries from some of Yellowstone National Park’s bison after they met their controversial demise.

“It’s definitely not a fun part of the process,” said the professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. “None of us enjoy that.”

But by retrieving some of the bison’s ovaries and the eggs they contain, Barfield and CSU have managed to preserve and spread the coveted genetics of the species to conservation herds around the United States. Most recently, Barfield transplanted fertilized embryos from the Yellowstone gene pool into four bison cows at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minn. Now, the waiting begins to see if the bison will give birth

State zoos turn deathtrap for translocated big cats
A day after a tigress trapped inside a coffee plantation at Armad, near Sulthan Bathery, on the fringes of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WSS), was shifted to the Thrissur zoo for treatment, animal activists have urged the authorities to discourage translocation of tigers from the sanctuary to zoos in Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram.

“Many a time caging and translocation turn to be lethal to the animals as it can lead to capture myopathy. Three of the five big cats translocated from the sanctuary in the past four years were dead in a short time,” they said.

In a petition addressed to Inspector General (IG), Ministry of Environment and Forest, V.K. Venkitachalam, secretary of the Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force, said as many as five big cats had been caged and three shot dead in the sanctuar

Zoos Victoria 'devastated' over accidental animal deaths, reviews practices
Zoos Victoria says it has taken immediate action and learnt valuable lessons after a number of incidents resulted in the deaths of animals, including 17 possums who were accidentally baited.

Acting CEO Rachel Lowry said staff at Werribee Open Range Zoo were devastated over the incident and practices had been changed to ensure it never happened again.

It was one of a number of incidents over the past year, detailed in the latest annual report.

She said the organisation was transparent in the deaths so that other zoos around the world could learn from their mistakes.

"Unfortunately an accident occurred where the baiting wa

Plan ‘Singapore style’ lion safari: Chandigarh administrator V P Singh Badnore
UT ADMINISTRATOR V P Singh Badnore has mooted a proposal for setting up a lion safari on the lines of Singapore Night Safari in Chandigarh. He has directed the Chandigarh Administration to look into the details of implementation of the project. Sources said he also discussed the matter with the officials of the Punjab wildlife department during his visit to the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park at Chhatbir recently.
Confirming the development, M P Singh, principal secretary to Badnore, said, “Yes it one of his ideas for the City Beautiful. He has also asked the UT officials and the officials of the forest department to look into the details of how the project can be implemented in the city and to find a suitable place for the same.” He added that the Administrator had told the forest department officials that if need be they can visit the Singapore Night Safari to study t

TripAdvisor Stops Booking Activities With Captive Animals and Endangered Species
After six months of soul searching — and consulting conservation, animal welfare, academic, trade, and tourism groups — TripAdvisor announced late Tuesday it will no longer allow users to book activities that involve contact with endangered species or captive wild animals.

The decision comes as public sentiment, and public companies’ actions, evolve on the subject of animals and entertainment. Following years of pressure that reached a peak with the CNN-produced film Blackfish, SeaWorld said earlier this year that it would end its orca breeding program and theatrical shows. And Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey stopped using elephants in circus performances this spring as jurisdictions put more regulations on animal treatment into place.

“TripAdvisor’s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” Steve Kaufer, CEO and co-founder of TripAdvisor, Inc., said in a statement. “At the same time, we want to celebrate those destinations and attractions that are leaders in caring for animals and those in the tourism industry who help further the cause of animal welfare, conservation and the preservation of endangered species.”

The new policy, which goes into effect at the beginning of 2017, means TripAdvisor and its tour subsidiary Viator will not sell tickets for tourist draws such as swim-with-dolphin programs, elephant rides, or pet-the-tiger photo opportunities.

Customers will still be able to review such activities, but the travel site will provide links to research and information from a variety of groups who have signed on as partners in the effort. Thousands of attractions will be designated with a special paw icon linking to a portal with educational material.

“Soon, for anyone who cares about animals, there will be some of the best minds in tourism, sustainability, conservation and animal welfare who will be able to put their best foot forward and make their arg

It’s time to get real about conservation
How can scientists protect biodiversity? In the wake of August’s Great Elephant Census, which revealed a precipitous decline in numbers throughout Africa, there were the usual calls from researchers for more and better data. Only if we know where and how many of each species there are, this argument goes, can we hope to conserve them. This is nonsense.

Beasts of A Nation: Rebuilding the Kabul Zoo in a Time of War
Nestled between two hills, the Kabul Zoo is a massive oasis of green in a war-torn city that continues to be increasingly compartmentalized into a maze of concrete blast walls and concertina wires. The zoo, once the frontline for Kabul’s bloodiest conflict, has found itself caught between deadly crossfires far too often as the Afghan civil war left most of the historic city in rubble and ruins.
Today, however, you are more likely to find idyllic young men sprawled on its lawn taking in the afternoon sun, children huddled around a merry-go-round set up in what used to be the elephant’s enclosure, and families huddled in awe and amazement around the cage of a lonely Chinese pig — believed to be the only one in the whole of Afghanistan. And if you look closely enough, you will even spot quite a few young couples, many of whom find an unusual refugee for romance among the sparse wildlife Afghanistan has to boast of.
The zoo and its tenants have a most unlikely story to tell. “What remained after years of battle was a crumbling enclosure a few monkeys, two vultures, and one lion named Marjan, who was blinded with a hand grenade by an angry mujahideen,” says Aziz Gul Saqib, the direct


BBP's animal-keepers seek regularisation of their service, move HC
Animal-keepers at Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) have approached the High Court seeking directions to the Zoo Authority of Karnataka to consider them on a par with kavadis and mahouts. Kavadis and mahouts are Group D employees working with elephants under the forest department. A petition has been filed by Suresh and 55 others who have been working in the BBP on contract for many years as administrators, animal-keepers, watchmen, drivers, electricians, plumbers, cooks, gate-keepers, ticket examiners, solar operators, store-keepers, sweepers and assistants.

The petitioners have contended that in their years of service at the park, they have gained experience and special knowledge about wild animals at the BBP. Most of the workers have experience of over 15 years and have been working for more than 10-12 hours a day, but are deprived of medical or retirement benefits.

The petitioners have sought directions to the Zoo Authority of Karnataka to frame Cadre and Recruitment Rules or include them under the Karnataka Forest Department Recruitment Services (Recruitment) Rules. Kavadis and mahouts are included under these rules. The petitioners have said that despite several pleas to the government to regularise their services, no action has been taken.

 A master plan proposed by the Central Zoo Authority for BBP in December 2014 recommended 208 posts but there are already 200 contract workers at the park. The petitioners have said that in the Supreme Court order in Karnataka Government versus Umadevi’s case, there were principles laid down that if appointments are made on contract when there are vacancies, the workers on contract are entitled to benefits as they are eligible candidates. They have also contended that though mahouts were regularised in Mysuru Zoo in 1990 and in 2013, the petitioners were never given similar benefits.

The petitioners have approached the High Court seeking interim relief by restraining the Zoo Authorities and the forest department from terminating their services. They have also sought directions to the authorities not to cut their increment and benefits which they are entitled to by virtue of eligibility, during the pendency of the writ petition.

Justice A N Venugopala Gowda, hearing the petitioners, ordered issuance of notice to the zoo authorities and to the forest department and have directed the government counsel to get original documents relating to zoo-keepers’ recruitment. The judge adjourned the next hearing to October 20.

Can We Alter Endangered Species to Be More Adaptable?
Scientists have long known that invasive species possess “pesty traits” that benefit their spread. But what if similar, but latent, pesty traits could be triggered into action in endangered species to allow them to be more adaptable, maybe improving the success rates of captive breeding programs, or of habitat reintroductions?

Why Private Exotic Cat Ownership Should be Made Illegal
In the early evening of October 18, 2011, the Zanesville, Ohio police department began receiving phone calls from terrified citizens. There were dozens of animals on the loose, running wild through their neighborhood. What made these calls different from the ordinary escaped animal reports were the species of animals being reported: bears, wolves, cougars and, most alarming, lions and tigers. This wasn’t a zoo escape, however, as these animals were fleeing from a private residence. The Zanesville police department, or any other organization for that matter, had no experience with a disaster of this magnitude and the only way to prevent massive human casualties was to execute every animal on sight. When this frightening ordeal was finally under control, 50 exotic animals were dead, along with their owner. Among the dead were 18 Bengal tigers and 17 lions. It was later determined that the owner of the property set all of his animals free, then committed suicide.

This horrible tragedy made international news and brought necessary attention to the highly controversial subject of private ownership of wild and exotic cats. Finding an accurate number of citizens who are involved in this practice, or the number of animals in captivity, is difficult to truly ascertain. There is no official organization which specifically monitors this activity, and many exotic animal owners remain in the shadows, afraid of losing their animals to the government or animal advocacy groups. According to Born Free USA, the number of exotic animals kept as pets are estimated to be in the millions. Most noteworthy is the fact that there are an estimated 5,000-7,000 tigers held in captivity, which is more than the amount living freely in the wild. The Humane Society estimates that fewer than 400

Mixed exhibit management
Mixed exhibits is not something from today but its being done in zoos for a while now. The beautiful part is when its done right it looks stunningly beautiful. I’ve been to quite some zoos over the time and it is fascinating how and what zoos put together to give a more natural look to an exhibit for the animal and the visitors. Dublin Zoo has some great mixed specie exhibits but so as Borås Djurpark on the west coast of Sweden.

Mixed exhibit are something to go to in the future it looks like because it gives a wilder look to the exhibit but for training and enrichment there are some cons, believe it or not. Yes it is very enriching to have some animals together but we can’t forget that these animals over time get used to each other as well, of course to a certain extend. I do believe it stays enriching for the animals to be in a mixed specie exhibit. Beside that matter managing mixed specie exhibits can be ve

Evansville zoo could lose nearly half of its animals
The national association that accredits zoos and aquariums has given Evansville's Mesker Park Zoo one year to fix maintenance concerns or the zoo could lose nearly half of its animals.

Zoo director Amos Morris told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/2dPahMt ) that he should be able to satisfy the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' immediate concerns to remain accredited if money from City Council comes through.

According to the zoo's review the association found that Mesker's is inadequately funded, is too slow in updating the facility and defers maintenance too long.

Morris said with the current zoo funds, short term problems can be resolved but not the big maintenance issues.

"I can fix a barn," he said. "I can get mold off a roof. But the other piece of this is long term sustainability. We need to create something that allows the zoo to b

Bowmanville Zoo closing today after animal cruelty scandal
After 97 years in operation and plenty of controversy, the Bowmanville Zoo is officially closing its doors Monday afternoon.

Last December, PETA posted a portion of an undercover video online, which showed the zoo’s co-owner, Michael Hackenberger allegedly whipping a tiger during a training session.

The OSPCA launched an investigation and Hackenberger was charged with five counts of animal cruelty.

After the controversy, attendance for the 2016 season dropped so significantly that Hackenberger and zoo staff were forced to make the decision to shut down.

Feelings were mixed about the zoo’s closure.

“They do a lot of education for children,” one visitor to the zoo said. “I think there are a lot of children who come here and enjoy learning.”

There were people outside the zoo on Monday protesting, saying the closure is a victory for animal rights.

These animals have been treated

"Species, Interrupted; Why it Matters When Extinction Silences a Tree Frog"

Elephants walk on their tip-toes and it’s literally killing them in captivity
Olga Panagiotopoulou, an evolutionary morphologist at the University of Queensland, Australia, wanted to get to the bottom of an oddity. Many captive elephants are plagued by foot problems which not only changes their gait in an awkward way but in time can grow in a disease. Every year, elephants from zoos and conservation sites need to be euthanised because there’s nothing that can treat them, Panagiotopoulou said.

The debate has come up with two primary candidate explanations: either the captivity itself is driving the elephants to change their gait and ultimately ruin their feet or somethin

An Aspiring Trainer’s Guide to Conquering Career Induced Depression (Special Guest Author Justin Dickinson)
I met Justin Dickinson when he interned at my current facility last year.  Now, he's all growed-up, working as a zookeeper and writing blogs.  When I read the one I'm about to share with you, I got real excited.  Here was an entry that perfectly encapsulated not only the struggles of aspiring trainers...but ALL of our bad days and ruts in our career and life.  But the best part of Justin's spiel?  The ability to turn our jobs as animal trainers and caregivers into a life lesson.  There are a lot of gems of wisdom in here, and I happily pass this on to

Michael Hackenberger reflects on his time at the Bowmanville Zoo on its final weekend
After 97 years in operation, the Bowmanville Zoo, North America’s oldest private zoo will close this weekend.

“It’s terribly sad,” said Zoo co-owner Michael Hackenberger. “You have an institution that has survived nearly 100 years - that has informed and delighted millions of people, that has been a vibrant addition to the economic community and I think this an example of the power of the Internet.”

In December 2015, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) posted a portion of an undercover video online allegedly showing Hackenberger whipping a tiger during a training session. The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) launched an investigation and Hackenberger was subsequently charged with five counts of animal cruelty.

The social media campaign by  PETA urging people to stop supporting the Bowmanville Zoo has proven successful and the effects of that have been catastrophic for the Zoo.

Attendance for the 2016 season dropped so significantly that Hackenberger and staff were forced to make the decision to close.

“Perception is everything. PETA has been masterful in discharging their ideology in an extremely high fashion,” said Hackenberger, in an

Abbot dreams of reopening his tiger zoo
The abbot of the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province told reporters on Saturday that he already had a zoo licence and would seek a return of five disabled tigers so he could reopen the place to visitors...

Behind the Scenes at the National Zoo With the World’s Most Dangerous Bird
In the years he has spent looking after the National Zoo’s cassowary, Eric Slovak has never found himself on the receiving end of one of her assaults. That’s impressive, because she's an uncommonly monstrous creature.

Imagine an ostrich as described by H.P. Lovecraft, or maybe a turkey fused with a velociraptor. Weighing in at close to 150 pounds, she stands on powerful reptilian legs that let her stretch to six feet tall when she needs her full height. Though flightless, the cassowary is covered in a coat of long black feathers, against which her brilliant blue visage—crowned by a towering, keratinous casque—stands out like a symbol in a dream.

The feature she and her kind are best known for, however, is not her plumage. It’s her toenails: On each three-toed foot, one nail is longer than the rest.

Enclosure construction: volunteer needed!

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland appoints new CEO
Jeremy Peat, Chair of Trustees of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said:
“I am delighted to announce that, following a very thorough externally-supported process with consideration of a range of internal and external candidates, the Board of Trustees of RZSS has appointed Barbara Smith as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Barbara was previously the Managing Director of RZSS and has been acting as interim

Aquarium wins $1 million lawsuit against Fishman Chemical
 It was back in April of last year when the Texas State Aquarium experienced a sudden and unusual fish mortality. It was later discovered that a mislabeled chemical was at fault, and on Thursday, the Aquarium announced that they have won the lawsuit against Fishman Chemical, LLC.

U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle ruled in favor of the Aquarium on Sept. 22, ordering Fishman Chemical to pay in excess of $1 million.

It was April 15, 2015, the morning after the fish mortality, when 3News confirmed that all of the animals inside of the Islands of Steel exhibit tank at the Texas State Aquarium, with the exception of two, were dead. Aquarium representatives said they were trying to treat a parasite that they had detected in the tank, but when they added medicine to the

Why wildlife conservation is good for our collective health
What if we could reduce diseases and discover life-saving drugs by conserving natural habitat? Would saving ecosystems become more appealing if human health were on the line?

Well, although an underreported dimension of the destruction of wildlife habitat, human health is exactly what is at stake. Habitat destruction has played a role in the emergence of disease organisms that move between humans and other animals, such as Ebola, and even, some scientists argue, in the increase of incidences of Lyme disease. Loss of habitat has also had the unintended consequence of eliminating access to potentially lifesaving drugs by destroying the very places where those drugs originate.

Whether or not people care about nature for its own sake, these implications for human well-being should galvanise them toward habitat and wildlife conservation, and elevate conservation to the same level of importance as things such a

Can great apes read your mind?
One of the things that defines humans most is our ability to read others’ minds – that is, to make inferences about what others are thinking. To build or maintain relationships, we offer gifts and services – not arbitrarily, but with the recipient’s desires in mind. When we communicate, we do our best to take into account what our partners already know and to provide information we know will be new and comprehensible. And sometimes we deceive others by making them believe something that is not true, or we help them by correcting such false beliefs.

All these very human behaviors rely on an ability psychologists call theory of mind: We are able to think about others’ thoughts and emotions. We form ideas about what beliefs and feelings are held in the minds of others – and recognize that they can be different from our own. Theory of mind is at the heart of everything social that makes us human. Without it, we’d have a much harder time interpreting – and probably predicting – others’ behavior.

For a long time, many researchers have believed that a major reason human beings alone exhibit unique forms of communication, cooperation and culture is that we’re the only animals to have a complete theory of mind. But is this ability really unique to humans?

In a new study published in Science, my colleagues and I tried to answer this question using a novel approach. Previous work has generally suggested that people think about others’ perspectives in very different ways than ot

Thai authorities keeping tabs on tagged tigers
Thai wildlife authorities began checking microchips and taking blood samples from tigers at a zoo on Thursday, pressing ahead with new ways to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.
The Sriracha Zoo in Chonburi province east of Bangkok is home to 323 registered tigers and offers visitors feeding and photo opportunities with cubs, and a circus show with adult tigers.
Tiger tourism has come under increased scrutiny in Thailand after wildlife authorities found scores of dead cubs while rescuing animals from a famous Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, in June.
The inspection will continue into Friday, offici

Special Investigation: Inside the Deadly Rhino Horn Trade
It was a five-hour drive from South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home of the world’s largest wild rhinoceros population, to Polokwane, home of the world’s most wanted man when it comes to rhino horn trafficking: a millionaire safari operator and ex-policeman named Dawie Groenewald.

To meet Groenewald, photographer Brent Stirton and I sped in two cars through gorgeous, winding mountain ranges. But then night fell, and in the darkness outside the city someone had poured tar down the center line of the highway and set it ablaze. It appeared to be another protest rooted in the racial and economic tensions that continue to flare in South Africa more than two decades after the end of apartheid. We wove around the fire only to come upon a traffic jam and a makeshift roadblock a mile later. In the middle of the road what looked like a sofa was on fire, the flames shooting 10 feet into the air. Large rocks blocked all four lanes. Brent got out of his car and moved rocks too big to drive over, while I watched for an ambush. We picked our way through the gantlet as unseen people hurled stones from beyond the shoulder.

We stayed the night at a dank roadside hotel, then waited, in accordance with Groenewald’s instructions, at a gas station for his man, Leon van der Merwe, to meet us. We followed h

First ‘baby dragons’ hatched in captivity reach adolescence
IT WAS touch and go for a while. But the elusive pink aquatic salamanders that hatched inside Slovenia’s Postojna Cave about four months ago have survived the most difficult stage of their lives, reaching adolescence.

“These are the only baby dragons in the world known to humanity,” says Sašo Weldt, a member of the conservation team taking care of the creatures, called olms.

They were once only known from specimens washed out of caves by flooding and legend had it they were baby dragons – a nickname that stuck. They can live to be 100 years old and only lay eggs once or twice a decade.

So it was remarkable to see 64 eggs laid by a single individual earlier this year. They were placed in an aquarium within the cave. In total, 22 eggs hatched, and all are

Singapore Underwater World diver killed by stingray
A professional diver has been killed by a stingray at an oceanarium in Singapore.
Philip Chan, 62, was heading a team of divers who were removing sea creatures from the Underwater World attraction on Tuesday.
The once-popular marine life park shut down earlier this year.
Police said Mr Chan was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries. They are now investigating the "unnatural death".
A police spokesman said the incident was the first of its kind in Singapore.

Rhino export to Vietnam under fire
South African NGO Oscap (Outraged SA Citizens against Poaching), supported by the Species Survival Network, which represents more than 100 local and international NGOs, on Monday delivered a letter to the Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa requesting she suspend the export of six rhino calves.

These rhino calves, which are being held under quarantine at Sondela Wildlife Centre, are destined for a zoo in Vietna

FWC report finds no fault with zoo in fatal tiger attack
New developments in the investigation surrounding that deadly tiger attack at the Palm Beach Zoo in April.

A state wildlife agency has just issued its investigation surrounding the attack that claimed the life of a beloved zookeeper.

A report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission concludes the Palm Beach Zoo did not violate any state rules or regulations on April 15, when Stacey Konwiser was killed by a male Malayan tiger named Hati.

The report shows Konwiser was attacked when she entered the Tiger River night house and she entered an enclosure the tiger had access to.

Investigators say Konwiser violated two zoo policies. At no time is a zoo staff member supposed to enter a deadly animal enclosure unless the animal has been immobilized.

And zoo policy states that staff members caring for dangerou

What Happens to Smuggled Animals After They’re Seized?
We’ve heard a lot recently about illegal trading of elephant ivory and rhino horn, but it’s not only animal parts that smugglers attempt to slip across borders for the commercial trade. They also move live wild animals—reptiles, birds, monkeys—to other nations, where they’re sold as exotic pets or as props in tourist attractions. Some are killed to supply demand for their body parts.

Officials seized more than 60,000 wild creatures between 2010 and 2014, according to a recent study by World Animal Protection and WildCRU, Oxford University’s wildlife conservation research team. About a fifth of those were threatened species. And this statistic represents the “tip of a far greater iceberg,” said lead author Neil D’Cruze, because most countries don’t report information about live wildlife confiscations.

So with grim futures awaiting so many trafficked animals, it’s a good thing when authorities seize illegally traded wildlife—you’d think. Instead, wildlife advocates say that animals often fare terribly after they’re confiscated.

“In some places, if the animals could speak up, maybe they’d choose to be with the traffickers,” said Elsayed Ahmed Moha

It’s easy to consider yourself a friend to the animals if you’re a daily reader of The Dodo. The Dodo is pop animal welfare, a website that positions itself as true-blue animal activism. After exploring this popular online community, it becomes quite obvious that The Dodo is piggybacking off the Animals Rights Movement, and dragging it back.

Right in the beginning of it’s mission statement, The Dodo tells us that their goal is to “make caring about animals a viral cause,” and viral cause they have indeed created. The header on the front page gives us a few options: Video, Pets, Inspiring, Cute, Seaworld, Animals in Need, Community, and How to Help. Fun, precious animals, usually pets, having a good time. Oh, Seaworld- there we go! Seaworld is hell for animals, but wait, we all saw that on CNN and at the Oscars. Okay, Dodo, let’s check out Animals in Need

Copenhagen Zoo sees birth of Denmark's first okapi calf in 50 years
An okapi calf was born in a Copenhagen Zoo for the first time in half a century on Sunday (2 October). The animal that is also known as a "forest giraffe" was due to be born in approximately two months.

The mother okapi had suffered a miscarriage previously, so the zookeepers were incredibly surprised when she started to go into labour, a

San Diego Zoo turns 100 amid a global debate over the treatment of animals in captivity
entury ago, a San Diego physician named Harry Wegeforth held a meeting with his brother and three other men. The topic: starting a zoo.

There were already some animals — buffalo, bears, monkeys, lions, wolves — left over from the 1915 to 1916 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park, but not much else. Nobody knew where they would get more animals, where they would put them, or how they would pay for it all. The men went ahead anyway, forming the San Diego Zoological Society.

“The whole zoo was a gamble from the start,” Wegeforth later wrote, “but fortune usually favored us.”

By many measures, it favors them still. What was derided in the early days as “Wegeforth’s Folly” has become one of the most famous and respected zoos in the world — a major tourist attraction, a leader in efforts to conserve endangered plants and animals, and a thriving nonprofit that last year took in almost $30 million more than it spent.

But the zoo begins its second century on Sunday amid a swirling public debate about the treatment of animals in captivity that has already roiled other facilities.

In March, bowing to pressure ignited by th

For zoos, pandas are about prestige, not profit
Giant pandas aren’t quite the economic boon they’re made out to be.

In fact, American zoos that host giant pandas don’t make money at all. They lose it.

“Pandas have been a cost, not a revenue source,” said Christina Simmons, public relations manager for the San Diego Zoo, which is one of four U.S. zoos with pandas. “Our attendance has been the same from before and after we got pandas.”

When the San Diego Zoo acquired pandas in 1996 it agreed to a loan contract that required the zoo to donate $1 million per year toward panda conservation, exchange experts for research at zoos and in the wild, and contribute $500,000 toward conservation for the first baby panda born at the zoo, plus additional funds for subsequent births.

That deal, which was similar to those at other American zoos, has since been negotiated to a 50 percent discount, but the costs still outweigh the profits.

When it tried to acquire giant pandas from China, the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium used a budget of $55 million. That included the standard $1 million per year, 10-year loan, plus $250,000 per year toward panda conservation, $15 million or more for a new exhibit and additional funds for research and conservation. About $400,000 w

Ganzhou zoo under fire for spraying pandas with cold water
China Giant Panda Research Center has demanded that Ganzhou Forest Zoo reform its problematic practice in panda care. The demand comes after Internet users alleged that the zoo was mistreating its pandas.

According to several Weibo users, the caretakers at Ganzhou Forest Zoo regularly spray the zoo's pandas with cold water. In a letter to the China Giant Panda Research Center, the zoo denied the allegation. It also explained that, due to recent high temperatures, they use central air conditioning to create a comfortable environment for the pandas.

According to the statement, the zoo d

Giant panda that ate trash is in good condition: zoo
On the afternoon of Oct. 5, a netizen posted photos online, showing the panda house at Taiyuan Zoo littered with snacks, water bottles, beverage cans and plastic bags. An adult giant panda was eating the refuse thrown away by tourists and no one was trying to stop it.

Soon afterwards, China's State Forestry Administration and the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center ordered the zoo to investigate the incident.

According to the Center, the giant panda involved in the incident belonged to the center and was named "Shunshun." The male panda was b

How natural selection acted on one penguin species over the past quarter century
Biologists of all stripes attest to evolution, but have debated its details since Darwin’s day. Since changes arise and take hold slowly over many generations, it is daunting to track this process in real time for long-lived creatures.

“We know that evolution occurs — that species change,” said Dee Boersma, a University of Washington professor of biology. “But to see this process in long-lived animals you have to look at generations of individuals, track how traits are inherited and detect selection at work.”

Are zoos still relevant? Minnesota Zoo exec takes on the question
The Timmy controversy unfolded around the beginning of Kevin Willis’ zookeeping career. Now the Minnesota Zoo’s vice president for biological programs, Willis points to cases like Timmy’s when he talks about how little the public understands zoos.

“If you look at the movie ‘Blackfish’ and Sea World’s response to it, and the public response to it, if you look at the public’s response to the shooting of the gorilla at the zoo in Ohio, there are a lot of people who I don’t think really thought very much about the role of zoos,” Willis said. “When those sorts of topics come up, I think people do start to question.”

These days, the questions spread a lot faster than they did in 1991. Type “Minnesota Zoo dolphins” into a Google search, and “Minnesota Zoo dolphins death” emerges among the top results. Do the same with bears, and “Minnesota Zoo bear breaks glass” pops up.

Last year’s story about a grizzly

The Tiny Threat That’s Killing North America’s Largest Bird
Every egg matters when you’re trying to save a critically endangered bird from extinction.

That’s especially true for California condors, North America’s largest birds with a 10-foot wingspan. Condors nearly went extinct in the 1980s as a result of hunting, lead contamination, DDT poisoning, and other factors. The last 22 California condors were brought into captivity in 1987 in a last-ditch effort to breed them in safety and save the species from disappearing.

Zoos breed animals by the studbook
Breeding animals in the zoo is not as simple as putting any male and female together and expecting them to mate.

Zoologists around the world work behind the scenes to find the perfect match for animals in order to ensure good genetic diversity.

They do this with the help of studbooks, which are online databases on the parenting history of animals.

Taman Safari will be hosting the SEAZA Conference 
this year

So what do you think?

Photographs of people playing with tigers encourages others to want to do the same
Don't post on social media

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New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

If you have anything to add then please email me at elvinhow@gmail.com
I will include it when I get a minute. You know it makes sense.

Recent Zoo Vacancies

Vacancies in Zoos and Aquariums and Wildlife/Conservation facilities around the World

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 http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

Peter earns his living as an independent international 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, one time zoo inspector, a dreamer, a traveler, 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.

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant