Thursday, January 21, 2016

Zoo News 1st - 21st January 2016 (ZooNews 919)

Zoo News 1st - 21st  January 2016 
(ZooNews 919)

[Photo] Tiger. Pixabay commons no attribution

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Tigers very much in the news today. Once again the infamous Tiger Temple has refused to give up its animals to the authorities. They cite that it is because they want to see where the tigers will be going to. In reality it is all about money. Then in Australia Zoo we have had another keeper attacked by a tiger. That too is all about money. It is, always has been and always will be totally unnecessary to have these one to one sessions with large carnivores. It isn't clever or brave and it is always an accident waiting to happen. This stupid title of 'Tiger Handler' needs to be dropped and keepers moved back to keeping and not playing Tarzan.

The other days I saw ZooNews Digest described last week as "Zoo Porn", I don't quite know why but I liked the description.

I am conscious of the fact that almost every time I post a comment/observation at the start of one of my Facebook postings, or here, that I will upset somebody. There are times I reply and others I just ignore (though I always read what they have to say). I really can't see the point in arguing. It is enough for me that they have read it and hopefully made them think. There will never be a time that we all agree on anything. For some months I have been on/off working on two articles which are bound to upset most of the zoo community. In fact there have been times when I have said to myself you just cannot publish this…but I will. It is important as a pro Good Zoo person that I do so. I may lose a few friends and make more enemies but it has to be said. The first should be out in the next couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago I posted a small animal related poster entitled 'Why Homosexuality is Natural and Important'. I thought it interesting and believed others might too. They were. This poster went out to reach over 237,000 people and was shared over 7000 times. It also generated some correspondence and a small flurry of comments. So the interest was there. Someone suggested that I was 'coming out'. Sorry, but no. I have my three wifelets and several girlfriends and I am very happy with them. From a personal point of view however in spite of my long time in zoos I cannot recollect any animal that I would definitely say was gay.

If I was a reputable zoo I would not entertain the idea of sending Amur Leopards to Primorye safari park knowing as I do they feed live goats to tigers. To me that puts the sending zoo in the same Bad Dysfunctional Zoo category. I am not suggesting that an Amur leopard might not enjoy 'playing' with a live goat just that I think that such a sick unnecessary practice has no place in the modern civilised zoo. It needs to be condemned and if the zoos refused to send Amur Leopards it might just make Primorye safari park think.

The article on Japan's animal trade 'Sleazy animal-trade business underpins Japan's ever-popular zoos' made an interesting read. I was particularly surprised by the mention of four Polar Bear cubs being born in the infamous Bangkok Safari Park. Does anyone know if this is actually true? Possible I suppose but as this place continues to sneak baby Orangutans in the back door for its horrible and demeaning boxing show I would not be surprised if they originated elsewhere. I mean it is difficult to know what to believe these days. I mean did you know that all the Emperor Penguins in Chimelong were imported with documentation stating they were captive bred in Spain?

There was a mention of 100 Rhinos were on display in the new Phú Quốc Safari Park in Vietnam. That is a truly big number of Rhinoceros. It is actually a matter of some supposition that they have actually arrived as yet. Surely the press would pick up on such a move? Well no actually. There was a recent move of quite a large number of elephants elsewhere which passed completely under the radar. The press still don't appear to have got a whiff of it. The Rhinos though, who would be in a position to supply such a large number of animals? Only the rhino farmer, John Holmes springs to mind. They would travel hornless of course….but then it would grow again. Rhino horn…Vietnam is of course the main market for this illegal commodity. The main Rhinoceros farm in China is also not too far from Vietnam.

I was interested to read of the successes with the Lord Howe Stick Insect. I feel its future is now assured. It caused me to recollect that back in the early 80's I hired a keeper who had just returned from a few weeks searching for the creature on Lord Howe island. He didn't find it. I was trying to remember is name…Richard something. I don't know if he is still in the profession. Perhaps he is reading this now.

I don't know about you but I found all this stuff and nonsense from the South Lakes Safari Zoo tiring and an embarrassment. The whole point of a zoo inspection is to point out the errors and give time to rectify them. For a collection to jump up and down and say there is nothing wrong and then start slagging off the inspection team is childish at best. At the end of the day they made the requested repairs. Now they couldn't have done that if there none to be done, could they?

Happily there were not too many pointless animal census stories this January. Perhaps zoos are learning that it is a really sad little grab at publicity.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 23,000 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 250,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ countries? That the subscriber list 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, 

Interesting Links

Tiger attacks Australia Zoo keeper after becoming 'hot and bothered'
An Australia Zoo keeper suffered puncture wounds and scratches to his head and arm after a Sumatran tiger "swatted his paw" at him.

Australia Zoo keeper, 35, is injured when Sumatran tiger Ranu scratches him
Male keeper is taken to Nambour General Hospital with deep puncture wounds, deep scratches to his left forearm and head, along with other minor scratches to his body
Australia Zoo owner Terri Irwin said tiger Ranu was "hot and bothered"
Zoo owner Terri Irwin said the 41-year-old man was injured when the 120-kilogram tiger, named Ranu, got "hot and bothered" at the Sunshine Coast zoo about 10:40am.

Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) spokesman Mark Fisher said the keeper was taken to Nambour General Hospital in a stable condition.

"He had two deep puncture wounds, deep scratches from the tiger to his left forearm and head and other minor scratches to his body," he said.

QAS ad earlier said the man's puncture wounds were the result of a bite.

In a media release, Australia Zoo said the man was "scratched during a routine morning enrichment session".

"While walking through surrounding bushland at the zoo, Ranu ... became overly interested in his surroundings and when his handler approached him to change direction, he swatted his paw resulting in a scratch on his left wrist, bicep and right s

Temple Refuses to Release Tigers, Again
The latest effort by wildlife authorities to remove tigers from a commercial temple west of Bangkok in Kanchanaburi province was stalled yet again today.

A day after wildlife protection officials reportedly moved to seize more than 100 tigers from Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, the short-lived operation was postponed Monday, pending “negotiation” with the influential temple abbot, a prominent animal rights activist said.

“The abbot said he wants to inspect the facility to accommodate the tigers first,” said Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife Friends of Thailand, of the government animal center to which the tigers would be moved.

Sounding exasperated, Wiek added, “He’s been delaying this again

I Was A SeaWorld Trainer For 7 Years. Here's My Story
Let’s drop all assumptions and preconceived notions at the door. I am not here to persuade you to stand with SeaWorld or to turn you vehemently against it. I am here to share the experiences I had working as a trainer with the park for seven years. My only agenda is to speak the truth.

Australia’s rarest insect goes global: Lord Howe Island stick insect breeding colonies now in US, UK and Canada
If you haven’t heard of the Lord Howe Island stick insect, you have missed out on one of the most remarkable conservation stories of the decade.

This week’s news is that breeding colonies of Australia’s rarest insect will soon be established in zoos at San Diego, Toronto and Bristol. These new colonies will join those at the Melbourne Zoo and the Lord Howe Island Museum to ensure the future of this unique species.

The remarkable story of these stick insects (which are also called phasmids or land lobsters) started when rats escaped from a shipwreck in 1918 and proceeded to eat every last stick insect on Lord Howe Island. The species was thought to be extinct until a few live specimens were discovered on Balls Pyramid in 2001. The news headline in the Sydney Morning Herald at the time proclaimed: “Joy as ancient ‘walking sausage’ found alive.”

This remote and almost inaccessible population was the key to survival for the phasmids, but presented enormous difficulties for scientists who wanted to study them. Eventually an expedition was arranged to collect live specimens, which had to be done at night when the insects are out of their burrows and active.

The story of the captive breeding program is almost heart-stopping with many twists and turns. The original pair held at the Melbourne zoo were named Adam and Eve and because almost nothing was known of their lifestyle and h

Op-Ed : Does Kansas Zoo lack when it comes to the care of animals? (Includes first-hand account)
Hogan visited the zoo herself and found that the concerns were valid and captured photos of the animals in cages without proper food, water, and not built adequately built for the animal. giraffes were being fed what appeared to be dried up Christmas trees. After investigating the issues, an article by the Capital Journal, the local newspaper, was found confirming the use of Christmas trees in the care of the zoo animals. The cage they were in was small with little hay on a concrete floor. The three giraffes were in three adjoining cages. The cage doors seem to open randomly allowing the animals to move between the cages. At one point the cage door closed randomly w

‘Zoo Watch’ seeks local zoos’ closure
A wildlife NGO is launching a publicity campaign to get Prime Minister Hun Sen to shut down two zoos in Cambodia accused of keeping their animals in atrocious conditions.

The Hong Kong-based elephant conservation group EARS Asia launched “Zoo Watch” on Thursday in a bid to bring to light the suffering of animals in neglectful Southeast Asian zoos, starting off with the Teuk Chhou zoo in Kampot province and the Prey Veng zoo, both owned by senior ruling party official Nhim Vanda.

Zoo Watch’s website, updated by tourists and visitors to the zoos, features a bevy of photos of malnourished and sick animals living in cramped, squalid accommodations.

“A lot of people have reached out to EARS – sent comments, photos, complaints – about conditions at the zoos,” said Fiona Hardie, a d

Devastated by cyclone Hudhud, zoo gets $20 mn World Bank funding
The World Bank usually tames wild economies and helps countries stabilise their fluctuating finances, but in a global first, the banker for the world has gone to a zoo that too in India! This is a new addition in the portfolio of the bank as part of its ever-expanding work on urban regeneration.
A zoo is nothing but a bank of captive animals. In a novel initiative, the World Bank has embraced a zoo for its eco-development.
In Visakhapatnam, the global bank is extending an assistance of USD 20 million to help reconstruct the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP), which got devastated during cyclone Hudhud. This is part of the USD 370 million Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project for which the bank is extending assistance of USD 250 million from 2015-2020.
The much-loved Vizag zoo is nestled in the picturesque Eastern Ghats. It sees an annual footfall of about 8 lakh

How Long Before CITES Crashes?
In a little over a month’s time, the CITES Standing Committee will meet for five days in Geneva.

This body is made up of regional representatives of the now 181 countries that have agreed to regulate wildlife trade using the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

The Committee[i] is meant to oversee the work of the Convention and the CITES Secretariat in the three-year periods between the conferences (known as CoPs) when those nations get together and make the major decisions regarding the Secretariat’s budget, which animals and plants will be subject to CITES controls, work programmes, trade policies, etc.

Standing Committee meetings have gradually, but e

Sleazy animal-trade business underpins Japan's ever-popular zoos
What’s more innocent than a family trip to the zoo? It’s fun, it’s educational, it challenges kids to ask questions and parents to answer them. It reminds hyper-urbanized people that there is such a thing as nature out there, calling for our love, our understanding, and maybe above all our protection.

Imagine a child entranced by a polar bear. “Where do polar bears live?” he or she might ask. “What food do they eat? How long do they live?” And so on. A question most unlikely to arise is, “How much does a polar bear – or a lion, or an elephant – cost?” The answer, writes journalist Mamoru Iida in Shukan Shincho (Jan 14), varies according to species and numerous other circumstances, but more often than not we’re talking tens of millions of yen per animal – which robs our subject of some of its innocence, since money on that scale rarely changes hands without unsavory complications.

The central fact of life at zoos today is the increasingly threatened natural habitats beyond the cages. Human encroachment and climate change have taken a devastating toll. There are now 44 polar bears at 23 zoos in Japan, Iida writes, but the polar bear is an endangered species, its dwindling numbers expected to dwindle still further – by 30 to 50% over the next 45 years.

And so, he explains, we get situations like this: In August 2011, animal trader Kenji Shirawa got a call from the Nihondaira Zoo in Shizuoka. A 3-year-old male polar bear named Rossi, acquired from Russia in 2008, was primed for breeding but lacked a partner. Could Shirawa help?

The polar bears already in Japan were unsuitable for one reason or another. Via his worldwide network, Shirawa heard of prolific polar bear breeding going on at a facility called Safari World in Bangkok. At first blush that sounds odd – polar bears breeding in sub-tropical Thailand? In any case, a female named Vanilla had given birth to four cubs, and Safari World was willing – owing in part to local suspicion, and consequent criticism, that behind the successful breeding in such


Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

Maybe the intricate connections between plants, animals and humans aren't
edgy enough for today's digital world. So January's stories at (NEWS/Botanical News) are going all Buzzfeed:

. What happens when a plant species loses its seed disperser? When
mastodons disappeared, large pumpkins and gourds were left looking for a new
partner. What happened next will surprise you!

. You thought you'd heard everything about bees. But what you don't
know will shock you! (Really: it's about their electrical charges.)

. Imagine a world in which ants guard the caterpillars whose
secretions they eat, while the caterpillars dine on parasitic plants that
only live on one species of tree.

. How does extinction of large seed eating animals increase climate
change? And which seed eating animal are you? (OK, there isn't really a
Facebook survey but the climate change connection is amazing.)

. What did this tiny invasive floating weed have to teach designers
of boats and submarines? You'll never guess!

An Italian artist has revealed the delicate saplings hidden deep within
forest giants and so created both beautiful sculpture and inspired science.
This has to be an exhibit worth recreating.

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and - most
importantly - visitors!

Follow on <> Twitter, - new stories every
day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.



Anger as zoo to dissect second lion in three months in front of children
ZOOKEEPERS will be dissecting a lion in front of crowds of children this weekend during an 'educational' experience.
The event, called 'the beast inside out', will see a young lion being cut open and cut up in front of members of the public on Saturday.
A zoologist at the Odense Zoo in Denmark, where the event will be held, has revealed the African mammal is from the same litter as another lion which was dissected in front of children at the zoo in the autumn school holidays last year.

The previous dissection caused outrage from animal lovers around the world who were shocked at the "brutish" and "inhumane" act - which has been happenin

Anthropomorphism: how much humans and animals share is still contested
Humans have long attempted to portray the natural world as reflections of us, from giving storms names such as Desmond or Katrina to putting tasteful blue clothing on Donald Duck and Peter the Rabbit. But the science of how much humans actually share with other animals is still keenly contested.

The widely shared image of a male kangaroo cradling the head of a dying female, in front of her joey, was immediately cast as a touching display of marsupial grief, before several scientists pointed out that the kangaroo’s interests were probably a little more carnal than first thought.

This kind of anthropomorphism isn’t new of course – some of the oldest known deities combine human and beast – but it has only been since Charles Darwin’s description of joy and love among animals that the debate has evolved on whether humans hold exclusivity over certain traits.

Animals such as apes and crows have been seen using tools, previously thought a human preserve. A 44-year-old gorilla called Koko has the vocabulary of a three-year-old child after learning 1,000 words of American sign language. She has called herself “Queen” – evidence, her head caretaker claims, that she understands her celebrity status.

But many scientists are still keen to draw stark lines of difference between humans and other animals. Some warn that anthropomorphism, now regularly demonstrated through the online s

Lahore—Spokesman Wildlife & Parks Punjab has termed the news published regarding raid by NAB at Lahore Zoo Safari Park as baseless and contrary to the facts. The Spokesman while clarifying said that NAB is conducting inquiry about the purchase of animals for Lahore Zoo Safari Park and all relevant record has been handed over for its satisfaction. He said that a few days ago, the inquiry team after checking the presence of animals at Lahore Zoo Safari Park had returned back.

The Spokesman while clarifying about the increase in rates

In Defense of Animals has released its respected annual list of the “Ten Worst Zoos For Elephants” in North America for 2015. In its twelfth-year, the list exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos, where lack of space, unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions condemn Earth’s largest land mammals to lifetimes of deprivation, disease, despair, and early death.

As part of an encouraging trend, 2015 was the year that four more zoos closed their cruel elephant exhibits, three of which appeared on the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants list in previous years. Despite the callous and inane decision of Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to send elephants Chai and Bamboo to the

Belfast Zoo lost £1m last year as doubts shroud future
The report, due to be discussed at today's meeting of the city growth and regeneration committee, found that compared to others in the UK and Ireland, Belfast Zoo has the lowest number of visitors, charges the least and earns the least income per visitor.

This Celebrity-Studded Instagram Petting Zoo Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen
Instagram’s most famous animal rescue foundation is beloved by celebrities and millions of fans, and completely and utterly terrifying. Scrolling through the Black Jaguar-White Tiger™ feed is like seeing the beginning of Grizzly Man play out on social media.

On this season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Khloe Kardashian and Kendall Jenner visit the Black Jaguar-White Tiger™ site on a quick getaway. They tussle on the floor with cubs, and one nibbles on Khloe’s shoe as she holds up her phone to document. Khloe accompanies the owner, Eduardo “Big Papa” Serio, into an enclosure filled with grown lions, where they briefly surround her. He calls her brave.

Paris Hilton, Kaley Cuoco, Lewis Black, Debra Messing, Kellan Lutz, the Backstreet Boys, and Kate Walsh have also visited Serio’s compound and played with the animals he owns.

Since launching in 2013, Black Jaguar-White Tiger™ has cultivated celebrity fans and 4.3 million Instagram followers with photos of Serio and his guests cuddling with a growi

Hollywood’s Favorite Sham Petting Zoo
Celebrity visitors go there to take selfies with baby lions. Animal activists say it’s a bogus sanctuary looking for profit.
Eduardo Serio loves his cats—all 200 of them.

The felines aren’t normal-sized. They’re “big cats”: jaguars, lions, and tigers that range in age from newborns to adults. Most have been purchased from circuses and petting zoos through The Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation (BJWT), an organization the Mexico native founded in 2013 to “rescue” them.

BJWT isn’t your typical animal sanctuary—actually, it’s not even registered as one. Situated near Mexico City, it appears to consist of a house with a modern interior and a 100-acre property filled with grass. What it lacks in size it makes up for in likes, boasting four million followers on its fiv

South Lakes Safari Zoo reverses closure decision
A zoo that said it would close after the local council highlighted safety issues will remain open while negotiations are carried out.
South Lakes Safari Zoo, where a keeper was killed by a tiger in 2013, was last month given 28 days by Barrow council to prove its aerial walkways were safe.
It was also feared baboons could escape by scaling a pile of rhino dung.
The zoo said it would close on Saturday and accused the council of harassment but the decision has now been reversed.
Following the rulings by the licensing committee in December, bosses said the zoo could not operate under such circumstances.
The closure was set to be temporar

South Lakes Zoo to remain open after 'overwhelming' public support
South Lakes Safari Zoo is to remain open, after an "overwhelming" amount of public support.

In December, management at the Zoo said it would be forced to close, because of what they called "constant harassment" by Barrow Borough Council.

The dispute centred on a council ruling that public walkways at the Zoo should be shut due to safety concerns.

But in a Facebook post, Zoo managers have now said that following more than 20,000 people signing an online petition to keep it open, they have had a further meeting with the Chief Executive of the cou

Complaint made over councillor’s role at Dalton zoo
A COUNCILLOR has hit back after a complaint was made about her new job working for the zoo in Dalton.
Jill Heath began working for South Lakes Safari Zoo as events manager on December 7 last year.
The Evening Mail understands an official complaint has been registered with Barrow Borough Council about Cllr Heath’s new job, highlighting the fact she sits on the licensing committee which regulates the zoo.

Cllr Heath, who represents the Dalton North ward, has declared her new job as councillors are legally obliged to under the council’s code of conduct.

She said: “While trying to develop my own business I identified an opportunity for it to operate, to the mutual benefit of both parties, within the zoo.

“The value and need for a permanent events coordinator was recognised and I was therefore delighted to take up the position which was offered to me.”

Cllr Heath, who refused to disclose details of her zoo salary, has served on Barrow Borough Council twice – from 2007 to 2011 and more recently since last year. During her first tenure her role included sitting on the planning and audit committees. She also represents

Founder of Dalton attraction 'gifts' zoo to charity
Last month it was announced that the popular tourist attraction was to close its gates in January.

But now it has been announced that the owner and founder, David Gill, has "gifted" the zoo to the Safari Zoo Nature Foundation - a charity run by South Lakes Safari Zoo.

In a Facebook post on the Safari Zoo Nature Foundation's page, it says: "In a move planned over two years ago the Safari Zoo Nature Foundation will operate the Zoo in 2016 and onwards. 

"We hope that 2016 will bring increased funds and awareness to all our overseas projects that are the focus of the zoo's very existence.

"David has also prepared the way for a new 'Natural History museum' to be brought to the zoo to develop and expand local education and awareness of our Lake district wildlife and habitat in partnerships with others.

"It is hoped that the Zoo can open all its new facilities that will be under construction in the next months for Easter."

The post also goes on to explain that even though Mr Gill has retired from the zoo he will be the project leader of the overseas programmes for the charity.

In the comments section of the post it is confirmed that the zoo will still be closing on January 11 but it plans to reopen sometime before Easter.

The announcement of the closure followed a decision made by Barrow Borough Council to close the zoo's public walkways due to health and safety reasons.

On their Facebook page it says: "To all concerned the zoo will be closing to the public as of Monday January 11.

Talks begin in effort to end Dalton zoo and Barrow council dispute
TOP-LEVEL talks between the management team of a major South Cumbria tourist attraction and the council it had accused of “constant harassment” were held yesterday.
Representatives from South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton met with Phil Huck, executive director of Barrow Borough Council, at Barrow Town Hall, following a long-running public spat between the attraction and the local authority.

The meeting, which the Evening Mail understands was about how the zoo would operate in the future, wa

Not-So-Ferocious Tiger and His Goat Sidekick Slated to Welcome Leopards
Amur the Tiger and his new buddy Timur the Goat may soon make friends with several rare Amur leopards, who are due to be transported to the safari park in Russia's Far East where the tiger and the goat live, according to media reports.
The administration of a safari park in Primorsky Territory in the Russian Far East plans to receive rare Amur leopards, who will join Amur the Tiger and his new 'pet' Timur the Goat, the Russian media reported.
Safari park director Dmitry Mezentsev said that the leopards will be moved to the park from Sweden and the Czech Republic a

From real estate to rhinos: The Australian Rhino Project to find homes for six rhinos in 2016
A former NSW real estate agent has turned from finding homes for people to dedicating his life to finding them for rhinos.

In an audacious bid to help the endangered species survive, Ray Dearlove, who used to operate property agencies on the Central Coast, set up The Australian Rhino Project and is now planning his first airlift of six rhinos from South Africa to Australia early this year.

Using the skills he learnt in six years of helping humans relocate as the director of McGrath Estate Agents and then

Long-necked diplomacy: the tale of the third giraffe
In the late 1820s, the Pasha of Egypt Muhammad Ali sent three giraffes to Europe. This was no blind generosity, but a clever diplomatic manoeuvre.

Under orders from Constantinople, the Pasha had sent troops to sustain the Turks in their efforts to keep Greece within the Ottoman Empire. In so doing, he risked alienating much of Greek-supporting Europe. A giraffe seemed like the obvious gift to smooth relations. He dispatched three.

Meet Zarafa, the giraffe that inspired a crazy hairdo
Henry Nicholls: One giraffe, thousands of miles and some seriously big hair
 Read more
The fate of the French and British giraffes have been explored in earlier Animal Magic posts (here and here). But the tale of the third giraffe, a specimen the Pasha sent to Emperor Franz I of Austria, is not so well known.

Like the other calves, the giraffe destined for Austria was caught live in Nubia (yet to become part of Egypt), transported to Alexandria and set sail for Venice. The next step was less romantic. The poor animal had to trek across the Alps, with leather strappings around its hooves to protect it from the cold, slippery ground.

In 1752, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I founded an imperial menagerie within the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. At first, the collection of live animals was reserved for the entertainment

Bristol Zoo: World’s rarest insects hatch
ONE of the world's rarest insects has hatched at Bristol Zoo Gardens for the first time.

Hundreds of tiny Lord Howe Island stick insect eggs arrived at Bristol Zoo in November in an international effort to save the critically endangered species. Experts thought the insects were extinct for almost 80 years until its rediscovery in 2001.

Now the first hatchlings have started to emerge from the batch of 300 eggs sent from Melbourne Zoo to establish a captive breeding program in Europe.

The 38 tiny hatchlings are between one day and two w

Blackpool Zoo’s jumbo new home for elephant Kate?
Blackpool Zoo is bidding to build a new elephant house in a move which it is hoped will also be a ‘jumbo’ boost to tourism.

The attraction’s current elephant enclosure is 75 years old and was built originally as an aircraft hangar.
Zoo bosses say it is not feasible to upgrade it and want to build a brand new elephant house instead.

If it secures planning permission from Blackpool Council, it will be built on an unused field in the north east corner of the zoo and be a third as big again as the current facility.

It would also incorporate the latest provisions

When Animal Trainers Die
On  February 24, 2010 in SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Florida, animal trainer Dawn Brancheau was pulled under the water by an orca. A few minutes later, Dawn was dead.  Subsequent discussion in the media and around the Net has focused on the keeping of orcas and the dangers of working with powerful predators.

Profoundly missing in this discussion is Dawn’s voice.

I cannot speak for Dawn, but I can share with you the professional animal trainers’ perspective. You see, we all understand a common truth, and when an event like this occurs, we talk late into the night trying to figure out how we can effectively share that truth with others – how we can explain why, as Roy Horn was slipping from consciousness in the jaws of Mantecore the tiger during a Las Vegas show, he was saying over and over, “Please don’t hurt the cat… .”

Animal training is not a job, not a hobby, not an interest.  It is an all-consuming passion.  Those of us who devote our lives to working with animals love what w

Honey-bee attack shuts zoo for hours
The attack was the result of a visitor hurling a stone at a beehive in the parking area and destroying it, said zoo in-charge Satpal Singh. However, it could not be confirmed if any people were stung by the bees in the attack. " As soon as the bees spread, we rushed all visitors out and closed the zoo. We had to use smoke to calm the bees down. The quick action helped us protect visitors and animals," he said.
Asked about the beehive and whether they had spotted earlier, Satpal Singh said they had come to know of it on Friday itself. "We

Corruption of millions exposed in purchase of animals for Safari Park Lahore
The corruption of millions of rupees in purchase of animals for Safari Park Lahore got exposed on Friday, reported Dunya News.

According to the sources, the officials dealing the purchase of animals for Safari Park bought the loins and other animals on a price four-fold than the original price. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has started the investigation of the alleged corruption of millions of rupees. The investigation will be against five officials of Wild Life Department. 

Record-Breaking Crowd Visit Ragunan Zoo on New Years Day
The 2015 end-of-year holiday period saw record-breaking numbers of visitors flock to Ragunan Zoo, with 182,061 visitors recorded - surpassing last year's number of visitors, which stood at 173,000.

"This a new record for us," said Ragunan Zoo's Public Relations officer, Wahyudi Bambang, on Friday, January 1, 2015.

Furthermore, continued Wahyudi, the figure has never been seen since Ragunan Zoo was established in 1864. "Last year was a record-breaking year - turns out that record is to be broken within one year," he said.

Initially, Ragunan Zoo's management estimated that around 100,000 visitors will pass through Ragunan's gates - with a maximum estimate placed at around the 170,000 mark. "We are grateful that the public is enthusiastic about this zoo," said Wahyudi.

In order to ensure its' quality of service, the Zoo's management has deployed an additional 200-300 extra staff to secure the Zoo. "We were also assisted by scout reserves, which were deployed by Pasar Minggu district police," continued Wahyudi.

To accommodate all visitors on January 1, th

More African Elephants May Be Sold to China This Year
In October 2014, tens of young elephants were taken from their family groups in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, where they were held in a capture unit for eight months until July 2015. That’s when 24 were flown to the Qingyuan quarantine facility in Guangdong Province before being transferred to Chimelong Safari Park, also in Guangdong.

IOppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s minister of environment, water and climate, said that more of the country’s wildlife will be captured and sent to China to give them a better and safer environment, according to the China Daily. Muchinguri spoke during a visit to the Qingyuan animals and plants preservation center, Guangdong, on New Year's Eve.

"We are happy that young African animals have been well accommodated here in China,” she said. “We are willing to export more in the years to come as it would help in the preservation of wild animals."

In September 2015, National Geographic reported that the elephants in China were being mistreated and

Anyone who's trained a dog knows about the power of positive reinforcement, but some might not realize that same technique works on a lot of other animals and it can help keep them safe and stress free.

Biologists at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park show how it's done.

When you think animal training you might not think sharks or lizards, but they are among the star students at the California Academy of Sciences, learning behavior that protects both the animals and their keepers.

"We've been able to adapt what we've done for large mammals in the past and really utilize those techniques for all animals under our care," said Brenda Melton, a Steinhard Aquarium curator.

The Academy has a wide variety of creatures on display and it takes constant monitoring to make sure they're all healthy. Sometimes that means restraining animals or anesthetizing them. But now Academy biologists are using a training program to minimize that.

A zebra shark is learning to come voluntarily to biologist Pam Montbach. Every time the shark touches the target he gets food. He's even learned to eat gently out of Montbach's. Montbach is getting the shark used to being

How we rediscovered ‘extinct’ giant tortoises in the Galápagos Islands – and how to save them
The Galápagos Islands, 1,000 kilometres off the coast of South America, are probably most famous as the place that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. They are home to an extraordinary array of wildlife, including giant Galápagos tortoises, the world’s largest land-living cold-blooded animals.

The tortoises once thrived in the archipelago. There were originally 15 species that evolved as the islands formed volcanically. However, since the arrival of people four species have become extinct.

A few weeks ago we returned from an expedition to the islands in search of two of these extinct species of tortoises. It may sound like

Watch the terrifying moment a python bites a woman on the face as she tries to KISS it on the head at a wildlife park in Thailand

Changes to bill ease worries of small zoo owners
 Before changes to a bill putting limits on exotic animals were announced, Jo-Don Farms worried the measure would have a devastating impact.

“It would have closed us down,” said Kathy Meyer, marketing director at the small family zoo at 5907 Nicholson Road.

The bill prohibits people from possessing, breeding and selling a long list of exotic animals, such as lions, tigers, apes and crocodilians. But state Sen. Van Wanggaard, who co-authored the legislation, said the measure will be amended to carve out exemptions for smaller zoos such as Jo-Don and Bear Den Zoo and Petting Farm in the Town of Waterford.

Exemptions were already made for vets, zoos accredited through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, circuses and wildlife. But that left many smaller zoos like Jo-Don facing huge repercussions.

Wanggaard, R-Racine, said last week an amendment will allow facilities accredited by the Zoological Association of American and anyone

The Truth About Feeding (And Training) Marine Mammals
One of the rumors flying around about the marine mammal training field centers around the idea that we "deprive" the animals under our care of food.  You know, in order to get them to perform.
This is one of those topics that gets everyone on both sides in a real tizzy, because we both throw cut-and-dry answers at each other that don't really encompass the truth.  Or truths.  Because there are more than one.  Let me explain.

SeaWorld settles orca trainer safety citations
SeaWorld and state regulators have agreed to settle safety citations issued last year alleging the San Diego marine park failed to protect its trainers when working closely with killer whales, both behind the scenes and in performances.

Among the settlement's mandates to better protect workers: Trainers would be barred from "surfing" on the orcas and swimming under them, nor could they stand on a killer whale, except when necessary to get out of the park's medical pool. The enclosure is one of the smaller, behind-the-scenes pools used for a number of purposes, including veterinary procedures and routine health exams.

The settlement's proposed safety regulations are unlikely to be noticeable during SeaWorld's theatrical Shamu shows, as the company long ago put an end to trainers cavorting in the water with the whales.

The in-water interaction during performances never resumed following the 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, who drowned in an attack b

Zimbabwe ‘will export more elephants to China’ – environment minister
Despite criticism, minister says lions, baboons and hyenas could also be sold abroad as Zimbabwe grapples with overpopulation, crippling drought and a poorly-resourced wildlife authority
Zimbabwe will increase its export of wildlife including elephants to Chinese wildlife parks as it struggles to deal with a weak economy and intense drought, its environment minister has said.
Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told Chinese journalists during a visit to the Chimelong Safari Park near Guangzhou where 24 young elephants were sent last July, that Zimbabwe struggled with an oversized population of the pachyderms.
She said she would not apologise for the export – which is believed to have raised around £600,000 for government coffers – and added that the Chinese authorities had treated the elephants well.
Her comments are likely to provoke outrage from some wildlife experts and public figures however, who opposed the original export amid concerns about the conditions the animals would be kept in.
“We are going to increase the number of exports of elephants and other species, because they have done a good job in taking care of those they have already bought fr

Lions are actually raised to be killed in South Africa, and American hunters love it
They call it canned hunting.

South African ranchers breed lions in captivity, from cubs to adults, then release them just after the arrival of a hunter who pays about $15,000 for a kill. Sometimes the animal is drugged to make it easier game. Sometimes it's lured by fresh meat to a place where the hunter lurks. Sometimes the felines are so accustomed to humans that they amble up to the person waiting to kill it. Not surprisingly, the success of these hunts is 99 percent.

But the Obama administration's federal protection of lions could end the practice when a new rule goes into effect in about three weeks.

As part of actions listing African and Indian lions as threatened or endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared that it will make it much harder for American hunters to import the slain animals' heads - their trophies and bragging rights, In addition, the fees for hunting permits will increase substantially.

A recent analysis by Humane Society International said the harsher U.S. scrutiny of trophy imports, along with the higher fees and the refusal of some carriers such as Federal Express to ship them, could drive the South African

Oregon Zoo staff infected by tuberculosis after exposure to infected elephants
Seven staff at the Oregon Zoo were infected with tuberculosis following an outbreak starting in 2013 among three bull elephants – Packy, his son Rama and Tusko.

The seven people who developed a latent form of the disease without symptoms had close contact with the elephants, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An eighth person, a volunteer, also developed a mysterious case of tuberculosis.

None of those people were infectious and nobody in the public was at risk, said Dr. Jennifer Vines, deputy health officer for Multnomah County.

The report adds to the somewhat thin knowledge about the transmission of tuberculosis from elephants to people, Vines said. The good news is that even though TB is highly contagious, the three infected elephants at the zoo did not spread the disease to visitors, including those

Dramatic moment a LION is rescued from the sea after straying from a wildlife park into a port in India

Inspectors find more violations at Natural Bridge Zoo
The Natural Bridge Zoo was cited for five infractions during an inspection in December, which marked the fourth time that federal regulators wrote up the zoo last year.
During a Dec. 15 visit to the roadside attraction in Rockbridge County, inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture found inadequate veterinary care for some of the zoo’s animals, dirty conditions and a failure to maintain fences and enclosures, according to an inspection report posted on the agency’s website.
Although the number of infractions was less than from previous inspections, critics say it’s clear that animals at the zoo cont

Dallas Zoo honored for maintaining accreditation for 25 years
The Dallas Zoo was recognized for maintaining continuous accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for 25 years or more, the zoo announced Thursday.

The AZA, an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums, requires facilities undergo the process every five years. It includes, in part, an application and on-site inspection that looks into animal care, keeper training, education programs conservation and veterinary efforts, risk management, and staff, animal and visitor safety.

The zoo has been accredited since 1985 and is among 119 zoos to achieve receive the inaugural Quarter Century Award, which was established in 2015. The Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio zoos were also honored.

“AZA is dedicated to ensuring that the highest standards in the zoological profession are met, and this means that the accreditation process is therefore quite rigorous,” said AZA president and CEO Jim Maddy in a statement Wednesday. “The fact that these aquariums and zoos have maintained co

Why the world’s vultures are vanishing
AFRICA is losing its vultures. Of its 11 species of the bird, 6 are at risk of extinction and 4 are critically endangered, according to a recent report by BirdLife International, a nature conservation partnership. The vulture population in much of the rest of the world is at risk, too. Catherine Bearder, the last Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament, has been petitioning for the European Union to save the world's vultures and eagles; the UN, too, has been discussing what action to take. Why are vultures vanishing, and why should we care?

Since the 1990s, the population of South Asia’s vulture species has collapsed by more than 99%. In 2003 scientists identified diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat livestock, as the main cause for this decline. Vultures living on the carcasses of animals recently treated with the drug died from severe kidney failure within weeks of ingesting it. This created two main problems. The first is connected to vultures' place in the ecosystem. As their numbers declined, a host of other disease-ridden animals—in particular rabied dogs—came to feed off the carcasses instead. And there was another problem. India's community of Parsees, who do not cremate nor bury their dead, but rather lay them out on towers known as dokhmas for vultures to eat, found that this tradition was imperilled. In 2006 the governments of India, Pakistan and Nepal

Guinea pigs beat climate change by tweaking their own DNA
Hot stuff. For the first time, wild mammals have been seen responding to higher temperatures by altering chemical structures on their DNA. These epigenetic changes may adjust the activity of specific genes, and some are passed on to offspring.

“Global temperatures are rising. It is crucial to understand how wild species are able to cope,” says Alexandra Weyrich of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany.

Evolution by genetic mutation and natural selection can be slow. But epigenetic changes that affect how genes are expressed, such as attaching methyl molecules onto DNA, are much faster and more flexible. Experiments in a type of brine shrimp and the plant Arabidopsis thaliana have shown that such heat-induced epigenetic responses can even be inherited by the next generation.

Getting steamy
So far, experiments like these have largely focused on organisms that have been bred in artificial lab conditions to become very genetically similar. To see if this can happen in more genetically diverse animals, Weyrich’s team studied guinea pigs sourced from South America. They allowed five males to mate with females in an enclosure at a normal ambient temperature of below 5 °C, and then again with other females after spending two months at 30 °C.

This is a higher temperature difference than they might experience with more gradual climate change, but after two months at this higher temperature, Weyrich’s team found signs of significantly altered methylation in at least 10 genes that seem to be linked to regulating body temperatu

Island zoo opens in Kien Giang
Viet Nam has a new zoo. It is on an island.

It is called Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc and it has many birds and animals from all over the world.

Vistors will travel around the zoo on special vehicles from which they will watch the animals from close up.

Some of the animals are very special because there are not many of them left in the world.
Viet Nam's first safari zoo, featuring more than 150 animal species, has opened on the island of Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang.

Named Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc, the 380ha first phase wildlife preserve houses over 3,000 animals representing 150 rare and endangered species, such as the Bengal tiger, Arabian oryx, spiral-horned antelope, and black-and-white ruffed lemur.

The zoo's unique natural environment is also home to 200 flamingoes, 100 rhinos and 60 giraffes, becoming the only place in Viet Nam breeding such large numbers of wildlife herds.

According to Nguyen Viet Quang, representative of the safari's investor, Vingroup, the number of animals and species will increase when the zoo's remaining construction is completed.

"Alongside promoting tourism on the island, the Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc will also strengthen wildlife preservation and environmental protection through scientific research conducted in the park," he a

Pioneer Vancouver Island marmot in captive breeding program dies at 14
A Canadian pioneer — born on Vancouver Island with stops in Langley, Toronto and Calgary —has died.

Harriet, a 14-year-old Vancouver Island marmot, died at the Calgary Zoo on Christmas Eve. Harriet was the oldest marmot in captivity and the last of the first group brought in from the wild to be part of a captive breeding program to ensure the survival of her species.

“She was one of our founder marmots,” said Adam Taylor, executive director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation, on Wednesday. “Harriet was one of the first marmots taken from the wild here on Vancouver Island for a captive breeding program.”

Harriet was at the Calgary and Toronto zoos and briefly at the Mountain View Conservation Centre in Langley.

She was captured as a pup, one of 55 animals in a captive breeding program that continues.

Closely related to the yellow-tan hoary marmot found on the mainland, the Vancouver Island marmot

Is this the world's tallest giraffe? At more than 19ft tall, lanky Zulu is 4ft higher than average and may be the loftiest of the species on record

Ocean parks drive whale and dolphin hunting
A growing number of whales and dolphins are being captured to meet demand from China’s rapidly expanding marine park sector. This is endangering the existence of wild populations of marine mammals, says a new report.

In December 2015, a study by the China Cetacean Alliance (CCA), a coalition of animal welfare groups, revealed that Chinese marine parks are involved in the capture of whales and dolphins in Russian and Japanese waters. Furthermore, this practice is threatening wild populations of these mammals, which are transported over long distances bound tightly in nets. 

The report highlights that marine parks in China are on the rise. Since 2010, over 250 wild cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have been caught and transported to Chinese ocean parks. Most of the 114 beluga whales in China were captured in Russia’s Okhotsk Sea.

According to Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute, an Amercian charity, captive animals are deprived of social activity and stimulation. This gives rise to grave mental and physical health conditions as well as a

Circus and lion park owner arranged to have six tigers shot in South Africa
Brian Boswell is a circus owner and manages the Natal Zoological Gardens and Lion Park in South Africa. Over a space of two days, his organisation had six young tigers shot and killed.

The first incident occurred on 6 December when a neighboring farmer saw a tiger on her land and notified the owners. They shot the tiger, citing a lack of drugs and danger to persons and property as the reason they did not try to capture the animal alive.

The IOL online News reported that more than just one tiger was destroyed. It has become apparent that the following morning a further five were shot. The tigers somehow escaped from their cages where they were being held for exportto a zoo in the Far East.

Brian Boswell, who is aging and being treated for cancer, said that there was no other option but to shoot them. He told the media that the cages were secured with locks, and only big cat thieves or animal activists could have sabotaged the cages.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, who governs parks and wildlife in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, had not heard about the deaths of the five tigers on the 7th December. According to a representative, they will begin investigating the incident in the New Year.

The company had not notified press or au

The Ultimate Guide to Animal Learning Types
I've been thinking a lot about training behaviors and all that it entails.  I mean d'uh, I'm an animal trainer by trade so obviously I think about this topic more than just occasionally.  But for some reason, for many years, I've been really obsessed with one particular training topic.  Yes, conditioning behavior is rooted in scientific principles.  But the application of those principles is really diverse, and not just from person to person, or facility to facility.  It really depends on the individual animal. 

Poachers using science papers to target newly discovered species
Academic journals have begun withholding the geographical locations of newly discovered species after poachers used the information in peer-reviewed papers to collect previously unknown lizards, frogs and snakes from the wild, the Guardian has learned.

In an age of extinctions, scientists usually love to trumpet the discovery of new species, revealing biological and geographical data that sheds new light on the mysteries of evolution.

But earlier this year, an announcement in the Zootaxa academic journal that two new species of large gecko had been found in southern China contained a strange omission: the species’ whereabouts.

“Due to the popularity of this genus as novelty pets, and recurring cases of scientific descriptions driving herpetofauna to near-extinction by commercial collectors, we do not disclose the collecting

Animals think, therefore…
IN 1992, at Tangalooma, off the coast of Queensland, people began to throw fish into the water for the local wild dolphins to eat. In 1998, the dolphins began to feed the humans, throwing fish up onto the jetty for them. The humans thought they were having a bit of fun feeding the animals. What, if anything, did the dolphins think?
Charles Darwin thought the mental capacities of animals and people differed only in degree, not kind—a natural conclusion to reach when armed with the radical new belief that the one evolved from the other. His last great book, “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals”, examined joy, love and grief in birds, domestic animals and primates as well as in various human races. But Darwin’s attitude to animals—easily shared by people in everyday contact with dogs, horses, even mice—ran contrary to a long tradition in European thought which held that animals had no minds at all. This way of thinking stemmed from the argument of René Descartes, a great 17th-century philosopher, that people were creatures of reason, lin

Bloomington nonprofit joins the ranks in crisis mode over ISIS name
It’s a headache that no one at the International Species Information System could have predicted.

The company is known across the globe as ISIS. Its website? Unwittingly and arbitrarily, a name once associated with an ancient Egyptian goddess now has become synonymous with terror.

“We’re a small nonprofit,” said Diane Hammond, ISIS’ marketing strategist. “At first, we thought the connection was a little extreme. But it hasn’t gone away.”

The Bloomington-based nonprofit, launched in 1974, develops software that helps zoos and aquariums in 87 countries keep track of their animal data.

The organization has heard from people who want to sign up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Employees have been spooked by what a company official called “nuisance-level pranks.” The large ISIS name on the front door has come down.

Now, the zoological software company is on the hunt for a new name.

Those who find their names now linked with militants known for public beheadings and attacks such as the massacres in Paris can be found across the globe, from mom-and-pops to major corporations.

In an age of social media, these firms

New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

Zoo Conferences, Meetings, Courses and Symposia

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

Recent Zoo Vacancies

Zoo Jobs

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

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, 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
Contact email -
Dubai: ++ 971 (0)50 4787 122

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address: (not where I live...currently in Dubai)
2 Highgate
North Wales
LL22 8NP

United Kingdom