Thursday, September 29, 2016

Arrest and Confiscation Follows Leopard Attack

Arrest and Confiscation Follows Leopard Attack

Following on from the tragic death of a nine year old girl (Amany Mohamed Fadeel)  being attacked and severely injured by an escaped leopard authorities quickly moved in on the Amr Saad breeding centre at Ayat - Giza and an immediate investigation took place. All the animals and the accommodation were found to be in extremely poor condition. Amany died in the ambulance on the way to hospital. After the leopard was scared off it made its way to Kafr Hameed but was tracked down and shot dead.

This door on this enclosure holding a tiger was held shut by a rock

It has been stated that the leopard had escaped days before the attack and had been wandering the neighborhood. The owner had tried to claim that the Amany had been on his private property. After she was killed villagers tried to break into the facility and kill all the remaining animals but were stopped after intervention by the police.

Fearing possible implication in the death of the young girl the keepers quickly disappeared and the owner of the facility was arrested and jailed.

After cries for help the Giza Zoo responded under the direction of Dr Raafat Hamed and a team of keepers and vets visited Amr Saad and all the animals were fed. Following a police order and instructions from the authorities all animals will be transported to Giza Zoo in the coming days.

The precise number and species held is unknown but there at least seven tigers and a lion.

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

Zoo News Digest 29th September 2016 (ZooNews 939)

Zoo News Digest 29th September 2016 
(ZooNews 939)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

A leopard escapes from a captive facility and kills a young girl. I wonder if the Western media will give it the coverage it needs.

I continue to get unsolicited CV's from people wanting to work in 'my' zoo. 'My' zoo? Where is it? I have not got a zoo. I am sure that many, or at least some, of these people are quite good but I will never know because I delete them without reading them. A pity perhaps but I have enough to do without dealing with something I never asked for. As it happens though I am in favour of staff, with the experience, sending off their CV's to zoos just on the off chance there may be suitable vacancy. After all it is how I broke into the 'business' so many years ago. I truly have never regretted it. I have worked in some awful places but learned a lot along the way. In fact it is in working in the awful places that I learned the most. It is often said that a zoo career is not a job but a 'way of life'. I agree 100%. It is a way of life that you have to work at and continue to learn and expand your knowledge. It is not just animals, it is people too and that huge spectrum of skills and disciplines that make Zoo Biology….the Art and Science of ZooKeeping.
Years under your belt mean nothing unless you work at it. It is unfortunate, but true, because I have met them (no doubt you have too) people who have worked in zoos for thirty plus years who know no more than they learned in their first year. Equally there are those in the industry for just two years who have an immense amount of knowledge. It is something which Human Resources should always keep in mind when looking at the CV's of prospective new staff.

I don't know about you but I find it a little unfortunate that the EAZA, AAZK, CAZA/AZAC, AZADV Conferences have all taken place during the same few days this September. Though it is highly unlikely that anyone would wish (or be able to afford) to attend all of these I can more or less guarantee that there were several people for which it was a case of one or the other. The same thing happened earlier in the month with the Penguin Aspergillosis Workshop taking place in the UK at the same time as the International Penguin Congress was being conducted in South Africa. There really needs to be a little better organisation of such events during the 365 days of the year plus more planning ahead. For a few years now I have been trying to help out by posting meetings I know about to Zoo Conferences, Meetings, Courses and Symposia as soon as I know about something new. Sadly they sometimes come too late because the information comes too late….people assume I am automatically aware. I don't always include workshops because many are local but those with International appeal are important as they give the opportunity to further knowledge and enhance a CV.

I was greatly saddened to learn of three groups of Penguins nearly wiped out by Avian Malaria. I recall similar from years ago but thought it had eventually been brought under control. I suppose with climate change that the husbandry of many captive species is going to have to be re-visited. You may recall a few weeks back I posted a link that Mosquitoes in Germany have been found to be carrying Lyme Disease so that is something else to consider.

Returning briefly to the subject of unsolicited CV's. I am also getting phone calls from people who assume I am part of Dubai Safari. I am connection whatsoever.

Why 'Winnie the Pooh'? was just that I liked the Penguin in the drawing.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 27,000 '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, 


Nine-Year-Old Girl Killed in Egypt by ‘Mountain Leopard’
Speaking to Youm7, investigative officials said that the leopard had escaped from a farm that had been licensed by the Ministry of Agriculture to privately breed a range of animals. After escaping, the leopard travelled to Kafr Hameed, which is more elevated than other nearby areas.

The owner of the farm has been summoned for investigation and may face charges relating to the escape.

What Meerkat Murder Tells Us About Human Violence
A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind.

The study, led by José María Gómez of the University of Grenada in Spain and published Wednesday in the journal Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today.

The findings tell us two things:

Some amount of violence between humans is attributable to our place on the evolutionary tree.
Meerkats are surprisingly murderous.
To be clear, the study's authors d

Animals still fascinate Julie Mansell after 32 years at zoo
THERE'S a big 'love-in' going on in the bushes up on the Antrim Road – and it's not a laughing matter.

Among the concerned observers is Julie Mansell, who is wondering where it will all lead: for a start, the chemistry between the 'lovebirds' is currently unknown and, so far, hasn't ventured beyond the 'smelling' stage.

It may not be the most romantic of introductions, bt it is all part of an elaborate seduction routine involving two rare striped hyenas at Belfast Zoo.

"It is a tense time, when animals are first introduced to each other," observes Julie, curator at the zoo where she will have worked for 32 years this November.

"They will circle around each other first, smelling each other, sizing each other up – it's part of the hyena love dance and is the next big challenge on my horizon. It can be one big dating scene here at times.

"It is always fascinating, no matter how many years I have worked here, to see how animals interact with each other and, of course, to see the end result of successful breeding programmes, with the birth of healthy babies."

And this year there have been quite a few baby animals delivered at a

Governor Jerry Brown Signs a Misguided “Animal Rights” Bill
As you may have heard, the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, just recently signed a bill into law that prohibits both the use of Killer Whales in theatrical shows at places like SeaWorld, and Killer Whale breeding in captivity. This seemingly feel-good legislation is a response to a recent sway in public opinion against these kind of aquatic institutions thanks in part to the 2013 film Blackfish. But as warm and fuzzy as we may all feel about this new law, as an animal behaviorist and trainer who has extensive experience working with these magnificent creatures, I can tell you that this bill is a bad idea, and will end up doing more harm than good: a seemingly new trend in animal welfare.

New approach on cranes takes wing
A major shift in strategy in managing endangered whooping cranes begins this week with the arrival in Wisconsin of juvenile cranes that no longer will rely on ultralight aircraft to guide them during fall migration.

The slow-moving aircraft will be absent for the first time since 2001, when a public-private partnership launched a novel reintroduction plan involving ultralights and humans dressed to look like cranes.

Instead, nine young cranes flown to Wisconsin on Wednesday by private plane from a federal facility in Patuxent, Md., will be paired with adult cranes in the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County and other areas.

Three other cranes hatched at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo will be released in the coming weeks — all with the hope they bond with adults and follow them south for the winter.

Efforts to bring back whooping cranes to the eastern United States has cost more than $20 million and has resulted I

'World's saddest polar bear' offered home at UK zoo
The "world's saddest polar bear" is set to be saved by a UK zoo after public outcry at the poor living conditions he was enduring in China.

Pizza the polar bear is currently being kept at the Grandview shopping centre in the country's Guangzhuo city.

But animal rights campaigners claim the bear - which is the zoo's star attraction - does not have enough space to move around.

And now Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, c

Wildlife Safari welcomes its 200th cheetah and litter of 4 cubs
In 1972, the Wildlife Safari in Winston opened to the public and, shortly after the park’s grand opening, a cheetah breeding program was established.

Since then, Wildlife Safari has celebrated milestones and biological achievement among not only cheetahs, but with all the big cats that call the park home. Since the inception of the cheetah breeding program at Safari, the park has blossomed into the most successful cheetah breeding facility outside of Africa and the number two facility on Earth, second only to The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in De Wildt, South Africa, Safari officials said.

On August 28, 2016, Wildlife Safari welcomed its 200th cheetah and a total litter of four cubs to the world.

In support of their mission to conserve and save big cat species, Safari auctioned off the naming rights to the litter of 4 at the September 9 annual Ladies Auxiliary of Wildlife Safari auction, an event which raised the park well over its $150,000 goal, grossing almost $200,000 before expenses.

“Moonfire is a very healthy 9-year-old cheetah and she's being a wonderful mom, taking excellent care of her cubbies,” Benji Alcantar, MVZ, the park’s head veterinarian said. “(She's) very attentive of their needs. The cubbies were born on Sunday, August 28; all weigh in at between 2 and just over 3 pounds, 2 girls an

Rio’s AquaRio Aquarium to Open November 9th
“I did not expect it to be so large, and diversified. The space is another attraction in the Port Region,” exclaimed Naira Amorelli, from the travel website Embarque na Viagem, at a special unveiling for journalists and media last Thursday, September 15th.

Sure to be one of the highlights of any visit to AquaRio will be the main tank, called Recinto Oceânico. At five hundred square meters and seven meters deep, Recinto Oceânico will allow guests to touch some of the marine animals, or even dive with the sharks, fishes, and manta rays.

Other attractions will include a virtual aquarium, which uses the latest technology to simulate an interactive underwater experience, and the Sciences Museum, which will house permanent and temporary marine exhibitions.

Szpilman, also AquaRio’s CEO, told the crowd of excited reporters at the special unveiling that the marine aquarium has three goals, “education, research, and conservation. Our proposal is to awaken in children the interest in science.”

AquaRio has partnered with the Department of Marine Biology of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) to create a scientific research center on the site, which will also include a biodiversity conservation center, aimed at preserving animals in danger of extinction.

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

The Zoo Keepers Part in the Illegal Animal Trade

Animal welfare group threatens Tilman Fertitta's Landry's Inc. over white tigers at aquarium
A national animal welfare group on Monday notified Landry's Inc. it plans to sue the company if it doesn't take them up on an offer to find new homes for four white tigers they say are being forced to live in deplorable conditions at the company's Downtown Aquarium.
Leaders of the San Franciso-based Animal Legal Defense Fund say the tigers have no access to sunlight, fresh air or natural surfaces and live in what amounts to a "Landry's sponsored dungeon" in the current exhibit at the aquarium known as the "Maharaja's Temple."
The threat of legal action appears to be spurred by new standards under consideration by the Association for Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that stipulate tiger exhibits include an outdoor space, natural vegetation, and reduced exposure to the public, none of which they say is available to Landry's white tigers.
The Landry's aquarium is accredited by the AZA.

Longleat penguins die in malaria outbreak
A "large number" of penguins have died following an outbreak of malaria at a safari park.
A spokesman for Longleat in Wiltshire said a number of Humboldt penguins had died after contracting the avian st
rain of the disease from mosquitoes.
Avian malaria cannot be passed on to humans but the park has decided to close Penguin Island to visitors.
Darren Beasley, head of animal operations, said: "Our team of keepers are absolutely devastated."
The safari park, which is home to a colony of captive-bred Humboldts, has said it will release further details of the number of penguins aff


Brazil is ready to open the first elephant sanctuary in Latin America. The facility is located on a 1,100-hectare farm (2,700 acres) in the midwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The area will host up to 50 elephants – and the first elephants to call the sanctuary home will be three females who retired from the circus. The sanctuary, entirely financed by international NGOs, will not be opened to visitation.

Before being placed in the facility, the elephants will undergo a rehabilitation process under veterinary supervision to regain confidence. The animals usually suffer the consequences of years of abuse, which is especially the case for former circus elephants, or a total lack of stimulation, as it so happens with zoo elephants. The territory chosen for the sanctuary is considered ideal by experts, as it is isolated by natural barriers; mountains and valleys surround the property.

The animals will not be bred, and will be separated according to their species and gender.

The first two elephants to be placed in the sanctuary will be 44-year-old Maia and 42-year-old Guida, both rescued in 2010 from a circus in Bahia. Both hav

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:               
Change seems to be the watchword for our times: whether political, social or the climate itself.  We and the planet must adapt and be inventive. September’s stories at (NEWS/Botanical News) mostly deal with change:
·         Perhaps a small grass roots effort to turn poppy farmers into saffron growers can change the future of Afghanistan. A few ex-US Army engineers are devoting themselves to making it happen.
·         Can a New Zealand nettle plant that causes blistering pain hold the secret to a new pain relief drug? The Mayo Clinic is getting excited.
·         Climate change, disease and a global hunger for chocolate are stressing the cacao industry. Researchers think that wild mangoes can take some of the pressure off.
·         What turned Africa’s vast ancient forests into savanna? Was it fire? Or climate change? Apparently neither: it was antelopes. And the Acacia tree genome tells the tale.
·         To really grasp the effect climate change has on forests one can study a library worth of data. Or perhaps a computer and a composer can make the data sing.

Celebrating the opening this month of a new ecology museum and living rain forest exhibit in the Middle East. The Green Planet in Dubai is the first rain forest exhibit in the Middle East and is anchored by the largest man-made tree inside any exhibit building in the world. Bringing much needed science education to the people of the U.A.E.; I was proud to play a part.

Next month, join me at the Association of Zoological Horticulture annual meeting in Cincinnati. I will again be leading a “crowd sourced” session on zoo horticulture where we explore the combined knowledge of all attendees on a specific type of exhibit. This year: “Indoor Bird Exhibits: Learning from The Flock”

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

Follow on Twitter, Facebook Or visit –  new stories every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

Paignton Zoo's Director Simon Tonge on Education, Inspiration and the New Savannah Exhibit
“I’m sure living in Africa didn’t hurt, but I think even if that hadn’t happened I would have been obsessed with animals anyway.”

After completing a zoology degree at Bristol University, Tonge launched his career at Durrell’s famous Jersey Zoo in the Channel Islands.

He worked in the reptile department for eleven years before taking two years out to train as an accountant, having decided it was time to learn more about the financial side of the business.

“The things I learned in those two years are, I would say, essential for anybody who has aspirations to be a senior manager.”

With his career firmly on track, he worked out that there were likely to be several vacancies for zoo directors around the year 2000 and was determined to position himself as a likely candidate.

“The two years as an accountant helped, then I worked at London Zoo as the Senior Curator in charge of the animal department and all the keepers, which was a good background for my current position as Director of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, and all its zoos.

“That’s how it happened.”

Students free penguin from S-African aquarium
 Two South African students have confessed to stealing a penguin called "Buddy" from a marine park and releasing him into the Indian Ocean, the park's management said Tuesday.

The endangered African black-footed penguin was taken from Bayworld in Port Elizabeth in the early hours of Wednesday last week, put in a car and taken the short distance to the coast.

The students, who have not been named, confessed to the crime and said it was a demonstration against animals being kept in captivity.

"They are convinced what they did was in the interest of the penguin," Dylan Bailey, manager of the Bayworld Oceanarium, told AFP.

"They thought what they were doing is right.

"We are still discussing the matter with their legal representative. There was no malicious intention, they did

Editorial: Puzzling reaction to penguin theft
There is much about the disappearance of Buddy the penguin that leaves one very puzzled indeed.

The bird went missing from the penguin enclosure at Bayworld last Wednesday and has still not been found.

What makes the case even more bizarre is that the two men who (through a legal representative) have owned up to removing Buddy are known to Bayworld, whose director is now refusing to make their identities known to the public and media.

This despite the fact that Bayworld actively sought our paper and readers’ help when Buddy’s disappearance first became known.

One wonders what possible reason Bayworld could have for protecting the identity of these culprits. Some would argue this only serves to condone their actions.

And, if these two were so easily able to access the facility and steal a penguin, what stops others from attempting to do the same?

Regardless of how they might justify their actions, the two committed a crime by entering Bayworld unlawfully and taking what was not theirs to take.

There is nothing that entitles them to protection, yet it appears the facility’s director does not intend to press charges, raising even more questions.

We can only hope that the police will still pursue

Revealed: how senior Laos officials cut deals with animal traffickers
Officials at the highest level of an Asian government have been helping wildlife criminals smuggle millions of dollars worth of endangered species through their territory, the Guardian can reveal.

In an apparent breach of current national and international law, for more than a decade the office of the prime minister of Laos has cut deals with three leading traffickers to move hundreds of tonnes of wildlife through selected border crossings.

In 2014 alone, these deals covered $45m (£35m) worth of animal body parts and included agreed quotas requiring the disabling or killing of 165 tigers, more than 650 rhinos and more than 16,000 elephants.

Trading in all three of those species is prohibited by Lao law and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(Cites) which came into force in Laos in 2004. The Lao government has publicly paraded its

Bearizona Wildlife Park cited by USDA after mountain lion kills sheep
Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams was cited by the feds after a mountain lion jumped onto the premises, killing a Dall sheep, ABC15 has learned.

According to an Aug. 23 inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the sheep was found dead "outside of its enclosure" back in May.

The agency notes that all outdoor housing facilities must be enclosed by a perimeter fence, of sufficient height, to keep animals and unauthorized people out. The lion jumped over an eight-foot fence to get to the sheep.

New Research Sheds Light on Snake Vision
Researchers have long known that snakes have highly variable sets of rods and cones – the specialized cells in the retina that an animal uses to detect light. But until now, most modern studies of vision in vertebrates have concentrated on mammals, birds and fish.

“There are more than 3,500 living species of snakes, with very diverse lifestyles,” said study senior author Dr. David Gower, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum, London, UK.

“Most modern work on the genetics of vision has been done on mammals, birds and fish. But studying snakes’ eyes is important for a more accurate and complete understanding of how vision functions and has evolved in vertebrates more generally.”

To investigate snake visual evolution, Dr. Gower and his colleagues from the United Kingdom, India and Australia examined the genes involved in producing visual pigments in 69 different species of snakes – as the genes vary from species to species so does the exact molecular structure of the pigments and the wavelengths of light they absorb.

They discovered that most snakes express three visual opsin genes (rh1, sws1, and lws) and are likely dichromatic in daylight – seeing two primary colors rather than the three that most humans

Sadness as founder of Twycross Zoo dies
One half of the partnership who created Twycross Zoo, has died. Nathalie Evans, who along with her lifetime business partner, Mollie Badham, founded the Leicestershire zoo, died on September 9, aged 98.

A spokesman for Twycross Zoo said: "Natalie will be sadly missed throughout the zoo world and by all those who were fortunate enough to count her as a friend."

Sarah Nathalie Evans, who was known as Nathalie, discovered her love for animals breeding dachshunds before eventually selling them worldwide. This experience led her to finance her next business venture, a pet shop in Sutton Coldfield.

The rival pet shop in the town was run by Molly Badham, and it was in the window of Nathalie's shop in 1949 that Molly saw her first monkey. The encounter lead to a unique partnership between Molly and Nathalie and their joint and enduring passion with primates began, and legendary association was born.

Zoo creates rain storms to help lemur leaf frog breed
Keepers have bred a critically endangered colour-changing frog by using artificial rain storms.
It is the first time the lemur leaf frog, found mainly in the rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama, has been bred at Paignton Zoo in Devon, England.
A team from the zoo prepared a rain chamber using a water pump and timer system to make it rain every few hours during the day.
The rainfall and humidity helped replicate the kind of conditions the frogs would encounter at the start of the wet season, when they breed.
Andy Meek, a keeper from the zoo's lower vertebrates and invertebrates department, said: "We have a total of 18 tadpoles, a number of w

Guangzhou mall rejects offer to transfer polar bear to UK zoo
A shopping mall in Guangdong province, which raised an international outcry for keeping a polar bear in its facility allegedly in miserable conditions, has turned down an offer by a British zoo to give a new home to the arctic mammal.

A petition to remove the bear, named Pizza, from its current location at the Grandview shopping center in Guangzhou gained more than half a million signatures in a campaign launched by animal rights group Animals Asia, The Independent reports.

Photos published online by the Hong Kong-based group show Pizza living in a small, prison-like room without windows, looking distressed as tourists gathered around to take pictures.

The campaign gained traction after various media outlets such as CNN, the BBC and Al Jazeera reported Pizza’s plight, dubbing it “the world’s saddest bear”.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, England, confirmed it was willing to take care of the bear.

The park maintains a facility established spe

We know exactly how the Vietnamese Javan rhino went extinct
In the dense, hilly jungles of southwest Vietnam, a lone rhino once wandered. She was the last of her subspecies and this was her home.
Cat Loc, a northern sector of Cat Tien National Park, is a part of the world once ravaged by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Today it is better known as a wildlife conservation area – but also a place where some of those efforts have failed.
The last rhino spent her days roaming across thousands of hectares, a much wider range than was thought natural for these herbivores. But then again, she had the run of the place. There were creeks and rivers where she could wallow and there was also plenty of food – like rattan, a woody climbing plant found all over the area.
But one day, a hunter peered at her through the sights of a semi-automatic weapon – and pulled the trigger. We do not know if the rhino saw her killer and we do not know how many times she was shot. But as that gunshot cracked out in echoes across the forest, the extinction of Javan rhinos in Vietnam was sealed. However, it did not h

This week Northern Ireland’s capital city is swarming with zoo professionals attending the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) conference at Belfast Waterfront.
Regarded as the biggest annual gathering of the European zoo and aquarium community and arguably the most important event in the industry’s calendar, the 4-day conference kicks off today with a jam packed programme focused on promoting biodiversity and wildlife conservation.

Belfast’s honey pot of fantastic conference facilities, excellent choice of hotels and an active European and international breeding programme to help protect endangered species, were key to attracting 700 delegates from 44 countries to the city, and generating an estimated £1.4m for the local economy.

Dr Thomas Kauffels, the chair of European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) is thrilled to bring their annual conference to Belfast for the very first time, and comments: “Belfast Zoo and the city have designed a 4-day programme guaranteed to excite, engage and enable us to explore the region’s rich culture as well as the local ecosystems.

“Having a conference centre that is flexible and able to adapt helped create the winning proposal and the perfect setting for this year’s conference. Belfast Waterfront’s fantastic conference facilities are even better than some UK centres. Its city centre location and convenience to the region’s two airports have proven extremely beneficial to our international delegates – members can fly in and go straight to a meeting,

Bannerghatta Biological Park's efforts to add giraffe to its menagerie is proving to be a test of its resilience. After four years and two failed attempts, it has finally struck a deal with Pafos Zoo in Cyprus: Two female elephants in change for two pairs of giraffe. But the issue now is how will it foot the $250,000 transportation cost? The animal will have to be brought in a special chartered flight.

And so, the biological park is now on the lookout for other zoos in India that might also be interested in an exchange with the Cyprus zoo so that the expenses can be shared.

The park will soon submit a detailed plan in this regard to the State government for its approval. Santosh Kumar, executive director, BBP, confirmed the news with Bangalore Mir

A new study based on genetic data and skull measurements has identified a new species of mammal high up in the Sikkim Himalaya.

Reported in the Journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, the new pika species, O. sikimaria is an important part of the ecosystem, and sensitive to the impacts of climate change.

Sikkim’s Daughter Nishma Dahal, the first author of the paper and a Sikkim native has been studying pikas since 2010. Little did she know on her first trip to East Sikkim that she was handling a new species of pika.

The research conducted by the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) with support from the Department of Biotechnology shows that though the species is morphologically similar to the Moupinpika, it is actually very distinct from the former from a genetic and ecological perspective.

Such discordance between genetics and morphology has never been reported in pikas, although such cases have been reported in many organisms like butterflies, arctic plants and f

Snail mail: RZSS reintroduces rare Partula snails to Tahiti
Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has provided hundreds of critically endangered Partula snails to be reintroduced to their native habitat of French Polynesia. Most species of the tree snails became extinct as a result of predation by the introduced rosy wolf snail; however, thanks to the combined conservation efforts of RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and its partners, a number of the species were rescued from complete extinction.

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has sent off five different species of Partula snail to be returned to the wild this September, with further reintroductions planne

Measuring the relationship…
I’m always wondering how far having a relationship goes in the eyes of us trainers. I mean do we value relationships the same as what we have between each other? If this is the case we might need to reconsider what having a good relationship means with the animals we work with. Working with killer whales in various facilities made me understand much better how important it is to build up a relationship, because this was depending on your own safety. The theory was if the relationship is strong enough then the safety is on a higher standard for the animal and yourself. There for we did a lot of relate sessions with the animals.

SeaWorld announced this week that it would be cutting the dividend paid to its shareholders for the current quarter and stop paying dividends altogether for the foreseeable future.

Instead the company will focus on repurchasing shares with $190 million set aside to pay for this.

SeaWorld's share price has slumped over 60% during the past three years since the release of the award-winning film Blackfish, and amid ongoing criticism over its continued display of orc

Tapirs Are Surprisingly Well Endowed

In the distant past, orangutans existed throughout southeast and southern mainland Asia, but their populations are currently only found in northern Sumatra (Indonesia) and in Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia). Throughout much of their history in captivity, there has been debate about the degree to which the orangutans living on these two islands differ genetically. Until the latter part of the 20th century, most zoological collections managed the apes as a single species, regardless of individual origin, thereby creating a large hybrid population. Significant genetic studies performed in the 1980s and 1990s demonstrated that the orangutans from the two islands are indeed genetically distinct and classifiable as separate species – Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean orangutan) and Pongo abelii (Sumatran orangutan).

Bird flu poses threat to penguins - scientists
Scientists are warning of new threats to penguins on Antarctica from diseases spread by migratory birds.
A modern strain of bird flu has been found in penguins living on the snowy continent, although it does not seem to be making them ill.
Conservationists say penguins need better protection through monitoring for new diseases and safeguarding their breeding and fishing grounds.
Bird flu is an infectious disease of poultry and wild birds.
Scientists found an unusual strain of bird flu among penguins on Antarctica a few years ago.
A second strain has now been discovered, suggesting viruses are reaching the continent more often than previou

Wildlife Crime Bulletin

Extinction looms for the once-ubiquitous hornbills of Belum Temengor
We are in danger of losing another iconic wildlife, writes Elena Koshy “LANGIT terus tak ada — dilitupi oleh burung ni,” (couldn’t even see the sky for the birds...) the weathered face of the “Batin” or village headman of the Orang Asli village of Chiong in Temengor looks wistful as he stares off into the distance, recalling the long past days where the skies were once filled with thousands of Plain-Pouched Hornbills making their migratory journey across the still waters of the Temengor Lake. Flocks of hornbills covering our skies were common sight in the deep forests of Belum Temengor in the 1990s and up to the early 2000s. However, in recent years and from the recent Hornbill Survey undertaken by the Ecotourism & Conservation Society Malaysia (ECOMY) at the Royal Belum State Park late last month, there’s an alar

Forced to pose for selfies with crowds after performing in portable chlorine pools: Sad life of dolphins captured for Indonesia's traveling circuses
Pictures from one of Indonesia's popular travelling dolphin circus have revealed the cruel conditions the sea creatures are being being kept in.
More than wild 72 dolphins have been caught from the ocean and kept in captivity as part of travelling circuses that perform across Indonesia, according to The Black Fish.
In Semarang, west of Jakarta, crowds pay very little to watch a man command dolphins to do tricks with balls, jump through hoops and perform flips.

It's part of the furniture but without a Dutchman and Bertie, Dublin Zoo could have shut forever
DESPITE BEING A staple of Dublin and one of the most popular visitor attractions in Ireland, there was a time when the capital was faced with the possibility of losing Dublin Zoo.
The organisation was nearly on its last legs financially at the turn of the millennium and if it wasn’t for government intervention in 2006, the zoo may well have been forced to close its doors for good.
“I walked in 15 years ago and I scratched my head,” says Leo Oosterweghel, the Dutchman who joined as director of Dublin Zoo from Melbourne Zoo in 2001 to try and reinvigorate the organisation.
On a worldwide basis, state backing in zoos is quite rare, according to Oosterweghel, who says Dublin Zoo has one man in particular to thank for ring fencing the €18 million in funding that has helped bring the organisation back fr

Exmoor Zoo staff left heartbroken after all 10 penguins die
Exmoor Zoo staff have been left heartbroken after all its penguins died.

The zoo reported today that all 10 of the birds had died from a quick and devastating outbreak of avian malaria.

There have been penguins at the zoo, near Bratton Fleming, since it opened in 1982, and some of the birds that died today are children of the original birds.

Hunting Mudpuppies: On the Trail (and in the River) with Herpetologist Stephen Nelson
The Hiwassee River ripples like a slippery salamander, reflecting the flinty color of the sky. Then Stephen Nelson’s head breaks the smooth surface, and he rises from the chill water with a gasp, holding a gallon Ziploc bag. His scuba mask and labored walk toward shore give him a robotic look as water pours off his wetsuit.

Nelson yanks off his mask with a smack, revealing eyes pinned to the bag. It’s half full of water in which swims a sleek, shadowy creature normally accustomed to hiding in dark, wet corners. It’s small for an animal, but big for a salamander.

“It’s a common mudpuppy,” says Nelson, a herpetology keeper at Zoo Knoxville. The salamanders supposedly got their common name from making high-pitched whines when distressed, rather like a puppy’s bark.

But Nelson has never heard one utter a sound.

This animal both is, and isn’t, what he was seeking. Although he’s sampling for mudpuppies and this one will add to the genetic database he is buildi

Cheetah is now 'running for its very survival'
Pitiful scenes of cheetah cubs lying emaciated and bewildered highlight one of the cruellest but least-publicised examples of illegal wildlife trafficking.
Baby cheetahs are so prized as exotic pets that entire litters are seized from their mothers when they may only be four to six weeks old.
Each tiny animal can fetch as much as $10,000 on the black market and end up being paraded on social media by wealthy buyers in Gulf states.
But the trade exacts a terrible toll on a species that claims a superlative status as the fastest land animal on the planet but which now faces a serious threat to its survival.

Chinese Malls Are Filled With Sad Animals
Want to see something on a grand scale? Don’t head into nature—head to a Chinese mall. The country’s shopping obsession has taken the indoor shopping center concept to a new level, packing each mall with amenities and entertainment designed to lure in customers. But while the thought of a shopping spree might sound fun, the mall is anything but enjoyable for some of its residents: exotic animals. As Echo Huang Yinyin writes for Quartz, thousands of wild animals call Chinese malls home, living in a state of captivity for the sake of selfies.

Yinyin tracks the fate of animals like Pizza, a three-year-old polar bear held in captivity in The Grandview mall in Guangzhou. Pizza is stuffed into Grandview Mall Ocean World, an aquarium and zoo that features everything from Arctic wolves and foxes to walruses, beluga whales and other species. The animals’ keepers have been accused of everything from killing animals in transit to storing animals in filthy, too-small tanks. Pizza the polar bear gained international fame when he became the subject of a petition to release him from his isolated conditions. Outside experts claim that Pizza’s behavior—pacing, listlessness and staring—while mall

Half of Niabi Zoo’s animal handlers resign
Major changes are underway at the Niabi Zoo.

According to zoo director, Lee Jackson, five of the 10 animal handlers at the zoo have resigned. Three of the handlers have already left the zoo. Another two will leave in the next month.

Jackson says some of the employees have been looking for other jobs for months and it is a coincidence they received job offers close together. He also says some employees are leaving because they are unhappy with so

Niabi Zoo in 'crisis'
Five of the 10 animal handlers at Niabi Zoo have resigned, leaving the new director scrambling to find qualified, temporary help.

Two of the handlers have accepted jobs at larger zoos, director Lee Jackson said Tuesday. They gave notice and are working their final days at Niabi, located in Coal Valley.

Three others resigned this month, including assistant director and former interim zoo director Dan Meates. His wife, Leisje Meates, also a handler, has resigned as well. One keeper, Bryan Pohlmeier, simply "threw his keys down" on a desk, he said.

In about a week, an animal handler on loan from the National Zoo is to arrive to help temporarily, and Niabi is advertising for permanent replacements for all five positions.

"I've also reached out to several other zoos closer to home to see if they can help us out," Jackson said.

"We have nothing to hide out there," said Jeff Craver, director of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission, which is Niabi's governing body. "We have lost staff. Are we trying to get staff out there to cover the crisis? Yes."

Pohlmeier, who has worked for the zoo since January, was not bashful about listing his compl

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

Peter earns his living as an 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