Monday, January 30, 2017

Zoo News Digest 30th January 2017 (ZooNews 941)

Zoo News Digest 30th January 2017 
(ZooNews 941)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Sorry, I've been busy. One day I will figure out how to fit more than 24 hours into a day.

Working with animals is not a nine to five is 24/7... and so it has been during my nearly 50 years in this business. There have been good days and bad days but I have never regretted my career choice and loved it from day one. I look forward to the next 50 but I know I won't last that long. Still I believe I have a good few years left in me yet.

My Zoo News Digest Facebook Page goes from strength to strength and I enjoy searching for zoo/conservation stories which zoo people will find interesting or can relate to. It is very time consuming as is the consultancy side of my work. Then at the end of it all there is my day to day work, I love that too. It's my day off today but I have already been into work twice. This really for my own satisfaction and interest because I trust my staff 100%.

I hope to return to weekly mail outs of this blog from next week. I have not included links this week save this one below.

 Why this one? Well because from the single posting on Zoo News Digest Facebook Page it reached over 82,000 people and was shared over 200 times.

Trump's Wall Threatens 111 Endangered Species

Though combined posts in general will reach over a quarter of a million in any one week this single one was special even though it wasn't scientific and just skipped over things. Of interest to me though was the various zoo web pages which didn't share it. It is almost as if politics were playing a part. Ha Ha.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 52,000 '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, 


“ Hello,
I am working on a presentation for an upcoming conference – the International Zoo Design Conference ( ).  My topic is “Working with Consultants in a Zoological and /or Aquarium Setting”.  I have prepared two short 16-question surveys (each similar but with slightly different wording) in order to better understand those experiences.

Links to the questionnaires (select the one that is most appropriate to your employment) are:
1.  (intended for people who work in a facility that holds wildlife in exhibits for public viewing, education, conservation, and research including zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, nature centers, etc.), and 
2. (intended for people typically on a Design Team such as Architects, Landscape Architects, Engineers, etc.).

There are only 16 short questions and should not take more than 9-12 minutes.   The deadline is Jan. 31st.    All information is confidential and anonymous: respondents are not tracked and there is no request for names of the respondent, facility, firm, or project.




Les Zoos dans le Monde

****************************************************** in January 2017

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Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



Polecat Swamp at the Otter Centre in Hankensbuettel, Germany, is a
replication of a polecat habitat. Since polecats barely become tame and
are difficult to a accomodate, the animals on display are
polecat-colored ferrets or hybrids between both species.

Here is the German original:



We would like to invite you to give a presentation!
Please kindly submit the abstract of your presentation by January 27th.

ZooLex together with Wroclaw Zoo organizes an international zoo design
conference. The conference will take place in Wroclaw, Poland, from 4th
to 7th April 2017. Registration is open:

The theme of the conference is "Animal welfare through built-in
enrichment". We propose the following topics for presentations:

- Global perspective of zoo design trends and future developments

- Built-in Enrichment for special needs:
introducing and separating individuals, nocturnal and crepuscular
animals indoors and outdoors, aquaria, solitary animals, bachelor
groups, large breeding groups, mixed species exhibits, walk-through
exhibits, release to the wild

- Design with plants:
browse, deep mulch, substrates, drainage, green walls, tree protection

- Working with external experts

Inspired? - Please download the form for your submission:
We look forward to receiving your abstract by January 27th!


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and




18th International Conservation Workshop for Arabia’s Biodiversity at the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife from 6-9 February 2017. 




Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

Nature keeps on surprising and delighting. December's stories at (NEWS/Botanical News)
might ignite a little wonder on a December day:

. In prehistoric times Europe was more forested. What happened? Ask
the Stone Age hunter-gatherers. (And take away their matches!)

. Wild chimpanzees raid cocoa plantations in West Africa. But
African farmers have found the up side.

. Why don't the rarest, most uncommon wild fruit species eventually
disappear? Because birds maintain their populations. In fact, they prefer
the rarest species.

. Are the Galapagos the most studied place on earth? Well, if so, it
is paying off. A major unrecognized seed disperser has been discovered
hiding in plain sight.

. And a pollinator has been discovered where no one expected to find
one. in the sea. pollinating seagrass.

While we're expanding our biology knowledge, we can also explore what the
world is listening to. This great site allows you to move around the globe
listening to radio stations from almost any country. Think of it as a
GoogleEarth of radio stations. An insidious time waster but a great

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.


Zoo Horticulture

Consulting And Design

Greening design teams since 1987



Vulture News


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New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

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

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

About me
After more than 48 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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

BSc (Hons) Project - Can we afford to lose African penguins?

BSc (Hons) Project Institute for Coastal & Marine Research (ICMR) Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Port Elizabeth 

Can we afford to lose African penguins? 

Duration: 2017 

Supervisor: Dr Lorien Pichegru, Institute for Coastal and Marine Research

Co-supervisors: Prof. Mandy Lombard, Institute for Coastal and Marine Research
Peter Myles, Tournet Africa. 

Bursary attached to the project: R40 000. 


Penguins are highly iconic species much loved by the general public. They are also among the most threatened seabird species (Croxall et al. 2012). 
African penguin numbers have decreased by 70% since 2004 in South Africa (Crawford et al. 2011), and major conservation efforts have been undertaken to reverse this trend, such as the removal of predators on colonies or the implementation of artificial burrows for shelter against extreme weather events (Pichegru 2013). 
One of the main factors behind the decline in numbers is a lack of prey, owing to a recent shift over the past decades in the distribution and abundance of their preferred prey, sardines and anchovies (Crawford et al. 2015). This shift has resulted in competition with the purse-seine fishery for the same resource pool of small pelagic fish, especially around the penguin breeding colonies, to which adults must return in order to feed their offspring regularly (Pichegru et al. 2012). 
The purse-seine fishing industry is the largest fishery in South Africa in terms of landings (>600 000 t annually, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), unpubl. data), contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and conservation management decisions are traded off against human livelihoods and jobs. 
The African penguin, however, is the only penguin in Africa and a major tourist attraction in South Africa (Lewis et al. 2012). Unfortunately, there is limited information on direct income generated from penguin-related tourism in South Africa and its contribution to the GDP, particularly in the Eastern Cape. 
This project will estimate the direct and indirect contribution of African penguins to the national and provincial economy in terms of direct revenues and job creation in order to inform trade-offs in conservation-fishery management decisions. 


Crawford, R.J.M., Altwegg, R., Barham, B.J., Barham, P.J., Durant, J.M., Dyer, B.M., Makhado, A.B., Pichegru, L., Ryan, P.G., Underhill, L.G., Upfold, L., Visagie, J., Waller, L.J., Whittington, P.A., 2011. Collapse of South Africa’s penguins in the early 21st century: a consideration of food availability. Afr. J. Mar. Sci. 33, 139-156.

Crawford, R.J.M., Makhado, A.B., Whittington, P.A., Randall, R.M., Oosthuizen, W.H., Waller, L.J. (2015) A changing distribution of seabirds in Suth Africa – the possible impact of climate and its consequences. Front. Ecol. Evol. (3), 1-10. 

Croxall, J.P., Butchart, S.H.M., Lascelles, B., Stattersfield, A.J., Sullivan, B., Symes A., Taylor, P. (2012). Seabird conservation status, threats and priority actions: a global assessment. Bird Conserv. Inter. 22, 1-34. 

Lewis, S.E.F., Turpie, J.K., Ryan, P.G. 2012. Are African penguins worth saving? The ecotourism value of the Boulders Beach colony. Afr J Mar Sci 34:497–504. 

Pichegru, L. 2013. Increasing breeding success of an Endangered penguin: artificial nests or culling predatory gulls? Bird Conserv. Inter. 23, 296-308

Pichegru, L., Ryan, P.G., van Eeden, R., Reid, T., Grémillet, D., Wanless, R. 2012. Industrial fishing, no-take zones and endangered penguins. Biol. Conserv. 156: 117-125

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant