Sorry to learn of
the young Japanese zookeeper being badly injured by a lion. I do hope she makes
a full and speedy recovery.
What can I say? What was done to that poor hippo was the work of a complete and utter sicko. What kind of person does something like that? What do they get out of it?
So SeaWorld is
coming to the UAE……We have heard this before and it never happened. Around a
year ago there was another story about it setting up in Saudi Arabia but I have
heard nothing since so perhaps that got shelved too. This time though there
have been several press reports about the plans for the UAE. All of them have
been in a similar vein and say something along the lines of "the first dedicated marine life research,
rescue, rehabilitation and return center in the UAE, with world-class
facilities and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life."
Noble intentions I'm sure and I greatly admire the work that SeaWorld does in
this area but such a statement suggests that the UAE is in great need for such
a center. If there is then this is news to me. The UAE already more than
adequately cares for turtles…. and whale and dolphin strandings are as rare as
hens teeth. Perhaps it is uncharitable of me but would we suddenly see a sudden
need to 'rescue' Dugongs? So rare in captivity…I have only seen one and I
believe the only two captive specimens on display are being held in Australia.
A Dugong exhibition would be impressive, special and different…..but needed? Of
course I could be totally wrong….but watch this space. We already have dolphin
shows in the UAE and at least three collections holding them so there would be
a need to come up with something to set themselves apart especially as Orcas
are out of the picture.
I was shocked and
sickened to the core to learn of the murder of the baby Rhinos at Thula Thula
orphanage. Staff assaulted and the stumps of horns removed from the two babies.
What would you have done? What would I have done? I cannot really imagine. It is
a few years back that I warned that all zoos, anywhere and everywhere need to
keep an extra special guard on their Rhinos. There are some very nasty, cruel
and corrupt people involved in the Rhino horn market. It should be noted that
we have not yet seen how many animals were poached and killed in 2016. One
wonders why the officials are being so tight lipped on this. If I were to
hazard a guess I would say there has been no reduction and possibly even an
increase in the carnage.
So the infamous
'Tiger Temple' is going to open again under a different name (see the links
below). This is terrible news. There is no excuse for this. It is corruption at
work in very high places. I doubt very much that there is anything that anyone
can do. Like the Rhino Horn this is just a back door opening to supply body
parts to the Asian market. Sri Racha Tiger Zoo has been doing it for years
(along with others) and as obvious as it is officials don't seem to be able to
see it….or perhaps they do but are only too aware that there are some very
nasty people involved in the animal trade. I am not a mathematician but it only
takes very simple adding up to work out that something is seriously wrong here.
If you continue to add tiger cubs in at the bottom and yet the numbers at the
top remain the same then the sum must be wrong. They cannot disappear into thin
air. They ARE going out the back door. There are NO zoos in Thailand which need
I continue to be
baffled by people who are in favour of breeding big cat hybrids and colour
morphs. They get so angry when they get any criticism and try and argue it is
clever or has happened in the wild or they are raising money to help the
'species' or it is educational. It isn't…..pure and simple…it isn't. I have yet
to see an argument put forward that has made me think different….and I do read
them all. All big cats need to be in officially sanctioned breeding programmes
where breeding only takes place on the say so of the studbook holder. Anything
less than this is reprehensible and is ANTI conservation.
Some heated debate on the Perth Zoo 'Elephant Yoga' sessions. I posted the link but did not comment one way or another and yet am still attacked by Trolls. There are some extremely ignorant people out there. I haven't seen enough of the exercise to form a judgement.
Delighted to have my team win best poster at the IAATE conference. Well done to all of our team past and present because all have played a part but especially to Eric who 'sold' it at the conference.
Delighted to have my team win best poster at the IAATE conference. Well done to all of our team past and present because all have played a part but especially to Eric who 'sold' it at the conference.
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,
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
Hippo dies at zoo
after 'cowardly and inhumane' attack
Police in El
Salvador are investigating a "cowardly and inhumane" attack at the
National Zoological Park that killed a hippopotamus named Gustavito.
hippo suffered "multiple blows on different parts of the body" from
"blunt and sharp objects" in Wednesday's attack, the Ministry of
Culture said in a statement.
The San Salvador zoo
said veterinarians had been caring for the animal around the clock since
discovering that he had been attacked. Despite their efforts, he died Sunday.
The zoo plans to perform a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Staff had noticed on
Thursday that the hippo was displaying unusual behavior -- spending most of the
day under water in his enclosure. He also had stopped eating.
The statement from
the ministry said that during an examination veterinarians noticed he was
suffering from "bruises, lacerations on the head and body, cramps and
Zoo director Vladen
Henríquez said Gustavito
death list revealed ahead of crunch meeting over zoo licence application
A HARROWING death
list reveals for the first time how nearly 500 animals - including tigers, lion
cubs and giraffes - have died at a popular zoo in less than four years.
emaciation and hypothermia are among the reasons for the above average
mortality rate at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton, while trauma and infighting
caused by overstocked pens also account for the demise of scores of exhibits.
The shocking log,
which provides a distressing catalogue of injuries and illnesses endured by a
wide range of species at the site formally known as Dalton Zoo between December
2013 and September last year, has been branded the worst seen in 60 years by national
campaigning charity the Captive Animal Protection Society.
Born Free: 50 years
There is a moving
moment in the film Born Free, when Elsa the lioness walks towards Joy and
George Adamson, played by actors Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna. Elsa had
spent a week trying to fend for herself in northern Kenya. As she approaches
the couple, they see that their experiment hasn’t worked: she is thin, bloodied
conservationists Joy and George were attempting to return the lioness they
loved to the wild, but her injuries proved to George that she was unable to
survive in her natural habitat. She had grown too accustomed to human care.
“What’s wrong with a
zoo anyway?” George asks Joy. “Is freedom so important?”
“Yes!” cries Joy
with passion. “She was born free and she has the
Cambodia to keep
seized ivory, not destroy it
Prime Minister Hun
Sen announced on Friday that Cambodia will keep seized ivory, rhinoceros horns
and other confiscated goods to show in exhibitions. Cambodia will not burn or
destroy the items, he said.
Speaking at a
closing ceremony for the Interior Ministry’s annual meeting on Friday, the
prime minister agreed to an Environment Ministry request to not destroy all the
seized ivory, rhinoceros horns and other animal parts and instead keep them to
be exhibited, according to a report in Khmer Times.
Mr Hun Sen said:
“Our America counterparts asked us to destroy it, but it is not the duty of
America in Cambodia. America has no rights here. Cambodia will keep it [ivory]
for an exhibition.”
He added that some
ivory was from South Africa, a region in Africa where elephants are under
threat. If the ivory was destroyed, all the evidence would also be destroyed,
“America has no
right to order Cambodia’s administration to do anything and I agreed to keep it
for exhibition,” Mr Hun Sen said, add
New Oakland Zoo
exhibit expands acreage to rival San Diego Zoo, among nation's largest
On the ridge of
Knowland Park overlooking five counties and the sparkling waters of the bay,
the Oakland Zoo’s expensive and contentious expansion is beginning to take
After 2½ decades of
planning and years of wrangling with local opponents, construction has sketched
the outline of the zoo’s ambitious California Trail exhibit. The first of 16
eight-person aerial gondolas imported from Switzerland to carry visitors over
the exhibit was being mounted onto its wires Thursday.
The California Trail
attraction, envisioned as a showcase of the state’s biodiversity, ironically
drew the ire of local conservationist groups in its planning stages because of
its potential impact on Knowland Park’s wildlife, particularly the federally protected
Alameda whipsnake and a rare type of chaparral plant.
Zoo officials say
the expansion will encourage stewardship by offering a unique look at
California wildlife past and present, and that building on lower ground would
have increased the project’s env
CZA to start
conservation program of 26 critically endangered animals
Member secretary of
Central Zoo Authority (CZA), DN Singh said that CZA is going to initiate
conservation measures for 26 critically endangered species which include snow
leopard, musk deer, red panda, rhinoceros in zoos across the country; also in
the works is marking of all zoo animals to prepare a comprehensive database
animals in all Indian zoos. This, officials said, will be a path-breaking
initiative that will help in cross-breeding, treatment of diseases and
conservation of animals at global level.
An annual five-day
conference of zoo directors of 25 states started
seriously injures female keeper at Nagano Prefecture zoo
A female zoo
attendant in Nagano Prefecture was attacked and seriously wounded by a lion
According to police
and local authorities, the 22-year-old keeper at a municipal zoo in the city of
Komoro was bitten by the 1.8-meter-long female lion, weighing about 90 kg (200
pounds), in the chest and other body areas while cleaning the cage in the morning.
After the attack,
she was taken to a hospital.
Officials in the
city said the lion should have been confined to a holding pen behind its cage
during the cleaning work.
China to Start
Breeding Orcas in Captivity
China has launched
its first orca-breeding facility, as other countries abandon the practice
widely understood to be cruel.
There are five male
and four female orcas at the country's new breeding base at Chimelong Ocean
Kingdom in Guangdong Province, the Global Times reports. Some 61 orcas are
believed to be in captivity today around the world.
Around the world,
organizations and states are shutting down breeding practices. SeaWorld, the
giant US aquarium and marine life park, ended orca breeding last year. The
governor of California signed legislation last week banning orca breeding and
orca performances in the state, effective this June, and legislation introduced
to the US Congress this month would end orca captivity in the US. A number of US states have already banned the
practice, as have some countries.
Orcas in captivity
have been shown to have much shorter life-spans and to display abnormal
behavior not seen in the wild — one of the reasons public opinion has turned
against their captivity and use in performances. Violence, inbreeding and many
stillbirths are just some of the issues that go along with an orca breeding
program. One of SeaWorld's stud orcas, Tilikum, was notoriously violent,
ultimately killing three people, two of them trainers.
But China is lagging
behind public opinion on this one. The country's economic rise has created a
newly wealthy middle class eager for entertainment, and China is in the middle
of a marine park building boom. There were 39 facilities in operation last year,
with 14 under construction, a Takepart.com feature reveals. They range from
flagships like Chimelong, which opened in 2014, to "shopping mall
aquariums that shoehorn belugas and other animals into tiny t
Are We the Last
Generation to See Polar Bears in the Wild?
Is the extraordinary
polar bear going the same way as the dodo? A large flightless bird, the dodo
was last seen in the 1600s, when it was most likely clubbed on its island home
by protein-starved sailors looking for some meat for their cooking pot.
While our generation
is not likely to be guilty of eating the last wild polar bear, we are
contributing to the rapid decline of the iconic species because of the industrial emissions we have been pumping
into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution (read the explanation of
this further along this post).
Take a moment this
International Polar Bear Day (February 27,
#polarbearday) to reflect on this incredible species and how we stand to
lose it in the wild by the e
Get fit and join a
jumbo exercise session with elephants
It is not every day
you see an elephant attempting the downward dog — but yoga is part of the
routine for Perth Zoo’s Asian elephants Tricia and Permai.
The gigantic duo
also stamp around the zoo grounds most mornings to stretch their legs.
Zoo visitors can
join the magnificent creatures when they venture out of their enclosures as
part a new exercise program.
Elephants is the latest initiative to give close interaction with the animals.
A zoo spokeswoman
said the morning sessions consisted of a 45-minute workout and a 15- minute
interaction with the elephants. “A personal trainer will put them through their
paces, then they’ll get to meet the elephants, who may join in the
48 crested iguanas
released in the wild
A TOTAL of 48
crested iguanas that were bred in captivity were released back into the wild on
Monuriki Island in the Mamanuca's on Friday.
This marked one of
the first successful programs around the Pacific where animals bred in
captivity were reintroduced to wild life.
The project which
took seven years was a collaboration between the National Trust of Fiji and
mataqali Vunaivi of Yanuya Village who are owners of Monuriki Island.
several years ago by iguana specialists found that iguanas on the island were
on the verge of extinction.
This was largely
because of rodents eating their eggs and hatchlings and goats eating vegetation
which they depended on for survival.
Fiji is home to
several unique species of iguanas found nowhere else on earth.
Crested iguanas from
Monuriki Island have a distinctive genetic imprint that tells them apart from
iguanas found in other parts of the country.
National Trust of
Fiji (NTF) projects officer Jone Niukula said in 2010 they collaborated with
Birdlife International in eradicating the rodents and goats.
The same year they
had captured 20 iguanas from the Island which they took to Kula Wild Adventure
Park to breed.
In 2015, 32 iguanas
produced in captivity were released into the wild.
On Friday, 17 of the
20 iguanas that s
Active ageing for
Singapore Zoo's 26-year-old polar bear Inuka
Even old polar bears
need active ageing. At 26, the Singapore Zoo's locally born-and-bred Inuka is
already way past its prime.
The average lifespan
for polar bears is between 15 and 18 in the wild and 25 in captivity. In human
years, Inuka is now in its 70s.
This means Inuka
belongs to a special senior animal care programme, reserved for animals near
the end of their natural lifespan.
The woolly flying
squirrel: On the trail of the world's largest glider
northernmost reaches of Pakistan are dry, bleak and devastatingly beautiful.
They're also home to
an animal that is a metre long, with a pelt of silky fur as long as your pinky
finger, and whose dried urine is said to have aphrodisiac qualities.
It's a mammal that
can glide, a woolly flying squirrel that was thought to be extinct until 1996.
Named by one of the
most prolific animal labellers in history, Oldfield Thomas, the woolly flying
squirrel was described from skins brought back from the mountains.
Thomas never saw a
live woolly flying squirrel, but he did note that its teeth were very different
from anything you'd ever expect in a glider.
what they call high-crowned, or hypsodont dentition," says Stephen
Jackson, an associate of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
you think of hypsodont teeth in mammals, you think of ungulate or hooved
animals, which feed on really abrasive material like grass.
'It's very scary in
the forest': should Finland's wolves be culled?
The story of a kill
is told in the snow. On the Finnish island of Porosaari, we find the first paw
print. “That’s a male,” says Asko Kettunen, retired border guard, hunter and
tracker. How can he be sure? “It’s big.”
Five ravens rise
from dark pines, croaking in the icy silence; they will scavenge anything
caught by the wolves. We wade through knee-deep snow. There’s a spot of vivid
blood and a tuft of moose hair, cleanly cut, which Kettunen deduces has been
ripped from a living animal. This, he says, is the moment the wolves made
contact. First they try to puncture the intestines; if they succeed, the moose
may run on, but the damage is done.
We find moose
tracks, each hoof print far apart: the animal was running. Kettunen points to
wolf prints on either side, to where a second and third wolf joined the chase.
There are blood spots and more hair and a pine sapling snapped in two. “The
moose collided with a tree, so it was not that well,” Kettunen says, with
There are spots of
blood by every moose print now. Finally, up the hill, is the kill zone. A young
moose has been reduced to two front legs and a skin detached precisely from the
body, intestines that spill like butcher’s sausages and a mound of freshly chewed
grass where its stomach once was. Kettunen thinks that five wolves feasted here
the previous night. We find faeces and a curved bed of snow where a contented
wolf took a postprandial doze.
Finland has a wolf
problem. Five and a half million humans share the country with an estimated 235
wolves, and that’s too many, say rural Finns, whose livestock and hunting dogs
are being killed. Some parents are scared that wolves will attack their children.
“Before, wolves were afraid of people,” Kettunen tells me. “Now people are
afraid of wolves.” For the past three years, the government has assuaged these
fears with a wolf cull.
announcement of rhino poaching stats
The fate of South
Africa’s rhinos continue to hang in the balance as the South African government
dithers over releasing rhino poaching statistics.
Three times in as
many days,the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) have postponed a
scheduled media briefing of the rhino poaching information.
In response to
concerns raised previously over the Minister of Environment, Edna Molewa’s lack
of communication in relation to rhino poaching stats, the DEA last week
published an official statement promising to soon “provide progress in the
fight against rhino poaching”.
But each time a date
was set, they postponed. The latest postponement, announced just before
Friday’s intended briefing, did not provide any reasons for the delay and
simply stated that “a new date will be communicated soon.”
Allison Thomson of
OSCAP says: “The lack of transparency with regards to poaching stats is
debilitating for rhino owners who need to make decisions about the safety and
Time to bust a myth:
not all mammals are warm-blooded
When BBC Earth went
onto Facebook and asked our audience if there are any cold-blooded mammals, we
got a strong reaction.
"This is a
silly question," wrote Clay Walker. "The definition of being a mammal
includes being warm blooded."
Mark Josefsberg was
similarly taken aback. "You insult our collective intelligence."
We really did not
set out to upset anyone! We just wondered if, the natural world being the
varied place that it is, there might be a few outliers – and it turns out that
on Vancouver Aquarium's Announcement
Aquarium made a significant announcement today about their beluga whale
program, including the important research and conservation work they have done
to protect this vulnerable species.
Many people may not
know much about beluga whales, other than they recognize them when they see
them. A leading example of why we need to educate people is the beluga whale
population in the St. Lawrence Seaway, the waterway that connects the Great
Lakes to our oceans. Although belugas worldwide are not endangered, there are
three isolated populations of beluga whales that are critically endangered
because of human activities such as noise, pollution, shipping vessel traffic,
and industrial activity that cause disease, reduce habitat quality and
contaminate the food supply. The beluga population in the St. Lawrence Estuary
is now at about 800 whales and annually decreasing by an estimated 1-1.5
percent. You can learn more about SeaWorld’s efforts here.
As a committed
partner and an industry leader in protecting wildlife, we wanted to take a
moment to comment about The Vancouver Aquarium’s decision, as well as applaud
them for taking vitals steps in continuing their efforts to protect this
Here’s a note from
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment veterina
Hunt for a safe
haven for world's rarest marsupial continues
The hunt is on for a
new home for the world's rarest marsupial, the Gilbert's potoroo, off Western
Australia's south coast.
Esperance are among areas being assessed for their suitability for the
critically endangered species.
The marsupial was
believed to be extinct until a small population was discovered at Two Peoples
Bay near Albany in 1994.
rediscovery, efforts to safeguard that stronghold population of about 40
animals have suffered several setbacks, and the species is on the brink of
The population at
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve plummeted to an estimated six potoroos after
bushfires razed 90 per cent of the mammal's habitat in 2015.
Action Group chairman Ron Dorn sai
Listening in on
Discovery Center’s research on Cuban crocodiles is continuing! As breeding
season ramps up, both of our pairs of Cuban crocodiles are engaging in various
aspects of courtship as well as territorial displays. We are monitoring their
behavior every day for several hours from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. More specifically,
we are listening for and recording vocalizations. Crocodilians utilize a
variety of communication channels, one of which is acoustic. When we are
monitoring the crocs, we track who is vocalizing and in what context he or she
made the vocalization. When we download the recordings captured from inside the
exhibit with microphones, we can tease out the different types of vocalizations
the crocodiles are using and why they are using them. This research will
contribute the few other studies out there that have investigated crocodile
vocalizations. We are excited to continue are research on this critically
endangered crocodilian and hope you can see some of their unique and complex
behaviors when visiting the Reptile Discovery Center.
exciting Cuban crocodile work happening outside of the Reptile Discovery Center
as well. In mid-February I traveled to Cuba to meet a researcher from the
University of Havana, and the biologist at the Crocodile Farm in Zapata. The
trip was amazing! The crocodile farm is successfully breeding and rearing
thousands of Cuban crocodiles each year. These animals are bred primarily for
conservation. They also release crocodiles into the wild to bolster wild
populations. This is extremely important for the Cuban crocodile as its numbers
are dwindling du
Turkish mayor elephants for ancient Hebrew inscription
Miri Regev used an impromptu trip to southern Turkey for a basketball game to
offer a different kind of trade: Two elephants for an ancient inscription from
Jerusalem, currently housed in a Turkish museum, that is considered one of the
most important ancient Hebrew inscriptions in existence.
Building the Next
SeaWorld in the UAE
December 2016, SeaWorld has entered into a partnership to build a new park on
Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with Miral, the developer of Yas
Island. This will be the first new SeaWorld park in decades, and the first
without orca whales. “We’re hiring new talent and smart companies for this, and
it will feed ideas into the rest of the system,” said Esparza. He sees the
area’s growing mix of entertainment and cultural attractions – including the
Louvre, the Guggenheim and Ferrari World – as desirable neighbors.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
is projected to open by 2022. One of the pillars of its development is what the
company refers to as an “R4 center”: the first dedicated marine life research,
rescue, rehabilitation and return center in the UAE, with world-class facilities
and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life. SeaWorld Abu
Dhabi will integrate up-close animal ex
Cat Experts: Ligers
and Other Designer Hybrids Pointless and Unethical
Ever heard of a
liger? It’s the offspring of a male lion and female tiger. There’s also the
tigon, which has a lion mother and tiger father. And the leopon, the progeny of
a lion and a leopard—not to be outdone by the jagulep, a jaguar-leopard mix.
aren’t found in nature. Lions and tigers don’t overlap in the wild (except in
India’s Gir Forest, where until now no ligers have been found). And big cats in
the same territory don’t cross the species line—they’re not interested in each
other, just as humans aren’t drawn to chimps.
animals are the offspring of big cats that crossbreed in captivity and they're
destined to become curiosities in zoos and wildlife parks. While it might seem
fun to see one of these oddballs in the flesh, advocates of big cat
conservation say this hybridi
pack up their trunks for a move to their new home
MOVING home is one
of the most stressful things you can do in life – especially when it involves
relocating nine elephants weighing up to four tonnes each.
But that mammoth
task is under way at Whipsnade Zoo, where bosses have poured two million pounds
into creating the perfect home for the herd, including eight-month-old calf
Roughly the size of
three tennis courts and around four times larger than their current base, the
new barn will let visitors get closer than ever to the majestic creatures. A
glass viewing platform will make sure guests have a great view of the animal action,
but for the first time they will also be able to hear the huge beasts commu
Our latest project
update is on Blackpool Zoo’s new elephant house
The project is part
of a £5m spending programme at the East Park Drive attraction.
The facility will replace the former enclosure which was 75 years old and was
built originally as an aircraft hangar.
It is due to open in August this year. Zoo chiefs say the new elephant house
has been specially designed around the complex welfare need of the mammoth
The plans include sand floors to a depth of one metre, a building height
suitable for bulls and cows, high-level feeding baskets, the most suitable
environmental conditions, and a flexible layout with protected access for zoo
The zoo currently only has one elephant Kate but the facility would help bring
a new elephant family to Blackpool. The enclosure, at the north east side of
the zoo, will feature a raised viewing platform, meaning visitors ca
Corporation seeks adequate security at zoo
Keeping in view the
law and order situation in the country, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s
director of culture, sports and recreation has written a letter to the police,
requesting deployment of security personnel at the entry gate of the Karachi
Zoo, along with a female officer to search women entering the premises.
The letter, written
on February 20, reads that the zoo requires at least five female guards to
search women as male guards are unable to check female visitors to the zoo. The
letter also demands that strict security measures be taken in the surrounding areas
of the zoo. It has also been forwarded to the City SSP Office, Garden SP
Office, the SHO of the women’s police station, District South assistant
commissioner and the mayor’s office.
Talking to The
Express Tribune, Karachi Zoological Garden Chief Security Officer Sajjad
Hussain said that hundreds of people visit the zoo, therefore strict security
measures must be taken inside the premises as well.
He added that though
the zoo has security guards and wardens, they are without weapons and have been
deployed at the four exit and entry gates for physical searching. He added they
have also requested the mayor to install closed-circuit television cameras to
increase vigilance in the surrounding areas.
Hussain said the zoo
has over 900 ani
New zoo planned next
to Tiger Temple
A new zoo is planned
in Kanchanaburi right next to the closed temple that ran a lucrative tiger
attraction while allegedly trafficking in the endangered beasts.
The new zoo should
be completed in two to three months and has no affiliation with the Tiger
Temple, said the temple's lawyer, Saiyood Pengboonchu, said Friday.
A person answering a
telephone number listed for the new zoo's holding company denied any
affiliation with the zoo and hung up.
attraction at Wat Pa Luang Ta Maha Bua had operated in Sai Yok district of
Kanchanaburi for more than a decade despite concerns about trafficking and
possible mistreatment of animals. Its 137 tigers were seized and the temple was
closed for good last year after police unearthed evidence of possible
involvement in trafficking tigers and their parts.
The rescued tigers
were relocated to two sanctuaries. Police are still investigating possible
criminal charges against temple employees and monks.
Sarathera, or Luang Ta Chan, the temple's abbot, denied any wrongdoing and told
reporters last October that he wanted to open a zoo with new tigers.
While Mr Saiyood
denied any links between the te
TIGER TEMPLE TO
REOPEN 9 MONTHS AFTER RAID
Armed with a zoo
permit and a brand new set of tigers, the people behind the infamous Tiger
Temple plan to reopen for business in March.
Eight months after
officials raided and shut down the temple, where they discovered a grotesque
operation where tiger parts were harvested for magic amulets and energy drinks,
a new zoo is set to open right nearby under a different name in March. Meanwhile
a criminal case against those operating the temple on trafficking charges
appears to be going nowhere.
Noochdamrong, a national park official who led the June raid on the so-called
Tiger Temple, said the project is perfectly legal, as the zoo wa
Months After Raid on
Infamous Tiger Temple, Plans for Offshoot Zoo Forge Ahead
A flurry of
construction is underway on land just outside Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple,
a monastery formally known as Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno that doubled as
a popular tiger tourism venue until last year. Allegations of wildlife
trafficking prompted a raid by wildlife officials, who confiscated 137 tigers
and moved them to safety in government facilities. At the time they found a
huge cache of tiger parts and products on the temple grounds. An investigation
The abbot, Phra
Acham Phoosit (Chan) Kanthitharo, and temple spokesmen have repeatedly denied
Now a temple
offshoot business venture is building animal enclosures next door to the
monastery—to house tigers in a new zoo.
Although the Tiger
Temple isn’t legally connected to this venture, the monks advertise the “New
Home for Tigers Project” on their website as “in process.” The cost of the
10-acre zoo com
And the Latest from
Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand
Tiger Temple to
reopen as “Golden Tiger Farm” !
Over the last week
several media stories went up around the world, as news broke that the infamous
“Tiger Temple” in Thailand was soon to reopen with 105 tigers they have
allegedly bought from a commercial tiger farm in the East of Thailand. This
after he tiger temple was found to be involved in illegal wildlife trade,
illegal wildlife possession and continued animal torture over the last 15
We have found some
false information in some of the articles and therefor we whish to sum up the
facts one more time to create a clear picture on the issue.
The tiger temple
started caring for tigers in 1999, after the abbot of the temple purchased two
tiger cubs from an elephant camp nearby the temple. These tigers originated
from a tiger farm in Ratchburi, owned by a, at that time, politician. The
second couple of tigers were bought from the same man directly and all were
hybrids. The story on the temple’s website that the tigers at the temple were
the highly endangered Indo-Chinese Tigers (pantera tigris corbetti) and
originated from the wild are straight out lies.
breeding, of hybrid tigers, the playing with and the making of selfies with
tigers by tourists in exchange for money has at no time served the conservation
of tigers in any way.
In December 2015
three tigers were taken out of the temple and were handed over (read sold) to
illegal wildlife traffickers, which came to light after the chief veterinarian
at that time, Dr Somchai, talked to the Thai media and one of our informants.
Once Dr Somchai went public it was found that more protected wildlife was taken
in to the tiger temple, most bought from well-known wildlife traders. Some of
the illegal wildlife found were a collection of highly endangered hornbills, of
seven different species, Asiatic black bears and Asian golden jackals. In
February 2016 most of these animals were confiscated from the temple, but the
jackals were moved out overnight and hidden elsewhere. WFFT knows where these
animals are, but are unable to push authorities to act on this.
The tiger temple
agreed to give up half of the tigers later in March 2016 back to authorities,
with actually only 10 of the 147 being moved out without much trouble. By April
2016 the abbot obtained a zoo permit from the DNP to set up a tiger farm (officially
called a tiger zoo) on a small piece of land next to the temple owned by a
company called “Tiger Temple Co. Ltd”. The issuing of this permit was met with
fierce opposition from Thai wildlife and animal welfare NGO’s. Authorities did
not revoke the permit, even though a criminal investigation was ongoing against
the temple, the monks, the tiger temple foundation and it’s board of directors.
Although “Tiger Temple Co. Ltd.” was a different entity than the temple, it was
clear that the only shareholder at that time was also the main man in the
temple and the foundation. To stay away from this conflict of interest the
“Tiger Temple Co. Ltd.” lately has had its name changed into “Golden Tiger Co.
In early June 2016
authorities decided to remove all 137 remaining tigers from the temple after
the abbot, the temple board and the tiger temple foundation refused to further
cooperate with authorities on the investigation on illegal trade in wildlife, and
the handover of more tigers. During the stand-off at this time government
officials found more evidence of illegal practices in the temple, with tiger
cubs prepared for traditional medicine, tiger skins and tiger parts turned in
to souvenirs and other products. The Department of National Parks (DNP) handed
over all evidence to local police who were to further investigate and prosecute
the case. Till today (February 26th 2017) no one has been taken to court yet,
due to “lack of evidence”. In our humble opinion we feel that the finding of so
many illegally obtained wildlife in the temple and the proof of disappearance
of at least 3 tigers should have been sufficient to start legal procedures
immediately last year!
It is a fact that
the zoo permit should have been revoked, or better never issued at all, due to
proven illegal activities by the temple and its staff. Besides this Thailand is
a signatory to CITES (Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species) where
all range states (Thailand is one of them) have agreed to no further allow
commercial breeding of tigers in 2007 (decision 14.69 of CITES). Sad fact it
that Thailand reported just over 600 tigers in captivity in 2007, while
currently almost 1500 tigers are registered in private homes, zoos and farms,
around the country despite the CITES decision. Other reports of 2500 tigers or
more are incorrect.
Tigers, dead or
alive are of great value to their breeders, poachers, traders and their
customers in Laos, Vietnam and China. A young tiger is usually sold by a farm
at a price of about 3 to 4 thousand dollars each, while adults are sold per
kilo, at about 5 to 7 thousand dollars each. At the Thai-Lao border the price
is usually 3-4 thousand dollars higher once it passes the border. At the China
and/or Vietnam border tigers can fetch up to 11 to 15 thousand dollars, with
wild caught tigers being the most expensive. Some media reports talk about
prices of over 30,000 dollars, which we feel is incorrect. The supply from
farms in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam is currently quite high, keeping the
trading prices more at the lower end.
The tiger temple has
made it clear that they are building a new facility that should be able to hold
up to 500 tigers, with their current zoo permit on a piece of 21 rai of land
(3,4 hectares only). They will not be forced to stop the breeding of tigers in
this new zoo, as the authorities lack the laws to implement such regulation. A
zoo is a zoo, so breeding is part of their business. The torturing of tigers
for the making of selfies will not stop either as the temple made it very clear
this is their main income. The removal of very young tiger cubs from their
mothers, so tourists can get their selfies and feed milk will surely continue
While the tiger
temple was crying out for help (read money) in the last few months to care for
the deer, wild boars and other animals kept at the temple, saying they were
starving due to the lack of funds, they now seem to be able to buy 105 tigers
from a tiger farm that is owned by a timber trader in partnership with one of
the biggest tiger farms in the country. We have been told that over 20 million
baht will exchange hands once the 105 tigers have been moved. During a nightly
visit to the new buildings current being build, we believe the temple will be
able to house the first tigers within a few weeks from now.
We strongly urge the
Royal Thai Police to press charges against the abbot, the temple staff and
board members as well as the tiger temple foundation ASAP, as the accumulated
evidence should be sufficient to find them guilty in a court of law on illegal
possession of protected wild animals, the trade in protected wildlife and their
body parts and animal torture.
We strongly urge the
director-general of the DNP to revoke the zoo license immediately, on the bases
of the above evidence in hand and the ongoing investigation.
Any other decision
can only be seen as a travesty of justice.
Thailand-Tiger Zoo story
In a Feb. 24 story
about a new zoo opening next to Thailand’s Tiger Temple, The Associated Press
incorrectly said the Buddhist temple was closed. The temple’s tiger operation
has been shut down but the temple itself remains open.
The AP also
mischaracterized a quote by Steve Galster, founder of the anti-trafficking
Freeland Foundation. When Galster said criminals would kill and dismember
tigers before selling them, he was not referring to the Tiger Temple. He was
referring to tiger farm operations in Laos, which he alleged bought tigers from
the Tiger Temple.
A corrected version
of the story is below:
A disturbing reality
behind that Chinese tiger drone video making the Internet rounds
When the tigers
struck the drone from the sky, as seen in a recent and popular YouTube video,
the act of animal destruction at first seemed playful.
The sight of a few
chubby cats romping around in the snow helped. Certainly, a few observers found
the scene amusing for the same reasons the Greeks told the tale of Icarus:
Look, kids, raw nature kneecapping technological hubris. Once the cats swatted
the drone to the ground, the tigers chewed on the machine for a bit, causing
the object to smoke (quadcopter, quadcopter, burning bright!), before staff
members took the drone away.
Hunting the drone
around the tiger park was, reportedly, a form of exercise for the animals.
“This drone chasing
is becoming more popular among these well-nourished tigers in the habitat,”
according to China Central Television, which published the footage on Feb. 22.
Except the reason
for this meeting of drone and tiger was anything but cute. As Vice’s
Motherboard reported, the video was filmed at China’s Harbin Siberian Tiger
Park in Heilongjiang province. One of China’s largest ti
Staff assaulted and
rhino slaughtered in brutal animal orphanage attack
In a brutal
illustration of the severity of poaching‚ a heavily-armed gang hit the
Findimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage – at the Thula Thula reserve in northern
KZN – on Monday night‚ tying up staff and killing the two rhino in front of
In the process‚ one
woman was sexually assaulted and other rhino caregivers beaten. They are
receiving medical and psychological care.
Over the course of a
few hours‚ the two rhino‚ Impi and Gugu‚ were attacked while the staff were
being held hostage. One was killed outright‚ and the other had to be euthanised
the following morning because of the severity of her injuries.
The pair were due to
be dehorned and moved out of the orphanage in a week’s time – leading to a
belief that there was an element of an inside job involved.
Karen Trender‚ who
runs the orphanage‚ told TMG Digital on Wednesday that security was being
beefed up and plans to move the staff members and rhino to a new‚ secret
location were well underway.
“If you work in this
game and work in a facility like this… it’s a
transnational flows of rhino horn
Kruger National Park
and other public and private game reserves have become battlefields where state
security forces and game wardens fight for the rhinos' survival. Despite their
efforts, conservative estimates give rhinos another seven years before they go
extinct in the wild. Annette Hübschle is carrying out research into why the
protection of rhinos is failing.
My local roots – I
grew up in Namibia – and professional networks that I groomed over a decade
while working as a researcher on organized crime issues for a South African
research institute proved extremely valuable for the purposes of data
collection. During twelve months of fieldwork in southern Africa and Southeast
Asia, I conducted more than 420 ethnographic interviews and focus groups. Among
those interviewed were poachers and their bosses – so– called kingpins, most of
whom come from Mozambique – convicted rhino poachers in South African jails,
rogue wildlife professionals, rhino farmers, prosecutors and game wardens, com-
munity members living in Mozambican villages bordering Kruger National Park,
representatives of conservation NGOs, and activists, traders, smugglers and
Asian consumers. The large sample size and the use of other qualitative data
such as police charge sheets and court files enabled data triangulation and
verification. This is particularly im- portant when studying illegal markets.
My goal was to
understand and record the market in its entirety, from the
"production" of horn – poaching, hunting or theft – to the
international trade and consumption of rhinoceros horn. In light of the
obstacles presented by the illegal and transnational nature of the market, the
question arises as to how the various market participants achieve social order
and how they re-solve the coordination problems of co- operation, competition
finding is that important actors along the value chain simply don't accept the
ban on the trade of rhino horn. I call this mechanism "contested
illegality", and it serves as a strategy to legitimize illegal economic
activities. It starts with the poachers who are individuals that have lost
their ancestral lands and the associated hunting rights as a result either of
colonial expropriation or of the establishment of protected areas and
transfrontier conservation parks.
don't accept the land tenure system or the trade ban imposed by the Washington
Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of 1973,
which came into force under the old apartheid regime. However, some poachers are
merely the foot soldiers for professional big game hunters and farmers, most of
them white Afrikaners, who have their own personal networks and sell rhino horn
as far away as Asia.
Many of them own
game reserves or farms, while others are vets or helicopter pilots. These
actors claim the moral high ground and believe that the trade ban lacks
legitimacy and relevance to the African case. They share the belief that the
rhinoceros can be effectively protected only if private rhino owners are
provided with economic incentives to breed rhinos, such as trophy hunting and
the sale of rhino horn. According to this narrative, both the private sector
and the state would obtain the nec- essary funding for environmental pro-
tection and conservation through legalization of the trade.
approach hasn't shown the desired effects – the domestic trade in rhino horn
was permitted in South Africa until 2009 – and this led to an interface between
legal and illegal economic activities – a gray channel of sorts. The prominent
involvement of state officials in corrupt activities shouldn't be discounted,
either, with such corrupt activities ranging from CITES permit fraud to active
participation of police officers and game wardens in poaching groups.
Among end consumers,
the illegal nature of the trade would appear to be of little or no concern.
Rhinoceros horn is one of the most expensive commodities in the world, with a
kilogram costing more than EUR 50,000. The horn was frequently used in powder form
as a medicine in traditional Asian pharmacopoeia, but it is also popular as a
status symbol, a gift to consolidate business relationships, or an invest- ment
commodity. In fact, anyone who buys horn as an investment tool is counting on
the extinction of the wild animal.
Many of the
political measures taken to date have, in my view, served only to make the
problem worse. The securitization of the fight against rhino poaching
Red squirrels: 5,000
volunteers sought to save species – and help kill invasive greys
An army of 5,000
volunteers is being sought to save the red squirrel from extinction by
monitoring populations, educating children – and bludgeoning grey squirrels to
The Wildlife Trusts’
biggest-ever recruitment drive is focused on areas of northern England, north
Wales and Northern Ireland where invasive grey squirrels first introduced by
the Victorians are driving the retreating red squirrel population to extinction.
More than 2.5
million grey squirrels are continuing to spread north through England and into
Scotland, out-competing the 140,000 remaining red squirrels and spreading the
squirrelpox virus, which does not affect greys but rapidly kills reds.
“In most of the UK
there are only a handful of refuges left for red squirrels,” said Dr Cathleen
Thomas, programme manager of Red Squirrel United, a conservation partnership
started in 2015. “Without help, experts predict this beautiful and treasured
creature could be extinct withi
to sequence the DNA of all life on Earth
When it comes to
genome sequencing, visionaries like to throw around big numbers: There’s the UK
Biobank, for example, which promises to decipher the genomes of 500,000
individuals, or Iceland’s effort to study the genomes of its entire human
population. Yesterday, at a meeting here organized by the Smithsonian
Initiative on Biodiversity Genomics and the Shenzhen, China–based sequencing
powerhouse BGI, a small group of researchers upped the ante even more,
announcing their intent to, eventually, sequence “all life on Earth.”
Their plan, which
does not yet have funding dedicated to it specifically but could cost at least
several billions of dollars, has been dubbed the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP).
Harris Lewin, an evolutionary genomicist at the University of California, Davis,
who is part of the group that came up with this vision 2 years ago, says the
EBP would take a first step toward its audacious goal by focusing on
eukaryotes—the group of organisms that includes all plants, animals, and
single-celled organisms such as amoebas.
That strategy, and
the EBP’s overall concept, found a receptive audience at BioGenomics2017, a
gathering this week of conservationists, evolutionary biologists, systematists,
and other biologists interested in applying genomics to their work. “This is a grand
idea,” says Oliver Ryder, a conserva
giant pandas around world have to return to China?
Born and raised in
the United States, Bao Bao, a 3-year-old giant panda, fails to become a U.S.
citizen and has arrived in China on Wednesday.
Unlike the U.S.
citizenship policy for people, which stipulates that one becomes a U.S. citizen
if he/she is born on the U.S. territory, the citizenship of giant pandas
observes another policy.
In fact, most giant
pandas around the world are on loan from China, and cubs born abroad have to be
sent to the Chinese breeding program to expand the gene pool before they turn
As a result of
artificial insemination, Bao Bao was born on Aug. 23, 2013, at the National Zoo
in Washington D.C.. It is time that Bao Bao come back to China.
Unique to China and
adored around the world, giant pandas have played an important role in China's
diplomacy, or "Panda Diplomacy" as some experts call it.
Before 1982, giant
pandas were given away to other countries by
Asia’s Last Cheetahs
The cheetah’s speed
is legendary. As possibly the swiftest mammal that has ever lived (extinct
relatives of the cheetah were likely not as speedy), there is nothing on earth
it cannot out-run. Nothing in nature, that is. Unfortunately, for all its
extraordinary high-speed adaptations, the cheetah has no evolutionary solution
for modern traffic. Among the many dangers faced by cheetahs, collisions with
vehicles rank among the top threats to an especially endangered population: the
unique Asiatic cheetahs of Iran. The sobering finding is part of a newly
published, comprehensive overview by Panthera and a team of Iranian colleagues
on the status of this unique and critically endangered sub-species.
and isolated from its African counterparts for at least 32,000 years, the
Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus ssp. venaticus) once roamed from the Red Sea
coast to eastern India. Today, the entire global population of the Asiatic
cheetah—a vanishingly few 50 animals—lives in central Iran. The sub-species’
current range is a fraction of its original extent yet it still inhabits a vast
area the size of the United Kingdom, around 242,500 square kilometers [93,000
square miles]. That is a lot of space for cheetahs, but most of it is unlike
anything the species usually inhabits; deserts, arid mountain massifs and
barren salt plains dominate the habitat of cheetahs in Iran. And despite the
inhospitality, so do people–with their livestock, dogs and cars.
Between 2001 and
2012, the period over which we compiled all known records of cheetahs in Iran,
at least 33 cats were killed by people and their vehicles. Poachers and
livestock herders (and their large, aggressive herd dogs) killed the most
cheetahs, followed by collisions on roads. 33 cheetahs may not sound like a
New Report Shows The
Endangered Species Act Works For Birds
Species Act is often criticized. Some conservationists say it’s been weakened
and watered down, while other critics say it’s a needless economic drag that
benefits lawyers more than animals. In an issues primer for last November’s
election, the American Farm Bureau Federation claimed: “the ESA has failed at
recovering and delisting species since its inception.”
That’s just not true
for birds, says a report by the American Bird Conservancy. ABC analyzed
population trends since listing for all 96 bird species protected by the
Endangered Species Act and found that more than 70 percent were increasing,
stable, or have been delisted due to recovery.
Species Act is needed more than ever. In the past five years, seven U.S. bird
populations were listed as threatened and endangered species,” said Steve Holme
Moscow zoo in early
20th century: Red Army in the Zoo, Zoo During Flood and more
Legends of the
Moscow Zoo: Reptilian rumors and killer crocs
Vasilyev, a doctor in veterinary medicine, has been working at the Moscow Zoo
for 30 years. Each day of his working life is a heroic feat or at least looks
like something out of a Hollywood thriller. But Vasilyev is far too modest to
admit this. "I was born to a family of zoologists, so I did not have much
of a choice really," he says. "At first, I set about studying
different bugs, but they require patience, whereas I am more of a slacker. So I
had to switch to larger animals."
terrarium clad in armor
The notion that
Vasilyev is a slacker is, of course, a joke. When it comes to working with
crocodiles, being lazy can get you killed.
While showing us a
rare species of Chinese alligator on the brink of extinction, he warns us that
the alligators watching us from behind thick glass eat everything that moves.
Back in Soviet times, the female alligator came to the Moscow Zoo as part of a
swap with China. Once here, she ate a male alligator and nearly swallowed one
New regulations on
the breeding of South African Wildlife
A major step forward
for the South African Wildlife Industry has come to light as the Department of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) recently added twelve wildlife
species to the list of tame and domesticated animals, currently regulated under
its Animal Improvement Act (No. 62 of 1998).
This alteration will
allow game ranchers to breed and manage their wildlife similar to livestock
farmers, which obtain animals with specific characteristics for agricultural
The description in
the Animal Improvement Act states that listed animals may be used “for the
breeding, identification and utilisation of genetically superior animals in
order to improve the production and performance of animals in the interest of
the Republic; and to provide for matters connected therewith”.
The listing of these
species together with domestic stock comes as a leap forward for the game
industry, as numerous game ranchers today comes from a background of cattle
farming and breeding with domestic animals, and has in recent years applied
several management methods to the breeding and enhancing the number and quality
of their wildlife animals.
The species added to
the list are Black Wildebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Blue Duiker, Bontebok, Gemsbok,
Impala, Oribi, Red Hartebeest, Roan, Sable, Springbok, and Tsessebe whereas the
only wild animal that was previously listed under the Animal Improvement Act,
was the Ostrich.
welcomes the notion though. The South Afri
NY Zoo's Pregnant
Giraffe Livestream Pulled From YouTube After Activists Complain of 'Nudity and
An upstate New York
zoo's livestream of a giraffe preparing to give birth was abruptly suspended
Thursday after animal activists complained about "nudity and sexual
content" in violation of YouTube's policy, the zoo said.
More than 20 million
had been viewing the cam, placed in the stall of “April” the giraffe at the
Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, in anticipation of the birth of her
fourth calf. People from all over the world watched the long-necked animal
slink gracefully around her hay-laden home, giddy
Rare Kalimantan wild
Department Assistant Director Dr Sen Nathan said the photo of a head of a
"strange" cattle that was slaughtered for a feast in a North
Kalimantan village for a visiting Sabah delegation indicates a new species of
wild cattle in Kalimantan.
"Who knows, it
might be an unknown yet to be discovered cattle species roaming in the jungle
of Borneo," said Dr Sen, citing the discovery of the "Saola" in
1992 from a carcass in Vietnam and filmed in the wild in 1999.
"It is so far
the rarest forest dwelling bovid in the world," said Dr Sen. "On the
other hand though it could be a severely inbred Banteng or Tembadau-domestic
It is worth further
investigation to get to the bottom of the matter," he said.
The picture carried
in the series of Daily Express reports entitled "South of the Border"
in late December 2016 showed the head and horns of the slaughtered creature
The facility will replace the former enclosure which was 75 years old and was built originally as an aircraft hangar.
It is due to open in August this year. Zoo chiefs say the new elephant house has been specially designed around the complex welfare need of the mammoth species.
The plans include sand floors to a depth of one metre, a building height suitable for bulls and cows, high-level feeding baskets, the most suitable environmental conditions, and a flexible layout with protected access for zoo keepers.
The zoo currently only has one elephant Kate but the facility would help bring a new elephant family to Blackpool. The enclosure, at the north east side of the zoo, will feature a raised viewing platform, meaning visitors ca