Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Huge Tragedy

A Huge Tragedy

Rumors have abounded since Monday 24th April but as yet I am unaware of the tragic story appearing the press anywhere.
Tragedy struck the bachelor group of elephants at La Reserva del Castillo de las Guardas near Seville in Spain. Six out of the seven animals has succumbed to some sort of poisoning. The exact cause has yet to be confirmed but it is believed to be botulism.

My sincere condolences to the keepers of these wonderful animals. Losing one is bad enough but six must hurt very badly.

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Primate Internship

Primate Internship

Paradise Wildlife Park currently has a vacancy for a six-month internship working with our primate keepers on a voluntary basis.

Our six-month Internship offers a practical work placement within our primate section. The successful applicant will be working full-time 8.00 am to 6.00 pm (summer months,, 8.00 am to 5.00 pm (winter months) five days a week (including regular weekend work).

The Primate section is responsible for the husbandry of many species (including breeding groups of Red Ruffed Lemur, Black Lemur, Cotton Topped Tamarin, Golden Lion Tamarin and Two Toed Sloth) along with other several other species: Golden Headed Lion Tamarin, Emperor Tamarin, Silvery Marmoset, Black Tailed Marmoset, Pygmy Marmoset, Geoffroys Marmoset, Squirrel Monkeys, White Cheek Gibbon, Lar
Gibbon, Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Ring-tailed Lemur and Three Banded Armadillo.

The intern will be expected to work alongside the primate team to ensure appropriate nutrition is maintained for the animals along with the general husbandry and training routines.
The primate team are also actively involved in the mixed taxa shows on the zoo (these do not include primates), where the successful applicant will learn positive reinforcement techniques for species to demonstrate natural behaviours in public displays.

Applicants must be 18 years old or over, therefore our internships are well-matched to those taking a gap-year between Further Education and Higher Education, sandwich placements or those who have already graduated from University/College, having studied in a related subject. This internship would suit someone wishing to gain experience as grounds for their first zoo animal keeping position.
This position is voluntary and therefore unpaid. Paradise Wildlife Park are unable to pay travel expenses or provide any accommodation for this position so we recommend applicants to be within suitable travel distance for the duration of this placement. We recognise that this position takes a level of commitment from individuals and therefore we aim for interns to come away with experience that will help them in their future careers. Interns will receive zoo uniform, in-house training, 1 free meal a day at our
catering outlet, opportunity to complete a portfolio record and a full reference.

Expected duties:
· Assisting with daily animal husbandry e.g. food prep, feeding, cleaning,
enrichment provision etc.
· General site and enclosure maintenance.
· Undertake and record animal observations (interns are able to carry out specific research projects at the park during this time if this is of interest to them).
· Visitor interaction and delivery of keeper talks, animal shows, encounters and tours (E.g. ‘Feed the Lemurs Experience’)
· Overseeing work experience and volunteers at the direction of the keepers.

· An animal science related qualification.
· Previous animal-related work experience.
· Good communication skills.
· Adaptable for a flexible rota.
· Able to work in a team and independently.
· Physically fit for the demands of this role.
· 18 years +

For more information regarding our internships or to apply please email your CV and cover letter

Please note that Paradise Wildlife Park also offers internships on our Paddocks, Small Mammal, Reptile and Primate section throughout the year, so look out for future vacancies if those sections are of interest to you.

Preferred start date: May 2017

This opening will close once a suitable candidate has been selected so please send applications as soon as possible.

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

Monday, April 24, 2017

Zoo News Digest 24th April 2017 (ZooNews 953)

Zoo News Digest 24th April 2017  (ZooNews 953)

Think About it

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I don't 'do' interviews. I get a request every month or so, much less than before. However of late there have been several. It is not that I don't feel a need to speak out at times because I do. I prefer however to either do it here or to the relevant authorities. As far as the relevant authorities go I did that ten or more years ago.

As is well known ZooNews Digest posts articles of interest to those working in the ZooKeeping profession. Some of these articles are by the Animal Rights Anarchists. They are posted because they will also be read by others, your potential zoo visitors. You may then be asked to justify or explain points raised by the anarchists.
At the same time you should keep an open mind and not be influenced by pro zoo propaganda. The reader really needs to think about things because sometimes the Animal Rights Anarchists are right. You need to recognise that…..and why they are right. It is simple enough truth, there are more bad zoos out there than there are good ones. The good zoos are being tarred with the same dirty brush.

I posted out ZooNews Digest as a 'Note' on Facebook last week. It did not get as many visits. In case you missed it you can go here

Just when you thought Dalton Zoo/South Lakes Safari Zoo had disappeared from the scene when a new news story appears.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 53,900 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 


Chester Zoo unites with University of Oxford to deliver world class conservation science
CHESTER Zoo and the University of Oxford’s famous Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) have joined forces to deliver high-impact conservation research.

The new partnership is designed to investigate major challenges in conservation by combining some of the international projects that Chester Zoo coordinate with cutting-edge scientific research.

Over the next seven years this new partnership will see up to 10 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers placed into Chester’s conservation projects around the world.

Jane Goodall on the mysteries of primate behaviour
Ever since 1971, when she published In the Shadow of Man, her groundbreaking field study of chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania, Jane Goodall has been the best known primatologist on the planet. In the decades since, she has remained an indomitable campaigner and conservationist, and now at the age of 83 she sits atop a naturalists’ Olympus that she shares perhaps only with David Attenborough.

In 1999, after almost 40 years visiting the chimps of Gombe, she co-authored a letter to Nature, in which she sought to calibrate the use of the world “culture” in relation to wild chimpanzees.

Multiple long-term studies, she and her colleagues wrote, showed “significant cultural variation” between colonies.

“The combined repertoire of these behaviour patterns in each chimpanzee community is itself highly distinctive,” the letter concluded, “a phenomenon characteristic of human cultures but previously unrecognised in non-human species.”

Our understanding of what chimpanzee “culture” might mean took a further turn last year, thanks to another paper published in Nature.

The study, led by Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (one of Goodall’s co-authors on the 1999 letter), reported that in several chimp colonie

A concrete prison for animals without hope
Monkeys sightlessly gaze into the distance, listlessly hanging from the bars of their cages. Their lethargic behaviour depicts the untold story of their suffering at one of the city’s most famous zoos. The usually hyperactive animals seem depressed to be confined in this concrete jail.

This seems to be the story of every animal at the Landhi-Korangi Zoo, which needs the urgent attention of the authorities. Even visitors have also expressed dissatisfaction over the maintenance of the zoo. The concrete animal enclosures look mo

RSPCA officers obtain search warrant to investigate animal cruelty allegations at Dalton zoo
ANIMAL charity the RSPCA has confirmed they have executed a search warrant at South Lakes Zoo in Dalton amid allegations of animal cruelty.

The RSPCA said its officers, in assistance with Barrow Borough Council, is investigating historic offences of animal cruelty and neglect relating to the Dalton animal park.

A search warrant was executed at the zoo on Thursday, April 6.

It is not yet known if the investigation relates to the death of animals as detailed in an inspection report published after a visit in January which revealed almost 500 exhibits had died at the zoo in less than four years.

The causes of their deaths included emaciation, exposure and

Zoo Science for Keepers and Aquarists

Professor Lee White: Will elephants survive this generation?
Called a "real-life Tarzan" by National Geographic, Prof. Lee White is a British-born zoologist who has lived and worked in Gabon since 1989 and since 2009 has served as the Director of Gabon’s National Parks Agency. In this dramatic video interview with the World Bank-led Global Wildlife Program, White discusses the devastating decline of forest elephants to poaching in the last decade and how the international demand for ivory has led to the elephants becoming refugees to avoid being massacred. “I don’t want to be the generation that killed the African elephant, and if we’re n


Fatal cheetah attack spotlights big cat breeding industry
A captive cheetah on March 18,  2017 fatally mauled the three-year-old son of Jacob Pieterse,  an employee at tiger breeder and filmmaker John Varty’s Tiger Canyon wildlife farm and tourist attraction.

Police spokesperson Motantsi Makhele told media that the victim died while being flown to a hospital in Bloemfontein.

Cane toad poison used against amphibian pest in Queensland-designed bait trap
Poison taken from Queensland's most notorious pest, the cane toad, is being turned against them through world-first specialised traps developed by Brisbane researchers.

Key points:
Cane toad toxin is being applied to food, targeting toad tadpoles
Bait traps using this food are being tested across Queensland
Researchers are relying on volunteer toad catchers to help make the bait
The traps use baits that replicate the smell of food, made from the poison of adult cane toads, to capture and eradicate up to 10,000 juvenile toads in one hit.

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have developed and are currently trialling the traps around the state.

If successful, researchers hope to have the product on supermarket shelves in a cou

Brazil’s response to a huge yellow fever outbreak: Kill the monkeys
A yellow fever outbreak is tearing through Brazil leaving thousands dead in its wake — thousands of monkeys, that is.

The epidemic, the worst Brazil has seen in decades, has killed more than 200 people so far. But it's also threatening to wipe out some of the country’s most endangered primates. Not only are monkeys susceptible to yellow fever, but local residents have begun pre-emptively killing monkeys, incorrectly assuming that they help spread the disease.

As the epidemic advances, rural towns are littered with monkey corpses falling from trees, terrifying villagers. One town in the southern state of Minas had to close down a park after 38 dead monkeys were found in its premises.

But, contrary to local lore, these primates don’t transmit the disease. In fact, they play a crucial role in preventing its spread. A dead monkey is often the first sign yellow fever has reached a new town, which can serve as an alarm bell for authorities directing vaccination campaigns. It’s a warning sign that allows hea

Wild Hearts: Conserving the Brazilian Jaguar with Assisted Reproduction
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest wild cat native to the Americas and a focal species for in situ conservation efforts. Its name is derived from the South American Tupi-Guarani word jaguaretê, which means “he who kills with one leap,” highlighting the jaguar’s phenomenally strong bite and preference to hunt by stalk and ambush rather than engaging in a lengthy chase.

Due to poaching and habitat loss and fragmentation, jaguars have declined substantially throughout their natural range. The species has been classified as ‘near threatened’ with a declining population trend in Latin America, and as ‘vulnerable’ in Brazil.  The most robust wild populations are found in the Amazon and the Pantanal.  However, even jaguars in these areas are subject to restricted gene flow, increasing their risk of inbreeding, reduced genetic variation, and extinction.

Assisted reproductive technologies, such as semen banking and artificial insemination, represent one way to link fragmented jaguar populations and maintain genetic diversity. Semen cryopreservation permits long-term storage of genetic resources within liquid nitrogen tanks, allows transport of frozen semen as an alternative to translocating live animals, and—when paired with artificial

Security tightened at public zoos, aquariums
Security forces were deployed in various areas around the Giza Zoo which attracts a large number of visitors during official holidays, said Ragaei.

It was decided during the meeting that controls would be put in place to ensure that no one could enter the park with explosive materials or other weapons that might threaten the public, he added.

Why some species are kept in zoos?
Many questions arise concerning keeping animals in the zoos around the world. Richard Primack B. Primack in the book of “A primer of conservation biology” page 200 of chapter 6 wrote: “Zoos, along with affiliated universities, government wildlife departments, and conservation organizations, presently maintain 500,000 terrestrial vertebrate individuals, representing almost 8000 species and subspecies of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians." But there are some protests here in Iran against the presence of species such as Persian squirrel, brown bear and also birds such as flamingos in the zoos. What is the reason for this?

Apes in Asian Circus-Style Shows on Rise — So is Trafficking
Asian zoos, circuses and safari parks are mounting large-scale productions with costumed, dancing, roller-skating great apes. Investigations show that nearly all of these trained primates were not bred in captivity, but illegally traded out of Africa and Indonesia, with destinations in China, Thailand and other Asian countries.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that the illegal trade may have removed as many as 22,218 great apes from the wild between 2005-2011. An estimated 64 percent were chimpanzees, whereas 56 percent of great apes seized by authorities were thought to be orangutans.
Wild young apes are traumatized by their capture, and many die along the supply chain, or with their final owners by whom they are frequently poorly treated. Young great apes trained in captivity become increasingly unmanageable as they age, and many are retired to tiny, solitary cages, or simply disappear.
Trafficking arrests are rare. UNEP recorded just 27 arrests in Africa and Asia between 2005-2011, over which time more than 1,800 cases of illegally trafficked great apes were documented, with many more undetected. Solutions are i in April 2017

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Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The Nutria Exhibit at Fasanerie Wiesbaden shows a group of these social 
animals in a green environment with lots of water. Visitors can see the 
animals across waterplants on ground level and in the water as well as 
up-close through a glass panel on elevated ground and under water. The 
water is recycled through reeds in the background of the exhibit.

We would like to thank our intern Kara Chirgwin for preparing this 



We have re-organized the form in a more logical order that is useful 
when collecting information on site. The appearance of the template has 
not changed much, but the text boxes and lines are now easier to fill in 
on the computer. The template is offered in English in the formats MS 
Word, Open Office Word and pdf.

Take advantage of these improvements and submit exhibit presentations 
for the ZooLex Gallery. You may hand over the template to an intern or a 
volunteer who is interested in zoo design because it is an excellent 
education tool as well. There is a lot to learn from the research that 
is necessary for filling in the form. The template is used all over the 
world to teach students about zoo design.

Just send in the completed form and we will take care of publishing your 
exhibit presentation. You can also upload information to the ZooLex 
database yourself after getting registered for free:


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

Frog snot gives hope for flu cure
The mucus of a rare frog that lurks in the South Indian jungle could provide the basis of a powerful new class of drugs to combat influenza, scientists have said.

The bright orange tennis ball-sized Hydrophylax bahuvistara was found to contain “host defence peptides” that proved able to destroy numerous strains of human flu, whilst protecting normal cells.

Researchers are excited because the peptide showed it could bind to a protein that is identical across “dozens” of strains of the disease, increasing its potential potency as a

Group size and visitor numbers predict faecal glucocorticoid concentrations in zoo meerkats
Measures of physiological stress in zoo animals can give important insights into how they are affected by aspects of their captive environment. We analysed the factors influencing variation in glucocorticoid metabolites in faeces (fGCs) from zoo meerkats as a proxy for blood cortisol concentration, high levels of which are associated with a stress response. Levels of fGCs in captive meerkats declined with increasing group size. In the wild, very small groups of meerkats are at a higher risk of predation, while in larger groups, there is increased competition for resources. Indeed, group sizes in captivity resemble those seen in unstable coalitions in the wild, which may represent a stressful condition and predispose meerkats to chronic stress, even in the absence of natural predators. Individuals in large enclosures showed lower levels of stress, but meerkat density had no effect on the stress measures. In contrast with data from wild meerkats, neither sex, age nor dominance status predicted stress levels, which may reflect less food stress owing to more equal access to resources in captivity versus wild. The median number of visitors at the enclosure was positively correlated with fGC concentrations on the following day, with variation in the visitor numbers having the opposite effect. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that there is an optimum group size which minimizes physiological stress in meerkats, and that zoo meerkats at most risk of physiological stress are those kept in small groups and small enclosures and are exposed to consistently high numbers of visitors.

Giraffes must be listed as endangered, conservationists formally tell US
Conservationists have lodged a formal request for the US government to list giraffes as endangered in a bid to prevent what they call the “silent extinction” of the world’s tallest land animal.

A legal petition filed by five environmental groups has demanded that the US Fish and Wildlife Service provide endangered species protections to the giraffe, which has suffered a precipitous decline in numbers in recent years.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which listed giraffes as a threatened species in December, just 97,500 of the animals exist in sub-Saharan Africa today, a drop of almost 40% since 1985. There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa.

Giraffes have suffered from loss of habitat, disease and illegal hunting for bushmeat. They also face the risk of collisions with vehicles and power lines. But the petitioners argue that the species is facing added pressure from “trophy” hunters who travel to Africa to shoot their big

Mali the Elephant May Not Be as Lonely as You Think
The Unpopular Opinion is Esquire’s space to provide additional insight and introduce new perspectives to issues that we may think have foregone conclusions. These articles don't always reflect our editorial stance, but we publish them here to continue the discourse.

 Dear friends here in Manila and abroad,

In the last couple of days, the same old PETA campaign has again been making the rounds on Facebook. It shows Manila Zoo's 43-year-old elephant as the loneliest elephant, so sad that she is comforting herself by holding her tail. Sad, right? Then you click on the link and it talks about Mali's poor life at the zoo.

First, the facts. The elephant holding its tail is not Mali (alternatively spelled Maali). It's a photo of an elephant at a Russian zoo from forever ago. PETA knows this, of course, but it's a photo with a story that's designed to tug at your heartstrings! So you, the animal lover that you are click the link, sign the petition, and show your support for the idea of transferring Mali to another country.

Let me tell you my personal Mali story.

Tammie and I moved to Manila in March 2012 after spending 12 years in the U.S. and Canada training animals. We both have degrees in Exotic Animal Training and Management from Moorpark Co

The science of saving endangered species
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” — Charles Darwin

Personally, I agree wholeheartedly. But love alone will not be enough to save the thousands of plant and animal species hovering on the brink of extinction. Only science can do that. At San Diego Zoo Global, we have seen first hand that it is only through careful observation and experimentation that we approach the level of understanding needed to safeguard endangered species at the zoo, as well as successfully conserve them in the wild. Science plays a critical role in guiding our decision-making, and inevitably leads us to better and more sustainable long-term outcomes.

Vancouver Aquarium says unknown toxin killed belugas last year
The Vancouver Aquarium says an unknown toxin was the cause of death for two belugas last year.

Aurora, aged 30, and her calf, Qila, 21, died within nine days of each other in November 2016.

The aquarium says the determination followed a five-month investigation involving "dozens" of aquarium and external specialists.

Critically-ill Sumatran rhino Puntung on road to recovery following surgery
Puntung, one of three remaining Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia which was reported to be critically-ill last month, is recovering following surgery this morning.

Sabah Wildlife department director Augustine Tuuga said the female rhino underwent a two-and-a-half hour operation to extract two molars and a premolar from the upper left side of her jaw, which had been causing a severe abscess.

The surgery was performed by veterinary dentist Dr Tum Chinkangsadarn from Thailand, who found that the source of the abscess was a formation caused by an accumulation of bacteria on the severely-calcified molars.

The calcification also loosened two adjacent teeth.

For the past two weeks, Puntung had not shown any signs of recovery, despite being administered antibiotics.

"This was a remarkable and successful operation that came about as a result of global discussion and multi-national collaboration over the past two weeks.

"Sabah thanks Dr Tum and the team who did a fantastic job, as well as Dr Abraham Mathew, senior veterinarian at the Singapore Zoo, who had helped with anaesthesia," Augustine said in a statement, adding that the department was also assisted and supported by South Africa's ‘Saving the Survivors’, the Wildlife and National Parks department in Peninsular Malaysia and the Borneo Rhino Alliance (Bora).

He added that the procedure began at 7am, with X-rays taken under sedation for 110 minutes.

"She started feeding two hours after the operation.

"But we are not done yet, as there will be a

Researchers Find Yet Another Reason Why Naked Mole-Rats Are Just Weird
Animals, especially mammals, need oxygen to keep their bodies and brains humming along.

But leave it to the African naked mole-rat to buck that trend. The rodents are bizarre in just about every way. They're hairless, ground-dwelling and cold-blooded despite being mammals. Now, scientists report in the journal Science that the animals are capable of surviving oxygen deprivation.

"They have evolved under such a different environment that it's like studying an animal from another planet," says Thomas Park, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He and his colleagues knew that naked mole-rat bodies work differently than those of other mammals.

For example, instead of generating their own heat, they regulate body temperature by moving to warmer or cooler tunnels, which lowers the amount of energy they need to survive. They're also known to have what Park calls "sticky hemoglobin," which allows them to draw oxygen out of very thin air. And because

Science is core to saving wildlife
The following statement was issued today by Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper on the importance of science to wildlife conservation:

"Science is at the core of wildlife conservation. It allows us to understand how to conserve wildlife and wild places and measure the impact of our work to save them. At WCS, we march for science every day through our field work in nearly 60 nations and in our zoos aquarium in New York City.

"We could not do our work without science. Our WCS scientists produce more than 400 research papers a year. Science has informed our work throughout our 122-year history -- helping to discover new species, to prevent the extinction of species, to achieve recovery of species, to establish protected areas, and to inform policies that help wildlife and communities thrive together.

"In our early years, science helped us prevent the extinction of the American Bison; it helped us inform the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and it helped us inform a ban on commercial whaling, among many other conservation successes during our first century.

"More recently, science has given us important data that will help with the recovery of forest elephants that have been decimated by poaching. In a paper published last year in the Journal of Applied Ecology, researchers found that forest elephants begin breeding later and have much longer calving intervals than other elephants, which means the population takes much longer to increase. Low birth rates mean that it will take forest elephant populations at least 90 years to recover from their losses. WCS scientist Andrea Turkalo, lead author of the study who collected data over several decades, said this research provides critical understanding regarding the dire conservation status of forest elephants.

"In another paper published last year in Nature Communications, a team of scientists revealed a complex story of how humans are altering natural habitats at the

The highly controversial Sukau road-bridge is a no go.

This was announced in London on Wednesday night by Sam Mannan, Chief Conservator of Forests, in a speech at the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) dinner held at the Royal Society.

In a statement issued to the media and sighted by BorneoToday, Sam said the Chief Minister of Sabah had taken into consideration all the concerns and opinions expressed relat

Optimism: Why the Future of Wildlife Depends on it
There’s plenty of negative information out there about the (lack of) future for wildlife in today’s world. With climate change and its ill-effects already happening, the loss of more wild places caused by the explosion of human populations across continents, and a host of other factors…let’s face it, it’s easy to think, why bother?

Is it a fool’s errand then, to ask people to believe that endangered wildlife might survive if given a chance? Is it unrealistic of us—who work in wildlife conservation–to hope that our efforts to protect endangered species will actually work?

No. Absolutely not.

While threats like poaching and habitat loss are indeed despairing, we need to remember that every single day, there are positive changes happening and victories where things once seemed impossible. The fuel behind these changes is hope. Hope brings people together and gives them courage to believe and fight for an outcome that may (in that moment) seem like an

Rediscovering the African wolf
The Egyptian wolf was first described almost 200 years ago, yet for almost as long taxonomists have debated whether it is truly a unique species. Nils Christian Stenseth and Suvi Viranta describe how recent research has clarified the debate and how their new study, published today in BMC Zoology, confirms that the African wolf is a true species - "clarifying two centuries of wonder and confusion".

Scientists Launch Global Quest To Track Down Long-Lost Species
The race is on to rediscover a list of 25 species that collectively have not been seen in more than 1,500 years.

There’s the Wondiwoi tree kangaroo, last spotted in 1928 in Indonesia; the pink-headed duck, missing since 1949; and the bullneck seahorse, a species native to Australia never before seen in the wild.

This week, Texas-based Global Wildlife Conservation launched “The Search for Lost Species,” described as the “largest-ever global quest to find and protect” animals and plants missing for decades.

Don Church, GWC’s president and director of conservation, said the organization’s “most wanted” list includes “cute and cuddly” species, the kind people are drawn to and that provide an opportunity to raise awareness about today’s biodiversity crisis.

“It’s about raising the profile both of the species that we’re looking for, but more so the places where they occur,” he told The Huffington Post. “The reason those places are important is because they have extreme biodiversity value, but very few people have heard about them. People hear about the Ama

Why Volunteering With Animals Does Nothing For Conservation
Lots of people want to give up their free time to help support conservation. By ‘lots’ I mean relatively – google shows 2,900 searches* for ‘conservation volunteering’ last month – but still, that’s pretty good. This is brilliant news of course, and should be wholeheartedly applauded.

Overall, this must add up to tens of thousands of hours of effort from volunteers every year, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations/fundraising to make it possible. With all this money and effort, conservation could really go places. I should leave it there and chalk it up as a success story. There are lots of ways to support conservation, but truth be told every time someone comes up to me after a talk and says they want to help conservation so are heading off to A) An elephant orphanage, B) A primate sanctuary or C) To work with big cats, my heart sinks.

Tension at SF Zoo exposed in conflict over cancer-stricken monkey
A dispute about the euthanization of a cancer-stricken monkey at the San Francisco Zoo has highlighted growing tension between employees and management over animal care at the facility, which in the past decade has come under scrutiny following a tiger’s killing of a guest and the accidental crushing death of a baby gorilla.
Zookeepers and other animal care workers at the facility have accused Executive Director Tanya Peterson of unnecessarily allowing a 15-month-old patas monkey to suffer for almost a week before it was put to sleep. Peterson said the assertion has no merit.
The monkey, named Bernardo, was diagnosed late last month with a rare, fast-growing cancer on its nose that hampered its breathing and eating. Animal care workers and the veterinarian at the zoo agreed to euthanize the animal on April 7, but zookeepers said Peterson ordered them to halt the procedure until the animal showed more signs of slowing down.
An employee eventually called the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and

BBC - The Monkey Lab (2017)

Why Man-Eating Lions Prey on People—New Evidence
"I have a very vivid recollection of one particular night when the brutes seized a man from the railway station and brought him close to my camp to devour. I could plainly hear them crunching the bones, and the sound of their dreadful purring filled the air and rang in my ears for days afterwards.” —Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo: And Other East African Adventures

These chilling words recount how African lions terrorized a railroad-construction project in Tsavo, Kenya, more than a century ago, killing and eating 35 workers. But how and why the big cats became “man-eaters” is still a matter of scientific debate.

For instance, some experts have suggested a lack of prey, brought about by a drought and disease epidemic in the late 1800s, forced the lions to feed on people out of desperation. But there's a problem with that theory—starving lions would have likely made the most out of every meal, eating the humans bones and all.

The Galápagos Tortoise Next Door
The sun is blazing down when I meet endangered Galápagos tortoises for the first time. They look like modern-day dinosaurs, lazily ambling around on scaly, dusty bowlegs. I proffer a carrot to the largest of the three—a 300-pound female—who grabs it with strong, beaklike jaws, neatly splitting it in two. After consuming it she extends her long neck forward, inviting me to gently rub her under the chin.
This intimate encounter takes place nowhere near the wild deserts of the Galápagos Islands—I’m more than 3,000 miles away, in a white-fenced suburban backyard in Long Island, N.Y. The three tortoises crawling around me—“Peewee,” “Maxine” and “Tony”—belong to Michael Soupios, a smiling, bespectacled 67-year-old graduate adviser and professor of political science at Long Island University Post.
Soupios has spent years studying Galápagos tortoises, and easily rattles off facts about their history i


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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 49 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 many more before 'hitting the road' 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, an introvert, 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