Monday, September 11, 2017

Zoo News Digest 11th September 2017 (ZooNews 970)

Zoo News Digest 11th September 2017  (ZooNews 970)


Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

Hurricane 'Irma' has been in the news all week and rightly so. I have friends and colleagues all over the world hugely concerned over the wellbeing of animals and staff in various facilities in the Hurricanes path. Following on so soon after the visitation of 'Harvey' it has been a sort of double disaster. It is a truly terrible situation for anybody to be in and which leaves just about everybody wondering what is the best, and safest, action to take. I am always struck by the bravery of those who stay behind and in particular that of the zoo keepers* who risk their own lives to ensure that the animals they care for are as safe as they can make them. I salute them.

Although I am aware that the AZA requires all members to practice a disaster drill annually the real life scenario always brings up the unexpected. I am hoping that whatever is learned will be shared so that everyone will be more ready next time round….because sadly there will be a next time. Along with watching what has been taking place in the US I have also been watching Asia. Our weather patterns are in a mess and regardless of what some may say I put it all down to man-made climate change.

Talking of the AZA I will be interested to see what comments there are, if any, on the speech by Wayne Pacelle.    

 I know I am not the only one who is disturbed by China sending Pandas to Taman Safari Indonesia. Saddened too that Edinburgh's breeding did not go as planned. No doubt Edinburgh will once again be attacked by the Anti Zoo Anarchists…may I suggest they look towards Indonesia instead.

*  Whether the title is trainer, carer, ranger or whatever they are all zoo keepers to me.

Did You Know?
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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,
Emergency preparedness in zoos and aquariums
You need only look at the papers or television news to see the reports. Infectious disease outbreaks, weather emergencies and disasters both natural and man-made. They're all not just threats to human populations – they have the potential to disrupt the daily operations of zoos and aquariums and the lives of their animal inhabitants.

Past disasters
In 2004 an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza among tigers and leopards at zoos in Thailand resulted in the deaths of 45 animals. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans in 2005, though the only animals lost were two otters and a raccoon. The New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas did not fare as well after that storm; most of the fish in their collection died when they lost power. The 2007 California wildfires threatened the San Diego Wild Animal Park causing the facility to close and relocate some of the endangered species within its collection. These events can be devastating for the involved facilities.
There are more than 2,800 USDA licensed animal exhibitors in the US, ranging from very large facilities to private individuals with f

Flu at the zoo and other disasters: Experts help animal exhibitors prepare for the worst
Here are three disaster scenarios for zoo or aquarium managers: One, a wildfire lunges towards your facility, threatening your staff and hundreds of zoo animals. Two, hurricane floodwaters pour into your basement, where thousands of exotic fish and marine mammals live in giant tanks. Three, local poultry farmers report avian influenza (bird flu) in their chickens, a primary source of protein for your big cats.

What do you do?
These are among the many potential disasters the managers of zoos and aquariums ponder in their emergency preparedness drills and plans. But these stories are not just worst-case scenarios: The events described above actually happened, and the aftermath – often heroic, and sometimes tragic – depended in large part on the institutions' preparedness training, planning and forethought in calmer times.
When bad weather strikes or illness invades, zoos and aquariums are among the most vulnerable facilities affected, said University of Illinois veterinarian Yvette Johnson-Walker, a clinical epidemiologist who contributes to emergency response training efforts at animal exhibitor institutions. She is a clinical instructor in the department of veterinary clinical medicine at Illinois, and lead author of a new paper on emergency preparedness at zoos and aquariums in the journal Homeland Security & Emergency Management.
Some animals are likely to suffer if the electricity goes out for long, she said. Others are large, skittish and dangerous under normal conditions.
Training caretakers and keepers to minimize their own risks while attending to their animals in an emergency is a challenge, but leads to the best outcomes, she said.
In 2012, Johnson-Walker joined forces with Yvonne Nadler, a project manager with the Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness Response and Recovery Center, to bring vital emergency training to accredited animal exhibitor institutions in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. This effort, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and supported by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, has since expanded, providing training to staff from zoos and aquariums in 23 states.
The trainings, dubbed "Flu at the Zoo," focus on avian influenza, a viral disease that spread in the 2000s among wild and captive birds and also infected hundreds of people, primarily in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Bird flu serves as a useful model scenario to help train participants in b

Zoological Best Practices Working Group - Planning Roadmap
A Basic Guide for Emergency Planners for Managed Wildlife

Model Disaster Management Plan for Zoological Parks of India

Crisis Management Planning in Zoological Institutions

Something to think about.......

How to tell if/when an elephant ‘sanctuary’ is unethical...
Please learn to think logically and critically, and don't fall for lies, misinformation, and 'elephant propaganda'...
First of all, I composed this information especially for people who don’t know ANYTHING! So for people who already know the ins and outs of unethical ‘sanctuaries’, I must very sincerely apologise. I do not mean to insult anyone’s intelligence.
These are the questions you should be asking when you come across 'sanctuaries' that are not transparent about their operations:

1.) On what grounds can they claim that every other elephant facility tortures elephants...except theirs, or others 'like theirs'? (Founders of 'sanctuaries' get really catty and bitchy with each other. You know that, right?!)

2.) How can they claim to have the best mahouts (in the world), if they keep trashing traditional elephant-keeping cultures? Does that mean that all those mahouts were previously evil, cruel, and abusive, and those mahouts only became 'nice' after they were 'recruited' by those 'sanctuaries'? If so, what methods do they use to 'convert' those previously evil, cruel, and abusive mahouts? And for people with such a 'bad history', isn't it such a 'giant leap' to now get to be the best mahouts (in the world)?

3.) How can they claim to implement the highest standards of elephant care and husbandry, when they do not allow the (open) use of our ancient tools and techniques? Does that mean there are no protective/preventative measures in place in case of emergencies, or in such cases where an elephant becomes aggressive?

4.) When elephants are placed in enclosures, what is the level of abundance of food within those enclosures? How often do they get fed in those enclosures (because, clearly, a lot of the food must come from outside the enclosures)? What kinds of food sources are naturally available within those enclosures? What of the range of enrichments within those enclosures?

5.) How do they manage elephants who come into conflict with one another? Remember that they don't allow the (open) use of our ancient tools and techniques! So, where on earth, how on earth, do they acquire their expertise?

6.) With their very strict 'no ankus - no chain - no riding' approach, how can effective medical treatment be provided for their elephants? Actually, do they even have an onsite clinic? Very importantly, with their 'no ankus - no chain - no riding' approach, how exactly can they claim to have skilled/professional/master mahouts? Do they even know what they're talking about, when it comes to elephant welfare management? Tools for the guidance and management of elephants have been around for thousands of years (before the chain, there was the rope). Do they even know what those tools are actually for, and how to exercise their proper use?

7.) Finally, they should show us their bank statements. What exactly are those donations going towards? Can they prove to us what they spend those donations on? Come us! After all, this isn't a for-profit business. This is a charity...a 'sanctuary'! Right???!!!!

It is healthy to ask open questions. So please, please be discerning...

Indonesia ready for arrival of pandas from China
The Indonesian government has issued a permit for the importation of pandas, an animal considered vulnerable to extinction, from China. Only 15 countries, including Indonesia, have been approved to raise the protected species.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry’s biodiversity conservation director Bambang Dahono Adji said the issuance of the permit for the importation of pandas was monitored by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) secretariat.

“We issued the import permit last month and the pandas will be brought to Indonesia as soon as possible. We are waiting for approval from [national flag carrier] Garuda, which will transport the pandas from China. We have specially requested Garuda to carry the species because it is part of an international conservation program,” said Bambang on Friday.

He said China agreed to give pandas to several countries including Indonesia with tight prerequisites. As one of

Another North Korea Crime: Pushing African Rhinos Toward Extinction
In 2014, a report by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (PDF) accused North Korean diplomats of earning hard currency for its nuclear and missile programs through illicit trading of wildlife.

Another finding on the illicit trade (PDF), published a year ago by the Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, showed that North Korean diplomats have been implicated in more than half of the cases of illegal trading of rhinoceros horns and elephant tusks involving embassy officials stationed in Africa since 1989. Of the 29 seizures of contraband horns and tusks in the period, 16 have involved North Koreans. The highest profile cases happened after Kim took office.

Edited by Dr Kees Rookmaaker

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Edinburgh Zoo confirms panda Tian Tian WON'T be giving birth this year
The UK's only giant panda Tian Tian will not give birth this year, Edinburgh Zoo has confirmed.

Tian Tian, who has been a leading attraction at the zoo since arriving in 2011, was tipped to give birth in August after zoo bosses confirmed she was pregnant again.

Barbara Smith, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said: "There was great excitement when early tests indicated that Tian Tian was pregnant.

"Like everyone, we are sad that the pregnancy did not result in cubs this time around."

EAZA Annual Report 2016

Bilbies and bettongs to return to NSW
UNSW scientists will reintroduce bilbies, burrowing bettongs, and five other native mammals that are extinct in NSW into large, predator-free exclosures in the north west of the state, as part of a major NSW Government initiative to protect threatened species.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton launched the Wild Deserts project this week on National Threatened Species Day.

Ms Upton announced that Dubbo’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo has commenced development of a 110-hectare breeding sanctuary for the Greater Bilby, which has not been seen for more than a century in the wild in NSW.

Battle to stop PNG's unique and beautiful wildlife from being caught and sold off
Papua New Guinea has the world's third-largest rainforest, but increasing numbers of its unique and beautiful species of wildlife are being caught and sold.

The animals are often sold for traditional reasons, for personal consumption or for use in ceremonial costumes.

Most Papua New Guineans do not see any problems with this, but conservation groups said it was starting to put many of the country's iconic species at risk.

The highlands city of Goroka is buzzing with people from all over the region who have come to show off their traditional dances and costumes at the annual Goroka Show.

The famous event attracts so-called "sing-sing" groups who compete to have the best performances and best traditional dress.

It also attracts people like Saifa Kaupa, who is selling a dead bird of paradise for about $40.

"I shot seven down. I had enough of my children getting them so I will sell three, and four I cooked,

In the Bellies of the Beasts
Bandar the tiger gorges on his blood popsicle in private. Animal keepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo attach an oxtail to the frozen treat so he can clamp down on it and drag it into the bushes. Commissary manager Bill Clements sources the blood from a butcher at Eastern Market.

“We’ll freeze it up and mix some gelatin in to make it more viscous and more fun to lick,” Clements says. His team molds ground beef into stars and affixes them to the sides making it look at once glorious and grotesque.

A bloodsicle is a lavish snack for the lions and tigers. Their usual diet consists of ground beef from Nebraska, rabbits, and beef femur bones. Occasionally they’re treated to a carcass feed, as gnawing on large portions of a whole animal best emulates how they eat in the wild. The meat is harder to break down, so it keeps their facial musculature well conditioned and their digestion systems revved up.

Though not as gory as the goat scene in Jurassic Park, carcass

This is the TAG Annual report 2016 online version of EAZA

Irma: Cuba airlifts dolphins to safety from deadly hurricane
Teams of rescue workers in Cuba airlifted a group of dolphins to safety from Hurricane Irma, hours before winds of up to 160mph struck the area.

The mammals were housed in an aquarium on the island of Cayo Guillermo, off the north central coast of the country, where the Category 5 storm swept across the archipelago.

Officials removed the six sea creatures from the water and placed them on mats, then wrapped them in giant blue sheets to prepare them for the evacuation.

Anteater’s Surprise Pregnancy: Virgin Birth Explained
Who's your daddy? Archie the giant anteater may have a hard time answering that question. Born to mom Armani at the LEO Zoological Center in Greenwich, Connecticut, Archie seems perfectly normal except for one small detail: Zookeepers have no idea how he came into being.

Armani had previously given birth to a baby named Alice after a romantic rendezvous with Alf, a male anteater also at LEO. But this wasn’t an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Male anteaters are known to kill and eat their offspring, so the zoo’s staff kept Alf separate from Ar

Two White Giraffes Seen in Kenyan Conservation Area
The Hirola Conservation Programme (HCP), a Rainforest Trust partner in Kenya, just captured footage of two white Reticulated giraffes. The giraffes, an adult female and calf, were in the region where Rainforest Trust and HCP are protecting vital habitat for the Hirola, the world’s most threatened antelope. According to the HCP blog, sightings of white giraffes have increased in the past few years and people have recently been seeing these two giraffe

Zoos Group Bans Anti-Animal Rights Org from Conference Keynoted by Animal Rights Activist
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) blocked a group critical of animal-rights extremists from its annual conference this weekend despite such radicals targeting zoos and aquariums for extinction.
The rejection of Protect the Harvest’s sponsorship of the massive gathering in Indianapolis came on the heels of the AZA inviting Wayne Pacelle, the head of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) who boasts a long record of opposing keeping animals in captivity, to deliver the group’s keynote. Protect the Harvest questions why Pacelle, a man they characterize as an abolitionist when it comes to zoos, received the privileged speaking slot.

“I think we offered $20,000,” explains Protect the Harvest’s Dave Duquette, who tells Breitbart News that his group had already picked out its booth space. “It was a platinum sponsorship. They were pretty excited about it. We were going to pay for an extra booth space.”

But after that initial excitement in early July, an AZA representative informed Duquette mid-month that the group could not allow Protect

Zoo Conditions Improve Nationwide
T he conditions of zoos, bird gardens and animal care centers across the country have improved over the past few years, as a result of a more efficient stick-and-carrot approach.

Currently, Iran has 71 zoos, bird gardens and other animal centers, only five of which do not yet have a DOE license. This is while by the end of July 2016, there were 24 unlicensed centers out of a total of 77 centers, ISNA reported.

"Overall, there has been improvement in the conditions of these centers and we are satisfied with the progress," said Ali Teymouri, director of Hunting and Fishing Office at the Department of Environment.

Following inspections, centers that failed to meet DOE's standards were notified and issued ultimatums to improve their conditions. Consequently, seven of the unlicensed centers were forced to close due to lack of improvement in their conditions.

"Drastic improvements were made by several zoos regarding the hygiene and space provided for animals while we had no option but to close a few others that were reluctant [in implementing improvements]," he said. 

The official stressed that zoos do not have much revenue and should not be expected to meet all DOE's requirements overnight.

"We should encourage and facilitate the gradual improvements in the conditions of these zoos," he said.  Teymouri also said the DOE would fully cooperate with those centers that show willingness to improve.

"It is not all stick and no carrot. The best zoos

World's first as endangered Bermudian Skink hatch at Chester Zoo
Two clutches of critically endangered Bermudian Skink have hatched at Chester Zoo, the first time conservationists have succeeded in breeding the species outside of its homeland.

The tiny rock lizards, which grow to around three inches long, are a much-loved symbol of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and an important part of the ecosystem.

Yet the species is on the brink of extinction in the wild, as habitat destruction and introduced p

Kazakhstan to reintroduce wild tigers after 70-year absence
Wild tigers are to be reintroduced to Kazakhstan 70 years after they became extinct in the country.

The animals will be reintroduced in the Ili-Balkhash region in a project that involves the creation of a nature reserve and the restoration of a forest that is part of the animal’s historical range.

If successful, Kazakhstan will be the first country in the world to bring wild tigers back to an entire region where they have been extinct for nearly half a century. Previous relocation projects have only been considered in existing tiger habitats, such as in reserves in India.

Poaching and habitat loss has decimated the wildlife on which wild tigers once fed, including the kulkan, or wild donkey, and bactrian deer, both native to central Asia. The animals will be reintroduced to the nature reserve to provide enough food for the tigers when they are relocated from elsewhere in Asia.

The project, which is being supported by WWF, is likely to take many years. The landscape has to be prepared and the wildlife they feed on reintroduced before the first tigers are brought in in 2025 at the earliest.

Igor Chestin, the director of WWF-Russia said: “Thanks to years of close collaboration between Kazakhstan and Russian co

Key Largo crew stays behind during Irma to care for dolphins

Haichang looks to develop Ocean Parks in India, Asia and Africa
China’s largest marine park operator, Haichang Ocean Parks Holdings, has plans to build overseas amusement parks along China’s new silk road.

Chief executive of Haichang, Wang Xuguang, told the South China Morning Post that his company was in discussion with mainland state-owned infrastructure builders. The company wishes to develop three to four ocean parks along China’s new silk road trade initiative. The new parks will be built in countries like Bangladesh and Madagascar.

Wang said: “As the state-owned infrastructure builders construct ports and roads along the ‘One Belt, One Road’, they also need our help to add amusement facilities to go with the megaprojects. This model fits us perfectly since we already had plans to tap the emerging markets.”

'All My Penguins' Tells Tales Of Love And Friendship At Chicago Zoo

Gibbon Conservation Center Newsletter

Zoo staff go on flash strike
Employees of all sections of the zoo, went on strike against the suspension of one watch and ward staff member and another head Mali. The fauna of the Nehru Zoological Park were deprived of daily meal by over two hours on Friday, as the zoo staff went on a flash strike, protesting against suspension of two of their colleagues. The zoo authorities had to place requisition to the outsourcing contractor for more hands, and the lunch for animals was delayed till they arrived, said an official on condition of anonymity. The striking employees were back to work later.

Florida judge orders Oklahoma roadside zoo not to move tigers
A federal judge in Florida has ordered an Oklahoma roadside zoo not to move 19 tigers at the center of a court battle with animal welfare activists.

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also is asking the judge to find Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado and Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park owner Jeff Lowe in contempt of court for allegedly interfering in a lawsuit over the tigers.

In court documents, PETA claims Maldonado and Lowe have said they would rather kill the tigers than hand the animals over to a Peta-backed animal sanctuary.

A Florida zoo, Dade City's Wild Things, sent the tigers to Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in July, allegedly to avoid a court-ordered inspection of the tiger petting zoo by animal welfare activists.

PETA filed a lawsuit against the Dade City's Wild Thi

Bahamas zoo rushes to save 150 animals by storing them in a makeshift Noah's Ark - the manager's office - as islands brace for Hurricane Irma
A zoo in the Bahamas rushed to save 150 animals as the tropical destination prepares for Hurricane Irma to hit on Saturday.
The tiny zoo of Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center in Nassau seemed like a chaotic Noah's Ark as a handful of employees moved dozens of the park's 200 animals indoors on Friday.
Workers were relocating the creatures to a manager's office while Hurricane Irma's first bands of high winds and rain started pounded the Caribbean country.
Nassau, a city of 250,000 people and 184 miles east of Miami, was scheduled to be rocked by winds more 100mph and heavy flooding early Saturday.

----------------------------- in September 2017

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Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



Wildcats are bred for conservation at the Animal Park Goldau. For this 
purpose, there is a bar-covered back enclosure additionally to an 
open-top display exhibit. The hunting behaviour of the cats is 
stimulated by four electronically operated feeding boxes that each open 
randomly for some time. The cat can retrieve food from the box when it 
is there at the right moment.

Here is the German original:

We would like to thank Martina Schybli from Animal Park Goldau for 
preparing this presentation.



1500 species are featured in the ZooLex Gallery with a preference 
towards the big charismatic species: exhibits for big cats (26), apes 
(20), bears (19) and elephants (nine) are the most numerous among 
various types of exhibits on ZooLex. Out of a total of 204 exhibit 
presentations, only four are aquariums. These four were presented by the 
National Aquarium Baltimore and Monterey Bay Aquarium and prepared from 
AZA exhibit award submissions.

Almost no mustelid exhibits are presented on ZooLex, besides various 
otter exhibits (nine). Red pandas are quite popular in zoos and on 
ZooLex too (four). Two exhibits in the Gallery are dedicated to insects, 
namely bees and butterflies. We hope that they will serve as good 
examples for more insect exhibit presentations. Bird exhibits (24) are 
well represented on ZooLex, with the most numerous exhibits being for 
penguins (five).

We would like to invite you to contribute and present your animal 
exhibits in the ZooLex Gallery, particularly when they hold species that 
are rare in ZooLex, namely reptiles, amphibia and insects.

Publishing in ZooLex is for free. Submissions to the ZooLex Gallery can 
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Submissions of text and images are welcome in digital format. Please 
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We look forward to receiving your contribution to the ZooLex Gallery!


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WWF-Myanmar sounds alarm about illegal wildlife trade
Trafficking of wild animals continues to haunt Myanmar despite attempts to curb the crimes, and experts warn that the trend could damage animal populations if it goes unchecked.
WWF-Myanmar raised the alert over the intensified illegal wildlife trade in the country, which targets pangolins, bears and elephant skin.

Cases are on the rise – 28 cases led to arrests in 2013 and 34 last year. So far this year, 24 cases have been reported through August, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

Dr Sapai Min, project manager for illegal wildlife trade for WWF-Myanmar, warned about widespread illegal wildlife trading in the border towns of Tachileik and Mong La that mostly thrive on wildlife species found in the country.

“I had been to Tachileik and Mong La three or four times. I went to Mong La early this year. When I went there in 2015, there were 15 places selling wildlife products. This year, there are already 42 markets for the illegal wildlife trade. This could greatly damage wildlife

Joburg Zoo reinstated as African Association of Zoos and Aquaria member
The Johannesburg Zoo has been reinstated as a member of the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Paazab), the City of Johannesburg said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Jenny Moodley said the zoo's regional Paazab membership would allow it to continue being an international member of good standing of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza).

Moodley said the reinstatement reaffirmed the City's commitment to regulate and improve its professional standards and commitment to the code of ethics.

Some commitments included the trade and movement of animals and plants, which must conform to international conventions and best practices, and abide by national and local regulations.

Animal husbandry would ensure the highest standard of veterinary care and housing, and ensure that all animals had adequate space and proper facilities.

It would also make sur

Guangzhou Zoo closes controversial circus show
Guangzhou Zoo said it had closed the circus show since Sept. 1, and the area would be used to build a scientific exhibition center.

The venue was contracted to a circus operator from eastern China's Anhui Province in 1993, which has performed there ever since, said Huang Yingzhi, head of the circus.

"We still have about 70 animals, monkeys, bears, tigers, gorillas and parrots. We received notice for the shutdown on Aug. 14, but we have been negotiating with the zoo to stay," he said.

Huang and his employees refused to leave, insisting there was no reason to close the circus.

Over the weekend, the circus was still selling tickets and there were a few dozen people watching the show, where monkeys rode bikes, gorillas played drums and bears did headstands on high-rise bars.

"Audience numbers have not declined, and our place is popular. More than 13 million people have watched the shows over the past 24 years,

Abu Dhabi SeaWorld to be indoor theme park
Abu Dhabi’s upcoming SeaWorld theme park on Yas Island will be an indoor attraction so that it can attract visitors all year round.

Local developer Miral is developing the SeaWorld project. It also owns and operates the Ferrari World theme park and the water park, and is developing the Warner Bros theme park. “… They are all indoor theme parks, obviously excluding the water park, which is naturally outdoors,” says Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak, chairman of Miral. “SeaWorld will also be a fully indoor and immersive experience. It will allow us to work 12 months a year instead of just focusing on the winter months.”

Miral and the US’ SeaWorld Entertainment announced they had formed a partnership to develop the project in December last year. Consultants have tendered for roles such as project management this year.

The marine life-themed park will include the UAE’s first dedicated marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation and return centre as well as resources for the care and conservation of local marine life.

Dr. Jenifer Zeligs – “Make a connection before you give direction”

‘We Are Never Going To Evacuate Animals’: How Zoos And Aquariums Prepare For A Hurricane
 When you work with ferocious jungle cats, massive sea creatures, and countless insects, it’s easy to see how mapping out a hurricane disaster plan for all of them will become a problem.

The one-two punch of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the southern states is not the first major weather event to force animal care facilities to get creative with their storm prep. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated much of the Miami area.

Infographic: What your ticket to the Two Oceans Aquarium makes possible
While most of our visitors usually only get to see the goings on in front of our acrylic windows – not-at-all selfish cleaner shrimps, under-appreciated fish that are actually awesome, the world’s favourite African penguin, and so on – there is a whole lot happening behind the scenes at the Two Oceans Aquarium, too.

A quick glance at the past four months shows how every arm of our organisation endeavours to make a real difference, big or small, for the people of South Africa and their oceans and coasts. That is why an entrance ticket or an annual membership, or even a small online donation, to the Aquarium counts for so mu

Tokyo Zoo Offers Itself up as Refuge for Anyone Suffering From Depression or Anxiety
As summer slowly begins to fade into fall and then later winter, it can affect some people differently. Some succumb to terrible depression as the seasons change, some become anxious about school, work, and other difficulties of everyday life. Some are just unhappy and anxious in general, which is completely normal. With proper treatment and support, these feelings can be overcome, and it does get better, but unfortunately, some individuals end up taking their own lives because they don’t feel strong enough to cope anymore. Youth suicide, tragically, has been on the rise in Japan, which is an even sadder prospect.

That’s why one zoo in Tokyo is working to make anyone who feels upset or depressed or anxious or anyone who feels like they can’t escape the situation they’re in now that the zoo can be their sanctuary. The zoo sent out a

Defiant Animal Circus Refuses to Close at Guangzhou Zoo
Despite having their lease terminated, the animal circus at the Guangzhou Zoo has continued operating as usual, earning the ire of zoo officials.

The Guangzhou Zoo announced on August 30 that they would not be renewing the Anhui Guangde Animal Circus’ contract, which expired the following day. Despite pleas from the zoo to pack up and call it a day – and an offer to help move the animals – the circus has kept selling tickets and staging shows.

A staffer at the zoo told That’s this afternoon that circus shows are being held today despite organizers being asked to cease and desist.

Search on for owner of tiger shot dead in metro Atlanta neighborhood
Henry County police and state authorities are working to determine how a tiger ended up in a residential area early Wednesday morning.

The tiger was shot dead after it attacked a dog and was spotted roaming a Henry County neighborhood

“No idea where she (the tiger) belonged,” said Gerri Yoder, Henry County’s animal control director. “There are a lot of theories, but who knows?”

The state’s Department of Natural Resources is also investigating, but hasn’t yet determined the tiger’s owner, officials said.

The tiger could have been “a victim of the exotic pet trade” and could have been “born and bred for the purpose of resale,” Yoder said. Tigers “are not illegal to own with the proper permitting,” she said.

Around 6 a.m., authorities received at least two 911 calls from people who spotted the big cat near the ramp from I-75 North to Jodeco Road and near a home in the area, Henry poli

Animal-Rights Activist Keynoting Zoos Convention Dumbfounds Critics
“I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.”
Wayne Pacelle, the author of those few, strange words, does not officiate over a pitbull-fighting ring or binge-watch cartoons of Jerry torturing Tom. Pacelle delivers the keynote at the annual conference of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) later this week in Indianapolis.

“We invited Wayne because AZA’s reputation and the reputation of our 230 members is dependent upon the public confidence that they provide exceptional care to the animals in aquariums and zoos,” Dan Ashe, president and chief executive officer of the AZA, tells Breitbart News. “Animal welfare and care is a foundational issue. We believe it’s important that they hear from the leading voices in the animal-welfare community.”

For critics, a Twilight Zone quality colors Pacelle delivering the keynote address at the AZA convention, like Huck Finn’s anti-book learnin’ father winning the Nobel Prize for literature or naming Charlie Brown the kicker at the Pro Bowl. Pacelle serves as the president of the Humane Society of the United States, and regularly inveighs against institutions that keep animals in captivity for educational purposes.

“Several of the zoos that are members of the AZA are not happy with Dan Ashe’s decision to have Wayne Pacelle be the keynote speaker because he is the enemy of all zoos,” Dave Duquette of Protect the Harvest tells Breitbart News. “They’re afraid to say anything because they’re afraid of the Humane Society. Look what they did with the circus or with Sea World—the orcas are no longer allowed to breed in captivity.

The Renegade Scientist Who Taught Us to Love Gorillas
Before she was known around the world for living with mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey struggled to bring attention to their dwindling numbers.

Certain that gorillas were on the verge of extinction, she adopted a brash approach to communication and conservation that ruffled many—and likely contributed to her still-unsolved murder in 1985. But this fierce dedication also helped revive the beleaguered primates. Today, thousands of tourists visit Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to see them.

In 1969, the 35-year-old scientist had received three National Geographic Society grants to research the elusive gorillas, and the magazine’s editors decided to feature her findings. They quickly learned that Fossey was not afraid to offend in the gorillas’ defense.

London Zoo uses cycling air pollution sensors to track penguins and rhinos
London Zoo is tracking penguins and rhinos in farflung corners of the world using the same sensors that help cyclists avoid pollution hotspots in the city.

The small, flat devices, which cost a few pence and are slightly bigger than a bank card, can detect vibration, sound and air quality. They send radio signals to base station boxes, which broadcast the data to satellites.

Digital Catapult, a non-profit tech organisation, has installed the sensors across London and programmed them to gather data to map pollution, allowing cyclists to plot cleaner commutes to and from work.

However, it is has now worked with game reserve rangers and London Zoo to set up networks of the low-powered devices in locations such as Kenya, Nepal, Australia, the Chagos Islands and Antarctica.

In elephant and rhino poaching hotspots, the s

Something to sneeze about: Democratic voting in African wild dog packs
Scientists studying African wild dogs in Botswana have found members of this endangered species use sneezes to vote on when the pack will move off and start hunting.

The research, by an international team working at the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Study senior author Dr Neil Jordan, a research fellow at UNSW Sydney and Taronga Conservation Society Australia, says African wild dogs exhibit highly energetic greeting ceremonies called social rallies after rests periods, before they move off together again.
"I wanted to better understand this collective behaviour, and noticed the dogs were sneezing while preparing to go," says Dr Jordan, of the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science.
"We recorded details of 68 social rallies from 5 African wild dog packs living in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and couldn't quite believe it when our analyses confirmed our suspicions.
"The more sneezes that occurred, the more likely it was that the

Campaigners warn against restoration of London Zoo's iconic aviary
Campaigners have warned the “special significance” of London Zoo’s Snowdon Aviary could be damaged by a planned restoration.

The Grade II* listed structure, inspired by the movement of flying birds, opened in 1965 and is visible from Regent’s Canal and Primrose Hill but has fallen into disrepair.

It was put on Historic England’s At Risk Register last year. It will be converted into an enclosure for colobus monkeys, with the mesh covering replaced and an education centre built.

The birds currently there will move to other aviaries on site and to other zoos, with new bird specie

Editorial: Elephant death is tragic, but zoo does more good than harm
With Labor Day signalling the end of the summer season for many Pittsburghers, a number chose to take the day off to visit the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

Most came to see the animals. But after the deaths of a three-month-old elephant calf and the zoo’s oldest male tiger in rapid succession last week, some residents are coming to sound off, not to spectate.

A protest planned for later this month the zoo includes the two recent deaths in a list of accusations of animal mishandling. According to the event page, protesters will demand an end to the zoo’s breeding program that the elephant calf was part of as well as a general release of the park’s animals into wildlife sanctuaries.

The events of the past week were unquestionably tragic, and the zoo should give serious consideration to the future of its elephant breeding program. But demands to essentially shutter the zoo are counterproductive and would likely do more harm than good to the animals and anyone involved.

The elephant calf that died last week was conceived through through the process of artificial insemination of one of the zoo’s female elephants. When the calf’s mother rejected it after its premature, underweight birth, it received care exclusively from zoo employees, who fed it a mixture of formula and milk from another elephant mother.

After teething began, keepers were forced to insert a feeding tube. Zoo officials only made the decision to euthanize the baby elephant after tube feedings became ineffective and the calf stopped gaining weight consistently.

In a statement given after the death, Pittsburgh Zoo Pre

Smart phone app launched for nature reserve protection
The Biodiversity Conservation Centre of GreenViet, an NGO in Đà Nẵng, will launch a warning application for smart phone users to alert of violations against animals and vegetation in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve.

Director of GreenViet, Trần Hữu Vỹ, told Việt Nam News the Sơn Trà SOS application will be used from November. Smart phone users can report or send photos of illegal logging or hunting in the reserve to GreenViet for rapid response.

Vỹ said the Sơn Trà SOS, funded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), would create quick supervision of any dangerous situations and infringements in the reserve, which is just 10km from the city centre.

GreenViet has been developing a website for the red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) – an endangered primate species.

The NGO is also co-operating with the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany, San Diego Z

Why poison dart frogs don't poison themselves
A pair of researchers with the State University of New York has found the source of poison dart frogs' immunity from their own poison. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sho-Ya Wang and Ging Kuo Wang describe testing frog muscle-derived amino acids in rat muscles to determine if one of them might be responsible for preventing muscle from seizing.

Poison dart frogs, native to Columbia, are known throughout the world for the application of their poison to blow darts as a weapon. The toxin is produced in the skin gland and one frog holds enough to kill 10 human beings at any one time—the toxin kills by reversing the openings of sodium channels in nerves, which prevents muscles from relaxing. The heart clenches to push blood through the body, but then cannot unclench, preventing it from working.
Prior research has shown that the active ingredient in the toxin is batrachotoxin. To figure out why the dart frogs do not give themselves heart attacks when they produce the chemical, the researchers gathered samples of all five amino acids that exist in the frog's muscles and used them to replace those in rat muscles. Doing so, the researchers report, made the rat muscle immune to the effects of batrachotoxin. The researchers then tested the amino acids individually until they fou

American woman promises $22 million donation to German zoo
A German zoo says a 93-year-old American widow of a Holocaust survivor is leaving it $22 million (18.5 million euros) in her will.

German-born Elizabeth Reichert told the local Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper it was her late husband Arnulf's wish to donate the money to the Cologne zoo.

Reichert and Arnulf were both natives of Cologne, and met during the war while he was in hiding. They moved to Israel after the war and then later to the U.S., settling in New Jersey.

The couple had no children and the newspaper reported Friday that Reichert has already started transferring $6,000 per month to the zoo. The entire sum is to be donated upon her death.

What IS A Dolphin? The Idealist vs Pragmatist
I just started my second (and final) year of my master’s program in forensic science.  One of the classes I’m taking is called Foundations of Criminal Justice, which is deliciously philosophical.  And believe it or not friends, I have found some interesting parallels in the marine mammal world with some of the stuff I have been reading in my textbook.
In the second chapter, the author writes about idealists versus pragmatists, and how they would develop and implement aspects of the criminal justice system.  But the thing is guys, the author used an animal to illustrate the difference between the two perspectives.  And I realized HOLY CRAP THIS IS IT.  THIS EXPLAINS THE MAIN DISSONANCE BETWEEN THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND THE REST OF US.

Zoos might just be the difference between life and death for these species
With many animals facing extinction we often see zoos as gene pools to be used in a worst case scenario. Here are three species were the existence of populations in zoos could be the difference between life and death.

In 'My Life with Cranes,' George Archibald Recounts an Incredible Career in Conservation
There are 15 extant species of crane in the world, and most of them, with the exception of the Sandhill Crane and three others, are threatened or endangered. But without the work of George Archibald, all of these species would assuredly be even worse off than they are today. That’s because Archibald has dedicated his life to saving the world’s cranes, and in his new book My Life with Cranes, the renowned ornithologist recounts his illustrious and pioneering conservation career spanning more than 40 years.

The book is a short one, a little over 150 pages, but it is a delightful and informative read, packed with anecdotes from Archibald’s travels around the world and crammed with facts about cranes and their habitats. Interspersed are colorful photographs documenting Archibald’s extensive travels, his family and colleagues over the years, and most of all, the elegant cranes he’s worked so hard to save. Whether t

Something is changing the sex of Costa Rican crocodiles
If you want to know whether a crocodile is a male or a female, you have to catch it. Don't bring your good shoes. "It's a muddy, wet mess," says Chris Murray, who spent three dry seasons in and near Palo Verde National Park in Costa Rica, capturing American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) and determining their sex with a revolving team of helpers.

Even at night the heat is smothering, and a halo of bugs swirls around headlamps as the team motorboats down waterways or stalks the animals from shore. When Murray and his colleagues spot a croc, often half-submerged, they wade in after it or pursue it in the boat. In a typical catch, his friend Mike Easter uses a noose on a pole to snare the animal, which can be 2 meters long or more. As the croc thrashes and spins, Murray says, "everyone yells a bunch of stuff." Once it calms down a bit, they cover its eyes with a towel to reduce stress, close its jaw with tape, and lug it to the bank, stumbling through shoe-stealing mud.

With the animal restrained, telling its sex is straightforward, says Murray, who is a physiological ecologist at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. "You have to put a finger in its cloaca," the cavity at the base of the tail. "If there's a struct

The bustard and the windmill
On the afternoon of July 17, a large buff-and-white ostrich-like bird crashed into a 33 KV transmission line connected to wind turbines in Naliya, on the edge of the Lala Bustard Sanctuary in Kutch, Gujarat. This was no ordinary birdkill. The young female bird’s death was nothing short of an ecological catastrophe: it meant one less individual of a critically endangered species — the Great Indian Bustard — of which an estimated 150 remain worldwide today.

This particular bird was satellite-tagged. Information yielded by GPS transmitters showed that it regularly moved between Naliya and the coastal grassland of Dadamapar village 30 km away. But death was perhaps inevitable: the distance between the two habitats is densely packed with wind turbines.

At possibly around 15 individual bustards, this area supports the world’s second largest population of these birds. Today, they are threatened by a seemingly benign activity: wind and solar energy projects. Power line networks — many of them for renewable energy projects — have killed at least seven bustards in India over the last decade.

Bustards, which are one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, worldwide easily fall victim to power lines because of their relatively low flight paths and poor frontal vision, explains Sutirtha Dutta, Bustard Conservation Project Scientist, Wildlife Institute of India. “The situation is no differ

Apes' abilities misunderstood by decades of poor science
Apes' intelligence may be entirely misunderstood, because research has so far failed to measure it fairly and accurately, according to scientists.
Hundreds of scientific studies over two decades have told us that apes are clever - just not as clever as us.
A new analysis argues that what we think we know about apes' social intelligence is based on wishful thinking and flawed science.
Dr David Leavens, of the University of Sussex, with Professor Kim Bard, University of Portsmouth, and Professor Bill Hopkins, Georgia State University, published their analysis in the journal Animal Cognition.
Dr Leavens said: "The fault underlying decades of research and our understanding of apes' abilities is due to such a strongly-held belief in our own superiority, that scientists have come to believe that human babies are more socially capable than ape adults. As humans, we see ourselves as top of the evolutionary tree. This had led to a systematic exaltation of the reasoning abilities of human infants, on the one hand, and biased research designs that discriminate against apes, on the other hand.
"Even when apes clearly outperform young human children, researchers tend to interpret the apes' superior performance to be a consequence of inferior cognitive abilities.
"There is not one scientifically sound report of an essential species difference between apes and humans in their abilities to use and understand clues from gestures, for example. Not one.
"This is not to say such a difference won't be found in future, but much of the existing scientific research is deeply flawed."
This isn't the first time science has seen such a pervasive collapse of rigor - 100 years ago scientists were sure that northern Europeans were the most intelligent in our species. Such bias is now seen as antiquated, but comparative psychology is applying the same bias to cross-species comparisons between humans and apes, the researchers say.
Professor Bard said: "In examining the literature, we found a chasm between evidence and belief. This suggests a deep commitment to the idea that humans alone possess sophisticated social intelligence, a bias that is often not supported by the evidence."

Enrichment at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
One of the ways SCBI keepers add variety to the cheetahs’ day is by providing them the opportunity to interact with a pool of water, which is not something that exists in their enclosures but something that they would encounter in the wild. To give juveniles Asante, Scotty and Rosalie an outlet to express their curiosity, keepers tossed in some floating toys as well. As predators, cheetahs are naturally inclined to investigate things that move (and that could potentially be prey). The jolly balls bob along the surface of water, making them an irresistible object of pursuit. 

Museum admits fault in Snooty’s death
Snooty the manatee drowned due to human error, including poor communication, deficient record keeping and lack of staff and volunteer training, South Florida Museum officials announced on Thursday.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that the board confirms that the findings show Snooty died as the result of a preventable accident,” John Quinlan, vice president of the museum’s board of trustees, told reporters Thursday.

Snooty drowned the night of July 22 or the morning of July 23 after his gala 69th birthday party, when he swam through a broken access panel leading to an underwater tunnel and became trapped, he said.

After a museum-initiated investigation, “We came to understand that mistakes were made, specifically the aquarium staff were aware of the panel being askew or loose, or that it was missing screws as early as Sunday, July 16, a week prior to Snooty’s death,” said a tearful Brynne Anne Besio, museum CEO. “Due to br

Endangered California Frog Gets Inoculation To Avoid Extinction
Scientists say they’re inoculating an endangered California frog to give it a fighting chance at avoiding extinction.

National Park Service biologist Danny Boiano says it’s part of an experiment to save the mountain yellow-legged frog from ravaging disease.

Former USFWS Director Dan Ashe Discusses Wildlife Conservation & Animal Welfare Programs as the New CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)
The 2016 selection of former Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Dan Ashe as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) was exciting for many executives at the helm of accredited zoological parks in North America and worldwide for several reasons.

The appointment of perhaps the highest ranking wildlife biologist in the United States to the post in charge of wildlife in human care was an obvious choice to many zoo and aquarium professionals and a poignant reminder of AZA’s commitment to wildlife conservation. But the significance of the selection may not have resonated as widely or strongly within the public sector.  Connections between zoos and field-based programs, including restoration efforts, which are often largely administered under the auspices of zoos and aquariums themselves, are frequently under-recognized and under-appreciated, even among avid zoogoers.

To stop poaching, ivory ban must be permanent
Elephants in the wild are under serious threat: Save the Elephants estimates that 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa between 2010 and 2012. Elephants are part of our global heritage that should be stewarded for future generations, but they are not to be fenced off in “fortress conservation” efforts; we must find ways of co-existing with elephants in a way that serves communities in Africa – and the elephants themselves.

One way to mitigate the risk elephants are facing due to demand for their ivory is to reduce that demand – such campaigns are crucial in the fight against poaching, and domestic ivory trade bans can complement these campaigns.

Indonesian authorities uncover online orangutan trade
Wildlife traffickers in Indonesia are taking their illicit business to social media such as Facebook and Instagram, with the latest case coming to light this week.

On Monday (Aug 21), West Kalimantan forest rangers and police arrested a suspect, identified only as Tar, on suspicion of selling two baby orang utans on Instagram.

The 19-year-old suspect was arrested at his house in a neighbourhood in West Kalimantan, where two orang utans were found in a basket in the garage.

Otters learn by copying each other
Otters can learn how to solve puzzles by watching and copying each other, new research shows.

Scientists created a series of puzzles baited with food, and found smooth-coated otters watched and copied each other's problem-solving techniques - with young otters more likely to copy than their parents.
But another species - Asian short-clawed otters - showed no sign of copying each other.
Many otter species are classified as threatened, vulnerable or endangered, and the researchers say their study may help improve efforts to reintroduce otters into the wild.
"Social learning has been studied in many species, but never in otters," said Dr Neeltje Boogert, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
"Our results suggest smooth-coated otters adopt a 'copy when young' strategy.
"The offspring in our study learned how to solve these puzzles much quicker than their parents - more than six times faster.

Sense of smell is key factor in bird navigation
How do birds navigate over long distances? This complex question has been the subject of debate and controversy among scientists for decades, with Earth's magnetic field and the bird's own sense of smell among the factors said to play a part.

Now, researchers from the universities of Oxford, Barcelona and Pisa have shown in a new experiment that olfaction – or sense of smell – is almost certainly a key factor in long-distance oceanic navigation, eliminating previous misgivings about this hypothesis.
The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Study leader Oliver Padget, a doctoral candidate in Oxford University's Department of Zoology, said: 'Navigation over the ocean is probably the extreme challenge for birds, given the long distances covered, the changing environment, and the lack of stable landmarks. Previous experiments have focused on the physical displa

'Our hearts are broken:' Pittsburgh Zoo's baby elephant, 'Little Bit,' has died
 The Pittsburgh Zoo says it made a humane decision to end the young life of an elephant calf after her health took a turn for the worse and she wasn't gaining enough weight from feedings through a tube.

Top 10 Zoos — World

As Gujarat herds its big cats, MP looks for zoo lions
Gujarat’s refusal to part with its Gir lions despite court orders has forced Madhya Pradesh to propose an alternative: source cubs and lions from zoos across the country for translocation to Kuno Palpur in Sheopur district. For more than two decades, the Gujarat government has scuttled the translocation conceived in the 1990s by the Central government, at the instance of the Wildlife Institute of India, to create a second home for Asiatic lions outside Gir.
In 2014, the Supreme Court threw out a curative petition by the Gujarat government, the last legal recourse available before it to stall the translocation, but the state has managed to avoid shifting, citing absence of one study or the other. The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh too hasn’t shown much keenness in pushing for execution of the project.
Calling the new idea ‘Plan B’, Madhya Pradesh Chief Wi

Buenos Aires Is Home To The Cruellest Zoo In The World
This is one of the only places in the world where wild animals appear to accept being handled by strangers all day long, 365 days a year (the establishment is open every day of the year and only closes at night).

But if you take a closer look, the animals don't really have a choice. They're stuffed into minuscule enclosures, languishing away while they are chained up on tables so visitors can take photographs with them.

The animals appear to be drugged and depressed – they barely move, as if in a constant daze, and their eyes are glassy and lifeless.

Sabah on fast-track to make pangolin a totally protected species
Sabah is speeding up the process of making pangolins a totally protected species amid the increasing number of cases of trafficking and hunting.

“There is a real urgency to give it full protection,” state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said after unveiling the Negaraku Livery on a MASwings ATR 72-500 aircraft here on Tuesday.

He said the Wildlife Department was preparing the necessary documents to upgrade the protection status of pangolins to be submitted to the Sabah Cabinet.

Sunda pangolins are the only species found in Sabah and are protected under Part 1 Schedule 2 of the Sabah Wildlife Con

Counting India’s Elusive Fishing Cats
When Subrata Maity, a tutor in the Howrah district of West Bengal, India, was checking the camera traps he’d installed throughout his village, he discovered that one had gone missing. For the past 10 days, Maity had put his trap in the same spot, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive fishing cats that prowl through the area.

Fishing cats are a distinct and curious species—and not just because they’re comfortable getting wet. Of India’s 15 species of wild cats, they’re the only one that thrives in the country’s brackish wetlands. The feline predator is twice the size of a domestic cat and smaller than a tiger—they look almost like an overgrown ocelot. True to their name, fishing cats are exceptional swimmers, and chase down fish, rodents, and reptiles in the riverine floodplains of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Brahmaputra Rivers; the Sundarbans delta; and throughout small coastal wetlands on the Bay of Bengal.

But research on these cats is sparse. To date, there have been no extensive studies on the animal’s ecology and distribution. It’s a situation that Maity is helping rectify.

Maity is working with Shreya Bhattacharya, a graduate student at Bharati Vidyapeeth University, and Tiasa Adhya, a wildlife biologist with the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Adhya is spearheading the proje

SeaWorld under criminal investigation
US Dept. of Justice reviewing company statements about 'Blackfish'
 SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for statements made by company executives about the documentary "Blackfish," court records obtained by News 6 reveal.

In June, SeaWorld officials disclosed that the DOJ was investigating trades of SeaWorld securities made by company executives following the film's release in 2013, as well as statements about how the documentary was impacting the company.
Sandra Moser, acting chief of the DOJ's Fraud Section, confirmed in court filings that her division is conducting a criminal probe into SeaWorld.

The DOJ's Fraud Section investigates and prosecutes sophisticated economic crime.

Moser filed a motion in federal court Friday seeking to intervene in a 2014 civil lawsuit filed by a group of SeaWorld shareholders.

The investors claim SeaWorld executives misled them about the impact "Blackfish" was having on theme park attendance and revenue.

The DOJ is asking a judge to delay depositions in the civil litigation until Nov. 30, suggesting that the process of attorneys questioning witnesses as part of the lawsuit "may implicate and negatively affect the ongoing criminal investigation," the motion states.

A SeaWorld spokesperson declined to comment on the new court filing. The company has previously stated it is cooperating with federal investigators.

Last week, former SeaWorld Chief Executive Officer Jim Atchison obtained his own attorney, court records show.

Atchison, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had previously been represented by SeaWorld's legal team.

Gil Soffer, Atchison's new atto

How to Eat Like a Chimpanzee
In conversation we say someone is haunted by the past. Evolutionarily we are all haunted by many pasts, pasts buried in each of our cells, organs or actions. Each bit of you has antecedents, half-dry clay into which natural selection’s ruthless cleaver has carved. Your mitochondria—those whirring motors of energy in your cells—are the descendants of ancient bacteria and bear their marks. Your lungs are the descendants of fish lungs; your arms are modified fins. Your diet, of course, has antecedents too. But while we can consider the evolution of our arms by looking at the fossils of ancient fins, nearly everything we know about what we once ate, we know indirectly.
The elements left in in ancient teeth and bones can reveal crude measures of the diets of our ancestors or their kin. We can also look to the diets of our living relatives for more detailed insight. Living apes are not our ancestors. They have changed since the time our two kinds were one. Yet, the common ancestor from which both modern apes and modern humans descend was probably less like us and more like them. So what do the modern apes—and in particular our closest relatives the chimpanzees and bonobos—eat? Plants. Yes, plants. But what kind or how many or how? Recently, a new study by David Watts at Yale University and colleagues reconsiders the answer for chimpanzees in Kibale National Park in Uganda. From the perspective of our mod

Warning after balloons land in baboon enclosure
Animal keepers at a Devon wildlife park are asking the public not to release balloons freely after a number of them landed in a baboon enclosure.

Balloons can be a serious problem for wildlife who often mistake them for food.

The warning comes less than a month after the discovery of a family of lesser horseshoe bats living in the belly of one of the park's dinosaur models.

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park issued a statement yesterday asking for members of the public to “make sure they stay with you on the ground where they can't harm any wildlife”.

Here is the statement in full: “Unfortunately, when balloons ar

It's Time To Turn Our Backs On Elephant Rides As Entertainment
With a wave of the mahout's hand, the heavily-saddled elephant lifts its front leg and allows the handler to climb on top of him. Tourists wait nearby, lining up to go on an exotic ride of a lifetime on the back of an elephant. Outwardly, the elephants seem to be healthy and happy. Behind the scenes, however, a much crueler state of affairs exists.

When the elephants aren't working, they're likely to be kept inside concrete pens and shackled by short chains in separate areas, preventing these highly social creatures from having contact with one another. Eventually, they start to sway and bob their heads in a state of boredom, loneliness, and frustration. Come daylight,

The Animals Rate of Success
While being at home for a bit after each day of work I started to think about a more successful way of living. I mean how can I make myself feel better. It’s a question many of us ask about themselves but to get there you have to know yourself pretty well. The success rate of your life is an important matter just because it gives you the satisfaction and confidence you need in your daily life. Some people don’t need much and succeed easily while others look for ideals that are harder to reach. They get their motivation for successes somewhere else maybe because it’s harder to get

Jellyfish and other gelata as food for four penguin species – insights from predator-borne videos
Jellyfish and other pelagic gelatinous organisms (“gelata”) are increasingly perceived as an important component of marine food webs but remain poorly understood. Their importance as prey in the oceans is extremely difficult to quantify due in part to methodological challenges in verifying predation on gelatinous structures. Miniaturized animal-borne video data loggers now enable feeding events to be monitored from a predator's perspective. We gathered a substantial video dataset (over 350 hours of exploitable footage) from 106 individuals spanning four species of non-gelatinous-specialist predators (penguins), across regions of the southern oceans (areas south of 30°S). We documented nearly 200 cases of targeted attacks on carnivorous gelata by all four species, at all seven studied localities. Our findings emphasize that gelatinous organisms actually represent a widespread but currently under-represented trophic link across the southern oceans, even for endothermic predators, which have high energetic demands. The use of modern technological tools, such as animal-borne video data loggers, will help to correctly identify the ecological niche of gelata.


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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
+971 50 4787 122 | | Skype: peter.dickinson48