Monday, April 30, 2018

Zoo News Digest 30th April 2018 (ZooNews 991)

Zoo News Digest 30th April 2018  (ZooNews 991)


Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

The first link refers to canned hunting though it will never be referred to as such. Shooting Arabian Oryx for the pot would have been the last thing people could have imagined back in the 1970's when myself and colleagues worked on genetically managing small herds by moving males around. So does canned hunting signal success? It probably does with Oryx. After all it's been going on in Texas for years. Don't get me wrong, it's not something I am in favour of but it's either that or culling. The breeding programme has, and continues to be a huge success. The Arabian Oryx is often mentioned as a success story in the light of animals being rescued, taken to the US and then brought back and released into the deserts of Oman. Yes, it was wonderful. It has been suggested that without this they would have become extinct. Sorry but this is just not true. In the 1970's there were private herds hidden away in Kuwait, Saudi, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE. These were not small numbers they probably numbered in the high 100's. Now the UAE alone has over 5000 Oryx and none of these are descended from US born animals.

I reckon the David Gill story has run its course now. I never saw a sympathetic comment anywhere.

Did you know that advertising your vacancy or product on ZooNews Digest can potentially reach 77,000 + people?

Lots of interest follows. 


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 77,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 77,000 likes) and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 823 Zoos in 154+ 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,

The UAE's only wild hunting resort says visitor numbers are growing
The roar of wild animals, iced drinks under the stars and rifles jacked up against backpacks – it sounds like a passage from Ernest Hemingway’s classic safari journal Green Hills of Africa, but only a few miles from the capital in the deserts of Al Ain, hunters from across the globe are legally hunting for trophy game such as Arabian oryx and gazelle.

Telal Hunting opened in 2015 and is based at the Telal Resort in Al Ain. The 80 square kilometre complex also offers safari trips where guests can see these indigenous Middle Eastern animals in the wild. It's the only place in the UAE where these animals can be hunted legally in their natural environment.

Hans Enslin is the hunting manager. “In our boundaries it’s legal to hunt,” he said at the Arabian Travel Market on Monday.

The operation is fully licensed by Abu Dhabi and the numbers visiting are growing. The season runs from October to March and from just 25 paying hunters in 2015, at least 95 came this season – seventy of which are from the GCC and Emirati. Guests also come from traditional hunting communities in Europe, Russia, the US, South America and Mexico.

People do not need shooting experience, but most do and many have a military background. Every hunting guest, no matter what their expertise, is still taken to a shooting range under Mr

A Court Has Rejected the 'Monkey Selfie' Lawsuit Seeking Animal Rights to Photographs
A U.S. appeals court on Monday favored humans over animals in a novel copyright lawsuit filed over a series of entertaining selfies taken by a monkey with a toothy grin.

U.S. copyright law does not allow lawsuits that seek to give animals the rights to photographs or other original work, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

Copyright infringement can only be claimed on behalf of humans, the court said.

The unanimous, three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against a photographer whose camera was used by a crested macaque to take the photos in 2011.

PETA’s 2015 suit against wildlife photographer Da

The Dominican Republic has passed legislation that prohibits the sale of dolphins, Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project reported. The new legislation, published by the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, is said to cover a period of five years. During this time, dolphins cannot be purchased or sold within the Caribbean nation.

While the ruling does not ban the captivity of dolphins at current facilities, Dolphin Project, the longest-running anti-captivity dolphin organization in the world, believes the legislation will still have an impact. The organization commented that the ruling will make it “more difficult, if not impossible” to open new dolphinariums.

Dolphin Project said: “We applaud the Ministry for taking this action, as this is an important advance for local activists who have been working hard to defend the free

Why zoos should be considered social enterprises
What goes through your head when you hear the word ‘zoo’? Is it that they are modern day conservation powerhouses? If not, it should be.

With over 700 million visitors a year, zoos and aquariums are the third biggest contributor to field conservation worldwide. We are in a prime position to influence the relationships between people and nature.

Zoos are true social enterprises, contributing to our understanding of animals and their habitats, their care and threats, and are integral to the values of connecting people with animals - particularly in our increasingly urbanized world.

But zoos have their detractors, and I can understand these sentiments. It would be great if we had a healthy happy planet, where all beings live good lives in healthy untouched habitats with optimal biodiversity. This is not the reality.

There is no environment on earth left untouched by humans. We only need to look at footage of the plastic rubbish patches in oceans around the world to see the effect our everyday lives are having on the habitats of wild animals. Those detractors who state ‘let

Signoff on rhino sperm transfer between Indonesia, Malaysia expected mid-May: Official
Indonesia has taken the first concrete step to advancing a long-anticipated cross-border program that will attempt to fertilize the last female Sumatran rhino in Malaysia with sperm from a proven breeder living at a facility in Indonesia.

The Indonesian government on April 12 sent a memorandum of understanding to its Malaysian counterpart regarding the transfer of genetic material, a senior official confirmed to Mongabay on April 26.

“We’re expecting the Malaysian government to sign off on the MoU sometime mid-May,” Herry Subagiadi, the secretary to the conservation director at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said on the sidelines of a media briefing in Jakarta.

The news comes amid increasing concern ab

Animal appeal: The zookeeper
There is something with animals that gets Johnny “Kuya Johnny” Culasito enthusiastic and pumped up.

“Despite my love for animals, I admit that it was really a hair-raising job at the beginning. But you know, if you really care for them, everything will be easy,” the 47-year-old Kuya Johnny told the Manila Bulletin.

A zoo caretaker at the Malabon Zoo for two decades, he describes animals as his “first love.”

Hazards of the trade

In 1990, he recalled a somewhat terrifying close encounter with an adult lion.

He narrated an experience that a lion charged at him while he was cleaning the beast’s pen.

“I was scared because the lion was so

Two bears freed from 20 years of cage life in Vietnam
Ninh Binh Bear Rescue Center is 10 hectares large with two bear farms and four semi-natural areas. The center is home to many bears rescued from Vietnam's bear bile industry. Vietnam banned commercial bear bile extraction in 2005, but bile farming remains a problem after more than a decade. Vietnam's government signed an agreement last July to work with animal activists to shut down all bear bile farms and free the remaining 1,000 bears stuck in captivity by 2020.


Orca Morgan, the oblivious martyr?
Morgan is a female killer whale or orca (Orcinus orca) that currently resides at Loro Parque, Tenerife located at the Canary Islands. She was rescued by “Dolfinarium Harderwijk’, a Dutch Marine park on June 23 2010 after being found alone and extremely malnourished in the waters of the Wadden Sea.

About a week before her rescue the first reports came in of “a large cetacean” spotted in the waters around Lauwersoog in the Netherlands. Sightings of orcas in Dutch waters are not unheard of but quite a rare occasion as opposed to the more native species of marine mammal found in that specific area. Not long after that the first footage of Morgan appeared, recorded by a boat of the Dutch state. Finally she was confirmed to be an orca and the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk was contacted to set up a rescue plan for the animal as they had the experience a

Healthy population of Tasmanian devils discovered in state's remote south west
A healthy population of Tasmanian devils has been discovered in the state's remote south-west as part of a program to save the animals from extinction.

In a major breakthrough for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, the 14 devils were found to be free of the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease.

The disease has devastated the iconic species in recent years, with more than 80 per cent of the population wiped out in the last two decades.

Devils immunised with a vaccine against the virus have been released in the north of the state.

But there have been problems with the healthy devils bred in captivity being killed on

Tigers are endangered in Asia, but in Texas they’re backyard pets
By some estimates, a couple of thousand tigers live in Texas, many in backyards and most not registered with the state, which is believed to be the second-largest tiger population in the world behind India.
Texas allows ownership of exotic pets and requires owners to register their animals with the state, but as of February only 50 tigers were recorded, said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Animal rights advocates say many tigers go unregistered because county enforcement of the registration rules is often lax.

Most Texas counties have banned tiger ownership, but the state doesn’t track which counties allow tigers and which don’t, making it difficult, if not impossible to track unregistered tigers in the state, said Skip Trimble, advisory director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network.

“The tragedy here is that we do have laws, but the laws are not effective in any reasonable manner,” Trimble said. “It’s really very, very sickening to us, when we worked as hard as we did to get the (tiger registration) law passed, now after 15 years to know … it’s just not happening.”

Trimble said when the state does

World’s first test tube elephant ‘Gabi’ celebrates 13th birthday at Turkey’s Gaziantep Zoo
abi, the world's first elephant conceived through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), celebrated her 13th birthday Monday with 50,000 visitors at the Gaziantep Zoo in southeastern Turkey.

Entrance to the zoo was free on Monday, due to the National Sovereignty and Children's Day celebrated each year on April 23.

Guests fed Gabi special treats, including a heart-shaped "cake" of fruits and vegetables.

The Elephant Man: A Conversation with Mike Keele, Retired Deputy Director and Curator of Elephant Habitats at the Oregon Zoo
 Since the birth of Packy in 1962, the Oregon Zoo and Asian elephants have been synonymous. The zoo's herd has long held celebrity status in the community, several elephants have been successfully born and the zoo has significantly contributed to the zoo world's understanding of the magnificent creatures. Over the years, the zoo has become a leader in elephant conservation in Asia. Much of the program's success is due to Mike Keele, who worked at the zoo for 42 years. He served as world studbook keeper and SSP coordinator of Asian elephants for decades. Additionally, Keele served as the zoo's Deputy Director during the tenure of Tony Vecchio and helped the broader zoo grow and evolve to what it is today. Here is his story. 

Vast survey finds far more gorillas in Africa than previously believed — and some bad news, too
The largest-ever survey of two primate populations in Africa found vastly more western lowland gorillas, as well as higher numbers of central chimpanzees, than were previously believed to exist. But that hopeful finding is imperiled because of the gorillas’ alarming rate of decline, according to a study.

Western lowland gorillas are the primary and most widespread subspecies of gorilla, and central chimpanzees are the second-most populous chimp, outnumbered only by the eastern chimpanzee. Both species are found mainly in the Congo and Gabon.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, estimates that there were 361,900 gorillas and 128,700 chimpanzees as of 2013. That’s about one-third more gorillas and one-tenth more chimpanzees than previous surveys estimated, though those calculations were done differently and were not designed to count the animals across their entire range.

That is the good news. Now the bad: Researchers found that gorilla populations are dropping faster than they believed, at a rate of nearly

Wraxall zoo welcomes African elephant bull
Shaka has arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, in Clevedon Road, from Vienna in a transfer organised by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
Dr Harald Schwammer, vice director at Vienna Zoo, said: “Shaka is a calm and playful elephant who loves his food.

“We are very happy to be working with Noah’s Ark again, which has one of the biggest elephant facilities available in the EEP.”

Shaka, who is 26 years old, is joining two young bulls, nine-year-old M’Changa and Janu, aged 12, in the facility.

Male elephants will naturally group together with other solitary males to form bachelor groups.

Sandra de Rek, head elephant keeper at the zoo, said: “It will be great for the public to witness the natural and playful behaviou

Tigers being bred in Gauteng backyards for petting and bone export
South Africa is one the world’s biggest exporters of endangered tigers, almost all of which end up as floor mats, wall hangings or skeletons submerged in vats of Asian tiger-bone wine. The trade is so lucrative that city householders in Gauteng are breeding them in their backyards.

Because they’re not an indigenous species, trade in tigers is unregulated and flying below the radar of the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs). When asked about it by Ban Animal Trading and the EMS Foundation, the DEA response was that tigers weren’t the department’s responsibility because they’re “exotics”. In reply to a request for information on tiger breeding facilities, Limpopo DEA wildlife director Sam Makhubele said the department had never been approached and he seemed surprised that they even existed.

However, 2015 a TRAFFIC/Wildcru report, Bones of Contention, estimated there were at the time 280 tigers in 44 facilities in South Africa. Today there are undoubtedly far more, but because tiger breeding doesn’t have to be reported, numbers are hard to establish.

A shock report by Ban Animal Trading and the EMS Foundation – sent to the UN wildlife trade organisation CITES – lists over 60 unlicensed tiger breeders, many of which market Bengal and Siberian tiger cubs, skins and bones worldwide. The report says South Af

Critically endangered Javan Rhino dies in Indonesia
A Javan rhino has died in Indonesia, the environment ministry said Thursday, bringing the critically endangered mammals closer to extinction with just 60 believed to be still living in the wild.

The body of the male rhino was found inside West Java's Ujung Kulon national park, the creature's last remaining habitat.

Its death was believed to be from old age rather than poaching.

The animal has been driven to the brink of extinction as their horns are highly valued in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine, although most countries in the region have banned the trade.

"We found it on (Monday) and are now performing an autopsy," said environment ministry spokesman Djati Witjaksono Hadi.

Zoo Suit
Memphis Zoo officials admit some things, deny a bunch of things, and are ready for court.
The Memphis Zoo denies that a former female employee "was discriminated or retaliated against" because of her gender.

Kimberly Terrell, a female conservation biologist, sued the zoo in December. She claimed she was fired from her job as the zoo's director of research and conservation based on gender discrimination.

Her attorneys are suing the zoo for damages in excess of $75,000, including back pay, lost benefits, employment reinstatement, punitive damages, and all court fees.

J. Mark Griffee, the attorney for the zoo, responded to Terrell's original lawsuit in mid-March, saying her claims of discrimination were unfounded.

In that original suit, Terrell painted a picture of an ongoing tension that grew between her and zoo president Chuck Brady. She said she'd built a "strong record of success at the zoo," but Brady increasingly attacked her performance and she felt it was because she was female.

Promiscuous Monkeys Create Hybrids By Mating With Other Species, Research Says
In a zoo at Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Africa, new species of monkeys have been discovered. The new species comes from two distinct sets of monkeys and according to the findings, it appears that they have been mating for hundreds or even thousands of years.

The guenon monkeys lineage was discovered by Dr. Kate Detwiler, an anthropology professor at the Florida Atlantic University. Detwiler stated that she discovered this interesting information by studying the feces of the primates.

Detwiler continued that in the feces of the monkeys, she found two strands of DNA from two genetically different sets. The hybrid species comes from the red-tail and blue monkeys who were thought to have been picky about their mating process.

The professor collected the DNA from about 144 monkeys and out of those 144 monkeys, about 15 percent were the offspring of the red-tails

This is why you aren’t allowed inside Vizag Zoo on Mondays
The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park that’s usually bustling with tourists wore a desserted look on Monday morning. As the team of 20 animal attendents and some daily wage labourers strive to clean up the zoo enclosures, the animals are seen relaxing, relishing the rare privacy gained, away from prying eyes of noisy visitors.
Our eyes fall on this handsome hunk of a crocodile, who seemed to be lounging around without a care in the world, while the cleaners drained the water from his enclosure and scrubbed the muck and moss. Krishna — that’s his name, we were told. Surprised at how unperturbed Krishna seemed even with 10 workers surrounding him, we wondered if he’s really tha

 Image may contain: plant, outdoor and text

Farewell, Inuka: Zoo staff surround polar bear to comfort him during his last moments as the animal passes away in Singapore
Inuka, born at Singapore Zoo, reached the age of 27 - into his 70s in human years
But the polar bear, the first born in the tropics, suffered a rapid decline in health
Pictures show zoo staff comforting the animal moments before he was put down
His keepers had earlier said 'it would not have been fair to prolong his suffering'

Ex-SeaWorld CEO eligible for $6.6 million in cash when he left
SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby, who left the struggling company in February, was eligible to receive $6.6 million in cash as well as stock valued as much as nearly $2 million as part of a separation package, according to a new filing.

SeaWorld disclosed Manby’s exit compensation in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday afternoon that detailed, among other items, compensation for executives.

In 2017, Manby’s annual salary was $1 million although he also received stock awards that added about $7 million in compensation, bringing his total to about $8.2 million, the filing said. Manby’s $1 million salary last year remained the same as in 2016.

A SeaWorld spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Five species Cambridge-based Fauna & Flora International is working to protect
Fauna & Flora International (FFI), based in the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge, is a leading international charity fighting to preserve biodiversity across the world.

A recent public lecture and panel discussion at the building, entitled ‘Setting a new post-2020 biodiversity agenda – the communications challenge’, heard from Sir David Attenborough about the conservation challenges we face. “The problems are enormous and they’re also varied – and there is no single solution,” said Sir David, who is vice-president of FFI. “Every country and every community will have their own problems and their own solutions.”

Here we focus on five of the species that FFI is working to protect.

Amazing members part 2 – orangutans, gorillas and the golden lion tamarin
On the road again
As I am in the midst of my 2018 spring travel to for Species360 Board of Trustees meeting, and to attend conferences for both EAZA and ZAA (Australasia), I realize I still have a few Species360 member visit experiences to share.  Days 3 and 4 of my road trip to the ZACC conference were all about primates, big and small – orangutans, gorillas, and more! If you missed my recap of Days 1-2, you can catch up here.

‘Shocking and startling facts’ revealed about the Delhi Zoo in a govt report
Mysterious deaths, no post-mortems, illegal capturing and housing of animals, manipulation of records and criminal conspiracy — these are some of the charges levelled against Delhi zoo officials by an inquiry panel appointed by the environment ministry.

In its report, the committee constituted under the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in August 2017 has indicted six officers and employees of the National Zoological Park (NZP), the official name of the Delhi zoo, for “misconduct and criminal offences”.

The report submitted on 18 April has also suggested that a special investigation team (SIT) be constituted or the case be handed over to a central investigative agency to probe the alleged criminal actions committed at the zoo, a popular hangout in the capital.

The examination of records available with the co

M. Simmons – Release Is Not the Answer
A couple years ago I had the chance to meet Mark Simmons, a well-respected advocate for the Zoo and Aquarium Community. Talking with him made me realize how important it is for us to make sure that our Zoo’s and Aquariums do not get extinct. In 2016 he did a presentation about Keiko’s Story and our position in today’s Zoological world. Inspiring trainers and keepers around the world M. Simmons is making a change for the community. M. Simmons was one of the trainer’s to be working in the Keiko project. He wrot

How illegal bird hunting in the Arab world could drive species to extinction
Almost a quarter of the world’s migratory birds are at risk and could eventually face extinction, a new report has revealed.

And mankind is to blame, according the State of the World’s Birds survey, which points the finger at illegal hunting, loss of vital feeding and breeding grounds to agriculture, pesticides and poor environmental practices.

Illegal hunting takes the lives of between 12 and 38 million birds every year.

The major culprits were Italy, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, where over 15 million birds are estimated to be killed annually.

“The magic of birds has been astounding humanity over hundreds of years,” said Patricia Zurita, the chief executive of BirdLife International, which commissioned th

Brookfield Zoo vets take first-ever CT scan of live rhino as part of lifesaving treatment
Treating a sinus infection is usually a simple affair in a human, but it's a life-threatening condition for black rhinos like 7-year-old Layla, forcing the Brookfield Zoo's veterinarians to pioneer new methods to save the endangered animal's life.

Rhinos breathe primarily through their nose, so when Layla’s keepers saw her drooling and struggling for air, they knew something was wrong. Medication wasn’t helping enough with the sinus infection, so doctors drilled holes through the thick bone in her skull to clear the infection this past

Chimp sanctuary helps illegal wildlife trade ’refugees’
Poco, a 38-year-old chimpanzee at a conservancy in Laikipia County, is bubbly. He can stand, walk and even strut with a bipedal swagger just like a human being.

And just like 35 other apes being hosted at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Poco is a refugee. He is a victim of illegal wildlife trade. Poco is learning to live a life in the wild once again.

Even though things are looking up for Poco, his past is sad. He was confined in a small cage in Bujumbura, Burundi, for nine years. His captors used him to attract visitors.

OATA has joined forces with key public health officials to produce guidance to help marine aquarium hobbyists who keep corals protect themselves against palytoxin poisoning.

Health Protection Scotland approached OATA with a request to help produce the advice after a small number of incidents involving palytoxin were reported across the UK.

Palytoxin is produced by species of Palythoa and Zoanthus soft corals with Palythoa species generally considered to be more toxic than Zoanthus species. However, as many hobbyists may not be able to distinguish between them, the collective term of ‘zoantharians’ is used.

The greatest risk of palytoxin poisoning comes from exposing the slime coating produced by zoantharians to air. Wherever possible, marine animals should be handled underwater and fully submerged. They should not be lifted out of the aquarium unnecessarily. If hobbyists do need to transfer them, the advice is to do so using submerged plastic bags, containers or buckets.

“Thankfully instances of palytoxin poisoning are rare occurrences

Captive cheetahs are key to keeping the species alive
IT IS extremely concerning that there is a trend in contributors to social and published media recently to tar all animal facilities that keep cheetahs for breeding and public awareness with the same brush
They use attention-grabbing headlines, sweeping statements and selected scientific peer-reviewed research references (or none), regardless of authenticity.

While as in any other industry there are indeed some less ethical players, there are also a number of passionate organisations in the zoo community dedicated to the long-term well-being and conservation of the cheetah as a species.

“Ambassador cheetahs” have played a pivotal role in curriculum-linked education and awareness programmes, locally and worldwide.

Their welfare is of great concern to the various facilities which are ethical and responsible regarding the husbandry, care and welfare of the cheetahs in their custodianship.

Modern zoos serving as Noah’s ark for endangered species
The perennial question that still revolves around the concept of zoos or zoological garden is whether it is moral and acceptable for humans to confine animals in cages for entertainment or education or awareness or captive breeding. Several respected and dedicated animal right activists around the planet have been demanding complete closure of zoos; and to set the animals back into their natural ecosystem and habitats or advocating for more progressive animal rights. On one end of this spectrum are conservationists, foresters, and ecologists who sincerely believe that zoos have an important role to play in educating the public and making them aware of the spectacular biodiversity of the plant so that the public become more caring and responsible towards conserving natural ecosystems and environment.
While the other extreme ends calls for freedom for animals and advocating for the animals to live and thrive in their own natural ecosystems and habitats; free from any confinement or cage or enclosure. They insist that no matter how progressive and animal friendly modern zoos are in their basic philosophies; and no matter how great the zoo infrastructure is for mimicking natural ecosystems; they can never be equal or anywhere near the quality of wild natural habitats. Hence any confinement in the zoos actually violates the right of a helpless and defenceless animal as an individual species co inhabiting the planet with us; and must be returned to the wild. The debate will continue as is expected in any democratic society; however, honestly speaking we could not possibly undermine the role of modern zoos in education and awareness of the public. Furth

Zoos release eggs to help corroboree frogs leap out of extinction
Until recent decades, there were hundreds of thousands of southern corroboree frogs clambering around snow gum trees and wallowing in the frigid waters of the Australian Alps.
Now, less than 50 of the vividly-coloured, poisonous little frogs are left in the wild.
But those numbers are set to swell this week with the release of about 1000 captive-bred southern corroboree frog eggs into Kosciuszko National Park.

The pygmy hog: to the brink of extinction and back
The smallest member of the pig family, the pygmy hog (porcula salvania), is a critically endangered species. Once found along a narrow strip of tall and wet grassland plains on the Himalayan foothills – from Uttar Pradesh to Assam, through Nepal’s terai areas and Bengal’s duars – it was thought to have become extinct in the 1960s. But in 1971 it was “re-discovered” with a small population in the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary.

Even then the numbers have kept declining. They are estimated to be less than 200 pygmy hogs, half of what was estimated in the mid 1990s. The only viable population of the pygmy hog in the wild is in the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam. A two-decade long effort to conserve this 25-cm tall animal has however turned the tide – the 110th captive-bred Pygmy Hog was recently reintroduce

Zoo general curator Brandi Clark loves her job
“It’s so exciting,” said Clark during an interview this past week, adding, “It’s pretty amazing, that’s for sure.”

Clark, of Minot, has been with the zoo since 1992. “I got lucky enough to be hired on as a zookeeper,” Clark said, reminiscing about her years at North Dakota’s oldest zoo.

Clark worked as a zookeeper for about six years before becoming general curator. When she applied for the zookeeper job she said she didn’t think she would be hired because she didn’t go to school for that type of work. With a degree in veterinary technology, she was working as a veterinary technician at a veterinary clinic. She applied for the zookeeper position, was interviewed and got the job.

She was hired a month after Ron Merritt, now director of Minot Parks. Initially, both were hired as zookeepers. Later Merritt became zoo director and then park director. Now Clark is the longest serving Roosevelt Park Zoo staff member.

As general curator, Clark oversees animal tr

Tamaraw population up in Mindoro national park
The population of tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) at Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park on Mindoro Island has increased to 523, according to the latest count done by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and conservation groups from April 17 to 21.

The tamaraw is one of the Philippines’ most endangered species and is endemic to Mindoro.

Don Geoff Tabaranza, wildlife biologist and project development and resource manager of Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, said the figure meant an increase of 122 tamaraw to last year’s count of 401. In 2016, the tamaraw population was 4

----------------------------- in April 2018

~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



Goitered gazelles are kept and bred at Naturschutz-Tierpark Görlitz in 
Germany. These jumpy animals are adapted to open landscapes and can 
easily break their legs when trying to escape. The animal park managers 
therefore designed the fences and a catching system particularly for 
this species.

Here is the German original:

We would like to thank Catrin and Sven Hammer for sharing information on 
this exhibit and Jonas Homburg for preparing the presentation.



Thanks to Eduardo Díaz García we are able to offer the Spanish 
translation of the previously published presentation of "Himalayan 
Mountains - Red Panda" at Zoo Karlsruhe in Germany.


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

Young giraffe makes brief escape at Fort Wayne zoo
Workers at an Indiana zoo needed a couple of hours to corral a young giraffe that escaped from her enclosure.

The 7-month-old female got loose Monday from the African Journey exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Zoo spokeswoman Bonnie Kemp says the giraffe, Thabisa, never left the property.

It wasn't immediately clear how the youngest in the zoo's herd of nine giraffes escaped.

Staffers were able to trap the giraffe in a fenced parking lot in a non-public area of the zoo. Zookeepers calmed her down before returning her to the enclosure.

The zoo just opened to the public for the season on

David Gill talks about his departure from Dalton zoo and the new regime
Zoo's founder reveals he is looking at selling the park to one of two interested parties
IN the final installment of a three-part series of interviews with South Lakes Safari Zoo's founder David Gill the controversial character speaks to AMY FENTON about the end of his reign.

"IN 24 years so much has happened," says David Gill, as he reflects on his almost quarter of a century at the helm of South Lakes Safari Zoo.

"Although I had planned to retire for a few years before I left I never expected it would be like this."

Having faced relentless criticism and calls for him to step down following a series of scandals, the under-fire zoo boss handed over the reigns in January 2017, giving control of the park to a new company headed up by Karen Brewer.

Commentary: Want to Save the Earth? Start With Your Local Zoo.
The death last month of the world’s last remaining male northern white rhinoceros was a red flag for the conservation movement and animal lovers everywhere. It was just the latest reminder of the precarious state of major fauna around the world: There are roughly 1,700 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, or fish that are critically endangered.

Today is Earth Day, which raises awareness about how human actions such as pollution and overdevelopment threaten biodiversity. It presents an opportunity to reflect on the extinction of majestic creatures with whom we once shared the Earth and consider ideas to prevent further species loss.

Earth Day 2018 is focused on ending plastic pollution, particularly the single-use plastics that often end up in our oceans and waterways. The plastic threat to wildlife has been driven home by a recent viral video, viewed over 21 million times, of a straw being removed from the nose of a sea turtle. (This video is graphic and contains explicit language.) It’s difficult to watch and not re

The UK's largest indoor elephant house opens at Blackpool Zoo
Blackpool Zoo has opened up its new multi-million pound Project Elephant Base Camp.

The new facility combines the UK's largest indoor elephant house with a huge outdoor habitat and an immersive themed visitor experience 'through Asia'.

Visitors will find themselves at eye level with the herd of elephants, which currently consists of Kate, who has lived in Blackpool for 46 years, Tara, who came from Twycross Zoo in January and Minbu, who arrived from the same zoo in March.

Brookfield Zoo vets take first-ever CT scan of live rhino as part of lifesaving treatment
Treating a sinus infection is usually a simple affair in a human, but it's a life-threatening condition for black rhinos like 7-year-old Layla, forcing the Brookfield Zoo's veterinarians to pioneer new methods to save the endangered animal's life.

Rhinos breathe primarily through their nose, so when Layla’s keepers saw her drooling and struggling for air, they knew something was wrong. Medication wasn’t helping enough with the sinus infection, so doctors drilled holes through the thick bone in her skull to clear the infection this past January. Think of it as a temporary blowhole to help Layla breathe and recover.

"Had we not done that surgery, I’m confident Layla would no longer be with us,”said Dr. Mike Adkesson, VP of Clinical Medicine at the Brookfield Zoo.

Experts said her condition is still "not survivable in the wild," so they turned to something that's never been done: Taking a CAT scan on a live rhino. It's a

Sumatran rhinos nearing extinction due to farming, hunting
Sumatran rhinoceroses once inhabited a vast expanse of land in mainland East Asia, according to a new study by University professors. Today, they are located primarily in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Due to hunting, expansion of the human population and increased agriculture, the area occupied by these rhinos has shrunk significantly ever since the start of human development in the first millennium B.C. Now, hunting and agriculture practices still continue to drive down the number of Sumatran rhinos, raising concerns that they will become extinct.

Previous research suggested that “the Sumatran rhino was doomed to die out, and that you could see it in the DNA sequence,” said Brian Lander, assistant professor of history and environment and society.

But DNA does not provide sufficient ability to predict the extinction of living rhinos, Lander said. Current Sumatran rhinos have been separated from the rhinos that existed on mainland China 9,000 years ago, he said. “So their DNA does not tell us anything about the whole population (of those in Indonesia),” he

Unemployment drives young poaching gangs
Efforts to curb rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park are facing the threat of being deemed futile by the high unemployment rates in the communities surrounding one of the country's national treasures.
This is seen as the root cause of the sprouting poaching syndicates.

The park’s chief ranger, Ben Maggs, said unemployment in the surrounding communities needed to be addressed.

“People are driven to desperation,” Maggs warned, saying residents from these communities could start blocking tourists travelling to the park in order to send a message.

“That’s going to have a big impact. Why? Because they are not getting service delivery.

Thandora – Final Chapter

Readers of this blog will probably ask 100 questions and offer as many possible answers as to why the girls did not accept Thandora.

During my hours with her in the reserve I challenged every scenario possible. All I can say is that Thandora was happy on her own. The day after the famous meeting described in videos and pictures in the previous blog, we meandered to a dam I called our ‘secret dam’. The water was clear and for some reason there were no traces of elephant spoor at this Dam. I assumed the other elephants did not come to this dam very often for whatever reason.

I was mesmerised in t

New gadgets help reveal the collective behavior of wild animals
An international team of scientists led by Swansea University biologists describe how novel technologies are transforming our understanding of why wild animals form different groups.

Combining animal tracking data with environmental data from satellites or drones means that scientists can begin to study whole groups and their interactions in the real, changing environments in which they live and have evolved.

Researchers now have access to gadgets such as bio-loggers, which are electronic tracking devices that attach to animals, recording GPS position and animal motion.

For example, swarms, shoals, flocks, herds and troops are just some of the typ

David Gill on zookeeper's death: 'People thought I was cold but my head wasn't in the right place'
THE day of May 24, 2013, will be etched in the minds and hearts of all those who worked at South Lakes Safari Zoo on that fateful day.

Well-liked and committed-conservationist Sarah McClay was carrying out her routine zookeeper tasks in the corridor of the tiger house when tragedy struck.

Sumatran tiger Padang entered the area of the enclosure where the 24-year-old was working and attacked her in full view of horrified zoo visitors.

Despite the efforts of her colleagues and the emergency services the former Dowdales School pupil died of her injuries and the incident later resulted in South Lakes Safari Zoo being fined almost £450,000 after admitting to health and safety failings.

David Gill will be the first to admit, in hindsight, that his interviews with national media immediately after Miss McClay's death did little to enamour him to Miss McClay's family, friends and fellow zookeepers.

World’s newest great ape threatened by Chinese dam
The discovery of the Tapanuli orangutan has not stopped a Chinese state-run company from clearing forest for a planned dam. Conservationists fear this will be the beginning of the end for a species only known for six months
Last November scientists made a jaw-dropping announcement: they’d discovered a new great ape hiding in plain sight, only the eighth inhabiting our planet.

The Tapanuli orangutan survives in northern Sumatra and it is already the most endangered great ape in the world; researchers estimate less than 800 individuals survive. But the discovery hasn’t stopped a Chinese state-run company, Sinohydro, from moving ahead with clearing forest for a large dam project smack in the middle of the orangutan population. According to several orangutan experts, Sinohyrdo’s dam represents an immediate and existential threat to the Tapanuli orangutan.

“Building the dam means chopping the orangutan population in half,” Erik Meijaard, the director of Borneo Futures and one of the experts to describe Pongo tapanuliensis, said. “You end up with two smaller populations, and these will have much reduced chances of survival, because a small population is more likely to go extinct than a large one.”

One in eight bird species is threatened with extinction, global study finds
One in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, and once widespread creatures such as the puffin, snowy owl and turtle dove are plummeting towards oblivion, according to the definitive study of global bird populations.

The State of the World’s Birds, a five-year compendium of population data from the best-studied group of animals on the planet, reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by the expansion and intensification of agriculture.

In all, 74% of 1,469 globally threatened birds are affected primarily by farming. Logging, invasive species and hunting are the other main threats.

“Each time we undertake this assessment we see slightly more species at risk of extinction – the situation is deteriorating and the trends are intensifying,” said Tris Allinson, senior global scienc

The terrible things that would happen if all the coral reefs died off
We're currently facing the worst bleaching of coral reefs ever known in history, but what would happen if all the coral reefs died off? We've already lost 50% of the world's coral, and we're at risk of losing even more. If the world lost all its coral reefs, the results would be dire. Following is a transcript of the video.

What would happen if all the coral reefs died off?

Coral reefs are filled with colorful ocean life. But they're in danger of dying off.

The planet has already lost 50% of its coral in the last 30 years. If the rest go, the consequences would be dire.

Sea life has the most to lose. Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor. But, they provide an essential ecosystem for a quarter of all marine life.

The Disney Conservation Fund Awards 2018 Conservation Grants
The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) is providing grants totaling more than $8 million to support the work of 80 nonprofit organizations this year, The Walt Disney Company announced today.  The grants are part of Disney’s “Reverse the Decline” initiative, which pairs the company’s philanthropic dollars with professional expertise from Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment team and other employees to maximize the impact of conservation efforts to protect wildlife and wild places.  Including these new grants, DCF has awarded more than $70 million to date to support conservation efforts around the world.

DCF actively supports the world’s leading conservation organizations with funds and professional resources to save wildlife and habitats, inspire action, and protect the planet.  This commitment is reflected through the fund’s comprehensive focus on stabilizing and increasing the populations of 10 different at-risk species including apes, butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, elephants, monkeys, rhinos, sea turtles, sharks and rays, and tigers.  DCF also provides grants to support conservation programs that engage communities in comprehensive solutions that serve people, wildlife and habitats.

 “Each program we support through th

TIMELINE: Key events in the history of Dalton zoo
1983: David Gill reveals his vision to open a wild animal park at his home.

1993: David Gill buys 14 acres of land off Broughton Road in Dalton.

1994: South Lakes Wild Animal Park opens to the public on May 27.

1996: The zoo attracts a record number of 100,000 visitors.

1996: The zoo features on Michaela Strachan's The Really Wild Show.

1997: Zimba the white rhino escapes from its compound and is shot and killed.

2000: David Gill buys land in Australia to open Mareeba Zoo.

2004: After just four years Mareeba Zoo in Australia is closed after regulatory breaches including one in which he was fined for chasing down a cheetah on a motorbike.

2007: Dalton zoo's reports record post-tax profits of £350,000.

2007: David Gill is attacked by love rival Richard Creary after the zoo boss started seeing Creary's estranged wife.

2008: The zoo is criticised by licensing officers over the escape of lemurs.

2013: The zoo is hit by tragedy with the death of zookeeper Sarah McClay.

2016: In June the zoo is fined after admitting safety failings relating to Miss McClay's death.

2016: Cumbria Zoo Company Limited is established to take over running of the zoo.

2017: Government announces it is considering an overhaul of zoo legislation and licensing.

David Gill on proposed changes to zoo legislation
Zoo founder agrees there should be national regulatory body
SINCE South Lakes Safari Zoo was hit by a series of scandals, including the death of a zookeeper and a report detailing the deaths of hundreds of animals, there have been calls for a national regulator to be created to monitor and inspect zoos across the UK.

Under current legislation the licensing of zoos falls to individual local authorities such as Barrow Borough Council which is responsible for inspecting and licensing zoos such as that at Dalton.

Perhaps surprisingly, given his traditional defiant streak and as someone who is known to battle against the establishment, David Gill agrees.

"No disrespect to Barrow Borough Council but I absolutely agree there needs to be a national regulator so that the rules and regulations are interpreted and enforced consistently across the nation," he says.

"The zoos and their staff, along with the councils and inspe

Contact and Discovery: A Conversation with John Chapo, Executive Director of the Lincoln Children's Zoo
John Chapo has directed the Lincoln Children's Zoo for over thirty years. During this time, he has brought the zoo back to its roots of providing guests lots of encounters and contact with animals. At the moment, the Lincoln Children's Zoo is in the process of doubling in size and adding several new animals such as giraffes, tigers and spider monkeys. Here is his story.

The largest zoo in northern central region
Le Thanh Than, chairman of Muong Thanh Group which manages the safari park, said that the idea for the area originated from his 100-hectare land plot in Dien Lam Commune, Dien Chau District. Initially, only a few animals were raised there. After that, he decided to develop it into a tourist attraction.


** ***

** **



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 50 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