Saturday, May 26, 2018

Zoo News Digest 26th May 2018 (ZooNews 996)

Zoo News Digest 26th May 2018  (ZooNews 996)

26th May - 3rd Jun 2018
This is ZooKeeping

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

I know nothing about Vaalwater Predator Park but I do know that the owner was devastated to see his big cats poisoned. I hope we learn more of this tragedy soon.

 The animal collections in Bali have rather got it in the neck this week and possibly some of them quite rightly so. It is some years since I was in Bali and I only visited the two collections which I have written about before in The Zoo Hubs.
I did not visit the Elephant Park but I do recollect a huge sign which said "The Elephant Safari Park has been named the "Best Elephant Park in the World" by (Crocodile Hunter) Steve Irwin."
I wonder?

There is much more of interest in the links below.

 "good zoos will not gain credibility from their critics until they condemn the bad zoos wherever they are." Peter Dickinson


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 78,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 78,000 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,

A Vaalwater predator park owner was distraught to discover four of his beloved big cats were poisoned in the early hours of Friday morning.

Justin Fernandes posted an emotional video on his personal Facebook page showing how he discovered three poisoned lions and a tiger at their Jugomaro Predator Park in Limpopo.

Describing it as the worst nightmare of his life, Fernandes can be seen repeatedly wiping away his tears.

Speaking to camera, Fernandes said they were alerted to trouble at 02:00am on Friday morning when one of their wolves started "barking". While walking around the park, Fernandes saw one of their lions, Elvis biting on the gate.

"I thought his jaw was actually stuck in the gate. We got the got they keys and moved him away. As I moved him away, we saw there was something wrong with this cat."

He said one of the other lions, Kai, was already dead.

BJWT, Promoting The Illegal Exotic Pet Trade Since... Well, Always
Captive Wildlife Watchdog (formerly BJWTWatchdog) has, from the very beginning, criticized Black Jaguar White Tiger founder Eduardo Serio for glorifying captive big cats as pets, along with promoting other exotic animals as pets. Despite his gratuitous hashtags like #notpets Serio’s behavior and treatment of his animals falls squarely into the category of pets. BJWT fans will argue that the cubs living cardboard boxes in Serio’s closet, and confined to various rooms in the house are just in “Stage 1” and that when they get older, they’ll go to “Stage 2”.
The fact, however, is that there is no biological, scientific, or conservation-based rationale for raising exotic animals in a human dwelling, while treating them like pets.
The choice to contain his continual flow of cubs (cubs which Serio is now openly admitting to breeding on site, even species not native to Mexico) in cardboard boxes in his house, is just a choice, not a requirement. Just as Serio’s fixation on incorrectly feeding those cubs is a choice, not a matter of ignorance. “Papa Bear” chooses to do these things specifically because he’s been criticized for them, more than anything else. If he were to change what he does after being criticized for it, it would be an admission th

Michigan deputies stunned to find 8 Bengal tigers at scene of semi-truck crash
Michigan deputies responded to a semi-truck crash on a local interstate late Monday. When they arrived, they learned the truck was hauling a rather unusual shipment to New York: Bengal tigers.

The Bay County Sheriff’s deputies were aware the truck was hauling animals, but they were not informed of what kind prior to arriving at the crash site, Michigan Live reported.

The semi-truck “hydroplaned and its driver lost control of the rig, causing it to leave the roadway, enter a grassy median and jackknife,” Sheriff Troy R. Cunningham told the news site. The tigers were not injured in the crash, nor was the driver.

The perception of conservation in UK zoos
This questionnaire is the final project for my MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University. All participants should be over 18 and are completing this questionnaire voluntarily and are free to stop at any point. All answers will be anonymous. For any further information please contact It should take around 5 minutes to complete, thank you for your participation.

After zoo cover-up on animal deaths, Delhi HC asks Centre for report on action against officials
After several deaths of protected animals, including the common langur and hog deer, at the capital’s National Zoological Park were reported by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the Delhi High Court Friday sought a report from the Centre.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Deepa Sharma directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to file an affidavit on the steps being taken against the Delhi Zoo, which had allegedly suppressed the deaths by submitting inaccurate inventory reports and fabricated post-mortem reports.

It also sent a notice to the Ministry and Delhi Zoo, asking them to file counter-affidavits in eight weeks.

On Wednesday, The Indian Express had reported that zoo officials failed to record the deaths of at least 50 animals last year to show a re

How is Dolphinaris Arizona regulated?
It was business as usual at Dolphinaris only a couple days after the marine park announced one of its dolphins died.

The dolphin aquatic park confirmed a 10-year-old dolphin, Alia, passed away on Wednesday. It is the second dolphin to die since the park opened less than two years ago.

Let’s talk today about how important it is to fact-check major publications in the realm of animal media before sharing any information they present. Specifically, let’s talk about why The Dodo is never a source on animal related issues to be trusted, because of the misinformation they perpetuate and the directly harmful ideas they propagate. Dodo articles are rife with misinformation, twisted presentations of facts, quotes from purported ‘experts’ who are well known to be biased and unreliable sources, have non-existent primary citations, and in many cases are just egregiously incorrect about things that can simply be googled.

Today, a new article showed up that I was hoping would be a valid source of information: How To Tell if An Animal Sanctuary is a ‘Fake’. It is, sadly, just as egregiously not fact-checked as everything else animal related The Dodo has produced - and what’s worse is that the incorrect information it presents is mixed in with other really valid and important points for interpreting the quality of a sanctuary. Before we break down why it’s so infuriating, let’s look at the way Dodo articles are produced in general.

London Zoo uses art to highlight plastic pollution scourge
An art installation made of 15,000 plastic bottles went on show at London Zoo on Thursday to highlight the devastating impact of litter on the oceans, as public pressure to tackle the problem grows in Britain.

Between five and 14 tonnes of plastic are estimated to enter the world’s oceans every year, causing irreparable damage to marine wildlife and ecosystems.

The work by artist Nick Wood represents the 15,000 water bottles bought every minute in Britain, which has committed 61 million pounds ($81.62 million) to develop new ways of tackling plastic waste.

“In the middle of the ocean we are finding huge amounts of plastic,” said Fiona Llewellyn, Marine Project Manager at the Zoological Society of London.

“In London, the average adult uses 175 single-use pla

The Jamaican iguana, an international success story in conservationism
Once thought to be extinct, the Jamaican iguana, which was rediscovered in the Hellshire hills of St Catherine in the 1990s, is once again thriving, although still very much endangered.

When the latest batch of 50 reptiles - bred at the Hope Zoo in St Andrew - was turned loose on March 6 this year in the Hellshire hills, it marked the largest number of iguanas ever released at one time under the programme.

This is significant for conservationist Tandora Graham, a member of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in the United States. She led a recent group of 11 volunteers from five zoos in the United States and supervised the latest release of the reptiles back into the wild.

Graham has been coming to Jamaica since 1996 and was full of praise for the Hope Zoo’s ‘Head Start and Reintroduction Programme for the Jamaican iguana, which she described as one of the Caribbean’s unique species. She sa

Chameleon Breeder Podcast
It is time to revisit our understanding of hydration in chameleons. We are well aware of hydration during the day, but that is only half of the story. Today we are going to talk about hydration over the entire 24 hours in the day to form a holistic approach to a captive hydration strategy.

Menagerie mentality
Zoos in India are cramped, lack specialists who can cater to animals in captivity. Delhi zoo’s problems are not unique.
In 1810, the British colonist Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles visited a small menagerie in Barrackpore in Calcutta. The visit left a lasting impression on Raffles, who was also an amateur zoologist. The “scientific documentation” of plants and animals at the menagerie is said to have influenced the colonist-turned naturalist when, a decade later, he set up the world’s first modern zoo in London.

Barrackpore’s collection went into the making of the country’s first modern zoo at Calcutta, whose first Indian superintendent general, Ram Brahma Sanyal, authored a manual in the 1890s that remained the standard handbook for zookeepers all over the world till well into the 1960s. The management of Indian zoos today, unfortunately, does not reflect any of this illustrious heritage.

An investigation by this paper has revealed that Delhi’s National Zoological Park tailored data to show a remarkable drop in mortality rate. It did not record the deaths of at least 50 animals, including several endangered species. In 2015-16, the year before it doctored data, the Delhi zoo

Podcast: Don’t call me extinct
In Animals, History & Culture, Research News, Science & Nature, Spotlight
Extinct species don’t usually get a do-over… but don’t tell that to the scimitar-horned oryx. Erased from the wild for three decades, these desert antelope are back in the Central African country of Chad with a thriving herd of over a hundred individuals. But how did this happen? We visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and a remote animal reserve in the United Arab Emirates to reveal the twists and turns of this amazing comeback story.

Do Men Have the Balls for Promiscuity?
As this blog enters its sixth year, choosing the next topic is sometimes difficult. Only rarely does a suitable theme turn up of its own accord. An e-mail message challenging my previous blog post (Monogamy Anchored in Our Genes? posted April 30, 2018) was therefore fortuitous: “You have it wrong on human sperm competition. Human testicles are much larger than would be the case if there were not sperm competition. Compare to truly monogamous or harem holding species. I will not engage further on an email discussion of this, for it is very well known among behavioral ecologists.”

At first, I was frustrated to see my carefully compiled account thus dismissed outright, with no mention of altern

Technical handbook for the management of captive Egyptian vultures

Using genetics to tackle the illegal ivory trade in Cambodia
RZSS WildGenes are working with Fauna and Flora International (FFI) on a project to develop a conservation genetics laboratory in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) was founded in 1960 and is the first Cambodian University to offer a Master’s degree in Conservation, thanks largely to support from FFI. Over the last few years, we have been working with scientific staff at RUPP on a project to study the few remaining wild elephants in Cambodia. Up to this point we have been extracting DNA from faecal samples to allow researchers to identify individuals using their genetic profile.


Chimpanzee calls differ according to context
The need for cooperation may facilitate call diversification
Studies examining animal alarm calls suggest species which require different escape responses for different predators are more likely to have correspondingly different alarm calls, facilitating appropriate escape responses from receivers. However, what causes calls to diversify in less urgent contexts is little examined. "To address this, we examine a quiet contact vocalisation of chimpanzees, the 'hoo'," says Catherine Crockford of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. "We found that chimpanzees have at least three acoustically different 'hoo' variants, each given in a different behavioural context: alert, travel and rest."

In order to maintain cohesion, chimpanzee receivers must respond differently to signallers in each context: in rest contexts, receivers must stay in the vicinity of signallers, in travel contexts, receivers must approach signallers, and in alert contexts, receivers must approach signallers slo

Dolphins 'had teeth pulled' for tourists on 'paradise' holiday island hot spot Bali
Orangutans, tigers and elephants also suffering for holidaymakers' entertainment behind scenes
Dolphins at a tourist attraction in Bali had their teeth removed or filed down to ensure tourists were not harmed, leaving the creatures “traumatised”, investigators have found.

Others are put at risk by being forced to leap from the water onto the side of the pool during shows for holidaymakers – putting stress on their internal organs and causing them breathing difficulties.

And meanwhile, behind the scenes at various attractions on the idyllic-seeming Indonesian island, orangutans, tigers and elephants are secretly kept in filthy, cramped enclosures with bare concrete floors.

Is Bali the world's worst destination for animal cruelty?
A new report by World Animal Protection (WAP) has criticised the popular honeymoon islands of Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan in Indonesia of being among some of the worst destinations in the world when it comes to animal cruelty in captivity.

Wildlife abusement parks: Wildlife entertainment tourism in Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan claims that 100 per cent of the 26 venues it investigated in November last year that owned captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats and 80 per cent of venues with primates did not meet the basic needs of captive wild animals.

A world premier! Scientist discovers new Dracaena species in Royal Burgers' Zoo
The covered tropical rainforest, Burgers’ Bush, of Arnhem’s animal park Royal Burgers’ Zoo, houses the world’s largest Dracaena collection. Dracaena cinnabari is also known as the Dragon blood tree. Botanist and Dracaena fanatic Theo Damen recently made a remarkable discovery in the Bush: a species of Dracaena that was still completely unknown to science. The plant’s abnormal growth and inflorescence set Damen on the trail of his discovery, which has officially been a scientific fact since publication in the May 2018 issue of the ‘Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography BLUMEA'. Theo Damen has named his find Dracaena bushii, both in honour of his great inspirer Jan Just Bos and the site Burgers' Bush. Bos gained national fame as a presenter of the Dutch television programme ‘Ja, Natuurlijk' (yes, of course) and as a botanist, he had a predilection for plants of the Dracaena genus. Burgers’ Zoo acquired the complete Dracaena collection from Wa

To dress up its report card, Delhi Zoo buried at least 50 animal deaths
OFFICIALS at the National Zoological Park in Delhi (Delhi Zoo) evidently buried the deaths of at least 50 animals last year and dressed up data to show a remarkable dip in mortality rate, official records accessed by The Indian Express show.

The official death count at the zoo in 2017-18 was 91 from an opening stock of 1,202 animals. On paper, this was good news since it was a sharp fall from the 325 deaths recorded in 2016-17 — a 7.6 per cent mortality rate compared to 27 per cent the year before, and just slightly above the 5 per cent considered acceptable for zoos globally.

But the Delhi Zoo’s numbers are suspect. For, the deaths of several animals were not recorded: these include endangered species such as the brow-antlered deer found in Manipur, sambar deer, black buck, white buck, spotted deer, barking deer, red jungle fowl and palm civet, records show.

Consider the key contradictions in the zoo’s records:

* Every zoo submits the mandatory

You Know Black Panthers. But Have You Ever Heard of Odisha’s Black Tigers?
In April 2018, Chhattisgarh reported a sighting of a black panther after 24 years, bringing immense joy to wildlife enthusiasts.

What is a black panther? How did it come to Chhattisgarh and what does it mean for the black panther population in the state? You can find out all about it in our story here.

Recently, the Odisha Forest Department also spotted a black panther in the Sundergarh forest, which makes it probably the only state in India which is home to both black panthers and black tigers!

We are all familiar with the Bengal tiger, the magnificent beast which prowls the land in search of prey; the soundless feline who h

Protected species including Javan langur, leopard seized from Bali treehouse tourist attraction
Five protected animals of four different species have been seized from eastern Bali, for suspected illegal use as part of a tourist attraction from the Bukit Lemped Tree House in Karangasem.

“From the results of a temporary inspection, the owner of the tree house cannot show the letters and origin information about the protected animals,” said administrative head of the Bali Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), I Ketut Catur Marbawa.

Endangered animals including deer, the Javan langur monkey, a leopard cat, and two porcupine are believed to have been held captive, used as an attraction for tourists at the Karangasem tree house. The animals are said to have been inadequately cared for, the Ja

Application to sanction Rabat exotic animal farm filed
An application to sanction an exotic animal farm on ODZ land in Rabat has been filed with the Planning Authority, requesting the sanctioning of a number of cages for exotic big cats.

The application plans show that there are four cages to be sanctioned. One cage is listed as being able to hold eight tigers, another to hold three lions, another for three jaguars and one for three leopards. The official application description reads: “To sanction the change of use from a cow breeding farm to an exotic animal farm (animals with appropriate certificates). Sanctioning also include safety fencing.” The “farm” is located on Dingli Road.

This newsroom asked the Environment Ministry a number of questions. The ministry was asked whether the site owner has permission to hold exotic animals, and whether they had knowledge of the animals currently held on site.

The ministry said tha

Why birds don't have teeth
Why did birds lose their teeth? Was it so they would be lighter in the air? Or are pointy beaks better for worm-eating than the jagged jaws of dinosaur ancestors?

Actually, birds gave up teeth to speed up egg hatching, a research paper published Wednesday suggests, challenging long-held scientific views on the evolution of the toothless beak.

Compared to an incubation period of several months for dinosaur eggs, modern birds hatch after just a few days or weeks.

This is because there is no need to wait for the embryo to develop teeth—a process that can consume 60 percent of egg incubation time, said researchers Tzu-Ruei Yang and Martin Sander from the University of Bonn.

While in the egg, the embryo is vulnerable to predators and natural disasters, and faster hatching boosts survival odds.

This would be a concern for dinos and birds—all egg layers. In mammals, embryos are protected inside the mother.

"We suggest that (evolutionary) selection for tooth loss (in birds) was

Prof. Craig Packer on Trophy Hunting
Craig: “I initially studied animal behaviour and started my career working with Jane Goodall in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. When I finished my PhD, I wanted to carry on doing that sort of work and I was very lucky to be able to take over the Serengeti Lion Project! I viewed that just as a wonderful opportunity to study the natural behaviour, the behavioural ecology, and the evolutionary biology of an unusually cooperative species.

[Years later] I had students looking at human-lion conflict having to do with livestock losses which can provoke people into retaliation. About that time, I was approached by the Tanzanian government to look into an outbreak of man-eating lions in southern Tanzania and I thought: ‘Well I guess we should really be looking into that, that’s more important than livestock losses because anything that risks human lives really has to be given priority!’. Then I had more students working on man-eating lions and the issue was a reflection of the fact that lions don't confine themselves inside the boundaries of these parks. They go outside and there are a number of issues invol

Living Landscapes: A Conversation with Fred Koontz, Retired Vice President of Conservation at Woodland Park Zoo
 Fred Koontz is an expert in the science of small population management and understands the opportunity zoos can play in that realm. He worked at the Bronx Zoo as Curator of Mammals at a time when the zoo was dramatically growing its involvement in insitu conservation. After a 13 year absence from the zoo industry, he became Vice President of Conservation at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle in 2011. During his six years there, Koontz developed a living landscape program for the Pacific Northwest, tied the zoo's new Banyan Wilds with a commitment to Malayan tiger conservation and changed the way the institution talked about conservation. Here is his story.

Image may contain: text in May 2018

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Polar Frontier at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium presents brown bears, polar 
bears and Arctic foxes in naturalistic environments echoing the tundra 
and taiga regions of the Arctic. The visitor area simulates an abandoned 
arctic mine. Visitors can enjoy views of the bears above and under 
water, a polar themed playground, food venue, and gift shop. An 
interpretive centre offers games, activities, and displays that carry 
messages about the arctic ecosystem, consequences of climate change for 
the Arctic and the Columbus Zoo's conservation work.

We would like to thank Karen Huebel and Barbara Brem for preparing this 



Thanks to Eduardo Díaz García we are able to offer the Spanish 
translation of the previously published presentation of "Franz Josef 
Land" at Vienna Zoo in Austria.


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

THE 6-FOOT-LONG, 140-POUND Chinese giant salamander is a being that defies belief—and seemingly the laws of the physical universe. It’s the largest amphibian on the planet, a gargantuan (though harmless) beast that rests on river-bottoms hoovering up fish. Once it grows big enough, not many critters dare touch it—save for, of course, humans.

Particularly the conservationists who are working to save the creature. The good bit about that work is that scientists have used tissue samples and genetics to determine that the salamander is not one species, but at least five. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that there are automatically five times as many salamanders in the world. And that reclassification means conservationists have been going about trying to save the critically endangered creature all wrong. It’s a devastating reminder that saving species means properly classifying them first.

You could once find the outsized salamander across China, from high elevations to

Clock ticks, parasites too, for zoo animals in cages: Study
In what could be an indication of poor upkeep of facilities at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, colloquially called Vandalur zoo, a study has revealed that infestation of parasites like mites and ticks is higher among animals in enclosures compared to those roaming freely on the 1,500-acre premises.
Two zoo- logists from Bharathiyar University, in the study, examined 412 mammals in the zoo for a year. They found that the prevalence of mites and ticks among caged animals was more compared to those in habitats that allow them to move freely. Their findings were published recently in peer-reviewed International Journal of Current Research in Life Sciences.
The finding, researchers said, was incidental. “Our main aim wa

Europe's largest aquarium opens in France
Europe's largest aquarium has opened in the north of France. An extension to the French National Sea Centre in Calais allows the building to house one of the largest tanks in the world, holding the equivalent of four Olympic swimming pools.

The highlight of the extension is a spectacular panoramic window.

"This window is five metres high, 20 metres wide and 38 centimetres thick," explains Philippe Vallette, Nausicaa's managing director. "It is a technical feat that was carried out in Europe which allows us to discover, not just a part of the aquarium, but a real part of the sea."

22,000 marine creatures will be added to the aquarium including hammerhead sharks, manta rays and shoals of fish.

The centre’s role is to educate and encourage the general public to protect marine life for the future and to assess the impact of resources and how they can help with marine conservation.

The new €70m euro extension building was made i

Chinkaras in captivity may soon become extinct, says study
A research on the status of the current captive population of Indian gazelles or chinkaras — placed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 — in Indian zoos said the gazelle population is likely to become extinct or decline sharply over the next 20 years, unless intensive measures to address causes of decline in captivity are implemented.
The study, recent

Weymouth SEA LIFE welcomes only colony of fairy penguins in Europe
A colony of fairy penguins, have moved into a brand new state-of-the-art enclosure at Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park, opening on Saturday, May 26.

Twenty fairy penguins have relocated from Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary in Australia to Weymouth in Dorset, due to the closure of the Manly Sanctuary in February. This is an exciting opportunity for Weymouth as these fairy penguins are the only colony in Europe.

Fairy penguins (also known as little blue penguins) are the world’s smallest penguin measuring just over 25cm tall and they weigh around 1 kg. The penguins are native to New Zealand and Southern Australia, but Weymouth was chosen as their new home due to the seaside town’s average summer and winter temperatures being very similar to those experienced by the penguins in their natural habitat.

The park has invested in excess of £100,000 into the new enclosure which will give visitors the opportunity to get closer to the penguins than ever before and interact with the

Birds from different species recognize each other and cooperate
Cooperation among different species of birds is common. Some birds build their nests near those of larger, more aggressive species to deter predators, and flocks of mixed species forage for food and defend territories together in alliances that can last for years. In most cases, though, these partnerships are not between specific individuals of the other species -- any bird from the other species will do.

But in a new study published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, scientists from the University of Chicago and University of Nebraska show how two different species of Australian fairy-wrens not only recognize individual birds from other species, but also form long-term partnerships that help them forage and defend their shared space as a group.

"Finding that these two species associate was not surprising, as mixed species flocks of birds are observed all over the world," said Allison Johnson, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Nebraska who conducted the study as part of her dissertation research at UChicago. "But when we realized they were sharing territories with specific individuals and responding aggressively only to unknown individ

"THE ZOO" May Have Aired its Season Finale, but AZA Members Continue to Share Our Stories
This weekend, Animal Planet aired the Season Two finale of its highly successful series THE ZOO, which highlights the AZA-accredited Bronx Zoo, its staff, and its animals. THE ZOO is one example of the steps our members take to tell our stories and give people an intimate look at the important work taking place at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

Zoos and aquariums have been hesitant to bring the public behind-the-scenes. Whether out of apprehension, modesty, or the sheer complexity of the work we do, zoo and aquarium professionals have kept relatively silent regarding animal care practices. Perhaps we thought it best to focus on the animals in our care, with minimal outside interference.  But it is becoming increasingly important to be transparent, to educate the public about our expertise and rigorous animal welfare standards, and to demonstrate our ded

Bear farming is coming to an end in Vietnam

Is This the World’s Most Diverse National Park?
Madidi National Park in Bolivia goes from lowland to mountaintop, from 600 feet to almost 20,000 feet above sea level.  It covers more than 7,000 square miles of wildly different habitats. It is, says Rob Wallace, an ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bolivia, “a place where the Amazon meets the Andes.”

First record of large-antlered muntjac in Quang Nam, Vietnam, in the wild
Under a biodiversity monitoring and assessment activity supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam captured photographs of one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, the large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. Prior to this milestone, this species had only been camera trapped in three protected areas in all of Vietnam since the year 2000. The new records from Quang Nam—which include photographs of both a male and a female—provide new hope for the continued survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction.

"It is amazing news," said Phan Tuan, Director of the Forest Protection Department of Quang Nam in Vietnam "The two individuals are both mature and of reproductive age. These images prove that the species still survives in Quang Nam province and give us hope that there might even be a breeding population."

The large-antlered muntjac was discovered by scientists in 1994 and is found only in the Annamites mountain range bordering Vietnam and Lao People's Democratic Republic. Illegal hunting, mainly accomplished by the setting of wire snares, has decimated the species across its range. Snaring pressure is apparently high in the forests of central Vietnam. From 2011 to 2017, for example, government rangers and WWF Forest Guards removed more than a hundred thousand wire snare

Canadians see value in zoos, aquariums, but voice support for banning whales and dolphins in captivity
The future of zoos and aquariums in North America has come into question in recent years, and two proposed laws to reduce or outright ban cetaceans in captivity, both in the House of Commons and Senate, appear to reflect the state of public opinion.

Some have called it the “Blackfish” effect – citing the impact of a popular documentary about the problematic nature of housing intelligent aquatic animals at SeaWorld. SeaWorld Entertainment’s stock plummeted after the film aired on CNN, and has never recovered to pre-Blackfish levels.

A new study from the Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians more than twice as likely to say these mammals should be banned from captivity in Canadian aquariums, than to say that this practice should be allowed.

This finding follows movements in this country against the captivity of cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – which have been led against Marineland, the popular aquarium and zoo in Niagara Falls, Ontario. In that provice, residents are more than three-times as likely to say that such practice

Optimism & Pessimism; 2 Different Things
The first thing we should do is all agree on what the meaning is for these word from a behavioural perspective. I would like to share my thoughts on this topic because I think its an important topic to think about.

There are plenty of us who think that they are number one or number two. But where does that come from? We aren’t born with it, we are shaped this way. One of us has more negative outcomes about their actions in their lives than others while the other one has more positive outcomes and so becomes an optimist. Let’s put this back to the animals we work with.

At this moment I’m pretty busy in our Welfare group we have in the zoo I work at. The main question for us is obviously if the welfare of our animals is good yes or no and how can we measure this. Click HERE for more info on that topic. I’ve looked up some presentations from a welfare conference held in the USA. Interesting and knowledgeable people who gave some great speeches. At the same I wrote some questions down that I want to discuss wit

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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