Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Anne the Last British Circus Elephant - What Next?

Elephants at Whipsnade

I was absolutely delighted to learn yesterday that ‘Anne’ the elephant was to be relocated. To Whipsnade Zoo it would seem as they were quick to step in and offer a home. The thoughts that ran through my head at the time were. Excellent facilities, highly experienced caring staff, a good age range mix of companion elephants, highly professional veterinary back up and more. Ideal it would seem.

Now it seems unlikely. Now I will say at this point that I have nothing especially against Longleat Safari Park, or its facilities, its expertise or its staff. They used to have elephants… they don’t any longer. Longleat have now apparently stepped in (and I take all the following information from the Daily Mail for Wednesday March 30, 2011) and offered a home.

And on Sunday, secret discussions between the owners and officials from the 900-acre wildlife park began

Secret discussions? Why? Why secret? Does this mean that some sort of financial arrangement is being entered into? This animal, ‘Anne’ should be confiscated. As Whipsnade had already offered a home…and Longleat already knew that so why had they stepped in? Call me a cynic but is it just possibly because there would be a huge spike in visitor numbers over Easter if Longleat were to acquire her? I have no doubt whatsoever that Longleat are in a position to offer a good home and would pull out all stops to ensure she gets one but I do question as to whether it is the right move.

So where do we think she is going to go?

Jan Creamer, of the ADI, said that she would be happy for Anne to be rehomed in a safari park or sanctuary as long as she could be in the company of other elephants.
‘We will be delighted if Anne can be moved quickly to somewhere with the facilities for vets and other specialists to improve her health.
‘However, this should be temporary while she is assessed for a permanent home where she can be with other elephants,’ she added.”

Please note that statement “rehomed in a safari park or sanctuary”. There is no way that Ms Creamer is going to entertain a Zoo. Zoos, Good zoos are the real sanctuaries. It is just a name thing. It would “be temporary while she is assessed for a permanent home” strongly suggests to me that Longleat would be her choice irrespective of the fact that she said “as long as she could be in the company of other elephants” because Longleat have already stated that they would build a modern elephant house and introduce other rescued elephants (from where?).

The RSPCA too “The RSPCA also gave its support. It said: ‘We visited Anne with a vet to examine her and talk to her owners about the possibility of living out her last days in a sanctuary or safari park.
‘In the meantime we will be monitoring Anne to ensure her safety and wellbeing.’”

There again, no mention of the word ‘zoo’ – “out her last days in a sanctuary or safari park.”

Then there is CAPS “ Liz Tyson, of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, added: ‘Whilst we are wholly opposed to the keeping of any animal in captivity, we recognise that, under these very specific circumstances, a safari park might offer her some opportunities that she currently does not have, such as the ability to form part of a social group and a wider area in which to roam.’”

Again no mention of the word zoo, it is “safari park” once again. Not that it has any great bearing but I wonder if they know that the Safari Park concept including Longleat was dreamed up by Jimmy Chipperfield of the Chipperfield circus empire. Actually CAPS is caught in a bit of a corner on this one as on their website it is stated:

"If Anne were to be sent to a safari park, we would insist that she is given the opportunity to live out her days away from the public gaze and, as such, should be provided with a true “retirement”. This should be adhered to even if not in keeping with the normal practices of the zoo; the emphasis must be on making her last years as stress-free and fulfilled as possible" (Wow...the zoo word)

Now that IS cruel. An animal that has spent her entire life in the company of people is to be moved out of "public gaze". It would, I am sure not fit in too well with Longleat's plans either.

Back to the Daily Mail:

And where does the 900 acres come in? Mentioned a few times in the article to conjure up visions of ‘Anne’ trundling along happily in all this space. It is not going to happen. ‘Anne’ is arthritic, space in terms of area does not come into it. It is quality of space, caring and companionship.

There is another statement which greatly disturbs me “Despite a generous offer from Whipsnade to provide a home for the elephant, experts felt that her old age and arthritis meant that it would not be in her best interests to be in the zoo’s herd with young calves.”

Balderdash! Just who are these ‘experts’? This is yet again a small group of people with a particular anti-zoo agenda in mind. They know, if they would admit it, that in actual fact the very best thing for ‘Anne’ is for her to join a group of mixed age animals. It would give her a new lease of life.

I don’t profess to be an expert on anything. I know a little bit about a lot of things and a bit more about some than others. I have worked hands on and had extremely good relationships with a number of elephants. I have spent hours with them, slept with them, known every inch of their vast bodies. I have loved and trusted them and had the same in return. If that gives me any tiny bit of expertise at all then I say that Whipsnade would be my first choice and I feel sure that if ‘Anne’ had any say in the matter she would agree with me.

The Video (contains scenes of violence)


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Monday, March 28, 2011

Zoo News Digest 25th - 28th March 2011 (Zoo News 736)

Zoo News Digest 25th - 28th March 2011 (Zoo News 736)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I hope you remembered to put your clock forward by one hour. Thankfully I did. The only time I ever forgot was 44 years ago. It got me thinking though. I recollect that when I was full time in zoo work that there was not a year passed that one or the other of the staff forgot about the arrival of summertime. Happily they were the same staff who forgot to turn their clocks back at the end of the year so it sort of balanced itself out.

It must be age but to me the year is shooting by at a rate of knots. Before we know it April will be here along with the inevitable April Fools Day in the Zoo. I hope you are ready. Some zoos bury their heads in the sand and others will really get into the spirit of things and post some spoof story on the news. It is always fun to try and spot them because there are some very believeable stories at times. In fact some of the stories which appear in the press at other times of the year could do equally well on April the first. This though is largely due to either the press getting their facts wrong or some collection which has lost its sense of direction putting out a load of rubbish.

The 'Missing Cobra Shutters Reptile House At Bronx Zoo' poses some interesting questions the most prominent in my mind of which is...for how long? The article says indefinitely. I believe that this is a wise choice of words. But long? If it was your zoo and you lost a venomous snake, assuming you never found it, how long would it be before you opened up again? What if the snake had been stolen? It is possible.

Many, many years ago I was involved in the partial demolition of a reptile house. Under the base of one of the exhibits we found two anaconda. Not huge, but anaconda all the same. The thing was nobody knew where they had come from or recollected hearing of an escape. Another zoo another time. The reptile house was severely damaged in a huge explosion. Several large pythons escaped. It was quite some time before we found all of them. It is incredible the spaces they can squeeze into. In yet another zoo we had a python escape. It was missing for weeks. It was the fittest fastest and most agressive snake when we actually caught it.

Why is it that I always think of Montezuma's zoo when I read of zoos planning to aquire mutations? I can understand that an albino anything is and can be of interest and is educational. It is of special interest too that albino's are more prone to cancer, have to avoid sunlight and suffer from severe vision defects. Naturally occuring, yes... a result of a congenital disorder and so abnormal. I think it is wrong however for a zoo to collect a number of these unfortunate creatures together. It really does smack of the fairground freak show. I have visited a number of such places. The Monster Zoo in Pattaya immediately springs to mind. We need less places, less displays like that and not more.

My condolences to the friends and colleagues of Zulhakimi Suhaimi of Zoo Negara. A most unusal tragedy.


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Death in zoo pool
Animal minder goes down with boat that sprung a leak on the Tunku Abdul Rahman lake
A zookeeper drowned on duty on Saturday morning and three of his colleagues were lucky to survive — after the boat they were in sprung a leak and went down in the lake inside Zoo Negara.
It was a tragedy that was probably waiting to happen after staff members warned the zoo management about the leak-prone boat used to trim foliage hanging down the banks of Tunku Abdul Rahman Lake.
In the incident at about 10am Zulhakimi Suhaimi, 24, and his three colleagues were in the boat trimming over-hanging dropping branches from islets within the lake in the middle of Zoo Negara home to over 300 free-roaming birds.
In about about 20 minutes, water filled the boat causing it to sink and spilling the four men overboard.
The tragedy was witnessed by an Indonesian maid, Rose, who was decorating a gazebo on one of the islets in preparation for celebration of the daughter of her employer.
"I was alone then. The children and their parents were sight-seeing. As I was setting out the place, I heard loud shouts for help by four men in the water."
Rose said two of the men managed to swim to the islet and haul themselves on shore while holding on to the overhanging branches.
Another man managed

Tiger population rises by 295 in India
The Census exercise was carried out in 2010 in the designated 39 tiger reserves of India.
According to the last Census report of 2008, the population of big cat was at 1411.
In the Sundarbans archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, the tiger count is 70, according to the latest Census, busting the myth that the number is 275 as bandied about by the West Bengal government for long.
"Someone from the West Bengal government should answer what they were doing in the past ten years. Will they accept the figure," asked tiger expert Valmik Thapar speaking to NDTV after the figures were made available.
According to the Census, the tiger population in Shivalik-Gangetic plains is 353, in the Central and Eastern Ghats 601, in Western Ghats 534 and in the Northeast


Zookeeper sues Woburn: full report
A FORMER zookeeper at Woburn Safari Park has claimed he was forced out of his job after highlighting health and safety and animal welfare breaches.
At an industrial tribunal in Howard Street, Bedford this week, Dr Paul O’Donoghue, 32, claimed constructive dismissal saying that a number of incidents – including events leading to the escape of an elephant – stopped him from being able to do his job.
But a solicitor, representing Bedford Estates, claimed Dr O’Donoghue left his role at the safari park voluntarily, and that the firm had adhered to all disciplinary matters and grievances at the park within given guidelines.
Solicitor Abayomi Alemoru, said: “Let me suggest to you that saying you were pushed out of your job for making complaints about health and safety and animal welfare is a post-employment construct made with your claim in March 2010.”
He suggested Dr O’Donoghue’s motive for the claim were the result of a vendetta against the park.
Dr O’Donoghue, who represented himself at the tribunal supported by his partner Emily, left his position on December 5, 2009.
He claimed that he was not able to carry out his health and safety responsibilities at the park because of a “culture in which health and safety issues seem to be tolerated within the organisation”.
When giving evidence to the tribunal he claimed that issues he raised, including a leak of human waste from the restaurant toilets which was contaminating the monkey house, breaches in security which led to an elephant escaping, and inexperienced workers tending to the park’s pride of lions, were overlooked by park chiefs.
He said: “I resigned from a permanent position at Woburn to take up a temporary position at Chester University.
“I strongly feel that I will never work in a zoo again and being a lecturer is not my long-term career ambition.”
Dr O’Donoghue described an alleged incident in which staff member Neil Berry got out of his Land Rover in the lion enclosure to free a vehicle which was stuck on a hill.
He said: “I was concerned that inexperienced staff were managing a dysfunctional and unnatural pride of lions.”
Dr O’Donoghue said that Mr Berry reacted violently when he confronted him and urged him to report it.
Mr Alemoru claimed that the reason Mr Berry behaved in this way is because Dr O’Donoghue swore at him, not because he didn’t want to file the report.
During the hearing Dr O’Donoghue claimed that he had suffered detriment and victimisation as a result of highlighting issues at the park.
He said: “During October and November there were actions and occurrences that made me question the tenability of my position.
“Comments were made about my job security, I was assaulted at work, and my employer has failed in its contact to provide a reasonable working environment

Napier's Marineland to be closed and cleared (December 2010)
Marineland will be permanently closed and the site cleared "ready for something new."
More than two years after the marine park closed to the public, Napier City Council announced this morning it will not be reopened.
The decision came after the government confirmed it would not support marine mammals being kept in captivity.
Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said the government's stance, and the need for major upgrades at the aging facility, forced the council's hand.
The decision was made to "close the facility and clear the site ready for something new".
Mrs Arnott said many alternative options were

And Then

What happened to Marineland's stars?
As a city which suffered a massive quake, the thoughts of Napier residents are very much with the people of Christchurch, but there is another matter on the minds of many Hawkes Bay residents; The future of Marineland.
You may remember the Napier city council announced Marineland's closure, but local opposition to this has led to a judicial review.
The sea mammals which were once Marineland's celebrities are now kept out of the spotlight, behind locked gates.
The council allowed Campbell Live in to try and find out what will happen to them.
Whena Owen met


Further information on the above.

AZA report raises questions about Knoxville Zoo elephant's behavior
Knoxville Zoo sticking with protective contact for handlers
An independent review panel has determined the Jan. 14 death of Knoxville Zoo elephant keeper Stephanie James was an accident. In the aftermath of James' death, the zoo will continue to care for its African elephants through protective barriers.
James, 33, died from internal injuries after female elephant Edie pinned her against a wide steel pole called a bollard. At the time, James was giving Edie her evening treats in one of the stalls at the Stokely African Elephant Preserve.
The four-member panel's report concluded that James' death was accidental.
The report also found no reason for the 8,500-pound animal to move toward James and found she exhibited no signs of aggression before, during or after the incident.
When Edie moved forward, she pinned James against the metal bar. The bars are spaced 2 feet apart. The report says injury to James could have been avoided if James had been standing in that open space.
The zoo also today included a special report issued by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the organization that accredits zoos.
The AZA report says that the zoo's elephant management procedures are consistent with its own standards and that the park's elephant keepers are qualified and experienced.
However, the AZA report does

Why would an unbiased report use a word like 'cell' for animal accommodation?

No, Please don't bother to tell me....I guessed already.

Zoo authorities clueless on elephant's aggression
Zoo authorities are clueless as to how to deal with the three-month-long period of aggression of Rajmangal, a 55-year-old male elephant at Chhatbir zoo. Wildlife lovers feel elephants should be shifted to forest and sanctuary areas in keeping with guidelines of CZA ( Central Zoo Authority).
According to wildlife experts, elephants are mega herbivore animals and they need extra surface to roam around. A circular issued by CZA in 2009 said elephants should be moved out from captivity areas. 'When a team from CZA had visited Chhatbir zoo last year, why it did not direct zoo authorities to shift the elephants to sanctuary areas is incomprehensible,' said Payal Sodhi, founder of People for Animals (PFA) Chandigarh.
Zoo authorities say they are helpless as they cannot leave the elephant for it to walk around openly during the period of aggression. 'We have no option but to chain the elephant, otherwise he could harm visitors. Elephants are treated well under supervision of experts. However

Aquamarine Fukushima - Japan - Before tsunami

Dubai Zoo: Looking forward to a better day
Yet another summer will come by with hundreds of animals, at the Dubai Zoo, languishing in cramped conditions even as authorities continue to delay plans for a bigger facility. Most of the animals at the zoo are either victims of illegal trafficking or unwanted pets. In trying to find them a better home, the authorities have see-sawed over the past few years between plans on building a new zoo and shelving those decisions. Gulf News reporters take a look at the venue’s struggle to become more than just an animal shelter.
There seems to be no respite for the more than 1,000 animals at the Dubai Zoo who will continue to languish in the sweltering summer heat due to inordinate delays in plans to construct a new and bigger facility.
While the Dubai Municipality, the authority that manages the zoo, acknowledges that the zoo has its limitations, it added that there is no immediate solution to alleviate the space constraints.
"There are many plans for Dubai Zoo but all these plans are long term and no change is expected to take place at least until the end of this year," said Engineer Eisa Al Maidour, Assistant Director-General of the Dubai Municipality.
Not only is the Dubai Zoo housing animals in cramped conditions, it has also been earning bad press with limited or no promotion in hotel advertisements luring tourists to the emirate.
The zoo has grown considerably since it was launched in Jumeirah, in May 1967, with a few animals. Today, it is home to around 230 species while the total number exceeds over 1,000 animals — all of whom reside in an area measuring 20,000 square metres, which also includes offices and a visitors' centre.
More than 80 per cent of the zoo's population consists of animals either donated by people or seized by customs or municipality officials. Now, the zoo has stopped accepting

Dubai Zoo

Plans for albino zone in Byculla zoo
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to create a special zone for albino animals within the premises of Veer Jijamata Udyan, popularly called the Byculla zoo.
According to officials, the zone will be set up in a two-storey structure to be constructed inside the zoo for educating children and creating awareness among them on wildlife conservation. To be called the Interpretation Centre, the structure will be built as part of the plans to modernize the zoo.
On Thursday, Neelim Kumar Khaire, director of Katraj Snake Park in Pune, met Rahul Shewale, BMC standing committee chairman, to discuss the feasibility of transferring some of the albino animals to the Byculla zoo.
"We already have a white peacock and a white crow. But Khaire wants to transfer some white cobras and turtles as well. We also plan to add a white porcupine. It will be a small area in the intepretation centre, near the penguins. It's aimed to be different so that school children can appreciate it,"said an official from the zoo. "The idea of having a white

Zoo's revenue goes in part to conservation efforts
We refer to the letter "Attractions need to charge less" (March 23) by Ms Marietta Koh.
The Singapore Zoo, operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, is a self-funded organisation, while the Melaka Zoo is managed by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, a government organisation responsible for the protection, management and preservation of biodiversity in Malaysia.
All profits and revenue earned from our parks is injected back into the care of the animals and exhibits, as well as conservation efforts and skills upgrading of our employees. A portion of our entrance fee is also donated to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF), which was set up by WRS to support the conservation of endangered native wildlife, as well as for capacity building, education and awareness programmes on key species and conservation issues in the South-east Asian region.
The role of zoos has changed through the years. In addition to offering recreation for families and tourists, our mission is to connect people with wildlife to inspire nature conservation and to educate people on the human effect on living things and habitats. To run a successful social enterprise with such a mission, we need to be financially independent.
Therefore, we have invested resources in making sure that we maintain world-class exhibits, while introducing new in-park attractions to remain competitive and relevant. We also have ongoing initiatives to transform our parks from "viewing zoos" to "learning zoos". This involves installing interactive signage at all exhibits, organising outreach activities for the young such as overnight camps, and working with partners such as the Ministry of Education to publish educational materials for use in the classroom.
We constantly try to balance the maintenance of our financial health, the protection of local and global biodiversity and the support of community development.
That said, at WRS, we have different price points targeted at various groups. Local senior citizens can purchase admission tickets at half price. Park hopper specials allow visitors to purchase 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 admission tickets to either three or two of our parks - Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo - at a discounted price. Locals and residents keen to visit several times in a year can sign up for a reasonably-priced membership package which comes with perks such as tram rides and complimentary parking. Additionally, WRS extends heavily subsidised rates to visiting schools. For a value-added visit, teachers can make advanced bookings for complimentary enrichment pr

Zoo gets $15 million gift and a new look
Philanthropist Conrad Prebys makes largest donation in zoo history
San Diego philanthropist Conrad Prebys is giving the San Diego Zoo $15 million to launch a major redesign of its big cat and koala areas. This gift, announced Sunday afternoon, follows Prebys’ 2007 donation of $10.1 million to revamp the polar bear plunge and elephant care center.
Not only is this new pledge the largest single gift in the history of the Zoo, but CEO Doug Myers said Prebys is also the largest single donor to the Zoo at over $25 million. (In 2004 Joan Kroc bequeathed $10 million to the Zoo.)
The bulk of Prebys’ new gift will transform the Zoo’s Big Cat Trail into a winding walkway like San Francisco’s Lombard Street and enhance its Africa Rocks section. The donation also will

Meet the Zoo: Alexandra and Nicholas (Great Photos)
Section Sponsored By Nicholas is a sweetie, but Alexandra can be downright mean.
At many zoos, smaller animals are often overshadowed by their popular, larger cousins.
Not so for Alexandra and Nicholas at the Prospect Park Zoo, where there are no lions or tigers to steal their thunder.
This little pair of Pallas’s cats are about the size of house cats, but look much larger because of all their fur.
They were born in the Moscow Zoo in April of 1998. When they were just a year old, they moved to the San Diego Zoo where they gave birth to several litters of kittens. In 2008 they moved to the Prospect Park Zoo, where they’re spending their golden years.
Alexandra and Nicholas are the first wild cats exhibited at Prospect Park Zoo since it was renovated in 1993. Visitors

Prague zoo opens 80th season
Thousands of people attended the ceremonial opening of the 80th season of the Prague Zoo despite cloudy weather Saturday to see the christening of a pair of rare iguanas and the reconstructed buildings with a new restaurant and gallery.
The Blue Iguanas, a critically endangered species, were christened by Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda and the Zoo director Miroslav Bobek. The lizards were named Faust and Margarita.
The Prague Zoo sought to get the nearly extinct lizards coming from the Grand Cayman island for more than ten years, curator Petr Velensky said.
He said the Prague Zoo is the only one in Europe to have them.
Velensky expressed hope that the pair would multiply.
Bobek said he believed the timbered Cubist houses built by renowned Czech architect Josef Gocar at the beginning of the 20th century would be one of the main attractions of the Prague Zoo even though there are no animals in them.
The houses were originally built at the city's first

Death of German polar bear doesn’t affect KC’s Nikita, zookeepers say
Kansas City’s polar bear, Nikita, is four years and four months old and appears to be in the pink, er, white of health.
But Knut, the superstar polar bear at the Berlin Zoo, also appeared healthy before he suddenly keeled over and died in front of hundreds of horrified visitors. And he was only four years and three months old.
The shocking death points to the challenge facing zookeepers in managing the health of their animals, especially the ones that capture the hearts of the public.
Before Nikita came to the Kansas City Zoo last year from the Toledo Zoo, he was tranquilized to allow extensive tests. That included blood work to see how well he carries oxygen to his organs, X-rays of his head, a check of his reproductive system and even a glaucoma exam. Veterinarians also removed two baby canine teeth that failed to emerge

1,200 mails exchanged to bring home cheetahs
Visitors from south India may have the chance of witnessing cheetahs in captivity in the 118-year old Sri Chamarajendra Zoologoical Gardens here, but they are oblivious of the untiring efforts made by the authorities to procure these majestic animals. But for the existence of the e-mail system, it would not have been possible for the authorities to get these endangered species in a short span of one and a half year.
Mysore zoo authorities exchanged more than 1,200 e-mails with various agencies and government organizations before they got the four cheetahs from Johannesburg. With the arrival of these four cheetahs, Mysore Zoo has become the only zoo in south India and second in India after Junagad zoo in Gujarat to have cheetahs as exhibits.
The idea to import cheetahs took off a year-and-a-half ago when Mysore zoo authorities wrote to Central Zoo Authority(CZA) seeking its permission to import cheetahs from an African safari. But since the proposal did not go down well with the CZA for various reasons

Putin's animal antics questioned in Russia
"There's a good kitty, a pretty kitty," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was shown by state media telling snow leopard last weekend, who stared back at him, covered in fresh blood.
The rare species is the latest to go under "personal control" of the Russian leader, who is overseeing research programs on a handful of mammals, including the tiger, beluga whale and polar bear.
As part of that work he has taken part in several tagging missions with scientists from the Moscow-based Severtsov Institute.
But other scientists have said the snow leopard was harmed, and that the program is scientifically unreasonable and directed more towards publicity.
The leopard, called Mongol, had to be flown to Khakasia, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) away from its habitat in the Sayano-Shushensky reserve, and was held in captivity for five days, released only after meeting Putin.
The removal of the animal was "criminal", according to the regional UNDP-funded programme on biodiversity, since the Severtsov institute only had permission to tag Mongol, which could have been done in 15 minutes.
On Sunday, the Severtsov institute said on its website that the animal had to be held and treated for wounds on his neck and cheekbone.
"He was ill," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP, dismissing allegations that the animal had been held captive in order to meet the prime minister as "absolutely groundless."
But Alexander Bondarev, the manager

In Select Theaters April 2011

Villagers Protest 'Illegal' Swiftlet Building Close To Homes
More than 100 people of Kampung Gajah Merangkak here Sunday staged a protest against the construction of a building to breed swiftlets in their village, less than 100 metres from the nearest house.
The demonstration was held at the site of the building to draw the notice of the Kulim Municipal Council and the Kedah government to the matter.
The chairman of the village development and security committee, Ismail Jusoh, 52, said the committee sent a memorandum to the council in September last year but there had been no action.
"We went to the office of the menteri besar in Alor Setar in December but only met State Executive Councillor Datuk Phahrolrozi Zawawi with whom we registered our objection, but in vain.
"The construction of the building is illegal because I did not get any information on the structure from the Kulim Municipal Council," he told reporters.
Ismail said the committee had received a copy of the approval letter for a similar building, also in the village but located 1.5 kilometres

Bird Nest Soup

Malaysia's tourist city bans breeding of birds after UN issues warning over old buildings
Tens of thousands of birds cultivated for their edible nests are being banned from the capital of a Malaysian tourist island after the U.N. cultural agency warned that the business endangered efforts to preserve decades-old buildings prized for their historical value, officials said Thursday.
The bird breeders on Malaysia's northern Penang island voiced fears that the ban would disrupt their lucrative business, which existed for years before UNESCO placed Penang's capital of Georgetown on its list of World Heritage Sites in 2008.
A spot on the list helps attract tourists and U.N. grants, but authorities have to follow restrictions to limit changes to the landscape. The restrictions pose a problem for entrepreneurs in Georgetown who convert old buildings and houses into small farms where sparrow-like swiftlets live and breed.
Cup-shaped nests made from the swiftlets' glutinous saliva are sold across Asia as a delicacy and can fetch up to $1,000 per pound ($2,000 per kilogram). Many Chinese serve the nests in a soup, saying it has medicinal qualities.
Chow Kon Yeow, a Penang state legislator, said authorities have ordered all swiftlet farms in Georgetown to move to agricultural areas elsewhere on the island by 2013. Twenty-seven have closed so far, while another 101 remain.
"It's too heavy a burden if we lose" the U.N. heritage status, he said.
UNESCO has expressed concerns to Malaysian

Lucy has a comfortable life here-zoo
Re: "Let's get Lucy the help she needs," by Dr. Debi Zimmermann, Letters, March 18.
As the head of the Edmonton Valley Zoo, I would like to correct the portrayal of Lucy the elephant's life in Edmonton.
She enjoys a comfortable life at the zoo, where she is loved and cherished. Visitors often see Lucy out and about enjoying the whole zoo as her home.
Lucy has unique needs and must be understood and treated as an individual elephant.
She has a complicated medical condition that is being managed responsibly at the zoo. Elephants usually breathe through their trunks; Lucy breathes through her mouth.
Under stress, or during other times of increased need for oxygen, Lucy's ability to breathe is stretched almost beyond her capacity. It is imperative to keep her calm and quiet.
Dr. James Oosterhuis, an elephant specialist, returned to the Edmonton Valley Zoo earlier this year for a followup examination of Lucy. He concluded Lucy's medical condition precludes any thought of moving her and, in fact, it would be life threatening

Endangered condors lay 10 eggs at the Oregon Zoo
California condors have laid 10 eggs, with one more possibly on the way, at the Oregon Zoo.
The Oregonian reports that's the most eggs since the Portland zoo joined the effort to save the critically endangered species in 2003 with a captive breeding program. The zoo has 11 breeding pairs and 38 condors total.
For the first time this year the zoo plans to transfer two to four of the eggs to California where they'll be placed in nests in the wild.
The rest of the eggs will be hatching in coming weeks

College goes wild over zoo
EXOTIC animal encounters will be just around the corner with plans for a Ponteland zoo.
Monkey business and comparing the meerkats will soon become the norm in the Northumberland countryside as the Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens gets set for opening to the public.
The new tourist attraction is being created at the Northumberland College campus to improve its learning environment for animal management and horticultural students.
But the facility will also invite the public to meet its animals, which will include more than 100 different species, from emus to wallabies, pygmy goats to marmosets and meerkats to ring tail lemurs.
Visitors will be able to chat to zookeepers, who will introduce them to the animals and tell them more about their behaviour and habitats.
There will also be a river and forest trail, ornamental and walled gardens, an aquatics centre, picnic

Terri's secret sell-off - Australia Zoo growth on hold
STEVE Irwin's widow Terri has been quietly selling off properties from a multi-million dollar portfolio amassed by the star couple.
In a sign Australia Zoo has hit hard times, Mrs Irwin has placed several Sunshine Coast properties on the market. A number of zoo exhibits are on hold or delayed.
Mrs Irwin has admitted a horrific wet summer drastically affected visitor numbers and forced job cuts.
An investigation reveals Mrs Irwin has been trying to offload properties since late last year - many at a loss.
Four directly border the zoo on Fraser and Bunney roads, Beerwah, and were originally purchased back when expansion plans were at full throttle.
A sprawling 95ha parcel at Peachester, with views of the Glass House

Zoo's Dolphin Habitat Celebrates 50th Anniversary
More than two million people each year visit the Brookfield Zoo’s Seven Seas exhibit in suburban Chicago. The exhibit, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the oldest inland dolphin habitat in the United States. It focuses on the Chicago Zoological Society’s efforts to promote marine conservation.
Fifty years ago, the only way people in the US. Midwest could see dolphins up close was by visiting the coastline. The Chicago Zoological Society wanted to bring that experience closer to home.
"This was a very groundbreaking facility," said Rita Stacey, curator of the Seven Seas exhibit at Brookfield Zoo. She's worked with dolphins at the zoo for twenty years. "It was the first inland Dolphinarium. It was the first one to

Missing Cobra Shutters Reptile House At Bronx Zoo
The Reptile House at the Bronx Zoo was closed Saturday after an adolescent Egyptian cobra went missing from an off-exhibit enclosure.
Zoo staff said they immediately closed and secured the building after learning the snake was missing. Egyptian cobras are poisonous.
Officials at the zoo said they were confident that the snake, about 20-inches long, was confined to an isolated, non-public area of the building. Snakes typically seek closed-in spaces, and are uncomfortable in open areas.
“We are informing the public out of an abundance

What a Sign to See at the Zoo: Cobra Is Missing
Visitors to the Bronx Zoo were greeted with locked doors when they tried to enter the reptile exhibit this past weekend, and with good reason: a venomous snake was on the loose.
“The World of Reptiles is closed today,” a sign explaining the closing said. “Staff observed an adolescent Egyptian cobra missing from an off-exhibit enclosure on Friday.”
The Egyptian cobra, a favorite of snake charmers — and probably the asp whose venom Cleopatra used to commit suicide — is a dark snake with a narrow hood, and grows up to two yards in length. (The missing animal was only 20 inches, a zoo employee said.) Native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, it usually preys on toads and birds, not humans, but zookeepers

Epilepsy killed celebrity polar bear Knut: report
Knut, the celebrity orphan polar bear who drew thousands of visitors to Berlin zoo, died after an epileptic fit, according to neurologists quoted by Focus magazine.
A CAT scan had revealed abormalities in the brain of the bear, who may have inherited epilepsy from his father Lars, also a sufferer.
Four year-old Knut, who won global fame as he grew from a cute cub but grew into a 200 kg predator, died in front of horrified visitors at the zoo last weekend.
Neurologists said the fit was triggered by a brain disorder yet to be identified. The magazine said Knut's brain is now being studied at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wild

Shocking new ADI cruelty exposé shames UK circus industry from Animal Defenders on Vimeo.


Journal of Threatened Taxa

March 2011 - Vol. 3 - No. 3

Date of Publication 26 March 2011 (online & print)

Please click HERE



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Giraffes at Duisburg Zoo can be seen from various levels. Indoors and outdoors plants play an important role for sight control and for the creation of atmosphere. The giraffe building receives much light through its UV-translucent roof and glass panels on two sides.


Keeping browsers such as giraffe, deer, black rhinoceros, tapir, gorilla, howler monkeys and rock hyrax in temperate climate raises the problem of adequate feeding during the winter. The best choice is browse silage. Clauss et. al explain the producing of browse silage and its advantages for feeding browsers. The articles first appeared in EAZA News in 2001 and 2003 and were published on ZooLex with permission of the author Markus Clauss.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Practice Capture, Handling and Restraint Program DVD Series

Best Practice Capture, Handling and Restraint Program DVD Series

Animals on Film is pleased to announce the launch of the ‘Best Practice Capture, Handling and Restraint Program DVD Series’ for Wildlife Professionals. This education resource has been produced by a group of Zoo industry personnel who possess zoo keeping, education, veterinary nursing, research and film making expertise. The Snakes, Raptors and Zoonoses program’s film footage has been based around interviews with recognized experts in the areas of Herpetology, Raptor management and Zoonotic disease.

The Best Practice Capture Handling and Restraint Programs are a useful resource especially if you are training new staff, or prior to working in a field research or captive environment where hand restraint and trapping techniques are required. The Zoonoses program is a must for any Occupation Health and Safety Department were staff are actively involved in the care or management of animals or their bi products. The programs aim to develop "Best Practice Animal Management" principles. Special attention is given to wildlife professionals working with fauna in a captive or field environment. In addition animal ethics and safety issues are listed for; capture restraint, husbandry and veterinary procedures.

Each volume offers a double disc set comprising 50 to 70 minutes of DVD vision in easily accessible chapters plus an ADOBE PDF manual on CD ROM.
The DVD can be viewed on a Computer or Television screen and is available in both PAL or NTSC Versions.

We currently now have a number of Australian and American TAFES and Colleges using our programs as support material for Zoo keeping and other animal management related courses. For independent reviews on our programs go to

Program and Site license prices for the “Best Practice” Capture Handling and Restraint DVD Programs.
Site licences agreements can be obtained contact Jo Cowie at  to discuss your institutions or individuals specific needs.

Annual license Options per program (AUS)

                                                         Year One Year Two Year Three Year Four Year Five
Intra-net, computer or DVD use up to 40 students     $220     $176       $154       $132      $110
Intra-net or computer or DVD use 40 to 80 students   $520     $420       $320        $220     $220
Intra-net computer or DVD use 90 or more students    $1,000 $720        $520       $320      $220

We offer organizations a “student program price” which is available in conjunction with any of the 5year license plans.

Programs available now (NTSC or Pal Versions)

Volume 1 Snakes Demonstrates capture, handling and restraint techniques in addition to basic veterinary and husbandry procedures used for venomous and non-venomous snake species.
Program Price $197.00 Aus
Snake DVD Chapter Information
Snake Manual Table of Contents

Volume 4 Raptors Demonstrates capture and handling techniques, plus Animal Husbandry procedures appropriate for use with large and small raptor species.
Program Price $197.00 Aus
Raptor DVD Chapter Information
Raptor Manual Table of Contents

Volume 9 Zoonoses Presents comprehensive infectious disease information within 2 excel tables. The searchable tables show more than 350 Zoonotic diseases and their source animal hosts. The DVD program is based around interviews with specialist infectious disease Doctors, Parasitologists and Wildlife Veterinarians. Discussion and demonstration shows safe and effective work practices that can be used with biologically hazardous materials. In addition there are quarantine guidelines for bird, mammal and reptile species.

Program Price $237.00 Aus
Zoonoses DVD Chapter Information
Zoonoses Manual Table of Contents

Please note that copyright laws, in regards to the “Best Practice Capture, Handling and Restraint Series” and its reproduction, protect this material. If you plan to use the programs for private use then please disregard this notice. If you do plan to use this material for teaching purposes then a site licence will need to be purchased.

We hope you continue to find this material useful and look forward to any comments or critique you would like to offer.

Animals on Film Wildlife Licences and Approvals

1. AEC Approval Number: DEC AEC /42 / 2006
    AEC Approval Number: CAEC /46 / 2003

2. Science Project Plan Number (Science Division staff only)
CALM Animal Welfare Act 2002, Licence to use Animals for Scientific Purposes U10/2005

3. Licence to Take Fauna for Scientific Purposes Number: SC Reg 15

We look forward to your comments and questions. Zoos, Universities and Libraries please contact us if you require access guidelines and license information for intra-net or other uses.

Email contact at
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Major tiger farmer sentenced to imprisonment

The world has been turned upside down on long-time suspected tiger trader Huynh Van Hai, owner of the Than Canh Tourism Park in Binh Duong province. Hai was sentenced on March 10 to three years in prison for selling tigers out the back door of his park, fourteen other people linked to Hai’s illegal activities, including his son, received sentences ranging from 18 months’ probation to 30 months in prison. In addition to imprisonment, Hai and two other subjects were fined more than VND 1.4 billion (about USD 70,000.00).

The Thanh Canh Tourism Park is one of eight private zoos and establishments in Vietnam that keep tigers. In 2010, a major investigation carried out by ENV found that the Thanh Canh Tourism Park was suspected of involvement in the illegal trade of tigers born at the park. Suspicions were based on inconsistencies in records maintained by the park and observations during regular inspections carried out by ENV and police.

ENV wishes to congratulate the Binh Duong authorities, and in particular, the Binh Duong Police forpursuing this investigation that led to the prosecution of Mr. Hai and the other suspects involved in this case,“ says Tran Viet Hung, Vice Director of ENV. “This is a huge step forward in our collective efforts to end illegal trade of tigers in Vietnam. Binh Duong authorities are sending a strong message to other tiger farmers that may be engaged in similar illegal activities they too may see the inside of a prison cell if they do not obey the law.”

ENV’s 2010 investigation also indicated that at least two other major tiger farmers in Vietnam were involved in illegally trading live tigers or selling off the remains of tigers that had reportedly died on their farms. The Thanh Canh Tourism Park and four other private establishments keeping tigers in Vietnamare known to have obtained their original tigers illegally from the trade.

It is time to end illegal tiger trade in Vietnam by expanding and intensifying enforcement efforts targeting major kingpins in the trade and putting these people in jail,” said Hung. Hung went on to suggest that authorities expand their focus to investigate other major tiger traders that are suspected of either raising and selling tigers from their farms or smuggling tigers into Vietnam from Laos and other countries.

Hung noted that efforts must also focus on reducing consumer demand for tiger bone glue, a form of traditional medicine made by boiling down tiger bones that is used to treat arthritis and strengthen bones.

The myths surrounding use of tiger bone glue as a magic medicine persist amongst older generations of some Vietnamese. However, modern medicine and science are gaining ground amongst younger generations and this will show people that using tiger bone glue is a waste of their money, while more effective treatment is readily available through consultation with professional medical services.”

The Thanh Canh Tourism Park, which is currently closed to business, also keeps tens of bears which are used to extract bile for foreign and domestic visitors, according to staff of the park. Dozens of other animals are also kept at the park to entertain visitors and a restaurant located in the park center offers a range of wildlife dishes. According to ENV investigators who visited the site in February 2011, some of the tigers at the tourism park appeared to be malnourished and in poor condition.

News of Hai’s sentencing by Binh Duong courts, and others involved in the Binh Duong case, were cause for celebration at ENV which has worked long hours to expose illegal activities of tiger farmers and traders in Vietnam. “We feel that Binh Duong authorities have taken a vital first step in ending illegal farming and trade of tigers in Vietnam,” says ENV Founder Vu Thi Quyen. “Let us see how this case can influence other provinces to get tough on criminals involved in illegal trade of tigers and other endangered wildlife.We will not rest until the people behind this dirty tiger trade business are in jail, and not a moment sooner" says Quyen,

Background: Ending tiger farming and trade in Vietnam

Perhaps no other species has received as much attention and support as tigers, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on their conservation, yet, governments and their conservation counterparts continue to document decline across the range of the species. Vietnam has seen its share of tiger dollars too over the years, but embarrassingly, most experts agree (including international NGOs which have been the recipients of much of these funds) that tigers are all but gone from the wild here, with a few animals perhaps living along the borders of the north and central regions of the country.

Following the 2007 discovery of approximately 60 illegal tigers being kept privately by businessmen, ENV embarked on a program aimed at arresting the growth and development of the tiger trade in Vietnam.

ENV’s tiger strategy focuses on three components:

• Strengthening law and policy in relation to the protection of tigers and closure of tiger farms by working with key decision-makers at the central and provincial level

• Strengthening enforcement through promotion and support of the work of law enforcement agencies in investigating and combating illegal tiger trade, as well as monitoring existing tiger farming operations

• Raising public awareness to encourage greater public support in reporting crimes involving tigers and reducing demand and consumption of tiger products

This new program began with a major investigation of tiger farming and trade in Vietnam, the first such in- depth look at the illegal trade and the inner workings of tiger farms in this country, working in close partnership with law enforcement agencies at the provincial and national level. A year later, a confidential investigation report was produced highlighting the initial results of the year-long investigation. Amongst the findings were direct links between some tiger farms and commercial trade,as well as identifying a number of key figures in the tiger trade, and components of the trade network that smuggles tigers in from Laos to Vietnam on a regular basis.

Tiger Intelligence File
• Tiger farming: There are 100 known tigers in captivity in Vietnam. 81 are kept on eight private farms,the remaining tigers are at government-supported zoos and rescue centers (ENV March 2011).

• Since 2005, there have been 24 reported seizures of frozen, whole or cut up, tigers, tiger bones, or in one case, live tigers. A total of 41 tigers have been confiscated from these seizures (March 2011).

• ENV has documented a total of 134 tiger cases since 2005 including mounted tigers and all forms ofproducts and parts, as well as advertising of tiger products (ENV Database November 2010).

• At least three tiger farms are reported to be involved in commercial trade of tigers raised on these farms in direct violation of the law. Evidence is lacking from other farms, but tigers known to have died at these farms have been processed to make tiger bone TCM.

• Most tigers smuggled into Vietnam are sold to Vietnamese consumers, not smuggled into China.

• The ENV investigation resulted in the identification of a list of major criminals involved in illegal tigertrade and smuggling into Vietnam, including several key figures suspected to be major players behind much of the illegal tiger trade into Vietnam.

• Tiger bone glue is the primary tiger product in demand by Vietnamese consumers. It is made fromtiger bone mixed with the bones from other species, and sold at roughly $900-$1200 per 100 grams.

• The cost of raising a tiger in captivity to an age that it can be sold is approximately $3,455 USD. The value of this same tiger sold in the form of tiger bone TCM is approximately $20,000 USD (2010). **Based prices and estimates provided by tiger farmers and tiger bone TCM brokers (2010).

ReferenceENV’s Summary of Tiger trade investigation findings;%2013%20March%202010%29.pdf


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 24th March 2011 (Zoo News 735)

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 24th March 2011 (Zoo News 735)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

This week, and not for the first time, I recieved an email (from someone who will remain anonymous) who suggested in a roundabout way that they would support Zoo News Digest if I were to miss reporting certain things. It is not as if I could not do with the support but it is not going to happen in such a way. I believe that I am impervious to bribes. At least I like to think so. I am not against doing friends and colleagues favours but when I percieve something to be wrong then I am going to say it. At the same time I will only be too happy and apologise if it turns out that I am wrong.

Here I should like to apologise to Avilon Zoo in the Philippines for my remark in ZOO NEWS DIGEST 24-31 May 2010, where I wondered if there was any connection between the twenty four Orangutans held there and those which appeared at the roadside in Phuket in Thailand. There was not. Avilon have been kind enough to give me the origins, history and whereabouts of their animals. So once again. My humble apologies.

So Mr Bob Barker has offered $100,000 to the city of Edmonton to allow outside assessment of Lucy the elephant. He would like experts from Zoocheck Canada and Performing Animal Welfare Society to go and take a look. Whereas I do have a certain amount of respect for both of these groups they do have a bit of an agenda. In the other article I link to it states "Groups including Zoocheck and PETA believe Lucy is overweight, lonely and plagued with health problems typical of captive elephants." So what exactly is the the $100,000 dollars for? It has been stated that Edmonton will refuse the money. For quarter the price I would be more than happy to go in, assess and give my unbiased and honest opinion.

I see nothing wrong with 'Zoo Keepers Held Off Reporting Komodos Missing' in the circumstances as described in the newspaper article. This is rather like trying to report the whereabouts of every bird in a tropical house every day. Are zoo management now trying to put the blame on the keepers? If there was, as has been suggested, a possibility that they were eaten by larger Komodos then that must surely mean that they were sharing an enclosure with larger animals. If large and small Komodos were in together it sounds a bit irresponsible and being eaten would, to me, be the most likely explanation as to their disappearance. Zoo management are surely irresponsible to allow such an enclosure sharing arrangement, not the keepers?

With regards to unannounced Zoo inspections (I mentioned previously) in the US I was sent the following document.

As I said before. I think it is a good idea.

Just what is happening in Kiev Zoo? I have yet to see an article that I give credibility to?


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Knut May Be Stuffed

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Illegally Held Hyena Confiscated
Animals Lebanon takes action with the help of the Minister of Environment
A joint operation between the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Environment and Animals Lebanon succeeded in confiscating an illegally held hyena.
The hyena, now named May, was kept by a small pet shop in the city of Saida in southern Lebanon.
Animals Lebanon received so many complaints about this hyena that we approached the Minister of Environment H.E. Mohamad Rahhal to take immediate action.
The pictures we showed the Minister were horrific. A wild caught hyena kept for four years in a tiny cage barely big enough for her to turn around. The cage was in an empty piece of land next to the pet shop, exposed to the rain and cold. Her jaw was broken and she was forced to sit on the

Google Map of Japanese Marine Parks and Aquaria

Top zoo boss suspended
THE boss of Edinburgh Zoo has been suspended at a critical time for the attraction's future, after mystery allegations.
It can be revealed today that an investigation has been launched into chief operating officer Gary Wilson – who has also been acting as chief executive – following what are described as "anonymous allegations" which are being treated "extremely seriously".
Mr Wilson's shock suspension comes as the zoo prepares for the arrival of two money- spinning giant pandas from China. Bosses are also trying to negotiate a land-swap deal with the city council as part of an ongoing multi-million-pound development.
Only a day ago the attraction announced that 16 members of staff had been made redundant as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
Mr Wilson was overseeing all of the zoo's major projects, including the introduction of the pandas, following the retirement of former chief executive David Windmill. He was also in charge of the operation of retail and visitor services at the Highland Wildlife Park.
It is not known exactly what is being investigated following the arrival of an anonymous letter around a fortnight ago. An internal and external investigation is under way although the

Review panels: Knoxville Zoo elephant handler death "accidental"
The Knoxville Zoo has released the results from two independent reviews of the Jan. 14 death of elephant handler Stephanie James. One was an independent review requested by the zoo, the other was conducted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The independent review panel came to the following conclusions, according to a release from the Knoxville Zoo:
-Two elephant handlers present were qualified and adequately trained to handle elephants.
-All parties interviewed, both separately and together, were straightforward, answered all questions, and were
consistent in their recounting of the incident, without exception.
-All policies and procedures reviewed by the team were being followed.
-Enrichment items being offered were routine and incidental to the incident.
-There were no documentable stimuli either visual or auditory that would have triggered the reaction from the
-There had been no changes in the routine in the elephant barn during the week before the incident.
-No apparent cause for the elephant to move forward toward Ms. James was found.
-Injury occurred as elephant moved forward toward Ms. James, who was standing in front of a steel containment
bollard, pinning her against the bollard.
-No obvious aggression by the elephant before, during or after the incident, was reported.
-Injury could have been avoided if handler had been standing in approximately 2 foot open space between two
-This was an accidental death.
The AZA concluded the following:
"The Knoxville Zoo's elephant management protocols are consistent with AZA standards. The present senior elephant staff is qualified and experienced. The Zoo's immediate response to the incident was timely and followed their written protocol, including switching immediately to protected contact management of the two female elephants.
"Although it is not known what provoked this fatal incident on January 14, 2011, this does not appear to be an isolated incident with this elephant. Three previous documented incidents involving Edie in conjunction with the January 14, 2011, fatality has raised concern, and should be considered as an indicator of the possibility that an aggressive behavior pattern is developing. The Knoxville Zoo staff must consider how they will manage these elephants in the future, especially in relationship with past events and trends. To that end, we understand that the Knoxville Zoo will, in due course, promptly apprise AZA of its determinations and plans as to how it will manage such elephants."
In the release, zoo leaders cited previous incidents with Edie that occurred between 2007 and 2010 that were determined by the zoo's senior management to be isolated incidents and not of an aggressive nature.
Also, a previous review by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency concluded that James died as the result of an intentional blow by Edie, although the elephant was not acting in an aggressive manner. TWRA also reported that the zoo was following its safety procedures.
The release also said the U.S. Department of Agriculture found the zoo to be in compliance with its regulations while a review by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health is currently ongoing.
Meanwhile, all three of the zoo's African elephants continue to be managed in protected contact, a change implemented after the Jan. 14 incident.
That protected contact involves handling an elephant through a protective barrier. The elephant, however, is not confined and can move about freely.
The independent review panel

Two red deer drowned as park is targeted
THE owner of a Somerset wildlife park says she is being ‘persecuted’ after two of her deer were drowned, and two others had their horns mutilated.
Helen Duckett, owner of Alstone Wildlife Park near Highbridge, spoke to the Mercury after two red deer were drowned at the park last week having being chased out of their enclosure and into the River Brue in the early hours of March 15.
Two male deers have also had their horns mutilated by knives, while in the past five months all 40 birds in one of the park’s aviaries have been stolen.
Staff were first made aware of the break-in at around midnight, when grounds man Gavin Cooke received an anonymous

Ultrasound scan for venomous fish
Keepers at a marine wildlife park have been using ultrasound - and chain mail gloves - to find out whether one of their venomous fish is pregnant.
Staff at Living Coasts in Torquay, Devon, noticed that Bonnie, a mangrove whipray, had put on some weight and suspected she might be carrying young.
So they enlisted the help of a company, Mount International Ultrasound Services (MIUS), that makes ultrasound machines

Fort Wayne Zoo target of scam
The Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana announced Thursday it has received reports that someone is going to local businesses asking for support of a coupon book supposedly put together for the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.
Cheryl Piropato, Zoo Education and Communications Director, said it’s not true. “The zoo has nothing like this in the works and we want the public to know immediately so that this scam can be stopped in its tracks.”
Michael Coil, President and CEO of BBB of Northern Indiana said that the last time BBB heard something like this, it was a person selling

Ex-worker forced from Woburn Safari Park claim
An ex-member of staff at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire claims he was forced out of his job after complaining about conditions at the attraction.
Dr Paul O'Donoghue is suing Bedford Estates for constructive dismissal after he left his job in December 2009.
He told the tribunal the "last straw" was on 22 November 2009 when he had believed that an elephant would escape, and "it did in fact escape".
Woburn Safari said it rejected claims he had been

Safari park case adjourned
The case of a former worker at Woburn Safari Park who claims he was forced out of his job after raising concerns about conditions there has been adjourned to a date to be fixed.
Paul O'Donoghue is suing Bedford Estates for constructive dismissal after leaving the job he held from January 5 2009 to December 5 2009.
An official at the Bedford Employment Tribunals Service said the case was listed part heard and a new date would be set in due course.
Dr O'Donoghue, of Ellesmere Port, has told the panel that he was seen as a "trouble maker" and

Topeka Zoo crew excited to have accreditation restored
Topeka Zoo supporters are celebrating a big milestone after a couple of tough years. Zoo officials learned at a meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn., Sunday morning, that the Zoo's accreditation has officially been restored.
This means the zoo has the support of its accrediting agency, even with a few outstanding issues it currently faces. Animal Care Supervisor Chris Grassl says, "It was a great step for us and for the city. Just the fact that we can say the Topeka Zoological Park is AZA accredited. There are only about 250 accredited facilities in the country. So, to be one of those 250, it's a big deal."
The status of the outdoor hippo exhibit, the perimeter fence and a few other projects will be included in a progress report to the agency

Editorial: Zoo picture keeps improving
The Topeka Zoo is officially on the rebound.
This past weekend, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums restored the zoo’s accreditation to full status, ending a year-long period of uncertainty about the matter.
Zoo director Brendan Wiley said he and his staff were elated, and that didn’t come off as hyperbole considering the dire consequences that would have come with losing accreditation. Chief among those would have been damage to the operation’s image and reputation, which would have threatened to hurt the zoo’s ability to attract visitors and raise private donations, and almost certainly would have made it more difficult for the operation to retain and hire qualified staff. Beyond that, AZA accreditation brings such benefits as the ability to make arrangements with other zoos to borrow or loan animals.
So when the AZA tabled a motion to revoke the zoo’s accreditation a year ago this month, there was plenty of cause for concern. At the time, the zoo was enduring a string of ugly revelations about animal deaths and disappearances, as well as reports of inadequate care. The

Zoo Keepers Held Off Reporting Komodos Missing
Surabaya Zoo keepers waited five days before reporting the disappearance of three baby komodos, according to the zoo’s management.
Toni Sumampau, the head of caretaker administration at the zoo, told the Jakarta Globe that the keepers first became aware that the komodo dragons were missing on Feb. 28, 2011, but did not report it to zoo’s management until March 5.
He said there was little possibility that the komodos had escaped from their cage.
“That means they were either eaten by predators [larger komodos] or they were stolen,” Toni said, adding that he suspected their were stolen to cause friction and arose the suspicion of zoo staff members.
Last year the Forestry Ministry formed a caretaker administration headed by Toni to manage the zoo after a dispute between managers

Man, goose form odd-couple friendship

Cottonmouth Viper 'Spit' Sends National Zoo Employee to Hospital
DC Fire Department Alerts Twitter Followers of 'Snake Bite' at National Zoo
What do you get when you mix snake urine, feces and venom? For a reptile keeper at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., the toxic concoction got her a quick trip to the hospital and a star appearance Monday on the District of Columbia Fire Department's twitter feed.
"EMS - snake bite - National Zoo - 3001 Connecticut Av NW - health unit - adult employee bit by snake," DC Fire and EMS tweeted at 4 p.m. Monday, still breaking in its new Twitter account.
That snippet was soon followed by this one:
"Update - Zoo - Cotton Mouth Viper 'spit' at keeper - EMS evaluated & transported adult female - checkup not serious anti-venom on board."
It turns out that while the reptile keeper was attempting to transfer

Bob Barker offers Edmonton $100,000 in Lucy the elephant dispute
Former U.S. game show host and animal rights activist Bob Barker has offered the City of Edmonton $100,000 to use as it sees fit if the city agrees to an outside assessment of the living conditions of Lucy, the only elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
Barker wants experts from Zoocheck Canada and Performing Animal Welfare Society to check on her welfare.
"It's crucial that Lucy's condition be accurately diagnosed before her health deteriorates further," said Barker. "It is indefensible that Lucy has been forced to live in misery for all these years."
The 34-year-old pachyderm has a mysterious and undiagnosed respiratory problem. Activists want her shifted to a California facility but officials at the Edmonton zoo argue that they can tend to her health problems and that it's too risky to move her.
As well, Lucy is overweight and has foot problems — a leading cause death among elephants in captivity.
"Obviously we are interested in only one thing, Lucy's well-being," Barker said Tuesday. "She is going to die there. She is dying slowly."
A city spokesman said Edmonton would not take him up on his offer because they already have experts looking after Lucy and finances are not the issue.
Last summer, a lawsuit by animal activists to force Valley Zoo to move Lucy was tossed out by an Edmonton

Zoos: Do you think wild animals should be kept in captivity?
Former television game show host Bob Barker has offered $100,000 to the City of Edmonton if it will allow experts to examine Lucy, the lone elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
"It seems like a win-win-win scenario to me," said Barker, in a news release. "The zoo wins, concerned citizens win, but most importantly of all, Lucy wins," said Barker.
Groups including Zoocheck and PETA believe Lucy is overweight, lonely and plagued with health problems typical of captive elephants.
Meanwhile, Naturewatch, a British-based animal welfare group, is among the organizations calling for the 100-year-old Kiev Zoo to be closed and its animals sent elsewhere in Europe.
Animal welfare groups say dozens if not hundreds

'A concentration camp for fur and feathers': Scandal of the zoo where the animals keep dying
Animal welfare groups from around the world are calling for the immediate closure of Kiev Zoo after a shocking spate of animal deaths.
The 100-year-old zoo has recently been dubbed 'a concentration camp for those with fur and feathers', with many suspecting corruption to be at the heart of the problem.
An Indian elephant called Boy, the pride of the zoo, collapsed and died in his enclosure last year.
Around the same time, Maya the camel succumbed to a digestive illness and Theo the zebra died after crashing into a metal fence.
Animal welfare groups say dozens if not hundreds of animals have died at the zoo in recent years due to malnutrition, a lack of medical care and mistreatment.
Naturewatch, a British-based animal welfare group, is among the organizations calling for the zoo to be closed and its animals sent elsewhere in Europe.
'The Kiev Zoo will never attain any basic standards, it's so far removed from any zoo in Europe,' said John Ruane of Naturewatch. 'The conditions have been absolutely horrendous and no matter how many more directors were appointed the situation still remained the same.'
New managers appointed in October said that nearly half of the zoo's animals either died or mysteriously disappeared over two years under their predecessors, and a government audit found that thousands

These Chicks Don't Need a Puppet
Two new Condor chicks, just hatched in San Diego, are surviving without the human touch.
In video released by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly known as the Wild Animal Park), the parents can be seen helping the chicks.
In the past, zookeepers would help the process using a Condor hand puppet.
The chicks hatched on March 14 and 16 are being parent-reared.
It takes about five months for the chicks to leave the nest.
The California Condor Recovery Program is shipping eggs to other partner sites in Arizona, California or Baja.
“We’re doing that to help the genetic variability from site to site,” said Ron Webb, San Diego Zoo Safari Park senior keeper.
Four other eggs are in the incubator. Of

Someones private movie of one of my least favourite zoos - The Phuket Zoo
I wonder if the one armed zookeeper is significant?

Surabaya Zoo Celebrates Healthy Elephant Birth
A 20-year-old elephant on Monday gave birth to a healthy 100-kilogram male baby elephant, or calf, at the Surabaya Zoo, a spokesperson said.
Lembang, a female Sumatran elephant, gave birth at 2 a.m. on Monday, said spokesperson Agus Supangkat.
“The birth was normal and was assisted by paramedics from the Surabaya Zoo,” he said.
The father of the calf is 40-year-old Doa.
Agus said the new elephant, who has not yet been given a name, began breastfeeding from his mother after 12 hours.
“This has made all of us let out a sigh of relief ,” Agus said, adding that Lembang had been aggressive since giving birth, being very sensitive to the presence of humans or other animals nearby.
The mother and calf are under constant monitoring by the zoo’s veterinarian.
The new birth brings the number

Leopard captured on camera in Yemen for first time
Camera traps capture male and female Arabian leopard for the first time in Yemen, raising hopes that the critically endangered animals are breeding
Researchers have succeeded in photographing male and female Arabian leopard for the first time in eastern Yemen, close to the border with Oman.
The Foundation for the Protection of the Arabian Leopard in Yemen (FPALY) researchers captured the images in the Hawf Protected Area last month.
FPALY ‘s executive director David Stanton said: “This is the first time that a wild Arabian leopard has been photographed anywhere outside of Oman.”
The organisation is currently expanding its programme to include other areas in Yemen where they believe leopards exist.
Wildlife cameraman and TV presenter Gordon Buchanan said: "The first evidence of the Arabian Leopard in east Yemen is a delectable find indeed."
"Camera traps are relatively cheap,

There is though a number of Arabian Leopards in captivity. The majority of these are held in the excellent facilities in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Did Negligence Kill Knut the Polar Bear?
He was the most famous polar bear in the world — the cuddly cub Knut, dubbed Cute Knut, captured people's hearts after his birth at the Berlin Zoo in December 2006. So it's no wonder that his sudden death on Saturday, at the tender age of 4, has sent a nation into mourning — and sparked a controversial debate on the ethics of keeping polar bears in captivity. As the zoo tries to figure out what killed Knut, animal-rights groups are blaming zookeepers for his death, accusing officials of putting financial interests ahead of the famous polar bear's welfare.
Knut died on Saturday after collapsing into a pool of water in his enclosure, as hundreds of visitors looked on in horror. In a video posted online purporting to show images of the last minutes of Knut's life, he repeatedly turns around in a circle and then tumbles into the water. Berlin Zoo's bear curator Heiner Klös tells TIME that he last saw Knut on Saturday afternoon shortly before his death and that he looked fine. "I was so shocked to hear that Knut had died — he'd been a big part of my life for the past four years," says Klös.
By Sunday, in a sign of Knut's superstar status, a steady stream of visitors was flocking to the zoo to pay tribute to the bear, lighting candles, leaving notes and laying flowers at his compound. The zoo's website has also been inundated with messages of condolence. "Knut, you were the sweetest polar bear that I ever knew — why did you have to die?" wrote one mourner named Anna.
Knut shot to fame after his mother rejected him at birth and he had to be hand-reared by zookeeper Thomas Dörflein. Knut was the first polar bear to be born and raised at the Berlin Zoo in 33 years. Images of Dörflein lovingly bottle-feeding,8599,2060743,00.html

Head keeper tells of 'amazing' visit to China to meet pair
THE head keeper who is set to care for Edinburgh Zoo's pandas has described the different personalities of the two bears and said she "can't wait" to welcome them to the Capital.
Alison Maclean said meeting the pair for the first time in late February was "truly amazing". The keeper, who has 25 years of experience caring for animals, is now gearing up for a return visit to China so that she can bond with Tian Tian and Yang Guang.
She described how the male, Yang Guang, had ventured into the enclosure to meet zoo bosses face-to-face, but that female Tian Tian had been rather shy.
She said: "We went to the Bifengxia Panda Base and the professors took us to meet the pandas. The female was quite shy and she hung back, but the male was straight down. Their enclosure is a steep mountainside filled with bamboo, but the male was much more curious and he even came into the glass house to have a look at us.
"I'll go over again just before the pandas come to Edinburgh to get to know the two, learn about their individual needs, their likes and dislikes and their personalities. There will be a period

A Chinese aquarium is hitting the headlines again over controversial plans to import Beluga whales into their aquarium from the wild.
The Aqua Park 'super aquarium' feature at Ocean Park in Hong Kong first came to conservationists' attention last year when they considered importing wild Bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands. They now plan to import the wild-caught whales from the Russian Arctic (Okhotsk Sea) for their new Polar Adventure attraction.
Suzanne Gendron, the park's executive director for zoological operations and education, said that the Ocean Park Corporation has already given almost $6m over the past four years to fund research into the sustainability of Beluga whale populations in the Russian waters.
Unsurprisingly, the study found that the population, while listed as 'near threatened' on the IUCN website, has a population sufficient to allow wild capture of the whales to be imported to Hong Kong for 2012.
The park was keen to stress that an independent review panel would be convened to confirm any sustainability findings before a transfer took place.
The aquarium was the scene of a protest earlier this year when members of the environmentalist group Green sense claimed that Ocean Park was importing endangered species.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society state on their website: "WDCS opposes these captures [of wild Beluga whales] because they are inhumane and unsustainable. There is not sufficient research that proves that taking Belugas out of the wild

AZA Finds No Management Cause Of 6 Of 8 Animal Deaths At The Chattanooga Zoo
Says New Tortoise Needs To Be Completed By Next Winter
An inspection team from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) found that six of eight recent animal deaths at the facility were not management related.
The team found that found that two tortoise deaths appeared to come from substandard winter housing, which zoo officials said has now been corrected.
It was noted that the deaths of the marmosets came from significant liver disease and weight loss that originated or predated the administrative error which caused the animals to go unfed for two days in
The remaining four deaths were found to be an unfortunate series of unrelated

Indonesia Has Its Share Of Scientists, So Where’s the Science? (Orangutan Conservation)
In 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched Indonesia’s national orangutan action plan, which calls for all remaining wild populations of orangutans to be stabilized by 2017. It is both an ambitious goal and a highly laudable one. But with regard to the specific plan, how does the president know whether it is a good one?
Under ideal conditions, this is where good scientists enter the picture. They should be able to tell the president that his government — hypothetically speaking — has invested $20 million into implementing the plan, has secured 30 percent of the remaining wild orangutan populations and is perfectly on track to achieve its 2017 target.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to say any of this because we haven’t got much of a clue about what has been done and what has been achieved. We don’t know the impacts of a government intervention, largely because no one is really trying to find out. What would normally be the realm of conservation and government scientists appears to be an area largely devoid of action.
Indonesian science in general

YouTube sensation fuelling trade in an endangered species
They are the adorable, furry little creatures with the big round eyes who almost purr in delight as they are tickled into a stupor. They are also an endangered species whose stardom on YouTube is fuelling a trade built on cruelty and abuse.
The slow loris, a species of primate native to South-east Asia, rivals Justin Bieber as a viral internet sensation. A video of an animal being tickled has gained more than six million views. A new clip, posted this month, in which a loris clutches a cocktail umbrella, has been viewed two million times.
The creature's new-found fame is now stoking demand among children to turn the wild animal into must-have living toys. But the primate is no pet.
Poachers steal infant lorises from their parents in the wild to sell at open-air markets in Indonesia, where they are traded for as little as £10.
The export market is most lucrative in Japan, where lorises stolen to order sell for £3,500. The trade is now expanding into the US and Europe, with illegally smuggled lorises reported in the United Kingdom.
But many do not survive the journey. "The only reason the loris isn't biting the person holding it in the video is because it has had its teeth ripped out with pliers," said Chris Shepherd of Traffic Southeast Asia, which campaigns against the trade in primates.
The teeth are removed because the loris, listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, can deliver a toxic bite. Mr Shepherd said: "The creature

Zoo defends decision to stuff Knut
The Berlin Zoo on Wednesday defended its decision to stuff their late polar bear Knut, saying they had received significant support from his many fans.
The dead bear was a “worldwide, emotional mascot,” the zoo’s bear keeper Heiner Klös told public broadcaster RBB.
His mounted body will be displayed for educational purposes at Berlin’s Museum of Natural History, “because there aren’t that many polar bears any longer,” he said.
Klös also said he understood the opposition to preserving Knut in such a way, but insisted those against it were in the minority.
“Many think it’s good,” he said, ad

Bony-headed toads to breed in Scotland
Colony of rare toads have arrived at Deep Sea World to start breeding and help save the species from climate change.
A colony of unusual amphibians has arrived in Scotland as part of an international effort to save the species.
The bony-headed toads have been sent to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry as part of a new captive breeding programme.
They were born at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust on Jersey in the Channel Islands and it is hoped that by creating another breeding group in

Elephant demonstration area popular with Oklahoma City Zoo visitors
The new elephant exhibit at the Oklahoma City Zoo has a demonstration pavilion. For the first time, visitors will have a chance to see how zookeepers work with Asian elephants Asha and Chandra.
Visitors to the Oklahoma City Zoo now can get a closer look at two of its most popular animals.
The new elephant exhibit includes the Elephant Pavilion, a demonstration area that seats more than 400 people. Spectators filled the pavilion stands and even lined the surrounding pathways during the zoo’s busy spring



March 2011 - Vol. XXVI - No. 3

Date of Publication 21 March 2011


Kabul Zoo Training Visit to Selected North Indian Zoos
-- R. Marimuthu, Pp. 1-5

Banning of Polythene bag inside Dhaka Zoo for the first time
-- Dr. Md. Shakif-Ul-Azam, Pp. 6-7

Zoological Institutions in the Middle East: Potential for a Regional Zoo Association
-- Jonas Livet, P. 8

Volunteer Vet (CWRC) – Borjuri, Assam
-- Minla Zangmu Lachungpa, Pp. 9-11

Book Review: Butterflies and Birds of Bishop Heber College
-- R.J. Ranjit Daniels, P. 12

Education Reports
-- Pp. 13-15

A few Communications about Web-based ZOOS’ PRINT
-- Pp. 16-17

Population Control By Segregation of Blackbucks at Kanpur Zoo
-- K. Praveen Rao, Pp. 18-19

Don’t forget ZooLex
-- Pp. 20-22

An incidence of pleural mesothelioma in circus lionesses
-- K. Sujatha, Ch. Srilatha and P. Amaravathi, Pp. 23-24

Observation of road kills on Kambam-Kumily Road (NH 220) in Tamil Nadu
-- K. Muthamizh Selvan, Pp. 25-26

Occurrence of bile duct hook worms in a wild elephant of Wayanad, Kerala
-- K.G. Ajith Kumar, Reghu Ravindran, T. Surendranathan, E. Varun Joy and Amitha George, Pp. 27-28

To view the magazine online :


Please Click


Call for Papers
For Dedicated Issue of AKF – UNGULATES
We are planning on producing a combined July/August 2011 edition of Animal Keepers’ Forum dedicated to ungulates. We will be working with the Ungulate TAGs in producing this dedicated issue. We would like those interested to submit manuscripts for consideration for inclusion in this dedicated issue. Possible topics might include the following:

• Ungulate Care and Management

• Managing multi-species habitats

• Managing single-sex herds

• Ungulate Hand-rearing

• Ungulate hoof care

• Ungulate operant condition

• Ungulate Enrichment
Papers should be submitted electronically in MS Word only to
Please use Times or Times New Roman font (10pt text body). Please put “Ungulate
Issue” in the subject line. Papers should be no more than 10 pages in length. Any charts and/or graphs should be submitted as separate jpg or tif files along with (but not imbedded in) the manuscript. We also encourage photos of your animals to include and these should also be submitted electronically as either high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) jpg or tif files.

If you cannot submit your material electronically, you may submit your materials on a disk or CD sent to: Ungulate Dedicated Issue, AAZK, Inc., 3601 SW 29th St., Suite 133, Topeka, KS 66614-2054. If you cannot submit photographs electronically, you may send 3 x 5 inch prints to the same address. You should include proper photo credit for each photo and also suggested captions for each photo submitted.

Be sure to also include your complete contact information including name, address, email and a daytime phone where you may be reached if we have questions concerning your submission. Also be sure to include your facility and your job title at that facility.

Deadline for submission of articles for consideration for this special Ungulate Issue is May 15, 2011.


To see the prospectus and learn more please click



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