Monday, August 27, 2012

Zoo News Digest 13th - 27th August 2012 (Zoo News 828)

Zoo News Digest 13th - 27th August 2012 (Zoo News 828)


Dear Colleagues,

So, a lion in Essex? I don't think so. Just as likely to be the escaped Lynx from Salzburg Zoo.

The loss of the keeper in Cologne remains in my mind. So sad. I grieve along with her colleagues and family. Another harsh cruel lesson for us all to double check.

Congratulations to Tiit Maran. It has been a long time coming but I am sure it is worth it. I've never met you Tiit though I feel I know you. Paul Robinson talked of you often. Whatever happened to Paul I wonder?

I note poor old Bao Bao has passed away. A very good innings though.

I don't know about you but for me "will exhibit for the first time" means they have never been exhibited before. In this case, completely untrue. Will the newspapers never get their facts right?

Can you imagine it? Only 100 sign ups for International Vulture Awareness Day. Shame on you. You know who you are.

International Vulture Awareness Day is just over a week away. What is your zoo doing to promote Vulture Awareness?

Hello Giza Zoo....any news on the new Orangutan house yet? What of the evacuated chimps? The zoo world watches as you drag your feet. So very sad. Just how long will it take?

Still not a whisper about the baby Orangutan and Gibbon from Abu Dhabi (see past Digests). As the recognised world organisations that the collection belonged to knew that they had these you would think they would be just a little concerned as to where they went. It doesn't smell right to me.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.


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Lynx escapes from Salzburg zoo
Salzburg zoo has lost a dangerous animal again after a lynx managed to jump over a fence and escape from the zoo yesterday (Sunday).
The zoo has already twice lost cheetahs this year - although all were recaptured without incident.
The Lynx had managed to flee after the three-and-a-half metre high electric fence was left switched off so that no electricity was flowing through it to stop the animal breaking out.
Zoo workers, hunting experts as well as volunteers are searching the area for the runaway one and a half-year-old lynx. Two experts have also travelled in from Germany to help with the search.
A commission set up to investigate how this could happen confirmed the fence had not been live at the time.
Henning Wiesner, former boss of Munich Zoo and leader of the commission, said: "The three-and-a-half metre fence without power was no barrier for the animal.
"Saturday night had been a very stormy night, trees and branches had fallen which had damaged the electric fence

Zoo chief 'had to kill tiger to try to save keeper'
Cologne’s zoo director had to shoot rather than tranquilise the tiger which had attacked his keeper in order to reach her and try to save her life, another zoo director said on Monday.
Theo Pegel has been criticised for not trying to tranquillise the animal after the attack on Saturday. "This is the darkest day of my life," Pagel told reporters afterwards.
But he was defended by a colleague.
"One had to assume after the attack that the zoo keeper was still alive," Frankfurt Zoo director Manfred Niekisch said on HR radio on Monday. "Our colleagues in Cologne had no other choice."
Tranquillizing the tiger would have taken up to 15 minutes, he said– possibly crucial time to reach the woman who was bleeding badly.
The police agreed that the zoo director was within his rights, adding that the police service pistols would not have been much use against a tiger.
"Our guns would not have even scratched it," he said.
The city public prosecutor is investigating the 43-year-old woman’s death after, a spokesman confirmed to The Local on Monday.
"The autopsy will take place today, but we won't have the results right away. We expect the investigation to last several weeks," said Daniel Vollmert. He said an investigation was standard following a workplace death.
The zoo keeper, named in the German media as Ruth K. apparently failed to close a safety door while entering the tiger enclosure to clean it, and was attacked by a male Siberian tiger called 'Altai.'
A co-worker found Ruth K. unconscious

First Zoo-Bred Mink Released into Wild
The first of the European mink raised in captivity at Tallinn Zoo have been released into the wild on the island of Saaremaa.
The 10 animals are wearing transmitters so scientists can track them.
The European mink is critically endangered in the wild.
Some of the species brought to Saaremaa in the past, such as wild pigs and deer, have started becoming a nuisance. But Tiit Maran, a Tallinn zoo official who runs the mink program, says that if the mink survive, they should not be a nuisance to humans.
Maran said Saaremaa farmers may be worried about the introduction of mink alongside the marten. "But compared to what Saaremaa's large marten population does, the problem is negligible," Maran said. It should also not pose a threat to crayfish populations, he said.
Hiiumaa has a similar experience of trying to maintain dwindling populations of European mink and a local resident interviewed by ETV, Gennadi Kotsur, said there was no problem. Complaints from farmers over damage have turned out to be caused by martens, not mink.
Maran says that populating the two islands will give a possibility for long-term preservation. "And if all goes according to the worst-

Panda Bao Bao dies in Berlin Zoo at 34
A giant panda from China died in Berlin's zoo on Wednesday at the age of 34.
The male panda named Bao Bao died in his enclosure in the morning, with the cause of his death still unclear, according to Berlin Zoo.
"It's sad," read a statement from the zoo. "We will take a remarkable farewell. Bao Bao will always remain unforgettable."
The zoo will examine the body of Bao Bao and announce the result later.
Bao Bao had been the oldest living male Panda in the world. In recent months, zoo staff and visitors witnessed a physical decline of the panda.
He was given by the Chinese government to former Republic of Germany in November 1980 together with a female panda Tian Tian.
After Tian Tian's death in February 1984, Bao Bao lived alone in Berlin until November 1991, when he was sent to London to mate with

The orangutan population is on the brink
The natural home of the orangutan is the leafy rain forests on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, but development has devastated their numbers. There are less than 30,000 of the species left today.
Orangutans can fill us with wonder partly because they are so much like us.
But two of the orangutans at the Oregon zoo, 52-year old Inji and 18-year-old Kutai, are part of a species fast disappearing.
"All of the apes are endangered but orangutans, I think, are at a critical point right now," said Jennifer Davis, who runs the Oregon zoo's primate program.
She recently wanted to see their plight first-hand in their most important habitat.
"So I flew to Sumatra," Davis said. "I expected to see just lush tropical rainforests, and as far as I could see, it was just palm oil plantations."
Huge plantations for producing palm oil are wiping out the rainforests in Sumatra where most orangutans live.
"It 's a very, very precarious situation," said Ian Singleton, who heads the Orangutan Conservation Program in Sumatra.
Singleton said the biggest threat is the growing demand for palm oil.
"You'd be amazed just how many products it's in. It's in shampoos, it's in soaps, it's in your biscuits, in chocolates. It's everywhere," Singleton said.
So those working to save the animals are asking consumers to start looking for a label that says "orangutan friendly."
It can be found on palm oil products produced in places that do not threaten crucial habitat.
"We want people to know there is still hope because there is, but it is at a critical turning point. It is at a point where we need to take

Dear Colleagues,
The 46th issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa is online at We thank all the subject editors, reviewers, language editors and authors for their contributions in producing this issue.

Journal of Threatened Taxa
ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)

August 2012 | Vol. 4 | No. 9 | Pages 2845–2932
Date of Publication 26 August 2012 (online & print)


Scientific conduct and misconduct: honesty is still the best policy
-- Neelesh Dahanukar & Sanjay Molur, Pp. 2845–2848

CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
Streamside amphibian communities in plantations and a rainforest fragment in the Anamalai hills, India
-- Ranjini Murali & T.R. Shankar Raman, Pp. 2849–2856

Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea and Hesperoidea) and other protected fauna of Jones Estate, a dying watershed in the Kumaon Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India
-- Peter Smetacek, Pp. 2857–2874

Evaluation of macrobenthic fauna in hill stream environment of Western Himalaya, India
-- Indu Sharma & Rani Dhanze, Pp. 2875–2882

A new species of parasitic wasp Neastymachus Girault (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Encyrtidae) collected by fogging Vateria indica L. (Dipterocarpaceae) canopy in the Western Ghats of India
-- Sudhir Singh & Y.B. Srinivasa, Pp. 2883–2888

Twelve species of nematodes: new records for India
-- Padma Bohra, Pp. 2889–2899

An inventory of mammals, birds and reptiles along a section of the river and banks of upper Ganges, India
-- Tawqir Bashir, Sandeep Kumar Behera, Afifullah Khan & Parikshit Gautam, Pp. 2900–2910

New floral distribution records of Aquilegia nivalis (Baker) Falc. ex B.D. Jacks and Doronicum falconeri C.B. Clarke ex Hook. f. from the Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand, India
-- C.S. Rana & D.S. Rawat, Pp. 2911–2914

Ecology and population structure of a terrestrial mycoheterotrophic orchid, Aphyllorchis montana Rchb.f. (Orchidaceae) in Soppinabetta forests of the Western Ghats, India
-- Palatty Allesh Sinu, Neethu Sinu & Kruthik Chandrashekara, Pp. 2915–2919

Records of Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni (Blyth, 1842) (Aves: Falconiformes: Accipitiridae) in Andhra Pradesh, India
-- Sathyanarayana Srinivasan, B. Ramakrishna, C. Srinivasulu & G. Ramakrishna, Pp. 2920–2923

Observation of Bryde’s Whale Balanoptera edeni / brydei (Cetartiodactyla: Balaenoptiidae) in the offshore waters of southern Odisha, eastern India
-- Sajan John, K. Sivakumar, B.C. Choudhury & Muntaz Khan, Pp. 2924–2927

Identification of hairs of some mammalian prey of large cats in Gir Protected Area, India
-- Nishith Dharaiya & V.C. Soni, Pp. 2928–2932

In case you wish to receive Table of Contents every month please send an email to <> with no subject or text.

Lion reported to be on the loose near Clacton
Armed officers and police helicopter join hunt for creature apparently caught on camera by member of the public
Police have warned residents to stay indoors after reports of a lion running loose in Essex.
Thirty officers, including a firearms team, and two police helicopters were called to the scene of the sighting in fields off Earls Hall Drive in St Osyth, near Clacton.
Officers from Essex police contacted experts from Colchester Zoo, who believe the reports to be genuine after being shown a photograph from a member of the public.
However, police said the animal had not escaped from the zoo, as all its big cats had been accounted for.
It is understood that at least one circus may have been touring the area recently.
Brenda Lord, of Earls Hall Farm, St Osyth, said the sighting was made by "several people" staying in caravans at her farm.
She said that at least one person had taken a photograph, apparently showing the animal in fields nearby.
"We are unable to go and speak to them as we have been ordered to stay indoors by police," she said.
"Those in the caravans have also been told to stay inside. There is a police helicopter outside and lots of activity."
Within minutes of the police appeal to stay indoors, St Osyth was trending on Twitter and an account set up @EssexLion.
Dave Sparks, of the Red Lion pub in St Osyth, said that the reports had worried families staying in the area for the bank holiday.
"We initially thought that it was a hoax but now we realise that it's genuine. The police are taking it very seriously.
"It's the talk of the pub. There have been a few people in here with children who have been quite worried but generally we are not too concerned."
Bernadette Cleere, of the King's Arms pub in St Osyth, said that speculation was rife among regulars about where the animal may have come from.
"There was a circus in Clacton a couple of weeks ago and so lots of people are wondering whether it may have escaped from there. Others say it could have come from a zoo.
"It's just not the sort of thing you expect to hear from your neighbours; 'Hey, have you seen the

ABTA - The Travel Association: Consultation on Animal Welfare Standards
Dear Colleague,

We are contacting you today in relation to the consultation that ABTA is now opening regarding the development of guidance documents for animal welfare best practice in the tourism sector.

To assist you in providing structured feedback, we have developed a simple survey which asks you 14 questions about the documents you are reviewing.  The questions are available on the following link:

As you may be aware, ABTA is the largest travel related trade association operating in the UK and represents the interests of approximately 900 tour operators and over 5000 travel agency business. Sustainability is at the heart of the organisation and we work with our members on various programmes of work which are designed to help ensure thriving destinations are at the core of the industry.

One programme of work that ABTA facilitates looks specifically at animal welfare standards within the industry. The link between tourism and animals is intrinsic and most tourism destination offer opportunities for tourists to view or interact with animals through a variety of formats. Given the global nature of the tourism industry, our experience has shown us that there is often a great deal of variation in welfare standards amongst suppliers in this area and similarly, in the availability of local legislative guidance.

It is extremely important that as an industry, tourism gets it approach to animal welfare right and that the industry embraces best practice guidance. As such, recently ABTA has embarked upon a process to create a series of bespoke guidance documents that chart best practice information in this area. What we have developed a set of Global Standards which document generic best practice guidance for animals in tourism and then 6 Preferred Codes of Practice which provide specific guidance for certain types of activities.

As attached, please find the complete series of documents as follows:
-          Global Standards for Animals in Tourism
-          Preferred Code of Practice – Captive Dolphin Attractions
-          Preferred Code of Practice – Captive Animal Attractions
-          Preferred Code of Practice – Elephants in Tourism
-          Preferred Code of Practice – Wildlife Viewing Attractions
-          Preferred Code of Practice – Working Animals
-          Preferred Code of Practice – Unacceptable Practices


What does the consultation cover?
The consultation is your chance to inform the content of these documents. We are interested in receiving any views, thoughts, data or other information that you have that will help develop the documents so that they achieve their overriding objective of helping to raise animal welfare standards in tourism and raising awareness of best practice. Please note, the documents are designed to be an industry tool capable of dissemination in the global tourism supply chain.
Consultees are free to provide their thoughts on one, several or all of the documents as they wish. It may be for example, that you are a supplier/expert in regard to one of the specific types of attraction covered in the documentation and as such, you may only wish to review that document. Alternatively, please feel free to review all of the documents and add your comments.

Who is being consulted?
ABTA has been working with its members and external stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive list of stakeholders that we are issuing this consultation to. Within the list there is a mix of government departments and representatives, charities, NGOs, animal attraction industry bodies, individual suppliers, tour operators, veterinary groups and individual experts.

Am I able to send the documentation on to other people I work with?

If there are people within your organisation that you feel should be consulted then please feel free to forward the consultation details to them.

If there are people external to your organisation that you should be consulted then please send their details including an email address to ABTA so that as a matter of courtesy, we are able to send them the invitation to input into the documentation directly. The best email address to use to make us aware of this is:

How is ABTA hoping to receive feedback?
To assist you in providing structured feedback, we have developed a simple survey which asks you 14 questions about the documents you are reviewing.  The questions are available on the following link:

To provide you feedback, simply access the survey at the link above and fill in your answers to the questions asked.

If you have any further feedback you would like to provide that isn’t covered in your answers to the questions, please email this to:
When is feedback being expected?

ABTA will be closing the consultation process at 5pm on Monday 17th September. If you wish for your input and comments to be considered it is important that you complete the survey by 17th September. You can complete the survey as soon as you are ready to provide feedback. Survey results received after 17th September will not be considered in the revision process.

What will ABTA do with the feedback?
We are consulting on the guidance very widely and once we have information returned, we will be working to ensure that where appropriate, we are able to take account of the comments received. Thus, we will be using comments to inform the final versions of the guidance.

If you have any further questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing:

Kind regards,

Nikki White
Head of Destinations and Sustainability
ABTA - The Travel Association

 The Evil Tiger Temple is still going strong. I wonder if ABTA will do anything? The zoos of the world haven' least none I am aware of. There needs to be a sign on every tiger cage in every reputable zoo warning people not to visit this place when they holiday in Thailand.

The Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Thailand

 Mind you places like Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai are only slightly better.

Bernard Harrison: I love the zoo concept
The former CEO of Singapore Zoo Bernard Harrison is credited for helping transform the zoo into being one of the most successful in Asia with its open concept of animal display.
While he believes many other zoos are in need of improvement, he tells Mishal Husain he is still a passionate supporter of the concept as he believes it brings people closer to animals in a way that would not otherwise be possible.

Escaped tiger kills zoo keeper
A woman was killed by a tiger which escaped from its cage at Cologne zoo on Saturday.
The member of staff at the zoo was attacked by the tiger and suffered such severe injuries that she died at the scene.
Visitors to the zoo were able to get out of harm’s way – and police moved in, using a helicopter to try to find the tiger.
It seems the tiger managed to get out through a security lock which was not properly secured and into an administration building. A window was open there, and could have enabled the cat to get out.
The zoo director managed to shoot the tiger through an opening in the roof and kill it.
“The zoo director has the right weapons for such a task,” a police spokesman said, adding that the police service weapons would not have been much use against

Keep endangered rhinos in zoos-Prof Kayumbo
Renowed zoologist and conservationist Prof Hosea Kayumbo has recommended that rhinos present in the country will disappear in the near future if they are not kept in zoos to protect them.
Speaking to journalists yesterday Prof Kayumbo said the birth rate of the species was low thus threatening their existence in the future, recommending that they be kept in zoos rather than in parks.
According to information on the animals, each rhino bears one calf after every two to three years.
Prof Kayumbo also accused some staff in national parks of collaborating with poachers. “We are fighting a losing battle. These animals will disappear in the near future as has occurred in some countries,’’ he stressed.
In June this year Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Khamis Kagasheki said that the history of black rhino population in Tanzania and Africa in general has been one of a disappointment, explaining that during the 1960s, it was estimated that there were about 70,000 black rhinos in Africa, of which 10,000 were in Tanzania, the largest concentrations in the continent.
The minister was speaking during a ceremony to receive three black rhinos from the British High Commissioner to Tanzania, Diane Corner. The rhinos were trans-located from the United Kingdom by the donors - Damian Asinall and Amos George of the Aspinall Foundation and Port Lympne Wild Animal Park and ferried to Tanzania.
He said by 1984, it was estimated that Tanzania's rhino population had been reduced from 10,000 in 1960 to around 3,000. Worse still, said Ambassador Kagasheki, by 1990 black rhino numbers in Tanzania had been reduced by over 97% to less than 100 animals.
"The severe decline in rhino numbers and the extent of poaching throughout the country has continued to pose a serious challenge in our anti-poaching operations," he said.
Recently the Natural Resources and Tourism deputy minister Lazaro Nyalandu directed Tanzania National Parks Board of Trustees to provide thorough explanations on increasing poaching and mining activities in country’s national parks which threatened tourism business.
Nyalandu said there were reports that some people were conducting small scale mining in Serengeti National Park and they were being guarded by police and game wardens.
He said poaching activities in national parks

ZOOkunft 2013 Call for papers
Für die ZOOkunft 2013 am 23. Februar 2013 in der Ruhr-Universität 
Bochum mit dem übergreifenden Thema 'Stadtzoo in Ballungsgebieten - 
Probleme und Chancen' können wir nun Referate annehmen.
Auch für die Nebenleitthemen 'Präsentation der Wirbellosen' und 
'Präsentation der einheimischen Biodiversität' sind wir an Vorträgen 
Bitte schreiben Sie an:
Orga-Team ZOOkunft
Bis zum 30. November 2012.

Genetic Investigation on Caracals in Iran
Ranging across most of Africa and part of the Middle East, caracal is a medium-sized member of cat family. It occurs within majority of arid environments of central and eastern parts of Iran and is considered as the most ecologically studied lesser cat in the country.
Globally, the species has been divided into 8 sub-species worldwide and the Asian sub-species is called C. caracal schmitzi. Moreover, a small range in Turkmenistan and northeastern Iran is called C. caracal michaelis. The IUCN lists C. caracal as a species of least concern, but concedes that C. caracal schmitzi is unclassified and C. caracal michaelis is endangered; C. c. michaelis appears to be threatened in most of its range. Paucity of available information on caracals in Iran raises the important question as to what sub-species it constitutes?
After conducting genetic studies on Persian leopard in collaboration with Iranian Department of Environment and University of Tehran, the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) has officially initiated a new study since 2011 to investigate phylogeny and genetic diversity of the caracals in Iran which is in partnership with the Iranian DoE and Lisbon University, Portugal

New Species of Spiders with Distinctive Claws Found in Oregon Cave; Spiders Are “Very Shy,” says Scientists
A new species of spider was discovered in an Oregon cave, featuring a distinctive physical characteristic: claws.
Given the name Trogloraptor, the arachnid was found by scientists from the Western Cave Conservancy and archaeologists from the California Academy of Sciences.
The discovery is also fundamental as it is both a new species and genus (Trogloraptoridae). The Trogloraptor name stands for "cave robber," according to Wired.
The scientists suggest the new species to be related to the goblin spiders, but the Trogloraptor's physical characteristics of extinct and current spiders have given scientists reasons to conduct further research.
According to the Associated Press, Charles Griswold, curator of arachnids, said, "It took us a long time to figure out what it wasn't. Even longer to figure out what it is. We used anatomy. We used DNA to understand its evolutionary place. Then we consulted other experts all over the world about what this was. They all concurred with our opinion that this was something completely new to science."
Curator Emeritus of Spiders at the American Museum of Natural History Norman Platnick said, "Because it belongs to one of the more primitive groups of true spiders, it has the potential to change many of our current ideas about the early evolution of spiders. But it is better than a fossil, because we can study the entire organism, along with its behavior and physiology, not just those aspects that happen to have been fossilized."
The spider is measured to be 1.5 inches wide with its limbs extended, slightly bigger than a dollar coin.  The limbs also have claw-like features, most likely

Who's who? Two new species of owls identified in Philippines
Their songs led researchers to find that they were new varieties never officially named
Two new owl species have been identified in the Philippines, and researchers say the birds' songs led them to the discovery.
"More than 15 years ago, we realized that new subspecies of Ninox hawk-owls existed in the Philippines," zoologist Pam Rasmussen of Michigan State University said in a statement. "But it wasn't until last year that we obtained enough recordings that we could confirm that they were not just subspecies, but two new species of owls."
In fact, the researchers found that the Philippine hawk-owl (Ninox philippensis) consists of seven allopatric species, or those that emerge as a consequence of individuals being isolated geographically, or temporally. They also identified one subspecies.
Two of the species had never been described nor officially named, until now. One of the newly identified owl species, now called the Camiguin hawk-owl, lives only on the small island of Camiguin Sur and has a very different voice and set of physical features than other owls in the region, the researchers said.
It has blue-gray eyes and sings a long solo song at night that builds in intensity with a low growling

The August 2012 issue of ZOO’s PRINT Magazine (Vol. XXVII, No. 8) is online at <> in a format that permits you to turn pages like a regular magazine.

If you wish to download the full magazine or certain articles click on <>
August 2012 | Vol. XXVII | No. 8 | Date of Publication 21 August 2012


Feature articles
You’ve come a Long Way, Vultures!
Pp. 1-7

Snake survey and awareness programmes at Sonadih and Arasmeta Cement Plants, Chhattisgarh, India
-- S. Sivakumar & Shivbhadrasinh Jadeja, Pp. 8-9

Zoo Keeper’s training Programme at V.J.B Udyan Zoo, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Pp. 10-11

ZOO Lex - Zoo Heidelberg Elephant Exhibit
Pp. 12-14

Technical articles
Langur - chital association in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats
-- Tharmalingam Ramesh, Riddhika Kalle, Kalyanasundaram Sankar & Qamar Qureshi, Pp. 15-17

Announcements: UGC Sponsored National Seminar- Conservation of Faunal Diversity of Western Ghats: Problems and Perspectives, 30th - 31st August 2012
P. 17

Sighting frequency and group composition of the Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) in the National Chambal Sanctuary, India
-- Hari Singh & R.J. Rao, Pp. 18-23

NEWS: Tokay Geckos released to the wild
P. 23

A new record of Hoogly Halfbeak, Zenarchopterus striga (Blyth, 1858) (Beloniformes, Hemiramphidae) from Kerala, India
-- K.V. Zeena & K.S. Jameela Beevi, Pp. 24-26

An instance of inter species interaction between Hanuman Langur (Semnopithecus entellus) and Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta)
-- Ashish Nerlekar, Pp. 27-28

Escaped penguin video at Calgary Zoo raises concerns
The penguin exhibit at the Calgary Zoo has become a favourite with animal fans looking to get up close and personal.
But recently some people got a really close encounter with one penguin that had escaped.
Calgary Zoo staff say it's not uncommon to see penguins escape their new enclosure, which has some animal welfare groups worried.
They say it's never a

Zebra virus kills polar bear in German zoo
Zoos should be on the alert for viruses that can jump from one animal to another, threatening endangered species, say researchers.
The cause of an infection that killed a polar bear at a German zoo has been traced back to the zebra house, scientists report in Current Biology.
Viruses spreading to unexpected hosts may threaten the conservation mission of zoos, they warn.
Most pathogens are adapted to one host but some can leap the species barrier.
Flu, for example, is thought to have moved between pigs, birds and humans during its evolution.
Mystery illness
An international team of researchers carried out some DNA detective work after two polar bears at the Zoological Gardens in Wuppertal, Germany, were struck down by a mystery illness.
Two bears contracted the brain infection encephalitis, suffering seizures and frothing at the mouth.
One - a 20-year-old female, Jerka, died after little more than a week.

Should zoo keep King Cobra? Snake hasn’t been eating
THE mangement of the Cebu City zoo wants to keep the King Cobra that bit a zoo worker , saying it would be dangerous to release the snake in the wild where it may harm someone else or breed deadlier species.
Zoo manager Giovanni Romarate said there’s a possibility that the nearly adult King Cobra may cross-breed with a Philippine cobra or other species, making it more dangerous to people.
“We don’t know if cross breeding will result in a very venomous kind of snake. Also, if we release the snake, it will either be killed by people or it could victimize more,” Romarate told Cebu Daily News.
Visiting Indian wildlife expert Soham Mukherjee recommended releasing the cobra in the wild.
“King Cobras eat only snakes. I think it should be released in its natural habitat. Maintenance in captivity is difficult and the zoo is not prepared with the infrastructure,” he said.
CDN learned that zoo keepers tried to feed the captured cobra live rodents, but the animal has refused to eat since Tuesday.
Cobras are found in Bohol, Masbate, Samar, and Leyte.
“We don’t have reports of a sighting or listing

Marineland denies animal neglect allegations
A veterinarian at Marineland and the organization in charge of monitoring animal welfare are denying allegations of animal neglect at the Niagara Falls, Ont., amusement park.
In a series of articles published by the Toronto Star, former Marineland staff have alleged animals were not being properly cared for at the park.
Dr. June Mergl, head of veterinary services at Marineland, says the allegations are without context, and notes that maintaining the welfare of the animals is a "balancing act."
"I can certainly testify to the quality of veterinarian care that we provide to the animals and the quality of staff care," she said, adding that constant monitoring of water quality is required and infections can occur for example when machinery breaks down.
"Unfortunately, sometimes some things don't work out as well as we'd like to - it isn't a perfect world."
Toronto city Coun. Michelle Berardinetti called for the provincial government to investigate the allega

--------------------- in August 2012

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Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!
Tigers are the main attraction at the Ranthambore National Park. The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is a natural habitat for tigers. The tigers can move freely, but are practically restricted to the reserve which is surrounded by settlements. The tiger population living in the reserve is managed in a meta-population. The tiger habitat is in a fragile balance that needs to be managed. Tourists can book tours to the reserve and see tigers with a high probability.
The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is presented in the ZooLex Gallery because the characteristics described above are very similar to those of zoo animal exhibits. We believe that the differences between captive and wild animal populations will diminish and that we will see more animal holding systems between zoo enclosure and reserve in the future.
The Central Zoo Authority organized a workshop in New Delhi on 'Zoo Designing and Landscape Architecture' for engineers, architects and consultants working with zoos from 24 to 26 February 2012 in collaboration with the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi.
ZooLex was represented by landscape architects and zoo designers Jon Coe and Monika Fiby. They gave presentations and facilitated exhibit design work for groups at the National Zoological Park in Delhi.
If you are interested in organizing a ZooLex zoo design workshop at your zoo, you are welcome to read reports about ZooLex workshops and to contact us:
Following the zoo design workshop in Delhi, Jon Coe and Monika Fiby were pleased to visit the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve with Brij Gupta from the Central Zoo Authority.
Dr. Brij Kishor Gupta, Evaluation & Monitoring Officer at the Central Zoo Authority compiled several papers regarding zoo masterplanning and barrier design that are available in digital format. Please contact the Central Zoo Authority at for the files. References can be found here under GUPTA BRIJ KISHOR:
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

Doha Zoo set to get $55m makeover
Qatar is to spend nearly US$55m renovating and upgrading Doha Zoo, to make it into one of the best zoological establishments in the world, according to reports.
Doha Zoo will be closed to the public over the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holidays as it has been closed for renovation and maintenance.
Arabic newspapers in Qatar quoted the zoo’s director, Hasan al-Muhannadi, who said the renovation work would take several months to complete.
Zoo officials added the work would cost around QAR200m (US$54.9m) and when complete will “make it a world class tourist attraction”.
The Doha Zoo is not the first zoological attraction to get a makeover and it will compete with Dubai Zoo for the title of the best in the region as in May the emirate launched plans to build a safari park-style facility to replace the much criticised facility.
Hussain Nassir Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, said that the Dubai Safari Project, which will be located in Al Warqa 5 in Aweer Road, would cover 400 hectares and include a safari park, butterfly park, golf courses, and entertainment and recreational areas.
Dubai Safari, which will cover 60 hectares of the total area, is aimed at "establishing the best centre for wildlife in the world", Lootah said.
The site of the project is currently being prepared with roads and infrastructure, gardening, and landscaping, he added.
Hundreds of animals, birds and other creatures living in enclosures in the existing facility in Jumeirah will be relocated to the new safari park.
Dubai Zoo has attracted a wave of criticism over the years, with animal lovers and charities complaining

Top 10 species fighting extinction with the help of zoos – in pictures
A list of animals, among them one of the world's largest frogs, Britain's only native crayfish and Amur leopards, has been drawn up by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums to highlight their work to secure endangered species' futures. The top 10 were chosen from hundreds of zoo-backed conservation programmes, focusing on species at high risk of extinction or extinct in the wild, schemes that involved initiatives in the field, zoos that had a management role, and projects which included habitat protection and working with local communities

German police force replaces sniffer dog with VULTURE named Sherlock to scent out dead bodies
Police sniffer dogs are facing fresh competition when it comes to tracking down dead bodies - from vultures.
Detectives in Germany hope one of the scavengers - called 'Sherlock' - could be the first of many to help with investigations.
They want to harness Sherlock's incredible sense of smell to locate corpses in remote areas.
A GPS tracking device is attached to his

I hope German Police are supporting Vulture Awareness Day

Zoo elephant conceived with wild male's frozen sperm
An embryonic African elephant has been photographed in the womb - the result of pioneering artificial insemination by an Austrian zoo.
The Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna says it is the first successful use of frozen sperm from a wild African bull elephant to impregnate a female in captivity.
An ultrasound image from Operation Frozen Dumbo shows the foetus with developing trunk and legs.
The mother is nine months into her pregnancy, expected to last 22 months.
Taken in April, the image has only now been revealed. The infant's sex is not yet known.
Tonga, 26, has given birth once before.
The sperm used to impregnate her came from a wild bull elephant in South Africa, which was drugged so that an ejaculation could be induced. An instrument called

LWC: Sending bushmeat orphans home
Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC), a rescue and rehabilitation project situated in one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots, is home to over 360 orphans of the illegal bushmeat and pet trades. In Cameroon, as in all of Africa, forest animals are hunted for their meat, which is then sold for a profit. Infants, being worth more alive than dead, are caged and sold as pets in the market. After being ripped from the bodies of their mothers, these orphans face a horrendous fate: life in a village, chained to a concrete space so small that they cannot stand, never to see

Wildlife Crime Vietnam TradeBulletin/ENV_Wildlife_Crime_Bulletin_August_2012.pdf

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:
August. Summer doldrums. The heat is on for some good stories.
August's links at <>
(NEWS/Botanical News) should stir some thoughts on a hot day:
. Is it just neo-tropical biologists who still talk about mastodons
and giant sloths as seed dispersers? Haven't they heard? Extinction and all.
A new study posits agouti as the replacement dispersers that have kept a
tree species around for 10,000 years after their seed disperses disappeared.
. Before there even were mastodons there were mosses, those primitive
plants that we all know employ rain to move their DNA about. Well, not so it
seems. They also attract arthropod pollinators.
. Savannas are dynamic ecosystems that can become more forested or
grassier depending on the environment. A recent study suggests that rising
atmospheric CO2 will favor trees over grass. Bad news for grazers. Good for
. Can plants skip pollination just because it's windy? Well, they have
gone to some lengths to make certain they don't! Special cells in flowers
are bee grips for holding on in the wind.
. Pollinators are in decline, and we have heard all about that. But
seed dispersal is also in crisis: fragmented landscapes, human developments,
declining populations of dispersers. The green world of tomorrow will not be
like the one we grew up in. Better hope for more agouti.
What is it with computer folks and plants? If plants were meant to program
they'd have fingers. But the good folks at Disney have bigger ideas.
Introducing (wait for it.):"BOTANICUS INTERACTICUS": Interactive Plant
Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and - most
importantly - visitors! Follow on Twitter: - a
new story every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

Hippos to be on show at Al Ain Zoo
This Eid, the Al Ain Zoo will exhibit for the first time four of its over 20 hippopotamus. For the past 12 years, the animals have been living in an enclosure away from the public view, but now, for the first time, they become an outdoor exhibit.
“We are pleased to offer a new exciting experience for our visitors. Hippos have been part of our animal collection for many years, but have not been on display for the public. Now, with the new exhibit being launched, visitors will be able to watch this extraordinary species enjoying their new home,” said Muna Al Dhaheri, acting director of Life Science and Education at Al Ain Zoo.
The new outdoors enclosure is around 1,000 square metres, located between the Mixed African exhibit and the Giraffe Feeding area opposite the Arabian Wolf exhibit. Large enough for several adult hippos, the area has natural-looking landscape with plants, trees and a water pool, which are usually found in the hippopotamus’ wild habitat.
To reduce the impact of the heat at this time of year, the new exhibit features shaded areas and water showers. The large water pool is equipped with a water filtration system that enhances water quality for longer periods. Lots of trees and shrubs decorate the enclosure as well to provide additional shade, but have been placed in a way that offers a clear view of the animals and water pool for the public.
The first four hippos will move into their new home on the first day of Eid Al Fitr. All of Al Ain Zoo’s hippos will get to spend time in the outdoors exhibit, based on a rotation schedule. Some of the baby hippos will be meeting visitors as well.
During Eid, people may observe them at Al Ain Zoo over extended hours, from 10am to 10pm. Expecting large crowds, the zoo§ion=nationgeneral

Hundreds of elephants slaughtered in Africa
POACHERS have slaughtered hundreds of elephants this year in a National Park in Cameroon, taking their biggest toll yet since rampant poaching began in 2006.
Authorities say the poachers targeting Bouba N'Djida National Park in northern Cameroon are well armed and organised and work in groups of 50.
WARNING: Above video contains graphic footage
Bouba N'Djida National Park was once home to hundreds of elephants but Dr Philip Forboseh says elephant populations in Central Africa are now under threat.
"When I looked at those elephants on the ground it was horrendous. I wished I didn't see it," says Mr Forboseh, who is the project manager for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Cameroon.
Paul Bour runs Bouba Djida Safaris, taking tourists into the National Parks, and says what he has seen is only the tip of the

Marineland animals suffering, former staffers say
Larry lies behind bars in a pen, his eyes red and swollen. The harbour seal with “an amazing little personality” who arrived at Marineland about eight years ago is now a shadow of his former self. After repeated exposure to unhealthy water, he has gone blind.
Larry isn’t the only sea mammal living in distress at Marineland, the sprawling attraction in Niagara Falls.
In extensive interviews with the Star, eight former Marineland staffers describe a pattern of neglect that has repeatedly resulted in animal suffering.
More Inside Marineland: Heartache for Smooshi the walrus as top trainer quits
What the public doesn’t see is the deterioration of marine mammals that become sick, suffer fur loss, skin damage and even blindness because of recurring water problems, they say.
They also point to chronic staffing shortages that leave trainers unable to provide a minimum standard of care for animals to do well in captivity.
John Holer, owner of the Niagara institution for 51 years, denies there are problems with water quality at the park and that unhealthy water has harmed marine mammals. He says there is more than sufficient staff to look after the animals. “All our facilities are legal,” he said.
More Inside Marineland: Log details reveal water quality issues
There are no government regulations for sea mammal captivity in Canada. The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a self-regulating industry association, first licensed Marineland in 2007 and national director Bill Peters says there have been no complaints. Its licence was renewed for five years at the end of September 2011, after a summer inspection by a CAZA team of experts.
Photos: Meet the animals of Marineland
Among several troubling incidents at the park between last fall and this spring:
Sea lions Baker and Sandy had to be pulled repeatedly from the water and confined in dry cages, in one case for more than two months, to limit further harm to their already damaged eyes. Videos shot in 2011 and 2012 shows them writhing in pain or plunging their heads into a single bucket of clean water. Sandy often sits like a statue, dry as a bone. There’s no lens in Baker’s left eye. When a trainer put him back

Study Demonstrates That One Extinction Leads to Another
When a carnivore becomes extinct, other predatory species could soon follow, according to new research. Scientists have previously put forward this theory, but a University of Exeter team has now carried out the first experiment to prove it.
Published August  15, 2012 in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, the study shows how the demise of one carnivore species can indirectly cause another to become extinct. The University of Exeter team believes any extinction can create a ripple effect across a food web, with far-reaching consequences for many other animals.
The research adds weight to growing evidence that a 'single species' approach to conservation, for example in fisheries management, is misguided. Instead the focus needs to be holistic, encompassing species across an entire ecosystem.
The researchers bred two species of parasitic wasps, along with the two types of aphids on which each wasp exclusively feeds. They set up tanks with different combinations of the species and observed them for eight weeks. In tanks that did not include the first species of wasp, the second went extinct within a few generations. In tanks in which they co-existed, both

Wasted efforts: why captivity is not the best way to conserve species
Conservation strategies of Malagasy turtles and tortoises arebased principally on the captive-breeding of these species, with the ultimate aim of their possible reintroduction in the wild.Given the current precarious conservation status of endemic Malagasy turtle and tortoise species, it is clear that this approach has been a failure. Instead of being used to complement in situ approaches for a number of years captive-breeding efforts havebeen used as an alternative. It is essential to develop conserva-tion strategies for these species based on empirical data, and not only on the subjective vision of NGOs with a strong interest in ex situ conservation approaches. It is only by fighting thecauses of decline of Malagasy chelonian species in the wild that they will be able to be saved.

LA Zoo Chimp Baby Death: Zoo Adopts New Policy
Los Angeles Zoo officials have announced a new policy of separating newborn and adult male chimpanzees after a deadly attack in June, reports CBS.
The incident occurred on June 26, when a seemingly unprovoked adult male chimpanzee killed a three-month-old chimp in front of zoo patrons and employees.
Tuesday, zoo officials delivered a report to the City Council about the conditions of the attack and the actions that will be taken, the Los Angeles Times tells us. Zoo Director John R. Lewis told the newspaper that altercations between chimpanzees are inevitable, and that hours before the attack the adult male in question was seen "smiling...[and] showing no signs of aggression."
Despite the apparent unpredictability of chimp

Eye surgery elephant may be blind
An elephant which became the first in England to undergo pioneering surgery to remove a damaged eye is now believed to be almost completely blind after concerns over the health of the remaining eye.
In 2011 Duchess, Paignton Zoo's 42-year-old African elephant, was the first in the country to have an eye removed.
She had the ground-breaking operation because of glaucoma in her right eye. Cataracts left her with limited sight in her left. Now, a routine eye check has shown that what vision remains is deteriorating.
Neil Bemment, curator of mammals and director of operations at the Devon zoo, said: "Consultant ophthalmologist Jim Carter has confirmed that the cataract has worsened since her last check-up four months ago.
"She is, to all intents and purposes, now blind although she can probably still tell the difference between light and dark. In his opinion, she is not in pain which is at least some good news."
Zoo staff have been caring for Duchess's eyesight

Norwegian Guard Celebrates 40 Years of Penguin Adoption
Penguins have been an iconic part of Edinburgh Zoo for many, many years – Norway actually gifted the first king penguin to the Zoo in its opening year of 1913 – and for 40 years the Norwegian King’s Guard have adopted the king penguin as their official mascot. First adopting this bird, named Nils Olav, as their mascot back in 1972 the Guardsmen make the trip annually to Edinburgh Zoo to pay a visit to their very special comrade.
This year the event will be slightly different as Sir Nils Olav, along with the other kings and some Gentoo penguins are holidaying elsewhere while work on Penguins Rock, their new and improved enclosure gets underway. This year’s honorary visit to Edinburgh Zoo by the Norwegian King’s Guard will celebrate 40 years since they first adopted the king penguin, who quickly rose up through the ranks and received his knighthood in 2011.
Major Nils Egelien – who first suggested adopting the king penguin as the mascot back in 1972 – along with a group Norwegian King’s Guard veterans will be celebrating the long standing history and links between Scotland and Norway. A special exhibition on animal mascots throughout military history will launch on the 17th August to coincide with their visit, a series of talks and short presentations will take place on a whole host of mascot animals.

International Vulture Awareness Day

Marineland: Readers, activists demand change regarding care of sea mammals
Junior, an orca caught in 1984 off the coast of Iceland, spent the last five years of his life in a concrete pool in the indoor barn facility at Marineland, mostly alone.
He died alone.
“They kept him for four years like that, without normal stimulation and without sunlight,” says Cara Sands, just out of film school in 1990 when she began filming Junior, which she did periodically until his death in 1994. “When I first saw him, he was a young whale, curious, spirited and following me around the pool.
“Near the end, he was lethargic, very beat up and just floating. He faced the wall away from me and didn’t move his dorsal fin. He just rolled over and opened his mouth. This whale was completely broken, his spirit was gone.”
Junior died 18 years ago. But he wasn’t the first sea mammal discovered in dire straits at the Niagara Falls tourist attraction, nor the last.
Related: More on Marineland
Disturbing incidents, detailed by the media and chronicled in reports by independent marine mammal specialists, go back years. Frequently, reports have been presented to the federal and provincial governments, the Niagara Falls Humane Society and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Last week, the Star investigated reports from former Marineland employees who said poor water quality causes animal suffering, including eye and skin problems, and who blamed short-staffing for the death of a baby beluga that was attacked by other animals. Their accounts cover decades and end with Brendan Kelly, a marine mammal trainer and stadium show MC who quit four days after the Star series.
Marineland denies the allegations, saying marine mammals at the facility receive exemplary care.
Thousands of readers reacted with sorrow and outrage, many of whom focused on four questions:
•How could this happen?
•Who is responsible?
•What can governments do?
•How can individuals help?
Groups like Zoocheck Canada, a national non-profit animal rights organization, have long researched and protested conditions at Marineland. Zoocheck and marine mammal specialists blame the lack of regulations in Canada for allowing the facility to ignore complaints and periodic bouts of public anger.
Junior’s plight, and the plight of killer whale Kiska, who lives alone at Marineland, is particularly relevant in view of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes it illegal to keep a captive orca alone.
Animal activists say governments must step in with legislation at the federal and provincial level to protect marine mammals. But they stress it’s up to the public to make its voice heard in order to effect change.
There are no laws in Canada governing sea mammals in captivity. The animals exist in a legal void and the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), the organization that bills itself as the watchdog, is a self-regulating industry association.
The OSPCA has the power to lay charges under the OSPCA Act, but there are virtually no enforceable standards against which conditions can be compared in order to lay criminal charges.
One section of the act says that “wildlife kept in captivity must be kept in a compatible social group” for their general well-being, leading some readers to question whether Marineland contravenes the law in keeping orca Kiska alone.
As a result of the Star series, the OSPCA began an investigation Thursday morning, later reporting their work isn’t finished and information will be provided when it’s complete.
Nevertheless, Marineland marketing director Ann Marie Rondinelli put out a statement late Thursday saying “no major issues” were found by CAZA, a joint participant in the investigation, along with the humane society. CAZA national director Bill Peters told the Star the work isn’t finished, and said in a statement the process is expected to take a week.
The lack of legislation gives Canada a black eye, says Naomi Rose, senior marine mammal scientist for the International Humane Society, who visited Marineland twice.
In the United States, the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act sets rules for captive marine mammals that stipulate the reporting of upcoming acquisitions, as well as deaths, births, escapes and transfers. It prohibits the “take” of dolphins or other sea mammals from U.S. waters or by American citizens on the high seas, except by special permit. Activists are fighting to eliminate the exception.
In the U.K, marine mammal experts advised the government on the 1985 Zoo Inventory Act. Its standards on keeping dolphins in captivity were so stringent that, by 2012, the last dolphinarium closed.
Chile became the first country to ban the display, import, export and capture of most marine mammals in 2005. Every year more countries are enacting laws prohibiting capture and trade in sea mammals, including Mexico, Costa Rica and the Netherlands Antilles.
Unlike many countries, Canada has not forbidden the import of wild-caught sea mammals. In a 1998 letter in response to Marineland’s application to capture whales in Canadian water, then fisheries minister David Anderson wrote to Holer: “It would be contrary to government policy for me to approve a beluga live capture . . . when the application does not provide an adequate outline of a beluga-specific education program.” (Zoocheck obtained the letter.)
A spokesperson for the federal Fisheries and Oceans department says that in the “rare” instances when there are requests for importation or capture of a sea mammal, the ministry ensures “the animal comes from a healthy stock,” that health risks are minimal to the animal and “all domestic regulations or applicable international agreements are respected.”
Marineland trainers are not required to have specialized courses and learn on the job. Former trainer Angela Bentivegna said she was alarmed to be called a senior trainer after four years.
Vets are legally permitted to practice without any specialized training in marine mammal care, not just at Marineland, but everywhere in the world. Marineland head veterinarian June Mergl opened and ran a cat clinic in St. Catharines for 10 years before taking over the marine mammal department at the park.
Julie Woodyer, campaigns director for Zoocheck, urges Ottawa to enact loophole-free regulations forbidding the capture, import or export of wild sea mammals and says the provincial government must bring in tough legislation.
Successive Ontario governments have promised change. During the 2007 election campaign, then public safety minister Monte Kwinter vowed to “crack down” on the people who abuse animals. Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government, he said, would work with animal experts across the province to develop some of the “toughest animal safety standards in the country.”
That hasn’t happened. Says Liberal MPP Lorenzo Berardinetti: “The OSPCA Act must be amended to give it real teeth to punish people at institutions. It’s simply not strong enough. . . The only thing they’ll ever take seriously is tough government regulations.”
He plans to lobby his Liberal caucus colleagues for change, including separate regulations for marine mammals.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo asks: “How can we as a society put regulations on individual pet owners but not on the companies that use animals for entertainment? The allegations of these (Marineland) trainers should be seen as a wake-up call.”
“I just don’t understand what’s happening in Canada. You are usually so progressive,” Rose said in an interview. “There’s just a disconnect in the national psyche regarding the treatment of animals. There are rules and regulations regarding sea mammals in 90 per cent of the developed world, but Canada is lagging far behind.”
In 1998, Zoocheck brought in a team of marine mammal (and other animal) experts to Marineland. They sent a report that described conditions as “appalling” to the OSPCA and asked that it be presented to the board. The OSPCA refused. However, the agency investigated and reported no problems at the facility.
The OSPCA won’t comment, citing its current investigation.
Rose recalls how difficult she found it to watch killer whale Kandu in 1996. The orca spent much of his 19 years at Marineland in a little gated holding pen off the stadium pool. Video shows this massive, majestic creature that dives to a depth of 30 metres in the wild, without room to turn around properly.
“His facility was ridiculous by standards in the developed world,” said Rose. “The quality of this life was terrible. He died young at 25 and he died a horrible death because of the conditions.”
Sands, now a communications consultant and animal rights activist, contacted the Niagara Falls Humane Society to issue a complaint and present her video after filming Junior. She says she was told they didn’t have the knowledge to deal with orcas. The Humane Society has not returned phone calls from the Star about her case or about reports from readers documenting their own written complaints, some of which included video.
Each trainer interviewed by the Star had his or her own heart-breaking story. (The Star has now spoken to 12 former trainers and the former water-testing maintenance supervisor.) Many remember Keiko, of Free Willy fame, who came from Junior’s pod off Iceland and is believed to have been related. After keeping him for 11 years, Holer sold Keiko to a Mexican amusement park, where the publicity began that eventually saw his gradual release into Icelandic waters.
One trainer said Junior was a “sad story,” adding that sometimes dolphins would be put in his tank. “They got along with him but would also pick on him, they would bite his tail and by the time he turned around, they we

The world’s second largest attraction operator is investing $4 million into Sunshine Coast tourism icon UnderWater World, ensuring its future as a must-see attraction for the region.
 Merlin Entertainments Group acquired Underwater World in March and has quickly made a splash, with an exciting new revitalisation program that guests can first enjoy these September school holidays.
Spectacular new features are already under development at the Mooloolaba aquarium, including a $3.5m new ocean tank and tunnel with four new themed zones, a state of the art water filtration system and the introduction of a more extensive marine conservation program.
Merlin Entertainments Group Divisional Director Australia & New Zealand, Edward Fuller said the company had enormous confidence in the Queensland tourism market and valued the Sunshine Coast as ‘unique’.
 “We are committed to a multi-million dollar investment program and see tremendous opportunity at UnderWater World,” he said.
“Merlin is the world’s No 1 aquarium operator and with the combined expertise of the excellent local team, we are more than confident we will deliver some very exciting and innovative new experiences for our visitors. The acquisition of UnderWater World and the subsequent investment on rejuvenating the attraction will also marks another terrific milestone for Merlin, with the uniqueness of the Sunshine Coast and it’s beautiful beaches, subtropical year round good weather and great access to Sunshine Coast Airport.”
 Merlin owns and operates 13 attractions throughout Australia and New Zealand, including SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, the Sydney Tower Eye; Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, Madame Tussauds Sydney, WILD LIFE Hamilton Island, Melbourne Aquarium and Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium.
“UnderWater World is a perfect fit for our portfolio and is the jewel in our Queensland crown. Our goal here is simple - to reinvigorate, bolster its presence and turn it into a must- see, unique Queensland attraction,” said Mr Fuller.
 Merlin already has 43 other aquarium attractions around the world. The company also operates extensive breeding and protection programmes under its SEA LIFE brand, and is a renowned supporter of marine conservation, having campaigned successfully to improve protection for many species ranging from endangered sea turtles to sharks.
 Mr Fuller said the group’s global attraction and aquarium expertise would ensure it remains committed to delivering a world class attraction while keeping it locally supported.
“Merlin is committed to injecting cash into Mooloolaba’s tourism industry, with a new and improved attraction for families and friends,” he said.
 “We will be rolling out some exciting initiatives to get locals and tourists back and look forward to a bumper school holiday period where our new Ocean Tunnel will be revealed.
 “This is just the first stage of revitalisation of UnderWater World and we will be looking at further ways to increase visitation and expand the scope of the conservation program in the future,” he said.
 Destination Sunshine Coast CEO, Steve Cooper said he was pleased to see the changes at UnderWater World.
“UnderWater World is a Sunshine Coast tourism stalwart and to have investment of this magnitude will make the attraction even more appealing for visitors to the area and locals alike,” Mr Cooper said.
 “It will further bolster the outstanding offer Sunshine Coast has for holidaymakers from around the world,” he said.
 Merlin also acquired the Mooloolaba Wharf area around UnderWater World this year.
“We are investigating options for redevelopment of the Wharf at the moment. We’re acutely aware that in the past many plans have been presented for its red$4m-SPLASH-AT-UNDERWATER-WORLD-MOOL

Biodiversity management plan set to help endangered African penguin
Plans afoot to help struggling African penguin

South Africa and Africa’s only endemic penguin species is to be managed in an effort to reverse steadily declining numbers.
The African penguin, previously known as the jackass or blackfoot penguin, has moved from where it was once the country’s most abundant seabird with a population of more than 1 million pairs in the 1920s to only 25000 pairs in 2009, the last time a full census was undertaken. Its major distribution area in South Africa is the Western Cape coast.
This decline has ensured the African penguin an endangered status rating on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red Data List.
Water and Environment Affairs Minister Edna Molewa plans to change this and has published a draft biodiversity management plan for the species.
In the 30 years up to the mid-1950s over-exploitation of penguin eggs was the biggest contributor to the population decline. This has stopped with the last legal egg collection in 1967.
There is also the battle for nesting space with Cape fur seals and other predators also negatively affecting penguin breeding.
The most recent factor for the population decline is what department spokesperson Zolile Nqayi terms “at sea ones”. This includes oil spills and the non-availability of favoured food species such as sardine and anchovy. “Penguins compete with commercial fishermen for these catches,” he said.
The biodiversity management plan for the African penguin comes out of the proceedings of a workshop held

London Zoo weigh-in checks if the penguins are getting 'too fat'
London Zoo has carried out the annual 'weigh-in' to make sure animals are in good health, from measuring the lions' paws to the hippos' yawn.
Zookeepers have begun noting the vital statistics of every animal, big and small.
The annual weigh-in takes several months and involves using ordinary kitchen scales for the penguin chicks and a giant flat scales on the floor for the gorillas. More than 16,000 animals are measured or weighed or both to make sure they are growing at the right rate.
For example penguins tend to get quite fat at this

Devil spider monkey eats woman’s fingers in zoo attack
A WOMAN who had the ends of two fingers ripped off by a caged animal says her life is ruined.
Mary Griffin, 55, was feeding teenage spider monkey Winston in a small zoo out the back of an exotic pet store in Ballymena, Co Antrim, when the beast went for her.
He locked his teeth on her middle and ring fingers and pulled back.
When the shocked local woman broke free — gushing blood — she realised the beast had bitten straight through bone.
Stunned medics had no option but to amputate.
Mary said as soon as she heard that news she “burst into tears”.
She has since lost her job, needs help looking after herself and is now terrified of animals.
Ballymena Borough Council took Richard Potter, owner of the town’s Jungle World, to court.
The convicted wildlife smuggler, 29, was fined €12,600 earlier this month for health and safety breaches. He’s appealing.
In August 2010, Mary paid €€3 to visit the zoo — which boasts around 30 monkeys, African wild cats and Ireland’s only 7ft alligator — at the back of the shop.
She said: “I was given a bag of nuts to feed the monkeys. I went over and Winston reached out and caught me by the ankle.
“I was told he was just being friendly.”
She said a staff

Tigers on the Canadian highway and other tales
“Bon jour monsieur, have you come here to get married?” was hardly the first question that I expected to be asked at the Montreal airport immigration counter after a 22 hour flight from New Delhi on 8th July, 2012, but it really was. And although I expressed what I felt was justifiable surprise with a muffled ‘No’, I later learnt this was a standard question asked to South Asians who often land in Canada and get married to stay in the country. But nonetheless, once I made it clear that I had only come to visit friends and colleagues on a personal trip, I was allowed entry into the bilingual city of Quebec province that had hosted the summer Olympics in 1976. Having planned this trip for a long time, I was keen to make the most out of it and my intention was to visit as many zoos and captive wildlife facilities as possible. Mr Rana Bose, an acclaimed writer and playwright of Indian origin, was at the airport to receive me. An engineer by profession, Ranada slowly introduced me to the nuances of life in this city where he has lived for the past 35 years following his profession as an engineer and indulging in his various creative pursuits including editing the e-magazine named ‘Montreal Serai’ that has as its motto : ‘Bringing margins to the centre’.
It had been decided beforehand that we would visit the Montreal Biodome and so we did after a tube ride the day after I arrived in Canada. The Montreal Biodome is the converted section of the cycling dome constructed for the 1976 Olympics. The place is said to be the largest natural science complex in Canada, alongwith the Botanical garden and the Insectarium. The facility houses over 7,500 animals of 250 different species and 500 plant species and is divided into several biogeographic zones. 
The first one is the tropical rainforest zone that houses mammals and birds from South America. I love Sloths and stared hard to have a glimpse of the bundle of hair hanging upside down high

Living Desert Zoo's tortoise recovery program celebrates 100th birth of endangered species
There were no cigars passed around in celebration of the birth of the 100th Bolson tortoise at Carlsbad's Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park this week, but the staff in charge of their care is beaming with pride.
The 100th hatchling was born Monday, and since then two more have hatched. All three are living at the park's veterinarian facility, where their home is in open plastic containers under heat lamps. Across the room, in an incubator, a hatchling works on shedding his egg, while several more are close to doing the same.
Park Superintendent Ken Britt and Holly Payne, general curator, can't stop smiling as they watch the little hatchlings.
"We are proud, very proud. This is the 100th hatchling since we got four of the adult Bolson in 2007," Britt said.
What's so special about the hatchling tortoises?
According to the Turner Endangered Species Fund, the Bolson tortoises were long considered extinct until a remnant population was discovered in 1959 in northern Mexico in an area known as Bolson Mapami. In the 1970s, a group of tortoises were brought to the Appleton Research Ranch in southeastern Arizona. In 2006, the 26 tortoises were sent to Ted Turner's Amendaris Ranch in south central New Mexico.
Because of the lack of knowledge about the species, the Turner Endangered Species Fund assembled a group of renowned tortoise experts to guide the conservation effort and the

Silverback gorillas coming to Canterbury wildlife park
A wildlife park in Canterbury is going to be the first in New Zealand to house an endangered silverback gorilla.
The Orana wildlife park is working to raise more than $2 million to get three of the gorillas from Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney.
Orana chief executive Lynn Anderson says the money will go towards upgrading the grounds with a large enclosure, which will be kept at a constant temperature of 24 degrees.
Ms Anderson says the park has raised $800,000 so far, and is hoping to have the gorillas before

Every year a staggering 150 MILLION (plus) seahorses are used in the Traditional Medicine Trade, this is just not sustainable, they could be extinct in the wild within the next 20 to 30 years, unless we urgently address the problems facing them.
With a number of our friends around the world we are appealing to the people of China to take a lead and work in partnership with us to find alternatives to the exploitation of wild seahorses and other marine and terrestrial creatures.
You can help make a difference by signing up to our invite to the people of China, asking them to help us make a difference to preserve not only seahorses but the natural world as a whole.

16 tigers and lions stuck in South American border limbo for 2 months
Sixteen tigers and lions — nine Bengal tigers and seven African lions — attempting to enter Paraguay with their circus from Argentina have been stuck in border limbo for two months since they were refused entry into the country because of a new ban on live animal acts at circuses.

How Safe Are Keepers at Worcestershire Safari Park?
Worcestershire is known for its 165+ different species of exotic animals. Though it is situated approx thousands of miles away from the African savannas, the heart of Worcestershire is still famous for the ones and people far from around the world visit the region to have a look at the exotic animals.
West Midlands Safari Park has quite a bigger number of creatures that can pose a risk to their keepers anytime. But where exactly will you find anti-venom near to Kidderminster? Any answers? Seeing many no!
Such an incidence happened on Sunday afternoon too in the Safari Park when the zoo's celebrity reptile keeper Mr. Mark O'Shea was bitten by none other than his favorite snake, the big and huge king cobra, named, Sleeping Beauty, while he was feeding her with a rat.
The snake is counted as one of the zoo's most

Poaching Push Rhino’s To The Brink Of Extinction
In the past it was believed that the impressive Rhino horn was made up of clumps of compressed hair. Today scientists rule that to be legend and equate the horn to be exactly like horses hooves and birds beaks. In fact it is because of the thriving market which pays huge sums for Rhino horn that all species of the animal is on the verge of extinction. Scientists have pooh poohed all the claims made by traditional madicine doctors that crushed rhino horn cures fevers,rheumatism, gout and of course the most important that it is a powerful aphrodisiac. Traditional medicine in Malaysia, South Korea, India and China place great belief in the curative powers of crushed Rhino horn, stirred into boiling water and drunk like a potion.
"Loose horns", surging demand and easy money are highly conducive for rhino poaching. In Johannesburg, South Africa, 21st August 2012, a comprehensive new report into the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa documents how poor compliance over rhino horn stockpile management, loopholes in sport hunting policy, and surging demand for horn in Vietnam created ideal conditions for the involvement of sophisticated criminal networks, leading to a dramatic escalation in poaching in southern Africa.
According to the 176-page study, The South Africa-Vietnam Rhino Horn Trade Nexus: A deadly combination of institutional lapses, corrupt wildlife industry professionals and Asian crime syndicates, as early as 2003, visitors from Vietnam were regularly taking part in "pseudo hunts" for White Rhino trophies in South Africa These were hunts where the interest was not in the hunt itself, but only in the horn; some of those participating in the hunting reportedly did not even know how to shoot a gun.
"A decade ago the first signs were on the horizon of the forthcoming rhino poaching crisis, but few then could have foreseen the magnitude and ramifications of what we face today," said Dr Jo Shaw, a Programme Officer with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, that works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature and a co-author of the report. TRAFFIC is a strategic alliance of IUCN and WWF.
"However, with the surging demand from Asia, people willing to pay high prices to get their hands on rhino horn, and little fear of capture by those smuggling horn, it was perhaps inevitable that this 'commodity' would catch the attention of the hardened criminal fraternity, creating a 'perfect storm' for rhino poaching and horn trade."
Although South Africa soon enacted a range of regulations to stamp out "pseudo hunting", in response resourceful horn traders began recruiting others, including Thai sex-workers as "hunters", to circumvent the new rules.
Meanwhile, criminals increasingly turned to other sources for horns: in recent years at least 65 rhino horns have been stolen from public display within South Africa with similar thefts carried out in the US and in Europe.
In 2009, the government of South Africa placed a moratorium on national sales of rhino horns to prevent unregistered stocks, so-called "loose horns", from leaking into trade-all international commercial trade in rhino products is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Law-breaking wildlife industry individuals have since been convicted, with harsh prison sentences handed out for illegally dehorning live rhinos and the subsequent sale of the horns to Asian buyers. In April 2012, South Africa suspended the issuance of hunting licences to all Vietnamese nationals while also introducing other changes to tighten the loopholes allowing "pseudo hunts".
"The web of complicity has even drawn in a small number of rogue game ranch owners, professional hunters and wildlife veterinarians, adding a new and challenging dimension to the rhino poaching crisis," said Shaw.
Rangers in South Africa are putting their lives in jeopardy protecting the continent's rhinos. Although more and more resources are being expended to protect the nation's rhinos, South Africa has witnessed a rapid escalation in poaching of live animals, rising from 13 in 2007 to 83 (2008); 122 (2009); 333 (2010) to a record 448 rhinos in 2011. In early 2012, almost two rhinos were being poached every day. By 17th July this year, the total stood at 281 rhinos, with a predicted loss of 515 by year end if current poaching rates continue.
South Africa has witnessed a rising spiral of organized, violent rhino-related criminal activity, with hard-pressed authorities hitting back with increased enforcement efforts. By 17th July this year, there had been more arrests (176) in South Africa for rhino-related crime than in all of 2010 (165), with middlemen and those higher up the trade chain increasingly being collared, including a number of high-level arrests of Vietnamese nationals since May 2012. Rhino crime syndicates in South Africa have been linked to other criminal activities such as drug and diamond smuggling, human trafficking and illegal trade in other wildlife products such as elephant ivory and abalone.
Of 43 documented arrests of Asian nationals for rhino crimes in South Africa, 24 have been Vietnamese (56%) and 13 Chinese (28%), with the remainder from Thailand and Malaysia. Furthermore, at least three officials based at Vietmam's Embassy in Pretoria have been documented as participants in the illegal rhino horn trade, although the last such case was in late 2008.
At the other end of the illicit trade chain, the report identifies Vietnam as the main market, where demand for rhino horn continues to rise and serrated rhino horn grinding bowls are widely available for sale. Four main user groups have been identified in Vietnam: the principal one being those who believe in rhino horn's detoxification properties, especially following excessive intake of alcohol, rich food and "the good life". Affluent users routinely grind up rhino horn and mix the powder with water or alcohol as a hangover-cure and general health tonic.
Rhino horn is also used as a supposed cancer cure by terminally ill patients, who are sometimes deliberately targeted by rhino horn "touts" as part of a cynical marketing ploy to increase the profitability of the illicit trade.
"The surge in rhino horn demand from Vietnam has nothing to do with meeting traditional medicine needs, it's to supply a recreational drug to party goers or to con dying cancer patients out of their cash for a miracle rhino horn cure that will never happen," said Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC rhino expert, and a co-author of the new report.
"Ultimately the only long-term solution to stamping out rhino poaching in Africa and Asia lies in curbing demand for horn. The fact that the Vietnamese Government has not played a greater role in ensuring such an outcome is problematic, but presents an opportunity for decisive action beginning now."
Last month, a Rhino Working Group under CITES was tasked with developing a demand reduction strategy for rhino horn and called upon the government of Vietnam to table a report on measures it is taking to address the illegal trade.
"The only people benefitting from the current rhino poaching crisis are those running the criminal networks, who are making huge profits with little fear of prosecution in Asian markets," said Milliken.
"This trade leaves a trail of carnage and hapless victims-both animal and human-from source to end-use market."
The new report calls for a number of measures to be taken to address the current crisis, including for Vietnam to "review and strengthen legislation and penalties concerning illegal rhino horn trade," and to "employ effective law enforcement strategies in the market place."
Ironically, the fate of South Africa's rhinos is now inextricably linked with market forces in Vietnam, a country that recently saw its own Javan Rhino population slip into ignominious extinction, when the last individual in Cat Tien National Park was shot and had its horn removed in early 2010. The Javan Rhino is the most Critically Endangered rhino species in the world.
"South Africa has progressively scaled up its response to rhino crime and there are indications it can win this battle," says Mavuso Msimang, Rhino Issue Manager for the South African Department of Environmental Affairs.
"But we can only end the poaching and

World's rarest crocodiles hatched in Swedish zoo
A litter of 16 Cuban crocodiles has been hatched in a Swedish zoo to parents that were previously owned by Fidel Castro and smuggled via Moscow to Stockholm in a zoo keeper's hand luggage.

Shut down Johor Zoo immediately
Johor Zoo are openly breaking the 2010 Wildlife Conservation Act which has been passed to eliminate cruelty and bad zoos. The zoo is run by uncaring and incompetent people who are not even trying to improve the wellbeing of the animals.
They also abuse animals which can be seen with the cases of the two orangutans Shirley and Abu and the baby elephant Paloh – both of which took a lot of campaigning and worldwide exposure before Perhilitan was shamed into moving the animals.
The zoo appears to have spent large amounts of money on everything but improving conditions which shows they do not care about the animals.
I have recently read that Friends of the Orangutans have seen indications that the zoo may be expecting new orangutans who will be kept in

The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


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