Friday, June 27, 2014

South Korea Plans a National Research Center For Endangered Species

South Korea Plans a National Research Center For Endangered Species

South Korea is planning a 'green' research center located in Yeongyang-gun for the study and protection of endangered plant and animal species. Plans are are to breed and release threatened Korean species.
Still in the planning stages by Samoo it will be interesting to see how things develop.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

For the animals' best

For the animals' best

Translated by Google from

Text: Bine Madsen
Photo: Pelle Rink

"Do you even like animals?"
The interviewer from the British television channel Channel 4 is obviously disgusted. For several minutes, he insistently tried to cast doubt on the wisdom of the Copenhagen Zoo has chosen not just to kill a young and healthy giraffe, but the autopsy the dead giraffe in public and then feed the garden's predator with its meat.
For several minutes, the scientific director, Bengt Holst, in turn, insisted on explaining the rationale for the decision. The giraffe did not fit into the zoos breeding programs that it comes stock with good long-term and that the insight, for example, autopsies are helping to provide the public with the understanding of nature, which is so important for nature conservation.
But the interviewer hears almost not listening. He's angry. Disgusted. And then asks whether Bengt Holst at all like animals.
"Yes, of course I well. This is why I will rescue them and make sure that we have a healthy population," said the calm reply.
The interview was subsequently posted on the Web, watched by hundreds of thousands and followed by several roses to Bengt Holst and his handling of the case. "Give a prize to the man!" Said one of the responses, and it happens so now that the Zoo's scientific director has won Politiken award "Copenhagen".
- And it matters, because I would of course like to have, that we have people with us in what we do. In the beginning we were the victims of a massive smear campaign that thankfully turned quickly. But the price here is a good way to tie a bow on the story.

From storm to the waves
Now, four months after the story of Marius created resonate far beyond the country's borders, there is peace again. The research house in the heart of Copenhagen Zoo, there is little to indicate that everything in a series of hectic days in February stood at the other end, and that the scientific director of the days spent all waking hours on hold and explain the essence.
- It was hard because the pressure was so massive. The major international media was standing in line for several days, and I was tired afterwards. But the message was not difficult. For it is one of the pillars of our work and our way of doing Zoo on. At the same time, I had the great strength that I had the whole zoo behind me. You could not have pointed to a single employee here in the garden, which considered the same. It meant a lot, says Bengt Holst, who may have along the way felt a little out of breath. Here afterwards he is still fond of the wind, the case of Marius created. For around the world is still small lapping of the waves that are creating positive change. It has Bengt Holst meanwhile visited several times during international travel and meetings.
Many foreign zoos namely, unlike at home, euthanized animals in secret or sent animals to places that you "normally would never send animals", as Bengt Holst says so.
- It has been a ticking bomb under the zoos, and that was perhaps why the most violent reactions came from abroad. But now I can see how many of them have been forced to take the discussion and it is not only healthy, but also necessary for the animals. So we did the right thing, and it was all worth it.

His courage to speak out
It was not only in the interview with Channel 4 that Bengt Holst appeared as a man with an unusually strong foothold. The scientific director is a man who rarely putter with his opinions, and there are still many in the zoo world, who can remember when he was 20 years ago, spoke at an international conference in the United States. Here, he criticized the widespread use of processed food for predators in captivity, although the view was regarded as controversial. But Bengt Holst held. For processed food gives the animals loose teeth, and you have to lie so close to the animals' behavior, they should be allowed to put teeth in cadavers instead.
It's all about knowledge, he stresses, and to insist on giving its best possible contribution to the discussions that ultimately will affect how we treat animals of the world.
- Of course you have to be responsive, but I get the only real because I've put myself into things, and as long as no one can convince me otherwise, I stand by that, I come up with is right. But it is probably in my upbringing. I grew up with that one should stand by his opinions.
Bengt Holst's father was German and came to Denmark after the war. Not an easy journey in the years when there were many strong opinions about those who fought "on the wrong side." But the father was standing by his background, despite the boxes on the ears that followed, and eventually became a respected man.
- He went through life in a good way, because the ruler of respect for those who stand by themselves and their positions, and this has probably in some degree influenced me. At least I'm not afraid to speak my mind, but I also have great respect for the people who dare say theirs.

The important nuances
It is only now, when you dare to take the discussion with due respect for the differences that things can move in the direction of better. Whether it is about the killing of a giraffe or the other of life's questions.
- The real action, you get only when you make sure you get the nuances of, and it gets you only respect for other opinions. It may well be that you do not agree, but then you know at least what is to take into account. From this you can then make an informed decision.
Bengt Holst cites as an example the work of the global conservation organization CBSG. He is chairman of the committee in charge of the zoos in Europe and CBSGs European office is a natural consequence located in the Copenhagen Zoo, where help other countries with plans for nature conservation. Previously, it was something to peaceful areas and throw people out, so the animals could move into. But it is achieved nothing, believe Bengt Holst, who looks bigger perspectives in learning the people in the affected areas to live with respect for nature. For example, by allowing the parties to be heard.
- It may well be that it is not as far-reaching as if you were forced to hold everything in turn, have greater viability, because everyone feels a sense of ownership. Even so, it still ultimately a greater impact.

An important mission
Bengt Holst has been employed at Copenhagen Zoo for 30 years. Actually, this is his first single and possibly last workplace. Because it is a work that continues to fuel the booming commitment that has been his hallmark since the start of the study biology "sometime in 1970".
Back then it was true that animal behavior that preoccupied him. Whether there was cockroaches, crows or kangaroos. And during his studies, he was convinced that he would be stuck in academia as a researcher. But when he towards the end of the study were invited to apply for a new position as research associate in the capital's zoo, he could well see the potential.
- There is a huge task to make sure that there are also nature back to our descendants, and in this zoo a major role. A prerequisite for nature conservation, as mentioned understanding of nature, but it can only be processed by enabling people to connect with nature. In our part of the world, we are no longer the same opportunity to be in touch with nature and allows the zoo to be the important link that also creates a sense of responsibility, says the man who only has the title of "Net Copenhagen "on loan, but in return they going to stick with the title as scientific director for several more years. Only the case of Marius, for example, shown that there is still some way to go before we reach a full understanding of how best to take care of nature.
- We are constantly up against a wall because, for example, is up against market mechanisms that are difficult to reconcile with these things. But it's no use for us to give up because of it. We can always improve it. Maybe not ideal, but we can at least get a piece of the road.


Blue book: Bengt Holst
Born May 14, 1952 and an MSc. Sc. in biology from the University of Copenhagen in 1983. His thesis was about the crows birds collective accommodation.
On the Monday after the end of the study, he took the job as a zoologist and scientific assistant at Copenhagen Zoo. Five years after he became head of the animal department and in 1994 he was vice president and scientific director of the Zoo. Bengt Holst has not only worked to strengthen the scientific work in the Copenhagen Zoo, but has also spent many years working in the garden to share experiences and knowledge with other countries. He is deeply involved in conservation work in particularly the 3rd world, and has participated in several field projects.
Bengt Holst is also an avid participant in animal ethics debates and has in recent years been chairman of the Animal Ethics Council.
He is married and has four children.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Al Ain Zoo showcases the endangered Arabian Oryx

Al Ain Zoo showcases the endangered Arabian Oryx

Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, 19 June 2014: As part of its commitment to the conservation of arid Arabian land species and in line with its endangered species campaign, Al Ain Zoo profiled its conservation and breeding efforts pertaining to the Arabian Oryx while celebrating its successful reintroduction programmes in the United Arab Emirates.

Al Ain Zoo showcased the Arabian Oryx, while highlighting the efforts of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to save this critically endangered species from extinction in the seventies, when their numbers began to decline and reached 5- 7 individuals in the wild. The late Sheikh Zayed directed his attention towards saving this animal not only for its natural and environmental presence, but also for its cultural value in the UAE.

Commenting on the importance of the Arabian Oryx and the Zoo’s conservation efforts, Muna Al Dhaheri, Chief of Conservation and Education at Al Ain Zoo said:

"In an effort to continue fulfilling the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Ain Zoo has adopted several conservation programmes highly focused on captive management and breeding, propagation, and reintroduction of endangered species such as the Arabian Oryx.  As part of its conservation efforts, Al Ain Zoo took part in a reintroduction programme of the Arabian Oryx back in 2007, which was implemented by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi."

Propagation programs of the Arabian Oryx, one of the Al Ain Zoo’s most successful programs, assisted in changing its classification on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species, in a rather exceptional way, from extinct in the wild to near threatened.

“The Arabian Oryx is one of the animals that were made available at the zoo since its establishment. Today, Al Ain Zoo is home to a significant amount of healthy Arabian Oryx’s and was also successful in achieving a gender balance amongst the animal, which is usually difficult to accomplish when breeding animals in captivity.” She added

The Arabian Oryx is known for its ability to fully adapt to the desert environment and reduce its need for water consumption during the summer. When water is scarce, the Arabian Oryx can supply themselves with the water from the dew drops that form on the surface of plants. The Arabian Oryx is also known for its identical large horns, which can appear as one horn when seen from a profile, which is probably why the animal was once thought to only have one horn. Their horns are also used to fight predators. Their bright white colour serves as both an advantage and disadvantage. On one hand, the light colours help them cope with the summer heat, but on the other hand the black stripes that occur on the head and neck draw the attention of hunters and predators.

In addition to illegal hunting, urbanization, and the recent restriction of the desert areas (taking into consideration their need of spacious areas), plants and shade are the reasons behind the animals near extinction.

Al Ain Zoo is a member of the World Association for Zoo and Aquaria (WAZA) and is actively involved in several internationally coordinated conservation projects, working with other like-minded organisations such as Durrell Wildlife, Jersey, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, the Species Survival Commission, San Diego Zoo, the Northern Rangelands Trust of Kenya and the Sahara Conservation Fund.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vet Shoots Zoo Employee in Gorilla Costume

Vet Shoots Zoo Employee in Gorilla Costume

A 35 year old Loro Parque employee was taken to the Universitario de Canarias hospital after being mistakingly shot with an immobilising dart intended for a Gorilla.

The unfortunate accident took place at 23.40 yesterday shortly after local police were informed of the Gorilla escape.

In actuality no Gorilla had escaped and this was all part of a mandatory escape drill where reality was added by one zoo employee dressing up in a Gorilla costume.

The unfortunate victim was hit in the leg by a dart delivering a dose of narcotic big enough to knock out a 200 kilo Gorilla.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Barle's Story: One Polar Bear's Amazing Recovery from Life as a Circus Act

Barle's Story: One Polar Bear's Amazing Recovery from Life as a Circus Act

Purchase HERE

When a 19-year old female polar bear named Barle is rescued from the inhumane conditions of a circus in the Caribbean and flown to safety in Detroit, zookeeper Else Poulsen -- renowned throughout the world for her work rehabilitating bears who have been abused -- is on hand to meet her and help her on the road to recovery and self-discovery. Thus begins Barle's gradual introduction into the world of polar bears. Slowly she forges relationships with the other bears in the zoo and eventually mates with a young male and successfully raises a cub. By living in a caring, enriched environment focused on her welfare, Barle is able to recover from the trauma she had suffered at the circus and develop skills that are important to thriving as a polar bear. As Poulsen documents, however, not all captive bears are so fortunate. Augmented with black-and-white photographs, Barle's Story provides a rich and moving portrait of a remarkable bear and of the author's inspiring work to help her discover her true polar bear ways.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

India Takes Action Against Posing With Big Cats

India Takes Action Against Posing With Big Cats

Thank you the CZA. Now lets have other zoo organisations around the world follow suit. There is too much of this. Pulling cubs deliberately for photos or deliberately for hand rearing using any old made up excuse. Zoo staff the world over could do animals a favour by keeping their own 'posing' photos private. Posting on Facebook and elsewhere does more harm than most realise.

Leave the cubs alone!

CZA orders probe against three individuals who posted pictures of themselves holding tiger and leopard cubs on social media, besides a Bannerghatta zoo official and an NGO

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has taken serious note of the alarming trend of people posing with animals in Bannerghatta National Park and flaunting these pictures - which often go viral -- on social networking sites.
Clearly indicating its intention to clamp down on this fad, the premier body for zoos and zoo animals in the country has ordered a probe into individuals and an NGO in instances that are allegedly in gross violation of CZA rules. Based on a directive from their central body, which dashed off a letter on Thursday, the Karnataka Zoo Authority is probing three such cases. Such tactile association poses potential risk to the young wildlife, authorities warn. 

Wildlife activists in Bangalore first alerted the vigilance wing of the state forest department. The issue was also brought to the notice of the-now union minister Maneka Gandhi. Gandhi's People For Animals then took it up with the CZA. 

Under the scanner are an NGO, which allegedly facilitates pictures and selfies with wild animals, besides a forest official and individuals named in the complaint. 

In a directive to his counterpart in Karnataka on May 29, Bishan Singh Bonal, Member Secretary, CZA, ministry of environment and forestry, has stated, "Kindly cause an inquiry and take action as per the prevailing rule and regulations. Sub rule 5(6) of Rule 10 under Recognition of Zoo Rule 2009 (amendment 2013), reads, 'The curatorial -- The animals shall be handled only by the staff having experience and training in handling the individual animals'. Whereas, as per photographs, it seems that general visitors are allowed to pose for photography in violation of RZR, 2009 under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Your early action with status report is solicited." The whistleblower in this case is a 33-year-old MBA graduate Hari Krishna. Besides wildlife photography, he also runs adventure biking expeditions themed around nature and wildlife con