Sunday, March 11, 2018

Zoo News Digest 11th March 2018 (ZooNews 987)

Zoo News Digest 11th March 2018  (ZooNews 987)

Congratulations To the Highland Wildlife Park

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

One of several things I read this week disturbed me. No it wasn't Borås Zoo  for management culling of surplus animals. No what really disturbed me was reading that some US Zoos are still sending their surplus off to game ranches. Do staff ever wonder just what happens to them there? Or do they even care? Give me the humane management cull every time.

Congratulations Marwell Zoo on being named as number 13 in the best companies to work for. Thirteen may be unlucky for some but this is not the case for Marwell.

Travelling tomorrow and slightly off the grid for the next week.

Lots of interest follows. 


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 74,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 74,000 likes) and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 823 Zoos in 154+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos,

The science and ethics of extinction

First UK polar bear cub in 25 years emerges from den
The first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years has emerged at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig.

Previously, the birth had only been confirmed by high-pitched noises heard from the maternity den.

The cub was born in the week before Christmas, after its mother Victoria mated with Arktos, one of two male polar bears at the park.

Victoria's enclosure has been closed to the public.

It is expected to be reopened to park visitors later this month.

The first image of the cub is from footage film

The Future of Wildlife in Southeast Asia?
Phnom Tamao, located about 25 km outside of Phnom Penh, is no ordinary “zoo.” In fact, it’s not a zoo at all. Run by the NGOs Wildlife Alliance and Free the Bears, as well as the Cambodian government, this 2,600-hectare area feels more like a forest with semi-natural enclosures to separate animals that would normally tear one another to shreds.

But Phnom Tamao isn’t just important as an inventory of tropical forest animals. As Asia’s forests shrink and wildlife interceptions by police increase, what is to happen to the region’s once-majestic fauna?

Outside of Luang Prabang, Laos, for example, a similar (if much smaller) enclosure for sun bears, Asiatic black bears, and Indochinese tigers is on display for visitors at the scenic Kuangsi Waterfalls, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Where did these animals come from? Many were intercepted by poachers, just like the one at Cambodia’s Phnom Tamao, and some were rescued from illegal private zoos.

And these are the lucky the ones. The rest were stir-fried into oblivion for those with erectile dysfunction. Thailand has or had a facility called Tiger Temple Cave in Kanchanburi province, a place so mired in controversy it was shut down after dozens of frozen baby tigers were discovered in refrigerators. A man I know who works for a Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai said that Chinese tourists regularly inquire about buying “tiger parts

Shoot High and Go for Broke: A Conversation with Steve McCusker, Retired Director of the San Antonio Zoo
 McCusker began his career working at the Harvard Primate Center. “That was my first animal job,” he said. “I learned a lot about primates. They had a lot of macaques and marmosets. It was all based on human medicine primarily and research done for that purpose.” After a year, McCusker moved to the Fort Worth Zoo. He started by working at the zoo’s aquarium but then transferred over to working with mammals. “The Fort Worth Zoo was really nice- beautiful location,” he remarked. “It was a really good experience for me because I learned a great deal. When we did seals and sea lions, I learned a lot about filtration, water quality, and maintenance. They had an Amazon dolphin while I was there, which was a great experience since I don’t know if there’s even one in human care anymore. I worked with lions, hyenas and tigers as well.”

Zoo puts all of its mammals on birth control amid fears of overcrowding
A zoo has put all of its mammals on birth control amid fears of overcrowding following an outbreak of TB.

Paignton Zoo was forced to cull 11 antelopes last year after TB was discovered in one of the animals.

Now Government restrictions imposed on the Devonshire sanctuary prevent it from moving any of its mammals until the end of the year at the earliest.

 Celebrating Plants and the Planet:                

Plants are woven into the fabric of all creatures’ lives, but perhaps none so much as insects. March’s news at News) reveals some of these intricate tapestries:

·         A plant is being attacked simultaneously by both aphids and caterpillars! What is a plant to do??? Where to use its chemical defenses?
·         Our passion for helping Monarch butterflies has led to the planting of milkweed anywhere and everywhere. But from the butterfly’s perspective not all milkweed plantings are equally helpful.
·         Seeds ae dispersed by mammals, birds, reptiles and even fish. Now scientists have discovered a specialized seed dispersal relationship between certain plants and crickets.
·         Many tropical trees have adopted ant colonies for their defense. Sadly, not all ant colonies are equally courageous defenders.
·         A plant species that has been among the most popular house plants since Victorian times is native to the dark understory of Japanese forests. Until recently no one knew how they were pollinated.

Exciting times for new exhibits! In Rhode Island (USA) the Roger Williams Park Zoo will soon open the anticipated tropical exhibit while in Texas the El Paso Zoo has broken ground on an inspired exhibit featuring the flora and fauna of the local Chihuahuan Desert.

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors!

Follow on TwitterFacebook Or visit –  new stories every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

Marwell Zoo among the best UK companies to work for
MARWELL Zoo is being hailed for being good to its staff.

The zoo was named in the Sunday Times top 100 not-for-profit employers.

Staff were asked questions over eight areas: my manager, leadership, my company, personal growth, my team, giving something back, fair deal and wellbeing.

The winners were announced at a gala dinner in London.

Marwell was placed 13 out of 100 in the not-for-profit list.

The charity employs 250 people ranging f

Surprising Origin of American Flamingos Discovered
Few of us Floridians are native to the state. Even our emblematic flamingos were widely thought to be escapees from captivity—until now.

A new study sheds new light on a long-standing controversy by suggesting flamingos are indeed true residents of the Sunshine State.

There are six species of flamingo, and the American, or greater, flamingo is found in Florida. The bird also lives in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America.

"During the 1800s, it was commonly accepted that [flamingos] were native," says study leader Steven M. Whitfield, a conserv

China’s lust for jaguar fangs imperils big cats
The jaguar was found floating in a drainage canal in Belize City, Belize, on the day after Christmas last year. Its body was mostly intact, but the head was missing its fangs. On 10 January, a second cat — this time, an ocelot that may have been mistaken for a young jaguar — turned up headless in the same channel.

The killings point to a growing illicit trade in jaguars (Panthera onca) that disturbs wildlife experts. The cats’ fangs, skulls and hides have long been trophies for Latin American collectors who flout international prohibitions against trading in jaguar parts. But in recent years, a trafficking route has emerged to China, where the market for jaguars could be increasing because of crackdowns on the smuggling of tiger parts used in Chinese tr

Tiny but mighty? Krill could prove secret weapon in ocean plastics battle
They might be at the bottom of the food chain, but krill could prove to be a secret weapon in the fight against the growing threat of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

New research Friday showed the tiny zooplankton are capable of digesting microplastics -- under five millimeters (0.2 inches) -- before excreting them back into the environment in an even smaller form.

Study author Amanda Dawson stumbled on the finding while working on a project involving microbeads -- polyethylene plastic often used in cosmetics such as face scrubs -- at the Australian Antarctic Division’s krill aquarium to check the toxic effects of pollution.

“We realized that krill actually break up plastic, it was amazing,” the re

Wildlife trafficking: The ring that provides tigers soaked in alcohol
A trafficking ring in HCMC and Long An province is a well-known provider of these products.

“Our products have prime quality. Goods will be delivered to you at your home. A tank of wild cat is priced at VND8 million, one bear arm soaked in with poppy flowers and opium is VND15 million,” said T, who introduced himself as the owner of the ring to reporters.

“Tiger cubs are now in Long An province, and bear arms and wild cats are at my house in HCMC. Only one tiger, one cat cub and two bear arms are available. But there are numerous grand cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah) “ he said over the phone.

Legal Africa-Asia Wildlife Trade Gets a Look in
In recent years, the focus on wildlife trade between Africa and Asia has been almost exclusively on poaching of iconic mammals and the smuggling of their parts.

Meanwhile, the vast, legal trade in wildlife has received scant attention, despite its many potential positive impacts, such as providing support to livelihoods and sustainable income for local communities.

A new TRAFFIC study released this week attempts to restore some of the balance in attention to wildlife trade issues through an examination of the trade in wildlife sourced in Africa and traded to Asia. It endeavours to shed light on legal trade trends, the diversity of species and countries involved, and new patterns emerging.

The data used was all publicly accessible, as information provided by Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on trade in species listed within the Convention.

The analysis was made possible thanks to the generous support of Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It revealed more than 1.3-million live animals and plants, 1.5-million skins and two thousand tonnes of meat were exported between 2006 to 2015 from 40 countries and a disputed territory in Africa, to 17 countries and territories in East and Southeast Asia.

There was a remarkable diversity: some 975 different taxa in all and among the trade patterns identified were the rising number of live animal and plant exports and the increased sourcing of species from captive breeding operations: from 42% in 2006 to a peak of 66% in 2013.

The analysis found evidence of newly emerging trade in hippo teeth from Malawi; a rise in European Eel exports from North Africa, mostly to South Korea in response to a Eu

The Ark and Beyond

St. Louis Zoo will buy 425 acres in north St. Louis County
A plan to buy land in north St. Louis County would more than quadruple the St. Louis Zoo’s space, opening it to possibilities such as saving more endangered animals and even letting visitors go on “safari” to watch animals graze.

The St. Louis Zoo Association, a private, nonprofit group that oversees fundraising, plans to buy 425 acres from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 for $7.1 million, officials announced Friday. The money came from two anonymous donors.

“Once we develop it, we’ll be in a much better position to care for animals and those who are

Kurdistan: Peshmerga Fighters Release Bears Back in the Wild
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters released wild bears in the wild, in the mountains of Gara near the city of Dohuk, Northern Iraq on Sunday, after animal rights activists rescued a group of bears, AFP reported.

The Kurdish-American Friendship Organization concerned in environmental issues in Kurdistan, Iraq, has previously released a group of wild bears in a natural reserve near the borders with Iran. This process aims to bring these bears back to their natural habitat.

The group of six bears, including a cub, was brought back to the region’s mountains this year. This group is the first batch of wild animals the Kurdish-American Friendship Organization plans to release consecutively.

Sources in Kurdistan said that a convoy accompanying the bears, went on a four-hour journey from Erbil to the natural reserve

Innovation in Animal Welfare Prioritisation
Late last year I published a paper entitled "In pursuit of peak animal welfare; the need to prioritize the meaningful over the measurable", in it I argued that too frequently, animal management places too much emphasis on aspects of care reflected in welfare assessment metrics, and not enough on the actual feelings and experiences of animals, which remain stubbornly closed to us. The outcome of this quantification bias can be systematic sub-optimal animal welfare management. In other words, animal management all too frequently focuses on the measurable rather than the meaningful to the detriment of animal welfare.

In closing this paper, I advocated the use of alternative methodologies to determine welfare priorities; an area I have been working on for over two years with the collaboration of a number of international animal welfare charities, zoo associations and academic institutions. Following recent successful presentations to the Dutch Zoo Federation's accreditation committee, the EAZA community at their annual conf

Denbighshire's under-fire red squirrels bring in fresh re-inforcements to battle grey invaders
Denbighshire's lonely red squirrels have got some reinforcements as they battle pesky grey interlopers.

Conservationists have released seven reds in Clocaenog forest near Ruthin to boost a resident population that it thought to have dwindled to less than 50.

In 1998 there were up to 400 native squirrels in the forest – making it the largest population in Wales – but competition from invasive grey squirrels has steadily forced them out.

To give them a fighting chance, seven reds we

Sea Life aquariums could lose Marine Conservation Society sponsorship due to high animal death rates
The Sea Life chain of tourist attractions faces losing its sponsorship deal with the Marine Conservation Society over its “unacceptable” death rates.

More than a third of all animals at the aquarium in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, died in a single year according to mortality figures obtained by the BBC.

The MCS, which accepted funding from Sea Life to cover the printing costs of the Pocket Good Fish Guide and has worked with it on conservation projects, said the figures were a “cause for concern”.

Swedish Zoo Gets Death Threats for Slaughtering Hundreds of 'Surplus' Animals
Staff at the Borås Zoo, located in the Swedish city of the same name, have started to receive death threats after the park made national headlines for its practice of culling perfectly healthy animals.

Since an early January report that revealed the killing of hundreds of "surplus" animals not deemed deficient in any way, the Borås zoo has received over a dozen death threats via e-mail and social media. Among them were several death threats directed against zoo CEO Bo Kjellson. One of them features a montage, in which Bo Kjellson's head is placed behind crosshairs, national broadcaster SVT reported.

How a big black cat is avenging its death
In times past, a hunter would be lifted triumphantly aloft as the tribe celebrated wildly at his feet after he killed a black leopard. So why all the fuss when an animal of the same species is gunned down in 2018?

The tables have turned, and a mega-rich businessman is discovering that even his massive wealth is outweighed by the dead animal his group allegedly slaughtered. Black leopards (aka panthers) were among top jungle predators that terrorised our ancestors. Killing one would have been considered an act of extreme courage, bringing instant hero status and a tribal coming of age.  The opposite now applies, and the businessman and his party have learned it the hard way after being branded villains and cowards. Things would be very different had the construction mogul killed a big cat th

Georgia Aquarium Loses Appeal to Import Beluga Whales
The Georgia Aquarium has lost an appeal against a federal judge who ruled against the institution importing beluga whales from Russia. The federal court decision upholds the determination made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2013.

However, officials from the Georgia Aquarium – one of the world’s largest – plan to review the ruling and make a decision on further action. In 2012, the Georgia Aquarium filed import requests for 18 beluga whales. The whales were meant to be distributed amongst other aquariums around the United States.

“When you’re looking at the sustainability or health of a population, you want to make sure that the removals don’t negatively impact the ability of that population to be healthy,” NOAA Fisheries’ director of the Office of Protected Resources, Donna Wieting, told NPR.

This is the first time in 20 years that NOAA has

Aquarium ‘disappointed’ with park board appeal of court ruling
Vancouver Aquarium Tuesday said it is disappointed with the park board’s move to appeal the Supreme Court ruling striking down the bylaw banning cetaceans.

On Friday, Vancouver Park Board announced plans to appeal the ruling that prohibited the board from applying its May 2017 bylaw amendment to the aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park. The aquarium responded Tuesday afternoon saying the organization is “disappointed with the Vancouver Park Board’s unwillingness to accept the sound reasoning and commercial realism of the Honourable Mr. Justice Mayer’s decision in the B.C. Supreme Court.”

Self-reported impacts of volunteering in UK zoos and aquariums
Zoos and aquariums are popular visitor destinations, with around 30 million visits made to them annually throughout the UK and Ireland. The role and mission of modern zoos have evolved, with the conservation of world’s remaining biodiversity now being their major purpose. They seek to aid biodiversity through a combination of public education, in situ and ex situ conservation programmes, and applied scientific research. Directly relevant to this paper, they are also institutions that actively recruit, attract and utilise volunteers. However, the impacts of volunteering in zoos and aquariums, on the volunteers themselves, are under-researched. Here we show that, in a survey of more than 500 volunteers at 19 different zoological collections in the UK, zoo volunteers report positive impacts, specifically in relation to increases in their human and social capital. We also found that these benefits were more pronounced in younger volunteers, and with those volunteers who received more initial training. We conclude that while volunteering in UK zoos correlates with significant personal benefits to individuals, zoos could aim higher and should seek to do more to maximise the positive effects of connecting volunteers with the wildlife and nature found in zoo settings, as well as tailoring their volunteer training programmes for different age groups.

6 African elephants to settle in east China
Six African elephants have passed quarantine inspection and will soon settle at a safari park in Changzhou City, east China's Jiangsu Province, according to the local inspection and quarantine bureau Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe-born elephants, four female and two male, are between three to four years old. This is the first time live African elephants have been introduced in Jiangsu.

In 2014, the park bought an African elephant specimen from South Africa and received a warm response from tourists, according to Li Dongming with the bureau. "Four years later, the specimen finally can 'walk out' to meet

Tilikum VS. J-34: A Tale Of Two Killer Whales
The Southern Resident Killer Whales are dying. It is happening now, it is happening quickly, and it is happening before our eyes.
In 2016, the number of Southern Residents plummeted from 83 to 78, one of the smallest populations since record keeping on the whales began in the early 1970s. One of these whales, J-34, or “Doublestuf,” a well known member of the J-22 matriline, washed ashore in British Columbia on December 20th, 2016. A breeding age male of 18, the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s initial examination revealed blunt force trauma and a hematoma as the cause of death. There is a high probability, though unconfirmed, that J-34’s injuries were caused through a vessel strike

Something Mysterious Is Killing Captive Gorillas
Just before 8 o’clock on a snowy Wednesday morning, deep in a maze of doors and steel fencing in the basement of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, a 30-year-old gorilla named Mokolo is getting a heart exam. He’s voluntarily shambled up to a stainless-steel fence, squatted on his stout legs, and pressed his belly to the mesh. Now he looks at the ceiling with thinly veiled exasperation, like a kid who wants to play outside but knows he has to stand still long enough to get slathered with sunscreen first. His expression is so recognizably human that it’s disconcerting.

SSPs, TAGs and Permits: A Conversation with Alan Shoemaker, Retired Collections Manager at the Riverbanks Zoo
 For the first 28 years of its existence, Alan Shoemaker was a staple of the Riverbanks Zoo team. After serving as Curator of Mammals for several years, he became Collections Manager. Along with Director Satch Krantz, Shoemaker helped the zoo grow both in size, scope and reputation and become heavily involved in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In the zoo industry, Shoemaker became regarded as an experts in writing permits for animal acquisitions. He also was instrumental in the development of Species Survival Plans (SSPs) and Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), which were fundamental to creating sustainable populations of animals in zoos. Here is his story.          

175 newborn animals, 5 cheetahs at Dubai Safari
As many as 175 newborn animals of 30 species and five big cheetahs have become the new inhabitants of Dubai’s wildlife attraction, Dubai Safari Park.
The facility has welcomed new arrivals such as a vervet monkey, 22 blackbuck antelopes, three Arabian wolves, 12 corn snakes, two Nile crocodiles, five Egyptian fruit bats, six wood ducks, 24 African spurred tortoises and three African white lions among others, it said in a press release.

“With the addition of the 175 newborns, we are pleased to see the Dubai Safari family growing in terms of both the number and diversity of the species,” said Khalid Al Suwaidi, Director of Leisure Facilities at Dubai Municipality which manages the facility.
He stated that the list of the new arrivals highlights the sheer variety visitors can look forward to at Dubai Safari, including rare animals such as the African white lions.
He said it further strengthened the park’s commitment to conservation efforts for endangered species.

Stolen Apes Report
Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos and Orangutans [PDF] is the first report to analyze the scale and scope of the illegal trade and highlights the growing links to sophisticated trans-boundary crime networks, which law enforcement networks are struggling to contain.
Stolen Apes, which was produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) through GRASP, estimates that a minimum of 22,218 great apes have been lost from the wild since 2005 – either sold, killed during the hunt, or dying in captivity – with chimpanzees comprising 64 per cent of that number.
The report examines confiscation records, international trade databases, law enforcement reports, and arrival rates from sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers between 2005 and 2011.

Could Las Vegas support a world-class zoo? This group believes so
Amid the excitement surrounding potential new stadiums, arenas and art museums, some locals want Las Vegas to get a different kind of venue.

During the past few years, members of the nonprofit Las Vegas Zoological Society have been quietly laying the groundwork for a world-class zoo. Their mission: “to inspire education and conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature.” Unlike zoos of the past, this one would have a focus on “animal care, science, education and conservation.”

A “motor safari ride” would ferry visitors around the planed 100-acre park, which would offer 16 exhibits featuring 900 animals from 300 species. The conceptual site plan shows exhibits grouped by region (Nevada, Africa, Asia), along with a botanical garden, children’s zoo, aviary, amphitheater and aquatic exhibit.

Conservation and education plans are no less ambitious. The Zoological Society would offer a college preparatory program for high school students; a kids’ Safari Camp; a public zoo library; workshops and classes; and a weekly TV show called Wild Zone. A conservation center would include fieldwork and research

Top 5 Concepts What Makes Your Training a Success
As the business owner of an online space where many different animal training professionals come together, here are five important concepts that really stood out to me in 2017. I present these here as conversation starters and look forward to everyone’s thoughts and feelings on them …

1) Define yourself as a trainer.
As the business owner of an online space where many different animal training professionals come together, here are five important concepts that really stood out to me in 2017. I present these here as conversation starters and look forward to everyone’s thoughts and feelings on them …

Still wowing audiences on the big screen – including in a singalong version at three Bristol cinemas this week – The Greatest Showman is one of the major movie successes of the last 12 months.

A newly published book about Bristol Zoo now uncovers Bristol’s link to the man whose life the film is based on – the American showman and politician PT Barnum.

In 1894, a female Bengal tiger was loaded onto a passenger train at Clifton Down station bound for Paddington. Once in London, the animal headed onto New York to join Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth.

The Secret Life of Elephants
We have the pleasure of watching elephants in broad daylight in precious few places like Udawalawe, where they are habituated enough to be placid and tolerant of onlookers. Indeed, one can get rather spoiled in this particular Park, because even the birds are unafraid and will happily sit and pose for your clumsy photograph from inches away. At times, certain exhibitionist pachyderms even appear to put on a show for the gawking crowds:

Orangutan Smokes Cigarette; Bandung Zoo Tracks Down Perpetrator
Bandung Zoo managements publically asked the person responsible for giving one of the zoo`s orangutans a cigarette to make a public apology.

“We urge the perpetrator to apologize to the public,” said Bandung Zoo spokesman Sulhan Safi’I on Wednesday, March 7. Meanwhile, zoo management is tracking down the identity of the suspect.

From Cages to Science: A Conversation with Dr. Lester E. Fisher, Retired Director of the Lincoln Park Zoo
Dr. Lester E. Fisher was a true visionary in the zoo profession. During his three decades as Director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, he transformed the institution into a leader in animal research and a modern zoo.  Fisher was particularly known for his expertise in great apes as he led the Lincoln Park Zoo to having the largest gorilla population in North America and conducted groundbreaking research on the species. Here is his story.

What We Can Learn From the Demise of the Northern White Rhino
The health of the world’s last male northern white rhino, Sudan, is rapidly declining, bringing the subspecies’ inevitable extinction closer to a reality. Even as scientists and conservationists work on an ambitious in vitro fertilization effort, there’s little reason for hope that the 45-year-old Sudan and his two female companions—the last of the entire subspecies—will leave any offspring behind.

Sudan, who is aging and suffering from a leg infection, could soon be euthanized if his condition doesn’t take a turn for the better. Until recently, the subspecies numbered in the thousands across central Africa. However decades of poaching and habitat destruction leave only Sudan, his daughter Najin, and granddaughter Fatu. As of Tuesday, Sudan’s condition had improved slightly according to the BBC, although his caretakers say the prognosis is still “not looking bright” and they are not holding out “big hopes” for a miracle recovery.

Google, Facebook, and Other Tech Giants Unite to Fight Wildlife Crime Online
The black market trade in ivory and rhino horn doesn’t just happen in the back rooms of stores or under the table at nondescript secret meeting locations. Increasingly the illegal wildlife trade has moved online, where anonymity and the sheer number of for-sale postings makes it hard to stop the smuggling. When one company cracks down, sellers simply move to another platform.

A new international effort aims to put a stop to this whack-a-mole effect. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), TRAFFIC, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare are launching the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, bringing together technology, e-commerce, and social media companies to work together to squeeze out wildlife traffickers. The coalition includes Google, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, and many others.

“Criminal groups and illegal traders are exploiting the technology to operate anonymously online with less chance of detection and to reach a wider market than ever before,” says Crawford Allan, the senior director of wildlife crime at the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring organization. Law enforcement can’t police it all, he says. “The companies themselves wer

Sea lions’ night-time ruckus leads to Cologne Zoo’s first ever squabble with neighbours
Cologne’s sea lions have landed in hot water after their late-night antics led local residents to file a noise complaint. This is the first time in 168 years that someone has taken offence at the adorable creatures.
The beloved sea lions Astrid, Amelie, Oz, Lina and Mia are the focus of an official investigation at the Cologne Zoo after complaints were lodged by local residents about their load nocturnal roars.

In a story first reported on Wednesday morning by Cologne newspaper “Express”, the city government is launching a full inquiry into the nature of the sea lions' nighttime activities, as well as the ability of the zoo to comply with German noise regulations.

The investigation is forcing Cologne Zoo to check the quality of its sound-proofing within the sea lions' enclosure and to analyze surveillance video to determine the cause of the creatures' late-night noise. The zoo’s sp

Two Species of Ravens Nevermore?
Speciation, where one species splits into two, has long been a focus of evolutionary research. A new study almost 20 years in the making suggests that the opposite—speciation reversal, where two distinct lineages hybridize and eventually merge into one—may be just as important.

In the paper, published in Nature Communications, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists and partners report some of the strongest evidence yet of this phenomenon in two lineages of common ravens.

Researchers examined genomic data from hundreds of ravens across North America, a challenging effort that proved to be worthwhile. “Next-generation genomic techniques are revealing more and more examples of species with hybrid genomes,” explains Anna Kearns, postdoctoral fellow with SCBI’s Center for Conservation Genomics and the study’s lead author.

In fact, throughout history this natural evolutionary process of speciation reversal has probably occurred in hundreds or thousands of lineages across the planet

When UMBC professor of biological sciences Kevin Omland, one of the paper’s authors, first started down this road in 1999, common ravens were considered a single species. A year later, he reported that in fact two common raven lineages existed—one called “California” concentrated in the southwestern U.S. and the other called “Holarctic” found everywhere else.

But that’s not where the story ends. After analyzing mitochondrial DNA from ravens throughout the western U.S., scientists found that these two lineages are widely intermixed. Further study of nuclear genome data led to the conclusion that the California and Holarctic raven lineages did diverge for one to two million years but later came together and have been hybridizing for at least tens of thousands of years.


** ***

** **



New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

If you have anything to add then please email me at
I will include it when I get a minute. You know it makes sense.

Recent Zoo Vacancies

Vacancies in Zoos and Aquariums and Wildlife/Conservation facilities around the World

About me
After more than 49 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and many more before 'hitting the road' and writes about these in his blog

Peter earns his living as an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer. Currently working as Curator of Penguins in Ski Dubai. United Arab Emirates. He describes himself as an itinerant zoo keeper, one time zoo inspector, a dreamer, a traveler, an introvert, a people watcher, a lover, a thinker, a cosmopolitan, a writer, a hedonist, an explorer, a pantheist, a gastronome, sometime fool, a good friend to some and a pain in the butt to others.

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | | Skype: peter.dickinson48