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Czech zoo to cooperate with India to save crocodiles
The local zoo, specialising in breeding crocodiles, will cooperate with Indian breeders on saving endangered species from extinction, the Protivin zoo owner Miroslav Prochazka has told CTK.
Under a fresh agreement, seven gharials will be imported to Protivin from Chennai, India, and five Cuban crocodiles will leave Protivin in the opposite direction.
The goal of the transfers is to preserve the gene pool of these endangered animals in captivity at least, Prochazka said.
There are the last several tens of gharials living in the wild in India. The species is dying out as a result of water pollution, hunting and changes in the landscape.
The population of Cuban crocodiles is estimated at 3000 to 6000. It is endangered as a result of the small area it inhabits and also of crossbreeding with other species.
The Protivin zoo will cooperate with the Indian centre Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, the world's best-known crocodile breeding and protection centre.
Two experts from the station visited Protivin at the weekend. They pledged to send three gharial males and four females to the Protivin zoo and take two male and three female Cuban crocodiles to India.
Prochazka has bred crocodiles since 1996. At present he keeps 101 crocodiles of 20 species, reportedly all but three existing crocodile species. The g
The Phoenix Zoo is used to hosting birthday parties, but this one was a little different.
Duchess the orangutan turned 50 on Saturday, and the zoo treated her to gifts, an ice cake filled with fruit and a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by hundreds of zoo visitors.
Her keeper, Bob Keesecker, said Duchess didn't seem too stressed about the milestone.
"I told her it was her birthday today and she didn't seem to be overly concerned about it," he said. "I made sure her hair looked good before she went out."
Keesecker said Duchess has quite a sweet tooth and worked pretty hard to get to the fruit in the ice cake.
Zoo officials say Duchess is the nation's oldest captive Bornean orangutan, and is now 10 years older than the 40-year life expectancy of orangutans in the wild.
Duchess was just 2 years old when the zoo opened in 1962, and is one of only a few remaining original animals. She has given birth seven times
Owner of killer tiger resumes business
In 2007, Kim Carlton's fiancee, Tania Dumstrey-Soos, was killed by a tiger at Siberian Magic, his exotic-animal zoo near 100 Mile House.
The tragedy spurred the government to regulate dangerous-animal ownership. But Carlton is back in the exotic-pet business with a film agency called the Vanishing Kingdom.
And he's already facing charges for violating the very laws stemming from Dumstrey-Soos' death.
Environment Minister Barry Penner confirmed that two African lion cubs were seized from Carlton in connection with allegations of "the unlawful breeding of controlled alien species contrary to the B.C. Wildlife Act."
The new breeding laws were phased into effect last spring, Penner said. The cubs are being kept in a safe, undisclosed location, he added.
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said charges are
Thailand fails to be delisted from ivory 'shame file'
Nation still ranked as 'third worst offender'
Thailand has failed to convince the international body on wildlife trade to delist the country from the illegal ivory trade watchlist.
Thai wildlife officials proposed the delisting during the triennial general assembly of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in Doha, Qatar, which ended last Thursday.
Thailand is ranked the third worst offender on Cites's list of nations where the ivory trade has been most rampant since 2006, after Congo and Nigeria.
Adisorn Noochdamrong, of Thailand's Cites office, said Thai authorities had successfully confiscated large amounts of smuggled ivory, but this had not helped improve the country's status on the watchlist because the listing was based on how many ivory confiscations there are, not the seized amount.
Mr Adisorn, a member of the negotiating team, said his team had proposed a revision of the ranking system, but failed to get support as the adjustment could affect other countries negatively.
Failure to remove Thailand from the watchlist, however, would not hamper authorities' attempts to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.
"To prove that we are serious about cracking down on the illegal ivory trade in order to be delisted from the watchlist, we will focus more on legal enforcement and confiscation of the illegal items," he said.
"This means wildlife officials need the closer cooperation of related agencies
Will China kill all Africa’s elephants?
Aidan Hartley investigates the illegal ivory trade in Tanzania, and discovers that hundreds of kilos of bloody tusks from poached elephants are being smuggled out each year
At first he was coy. ‘Yes my brother,’ Salim the dealer smirked. ‘How many kilos you want?’ It had taken us only a day to find a man in Tanzania who would sell us ivory tusks from poached elephants. We met Salim in a Dar es Salaam hamburger joint and the whole exchange was ridiculously easy. I asked him: ‘How many kilos have you got?’
‘I have 50, 100, 200 kilo. How much you want?’
‘How about 200 kilos?’ I challenged. Salim licked his lips. At Tanzanian prices, this was worth $24,000. On the international black market, it could fetch $200,000. That meant dozens of dead elephants.
This week CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) quashed an appeal by African countries to relax a 20-year trade ban in ivory. Many conservationists argue that keeping ivory off the market will kill the trade in dead elephants’ tusks, but there is nothing to prove that on the ground in Tanzania.
But even with a trade ban, what I witnessed with my TV producer Alex Nott while filming in East Africa suggests that the elephant population is in freefall. Tanzania’s wildlife chief Erasmus Tarimo recently called poaching in the Selous — the country’s biggest game reserve — ‘minimal’. But by the government’s own figures, the Selous has ‘lost’ 31,000 elephants in just three years.
The Selous still has 40,000 surviving elephants, but when I visited this huge wilderness I became sickened by seeing so many fresh elephant carcasses: bullet-riddled, heaving with maggots, skulls hacked up with axes where poachers extracted the tusks. And what astonished me was that this was going on under the noses of foreign tourists, each of them paying a fortune to visit Tanzania’s game parks.
Zoo visitors get into the swing of a chimpanzee's way of life
IT'S the perfect way to keep those little monkeys occupied on a day out.
After watching chimpanzees swinging from the trees in their adventure playground, visitors can now try the same themselves.
Edinburgh Zoo has opened its SkyTrail, featuring rope bridges and beams, six metres above the ground. People can test their physical strength and nerve, while seeing the world from a chimpanzee's eye view.
Situated next to the award-winning Budongo Trail chimps' enclosure, the attraction is the first of its kind in a British zoo.
Visitors will be secured to a full body harness, as they navigate the bridges with their hands
Thailand announces world's 2nd in vitro Eld's Deer birth
A Thai veterinary team has announced the country's first successful birth of an Eld's Deer conceived by a hind that was artificially inseminated.
The female fawn was born at Kasetsart University's Kamphaeng Saen campus last month.
The month-old fawn is very healthy, Nikorn Thongthip, head of the Eld's Deer insemination project, said yesterday.
The fawn is only the second Eld's Deer in the world to be born from an artificially-inseminated embryo. The United States' Smithsonian Institution recorded the first such birth 17 years ago, said Dr Nikorn.
The sperm used in the project, which aims to increase the local Eld's Deer population, was collected from a Burmese Eld's Deer at Huay Sai Wildlife Propagation Research Station in Phetchaburi province in 2008.
Four Eld's Deer hinds, from Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chon Buri province, were inseminated with the sperm last June. But only one became pregnant.
"The Eld's Deer is a very sensitive animal. A minor mishap during the insemination process could be fatal for them. So we have to take very good care of them," said Dr Nikorn.
Boripat Siriaroonrat, of the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand's research centre, said the project's successful insemination of a Burmese Eld's Deer gave hope that the practice could also work
Doctors applaud Perth Zoo smoking ban
A new proposal by Perth Zoo to ban all smoking within its grounds has been welcomed by the Australian Medical Association.
It was reported today that the government-run venue would introduce a complete smoking ban as part of a lucrative sponsorship deal with WA health promotion agency Healthway.
The deal follows last year's decision by the Perth Royal Show to go smoke-free as part of a similar sponsorship arrangement.
"Perth Zoo has followed the lead of the Perth Royal Show by putting the health and wellbeing of children first," said association president Gary Geelhoed.
"But there's many other major outdoor venues like Gloucester Park and the Ascot and Belmont racecourses which still haven’t got the message
Sushi-cide: Secret ballot kills hopes for bluefin tuna protections
The triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is still underway in Doha, Qatar, this week, but so far news coming out of the conference is a mixed bag. Some trees have been protected, tigers gained a few friends, and a rare salamander got some attention, but all hopes to save the critically endangered bluefin tuna were sunk in a secret ballot that put commerce ahead of science and conservation.
As I've written here before, populations of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) have dropped 97 percent since 1960, but the tasty fish remains in high demand in Japan, where sushi bars are willing to pay up to $100,000 or more per fish. A possible
Mideast animal trade under fire
Animals thought to be the 3rd largest illegal trade
A 2-year-old lion, emaciated and barely breathing, is found in a tiny cage off a Beirut highway. Monkeys are hauled through the dark tunnels of Gaza, bound for private zoos. Rare prize falcons are kept in desert encampments by wealthy Arab sheiks.
The trade in endangered animals is flourishing in the Middle East, fueled by corruption, ineffective legislation and lax law enforcement.
"It's a problem in the Arab world that we can no longer ignore," said Marguerite Shaarawi, co-founder of the animal rights group Animals Lebanon.
The group is pushing for Lebanon to join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, whose signatories are meeting this month in Qatar. It is the first time the 175-nation convention is meeting in an Arab country.
Lebanon and Bahrain are the only Arab countries yet to sign the convention.
Delegates at the U.N. conference are considering nearly four dozen proposals on a range of endangered species from rhinos to polar bears.
John Sellar, chief enforcement officer for CITES, said it is difficult to estimate the extent of the illegal trade in the Arab world, but Animals Lebanon estimates that it is the third largest illegal trade in the region, after weapons and drugs.
"Much of the illegal trade that takes place here is of a specialized nature," Sellar said, citing the example of prize falcons, kept by many Arab sheiks in desert encampments, particularly in the United Arab Emirates.
"We've also seen some smuggling of very exotic species ... like very rare parrots, young chimpanzees, gorillas and leopards that seem to be for the private collections of some of the rich individuals in the Gulf area," he said.
Abusers fined just $15
Several recent incidents have underscored the plight of animals in Lebanon — a country where the only law that refers to animal rights stipulates that anyone who purposely harms an animal has to pay a fine of up to $15.
Willem Wijnstekers, the secretary-general of CITES, said countries must have strong laws in place to discourage animal smuggling. Otherwise, he said, smugglers will simply see the penalties as part of the cost of doing business, and not a deterrent.
In December 2009, Animals Lebanon began a campaign against Egypt's Monte Carlo Circus after it received a tip that the circus animals — six lions and three tigers — did not have proper certificates and had not received water or food during the six-day trip from Egypt to Lebanon.
The group sent several activists and a veterinarian to the circus grounds to investigate, and they reported the animals were malnourished and that one cub had been de-clawed.
The circus was declared illegal in January after Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan sent the ministry's own experts to investigate, but the circus has appealed. While the case continues, the circus is still giving daily performances attended by small crowds.
"The case of the circus, and the trade of the lions and tigers, highlighted the urgent need to have Lebanon join CITES and protect these endangered species," Hajj Hassan said.
A circus employee at a recent performance denied the animals were treated badly.
"They say we are not feeding them. Look at them, do they look hungry to you?" the employee asked the audience as lions and tigers dutifully performed acrobatics around a caged tent near a highway just north of Beirut.
There was no official comment from the circus.
The animals looked healthy at the performance, weeks after the allegations were made.
UN blue helmets to airlift nine orphan gorillas to DR Congo nature reserve
..... Nine orphan gorillas will start new lives in a nature reserve in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), thanks to assistance from peacekeepers serving with the United Nations mission in the country, known as MONUC.
Following a request from the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, blue helmets will airlift three young primates from Goma, in North Kivu province, and six adolescents from neighbouring Rwanda, to Kasugho, near the Tayna Nature Reserve.
Scientists believe that ground transportation would be too difficult and traumatic for the gorillas, and the decision was made to move them by air. They will be accompanied on their trip by veterinarians and other helpers.
“Caring for the Earth we all share is not just the job of governments,” said Alan Doss, head of MONUC, who announced the decision to help relocate the gorillas at a conservation awards ceremony yesterday in the capital, Kinshasa.
“It requires us to reach across boundaries and do things we would not normally expect to do.”
In DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, there are only about 750 Mountain Gorillas and 5,000 Eastern Lowland Gorillas surviving in the wild.
“Transferring these animals will help replenish the population and will contribute to restoring an ecosystem that has suffered, just as the human population has suffered from war and violence,” Mr. Doss, who is also the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRC, said.
Hundreds of thousands of people in North Kivu have been uprooted from their homes by violence in recent years.
Last night’s awards ceremony honoured 19 Congolese men and women, eight of whom died last year trying
Penguin Parade at Welsh Mountain Zoo
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