Thursday, February 16, 2017

Zoo News Digest 16th February 2017 (ZooNews 944)

Zoo News Digest 16th February 2017 
(ZooNews 944)



Peter Dickinson

elvinhow@gmail.com

Dear Colleague,

The biggest zoo news this week….it has been everywhere. Somebody has named a cockroach 'Tom Brady'….who? Exactly. I haven't a clue who Tom Brady is and whereas it would take me less than a minute to find out I won't bother because I am not remotely interested. Actually I tell a lie…I am interested…but not in Tom Brady but in the type of story which tickles the fancy of the press. Well done Zoo Atlanta, but sorry I haven't carried the cockroach story.

Biggest story today is the armed takeover of Ocean Adventure in Subic. I have been following and posting zoo related stories for many years now. I cannot recall anything similar happening anywhere before. Okay the documents I have posted are a little bit difficult to read….but you can do it. Like my earlier exposes on Phú Quốc Safari in Vietnam there is nothing in the press yet. As I know many news agencies follow Zoo News Digest perhaps someone will follow up.

    

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 52,000 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ 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, 
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.

********
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Armed Takeover of Ocean Adventure




Dormouse might be first tree-climbing mammal shown to echolocate
A rare rodent isn’t just blind as a bat: it may navigate like one too. The tree-climbing Vietnamese pygmy dormouse seems to make ultrasonic calls to guide its motion. If that’s confirmed, it would be the first arboreal mammal known to use echolocation.

Apart from bats, dolphins, whales, rats and shrews – which use calls in the audible range – few mammals echolocate as vision is usually more efficient. But Aleksandra Panyutina at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and her team thought the dormouse was a good candidate. They had access to two of these seldom-studied, mainly nocturnal rodents at the Moscow zoo, where keepers had noticed that they were able to climb with remarkable agility despite poor eyesight. They also have big, bat-like ears. “We suspected that they use echolocation,” says Panyutina.

To find out, the team first confirmed the rodent’s poor vision by analys





Selling Utopia: Rewriting The History Of Wolves In America For Public Consumption
I’ve been in this game long enough that I’m always shocked when someone comes to me with a story of animal exploitation that I’ve never heard of. And yet, it happens, far more often I’d like. There is, apparently, an inexhaustible number of people eagerly awaiting their chance to “teach” the public about the animals they’re exploiting. Which brings me to the Great American Frontier Show: Wolves of the World. I had never heard of the show, which was founded by a man named Michael Sandlofer, a number of years ago. Mr. Sandlofer passed away in 2016, so I will be as respectful as possible in the writing of this article. The article will, however, be honest, and forthright.

The Sandlofers have owned and trained captive wild animals for entertainment purposes for decades. They even had performing bison at one point. From as early as 1979, they’ve had animal shows performing for audiences, at a price, while claiming the animals were all “resc





DOE Warns Saei Park Over Zoo Conditions
Saei Park management has been warned to raise the standards of its zoo facilities and apply for a permit or risk prosecution.

Speaking to ISNA, Mohammad Reza Bazgir, the head of Tehran’s office of the Department of Environment, said of the three unlicensed zoos in the Iranian capital, only one has failed to heed the DOE’s warnings.

“The management of Mellat and Chitgar parks have taken steps to raise their standards and are in the process of acquiring permits to operate their animal facilities, but Saei Park has not taken a single step,” Bazgir was quoted as saying by the news agency.

“If they don’t bolster their standards and apply for a permit, we’ll have no choice but to list Saei Park as an illegal zoo and deal with them through legal channels.”

Currently, Tehran has 12 wildlife centers.

DOE has instructed all animal reserves to adhere to standards pertaining to the animals’ nutrition and care, in addition to their cage condition.  Wildlife facilities must submit regular reports about the species, numbers, addition and remova





For These Monkeys, It's a Fight for Survival
On their Indonesian island, crested black macaques are hunted for meat, kept as pets, and threatened by a shrinking habitat. Can they be saved?
If it weren’t for a cheeky monkey named Naruto, who, as the story goes, stole a photographer’s camera in an Indonesian park and snapped a selfie, crested black macaques might still be languishing in obscurity.

The photo later went viral, and Macaca nigra suddenly had millions of online fans just as the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which sets the conservation status of animals, was working toward listing the punk-haired, amber-eyed species as among the world’s 25 most endangered primates.

In 2015 Naruto’s selfie sparked a copyright lawsuit including the animal welfare group People fo




“Harming National Treasures”: Lanzhou Zoo Sparks Controversy (Again) for Apparent Panda Negligence
Visitor photos of a mouth-foaming, lethargic-looking panda at Lanzhou Zoo has caused outrage on Weibo. As the zoo’s conditions are called into question for the umpteenth time, some say that China’s so-called ‘national treasures’ (国宝) are not being treated equally. The controversy is especially noteworthy because China maintains strict control over the pandas it sends abroad.




Cage-Free Western Sydney Zoo Submitted For Final Decision
A proposed privately operated zoo in Western Sydney has been referred to the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission for a final decision.

The 16.5-hectare zoo, to be located within the Western Sydney Parklands at Bungarribee, 33 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD, is masterplanned by Aspect Studios.

Sydney Zoo is a new $36 million zoological park and is set to be an iconic tourist attraction located in the Bungarribee Precinct, Western Sydney Parklands. The new Sydney Zoo will work in collaboration with the Western Sydney Parklands Trust and Blacktown Council to contribute to enhancing social and cultural infrastructure in Western Sydney.

The site is located approximately 33 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD, and approximately 15 kilometres east of Penrith. It is in close proximity to the Great Western Highway, M4 Western Motorway and Westlink M7, providing excellent access to both the state and regional road network and surrounding parkland areas.

The total contribution to the NSW economy is estimated at $45 million per year and is expected to boost employment with 160 jobs during construction and at least 120 jobs during its operation.




Tough early life makes wild animals live longer
Scientists from the University of Exeter found that male banded mongooses that experienced poor conditions in their first year had longer lives.

However, there was no difference in the number of offspring they fathered - suggesting those born into poor conditions "live slow, die old" while those with an easier first year "live fast, die young".

Surprisingly, the males that fathered the most pups were those that grew up when conditions were highly variable. These males also lived long lives, like those born into poor conditions.

"Growing up in a poor or unpredictable environment isn't necessarily bad - it can have advantages," said lead author Dr Harry Marshall, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation of the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus.

"It's not clear why variable early-life conditions were the best for male mongooses in terms of longevity and reproduction. It might be that male mongooses that experience different challenges in their first year are better prepared for those challenges later on."

The researchers used 14 years of data on wild banded mongooses (Mungo




Act now before entire species are lost to global warming, say scientists
The impact of climate change on threatened and endangered wildlife has been dramatically underreported, with scientists calling on policymakers to act urgently to slow its effects before entire species are lost for good.

New analysis has found that nearly half (47%) of the mammals and nearly a quarter (24.4%) of the birds on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species are negatively impacted by climate change – a total of about 700 species. Previous assessments had said only 7% of listed mammals and 4% of birds were impacted.

“Many experts have got these climate assessments wrong – in some cases, massively so,” said Dr James Watson of the University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society, who co-authored the paper with scientists in the UK, Italy and the US.


IUCN updates 'red list' of endangered species - in pictures
 View gallery
Published in the Nature Climate Change journal, the analysis of 130 studies reported between 1990 and 2015 painted a grim picture of the impact of the changing climate on birds and mammals already under threat.

Most researchers tended to assess the impa





Free-choice digital interactive enrichment and human-animal interaction
As orangutan (Pongo spp.) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) populations decrease, captive individuals play an important role in species’ conservation management making information about their cognitive stimuli and enrichment essential.

There is a growing empirical support demonstrating improved welfare in captive animals when they can exert control over their environment.1 Research shows that great apes can successfully interact with digital media devices2&3 and there can be behavioral changes when presented with digital enrichments.4 However, to date, there have been no studies that look at the effect of free-choice using digital interactive mediums, and the implementation’s impact on human visitors’ attitudes to





Momentary Victory In An Ongoing War
At the beginning of 2017, Ringling Bros. Barnum Bailey Circus announced that after 146 years of entertainment with animals, it was closing its doors for good. “Big picture” animal rights groups, who remained fixated on “sticking it to the man on behalf of animals everywhere” instantly declared victory, announcing the vanquishment of the #1 animal exploiter in the United States. Much of the public, and those more capitalistically minded expressed confusion or horror, that there was something wrong with the iconic establishment, or that “animal rights” should be put above the needs and wants of human businessmen.

The remainder of us within the conservation community, those who understood the depths of such an announcement, began poring over press releases and articles, attempting to suss out the long-term plans for the captive wild animals which have long been a staple for Ringling Bros.. We knew, unlike the public–who widely and ignorantly cheered for the “retirement” of elephants from Ringling Bros. Barnum Bailey Circus–that a circus who ceases to use animals in their show, or who otherwise closes its doors, is





Alameda wildlife park joins British and Irish zoos
The Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park (AWCP), Gibraltar’s only zoo, was recently awarded provisional Membership of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).
The AWCP is now officially one of the smallest zoos in BIAZA and is mentored by the smallest member: Shaldon Zoo in Devon.
This comes after years of development and twelve months of hard work that began with an initial inspection in January 2016 by BIAZA’s Nic Dunn Director of Shaldon Wildlife Trust, who also assisted throughout the initial application and will continue to mentor the AWCP during the provisional period.
Stewart Muir, Director of Living Collections, Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, also assessed the park and made recommendations.
The Kusuma Trust funded their visits.
Coupled with the BIAZA milestone is the AWCP’s ‘Stategic Plan 2016-2021, Building on Success’. This follows






www.zoolex.org in February 2017

~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!

              ~°v°~

NEW EXHIBIT PRESENTATION

The "Heart of Africa" at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a themed area that
features lions and many other species of savannah animals. With the
exception of hidden moats, the lion exhibit is at the same approximate
elevation as the adjacent savanna. Therefore, the lions and the guests
have an unobstructed view of foraging hoofstock.


              ~°v°~

ZOO DESIGN CONFERENCE

With 42 presentations and two discussion panels, a dense programme is
waiting for participants of the first international zoo design
conference since 2004. The first day is dedicated to "zoo design trends
and developments" including a discussion on "zoo strategies and design
answers". The theme of the second day is "enrichment for welfare" with
speakers from around the globe. The third day is about "technical
aspects of zoo design" and will end with a discussion on "working with
external experts" before a visit to Wroclaw Zoo in the afternoon.

ZooLex together with Wroclaw Zoo organizes this international zoo design
conference. The conference will take place in Wroclaw, Poland, from 4th
to 7th April 2017.

Please use this link for information and registration:

Exhibitors will be accomodated in the order of registration. Please
check out your opportunities and contact MCC Consulting Ltd. for booking
your package:


              ~°v°~

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





Thoughts for Behaviour: Who is Training Who?
Did you guys meet my brother yet? Ok, he is a man that means a lot to me and gives me quite some inspiration. In the beginning of December we had a trip after almost a year not seeing each other. Together we planned to go to Kiruna (The most northern city of Sweden) to see the northern lights through a sled dog trip in the forest. It was magical and I want to tell you all please do this once in your life. It took us quite a while but that meant as well that we had a long time to talk together about everything and anything. Real bonding on such a trip.

My brother is a salesman for for T-mobile. He only has this job for maybe 8 months now I would say if not less but h





What Packy taught us (Opinion)
This past week has been an especially sad one for the Oregon Zoo. On Thursday, we said goodbye to Asian elephant Packy, one of the zoo's oldest residents, and one of the best-known, most beloved animals in the world.

As a young conservation biologist attending grad school at Syracuse in the early 1980s -- long before I returned to Portland to be zoo director -- I traveled across the country one summer, visiting family in the Northwest but also intent on seeing Portland's zoo and meeting the legendary elephant. He was majestic, standing 10-foot-6 at the shoulder with a bearing I can only describe as regal. The intelligence in his eyes was startling. I had never seen anything like him.

Nearly everyone in the Portland area knows Packy, of course -- he inspired books, songs, and parade floats. For years, a giant mural of his profile graced the old Skidmore Fountain Building at the west end of the Burnside Bridge. And, with his likeness embellishing our logo, Packy was literally the face of the Oregon Zoo. But apart from his celebrity, or perhaps because of it, Packy's most important legacy stretches far beyond our region.

When the zoo moved to its current Washington Park location in the late 1950s, Dr. Matthew Maberry, our first veterinarian, helped design facilities that gave elephants much more freedom than was common for zoos of that time. That change encouraged normal social interactions and natural breeding among the elephants, which led to something of a modern miracle: Packy, the first elephant born in North America since 1918.

The birth was so unprecedented that until Packy hit the ground (shortly before 6 a.m. on April 14, 1962), no one knew that an Asian elephant's gestation period is 20 to 22 months. That was the first thing Packy taught us -- and each year brought more knowledge, profoun



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New Meetings and Conferences updated Here




If you have anything to add then please email me at elvinhow@gmail.com
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 48 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 writes about these in his blog http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

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, 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"




photo
Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
      

Armed Takeover of Ocean Adventure





















photo
Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
      

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Zoo News Digest 13th February 2017 (ZooNews 943)

Zoo News Digest 12th February 2017 
(ZooNews 943)



Peter Dickinson

elvinhow@gmail.com

Dear Colleague,

It is so nice to see so many FaceBook Postings lately on the successes zoos have had. This is thanks largely to Kristen Otterson and the group 'Zoos Saving Species'.

This turns the oft repeated ill researched statements by the Animal Rights Anarchists on their head…for example:

"Returning captive-bred animals to the wild is, in most cases, impossible because animals who are reared in zoos are denied the opportunity to learn survival skills, can transmit diseases to their wild counterparts"

"Very few of the zoos who claim to keep and breed animals for the purpose of “conservation” actually do so and if they did, there would not be “surplus” animals, because they would be returned to the wild."

Zoos, Good Zoos could do a lot more than they do but are realistic. It is absolutely pointless putting any animal back into the wild unless there is a wild for it to return to. And if there is a wild is there space to return without causing territorial fights? And yes "disease" is also a consideration along with a lot more. Good Zoos care.

Being realistic the Good Zoos are more about the long term maintenance of genetically viable populations for a magical release date in the distant future.

Our problem is that there are far more Bad Zoos than there are Good ones. I have said it so many times before but until the Good Zoos actively condemn and expose the Bad Zoos we will continue to have problems with Animal Rights
    

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 52,000 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ 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, 
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.

********
*****
***
**
*


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https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-fWbouKlqKba0ppTmt3eUVVTjA/view


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http://www.flipr.co/BIAZA/winter-2017/
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Bird bachelorette research may yield crucial answers to zoo animals' survival
Up four flights of stairs and in a remote corner of Brookfield Zoo's Tropic World, a version of "The Bachelorette" TV show is unfolding.

This one features a tropical bird, the female blue-gray tanager, perched in a large enclosure. Lining one side of her cage are three separate enclosures. Each contains a male tanager who can see the female but is blocked by wire mesh from having conjugal relations with her. Cameras are trained on the scene for hours a day.




When zoos really matter – how we protected the last porpoises
I’m all for action and less for loose talk. I think I share this with a majority of the public, and that is a good reason for zoos to really step up the game when it comes to conservation efforts.

Saving a healthy gene pool of animal population in zoos and aquaria is vital for the existence of the zoo community, and in a longer perspective also important for species on the brink of extinction.

But zoos can’t just stand and wait until the tigers have vanished from the forests of Asia before taking action. We have to take action now to prevent it from happening. In my zoo we have put a lot of focus on inspiring young people to live sustainable and to have a respect for nature, that is a long term work. But we have also seen that we have to take direct action in cases where our knowledge, research and experience is needed to save an endangered species or population.

This is the story of SAMBAH. Kolmårdens largest success in conservation, ever.

SAMBAH (Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour porpoise) was first initiated in 2008. It is sprung from two main causes:

Nobody knew how many Harbour Porpoises their were left in the Baltic Sea. What we knew was that the number of sightings of porpoises had decreased drastically during the last years.
We didn’t know were they were, how they moved and w




Julie Scardina – Racing Against Time, The Role Trainers Have Today.
I met Julie Scardina personally this year at the IMATA conference and I asked her what her vision is on our current situations. After a while I discovered that she is making a huge difference in the life of animals around the world. She started at Seaworld 0ver 35 years ago and became an ambassador and educator for all of our animals on this planet. I asked her if she could share her thoughts about conservation and animal training in a guest blog. She is an Inspiring, Motivational individual with a lot of great stories. She just published a new book together with J. Flocken, WildLife Heroes.




Newly Discovered Gecko Escapes Danger Naked and Alive
The fish-scale gecko has a freaky way of eluding danger. When snatched by an attacker, it rips off its scales and skin so it can slip away unscathed. Basically, it streaks to survive.

“It looks like a fish until you grab it, and then it looks like a naked chicken breast,” said Mark D. Scherz, a doctoral candidate at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The torn-away scales reveal the gecko’s pink flesh, and through its translucent tissue you can see its spine and blood vessels. “It’s bizarre, it’s really surprising, and it’s quite uncomfortable when you see them,” he said.

It may seem like a gruesome getaway, but it doesn’t hurt the lizard. It loses its skin and scales with extreme ease and regenerates them in full a few weeks later. The new scales grow in with a different pattern than the previous ones, but other than that are nearly indistinguishable from the orig




Beastly incidents ignite debate over zoos
TWO weeks ago, a tiger in Ningbo Youngor Zoo in Zhejiang Province was shot dead after mauling a father of two who jumped into the beast’s enclosure to dodge an entry fee.

The incident has sparked heated discussions online, with netizens expressing regret over both deaths. Some urged the closure of zoos and the release of the animals back into the wild.

The Asian branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals published a series of posts on Weibo after the Ningbo incident. One described zoos as prisons and said “tigers don’t belong in zoos and wildlife shouldn’t be caged f




San Diego Zoo Polar Bear Contributes to Energetics Research
Tatqiq, a 580-pound polar bear at the San Diego Zoo, is making new strides in her “fitness” training. Animal care staff and scientists at the Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research have been preparing the 17-year-old female to voluntarily take part in a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) project that is studying the energy demands polar bears face in the Arctic—an example of the role that zoos play in conservation science.

This week, biologists from the USGS and University of California, Santa Cruz successfully collected data on Tatqiq’s resting oxygen consumption, in preparation for the next phase of the study: walking on a motorized treadmill. “Collecting oxygen consumption (data) gives us a measure of energy expenditure,” said Anthony Pagano, a wildlife biologist with the USGS. “We can use this information to understand what it costs a polar bear to rest—and what that means in terms of the number of seals they need to catch.” Oxygen levels will be linked to data gathered from a collar-mounted accelerometer, which wo





Rebuttal to article “A better life for animals can be found outside of zoos”
In reference to the article “A Better Life for Animals Can be Found Outside of Zoos,” we would argue where outside?  The writer mentions sanctuaries and conservation centers as better options. The truth is, accredited zoos and aquariums are both sanctuaries and conservation centers.
Webster defines a sanctuary as a place where someone or something is protected and given shelter.  All accredited zoos and aquariums have rigorous welfare and regulatory standards and can point to an excellent record of having healthy, long-lived animals in their care.  We are in the midst of what has been identified as the 6th extinction. The rate of extinction has increased a hundred-fold in the last century with over 18,000+ species




Rhino Bombshell: SA Minister plans to permit trade in horn
In a somewhat bewildering announcement today, South African Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has declared that she plans to permit the trade in rhino horn domestically and, in what looks like a loophole big enough to drive a tractor through, the export internationally of horn for ‘personal purposes’. This after years of repeated attempts by her in court to resist applications by local rhino farmers to trade horn on the domestic market.




Tuatara: Chester Zoo celebrate breeding 'living fossil'
A reptile believed to have pre-dated most species of dinosaur has hatched at Chester Zoo for the first time.
A conservationist has been trying to breed tuatara - which are native to New Zealand - for the last 38 years.
Isolde McGeorge said tuatara, which first appeared 225 million years ago, "really are a living fossil and an evolutionary wonder."
She said she "broke down in tears" when the reptile hatched and that it was an "incredible achievement".
It followed "lots of hard work, lots of stressful moments and lots of tweaking of the conditions", Ms McGeorge added.
See more updates on this and other stories from Merseyside and Cheshire
"Tuatara lived before the dinosaurs and they





James Borrell: Eight reasons why zoos are good for conservation
This summer, a child fell into an enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo with a western lowland gorilla named Harambe, and to protect the child the gorilla was shot. This tragic and much-discussed event rekindled the debate over the role of zoos and aquaria – and much of the coverage was negative.

One would hope that zoos themselves would be proudly showcasing their work, but as I discovered while contributing to an Al Jazeera report on the incident, many are reluctant to speak up due to the barrage of attacks that Cincinnati experienced.

Zoos are not perfect. Should they continue to keep large predators or intelligent primates? Over the next few decades, probably not. Should large new animals be collected from the wild? No, unless there is a compelling case to develop a captive breeding programme.

But are zoos changing and developing? Yes. More than ever, good zoos are aware of their evolving role in conservation and responding to it.

Would I rather have a species in captivity, than not at all? One hundred times, yes.

Here are my eight reasons why zoos are critical to conservation:

1. There are 39 animal species currently listed by the IUCN as Extinct in the Wild. These are species that would have vanish




Trading in extinction: how the pet trade is killing off many animal species
Global biodiversity loss doesn’t just result from the destruction of habitats, or even hunting species for meat. A huge number of species are threatened by trade – both alive as pets or exhibits, or dead for use in medicines.

Though people have become increasingly aware of the threat posed by the trade of high-value species, such as the elephant for ivory, and various animals such as tigers, rhinos and the pangolin for medicine, few realise the risk that the pet trade poses to the future survival of many less well-known species.

On visiting a zoo or pet shop, you may expect that the reptiles and amphibians on show are bred in captivity, but many of these animals may have been imported live. In fact, 92% of the 500,000 live animal shipments between 2000-2006 to the United States (that’s 1,480,000,000 animals) were for the pet trade, and 69% of these originated in Southeast Asia.

These exports are increasing annually from the majority of tropical countries. And without careful regulation, this trade may be disastrous f




CUNY researchers seek to improve welfare in captive birds of prey through olfactory enrichment
For the first time, researchers are exploring ways to improve welfare in captive birds of prey through olfactory enrichment- or using scent cues to alleviate boredom and encourage species-appropriate behavior. A new study appearing in Zoo Biology found that birds of prey, which had learned to associate the presence of food with the scent of peppermint oil, interacted more with peppermint-scented "sham" packages (i.e. without food) than unscented "sham" packages.

The study is a collaboration between Melissa Nelson Slater, psychology doctoral student at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) and Assistant Curator of Animal Husbandry at the Bronx Zoo, and Dr. Mark Hauber, Professor of Psychology in the Animal Behavior and Conservation Program at Hunter College. In the first phase of their experiment, the researchers introduced wrapped food packages scented with peppermint oil into bird of prey exhibits at the Bronx Zoo, so that the birds could l





Zoo Keeper sues Rocky Council for $1.1m after mozzie bite
A FORMER Rockhampton zookeeper says council failed to protect her from the risk of mosquitoes resulting in her contracting two debilitating diseases.

Anita Nicole Green is suing Rockhampton Regional Council for roughly $1.1 million, claiming it should have taken reasonable steps to eradicate mosquitoes from the zoo.

As the 44-year-old woman's employer, the defendant owed a duty of care to "provide adequate and effective personal protective equipment and substances at the zoo to




Probing the Link between Biodiversity-Related Knowledge and Self-Reported Proconservation Behavior in a Global Survey of Zoo Visitors
Many environmental communication interventions are built on the assumption that increased knowledge will lead to changes in proenvironment behaviors. Our study probes the link between biodiversity-related knowledge and self-reported proconservation behavior, based on the largest and most international study of zoo visitors ever conducted. In total, 6,357 visitors to 30 zoos from 19 countries around the globe participated in the study. Biodiversity understanding and knowledge of actions to help protect biodiversity were significantly related, but only 0.6% of the variation in knowledge of actions to help protect biodiversity could be explained by those same respondents’ biodiversity understanding. Biodiversity understanding was only the sixth most important variable in significantly predicting knowledge of actions to help protect biodiversity. Moreover, biodiversity understanding was the least important variable of those that were significantly related to self-reported proconservation behavior. Our study indicates that knowledge is a real, but relatively minor, factor in predicting whether members of the public – zoo visitors in this case – will know about specific proenvironment behaviors they can take, let alone whether they will actually undertake such behaviors.




Henry Doorly Zoo team plays key role in restoring lemur habitat in Madagascar
Halfway around the world, on the developing island of Madagascar, scientists from the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium are establishing one of the largest and most successful reforestation programs of any zoo in the world.

The Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership aims to restore lost habitat — primarily in the form of native trees — for endangered lemurs. After five years, the program planted its 1 millionth tree in December.

“It’s amazing that this has happe




Kulan reintroduction to the Steppe of Central Kazakhstan
A new project, KULANSTEP, aims to repopulate the central steppe of Kazakhstan with kulan. The project will transport kulan from the large population in Altyn Emel National Park in southeastern Kazakhstan to a release site on the ~60,000 km² Torgai steppe, strategically located in a network of protected areas, ecological corridors, and hunting areas.

The long term aim of the project is to greatly increase population size and range of kulan in Central Asia and provide a catalyst for kulan conservation actions across the region.




A new approach to understanding subspecies can boost conservation
Earth is home to an estimated 1 trillion species. To date, only about 1.2 million have been identified and described scientifically. There’s good reason to increase this number. Each species could offer an adaptive, evolutionary solution to the many challenges presented by changing landscapes.

Biological species are often comprised of geographically distinct entities. These are known as subspecies, races or management units.

Taxonomists and phylogeographers armed with this information ought to be able to identify those species with multiple evolutionary “solutions” in progress. These “solutions” should then be catered for to ensure the relevant species can be effectively conserved.

But this approach hasn’t been particularly successful, a




Granddad the Australian lungfish dies at Chicago Shedd Aquarium aged in its mid-90s
An Australian lungfish believed to be the longest-living fish in captivity has died at a Chicago aquarium.

Granddad, who was housed at the Shedd Aquarium, weighed 11 kilograms and was euthanased after showing signs of organ failure.

It is believed he was aged in his late 90s, but Queensland researchers are hoping genetic testing will confirm his actual age.

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



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About me
After more than 48 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 writes about these in his blog http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

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"




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Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant