2006 Briefs :  July - September

Meta-Analytic Review of Stereotypic Behavior in Zoos
July/August

Amanda Shyne of Boston's Northeastern University Psychology Department, has published a meta-analysis of the occurrence of stereotypic behavior exhibited by zoo animals in the journal Zoo Biology. They analysis also identifies which types of enrichment are most effective, which groups of animals benefit the most, and which types of stereotypes are most affected by environmental enrichment. The analysis included 54 studies that yielded 63 effect size statistics. The study concludes that enrichment substantially reduces the frequency of stereotypic behavior by mammals living in zoo environments.


National Zoo Gorilla Dies During Surgery
July 1, 2006 www.washingtonpost.com  By DERRILL HOLLY

WASHINGTON -- Kuja, a 23-year-old male western lowland gorilla at the National Zoo was born at the Memphis Zoo and had been part of a captive breeding program involving several zoos committed to preserving the lowland gorilla. He arrived at the National Zoo in 1985, and died Saturday, July 1, 2006 while a team of National Zoo veterinarians and cardiac surgeons attempted to implant a biventricular pacing/implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a cardiac device that delivers electrical therapy to treat heart rhythm disorders associated with heart failure and cardiac disease. The device synchronizes the rhythm of the heart's ventricles so that the heart pumps more effectively. Kuja, was one of two adult males in the National Zoo's collection of seven western lowland gorillas. While his heart function was normal for his age during a routine physical conducted in late March, members of the zoo staff reported the animal was lethargic and had a poor appetite earlier this month. A June 20 ultrasound showed that Kuja's heart muscle was unable to contract normally, and his heart's pumping capacity had diminished. During the operation "He went into heart failure and we do not yet know the cause of that," said Dr. Suzan Murray, chief veterinarian of the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo.


Panda, Inc
July 2006 www7.nationalgeographic.com

There are only nine pandas in the United States: one at the National Zoo, two at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, two at the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee, and four at southern California's San Diego Zoo, where Bai Yun has had three healthy cubs in the past seven years. Together these 11 animals represent an extraordinary investment of scientific resources-and cash. Hosting giant pandas costs each zoo an average of 2.6 million dollars a year, and that's if no babies arrive. Add a cub, and the budget tops three million dollars. Add two cubs (nearly half of panda pregnancies produce twins), and the tab approaches four million dollars. "Nobody," says David Wildt, head of the National Zoo's reproductive sciences program, "would ever commit this kind of money to any other species." Giant pandas possess the charisma. The National Zoo's Internet panda cams, which follow the daily activities of Tai Shan and his mom, draw an average of two million online visits a month. In the first three months that Tai Shan was on public display, visits to the zoo jumped by as much as 50 percent over prior years. Don Lindburg, head of the San Diego Zoo's giant panda program, has an answer. Hosting pandas isn't about boosting revenues, or institutional prestige, or visitor numbers. "Our pandas are valuable because they create a reason for a relationship with China. They open doors and give us access to what's happening with pandas in the field." Lindburg's mightiest ambassador has probably been Hua Mei, oldest daughter of San Diego panda matriarch, Bai Yun. Born in 1999, Hua Mei was the first surviving panda cub bred in the U.S. In 2004 she was recalled by China to her mother's birthplace-the giant panda research center in Sichuan Province's Wolong Nature Reserve-where she promptly got pregnant and delivered twins. Hua Mei produced a second pair of baby pandas in 2005. And she wasn't alone. Last summer Wolong was at the center of an unprecedented captive-panda population explosion: 11 females there (including Hua Mei) gave birth to 16 cubs. More stunning than the number of births was the survival rate, even of the twins: 100 percent. "Ten years ago the infant mortality rate for babies hand-reared in Wolong's nursery was 100 percent," Don Lindburg says. When a wild female panda gives birth to twins, she typically cares for one and abandons the other to die. For twins born in captivity, human caretakers would try to save the rejected newborn, but almost always failed. "Those cubs were getting a dog-milk formula," Lindburg says, until a San Diego Zoo nutritionist came up with a replacement formula that more closely mimics the high-fat milk nursing pandas get from their mothers. Wolong staff also boosted their survival rate by "twin swapping," which alternates babies between mother's care and nursery tending. Even though pandas don't usually raise two offspring at once, new mothers seem willing to accept both cubs-with a little help from human nannies.


Science Center Monitors Indian Zoos
July 2, 2006 cities.expressindia.com By Gopal Sathe

New Delhi -- In an attempt to scientifically and technically upgrade zoos across the country, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is encouraging research projects from all zoos, with the release of grants of Rs 2 lakh per annum to each zoo for up to three years. The CZA has also decided to establish a Zoological Science Centre at Delhi Zoo to oversee and coordinate the scientific policy, management and research in zoos across India. B R Sharma, the CZA member-secretary, said: "We lack enough technical staff, and cannot recruit them directly in zoos, so there has been no real progress in basic and applied research in the field of ex-situ conservation. All zoos around the country - large, medium and small - will be eligible for the grant and can appoint post-graduates in Wildlife Science, Veterinary Science, Zoology and Botany to work on research projects."


Bannerghatta National Park Expands
July 2, 2006 www.hindu.com 

Bangalore, India -- The Bannerghatta National Park has now been designated a biological park. It has a zoo area of about 40 acres, with a mini zoo, bird enclosures and lion and tiger safari parks. The zoo will be expanded to 100 acres. The entire park area, mostly forested hills, is spread across 1,800 acres, and has wandering elephant herds and other animals. The Zoo Authority of Karnataka, with financial assistance from the Union Department of Biotechnology, plans to spend Rs. 20 crore to bring the biological park to international standards. Inputs for the upgrade plans are known to have come from an internationally reputed expert in zoo design and management, Bernard Harrison, who is based in Singapore. He emphasizes the scientific aspects of the needs of animals in captivity. The master plan for the development of the wildlife park, designates that only 33 per cent of enclosures should be visible to visitors. The remaining area should be landscaped to provide privacy for animals in near-natural settings. This will also help in captive breeding programs.


Bird Extinction Rate is Up
July 3, 2006 www.newscientist.com  By Gaia Vince

New research carried out by Peter Raven and colleagues at the Missouri Botanical Garden suggests that the bird extinction rate is now four times higher than traditional estimates.  Furthermore, the analysis predicts that by the end of the century the rate will accelerate to 10 extinctions per year, meaning the loss of 12% of all 10,000 known bird species. By the year 2100, Raven adds, "we will see total homogenisation - an end to regional diversity. The same few bird species will be seen everywhere, whether they are native or not". Before human activities began to impact on bird survival, the extinction rate would have been about one every 100 years: the natural evolution of at least one bird species per century, Raven says. Raven's team compiled the first comprehensive list of all bird species past and present and recalculated the extinction rates. The list is published in the appendices accompanying their paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


China Offers Hungry Elephants Food
July 03, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

BEIJING - Chinese officials hope to lure hungry wild elephants away from farmland by planting banana and sugarcane plantations several kilometers from villages to keep animals away from farmers. So far, 70 ha (170 acres) have been set aside. Last year three villagers were killed by elephants around nature reserves in Xishuangbanna in the southwest province of Yunnan, Xinhua news agency reported. Crops belonging to 12,000 families were also destroyed. Twenty years ago, Xishuangbanna had only 80 wild elephants compared to some 300 today. In April, the Yunnan province government set aside 4 million yuan ($500,000) to compensate farmers for crops lost to hungry elephants, Xinhua said. So far the experiment has had mixed results.


Critical Habitat for Yellow-Legged Frog
July 3, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register V71 #127

The USFWS has announced the reopening of the public comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the southern California distinct vertebrate population segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa), and the availability of a draft economic analysis of the proposed designation of critical habitat. The draft economic analysis estimates the potential total future impacts, including costs resulting from modifications to fishing and other types of activities, to range from $11.4 million to $12.9 million (undiscounted) over 20 years. Discounted future costs are estimated to be $7.5 million to $8.9 million over this same time period ($704,000 to $842,000 annually) using a real rate of seven percent, or $9.3 million to $10.8 million ($626,000 to $725,000 annually) using a real rate of three percent. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed rule and the associated draft economic analysis. Comments previously submitted on the proposed rule need not be resubmitted as they have already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in our final determination. Public comments and information will be accepted until July 24, 2006 at Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011 or e-mail: FW1CFWO_MYLFPCH@fws.gov 
For directions on how to submit e-mail comments, see the "Public Comments Solicited'' section. Further information may be obtained from Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 760/431-9440


Ecology of the Dodo Revealed
July 4, 2006 www.nytimes.com

The dodo became extinct at the end of the 1600's, less than two centuries after Europeans arrived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The Mauritius formed only about eight million years ago, and no one knows where the dodo's ancestors came from, but once they arrived on the island, dodos followed the same evolutionary path that other birds have taken on other islands. They became stocky and flightless as they adapted to feeding on plants. Now, thanks to the discovery of a large dodo graveyard found by Dr. Rijsdijk and Frans Bunnik, of the Geological Survey of the Netherlands, answers about their ecology may be forthcoming. The researchers went to Mauritius in October 2005 looking for deposits of deep, undisturbed soil that might have preserved centuries of pollen grains and other vegetation, so they could reconstruct the environmental history of Mauritius for the last thousand years. Their last visit was to a sugar plantation where isolated dodo bones were found in 1865. The bones had been found in a swamp called Mare aux Songes, but their precise location was never recorded. The manager of the plantation showed the scientists some test drilling cores that had been made in the 1990's that were rich in organic matter. In June, a team of international scientists were brought to the site, where they began to pull out a wealth of fossils. The seven-acre tract is packed with dodo bones, some possibly belonging to chicks. The haul includes bones from two giant tortoise species, a giant lizard called a skink, a fruit bat, an owl, a rail and many other smaller birds.


Etiology of Amphibian Fungus
July 4, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By MURRAY CARPENTER

ORONO, Me. -Joyce Longcore from the U. of Maine first described a fungus that has been killing amphibians worldwide 9 years ago. The fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has been implicated in amphibian deaths from Arizona to Australia and is present at sublethal levels in frogs all across Maine, and probably throughout the Northeast. Dr. Longcore had already discovered several species in the chytrid phylum when a mysterious fungus started killing captive blue poison dart frogs at the National Zoo in Washington. Biologists at the zoo suspected an aquatic fungus, so they found Dr. Longcore through a Web search and mailed her a tissue sample. She isolated the fungus, named it (batracho is Latin for frog; dendrobatid is the family of poison dart frogs), and her formerly obscure field started getting more attention. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis - often simply called the chytrid fungus or frog fungus - is the only chytrid known to cause disease in vertebrates.


Pied tamarins Born at Belfast Zoo
July 4, 2006 news.bbc.co.uk

Alex and Charlie, two critically endangered pied tamarins are doing well. They were born to dad Rickety-Rick and mum Molly. Only seven zoos worldwide have pied tamarins in captivity and the majority of those in European zoos were originally bred in Jersey. The head-body length of pied tamarins ranges from 21 to 28 cm, with the tail up to 33 to 42 cm long. In the wild, the animals forage for food including insects, ripe fruits, gum, and nectar. The World Conservation Union has reclassified pied tamarins, which come from the Amazon region of Brazil, from endangered to critically endangered.


Second Gorilla Dies at National Zoo
July 4, 2006 www.washingtonpost.com  By Martin Weil

A 34-year-old male gorilla collapsed and died yesterday at the National Zoo. The 460-pound M'geni Mopaya, known as "Mopie," was being introduced to the family group of gorillas that had been headed by Kuja, who died Saturday as surgeons tried to implant a device similar to a pacemaker to improve his failing heart. Gorilla groupings without males tend to experience social problems, and Mopje was expected to fill Kuja's void. The 34-year-old Mopie, had been born at the zoo, and frequently sat near the glass wall at the front of his enclosure, making eye contact with visitors. The Zoo knew he had cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that is a leading cause of death among captive male gorillas, but didn't believe it was serious as he showed no sign of listlessness or other symptoms. The zoo's surviving male gorillas are brothers Kwame, 6, and Kojo, 4.


Bald Eagles Recover
July 4, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By Michael Cowden, AP

According to the USFWS, since the mid-1960s, the number of bald eagles in the continental U.S. has increased tenfold to over 7,000. Pennsylvania had only 3 breeding pairs and 12 eaglets in 1983 when conservation measures were instituted. Today there are more than 100 nests in the state. Florida has about 1,133 breeding pairs, and. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Washington each have more than 500 breeding pairs. Alaska has about 100,000 bald eagles, more than 90 percent of the nation's population, said Jody Millar, coordinator of the Fish and Wildlife Service's bald eagle recovery program. Vermont remains the only state in the continental United States without a successful breeding pair of bald eagles. A bald eagle couple hatched an eaglet earlier this year along the Connecticut River, but the young eagle later died. An active restoration project under way in Addison County is releasing young eagles into the wild hoping that when the birds mature they will raise young in the state.


The L.A. Zoo's Plant Collection
July 4, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Evan Henerson

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens recently acquired 94 rare cycads. Capable of bringing as much as $100,000 from black-market collectors, they are in a holding area of the zoo's nursery, awaiting planting. Nearly 1,000 were seized in an international sting following a two-year investigation. The University of California at Berkeley got the majority of them. The curator of the zoo's reptiles knew someone with the USFWS who was involved in the sting and was able to secure them because of the zoo's growing reputation as a caretaker of smuggled or seized plants. "We'll be developing a primitive forest display (using the cycads)," says Janica Jones, the zoo's horticulturist. "It's good timing for us that we're able to do this." Two years ago, the zoo's plants received an accreditation - as did the animals - from the American Association of Museums, the only entity that accredits botanical gardens. The institution went through hoops to have it done, and it demonstrates a commitment to flora as well as fauna, according to Lewis. "It's a pretty loud statement on our part that this is one of our priorities," says Lewis, "more than from the standpoint of what the accreditation gives us access to."


Calgary Gorillas Move to Granby
July 5, 2006 www.canada.com

CALGARY - Three male western lowland gorillas -- N'sabi, 10, Jawara, 8, and Zwalani, 6 - are being moved from the Calgary Zoo to the Granby Zoo. Zookeeper Garth Irvine explained that the physically mature N'sabi, was trying to mate with of the females, and his father, silverback leader Kakinga kicked him out of the troop. Conflicts between troop silverbacks and maturing males occur in the wild and in captivity, and young males often form bachelor groups until they can lead their own troops. Because bachelor troops work best with males that have grown up together, all three brothers will be moving to Granby on Thursday.


2,000 Soy Pandas for National Zoo
July 5, 2006 www.azcentral.com  By Betty Beard

The South West Trading Co., based in Tempe, AZ has won a contract to make 2,000 toy pandas out of a soy fiber for the National Zoo. For several years, the company has been making fibers and clothes out of soy, corn, bamboo and other plants. It recently got into the business of making plush toys out of Soysilk, its trademarked fiber made of leftover soybeans after the manufacture of tofu. The residue is made into a liquid batter, cooked and spun into spaghetti-type fibers. Tofu Bear, Soynia Bunny and Little Edamame bear were introduced at the American International Toy Fair 2006 this year in New York City. They are for sale at tofubear.com. Jonelle Raffino, a co-owner of the firm says she is working on designs for a tiger and Asian elephant as well, and hope to do a whole series of animals for the zoo. The plush, foot-high pandas were shipped out Friday and will go on sale beginning Sunday to commemorate the first birthday of panda cub Tai Shan. The toys pandas will be sold exclusively by FONZ at National Zoo gift shops and at its online store at store.fonz.org. They will sell for $34.99


Baby Takin at Cincinnati Zoo
July 5, 2006 www.wcpo.com

Last month a baby takin named Mulan, was born at the Cincinnati Zoo. Only 12 zoos in the U.S. exhibit takins and Mulan is only the third successful takin birth at Cincinnati. The animals are on exhibit in the zoo's Wildlife Canyon.


Possible $1 billion Complex at Miami Zoo
July 5, 2006 www.miamitodaynews.com  By Charlotte Libov

Miami-Dade commissioners will consider a package of three ordinances July 6, to speed creation of a $1 billion entertainment district on 740 acres owned by the county at MetroZoo. The complex would include a water park, a ride-themed adventure park and resorts. Proceeds from the entertainment district would help fund the zoo's expansion, Mr. Gregg said. "What the county is concerned about is the future sustainability of the zoo. So as the zoo grows, there is going to need to be additional operating revenues. And the whole concept behind the compatible attractions is that the net revenue from these attractions would go directly to the zoo." A private developer is needed to design, build, operate and maintain the attraction, said Mr. Moss, because "we're not in the water-park business. We want to provide an opportunity for a brand-name water-park developer who does this all over the country to develop a water park on this location." The county expects park attendance of 2.5 million a year, five times the average 500,000 who annually attend the zoo. Construction is estimated at $22 million, with annual operating impact at $28.6 million, creating 1,654 permanent jobs.


Kenya, Australia Suspend Wildlife Trade
July 5, 2006 news.google.com

Kenya and Australia have halted controversial wildlife deals with Thailand. A Nairobi court has blocked the Kenyan Government's plan to export animals to Thailand pending the hearing of a case filed by a local NGO, and Australian zoos have held up delivery of four koalas here after the transfer of eight Thai elephants to the country was blocked by protesters. Local activists prevented the elephants from leaving a facility near Kanchanaburi a month ago. They suspect some of the elephants were born in the wild and want DNA checks to ensure they really are captive-bred. However the government has rejected this. The activists also fear the elephants would suffer in their new homes at Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo and Melbourne Zoo, partly because of the colder climate.


Elephant slaughter continues
July 5, 2006 www.politics.co.uk

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- More than two tons of elephant ivory - 350 African elephant tusks - was seized yesterday by Taiwan custom officers according to news agency sources (1); revealing a thriving black market trade that conservationists fear threatens the future survival of the species. The illegal ivory - representing at least 175 dead elephants, and valued at more than US$3 million - was found in two shipments enroute from Tanzania to Manilla, Phillipines. Customs officers reported that the raw tusks still had traces of blood on them, and said the difference in sizes indicated the ivory came from both young and old elephants (2). Officials also believe that this could be the largest illegal shipment of ivory found on the island, since 2000 when 332 tusks were uncovered. This seizure comes less than one month after Hong Kong officials uncovered an illegal shipment of 600 ivory tusks, thought to be from Cameroon. Incidences of poaching and ivory seizure have been on the increase since 2002, when the U.N. Convention on International trade in Endangered Species (CITES) proposed to reopen the international ivory trade with a second one-off sale of 60 tons of stockpiled ivory from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.


Bird Flu May Have Entered Nigeria 3 Times
July 5, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) -- New findings reported in the journal Nature reveal that the H5N1 virus entered Nigeria at least 3 times, but doesn't reveal whether the virus was delivered by migratory birds or by imported or smuggled birds. ''We think the most likely explanation is that it came by migratory birds, but we can't exclude the other possibilities,'' said Albert Osterhaus of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, an author of the paper. The paper says Nigeria has many bird sanctuaries along two migratory flight paths that connect with southern Russia, Europe and western Asia. It's not clear which species of migratory birds might have been involved in possibly transporting the virus, Osterhaus said. For the Nature study, researchers compared the genetic makeup of H5N1 virus samples from northern Nigeria and from two farms in southwest Nigeria. They found distinct strains that differed so much from each other that they probably did not all arise within Nigeria, Osterhaus said. Instead, the diversity suggests that three different strains entered Nigeria independently, though it's impossible to tell where they came from, he said. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo who didn't take part in the study, said the researchers make a good case for three different introductions of the virus. That's a surprise, because ordinarily one would expect the virus to enter just once and then diversify within a country, he said.


630 Smuggled Turtles Rescued
July 5, 2006 news.yahoo.com

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Singapore authorities have rescued 630 Asian Softshell turtles smuggled from Indonesia and destined for cooking pots. The endangered turtles, worth about 50,000 dollars, were smuggled in a boat that arrived at a fish port here on Friday from Indonesia's Riau province. Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) officers, acting on a tip-off, boarded the boat and found the turtles, but 25 were already dead. It was the second mass seizure of smuggled turtles in Singapore since last month when 2,520 Asian Box Turtles were intercepted also on a boat that arrived from Indonesia, according to the statement.. A 35-year-old Singaporean man believed to have imported the Asian Softshell Turtles was arrested and will be charged under legislation covering the illegal trade of endangered species that came into effect in March. He faces a fine of up to 500,000 Singapore dollars (316,000 US) and a maximum jail term of two years on conviction, the non-government group TRAFFIC Southeast Asia said in a statement.


New Bird Extinction Study
July 5, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

DURHAM, N.C. -- Human activities have caused some 500 bird species worldwide to go extinct over the past five millennia, and 21st-century extinction rates likely will accelerate to approximately 10 additional species per year unless societies take action to reverse the trend, according to a new report authored by Stuart Pimm and Peter Raven in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 3-7, 2006. The new assessment considerably exceeds previous scientific estimates that 154 bird types disappeared during that past 500 years, according to the researchers. One factor contributing to such large differences in estimates is that "more than half of the known species of birds were not discovered until after 1850.. "One can't register a bird as extinct if it was not known to exist in the first place." According to Pimm, as recently as 1815 scientists were aware of only about 5 percent of the world's birds. "The reality is that scientists did not know about most remaining bird species until about 1845 or 1850." Of the 9,775 known species of birds, "an estimated additional 25 would have gone extinct during the past 30 years if it were not for human intervention," Raven said.  Despite conservation efforts, "some 1,200 more species are likely to disappear during the 21st century," he warned. "An equal number are so rare that they will need special protection or likely will go extinct, too." The forecast may be even bleaker for other types of animals.


Turtle Independence Day
July 5, 2006 www.nytimes.com

KOHALA COAST, Hawaii (AP) -- Since 1989, Oahu's Sea Life Park has been raising young sea turtles in ponds and, once they reach the age of 2 or 3, setting them free on July 4. The event includes educational booths, games, food and a special appearance by a Teenage Ninja Turtle.  Dr. Renato Lenzi, general manager at Sea Life Park, said the annual event is an important step in raising awareness and educating people about the endangered green sea turtle. ''Remember, they are messengers,'' he told the crowd. ''This delicate environment needs our help. Now, everyday is Fourth of July for these turtles.'' A generation ago, green sea turtles were hunted for sport and restaurant dinner menus. But in 1978, the turtle was added to the federal endangered species list, making it a crime to kill or harass them. While the number of green sea turtles is rebounding, Lenzi said the task in not complete. Mauna Lani has nurtured more than 100 turtles before releasing them into the ocean. Prior to July 4, the turtles undergo a veterinary check and are fitted with a microchip and external identification tag. The resort also hosts hundreds of school children each year through its cultural and marine programs. Mauna Lani Resort cultural programs: www.maunalaniculture.org  Sea Life Park: www.sealifeparkhawaii.com  .


Bushmeat in Europe and North America
July 5, 2006 www.eurekalert.org  By Susan Brown

Meat from wild primates killed in Africa is landing on dinner plates in North America and western Europe. Offered for sale in clandestine markets from Los Angeles to Paris, primates make up nearly a third of the illegal international trade in bushmeat, according to a survey of markets in seven cities. Rumors of such markets have been around for years, says wildlife biologist Justin Brashares of the University of California, Berkeley. Confirmation came from a chance encounter with a taxi driver from Ghana two years ago. When asked if he missed eating bushmeat, the driver said, "I don't, really." He then offered to show Brashares a market in a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, where bushmeat is sold. Starting with his initial contact, Brashares has recruited 15 volunteers, expatriates from west Africa to visit illegal markets in Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Montreal, Toronto and Chicago. A market in Los Angeles has just been added to the list. Two volunteers separately recorded the amount of bushmeat for sale at one sample location in each city. Just over 6000 kilograms of meat moves through these seven markets each month, Brashares told the Society for Conservation Biology when it met in San Jose, California, on 28 June. This probably underestimates the international trade, itself only a tiny fraction of the wild meat hunted in Africa, most of which is eaten locally. Primate meat makes up a larger share of what is sold overseas compared with markets in west and central Africa.


Indonesia's Komodo National Park
July 5, 2006 www.latimes.com  By Richard C. Paddock

KOMODO, Indonesia - Mohammed Sidik used to sell goats to Komodo National Park to feed to the wild Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizards, in a gory display for tourists. Park officials banned the practice a decade ago because they worried that the dragons were becoming lazy. Now the 10-foot-long predators waddle three miles to this squalid coastal village, raid Sidik's herd and eat his goats for free. "For the last two years they have been coming to the village," said Sidik, 60, who has lost seven animals to the dragons. "When they get thirsty, they come down to our well. The park no longer feeds goats to the dragons, so now the dragons come here." The dragons' visits highlight how things have gone in Komodo National Park since its founding in 1980: great for dragons, not so great for people (and still not good for goats). The park, about 300 miles east of Bali, is one of the few places in Indonesia where people are scarce. It is also one of the few places in the country where the need to protect nature has been placed above the economic interests of people. The result is a park that is pristine and well-protected, a rare species that appears to be thriving, a place where damaged coral reefs are making a comeback and the human population lives in squalor.


Tai Shan's Birthday Celebration
July 6, 2006 fredericksburg.com By MICHAEL ZITZ

Tai Shan will celebrate his first birthday this Sunday at the National zoo. He'll receive a fruitsicle prepared by zoo nutritionists, a new soccer ball and a baby pool filled with water. Animal Planet will re-air "A Panda Is Born"--the story of Tai Shan's birth at the National Zoo--Sunday night at 10. And for the past month, two Washington restaurants, Poste Moderne Brasserie and the Four Seasons Hotel, have been serving black-and-white desserts in his honor. Sunday, each zoo visitor will receive a special goodie bag, learn all about the cub's first year, and be able to have their picture taken with characters dressed in panda costumes. "The birth of Tai Shan--having him arrive after decades of trying to have a healthy, surviving [panda] cub, has been a huge victory for the zoo," said John Gibbons, a National Zoo spokesman. "And that victory shows itself through a large increase to zoo visitation, a spike in the number of [Friends of the National Zoo] memberships and a spike we've had in donations, as well." More than 1 million people have come to see Tai Shan, and 21 million worldwide have watched the cub on the zoo Web site's panda cam. "The webcam was maxed-out on a daily basis, and when we made [free] tickets available to the public, 13,000 were taken in less than two hours," he said.


Little Rock Zoo's New Giraffe from San Diego
July 6, 2006 www.todaysthv.com

The Little Rock Zoo announced yesterday that it has acquired a new male giraffe -- which has not yet been named -- from the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The new arrival will joing five-year-old Jigsaw who has been living alone since the death of his father, Barney. The elder giraffe died earlier this year from a digestive condition known as "frothy bloat," which caused him to fall over and die. The new giraffe, which is eleven-and-a-half feet tall and weighs more than a thousand pounds, is now in quarantine at the zoo. It is expected to be on exhibit later this summer.


Okapi Breeding Program
July 6, 2006 www.dallasnews.com  By KATIE MENZER

Okapi's come from the rainforest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and weren't discovered by Western scientists until 1901. Ann Petric, mammal curator at Illinois' Brookfield Zoo is a leader in okapi research, and the Dallas Zoo's curator of conservation, education and science, Cynthia Bennett, is an author of a book on okapis. They both participate in the Okapi Species Survival Plan through the American Zoo and Aquarium. The plan involves 24 institutions, including the Dallas Zoo, that share research and promote breeding to help ensure the survival of the species. There are now 86 okapis in zoos in the U.S. and Japan, up from 14 in 1981 when the plan was started. About 20 percent of the okapis in captivity in the U.S. and Japan came from the Dallas Zoo or are their offspring. 6-month-old Damisi - which means "cheerful" in Swahili - is the newest addition to the Dallas Zoo. She and her mother join five other females at the zoo, although only four of them are of breeding age. Niko is Dallas' male, although one more is on loan to another zoo.


Canada, Mexico, U.S. Agree to Protect Butterflies
July 06, 2006 www.enn.com  By Maggie Fox, Reuters

WASHINGTON - Wildlife officials in Mexico, the United States and Canada have agreed to work together to protect the Monarch butterfly. Each fall, millions of monarchs leave eastern Canada and the United States and fly distances of 2,800 miles and more to the oyamel fir forests of Mexico's Sierra Madre Mountains for the winter. Monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains migrate south to eucalyptus groves in southern California. Officials from the USFWS, the National Park Service, Canada's Wildlife Service and Parks Agency and Mexico's Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources have designated 13 wildlife preserves as protected areas, the Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday. The "Trilateral Monarch Butterfly Sister Protected Area Network" will develop international projects to preserve and restore breeding, migration and winter habitat for the orange and black butterflies. The informal agreement will not require any legislation.


Nature Conservancy Buys Fishing Rights
July 6, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By AP

The Nature Conservancy, best known for buying development rights from farmers, is now planning to make similar deals with fishermen along the coast in a pilot program that could be repeated elsewhere. The group has bought six federal trawling permits and four trawling vessels from fishermen in Morro Bay, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The tactic is designed to reward fishermen for not using fishing methods that can damage sensitive marine ecosystems. Financial details weren't disclosed, but each fisherman received ''several hundred thousand dollars a piece,'' said Chuck Cook, director of the group's California coastal and marine program. Rather than punishing fishermen, Cook said, ''you try to provide economic incentives for treating the habitats and fisheries well.'' Regulators on the West Coast do not issue any of the permits and are working to decrease their number, said Brian Gorman, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency that monitors U.S. fisheries. Fishermen can only acquire permits by buying from another fisherman. Bottom trawlers draw large, weighted nets across the sea bed to collect groundfish. Prized California species include seafood staples like black cod, flounder, and Dover sole. The practice can damage sensitive habitats by crushing and burying large swaths of coral, rocky reefs, and other habitat vital to undersea life, according to a 2002 National Academy of Sciences study.


NOAA Announces Recovery Plan for Fin Whale
July 6, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register Vol 71 (129)

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the availability for public review of the draft updated Recovery Plan (Plan) for the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus). NMFS is soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested parties on the Plan, and will consider all substantive comments received during the review period before submitting the Plan for final approval. Comments on the draft Plan must be received by September 5, 2006. Send comments at finwhale.recoveryplan@noaa.go  include in the subject line the following document identifier: Fin Whale Recovery Plan. For further information contact Monica DeAngelis, (562-980-3232) NMFS provided a contract for preparation of a draft Recovery Plan for fin and sei (Balaenoptera borealis) whales that was released for public comment and review in 1998 (63 FR 41802). The draft Recovery Plan for the fin and sei whale was never finalized. NMFS has since determined that the recovery plans for the fin and sei whales should be separated. This Plan updates the 1998 Recovery Plan's information for the fin whale and discusses the natural history, current status, and the known and potential human impacts to fin whales. Actions needed to promote the recovery of this species are identified and discussed. The Plan will be used to direct U.S. activities, and to encourage international cooperation to promote the recovery of this endangered species. NMFS' goal is to restore endangered fin whale populations to the point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their ecosystems, and no longer need the protections of the ESA. NMFS will consider all substantive comments and information presented during the public comment period in the course of finalizing this Plan.


Critical Habitat for the Northern Right Whale in the Pacific Ocean
July 6, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register Vol 71 (129)

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), is revising the current critical habitat for the northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) by designating additional areas within the North Pacific Ocean. Two specific areas are designated, one in the Gulf of Alaska and another in the Bering Sea, comprising a total of approximately 95,200 square kilometers (36,750 square miles) of
marine habitat. As described in the impacts analysis prepared for this action, we considered the economic impacts, impacts to national security, and other relevant impacts and concluded that the benefits of exclusion of any area from the critical habitat designation do not outweigh the benefits of inclusion. This rule becomes effective August 7, 2006. The final rule, maps,
and other materials relating to this proposal can be found on the NMFS Alaska Region website at www.fakr.noaa.gov


Lesser Spot-Nose Guenon Born At San Diego Zoo
July 6, 2006 www.nbcsandiego.com

SAN DIEGO -- The first baby monkey born in the San Diego Zoo's new multi-million dollar habitat is a rare breed known as a lesser spot-noses guenon. The youngster, born was born in mid-May, and has become more visible recently as it learns to climb and explore the Monkey Trails habitat. The newborn's gender has not yet been determined and it has not been named. Lesser spot-nosed guenons share their habitat with the black mangabeys, a rare primate from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both species are threatened in the wild by the rapid deforestation and illegal bushmeat trade. The baby's father, Lester, had been a victim of the exotic pet trade in the U.S. before the San Diego Zoo adopted him in 1996.


WCS Introduces "Tigers Forever" Plan
July 6, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

New York (July 6, 2006) -- The Wildlife Conservation Society has launched an ambitious new program that calls for a 50 percent increase in tiger numbers in key areas over the next decade, according to an article in this week's journal Nature. The new initiative, called "Tigers Forever," blends a business model with hard science, and has already attracted the attention of venture capitalists who have pledged an initial $10 million to support it. The program involves a dozen WCS field sites where an estimated 800 tigers currently reside. Building on WCS successes in places like India's Nagarahole National Park and the Russian Far East where tiger numbers have rebounded, the new plan says that tigers can grow to an approximately 1,200 individuals across these sites. The total population for tigers remains a mystery, though some scientists believe that perhaps 3-000-5,000 remain in the wild. Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, who directs WCS big cat programs, notes that this kind of accountability with specific numbers over a specific time period, is a new concept for conservationists. "We're putting our reputations on the line and holding ourselves accountable that we can grow tiger numbers," said Rabinowitz. "At the same time, we have the knowledge, expertise and track record to accomplish this goal."


Top five science blogs
July 6, 2006 www.nature.com  By Declan Butler

Weblogs written by scientists are relatively rare, but some of them are proving popular. Out of 46.7 million blogs indexed by the Technorati blog search engine, five scientists' sites make it into the top 3,500.

179th: scienceblogs.com/pharyngula  Paul Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris, puts his top rank down to "tapping into the broader areas of liberal politics and atheism" and a rich vein of "resentment against the reactionary religious nature of American culture".
1,647th: www.pandasthumb.org  Being a group blog is key, says contributor Jack Krebs, president of Kansas Citizens for Science. "We have some of the most well-informed observers and critics of the 'intelligent design' and creationist movements."
1,884th: www.realclimate.org  Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist who blogs at RealClimate, puts its success down to the hot topic and expert contributors. The blog fills "a hunger for raw but accessible information" that goes deeper than newspaper articles, but is more easily understood than the scientific literature.
2,174th: cosmicvariance.com  Frequent posting of original content is crucial to building an audience, says Sean Carroll at Cosmic Variance, which is produced by five physicists. But taking "stances that are provocative and make people think" also helps
3,429th: scienceblogs.com/scientificactivist  Nick Anthis, who only began blogging in January, knows the reason for his site's swift rise to fame. During a political censorship row at NASA in February, Anthis was the first to reveal that a key official had lied about graduating from Texas A&M University.


Retroviral invasion of the koala genome
July 6, 2006 www.nature.com

Authors Rachael E. Tarlinton, Joanne Meers and Paul R. Young report in the journal Nature, that endogenous retroviruses are a common ancestral feature of mammalian genomes with most having been inactivated over time through mutation and deletion. A group of more intact endogenous retroviruses are considered to have entered the genomes of some species more recently, through infection by exogenous viruses, but this event has never been directly proved. We have previously reported koala retrovirus (KoRV) to be a functional virus that is associated with neoplasia3. Here we show that KoRV also shows features of a recently inserted endogenous retrovirus that is vertically transmitted. The finding that some isolated koala populations have not yet incorporated KoRV into their genomes, combined with its high level of activity and variability in individual koalas, suggests that KoRV is a virus in transition between an exogenous and endogenous element. This ongoing dynamic interaction with a wild species provides an exciting opportunity to study the process and consequences of retroviral endogenization in action, and is an attractive model for studying the evolutionary event in which a retrovirus invades a mammalian genome.


CI Has a New Ecotourism Partner
July 6, 2006 www.sciencedaily.com

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S.-based Conservation International plans to provide small ecotourism operators a mechanism to market and promote their destinations. Their new partnership with responsibletravel.com is aimed at improving market access for ecotourism enterprises around the world. Responsibletravel.com was established in for travelers who want vacations that benefit the environment and local people. In order for small ecotourism sites to succeed, they need to attract tourists, Neel Inamdar, Conservation International's ecotourism adviser said, noting more interest from consumers and tour operators means additional creation of ecotourism sites and better conservation of the world's biodiversity hotspots. The biodiversity hotspots are 34 regions worldwide where 75 percent of the planet's most threatened mammals, birds and amphibians survive within habitat covering just 2.3 percent of the Earth's surface. That habitat originally covered 15.7 percent of the Earth's surface. Conservation International said new hotspot analysis shows an estimated 50 percent of all vascular plants and 42 percent of terrestrial vertebrates exist only in the 34 hotspots. Responsibletravel.com is an on-line travel agent based in Brighton, England.


Recovery Plan for the Sperm Whale
July 6, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register Vol 71 (129)]

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the availability for public review of the draft Recovery Plan (Plan) for the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Interested persons may obtain the Plan for review on-line from www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr  NMFS is soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested parties on the Plan, and will consider all substantive comments received during the review period before submitting the Plan for final approval. Comments on the draft Plan must be received by September 5, 2006. Send comments to Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources. E-mail: spermwhale.recoveryplan@noaa.gov  , include in the subject line the following document identifier: Sperm Whale Recovery Plan.


Oregon Zoo Releases Western Pond Turtles
July 7, 2006 www.statesmanjournal.com

The Oregon Zoo will release 58 endangered western pond turtles into the Columbia River Gorge in the coming week. The turtles were hatched in the zoo's Cascade Streams exhibit, where they have spent the nine months growing large enough to avoid being eaten by non-native bullfrogs and large-mouth bass -- threats that have decimated the species in the wild. Some of the juvenile turtles will be equipped with radio transmitters so biologists can learn more about post-release dispersal, habitat use during active and hibernation periods and their survival rate. Scientists tracking the released turtles estimate that 95 percent of the turtles released back to the Columbia River Gorge in previous years have survived.


Mesker Park Zoo's Amazonia Exhibit
July 7, 2006 www.fortwayne.com

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Crews have removed at least 200 trees at the city's Mesker Park Zoo to make way for an $11 million Amazonian rain forest exhibit that will include 650 trees and plants typically found in the tropics. The 10,000-square-foot exhibit will include 400 trees outside Amazonia, 100 inside and a new parking lot and zoo entrance shaded by another 150 trees of both hardy tropical varieties and native hardwoods. Many of them are already growing in greenhouses at the zoo. The city's tree advisory board unanimously approved the plan, which follows the city's ordinance of replacing trees at a 2-to-1 ratio, said Charlotte Roesner, zoo marketing director. The zoo's policy is to replace every tree removed on its property with six to eight new ones, McGinn said. The zoo spends $5,000 annually on maintaining its trees.  Construction of Amazonia will take 18 months to two years. It's expected to become the zoo's new centerpiece exhibit with tropical trees, birds, monkeys and a jaguar.


Zoo Atlanta gorilla gives birth
July 7, 2006 www.accessnorthga.com

Sukari, a Zoo Atlanta gorilla gave birth Thursday to the fifth western lowland gorilla born at the zoo in the past eight months. The baby was born while the mother, Sukari, was on exhibit around 3 p.m., and a few zoo visitors who witnessed the birth alerted zoo staff, spokeswoman Susan Elliott said. "It appears average in size and extremely healthy," Elliott said. Gorilla mothers keep babies close to their body, so officials probably won't know the sex for three to five weeks.


Columbus Zoo's 10-Year Plan
July 7, 2006 www.columbusdispatch.com

The Columbus zoo has decided to go without some of its most popular animals for periods rather than display them in conditions that aren't ideal. You won't see polar bears or giraffes there. "Polar bears are very popular, and they've definitely been our No. 1 request to add for a while," said Dusty Lombardi, Living Collection director at the zoo. But their size and taste for colder climates can create challenges for zoos…they don't necessarily like the summer, which is when people come to the zoo." Polar bears should return within a couple of years, after an expansion of the zoo's North American area is completed. Giraffes won't have a home at the zoo until a new African Savannah habitat is completed in 2009 or 2010. Giant pandas were a huge hit at the Columbus Zoo when they came for a four-month visit from China in the early 1990s, but now China loans giant pandas for 10 years at a time, Lombardi said, and charges $1 million a year to cover its own conservation efforts. Jerry Borin, executive director of the Columbus Zoo, said it has enjoyed "wonderful community support" for its plans. Still, he said, such decisions always involve a balancing act between what people desire and what animals need. Columbus just opened Asia Quest and has a 10-year plan to develop more exhibits.


Mass Amphibian Extinctions Predicted
July 7, 2006 www.chicagotribune.com  By John Biemer

50 international amphibian experts are calling for an urgent global intervention to avert the cataclysmic loss of the earth's amphibians. The plea was published in the July 7th edition of the journal Science. Almost a third of the 5,743 known amphibian species worldwide already are threatened by a combination of habitat loss, climate change, pollution, pesticides, ultraviolet radiation and invasive species, with up to 122 having become extinct since 1980. However, scientists believe both figures could be underestimates because they cannot evaluate species quickly enough. The latest, most-pressing threat is a rapidly spreading fungal disease, Chytridiomycosis, which damages the skin and is predicted to wipe out about half the amphibian species within six months of its entering a new ecosystem. "It's unprecedented in terms of the magnitude of the problem, just how many species are being hit," said Bob Lacy, Brookfield (Ill.) Zoo's population geneticist and chairman of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group. "It's unprecedented in the global impact, the sites around the world, and it's unprecedented the speed of it -- species are going extinct very fast."


Condor killed by power line
July 7, 2006 www.montereyherald.com  By KEVIN HOWE

Male Condor No. 376 was hatched on May 3, 2005, at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and was released on June 3 by Ventana Wildlife Society in Big Sur. All released condors are equipped with radio transponders that go off if they remain stationary for more than eight hours, a "mortality switch," and Condor 376's transponder began broadcasting Friday. Searchers took three days to find its remains in heavy brush. "Based on our preliminary examination and location of the body, the presumed cause of death was collision and possibly electrocution," according to Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the society. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had planned to put bird diverters on the same power line this fall, Sorenson said, and had only recently received approval. The diverters are brightly colored plastic mobiles shaped like paddles or spirals that warn the birds that the power lines are present. The diverters will be installed by helicopter Aug. 15 and 16, said PG&E spokesman Jon Tremayne.


Gulf Coast Zoo Will Relocate
July 7, 2006 www.timesdaily.com 

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo will relocate to a nearby 25-acre site in Baldwin County in hopes of avoiding future hurricane damage. Zoo director Patti Hall hosted 267 animals at her Elberta home. Hurricane Ivan's floodwaters in Gulf Shores forced the evacuation of the animals in September 2004. Two more evacuations last year were caused by Hurricanes Dennis and Katrina. In its storm comeback, the zoo became known as "The Little Zoo That Could" in an Animal Planet television feature in February. The property was donated by businessman Clyde Weir and his daughter, Andrea Weir Franklin, owners of the Souvenir City shops in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Hall said Thursday construction could begin next year. "It seems that we've had adventures for the last year and a half, and this is another one that we just grabbed with gusto," Hall said, thanking the Weirs for the donated land, which has a value of more than $1 million. At its present location, the zoo owns about 17 acres between Alabama 59 and the Gulf State Park, but the park's perimeter fence only encloses about 11.5 acres, Hall said.


Global Biodiversity Conservation Priorities
July 7, 2006 www.sciencemag.org  Vol 313 pp 58-61

The location of and threats to biodiversity are unevenly distributed, so prioritization is essential to minimize biodiversity loss. Biodiversity conservation organizations (CI, World Agroforestry Centre, Dept of Environmental Sciences, U of VA, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil, Dept of Zoology, Cambridge, and BirdLife International in Indochina) have proposed nine templates of global priorities over the past decade. Most of the templates prioritize high irreplaceability, but some prioritize high vulnerability and others prioritize low vulnerability. These differences are key to understanding how and why the nine prioritizations differ. Six of the nine templates of global conservation priority incorporate irreplaceability. The most common measure of irreplaceability is plant or bird endemism, often supported by terrestrial vertebrate endemism. The logic for this is that greater the number of endemic species in a region, the more biodiversity is lost if that region is lost (although, in a strict sense, any location with even one endemic species is irreplaceable). In addition to the number of endemic species, other aspects of irreplaceability have been proposed, including taxonomic uniqueness, unusual phenomena, and global rarity of major habitat types, but these remain difficult to quantify. Although species richness within a given area is popularly assumed to be important in prioritization, none of the approaches relies on species richness alone. This is because species richness is driven by common, widespread species; thus, strategies focused on species richness tend to miss exactly those biodiversity features most in need of conservation


Bonobo Language Skills
July 8, 2006 www.npr.org  by Jon Hamilton, NPR Interview

Kanzi and Panbanisha understand thousands of words. They use sentences, talk on the phone, and they like to gossip. In short, they use language in many of the same ways humans do. That's not supposed to be possible. Since the 1950s, linguists including Noam Chomsky have argued that language is unique to humans and requires an innate understanding of grammar. But the achievements of Kanzi and Panbanisha suggest otherwise, says Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, head scientist at the Great Ape Trust near Des Moines. She says apes can acquire a lot of language if they learn it the same way human babies do. Savage-Rumbaugh says she discovered that by accident in the 1980s, shortly after Kanzi was born. At the time, she was at Georgia State University trying to teach words and symbols to Kanzi's adopted mother, Matata. Kanzi was in the classroom, too, but Savage-Rumbaugh wasn't trying to teach him anything. "Kanzi would just be around," she says. "He would often be on my head, or jumping down from the top of the keyboard into my lap. If we asked Matata to sort objects, [Kanzi] would jump in the middle of them and mess them all up. So he was just a normal kid." Savage-Rumbaugh suspected that Kanzi recognized a few words. But she says it wasn't clear how much Kanzi really knew until he lost his mother. Matata was taken away for breeding when Kanzi was 2 ½ years old. At first, he thought his mother was hiding. When he couldn't find her, little Kanzi was bereft. So he turned to his best friend, Savage-Rumbaugh. Kanzi desperately wanted her help, and he began to ask for it by pointing to symbols on Matata's keyboard. Savage-Rumbaugh says Kanzi used the keyboard more than 300 times on the first day he was separated from Matata. He asked her for food. He asked for affection. He asked for help finding his mom.


New Central Park Zoo Curator
July 9, 2006 www.nydailynews.com  BY LISA L. COLANGELO

Jeffrey Sailer, the Central Park Zoo's new curator, previously worked at the Miami Metrozoo and now welcomes the chance to work with polar bears, snow monkeys, sea lions and other animals that are not possible to have in Miami. He says the zoo, part of the Wildlife Conservation Society which operates the Bronx Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium in Coney Island, has the advantages of a smaller zoo with vast resources. "This zoo allows a close, intimate contact with nature and it's not so large that it's a trying experience for parents." Sailer grew up on a small farm in southern Indiana , went to Ball State University and then the Florida Museum of Natural History and the wilds of New Guinea. Sailer studied birds in New Guinea and wants to bring some of the Birds of Paradise to the Central Park Zoo. He also wants to make zoo visits more interactive, with keeper chats, especially in the children's zoo. Along with preserving species and providing a place for learning, zoos allow people to cultivate a real empathy for animals, Sailer said. This weekend, the Central Park Zoo expects to welcome its 15 millionth visitor. The visitor who hits that lucky mark will win a free family membership to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Central Park Zoo, and a chance to feed the zoo's famous sea lions.


Aukland Zoo Otter Recaptured
July 10, 2006 www.stuff.co.nz  By Michael Field

Jin, a short-clawed Asiatic otter, escaped from the Auckland Zoo on June 13th by digging through two walls and scaling a 1.8 meter barrier around her new enclosure. She was seen numerous times around Auckland's inner harbors but successfully evaded Zoo and The New Zealand Department of Conservation officials for more than a month. She was finally trapped on an island in the Hauraki Gulf -- part of the harbor that forms the eastern sea entrance to New Zealand's largest city. Auckland Zoo senior vet Dr Richard Jakob-Hoff said Jin has "lost a lot of weight but given that she is really in very good condition. She has abrasions on her head, another under her tail and on her back paws, which may have come from the rough volcanic rock of Rangitoto where Jin has apparently spent much of her time. When Jin first left the enclosure she weighed 3.6-kilograms (kg) and when she was caught she weighed 2.5 kg. She is currently in isolation for 30 days to make sure she is free of any infections that she could have caught from the outside world. The infection she would most likely get would be salmonella from the raw food she has been eating. "The most common thing in these types of animals is that toxoplasmosis (passed on through cat faeces) can cause blindness and can get into the brain and cause fits... She has been very stressed and that is what I am concerned about." said Dr Richard Jakob-Hoff.


Tai Shan Birthday Celebration
July 10, 2006 www.washingtonpost.com 

Brownie Troop 3907 from Gaithersburg sang "Happy Birthday" twice. FedEx delivered a birthday cake for the human guests, many clutching a stuffed panda, available for $13.99 (small) or $19.99 (large). Guests began arriving as early 7 a.m., fans began amassing outside the zoo for the 10 a.m. opening of the panda habitat. When Tai Shan was born July 9, 2005, he weighed. four ounces, now he weighs a robust 56 pounds. A previous pair of adult pandas had produced five cubs during the 1980s, but none lived more than a few days.


NC Zoo Selects New General Curator
July 10, 2006 www.wxii12.com 

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- The North Carolina Zoo has named Dr. Stephen Miller as the park's new general curator. Miller will replace Ron Morris, who retired in February after 24 years at the zoo, with 13 years as general curator. Miller was the senior veterinarian at Audubon Institute's Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. During his career, Miller has conducted extensive research projects on marine animals, including turtle excluder device research with NOAA, the Sarasota Dolphin project, the Coral Conservation & Recruitment project, a spiny-lobster tag implantation program and numerous other projects and research. His appointment will formally begin on August 14. As general curator, he will oversee the zoo division in charge of animal care, acquisition and exhibit.


Released Panda Coping Well in China
July 10, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

BEIJING - China's first captive-bred giant panda, to be released into the wild is doing well in China's southwest bamboo forests. 4-year-old Xiang Xiang was released in April after nearly three years of "survival" training at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre in the mountainous province of Sichuan. "Through surveillance we found out that Xiang Xiang had gradually adapted to the wild environment," said Zhang Hemin, director of Centre. "We have also detected other wild pandas in the area, which means Xiang Xiang is being integrated into a wild population," Zhang told CCTV state television. Researchers fitted a global positioning system (GPS) device around the animal's neck to monitor his activities, which will drop qutomatically until 2008 when its battery runs out. Researchers will study his choice of territory, his meals and waste, but will avoid direct contact so as to help him completely shake off dependence on humans. An estimated 1,500 wild pandas live in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. State media said China has raised about 180 giant pandas in captive breeding programs and spent $12.5 million since 2003 training them for release into the wild.


Why Gorillas Eat Rotting Wood
July 10, 2006 LiveScience.com

The answer: for the sodium. Gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda will suck on wood chips for several minutes before spitting them out. Sometimes they chew on them until their gums bleed. They have also been seen licking the bases of tree stumps and the insides of decayed logs, and breaking off pieces of wood to munch on later. Gorillas will return daily to the same stump and take turns feeding. A new study by Cornell University researchers reports on observations of 15 gorillas of different ages and gender as they engaged in wood-eating activities. After the animals were gone, the researchers collected wood samples from stumps and logs that the animals consumed as well as those they avoided. They also collected samples of other things the gorillas ate. Analysis of the items for their sodium content found that the decayed wood was the source of over 95 percent of the animal's dietary sodium, even though it represented only about 4 percent of their wet weight food intake. The study, lead by Jessica Rothman of Cornell University, will be detailed in an upcoming issue of Biology Letters, a journal of the Royal Society in England.


Yellowstone ecosystem in danger
July 10, 2006 www.eurekalert.org 

Bozeman, MT (JULY 10, 2006) - The pronghorn antelope has the longest overland migration route in the continental United States. Used for more than 6,000 years, their route includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. According to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and National Park Service, they travel more than 400 miles between fawning grounds and wintering areas - over 8,500-foot mountain passes, and through bottlenecks now barely wider than a football field due to recent residential development. Increased petroleum extraction could further impact the migration route. Six of eight antelope migration corridors in and out of the Yellowstone ecosystem have already been lost. This isolated population and its ancient migration route could disappear because of continued development and human disturbance outside the parks according to the study, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters.


Activists Risk Elephant's Welfare
July 10, 2006 dailytelegraph.news.com.au

ANIMAL rights activists who jeopardised the transfer of eight Asian elephants to Australia are endangering the elephants' lives, experts say. Environment Minister Ian Campbell labelled the behaviour of a group of protesters who prevented the importation as "outrageous". And he said yesterday the Federal Government was prepared to launch legal action to ensure the elephants come to Australia. The elephants were supposed to leave Thailand for the Cocos and Keeling Islands, where they will spend a further three months in quarantine, early last month. But a group of aggressive protesters terrified the animals so severely their handlers aborted the trip, forcing the elephants to remain inside Bangkok's quarantine centre where they have been for nearly two years. Ever since the elephants were housed in quarantine in August 2004, Taronga Zoo has had a core group of four Australian zookeepers looking after them. As zookeepers remained hopeful the elephants would be in Australian zoos by Christmas. Five of the elephants will be housed in a $40 million enclosure at Taronga Zoo, the others will go to Melbourne Zoo.


Parasitic Infection Kills Tiger & Leopard
July 11, 2006 www.alertnet.org 

RANCHI, India, July 11 (Reuters) - Authorities at Ranchi's Birsa Zoological Park, in Jharkhand, India, said that a Bengal tiger and a leopard have died after being infected by a malaria-like disease. The tiger died on Monday and the leopard on Tuesday. They had stopped eating days before. "The blood tests of the dead cats have tested positive for babesiosis," said A.K. Singh, a state forests official. Babesiosis is an infectious disease caused by a parasitic single-celled microorganism. The disease is transmitted by the bites of ticks that have picked up the parasite from infected animals such as rodents and horses. In 2000, it claimed the lives of 10 Bengal tigers in a zoo in the neighboring state of Orissa.


Baby Red Pandas at Erie Zoo
July 11, 2006 www.centredaily.com  By AP

ERIE, Pennsylvania -- Two baby red pandas were born at Erie Zoo on June 15, and are now beginning to open their eyes. They are being cared for by their 3-year-old mother, Gretchen, said the zoo's general curator, Cindy Kreider. Each cub box in the zoo's Wild Asia Exhibit has a videocamera for now, and they will go on exhibit in September, according to Cindy Kreider, the zoo's general curator. The Species Survival Plan, an international coordinated breeding program for endangered species, will decide in November where the baby red pandas will go when they leave Erie next spring.


Basra Reed-warblers breed in Israel
July 11, 2006 www.birdlife.org 

A research team from SPNI (BirdLife in Israel) trapped and ringed four Basra Reed-warblers in Israel's Hula Valley in June 2006. The two males, a female with a brood patch, and an almost fully-grown juvenile, are the first of the species ever to be discovered breeding in Israel. The species is normally restricted to the Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq and perhaps southwest Iran. The Basra Reed-warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis, was listed by BirdLife as Endangered on the 2004 IUCN Red List, due to an 80% decrease in the species' breeding population-largely a consequence of the draining of the Mesopotamian marshes by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The warblers will soon return to their African wintering grounds, and the Israel Ornithological Center will begin monitoring the species to collect more information on their occurrence in the region and promote its long-term survival.


White alligator at Riverbanks Zoo
July 11, 2006 www.wilmingtonstar.com  By AP

COLUMBIA, S.C. A rare white alligator is now living in Riverbanks Zoo's aquarium and reptile complex. Only 10 other white alligators are known in captivity, all owned by the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. The gator was one of three seized by the Department of Natural Resources after three men were arrested in September 2003 for taking the endangered species from the banks of a pond at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. The men said they captured the gators to keep them from being killed by predators. They are awaiting trial. Two of the alligators died of a serious infection obtained before they were taken to the zoo. The third gator has lived away from public view at the zoo until this month. When the zoo's anaconda died recently, Riverbanks officials decided to use the exhibit to put the rare gator on display. After a week by itself, the a normally-colored gator of about the same size was added and now a third is part of the exhibit.


Socializing Helped Ebola Wipe Out Gorillas
July 11, 2006 www.enn.com  By Maggie Fox, Reuters

WASHINGTON - A 2004 outbreak of the Ebola virus killed 97 percent of gorillas who lived in groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 77 percent of solitary males, according to researchers Damien Caillaud and colleagues from the University of Montpellier and the University of Rennes in France reported. Overall, it wiped out 95 percent of the gorilla population within a year, they reported in the journal Current Biology. The study shows that the deadly virus spreads directly from gorilla to gorilla and does not necessarily depend on a still-unidentified third species of animal, perhaps a bat, that can transmit the virus without getting ill from it. Ebola hemorrhagic fever is one of the most virulent viruses ever seen, killing between 50 percent and 90 percent of victims. The World Health Organization says about 1,850 people have been infected and 1,200 have died since the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976.


Endangered Cuckoo Spotted in Indonesia
July 11, 2006 www.enn.com  By Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia - An Indonesian-British surveying team trying to photograph wild tigers in Indonesia also captured a glimpse of the Sumatran ground cuckoo, brown with black and green plumes The July spotting, near Kerinci Seblat National Park in central-west Sumarta, was the third known recording of the bird since 1916. The bird's scientific name is Carpococcyx viridis.
"We've photographed rhinoceros hornbills and great argus pheasants before but when we found that we'd photographed a Sumatran ground cuckoo, we couldn't believe it," said field leader Yoan Dinata of Fauna & Flora International Indonesia.


Javan Rhino Genetic Study
July 11, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By Mark Derr

The Javan rhinoceros is approximately 5 feet tall and 10 feet long. Like the Indian rhinoceros, it has only one horn. Africa's black and white rhinos and Asia's Sumatran rhino all have 2 horns. The Javan, like the Indian, also has large plates of folded skin that resemble armor. They are solitary animals living in the remote forests of Indonesia and Vietnam, and are very hard to study: images of them come from "camera traps" and DNA samples from dung or from the horns and hides of dead animals. None of the rhinos exist in zoos, and without luck and political intervention, they will vanish from the Asian mainland in the next few years, leaving only those on the island of Java, isolated by rising sea levels 500,000 to a million years ago. Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, director of the Center for Conservation and Research in Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka. Is the lead author of a recent paper in the journal Conservation Genetics featuring the first detailed genetic study of the Javan rhino. He and an international team of scientists and conservationist estimate that the island populations might be too small to sustain: 40 to 50 animals in Ujung Kulon, an Indonesian national park on the western end of Java, and just 3 to 8 in Cat Tien National Park in southern Vietnam, half the number a decade ago.


Nature Conservancy Creates Grass Banks
July 11, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By JIM ROBBINS

MALTA, Mont. - The Nature Conservancy is in the process of creating "grass banks", which give ranchers rights to graze land beyond their own, in return for commitments to conserve species like the black-footed ferret, the long-billed curlew and the Western kingbird on land they already own. The grass bank is one of several ideas to change the way beef is raised on the Western range. This historic way of life is in trouble and ranchers are raising buffalo, selling specialty beef and challenging the power of the packinghouses in an effort to make ranching more profitable. At the same time, conservationists concluded that temperate grasslands were the least protected ecosystem on the globe. The Northern mixed grass prairie here was among them, and as a result, birds that nested in the grass were, and are, in steep decline. "Phillips County is the epicenter of biodiversity for grasslands birds," said Linda Poole, a bird biologist with the Nature Conservancy. So in 2002, in the throes of drought, the conservancy bought the historic 60,000-acre Matador Ranch here, once part of a string of ranches from Texas to Montana. The conservancy allows 13 ranchers to graze cattle here at greatly reduced rates. In return, the ranchers agree to protect bird and wildlife habitat on their own ranches and to battle noxious weeds. A result is that the ranchers get more range than they could otherwise afford, and the conservancy protects more range than it could afford to buy.


Brookfield Zoo Carousel Features Odd Beasts
July 12, 2006 www.belleville.com  By STEVE METSCH

BROOKFIELD, Ill. - There are 72 elaborately carved and painted creatures on the new carousel at Brookfield Zoo. Designed by Carousel Works Inc. of Mansfield, Ohio, it is the nation's largest new hard-carved carousel. It cost just more than $700,000. Add another $1.3 million in site development costs, and the zoo is looking for about $2 million in donations to pay for it all. The carousel is located near the zoo's north entrance. Patrons who donate $15,000 can have their names on a brass plaque beneath an animal on the two outer rings, said Pat VanDuyne, operations manager at the zoo. Donate $10,000, and you can do the same with the inner two rings. Donors also get to ride for free until 2015. "We're trying to create more fun in the zoo." VanDuyne said. The theory is that children who ride animals on the carousel will want to see the real animals in person. They may be intrigued by six "star wheels" located around the carousel that feature poems about animals. VanDuyne's favorite creature on the carousel, the praying mantis, sounds like the Mister T of the insect world with its boast that "I'm big and I'm bad. No insect is bolder." Other animals include the elephant, giraffe, lion, tiger and gorilla, anteater, okapi, warthog, ladybug, cicada and manatee.


Increased risk of hantavirus forecast for southwest
July 12, 2006 www.eurekalert.org 

The Four Corners region of the United States (where Ariz., N.M., Colo. and Utah meet) will be at greater risk for hantavirus outbreak this year than in 2005, say scientists at Johns Hopkins University, the University of New Mexico, and other institutions. They also warn that parts of southern Colo. and north-central N.M.--previously at low-risk for hantavirus compared to the Four Corners region--are at increased risk in 2006. The study is among the first to forecast the location and extent of an infectious disease outbreak. The forecast, based on research funded by the joint National Science Foundation (NSF)-National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ecology of Infectious Disease (EID) Program, is based on an analysis of satellite imagery and is published in the July 12, 2006, edition of the journal Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare but deadly respiratory disease caused by exposure to a variety of hantaviruses. People contract the virus through contact with rodents and rodent droppings. In 2005, the Four Corners region recorded four cases of hantavirus. The researchers forecast the hantavirus risk in 2006 as "moderate," similar in severity to the six and eight cases recorded in region in 1998 and 1999 respectively.


Plant Distribution Study
July 12, 2006 www.blackwellpublishing.com 

The spatial distribution of plant species mainly reflects each species' climatic requirements. However, few studies have carefully matched maps of a species distribution with maps of climatic variables to see where climate may fail to predict a species distribution. In a new study published in the Journal of Biogeography, researchers analyzed the distribution of western hemlock, a common tree that occurs in the wet climates in two separate regions: along the Pacific Coast and in the Northern Rocky Mountains of North America. Daniel Gavin and Feng Sheng Hu, the two authors of the paper, showed that a single variable representing the amount of water evaporating off the land can explain the distribution of western hemlock quite well in the coastal region, but large areas of the Rocky Mountain region matched climatic patterns much less closely. Spatial analyses also suggested that hemlock in the Rocky Mountains is better adapted to drier summer conditions than hemlock near the coast, and that hemlock has not completely expanded into its potential habitat in the Rocky Mountains. Gavin and Hu explain: "Hemlock became common in the Rocky Mountains only 2000-3500 years ago, compared with > 9000 years ago in the coastal region. The Rocky Mountain region is also a more competitive environment for hemlock, with frequent fires and disturbance-adapted species. The limited time for dispersal combined with intense competition have probably retarded the range expansion of this species in certain areas". The authors warn that similar mismatches between climate and species distributions may become more common with more rapid climate change.


Mating season foils St. Louis Zoo Sea Lion Show
July 12, 2006 www.stltoday.com  By Theresa Tighe

Alex, the star of the sea lion show at the St. Louis Zoo, interrupted the 11 a.m. performance Tuesday when he celebrated the annual mating season by plunging into the water where the females had been and refused to go back to the stage. Kyle Ulmer, the show's veteran manager, eventually stopped the show and invited the paying customers to return free of charge for the 1 p.m. performance. Ulmer said in an interview that July is the height of mating season. He said that Alex had left the stage before during mating season, but Ulmer improvised and was able to complete the show with the other sea lions. This time, with all of them misbehaving, he had to stop. The script calls for the two females, Rosie and Elaine, to go on stage first to balance balls on their noses, walk on their front flippers, clap and give high fives. Rosie and Elaine did a perfect job Tuesday. Sea lions move with ease across the stage and with grace in the water. When the females leave, Alex - the oldest and biggest at 550 pounds - and two adolescent males, Bennie and Roby, go on stage. But Alex didn't follow the script Tuesday when he followed Rosie and Elaine into the water. To make matters worse, Bennie and Roby followed Alex's lead.


Injured China Panda Needs Blood Plasma
July 12, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

BEIJING - Chinese vets are seeking panda plasma to donate to a giant panda injured after a probable fall into a ravine, state media said on Wednesday. The injured animal, was found by tourists at a scenic spot about 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Xi'an, provincial capital of Shaanxi on July 1. The panda's eyes were "full of vigour", according to veterinarian Ma Qingui, but it was still in critical condition from a fractured skull, broken legs and chest injuries. Its internal organs and nervous system were also damaged. Experts also believe the animal was sick which contributed to the fall. At least 1,500 ml of panda plasma are needed to operate, said Ma, adding that it was difficult to find matching blood from other pandas. "Experts are extracting blood plasma a bit at a time from the panda itself. We have already collected 200 ml, but it is far from enough," said Ma.


Six Flags May Sell Parks
July 12, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Gary Gentile

SANTA CLARITA - Six Flags Magic Mountain, 40 miles north of Los Angeles, has 17 of the largest roller coasters in the country and generates as much as $50 million in annual profit. It is the nation's second-largest theme park operator in terms of attendance behind The Walt Disney. But the strategy of spending tens of millions of dollars to pack the facility with roller coasters and attract more than 2 million visitors a year has made it attractive to disorderly, wild teens. CEO, Mark Shapiro said families have abandoned some Six Flags properties because of teens who "drive our security problems, loiter in the park, hate my no-smoking policy and don't spend." After efforts were made to make it more secure, the park was sued by a group of minority visitors who claimed the stricter security measures amounted to racial profiling. The lawsuit was later settled when a $5.6 million fund was established to compensate plaintiffs. A Los Angeles County sheriff's substation now operates at the park, with five uniformed deputies aiding the private security force. The company will spend an additional $15 million this year to hire staff members and add activities aimed at luring back families, he said.


Nighttime Zoo In San Diego
July 12, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Leah Laux

Experience evening calm in the wild during the zoo's annual extended-hours tradition known as Nighttime Zoo, beginning June 24, 2006, continuing through Sept. 4. While some animals go to the bunkhouse at night, visitors can sneak a peek at a few nocturnal animals and roam the zoo grounds when it's less crowded and temperatures are more moderate. During Nighttime Zoo, entrance hours are extended until 8 p.m. (grounds closing at 9 p.m.), with most Nighttime Zoo programs taking place between 5 and 8 p.m. Check the zoo's daily schedule for activities, including animal encounters, live music, shows and special events throughout the summer. Regular admission prices stand, $22 for adults ($32 for delux admission with skyfari) and $14.50 for children 3 to 11 ($19.75 deluxe). Children 2 and younger are admitted free.


Critical Habitat Denied for the Jaguar
July 12, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register Volume 71, Number 133

The jaguar is an endangered species that currently occurs from southern Arizona and New Mexico to southern South America. Jaguars in the United States are part of a population, or populations, that occur largely in Mexico. As the July 22, 1997, listing rule (62 FR 39147) discusses, jaguars in the United States historically occurred in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and possibly Louisiana. The last jaguar sightings in California, Texas, and Louisiana were documented in the late 1800s or early 1900s. While jaguars have been documented as far north as the Grand Canyon, sightings in the late 20th century to the present have occurred mainly along the international boundary of the United States and Mexico. Only three records of a female with kittens have been documented in the United States, the last in 1910 (Lange 1960; Nowak 1975; Brown 1989), and no females have been confirmed in the United States since 1963 (Brown and Lopez-Gonzalez 2000). Based on documented sightings in the late 20th century, occurrences in the United States at the time of the July 22, 1997, listing (62 FR 39147) were limited to southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Recently (1996 through 2006), possibly five transient male jaguars have been documented in the United States. Of those five, in 1996, two male jaguars were photographed in the United States: one on March 7, 1996, in the Peloncillo Mountains, located along the Arizona--New Mexico border (Glenn 1996; Brown and Lopez Gonzalez 2001), and another on August 31, 1996, in the Baboquivari Mountains in southern Arizona (Childs 1998; Brown and Lopez Gonzalez 2001). In February 2006, a jaguar was observed and photographed in Hidalgo County, New Mexico. Using remote cameras, jaguars were photographed in the United States near the Arizona--Mexico border beginning in 2001, and as recently as April 2006. Sightings over the past decade indicate that some male jaguars may occasionally range into the United States. However, regular or intermittent use of the borderlands area by wide-ranging males, and no indication of the presence of females or cubs, indicates that physical and biological features in the United States may allow individual transients to survive, at least temporarily, but do not support a breeding population. USFWS does not believe that these features in the United States are essential to the conservation of the species, and have determined that designating critical habitat for the jaguar is not prudent. For information regarding all aspects of the jaguar, refer to the July 22, 1997, listing rule (62 FR 39147). Jaguar Conservation Team documents : www.azgfd.gov/w_c/es/jaguar_management.shtml


West African black rhinos feared extinct
July 13, 2006 www.guardian.co.uk/international  By Andrew Meldrum

The western black rhino sub-species, Diceros bicornis longipes, had declined precipitously in the past 20 years largely as a result of poaching. In 2002 there were only 10 remaining. Specialists from the World Conservation Union (IUCN) conducted 48 field missions in Cameroon, in which they searched across 1,550 miles. "They looked for spoor [tracks], they looked for the rhino's characteristic way of feeding but they didn't find anything to indicate a continued presence in the area," The numbers of all types of African rhino have plummeted over the past 150 years. Colonial hunters picked off the herbivores as trophies. The northern white rhino is also critically threatened as it is down to just four in its only habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The southern white rhino reached its lowest point in 1895, with just 30 in one South African game park. Since then captive breeding and protection measures have brought numbers up to nearly 15,000. The black rhino's decline came later. The population numbered 100,000 in 1900, but declined to 2,400 by 1995. Protection measures have brought its numbers back up to about 3,600.


Rare indri born in Madagascar Reserve
July 13, 2006 wildmadagascar.org

A rare lemur known for its haunting whale-like call has given birth in a reserve outside its native forest. The news is significant because the Indri, the world's largest living lemur, has traditionally done poorly when kept in captivity or introduced outside its montane forest habitat in Madagascar. The birth occurred at Palmarium, a small private reserve of lowland tropical forest established by a tour operator in Madagascar. It is the second birth of an Indri since the opening of the park, according to Fabiola Deprez at Boogie Pilgrim, a tour operator based in the capital Antananarivo. Indri are easiest to spot at the Andasibe Mantadia National Park (also known as Analamazaotra or Perinet).


Attendance Increases at John Ball Zoo
July 13, 2006 www.mlive.com 

John Ball Zoo officials reported 69,569 visitors in June, the highest attendance in 10 years. Attendance for the first six months this year is up 24 percent -- an additional 33,265 people -- over 2005. There have been 170,464 zoo visitors so far in 2006. Zoo Director Bert Vescolani believes good weather and the addition of several attractions this year -- including the stingray lagoon, an outdoor Komodo dragon exhibit, a budgie and wallaby exhibit and rides in pedal boats shaped like giant swans -- are behind the increase. The new attractions are part of a master plan approved by Kent County aimed at rejuvenating the 115-year-old facility. John Ball Zoo is the tenth-oldest zoo in the country. Fundraising has not yet begun on other projects, such as a new lion exhibit, renovated entrance and the addition of a "funicular," or cable railway, which would transport zoo visitors up a hill to a treehouse gathering area. The zoo is expecting attendance to top 350,000 by the end of the year. The best-attended years were in 1991, with 415,550 visitors and in 1995, with 402,521 visitors. Both those years the zoo opened major new exhibits, Vescoloni said.


Jeffords bill targets exotic pets
July 13, 2006 www.thetranscript.com  By Evan Lehmann

WASHINGTON -- The Senate passed a bill Tuesday introduced by Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt that would outlaw the transport of primates across state lines for sale as pets. With almost 15,000 pet apes, monkeys and prosimians, such as lemurs, now in the United States, Jeffords says the increase creates a hazard for humans who could contract primate-carried diseases like the Ebola virus. But exotic pet owners are vowing to fight the legislation when it goes to the House, saying the law would unfairly trap them in their own state. "They're going to stop you from crossing a state line with your pet," said Mark McDaniels, president of Uniting a Proactive Primate and Exotic Animal League. The group is paying a Capitol Hill lobbyist $100,000 a year to block the legislation, according to Congressional Quarterly.


Seattle Zoo's Elephant Controversy
July 13, 2006 seattletimes.nwsource.com By Anne Kim

Woodland Park Zoo's 39-year-old elephant, Bamboo, is the subject of a heated community debate. "From my perspective, this Bamboo issue is by far and away the most significant thing we've ever had here before," said Bruce Bohmke, the zoo's deputy director. It began with a citizen's note of concern and has escalated into a letter-writing campaign, public rallies and even a lawsuit accusing the Seattle zoo of harming an endangered species. A local animal-rights organization is trying to force the zoo to send Bamboo to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee because, it says, she has become aggressive, stressed and neurotic from years of imprisonment and inadequate care. Zoo officials say the critics are uninformed and using Bamboo as a pawn in a larger debate over whether zoos should keep elephants at all. Zoo officials describe her as healthy and "sweet" and say relocating her to a different climate, with animals and people she doesn't know, could be harmful.


China Giant Panda Sanctuary on UN Heritage List
July 13, 2006 www.enn.com  By Darius James Ross, Reuters

VILNIUS - The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuary in China is home to more than 30 percent of the world's giant pandas and has been placed on the World Heritage List on Wednesday," a UNESCO official said. It is the largest remaining contiguous habitat of the giant panda and the most important captive breeding ground for the animal, and the listing obliges authorities to protect this habitat. "To protect an animal is not just putting it living in the zoo, but keeping it alive in its home," Lu Zhi, a professor at Peking University who specializes in pandas, told China's official Xinhua news agency. The announcement was pade at the United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage committee, meeting in Lithuania's capital Vilnius.


Bonobos Protected at Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve
July 14, 2006  www.awf.org 

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo -- The Ministry of Environment and Conservation of Nature, Waters and Forests has announced the establishment of the Faunal Reserve of Lomako-Yokokala. This new 3,625 sq km Faunal Reserve is home to one of the world's best-studied bonobo populations as well as critical populations of the endemic Congo peacock, golden cat, giant pangolin, and about 10 species of primates. The bonobos that live in this reserve have become increasingly famous since the 1970's through the scientific research projects of American, German and Belgian research institutes in the area. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), an international conservation organization headquartered in Kenya, will support the implementation of a participatory management plan including the development of scientific tourism as a major source of local income. Funding for key activities includes a commitment from the Abraham Foundation to fund a first year "monitoring of the population of large mammals and of human activities" supervised by Mr. Belembo, ICCN, with technical assistance from AWF. A new funding commitment from the "Fond Francais pour l'Environnement Mondial" was announced which ensures three-year funding for the participative and innovative management of the area. The ARCUS Foundation has also committed funding for the creation of an "in situ" research station to support on-going applied conservation research efforts related to bonobos and simultaneously support opportunities for cutting-edge scientific tourism. Anticipated continuation of funding of USAID/CARPE 2007-2011 will contribute significantly to local development and poverty reduction goals in the Maringa Lopori Wamba Landscape.


Arizona gets Wolves From Minnesota Zoo
July 14, 2006 www.twincities.com 

PINETOP-LAKESIDE, Ariz. - The Arizona Game and Fish Department said it brought a 3-year-old male, "Laredo," from the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in Eureaka, Mo., and a 3-year-old female, "Alita," was born and raised at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minn, and their two three-month-old pups last week to a temporary holding pen about 10 miles southwest of Alpine, in east-central Arizona. The wolves chewed their way out of the nylon mesh enclosure within five hours entering the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest of Arizona. They join 9 other wolves in eastern Arizona and New Mexico. The department hopes to slowly increase the population of Mexican gray wolves in that region from 24 to 100. The Minnesota Zoo became involved with the Mexican Gray Wold Species Survival Program in 1994.


Goodall Interviewed in Australia
July 14, 2006 By Conor Duffy

For the past 45 years Jane Goodall has been observing Chimpanzees. She is credited with discovering much of what we know about them, including that they use tools and that they fight in wars. When she began her studies in 1960, Africa had far more forest and animals than it does now. It took her about nine months, and a lot of patience to habituate Gombe chimpanzee troop.
Today she regularly speaks about their future existence. The chimpanzee population 100 years ago was approximately 2 million. By 1960 it had fallen to 1 million and now it's only about 125,000 spread over 21 countries. The only really significant populations are in the great Congo Basin, an area where foreign logging companies make roads into the previously impenetrable forests and commercial hunting: elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, antelopes, monkeys, has become rampant. Goodall believes that unless we intensify our efforts, and that does mean raising more money, within 10 to 15 years, significant populations of chimps would have vanished. There will of course be some populations left, like the Gombe chimpanzees, but there's only a hundred of them.


Study on Wildlife Disease Control Through Hunting
July 14, 2006 www.uga.edu 

In a study published the August 7 edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, researchers Marc Choisy and Pejman Rohani, from the University of Georgia Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute, create a mathematical model that demonstrates how the combination of hunting and factors such as birth season and mating season influence disease outbreaks. Their results suggest that wildlife managers and health officials should use caution when considering hunting or culling as a means to manage diseases as diverse as rabies, tuberculosis and even avian influenza. "One consequence of hunting that we show in this paper is that it can increase the probability of dying from the disease," Choisy said. "It can give you results that are contrary to what you expect." The reasoning behind killing wild animals to control disease outbreaks is simple: fewer animals should result in reduced transmission of disease. Hunting has been used to control badger populations in England, rabies in European foxes and chronic wasting disease in deer and elk populations in the American West. The researchers note that in each instance, disease outbreaks have worsened in response to the hunting. One reason the policies failed, Choisy and Rohani said, is that they didn't take into account an ecological principle known as compensation. When a portion of the animal population is reduced, those that survive are left with more resources such as food and shelter. As a result of the newly plentiful resources, the death rate decreases and the birth rate increases, compensating - and sometimes overcompensating - for the loss.


Meerkats Teach Their Young
July 14, 2006 www.enn.com  By Randolph E. Schmid, AP

WASHINGTON - While the young of many species learn by observing older members of their group, it's less common for adults to take direct actions with the only goal being teaching. Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England observed meerkats gradually introducing cubs to prey, showing them how to handle captured insects and even removing the stingers from scorpions before giving them to youngsters. "Although there are anecdotal reports of teaching in species from chimpanzees to killer whales, until this year solid evidence was really lacking," said Alex Thornton, co-author of the report appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science. There had also been evidence of teaching by cats, Thornton added, but that was hard to confirm because of the difficulty of studying large cats in the wild. "Meerkats provide the ideal study species to examine these questions because they eat a whole range of prey items including lizards, geckos, scorpions, spiders and small mammals that are very difficult for young pups to handle," Thornton said.


Doha Zoo wants to be best zoo in Middle East
July 14, 2006, www.gulf-times.com 

"In five years, Doha Zoo will hopefully be one of the best not only in the Gulf but the entire Middle East," said Hamad Saleh al-Yazeedi, head of the facility. The zoo has received "high marks" from a number of quarters, according to Dr Abubacker Hamoda, veterinarian at the facility. The zoo has been certified as a "unique, clean and distinguished facility in the world" by such agencies as the FAO and visiting experts from other well-known zoos, universities and politicians, officials say. Major works, however, will receive due attention only after the Asian Games, due to be held in December. Currently the administration is sprucing up facilities. Signboards are being replaced, new trees are being planted and interior roads repaired. A new anti-septic pool is coming up at the entrance to sanitize wheels of approaching vehicles, the officials explained. The authorities are also paying special attention to providing the right ambience for animals amidst a blazing summer. Water sprinklers and air-conditioners are being used to control the environment. Correct diet is also important to make animals comfortable, Hamoda said.  Officials have ordered a study on establishing an amusement park inside the zoo. A state-of-the art education centre where children can learn about animals is also under consideration. For the play area, the zoo has received two camels from the "camels committee" and two horses from the Equestrian Club. Visiting children can ride them. "We are also trying to get a pony," Yazeedi said. In their efforts, the officials have the support of Dr Qassim al-Thani, head of animal resources and administration; and Dr Sheikh Faleh bin Nasser al-Thani, director of agricultural research, at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture. "They are keen on modernizing the zoo and give all their support", Yazeedi said. The zoo is open from 8am to 12noon, and from 3.30pm to 8pm on all days except Fridays, when it is closed in the mornings.


African Dogs and 4 New Gorillas at the Bronx Zoo
July 14, 2006 www.nj.com 

The Bronx Zoo's African Plains area has a new pack of 20 African wild dogs. Their enclosure features a mix of trees, open areas and grasses, similar to the habitats the dogs occupy in eastern and southern Africa. There is also a small sand pit for digging and a shallow pool to splash in. Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny said "Guests will be able to see the interaction between animals, creating a dynamic for the pack." African wild dogs are highly social animals and are not closely related to jackals, domestic dogs or wolves, exhibit educational material says. The pack is led either by an alpha male or female. "They hunt together, take care of one another and the entire pack helps raise the pups," an informational panel said. Also new at the zoo this summer are four gorilla babies in the Congo Gorilla Forest. The western lowland gorillas at the Bronx Zoo -- now numbering 28 -- are the largest group in any North American zoo, many of them born in New York or at other zoos that participate in the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Species Survival Plan for gorillas.


Snow = Enrichment at Arizona Zoo
July 14, 2006 www.azcentral.com  By Kathleen Quilligan

Winter in July is an animal-enrichment day at the zoo, a day for the animals to experience something new and different - a mental break of sorts from captivity. 320 blocks of ice in five refrigerated trucks will be delivered to the zoo about 6 a.m., they will be put through two ice crushers and a blower to have snow ready for play by 8:30 a.m "It's a way to keep their minds active and working," said Betsy Seibert, the zoo's director of sponsorship and promotions. Behavior enrichment is usually achieved through rearranging logs in a cage to present different scenery or moving feeding containers so the animals must hunt for their food. All animals at the zoo will benefit from the event, from reptiles to rhinos, ocelots to orangutans. On the menu of icy treats for the animals: "blood balls" and "fishsicles." On the menu of icy treats for zoo visitors: a sampling of beverages from Starbucks.


Spot-billed Pelican Is Recovering
July 14, 2006 www.birdlife.org  By S. Subramanya

Excellent community-based conservation work by NGOs in South India, coupled with improved protection of breeding sites, has reversed the decline of the spot-billed pelican. In the 1920s, more than a million Spot-billed Pelicans were believed to exist in South and South-East Asia. But by the 1990s the number had dropped to fewer than 12,000 birds, and the species was listed as Vulnerable. The decline was largely caused by conversion of wetlands and loss of nesting sites. Now, the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu support 21 breeding colonies, and numbers are on the increase. The pelicanry at Kokkare Bellur, Karnataka, has doubled in size to 400 pairs in recent years, and two new small breeding colonies have been established in the state. In Tamil Nadu the number of nesting colonies has increased from six to 14 in recent years, several of them with more than 250 nests. In Andhra Pradesh, pelicanries at Nelapattu and Uppalapadu each support more than 300 nests.


Jane Goodall Visits Sydney's Taronga Zoo
July 14, 2006 www.abc.net.au  By Elizabeth Gosch

Dr Goodall, who began working with primates in Tanzania in 1960, spent yesterday with the extended family of 19 chimps at the harbourside zoo. She is currently travelling through the country to raise awareness of the plight of wild chimpanzees. "Although it is my preference for chimps to live in the wild, there are no places left in the wild where they are fed and taken care of as well as at Taronga," Dr Goodall said. Just two years ago, she warned mankind was in danger of losing the chimpanzee - our closest relative - as numbers in the wild plummeted in the face of habitat loss, bush-meat hunting, the pet industry and disease. "At Taronga the chimps are allowed to make so many choices for themselves," Taronga senior primate keeper Louise Grossfeldt said. "We fill their day in the way they would fill it themselves in the wild." Taronga Zoo's colony of chimpanzees includes several family groups and three of the oldest chimps in captivity. While in Australia, Dr Goodall is establishing a local branch of her global youth outreach program, Roots & Shoots. The program encourages young people to find practical solutions to environmental problems.


China to better protect panda habitat
July 15, 2006 www.chinadaily.com.cn  (Xinhua)

CHENGDU -- Hu Bin, deputy director of the tourism department of southwest China's Sichuan Province, has announced that the designation of the new World Heritage Site of giant panda habitat in the Qionglai mountain chain. The area covers nine scenic spots and eight natural reserves, where about 300 giant pandas and other rare wildlife species live on a total area of 9,510 square kilometers. Tourists will no longer be allowed to visit some core areas of the habitat - no more than 1% of the total area of Wolong will be available to tourists. Jiuzhaigou, a world natural heritage site listed in 1992, has set an example for the province to follow in seeking balance between tourism development and heritage protection. The province will set up world heritage management offices of various administrative levels in the giant panda habitat area to coordinate protection efforts on the rare animal. In the future, the protection will aim to incorporate separated habitats and enlarge the genetic bank of giant pandas, said Cui Xuezhen, former director of the Fengtongzhai natural reserve. "The current giant panda habitats are separated by rivers and roads, which make it almost impossible for them to migrate," Cui said. China launched a program named "the giant panda ecological corridor" in 1987 to plant bamboo forests among the relatively isolated giant panda habitat areas so that they will be connected. Local governments are also removing factories and buildings from the domain of giant pandas.


Pittsburgh Zoo Expansion Projects
July 16, 2006 msnbc.msn.com By Tracy Carbasho

Major expansion projects are currently taking place at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural. The Zoo accommodates more than 720,000 visitors each year, and expects attendance to climb to at least 900,000 after its new $19.5 million, Water's Edge exhibit opens in the fall with two polar bears. Sea otters will arrive this winter, and walruses will be swimming in their new habitat when the project is finalized in April 2007. Visitors will be able to enter a 30-foot tunnel that runs through the main polar bear swimming area to watch the animals swim overhead. The zoo's economic impact on the region is expected to increase from about $15 million to nearly $19 million annually as a result of the Water's Edge. "Zoos and aquariums are popular tourism attractions because people connect with wildlife and appreciate its beauty and the impact it has on our future,'' said Connie George, director of marketing and public relations at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The elephants and primates have historically been among the most popular animals at the zoo, but George expects the African wild dogs that arrived earlier this summer to start generating attention. The 77-acre zoo/aquarium is home to about 6,000 animals and fish. It's master plan calls for the construction of a reptile, amphibian and small mammal facility, as well as a new outdoor exhibit area for orangutans and other animals. Details for these additions have not been finalized. AZA reports that their 200+ accredited institutions draw ~142 million visitors each year -- more than the combined annual attendance of all professional football, basketball and major league baseball games. The San Diego Zoo in California and the National Aquarium in Baltimore are among the most popular tourism venues in the world. In 2005, more than three million people flocked to the San Diego Zoo, a major attraction that adds $500 million to the city's economy each year, according to Sharon Dewar, senior public relations representative. The National Aquarium brings in approximately 1.6 million visitors on an annual basis and has a ripple effect on the state's economy of about $132 million in gross sales.


Fight to Ban Lead Ammo Affecting Condors
July 16, 2006 www.pinnaclenews.com  By Kate Woods

Eleven of the 13 recently released condors at Pinnacles National Monument had elevated levels of lead in their systems from ingesting bullets in shot squirrels. In an effort to protect San Benito's condors, a coalition of wildlife watchdog groups has filed an intent to sue the California Fish and Game Commission for its failure to regulate lead bullets in the state. The coalition includes the San Francisco-based Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Wishtoyo Foundation (an environmental arm of California's Chumash tribe), along with representatives from the hunting community. The Fish and Game Commission claims they are not convinced the lead poisonings in condors and raptors are caused by ammunition. But the commission was proved wrong when two condors at a release sight in the Grand Canyon died from ingesting lead bullet fragments. Another incident in California was a potential poisoning from lead. There are only 125 free-flying California condors in the world today. Lead poisoning has caused nine confirmed condor deaths since 1997 and is implicated in the death or disappearance of at least 15 other condors in southern California alone. Scores more condors have required life-saving emergency blood treatment involving intrusive chemical therapy after ingesting lead. Arizona's Game and Fish Department has determined through an ongoing scientific study "that lead from spent ammunition is a major source of lead in exposed condors and that lead from the local environment does not appear to be a factor," reads a statement from the agency's Web site.


Medical Research on African Viruses
July 16, 2006 www.baltimoresun.com  By Scott Calvert

A medical research team from Johns Hopkins is now working in Cameroon, not far from where chimpanzees initiated the global AIDS pandemic decades ago. The team has shown that viruses in Cameroon have leaped to humans more often than previously thought. Among people who are in regular contact with primate blood, the researchers found last year, one in six had exposure to a simian strain of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The implications for human health are still being explored, but medical researchers see cause for concern as more guns and new logging roads put people and other primates into closer contact. The Hopkins team warns of the possibility of new types of "emerging HIV infections." Hunters have been enlisted to help by providing blood spots and details on what they kill. The plan is to create hunter monitoring networks - the kind that experts say might have mobilized a quicker response to HIV and saved some of the 25 million lives claimed to date by AIDS. The researchers are also trying to overcome the villagers' skepticism of authorities and worries that hunting will be curtailed. There is also something in it for the villagers. The researchers, mindful that bushmeat hunting is a way of life and largely legal, are teaching people how to handle monkey blood safely.


Bushmeat Hunting Crisis
July 16, 2006 www.baltimoresun.com  By Scott Calvert

MBONG, Cameroon -- Over-hunting of monkeys, duikers and other forest creatures has led to a phenomenon known as "empty forest" syndrome. "You're talking about human population levels that far exceed anything this planet has ever seen," said Heather E. Eves, director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force in Washington. "While their ancestors may have carried on with a certain behavior pattern, that doesn't mean it's going to be able to continue in this day and age." The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates that 1 million metric tons of bushmeat are taken from African forests every year. Another study puts bushmeat consumption at 10 ounces a day per person. Johns Hopkins University Epidemiologist Nathan Wolfe has shown that the hunting of monkeys and apes carries greater risks than was previously known, and that viruses continue to jump from primates to people. While Wolfe and his field workers do not actively campaign against bushmeat hunting, they warn hunters of the dangers, and think those warnings might do more to stem primate hunting than merely saying no. In a paper to be published this November in the journal Animal Conservation, Wolfe and ecologist Matthew LeBreton report that people who perceived risk were much less likely to butcher wild animals than those who saw no risk. They conclude that greater health risk education could similarly lead to less hunting. "Instead of asking people not to hunt because of the theoretical benefits associated with animal conservation, an approach that hasn't been too successful," Wolfe says, "we give them real information about how hunting can be harmful to them as individuals."


Tourism Benefits African Villagers
July 16, 2006 www.sfgate.com  By Peter Eichstaedt

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the mountains of southwestern Uganda is a growing tourist destination because of its population of endangered mountain gorillas. And the local people are benefiting by selling carved figures of gorillas, woven baskets and other locally made crafts. Others work as porters helping the dozens of gorilla trackers who climb the mountains each day. The community also recently received from the Ugandan government the equivalent of about $50,000, the area's 20 percent share of annual income from gorilla tourism. It will be spent on schools, roads and other projects. The revenue sharing is motivation for villagers to help foster and protect gorilla families. But it has not always been this way. Because residents of the area grew up with the gorillas, they didn't realize they were rare or special. "The people from the Congo used to eat them," In the mid-1990s, when the first family of gorillas was "habituated" to humans, it migrated over the nearby mountains to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in search of food. It was never seen again. But in Uganda, the situation for gorillas may be turning around. "We don't have serious poaching relative to other parks," said Ghad Mugiri, senior warden for the Bwindi and the neighboring Mgahinga National Park. Closer controls, more education and community involvement have been critical, he said, unlike in neighboring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each with significant gorilla populations.


Planning Oregon Zoo's Future
July 17, 2006 www.oregonlive.com 

Oregon Zoo's Future Vision Committee plans to make a long weekend visit to Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville. The 15-member committee was formed to help the zoo look into long-range planning. The zoo's master plan is 15 years old, and the committee will help shape the zoo's direction for the next 10 to 20 years. The committee is mostly comprised of residents and people from the business community. It has met twice and plans to meet monthly through June 2007. It will look at the zoo's programs and operations, focusing on the zoo's use of 50 acres for animals and exhibits; events and programs; and operations, including expenses and revenue. The zoo is the oldest west of the Mississippi River at 119 years. It is Oregon's top earning tourist attraction with more than 1.3 million visitors in fiscal year 2004-05. Metro, the regional government, oversees zoo operations. The zoo's $22 million budget includes a 1991 voter-approved property tax, which amounted to $9.29 million in revenue for the 2005-06 fiscal year ending June 30. Oregon Zoo attendance is at an all-time high, and revenues rise yearly. Still, expenses outpace revenue; the zoo site is land-locked, making it difficult to plan new exhibits; and parking is at capacity. The Washington sites were chosen mostly because of their regional connection and similar issues. Woodland Park in Seattle, about twice the size of the Oregon Zoo, has been managed and operated by the nonprofit Woodland Park Zoological Society for about two years. Tony Vecchio, zoo director and a committee member, said "They have comparable parking problems. They're surrounded by neighborhoods that have lots of activists who don't want to see the zoo grow, who don't want to see more traffic and parking in the area.


Critical Habitat for Texas Invertebrates
July 17, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register(Volume 71, Number 136)

The USFWS proposes to designate Critical Habitat for the Peck's Cave Amphipod, Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle, and Comal Springs Riffle Beetle. The three listed species are known only from four spring systems in central Texas: Comal Springs and Hueco Springs in Comal County, and Fern Bank Springs and San Marcos Springs in Hays County. The total area proposed as critical habitat for the amphipod is about 38.5 ac (acres) (15.6 hectares (ha)), for the dryopid beetle is about 39.5 ac (16.0 ha), and for the riffle beetle is approximately 30.3 ac (12.3 ha). Comments will be accepted at FW2CSICHComments@fws.gov  until September 15, 2006


Global Warming Threatens Mangroves
July 17, 2006 - www.enn.com   By Michael Perry, Reuters

SYDNEY - A UNEP report looking at the impact of rising seas on mangroves in 16 Pacific nations found the worst hit-islands would be American Samoa, Fiji, Tuvalu and the Federated States of Micronesia. The report, released on Monday, found that these island nations could lose more than half their mangroves by the end of the century. "Mangroves are important nurseries for fish, act to filter coastal pollution and are important sources of timber and construction materials for local communities," said report coordinator Kitty Simonds. "Pacific islanders also harvest dyes from mangroves to treat textiles, nets and fish traps." The report said goods and services generated by mangroves may be worth an average of US$900,000 per square km, depending on their location and uses. An estimated 75 percent of commercially caught prawns in Australia's tropical state of Queensland depend on mangroves. In Malaysia, a 400 sq km (154 sq miles) managed mangrove forest in Matang supports a fishery worth US$100 million a year.


Big Wildebeest Migration in Angola
July 17, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of wildebeest are currently making their way to Angola from Zambia in a little-known and expanding migration that is a sign of renewal for the war-ravaged African country. "There are about 30,000 wildebeest taking part in the migration now, up from 20,000 just two years ago," said University of Pretoria researcher Tim Boote. "It is the second biggest wildebeest migration after the one in the Serengeti." It is another sign that wildlife survived Angola's civil war and is thriving in the post-conflict period. I think it is a really positive sign for Angola." Three decades of savage conflict in Angola ended four years ago and scientists have been delighted with some of the findings they have since made in the huge southwest African country. These have included sightings of the giant sable, which some experts feared may have been hunted to extinction during the fighting, as well as the "rediscovery" of several species of endemic birds.


Ontario's African Lion Safari
July 17, 2006 www.hamiltonspectator.com 

ONTARIO, Canada -- African Lion Safari was opened in 1969 by Gordon "Colonel" Dailley. It now attracts more than half a million visitors a year and pumps an estimated $50 million into the local economy. It remains one of only a handful of drive-through animal adventures in North America, and is the 3rd largest collection of animals open to the public in Canada, behind the Toronto and Calgary Zoos. There are more than 1,000 animals on it's seven large game reserves, 9 km of trails throughout the reserves, bird and animal shows, a waterpark, boat rides, a scenic railway, a discovery centre and a bird of prey conservatory. Dailley worried that the population shift from rural communities to cities meant that people were losing their fundamental connection to wildlife and nature. "He felt there was nothing wrong with entertainment, as long as there was an educational component to it," said Dailley's son, James Dailley, who is now president of the Lion Safari and co-owner with general manager Mike Takacs. "He understood that people don't want to be educated to death." Dailley was retired from the military when he met a circus family from England, the Chipperfields, who discovered the animals were a huge draw for locals when they were put up on farms for the winter. The idea of drive-through safaris was born.  There are 45 full-time staff and about 425 seasonal workers.


Ringling Bros. Elephant Conservation Center
July 17, 2006 www.whittierdailynews.com  By Luanne J. Hunt, Correspondent

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been using Asian elephants in the circus for 136 years. In 1995, Ringling Bros. opened a 200-acre elephant conservation center in Polk County, Fla. The site, named Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation, was designed by former Ringling Bros. veterinarian Richard Houck. Its aim is to ensure the species' survival by creating a superior environment for elephant breeding, scientific study and retirement. The $5 million conservation center consists of five principal buildings, including a 17,000-square-foot barn equipped with birthing facilities where 20 elephants have been born. There is also a 2,400-square-foot hay barn and several homes for 13 caretakers. Each day, the 35 elephants are served 2.5 tons of hay, according to center officials. Other daily nourishment includes 700-800 pounds of grains, fruits and vegetables. And each elephant requires 80 gallons of water per day for drinking and bathing. Bruce Read, vice president of animal stewardship said "The site is kept in immaculate condition and simulates the wilderness environment. Every building is well-ventilated with maximum water pressure for bathing. We are doing everything we can to preserve this species," said Read. "And we are dedicated to learning as much as we can about elephants. Part of our job is to tell our wonderful story and it's a good thing for people to learn about." For those concerned about the welfare of elephants in captivity, Bruce Read said the animals are treated with the utmost care and respect. He and his staff consider them family with whom they've formed an unbreakable bond. "We like working with them and they like working with us," said Read, who has been caring for and training elephants since 1974. "We train our animals with very positive reinforcement. And you know, it's obvious that they enjoy having a job to do.


House Approves Treaty to Protect Polar Bears
July 17, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has approved a U.S.-Russia treaty to help protect polar bears from overhunting and other threats by putting into effect a 2000 treaty that sets quotas on polar bear hunting by native populations in the two countries and establishes a bilateral commission to analyze how best to sustain the polar bear habitat. The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union estimates the polar bear population in the Arctic at 20,000 to 25,000, and projects a 30 percent decline in that number over the next 45 years. Climatic warming that melts the bears' sea ice habitat is regarded as the main threat, but pollution and overhunting are other major concerns. The U.S. allows only subsistence hunting by native peoples but there is an illegal market in Asia for gall bile and gall bladders from polar bears and other bears. Margaret Williams, Anchorage-based director of the Bering Sea Ecoregion Program of the WWF, said there has been no permissible hunting in Russia since 1956, but illegal hunting on the Russian side is a real concern because polar bears commonly breed on Russian territory.


West African Black Rhino Declared Extinct
July 17, 2006 news.mongabay.com

Recent surveys conducted by IUCN in northern Cameroon found no evidence of the West African black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes "As a result this subspecies has been tentatively declared as extinct," said Dr. Martin Brooks, chairman of the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) of the IUCN's Species Survival Commission. The organization also found that the populations of the northern white rhino have reached an all time low in the wild. Surveys located only four individuals. The main cause for the disappearance of both species is poaching for rhino horn. "[T]he northern white rhino is on the very brink of being lost," said Brooks. "Restricted in the wild to Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo , recent ground and aerial surveys conducted under the direction of African Parks Foundation and the AfRSG have only found four animals. Efforts to locate further animals continue, but we must now face the possibility that the subspecies may not recover to a viable level." Other rhino populations are fairing better. IUCN reports that continental black rhino numbers have increased to 3,725 from an all time low of 2,410 in 1995 while the southern white rhino subspecies has seen its population climb from less than 50 animals a hundred years ago to 14,540.


Politics, War and Gorilla Survival
July 17 2006 www.int.iol.co.za 

Within a decade, three of the four sub-species of the great ape could be wiped out, said Matthew Woods, of the UN-run Great Apes Survival Project. In addition to hunting, logging and mining, conservationists have added a new threat - politics. Elections will be held at the end of this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), home to more gorillas than any other country. One sub-species, the eastern lowland, or Grauer's gorilla, lives entirely within its borders. Two others, the mountain gorilla - and the western lowland gorilla, are also found in the DRC. War has raged within eastern Congo for more than a decade, killing more than four million people in the bloodiest conflict since the First World War. Even now, three years after peace was declared, 1,200 people die each day from the continuing violence and war-related diseases. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as militia groups continue to rape and pillage towns and villages. The impact on the area's gorillas has been devastating. Refugees unable to grow enough crops to feed themselves have been forced to kill gorillas and other large mammals in order to survive. In the case of the Grauer's sub-species, its numbers are believed to have plummeted by 90 percent over the past 10 years to just 2 000. Some conservationists believe that the situation is even worse, but violence has prevented an actual census. The most threatened sub-species of all is the Cross River gorilla, but the key to the survival of the rest is thought to be the DRC election, the first in the war-torn country for more than 40 years. Conservationists believe that only a successful outcome to the election can curb the violence and instability, particularly in the country's eastern districts of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu, that have decimated gorilla populations.


Ranchi Zoo Loses 4th Big Cat
July 18, 2006 timesofindia.indiatimes.com

RANCHI: A white tiger at a Ranchi zoo died of babesiosis, a fatal disease transmitted by the bite of an infected tick, raising the death toll of big cats here to four in the past 10 days. The white tiger, which was ailing for 10 days, died late on Monday at the Birsa Munda Zoological Park here.  The first tiger died on July 9 and a leopard died the very next day. Another tiger succumbed to the disease on July 13. The white tiger was the first of the four animals to fall ill. Doctors said the tiger died of renal failure after battling the disease for 10 days. The state government constituted a seven-member medical team and round-the clock vigil was conducted, but the tigers could not be saved. The seven-member team included Abhijit Biswas and G L Ghosh. The zoo authorities claim that the condition of the other ill wild animals are improving. There were a total of 19 big cats in the zoo. Four of them have died and five are suffering from babesiosis. The sick animals are being administered glucose, dextrose, liver tonic and energy boosters.


Special Rule for Gila Trout in New Mexico and Arizona
July 18, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register Volume 71, Number 137

The USFWS is reclassifying the federally endangered Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) to threatened status. They are also finalizing a special rule that would apply to Gila trout found in New Mexico and Arizona. This special rule will enable the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) to promulgate special regulations in collaboration with the Service, allowing recreational fishing of Gila trout. The final rule is at: www.fws.gov/ifw2es/NewMexico/


St. Louis Elephant Over-due but doing well
July 18, 2006 www.stltoday.com  By Diane Toroian Keaggy

Although it has been 2 weeks since Asian elephant Ellie's due-date but she is showing no signs that labor. Martha Fischer, curator of mammals and ungulates says, "She's doing great and is well within the normal range of gestation." Based on her first delivery, zookeepers had expected her to give birth on July 5 - 661 days after she conceived. Most Asian elephants give birth between 630 and 660 days, though Fischer said gestation can last as long as 699 days. Keepers are on 24-hour watch and conduct ultrasounds twice a week. They have observed regular fetal movement and test daily for a drop in the mother's progesterone levels. Fischer said the Zoo does not plan to induce labor with oxytocin. The drug is only an option if the cervix is dilated; Ellie's cervix is not.


S.Africa ostrich bird flu under control
July 18, 2006 za.today.reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's department of agriculture said on Tuesday that an outbreak of a less virulent strain of avian flu among ostriches in the Western Cape province was under control. "Following the detection of the H5N2 strain of avian influenza ... in the Western Cape, surveillance procedures have been carried out within a 20-km (12-mile) radius around infected properties," the department said. "It is important to note that the inspections and laboratory tests have revealed that the outbreak has remained limited to a couple of adjacent properties," it said in a statement. The department did not say how many ostriches had been culled. South Africa compensates farmers in such cases. The H5N2 bird flu is deadly to animals but unlike the highly pathogenic H5N1 variety, not humans. The European Union has banned imports of ostriches, emus and their meat from two districts in South Africa because of the outbreak. South Africa has also banned exports from the areas.


Mesker Park Zoo Amazonia Project Update
July 19, 2006  www.courierpress.com   By JACOB BENNETT

Workers draining a small lake which will be the site of a new Amazonia exhibit have now removed 8000 cubic yards of surface runoff and duck manure, rather than the 1500 cubic yards they expected. According to zoo director Dan McGinn, $128,000 will be spent to clean the bottom of the lake and add fill dirt. Part of Amazonia exhibit, including a corner of the building, a walking path and the jaguar exhibit, will sit on what used to be a lake. Designers considered moving the building up a hill to avoid the one-acre lake, but doing so would have made the path too steep for wheelchairs and wouldn't have left enough room for the zoo tram, McGinn said. The lake sits on a former limestone quarry and may have been so deep because it was a road for trucks, McGinn said. The project won't be delayed because of the extra muck, McGinn said. McGinn hopes to open Amazonia in the spring of 2008.


Elephant Calf Born at Dickerson Park Zoo
July 19, 2006 www.news-leader.com  By Mike Penprase

Dickerson Park Zoo director Mike Crocker announced the birth of a female elephant early Tuesday morning. The 238-pound calf was born to experienced mother Moola and 18-year-old sire, Sabu. With construction of new elephant facilities finished "Our goal would be to build up our herd a little bit," he said. The zoo recently submitted an updated herd number for the Species Survival Plan that calls for eight elephants at the zoo compared with the current five, Crocker said. The elephant is the third calf born to Moola and the first calf born at the zoo since Haji in 1999.


New Primate Gene Sequencing Programs
July 19, 2006 www.nih.gov/news

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), has announced several new sequencing targets including the Northern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys). The goal is to sequence the genome of at least one non-human primate genome from each of the major positions along the evolutionary primate tree, creating an essential resource for researchers studying the genetic factors involved in human health and disease. The genomes of several non-human primates including the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatto), orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) and gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) have already been sequenced or have been approved for sequencing. The gibbon genome is unique because it carries an extraordinary high number of chromosome rearrangements. Such rearrangements can contribute to birth defects or cancer in humans. The gibbon genome will also help scientists better understand rearrangements called segmental duplications which are large, almost identical copies of DNA, present in at least two locations in the human genome. Seven mammals which have been previously approved to be sequenced at low-density genome coverage have been targeted to now be sequenced at high-density genome coverage. They are: the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus); domestic cat (Felis catus); guinea pig (Cavia porcellus); African savannah elephant (Loxodonta Africana); tree shrew (Tupaia species); rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus); and a bat species that will be determined based on the availability of a high-quality DNA sample and the selected bat's promise as a biomedical model. NHGRI has recently approved the sequencing of the horse (Equus caballas) to high-density genome coverage. A complete list of all organisms is at: www.genome.gov/10002154


Peacock Attacks Boy at Oregon Zoo
July 19, 2006 www.ktvz.com  By Antonia Giedwoyn

A peacock at the Oregon Zoo attacked a toddler Monday, prompting the boy's parents to rush him to the hospital and zoo officials to emphasize the infrequency of such incidents. The boy's father, Shane Woodward, said "We were next to the tigers when the peacock came up… it goes down to get a piece of purple candy and my son stepped towards the peacock and it jumped up on him and grabbed my son on both shoulders with its talons and stuck its beak into his chest," The father kicked the bird which then ran off toward some other children. He said his two-year-old son Zach was, "really traumatized. He kept saying, 'bad peacock, bad peacock.' " Zach suffered two deep scratches to his left shoulder, and the wounds were still bleeding an hour and a half after the incident, according to Woodward. The child also has welts on both arms. He was treated by zoo staff, who described the wounds as superficial. The zoo released a statement in response, which reads, in part: "Apparently, the peacock felt threatened and grabbed the front of the child's T-shirt while wrapping his talons around the child's upper arms... The child suffered minor welts on his arms in addition to the superficial scratch. The Oregon zoo regrets the incident, and is sorry that the child was frightened." Zoo officials said such incidents occur very rarely. An estimated three out of the last 10 million visitors have been scratched by the birds, officials said. Nevertheless, the peacock believed to be responsible has lost its roaming privileges.


Aplomado Falcons Released in Texas
July 19, 2006 www.enn.com  By Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press

VAN HORN, Texas -28 endangered North American aplomado falcons will get a new home in the West Texas desert. The release is part of a two-decade program by the Peregrine Fund to return the birds to their natural habitat. The aplomado falcons -- 12 inches to 16 inches long with a wingspan from 2 1/2 feet to 3 feet -- disappeared from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona about 50 years ago, and raptor biologist Bill Heinrich said it's unclear why. 126 aplomado falcons are to be released in about 10 West Texas locations this year. Heinrich hopes there will be enough survivors to mate and revitalize a species listed as endangered since 1986, but he only expects half of those released this year to make it. When they reach 40 weeks and leave the "hack box," a white plywood structure protecting them from roaming cattle and other prey by a narrow strip of electrified tape, the aplomado falcons will have to learn to fly and hunt. "Sometimes they won't be a good enough hunter and will starve to death," Heinrich said, adding that others may become prey themselves while learning how to survive.


Plan To Recover Kauai Cave Species
July 19, 2006 news.fws.gov By Ken Foote

The USFWS has announced the availability of the Final Recovery Plan for the Kauai Cave Arthropods. The Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod exist only in the lava tubes and cave-bearing rock in Kauai's Koloa Basin. The known population for the Kauai cave wolf spider - perhaps fewer than 30 individuals - is regularly found in a single cave, and population surveys for the Kauai cave amphipod indicate a range from 8 to over 300 individuals. The first priority is to protect the cave systems where these species still exist from human-caused destruction or degradation and to enhance their existing habitat. To enhance their habitats, the recovery plan recommends managing the habitat above the caves to encourage the growth of appropriate plants whose roots provide food and debris for the cave amphipod, and to increase the relative humidity in caves. These cave-dwelling species (known as troglobites) appear to require high humidity, perhaps as much as 100 percent. The two species were first discovered in 1971 and much about their conservation needs remains unknown. The recovery plan is available online through the Fish and Wildlife Service's website at pacificislands.fws.gov


WCS Pronghorn Migration Study
July 19, 2006 news.nationalgeographic.com Nicholas Bakalar

Pronghorns have followed the same migration routes through Wyoming's Greater Yellowstone region for more than 6,000 years. The animals' 100-mile (160-kilometer) seasonal journey is the longest land-mammal migration in the continental United States and is second only to the Arctic caribou's trek for long-distance migration in the Western Hemisphere. But now the pronghorn's ancient routes between calving and wintering grounds are in danger from human development, and the future of Yellowstone's pronghorn herd is uncertain. Joel Berger, a senior scientist with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, recently led a study of changes in the pronghorn's migration routes. Using global positioning systems, Berger and colleagues tracked the movements of migrating pronghorn. They also estimated the maximum width of geographical bottlenecks along the animals' paths. Their results, published in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters, show that six of the eight historical pronghorn routes have vanished, and bottlenecks along the remaining routes have narrowed. Berger said. "Any alteration in the bottlenecks through which pronghorn travel will only have serious negative effects and further squeeze the passage zones." What's more, the scientists found that when the bottlenecks are blocked, the animals don't seek alternate routes-they just stop migrating. Experts fear that if further development closes off these migration paths, it will interfere with the pronghorn's life cycle, eventually causing the species to disappear.


Interactive maze open at Santa Ana Zoo
July 19, 2006 www.ocregister.com  By TOM GORDON

SANTA ANA - The Santa Ana Zoo has opened a new interactive attraction that features endangered species. Sponsored by Wells Fargo, explorers take an Animal Identification Passport and then try to locate the 5 animal stations inside by listening for the different sounds that each species makes. The maze is free with admission. The Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park is at 1801 E. Chestnut Ave. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children 3-12 and senior citizens and free to kids younger than 2, people with disabilities and zoo members.


Moloch Gibbons at Belfast Zoo
July 19, 2006 news.bbc.co.uk

Native to western Java in south-east Asia, fewer than 2,000 Moloch gibbons exist in the wild. The Moloch gibbon is known for its distinctive song - the male, sings at dawn while females sing later in the day. Considered the rarest of all gibbons, they are extremely fast and agile, and can leep 30-feet. A family of four, Assini and Omar are the proud parents of three-year-old daughter Dieng and one-year-old Wayang, will be the occupants of Belfast's new Moloch gibbon house.   Belfast Zoo is one of only six zoos in the world that exhibits these animals.


Small fire causes $40K in damage at Wild Animal Park
July 19, 2006 www.nctimes.com   North County Times

ESCONDIDO ---- A small fire burned a shed at the Wild Animal Park Wednesday afternoon, causing about $40,000 in damage, San Diego firefighters said. The fire was reported near the park's service entrance at 1:16 p.m. in a work shed containing tools and equipment for making keys, Rancho Bernardo-based firefighter Steve Canchola said. The fire was extinguished by San Pasqual volunteer firefighters and Wild Animal Park crews, and was out by the time Rancho Bernardo crews arrived around 1:30, Canchola said. Authorities suspected electrical problems as the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported.


BirdLife receives Disney award
July 19, 2006 www.birdlife.org 

BirdLife has been selected by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF) for a $37,300 award for two of its globally threatened species projects. $17,400 has been given to help save the Slender Antbird, Rhopornis ardesiacus, found only in a small area of Brazil's Atlantic Forest. In west Africa $19,900 has been awarded to protect the White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus in Sierra Leone, one of the continent's most enigmatic birds. Disney pays all overhead costs of the program and Disney's corporate outreach program supplements DWCF awards. For a complete list of Disney Wildlife Conservation projects visit www.disneywildlifefund.com


Lake Nakuru hit by more flamingo deaths
July 19, 2006 www.eastandard.net  By Steven Mkawale and Winnie Chumo

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has ruled out bird flu as the cause of a large number of flamingo deaths occurring in the last two weeks in Lake Nakuru National Park. Senior KWS warden, Charles Muthui, said a lack of fresh water is believed to be the possible cause of the deaths. "The streams and rivers flowing into the lake have dried up due to destruction of Mau Forest, which is the main water catchment for the lake," Muthui said. The shores of the shrinking lake are littered with stinking flamingo carcasses, which have put off tourists. Three months ago, hundreds of flamingos died, causing fears of an avian flu outbreak. KWS researchers and district veterinary officers tested 40 samples for the deadly disease. Muthui said the park management had not received the test results and was forced to send more samples after the latest wave of deaths. "We collected about 200 dead birds in the first week, and the numbers have increased," he said. The park management committee has begun a re-forestation campaign to encourage families allocated land in the forest to start planting trees.


International Biodiversity Panel Proposed
July 20, 2006 www.newscientist.com

Fourteen years ago the Convention on Biological Diversity made proposals for protecting the world's flora and fauna; but countries are still arguing over who owns what in nature. 16 months ago, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, published the results of a four-year project by the world's top biologists, documenting the scale of today's mass extinctions. So far governments have ignored the assessment's key proposal for a permanent monitoring system to measure biodiversity loss. This week, in the journal Nature, 19 leading biologists from 13 countries are calling for the creation of an international biodiversity panel - modeled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - with a formal link to, and funding by, governments, to ensure that negotiations within international biodiversity conventions are based on validated scientific information and lead to action at national and global levels. The panel must be objective and independent; it should include the world's leading scientists, and its goal should be to provide rigorous, updated scientific information in support of policy decisions and actions at all levels of civil society. It should be transparent and representative, in terms of opinions, disciplines and geographical regions, and utilize a strict peer-review process. Hopefully, it will generate clear, readily accessible information about the status and trends of biodiversity, projections of future changes in biodiversity and the ecosystem services that depend on it, and options to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services and mitigate adverse impacts of biodiversity changes. The information should allow governments, international conventions and society to define clear targets for action.


Fuel Cell Exhibit At The L.A. Zoo
July 20, 2006 cbs2.com

(LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Zoo's latest exhibit is a non-polluting fuel cell power plant, according to the Department of Water and Power. Connected to the city's power grid, it will produce 200 kilowatts of highly efficient and clean hydrogen-fueled electricity - enough to power 250 homes, DWP spokeswoman Carol Tucker said. The exhibit is designed to educate the public about fuel cells as an emerging clean, efficient and reliable energy technology, Tucker said. The fuel cell plant, which uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, was manufactured by United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn. The hardware cost about $1.4 million, while setting it up at the zoo cost about $600,000, Tucker said. Coal-fired power plants emit tons of pollutants and "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, while the main byproduct of fuel cells is water. The fuel cell program is part of DWP's long-term plans to meet the city's energy needs, and will help the department reach its goal of supplying 20 percent of the city's power needs via renewable energy sources by 2010.


San Diego Firm Donates Satellite Phones to Save Elephants
July 20, 2006 www.prweb.com

San Diego based All Road Communications, www.allroadcommunications.com , has donated two Iridium Satellite Phones, solar panels and 1000 minutes of airtime valued at over $5,000 to the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, www.slwcs.org . "Three elephants die each week in Sri Lanka due to conflicts with humans. The phones donated by All Road Communications give us immediate contact with our staff in the bush, which helps us reduce the number of elephant deaths each year," said Ravi Corea, Executive Director, Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society. Satellite phones enable users to communicate anywhere on Earth, in areas where cellular phones and radios do not work.


New Tiger Report Released
July 20, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

WASHINGTON, DC - A new report on tiger habitats has found that the big cats reside in 40% less habitat than a decade ago, and occupy only 7 percent of their historic range. The comprehensive study was commissioned by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation's Save The Tiger Fund and produced by some of the world's leading tiger scientists at WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park and Save The Tiger Fund. Synthesizing land use information, maps of human influence, and on-the-ground evidence of tigers, this study identifies 76 "tiger conservation landscapes" - places with the best chance of supporting viable tiger populations into the future. Half the 76 landscapes can still support 100 tigers or more, providing excellent opportunities for recovery of wild tiger populations. The largest tiger landscapes exist in the Russian Far East and India. Southeast Asia also holds promise to sustain healthy tiger populations although many areas have lost tigers over the last 10 years. The group's key conclusion from the study is that to safeguard remaining tigers, increased protection of the 20 highest priority tiger conservation landscapes is required. The group also stands ready to support the 13 countries with tigers in a regional effort to save the species. The report's authors suggest that the heads of state of those countries convene a "tiger summit" to elevate tiger conservation on their countries' agendas. Various reports can be accessed at:
www.savethetigerfund.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Full_Reports


Steller Sea Lion Recovery Plan
July 20, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 139

In May 2006, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the availability for public review of the draft revised recovery plan for the western and eastern distinct population segments (DPS) of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus). . The plan is available for review at: www.fakr.noaa.gov/  NMFS is extending the public comment period on the recovery plan until September 1, 2006. Send comments to Kaja Brix, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Walsh, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to SSLRP@noaa.gov  The worlds "Sea Lion Recovery Plan" should appear in the subject line. E-mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes.


USDA Announces BSE Surveillance Program
July 20, 2006 www.usda.gov 

WASHINGTON, The USDA will soon begin transitioning to an ongoing Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) surveillance program The ongoing BSE surveillance program will sample approximately 40,000 animals each year. The new program will not only comply with the science-based international guidelines set forth by the World Animal Health organization (OIE), it will provide testing at a level ten times higher than the OIE recommended level. BSE surveillance is not a food safety program. Human and animal health is protected by a system of interlocking safeguards, including the removal of specified risk materials - those tissues that studies have demonstrated may contain the BSE agent in infected cattle, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 1997 ruminant to ruminant feed ban. Scientific studies indicate that the longer a feed ban is in place, the lower the prevalence of BSE will become. An outline of the ongoing BSE surveillance plan is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/bse.shtml  .


Zoo Celebrates 10 millionth Panda Visitor
July 21, 2006 washingtontimes.com

WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian National Zoological Park celebrated a milestone on Thursday at its Giant Panda exhibit: its estimated 10 millionth visitor. 9-year-old Emma Snyder of Windsor, Pa., had the special honor around 10 a.m. Zoo Director John Berry presented Emma with a Fujifilm digital camera and other gifts from the zoo's sponsors. Tai Shan and his parents have averaged about 1.7 million visitors per year since their debut in 2001. About 152,000 panda fans have flocked to the habitat each month since cub Tai Shan was born last July. The three pandas celebrated their milestone by playing in pools of ice provided by Pandas Unlimited, a group of 700 panda fans. The group has donated about $4,000 to a new Giant Panda Enrichment Fund at the zoo. Money from the fund paid for the pools and the delivery of 2,000 pounds of ice.


Don't be bamboozled by anti-zoo activists
July 21, 2006 seattletimes.nwsource.com By Mike Keele and Dr. Nancy Hawkes

Bamboo and the other elephants at Woodland Park Zoo are healthy and thriving, and people should come see for themselves. The Northwest Animal Rights Network is simply wrong about what is best for Bamboo. This animal-rights group is perhaps well-intentioned but definitely misinformed in its desire to force the zoo to move Bamboo to a private facility in Tennessee. It's time for the Seattle community that loves the zoo, and appreciates its important global education and conservation work, to speak up and say, "No." The zoo staff has always kept the elephants' interests foremost. The zoo has nothing to hide; in fact, it's one of the few zoos where visitors can see inside the elephant barn. You'll find the staff and volunteers extraordinarily proud of their work. Visitors should make their own judgment, and not fall prey to hyperbole from an animal-activist group that frankly is not in sync with most people's beliefs and lifestyles. When Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium sought a third elephant, having Bamboo join them made sense. All three elephants were past breeding age, and staff at both organizations expected they would bond. Further, the keepers from Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) whom Bamboo knows and trusts could visit her frequently. But elephants, like people, forge their own relationships. Since the Tacoma elephants didn't accept Bamboo, Woodland Park Zoo happily welcomed her back.
In a war of emotions, some people distort facts and use unscientific explanations for animal behavior. A term like "neurotic" is not only inappropriate for animals, it is no longer in common use within the human medical community.


Baby Anteater at Denver Zoo
July 21, 2006 denver.yourhub.com

Denver Zoo's newest addition is a giant anteater baby named Camilo which means "child born to freedom" in Latin. Camilo was born to parents Montia and Freedom on May 13 and can now be seen in Primate Panorama riding on his mother's back between 9 and 11 a.m. Camilo is Monita's first offspring. They are spending the rest of their time in an off-exhibit maternity den. Camilo's father, Freedom, and a troop of spider monkeys remain on display. Giant anteaters are born after a six month gestation and climb through their mothers' fur onto the top of her back immediately after birth. Young anteaters normally ride on their mother's back for most of the first year of their lives. The young anteater takes a position that causes the line on the juvenile to line up with the line on the mother, making the youngster virtually invisible to predators. This unique species that can weigh anywhere between 44 and 90 pounds. Giant anteaters use their long claws and strong sense of smell, which is 40 times more powerful than man's, to locate their dinner and tear through ant or termite mounds. Their sense of smell is so powerful that they can tell what species of insect they smell before they even reach the colony. Their long sticky tongue is covered with tiny spines and can be pushed two feet out of the mouth to catch ants, termites or grubs. The giant anteater ( Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is native to Central and South America and is currently classified as vulnerable due to hunting and habitat destruction.


Alligators, by popular demand, newest resident at the Nashville Zoo
July 21, 2006 www.rctimes.com  By Sylvia Slaughter

Alligator Cove, the Nashville Zoo's newest habitat, opens this Saturday. The 20,000-gallon water tank, will be home to more than a dozen alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Now 3 feet long, the adult males are expected to live approximately 50 years and grow to more than 10 feet in length. Eventually the exhibit will have fish and turtles, along with the reptiles. The Cove was
designed to resemble a Louisiana swamp and includes glass panels for up-close and underwater viewing. When you walk into the exhibit, it's like walking into the bayous, says Jim Bartoo, zoo spokesman. "There will be educational panels for the spectators to learn more about the alligators, and there will be keeper demonstrations, too," he adds. The cove was made possible by a donation from the David B. Johnson family


Channel Island Eagle Makes First Flight
July 21, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

VENTURA, Calif. -- The first bald eagle known to have hatched naturally in the northern Channel Islands since the species was decimated a half-century ago by chemical contamination has taken its first flight. Though the flight was successful, the 3-month-old bird is staying close to its nest near its parents on Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard said this week. The eagle chick will continue to be fed for at least a few more weeks before it begins to hunt fish on its own. Once the eagle is grown, it will find its own territory on the island. EagleCam: chil.vcoe.org/eagle--cam.htm

 
Giant panda saved from dogs in SW China
July 21, 2006 www.chinadaily.com.cn 

A five-year-old female giant panda, was seen being chased by several barking dogs on a hill in Yuexi county of the Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Liangshan last Sunday morning, said Gong Tianjian, head of the Shenguozhuang Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas. Gong and his colleagues assumed the panda had lost her way and wandered out of the reserve. "Six villagers from Shenpu Village happened to be herding sheep nearby and immediately drove the dogs away," A preliminary checkup showed the giant panda weighed 75 kilos and was more scared than wounded. She was hospitalized at the rescue center of the nature reserve for two days and was released to the wild Wednesday afternoon. Shenguozhuang nature reserve, located on the eastern section of the Hengduan Mountain Range, has an average altitude of 3,000 meters. It is home to giant pandas, red pandas, black bears and dozens of rare animal species.


Financing Approved for New L.A. Zoo Facilities
July 21, 2006 www.latimes.com  By Steve Hymon

The L.A. city Board of Public Works has approved the release of $2.1 million to begin demolishing the zoo's old elephant pen to clear space for the construction of a new 3.7 acre exhibit. The new "Pachyderm Forest" is expected to cost $38.7 million and will be paid for with a combination of city funds: $2 million in private donations, $25 million from bonds approved under Propositions A and CC, $1 million from the city's general fund, and $11 million from the Municipal Improvement Corp. of Los Angeles, which pays for capital projects. The Board of Public Works also approved the use of city crews for construction of a $2.9 million exhibit for golden monkeys. The golden monkey exhibit will be built after the elephant project is completed. (In 2002, then-Mayor James K. Hahn traveled to China with hopes of securing pandas for the zoo. Instead, the city was later given the right to lease golden monkeys.)


USDA Ruling on Interstate Movement of Captive Deer, Elk, and Moose
[Federal Register: July 21, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 140)]
[Rules and Regulations][Page 41681-41707]

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is establishing a chronic wasting disease (CWD) herd certification program for cervids effective October 19, 2006. To become certified, cervid herd owners must follow program requirements for animal identification, disease testing, herd management and fencing. Herds that participate in the program for five years with no evidence of CWD may be granted certified status. The final rule also provides regulations for the interstate movement of cervids. In order to reduce the spread of CWD, only animals from herds participating in the program will be allowed to move interstate. Owners of herds may enroll in a state program equivalent to the federal program, or may enroll directly in the federal program if no state program exists. Contact the Library for a complete copy of the regulation.


Scientists Call for Polar Bear Listing
July 23, 2006 www.caprep.com 

CHICAGO, IL (06/23/06) -- A University of Chicago climate scientist, Pamela Martin, and 30 of her colleagues from across North America and Europe are urging the USFWS to list the polar bear as a threatened species because global warming is melting its sea-ice habitat. In a letter submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service on June 15. they state "Biologists have determined that sea-ice is critical in the life cycle of the polar bear and the survival of the polar bear as a species." "Under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service is required to list a species for protection if it is in danger of extinction or threatened by possible extinction in all or a significant portion of its range. The ongoing and projected increased loss of sea-ice in the warming Arctic poses a significant threat to the polar bear." Martin said, "The polar bear listing petition is really illustrative of the challenge in addressing many environmental problems facing us as a global community. These problems don't fit squarely within a single scientific discipline - they not only require scientists to talk across disciplines, such as the geophysical and biological sciences as in the case of the polar bear, but also across the larger divide that separates scientists from policy makers." The non-profit Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson, Ariz., filed a scientific petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service on Feb. 16, 2005, to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. In February 2006, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would initiate a status review of the polar bear to determine if the species should be proposed for listing. A 60-day public comment period, later extended, also began on Feb. 9.


Saving the Rhino in Java and Vietnam
July 23, 2006 www.indianexpress.com 

Dr Prithiviraj Fernando, director of the Center for Conservation and Research in Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka, was the lead author of a paper in the journal Conservation Genetics last month on the first detailed genetic study of the Javan rhino. None of the rhinos exist in zoos. Forebears of the Javan rhino became isolated from those on the Asian mainland ~500,000 to a million years ago, due to rising sea level. The Ujung Kulon peninsula located in the extreme south-western tip of Java has become a national park, and strong anti-poaching measures are in place. But perversely, the rhinos' numbers have barely budged since 1980; the lack of human disturbance means that mature forests and exotic plants are replacing the shrubby lowland vegetation the rhino prefers. A further problem is that the remaining rhino populations lack the genetic variation they need to combat disease, adapt to changing conditions and avoid the health and fertility problems that arise from inbreeding. The situation is especially desperate in Vietnam. But Fernando says, ''There is still detectable genetic diversity within the Ujung Kulon animals, which tells us we can still save this population.'' It is complicated because the Java and Vietnam populations represent different subspecies and should be managed separately to preserve any unique adaptations and mutations, said Don J. Melnick, a biologist at Columbia University and the project leader of the first Javan rhino genetic study through the university's Center for Environmental Research and Conservation. But Melnick added that it might be too late to preserve a distinct subspecies in Vietnam. '' Gert Polet, a co-author of the Conservation Genetics paper and an adviser to the World Wide Fund for Nature's programme to protect Asian rhinos and elephants, says security in Vietnam has improved, and government officials and local residents are more sensitive to the rhinos' needs. ''It is not unthinkable that there is a male and breeding is taking place,'' he says.


AI to Boost Thai Elephant Population
July 23, 2006 etna.mcot.net

CHIANG MAI, July 23 - Veterinarians from Chiang Mai University and pachyderm conservationists have jointly extracted sperm from eight elephants to be used for artificial insemination. Anchalee Kalmapijit, Director of the Mae Sae Elephant Kraal, said the extracted sperm will be stored at Kasetsart University and can be used for up to 50 years. Thailand's elephant population in recent years has depleted rapidly with domesticated pachyderms now numbering only some 2,600 nationwide. Apart from helping to procreate more, the operation will also contribute to conservation of Asian elephant species. The Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang last year successfully conducted an artificial insemination procedure for Plai Khod, who is now 13 months pregnant and is due to give birth to her calf early next year.


Saving Vietnam's Elephants
July 23, 2006 vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn By Nguyen Anh Tuan

Out of a total of 14 elephant habitats in Viet Nam, deadly conflicts have occurred in nine of them, The most serious conflict between 1993-1998 was in Dong Nai Province, where 12 people were killed and in Tanh Linh jungle of Binh Thuan Province, where 13 people were killed. These incidents have led to an acute warning issued by the National Rangers: Elephants are feeling unsafe in their habitat and they keep moving to new areas to find food and shelter. Even in the 91,1000 Pu Mat National Park, where Ten per cent of the total elephant population of Viet Nam is located, signs of elephant problems are occurring. On May 16, 2006, then deputy prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decision to set up an Emergency Plan of Action to preserve the country's elephants by 2010. The elephants will be counted by electric population control chips and three special national reserves will be set up. The biggest reserve will be located at Buon Don in Dac Lac, the country's famous home of elephant tamers. The reserve spreads to Ea Sup (also in Dac Lac Province) and stretches over to part of Dac Nong Province with two groups of wild elephants currently living there. The total elephant land will be 250,000ha, embracing the current Yok Don National Park, a traditional centre for taming elephants. The second special reserve will be in Dong Nai Province, where ten elephants currently live in a stable habitat. This area provides an estimated 160,000ha of land for wild elephants, stretching over the Cat Tien National Park and the Vinh Cuu Natural Reserve.The last reserve will cover the south-western part of Nghe An province, including the Pu Mat National Park and stretches of border forests in four districts incorporated with neighbouring Laotian counterparts. This area will cover a 200,000ha wild elephant reserve. All the above mentioned zones are current wild elephant habitats, as they cover large swaths of land with the rich sources of food, water, and minerals needed to sustain the giant creatures.


Study Bolsters Protecting Jumping Mouse
July 23, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists hired to review contradictory evidence for the USFWS have concluded the Preble's meadow jumping mouse is a unique subspecies, limited to parts of Colorado and Wyoming. The study by the Portland, Ore.-based Sustainable Ecosystems Institute, obtained Sunday by The Associated Press, would help justify keeping the 3-inch mouse protected under the Endangered Species Act. The mouse, which uses its 6-inch tail and strong hind legs to jump a foot and a half in the air, inhabits grasslands that include prime real estate along Colorado's fast-growing Front Range. Fish and Wildlife is expected to decide by early August whether the mouse should stay on the endangered species list. The decision affects nearly 31,000 acres designated as critical habitat to help the mouse recover. Its population has dwindled to an average of 44 mice per mile of stream because of urban sprawl. The mouse became emblematic of a broader ideological clash over the Endangered Species Act itself, between developers and property-rights advocates who want to scale back the law and wildlife advocates who want to ensure the law is science-driven. More information is available at: www.r6.fws.gov/preble  and the Center for Native Ecosystems: www.nativeecosystems.org 


Chinese Delegation Visits US Giant Pandas
July 24, 2006 www.chinadaily.com.cn  By Huang Zhiling

An 11-member delegation from China (government officials, a panda researcher, journalists and a TV production crew) visited Zoo Atlanta Saturday morning. "We came here to visit Lun Lun and Yang Yang whose parents live in the Chinese city [of Chengdu] with 10 million people and 80 percent of the world's giant pandas," said Song Minwen, chief of the delegation, in a special ceremony marking the arrival of the Chinese group. In less than one hour, 500 picture albums of Chengdu, 500 badges of the giant panda, 400 photos of the giant pandas and 150 toys of the giant panda were taken away by some 1,000 visitors to the zoo. Zoo Atlanta was the second stop on an 11-city world tour for the Chinese delegation filming a panda TV documentary and promoting the animal's "hometown" Chengdu. The first stop was Memphis, Tennessee in the United States. The entire visit will take 16 days.


Zoos Re-introduce Western Pond Turtles
July 24, 2006 www.medfordnews.com 

PORTLAND, Oregon - A decade ago, the western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata marmorata) was close to extinction in Washington. Now, the Oregon Zoo will release 58 of them in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge The re-introduction is part of a collaborative effort among Oregon Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, BPA, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As part of the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project, conservation scientists at these organizations "head-start" newly hatched turtles gathered from wild sites, nurturing them at both zoos for about 10 months. Once they reach a suitable size of about 70 grams (a little more than 2 ounces), they are returned to their homes and monitored for safety. The 2 zoos and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have been working to save Washington's western pond turtles for 14 years, according to Dr. David Shepherdson, Oregon Zoo conservation program scientist. BPA is again providing $5,000 in support of the zoo's western pond turtle conservation efforts through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Fish and Wildlife Program. The council's program is responsible for recommending projects to mitigate for the impact of the Federal Columbia River Power System on fish and wildlife.


Runaway panda gives birth after recapture
July 24, 2006 www.chinadaily.com.cn 

CHENGDU: A GIANT panda who gained notoriety when she escaped captivity and remained at large for 4 1/2 years gave birth to a female cub in southwest China on Saturday, only eight months after she was recaptured. The cub, conceived through artificial insemination, was born at 8:50am at the China Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Sichuan Province and weighed in at 160 grams, said the center's chief Zhang Hemin. The 16-year-old mother named Bai Xue - Snow White - and her daughter are in good condition. "It was unexpected good news for us," the expert said. "We didn't expect her to be able to become pregnant and give birth when we inseminated her in April this year, as she was too old and still had not restored her strength after returning to the center."


Endangered Species Recovery Permit Applications
July 24, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 141
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/July/Day-24/ 

Comments on the following permit applications must be received on or before August 23, 2006.
Written data or comments should be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chief, Endangered Species, Ecological Services, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone: 503-231-2063; fax: 503-231-6243). Please refer to the respective permit number for each application when submitting comments

Permit No. TE-126866 Applicant: California Department of Parks and Recreation, Gustine, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (capture, handle, and attach radio transmitters) the riparian brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani riparius) and take (capture, handle, and release) the riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes riparia) in conjunction with ecological research in San Joaquin County, California, for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-022630 Applicant: U.S. Geological Survey, Henderson, Nevada
The permittee requests an amentment to remove/reduce to possession the Nitrophila mohavensis (Amargosa niterwort) in conjunction with scientific study in Nye County, Nevada, and Inyo County, California, for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-809232 Applicant: BioWest, Inc., Logan Utah
The permittee requests an amendment to take (capture, mark, tag, and release) the bonytail chub (Gila elegans) and increase the geographic area in which to take (capture, mark, tag, measure, fin clip, and release or collect) the razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) along the Lower Colorado River in conjunction with scientific research for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-106759 Applicant: Lauronda Cooper, Cupertino, California
The permittee requests an amendment to take (capture, mark, and release) the Stephens' kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi) and the Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides) in conjunction with surveys throughout the species range in California for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-122026 Applicant: Tracy Bailey, Ridgecrest, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (capture, mark, and release) the Pacific pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus) in conjunction with surveys throughout the species range in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-128462 Applicant: Jonathan Feenstra, Pasadena, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey) the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) in conjunction with surveys throughout the species range in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-128400 Applicant: Christina M. Sloop, Sonoma, California
The applicant requests a permit to remove/reduce to possession Orcuttia pilosa (hairy orcutt grass) and Neostapfia colusana (Colusa grass) from Federal lands throughout the species range in California for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-128416 Applicant: Ro M. LoBianco, Danville, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (capture and release) the California freshwater shrimp (Syncaris pacifica) in conjunction with surveys throughout the species range in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.


Elephant Handler Killed at Tennessee Sanctuary
July 24, 2006 www.usatoday.com 

HOHENWALD, Tenn. - Joanna Burke, 36, had been the primary caregiver for the Asian elephants at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary for eight years. On July 21, she was with facilities director, Scott Blais when Scott found that 40-year-old female, Winkie, had a swollen right eye. Several weeks before, another elephant was found with a similar condition and the swelling went down to normal in less than 24 hours. The vet concluded it was some kind of insect bite. After Scott completed an examination, he sat down and Joanna proceeded to water Winkie by handing her the water hose; a standard procedure. Winkie appeared very calm, but when. Joanna moved around to Winkie's right side to look at her eye, without warning, Winkie spun around and struck Joanna across the chest and face. Joanna fell backwards and Winkie stepped on her, killing her instantly. Scott Blais immediately tried to intervene and sustained a minor injury to his foot which required a cast. Winkie had previously resided at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis., where she hurt several staffers and visitors, earning a reputation as a "dangerous elephant," Friday's death at the compound is the first at the facility, which is licensed as a Class I exotic animal facility by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The sanctuary was in compliance with their license and state laws, according to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesman Doug Markham. The Elephant Sanctuary: www.elephants.com


Zoo gets Federal Funds for biomass
July 24, 2006 www.thecherrycreeknews.com 

CHERRY CREEK - A one million dollar appropriation will support Denver Zoo's plans to build a new, environmentally-sound, 10-acre exhibit called Asian Tropics, the future home of 15 Asian species including elephants and rhinoceros. An exceptional component of the new exhibit will be the installation of a biomass gasification system designed to convert the zoo's solid waste materials into on-site energy generation and distribution. The funds were secured by Senator Wayne Allard. "We are thrilled. This has been in the works the better part of a year and we are very grateful for Senator Allard's efforts and vision," says Denver Zoo President and CEO Clayton Freiheit. The biomass gasification system is expected to convert more than 90 percent of the zoo's trash into useable energy that will be utilized to operate the Asian Tropics facilities. "The concept of being able to convert animal waste and human trash - both of which the zoo produces in abundance - to provide heating, cooling and power for Asian Tropics' buildings and animal exhibit water features is mind boggling. Widespread future use of this technology could, over time, mean an end to sanitary landfills and have a huge positive effect on our environment. As a conservation-oriented institution, vitally concerned with the future of our natural world, we're extremely pleased" says Freiheit.


Elephants avoid hills
July 24, 2006 www.eurekalert.org 

Using global-positioning system data corresponding to the movements of elephants across the African savannah, researchers have found that elephants exhibit strong tendencies to avoid significantly sloped terrain, and that such land features likely represent a key influence on elephant movements and land use. This behavior is likely related to the fact that even minor hills represent a considerable energy barrier for elephants because of the added calorie consumption required for such movements. Understanding the factors that determine locations of elephant density hot-spots and use corridors is critical in finding safe niches for elephants in the face of growing human encroachment on elephant habitat. The findings are reported by Fritz Vollrath of the University of Oxford and elephant experts Jake Wall and Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants. The article, "Elephants avoid costly mountaineering." appears in Current Biology 16, R527-529, July 25, 2006. www.current-biology.com 


Oklahoma City Zoo Orangutan Dies
July 25, 2006 www.upi.com 

OKLAHOMA CITY The oldest captive orangutan in North America has died of kidney failure at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Les Tunku, a Sumatran orangutan was 44. He came to the Zoo in 1962, the year he was born. According to Gary West, the zoo's veterinarian services director, the orangutan had been put under anesthesia so he could be examined after being lethargic and having difficulty breathing. The stress of the procedure was too much for his heart, and the ape went into cardiac arrest. Most orangutans in zoo environments live about 40 years; wild orangutan usually live 35 to 40 years. The zoo's female orangutan is 39 years old. He fathered nine children.


Haifa Zoo Animals Confined to Bunkers
July 25, 2006 news.bbc.co.uk By Raffi Berg

For most of the past nine days all the mammals at the Haifa zoo have been confined to their concrete sleeping quarters as the city is bombarded by missiles from Lebanon. Sirens sound repeatedly throughout the day and where rockets have landed the effects have been devastating. The animals are let out under supervision for short periods, but when the alarms sound they are hurriedly ushered back in. Of the zoo's regular 40-strong staff, Dr Ararat is one of only four who remain at the eight-acre site to take care of 1,000 animals, despite the danger. The zoo's plight is made worse by the fact that the conflict has forced it to close to the public at what should be its busiest time of the year. "In July and August we get about 3,000 people a day but now we are losing money every day, which will have an impact on everything," Dr Ararat said. "Also, our suppliers are closed, so trying to find food for the animals is a mission these days, when usually it's not, and we need help."


Domestication - Selecting for Tameness
July 25, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By NICHOLAS WADE

An animal-breeding farm in Siberia has produced 2 different colonies of rats. One colony has been bred for tameness. The other colony of rats has been bred from exactly the same stock, but for aggressiveness instead. These animals are ferocious. Frank Albert, a graduate student at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, is working with both the tame and the hyper-aggressive Siberian strains in the hope of understanding the genetic basis of their behavioral differences. "The ferocious rats cannot be handled," Mr. Albert said. "They will not tolerate it. They go totally crazy if you try to pick them up." The two strains of rat are part of a remarkable experiment started in the former Soviet Union in 1959 by Dmitri K. Belyaev. Belyaev and his brother were geneticists who believed in Mendelian theory despite the domination of Soviet science by Trofim Lysenko, who rejected Mendelian genetics. Belyaev decided to study the genetics of domestication, a problem to which Darwin gave deep attention. Domesticated animals differ in many ways from their wild counterparts, and it has never been clear just which qualities were selected for by the Neolithic farmers who developed most major farm species some 10,000 years ago. Belyaev's hypothesis was that all domesticated species had been selected for a single criterion: tameness. This quality, in his view, had dragged along with it most of the other features that distinguish domestic animals from their wild forebears, like droopy ears, patches of white in the fur and changes in skull shape.


NY Songbirds Have High Levels of Mercury
July 25, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By ANTHONY DePALMA

David C. Evers, executive director of the Biodiversity Research Institute, studied wild songbirds in New York State and found that all 178 woodland birds tested last year had unusually high levels of mercury in their blood and feathers, a sign that the toxic chemical has spread farther in the environment than previously thought. While mercury has often been found in lakes and streams and in fish, Dr. Evers's work documents the unexpected presence of the chemical in birds that do not live on water and never eat fish. Dr. Evers said, . "If these birds are having trouble, that should be a very good indicator of a risk to our own well-being and health as well." In May, Gov. George E. Pataki proposed cutting mercury emissions from New York power plants in half by 2010, setting standards that would be substantially more stringent than new federal regulations on mercury. State environmental officials are drawing up regulations, and then will take public comments before adopting them. The songbird study provides a broader assessment of the mercury hazard in wooded areas of New York and throughout the northeastern United States than has previously been conducted.


Tagging the Middle East's Rarest Bird: Northern Bald Ibis
July 25, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

LONDON - Scientists from Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the conservation agency, BirdLife International have tagged three northern bald ibis, among the last survivors of a species of Middle Eastern bird in an effort to save them from extinction. Only 13 of the birds remain in Syria. The birds, can be seen in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and were previously found throughout the Middle East, northern Africa and the European Alps. They are now classified as critically endangered, the highest level of threat, by the IUCN. Until four years ago the species was thought to be extinct in Syria. The only other wild population is in Morocco.


Minnesota Zoo's Mexican Wolf Breeding Program
July 25, 2006 www.hometownsource.com  by Jeff Achen

On July 6, wildlife biologists placed female Mexican wolf, Alita, her mate, and both of their 3-month-old pups near Middle Mountain in the Apache National Forest. Born at the Minnesota Zoo, Jackie Fallon, the keeper that raised her said the zoo's participation in the release is something zoos don't often get to be a part of. As the focus of modern zoos becomes more and more about participation in conservation and recovery of animals in the wild, reintroduction is one goal zookeepers get excited about. The first captive Mexican gray wolves were released in 1998, but Fallon said those first 11 wolves were more genetically common. The release of Alita is unique because she has all three lineages of the Mexican gray wolf in her blood, making her extremely genetically valuable. "It's really important to bring in new bloodlines to the wild and the only way to do that is to bring in captive wolves," Fallon said. "She's not closely related to any of the wolves in the wild." There are only about 300 or so Mexican gray wolves in captivity and 30 to 50 in the wild. The reintroduction is a cooperative effort of the Arizona and New Mexico Game and Fish departments, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the White Mountain Apache Tribe and the USDA Forest and USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services. The Minnesota Zoo first became involved in the Mexican gray wolf species survival program in 1994 with two females and one male. In 2003, the zoo received an award from AZA for its involvement with the program after the birth of seven pups that year. Alita still has four full brothers at the Minnesota Zoo. Their exhibit allows them to roam a bit more freely than traditional zoo habitats, including hunting small game. This will prepare them for release into the wild.


Toronto Zoo Elephant Matriarch Dies
July 26, 2006 www.thestar.com  By CURTIS RUSH

Patsy, a 40-year-old African elephant and matriarch of the Toronto zoo's elephant herd died Monday night. She was put to sleep after a period of failing health due to long-term degenerative arthritis in her legs, that may have been caused by an earlier injury in a scuffle with another elephant. "She was in constant pain," said zoo CEO Calvin White. "She was still on exhibit as of (Monday) night, but you could tell she was hurting. She walked very slow, she would lean against the wall and lean her tusks against the post. She was feeling a lot of pressure." After several exams determined that there was no chance of further treatment or recovery, Patsy was euthanized. Zoo staff made sure that Thika, Toka, Iringa, Tara, Tequila, and Tessa, the six remaining elephants, spent the night with Patsy following her death. When she died, staff familiar with the social structure of elephants didn't remove her body but let the other elephants see that she was not coming back to life. The other elephants, all females, came around and touched Patsy with their tusks, trunks and feet. A couple kept their distance, partly because Patsy had had some nasty encounters with them and there were still hard feelings. "They have a complex social structure," said Dr. Dale Smith, a veterinarian who is a professor of pathobiology at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. "They know each other as individuals," Smith said. "If you take the elephant away, they would be very confused. But if they're allowed to see the dead elephant, they recognize that it's not going to come back. They don't weep like humans, but they do emit a low rumbling sound to express apparent sadness, and they mope about, Smith said. But most of their communication is at a frequency that humans can't hear, according to experts. Dr. William Rapley, another veterinarian who has seen how elephants interact, said the mourning "can go on for days."


Federal Permit Applications Received
July 26, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 143
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/July/Day-26/ 

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species and/or marine mammals. Written data, comments or requests must be received by August 25, 2006. Written data, comments, or requests for copies of the complete applications should be submitted to the Director, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281 telephone 703/358-2104.

Applicant: Lance G. Barrett-Lennard, Homer, AK, PRT-118442 The applicant requests a permit to take by harassment up to 60 wild northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) in the Aleutian Islands, southwest Alaska, for the purpose of scientific research. Otters will be exposed to killer whale fin decoys and recordings of killer whale calls and blows; sea otter response will be observed and measured according to activity level. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a five-year period. Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, the Division of Management Authority is forwarding copies of the above applications to the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors for their review.

Applicant: Craig A. Stanley, San Jose, CA, PRT-125911 The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.


Artificial Burrows for Burrowing Owls
July 26, 2006 www.redorbit.com  By Dan Sorenson, ARIZONA DAILY STAR

With volunteer labor, borrowed backhoes, buried plastic 5-gallon buckets and PVC pipe, "Wild at Heart", a not-for- profit organization has led the effort to move hundreds of the tiny burrowing owls displaced from agricultural land being developed in Maricopa County to artificial burrows installed throughout the rest of the state. Volunteers have dug nearly 2,000 burrows, roughly equally divided between the northern, southern, eastern and western parts of the state. Some are for transplanted Maricopa County owls; others may be used by migrating populations. The group pioneered the artificial burrow program, and Clark says it's successful and that there are hundreds of owls living in burrows installed through the program. But he said there is still more to learn. It will take 15 to 20 years to see if the relocation is successful. The birds reject burrows that are located too close to trees, saguaros or other structures that can be used by the predatory birds that prey on burrowing owls. By starting now, before the animals are in desperate straits, the artificial burrow and relocation program can be perfected and a future endangered species listing avoided.


Florida Zoo gets cash from schools
July 26, 2006 www.orlandosentinel.com  By Dave Weber

SANFORD -- At a time when the state says Seminole County needs more money to build classrooms, the School Board has voted to give $1 million to the Central Florida Zoological Park from its construction fund. Instead of six or seven new classrooms, the money will build an education center at the zoo, which officials say will benefit county children, too. "It's a good investment and a good experience for the kids," said School Board Chairman Jeanne Morris, who defends the zoo contribution. The zoo is a popular location for field trips by many schools. Sandi Linn, education director at the zoo, said her count shows about 16,800 Seminole elementary-school children visited during the past school year, with 20 percent of students coming from other counties. They took part in a variety of programs the zoo offers, including several that are geared to state science standards for schools. Many of the zoo's programs take place in classrooms in the new Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center. The $6.5 million building financed in part with the school district money, opened last year.


Meals from Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium Kitchen
July 26, 2006 www.insidebayarea.com  By Marlene Parrish

Patrick Kennedy, commissary supervisor at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium makes daily meals for approximately 400 species. "That's 4,000 mouths to feed every day, sometimes three and four times," he says. "I buy 575 to 600 tons of food a year." Every animal at the zoo has a special diet, formulated by zoo veterinarians with set standards for nutrition and portion control.
Breakfast for the gorilla group of 10, for instance, consists of grapefruit, white potatoes, broccoli, green beans, endive, romaine, celery, spinach and 13 pounds of nutritional munchies called primate browse biscuits. All food is weighed out to the gram, placed in a separate bag and labeled. The gorillas put down about 200 pounds of food every day. The staff consists of two full-timers, one seasonal worker and two students. They prepare meals by referring to plastic-covered diet sheets mounted on clipboards. There's very little cooking to do, however. Vegetables for small marsupials are cooked in a microwave oven, and 15 dozen eggs a week for the primates are hard-cooked on a one-burner hot plate. "The big animals don't get their food chopped, but the small ones do," says Kira Albert, an animal-diet technician. "We save peelings and outer lettuce leaves for the rhinos to snack on. Nothing is wasted. The biggest chore is taking those little stickers off the fruit." Commissary pantry shelves include a few supermarket items along with sacks of special animal chows. "Since a little bit of sweetness helps the medicine go down, I have blackberry syrup and applesauce for some keepers to give," Kennedy says. "Bears love to take their meds in peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. This stock of orange Gatorade goes to fend off dehydration in the primates. And kangaroos get the contents of a tea bag sprinkled over their food every day because something in their natural habitat supplies caffeine."


Monitoring Plan for Population of Columbian White-tailed Deer
July 26, 2006 epa.gov Federal Register [Volume 71, Number 143]

The Columbian white-tailed deer is the westernmost representative of 30 subspecies of white-tailed deer in North and Central America The subspecies was formerly distributed throughout the bottomlands and prairie woodlands of the lower Columbia, Willamette, and Umpqua River basins in Oregon and southern Washington. It currently exists in two distinct population segments (DPS), one in Douglas County, Oregon (Douglas County DPS), and the other along the lower Columbia River in Oregon and Washington (Columbia River DPS). The Douglas County DPS was delisted on July 24, 2003. The USFWS is making available the Monitoring Plan for the Douglas County Distinct Population Segment of the Columbian White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus). The plan describes the methods that are being used to monitor the status of the Douglas County distinct population segment of the Columbian white-tailed deer and its habitat for a 5-year period, from 2003 (at the time of delisting) to 2008. The plan also provides a strategy for identifying and responding to unexpected population declines and habitat alteration, as well as disease outbreaks. Copies of the plan are available by request from the State Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE. 98th Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, Oregon 97266 (telephone: 503-231-6179). It is also available on the World Wide Web at: www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/Species/ESA-Actions/CWTDPage.asp 


WCS Imports Orphaned Snow Leopard from Pakistan
July 26, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 143
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/July/Day-26/ 

On July 19, 2006, the USFWS issued an emergency permit (PRT-125946) to the Wildlife Conservation Society to import an orphaned male snow leopard (Uncia uncia) from Pakistan. The Service determined that an emergency affecting the health and life of the snow leopard existed, and that no reasonable alternative was available to the applicant. The animal, born in June 2005, was orphaned at approximately three weeks of age when a farmer killed his mother in self-defense. The animal was turned over to the Pakistani Northern Areas Forest Department. Prior to the earthquake in October 2005, the Government of Pakistan intended to keep the animal in Pakistan. However, after the earthquake, all available resources were dedicated to earthquake relief and the required resources needed to house and care for the orphaned snow leopard were no longer available. The Government of Pakistan then requested assistance from the WCS, which has a presence there. Since the animal was removed from the wild at such a young age, it is highly unlikely that it could ever be reintroduced to the wild. The snow leopard is currently being housed in a facility that is inadequate for its proper care, and WCS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Pakistan that outlines certain conditions and arrangements in regards to the import of this animal to the Bronx zoo. In exchange for importing the animal, the WCS will provide technical support for and assist in raising funds for a wild foundling care facility in Northern Areas, Pakistan, that will have the particular focus on care and management of foundling snow leopards. In addition, the Government of Pakistan will retain ownership of the snow leopard and WCS agrees to return the animal to Pakistan upon request.


Reid Park Zoo's Ambitious New Projects
July 26, 2006 www.azstarnet.com  By Danielle Sottosanti

In mid-September, Reid Park Zoo will begin work on a $4 million Conservation Learning Center
Vivian VanPeenen, Reid Park Zoo education curator, said the new learning center will be 10 times as large as the existing building and will meet the environmental requirements necessary to receive the highest certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Their Platinum certification involves six general areas: the use of a sustainable site; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; indoor air quality; renovation and design; and materials and resources. Kevin Barber, an associate principal at Swaim Associates Ltd., the architectural firm working on the learning center, said opting for such stringent certification requires long-range vision, as the construction and certification processes are initially more expensive than standard construction methods. The $4 million learning center and a project that will add seven acres and a 3.5-acre elephant habitat to Reid Park Zoo add up to $12.5 million, said Tucson Zoological Society Executive Director Mike Carter. The Zoological Society has pledged to contribute $6.25 million toward these costs, and the city of Tucson is contributing an equal amount. But so far, the Zoological Society has raised only $1.5 million, so this is a crucial time for fund raising, VanPeenen said. In addition to money collected during fund raising, city bond money and revenue from zoo admissions and train rides will fund the improvements.


Mice Reintroduced After Rat Cull
July 26 2006 clanarkshire.icnetwork.co.uk

Around 150 wood mice were taken from Canna Island in the Inner Hebrides to Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park last year, so that international pest-controllers could eradicate the island's 10,000 non-native, brown rats which had been threatening the mice and seabird population. They have now been returned to their home.


Zurich Zoo's Meat Ice Cream
July 27, 2006 msnbc.msn.com

ZURICH, Switzerland - Zookeepers at the Zurich Zoo are feeding animals a diet of frozen berries, meat and bones to help them stay cool in the sweltering summer heat. The "alternative ice cream" has been a big hit with large cats, apes and wolves. This has been the hottest July in Switzerland since 1983.


Oregon Zoo Seeks New Business Plan
July 27, 2006 www.oregonlive.com  By WADE NKRUMAH

The Oregon Zoo Future Vision Committee will pick and work with a consultant to develop a 10-year plan to replace the current plan, which is in its 15th year. Proposals are due Aug. 11. Tony Vecchio, zoo director, said the state's top-earning tourist attraction needs a new business model. The old model is to build new exhibits. They cost more to operate, but they also increase attendance. The 119-year-old zoo is the oldest west of the Mississippi River. Last year, with more than 1.365 million visitors, revenues exceeded expenses for the first time since 2001-02. Vecchio said 2005-06 revenues were a record $14 million, compared with $12.8 million the previous year. The previous record was $13.1 million in 2000-01. "This past year was an exception," he said. Zoo expenses are outpacing revenues, Vecchio said, with rising utility and health care costs. Options to counter the trend are limited. New exhibits likely would attract more visitors, but adding exhibits is complicated by the zoo's site. The 50 acres of buildable land is nearly built out, and there's no room to expand. The zoo is hemmed in by residential neighborhoods in Southwest Portland and by U.S. 26.


4 Condor Chicks Die of West Nile in Idaho
July 27, 2006 www.enn.com  By John Miller, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho - Last week four 3-month-old chicks at an Idaho raptor center died of West Nile virus. Their deaths leave just eight condor hatchlings at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, where biologists have been breeding them since 1994. West Nile showed up in Idaho in 2003 and emerged a month ahead of schedule this year, as spring rains left pools where mosquito larvae thrive. Bill Heinrich, the center's species restoration manager, said the deaths aren't a devastating blow to his $1.3 million annual condor breeding program, but they're still disappointing. Consequently, the facility in 2006 will send fewer than half the 20 birds it transported last year for release at sites including near Arizona's Grand Canyon. "Until the young are 90 days old, they're too young to vaccinate," Heinrich said. "These birds were just about ready to be vaccinated when they caught the virus." Chris Parish, the center's condor project director in Marble Canyon, Ariz., said wild condors reproduce at a rate of a single, 5-inch, 10-ounce egg, every other year. In captivity, the Boise center's 19 breeding pairs -- condors mate for life -- can produce multiple eggs every year. Parish added that young of many wild raptors experience mortality rates of up to 50 percent. Idaho public health officials say West Nile has been discovered in 67 pools of water, 11 humans, 16 horses and 24 birds, including wild hawks, so far this year.


Latest California West Nile Virus Report
July 27, 2006 www.westnile.ca.gov 

There have been ten new cases in California this week in Fresno (1), Kern (7), and Yolo (2) counties . There have been no WNV-related fatalities reported in California in 2006. Last week, the California Department of Food & Agriculture reported two horse cases of WNV from Merced County, 122 WNV positive mosquito samples last week from Contra Costa (2), El Dorado (1), Fresno (13), Imperial (2), Kern (57), Kings (8), Placer (1), Riverside (1), Sacramento (2), San Joaquin (7), Solano (1), Stanislaus (1), Sutter (17), Yolo (8), and Yuba (1) counties. This is the first indication of WNV activity in El Dorado and Placer counties in 2006.


2 Smuggled Orangutans Returned to Indonesia
July 27, 2006 news.yahoo.com

JAKARTA (AFP) - Two orangutans were smuggled into Vietnam 7 to 12 months ago from Kalimantan and bought for a total of 15,000 dollars. Workers from the Borneo Orangutan Survival foundation (BOS) and the NGO, Wildlife At Risk found the orangutans and alerted Vietnamese officials, who confiscated them on July 11. They have now been repatriated to Indonesia and will be prepared for a return to their home in the jungles of Kalimantan. Don-Don aged two-and-a-half and Dong, aged three-and-a-half, arrived back from Vietnam on Monday in a speedy repatriation that environmentalists said sent a strong signal to illegal wildlife traffickers. Aldrianto Priadjati, executive director of the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation, said that the pair would remain under quarantine for 30 days before their lessons on surviving in the wild would begin. DNA-testing would first be required to track the female orangutans' origins to one of three sub-species of the apes found in Indonesia's Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. It may take three to five years to properly prepare them for a return to the wild after their spate in captivity, Priadjati told AFP. Priadjati said that the pair's quick return -- following the return of several from Malaysia a few months ago -- provided hope for dozens of other orangutans awaiting repatriation from abroad. He said preparation for transportation of 48 to 53 of the animals was underway after a nearly three-year delay while one or two were also expected from Saudi Arabia.


Seeking the Sacred Raven - The Alala Story
July 27, 2006 the.honoluluadvertiser.com By Christine Terada

Trained in veterinary medicine and journalism, and a professor of journalism and media studies at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, Mark Walters has written a new book about saving the endangered Hawaiian crow, the alala. He started researching the efforts to save the 'alala in spring 1996, and began the book in the hope that he would chronicle a "success story" about giving the 'alala another chance to survive in the wild. But although the bird once thrived in the cloud forests on the slopes of Mauna Loa, by the time Walters arrived, only about a dozen of these birds remained alive in their natural habitat. Walters says disease, predation and loss of habitat, along with a power struggle among landowners, biologists, government agencies and conservation organizations that prevented stakeholders from agreeing on a program to help 'alala survive in the wild, resulted in the 'alala's collapse. In the end, those who wished to save the bird were forced to focus on captive care and breeding to keep the species in existence. About 50 'alala remain in captivity. The last bird was observed in the wild in 2002.


Illegal Trade of Wildlife Tops $10 Billion
July 27, 2006 www.redorbit.com 

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- The illegal trade of wild animals and plants has exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars, becoming the third largest source of illegal trade, after drugs and guns. According to a press release from an international conference on wildlife trade crimes, illegal trade of wildlife has threatened species's survival, disturbed market order, caused tax loss, and may create ecological and health hazards. The conference, co-organized by the Interpol, China's Ministry of Public Security, and State Forestry Bureau, ended here on Thursday, according to the press release from the China's police authority. Representatives from Interpol, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES), police and wildlife protection groups from 21 countries and regions attended. The conference goal was to enhance international cooperation in combating wildlife crime, including the exchange of information, law-enforcement personnel, and technology.


Tagging the Northern Bald ibis
July 27, 2006 www.birdlife.org 

Satellite tags have been attached to three of the remaining seven adult Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita in Syria. The birds, can be seen in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and were previously found throughout the Middle East, northern Africa and the European Alps. They are now classified as critically endangered, the highest level of threat, by the IUCN, and the species was thought to be extinct in the region until four years ago. Scientists from BirdLife International's Middle East Division and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) are tracking the trio's migration after they left their breeding sites near Palmyra in south-east Syria on 18 July. Scientists hope to locate their winter base and discover why so few birds are returning. The project is being strongly supported by the Syrian government and the Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife. The Syrian group forms one of only two wild populations of the species in the world. The other is found in Morocco, mostly in the Souss-Massa National Park, south of Agadir. Since leaving Palmyra the three birds have travelled around 2,000 km south into Saudi Arabia, in just one week. They are likely to continue flying south as a group and may reach as far as Yemen, or cross the Red Sea to Eritrea. Their progress can be followed at: www.rspb.org.uk/tracking 


Bird flu Border Patrol
July 27, 2006 www.nature.com  By Erika Check

The United States has embarked on a $29 million effort to try to track the H5N1 avian flu virus in birds migrating into the country. The goal is to test 15,000 wild birds for the flu virus in Alaska alone, and so far, of 3,772 samples tested, none has turned up positive. As the place where two major bird flyways overlap, Alaska is under watch as a possible entry point for H5N1 into the United States. Every year, birds such as pintails, eiders, ducks, godwits and geese cross from Asia over the Bering Sea into Alaska. These birds mingle with other migrating groups at breeding and wintering grounds in Russia and western Alaska. But some scientists have reservations about the testing program. Many flu experts think poultry smuggling or imports, rather than migrating birds, are far more likely to bring in the virus. Until last year, no one thought that migratory birds played any serious role in the spread of H5N1. But in July 2005, a team of virologists reported that some 6,000 migratory birds had died of an H5N1 outbreak at the Qinghai Lake nature reserve in China. Many of the dead birds were bar-headed geese, which fly from China to India and Myanmar every year. Since that report, the H5N1 strain has been found in dead migratory birds in Asia, Russia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This May, Ian Brown of the United Kingdom's Veterinary Laboratories Agency revealed that H5N1 viruses taken from dead wild birds in Europe are very similar to H5N1 viruses found in Mongolia, Siberia and Qinghai Lake. Other researchers recently suggested that migrating birds may have transmitted H5N1 to Nigeria after sequencing genes from bird flu viruses found in chickens on poultry farms. They discovered that many of the viruses, which seemed to cluster into three genetic groups, were similar to those found on other continents, including one strain that has been found only in wild birds in Europe. What's more, the virus outbreaks in poultry were found along major bird migration corridors. But so far, no study has conclusively shown that migratory birds transmit the virus. In all cases, the wild birds themselves could have caught H5N1 from poultry or from some 'bridge' group, such as crows, jays or grackles. Officials agree that answering questions about the role of wild birds will require a lot more field work in live, migrating birds.


Stanford Snake Venom Study
July 28, 2006 www.sciencemag.org 

Stanford, Calif. -- Venomous snakes kill perhaps 125,000 people each year, mostly in the developing world where antivenoms are less available. Researchers have long suspected that the bodies mast cells contributed to this toll by releasing additional toxic molecules into the victims' bodies. Although mast cells help defend the body against certain parasites and bacteria, they can run amok, triggering allergic attacks including asthma and anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. They do this by releasing molecules that induce inflammation and cause other effects that are protective in small doses but harmful if they get out of hand. These molecules include a variety of protein-splitting enzymes called proteases. But a study in the July 28 journal, Science, by a team led by Stephen Galli and Martin Metz of Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, reports that mast cells help protect mice against snake and bee venoms, at least in part by breaking down the poisons. Among the proteins degraded by mast-cell proteases is endothelin-1, a potent constrictor of blood vessels that is involved in several pathological conditions including sepsis, asthma, and high blood pressure. About 2 years ago, the Galli group showed that under some circumstances this mast-cell activity protects mice against endothelin-1's toxic effects, allowing the animals to survive an infection that would otherwise throw them into septic shock.


5-Year Review of 19 Southeastern Species
July 28, 2006 [Federal Register: (Volume 71, Number 145)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/July/Day-28/ 

SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces 5-year reviews of the duskytail darter (Etheostoma percnurum), snail darter (Percina tanasi), smoky madtom (Noturus baileyi), yellowfin madtom (Noturus flavipinnus), Carolina heelsplitter (Lasmigona decorata), birdwing pearlymussel (Conradilla caelata), cracking pearlymussel (Hemistena lata), dromedary pearlymussel (Dromus dromus), little wing pearlymussel (Pegias fabula), fine-rayed pigtoe (Fusconaia cuneolus), shiny pigtoe (Fusconaia cor), ring pink (Obovaria retusa), royal marstonia (snail) (Pyrgulopsis ogmorhaphe), Braun's rockcress (Arabis perstellata), golden sedge (Carex lutea), mountain golden heather (Hudsonia montana), Canby's dropwort (Oxypolis canbyi), Ruth's golden aster (Pityopsis ruthii), and American hart's-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum). A 5-year review is an assessment of the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. Information submitted for our consideration must be received on or before September 26, 2006. However, we will continue to accept new information about any listed species at any time.


UK Pledges 111,500 pounds For Apes Conservation
July 28, 2006 www.bernama.com.my 

KUCHING, (Bernama) -- The United Kingdom (UK) today pledged 111,500 pounds in support of four projects to protect great apes, including the Orang Utan conservation project in two most important habitats in Sarawak, Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary. UK Biodiversity Minister Barry Gardiner said funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)'s World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Implementation Fund would be used by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) to develop community stewardship through conservation education. The project will help local communities learn how best to protect the Orang Utan and it would work with the Forestry Department to develop a role for the local people in forest stewardship and habitat management and conservation, he said in a statement Friday. Besides the conservation projects in Sarawak, Gardiner said the UK would also fund another three projects: 50,000 pounds for projects delivered by Great Apes Survival Project Partnership (GRASP), the first Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Great Ape Enforcement Task Force meeting 22,000 pounds, and Great Ape Film Initiative 20,000 pounds.


Federal Permit Applications Received
July 28, 2006 [Federal Register: (Volume 71, Number 145)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/July/Day-28 

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species by August 28, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review by any party who submits a written request within 30 days to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (Attn: Victoria Davis, Permit Biologist). For further information, contact Victoria Davis, telephone 404/679-4176; facsimile 404/679-7081. If you wish to comment, you may submit comments to victoria_davis@fws.gov  . Please include your name and return address in your e-mail message.

Applicant: Bernard R. Kuhajda, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, TE129505-0.
The applicant requests authorization to take (capture, identify, release) the Cahaba shiner (Notropis cahabae) and the goldline darter (Percina aurolineata) while conducting population surveys and while determining the negative impacts a polluted tributary, Shades Creek, may have on the fish community and the species in the Cahaba River. The activities would occur in the Cahaba River (Mobile Basin) near the Bibb and Shelby County Line, Alabama.

Applicant: HMB Professional Engineers, Inc., Frankfort, Kentucky, TE129703-0. The applicant requests authorization to take (capture, identify, relocate nest, release) the following species: Southern acornshell (Epioblasma othcaloogensis), gray bat (Myotis grisescens), Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), Cumberland bean pearlymussel (Villosa trabalis), purple bean (Villosa perpurpurea), green blossom pearlymussel (Epioblasma torulosa gubernaculum), turgid blossom pearlymussel (Epioblasma turgidula), yellow blossom pearlymussel (Epioblasma florentina florentina), catspaw (=purple cat's paw pearlymussel) (Epioblasma obliquata obliquata), slender chub (Erimystax cahni), spotfin chub (Erimonax monachus), Cumberlandian combshell (Epioblasma brevidens), upland combshell (Epioblasma metastriata), Nashville crayfish (Orconectes shoupi), blackside dace (Phoxinus cumberlandensis), amber darter (Percina antesella), bluemask darter (Etheostoma sp.), boulder darter (Etheostoma wapiti), duskytail darter
(Etheostoma percnurum), slackwater darter (Etheostoma boschungi), snail darter (Percina tanasi), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Appalachian elktoe (Alasmidonta raveneliana), Cumberland elktoe (Alasmidonta atropurpurea), fanshell (Cyprogenia stegaria), triangular kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus greenii), Alabama lampmussel (Lampsilis virescens), pale lilliput pearlymussel (Toxolasma cylindrellus), Conasauga logperch (Percina jenkinsi), pygmy madtom (Noturus stanauli), smoky madtom (Noturus baileyi), yellowfin madtom (Noturus flavipinnis), winged mapleleaf (Quadrula fragosa), royal marstonia snail (Pyrgulopsis ogmorhaphe), Coosa moccasinshell (Medionidus parvulus), Appalachian pearlymussel monkeyface (Quadrula sparsa), Cumberland pearlymussel (Quadrula intermedia), pink pearlymussel mucket (Lampsilis abrupta), oyster mussel (Epioblasma capsaeformis), birdwing pearlymussel (Conradilla caelata), cracking pearlymussel (Hemistena lata), dromedary pearlymussel (Dromus dromas), littlewing pearlymussel (Pegias fabula), Cumberland pigtoe (Pleurobema gibberum), finerayed pigtoe (Fusconaia cuneolus), rough pigtoe (Pleurobema plenum), shiny pigtoe (Fusconaia cor), southern pigtoe (Pleurobema georgianum), orangefoot pearlymussel pimpleback (Plethobasus cooperianus), rough rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica strigillata), tan riffleshell (Epioblasma florentina walkeri (E. walkeri)), ring pink (Obovaria retusa), Anthony's riversnail (Athearnia anthonyi), blue shiner (Cyprinella caerulea), painted snake coiled forest snail (Anguispira picta), spruce-fir moss spider (Microhexura montivage), Carolina northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus), pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), and white pearlymussel wartyback (Plethobasus cicatricosus) while conducting presence/absence surveys. The proposed activities would occur throughout the State of Tennessee.

Applicant: Iowa State University, Brent J. Danielson, Ames, Iowa, TE130175-0.
The applicant requests authorization to take (capture, band, release) the Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates) and Perdido Key beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus trissyllepsis) while conducting presence/absence surveys and population estimates. The proposed activities would occur in Baldwin County, Alabama, from the extreme west end of Morgan peninsula to the eastern edge of Baldwin County and the Alabama State line.

Applicant: Nadia Spencer, Key Largo, Florida, TE130177-0.
The applicant requests authorization to take (capture, relocate, release) the Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smallii), Key Largo cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus allapaticola), and the Stock Island tree snail (Orthalicus reses reses) while conducting presence/absence surveys and relocation activities. The proposed activities would occur in Key Largo and the Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida.

Applicant: James A. Carpenter, Nashville, Tennessee, TE130941-0.
The applicant requests authorization to take (capture, examine, release) the Nashville crayfish (Orconectes shoupi) while conducting presence/absence surveys. The proposed activities would occur in the Mill Creek watershed, Davidson and Williamson Counties, Tennessee.


Smoking Bans Become More Common
July 28, 2006 www.latimes.com 

Several federal government studies have established secondhand smoke not only as a carcinogen but also as a cause of heart disease and other serious health problems among nonsmokers, especially children. But the immediate catalyst for the City of Santa Monica's proposed smoking ban was a February report by the California Air Resources Board that classified secondhand smoke as a "toxic air contaminant." The report was the first to focus primarily on outdoor secondhand smoke in California. State environmental health regulators have found that secondhand smoke causes premature births, breast cancer and other deadly illnesses and respiratory diseases. Santa Monica city staff members studied dozens of ordinances, most of them from California communities. "At least 25 cities have partial or complete bans on outdoor dining smoking," said Deputy City Atty. Adam Radinsky. "Ours would be among the most comprehensive." Among cities that partly or completely prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas are Berkeley, Long Beach, Palo Alto and Santa Barbara. In March, Calabasas adopted the nation's strongest outdoor smoking restrictions. "There's a large and growing trend among places like Disneyland and zoos and theme parks to ban outdoor smoking," he said. "Tourists and families begin to expect they will be able to enjoy these places smoke-free." Sea World, Six Flags, Universal Studios, the Hollywood Bowl, the Los Angeles Zoo and Dodger Stadium are among venues that have prohibited smoking, although many of the attractions provide designated areas for smokers. Radinsky said the city's research showed that smoking bans tend to help tourism. He said the California Restaurant Assn., a trade group, told the city that it would not oppose a ban on smoking at outdoor dining areas.


Seychelles Magpie-robin population growing
July 28, 2006 www.birdlife.org

The Seychelles Magpie-robin population is now at an all-time high of 178 birds with 82 on Fre?gate, 46 on Cousin, 32 on Cousine and 18 on Aride. There are also future plans to translocate birds to Denis Island. The species was downlisted by BirdLife to Endangered in the 2005 IUCN Red List. A team from Nature Seychelles (BirdLife in the Seychelles) and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust visited Fre?gate Island from the 28 June to 6 July 2006 to conduct a full population survey and to ring un-ringed robins in order to maintain identification of all individual on the island. There are ten more than the previous census in April 2005 and the highest number of robins ever recorded on Fre?gate.


Iberian Lynx is Rarest Cat in the World
July 29, 2006 www.theage.com.au  By Anthony Ham

One hundred years ago there were 100,000 Iberian lynx ranging across southern Europe, but from 1960 to 1990, 80% of its range was lost. Two highly inbred colonies totalling barely 150 in the craggy hills and scrubby forests of Andalusia are all that remain. The lynx has managed to survive for so long in Spain in part because it has always shared the Iberian Peninsula with another emblematic Spanish species - the rabbit - and rabbits account for 90% of its diet. In Spain, the rabbit population has fallen to less than 5 per cent of its 1960 levels, the collapse attributable primarily to epidemics of introduced diseases - first myxomatosis, then viral hemorrhagic fever, tuberculosis and, more recently, a new genetically modified virus from Australia.


Oakland's 6-acre Children's Zoo Needs Renovation
July 29, 2006 www.sfgate.com   By Janine DeFao

Attendance at the Oakland Zoo is up 34% from the previous year over last year, and zoo officials attribute the increase entirely to the new 6-acre, $12.5 million, Valley Children's Zoo, which opened last July. That's the good news. The bad news is, there have been numerous problems. The biggest problem is peeling paint on the concrete-hybrid animal climbing sculptures the zoo commissioned from Chiodo Arts in Oakland for $120,000. The problem, according to Francine Agapoff, vice president of design development for Chiodo, was a low-toxicity paint, that zoo officials requested.. Suppliers said it would withstand the wear but finish rubbed off after a few weeks. Chiodo is now in the process of replacing or repainting sculptures in three areas, at a cost of at least $20,000, at no charge to the zoo. Already, the tomato frogs have been recast, repainted and replaced. The repainted tortoise shells are to be installed Monday, when a grouping of insects near the children's zoo entrance will be removed for about a month. Chiodo is using an epoxy paint that, while it is more toxic, poses no danger for children, Agapoff said "They told me this stuff is used on bridges and water tanks," But, she added, "Kids are brutal. They have scratchy belt buckles and shoes with heels." Parrott said other problems, from an elevator without enough power to a mysterious leak in the Amphibian Discovery Center, are to be expected with new construction. Contractors have already fixed the elevator and are tackling other problems at no cost to the zoo, which was funded with $4.5 million in private donations and $8 million from a bond measure. The zoo is planning to spend about $1,500 to replace worn sod, which Parrott said he knew would be necessary because the sod was installed the morning of the grand opening last summer, when it needed three weeks to root. Parrott says it could be another 18 months before the attraction is completed.


Groups Fight Aplomado Falcon's Delisting
July 29, 2006 www.redorbit.com  By STACI MATLOCK

Environmental groups are vowing to fight in federal court against the USFWS decision to remove the aplomado falcon from the endangered species list at the same time the agency starts reintroducing captive-bred northern aplomado falcons in Southern New Mexico. They say the decision is premature, violates the Endangered Species Act and decreases protections for the raptor's habitat. The federal agency announced its final decision Wednesday to downlist the northern aplomado falcon to a "nonessential experimental species," and reintroduce the birds in Southern New Mexico, saying it is the quickest way to re-establish the bird of prey that once roamed the state's skies. The agency is working with the nonprofit Peregrine Fund, based in Idaho, which plans to release up to 150 northern aplomado falcons a year over the next decade in Southern New Mexico, possibly beginning as early as mid-August. "I think we share the same goals as the environmental groups that want to recover the bird," agency spokeswoman Elizabeth Slown said. "We just disagree on how. We think bringing in birds will help recover the birds more quickly." Environmentalists from the New Mexico Audubon Council, Sierra Club, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Forest Guardians say the new federal decision fails to protect wild northern aplomado falcons spotted in Southern New Mexico in the last few years. They say the Endangered Species Act calls for wild populations to be kept separate from introduced species, and they'll fight the new rule in federal court.


Saint Louis Zoo Awaits Birth of Two Asian Elephants
July 29, 2006 newsblaze.com

After a 22 month pregnancy, Ellie, a 34-year-old Asian elephant at the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri, is expected to give birth to her second female calf. Ellie's first daughter, Rani, now 9 will deliver her own female calf in February 2007. At another Missouri Zoo, Dickerson Park in Springfield, Missouri, 25-year-old Moola gave birth July 18 to a female calf. The elephant pregnancies are encouraging news for those seeking to preserve the endangered species because elephants in zoos breed poorly or not at all, according to a fact sheet from the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park in Washington. Although female elephants reach reproductive maturity by the age of 14, many female elephants in zoos do not have normal estrous cycles. Some do not cycle at all and cannot become pregnant even by artificial insemination. Another problem is that very few zoos are equipped to handle adult elephant males, whose breeding behaviors include "prolonged periods of aggressive, potentially destructive and dangerous behavior," according to the fact sheet. In the wild, males leave herds at puberty - around their 13th year - and travel alone or in bachelor groups except during breeding season. The National Zoo's Endocrine Research Lab has helped zoos around the country use artificial insemination to perform "more than a dozen assisted breedings, several of which resulted in pregnancy," including the National Zoo's male calf Kandula in November 2001, the fact sheet says. The lab also provides a host of other services such as hormone monitoring to help increase reproduction in elephants in North American zoos.


Oregon Will Euthanize Elephant Matriarch
July 30, 2006 seattletimes.nwsource.com By The Associated Press

Pet, the Oregon zoo's 51-year-old elephant, who was born in Thailand, has suffered from arthritis for more than 10 years. Now a toe infection has invaded the bone, and antibiotics, have failed. Her mobility has declined drastically and X-rays from last week show disintegrating bone. Next week, the ailing matriarch of the zoo's Asian elephant herd will be given a powerful narcotic and fall asleep. Then she'll be given an overdose of the same drug, etorphine, delivered into a vein in her ear to euthanize her. Veterinarian Mitch Finnegan said Pet's foot trouble probably started because of a front-leg deformity that makes her appear pigeon-toed. The condition predisposed her to abnormal foot wear, which led to chronic lesions and arthritis. In earlier times, other factors contributed to zoo elephants' bad feet in Portland and elsewhere. They typically spent their days standing on concrete floors with little room to move, and many of the animals were overweight. Since then, the art and science of caring for elephants and their feet improved, with the Oregon Zoo being at the forefront of improved procedures. In 1998, the zoo was host to an international elephant foot-care conference, that resulted in the publication by Iowa Press of "The Elephant's Foot," now a standard guide for the industry. Foot problems occur in the wild and are common among captive elephants. The Oregon Zoo has euthanized two other elephants because of foot ailments, 33-year-old Me-Tu in 1996 and 45-year-old Belle in 1997. Pet has exceeded the average life expectancy for captive Asian elephants, which is 44, according to Mike Keele, deputy zoo director, and next week, the ailing matriarch will be put to sleep by


Asian Elephant Exploitation
July 30, 2006 www.nationmultimedia.com  By Pennapa Hongthong

Although the trading of elephants has been banned by CITES, at least 40 Thai elephants were exported between 2000 and 2005. Ten were permanently given to foreign countries under government to government contracts, and 30 were temporarily sent abroad - 20 to China and 10 to Malaysia - under the same type of contract, said Wattana Vetchayasathit, director of Cites Thailand. Wattana said he could not remember the exact destinations of the elephants that were permanently exported, only that they went to various zoos. Of those temporarily exported, almost all of them went to circuses and travelling exhibitions, Wattana said. Wattana said he realised elephants were exported for business purposes. His concern was that the animals were not abused. Also that any legal export would "promote the talents of Thai elephants and the expertise of Thai mahouts in training elephants. Soraida Salwala, secretary general of Friends of the Asian Elephant, said the price of an elephant in the illegal market could be as high as Bt1.3 million. Under CITES, the only way for foreign nations to become permanent owners of elephants from other countries is by creating a breeding or education programme. The elephants in such a programme must be captive-born and transported only under a government to government contract.  The Australian Embassy in Thailand recently became involved in a controversial deal to export eight Thai elephants to Sydney and Melbourne zoos. The embassy admitted it "donated" a large sum of money to the Zoological Park Organisation (ZPO) of Thailand to buy the eight elephants. Three of the eight were from one of the country's largest elephant camps, but the other five came from four private owners.


History of the San Antonio Zoo
July 30, 2006 www.mysanantonio.com  By Scott Huddleston

Now with more than 3,500 animals representing 750 species, the focus of the San Antonio Zoo is on education, conservation, species preservation and sensory stimulation for young children. It typically draws at least 800,000 visitors annually and often is listed among the world's leading zoos. It began in the 1870s. U.S. poet Sidney Lanier wrote about an aviary, a Mexican lion, two bears, a wolf and other animals displayed in San Pedro Park. Around 1912, Col. George W. Brackenridge fenced an area at the south end of Brackenridge Park, where a golf course is now, and put 10 buffalo and six elk from Yellowstone National Park on the site, along with deer, caged monkeys, two lions and four bears. "In 1914, this collection was moved to an area south of the present north boundary of Brackenridge Park, and 1914 has been regarded as the year the zoo was established," according to "History of the San Antonio Zoo," written by zoo historian Wilbur L. Matthews in the early 1990s. The zoo's limestone terraces are remnants of a quarry mined for stone used to build the Alamo, San Fernando Cathedral and other historic buildings, as well as City Hall and early local homes. First run by the city's parks department. In 1931, the San Antonio Zoological Society assumed substantial control under a city contract.


Sea Turtle Tracking Study
July 31, 2006 asia.news.yahoo.com

SINGAPORE : Eleven captive turtles (Leatherhead, Green and Olive Ridley) are being shipped from Singapore to the South China Sea where they will be released. Nanyang Technological University's scientists have fitted the turtles with global satellite tracking devices to study how they will survive in the wild. Dr C H Diong, Associate Professor of Zoology, Nanyang Technological University, said, "The purpose is to understand and study their open sea behavior to see if they're able to move and travel on their own, using navigational cues to travel and migrate, and find new feeding grounds, perhaps even to find new members of their own kind to mate and reproduce." The batteries on them are expected to last at least a year so scientists can study the data. Meanwhile, a Sea Turtle Conservation Gallery has opened at Sentosa's Underwater World. The gallery has the support of several Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian countries in promoting turtle conservation and education.


Newfoundland releases plans for vulnerable species
July 31, 2006 www.canada.com

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - Newfoundland's environment minister released management plans today for seven species listed as vulnerable under the province's Endangered Species Act. They include the harlequin duck, the ivory gull and the polar bear. banded killifish, the barrows goldeneye, the boreal felt lichen and the fernalds milk-vetch.


Endangered Species Permit Applications
July 31, 2006 [Federal Register: July 31, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 146)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/July/Day-31

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species and marine mammals. Comments or requests must be received by August 30, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review, by any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281.

Applicant: George W. Adrian, New Milton, WV, PRT-127075. The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) culled from a captive
herd in the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Roger Hosfelt, Shippensburg, PA, PRT-126555. The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population
in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Jerry E. Bateman, Howe, IN, PRT-125918-0. The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Northern Beaufort Sea polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Stacee L. Frost, Anchorage, AK, PRT-126629. The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population
in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Dennis C. Miller, Lowell, IN, PRT-126547. The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Levi J. Britton, Molt, MT, PRT-127012. The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.


Endangered Species Permit Applications
July 31, 2006 Federal Register: July 31, 2006 Volume 71, Number 146
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/July/Day-31

The public is invited to comment on the following applications. Comments must be received on or
before August 30, 2006. Written data or comments should be submitted to the U.S.F.W.S., Chief, Endangered Species, Ecological Services, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone: 503-231-2063; fax: 503-231-6243). Please refer to the respective permit number for each application when submitting comments. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the official administrative record and may be made available to the public.

Permit No. TE-129577 Applicant: Bureau of Land Management, Arcata, California. The applicant requests a permit to remove/reduce to possession Layia carnosa (beach layia) in conjunction with ecological research in Humboldt County, California, for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-816204 Applicant: University of California, Davis, California The permittee requests an amendment to take (capture, mark, collect tissue samples and voucher specimens, and release) the Buena Vista lake shrew (Sorex ornatus relictus), the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens), the Fresno kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides exilis), the Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides), and the Riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes riparia) in conjunction with scientific research in San Joaquin, Merced, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Kern Counties, California, for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-046262 Applicant: Blake A. Claypool, Encinitas, California. The permittee request an amendment to take (capture, and collect and kill) the Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), the longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna), the vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), the Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus wootoni), and the San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of each species in California for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-128256 Applicant: Steven Kramer, Arcata, California. The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, and release) the tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi) in conjunction with surveys throughout the species range in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.


Thai Elephants Finally Go To Australia
July 31, 2006 today.reuters.com

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Eight elephants, whose shipment to Australia was blocked by protesters last month, were scheduled to leave Thailand on Sunday after their convoy managed to get away from a rally to stop them from leaving the quarantine center. The elephants traveled in a motorcade of trucks guarded by police motorcycles on a six-hour journey late on Saturday to the eastern naval airport of U-Tapao, as activists were racing their cars on highways trying to stop the trip. The animals, loaded onto the Russian-made Antonov cargo plane on Sunday, are destined for another three months of quarantine on the Australian territory's Cocos Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean. Animal rights activists have charged that several of the elephants destined for Australia were caught illegally in the wild and want DNA tests carried out to prove that. The Thai government denied the charges.


New GPS Wildlife Tracking Technology
July 31, 2006 www.habitresearch.com

Vancouver, BC, July 31, 2006--(T-Net)--A technology partnership between H.A.B.I.T. Research and Swiss positioning technology provider u-blox will soon make it possible for scientists to study the behavior of endangered species once thought too tiny to be tracked by GPS. H.A.B.I.T.'s animal tracking product is just 1/10th the size of its predecessor, weighing 35 grams or more. This breakthrough has been made possible by a new GPS module from u-blox. The LEA-4H GPS module manages to cram ultra-high sensitivity technology and low power needs into one of the smallest GPS devices on the market today.  The LEA-4H is powered by u-blox' ANTARIS 4 positioning engine, which offers incredible tracking accuracy because it uses twice as many satellites as its predecessor to pinpoint locations while W.A.A.S. support improves tracking accuracy from 20 meters to just five. The module's SuperSense® weak signal tracking technology allows researchers to track animals in the most difficult terrain such as canyons and dense brush. The new H.A.B.I.T. GPS technology is also available in combinations with real-time VHF data telemetry and satellite PTT technology. Power supply options include battery or solar cell with packaging in collar and backpack configurations. This product is designed to weigh a little as 35g and can be used on mammals, both terrestrial and marine, reptiles, birds and amphibians.


Animal Rights Group Demands Elephant's Health Records
July 31, 2006 www.latimes.com  By Carla Hall

A complete necropsy on Gita, the LA Zoo's 48-year-old Asian elephant has yet to be completed, but in the meantime her medical records were obtained by the animal rights group In Defense of Animals through the California Public Records Act. Catherine Doyle, a member of In Defense of Animals, gave a copy of the records to The LA Times and Mel Richardson, a former zoo veterinarian who is now in private practice was hired by the animal rights group to go over the medical report. "Before I got to the end of those records, I thought, 'Why don't they put her down?' They had to see she was doing badly," he said. But zoo Director John Lewis said that Gita's health did not appear grim. "Yes, she had some things going on, but none was causing great alarm," He pointed out that Gita was still taking regular walks around the zoo, and this had curtailed post-surgery round-the-clock monitoring of her in April. "If we had thought for a moment that we were that close [to her dying], we would have had her back on 24-7 observation." Gita was suffering from several abscesses on her body, probably from leaning against the bars of her barn, and they continued to grow even as veterinarians treated them. The sole of her right foot had developed a sore that had to be debrided and then covered with a protective boot. And in the days before her death, when staff tried to administer intravenous antibiotics to her left foot, which was healing from surgery, the usually placid and accommodating elephant was "antsy" one day and "agitated" another, making treatment impossible.


Pygmy Slow Loris Born at San Diego Zoo
July 31, 2006 news.nationalgeographic.com

On June 24th, a male pygmy slow loris was born at the San Diego Zoo. He weighed only .6 oz (the weight of 3 US quarters). The mother was not interested in caring for him so he was placed in the nursery's incubator. The mother and son have since been reintroduced and now spend a few hours together each day, says zoo spokesperson Andrew Circo. The initial lack of care may be due to the female being a first-time mom, he says, but now she's starting to get the hang of it, and the baby has grown to a whopping 2.12 ounces (60 grams). Adults only weigh about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram). Although small, a threatened, the loris can pack a poisonous bite. "They have little pads on the inside of their elbows that release a toxin," Circo explained. "If they lick that, then bite in self-defense, they actually are able to deliver the toxin via their teeth." The toxin isn't believed to be harmful to humans. The pygmy slow loris is found in Vietnam, Laos, and parts of Cambodia. About 72,000 of the creatures live in the wild, and 183 are in captivity.


Condor Recovers from Lead Poisoning
July 31, 2006 www.fws.gov

VERMILION CLIFFS, Arizona -- Nearly five months after a California condor was exposed to lead and first became sick, it was released at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, making a miraculous recovery from lead poisoning. Discovered in the western Grand Canyon in February by the Peregrine Fund, nearly every partner agency in Arizona's condor reintroduction program quickly responded to get the sick bird to the Phoenix Zoo for treatment. A Grand Canyon National Park helicopter crew flew two biologists from The Peregrine Fund in that same morning to trap and recover the bird. The Arizona Game and Fish Department, quickly responded with a plane to fly the bird to the Phoenix Zoo.  A staff veterinarian at the zoo, Dr. Kathy Orr, determined the condor was critically ill and had elevated blood lead levels. The condor was thin, dehydrated, unable to stand on its own and unable to swallow its food. The bird required several surgeries and was treated with several different drugs, including one to eliminate the lead from its body. The bird even required a blood transfusion, which was over-nighted to the Phoenix Zoo from another condor housed at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The condor was finally able to stand on its own after a month of recovery at the zoo. Then, two and a half months later, it was taken to northern Arizona to a large cage where it could get strong enough for release into the wild. On July 21, biologists from The Peregrine Fund and Phoenix Zoo staff witnessed the success of all their hard work as the condor was released at the Vermilion Cliffs to fly free again.


List of Souvenirs that Tourists Shouldn't Buy
July 31, 2006 www.arkive.org/sadsouvenirs

The ARKive Holiday ID guide is designed to help travelers practice responsible tourism by making more conservation-friendly choices. The list includes tiger products, crocodile and snakeskin products, coral jewelry and souvenirs, ivory/horn products, shark-fin/turtle soup, edible sea urchins, and shahtoosh shawls made of Tibetan antelope hair. (5 animals die for a single shawl). It also advises against paying to watch performing bears or paying for a posed snap with a chained animal such as a monkey. Additional conservation information for travelers can be found at:
TRAFFIC site: www.traffic.org/25/guide.htm
CITES: www.ukcites.gov.uk/travel/default.htm
WWF: www.wwf.org.uk/core/takeaction/rethink_0000000386.asp


Florida Buys Thousands of Acres for Preservation
July 31, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Babcock Ranch, nearly 74,000 undeveloped acres in southwestern florida (~115 square miles) has been purchased by the state of Florida. At $350 million ($310 million in state money and $40 million from Lee County), it is the state's biggest purchase of land for environmental preservation. The area is inhabited by bears, panthers and other species and will create an almost unbroken stretch of brush and swamp wilderness extending from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico.
About a year ago, Kitson and Partners bought the 91,000-acre property from the Babcock family, which had owned the ranch for nearly 100 years and had expressed a desire to have most of it preserved.  While selling most of the land to the state for the wildlife preserve, Kitson will retain 17,000 acres that will be developed as a new town he is promoting. The town will include about 19,000 homes, but Kitson said it would be a ''shining example of environmentally responsible development in the 21st century.'' The ranch itself will continue as a working cattle operation. Environmentalists said the ranch has been managed in an environmentally friendly way in the past.


Seals vs People at La Jolla Cove
July 31, 2006 www.nytimes.com

100 or so harbor seals, mixed with a few sea lions and elephant seals, began occupying La Jolla Cove beach in the mid-1990's. But historical accounts suggest that seals populated the area at least back to the turn of the 20th century. Their numbers dwindled because of hunting, but resurged in the past few decades after laws were passed to protect them. The spot they picked is known as Children's Pool. In 1931, Ellen Browning Scripps, donated $60,000 for the breakwater, to keep rough waves at bay, and subsequently the state ceded the beach property to the city under the condition that it remain a public park and children's swimming area. Then the seals began showing up. The city regularly closed the beach beginning about 1997 because of water contamination, blaming the seals. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, charged with protecting marine creatures, put up signs warning that it is a federal offense to deliberately disturb the seals and last year installed a camera to keep watch from its main regional office in Long Beach. In April, the city, on the suggestion of federal authorities, agreed to restore a rope line across part of the beach during pupping season, from January to May, to discourage human contact with the seals. But seal advocates and swimmers regularly clash there. Valerie O'Sullivan, an avid swimmer filed a lawsuit against the city in 2004 to restore the beach for human use. She won the first round when a Superior Court judge ruled that the city had to dredge to allow more water and tidal flushing on the beach, a move that wildlife advocates said would disturb the seals and drive them away, probably for good. The city has appealed the ruling, but a decision is not expected until next year. Now Save-Our-Seals Coalition is trying to put a ballot initiative before voters that would permanently designate the beach for seals only.


Jane Goodall Institute Creates 'Geoblog' Featuring Chimps
July 31, 2006 www.ewire.com

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA -- The 100 million users of Google Earth can now zoom down into Gombe National Park in Tanzania and read daily updates about the lives of the park's famous chimpanzees.  It is a new kind of wildlife media: stories and photos capturing the daily drama of chimpanzee life, appearing five days a week on the web. Fans say the entries are like a soap opera about wild chimpanzees. And it is an innovative kind of blog: a Google Earth "geoblog," or weblog. When you click on a blog entry, the globe image spins to eastern Africa and then slowly hones in on the 35-square kilometer Gombe National Park, represented by high resolution satellite images. The Jane Goodall Institute was the first to create a Google geoblog. JGI launched the Gombe Chimpanzee Blog in January 2006 with daily updates from field researcher Emily Wroblewski, who is studying paternity among the chimpanzees. Her entries give us a glimpse of the delights and rigors of chimpanzee field research and an ongoing view of the research program begun by Jane Goodall in 1960. Emily is trying to determine if paternal relatives treat each other in special ways, favoring each other, for example, through grooming or sharing of meat. You can check it out at Check out the blog: www.janegoodall.org 


Researchers Explore How H5N1 Virus Mutation
August 1, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By DENISE GRADY

What would it take to make the bird flue virus more contagious in people? Simple genetic changes are not enough to transform the virus into a strain that could cause a pandemic. Researchers from the CDC tried to make the A(H5N1) bird flu virus more contagious, but could not. That result may sound like good news, but the scientists urge caution. "These data do not mean H5N1 cannot convert to being transmissible person to person," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the disease centers. "They mean it is not simple." The report appears in the online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To test whether that could happen, scientists at the disease centers did the kind of mixing and swapping that might occur in nature. The researchers started with a bird flu virus and exchanged some of its genes with those from a human flu virus, A(H3N2), a very contagious strain that causes most of the seasonal flu outbreaks worldwide. They then tested the new hybrids in ferrets, to see if they were deadly like bird flu and contagious like the human strain. Ferrets are considered a good model for people in flu experiments because they are highly susceptible to human strains and transmit them easily. Also like people, they can be infected with bird flu but do not spread it easily. The new viruses did not transmit efficiently among the animals, and also did not cause as severe an illness as the original A(H5N1). But at a telephone news conference on Friday, an author of the study, Dr. Jacqueline M. Katz, said the scientists had tested only a few of the many hybrids that could be created.


AI Breeding of Elephants in Australia
August 1, 2006 www.theage.com.au  By Andrew Darby

THE first attempt at artificial insemination of an Asian elephant in Australia at the Perth Zoo has failed, The difficult technique was tried with a bull, Putramas, and a cow, Permai, both aged 16. "AI with elephants is a very invasive procedure that can require very heavy-handed tactics," said the RSPCA's Jane Speechley. "The lack of success in Perth shows that the procedure is in its infancy, and these elephants should not be subjected to these kind of experiments." Now it will be up to the Sydney and Melbourne zoos to use the technique with the 8 elephants that will be arriving soon from Thailand. Early on Sunday, the 8 elephants. - 4 cows and 1 bull for Sydney and 3 cows for Melbourne were transferred from a quarantine station in rural Thailand to a military base in Bangkok. Late Sunday 4 were flown out, bound for the Cocos, on a Russian air freighter, but yesterday, the remaining group boarded a smaller llyushin and was expected to arrive in the Cocos around 9 o'clock last night. The animals, traveled in individual boxes, and arrived safely and in good condition. Cocos Islands Council chief executive Michael Simms said the elephants would be kept in extensive yards and sheds on West Island. These are being maintained by the zoos under the supervision of the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service. "Everyone here is just so happy to see these animals," Mr Simms said. Taronga Zoo director Guy Cooper, personally oversaw the shipment.


Zoo's 'Minnesota Trail' to be Renovated
August 1, 2006 www.grandforks.com  By Associated Press

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota Trail exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo is undergoing a $2 million renovation. The exhibit will be closed for one year as crews remake the indoor and outdoor trail that is inhabited by native wildlife, including mountain lions, river otters, and beavers. The exhibit which opened in 1978 is one of 5 main sections of the Zoo. A new aquatic display featuring turtles and raccoons will be added to the entrance and gray wolves and coyotes will be added to the outdoor part of the trail. On the exterior part of the trail, all exhibits will be upgraded. The beaver dam and the eagle aviary will be redone, and a multi-species exhibit is being added to display a variety of indigenous birds. "It will be better for the animals and better for the visitors," said zoo collections manager Tony Fisher. The trail will be revamped by zoo employees and outside contractors. The Legislature allocated $45 million for the Apple Valley zoo in the past two bonding bills. Part of that money will pay for remodeling the Minnesota Trail.


Sea Turtle Nesting Site Study
August 1, 2006 www.newswise.com

Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography acknowledge that conservation efforts since the 1970's have helped increase green and hawksbill turtle populations that nest on protected beaches. But they also claim that dwindling turtle populations on many historically important nesting beaches are overlooked by conservation assessments that focus on the few large nesting sites that remain. The study, "Conservation implications of historic sea turtle nesting beach loss," appears in the August issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Vol 4(6): 290-296. The researchers present the first maps of historical nesting populations using trade records from 163 historic sources in four time periods in 20 Caribbean regions. Historically, large nesting populations existed throughout the Caribbean. The researchers estimated 59 nesting sites existed for the green turtles, and 55 sites existed for the hawksbill turtles. Based on their results, 20 percent of historic nesting sites have been lost entirely due to land development and turtle exploitation, and another 50 percent of the remaining sites have been reduced to dangerously low populations. The scientists estimate that today's current population of 300,000 turtles once was as large as 6.5 million adult turtles in the Cayman Islands in the 17th Century, with close to 91 million green turtles living throughout the Caribbean during this same time period. For Hawksbill turtles, the researchers estimate the population has dwindled from 11 million to less than 30,000.


Primate I.Q. Test Finds Orangutan is Smartest Ape
August 1, 2006 www.nature.com  By Michael Hopkin

A survey of primate IQ has confirmed that apes are our most intelligent cousins. A meta-analysis of a large number of intelligence studies has concluded that orang-utans and chimps are smartest, with monkeys and lemurs further down on the scale. Previous research had attempted to compare different primates' abilities at specific tasks, but no one had ever combined this data into an overall measure of intelligence. Now Robert Deaner, and a research team at Duke University Medical Center, compiled results from dozens of problem-solving puzzles given to different types of primates by researchers. These included tests of ability to navigate mazes, to untangle a jumble of differently colored threads to find food, and to spot the odd-one-out in a series of images. They ranked each species and calculated the overall average intelligence of each. Orang-utans scored at the top edging out chimpanzees. Both species share a prodigious ability to use tools and impart traditional wisdom to their young. "Orang-utans are more patient and deliberative," says Robert Deaner, who led the research while at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. "And they're the master escape artists from zoos." Following the apes were Old World monkeys such as macaques, and New World monkeys such as marmosets, the researchers report in the journal Evolutionary Psychology. Overall, intelligence seems to be correlated with absolute brain size, rather than brain size relative to body size, or the relative sizes of different brain regions, Deaner says. Previous theories had suggested that a critical factor may be the size of the brain's neocortex, a region that seems to vary in size depending on the size of the social groups in which an animal lives, and that might therefore reflect cognitive skills. One surprise is the third place achieved by spider monkeys (Ateles), which marginally beat gorillas. "It's not a significant difference," Deaner says, nor does he know why this might be.


Accra Zoo Relocating to Achimota Forest
August 1, 2006 www.ghanaweb.com

GHANA -- Arrangements have been made to transport the animals of the Accra Zoo to the Kumasi Zoo until a new modern Zoo can be constructed at the Achimota Forest in Accra. A Presidential Complex is to be constructed on the current Accra Zoo site. Construction of the new Zoo is expected to cost seven million dollars. The Ministry has contacted the Zoological Society of London to work with Ghana's Wild Life Division to develop the project, adding that a representative from the International Zoo Programme of the Society had already visited Ghana and was now finalizing the lay out of the facilities of the zoo.  The project will be completed in phases within five years. Togbi Kporku III, Chairman of the Accra Zoo Board, said the Zoo attracts about 120,000 visitors annually.


LA Zoo Chimp killed by bite from rattler
August 1, 2006 www.dailynews.com

GRIFFITH PARK - A chimpanzee died last week at the Los Angeles Zoo after being bitten by a rattlesnake last Wednesday. The snake fell into the Mahali Mountain chimpanzee exhibit, and bit the chimp from a bush inside its habitat, according to zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs. Jacobs added that antivenin failed to save the primate. A necropsy is being performed on the animal. A zookeeper close to the situation gave a different account of the incident, saying the chimp's minders waited hours before calling help. The keeper, who asked to remain anonymous, said the 25-year-old male chimp was bitten at 1 p.m. and got a bad case of the shakes. "They didn't call anyone til 3 p.m., and then they didn't even call a vet; they called The Reptile House," according to the keeper. The zookeeper said that instead of giving the chimp antivenin, zoo veterinarians gave him Benadryl. Rattlesnakes are common in rustic Griffith Park, Jacobs said, but snake-related deaths of zoo animals are rare. Seven years ago, a pair of lemurs died from snakebites, he said.


Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf
[Federal Register: August 1, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 147)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-01

The federal government denied a petition from Wyoming that had sought the removal of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The state has proposed classifying wolves as predators, which would allow their unregulated killing in certain areas. The Fish and Wildlife Service said it could not go along with the move until the state committed to maintaining a minimum population of the animals. In 1974, four subspecies of gray wolf were listed as endangered, including the northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) gray wolf (Canis lupus irremotus); the eastern timber wolf (C. l. lycaon) in the northern Great Lakes region; the Mexican wolf (C. l. baileyi) in Mexico and the southwestern United States; and the Texas gray wolf (C. l. monstrabilis) of Texas and Mexico (39 FR 1171; January 4, 1974). In 1978, we published a rule (43 FR 9607; March 9, 1978) listing the gray wolf as endangered at the species level (C. lupus) throughout the conterminous 48 States and Mexico, except for Minnesota, where the gray wolf was reclassified to threatened. On November 22, 1994, unoccupied portions of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming were designated as two nonessential experimental population areas for the gray wolf. This designation assisted us in initiating gray wolf reintroduction projects in central Idaho and the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). In 1995 and 1996, wolves from southwestern Canada were introduced into remote public lands in central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park (YNP) (Bangs and Fritts 1996; Fritts et al. 1997; Bangs et al. 1998). These reintroductions and accompanying management programs greatly expanded the numbers and distribution of wolves in the NRM. Because of the reintroductions, wolves soon became established throughout central Idaho and the GYA (Bangs et al. 1998; Service et al. 2006). Naturally dispersing wolves from Canada led to the reestablishment of wolf packs into northern Montana in the early 1980s, and the number of wolves in this area steadily increased for the next decade (Service et al. 2006).


Reintroduction of the Puaiohi
August 2006 www.aou.org/auk 

A study of the nesting success and breeding biology of a reintroduced population of Puaiohi (Myadestes palmeri) on the island of Kaua'i, Hawaii, was undertaken by the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, the U. of Hawaii Department of Botany and The Zoological Society of San Diego Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program. Thirty-four captive-bred Puaiohi were released into the Alaka'i Swamp in 1999-2001 and monitored using radiotelemetry. Ten females and two males paired with wild and other released birds, including one polygynous trio. From March to September, 31 nests were built. Mean clutch size was 2.0 eggs, daily nest survival was 0.97 ± 0.01 (mean ± SE) and overall nest success was 0.40 ± 0.02. Breeding behavior and success were comparable to those of wild Puaiohi. This is the first record of breeding in the wild from captive-bred endangered Hawaiian passerines.


ZooBank for Taxonomic & Biodiversity Researchers
August 2006 www.zoobank.org/about.htm 

The aim of ZooBank is to provide an online, open-access, register for new animal names and taxonomic acts in zoology. It was first proposed by 29 authors in a paper in Nature, September 2005, and now has a discussion list at list.afriherp.org/mailman/listinfo/zoobank-list  Once retrospective registration of names has been completed, species descriptions will be included and links will be provided to images (via MorphBank) and gene sequence data (via GenBank). As a first step in establishing a voluntary ZooBank, Thomson Zoological Ltd are collaborating with ICZN by providing open-access to zoological data in their Index of Organism Names (ION) via www.zoobank.org  . The full interface for adding new animal names or other data is currently being jointly developed by ICZN and Thomson, and will run until mid-2007 when, depending on feedback from the zoological community, mandatory registration can begin. We welcome all comments on this prototype of ZooBank and your ideas on the future of a registration system for the scientific names of animals.


Su Lin Celebrates First Birthday
August 2, 2006 www.10news.com

SAN DIEGO -- The newest panda cub to be born at the San Diego Zoo celebrated her first birthday Wednesday with a specially made ice cake and "presents" full of food. Su Lin's name means a "little bit of something sweet," and she is the third giant panda cub born at the San Diego Zoo to super mom, Bai Yun. The other cubs are the male panda Mei Sheng, born in 2003, and female Hua Mei, born in 1999.  Su Lin now weighs 50 pounds. "Su Lin has been a joy for all of us on the panda team and panda fans around the world, but thankfully such a birth is no longer unique," said Ron Swaisgood, a department head at the zoo's center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Species.


Bronx Zoo Trains Teachers
August 2, 2006 www.thejournalnews.com  By DAVID MCKAY WILSON

10 teaching fellows are assisting the Bronx Zoo's wildlife educators in the zoo's summer camp for children ages 8 to 12. It's a one-week program, offered to 45 children in each of 10 weeks, from late June through August. There is also a program for 5- to 7-year-olds, that will provide instructions to 750 children this summer.


Orphaned Cougars Find Home At Oregon Zoo
August 2, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND - Oregon Zoo's Cougar Crossing Exhibit Opens Aug. 4. with Chinook and Takini, two orphaned cougar cubs that were rescued by Michelle Schireman, the AZA's puma population manager and a keeper at the Oregon Zoo. Cougar Crossing, will offer visitors a unique view into cougar habitat. Visitors enter the exhibit at the forested edge of Trillium Creek Family Farm along a path that winds toward the first viewing area. The covered viewing structure, which resembles those seen in national parks, allows visitors to come within five or six feet of the cougars. One-eighth inch aircraft cable strung vertically and taut creates the animals' barrier. Visitors are kept back from the wire by a fence.  " Very little separates visitors from the cougars," says Oregon Zoo Director Tony Vecchio. "The design provides an unobstructed view." A heated rock and a "drinker" disguised behind a rock are placed strategically to entice the cougars to come close to visitors. To encourage climbing, trees were left in the exhibit, and a rock wall in the back of the exhibit was built with ledges. The top of the exhibit is covered with mesh to keep the animals safely inside. Around the corner, a second viewing area gives visitors an even closer view. A heated rock ledge is nestled against a large glass window built into a rock wall, which allows visitors to come face-to-face with the cougars. Cougar Crossing continues the zoo's award-winning naturalistic exhibit-design concept, and was largely handled in-house. Cougar Crossing is part of the Cascade Canyon Trail exhibit, a component of the Great Northwest project, which when completed in 2007, will take visitors from the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. It is made possible by a $250,000 grant from Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation.


New Drug May Save Asian Vultures
August 2, 2006 www.birdlife.org

In May, the Indian government said the livestock treatment diclofenac, which is responsible for the 97 per cent declines of three vulture species in most of Asia, would be banned as a veterinary drug within three months. The vultures die as a result of kidney failure. Now Nepal's largest veterinary pharmaceutical firm is selling a replacement drug at the same price. Until now, diclofenac has been significantly cheaper than the new, safe treatment, meloxicam. Numbers of the White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis and the Slender-billed Vulture G. tenuirostris have plunged by 90 per cent in Nepal in ten years, and by 97 per cent in India and Pakistan. Indian Vulture G. indicus has also suffered a similar decline and half of all the remaining vultures are dying every year. The production of meloxicam by Medivet in Nepal, is a major breakthrough for conservationists hoping to stop veterinary diclofenac use throughout Asia.


LA Zoo Vet Defends Chimp Treatment
August 2, 2006 www.nbc4.tv

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Zoo officials defended their handling of a chimpanzee that died last Wednesday after being bitten by a rattlesnake that fell into the Mahali Mountain exhibit. "In this particular case, I think our actions were appropriate," veterinarian Curtis Eng said. "We responded very quickly when we got the radio call. We were down there assessing the animal within about 10 minutes." A zookeeper who asked to remain anonymous told the Daily News that the chimp was bitten at about 1 p.m., but officials didn't notify anyone for about two hours. The zookeeper also said veterinarians administered Benadryl instead of antivenin. Zoo curator Jennie McNary said using Benadryl is not unusual, because antivenin can be dangerous for animals. "There is a problem with antivenin being a horse serum, that there might be an allergic reaction to it that could be as deadly as the snake bite itself," McNary said. "So to just go ahead and do that, not knowing how the chimp is going to react, it's not the thing that you should just jump in to do."


St Louis Elephant Ellie gives birth
August 3, 2006 www.stltoday.com  By Diane Toroian Keaggy

The Asian elephant Ellie has given birth to a 341-pound female calf at the St. Louis Zoo. Martha Fischer, curator of mammals said "The birth went exactly how we hoped it would, but it did come faster than we thought," At 11:39 p.m. Tuesday, Ellie squatted three times. At 11:40 p.m. keepers observed a bulge - the calf - beneath her tail. The calf's rear legs poke through at midnight and it was born shortly after that. "She's as healthy as she can be," said Fischer of the Zoo's eighth elephant. "She's a great-looking animal, very strong, very filled-out." The calf's sex and weight were confirmed and a blood sample taken in less than an hour. Less than 12 hours after birth, the calf was walking, using her trunk and was latching on to nurse. Members of Ellie's herd, observed the birth from the adjoining stall. Donna tried to hog the view until Sri and Rani - Ellie's firstborn - nudged their way in. "There was a lot of roaring and trumpeting and deafening noise," said Fischer. "The air in the barn is charged." Four Asian elephants have been born this year in accredited U.S. zoos; six last year. Next year, the St. Louis Zoo hopes to add another Asian elephant to the list. Ellie's daughter Rani is expecting her first calf in February; Raja is the father.
Zoo keepers had expected the calf to arrive almost a month ago based on the gestation time of Ellie's first calf. Video footage of the baby is at www.ksdk.com/video/player.aspx?aid=37304&bw=


Int'l zoo conference in Vietnam
August 3, 2006 www.thanhniennews.com

The 15th annual conference of the South East Asian Zoos Association is scheduled for September 11-13 in Ho Chi Minh City. Animal experts and officials from zoos and botanical gardens from 26 countries around the world will be discussing topics concerning wildlife management and conservation. The theme of the three-day conference is 'Zoos on the fringe', and the organization board will hold seminars to discuss everything from animal husbandry and veterinary medicine to fund raising, conservation, animal welfare and ethics. Post-conference activities include a tour to Cat Tien national park in southern Dong Nai province, 160km from HCMC, or visit Hue citadel or Hoi An ancient city in Vietnam's central region. The Saigon Zoo, the largest of its kind in Vietnam will serve as host to the group.


WildAid Launches Campain to Save Asia's Animals
August 3, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

With international basketball star Yao Ming, as a spokesperson, San Francisco-based WildAid has launched a campaign to educate the people of China about conservation issues. They are highlighting 4 of Asia's endangered animals. The first is sharks. Approximately 100 million are killed every year for the global trade in shark fin and other parts. Over-fishing threatens 20 percent of the world's 547 shark and ray species, according to the IUCN and half of all reported shark fin imports pass through Hong Kong, the world's trading hub, bound for China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and elsewhere. Tigers are also endangered. Only 5,000-7,000 now live in the wild, down from 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. Poaching for skins and medicinal products in India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos is the most immediate threat, along with deforestation and the over-hunting of their natural prey. China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong have been named top consumers of traditional medicines containing tiger parts. Three of the eight subspecies became extinct between the 1930s and 1980s; the Java, Caspian and Bali tigers. Of the remaining five -- the Siberian, Bengal, Sumatran, Indo-Chinese and South Chinese -- the 10-30 wild South China tigers are the most endangered, and could be extinct within five years. Elephants are endangered. There are between 25,600 and 32,750 Asian elephants living in small, fragmented groups in the wild, and more than 15,000 in captivity. This is less than a tenth the number of wild African elephants. Japan, the world's main ivory consumer, uses it for jewelry, carvings and Hankos (name stamps). Bears are the fourth animal. Asia is home to five of the world's eight types of bear, the Asiatic black, brown, sloth, sun, and panda. All eight species are listed as critically endangered by CITES. The largest consumers of bear products are South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, China and Asian communities throughout the world. In Thailand, the sun and Asiatic black bears are hunted to make bear-paw soup. In China, more than 7,000 bears are currently being farmed for their bile.


2 Birds Dead from West Nile Virus in San Diego County
August 3, 2006 www.10news.com

SAN DIEGO -- Two more dead birds tested positive for the West Nile virus in San Diego County, bringing the total number to four this season, county health officials reported Thursday. The birds were found in Spring Valley and City Heights, according to the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health.  Seventeen people have caught the disease in California this year, but none in the San Diego area. "With 162 birds testing positive last year, we know the virus is widespread throughout San Diego County," said Gary Erbeck, director of the county Department of Environmental Health.


LA Zoo's Summer Promotion: "Out of the Swamps"
August 3, 2006 www.nbc4.tv

In conjunction with their "Out of the Swamps" summer promotion, the LA Zoo will introduce their first white alligator. According to Cajun lore, staring into the eyes of a white alligator means good luck and fortune will follow. Other swamp species featured are river otters, birds and snakes. The exhibit is also aimed at teaching about the importance of swamps.


Singapore Zoo's Bull Elephant in Musth
August 3, 2006 www.channelnewsasia.com  By Pearl Forss

SINGAPORE: Singapore's 29-year-old bull elephant, Chawang, is currently in musth and he has been isolated from the other elephants because of his heightened aggresion. Hurling mud balls at zookeepers and chasing buggies are some of the odd symptoms Chawang has been showing this past month. During this period, temporal glands located between his eyes and ears will swell up and secrete hormones, his urine will also dribble continuously. Other symptoms include stretching his body, frequent yawning, and digging his tusks into the ground to lighten the pressure caused by the swelling of the temporal glands in his face. Chawang's musth is expected to last 3 to 5 months - an annual occurrence that will last until he is around 50 and experiences menopause. Once he is out of musth, he will be reunited with the females. Currently one of them is already nursing a calf and the other female has been mated by him and we are hopeful she is pregnant," said Kumar Pilla, Curator, Zoology, Night Safari. A zoo in Europe is planning to purchase Chawang's semen for use in artificial insemination in one of their female elephants. Chawang's semen is valuable because he is one of the few wild born elephants to be found in zoos, and he can contribute to the genetic diversity of the global zoo elephant gene pool. Chawang is 29 years old and he is the father of 3 baby elephants. Chawang is the same elephant that nearly gored his keeper to death in 2001.


Dresden Zoo's H5N1 Bird Flu Virus Analyzed
August 3, 2006 www.recombinomics.com 

On Thursday evening, the Saxonian Ministry of Health announced that a dead swan from a pond in the Dresden Zoo had tested positively for the H5N1 virus. This may signal addition migration through the East Atlantic Flyway. Today the HA sequence of H5N1 from a buzzard from Bavaria, was released. It is very similar to a mute swan isolate from the Czech Republic, as well as a mallard from Italy. The similarity between these sequences suggested H5N1 is passing readily from species to species in Europe. Earlier reports of H5N1 from Spain also suggested that the isolate was similar to an isolate from the Czech Republic. These data suggest local Europe versions of the Qinghai strain may have moved into the East Atlantic Flyway and may now be in North America. The continued detection of H5N1 in wild birds suggests H5N1 will soon be reported in North America. An earlier detection of H5 on Prince Edward Island was likely an H5N1 infection, but there was no report on the size of the insert in the positive PCR test and the National Labs in Winnipeg were unable to detect or isolated the H5 that was confirmed on Prince Edward Island.


Dresden Zoo Responds to H5N1 Bird Flu Death
4 August 2006 www.expatica.com 

DRESDEN - The death of an Australian black swan at Dresden Zoo in eastern Germany raised fears that animal collections which have taken a century or more to create might be decimated by the H5N1 virus. Zoo biologist Roland Brockmann said, "Black swans die quite often, so at first we weren't so worried." But lab tests confirmed the cause of death late Thursday. Like human flu, the disease spreads when it is wet and cold.It had been nearly three months since the last bird flu case in Germany. Dresden Zoo quarantined other black swans Friday and demanded government clearance to vaccinate the rest of its bird collection against bird flu. The zoo has 720 birds of 112 species. Brockmann speculated that the virus might have entered the zoo last winter when wild birds stayed on the ponds. Staff were worried that other species, such as the lions, might eat dead birds and become infected. Visitors continued to tour the zoo Friday after assurances that the virus does not spread through the air.


Chester Zoo Announces Rare New Arrivals
August 4, 2006 icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk

For the first time in more than 50 years, a red panda has been bred at Chester Zoo. It is the first kit born to female Lushui, and male Pali. The Zoo is also excited to report the hatching of two Javan rhinoceros hornbills, the first ever to be bred in captivity in the UK. Mike Jordan, the zoo's curator of birds and mammals, said: "We have been working with hornbills for many years and this is the first time Javan rhinoceros hornbills have bred in the UK and, quite possibly, Europe. "It is very unusual for this species to breed in zoos in the northern hemisphere and equally unusual to have two chicks fledge at the same time.." The Zoo supports conservation and provides expertise with hornbills in the Philippines, Thailand and South Africa. Cameras have been set up in both the chicks' and the panda's nesting boxes so visitors can follow their progress. Also new to the zoo is an 8-year-old Asiatic lioness, named Asha from a zoo in Rome. It is hoped that she will mate with the Zoo's male Asoka. The Asiatic lions are critically endangered with only 300 remaining in the Gir forest. Other not-so-rare arrivals include a Californian sealion pup and a bongo calf. Bongos Nibbles and Ernie have also become parents for the first time with the birth of a female calf.


Meerkats Destroyed After Biting Girl
August 4, 2006 www.duluthsuperior.com  By AP

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. - Five meerkats at the Minnesota Zoo were destroyed and tested for rabies after a 9-year-old girl was bitten when she climbed on top of a rock and reached over a glass barrier into the animals' exhibit. The two meerkats and their three offspring had been vaccinated for rabies, but the state Department of Health ordered them killed and tested because the girl's parents didn't want her to have to undergo rabies shots if it wasn't necessary. Zoo collections manager Tony Fisher said the zoo had to destroy them all because it couldn't determine which one bit the girl. "We got out tests back, and they all tested negative," said Sue Gergen, zoo spokeswoman. The exhibit is now closed while zoo workers lower the outcropping so other children won't be able to reach into the exhibit. A second group of meerkats will be moved into the outdoor exhibit from an indoor one once the modifications are finished.


John Ball Zoo Involved in Energy Study
Friday, August 04, 2006 www.mlive.com 

KENT COUNTY -- John Ball Zoo may be among the first in the country to study converting waste products -- including animal waste -- into energy if the County Commission accepts a recommendation from its finance committee. The Commission has approved a recommendation to accept a $18,400 state grant to study whether the zoo generates enough of the right type of waste to feed what's called an anaerobic digestion system, which would generate methane gas from waste. It would cost an estimated $46,126 for zoo workers to weigh animal waste, leftover feed and spoils from the zoo's concession and send it out for analysis. MSU Extension would kick in $2,300 toward the project, with the zoo contributing the remaining $25,426. "If this proves to be worthwhile, it could have implications for a lot of other zoos across the country," said David Palmer, founder of Tennessee-based AGRISA LLC, the company that would conduct the study. He speculated the amount of gas generated might be enough to heat a building or two, but likely not operate the entire facility.


2 sharks hatch at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
August 4, 2006 www.fortwayne.com  By Kelly Soderlund

Epaulette sharks are found in Australian waters and live in and on coral reefs. They hatch gold-colored eggs with brown tendrils surrounding them. When two eggs were found on the floor of the 50,000-gallon shark tank at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, they were collected and spent their 130-day incubation period suspended from a rope inside an 80-degree children's pool on top of the tank. After hatching, on July 17 and 18, the young sharks spent the first week of their lives in a sectioned-off part of that kiddie pool, surviving on the fat reserves in their body. But now they're in a 50-gallon tank in the back room of the main aquarium. Zoo workers are hand-feeding them finely chopped fish, hoping for the survival of the 8-inch, brown- and white-striped sharks. The fact that the baby epaulette sharks even exist is an anomaly, because it's uncommon for sharks to breed in captivity. "It's very rare," aquarist Ian Wallace said. "It doesn't happen very often, and also, when they do hatch and they're born, they don't survive."  Research shows only about a third of epaulette shark hatchlings survive the first six months. "The only thing we can really do is try and give them as much food as we possibly can and hope for the best," Wallace said. Wallace and his aquarium co-workers are hoping 17 more eggs will hatch babies in coming weeks. Aquarium manager Gary Stoops was diving in the tank Thursday afternoon and brought up three more eggs, one with a possible embryo inside. The sharks feed on small fish, mussels, shrimp and other marine invertebrates and can grow to 4 feet in length.


Atlanta panda may be pregnant
August 4, 2006 www.accessnorthga.com  By The Associated Press -

ATLANTA - 8-year-old Lun Lun, Atlanta's giant panda may be pregnant. At least that is what 2 psychics consulted by Zoo Atlanta are predicting. It was all done "in the spirit of good fun," according to a news release from Zoo officials. Atlanta-born psychic Helene Frisch reported she telepathically connected with Lun Lun using "tone vibration." Frisch said she discerned that not only is Lun Lun pregnant, but she will likely bear a male cub by Sept. 4. Another psychic _ Andy Liu, a native of China _ used the ancient I Ching to calculate a 65 percent chance that Lun Lun is pregnant. The panda was artificially inseminated last March, but panda pregnancies are notoriously difficult to diagnose. There was a glitch, however. By mistake, the zoo faxed an announcement to several news organizations that a newborn baby panda had died. The announcement -- prepared just in case -- was sent in error when officials were trying to fax the notice of the event with the psychics.


NASA Joins Search for Ivory-billed Woodpecker
August 04, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

WASHINGTON - NASA scientists have joined the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought to be extinct but recently sighted in Arkansas. Scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland are using a laser-equipped research aircraft to fly over the Big Woods area of the Mississippi Delta, they hope to learn more about the big woodpecker's potential habitat. Light particles from the lasers bounce off leaves, branches and the ground and reflect back to the instrument.  giving scientists a direct measurement of the height of the forest's leaf-covered treetops, the ground level below and everything in between, NASA said in a statement. Bird experts have searched on the ground, looking for nesting spots, leaving remote-controlled cameras and audio recorders in places that seem likely habitats for the woodpecker. But so far they have captured no confirmed images or sound recordings of the creature. In 2005, researchers published a report in the journal Science that at least one male ivory-bill still survived, but this finding has been challenged. The NASA-University of Maryland project aims to give detailed information about the bird's habitat to searchers on the ground, who can use it starting this fall to look for new evidence of the ivory-billed woodpecker's possible survival.


DNA Aging Technique May Save Whales
August 04, 2006 www.enn.com  By Michael Casey, Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand - Australian researchers report that analyzing the skin flakes of some whales could help determine their age, a development that could invalidate one argument for killing them. Japan has long argued that killing baleen whales, such as humpbacks and minkes, is the only way to determine how old they are, and vital to better understanding the animals' behavior. Tokyo plans to kill over 1,000 minke whales in 2006, over 400 more than last year and more than double the number it hunted a decade ago, as part of its scientific research program. Peter Harrison, director of Southern Cross University Whale Research Center in New South Wales, said "Essentially, this (analysis) would mean Japan would no longer be able to kill whales in order to determine their age," he said. "So therefore, they would have to either modify their research program to stop killing whales or admit they are really doing commercial whaling with science as an excuse and therefore change the nature of their whaling program." Harrison's research was published in this week's Nature magazine. Re reports that the new aging method relies on extracting DNA from the skin flakes of humpback whales and looking at telomeres -- structures that cap the end of chromosomes. The telomeres progressively shorten with age in many animal species and Harrison said he is hopeful they could be used to determine a whale's age.


Zimbabwe Donates Black Rhino to Botswana
August 4, 2006 allafrica.com

ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe has donated a male black rhino from Imire Game Park in Marondera to Botswana's Khama Rhino Sanctuary in an effort to boost the breeding population of the endangered species in Southern Africa. A single female has been at the Botswana sanctuary in Serowe for years by itself. Botswana's rhino population was decimated by rampant poaching in the early 1980s and the population is slowly being rebuilt. The current number of rhinos stands at 103 . Botswana has also received four other rhinos from Namibia and is looking after another one believed to have strayed from Zimbabwe.


Aquarium visionary - Warren Ilff dies
August 5, 2006 www.presstelegram.com  By Kristopher Hanson and David Rogers

LONG BEACH - Warren Iliff, the first director of the Aquarium of the Pacific, died Saturday afternoon after a battle with lung cancer. He was 69. "The aquarium and the community have lost a great leader and friend," said Jerry Schubel, the aquarium's president and CEO who succeeded Iliff. "He set the bar high and created the culture that continues to characterize the institution." Iliff was the aquarium's first employee, hired in 1996, two years before the aquarium opened to the public. He spent the following months overseeing the construction of the giant $117 million aquarium, hiring employees, building up interest and seeking money for an endowment fund. "He was a man of intelligence, of caring and of good character, and I consider him a friend. And I'm going to miss him," said Mayor Bob Foster, a former aquarium board member who joined the board in the late 1990s. "He was a really gentle soul." "(He) was the perfect director for our aquarium when it first opened," said Beverly O'Neill, who was mayor during Iliff's tenure there. "He just brought love and charm and made everyone comfortable. He was a real strength for us. He and Just before opening day, Iliff stated his desire that the aquarium be part classroom, part entertainment. "We want people to learn more than they ever knew about the Pacific Ocean. We also want them to say, 'Wow!"' Iliff said at the time. Iliff retired from the aquarium in 2002. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Long Beach Art Museum or a cancer research organization of the donor's choice. A private memorial service is planned.


Bonobos Hunted in Congo Reserve
August 6, 2006 www.chicagotribune.com  By Laurie Goering

KINSHASA, Congo -- Like the other great apes, bonobos are threatened by hunting, logging and disease. But they have additonal problems. Their range lies entirely within Congo, one of the most conflict-ravaged countries in Africa. Years of war have repeatedly interrupted efforts to study them. Today, nearly 80 years after they were recognized as a species and 30 years after a Japanese biologist first tried to census them by foot and bicycle in Congo's remote central rain forest, no one knows how many there are, where they live or how they are being affected by Congo's troubles. Gottfried Hohmann, a leading bonobo researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, one of the few institutions to support long-term study of the animals, says "No one knows the borders [of their range]. All the figures are meaningless." Gay Reinartz, a top bonobo researcher from the Zoological Society of Milwaukee claims that hunting is widespread. "With the end of the war [in 2002], there were a lot of guns that had no other use. So the war has more or less turned on wildlife," said Reinartz, who has tried, unsuccessfully, to dissuade poachers from shooting in her research area in Salonga National Park. Since Congo's government signed a peace deal with its major rebel groups, new logging concessions have been granted and the pace of logging in Africa's largest remaining rain forest is picking up, including in areas just outside bonobo reserves. Besides destroying habitat, loggers kill apes to feed themselves and build roads into the interior then used by other hunters, conservationists say.


History of Ota Benga at the Bronx Zoo
August 6, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By MITCH KELLER

WHEN New Yorkers went to the Bronx Zoo on Saturday, Sept. 8, 1906, they were treated to something novel at the Monkey House - a Congolese pygmy named Ota Benga. His teeth were pointed, he wore modern clothing but no shoes and gave demonstrations with his bow and arrow as well as weaving with twine. Signage explained that he was 4 feet 11 inches, his weight as 103 pounds and his age as 23. Exhibited each afternoon during September. At one point he played with an orangutan and parrot. But the exhibit was short-lived. A scandal flared up almost immediately, fueled by the indignation of black clergymen like the Rev. James H. Gordon, superintendent of the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum in Brooklyn. "Our race, we think, is depressed enough, without exhibiting one of us with the apes," Mr. Gordon said. "We think we are worthy of being considered human beings, with souls." The zoo's director, William Hornaday, the zoo's director wrote to the mayor, "When the history of the Zoological Park is written, this incident will form its most amusing passage." Recently there has been renewed interest in Ota Benga, who died in March 1916 when he shot himself in the heart. His story has inspired writers, artists and musicians, and there is even an effort to exhume his remains from a cemetery in Lynchburg, Va., where he spent the last six years of his life, and return them to Congo. "This was his wish," said Dibinga wa Said, a Congolese involved in the exhumation campaign. "He wanted to go home." To make the return of Ota Benga complete, he even has a page at www.myspace.com


Tiger Numbers Up at NE Chinese Breeding Base
August 6, 2006 news.yahoo.com

BEIJING (AFP) - The number of Siberian tigers at a northeast Chinese breeding base now exceeds 700 at the Siberian Tiger Park, near the city of Harbin, up from 620 late last year, and a mere eight when the park began operations in 1986. The park has been able to speed up the natural breeding rate of the Siberian tigresses, about one cub every two years, to as much as two cubs a year. The reason is that professional staff start tending to the cubs directly upon birth, giving the mothers time to return to the breeding business almost immediately.


Zoos Help Save Central American frogs
August 6, 2006 toledoblade.com By JENNI LAIDMAN First of two parts

EL VALLE DE ANTN, Panama - A chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), is sweeping through Central America, threatening to kill nearly all of Panama's frogs, as it has in Costa Rica and Mexico before this. When Edgardo Griffith, a Panamanian biologist, began finding dead golden frogs near El Valle in January he was afraid the chytrid fungus would decimate not only the golden frogs but the 70 to 90 other amphibian species in the area. He notified the world conservation community and zoos responded. The Houston Zoo, began leading a loose-knit consortium of zoos and conservation groups from around the world and the construction of a 2,400-square-foot, $45,000 El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center at the El Nispero Zoo in El Valle was begun. The plan was to have rescue teams move as many amphibians as practical into the completed center. But in May, Mr. Griffith found the first frog to test positive for chytrid in the El Valle area and EVACC was unfinished. Construction had been delayed by a lengthy permitting process. So it was decided to use hotel rooms to house the frogs and breed the insects that would feed them. By the first week of June, the first team of frog rescuers arrived and began collecting frogs. David Wake, an emeritus professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has been a leader in addressing the worldwide loss of amphibians since the 1980s. He views the frog rescue in Panama as a necessary but deeply disturbing action. "I know of nothing like this" he continued. "This is an unparalleled time. "The dinosaurs were big and impressive, but what we forget is the frogs were there. They were there with the dinosaurs. ... and now 70 million years later, they're taking it. It's pretty shocking. It's pretty hard to accept."


Affects of Chytrid Fungus Vary in U.S.
August 6, 2006 toledoblade.com By JENNI LAIDMAN

Most amphibians in the United States already have been exposed to chytrid fungus, but the effect on animal populations seems to vary with geography. "Chytrid is in Ohio," said Kevin Zippel, amphibian program officer for the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union. Mr. Zippel said the Detroit Zoo, where he worked for five years, put Ohio-caught cricket frogs into a mixed species display. The frogs died from chytrid fungal infections. The animals apparently brought the disease with them from the wild, he said. It took the stress of captivity to make it lethal. In 1999, there was no quick test for chytrid fungus nor was there a treatment. Today, chytrid is easy to test for and can be treated in captivity by soaking the animal in an anti-fungal medication. Tests of preserved frogs in museum collections reveal that North American frogs and toads have carried the disease since at least 1961. Some researchers speculate that the fungus may have done its worst work in the 1970s. Mountain amphibian populations seem most vulnerable. The Wyoming toad, now extinct in the wild, and frogs and salamanders in the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico have been hard hit. Climate may play a role in how chytrid affects local populations. The fungus dies at temperatures above 99 degrees Fahrenheit and does best between 59 and 73 Fahrenheit. "It's not as active in the summer when it's hot,'' Mr. Zippel said. Some amphibians are naturally resistant to the lethal effects of chytrid. Bullfrogs, for instance, don't seem to succumb to the disease. Such animals can act as carriers, infecting less-resistant populations.


SaveTheCatskillGameFarm.com
August 7, 2006 www.bizjournals.com  by Michael DeMasi

Less than a week after the owners of the Catskill Game Farm announced they were closing the business, an accountant from White Plains has launched a web site to share memories of the petting zoo and stir up interest in converting the game farm to a state park. The 36-year-old accountant, Al Ziegler, also runs a search engine that collects money when visitors click on advertising links on his search engine and on the home page of the forum he created called SaveTheCatskillGameFarm.com Ziegler said he created the Catskill Game Farm forum because he visited the petting zoo as a child and said it would be a shame if other children weren't able to experience it as well. He encourages people to write to Gov. George E. Pataki and urge the state to convert the 1,000-acre game farm into a state park. The Catskill Game Farm will close Oct. 9 after 73 years in business. Kathie Schulz, who bought the family business in 1989, cited a decline in visitors as the reason for closing the petting zoo in Catskill. The park's 2,000-plus animals and equipment will be auctioned.


Rescuing Panama's Frogs
August 7, 2006 toledoblade.com By JENNI LAIDMAN Second of two parts

EL VALLE DE ANTN, The banded horned tree frog, or Hemiphractus fasciatus, now joins some 200 other frogs in one of two hotel rooms (one is used to breed insects to feed the frogs) The frogs are being collected by a team lead by Panamanian biologist, Edguardo Griffith from the cloud forest darkness. Mr. Griffith's frog-rescue efforts - under the direction of the Houston Zoo - could serve as a model to save other frogs threatened by a fungal disease that humans very probably helped spread. "There was a long period of dispute," according to George Rabb, former director of the Brookfield Zoo in suburban Chicago and a leader in world conservation efforts. Some thought the disappearances could be temporary. Frogs will vanish when the weather is unfavorable. A 30-year study in Oklahoma showed how little one could rely on observations made over a year or two. But over time the decline became undeniable. In 1996, the National Zoo's poison dart frogs died. Dr. Donald Nichols, a veterinary pathologist, made electron micrographs of the amphibian skin and sent them to Joyce Longcore, at the University of Maine, who made the "chytrid" identification. It was a new form of this normally placid fungus. Ms. Longcore and Dr. Nichols named it Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Batracho is Greek for frog. Dendrobates is the genus of poison-dart frogs. In 2004 a group of researchers from South Africa and Australia looked at the African clawed frog specimens in South African museum collections and found a frog with chytrid collected in 1938, leading them to propose what has come to be known as the "Out of Africa" theory. African clawed frogs coexist with chytrid with no ill effects. And just as important, since the 1930s, these animals have been shipped all over the world to be used in pregnancy testing. When injected with the urine of a pregnant woman, the frogs ovulate. They published their theory in 2004 in the journal, Emerging Infectious Disease. Another theory suggests that American bullfrogs, also resistant to chytrid, are carriers. They are traded all over the world as food. But whatever the source, scientists see human activity as the culprit for disease spread. Although individual frogs can be treated for chytrid, there is no way to remove it from the environment, making captivity the only way to save frogs.


Florida Zoo Reviews Alcohol Policy
August 7, 2006 www.floridatoday.com  By Jeff Schweers

VIERA - The Brevard Zoo is now limited to serving beer and wine at after-hours events, but it wants to sell those beverages during the day. "It's really silly, because if tourists want beer during the day, it's the same," said Keith Winsten, the zoo's executive director. The East Coast Zoological Society has asked the county to let it serve beer and wine before 5 p.m. The request goes before the planning and zoning board today. The board will pass its recommendation to the county commission. "This is to satisfy customers," said Chris Vehrs, deputy director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Other zoos have served alcohol for years. Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa serves beer and wine. The Florida Aquarium in Tampa serves margaritas and pina coladas at its Tiki bar, which surrounds a children's water park. Busch Gardens, owned by the Anheuser Busch Brewing Co., has served complimentary beer to its guests for decades. St. Louis Zoo has sold beer during the daytime since the 1940s. Other zoos that sell alcohol during the day include the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, the Phoenix Zoo and the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park. "It's a trend throughout the leisure industry," said Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Service, a Cincinnati, Ohio, company that monitors the industry. A study he did for a client three years ago found a major uptick in the number of leisure facilities that offered alcohol. Out of 165 attractions surveyed, 45 percent offered alcohol -- a 20 percent increase from the year before.


Snow Leopard from Pakistan Will Go to Bronx Zoo
August 7, 2006 paktribune.com

GILGIT: On July 14, 2005, the Gilgit office of the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) was notified by a shepherd in the Naltar Valley, Northern Areas (NA) that he had found an orphaned male snow leopard cub. The WWF-P team brought the cub back to their office for veterinary examination. He was found to be in good health and estimated to be about seven weeks old. The Northern Areas Forest and Wildlife Department and the Federal Government were immediately notified and the authorities decided to move the cub to a facility near the Khunjerab National Park to be cared for by Kamal-ud-din, the supervisor of Wildlife Watchers in the Northern Areas Forest and Wildlife Department. But with the onset of summer and the increasing temperature, he was taken back to Naltar Valley and has since remained there under Kamal-ud-din's care. Now called Leo, the 13-month-old, stands 21 inches tall and weighs about 25 kg. The Government of Pakistan and the Northern Areas Administration have provided substantial support to ensure the cub's survival, and now want to develop a long-term program for the rehabilitation of future orphaned snow leopards and other foundling animals. Because snow Leopard cubs need their mothers guidance until the age of about 18 to 22 months, it is not practical to release him back into the wild, and because zoos in Pakistan lack the scientific expertise and resources to undertake such an effort, IUCN Pakistan (IUCN-P) intervened and suggested that the snow leopard be loaned by the Government of Pakistan to the Wildlife Conservation Society that runs a world-renowned snow leopard breeding program. Since July 30, a team of experts from the Bronx Zoo have been in Pakistan to organize the logistics of the transfer. Leo is scheduled to leave for New York on August 9, 2006.


First Koala Born in Africa
August 7, 2006 www.sabcnews.com 

PRETORIA -- "The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa implemented its selective breeding programme of its koala population in November last year and are overjoyed by the fact that we now have a youngster to add to the collection," said Willie Labuschagne, the zoo executive director. The Joey named "Willie" after the zoo's director, was born in January. Koalas remain in the pouch for the first six to seven months feeding on its mother's milk. At about 22 weeks its eyes will open and it will begin to peep out at the world from the safety of the pouch.  Radion Khoza, the conservator in charge of koala care at the zoo, says young Willie now weighs approximately a kilogram. "He is now seven months old and will start to eat eucalyptus from the age of eight months. At 12 months, he will be weaned and start to move around more freely outside the pouch," Khoza said. The koalas at the zoo are fed eight different species of eucalyptus daily and sleep for up to 20 hours of the day. A CCTV camera has been placed inside the area where ReneT is caring for the Joey.


Petition to List the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale as Endangered
August 7, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 151

The (NMFS) announces a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Cook Inlet beluga whale as an endangered species. We find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. A petition received from the Trustees For Alaska to list the Cook Inlet beluga whale as endangered, presents substantial evidence in support of their request. The petition states the Cook Inlet population of beluga whales is a "species'' under the definition of the ESA, and qualifies as a Distinct Population Segment (DPS). The petitioner provides genetic and geographic information to support that the Cook Inlet beluga whale is discrete from other beluga whale populations, as well as rationale for why this population is also significant to the beluga whale species. It is the petitioner's contention that the Cook Inlet beluga whale is in danger of extinction throughout its range, and, therefore, is an endangered species. After evaluating the petitioners information we initiated a status review on March 29, 2006. Requests for copies of the petition should be addressed to NMFS, Protected Resources Division, 709 West 9th Street, Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668. The petition may also be viewed on our Web site at www.fakr.noaa.gov 


Permit Requests for Take of Anadromous Fish
August 7, 2006 [Federal Register: (Volume 71, Number 151)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-07/ 

The NMFS has received seven scientific research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmonids. The proposed research is intended to increase knowledge of the species. Comments on the applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific standard time on September 6, 2006. Written comments on the applications should be sent to the Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232-1274. Comments may also be sent via fax to 503-230-5441 or by E-mail to resapps.nwr@NOAA.gov 

Permit 1135 : The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) is requesting a 5-year research permit to take adult and juvenile LCR steelhead. The purpose of this study is to collect information on the survival, growth, habitat use, population density, health, and life-histories of steelhead in the Wind River subbasin of southern Washington.

Permit 1290 : The Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) is requesting a 5-year research permit that would allow them to take all fish species covered in this notice while conducting research in the Columbia River estuary. The purposes of the research are to determine the prevalence and intensity of pathogens in juvenile salmonids and investigate the relationship between forage fish populations in the estuary and salmonid survival.

Permit 1318 : The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is requesting a 5-year research permit that would allow them to take all fish species covered in this notice while conducting research in the Deschutes, Willamette, and Columbia Rivers in Oregon. The application contains six projects: (1) Warm water fish management surveys; (2) investigations of natural production of spring Chinook salmon in the Mohawk River subbasin; (3) genetic characterization of rainbow trout in the Upper Willamette System; (4) fish abundance, population status, genetics and disease surveys in the Upper Willamette Basin; (5) native rainbow and cutthroat trout surveys for abundance, size composition, and migration patterns in the mainstem McKenzie River; and (6) resident redband population estimates in the Deschutes River.

Permit 1322 : The NWFSC is requesting a 5-year research permit that would allow them to take all fish species covered in this notice while conducting research in the estuary and lower Columbia River. The objectives of the research are to (1) determine the presence and abundance of fall and spring Chinook, coho, and chum salmon in the estuary and lower Columbia River; (2) examine the relationship between juvenile salmon and lower Columbia River estuarine habitat; and (3) obtain information about flow change, sediment input, and habitat availability withe goal of developing a numerical model of the fishes' survival.

Permit 1330 : The Weyerhaeuser Company (Weyco) is requesting a 5-year research permit to take juvenile LCR Chinook salmon, LCR coho salmon, and LCR steelhead during the course of research to be conducted in the Toutle River and on lands owned by Weyco around Mt. St. Helens in Washington. The purposes of the research are to determine fish abundance and distribution in the North Fork Toutle.

Permit 1333 : The Oregon State University (OSU) Department of Fisheries and Wildlife is requesting a 5-year research permit to take adult and juvenile UWR Chinook and steelhead during the course of research designed to evaluate floodplain and riparian restoration activities, test the effectiveness of new assessment tools for conservation planning, and improve aquatic habitat.

Permit 1461 : The USGS is requesting a 5-year research permit that would allow them to take all fish species covered in this notice while conducting research at Crims Island and the Julia Butler Hanson National Wildlife Refuge in the lower Columbia River. The purpose of the research is to determine fish species composition, habitat use, and salmon diet composition in the areas sampled.


Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
August 7, 2006 www.npr.org  By Michael Sullivan

Most people in Indonesia see orangutans as pests, or pets -- something to be controlled or gotten rid of. So there is no regard for their habitat and lowland forests are being swiftly cleared. Trees are sold for timber and the land replanted with rice or corn to help feed the growing population. These trees are key to orangutan survival - it's where they eat, sleep, mate and travel - rarely setting foot on the ground. Efforts to create tourist-oriented orangutan habitats in Indonesia have not been entirely successful. When orangutans live close to humans, they tend to become dependent on the food the tourists give them. They become bold and aggressive. But without the tourist dollars and attention, illegal logging could start up again. The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, led by Ian Singleton is trying another tactic - reintroducing them to protected forests in the south, where they were hunted to extinction about 150 years ago. Roughly 500 orangutans are needed to create a genetically viable population in the south, and about 60 have been released so far. These colonizing apes are castoffs, misfits, orphans and zoo animals, and after a period of quarantine, are released into the wild. "What we're trying to do is slow down the decline, so that when Indonesia does eventually start to take more concern over it's wildlife, there will be enough to salvage," he says.


9 black rhinos at Midlands Conservancy
August 7, 2006 www.herald.co.zw 

At least nine black rhinos were poached from the Midlands Conservancy in Gweru. Parks and Wildlife Management Authority national rhino co-ordinator, Mr Geoffreys Matipano said that black rhino products are in demand in Asia and the Middle East for traditional medicinal purposes but another problem has been some disturbances in the area where owners stopped being active in the employment of protective measures. In the past, people were not permitted to move in and out of the conservancy, but now, many people including poachers are frequenting the conservancy. The rhino population is multiplying and there is a need to formulate new programs that would enable tracking implants in all animals. There is also a need to develop other zones where the rhinos could be placed, as they need space to breed properly and reduce territorial conflicts amongst themselves. In October last year, several black rhinos were killed at Gourlays Farm in Matabeleland North Province before more than 200 were translocated to various conservancy areas.


Leatherback Turtle Population Declines
August 7, 2006 www.bernama.com  By D. Arul Rajoo

BANGKOK, Aug 7 (Bernama) -- The endangered leatherback turtle population is effectively extinct in Malaysia, says a United Nations Environment Programme report. Malaysia offers one of the most dramatic, best-documented examples of decline in the nesting population of marine turtles. "Leatherback turtles nest along the Terengganu coastline used to number in the thousands in the 1960s, but in recent years only a handful of infertile nests have been laid," it says in the 166-page report prepared for the memorandum of understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. An accompanying report on the effects of the 2004 tsunami claims localized damage to turtle habitats in eleven countries. India, Thailand and Sri Lanka were the worst affected, with some nesting beaches completely destroyed. The remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India were thought to harbour as many as 400-600 nesting turtles but the tsunami that struck the islands during the peak nesting season seriously disrupted turtle nesting that year. The situation in the Western Pacific nesting beaches seems brighter as a recent survey data suggests there are perhaps 1,000 nesting females in a population that is shared by West Papua -- Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


Gorilla Born at Calgary Zoo
August 7, 2006 calsun.canoe.ca

9-year-old Zuri, a first-time mother, allowed the zoo's veterinary staff to examine her offspring shortly after its birth 2 days ago, but staff are still unsure of the infant's gender. Since its birth, the infant has nursed regularly and clung to its mother, but staff are closely monitoring the troop's behaviour as it adjusts to the new member. Silverback Kakinga is being very protective and charges the glass if he feels anyone is getting too close to the baby. Zuri was born in a Colorado zoo and abandoned by her own mother, but since arriving in Calgary five years ago, she has adjusted to life with other gorillas and learned maternal skills thanks to an extensive training program with zoo staff according to zoo curator Cathy Gaviller.


Dudley Zoo Finances Improve
August 7, 2006 www.expressandstar.com  By John Brenan

Dudley Zoo is raking in a record £2.3 million a year with bumper attendance numbers. Attendance this year was up eight per cent compared to last year. Around 135,000 animal lovers visited in 2005 - 23,000 more than the previous year. Annual membership has also soared from just 200 three years ago to 2,000 today. People are now joining from across the country with member signing up from as far afield as Sheffield, Manchester and London. The zoo's annual report shows it made a £15,000 profit in the last financial year, the third consecutive time it has been in the black after eight years of losses. Chief executive Peter Suddock believes the rise in popularity is due to the new lemur wood attraction and the "keeper for the day" program, which gives people the chance to become zookeepers. He says "The whole atmosphere at the zoo is different and it has changed remarkably." The planned £100 million Castle Hill refurbishment is expected to increase profits. The annual report showed income at the zoo reached £2.37 million up to April 2006, compared to £1.73 million last year and £1.4 million in 2004 when the attraction posted its first profit in eight years. It contrasts with the £449,000 loss recorded in 2002 after the devastating foot and mouth crisis which swept the country.


Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Elephant Center
August 8, 2006 www.tribune-democrat.com  www.dailyamerican.com 

FAIRHOPE - A $2.5 million fundraising campaign is underway to finance the Pittsburgh Zoo's new International Conservation Center. When U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg was given a tour of the 724-acre, former hunting preserve on Monday by Zoo CEO, Barbara Baker, he commented that the center could be worth federal funding. Baker hopes it will be North America's first breeding ground for endangered elephants and serve as the U.S. base for elephant experts from the Institute of Berlin. The zoo is discussing that with the German institute's Thomas Hildebrandt, who Baker called the world's leading reproductive physiologist for pachyderms. Baker plans to visit this October to see their facilities. "We've been working with him to have a base here where they can set up lab research," Baker said. "I see it more as a revolution on how you manage elephants. We'll really be more like shepherds." She hopes the first elephants, could be occupying the area and one-acre barn by fall of 2007, but it is more likely to be the following spring, Baker said. "We want this center to be cream of the cream," she said. "We're looking at setting up an endowment for the facility to go on and on after we're gone. It has a conservation easement, so it will still be maintained for conservation, even if the zoo ever sells it. We see the zoo and this facility being integrated closely together."


Giant Panda Baby Boom In China
August 08, 2006 www.cnn.com  By Reuters

BEIJING - A 6-year-old giant panda, Zhang Ka, has given birth to the heaviest cub born in captivity after 34 hours of labor. The cub was born Monday at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in the mountainous southwest. It.weighed 218 grams (half a pound). Most cubs are born weighing between 83 and 190 grams. Two twin panda sisters, also aged six, gave birth to two pairs of twin male cubs -- on Sunday and Monday respectively in the Chengdu Giant Panda Reproduction and Research Center near Wolong. It brought the number of panda cubs born in captivity in China so far this year to six. An estimated 1,600 wild pandas live in nature reserves in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces.


Giant Panda Record for Longest Delivery & Largest Cub
August 8, 2006 news.yahoo.com

BEIJING (AFP) - A giant panda has scored two records. After the longest-ever delivery she produced the heaviest cub to emerge from China's artificial breeding program. Zhang Ka, aged six, gave birth to a 218-gram (7.6-ounce) male on Monday after spending 34 hours in labor at the China Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center. Most panda cubs born in captivity weigh between 83 and 190 grams according to the China Giant Panda Breeding Technology Committee. Veterinarians were getting ready to perform a Caesarian when the cub emerged from its mother by itself. According to the center, Zhang Ka went into heat in early March and subsequently mated. Experts also performed artificial insemination to make sure she conceived. A picture of the cub is at www.theage.com.au/news/world/giant-panda-delivers-big-baby/2006/08/08/1154802889410.html 


40,000-mile Sooty Shearwater Migration
August 8, 2006 www.enn.com  By AP

WASHINGTON - Sooty shearwaters cover 40,000 miles annually in search of food, the longest migration ever recorded electronically, according to a report in this week's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers led by Scott Shaffer of the University of California, Santa Cruz, tagged 33 sooty shearwaters from 2 breeding colonies in New Zealand with geolocating tags. The tags are not satellite tracking devices, but record levels of ambient light, which a computer translates into latitude and longitude. The researchers successfully tracked 19 birds. The 16-inch birds, can have a wingspan of 43 inches, and perform a figure-eight circuit over the Pacific Ocean. They ranged north to the Bering Sea, south to Antarctica, east to Chile, and west to Japan and New Zealand, covering over 40,000 miles in 200 days, the researchers said. The research was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore and David and Lucille Packard foundations.


'Moo at the Oregon Zoo'
August 08, 2006 www.oregonlive.com 

PORTLAND - Moo at the Zoo is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Oregon Zoo's Trillium Creek Family Farm. This educational event for the entire family is sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Oregon and Oregon dairy farmers who will be on hand to describe the life of their cows and the daily workings of a dairy farm. By testing their dairy knowledge, like the number of glasses of milk a cow can produce in one day, visitors will also have a chance to win "got milk?" T-shirts and other prizes during random drawings, and have their picture taken with an Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador. There will be lots of interactive exhibits, puppet shows, and displays. Guests can view pygora goats and Shetland sheep in the zoo's hands-on area. "While the zoo does not exhibit cows in its Family Farm, Moo at the Zoo highlights the importance of farm animals in our lives, from the milk we drink to the yogurt we eat and even cheese on pizza," said Charis Henrie, the zoo's education coordinator. Moo at the Zoo is free with zoo admission.


Lynx Re-introduction Milestone in Colorado
August 8, 2006 www.9news.com 

DENVER (AP) - A lynx born in Colorado has given birth to two kittens. It is the first documented birth since the program began in 1999. Unfortunately there has also been a dramatic reduction in the number of births this year. Colorado Division of Wildlife researchers found four dens with a total of 11 kittens, down from 18 dens with 50 kittens last year. Division of Wildlife biologist Rick Kahn, head of the lynx program, said researchers believe adult lynx brought to Colorado as part of the reintroduction process may be disrupting breeding. Researchers believe other kittens were born but not counted this year because their mothers do not have radio collars and cannot be tracked. The animals' death rate hasn't increased, and most of the cats are staying in established territories, Kahn said. Lynx, designated an endangered species by the state, were wiped out in Colorado by 1973, victims of trapping, poisoning and development. A total of 218 lynx from Canada and Alaska have been released in southwestern Colorado since 1999, and at least 78 are confirmed dead. More than 80 births have been documented since 2003, and researchers believe the total number of lynx in the state is holding steady at about 200. Kahn said no additional lynx will be released in Colorado next spring because of the decline in births.


New Findings on Female Meerkat Behavior
August 8, 2006 www.sciencedaily.com 

New research reports that during the latter half of her pregnancy, the dominant female in a meerkat group commonly drives her subordinate females from the group for an average of three weeks at a time. These subordinates, typically females of breeding age, older, and pregnant females, suffer repeated attacks and chases throughout this period, leading to dramatically increased levels of stress hormones and a collapse in fertility. This tactic reduces conception rates and increases abortion rates among the evicted females, who are only allowed to return to the group after the dominant female has given birth. The dominant female benefits in two ways: First, her own pups will benefit from not having to compete with additional pups born to a subordinate for the limited number of available caretakers. Second, because subordinate females actually kill other females' pups when pregnant themselves. Dr Andrew Young, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, led the research as part of the Kalahari Meerkat Project, located at the Kuruman River Reserve, South Africa. The project is a decade-old initiative led by Professor Tim Clutton-Brock FRS, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the University of Pretoria. A study earlier this year by Dr Young and Professor Clutton-Brock reported that subordinate female meerkats, if they do become pregnant, kill the young of other female group members, dominants and subordinates alike. The article, 'Stress and the suppression of subordinate reproduction in cooperatively breeding meerkats', appears in this week's issue of PNAS.


WAZA Launches Virtual Zoo
August 9, 2006 www.waza.org 

World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has expanded by launching a virtual zoo. This online zoo currently has a collection of 266 animal species. The animals are listed according to taxonomy to simplify searching. Clicking on a taxon brings up a gallery of species pictures with scientific names. Clicking on the photo brings up a comprehensive fact sheet of information on the species: habitat, population, status, range, and common names in different languages. In addition there is basic husbandry information, conservation breeding programs in place, and transport guidelines. Check it out at: www.waza.org/virtualzoo/map.php?main=virtualzoo 


African Grey Red tail parrots threatened with extinction
August 9 2006 www.eznc.org 

The Nature Conservancy of Germany (NABU) reports that the African grey red tail parrot is threatened with extinction, due to the increasing wild bird trade. 360.000 of them were traded legally between 1994 and 2003 according to the conservationists. The grey red tail is one the approximate 3.000 bird species that can be imported as a pet. The European Union is the main large scale importer of wild birds. The nature conservancy is calling on the EU member states to prohibit the trade of wild birds which are threatened with extinction for a longer period of time. An embargo is still in place until the end of the year due to the danger of bird flu.


European embargo ostriches South Africa
August 9, 2006 www.eznc.org 

The entire European Union has imposed an embargo on living ostriches, their eggs and meat from the district Mosselbaai and Riversdale. The embargo follows an outbreak of the contagious bird flu virus H5N2 on an ostrich farm in the Westkaap region in South Africa. The virus is not related to the dangerous H5N1-virus Which is mainly found in South East Asia. Because of bird flu, an embargo had already been in place against bird species from several countries outside the EU, among which South Africa. It will stay on at least until after October this year, according to the European Committee.


Feeding of Rabbits
August 9, 2006 www.eznc.org 

There is far less research on the feeding rabbits than other domesticated animals. But it has been established that suitable rabbit feed contains between 2400 and 2800 kcal DE (Digestible Energy) per kg of diet. A higher energy level may cause microbial overgrow of the caecum, causing diarrhoea. Rabbits can be rather sensitive to diseases of the stomach (enteritis and diarrhoea). The rabbit's microbial fermentation takes place in the caecum, after which is consumes the content of the caecum (coprophagy). This normally occurs once or twice a day, especially during the night. This way, rabbits obtain a source of microbial protein as well as all vitamins B. The main ingredient of rabbit feed is often alpha flour or other high-fibre nutrients. Fibres are not digested efficiently by rabbits. Their strategy is to excrete fibres quickly. Other components are fermented in the caecum, followed by coprophagy. The recommended protein requirement is 16% for maximum growth and 18% for lactation. Calcium is digested efficiently by rabbits. A surplus of calcium is not excreted in the faeces but in the urine, giving it often turbid.


Total Plasma Protein and Renesting by Greater Sage-Grouse
August 9 2006 www.eznc.org 

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) population declines have been attributed to reduced productivity. Little information is available on renesting which could contribute significantly to annual productivity. Gregg, Dunbar, Crawford and Pope investigated the relationship between total plasma protein, age of hen, time of first nest initiation, and time of first nest loss on occurrence of renesting on 4 study areas during 1999-2004. They monitored radiomarked females from mid-April through June to identify period of nest initiation (early, mid, or late), nest loss (early or late), and renesting activity. The proportion of hens renesting was 34% (48/143) across all study areas and years. Akaike's Information Criterion model selection indicated that occurrence of renesting varied by age, nest initiation period, nest loss period, and total plasma protein. The best model had low predictive power for any given hen, but validation of the best model indicated that our predictor variables were important for distinguishing renesting status and likely explained substantial temporal and spatial variation in renesting rates. A greater proportion of adults than yearlings renested, and hens that nested early in the nesting season and lost nests early during incubation were the most likely to renest. Hens that renested had greater total plasma protein levels than non-renesting hens independent of age, nest initiation period, and nest loss period. Because sage-grouse depend on exogenous sources of protein for reproduction, land management practices that promote high-quality, prelaying hen habitat could increase dietary protein intake and sage-grouse renesting rates. The study appears in : Journal of Wildlife Management, Article: pp. 472-478


White Rhino Dry Season Grazing
August 9, 2006 www.eznc.com 

A recent study published in Functional Ecology (2006) 20, 376-384 by Shrader, Owen-Smith and Ogutu focuses on the grazing habits of the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum Burchell ). Field measurements were made on changes in bite mass, bite rate and nutrient concentrations of food eaten during the dry season. As the dry season progressed, the quality and availability of food resources declined. During this time white rhinos foraged mainly in high-quality short and woodland grasslands. Late in the dry season they also used flushes of green grass in previously burnt Themeda grasslands. Bite mass increased linearly with increasing sward height, while bite rate declined. Intake rate was determined primarily by bite mass and thus tended to increase linearly with sward height. Maximum bite mass and intake rate was obtained in swards >20 cm.
White rhinos did not compensate for seasonal declines in food quality by adjusting their food intake rate or diet breadth. We suggest that white rhinos mobilize fat reserves to help meet their nutritional needs during the dry season. The full article is at www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2006.01107.x 


Protecting Pronghorn Corridor in Yellowstone
August 9, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By JOEL BERGER and KIM MURRAY BERGER

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo - The pronghorn is the only species living in the Yellowstone ecosystem that is native to the American West. Elk, bison and even grizzly bears moved in from Asia centuries ago. Twice a year for 6,000 years, one population of pronghorn has used that speed to travel more than 90 miles from their summer range in Grand Teton National Park to the Upper Green River basin, where they spend the winter. In recent decades, the migration has been threatened by human development - roads, reservoirs and ranches - and the one route that could conceivably remain open is being squeezed in places. Though it is a mile wide most of the way, the corridor narrows to only 650 yards at one spot and 120 yards at another. Steps need to be taken to keep this last path from shrinking any more. Only a few hundred of Wyoming's half a million pronghorn travel between Grand Teton and the Upper Green River basin. But unless their last route is preserved, pronghorn will no longer live in Grand Teton at all; the winter snows are too deep to allow them to stay all year. Preserving the route should not be difficult, because 90 percent of it lies on land owned by the United States Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. The two agencies need only require that ranchers who pay for grazing rights keep fences at least knee-high off the ground (so that the animals can squeeze under them) and keep energy companies from setting up drilling operations in the corridor. Mining for natural gas or coal-bed methane could still be allowed, as long as wells are dug diagonally so that they come to the surface outside the edges of the corridor. The private landowners who control the remaining 10 percent of the pronghorn corridor could be offered tax breaks in return for keeping the land passable. By setting up conservation easements, subdividing the land for housing developments could be prevented and fences on the property restricted. Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming has already come out in support of conserving migration routes, as have many ranchers, hunters and environmentalists in the area. But Congressional action is needed to formally protect the pronghorn corridor.


Bronx Zoo Welcomes Snow Leopard from Pakistan
August 9, 2006 www.nytimes.com 

Snow leopards, which are hunted for their fur, are some of the most endangered mammals in the world. Only between 3,500 and 7,000 are estimated to be left in the mountains of Central Asia.  An male cub found in Pakistan, lost its mother before it learned to hunt and would not be able to survive on its own in the wild, so the cat will stay at the Bronx Zoo until a facility that can care for snow leopards can be built in Pakistan, with the help of the U.S. government and the Wildlife Conservation Society, or WSC, which runs the Bronx Zoo. "The nice thing about the cat coming to the Bronx Zoo is that we have two females of the about the same age that would be potential mates,'' according to zoo director, Jim Breheny. The cat, now weighs 60 pounds (27 kg) and will be bred when he is about 3 years old in the hopes of widening the gene pool of snow leopards bred in captivity. "His genes are wild and not represented in the gene pool,'' Breheny said. "He's an unusual, very exciting cat to have,'' Dr. Steven Sanderson, president and CEO of the WSC. "What is really exciting about this animal is that it comes from the wild. We don't ever take snow leopards from the wild any more, except in extraordinary circumstances like this one.'' He said the cub would initially be placed in quarantine for about 30 days before being slowly introduced to the zoo's other 12 snow leopards -- four males and 8 females -- who all live together. In the fall, the cub will make his public debut. The Bronx Zoo, exhibited its first snow leopard in 1966, and is one of the few centers in the world participating in the World Conservation Union Species Survival Plan breeding program for snow leopards. The cub is extremely valuable to zoo breeding programs


China Will Allow Tourists to Hunt Endangered Species
August 09, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

BEIJING - China plans to auction licenses to foreigners to hunt wild animals, including endangered species. The government will auction licenses based on types and numbers of wild animals, ranging from about $200 for a wolf, the only carnivore on the list, to as much as $40,000 for a yak, the Beijing Youth Daily said. The auction, taking place on Sunday in Chengdu, capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, would be the first of its kind in Chinese history, it added.  "Some animals are from the first and second category of national wildlife protection, but with the strict limitations in place, the hunting could not destroy wild animal populations," the daily said.  The report made no mention of the endangered giant panda, some 1,500 of which survive in nature reserves in southwestern China. Five western areas, including Qinghai, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces and the autonomous regions of Ningxia and Xinjiang, are involved in the auction. Hunting of animals is popular with Chinese who like to eat exotic meats or use animal parts in medicines for their perceived aphrodisiac or medicinal properties. But the hunting licenses would be available only to foreigners, given China's strict rules on gun control. Proceeds from the auction would be used for wild animal protection, the report said.


USDA-APHIS Fines Lincoln Park Zoo
August 9, 2006 www.forbes.com 

The Lincoln Park Zoo has paid a $3,000 fine after federal authorities ruled it was to blame for a gorilla attack on a zookeeper and the deaths of several monkeys last year, officials said. The matter is considered closed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and there are no further investigations of the zoo, agency spokesman Darby Holladay said. Scrutiny began after the deaths of three elephants, two gorillas and a camel over the past two years - incidents that led animal rights groups to protest outside the zoo, the Chicago Tribune reported in Wednesday editions. But the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service only held the zoo responsible for the deaths of three Francois langur monkeys in May 2005 and the gorilla attack two months later. The fine was imposed in February. The zoo did not have proper barriers in place at the gorilla habitat and didn't have adequate enclosures for the monkeys, Holladay said.  The three monkeys died after eating leaves from a yew tree just outside their habitat. Officials immediately removed the plant not only from the exhibit but from the zoo grounds. An employee's error led to the zookeeper being bitten by the gorilla.


Golden Lion Tamarin Born at Philadelphia zoo
August 9, 2006 cbs3.com

PHILADELPHIA - A golden lion tamarin was born August 2 at the Philadelphia Zoo. Pele, an adult female, gave birth to the tiny baby, who will join four other tamarians at the zoo. Native to the southeastern coastal region of Brazil, they were considered one of the 25 most endangered primate species in the world, but a major conservation effort has helped boost their population from hundreds to thousands in the wild. In Philadelphia, the tamarins can be found in Tamarin Trail outside PECO's Primate Reserve.


Russian Polar Bear Comes to Alaska Zoo
August 9, 2006 www.adn.com  By MEGAN HOLLAND

The Alaska Zoo is making preparations for the arrival of a second polar bear to breed with 8-year-old Ahpun, who came to the zoo as a cub. Luytyik, a 5-year-old male, was born in Russia and iscurrently living in Australia's "Sea World in Gold Coast", Queensland. He was born at the zoo in St. Petersburg, Russia, in September 2000, and he and his sister, Liya, were bought by Sea World in November 2001. The two are now reaching sexual maturity and need to be separated. For the past eight months, the 1,060-pound bruin better known as "Louie" has been in his enclosure by himself because caretakers don't want any errant breeding, according to Mitchell Leroy, supervisor of animal care at Sea World. Alaska Zoo director Pat Lampi explained that Luytyik will be on loan, and annual reports about his well-being will be submitted to Sea World. Luytyik is one of four polar bears at Sea World, a facility that receives 5,000 to 8,000 visitors a day. The Alaska Zoo, by contrast, receives fewer than 500. Luytyik will join Ahpun in her 5,000-square foot enclosure with a 70,000-gallon tank.


New Dallas Zoo Director
August 10, 2006 www.dfw.com 

The former Fort Worth Zoo director Gregg Hudson will be the new director of the Dallas Zoo.
Hudson has served as president and CEO of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in Ohio since 2001. Before he was hired in Cincinnati, Hudson worked as director of the Fort Worth Zoo for five years.


Belin Zoo Offers Harry Potter Tour
August 10, 2006 www.zeenews.com 

Berlin -- The Berlin Zoo's 'Magic Tour' provides children with information about the animals found in the popular Harry Potter books and films such as owls, eagles, snakes, and lions. "We work with the childrens' knowledge of the magical or mystical," said organizer Bah, "and generally such children are Harry Potter fans, so we show them the animals we have here in the zoo which fit into the world of Harry Potter and his friends." The tour will run every Tuesday during school holidays.


New Web-Based Antivenom Index
August 10, 2006 releases.usnewswire.com By Kris Vehrs, AZA,

SILVER SPRING, Md -- Approximately 3,000 native and 50 non-native (exotic) bites from venomous snakes are reported to U.S. poison centers each year. When the situation involves an exotic species, determining the appropriate antivenom, locating a supply, and getting it to the patient become particularly difficult challenges. Now a collaborative effort by the AZA and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has launched the Online Antivenom allowing doctors, poison control centers and hospitals to access up-to-date information about antivenom stocked at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. In addition, the Antivenom Index offers information about what antivenom to use and allows coordination of delivery to the patient. The original Antivenom Index, was published at irregular intervals in hard copy for the past 23 years. "Over the years, it became increasingly obvious that in order for the Index to remain a viable tool it needed an immediately available format that can continually be updated," said Leslie Boyer, M.D., director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. She is the lead investigator under a poison center stabilization and enhancement grant (Grant 5H4BMC00938) provided in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS/HRSA). "The electronic Index is the most efficient way for the AZA and the AAPCC to quickly collaborate to treat venomous snakebites," she said. And often, the only readily available supply is from zoo or aquarium stocks," said Steven Seifert, M.D., a participant in the Antivenom Index development team, member of the AAPCC board of directors, and the medical director of the Nebraska Regional Poison Center. The online Antivenom Index, at www.aza.org/ai/ , is password-protected and may be accessed only by AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to update their stocking information or by any poison center when treatment is needed.


Light Guides Flight of Migratory Birds
August 10, 2006 www.sciencemag.org 

Blacksburg, Va. - Songbirds use multiple sources of directional cues to guide their seasonal migrations, including the Sun, star patterns, the earth's magnetic field, and sky polarized light patterns. To avoid navigational errors as cue availability changes with time of day and weather conditions, these "compass" systems must be calibrated to a common reference. Experiments over the last 30 years have failed to resolve the fundamental question of how migratory birds integrate multiple sources of directional information into a coherent navigational system. Now Virginia Tech researchers, Rachel Muheim, and John Phillips have been able to demonstrate that Savannah sparrows calibrate their magnetic compass based on polarized light patterns at sunset and sunrise. The research appears in the Aug. 11, 2006, issue of Science, in the article, "Polarized Light Cues Underlie Compass Calibration in Migratory Songbirds," by Muheim, Phillips, and Suzanne Akesson. Muheim did her Ph.D. work at Lund University in Sweden with Akesson, who made the Alaska trip possible.


Tracking Predators Through Their Prey
August 10, 2006 www.nature.com 

Tracking top predators by spotting the fear they instil in their prey may provide a new way to monitor the conservation status of rare animals, says Som Ale of the University of Illinois-Chicago. He and his colleague Joel Brown tracked the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) by observing the behavior of its usual prey, the Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) Only about 6,000 show leopards remain in the wild, vanishing completely from the foothills of Everest after the region was opened up to tourists in the years following the first conquest of the mountain in 1953.  In 1976 the area was declared a national park and the tahr flourished, but since 2000, their population has stopped growing and the number of mothers with young has fallen, leading some conservationists to suspect that the snow leopard was back. Researchers first identified the signs of fear among the previously complacent tahr (ears standing on end, eyes focused into the distance, and a whistling cry used to communicate danger). They noted that tahr were most vigilant on cliffs and open forests and that was where they found droppings and paw-prints of the leopards. What's more, observation of the tahr led to six direct sightings of the leopards


Contagious cancer in dogs confirmed
August 10, 2006 www.eurekalert.org 

A new study in the August 11, 2006 issue of the journal Cell provides evidence that a form of cancer afflicting dogs has spread from one individual to another by the transmission of the tumor cells themselves. The disease demonstrates how a cancer cell can become a successful parasite with a worldwide distribution. Robin Weiss of University College London and his colleagues traced the origin of so-called canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) to a single clone. They estimated that the parasitic cancer arose at least 200 years ago in either a wolf or a closely related ancient dog breed. CTVT, also known as Sticker's sarcoma, is apparently transmitted among dogs through sexual contact but may also spread through licking, biting, and sniffing tumor-affected areas. The idea that cancer may be spread by cell transfer has attracted renewed interest due to the recent emergence of a facial tumor apparently transmitted by the bite of the Tasmanian devil. In the current study, the researchers applied forensic science to the study of CTVT, systematically examining tumor and blood samples from 16 unrelated dogs in Italy, India, and Kenya. They also examined tumor samples taken from animals in Brazil, the U.S., Turkey, Spain, and Italy. They quickly found that DNA isolated from the tumor and blood samples were not a match. "We saw that the tumor cells didn't belong to the dogs," Claudio Murgia, the veterinarian who is first author on the study said. Rather the tumors collected from dogs around the world were closely related to one another, stemming from a single cancer clone. "Our results, based on several independent genetic markers in tumor-bearing dogs living on five continents, show that CTVT arose from a common ancestral cancer cell," Weiss said. "The cancer escaped its original body and became a parasite transmitted from dog to bitch and bitch to dog until it had colonized all over the world." Early in its evolution, the clone diverged into two separate lineages, each of which now has a broad geographic range. The study raises important issues for conservation biology, said Elaine Ostrander in an accompanying preview of the article. "At present, CTVT can enter the wild canid population through physical contact between individuals (licking and biting) or mating between closely related species," she said. "For highly endangered canids, exposure to CTVT could theoretically create an immediate threat to the population's survival." It's also possible that the small population sizes of endangered species like the Tasmanian devil might leave them generally more prone to developing other forms of transmissible cancer. "It has not yet been checked thoroughly, but the Tasmanian devil tumor looks as if it might be the same phenomenon," Weiss said. "The low numbers of these animals has led to inbreeding. Therefore, the tumor probably isn't recognized as foreign."


Orangutan Chatroom
August 10, 2006 science.monstersandcritics.com

Amsterdam - Orangutans in the Apenheul Primate Park near Apeldoorn in the western Netherlands will soon be able to communicate by means of an internet connection with their counterparts in a park on Borneo in Indonesia. An Apenheul spokeswoman said the aim of the project was to draw attention to the possibility that there would soon be no orangutans in the wild.  'We are are going to set up an internet connection between Indonesia and Apeldoorn so that the apes can see each other and, by means of pressing a button, be able to give one another food, for example,' she said. She said the remaining orangutans in the wild in Indonesia were under threat from deforestation. Apenheul, spread over 12 hectares, was a revolutionary concept when it was set up in 1971, allowing primates and people to interact in an open environment, although with strict rules against touching or feeding the animals.


Oregon Wolf Recovery Permit Requested
August 11, 2006 Federal Register: (Volume 71, Number 155)
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-11 

The State of Oregon has applied for an enhancement of propagation or survival permit to conduct certain activities with gray wolves (Canis lupus) and the USFWS is conducting an environmental analysis (environmental assessment or environmental impact statement) for Oregon's permit application. Comments on this permit application and environmental analysis on or before September 11, 2006. Written data or comments should be submitted to the Chief, Endangered Species, Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (fax: 503-231-6243). Please refer to the permit number or "Oregon Wolf Permit Analysis'' when submitting comments. Documents and other information are available for review, by any party who submits a written request (telephone: 503-231-2063). Please refer to the application's permit number or "Oregon Wolf Permit Analysis'' when requesting copies of documents.

Permit No. TE-122636 Applicant: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
The applicant has submitted a recovery permit authorizing harassment, relocation, and lethal take of gray wolves in Oregon for the purpose of enhancing their recovery, pursuant to the State of Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (December 2005) developed in consultation with the Service. This plan provides guidelines for a coordinated and effective response to anticipated situations that may arise as gray wolves migrate into Oregon from adjacent States. ODFW proposes to implement proactive strategies and conduct non-lethal control actions to reduce and/or resolve wolf-livestock conflicts and human safety concerns. If non-lethal efforts are unsuccessful and livestock depredations continue, ODFW requests authorization for employees to conduct lethal control of wolves. Under the ODFW proposal, young-of-the-year (juveniles) captured before October 1, and any lactating females, would be released or relocated rather than killed. No lethal take by private landowners would be authorized by this permit. The document "Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan" : www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/ ODFW permit application: www.fws.gov/pacific/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/default.htm Wolf recovery and conservation in the northwestern United States, including control of problem wolves, can be found in various reports at: westerngraywolf.fws.gov/


Euthanization of meerkats outrages Minnesota Zoo-goers
August 11, 2006 www.thisweek-online.com  by Jessica Allen

During the past week, the Minnesota Zoo received about 200 e-mails from zoo patrons outraged by the euthanization of 5 meerkats after a 9-year-old girl bitten by one of the animals refused to receive rabies shots. The entire meerkat family tested negative for the disease, further angering many zoo patrons. Despite signs that state "do not climb rocks" and "do not touch animals," Lessard said, the girl apparently climbed on a pile of rocks, reached over a Plexiglas barrier and down about 4 feet to pet the meerkats, which are about 12 inches tall when standing on their hind legs. Then one of the animals bit her, breaking the skin. The Minnesota Department of Health requires wild animals to be euthanized and tested for rabies unless the bite victim receives a series of five rabies shots in the arm and one around the wound. The girl's family, who requested that their name not be released, refused to have her receive the shots and it is unknown which meerkat bit her, so the entire troop had to be killed and tested. All of the troop members were born in captivity, have not had contact with outside animals and were vaccinated for rabies making them "low risk" for infection (99.9 percent), but they still had to be euthanized for testing as required by state law, said Tony Fisher, collection manager at the zoo. The exhibit was closed until Thursday for modifications. There are now 3 signs stating "Caution: Aminals May Bite," and logs on top of the Plexiglas barrier, making it impossible for anyone to reach their hands through.


3 Siberian Tiger Cubs Born
August 11, 2006 www.wesh.com

CHONBURI, Thailand - Three Siberian tiger cubs were born Thursday at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand. Their parents, Klara and Dmitri, are 5 years old. Native to Thailand, Russia and China the Siberian tiger is critically endangered. Russia recently began a special conservation program and the population has risen from 450 to 500.


London's Zoo's "Keeper for a Day" program
August 11 2006 bigcatnews.blogspot.com

The Zoological Society of London has launched a new program to raise funds for wildlife conservation, called "Keeper for a Day". In a press release, the program is described as the perfect opportunity for corporate team building, which offers a unique chance for teams of up to five people to get closer to the animals at the zoo". Participants spend the day with a zoo keeper, carrying out some of the everyday jobs that need doing to keep more than 600 different animals healthy and happy. "A team could mull over marketing as they muck out giraffes, ponder PR cleaning out penguins or deliberate data while dishing up dinner for a big cat." Details are at www.keeperforaday.co.uk


Study on Public Acceptance of Evolution
August 11, 2006 www.sciencemag.org  Science Vol. 313. no. 5788, pp. 765 - 766
By Jon D. Miller,1* Eugenie C. Scott,2 Shinji Okamoto3

Beginning in 1985, national samples of U.S. adults have been asked whether the statement, "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals," is true or false, or whether the respondent is not sure or does not know. Researchers compared the results of these surveys with survey data from 32 European countries in 2005, and a national survey in Japan in 2001. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of U.S. adults accepting the idea of evolution has declined from 45% to 40% and the percentage of adults overtly rejecting evolution declined from 48% to 39%. The percentage of adults who were not sure about evolution increased from 7% in 1985 to 21% in 2005. After 20 years of public debate, the public appears to be divided evenly in terms of accepting or rejecting evolution, with about one in five adults still undecided or unaware of the issue. Regardless of the form of the question, one in three American adults firmly rejects the concept of evolution, a significantly higher proportion than found in any western European country. This pattern is different from that seen in Europe and Japan. In Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and France, 80% or more of adults accepted the concept of evolution, as did 78% of Japanese adults. Only Turkish adults were less likely to accept the concept of evolution These results should be troubling for science educators at all levels. Basic concepts of evolution should be taught in middle school, high school, and college life sciences courses and the growing number of adults who are uncertain about these ideas suggests that current science instruction is not effective. Because of the rapidly emerging nature of biomedical science, most adults will find it necessary to learn about these new concepts through informal learning opportunities. The level of adult awareness of genetic concepts suggests that many adults are not well informed about these matters.


China Delays Animal Hunt Licence Auction
August 11, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

BEIJING - China on Friday postponed an auction that would have allowed foreign companies to bid for licenses to hunt wild animals following a public backlash, state media reported. The government-sanctioned auction, which was to have been held on Sunday in Chengdu, capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, would have allowed foreign hunting organizations to bid for the right to hunt 289 animals from 14 different species including some endangered species. The Beijing Youth Daily said on Wednesday that the licenses were based on types and numbers of wild animals, ranging from about $200 for a wolf, the only carnivore on the list, to as much as $40,000 for a yak. The whole idea had infuriated China's Internet users, Xinhua news agency reported. "The response from the public is beyond our expectation," Xinhua quoted Wang Wei, an official from the State Forestry Association (SFA), the auction's organizer, as saying. Wang said the goal of the auction was to protect the environment. SFA spokesman Cao Qingyao said the auction would be held in a proper way "after soliciting suggestions from the public" but declined to give a date.


WildTrack (FIT) Tracking Without Radio Collars
August 11, 2006 www.sciencemag.org  Vol 313 pp 784-785

WildTrack or (FIT) Foot Identification Technique is a high-tech method for identifying individual animals by their footprints. It is the invention of rhino researchers Zoe Jewell and Sky Alibhai. In 2001 they reported that within a year of fitting 61 rhinos with radio collars, the equipment failed for 73% of males and 44% of females. The duo claims that beside the potential harm to the animal and researcher, immobilization and capture compromises female fertility. Between 1994 and 1997 they measured annual live births and conception, birthing and fertility rates in 46 female black rhinos that were immobilized a total of 113 times during that period. They found that the more often a female was immobilized the greater the negative effect on each of these fertility measures (March 2001 Journal of Zoology). Together with Peter Law, a mathematician they developed a program to identify individual rhinos by their left hind foot track. A May 2001 Journal of Zoology article reports that FIT accurately identified black rhinos up to 95% of the time. Anti-poaching scouts in Zimbabwe were trained to take photos of tracks and with these images the researchers were able to determine which animal had moved where. They learned that the range of a black rhino seems to vary greatly between 30 to 300 sq km. Other researchers are now using the technique : Patricia Medici, head of the Tapir specialist Group in Brazil; Linda van Bommel of Wageningen University in the Netherlands (Lion identification). Peter de Groot wants to adapt FIT to analyze the snow tracks of polar bears. It has been adapted for lowland and Baird's tapirs, white and black rhinos, and Bengal tigers. Plans are in the works for Sumatran rhinos, leopards, giant sable antelopes and dholes. WildTrack isn't for every researcher, species or place, but it's another important conservation tool.


Taronga Finds Elephants Can Be Expensive
August 12, 2006 www.smh.com.au

With total revenue from customers and sponsors at just $40 million a year, the Taronga zoo is hoping their new elephants prove popular with visitors. Their adolescent bull, Gung needs a special facility when in musth. The zoo allocated $6.8 million to build the holding facility, with a portion of the money going to refurbish the zoo's "elephant temple". This brings the total cost of elephant-related works at the zoo to just over $50 million - $35.6 million for the Wild Asia facility, which the elephants will share with other Asian species. There were also quarantine costs: $2490 for "de-nutting coconuts" on Cocos Islands where the elephants, and their Thai mahouts spent three months in quarantine. De-nutting coconuts, the zoo has explained, involves removing dodgy coconuts from trees so they don't fall on a mahout's head. Then there is the cost of these mahouts themselves. They are now eating their share of a $100,000 pile of food, five times what it cost to feed the elephants on Cocos Islands unless you include the $84,000 it cost to ship the hay there. Zoo staff arrived in the islands early last year when the animals were originally due to land before all the delays. The total cost for the Cocos Island stopover was $1.4 million. Thai protesters stopped the elephants being loaded onto a Russian transport aircraft and Taronga lost its $558,000 deposit. The airfreight bill is now $2.17 million. Permits, agreements and legal fees convincing the Administrative AppealsTribunal that Taronga was a reasonable place to breed elephants cost $1.2 million, just less than the $1.6 million spent flying mahouts to Australia, hosting a Thai delegation and building the Thais a quarantine facility. Just to shift Taronga's two older elephants to their retirement home at Dubbo Zoo cost $24,000 plus another $1.1 million for a new facility there. Latest estimates of the total cost to get the five elephants to the Taronga Zoo gates, excluding all the works there, is $7.2 million.


Bird Flu Suspected at Rotterdam Zoo
August 12, 2006 today.reuters.co.uk By Reuters

AMSTERDAM - Two young owls which died in a zoo in Rotterdam are suspected of having the H5N1 bird flu virus, the Dutch farm ministry said late on Saturday. The Netherlands, Europe's second biggest poultry producer after France, has never reported a case of the highly pathogenic avian flu strain which is endemic in parts of Asia and has spread to birds in a number of European Union countries. A ministry spokeswoman said further tests were being conducted, but it was suspected that the birds died of a highly pathogenic strain of the virus. Final test results are due in the coming days. The H5N1 virus has spread rapidly from late 2003 from Asia to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The virus can occasionally infect people and has killed 138 people over the past three years, according to figures from the World Health Organization. No other dead birds have been found, and authorities are currently testing other birds in the zoological garden, most of which were vaccinated, the spokeswoman said. The Netherlands found a low-pathogenic H7 bird flu strain at a farm earlier this month, prompting five countries to ban imports of Dutch poultry. The Dutch suffered a devastating outbreak of an H7N7 avian flu strain in 2003 that led to the culling of about a third of the poultry flock, some 30 million birds.


4 Pregnant Elephants at San Diego Wild Animal Park
August 12, 2006 www.nctimes.com  By: ANDREA MOSS

ESCONDIDO 15 volunteers, mainly college students majoring in the life sciences, are on elephant watch at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. 16-year-old named Umngani, one of the Park's eight African elephants is expected to deliver a calf sometime in the next few weeks, and keepers began monitoring the animal 24 hours a day this week. The monitoring job is a seemingly tedious one that requires observers to pay close attention and note what the animal is doing - eating, sleeping, pacing, exploring, etc. - every instance the timer goes off. That happens once every minute, on the minute. Park animal care manager Jeff Andrews plans to use the information to create a database of information about African elephant pregnancies. When Umngani starts to show signs that the birth is imminent - including restlessness, ggressiveness, water breaking or signs of discomfort - plans call for keepers to step in if there are problems. Otherwise, the humans around the animal will simply "give her space," Andrews said. "We intend to have this animal give birth outside in the presence of other elephants and in as natural a manner as possible," he said. The number of observers will be doubled after Umngani gives birth, with one person keeping track of when and how the calf tries to stand, nurse, walk and a whole lot more, Andrews said. Besides helping zookeepers faced with future pregnancies, the work will establish norms that can be used to measure how well the animals are doing, much like today's pediatricians do with children.


Zoo-born Trumpeter Swans Breed in Illinois
August 13, 2006 www.belleville.com  By William Mullen

SAVANNA, Ill. - After pairing off for life in some unknown wintering water hole, a 3-year-old female trumpeter swan and her younger mate, hatched at Chicago's Lincoln park Zoo 2 years ago, found an abandoned muskrat lodge in an isolated 35-acre wetland. The pair is now raising two healthy gray-feathered chicks at the site - the offspring of the first wild trumpeter swans known to nest in Illinois since 1847. Once common to the Midwest, the 4-foot-tall, snowy white trumpeters - the biggest waterfowl in North America - were thought to be completely gone from the region by the 1890s because of over-hunting. For more than 20 years, some of Illinois' neighboring states have been restoring wetlands and releasing young, captive-bred swans to rebuild a Midwest population. The effort is succeeding, with about 5,000 birds now living wild in the region. Learning the ways of the wild without benefit of parental instruction has had an effect, however. Many birds seem confused about things like seasonal migrations. The pioneering Savanna swan pair were both born to captive parents, yet are apparently mastering life in the wild. The swans have knocked down a large swath of grass surrounding the nest so they can see the approach of predators, and the male fiercely patrols the nesting area to protect his offspring.  "It is so inspiring to see this," Lincoln Park Zoo bird curator Megan Ross said as she watched the swan parents glide about their algae-rich pond with their fast-growing chicks in tow. "Several of our cygnets have grown up to be successful breeders in the wild," Ross said. "But to have one of them become the first to nest in Illinois after all these years makes our jobs all the more sweet."  The zoo's breeding swans started hatching chicks in 1991. Each fall, as the chicks reach adolescence, the zoo sends them off to Iowa. Since 1995, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released more than 700 trumpeter cygnets into the wild, birds hatched by 17 zoos and 50 private individuals.


Two More Pairs of Panda Twins Born in China
August 14, 2006 www.enn.com  By AP

BEIJING - Two more pairs of panda twins have been born at Chinese breeding centers, the latest in a mini-baby boom. Three of the new babies are female and the sex of the fourth is unknown because its mother is still holding it. The births bring to four the number of sets of panda twins born last week at Chinese panda-breeding centers. Panda Xi Mei gave birth to twin cubs Saturday at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center near the southwestern city of Chengdu, said Li Desheng, its deputy director. He said another panda, Qian Qian, gave birth to twins Thursday. The government announced earlier that two female pandas at a breeding center in Chengdu gave birth to twins on Aug. 13 and 14. China has more than 180 pandas living in captivity, according to the government. A 2002 government census found there were just 1,596 pandas left in the wild. But Xinhua on Sunday said a new study by Chinese and British scientists has found there might be as many as 3,000.


Endangered Species Recovery Permits
August 14, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 156
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-14/ 

USFWS announces the receipt of applications to conduct certain activities pertaining to enhancement of survival of endangered species. Written comments on these permit applications must be received by September 13, 2006 to the Assistant Regional Director, Fisheries-Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal Center, Denver,
Colorado 80225-0486; facsimile 303-236-0027. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review by any party who submits a request for a copy of such documents within 20 days of the date of publication of this notice to Kris Olsen, by mail or by telephone at 303-236-4256.

Applicant: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Recreation, Lower Brule, South Dakota, TE-131398.
The applicant requests a permit to take black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) in conjunction with recovery activities throughout the species' range for the purpose of enhancing its survival and recovery.

Applicant: Brent Andersen, The Living Planet Aquarium, Sandy, Utah, TE-131638.
The applicant requests a permit to possess bonytail (Gila elegans), Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), and June sucker (Chasmistes liorus) for public display and propagation in conjunction with recovery activities for the purpose of enhancing their survival and recovery.

Applicant: U.S. Forest Service, Nebraska National Forest, Bessey District, Halsey, Nebraska, TE-131639.
The applicant requests a permit to take blowout penstemon (Penstemon haydenii) in conjunction with recovery activities throughout the species' range for the purpose of enhancing its survival and recovery.


Endangered Species Recovery Permits
August 14, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 156
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-14/ 

The public is invited to comment on the following applications published in the Federal Register to conduct certain activities with endangered species. Written data, comments or requests must be received by September 13, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review by any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281.telephone 703/358-2104.

Applicant: University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, PRT-124346 The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples from Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) collected in the wild in Madagascar, for scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a five-year period.

Applicant: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, PRT-132043 The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples from chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) collected in the wild in Tanzania, for scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a five-year period. On July 21, 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife the USFWS issued a permit (PRT-108841) to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, to import biological samples from wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in Tanzania for the purpose of scientific research. The Service determined that an emergency affecting the health and life of the chimpanzees at the Mahale Mountains National Park and Rubondo Island National Park in Tanzania existed and that no reasonable alternative was available to the applicant for the following reasons. Virginia Polytechinic Institute and State University requested a permit to import biological samples (bodily tissues and organs, hair, saliva, and other body parts) from the forest floor and from deceased animals found in the Mahle Mountains National Park in Kigoma, Tanzania, and Rubondo Island National Park in Mwanza, Tanzania, for emergency and ongoing health and disease evaluation purposes. Samples will be utilized exclusively for diagnostic and scientific purposes. The specimens will be used to run diagnostics tests to determine the cause of death. The necessary diagnostic testing is not available in Africa. The results of health and disease testing from these chimpanzees will help determine why the animals died in order to develop interventions to help prevent reoccurrence.

Applicant: Ferdinand and Anton Fercos Hantig, Las Vegas, NV, PRT-765658, 809334 The applicant requests permits to export a captive-born tiger (Panthera tigris) and a captive-born leopard (Panthera pardus) to worldwide locations for the purpose of enhancement of the species through conservation education. The permit numbers and animals are: 765658, 'Indy'; and 809334, 'Sarina.' This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a three-year period and the import of any potential progeny born while overseas.


Cincinnati Zoo Clones Plants
August 14, 2006 www.centredaily.com  By Bob Downing

CINCINNATI - The northern monkshood, an extremely rare plant species, has been reproduced through cloning by a team headed by Dr. Valerie Pence of the Cincinnati zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). The Zoo plans to transplant 25 cloned plants to the Gorge Metro Park in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls to help boost the population of monkshood growing there. Northern monkshood, a relative of the buttercup, grows in only two locations in Ohio: the Crane Hollow nature preserve in Hocking County and an isolated corner of the Gorge park along the Cuyahoga River. Efforts to restore habitat and increase the number of northern monkshood plants are being directed by the USFWS working with the Center for Plant Conservation in St. Louis. Among the 30 members of that organization are the Cincinnati Zoo and the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland. The Cincinnati Zoo center is a top facility for cloning and propagating endangered plant and animal species in the United States. Some 40 endangered plant species, including the Roan Mountain bluet from North Carolina, the Todsens' pennyroyal from New Mexico and the autumn buttercup from Utah, are being cloned there. Pence, the cloning team leader, said many plants can be propagated by seeds or by cuttings, but tissue culture or cloning is a better process for some endangered species.


Orphaned Baby Manatee Recovers at Lowry Zoo
August 14, 2006 www.tampabays10.com

Tampa, Florida - Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo was chosen by U.S. Fish & Wildlife to receive a 56-pound, 2-3 week-old manatee calf that washed ashore on the Grand Cayman Islands. (Grand Cayman is not usually known to have manatees) Dr. David Murphy, veterinarian at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, escorted it aboard a Trinity Air Ambulance to the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Hospital at the zoo last Thursday. The calf immediately began receiving 24-hour care and is nursing on pediatric formula. The calf is in a medical pool with a remote controlled moveable floor, which allows zookeepers to treat and interact with him in shallow water. He is considered to be in critical condition.


Squirrels near Palomar Observatory Positive for Plague
August 14, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com

SAN DIEGO - Two ground squirrels captured at the Cedar Grove Campground near the Palomar Observatory tested positive for plague, county health officials announced Monday. The squirrels were tested in July as part of a routine surveillance monitoring program, and blood samples later confirmed the presence of plague. "This is the first time that plague has been found at this campground. However, it has been identified at neighboring campgrounds in years past," said Gary Erbeck, director of the Department of Environmental Health. "We know that we have plague in San Diego County, so our Vector Control program conducts routine testing to alert the public about where it is and how to avoid it," Erbeck said. According to Chris Conlan with the county's Vector Control department, it has been more than two years since the presence of rodent plague has been detected locally. So far, there have been no locally acquired human cases of plague reported in San Diego County, according to the DEH.


Lesser Bird Flu May be in Michigan
August 14, 2006 www.forbes.com  By LAURAN NEERGAARD

Scientists have closely tracked the virulent H5N1 strain since it began its global march in late 2003. Last week, the government expanded the bird-testing program to encompass the entire nation, after initial sampling mostly in Alaska. Twenty mute swans from a Monroe County, Mich., game area were among the first new batches of tests - because, coincidentally, they were part of a state program to lower overcrowding of the nonnative species. That testing found the possibility of H5N1 in two of the swans. Initial genetic testing ruled out the deadly Asian strain. In fact, USDA said the virus' genes suggest that it is similar to a low-grade North American version of H5N1, a virus found here in wild ducks in 1975 and 1986 and on a Michigan turkey farm in 2003. Another similar version was detected last year in Canada, and scientists have thought it probably common in wild birds - but didn't have the testing to prove it. Plus, all the swans appeared healthy, a good signal, he added. The virulent form of H5N1 usually rapidly sickens birds. Monday's announcement was the first reported hit from a massive new program to test up to 100,000 wild birds in an effort to catch the deadly Asian H5N1 virus if it does wing its way to North America, something the government thinks could happen this year. The Agriculture Department declared that initial testing has ruled out that the swans had the so-called highly pathogenic version of H5N1 - but that they could have a relatively harmless, low-grade H5N1 strain instead. It will take up to two weeks to confirm whether the seemingly healthy wild mute swans really harbored the H5N1 virus or not. So why the announcement? To be open about all this testing, said Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. And even low-pathogenic H5N1 requires monitoring, because it has the potential to mutate into the more virulent form, he added. More important, "It was a real good test run of the system," Dr. Willie Reed, director of the Michigan State University laboratory where the initial testing was done, told The Associated Press.


Oldest known Przewalski horse dies
August 14, 2006 seattlepi.nwsource.com By AP

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The world's oldest known Przewalski horse, a mare called Cilka whose ancestors lived in the grasslands of central Asia, has died in the Prague zoo. Cilka was put to death Saturday, zoo spokesman Vit Kahle said. The horse was 34 years old, making her the oldest known specimen of the endangered wild horse, he said. "We had to do it, she was suffering too much," he said. Only about two dozen of the world's estimated 2,000 Przewalski horses are over age 30, he said. The Przewalski horse, or Takh, a national symbol in Mongolia, is the only surviving subspecies of horse that has never been domesticated. The horses once inhabited grasslands of central Asia, but became extinct in the wild in the 1960s. A successful breeding program relying on captive animals started in 1992 and has led to the species being reintroduced into several Mongolian national parks. There are now about 2000 with 300 of the horses now living in the wild.


Israeli Zoo Animals Show Signs of Stress
August 15, 2006 www.washingtonpost.com  By DELPINE MATHIEUSSENT

HAIFA, Israel -- After 34 days in indoor shelters, many of the animals at the Haifa Zoo got a breath of outdoor air for the first time on Tuesday. Zoo officials moved all the carnivores, bears and monkeys indoors at the start of the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, both to protect them from rocket strikes and to keep an errant missile on a retaining wall from setting them loose into Israel's third-largest city. "The lions gained weight, but they look basically OK," said zoo manager Etty Ararat as he released them outdoors on Tuesday. Hours before, the lions roared and flashed their teeth at reporters who visited them at the 3 by 2-meter- (yard) indoor cages where they were confined for more than a month. "Baboons suffered from stress," Ararat said. Most of all, she worried about the more fragile animals, like the gazelles, who had to stay outside while thousands of explosions went off around them. "These animals sometimes die instantly from a heart attack several weeks after they were traumatized," he said. "We don't know what will be the impact of the fact they were enclosed for so long," said veterinarian Avelet Shmueli.  While indoors, zoo officials were forced to get creative to keep the animals from going crazy.  "We hung sacks of meat on the ceilings of the leopards' and tigers' cages so they had to jump to get them," zookeeper Yoav Ratner said. The handlers stuffed pumpkins full of meat, he added. They filled bamboo poles with jelly "so the monkeys had to do a bit of work to get the jelly," he said. The war also hurt the zoo itself. July and August, usually the busiest months for visitors, were completely wiped out financially because of the war. "We had no revenues and I had a lot of extra expenses," Ararat, the manager said. Those expenses included buying meat the zoo usually got for free because markets had shut down, and buying tranquilizers just in case one of the animals got loose in the city, he said.


Cincinnati Zoo has first gorilla birth since 1998
August 15, 2006 www.ohio.com

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's gorilla troop consists of 8 females, a silverback and one baby. Muke, a 24-year-old western lowland gorilla, gave birth to her third baby late Sunday. Jomo, a 15-year-old silverback on loan from the Toronto Zoo, is the father. Samantha, a 36-year-old mother of six and grandmother of 11, is expected to give birth next month. 48 gorillas have now been born at the Cincinnati Zoo. The Bronx Zoo has had 57 gorilla births. Cincinnati's breeding program had been on hiatus since 1999, when Chaka, a silverback on loan from Philadelphia and father of nine babies here, returned home. The zoo's other male, Colossus, never showed interest in breeding, and died in April. About 75,000 endangered lowland gorillas remain in the wild, and they're disappearing at the rate of 1,000 a year, zoo officials said.


Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth?
August 15, 2006 www.enn.com  By Randolph E. Schmid, AP

WASHINGTON -Japanese researchers are attempting to use sperm from frozen animals to inseminate living relatives. So far they've succeeded with mice - some frozen as long as 15 years. Lead researcher Dr. Atsuo Ogura said "In this study, the rates of success with sperm from 15 year-frozen bodies were much higher than we expected. So the likelihood of mammoths revival would be higher than we expected before," While frozen sperm is commonly used by sperm banks, the team led by Ogura, at Riken Bioresource Center in Ibaraki, Japan, worked with sperm from whole frozen mice and from frozen mouse organs. "If spermatozoa of extinct mammalian species can be retrieved from animal bodies that were kept frozen for millions of years in permafrost, live animals might be restored by injecting them into (eggs) from females of closely related species," the researchers said in a paper appearing in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Elephants would be a potential candidate for insemination with frozen mammoth sperm, Ogura said. He also suggested experiments might be tried with extinct feline species and their modern relatives. But Dr. Peter Mazur, a biologist at the University of Tennessee who has worked with frozen eggs and sperm and is a past president of the Society for Cryobiology thinks the chance that frozen sperm from mammoths could be used to fertilize a related species is near zero. "The storage temperature of frozen mammoths is not nearly low enough to prevent the chemical degradation of their DNA over hundreds of thousands of years," he commented. And "even if the temperature were low enough to prevent chemical degradation, that would not prevent serious damage over those time periods from background radiation, which includes cosmic rays."


Sell Tigers to Save Them
August 15, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By Barun Mitra Op-Ed Contributor

New Delhi -- Conservationists say the worldwide illegal trade in forest products and wildlife is between $10 billion and $12 billion. Of the planet's estimated 5,000 wild tigers, about 75 percent are in India, which, like most nations, believes that commerce and conservation are incompatible. Probably a few dozen can be found in China's forests, and the United States is home to some 10,000 tigers, owned by zoos and private citizens. The tiger may soon be extinct, but like forests, animals are renewable resources. If you think of tigers as products, it becomes clear that demand provides opportunity, rather than posing a threat. For instance, there are perhaps 1.5 billion head of cattle and buffalo and 2 billion goats and sheep in the world today. These are among the most exploited of animals, yet they are not in danger of dying out; there is incentive, in these instances, for humans to conserve. Given the growing popularity of traditional Chinese medicines, and the prices this kind of harvesting can bring (as much as $20 for claws, and $20,000 for a skin), the tiger can in effect pay for its own survival. A single farmed specimen might fetch as much as $40,000; the retail value of all the tiger products might be three to five times that amount. Yet for the last 30 or so years, the tiger has been priced at zero, while millions of dollars have been spent to protect it and prohibit trade that might in fact help save the species. Despite the growing environmental bureaucracy and budgets, and despite the proliferation of conservationists and conferences, the tiger is as close to extinction as it has been since WWF's Project Tiger was launched in 1972 and adopted by the government of India a year later. The tiger breeds easily, even in captivity; zoos in India are constantly told by the Central Zoo Authority not to breed tigers because they are expensive to maintain. In China, which has about 4,000 tigers in captivity, breeding has been perfected. According to senior officials I met in China, given a free hand, the country could produce 100,000 tigers in the next 10 to 15 years.


Erie Zoo Polar Bear Breaks Leg
August 15, 2006 news.google.com

Last Friday the Erie Zoo's seven year-old polar bear, Alcor, broke his leg while apparently playing with his brother, Mizar. X-rays were taken Tuesday and have been sent to two orthopedic Veterinarians in Cleveland. "In all likelyhood if we are able to operate he will go to Cleveland. They have a state of the art facility there for this kind of surgery," says Scott Mitchell of the Erie Zoo. But the biggest danger will come after surgery... An 800-pound polar bear can not have a cast, and can't carry it's weight on only three legs. Zoo staff should know by Thursday whether Alcors leg can be repaired, and if so he will be taken immediately to Cleveland for surgery. Last year a polar bear in Australia's Golden Coast Sea World broke his leg while playing with his brother last year and, after surgery, is recovering well.


Earth Economics - A Price Tag on Nature
August 16, 2006 www.sevendaysvt.com

Experts at the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics have launched a new project to assign monetary values to all the world's ecosystems based on the natural functions they perform -- from regulating climate to purifying water, replenishing soil to providing recreational opportunities. The science of "ecosystem services" is revolutionizing the field of conservation by giving environmentalists and land-use planners tools for factoring nature into the cost of doing business. Ultimately, they hope, it will marshal the forces of the marketplace to encourage sustainable human activities and discourage unsustainable ones. The project is the brainchild of Robert Costanza, founder and director of the Gund Institute. In May 1997, he published a now-famous article in the journal Nature in which he argues that, because the Earth's natural life-support systems contribute to human welfare, they represent a significant portion of the world's total economic worth. Costanza estimates the combined value of the world's ecosystems at about $33 trillion per year, in current U.S. dollars. For comparison, the combined gross national product of all the world's countries totals about $18 trillion per year. Constanza isn't advocating the privatization of nature. But the problem, he points out, is that neither approach to nature adequately accounts for the fact that ecosystems are affected by human activities all the time -- usually to their detriment. Assigning an ecosystem a monetary value of zero or infinity makes it impossible to calculate its financial impact on the human economy. As Costanza puts it, "Just because it's hard to measure these things doesn't mean we should leave them out. In fact, those are just the things we should pay the most attention to."  The goal of the Gund Institute's new project, he explains, is to reframe the entire debate by capturing that economic impact so it can be factored into environmental and land-use decisions. Thanks to a recent $813,000 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Institute has begun collecting data, building computer models, and compiling scientific research from around the world to begin assigning those values. Eventually, anyone with access to the Internet will be able to pick a spot on Earth -- a tract of wilderness, a watershed, a state, even the entire planet -- and calculate the combined value of that area's ecosystem services.


Endangered Species Recovery Permit Applications
August 16, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 158
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-16/

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. Comments on these permit applications must be received on or before September 15, 2006. Written data or comments should be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chief, Endangered Species, Ecological Services, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone: 503-231-2063; fax: 503-231-6243). Please refer to the permit number for the application when submitting comments.

Permit No. TE-043638 Applicant: Directorate of Public Works, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The permittee requests a permit amendment to take (capture, mark, release, and salvage) the Oahu tree snail (Achatinella spp.) in conjunction with population monitoring on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-014497 Applicant: Haleakala National Park, Makawao, Hawaii. The permittee requests a permit amendment to take (apply radio-transmitters to) the Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) in conjunction with scientific research in Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, for the purpose of enhancing its survival.


Cow Genome Sequence Released
August 16, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

The most complete sequence of the cow genome ever assembled was released this week by an international consortium of research organizations, including CSIRO and AgResearch New Zealand. The new bovine sequence contains 2.9 billion DNA base pairs and incorporates one-third more data than earlier versions. Australia's representative on the US $53 million Bovine Genome Sequencing Project, CSIRO's Dr Ross Tellam, says the new map marks the end of the sequencing phase of the project, with the focus now on analysing the available data. "This is very valuable information. We could potentially achieve as much improvement in cattle breeding and production in 50 years as we have over the last 8000 years of traditional farming." Cattle geneticists will use the bovine genome as a template to highlight genetic variation within and between cattle breeds, and between cattle and other mammal species. The head of bioinformatics research at CSIRO Livestock Industries, Dr Brian Dalrymple, said "We can use this data to identify those genes that are involved in important functions like lactation, reproduction, muscling, growth rate and disease resistance." The Hereford breed was selected for the bulk of the sequencing project, which began in December 2003. Holstein, Angus, Jersey, Limousin, Norwegian Red and Brahman animals were also sequenced to detect specific genetic differences between breeds.


Houston Zoo Demonstrates Big Cat Training
August 16, 2006 www.khou.com

Visitors to the Houston Zoo can now get an up-close look at lions and tigers in training. Until now, zoo guests viewed the lions and tigers through panes of Lexan, a clear plastic. The Lexan did not allow the cats to have any kind of interaction with our keepers. Two of the Lexan panels have been replaced by panels of thin but strong steel mesh and drop down doors that create a stage for presentations. Trainers demonstrate operant conditioning with the big cats every day and twice each day on Saturday and Sunday. A video of a training session is at:  news/local/houstonmetro/stories/khou060816_mh_lionhouse.66fec5d.html


Scientists Observe Elephant Mourning
August 16, 2006 www.smh.com.au 

LONDON: Scientists at the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya have recorded footage of a female elephant named Eleanor as she fell to the ground after being bitten by a snake. Another elephant, Grace, was seen calling out in distress and trying desperately to get the stricken elephant to her feet. But the 40-year-old matriarch was too ill to respond and by the following morning she was dead. That day elephants visiting her body rocked back and forth or stood silently nearby, demonstrating that elephants, like humans, show compassion after one of their own species has died. Although Eleanor was from a different family, Grace still came to help her.  The research team, led by Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton from Oxford University, and the University of California, will report the observations in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science. Radio tracking and direct or recorded observations found that five families visited the dead Eleanor, showing a distinct interest in her body. The study concluded that elephants were interested in sick, dying or dead elephants, irrespective of a genetic relationship: "It is an example of how elephants and humans may share emotions, such as compassion, and have an awareness and interest about death." Most animals appear to show little interest in the dead of their own species, although chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants have been described as being concerned about ailing or dead peers. But the researchers observed limits to elephant compassion. Eleanor's calf died because no female would adopt and suckle her.


Conservation is Part of Zoo Atlanta's Mission
August 17, 2006 www.the-stories.com  Rachel MacNabb

Four social groups of Western lowland gorillas and four growing babies make The Ford African Rain Forest a delightful destination, but Zoo Atlanta has more than just pride in its stellar ape collection. The Zoo partners with The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI), whose headquarters are located on grounds. By providing office space and resources, Zoo Atlanta helps DFGFI focus on mission-critical field work in Rwanda. The two organizations have also joined forces on an ongoing cell phone recycling campaign to raise awareness of the impact of the mining of coltan (a primary ingredient in the production of cell phones) on wild gorilla populations. The Zoo is also a longtime partner of China's Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Zoo educators devised the first conservation education program in China, and Zoo animal care staff members have shared their own animal training techniques with Chinese colleagues. And some of the Zoo's most endangered species reside in the World of Reptiles : Guatemalan beaded lizards (less than 100 may remain in the wild), and Panamanian frogs. And finally, Atlanta is helping to save black rhinos, orangutans, drills, Sumatran tigers, black-and-white-ruffed lemurs or golden lion tamarins.


Biblical Zoo Raises Disabled Fruit Bats
August 17, 2006 www.haaretz.com  By Jonathan Lis

A year and a half ago, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem adopted a colony of 9 disabled bats from Sydney, Australia after a protracted rehabilitation period. "The mature bats learned to get along despite their injured wings. They hang upside down by their feet from the ceiling and move about that way - from one side to another," Dror says. Three months ago, the female bats first bore 4 young - who are healthy and normal - but zookeepers did not know whether the pups, who had never seen their elders fly, would discover how to do so on their own, or adopt their parents' behavior and hop around while hanging from the ceiling. "Some of the pups have already reached the age at which bats normally begin to fly," Dror says. "The bigger pups have already begun to run from one side of the exhibit to the other. But none have attempted to fly."  Zookeepers hope that instinct will overcome fear in the coming weeks and that the pups will flap their wings and take to the air. Another possibility is that instinct will kick in when a pup falls from the ceiling and flies to save itself. In that event, others may imitate.


PETA Urges Review of Zoo Truck Crash
August 17, 2006 www.indystar.com  By Richard Walton

The driver of the truck that crashed last week in Texas, killing four Indianapolis Zoo penguins, did not have a commercial driver's license required under federal highway laws, officials said Wednesday. The leased truck's registered weight -- the weight of the truck and what it's capable of carrying -- was well above the limit allowed in Texas or Indiana for a driver without a commercial license. Troopers warned driver Kelly Hodge about the violation but did not cite her. She was cited for failing to stay in one lane and failing to maintain a log book that records hours spent behind the wheel, as required of all long-haul truck drivers. Judith Gagen, a zoo spokeswoman, confirmed Hodge did not have a commercial license. Gagen said the zoo was reviewing its policies in the aftermath of the Aug. 8 crash, including questions about whether Hodge should have been commercially licensed. Hodge and fellow zoo employee Tammy Root were sharing driving duties on the trip. Root also did not have a commercial license, though Gagen said the women, both of whom suffered minor injuries, had experience driving big rigs. The penguins were being transported to Galveston's Moody Gardens, which had agreed to keep them temporarily while the Indianapolis Zoo's Waters Building is renovated.


"Animal Enrichment Day" at Beardsley Zoo
August 17, 2006 www.zwire.com

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo will host "Animal Enrichment Day" from noon to 3 p.m. on Sept. 2 at the Zoo. Zookeepers will demonstrate how they keep Zoo animals mentally stimulated and physically active using techniques such as scent balls and hidden food treats. Some activities take place in the Zoo's Animal Enrichment Playground, which features slides, perches and watering holes.


Oregon Zoo Adopts Degradable Bioplastics
August 17, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND, Oregon - As an alternative to conventional, petroleum-based plastics, the Oregon Zoo has begun using environmentally safe bioplastic beer and wine cups during its popular summer concerts. The new bioplastics, supplied by Cereplast of San Francisco, have the added benefit of being 100 percent compostable. Tony Vecchio, zoo director, said "I believe the public is hungry for options that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable." The zoo's new 100-percent-compostable picnic, available during outdoor events and concerts, features biodegradable cups and flatware. The new "plastic" cups and flatware are made from corn and potato starch, and are comparable to conventional plastic cups in both price and quality.


Argument Against Not Vaccinating for H5N1
August 17, 2006 www.scidev.net 

A paper published in August 17 Nature, claims that vaccinating poultry flocks against H5N1 will only be effective if the vaccine protects at least 95 per cent of birds. The research team led by Nicholas Savill of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, says a less effective vaccination program would encourage the 'silent spread' of the virus between flocks. Concern that vaccinated birds could pass the virus onto others has led some countries, including Thailand, to ban vaccination. Savill's team used mathematical models to simulate the spread of H5N1 through caged flocks of 10,000 birds that had been contaminated with a small amount of infected faeces. They conclude that 90 per cent of birds need to be protected by a vaccine to reduce the risk of an outbreak by half, but say this could mean some outbreaks escape detection and spread to other flocks. In practice, it is difficult to protect more than 90 per cent of a flock; protection levels achieved by a vaccine are usually much lower than this. Savill explains that using unvaccinated 'sentinel' birds would allow farmers and veterinarians to rapidly detect bird flu if the sentinels fell ill, thereby reducing the risk of the virus spreading. He said that small household flocks and commercial flocks face the same problem. Robyn Alders of the International Rural Poultry Centre  says vaccination should be considered only when an outbreak has been confirmed, first line defences such as culling and decontamination have failed, and the disease is spreading. Savill's study says that vaccination should be part of a wider control strategy that includes surveillance, education, restrictions on the movement of poultry, and efforts to diagnose and eliminate infected birds.


Denver Zoo Hippo Celebrates 50th Birthday
August 18, 2006 www.thecherrycreeknews.com

Bertie, the Denver Zoo's oldest resident began a week-long 50th birthday celebration on August 17. There will be hippo demonstrations daily at 2:30. Guests can visit an interactive hippo discovery station, a historic display about Bertie and a hippo-sized card for children to sign. Cards from other zoo animals and from some of Bert's offspring will also be on display. Bert arrived at the zoo on December 16, 1958, from Central Park Zoo and is the father of 29 hippopotamuses!


New Admission Policy for Maryland Zoo
August 18, 2006 www.thewbalchannel.com

BALTIMORE -- The Maryland zoo in Baltimore has a new admission policy. If visitors enter the zoo within an hour before closing, they will get a free day pass to be used within the next month.  The new program would allow visitors a second chance to view the animals they otherwise may not get to see.


Cincinnati Zoo Hosts "Ultimate Education Expo"
August 18, 2006 news.enquirer.com

Teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade can help students learn how to keep water, land, air and wildlife habitats healthy by attending the Ultimate Education Expo from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The event is sponsored by Greater Cincinnati Environmental Educators and the Environmental Education Council of Ohio. There will be 30 exhibitors from government, nonprofit and education organizations providing training opportunities, lesson plans, field trips and door prizes.


Chiang Mai Zoo's Breeding Success
August 18, 2006 www.bangkokpost.com

A 14-year-old jaguar, Nam Oy, has given birth to her 4th cub. All previous young were given to other zoos in Thailand as there are currently four jaguars at Chiang Mai Zoo. Head of public relations Rotsukon Juikamwong said the zoo has also been successful in breeding rare cranes.   An Eastern Sarus Crane, one of 15 Thai species near extinction, is brooding two eggs while an African Crown Crane has already given birth to two offspring. Officials said the zoo has toughened precautionary measures against bird flu. All cars entering the zoo are sprayed with disinfectant and movement of all birds to and from the zoo is banned.


San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge Conservation Plan
August 18, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 160
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-18/

The U.S.F.W.S. announces that a Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the Sweetwater Marsh and South San Diego Bay Units of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge is available for review. The Final CCP/EIS describes the Service's proposal for managing these Refuge Units over the next 15 years. ADDRESSES: A copy of the Final CCP/EIS, including Appendix P (Responses to Comments) is available on compact disk or in hard copy by writing to: Victoria Touchstone, Refuge Planner, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011 or by e-mailing Victoria_Touchstone@fws.gov  . You may also access or download copies of the Final CCP/EIS and associated Appendices at : sandiegorefuges.fws.gov


No Listing for 16 Insect species from the Algodones Sand Dunes
August 18, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 160
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-18/

On July 19, 2004, USFWS received a formal petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and the Sierra Club (the petitioners) to list two sand wasps (Microbembix elegans) and (Stictiella villegasi); two bees (Perdita algodones and Perdita glamis); one vespid (Euparagia n. sp.); two velvet ants (Dasymutilla nocturna and Dasymutilla imperialis); Algodones sand jewel beetle (Lepismadora algodones); Algodones white wax jewel beetle (Prasinalia imperialis); Algodones croton jewel beetle (Agrilus harenus); Hardy's dune beetle (Anomala hardyorum); a scarab beetle (Cyclocephala wandae); and four subspecies of Roth's dune weevil (Trigonoscuta rothi rothi, Trigonoscuta rothi algodones, Trigonoscuta rothi imperialis, and Trigonoscuta rothi punctata), as threatened or endangered species believed to be endemic to the Algodones Dunes. The Service finds that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing these species may be warranted. Therefore, we are not initiating a status review in response to this petition. We ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of these species or threats to them or their habitat at any time.


New Ocelot Exhibit at Oregon Zoo
August 18, 2006 www.oregonlive.com

During the 1960s and '70s more than 200,000 Ocelots were killed each year. They were placed on the endangered species list in 1982 due to hunting and habitat destruction. Since 2002, the Oregon zoo has been working with the Brazilian government and ocelot consortiums to help in the ocelot survival effort. Now the zoo has received 2 ocelots from the Phoenix Zoo, where they produced 3 offspring. The pair, Ralph and Alice, were born in 1993 at zoos in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and transferred to the Phoenix Zoo in 1996. Oregon hopes to breed the endangered cats, adding new genetics to the North American captive population. The pair will reside in the Zoo's Forests of the World exhibit, replicating a South American rainforest with a waterfall and small pond. Artificial rocks with ledges provide a lounging place for the cats.


South Africa, Mozambique & Zimbabwe Create Giant Park
August 18, 2006 www.usatoday.com

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa (AP) - The presidents of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe officially opened a new border crossing Wednesday, another step toward creating the "world's largest animal kingdom" - a huge park spanning the three countries. Officials have begun taking down fences on the Mozambique-South Africa border but have not started on the Zimbabwe-South Africa frontier. It will take years to remove all the barriers blocking free movement of animals through the 14,000 square miles of scrubby, sun-baked bush slated to become the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Experts say the larger park would help conserve animals like the endangered wild dog. It also would ease the pressure on South Africa's Kruger National Park from the booming elephant population, which has revived a debate on whether elephants should killed to stop overpopulation. There have been fears the borderless park will make it easier for poachers to operate, but Rob Little, chief conservation officer at the World Wildlife Fund's South African branch, said the benefits would outweigh a possible increase in poaching. "The transfrontier park is a wonderful idea for conservation in general and opening up movement patterns," he said.


Report on State of U.K.s Birds Released
August 18, 2006 thescotsman.scotsman.com

The capercaillie, corncrake and red-necked phalaropes have staged a significant recovery in Scotland, but other species, such the black grouse and corn bunting, have continued to decline, according to the State of the UK's Birds report. Experts said species that had been the subject of targeted conservation projects had done well, showing the effectiveness of such programs.
Meanwhile, the National Trust for Scotland said yesterday that threatened seabird populations on Canna, which was overrun with rats, were beginning to show signs of recovery. Pest controllers carried out a mass cull last winter to rid the island of about 10,000 rats.


Disease Kills Rare Chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains
August 18, 2006 www.ippmedia.com  By Adam Ihucha, Arusha

In just one week, a mysterious disease has killed 20 chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park in Kigoma Region, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) said yesterday. The chimps are believed to be a unique subspecies with peculiar physical features and colour. "They may have died of a pneumonia-like disease," Tanapa Director General Gerald Bigurube said.
"Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the largest in the country and home to over 600 chimpanzees," Bigurube said. Scientists fear that the deaths could herald the beginning of the extinction of a species categorized by Tanapa as endangered. Less than 1,000 pink chimpanzees are believed to live in the wild, nearly 600 of them in Mahale Mountains National Park, which covers 1,000 square kilometres in western Tanzania. Conservationists say the rare chimpanzee's population has decreased from 15,000 in 1970 to less than 1,500. A chimpanzee's life expectancy ranges between 50 and 60 years. They stand at four and five feet and weigh between 100 and 120 pounds.


DNA Analysis Identifies Origin of Confiscated Ivory Tusks
August 18, 2006 news.nationalgeographic.com Susan Brown

In the 1980s African elephant numbers plummeted from 1.3 million to fewer than 600,000 and ivory poaching played a major role. Despite treaties prohibiting international shipments, poaching continues today. In June 2002 customs agents in Singapore intercepted a 20-foot (6-meter) container holding 13,000 pounds (5.9 metric tons) of elephant ivory. The confiscated shipment is the largest seizure since the United Nations Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species banned the ivory trade in 1989. By tracking movements of the container, investigators learned that smugglers had packed it in Malawi and shipped it through South Africa to Singapore. The ivory was destined for Japan. But investigators wanted to identify which populations of African elephants the ivory had come from so they turned to a wildlife biologist. Two years ago Sam Wasser and his colleagues at the University of Washington published a continent-wide map of genetic fingerprints for African elephants in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To make this map, Wasser's team had sequenced DNA recovered from nearly 500 samples of dung collected from elephants in 23 African countries. Ample roughage in the elephants' diets helps slough off plenty of cells from the intestines, making DNA easy to extract from dung. Wasser's team was able to identify which country-even which game preserve-the samples came from. Bill Clark, secretary for the Interpol Working Group on Wildlife Crime, asked Wasser to match DNA from the seized ivory to his genetic map. Drilling or grinding ivory heats it, destroying any DNA present, so Wasser's research group borrowed a technique from forensic dentistry. The team sealed slices of ivory sawed from tusks in a tube along with a stainless steel plug, then froze the tube to -240°F (-150°C). Using a rapidly reversing electromagnet to shake the metal plug, they smashed the ivory into a fine powder from which DNA could be extracted.  When Wasser's team compared 75 samples from the illegal shipment to their genetic map, they found that all of the ivory came from Zambia.


Barbaro's Surgeon Will Operate on Erie Zoo Polar Bear
August 18, 2006 www.washingtonpost.com

ERIE, Pa. - Dr. Dean Richardson, the surgeon who has worked to save the life of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro will now try to help Alcor, a 7-year-old polar bear at the Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania. The operation will take place sometime next week at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, where Barbaro is being treated, officials said. "This doctor is one of the best in the world and they've got a state-of-the-art medical facility," zoo spokesman Scott Mitchell said. "There couldn't be a better scenario, given the circumstances." The bear's right front radius is shattered while the weight-bearing bone in the leg, the ulna, is snapped in two, officials said. Because the breaks are so close to the paw, veterinarians who examined the bear on Thursday were pessimistic that they could be secured with rods or pins long enough to allow the leg to heal. But a vet at the Cleveland Zoo put the Erie Zoo officials in touch with members of Richardson's medical team, who believe they can repair the leg. "This will give him the best possible chance, but it's still a polar bear that weighs 750 pounds," Erie Zoo veterinarian Dr. P.J. Polumbo said. "Post-operatively, we're not sure what's going to happen. There's still a lot of hurdles to overcome."


Exhibit Interpreters Recruited by National Zoo
August 18, 2006 communitydispatch.com

FONZ, Friends of the National Zoo is a nonprofit support organization of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. They are recruiting volunteers to serve as interpreters at the Zoo's Elephant House and Small Mammal House. Exhibit interpreters play a critical role at the Zoo by engaging the Zoo's 2 to 3 million annual visitors, explaining the natural history and status of the Zoo's animals, raising awareness about efforts to conserve endangered species, and sharing animal artifacts, such as bones, feathers, and fur. Asian elephants, pygmy hippos, and the world's largest rodents (capybaras) are among the animals that call the Elephant House home, and interpreters there share with visitors the natural history and status of these diverse species, explain the Zoo's management of the animals, and provide visitors hands-on experiences with a hippo skull, an elephant tooth, a giraffe hide, and other animal artifacts. Interpreters may also narrate the elephant-training demonstrations that take place daily at 11 a.m. Small Mammal House interpreters help visitors learn about the lives and habits of the many beguiling animals that inhabit the Small Mammal House, including Asian small-clawed otters, meerkats, black howler monkeys, golden lion tamarins, prehensile-tailed porcupines, and 30 other species. Interpreters may also assist keepers during the special "Meet a Mammal" talks that afford visitors an up-close look at a Small Mammal House resident each day at 2 p.m.


GM maize protects chickens from Newcastle virus
August 18, 2006 www.scidev.net

Mexican researchers have genetically modified maize to create an edible vaccine against Newcastle disease, a major killer of poultry in developing countries. The scientists, who published their findings online in Transgenic Research on 12 August, hope their approach can help small-scale poultry farmers protect their flocks. Vaccines against the disease that can be given to poultry on food already exist, but are not usually available in the small quantities required by single families or villages. Octavio Guerrero-Andrade of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) in Guanajuato and his colleagues inserted a gene from the Newcastle disease virus into maize DNA. Chickens that ate the genetically modified (GM) maize produced antibodies against the virus. The maize provided a level of protection against infection comparable to that of commercial vaccines. Frands Dolberg of the Network for Smallholder Poultry Development, said "There is a big problem in delivering the vaccine to the many millions of poor poultry keepers around the world, and the GM maize could be a possibility."


Calgary Zoo Infant Gorilla Dies
August 19, 2006 calsun.canoe.ca By TARINA WHITE, CALGARY SUN

When Zuri, Calgary Zoo's lowest-ranking female gorilla gave birth, her female infant was taken by a more dominant female. Zuri didn't have the confidence to take her back said zoo vet Sandie Black and the infant died from stress and a lack of nourishment. Zoo staff separated the dominant gorilla from the baby and gave the newborn supplemental feedings, but she did not have the energy to rebound, said Black. Gorilla keeper Garth Irvine said the zoo bred Zuri despite a "no breed" recommendation from the Species Survival Plan -- a New York-based organization that aims to maintain a genetically diverse gorilla population - "Because we felt this would help her status within the group so much, we chose to breed her anyway," said Irvine. And Zuri, formerly an outcast from the troop, has shown signs of assertiveness since her unnamed baby died on Thursday at 12 days old.. Instead of waiting to feed last, Zuri now forages with the troop and moves into the indoor enclosure at the same time, said Irvine. "Zuri's status has been elevated and her confidence has increased enough that she's willing to push it a little and take things for herself, which is something she's never done before," he said. She got a taste of being an important member of the troop and she's hanging onto that, which is what we wanted," said Irvine. A decision to breed Zuri again has yet to be made, but she will be placed on a contraceptive in the short term, said Irvine.


New legal bid to block elephant import to Tarango Zoo
August 19, 2006 www.theaustralian.news.com.au

In the 3rd challenge against the importation of Thai elephants to Australian zoos, the Animal Liberation New South Wales is seeking a Supreme Court injunction to prevent the Taronga Zoo from keeping 5 of the 8 under the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. (They are not challenging the 3 bound for Melbourne) "Once an injunction is obtained the case will then go on for a full Supreme Court hearing to prove animal cruelty," said Animal Liberation NSW CEO Mark Pearson. "There is a massive rainforest conservation area in Thailand now willing to accept all eight Thai elephants heading for Sydney and Melbourne zoos. "In the wild elephants can roam very long distances every day, which they cannot do in Taronga's shoebox sized enclosure."
Taronga Zoo's new $40 million elephant enclosure could be used as a retirement home for six circus elephants in NSW, she said. Thai and Australian authorities assert the elephants were born in captivity and collected from various owners around Thailand. Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said "Animal Liberation will use international experts to prove that the elephants would suffer not just physical but psychological cruelty by being kept in the small new elephant enclosure at Taronga zoo."


Six Asiatic lions dead in Delhi Zoo
August 20, 2006 cities.expressindia.com By Aman Sharma

New Delhi, -- Six Asiatic lions have died at the zoo in 18 days - four were new-born cubs. The Zoo is awaiting a forensic report from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareli, but the necropsy report of one of the dead lions, done by an independent board of doctors, points to a viral infection. All the dead lions were housed in the same enclosure. The remaining lions in the same enclosure - a lioness and her two cubs - have been shifted to the Zoo hospital and are under observation. Four other lions are housed in a different enclosure.


Attendance Down at St. Louis Zoo
August 20, 2006 www.stltoday.com  By Diane Toroian Keaggy

High gas prices, heat, storms and road construction can't entirely explain an 8% drop in summer attendance at the St. Louis Zoo, according to president Jeffrey Bonner. Last year, 29% percent of the Zoo's out-of-town visitors attended a Cardinals game; this year, the number has dived to 14 percent. "That tells us fewer people are coming because Cardinal tickets are harder to get hold of," Bonner said. "Put it like this: In the past, our trainers would joke they would not start the sea lion show until the Cub fans took off their hats. This year, they're not bothering." The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, home of the Gateway Arch, has also taken a huge hit this year, with visitors down 18 percent for the first seven months, compared with the same period in 2005. A truncated Fair St. Louis helps explain July's dip, but not double-digit declines in May and June. High gasoline prices usually boost tourism in St. Louis, said Nancy Milton, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, because families in Iowa, Arkansas and other nearby locales decide to stick close to home for vacation rather than drive to the Grand Canyon or the nation's capital. But at the Missouri Botanical Garden, which opened a Children's Garden in May and has the popular Dale Chihuly "Glass in the Garden" exhibit, there's been a 37 percent spike in visitors this year.


Indianapolis Animal Conservation Prize
August 20, 2006 www.indystar.com  By Diana Penner

The Indianapolis Prize is a $100,000 award given every two years to a researcher or pioneer in animal conservation. The first award will be announced this Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to be followed Sept. 30 by a gala ceremony in Indianapolis. The size of the prize is unprecedented in the animal conservation community. The winner of the prize, which is backed by a $1 million donation from Eli Lilly and Co., also will receive the Lilly Medal. "It's more the honor than the money,'' said Rick Hudson, a conservation biologist based at the Fort Worth Zoo who is involved in two nonprofit organizations: as program officer for the International Iguana Foundation and co-chairman of the Turtle Survival Alliance. When it was announced in December 2004, Indianapolis Zoo President and CEO Michael I. Crowther said part of the goal would be to attract attention to conservation issues with the largest monetary award in the field -- and by involving celebrities. Jane Alexander, the highly regarded actress who was head of the National Endowment of the Arts during the Clinton administration, will emcee the gala at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. Jim Maddy, president of the AZA, said the Indianapolis Prize already is gaining the attention and respect of those in conservation fields.


Akron Zoo's Water and Sewer Subsidy Questioned
August 21, 2006 www.centredaily.com  By John Higgens

The zoo received almost $475,000 in free city water and sewer service in 2005, according to its tax records. The subsidy might surprise voters who approved a levy for the Akron Zoological Park six years ago and is up for renewal in November. Meanwhile, Akron residents have seen their water bills raised in 2004 and their sewer bills grow by 17 percent since 2003, with a proposed 7 percent surcharge on the horizon. Some in the city are wondering if water and sewer customers should continue to subsidize the zoo. Akron has supported the zoo in one way or another since the Akron Children's Zoo opened in 1953 in city-owned Perkins Woods Park. In 1979, the city turned the operation over to a nonprofit group, which changed the name to Akron Zoological Park. In 2000, the city ended a $400,000-a-year cash subsidy for operations and capital improvements when it leased an additional 10 acres to the zoo for expansion and Summit County voters narrowly approved a 0.08-mill, seven-year levy. In 2000, the zoo figured its free water and sewer was worth $156,663, which it counts for tax purposes as an in-kind contribution. That contribution tripled in value as the zoo rapidly expanded. The zoo now houses more than 400 animals and set an attendance record in 2005 with 220,000 visitors. It's the humans, not the animals, who have accounted for most of the sewer and water increase, said David Barnhardt, the zoo's marketing director. The zoo incorporated several water conservation measures into its expansion. Water in many exhibits, including the new waterfall, is filtered and recirculated rather than dumped and replaced every day. Zoo workers have trained lemurs to drink from spigots that are automatically triggered by licks. The zoo has even adapted new facilities for the upright walking variety, also known as humans. The men's room urinals in the new Komodo Kingdom Education Center, for example, don't flush, just drain with some chemical treatment. Signs above them explain that typical urinals use 1.5 gallons per flush.


Group In Thailand Unhappy With "Animal Swap" With China
August 21, 2006 www.allheadlinenews.com  By Komfie Manalo

Bangkok, Thailand (AHN) - The Friends of the Asian Elephant, a leading conservation group in Thailand has accused the government of damaging the nation's endangered Asian elephant population by approving a proposal to swap five of them and other animals with white tigers at a Chinese zoo. Zoraida Salwala, secretary of the group revealed the government has approved a plan to swap some 29 animals, including five elephants and several chimpanzees with two rare white tigers and dozens of other animals. The elephants and the animals would be sent to the Chime-Long Night Zoo in Guangzhou in early September, the group said. Officials of the Chiang Mai Night Safari in Chiang Mai, Thailand, admits that two white tigers and 39 animals would be coming from China in an animal exchange deal to strengthen relations between the two countries.


Pretoria Zoo Changes Breeding Focus
August 21 2006 www.iol.co.za  By Stuart Graham

The Pretoria Zoo plans to phase out its exotic animals projects as it embarks on an affirmative action breeding campaign. Executive director, Willie Labuschagne, says the aim is to have 80 percent of the animals at the zoo African and 20 percent exotic. Currently, many of the zoo's 126 species of mammals, 158 bird species, 283 fish, 21 invertebrates, 90 reptiles and four amphibians are exotic. The charismatic mega-vertebrates such as bears and orangutans- will be retained to attract visitors, but the Zoo's breeding priorities will change. In the past, the zoo has bred a variety of exotic species at its premises in Pretoria and at its three breeding centres in Lichtenburg in the North West Province, Emerald Animal World on the banks of the Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark and at Mokopane in Limpopo. Lichtenburg has successfully bred 4 Asian gaur calves since the first gaur arrived from the San Diego Zoo in 1993. Lichtenburg has bred 80 Chinese Père David's deer, the Demoiselle crane, Przewalksi horses, and European Wisents. But the exotics will now drop down the priority list as the zoo focuses its efforts on breeding African animals such as the Cape buffalo, the Cape Wild Dog and the west African pygmy hippo. One the main projects at the Vanderbijlpark breeding centre is to create a herd of disease-free Cape buffalo, considered Africa's "black gold" due to the prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease, corridor fever and TB in wild populations in southern Africa. At the moment the herd consists of two bulls and three cows. The zoo is also negotiating with the Mpumalanga Parks Board to make its entire herd of black rhino available in exchange for Cape Buffalo, which will be bred at Makopane. More than 50 white rhino have been bred at Lichtenburg. The animals have been given to farmers throughout South Africa to strengthen their genetic pool. The breeding centres have managed to increase their populations of the rare Roan Antelope, wild dogs and cheetahs.


Sacramento Zoo Exhibits Snow Leopard Cub
Auguest 21, 2006 www.sacbee.com  By Jay Mather

Molly, a 10-week-old snow leopard cub was born June 7 to mother Shanti, at the Sacramento Zoo. Molly and Shanti are among the 3,500 to 7,000 remaining snow leopards in the world, according to biologists. The tiny snow leopard ventured out of her "cubbing box" at the Sacramento Zoo on Sunday morning to chase her mother's tail and climb the man-made rocks in her enclosure. Molly's father, Ramir, a snow leopard from the Los Angeles Zoo, was brought to Sacramento to help increase the world's population of the endangered cat. Ramir currently lives in a zoo holding area that is separate from Shanti and Molly's quarters, because male snow leopards don't stay with females for long after mating. Captive Snow leopards -- like many other endangered species in captivity -- are monitored by a species survival plan management group that tracks where births of endangered species in captivity have taken place. Such groups bring endangered males and females together for mating. Once Molly is old enough to leave her mother, she may be moved to another zoo for breeding, according to the species survival plan that has been developed for snow leopards. "We're a small cog in the whole international snow leopard thing," said Leslie Field, who manages the mammals at the Sacramento Zoo. The Sacramento Zoo makes monetary donations to the International Snow Leopard Trust, a nonprofit that develops educational materials and conservation programs in the regions where snow leopards live. More information on snow leopards is available at www.snowleopard.org


Singapore Rebranding Itself a "Learning Zoo"
August 21, 2006 www.nst.com.my  By ANITA ANANDARAJAH

The first arresting sight to greet visitors to the Singapore Zoo is an Orangutan reclining in a hammock suspended among tall leafy trees - free to play in a cluster of trees providing shade and privacy. The ages with steel bars and concrete floors containing animals for the entertainment of the wealthy are gone. Today's increasingly educated public are tuned into animal welfare issues and the cageless concept is fast making a pathway into zoos worldwide. Visitors no longer tap on exhibit windows, attempt to feed the animals or litter the zoo grounds. While the Singapore Zoo has been at the forefront of education in Malaysia, it is now rebranding itself as a learning zoo.  Lessons on conservation are incorporated into the national school curriculum. "The zoo's education department goes to schools to spread the conservation message. A central character, Dr Ooz, brings with him sugar gliders and stick insects for show and tell sessions," said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) sales and marketing director Isabel Cheng. WRS is the parent company of Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park. The zoo visits 71 schools in Singapore, reaching out to 56,800 students. According to Cheng, 31,000 students had visited the zoo over the past six months. These students tote worksheets as they make their way around the zoo. Realizing this, measures have been taken to cater to this group. Signboards have been given a facelift. Metal signages and steel barricades to demarcate the periphery of an exhibit have been largely phased out, replaced by dry moats, water-filled moats, electric wires or clear glass barriers. Informative signs are positioned at knee-high level so children are able to view them at eye-level. Cartoonish drawings in vibrant colors and sound consoles that emit the calls of the animal exhibited add to the zoo experience. A recent addition to enhance the education experience is the Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre. Here, visitors may request a tour of the facility which aims to bring attention to the people behind the scenes - the veterinarians and laboratory technicians.


Egyptian Tortoise Breeding Program at Oaklawn Farm Zoo
August 21, 2006 www.cbc.ca  By GORDON DELANEY

AYLESFORD -Oaklawn Farm Zoo's Egyptian Tortoise Breeding Program is a success. Female, Cleopatra, has laid two clutches of eggs this spring and four of them have hatched, a rare success in a captive breeding program that began in Nova Scotia in 1999. Anthony, the male was purchased in Cairo as a pet, and was seized from a Nova Scotia man who was unaware of his endangered status. Anthony resided at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History for six months until it could be determined that he was disease-free, then the game department began to look for a place where he might be bred. Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford, has several successful breeding programs, including rare Blandings turtles, indigenous to Nova Scotia. Twenty-six of the young turtles will be released into the wild in a year. They accepted Anthony and began a search for a mate. Cleopatra was found in Pennsylvania in 2001 and for the past 5 years, reptile curator Mike Brobbel has been working to create the right atmosphere for the two tortoises to produce offspring. Last month Homer hatched from an egg, weighing in at 7.5 grams. And recently, two more tortoises have hatched and are doing well. On Monday, a fourth infant was beginning to break out of its shell. The eggs were raised in an incubator. "It took us a few tries until we found the right temperature and humidity," Mr. Brobbel said, excited by the possibility that these may be the first Egyptian tortoises bred in captivity in Canada. There are only about 7,000 Egyptian tortoises left in the world.


Karen Fifield Heads Wellington Zoo
August 21, 2006 www.scoop.co.nz

Wellington Zoo Trust has appointed former Director of Discovery and Learning at Zoos Victoria Karen Fifield as its new Chief Executive. She is an experienced leader in the Australasian zoo network and recently acted as a consultant to Wellington Zoo in the development of innovative visitor experience as part of the Zoo's capital development program. Karen has spent 15 years in various roles within zoos, culminating in the role of Acting CEO of Zoos Victoria. Her previous job was Operations Manager at Quest for Life Centre and Foundation in Sydney. Karen will take up the position in late September 2006. In its centenary year, Wellington Zoo Trust is in the process of transforming Wellington Zoo and Karen is an ideal complement to the strong team already in place at the Zoo. Karen began her career in zoos as an Education Officer at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. She holds a Teaching Diploma from Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education.


Elephant Science Round Table Meets in Cape Town
August 21, 2006 allafrica.com

The world's leading elephant scientists are meeting in Cape Town for the second Elephant Science Round Table (SRT2) to submit their views on the need for further research into the ecology of elephants in the country. Similar discussions were held in January at SRT1 when the scientists told the Minister there was no compelling evidence to suggest the need for immediate, large-scale reduction of elephant numbers in the Kruger National Park. But some people living along the park were said to be pleased with plans to cull elephants in the world famous reserve, as some of the animals were escaping into neighboring communities. The Minister convened the panel after scientists from South African National Parks (SANParks) recommended that elephant populations should be reduced through translocation, contraception, range expansion and culling. The elephant population in the Kruger National Park alone is said to be increasing at seven percent every year, and doubling roughly every ten years. And by 2012 there may be as many as 20 000 elephants in the Kruger National Park alone, and by 2019 as many as 30 000. The Minister said he would have to develop policy guidelines based on the best scientific information currently available, along with other factors such as ethical and social considerations, indigenous knowledge, environmental and tourism impacts. Parallel with the SRT process, the Department said it had engaged with a large number of stakeholders, with hundreds of submissions received from around the world. Spokesperson Mava Scott that specialists in the department were making good progress with drafting the Norms and Standards for Elephant Management. These would hopefully be published for public comment before the end of the year, with contributions from the SRT2 expected to enhance the process.


Global Warming Threatens Grey Jays
August 21, 2006 www.enn.com  By Alister Doyle, Reuters

OSLO - Grey jay birds store frozen food to help survive icy winters are dying out in parts of North America because global warming is rotting their hoards. Thomas Waite, a researcher from Ohio State University who has studied the birds for 25-years says, "The birds are getting less food and they may also suffer from food poisoning from eating rotten food.". "The freeze-up of local lakes used to be in November, now it's happening more frequently in December," he said of research just published with colleague Dan Strickland in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The birds were in danger of dying out on the southern edge of their range, mostly southern Canada but also parts of the United States including Maine, Vermont and Rocky Mountain states, because of the warmer autumns, he said. The birds can stash away tens of thousands of food items -- blueberries, beetles, even strips of meat from a carcass of a moose killed by wolves -- in pine trees around their territories to help them get through the winters. They nest earlier than most other birds and rely on stores of frozen food to feed young, which typically hatch in April. "Jays can sit on eggs or even have nestlings with snow about," Waite said. The scientists found that birds had more young in years after a cold autumn than a warm autumn. And birds living near an extra source of winter food -- like a bird feeder by a house -- did better after a warm autumn than those in a remote forest. And similar woes might also affect other hoarders, such as squirrels, Waite said. Squirrels, however, may be less vulnerable because they rely on nuts that do not rot as easily as berries or meat.


Chimpanzee Use Stone Hammers in Cameroon
August 21, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

Researchers report that chimpanzees in the Ebo forest, Cameroon, use stone hammers to crack open hard-shelled nuts. The findings are significant because this nut-cracking behavior was previously known only in a distant chimpanzee population in extreme western Africa and was thought to be restricted by geographical boundaries that prevented cultural spread of the technique from animal to animal. The findings, which involve the most endangered and least-understood subspecies of chimpanzee, are reported by Dr. Bethan Morgan and Ekwoge Abwe of the Zoological Society of San Diego's Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES) and appear in the August 22nd issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press. Prior to this discovery, it was thought that chimpanzee nut-cracking behavior was confined to the region west of the N'Zo-Sassandra River in Cote d'Ivoire. Because there are no relevant ecological or genetic differences between populations on either side of this "information barrier," explain the researchers of the new study, the implication had been that nut-cracking is a behavioral tradition constrained in its spread by a physical barrier: It was absent to the east of the river because it had not been invented there. The new finding that chimpanzees crack open nuts more than 1700 km east of the supposed barrier challenges this long-accepted model. According to the authors of the study, the discontinuous distribution of the nut-cracking behavior may indicate that the original "culture zone" was larger, and nut-cracking behavior has become extinct between the N'Zo-Sassandra and Ebo. Alternatively, it may indicate that nut-cracking has been invented on more than one occasion in widely separated populations. This is one of the first reports of tool use for Pan troglodytes vellerosus, the most endangered and understudied chimpanzee subspecies.


Treating Heart Problems in Zoo Gorillas
August 21, 2006 www.washingtonpost.com 

Adult western lowland gorillas in captivity are dying of an unexplained heart condition called fibrosing cardiomyopathy - healthy heart muscle turns into fibrous bands unable to pump blood. Veterinarians Tom Meehan of the Brookfield Zoo and Linda Lowenstine of the University of California at Davis calculate that 41 percent of deaths of captive gorillas - and 70 percent of deaths of the males older than 30 - are the result of heart disease, primarily fibrosing cardiomyopathy. Babec, a 26-year-old western lowland gorilla at Alabama's Birmingham Zoo, is a rare exception, having been successfully treated surgically for the condition nearly two years ago. Cardiologist Neal Kay, working with the zoo's chief veterinarian, Marie Rush, implanted an advanced pacemaker in Babec's chest. The procedure, called cardiac resynchronization therapy or CRT, corrected the breakdown in the heart's electrical circuitry that comes with fibrosing cardiomyopathy, and restored the organ's ability to contract properly. Veterinarians and medical specialists are also treating ailing gorillas with heart drugs. Lowenstine said "it doesn't appear to be related to coronary artery disease or cholesterol levels." Meehan thinks that "it might be a bacterial or viral infection of the heart. It could be a response to stress, in which harmful substances called catecholamines are released, or something in gorillas' diet in captivity that wild gorillas either eat or don't eat." As far as anyone knows, the condition is not found in the wild. "However, few studies have been done of wild gorillas' health," said primatologist Dan Wharton of the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society. Ellen Dierenfeld, a gorilla nutritionist at the St. Louis Zoo, has found that a member of the ginger family, Aframomum melegueta, also known as "grains of paradise," "is a staple food of western lowland gorillas in their natural habitat." "Aframomum is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory 'natural drug,' " said primatologist Michael Huffman, of Japan's Kyoto University. "The plants may be as much a source of preventive medicine for gorillas as they are of food."


Indianapolis Prize Goes to George Archibald
August 22, 2006 www.wthr.com

WASHINGTON DC - Wisconsin's best-known crane expert is the winner of the inaugural award for the Indianapolis Zoo for conservation of a species. For the past 30 years he's traveled around the globe to save the winged creatures, even risking his life to go into places considered forbidden. "When I started my work on the Korean Demilitarized Zone, I was laughed at. The military wouldn't think of letting me in there. Once I had my foot in the door and once I connected to the cranes, there was a great interest," said Dr. Archibald. Dr. Archibald helped create the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin.


Dead owls at Rotterdam Zoo Probably Not infected with H5N1
August 22, 2006 www.todayonline.com

The Dutch Agriculture Ministry has announced that the two Hawk Owls found dead August 12 in Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam were probably not infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu as initially suspected. Unlike most of the birds at the zoo in the southern port town, the owls had not been vaccinated against the bird flu. Definitive results are expected on Friday and security measures implemented to contain any spread of the virus will only be lifted with the full results are known, she added. At the beginning of the month a mild form of the H7N7 strain of bird flu was found on a Dutch farm. About 25,000 chickens were culled as a precautionary measure. Russia on Monday imposed an embargo of fowl imports from the Netherlands to prevent any contamination. In 2003 the Netherlands was hit hard by an epidemic of a stronger H7N7 strain which led to the cull of 25 million birds, about one quarter of the country's poultry population at the time. One veterinarian died. According to the World Health Organization, 239 people have been infected with the virulent H5N1 strain of the virus and 140 have died.


Thailand Night Safari plans to ship elephants to China
August 22, 2006 www.bangkokpost.com  By KULTIDA SAMABUDDHI

Under an agreement signed between Thailand's Chiang Mai Night Safari, and China's Guangzhou Panyu Xiangjiang Safari Park Co, Thailand will send 29 wild animals, including 5 Asian elephants, douc langurs, black swans and false gavials, in exchange for a pair of white tigers and about 87 other Chinese wild animals. The Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation who obtained a copy of the memorandum of agreement, said "Our initial fact-finding probe found the certificates of the five elephants were likely illegally issued. The papers also lack details about the elephants' age and where they were born. Thus, it is suspected they might be wild elephants. We have lost eight elephants to Australian zoos, and no more Thai elephants should be exported to other countries," said Ms Soraida, referring to the export of eight Thai elephants to Taronga Zoo in Sydney and Melbourne Zoo in July. Supoj Methapiwat, director of the zoo's animal management office, refused to go into detail when asked about the animal exchange program.


Probe on origin of China-bound elephants urged
August 22, 2006 www.bangkokpost.com

The Asian Conservation Alliance has called on Chiang Mai Night Safari to check whether five elephants to be delivered to a zoo in China are wild or captive-bred animals. "The Thai Cites office should not issue an export permit for the elephants unless there is a clear picture of where and when all the captive elephants in Thailand were born so they are 100% captive-bred as defined by Cites,'' said ACA chairman Masayuki Sakamoto. ACA, a network of 43 NGOs in 14 Asian countries working for environmental protection, also voiced concerns over the wildlife exchange programme, saying it could become a major threat to biodiversity in Southeast Asia and promote the capture of wild elephants. It would definitely pose a serious threat to the elephant population, as there are only 35,000 in Asia and just 2,000 in Thailand.


Venomous Fish
August 22, 2006 www.nytimes.com

Although previous researchers estimated that there were about 200 species of venomous fish, Dr. William Smith, ichthyologist at the American Museum of Natural History, and Ward C. Wheeler, a curator at the museum, recently published a study suggesting at least 1,200. Many carry their venom in spines and barbs, some in fangs. Though the 1,200 species are not new, scientists did not know they were venomous. Now, biologists may need to rethink some of their old ideas, Dr. Smith said. "With very few exceptions, everything we thought was wrong," he said. The study, published in June in The Journal of Heredity, analyzed and compared DNA sequences from 233 species and used the results to create a new family tree for spiny-rayed fishes. That group includes many types of toadfish, scorpionfish (lionfish are a type of scorpionfish), surgeonfish, rabbitfish, jacks, stargazers and saber-toothed blennies. The family tree shows how the species are related, and which evolved from the same ancestor. Based on the tree, the researchers predicted which species should be venomous. Then, to test their predictions, Dr. Smith dissected 102 specimens, looking for venom glands and delivery systems like spikes, fangs or sharp fins. Of the 102 species he examined, previous research had suggested that 26 were venomous. But the new analysis predicted that 61 would be venomous - and the dissections bore that out. Dr. J. Andres Lopez, an ichthyologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, said "There are huge information gaps in ichthyology, and every year biologists find 200 to 300 species that had not been known before. "We really don't know anything about fish," Dr. Smith said.


Bowling FOR and BY Rhinos at the Dallas Zoo
August 22, 2006 www.fortwayne.com  By Katie Menzer

DALLAS - Dallas Zoo keepers have been using fruit and other treats for years to teach their rare black rhinos to bowl, which keeps their minds sharp and muscles strong. Chula - the zoo's oldest rhino and its only female - far exceeds her three male companions when it comes to knocking down the pins "It's all about the motivation," said Dallas zookeeper Carrie Hale. "Put produce by the ball, and they'll bump the ball to get to the produce." Moyo, the zoo's youngest rhino, at 9 years old, also has talent. But his enthusiasm seems his biggest handicap. "He'd eat the pins down to stumps if you left them in there with him," Hale said. The zookeepers began teaching the rhinos to bowl a decade ago, inspired by their own "Bowling for Rhinos" event to raise money to save endangered rhinos. The Dallas chapter has raised more than $100,000 since 1991 to support three rhino conservation areas in Africa and Indonesia through this AAZK national bowling fundraiser. The AAZK association has raised $2.4 million nationally through individual and corporate sponsorships. Five rhino species exist in the wild today: 3,100 black, 11,700 white, 2,400 Indian, 300 Sumatran and 60, according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.


Poor hygiene May Have Caused New Delhi Lions' Deaths
August 22, 2006 cities.expressindia.com By Gopal Sathe

NEW DELHI - A day after news of the death of six lions in the Delhi Zoo broke, officials from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) are blaming it on poor hygiene conditions. Authorities are also not ruling out a viral outbreak in the zoo. The results of viral tests from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly are still pending. "The enclosures should be kept clean and water bodies must be sanitized regularly," said Bipul Chakraborty, a senior CZA scientist. "water bodies are not clean, enclosures are often found dirty and there is very less sunlight. The zoo is too old and needs to be revamped," said a Wildlife Trust of India expert. While zoo officials suspect viral infection to be the cause of death, environmentalists say it could be a bacteriological disease. An expert pointed to leptospirosis, which affects big cats and may be responsible for the death of six tigers in Ranchi. The disease spreads through bacteria in rat's urine, which could have reached the lions because of the poor sanitary conditions, he said. Zoo officials claim that keepers who were on strike earlier, did not resume their duties once they returned to work, leading to unhygienic conditions. This could have caused the tragedy, officials are now claiming. And they are going to strike work again on Wednesday. Union Leader N Rana said: "The director has not taken any steps to counter the proposal to bring autonomy to the zoo. people who will be hurt the most by this are us. Since our partial strike earlier did not get any results, we will carry out a full strike from tomorrow."


Baby Panda Blog
August 22, 2006 english.people.com.cn

"Baby Panda Home," debuted yesterday, and is hosted by Sina.com. "We hope to raise awareness, especially among young people, about panda protection," Zhang Zhihe, head of the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Centre in provincial capital Chengdu. The female cub, has been personified as a blogger posting stories about her life, her family and other pandas in the centre, said Zhang. Zhong Wen, a reporter with Chengdu Daily, will write all the articles. After collecting materials from the panda's raisers, Zhong will write articles and post them on the blog once or twice a week. He is hoping to continue for the next 25 years, the average lifespan of a panda. The articles will also be published every Monday in Chengdu Daily, a sponsor of the blog. This is the first animal blog in China, Zhong told China Daily. "We will launch an English version in the near future on another website." Internet users can also view pictures and videos of the pandas at blog.sina.com.cn/u/1250332025 . By press time the blog had already received nearly 1000 hits, with dozens of netizens leaving supportive comments.


Great Ape Trust Awards $22,000 in Conservation Grants
August 22, 2006 www.ewire.com

DES MOINES, IOWA, The Great Ape Trust of Iowa will provide $22,000 dollars for conservation efforts of orangutans in Indonesia and bonobos in Africa. Dr. Benjamin Beck, director of conservation for Great Ape Trust said $12,000 will help fund a study to determine the impact of illegal logging on orangutan behavior, ecology and survival at the Ketambe research site in northern Sumatra. $10,000 in grant money will be provided to Lola ya Bonobo, a sanctuary for orphaned bonobos near Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Orangutans are the only great ape found in Asia. An estimated 49,000 wild orangutans live in Borneo and only 7,300 in Sumatra. In addition to large-scale habitat conversion and hunting for the pet trade, the large body size of orangutans and long birth intervals make them extremely vulnerable to extinction. The unique value of the Ketambe logging study is that it will occur in an area that has been thoroughly monitored with scientific data collected over the past 30 years. Principal investigator in the study will be Dr. Serge Wich, a visiting scientist at Great Ape Trust from Utrecht University in the Netherlands Details of the proposed logging study in Sumatra are available at www.GreatApeTrust.org  . Lola ya Bonobo is a bonobo sanctuary on the outskirts of Kinshasa, DRC's capital. It is the only bonobo sanctuary and now has about 45 bonobo orphans. Claudine Andre, a dedicated and skilled expert, founded and manages Lola ya Bonobo (it means Bonobo Paradise in Lingala, the local language). Each bonobo gets a human 'mother' who nurses it to health, provides emotional security and love, and helps to introduce the bonobos to each other to form social groups. The $10,000 provided to Lola ya Bonobo by Great Ape Trust of Iowa will be used to purchase computers, video and photography equipment. To learn more about Lola ya Bonobo, go to their Web site, bonoboducongo.free.fr


Sumatra Tiger Population Continues to Decline
August 22, 2006 www.antara.co.id

BANDUNG - The population of Sumatran tigers has continued to decrease due to illegal hunting in Sumatra, an Indonesian Wildlife Conservation Center spokesman said on Tuesday (8/22). Also responsible are rampant illegal logging and forest fires, Taman Safari Indonesia (Indonesian Safari Park or TSI) director Tonny Sumampouw said. He said he had received information that at least 16 Sumatra tigers had been smuggled out of Sumatra island as of mid this year. He said the environmental destruction caused the tigers to abandon their habitats and move to nearby residential areas. He also said that 22 out of 32 zoos across the country did not have a required standard to protect their collections. The remaining 10 zoos that had met the standard namely the Ragunan zoo in Jakarta, the Indonesian Safari Park in Cisarua, the bird park in the Indonesia-in-Miniature Park (TNII) in Jakarta, the zoo in Bandung, the zoo in Yogyakarta, the zoo in Surabaya, the bird park in Bali, the reptile park in Bali, the Indonesian Safari Park in Surabaya, and the zoo in Pematang Siantar (North Sumatra province), he said. "The government`s attention on zoos is low. It has only provided a zoo with ten percent of total budget," he said.


San Diego County Snakes
August 22, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Elizabeth Fitzsimons

Rattlesnake species encountered in San Diego County include: Red Diamond Rattlesnake
(Crotalus exsul ) 2½ to 3½; can grow to 5 feet.Ranges from the coast to the desert slopes below 5,000 feet. Avoids the lower desert flats. Known for its mellow disposition, some snakes may not bother to rattle when disturbed while others can be ornery. Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis ) 2½ feet; can grow to 4 feet. The most abundant rattler west of the desert, it can be found from the coast to the mountains, and tolerates disturbed areas. In early spring, this snake basks in the sun, and where the chaparral shades the ground, it will slither to the tops of bushes to catch the rays. Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli ) 2 feet; few reach 3 feet. Mostly found in rocky, inland habitats. This alert snake is quick to rattle when disturbed. Sidewinder Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes ) 2 feet; Found in the desert, east of the mountains. This snake has adapted to the desert sand by side winding, and leaves behind it a distinct trail of "J" shapes. The San Diego region always has more bites than anywhere else in the state, said Lee Cantrell, managing director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System. Through the month of June, 24 rattlesnake bites have been reported. As the bites tend to coincide with the end of summer, more are sure to come. Last year's total was 47, the highest number since 2000, when there were 45 bites reported. If you are bitten, don't waste your time trying to suck out the venom. Human mouths are full of bacteria, which can cause infection. Because rattlesnake venom immediately starts to break down tissue, bite victims should go to a hospital emergency room, where they will be given antivenin. Walking or movement increases circulation of the venom, so limit activity. The hallmark of rattlesnake bites, which are painful, is the swelling, so it's good to remove any restrictive garments as well as jewelry or watches.


Receipt of Applications for Permit
August 22, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 162
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-22/

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species and/or marine mammals. Written data, comments or requests must be received by September 21, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act, by any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281.

Applicant: Dallas Zoo and Dallas Aquarium, Dallas, TX, PRT-126146.
The applicant requests a permit to import two captive-born mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) from the Toronto Zoo, Toronto, Canada, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: John L. Kling, Enid, MS, PRT-128497.
The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the  species.

Applicant: Joe T. Ellis, Omaha, IL, PRT-MA-126559-0.
The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Feld Entertainment, Inc, Vienna, VA, PRT-122178.
The applicant request a permit to re-export and return 3.3 captive born Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris) that were imported during 2004 from Spain for conservation education purposes. The tigers are returning to Spain for conservation education.

Applicant: Warren A. Sackman, Sands Point, NY, PRT-125872.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Viscount Melville Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: MaryAnn Sackman, Sands Point, NY, PRT-125869.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Viscount Melville Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: John H. Babin, Media, PA, PRT-127255.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use

Applicant: Paul Hostetler, Nokomis, FL, PRT-127336.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Kerry Clary, Gasburg, VA, PRT-127272.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Douglas Jayo, Boise, ID, PRT-127274.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Don Sitton, Orange, TX, PRT-77632.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Gary F. Silc, Ronwood, MI, PRT-127693.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Kent Fagen, Labose, LA, PRT-127905.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: John Kirkland, Pacific Palisades, CA, PRT-128206.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Northern Beaufort Sea polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Jerry G. Scolari, Reno, NV, PRT-128377.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Donald J. Giottonini, Stockton, CA, PRT-128617.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Northern Beaufort Sea polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.


Elephant Locomotion Study
August 22, 2006 www.foxnews.com  By Sara Goudarzi

John Hutchinson, now at the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, has completed a study on elephant locomotion in order to interpret how dinosaurs might have moved, and uncover the basic rules about how giant land animals move. By using modern motion capture video techniques, along with MRI and CT scans, researchers were able to visualize the positions of the joints of the elephant's fore and hind limbs. Six special cameras took 240 pictures per second, and could capture far more detail than the naked eye or conventional video could. They found that although elephants don't lift all four feet at once, a previous definition of running, they showed signs of using their legs like pogo sticks, compressing and rebounding with each step.
"In the last 40 years, locomotion biomechanics has realized that this is the definitive feature of running - runners are bouncy-legged, whereas walkers are stiff-legged," Many animals are now known to bounce without leaving the ground - birds, insects and Icelandic ponies, for example. Even at their top speed of 15 mph, elephants keep one or two feet on the ground at all times. Understanding the motion of these animals can help researchers identify abnormal gait and musculoskeletal problems, which are normally difficult to recognize and treat. "Our results will help vets and elephant keepers to identify elephant limb problems earlier," Hutchinson said.


Baby Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Virunga
August 22, 2006 allafrica.com By Joseph Mudingu

Representatives from the United States, Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands -- where most of Rwanda's tourists come from -- participated in Rwanda's second baby gorillas naming ceremony, normally reserved for newborn children. Rwanda earned over $25 million (14 million pounds) from the tourism sector in 2005 but hopes to make close to $100 million by 2010. The first public naming ceremony was held last year when 30 baby gorillas were given local names. The named gorillas were 12 in number, which, on the whole, signifies a good trend. The Rwanda gorillas are a unique and exceptional species. Only 650 remain on the planet, 400 of which are in Rwanda. The Rwandan gorillas are recognizable for their longer coats, very broad faces, relatively narrow nostril lines, massive jaws and teeth and long shaggy hair. Over half of the country's 22,000 tourists in 2005 came to Rwanda to see mountain gorillas.


Douc Langur Surgery Successful
August 22, 2006 science.monstersandcritics.com

HANOI - Veterinarians in Vietnam have successfully performed surgery on an endangered red-shanked Douc langur whose foot was broken in a trap, wildlife researchers said Tuesday. The surgery, lasting 2 hours, set the bones in the 5-year-old female's left foot on Monday, days after the injured monkey was brought to the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, according to Elke Schwierz, head animal keeper at the centre. 'She looks quite well. Better than I expected,' Schwierz said Tuesday. The langur, which was wearing a cast Tuesday, should recover some use of the foot, she said. 'For walking, yes. For climbing, we'll have to see.' The langur is one of two seized by authorities in central Vietnam earlier this month. An older female was confiscated from an amusement park display in Danang and the younger langur with the injured foot was turned over to authorities after workers on a hydropower plant found it injured in the jungle, according to Schwierz.


Elephant population in Ghana shrinking
August 23, 2006, www.andnetwork.com

Ghana authorities are concerned and disappointed at the shrinking elephant population in this country and are seeking assistance to increase the population. The country's ministry of forestry and mines is urging the international community to come to Ghana's aid in order to develop strategies that will help to improve their status. Andrew Agyei Yeboah, deputy sector minister told the opening of a three-day international symposium on "African Elephants Conservation", that the small and scattered population of elephants in Ghana were becoming extremely vulnerable. West Africa has only 5% of Africa's elephant population out of which Ghana's was only a fraction comprising of about 2 000 elephants. "It is, therefore, important that Ghana's elephant conservation strategy developed in 2000, is implemented to the fullest," Yeboah emphasised.  Most of the elephants in Ghana are located within national parks and wildlife resource reserves with very few outside the protected areas. Those found outside the protected areas include the cross-border populations shared by Ghana and Burkina Faso along the Red Volta corridor with its associated illegal hunting.


Lear's Macaw Bred in Qatar
August 23, 2006 www.thepeninsulaqatar.com

DOHA o A chick of a endangered species of parrot was bred in Qatar. The Alwabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), owned by Sheikh Saoud bin Mohammad bin Al Thani, successfully hatched their first Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) chick, recently. AWWP has four pairs of Lear's macaws, which have been on loan from the Brazilian government since 2004. The species has proven challenging to breed in captivity and until this hatching, the species had not officially been successfully bred since 1984, claimed AWWP. The breeding pair at AWWP laid a clutch of three eggs, two of them were fertile. The fertile egg which did not hatch, died very early in development. AWWP's Lear's Macaw breeding program is part of an international effort, in cooperation with the Brazilian Government's Natural Heritage Department (Ibama), to establish a viable captive population as part of the conservation efforts to secure the long term future of this critically endangered species. This is the first offspring bred as part of the official Ibama initiated captive breeding program and will provide important breeding data to the other institutions participating in the program


Erie Zoo Polar Bear Dies After Surgery
August 23, 2006 www.post-gazette.com

An Erie Zoo polar bear operated on by the surgeon for Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro died just hours after surgery Monday. Dr. Dean Richardson operated on Alcor, a 750-pound bear with two badly broken bones just above his right paw, on Monday afternoon and stabilized the wrist during surgery with locking plates. The bear had been stable and was waking from anesthesia on his way back to Ohio when he died, the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital said in a statement Monday night. Alcor will be returned to the hospital to undergo a post-mortem, the New Bolton Center said. Zoo officials do not know how Alcor broke his leg, but they suspect he did it Aug. 11 while playing with his brother Mizar, another 7-year-old bear who has been at the zoo since 2001.


Viruses can jump between primates and humans
August 23, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

The September issue of the American Journal of Primatology, is a special issue on disease risk analysis edited by a primate expert at the University of Washington. The special issue covers a range of topics, including an estimate of the viral transmission risk for visitors to a monkey temple in Indonesia, and a study showing how methods to limit contact between monkeys and humans can reduce the risk of transmission between the species. Other researchers describe how human viruses infecting monkeys and apes can wreak havoc on those animals' populations. "Viruses are already jumping the species barrier and affecting both people and animals, and there is the potential for much worse," explained Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, a research scientist in the Division of International Programs at the UW's Washington National Primate Research Center and guest editor for the journal's special issue. "It's especially cause for concern in Asia, where people and monkeys have so much interaction, and there has been little research done on this topic."


Tiger Shot at Lowry Park Zoo
August 23, 2006 www.tbo.com/news/metro  By MARI ROBYN JONES

TAMPA - Enshala, a 14-year old Sumatran tiger, escaped from an enclosure in the Asian Domain, an area that has been closed for renovations, at the Lowry Park Zoo. A zookeeper in charge of securing the tiger for the night left the door unlatched shortly before the zoo's closing time. Enshala slipped through a door, went through an empty adjoining building and into a construction area at about 4:45 p.m. The area was not accessible to the public Zoo veterinarian David Murphy shot a tranquilizer dart at the animal, but it failed to work, and she began scaling a 7-foot wall near Murphy. She would have entered a public area and at that point became a threat to public safety. President and Chief Executive Officer Lex Salisbury shot Enshala with a 12-gauge shotgun, but she kept moving. He shot her three more times before she died. "I feel sick to my stomach that I had to do it," Salisbury said. "I've known this cat since it was born. And it's the last thing I would want to have to do." He had been on his way home when he was called back to handle the situation. He said he's one of 10 people at the zoo trained by law enforcement to use weapons to deal with dangerous animals. The tranquilizer probably didn't work because the cat's adrenaline counteracted the effects, said Carole Baskin, chief executive officer and founder of Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary for tigers, lions and leopards in northwestern Hillsborough County. Even when a tiger is not excited, it takes 20 to 30 minutes before a tranquilizer takes effect, she said. It was the first time a carnivore has escaped at Lowry Park and the first time Salisbury had to kill an animal in his 20-year tenure. A couple of dozen people were in the park when Enshala escaped, spokeswoman Rachel Nelson said. They were escorted from zoo property or secured inside buildings. Salisbury said the zoo is committed to the public's safety and will investigate the incident. The investigation's outcome could cost the zookeeper his or her job, he said.


George Archibald Comments on Cranes
August 23, 2006 www.sunherald.com

Yesterday George Archibald, who has had led the international effort to save cranes, including the Mississippi sandhill crane, was named the winner of the inaugural $100,000 Indianapolis Prize. "I am humbled by this honor and proud to be recognized among the world's leading conservationists," said Archibald. "This award is a privilege not only for me and the team I'm a part of, but for the cranes we work to save. They depend on us and look to us to be their voice. It's a great honor to have that voice heard." Archibald co-founded the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis., in 1973 when many species of the elegant birds were on the brink of extinction. Asked about the most threatened cranes in the United States, Archibald said, "The most endangered population is in Mississippi and they were just hammered by Katrina. Just north of Biloxi is the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. It's a unique type of sandhill crane. There are only 100 birds, 80 percent of them have been raised in captivity and released into the wild. "Wild birds are barely able to rear chicks because there are so many predators and other environmental problems. The reserve is now surrounded by housing developments, and the whole ecosystem is maintained by fire. But the local people don't want the fire, don't like the smoke, second-hand smoke. And it's very, very difficult to keep that population going. My feeling is that that particular place may never be able to support a viable population and they should look at another site to try to get the population started."


Colorado Senator Wants Denver Zoo Funding
August 23, 2006 www.thedenverdailynews.com  By PETER MARCUS

Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., visited the Denver Zoo yesterday and fed the zoo's elephants, Mimi and Dolly apples. He is also fighting to secure $1 million in appropriations for plans to build a new exhibit that will focus on conservation. The "Asian Tropics" exhibit will take 90 percent of the zoo's animal and trash waste and turn it into energy, which the zoo will use in its facility. "With all the animal waste and 1.5 million people coming through the zoo every year, that's a lot of garbage," said Clayton Freiheit, president and CEO of the Denver Zoo. Allard has asked for federal funding for the project. He said the proposal must head to a Senate conference committee before being approved. A final answer may not be available until late November, said Allard.


Edinburgh Zoo's Successful Breeding Programs
August 24, 2006 news.scotsman.com By JOANNA VALLELY

TWO rare Japanese deer calves at Edinburgh Zoo have become the first born in captivity in the UK. Their parents were brought to the zoo last year from Berlin and Vienna, and are the only Japanese serow deer in the UK. Breeding takes place in October or November and, after a gestation period of approximately seven months, the female gives birth to a single young. Japanese serows forage for food at dawn and dusk. They have a mixed diet of acorns, grasses, herbs, leaves, shoots, shrubs and twigs. David Windmill, chief executive at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: "The two serow calves are the latest in a series of new arrivals at the zoo. Other recent arrivals at the zoo include a dozen rare baby hedgehogs, born earlier this month. Two of the female tenrecs, whose full name is lesser hedgehog tenrec, gave birth - with one having three babies and the other nine. A baby pudu was born in April as part of a conservation breeding program. In May a pair of Asiatic lion cubs were born at the zoo, followed later in the month by three warthog piglets, and a capybara


Necropsy on Los Angeles Zoo Elephant is Inconclusive
August 24, 2006 cbs2.com

The necropsy report for Gita the 48-year-old Asian elephant that died at the Los Angeles Zoo in June, failed to determine whether a delay in reporting her worsening condition contributed to her death. Results from the necropsy indicated that she died of cardiac failure associated with blood clots. The right chamber and major vessels of her heart were blocked, zoo officials said. "Clotting began between three to five days before her death and was caused by a coagulation disorder." "The cause of this disorder could not be discerned." Zoo officials admitted that Gita was spotted in a downed position at 8:45 p.m. June 9, but zookeepers were not alerted until they spotted the animal at about 5 a.m. the next day. (The employee who failed to follow reporting procedures was a night watch zookeeper who has since resigned.) The necropsy also could not determine whey Gita collapsed, although it may have been caused by a combination of her general weakness caused by the clots, officials said. The necropsy, performed by the California Animal Health and Food Safety, part of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, also determined that the experimental foot surgery performed on Gita in September 2005, when a non-weight-bearing toe was removed from her left foot, had been successful. Results of the necropsy will be shared with zoological professionals and wildlife biologists around the world, zoo officials said.


Animal Rights Group Continues to Attack LA Zoo
August 24, 2006 www.dailynews.com  BY SUSAN ABRAM

Last Chance for Animals (LCA), a national animal rights organization based in Los Angeles, has been active for more than two decades. Founded and led by animal expert, author and actor, Chris DeRose, LCA fights for the rights of animals by conducting investigations that expose animal cruelty, launching public awareness campaigns, pushing animal friendly legislation and helping prosecute animal abusers. The organization continued to blast zoo officials for Gita, the elephant's death, saying it was one more reason to close the elephant exhibit for its poor aesthetics and inadequate space. "We are going to stay on this, and stay on this, until the elephant exhibit is closed," said DeRose, "Animals in the wild do not get clotting. They are strict vegetarians and walk 40 miles a day. The only reason you get clotting in the leg is because they are not getting enough circulation." Zoo General Manager John Lewis said Investigators from the USDA have been to the zoo twice since the incident. A report on the department's findings is still pending, but protocol for reporting a sick animal has been reinforced, Lewis said. "We changed our communication procedures, emphasizing there has to be an active closure on a report."


Investigation of Lowry Park Tiger Shooting
August 24, 2006 www.tbo.com  By VALERIE KALFRIN

TAMPA - Lowry park Zoo is conducting a review of how it handled the escape and shooting of a Sumatran tiger and whether a zookeeper should be criminally charged for leaving an access door to the tigers nightly den unlatched about 4:45 p.m. The zookeeper, who was not identified, is on paid administrative leave. General curator, Lee Ann Rottman, said the keeper had worked at the zoo for about a month and with the tigers for about two weeks. He had trained with a supervisor before being assigned to handle the tigers, she said. Although he was new to Lowry Park, he previously worked with the Luby Foundation, a wildlife facility in Alachua County, after earning an associate's degree in zoology from Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville. "You're trained in Zookeeping 101 to check your locks. He made a mistake. The fact remains that we're all human, and mistakes can be made. It's hard for me to understand not checking locks, but it could happen to me." Lt. Steve De Lacure, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and an investigator from the U.S. Department of Agriculture visited the shooting site Wednesday.
He said he will forward the results of his investigation to the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office to determine whether the keeper should be charged with a misdemeanor for unsafe handling of captive wildlife resulting in an escape or injury. The charge is punishable by a $500 fine or 60 days in jail. So far, De Lacure said, he is impressed by the zoo's 10-member shooting team having quarterly firearms training and mock escapes with one member representing an animal. The medications used by Murphy - Metatomadine and Telazol - were appropriate under the circumstances, noting that an animal's weight, age, health and adrenaline all influence the effectiveness. Sometimes the drugs take effect after several minutes; other times, not at all, he said. The shooting team that responded to the "Code One" - a call of an animal on the loose - on Tuesday carried weapons of different caliber, including .375, .30-06 and .308. Using the shotgun was a "tactical decision" that, from a safety standpoint, was a good choice in close quarters. De Lacure had not interviewed the zookeeper Wednesday because the man was distraught. The zoo's protocols are inspected every five years by the AZA, zoo officials said. Zookeepers radio one another to say where they are working before they move to another location, but officials are considering putting a "buddy system" in place where one zookeeper would follow another to ensure all pens and enclosures are properly locked, Salisbury said.


Revised List of Migratory Birds
August 24, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 164
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-24/

USFWS is proposing to revise the List of Migratory Birds by adding numerous species and removing numerous species. New species will be added based on new evidence of occurrence in the United States or U.S. territories, and species no longer known to occur within the United States will be removed. Name changes will be based on new taxonomy. The net increase of 140 species (152 added and 12 removed) brings to 972 the total number of species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Most aspects of the taking, possession, transportation, sale, purchase, barter, exportation, and importation of migratory birds are regulated by the USFWS. The MBTA implements treaties between the United States and four neighboring countries for the
protection of migratory birds. ( Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia) For a complete listing see:
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-24/  . Comments on the list must be submitted on or before October 23, 2006. Mail to: Chief, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop 4107, Arlington, VA 22203. Fax to (703) 358-2272; or e-mail to mbtabirdlist@fws.gov


Search for Kangaroo Oral Contraceptive
August 24, 2006 www.enn.com  By Rod McGuirk, AP

CANBERRA, Australia - Kangaroos are a road hazard in Canberra, especially in dry months when thousands arrive from the surrounding countryside to feed on watered lawns and golf courses. The Australian Capital Territory government, reluctant to cull the population because of animal welfare groups is funding oral contraception research. Government ecologist Don Fletcher said the oral contraceptive method would be more efficient than existing such as vasectomies for males and injections for females because the marsupials would not need to be captured. Fletcher is collaborating with Newcastle University scientists on the research. "One of the challenges is finding a food pellet that the grass-lovers will find irresistible." Field tests of the contraceptive could be underway in two-to-five years, he said.


USGS Tracks Manatee to Cape Cod
August 24, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

NEW YORK - The U.S. Geological Survey, which has been tracking the manatees for decades, announced Wednesday, that a northern boundary for the species has been broken - one of the Floridians reached Cape Cod, Massachusetts this week. "It's swimming, eating, and ducking into harbors to drink fresh water," USGS spokeswoman Catherine Puckett said about the manatee. She said vacationers in Rhode Island gave it water from garden hoses after they became worried about the cleanliness of the drink it was getting from a storm pipe. The endangered Manatee usually keeps to the warm waters of Florida, where about 3,000 of them live. Puckett said the recently spotted animal does not have a long scar on its back, which means it isn't Chessie, a manatee photographed by boaters off Long Island in 1995 and off Virginia in 2001. This manatee has minor scars on its tail, she added. But like Chessie, it is probably a male, as they like to wander. Wildlife experts and Puckett said even though temperatures have recently been warm in the Atlantic, and set record highs last year, it was too soon to tell if manatees have been extending their ranges because of global warming.


Conservation Actions Save 16 Bird Species
August 24, 2006 www.birdlife.org

In their paper "How many bird extinctions have we prevented?" (Oryx, July 2006), BirdLife authors Stuart Butchart, Alison Stattersfield and Nigel Collar explain how they identified 16 cases: the first time anyone has attempted to quantify the results of global conservation action in this way for any group of organisms. The majority had populations of fewer than 100 birds in 1994, with only four known breeding pairs of Chatham Island Taiko Pterodroma magentae, just four breeding female Norfolk Island Green Parrots Cyanoramphus cookie, and five pairs of Mauritius Parakeet Psittacula eques (three of which had bred without success). Conservation actions for 11 species were implemented through a mixture of governments and non-governmental organisations, with governments alone responsible for the rest. BirdLife International contributed to action for seven species. "By 2004 some species had undergone very significant population growth," Stuart Butchart explained. "Norfolk Island Green Parrot increased almost ten-fold from 32-37 individuals to 200-300 individuals, and Mauritius Parakeet ten-fold from five pairs to 55 pairs." However, these 16 species are not a representative sample of the world's threatened bird species, since 10 are confined to islands, where small-scale action can be more effective, while more than half of all threatened birds are continental, and often affected by broader-scale habitat loss and degradation. Three-quarters of the species could also be considered "charismatic" (parrots, raptors, pigeons, large waterbirds etc.) while just 48% of all Critically Endangered birds would qualify. Butchart suspects that charismatic species may capture conservationists' attention more easily, and are certainly easier to raise funds for, and to change public opinion about. At least ten other species would very probably have gone extinct without conservation interventions prior to 1994, and four others survive only in captivity (and are classified as Extinct in the Wild). Thus a total of 31 species would be extinct now without the benefits of conservation. Sadly, these successes are untypical. At least 45% of threatened bird species are judged to have deteriorated in status between 2000 and 2004.


Disney Rhinos Arrive in Uganda
August 24, 2006 www.nytimes.com  and news.yahoo.com

KAMPALA (AFP) - Two white rhinos donated by Disney have arrived in Uganda as part of efforts to re-stock the nearly extinct population here. After their 4-hour chartered flight from Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, the breeding pair were released into a controlled habitat in northwest Uganda. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said the young male and female, Nande and Hasani will reside on the privately run 17,297-acre Ziwa Ranch, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) from Kampala in Uganda's northwestern Nakasongola district, where they will join four other rare white rhinos. "They are meant for a breeding programme but they are all destined for the wild after they have reproduced and their number becomes at least 50," UWA spokeswoman Lilian Nsubuga told AFP. Animal Kingdom Vice President Beth Stevens said in a statement that the company was carrying on the tradition of its legendary founder Walt Disney with the donation of the rhinos, aged five and seven. "Walt Disney himself had a profound love and appreciation for conservation and we are proud to carry on his legacy through this donation." In 1968, more than 100 white rhinos lived in the wild in Uganda, but the last of those animals was seen in 1983, according the UWA, which has recently begun intensive efforts to restore the huge mammals to the country's parks.


Minnesota Zoo's African Savanna Was a Success
August 24, 2006 www.thisweek-online.com  By Jeff Achen

As Minnesota Zoo's 'summer-only' African animal exhibit comes to a close Sept. 4, zookeepers reflect on its success and its future. In one week, the African animals in the Minnesota Zoo's six acre "savanna" will be returned to their respective homes. Both in terms of finances, exhibit layout and animal adaptability, the zoo's largest temporary exhibit was a leap of faith. It was also the long-awaited answer to anxious zoo patrons who have been asking for an African exhibit since the zoo opened 26 years ago. Collection Manager Tony Fisher said other zoos across the nation were watching this summer to see if Minnesota could pull it off. Fisher said. "I'm sure we'll be helping other zoos put it together if they want to do it. If there weren't other partner zoos across the country, we would have never been able to do this. We'll reciprocate in any way that they ask." Fisher figures a 10 percent increase in zoo attendance would have boosted revenue enough for the exhibit to pay for itself, but zoo attendance went up only about 7 percent. Despite a smaller increase in attendance than hoped for, Fisher said the exhibit has been a success and the zoo will consider doing it again. The costs associated with the exhibit were only one reason the exhibit won't be around again next year, however. Minnesota Zoo Communications Manager Sue Gergen said the zoo tries to focus on one exhibit each summer and next summer the renovated Minnesota Trail will reopen. The following summer will see the addition of a new permanent exhibit with Russia's Grizzly Coast in 2008.


South Africa : Elephant Science Round Table
August 24, 2006 allafrica.com

Thirteen of the world's leading elephant scientists recently met at a Science Round Table organized by Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Their concensus was that elephants were an important component of South Africa's biological diversity, both as a species in their own right, and as agents of change in the ecosystem. They said decisions on managing elephants were dependent on stated land use objectives, and proposed the establishment of a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research advisory platform to oversee a 20-year research program. The program would use the "adaptive management approach" (learning by doing) to ensure that the consequences of all management interventions were carefully monitored. This would ensure that the short, medium and long term consequence of each was properly understood. The Minister told the scientists that the concept of adaptive management would form a key pillar of the Draft Norms and Standards that would be published for public comment in the next few months. Minister Van Schalkwyk has since invited the scientists to develop a comprehensive research proposal and suggested that the initiative should be driven by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The members of the panel agreed that the "research platform" should consist of six programs including the assessment of all current data and a model to predict the outcome of given actions. Other programs would involve experimentation to establish the likely trajectory of elephant numbers, the relationship between elephant density and a range of ecological consequences in various ecosystems, and the consequences of various management options. In addition would be a social, political and economic research to explore stakeholder perceptions and attitudes, costs and benefits of various options and international considerations. A draft proposal should be ready within 2-3 months.


Cincinnati Zoo Plant Clones go to Cuyahoga River Site
August 24, 2006 www.ohio.com  By Bob Downing

Fourteen plants cloned at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden will get a new home on Friday: the Gorge Metro Park. At present, there are 190 northern monkshood plants, which feature purple-blue flowers at one isolated spot in the park. There were only 13 plants in the Gorge in 2000. Northern monkshood is a federally endangered species that grows in two places in Ohio: the Gorge park and a state nature preserve in Hocking County. The area where the cloned plants will be put in the Gorge will be treated with chemicals to keep away slugs that could kill or damage the tiny plants, Johnson said. The spots chosen are in areas where white-tailed deer should not pose a threat, and the plants will be monitored weekly through the fall, he said. The monkshood plants were cloned by a team headed by Dr. Valerie Pence of the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife. The park district would like to get grant money, perhaps $650,000, to expand its efforts to restore the monkshood. These efforts could include planting more cloned monkshood from Cincinnati and perhaps planting seeds collected in 1986 when the monkshood was more common. The seeds are in a federal repository in Colorado. The program is being directed by USFWS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working in conjunction with the Center for Plant Conservation in St. Louis. Among the 30 members of that organization are the Cincinnati Zoo and the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland.


Abilene Zoo offers Xanax to stressed-out elephant
August 24, 2006 news.google.com

ABILENE, About 18 months ago, zookeepers noticed Tanzy, a 48-year-old African elephant, was grumpy and subdued. She refused to leave her barn to play and was sometimes mean to her 26-year-old elephant barnmate, Tanya. She also was aggressive to her keepers. So Tanzy's keepers started mixing 25 milligrams of Xanax (ZA'-naks) twice a day into her chow. She also gets ibuprofen too ease her arthritis-related discomfort. Zoo director Jeff Bullock says Tanzy's a much happier camper now -- alert, active and much more easy-going with Tanya and their keepers. She even spends every other night outside.


National Avian Influenza (H5N1) Surveillance Database
August 24, 2006 wildlifedisease.nbii.gov/ai/

The public can now view a Web site showing current information about wild bird sampling for early detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the United States. Scientists are now using the newly developed database and Web application called HEDDS (HPAI Early Detection Data System) to share information on sample collection sites, bird species sampled, and test results. The database is available to agencies, organizations, and policymakers involved in avian influenza monitoring and response. Scientists will use the data to assess risk and refine monitoring strategies should HPAI be detected in the United States. Public access is more limited, but shows the states where samples have been collected and includes numbers of samples collected from each state. Between April 1 and August 18, 2006, 9,590 samples from wild birds tested for avian influenza have been entered into HEDDS. Scientists have tested over 10,000 wild birds so far. No HPAI H5N1 has been detected to date. The Eurasian strain of H5N1 avian influenza virus has caused 141 human deaths elsewhere in the world, as well as the death of millions of domestic and wild birds. Low-pathogenicity strains of avian influenza are commonly found in waterfowl and shorebirds; such strains do not cause significant disease in wild birds or in people.


SeaWorld Suspends Fireworks
August 24, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com

SeaWorld has suspended indefinitely its nightly fireworks show to avoid a lawsuit from San Diego Coastkeeper, an environmental group that contends the chemical and paper residue falling into Mission Bay from spent fireworks constitutes a discharge of pollutants under the federal Clean Water Act. "There are pollutants being discharged and the law says you need a permit," said Marco Gonzalez, an attorney for Coastkeeper. SeaWorld plans to apply for such a permit, and If water-quality regulators approve the application, others who display fireworks over bodies of water will be forced to apply for similar permits. Coastal cities that shoot pyrotechnics from piers, the San Diego Unified Port District, the fairgrounds in Del Mar and a host of other places could be affected. San Diego and the state Coastal Commission currently allow SeaWorld to have as many as 150 fireworks shows annually. The marine-themed park typically conducts 120 to 125 shows per year, said SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz. Most of its pyrotechnic displays occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During each "Summer Nights SkyBlast" show, which lasts about six minutes, some 240 fireworks shells are launched and exploded over Mission Bay from a barge. Residue from the spent shells consists primarily of heavy metals, including copper, which is toxic to marine life, Robertus said. "It's pretty clear that these are pollutants; the key question is whether the levels in the water are significant," he said.


Zookeeper likely to face charge
August 24, 2006 www.sptimes.com  By Abbie Vansickle

TAMPA - A state wildlife inspector will recommend a criminal charge be filed against a zookeeper who allowed a Sumatran tiger to escape, a mistake that led to the animal's death. After taking the zookeeper's sworn written statement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Lt. Steve De Lacure says he will ask prosecutors to file a misdemeanor charge against the Lowry Park Zoo employee - unsafe handling of captive wildlife or unsafe housing that leads to escape, punishable by as much as three months in jail and a $500 fine, he said. The charge is typically applied to people who keep exotic pets at their homes, such as former NBA player Matt Geiger, whose 2,000 pound bison roamed north Pinellas County for two days in 2002. In Geiger's case, the charge was dropped. De Lacure called the Lowry Park tiger's escape "human error." The zookeeper told him the door latch didn't get closed, De Lacure said. When the zookeeper realized what happened, he quickly told other staff, who assembled a weapons team. At a news conference Wednesday, zoo officials characterized the zookeeper as an experienced animal handler. . The zookeeper had been with Lowry Park for a month when the tiger escaped, In that time, he had received training, including shadowing other zookeepers. He was always surrounded by the staff. Zoo officials say the keeper's references came from Sante Fe Community College. Zoo spokeswoman Rachel Nelson called the school "very highly regarded." The college has an on-site accredited zoo, where students learn to care for animals. There are no tigers. "We don't have big carnivores because we're always dealing with beginners," director Jack Brown said. But Brown said he was confident the school's graduates could handle the responsibility of working with tigers. The college trains students to work with Caracals, which are a breed of African cats, Brown saidThe zookeeper spoke with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission inspector and the zoo's general curator, Lee Ann Rottman, on Wednesday evening, "He was very upset," De Lacure said.


China's "Kill to Conserve" Campaign Begins
August 24, 2006 yaleglobal.yale.edu By Jonathan Watts

The Chinese government's first "kill to conserve" auction for foreign tourists will take place Sunday in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan and will be overseen by the state forestry administration. The starting price for a permit to shoot a wild yak, (fewer than 15,000 remain in the world), is $40,000, an argali (wild sheep prized for their massive spiral horns) begin at $10,000; red deer, $6,000; blue sheep (bhanal): $2,500. Wolves may go for as little as $200. The Listed animals are from the top two categories of endangered species. Only qualified foreign hunters and overseas hunting organizations will be allowed bids to stalk and kill the animals in five of the poorest provinces in western China: Qinghai, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang. Until now, international hunting groups have had to apply on a case-by-case basis to shoot protected animals in China. Poaching - usually by impoverished local hunters - is common. Argali are sold in street markets for less than £50. The horns of endangered antelopes and deer, which are sold for use in traditional medicine and as aphrodisiacs, are even cheaper. The World Wildlife Fund declined to comment.


Cincinnati Zoo Going Completely Smoke-free
August 25, 2006 news.cincypost.com

Beginning Sept. 1, visitors to the zoo will not be permitted to smoke anywhere in the park. Zoo officials said it's the first time in the zoo's 130-year history that smoking has been banned. The move is to protect the health of people and animals, zoo officials said. On the first day of the ban on Sept. 1, the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati will park its 38-foot long "Discover Health" mobile classroom at the zoo's entrance and invite visitors aboard to learn about the health dangers of secondhand smoke. Tim Stitzer, chief operating officer of the local YMCA, said "This is an excellent opportunity for this amazing institution to provide yet another service to our community.  "We know it is critical for adults to model a healthy lifestyle for the thousands of young people who visit the zoo and the YMCA is proud to partner with the Cincinnati Zoo to celebrate healthy lifestyles for all in our region."


Niabi Zoo closes to recapture grey wolves
August 25, 2006 qconline.com

COAL VALLEY, Illinois -- Niabi Zoo will be closed today as its staff tries to recapture two grey wolves that escaped Thursday. The animals were able to get out of their enclosure through a break in the chain link fence surrounding it. The exhibit area has since been repaired, according to zoo director Tom Stalf. Zoo workers spotted the wolves in a wooded area near their enclosure -- and within the zoo's perimeter fence -- and were able to shoot each with tranquilizer darts, but the wolves were able to hide among the trees. They are believed to still be on the zoo's 238-acre compound, which is surrounded by an 8-foot-high fence. In spring 2000, a grey wolf managed to jump the fence surrounding the enclosure after he was scared by a contractor coming in to do some work. Before that, no animal had escaped from the exhibit since it was built in about 1975.  That wolf was loose on the zoo grounds for several hours before voluntarily returning to the enclosure.


Pygmy Marmosets Born at Froso Zoo, Sweden
August 25, 2006 www.smh.com.au

A very rare pair of tiny twin pygmy marmosets were born this week at the Froso Zoo in Ostersund, Sweden. They are the world's smallest monkey, growing to just 35cm and weighing in at aroud 100 grams. "We were so sorry when the twin died," zoo owner Ake Netterstrom was reported as saying in London's Daily Mail. "We put in all available resources to save him but that did not help. "It was very sad but it is likely he had a lower immune defence because he was albino. The monkeys, which are found in the wild in the upper Amazon basin in South America, are a popular exhibit in zoos and in captivity they can live for up to 11 years. They communicate with each other through high pitched clicks, squeaks, whistles, and trills. They can be seen at:
www.smh.com.au/news/world/thumbs-up-for-tiny-twin/2006/08/25/1156012726424.html


Historic California Wetland Restored
August 25, 2005 www.nytimes.com

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Aug. 24 (AP) - The ocean flowed into a historic wetland on Thursday for the first time in more than a century, after bulldozers peeled back the last layer of an earthen dam. Environmentalists worked for 30 years to restore the Bolsa Chica area, a fragile ecosystem that has been used as an oil field for decades - an expanse of 387 acres. The 2 year project cost more than $100 million and included the shunting of part of the Pacific Coast Highway onto an overpass. Officials said it would take at least six hours for the ocean water to fill the basin. The area had been separated from the ocean for 107 years. Eight state and federal agencies were involved in the project, and all called it the largest and most ambitious restoration of coastal wetlands in the history of California, where 95 percent of saltwater marshes have been given over to development. The Bolsa Chica wetlands project is at the fore of a new and evolving science, said Shirley S. Dettloff, a leader of the conservation group Amigos de Bolsa Chica. The degraded wetlands are already home to 200 species of birds. Tidal flows and ebbs will fill and drain the basin twice a day, restoring a natural rhythm that scientists say should replenish the ecosystem and could attract more species. The area was connected to the ocean until 1899, when a duck-hunting club diked ponds to make it easier to attract the birds. In 1997 the state bought 880 acres of the wetlands for $25 million, and that parcel was added to 300 acres that Signal Landmark, a developer based in Irvine, gave to the state for wetlands preservation in 1973. The restoration was partly financed by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to make up for marine areas destroyed in their expansion. Bond issues approved by voters provided the rest of the money.


Disease Outbreak Kills Mahale Hills Chimpanzees
August 25, 2006 allafrica.com By Arusha Times

Outbreaks of a 'deadly Pneumonia disease' recently killed scores of rare chimpanzees known for their distinguishing pinkish color at the Western Mahale Hills National Park, located in Kigoma Region. About ten chimpanzees apparently died within a period of one week, in their natural habitat of Mahale National Park which is located about 120 km south of Kigoma along the Lake Tanganyika peninsula. About 58 chimpanzees live in the area. Other similar chimpanzees are found in Gombe and Rubondo National parks. A zoological researcher who is currently at Mahale National Hills Park, Dr. Magdalena Lusakile, called on a group of scientists from Sokoine university of Agriculture (SUA), the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA) to conduct a thorough scientific study and suggest possible solution. An independent wildlife scientist, who preferred anonymity has strongly advised the implementation of a vaccination program for chimpanzees, one of the rare species remaining in Tanzania. Less than 1, 000 pink's chimpanzees are believed to live in the wild, nearly 600 of them in the vicinity of Mahale Mountains National Park which covers an area of 1,000 square kilometers in western Tanzania. The rare chimpanzee's population has decreased from 15,000 in 1970 to less than 1,500 now living in arid habitats in western Tanzania and parts of Congo.


PETA Wants Lowry Park Zoo's License Revoked
August 25, 2006 www.peta.org

Tampa, Fla. - Today, PETA sent an urgent letter to Kevin Adams, chief of law enforcement for the U.S.F.W.S. urging him to revoke the Lowry Park Zoo's captive-bred wildlife license. The plea follows reports that a 14-year-old female Sumatran tiger, Enshala, escaped from her enclosure at the zoo and was ultimately shot and killed by zoo president Lex Salisbury. PETA points out that if the reports are accurate, the zoo's insufficient training and oversight of staff, inadequate animal-management protocol, and faulty recapture plan are directly responsible for Enshala's death. PETA also points out that these problems constitute an illegal take of an endangered species as defined in the Endangered Species Act. This isn't the first time that the Lowry Park Zoo has drawn fire from PETA. In 2003, PETA campaigned against the zoo's purchase of four wild elephants who were captured in Swaziland.


Lowry Zoo Fires Zookeeper Responsible for Tiger's Escape
August 26, 2006 www.sptimes.com  By Abbie Vansickle

TAMPA, Florida -- Enshala, a Sumatran tiger at the Lowry Park Zoo, was shot and killed by zoo director Lex Salisbury after she slipped through an unlocked zookeeper's access door in the tiger's night house and freely about the empty Asian Domain exhibit as zoo officials herded the zoo's remaining visitors into restaurants and other secure buildings. After an internal review, the zoo has fired the zookeeper who failed to lock the door, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it will recommend that a criminal charge be filed against the zookeeper. The zookeeper, whose name has not been released, had worked at the zoo for a month. He is a graduate of Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville. Zoo officials said the zookeeper had excellent references from the college. Without the man's name, his attendance could not be confirmed, college officials said. He also worked for a few months at the Lubee Bat Conservancy, where he handled fruit bats. Allyson Walsh, the organization's director, confirmed that the man worked there. He was a temporary employee hired to fill in for an ill worker, she said, and he did a fine job at Lubee.


Endangered Rattlesnakes Found in NE Illinois
August 26, 2006 cbs2chicago.com By A.P.

CHICAGO -- Biologists found 10 eastern massasauga rattlers in a prairie in the watershed of the Des Plaines River. Five of the snakes were young ones born last year, but there were no adult males. The surveyors measured the rattlesnakes, photographed them and implanting them with microchips. The snake, which is on the state's endangered species list, is an important part of the food chain. The snakes eat mice and voles, and are eaten by herons, hawks and other snakes. Their small numbers signal problems in the wetlands that provide habitat for other animals.


Baltimore Zoo workers vote out Union
August 26, 2006   www.baltimoresun.com   By Hanah Cho

Workers at Baltimore's Maryland Zoo who decided to join a union only three years ago voted it out yesterday. Zoo workers decided in a 47-to-28 vote to stop being represented by the United Steelworkers of America. Two years ago, workers voted to keep the union by a 51-to-33 vote.  Workers at the country's third-oldest zoo voted to unionize in February 2003, a challenging time for the struggling institution. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the October 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington area and the weather had hurt attendance. The state also had cut financing to the zoo. Kerry Graves, the zoo's vice president of marketing, said the union is no longer viable. "Since 2003, just about the entire management team has changed, so management is different from what was then," he said. "The fact is that management and workers do so well together and have a cohesive group, it wasn't needed." However, the union was weakened by employee turnover in past years. Membership also was hurt by the union being unable to win higher wages for seasonal, part-time workers, said Jim Strong, sub-district director of the United Steelworkers in Baltimore. The Union has 7 days to challenge the election and union leaders will meet next week to decide whether there are grounds to challenge the results. The union, whose contract expires Sept. 30, represents about 99 employees at the zoo.


CRES Scientist Observes Cameroon Chimpanzee Culture
August 26, 2006 www.nctimes.com  By: QUINN EASTMAN - Staff Writer

Scientists who study chimp behavior have long seen nut-cracking as an example of local culture, transmitted by imitation. West of the Sassandra River in the Ivory Coast, chimps use stones as hammers to open up hard-shelled coula nuts, a grapefruit-sized edible nut, to get to the oily seeds inside. East of the river, scientists' surveys hadn't found chimps cracking coula nuts, despite having the means and opportunity. "The nuts are there, the stones are there," said Bethan Morgan, a researcher working with the Wild Animal Park who spoke by phone from Cameroon. "The river seems to be an information barrier. It's puzzling because chimps in captivity pick up the behavior quickly." Last week, Morgan and co-worker Ekwoge Abwe reported in the journal Current Biology that they had seen chimps in Cameroon's Ebo forest, cracking coula nuts with quartz rocks. The chimps had hauled the rocks from nearby streams up into the coula trees, where they were using the boughs of the trees as anvils, she said. Morgan said that the chimps' nut-cracking behavior wasn't news to her Cameroonian co-workers with hunting experience. Nut-cracking is one of several geographically specific cultural traits primatologists have found, said Victoria Horner, who studies how chimps learn from each other at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center. "It's thought that they all have the capacity to learn it," she said. "However, west African groups (of chimps) don't do it unless someone in the group invents it." She cited the example of "hand-clasp grooming," where some chimps grooming each other hold hands near their heads. Also, some chimp groups' males knock on tree trunks or rip leaves apart to attract the notice of females; others don't. She said the Cameroon group's observations were a challenge to the view that nut-cracking is specific to chimps in one area of Africa. "It's like going to Shanghai and seeing a rodeo," she said.


Taste of CRES Will Feature Talks on Komodo Dragon & Przewalski's Horse
August 26, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Pat Sherman

ESCONDIDO - The Komodo dragon will be the subject of a talk by Andy Phillips of the San Diego Zoological Society. As deputy director of conservation research for the San Diego Zoological Society, Phillips traveled to Komodo National Park, a nature conservancy in the center of the Indonesian archipelago to study the reptile. He will share photographs and stories from his trip during "A Taste of CRES," a new educational program geared toward adults, at the San Diego Wild Animal Park's Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Conservation Research. The event, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 2, will include a tour of the facility, a wine-and-cheese-tasting reception. Phillips has studied Komodo dragons for the past 25 years, including five spent researching the natural population at Komodo National Park. More than 800 of the lizards in the park are equipped with identification chips or Global Positioning System collars so they can be monitored at each stage of their lives, Phillips said. Naturally, for a lizard to be studied or implanted with a tracking device, it must first be captured. On Oct. 7 at the center, Oliver Ryder will lead a discussion on Przewalski's wild horses. Admission to presentations is $49 per person. Participants must be at least 16. Those younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Reservations are requested. For more information, call (760) 738-5057.


U.S. Farmers Raise Extoic Animals
August 27, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By A.P.

Farmers across the U.S. are raising exotic animals for everything from exhibitions to sales of their meat, hides, wool and other body parts. Some are second-career farmers, while others were traditional farmers looking for a way to escape the squeeze of rising costs and stagnant commodity prices. Many are catering to health-conscious consumers looking for low-fat, high-protein meat from animals such as ostrich and bison. ''The exotic animal world is slowly growing,'' said Zoann Parker, a county extension director at North Carolina State University and former alternative agriculture specialist at Pennsylvania State University. Parker sees the biggest growth in sales of ''pocket pets'' such as small foxes, wallabies and hedgehogs, on-farm exhibitions and commercial preserves where trophy hunters can take aim at white-tailed deer and elk much larger than those in the wild. Sales of meat from ostriches and bison also are growing, she said, with high-end restaurants, health food markets and even some traditional grocery chains offering the products. While statistics on exotic animal herds and income are hard to come by, the U.S. Department of Agriculture deemed the farms worth tracking when it included them for the first time in 2002 in its twice-a-decade detailed survey of farm operations. That year, for example, the agency reported more than 4,000 farms with a total of 232,000 bison and nearly 17,000 farms with 145,000 llamas, as well as more than 48,000 emus and 20,000 ostriches, although experts say those numbers likely are undercounts. The next survey is due in 2007.


Portland Zoo's Butterfly Conservation
August 28, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND, Oregon - Oregon Zoo temporary summer tropical butterfly exhibit was extremely successful. "Winged Wonders" was underwritten by HomeStreet Bank, includes more than 450 Central and South American butterflies, including royal blues, Aglaura olivewings, Costa Rica clearwings, false malachites and others. Admission is $2, in addition to the zoo entrance fee.
The exhibit includes a display where pupae develop into butterflies and are released into the exhibit. An interpretive center, allows hands-on activities to show how a butterfly uses its senses of sight, smell and taste. A display highlights the zoo's field conservation projects with endangered Oregon silverspot and Taylor's checkerspot and further information describes how the zoo rears endangered butterflies and explains the life cycle of wild butterflies. The Oregon Zoo has joined 34 zoos and aquariums from around the country to form the Butterfly Conservation Initiative, designed to bring together government and non-government agencies to aid in the recovery of imperiled North American butterflies. A portion of the exhibit's $2 admission fee helps support the zoo's butterfly education and conservation efforts. During 2006, the zoo piloted a new conservation internship program for high school students in partnership with Saturday Academy and the National Forest Foundation/Friends of the Forest. Student interns assisted staff in rearing threatened Oregon butterfly larvae, shared project information with Winged Wonders visitors and worked with Siuslaw National Forest staff in field-based butterfly restoration and repopulation efforts. www.oregonzoo.org/Butterfly/moreinfo.htm


APHIS Tests Confirm H5N1 Virus In Michigan Mute Swans
August 28, 2006 www.usda.gov

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced final test results, which confirm that an H5N1 avian influenza virus detected in samples collected earlier this month from two Michigan wild mute swans is a low pathogenic subtype. This strain has been detected several times in wild birds in North America and poses no threat to human health. The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the presence of the "North American strain" of low pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in one of twenty samples collected from the two wild mute swans. Preliminary test results announced on August 14 indicated that an H5N1 strain could be present in two of the collected samples. Only one of the samples contained high enough levels of the virus to conduct confirmatory testing. As previously announced, genetic testing ruled out the possibility that either of the samples carried the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 avian influenza that is circulating overseas. Low pathogenic strains of avian influenza commonly occur in wild birds and typically cause only minor sickness or no noticeable signs of disease in birds. Low pathogenic H5N1 is very different from the more severe highly pathogenic H5N1 circulating in parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. Highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza spread rapidly and are often fatal to chickens and turkeys. For more information about the collaborative avian influenza efforts go to www.usda.gov/birdflu  , www.doi.gov/issues/avianflu  or the U.S. Government's Web site for avian influenza and human pandemic preparedness at www.avianflu.gov .


Honolulu zoo to Breed Sumatran Tigers
August 28, 2006 www.fortwayne.com

Two Sumatran tigers born in 1999 at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, have now been sent to the Honolulu Zoo. Berani, a 235-pound male Sumatran tiger, and his 187-pound mate, Chrissie, had one litter in Fort Wayne and have been approved to have two more litters as part of the AZA tiger breeding program. The cubs will stay with Chrissie for two years, the same time as in the wild, before being sent to other zoos. A tiger can expect two to six cubs in a litter. Chrissie had three cubs in her first litter. There are only 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. There are 200 Sumatran tigers in captivity, and 60 in U.S. zoos. Berani will then be paired with Honolulu's female Djelita.


Fresno Chaffee Zoo's Hispanic Day
August 28, 2006 www.fresnobee.com  By Marc Benjamin

Hispanic Day was started 7 years ago by Univision, the Spanish-language television network, health-care providers and Zoo officials. It was seen as a way to make the community more familiar with the zoo and bring attention to the zoo as restoration efforts. Zoo officials said they expected 10,000 to attend, which would make it the largest event of its kind since Hispanic Day programs began seven years ago. Final attendance figures won't be available for a few weeks. Sunday's event was an opportunity to reach people who might not otherwise attend by bringing the zoo together with other forms of entertainment and health service programs. "It is the busiest day the zoo sees," said Shelley Morrison, the zoo's director of administration and finance. Zoo officials say that in doing the Hispanic day programs over the years they have found that children have visited the zoo more than their parents. Children often visit during school trips while the parents are working. On Hispanic day, whole families come out from grandparents to grandchildren, To receive a free children's ticket, families were required to fill out a flier signed by five health service providers to show that they visited booths set up outside the zoo. Along with blood pressure checks, booths offered information about diabetes, poison prevention, nutrition, health insurance and jobs.


Officially Counting India's Tigers
August 28, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

NEW DELHI - Counting India's endangered tigers involves 88,000 forest workers who have been given designated areas in various wildlife sanctuaries. India has half the world's surviving tigers, but conservationists say the country is losing the battle to save the big cats. There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago, but decades of poaching have cut their number to 3,700. Earlier tiger counts had been done solely by spotting their pugmarks but conservationists said that method was faulty, mainly due to varying soil and weather conditions. The new method involves actual sightings of the animal apart from spotting and capturing on camera their pugmarks and faeces. DNA sampling will also be used. "The (new) methodology is a basket of all published techniques put together for application," said Y.V. Jhala of the the Wildlife Institute of India. Conservationists have in the past expressed reservations over the accuracy of government figures on tiger populations.


Applications for Endangered Species Permits
August 28, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 166
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-28/

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. We must receive written data or comments on these applications at the address given below, by September 27, 2006.

TE129505-0 Applicant: Gary Richard, O'Neill, Jr., Warren, Arkansas
The applicant requests authorization to take (capture, identify, release) the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) while conducting population surveys and management activities. The proposed activities would occur in Bradley, Calhoun, Drew, and Cleveland Counties, Arkansas.

TE132772-0 Applicant: USDA Forest Service, National Forests in Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama
The applicant requests authorization to take (capture, identify, measure, release) the following species: Southern acornshell (Epioblasma othcaloogensis), Cumberlandian combshell (Epioblasma brevidens), upland combshell (Epioblasma metastriata), triangular kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus greeni), Coosa moccasinshell (Medionidus parvulus), southern pigtoe (Pleurobema georgianum), blue shiner (Cyprinella caerulea), flattened musk turtle (Sternotherus depressus), Cahaba shiner (Notropis cahabae), goldline darter (Percina aurolineata), orange-nacre mucket (Lampsilis perovalis), Alabama moccasinshell (Medionidus acutissimus), southern clubshell (Pleurobema decisum), dark pigtoe (Pleurobema furvum), ovate clubshell (Pleurobema
perovatum), Lacy elimia (Elimia crenatella), round rocksnail (Leptoxis ampla), painted rocksnail (Leptoxis taeniata), flat pebblesnail (Lepyrium showalteri), cylindrical lioplax (Lioplax cyclostomaformis), and tulotoma snail (Tulotoma magnifica) while conducting presence/absence surveys. The proposed activities would occur in the National Forests located in Alabama.


Chimpanzees Can Transmit Cultural Behavior to Multiple "Generations"
August 28, 2006 www.whsc.emory.edu

Transferring knowledge through generations is not exclusive to humans, according to new findings by researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University and the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Unlike previous findings that indicated chimpanzees simply conform to the social norms of the group, this study shows behavior and traditions can be passed along a chain of individual chimpanzees. These findings, based upon behavioral data gathered at the Yerkes Field Station in Lawrenceville, Ga., will publish online in the August 28 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Scientists produce rats born from mice
August 28, 2006 msnbc.msn.com By Charles Q. Choi

A decade ago, scientists developed sperm in one animal that had come from cells in another. Researchers began by growing rat sperm in mice, and proceeded to develop sperm from hamsters, rabbits, pigs, bulls and humans in mice as well. But until now it was not known if these sperm were fertile. Now, reproductive biologist Takashi Shinohara at Kyoto University in Japan and his colleagues have produced healthy offspring from sperm cells of a different species. They have produced rat offspring from a mouse recipient that received cryopreserved rat testis cell transplantation. They collected fluorescent rat sperm from the mice and injected them into rat eggs. The hope is this method could help generate sperm from endangered species. Shinohara and his colleagues reported their findings online Aug. 28 via the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Fossas Exhibited in U.K.
August 29, 2006 news.bbc.co.uk

A zoo in Pembrokeshire has become home to a pair of Madagascan fossa - a "critically endangered" carnivore. There are believed to be only about 2,000 fossa left in the wild due to loss of their habitat. Aya and Orana - "Rain" and "Forest" in Malagasy - are being housed in a purpose-built enclosure. Fossa are a member of the civet family, and are closely related to mongoose. They have cat-like heads with large eyes, short muzzles and large rounded ears, and lithe bodies with long tails. Their coat is short and reddish-brown all over. They have retractile claws, for climbing and grabbing their prey, and webbed feet. There are currently 60 Fossa in captivity, 40 of which are in Europe. Folly Farm's head keeper, Tim Morphew, said in addition to the breeding program, Folly Farm was making donations to fossa projects on Madagascar. "The animals will also be a huge boost to our efforts to educate visitors and school groups about conservation, as they're a living illustration of the importance of preserving our rainforests," he added.


Prairie exhibit opens at Henry Vilas Zoo
August 29, 2006 www.madison.com

Bison, a long-clawed badger and a colony of prairie dogs have found a new home at the George A. Fait American Prairie Exhibit. The two-acre exhibit at the Henry Vilas Zoo was opened this morning by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. "This exhibit is living education for zoo fans of any age," said Falk in a statement. "And it also honors Mr. Fait and his 20-year history of donations at our zoo." Fait is a retired insurance company executive who made a $1.4 million donation toward the new exhibit in December on behalf of himself and his three children. Zoo Director Jim Hubing said no funds from the county levy were used for the exhibit.


Manatee Brain Study
August 29, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By Erica Goode

In studies over the last decade, Roger L. Reep, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida at Gainesville, and a small group of other manatee researchers have shown that the endangered Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is as unusual in its physiology, sensory capabilities and brain organization as in its external appearance. Manatees are as capable at experimental tasks as dolphins, though they are slower-moving and, having no taste for fish, more difficult to motivate. They have a highly developed sense of touch, mediated by thick hairs called vibrissae that adorn not just the face, as in other mammals, but the entire body. Manatees have the lowest brain-to-body ratio of any mammal. But, as Dr. Reep noted, they are aquatic herbivores, subsisting on sea grass and other vegetation, with no need to catch prey and have no predators. He also suspects that rather than the manatee's brain being unusually small for its body, the body, for sound evolutionary reasons, has grown unusually large in proportion to its brain. A large body makes it easier to keep warm in the water - essential for a mammal, like the manatee, with extremely slow metabolism. It also provides room for the large digestive system necessary to process giant quantities of low-protein, low-calorie food. The manatee must consume 10 percent of its 800-pound to 1,200-pound body weight daily. Hugh, 22, and Buffett, 19, captive manatees at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., are fed 72 heads of lettuce and 12 bunches of kale a day, their trainers say. And in a 2000 study, Iske Larkin, a researcher in Dr. Reep's laboratory, used colored kernels of corn to determine that food took an average of seven days to pass through a captive manatee's intestinal tract - a leisurely digestive pace comparable to that of a koala or a two-toed sloth. Reep is the co-author of a new book: "The Florida Manatee: Biology and Conservation" (University Press of Florida)


New Test Speeds H5N1 Diagnosis
August 29, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By DONALD G. MCNEIL JR.

Scientists have developed a detailed H5N1 test that takes less than 12 hours. The new technology, a microchip covered with bits of genetic material from many different flu strains, cuts the typical time needed for diagnosis of the A(H5N1) flu to less than a day from a week or more. The new test, called FluChip, can be performed in any laboratory that can amplify bits of genetic material; many countries have such laboratories in their national capitals, if not in provincial hospitals. Samples need not be frozen, and because only bits of genetic material are multiplied rather than whole viruses, the work can be done in laboratories with lower biosecurity levels. At present, animal and human health experts trying to fight avian flu in remote areas are forced to make important decisions based largely on guesses because it is too risky to wait a week for a laboratory to confirm that a highly dangerous virus is loose. A dipstick test done on the spot, which a veterinarian working in Indonesia said was as quick and as simple as a home pregnancy test, can tell only if a flu is type A. Getting more information requires polymerase chain reaction amplification, and that requires a machine costing about $20,000, which can be found in most countries' national laboratories and in some provincial hospitals. Currently, such machines and follow-up tests can tell in about four hours whether a flu is an H5 strain. The FluChip, sometimes called a microarray, or gene chip, greatly enhances that technology. It is coated with 55 short stretches of RNA selected from 5,000 samples of human, bird, pig and horse flus provided by the C.D.C., and including H5N1 and routine human flus of the H3N2 and H1N1 strains. The broken-up DNA in the amplified sample is, in effect, poured across the chip, and fragments stick to the matching bits of RNA. By noting the matches, scientists can deduce which flu it is. A more advanced version to be used in the field may be ready within two years, said Kathy L. Rowlen, a University of Colorado chemistry professor who led the team that developed the test.


Nutritional Management of Great Grey Shrikes
August 29, 2006 www.eznc.org 

The Departamento de Medio Ambiente (Generalitat de Catalunya), the Trenca Association and the Spanish Ministerio de Medio Ambiente are developing an Experimental Captive Breeding Plan for the Lesser grey shrike in the Iberian Peninsula. The plan is being developed using a surrogate species, the Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor meridionalis). Observations of the feeding behavior during parent chick-rearing both in captivity and in the wild are also important considerations to take into account. In the spring of 2003 twelve eggs of the Great grey shrike, were taken from the wild to develop working protocols such as the chick hand-rearing feeding protocol. Six growing diets were formulated using a variety of ingredients and proportions that changed according to the age and requirements established for the chicks. The amount of food was offered as a percentage of body weight, starting at 25% and increased progressively until 50%. From day 30 of age onwards, a meat-ball diet was formulated and offered alternatively with life insects during the week. During the first month chicks were weighed daily and the diet consumed by each chick was registered. Eighty three percent of the chicks hand-reared from day 1 reached adulthood without any clinically apparent health problem. The survival rate and average daily weight gain of the chicks were very similar to those observed by the San Diego team working with L. ludovicianus mearnsi. Source: H. Marqués, A. Porté, A. Vives, N. Torrent and D. Sánchez, Conzoolting Wildlife Management, Associació Trenca, Centre de Fauna de Vallcalent, Lleida, Spain, 2005


New Lion Exhibit With Enrichment at Taronga Zoo
August 30, 2006 www.news.com.au  By Peter Trute

Taronga's African lion exhibit has undergone a $20,000 renovation, and is occupied by male Jambo, female Kuchani and their three-year-old offspring Asali and Johari. The Serengeti-inspired exhibit has been planted with native grasses and succulents, and recreates the African savannah except for two enrichment features - a "bungee ball'' dangling from a tree and a climbing tree. Carnivore keeper Justine Powell said the bungee ball was designed to help the cats exercise. "Lions can leap up to 12m so the new bungee ball enables them to exercise the amazing jump and lunge of their natural hunting ability.'' Jambo favors the ball. "The climbing tree has definitely been a huge success, with all the lions" she said, " They climb their way up it and leave their claw marks in the bark.'' A picture is at: www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,20296265-5006009,00.html


Exprimental Orangutan Re-introduction
August 30, 2006 By Duncan Graham  www.thejakartapost.com

The Perth Zoo in Western Australia got its original orangutans from a private collection in Malaysia in 1968 and started breeding orangutans in 1970. Gestation is around 260 days and getting them to mate is not too difficult. However, they have the lowest mammalian reproduction rate - one offspring around every eight years. The big problem is keeping the young alive. Maternal rejection is a serious hazard for creatures born in captivity. Perth claims to have the world's most successful breeding program with 25 young born in the past 35 years. Seventeen survived infancy. Leif Cocks is the curator of exotic mammals and president and founder of the Australian Orangutan Project (AOP). With the help of Perth Zoo, AOP funds security at Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in south Sumatra where there are around 50 orangutans. It has been rescuing orangutans that have been taken by poachers and sold as pets, and orphans whose parents have been shot by forest loggers. The last wild orangutan recorded in the 147,000-hectare Bukit Tigapuluh park was in 1830. The animals now present are all rescued pets and their progeny. The Park is capable of supporting 1,000 orangutans and Cocks feels that it is time to try and release an animal to boost the park's breeding program. He plans to release 14-year-old Temara, a feisty, intelligent female who has spent her life in a metal enclosure, never having to worry about her next meal, forest fires, or poachers. Her trees have been steel frames and both her parents were born behind bars. She will become the first zoo-born Sumatran orangutan to be released into the wild in a bid to refresh the gene pool. Cocks is confident that threats from guns and chainsaws are minimal, and that villagers who get income from maintaining the park will be supportive. Temara will be flown in a crate from Perth to Jakarta and then trucked or airlifted to Jambi for a staged "soft release". Senior keeper Bullo will stay for three months working with Indonesian rangers to slowly ease the transition from Western Australia to the tropics.


Ammunition is Main Culprit in Condor Poisoning
August 30, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

SANTA CRUZ, CA--A study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has confirmed what wildlife biologists have long suspected: Bullet fragments and shotgun pellets in the carcasses of animals killed by hunters are the principal sources of lead poisoning in California condors that have been reintroduced to the wild. Lead poisoning is a major factor limiting the success of efforts to rebuild populations of the endangered California condor. Since the mid-1980s, condors have been bred in captivity and released back into the wild in California, Arizona, and Baja California. The birds, which feed on carrion, can ingest lead from ammunition in animal carcasses or gut piles left behind by hunters. The UCSC researchers used a "fingerprinting" technique based on the unique isotope ratios found in different sources of lead. The technique enabled them to match the lead in blood samples from condors to the lead in ammunition. Their findings were published online today by the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The researchers obtained blood samples from 18 free-flying condors in central California and 8 birds that had been raised in captivity and were still in holding pens waiting to be released. At the time of the study, this sample represented 43 percent of the wild condor population in all of California. The lead levels in the blood of prerelease condors were low, and the lead was isotopically similar to background lead in the California environment. In the free-flying condors, however, blood lead levels were higher and the lead had a different isotopic composition that approached the composition of the lead in ammunition. In another part of the study, the researchers showed that feathers can be used to monitor lead exposure in condors. They analyzed lead in tissue samples and a feather from a condor that had died of lead poisoning in Arizona. They found that the feather, sampled sequentially along its length, provided a record of the bird's history of lead exposure.


Widespread elephant slaughter discovered in Chad
August 30, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

WASHINGTON -- A team led by a conservationist from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society, working with the Chadian government and the European Union project CURESS near Chad's Zakouma National Park, has discovered 100 slaughtered elephants, most of them missing only their tusks -- a sure sign that poaching is on the upswing just outside of this renowned protected area. Mike Fay, a WCS conservationist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and his team discovered five separate elephant massacre sites totaling 100 individuals during a survey made Aug. 3-11 from their small plane. Fay also was on assignment for National Geographic magazine. All the elephants were killed since the end of May 2006, more than 50 of them in the days just before they were found. At one of the killing sites Fay observed a camp with six horses and five men, who quickly packed up as the plane flew over. Zakouma National Park in southeastern Chad makes up part of a Texas-sized region of central Africa that until the 1970s was one of the continent's most intact wilderness areas, abundant in wildlife. The general region was home 30 years ago to some 300,000 elephants, a number that has dwindled to perhaps 10,000 today. Encompassing nearly 1,900 square miles, Zakouma is now one of the last bastions of wildlife in all of central Africa, thanks to funding from the EU.


Edmonton Zoo Elephant Injured in Freak Accident
August 30, 2006 www.edmontonsun.com  By Max Maudie

EDMONTON, Alberta -- About 8:30 a.m. Sunday, before the Valley Zoo opened to the public, Samantha, a 16-year-old African elephant, reached with her trunk through a gate to a gate handle. "Her trunk got stuck and I think she panicked and pulled," said Dean Treichel, the zoo's operations manager. About 20 cm of the trunk was torn off. Wen zoo staff noticed what had happened a few moments later, the elephant wasn't crying nor was there much blood. "Unfortunately the damage was such that it couldn't be reattached," said Treichel. Samantha, is recovering away from the eyes of the public. She's expected to be out of service for about six weeks but is doing well, said Treichel. The door handle has been replaced by a metal pin. Elephant specialists contacted by the zoo told them the animals recover well from such injuries, according to Treichel. They have been known to lose chunks of trunk to alligators in the wild. Rob Laidlaw, executive director of Zoocheck Canada is calling for an end to elephant captivity in Edmonton.


New Elephant Abuse Allegations
August 30, 2006 www.kfoxtv.com  By: Elizabeth O'Hara

The AZA plans to conduct its own inquiry into what happened to Juno the elephant at the El Paso Zoo. A longtime zoo employee, Allan Seidon, is currently on administrative leave for allegedly hitting Juno earlier this month. He is also one of two men seen on a black-and-white training tape, recorded in 1999, that showed the beating of former El Paso Zoo elephant, Sissy. That tape prompted Sissy's removal from the zoo to a sanctuary in Tennessee. AZA has ordered all veterinary reports, USDA findings and witness accounts be sent to them for an investigation. Denny Lewis, the director of AZA's accreditation, said "If we had any feeling that any thing was less than right and correct at the El Paso Zoo, we would have looked at them right away," he said. Activists said they will now use the new abuse allegations as a catalyst for getting public support to have Juno and Savannah removed from the zoo.


Scientists Monitor Rehabilitated Orangutans
August 30, 2006 www.nst.com.my  By Roy Goh

KOTA KINABALU, Eight scientists headed by British primatologist Sheena Hynd, are manning the world's first orangutan monitoring station, opened recently in the 120,000ha Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu. They plan to monitor two young males and two females from the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan, released near the station on Aug 24. She said the researchers will track the four young apes, recording behavioural data until they have fully adapted to life in the wild. "A long-term study of this kind, particularly of rehabilitated orangutans, has never been done before. The information gleaned will provide a new, detailed insight into the apes behaviour and assist conservation strategies. There is no tracking device that can be attached to an orang utan, so we will follow the animals each day from about 5am to 7pm until they make their night nest. Feeding, ranging and nesting behaviour will be recorded, and faecal and other samples will be collected every day to see how the four adapt to their new home," Hynd added. The monitoring station was jointly established by the Sepilok Orang Utan Appeal UK, a British non-governmental organization, the State Wildlife Department and State Forestry Department. The NGO has also funded the construction of a new quarantine ward, the salary of a nurse, a Land Rover and a new enclosure at Sepilok. The centre has been rehabilitating orang utan since its establishment in 1964, releasing them into the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve which surrounds the Centre. Presently, there are at least 250 orang utan in the 43sq km Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, and 10 in the indoor nursery at the centre. In the Tabin Wild Reserve the orang utan population is estimated at more than 1,200.


Petition to List the Sonoran Desert Population of the Bald Eagle as Distinct
August 30, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 168
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/August/Day-30/ 

The USFWS have announced a 90-day finding on a petition to reclassify the Sonoran Desert population of the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in central Arizona and northwestern Mexico as a distinct population segment, list that distinct population segment as endangered, and designate critical habitat for that distinct population segment under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). On the basis of a review of the information contained within the petition, we find that the petition does not provide substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, we will not initiate a further status review in response to this petition. We ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of this population of the bald eagle or threats to it. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this species or this finding to the Arizona Ecological Services Office, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021-4951 For further information contact: Steve Spangle telephone, 602-242-0210; facsimile, 602-242-2513.


Zoo Director beats PETA to punch
August 31, 2006 qconline.com By Kurt Allemeier

A request for an investigation into the death of an escaped Niabi Zoo wolf made by PETA is a day late, the zoo's director said Wednesday. Onya, a 7-year-old gray wolf, was shot and killed by a Rock Island County sheriff's deputy early Saturday morning about a mile west of the zoo, after escaping from its enclosure, getting past Niabi's perimeter fence and eluding searchers for a day and a half. On Monday, zoo director Tom Stalf contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture and also the AZA about the wolf's death. A USDA inspector visited the zoo Tuesday and a report on the incident is expected as early as today. "We are a pro-active zoo," Mr. Stalf said, "not reactive." Mr. Stalf thinks PETA undermines the importance of zoos in education, conservation, research, and recreation. "We have animals in captivity so we can learn how to protect wild animals in wild places," he said. "PETA doesn't believe in that, and it is unfortunate."


Edinburgh Zoo's Amazon Plan Needs Funding
August 31, 2006 www.eveningtimes.co.uk  By Graeme Murray

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland hoped to build a £35m artificial Amazonian swamp near Rutherglen in South Lanarkshire to house examples of some of the world's endangered animals but recently learned they would not receive funds from a £250,000 lottery grant. Chief executive, David Windmill, said he was determined to find other ways of funding the project, which is a highlight of the Clyde Gateway redevelopment of swaths of the east end of Glasgow and Rutherglen. "We may have to modify our plans but we still believe that an animal attraction in Glasgow would be sustainable." Mr Windmill is able to tap into some of the reserves of the old West of Scotland Zoological Society, the former owners of Glasgow Zoopark. The attraction proposed for Rutherglen would include an artificial ecosystem that would flood every day, just as the Amazon river rises and falls. Tucked away in a dome much like the Eden Project in Cornwall, the attraction would be home to animals such as monkeys, manatees, tapirs and even big cats. Their environment would be as near as possible to that of the Amazon and unlike anything else in Britain. Mr Windmill and his colleagues have already identified a site on the Cuningar Loop, a derelict and overgrown site where the Clyde curves between Dalmarnock and Rutherglen, as suitable for the project.


Jamaican Iguanas Hatch at Indianapolis Zoo
August 31, 2006 www.indystar.com

The Jamaican iguana was thought to have become extinct in the 1940s, but in 1990 a group was rediscovered in the Hellshire Hills of Jamaica. Three of these endangered iguanas recently hatched at the Indianapolis Zoo. Zoo officials believe it to be the first time the species has been bred outside Jamaica. What's more, the iguanas are thought to be the first hatched via artificial incubation. The hatchlings are about 8 inches long and weigh a little less than 1.8 ounces. Zoo officials said Jamaican iguanas are considered the second rarest lizard in the world, with only about 100 still surviving in the wild. They are just slightly less endangered than their cousin, the Grand Cayman blue iguana. "Chester," age 15, and "Myrtle," 14, are the parents of the first three hatchlings. One additional baby could emerge from the group of eggs that yielded the hatchlings, and the zoo has a second group of 20 viable eggs that are scheduled to hatch in one to two weeks.


Fort Worth Zoo Director Defends Slaughterhouse Industry
August 31, 2006 www.dfw.com  By BARRY SHLACHTER

The director of the Fort Worth Zoo is opposing a congressional bill that would outlaw the industry that provides inspected meat for the zoo's collection of big cats, vultures and alligators. "Like other zoos, the Fort Worth Zoo uses horse meat as our carnivores' primary source of protein due to its leanness," Michael Fouraker wrote former U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm, now a lobbyist for Fort Worth-based Beltex and the country's two other horse plants, located in Kaufman and DeKalb, Ill. "If forced to employ a substitute product, the zoo would have to increase its annual expenses by $18,000, so it is both nutritionally and economically beneficial for the zoo to use horse meat rather than any other beef product," The Aug. 18 letter was released to the news media as part of the effort to defeat the House bill, which comes up for a vote Sept. 7. Bills to outlaw horse slaughter were blocked in the last two House sessions, but Congress voted last year to withhold funding for inspection of the meat, most of which goes to Europe for human consumption. Afterward, the plants began paying for the federal inspections. No Fort Worth Zoo member has complained about Fouraker's stand, "but there were a few phone calls from outside Texas. When zoo nutritionists voiced sentiments similar to Fouraker's two years ago, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association said it had no position on the issue.


Brolga Crane Hatches at Auckland Zoo
August 31, 2006 www.scoop.co.nz

A brolga chick hatched on August 28 at the Aukland Zoo, the first 'spring' arrival for 2006. Auckland Zoo Curator, John Rowden, said "We're really lucky to have these silver-grey cranes. They are native to Australia, yet we are the only Zoo in Australasia that has an active breeding pair," Several new kiwi chicks are also expected to hatch over the next few months. The Bank of New Zealand's Save the Kiwi Trust's Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E.) program has been running for 10 years and Auckland Zoo has released over 135 healthy kiwi chicks back into the wild. There are currently 13 eggs in various stages of their 75-day incubation period, with more eggs expected to arrive at the Zoo during spring. In the wild, predators kill over 95% of kiwi chicks within their first six months of life. However, rearing them in captive facilities like Auckland Zoo before re-introducing them to the wild dramatically increases their chances of survival.


Potter Park Zoo Exhibits Cavies Again
August 31, 2006 www.statenews.com  By BRENDAN BOUFFARD

LANSING, Michigan -- Five new Patagonian cavies are on display at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing. Cavies are related to the guinea pig and are indigenous to the grasslands of central and southern Argentina. Gerald Brady, director of the Potter Park Zoo, said the animals were donated by the Toronto Zoo earlier this summer. Maria Franke, curator of mammals for the Toronto Zoo, said after learning about the mauling deaths of three cavies at Potter Park Zoo in June, the Toronto Zoo asked to help by donating the South American animals. The Potter Park Zoo worked to prevent future attacks on its animals by adding additional fencing around the exhibit and pouring concrete under several gates in the park to prevent outside animals from trespassing. Even after inspections by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Brady is still baffled by the attacks. Although three cavies were killed during the attacks, one female survived with injuries, and Brady said it's adapting well with the new additions. Cavies are a valuable addition to the park because of their adaptability to cold weather, and Brady said even during the winter months, cavies are active. "They grow an extra hair coat and run around - it is a unique species for a cold zoo," Brady said. "They are very docile and friendly."


Researchers Agree to Share Avian Flu Samples and Data
August 31, 2006 www.nature.com

A plan to end secrecy in the sharing of avian-flu samples and data, announced online last week in Nature (see page 981), addresses one aspect of the challenge. The Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) is modelled on guidelines for sharing data in large-scale biological research (see www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_wtd003208.html ) A large number of leading flu researchers have signed up to its principles, under which countries and scientists would immediately share pre-publication samples and data, provided that all those who seek access abide by rules on intellectual property and the attribution of credit. All data would be released in GenBank and other public databases no later than six months after submission. If it works, it would provide a model for the rapid dissemination of data from outbreaks of future emerging diseases. Countries are often reluctant to share outbreak materials and data, as it could compromise their trade or other national interests. Scientists in affected countries can be unwilling to cooperate, as they often see little in return by way of scientific cooperation in building surveillance programs or fighting the disease. Some researchers hoard data, often for years, for competitive reasons.


China's first regulations on trade of endangered species
August 31, 2006 english.people.com.cn

China's first regulation on the trade of endangered wild fauna and flora comes into effect on Sept. 1, and Chinese officials say it will be strictly enforced. The rules cover wildlife listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). China joined the international convention in 1980. China's rich bio-diversity boasts nearly 20,000 aquatic animals and about 600 aquatic plants, and its grassland is home to about 7,000 wild plants and 10,000 animals. The country's wildlife resources are facing unprecedented threats from fast economic and social development, said the vice-minister. Willem Wijnstekers, secretary-general of CITES, welcomes the new regulations as it signals new progress China has made in complying with the convention. The regulations stipulate government departments at both central and local levels must crack down on illegal trade of the wildlife, such as the pelts of large cats and ivory, said the secretary-general.


Homing in on the genes for humanity
August 31, 2006 Science, 313. 1304 - 1307 (2006).

Researchers report in the current issue of the journal Science that a newly discovered gene may have helped build the modern human brain. Although they don't know what the gene does, they do know that humans have more copies of it than chimpanzees, monkeys, rats and mice, and they know that the gene makes a protein that is found in the human brain. That suggests that it may help to give the human brain its unique ability to think and reason. The work is part of the emerging tide of new discoveries made possible by the sequencing of several genomes closely related to humans, including the chimpanzee and the macaque monkey. Both of these species are in the branch of the evolutionary tree that gave rise to humans: the primate lineage. By comparing DNA among primates to DNA from more distant mammals, scientists are gaining clues to what makes primates, and people, unique (see 'Homing in on the genes for humanity'). The new work may also confirm a hot idea among genome scientists: that the number of copies of genes is an important source of variation that may be driving evolution. Until recently, scientists thought that most genetic variations between people and between species were due to small changes in the sequence of DNA lettering. But researchers are now discovering the importance of DNA variations that occur on a larger scale, including areas of repeated identical sequences that code for multiple copies of genes.


Trouble at wild-animal parks?
August 31, 2006 www.csmonitor.com  By Mark Clayton

Licensed by the US government, private exhibitors that display big cats (lions, tigers and leopards) are required to put "significant barriers" between visitors and the cats. But there's enough gray area in the law so that some facilities permit close contact with the animals, including touching them. But after a 17-year-old Kansas girl was fatally mauled, pressure has grown at federal and state levels to explicitly ban public contact with big cats at facilities that are licensed and regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). In April, Kansas became the first state to ban direct contact between humans and potentially dangerous animals at wildlife exhibits. It also joined 21 states that prohibit private ownership of certain big cats. Last month, Rep. Jim Ryun (R) of Kansas introduced legislation in Congress to beef up the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which governs animal safety at USDA-regulated facilities. His bill would prohibit direct contact between big cats and the public and require the USDA to write public-safety regulations for exhibitor licensees. Activists say AWA rules are too weak to ensure that the animals are securely kept and well maintained - or to protect humans from the animals on display. "We're not even that critical of the USDA because it doesn't really have the authority it needs to deal with the public-safety problem," says Greg Wetstone of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), a Yarmouth Port, Mass., animal rights group. About 5,000 lions, tigers, and other big cats are kept by nearly 700 USDA big-cat licensees in the United States. Someone seeking a license to exhibit tigers is subject to requirements similar to those for someone seeking a goat license, IFAW reported last week, after a year-long investigation of such facilities. As a result, in states where private ownership of exotic animals is banned, people can legally keep their animals by getting a USDA license as an exhibitor. In a rising number of cases, license applicants are mom-and-pop outfits building animal collections.

"These animals are dangerous, and it takes a lot to contain and feed them," says Mr. Wetstone of the IFAW, which included in its report the grainy photo of the girl touching the leopard. "So some folks decide to make a few bucks and escape state rules barring them as pets. They go get a USDA license." The IFAW report - which looked at 42 wild-animal exhibits in 11 states, all USDA-licensed - cites these problems. o Most of these big-cat facilities are "structurally unsound."  Most allow public contact between people and big cats.o "Vermin and grossly inadequate sewage disposal" are often evident. Meat fed to big cats is often rotten.o Many facilities have no attendants at big-cat exhibits, and some "allowed children to work as attendants." In the past decade, there have been 13 big-cat-related incidents in Florida, 12 in Texas, six in California, and five each in Illinois, Nevada, Minnesota, and Kansas. Since 1990, 13 people have died in these incidents, IFAW says.


UC Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Workshop
August 31, 2006 www.ewire.com 

The University of California Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program (EPDRP) Workshop, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 3, at UC Riverside, Riverside Extension Center, Room E. Highlights include: Entomologist Alex Gerry will discuss the role of arthropods in the spread of exotic Newcastle disease in southern California. Weed scientist Marie Jasieniuk will talk about how she used molecular markers to identify the origin and spread of herbicide resistance in weeds infesting California rice fields. Entomologist Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell will discuss an educational program that she and her research team developed to help identify and prevent the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid. Entomologist Les Greenberg will present his flight studies of the red imported fire ant. Biologist Richard Sweitzer will present his findings about the ecological and economic risk of wild pigs in oak woodland ecosystems in California. To register, visit www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/EXOTIC/epdrpreg.html  . Fill out the form by Sept. 27. A map and parking information for the Extension Center is available at www.extension.ucr.edu/conferencing/parking  .


RSPB Campaign to Save the Albatross
August 31, 2006 www.birdlife.org/news/ 

19 of the world's 21 species of albatross are threatened with extinction, mainly because of the unsustainable numbers killed by longline fishing activities. "We need to change minds to help save the albatross." -Jonathan Wright, Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds Marketing Manager. Schoolchildren were asled what they thought an albatross was, what it ate, looked and sounded like. The answers we got were highly imaginative. If we don't act to save these birds, our children will never see a real one and can only imagine. What started out as research turned into a powerful creative idea - a multi-media advertising campaign to raise the plight of albatrosses and increase RSPB membership under the slogan "Once extinct, you can only imagine". The campaign uses the latest advertising technology, including bluecasting, and targets children and urban charity supporters. Featured is a series of eye-opening and imaginative interviews with children, and includes posters, press, TV commercials, direct mail and door drop literature. Short commercials will also appear on transvision screens in key London stations-the first time a charity has used bluecasting-and work by renowned artist Quentin Blake. A website, which aims to collect 100,000 signatures-one for every albatross needlessly killed on a longline each year-has been established at www.onceextinct.com/ 


Penguins March Through SF Zoo
September 1, 2006 www.nbc5i.com

A group of waddling penguins marched from a conservation center to their specially built exhibit, Penguin Island. Many of the spectators followed along to watch the birds go for a dip after their march. Penguin Island is one of the most successful captive breeding colonies in the world, with more than 160 penguin chicks fledged there since the area was renovated to accommodate penguins in 1984.


Elephant Baby Arrives at Indianapolis Zoo
September 1, 2006 www.theindychannel.com

Ivory, the zoo's 24-year-old African elephant, gave birth to a 266-pound female calf at 9 p.m. Thursday. Debbie Olsen, the zoo's director of conservation and science programs, said the birth is a boost to the nations elephant-breeding program. The calf is the second elephant born at the zoo in a year. Kedar, who is now nearly 10 months old, arrived on Oct. 18. Ivory's firstborn, Ajani, just turned 6 and weighs just over 4,000 pounds. Ivory, who weighs 7,000 pounds, has gained nearly 700 of it since her 22-month pregnancy began. Zoo veterinarians conducted weekly blood tests and gave Ivory ultrasound examinations during her pregnancy. Zoo staff members took turns staying with Ivory overnight as her due date drew near. The newest baby brings the zoo's elephant population to eight. Ivory's pregnancy follows 12 years of work by the zoo, and others to pioneer artificial insemination techniques. The delivery was a bit earlier than the zoo had anticipated. "She (Ivory) actually laid down to take a nap and all of a sudden got up and about 10 minutes later, the calf was on the ground," said David Hagan, curator of Plains and Encounters at the zoo. The calf began nursing from her mother, Ivory, at about 2 a.m.


Milwaukee Zoo euthanizes Lucy the elephant
September 1, 2006 www.duluthsuperior.com  By A.P.

MILWAUKEE - Lucy, believed to be the world's fourth-oldest African elephant in captivity, was euthanized Friday morning after staffers found her lying down in her stall. She had spent 44 years at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The medical staff had decided in the past two to three weeks that if the 46-year-old elephant were found lying down again, she would be euthanized. In June, Lucy became ill and was unable to stand up in the African exhibit yard. A crane was brought in to lift the 9,000-pound animal to her feet using straps around her body and legs. She struggled for a few days after that but improved. Lucy was found lying down in late July but she was able to get up on her own. Brittany, Lucy's companion and the only other elephant at the zoo, was allowed in Lucy's stall after she was euthanized to help with her grieving. The zoo hopes to get another elephant soon as a companion for Brittany, who is in her late 20s.


California Will Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
September 1, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By JAD MOUAWAD and JEREMY W. PETERS

California is once again at the forefront of the nation's environmental policy, with a plan to cut carbon emissions by 2020. With governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signing off on the plan, final legislative approval was granted yesterday. It calls for a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and envisions controls on some of the largest industrial groups, including utilities, oil refineries and cement plants. The law will include a mixture of mandatory regulations, incentives and market-based mechanisms, including a so-called cap-and-trade system allowing companies to buy and sell carbon allowances. The California Air Resources Board has until 2009 to draft regulations that are to become mandatory in 2012. The plan has divided businesses and industries in California. High-technology companies have lined up behind the move, arguing that it will put California at the forefront of alternative energy development, most of those representing basic industries contend that it will retard the economy, force energy-intensive businesses out of state and increase costs for all Californians. But the backers of the law said that developing new energy sources and emphasizing efficiency would actually help expand California's economy. They cited a recently published study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, which argued that cutting carbon emissions back to 1990 levels would add $74 billion in value, or 3 percent, and contribute to the creation of 89,000 jobs. Given a lack of national policy toward global warming, local and state authorities are increasingly creating a patchwork of competing rules that will be potentially harder for businesses to navigate. Seven states in the Northeast, for example, have proposed to reduce carbon emissions from power producers 10 percent by 2019.


Study Proves Wildlife Corridors Boost Biodiversity
September 1, 2006 news.nationalgeographic.com By John Roach

Conservationists popularized the theory of using corridors for species preservation in the 1960s and '70s and more than 800 organizations in the U.S. and Canada are now using corridors to create webs of protected habitat between Yellowstone National Park and the Yukon. In India a 37-mile-long, 6-mile-wide (60-kilometer-long, 10-kilometer-wide) corridor connects important tiger habitats in the eastern Himalaya and the Western Ghats mountain ranges. In addition, conservationists in Chile's Bío Bío region are working to connect three established nature reserves with small private properties. Without scientific evidence showing that corridors work, the skeptics' arguments remained valid. But until now, scientific proof that the networks helped to preserve multiple plants and animals at large scales was lacking. Now a team of scientists led by Ellen Damschen, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have provided the lacking evidence. They carved up a vast swath of a South Carolina pine forest into six 5,382-square-foot (500-square-meter) experimental plots. Over five years open patches of habitat that were connected to other patches via narrow corridors grew about 20 percent more plant species in each plot than isolated patches did. "Corridors have a positive impact on the diversity of species," Damschen said. She and her colleagues report the finding in this week's issue of the journal Science.


Monkey Social Networking Study
September 1, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

In a new paper from The American Naturalist, Santa Fe Institute researchers Jessica Flack and David Krakauer study how power structures arise from a status communication network in a monkey society. Power structure is important because it can influence the complexity of interactions among group members. "When building a society, it is of utemost importance that signals be informative and any sources of ambiguity minimized," says Krakauer. "This requirement is reflected in the structure and function of communication networks. A goal of this research has been to study communication at a group level rather than the more traditional communication we associate with pairs." Using information theory, the researchers show that power emerges through consensus. There is a high degree of consensus among group members that an individual is powerful if that individual has received multiple subordination signals from many individuals - in the case of pigtailed macaque monkeys, a silent bared-teeth display. On the other hand, there is little consensus if signals come from just a few individuals.


New Parks to Protect Animals is Feasible
September 1, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

An article in the September 2006 issue of BioScience, provides some good news for conservation biologists. Authors L. J. Gorenflo and Katrina Brandon used GIS (geographic information system) technology to study some 4,000 "gap" locations worldwide identified in previous research as harboring animals vulnerable to extinction yet unprotected by conservation regulations. Gorenflo and Brandon concluded that many of the gaps, which tend to occur disproportionately in the tropics, on islands, and in mountains, are locations where conservation measures appear feasible, because they include large tracts of conservation-compatible habitat and have a sparse human population, yet are not attractive for agriculture. Most of the gap locations did not feature high levels of threat from humans. Human presence seems to be a hindrance to conservation in gap locations situated near coasts, including islands. In other regions, including parts of the Andes, Mexico, Brazil, and Africa, some gap locations have agricultural potential, which suggests that conservation measures there might be opposed by farming interests. Nevertheless, although other factors besides those analyzed by Gorenflo and Brandon influence the likelihood that protected areas are established, the findings suggest that efforts to establish new protected areas may be worthwhile in many parts of the world.


Deer Vocal Communication Study
September 1, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

In a new study from The American Naturalist, researchers from the University of Zurich studied vocal communication between fallow deer mothers and their offspring. They found that only adult females have individually distinctive calls, meaning that fawns are able to distinguish their mother's calls from those of other females, but mothers are not able to distinguish between the calls of their own offspring and other fawns. This is in contrast to previous studies and provides a novel insight into parent-offspring recognition mechanisms. Newborn fawns lie concealed and silent in vegetation away from their mothers to avoid detection by predators, and mothers return intermittently to feed them. Vocal communication is very important for ungulate hider species because mothers and offspring rely on contact calls for reunions to occur. Similar research on domestic sheep and reindeer has shown that both mothers and offspring are able to recognize each other based on individually distinctive contact calls. However, reindeer and sheep tend to populate open habitats lacking cover, and the researchers argue that the recognition system employed by deer evolved in habitats providing abundant cover for newborns. While sheep and reindeer are mobile soon after birth - and thus remain in constant close contact with the mother - mother-offspring contact for deer is limited during the first few weeks of life to when nursing occurs.


Four Javan Rhinos Born in Indonesia
September 1, 2006 www.redorbit.com

JAKARTA, -- Scientists have found signs of four Javan rhinos born in recent weeks in Indonesia, These are the first known births in 3 years according to WWF-Indonesia. At least four different footprints were discovered by a WWF team in Ujung Kulon national park, at the far western end of Java island, where nearly all of the surviving Javan rhinoceroses roam. Because of the distance between the four areas where the discoveries were made and the differences in the size of the footprints, the team concluded they are evidence of four different calves. "Javan rhinos are probably the rarest large mammal species in the world and they are on the very brink of extinction," said Arman Malolongan, director general of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation at Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry. "To discover that this population is breeding - and even slowly growing - gives us hope for the species' future." Between 28 and 56 Javan rhinos live in Ujung Kulon. The only other known population is in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, where no more than eight rhinos likely survive. Matthew Lewis, Program Officer for WWF's Species Conservation Program.said "We hope to monitor the calves' progress by capturing photos of them on one of the many motion-triggered camera traps that we have set up within Ujung Kulon National Park."


U.S. finds low-risk H5N1 bird flu strain in ducks
September 1, 2006 www.alertnet.org  By Charles Abbott, Reuters

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Mallard ducks in Maryland have tested positive for bird flu, apparently a common, less pathogenic strain that poses no risk to humans, according to the USDA. The the H5N1 avian influenza virus was found in fecal samples from "resident wild" mallards in Queen Anne's County in Maryland, on the U.S. central Atlantic coast. "Testing has ruled out the possibility of this being the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has spread through birds in Asia, Europe and Africa," said USDA in a statement. Five to 10 more days will be needed for definitive tests to confirm whether low-pathogenic H5N1 bird flu was found in the United States for the second time this year. On Aug. 14, the virus was found in two mute swans in Michigan. Scientists say low pathogenic avian influenza commonly occurs in wild fowl. The Maryland mallards did not appear sick so the samples, collected on Aug. 2 as part of a research project, were not given high priority when sent to USDA labs for testing. The low-pathogenic strain of H5N1 has been found six other times in the United States since 1975. Mild and low pathogenic strains of bird flu are common in the United States and other countries.


Free 'wiki' textbooks planned for developing nations
September 1, 2006 www.scidev.net 

A US-based initiative plans to make new textbooks available for free on the Internet for university students in developing nations. The Global Text Project's first book is due in January 2007, and if it is a success, the project aims to produce 999 more titles covering biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics. Funding will be sought from the world's 1,000 largest and richest companies, each of which will be asked to sponsor an individual title. The plan is to increase students' access to educational material by overcoming the expense of traditional textbooks, which quickly become outdated. Leading professors worldwide will be invited to contribute chapters that will then be compiled into up-to-date texts using the software behind Wikipedia, the popular free-access online encyclopaedia. An international advisory board drawn from universities in Colombia, Egypt, Malaysia, South Africa, Uganda and the United Kingdom has been set up to oversee the books' creation. The books will be written in English and then translated by volunteers into Arabic, Chinese and Spanish. Students will be able to read the books online or print them as pdf files, and will be encouraged to contribute to future editions. Rick Watson, a professor at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business in the United States, is leading the initiative. He points out that traditional textbooks are simply too expensive for the majority of students in developing nations, even when publishers offer a 50 per cent discount.


Bluetongue Virus Invades Northern Europe
September 1, 2006 www.sciencemag.org  By Martin Enserink Vol. 313. no. 5791, pp. 1218 - 1219

In a striking example of pathogens hopscotching the globe, a livestock virus originating in Africa appears to have hit three countries in northern Europe since 14 August. More than 70 farms in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium have been affected by bluetongue disease, an insect-borne infection of ruminants such as cows, sheep, goats, and deer. The virus is carried by tiny insects called Culicoides, or biting midges, and symptoms include a blue tongue, a result of bleeding--in sheep and goats. Cows are reservoirs but usually don't get sick. The virus, for which 24 serotypes are known, occurs in many parts of the world, but until recently it was almost never seen in Europe. Since 1998, however, some serotypes have made dramatic incursions into Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Balkan countries, a trend some scientists blame on climate change. When the virus first turned up in the Netherlands on 14 August--much farther north than it had ever been seen--researchers assumed one of the southern European strains had taken another major leap. But a genetic analysis completed last weekend at the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) in Pirbright, U.K., revealed the virus to be of serotype 8, previously known to occur sporadically in sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and the Indian subcontinent. Its genetic fingerprint is closest to that of a Nigerian strain, which strongly suggests an African source, says IAH virologist Peter Mertens. It's a mystery how this strain reached northern Europe, because there is very little traffic of ruminants between Africa and Europe. Perhaps an imported zoo animal was infected, or an infected midge may have hitched a ride on an airplane. The current outbreak is unusual in that some cows have gotten sick. Scientists are hoping that the northern European winter will kill off all infected midges and prevent a 2007 sequel.


El Paso Zoo Collections Supervisor is Fired
September 1, 2006 www.kfoxtv.com  BY: Elizabeth O'Hara

El Paso Zoo's collections supervisor, Allan Seidon, has been fired for allegedly failing to follow animal handling policies and procedures. On Aug.1 Seidon made a request of the elephant Juno and she was not cooperative. He allegedly struck her with a wooden stick and broke it on her. This was the second abuse incident involving Seidon. He was one of two men on a 1999 training tape beating another elephant, Sissy until she collapsed. Following Sissy's subsequent transfer to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, the zoo said it had changed its training policies to a system called "protective contact," which requires a barrier between the animal and the employee.


Sumatran Tiger Triplets at National Zoo
September 2, 2006 www.nbc4.com 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Three baby Sumatran tiger cubs made their public debut Saturday, at the National Zoo's Great Cat exhibit. The two females cubs and one male cub, were born on May 24. More than 20,000 entries were submitted in the Zoo's month-long naming contest. The male cub was named Guntur, which means thunder in Bahasa Indonesian. The two females are Melati and Maharani, which mean jasmine and queen respectively. The cubs, which now weigh about 25 to 30 pounds. Festivities for the day will also include crafts for kids, and talks from zookeepers. Other recent births include a baby elephant, giraffe, bear and ape.


Catskill Game Farm Animal Auction
September 2, 2006 www.recordonline.com  By Jeremiah Horrigan

Catskill - The Catskill Game Farm is closing next month. People have been coming here for 73 years to feed, and pet exotic animals such as deer, emus, and white rhinoceri. But the private zoo's planned auction of the zoo's animals has sparked the concern of a consortium of animal rights groups. They are calling on owner Kathie Schulz to "consider a compassionate retirement" instead. That, says Schulz, is exactly what she's trying to do, and if Advocates for Game Farm Animals doesn't like her approach, well, that's their right. She's been in the business all her life, and she wants the animals she auctions off to be well-cared for. Of specific concern for AGFA spokeswoman Kirsti Gholson is the possibility that some exotic animals will be purchased for what are called canned hunts, in which trophy hunters shoot exotic animals on private lands. "I'll have nothing to do with canned hunts," said Schulz, who expects to know most of the people at the auction, which is scheduled for the middle of October. As further insurance, she said representatives of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Agriculture Department will be on hand during the auction. Gholson would like Schulz to give the animals to "esteemed" nonprofit sanctuaries. Gholson said it against her group's policy to bid on the animals, since it feeds a system members find objectionable.


Poison did not kill Delhi Zoo lions
September 2, 2006 www.hindu.com  By Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: While the autopsy reports of the eight-year-old lion and two-year-old lioness that died at Delhi Zoo here in August are still awaited from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) at Bareilly, a verbal communication from the Institute has ruled out death due to poisoning.  The Institute has pointed out that the eight-year-old lion that died on August 8 had extensive lung damage. "We will discuss the details of the cause of death only after a full report is submitted next week. We are lucky that we have had no other deaths since,'' said an official of the zoo. The zoo had sent for testing the viscera of two of the six Asiatic lions that had died within a span of two months. The authorities were looking at the "possibility of poisoning including snakebites, because the six lions died during a short span of time. In a verbal communication IVRI confirmed that poisoning wasn't the cause of death,'' said the zoo official. The viscera samples of the dead animals were also sent to Dr. Lal's Path Lab, Delhi, which pointed to the fact that the lion had died of an unknown viral infection.


World's Largest Chimpanzee Refuge in Florida
September 3, 2006 www.miami.com  BY KELLI KENNEDY, AP

FORT PIERCE, Florida -- Carol Noon, an anthropologist with a doctorate from the University of Florida is building what she says will be the largest chimpanzee refuge in the world when it is complete in 2008. 291 chimps will roam virtually free on 12 islands in Fort Pierce, dotted with jungle gyms, hammocks, tire swings -- and no cages. Noon sued the Air Force in 2000 to get custody of 21 chimps. And when the Coulston Foundation, a notoriously abusive biomedical research facility in Alamogordo, N.M. went bankrupt, Noon bought the facility in 2002 and got custody of an additional 266 chimps. Almost immediately, she gutted the place, widening the cages, replacing the bars with mesh to bring in sunlight and giving the chimps blankets, toys and fresh food. Eventually, she started what has become the great American chimp migration as she transports 10 at a time in a custom-built 38-foot trailer, where each animal has its own air-conditioned window seat. Noon specializes in re-socialization and carefully chooses which chimps will go together to form ''families'' on the islands. Her training in 1989 at the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia -- where the animals were kept in 14-acre enclosures - convinced her to bring the same idea back to U.S. All around the facility, construction workers hurry to finish another feeding room or jungle gym. Four of the 12 islands remain unoccupied. When she bought the land in 1999, her construction company dug the 17-foot deep moats, built the feeding houses and erected the jungle gyms. Almost two years later, the first batch of chimps moved in. An estimated 200,000 chimps still live in Africa, a rapid decrease from a few million just 50 years ago. The U.S. is home to 2,400 captive chimps, a few hundred of them live in zoos and work in Hollywood. About 1,700 are used in biomedical testing. Most of the chimps on the islands are in their 40s and maybe have another decade left to live. Because Noon doesn't believe in captive breeding, the males have had vasectomies. Since arriving on the islands, the chimps' progress is subtle and extraordinary. It takes a staff of 69 to run the two facilities. On Wednesday, about six are busy in the spacious kitchen cutting apples, lettuce, carrots, oranges and of course bananas into large plastic bins. The chimps also eat granola bars, smoothies and juice boxes, but their favorite meal is dinner, when they feast on organic meal replacement bars donated by a local company. The chimps eat about $160,000 worth of food a year and drink nearly 20,000 gallons of water a day, Noon says. It takes a small fortune to run the two facilities -- though she will close the one in New Mexico once the chimps are all in Florida. Save the Chimps receives no government money, relying solely on donations to fund the $2.5 million-a-year operation. For $120 a year donors can click on www.savethechimps.org  and adopt an animal.


Scientists Work to Save Hawaii's Monk Seals
September 3, 2006 www.heraldextra.com  By Tara Godvin, AP

Known in Hawaiian as "ilio holo i ka uaua," or dog that runs in rough water, monk seals broke off from the main evolutionary branch of seals about 12 million years ago and are believed to have since remained unchanged. Already the Hawaiian monk seal's counterpart in the Caribbean is extinct. And the Mediterranean monk seal is estimated to number 500 at most. With most of their lives spent in the water, much of the Hawaiian seals' habits are unknown. Between the 1950s and early 1970s the monk seal population dropped unexpectedly by 50 percent. Now numbering somewhere around 1,200, the Hawaiian monk seal has failed to rebound despite efforts to protect its main habitat in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the waters around which recently became a national monument. The seals also have a developing but smaller outpost on the main Hawaiian Islands, where they are occasionally spotted by residents and tourists. Among the seals' most prominent problems are skinny pups that have trouble surviving through their first years. With the seals' numbers projected to potentially plummet below 1,000 in the next five years, scientists are in a race to figure out why the shy, up to nearly 600-pound animals are disappearing from the islands. Marine mammal experts from The National Marine Fisheries Service, the Bishop Museum, the University of Hawaii and Canada's Dalhousie University have undertaken a long-term investigation to find out what is happening to the seals.


Video of Elephant Birth at Ulasaba

September 3, 2006   Deborah & Jonathan Smith
video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5736044891704882660&q=elephant+birth&hl=en

Amateur video taken at Ulusaba, a private game reserve in South Africa


Zoo Vet - A New Simulation Game
September 4, 2006 home.nestor.minsk.by

Focus Multimedia has announced the release of Zoo Vet. Players answer such questions as: Why isn't the lion eating? What do you do with a newborn flamingo? What does the x-ray of the panda's belly show? Zoo Vet is aimed at simulation game fans and animal lovers, aged 8 and above. Players travel around the zoo, visiting animals that need attention. They perform a series of exams, from asking questions of the zookeepers, to performing vital medical tests on the animals, dependent on their ailment. Once the examination is complete, the player decides what they think is wrong, and applies the relevant treatment, varying from ointments and flea powder, to medication mixed in with their feed. After each treatment the user is scored on how accurate their diagnosis and treatment was, and very high scorers produce a trophy to add to their cabinet, and to print. Other learning components include a glossary of relevant terminology, and a section with more detailed information about the various species in the game. Kids can also test their knowledge in the trivia game.


Profile of U.S. Zoo Vets
September 4, 2006 www.abqtrib.com  By Erik Siemers

There are nearly 80,000 licensed veterinarians in the U.S. according to the AVMA. (More than 54,000 are in private practice.) The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians has 730 members, 150 of whom are international. (Note: not all zoo vets are members.) Veterinarians typically attend three years of pre-veterinary training and then about four years of veterinary school. Being a zoo vet requires further training, including experience working in a zoo as an intern or resident. Ray Darnell, director of the Albuquerque Biological Park, said besides the requisite experience in zoological medicine and the ability to manage various animal's diets, a zoo vet must also have the personality to work closely with the animals and the keepers who care for them. They must be willing to ask for help when encountering a species or illness they're unfamiliar with. Michael Richard, the Rio Grande Zoo's head veterinarian, makes $89,000. Darnell said zoo vets nationally earn about $90,000; in the Southwest, it's around $71,000. Zoos, typically funded by taxpayers or public foundations, have a tough time paying salaries comparable to what a vet could make in private practice. A salary survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association shows vets in private practice average $77,500 a year. Zoo-specific degrees aren't a necessity, but experience is, Darnell said. The job requires someone with an eye toward preventive medicine who can manage the diets of 500 different species. As veterinarians in general move more and more toward specialty practices, zoo vets hold firm in being the most general of generalists - going from treating a hummingbird one minute and an elephant the next.


Steve Irwin Obituary
September 4, 2006 news.bbc.co.uk

Stephen Robert Irwin was born in Essendon in Victoria, Australia, in February 1962. In 1970, his parents founded the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, later to become Australia Zoo, on the country's Sunshine Coast. The park specialized in rehabilitating ill or injured baby kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and koalas, and Steve Irwin grew up surrounded by wildlife. When his father, Bob, decided to do something about the hunting which threatened to destroy Australia's crocodile population, Steve played his part, working for Australia's Crocodile Relocation Programme which captured and moved the reptiles to safer areas, often to the Australia Zoo. Television director John Stainton first encountered Steve Irwin, while shooting an advertisement at Australia Zoo, and developed the show "The Crocodile Hunter" t around a trapping trip that Irwin and his Oregon-born wife Terri Baines undertook for their honeymoon. Discovery Channel bought the program in 1996 and it rapidly became a phenomenon, being screened in 130 countries and bringing both Stainton and Irwin great wealth. In January 2004, Irwin faced a barrage of criticism after being filmed holding his infant son in one arm while feeding a chicken carcass to a 4-metre saltwater crocodile with the other. At the time, he said: "I was in complete control of the crocodile." Irwin took over the wildlife park his parents had set up. Despite his often light-hearted manner, Steve Irwin's commitment to protecting crocodiles was serious. "Every chance I get, I will put my life on the line to save crocs," he told one interviewer. Irwin's other program The Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries and New Breed Vets, were also great hits, especially in the United States, and he was feted by television interviewers like Jay Leno, Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. He even played a cameo role in the 2001 Eddie Murphy film, Dr Doolittle 2, before hitting the big screen the following year with his own movie, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.


Chinese black-necked cranes hatch at the Moscow Zoo
September 4, 2006 www.innovations-report.de 

This summer, Chinese black-necked crane hatched at the Moscow Zoo. Approximately 1,500 birds remain in the wild and can be found only in China. It inhabits the rivers and lakes of mountainous regions. Only one European zoo exhibits the crane - Walsrode (Germany). IUCN lists the species as critically endangered. Olga Rozdina, leading ornithologist of the Moscow Zoo said, "We received a couple of cranes in exchange from China in 2000. The birds were in a rather poor state: feathering was dishevelled, the beak flaked, the toes were crooked. We treated them by probiotics, immunostimulants and vitamins and they recovered. In 2004 they laid two eggs. At 9 a.m. we heard a typical sound of adult birds communicating with the hatchlings. However, when we came up to the nest, we saw a newborn in a thin undershell capsule. In spite of the fact that it was placed in an incubator, it died soon from overcooling and inflammation of the yolk sac." A year later, 2 more eggs were laid but the attempt again failed. "This year we decided that only artificial incubation should be used, continues Olga Rozdina. Therefore, when the birds laid eggs again, we took them away on the 14th day and placed in the incubator. Both hatched on the 35th day. One of them, unfortunately, lived only for three days. The second one is two months old now." The cranes, deprived of their eggs were stimulated to make the second laying. Removed to the incubator, two more newborns successfully hatched from the second laying, one of them perished on the 8th day. The second is now a month old.


"Taiping Four" gorillas to return to Cameroon
September 4, 2006 today.reuters.com By Ed Stoddard, Reuters

JOHANNESBURG-- South Africa's National Zoo said on Monday that four gorillas in its care would be returned to Cameroon, ending a long running dispute that had captured the attention of animal welfare activists. The final decision to send the apes to Cameroon was made by the government of Malaysia under a complex diplomatic arrangement which gave it ultimate authority over the animals. The Government of Malaysia has decided to relocate the four infant gorillas ... to the Limbe Animal Orphanage in the Cameroon. Cameroon had repeatedly called on South Africa to return the animals dubbed the "Taiping Four", for the Malaysian zoo where they appeared after being smuggled out of Cameroon via Nigeria. Malaysia agreed to send the lowland gorillas back to their home continent but not their homeland. They arrived in South Africa in 2004. The reasons behind the Malaysian government's decision is unclear. As the confiscating authority they had jurisdiction in the matter. They had initially okayed South Africa and I have no idea why they changed their mind," Willie Labuschagne, the executive director of South Africa's National Zoo, told Reuters. Green groups welcomed the decision but it was not clear when the animals would be flown to Cameroon or who would pay for the transfer arrangements. The National Zoo said it was not paying. Jason Bell-Leask, southern Africa director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, applauded the move.


Mold-A-Rama Souvenirs at Zoos and Museum
September 4, 2006 www.chicagotribune.com 

At $1.50 a pop they remain the most affordable souvenirs one can buy at the Field Museum. The Mold-a-Rama machine is still popular because you watch the made-on-the-spot process. gingerly picking up your still-warm memento. There are 11 Mold-a-Ramas at Brookfield Zoo, two at the Lincoln Park Zoo, four at the Field Museum and four at the Museum of Science Industry, where you can buy Bill's favorite, a replica of the U-505 submarine. "The Field Museum is all dinosaurs. We used to have a gorilla mold there, but it wasn't selling very well, so we turned it into a T-Rex mold," said Bill Jones, who, with his two sons, keeps the 21 Mold-a-Ramas in the Chicago area humming. (A gorilla from the Field Museum recently sold for $85 on eBay, by the way.) Brookfield has an elephant and a Rhino. Keeping the machines working is no small feat, considering a Mold-a-Rama machine hasn't been built in 40 years. The William A. Jones Co., operates 68 Mold-a-Rama machines across the Midwest and in Texas. You can buy a bat mold at the Milwaukee County Zoo, a Komodo dragon in San Antonio or an "antique car" at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. The charm of the Mold-a-Rama is its mesmerizing and simple technology. In the left-hand corner of each machine, the mold each makes is exhibited. Roughly one of every 10 people who pass by pop their money in to activate the machine. Four hydraulic cams start to move. The first and last closes the two sides of the mold together. Then another cam pushes plastic between the molds, followed by one that blows in hot air (225-250 degrees) to make the figure hollow. Coolant then chills the mold. After about a minute, the two sides of the mold open, revealing your dinosaur or dolphin. The final cam operates the scrapper that pushes your mold forward and drops it into the holding bin. The dolphin at Brookfield Zoo is Jones' top producer - that machine produced 350 molds in one day during the height of summer.


Latest Report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
September 04, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

SYDNEY, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988 to investigate the impact of climate change in the next 100 years and recommend options for its mitigation. The world's top climate scientists, serving on panel have released a draft report that says global temperature increase could be contained to two degrees Celsius by 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions are held at current levels. A three-degree Celsius rise in the average global daily temperature is projected if no action is taken to cut emissions. The panel's Draft Fourth Assessment report narrows the band of predicted temperature rises by 2100 to 2-4.5 degrees Celsius, from 1.4-5.8 degrees in the previous assessment in 2001. Sea levels are now forecast to rise by between 14 cm (5.5 in) and 43 cm (17 in). Its fourth assessment report is due to be completed in 2007.


Max Planck Institute will Sequence Bonobo Genome
September 4, 2006 www.laboratorytalk.com 

The Max Planck Institute plans to produce a draft genome sequence for the bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee, the only great ape for which there is no genome sequencing program. Its genome sequence will allow scientists to gauge the fine-scale evolution of the chimpanzee genome in the same way as the Neanderthal genome will allow the evolution of the human genome to be better understood. 'The Genome Sequencer 20 System installation at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig couples cutting edge technology with evolutionary research. 'We study gene expression patterns in various tissues in primates and other mammals in order to understand how the transcriptome evolves,' explained Svante Paabo, director of the department of evolutionary anthropology at the Max Planck Institute. 'By means of integrated analyses of genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes, we hope to identify genes that have been positively selected during human history'. Since 2005, a new approach has been available on the sequencing market, setting new standards in velocity and cost-effectiveness. The Genome Sequencer 20 System from Roche Applied Science, a business unit of Roche Diagnostics, can perform sequencing runs up to 60 times faster than conventional commercially available platforms. Preparation of a whole genome requires just a single preparation step, without extensive robots for colony picking and microtiter plate handling. One single instrument can produce dozens of megabases of sequence data in just a few hours thanks to parallel-processing, the latest imaging techniques, and unique data analysis.


Elephants & Villagers Clash in Bangladesh
September 4, 2006 today.reuters.com By Nizam Ahmed

The migration of humans displaced by natural disasters has added to the damaging pace of deforestation in southeastern Bangladesh, near the border with India and Myanmar. Elephants are being squeezed into an increasingly small part of the forest, greatly raising the risk of confrontation. The new residents chop down trees to rebuild their villages and log the forests to earn money. They also clear forest areas for their homes and to create adjacent farmland for cultivation. The encroachment has led to sometimes nightly battles between villagers and elephants that come in search of food. Last May, elephants stormed the village of Kalirchhara, killing three people, including a child, and injuring 10 others. A series of severe floods in recent years have left thousands of people homeless and many flood survivors have moved to high ground in the Ukhia province, 430 km (270 miles) from the capital Dhaka. Elephants are an endangered species in Bangladesh and killing them is a punishable offence. So the vigilante squads of villagers try to keep the wild elephants away from their wooden shacks by waving flaming torches and blowing trumpets. Nobody knows how many wild elephants are left in Asia, but conservationists suspect the number is between 35,000 to 50,000, compared to 150,000 two decades ago.In Bangladesh, the wild elephant population has also halved to 400 from 20 years ago. And their numbers keep dropping.


Speciation in Japanese Salamanders
September 4, 2006 www.yomiuri.co.jp 

Japanese salamanders are a classic example of the evolutionary process of speciation. The Galapagos finches diversified by adopting different behavior, but the Japanese salamanders split up chiefly through the process of isolation. Salamanders are widespread throughout the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. These tailed amphibians, which also include newts and sirens, number fewer than 400 species worldwide, as opposed to nearly 4,000 species for their close cousins, the frogs and toads. With squat bodies and short legs, salamanders retain the basic form of their distant ancestors, the first vertebrates to crawl out of the sea and colonize the land some 360 million years ago. The Asian salamanders are thought to have originally evolved on the Asian mainland, migrating into Japan during the glacial periods, when western Honshu and Kyushu were connected by land bridges to the Korean Peninsula. They first split into two groups - one group stayed in the lowlands and river valleys, breeding in ponds, marshes and other bodies of still water, while the other settled in the mountains, breeding in faster-flowing streams and creeks. As the salamanders spread eastward and northward, populations became isolated from one another, evolving into separate species. The number of species in Japan now outnumbers that on the continent. In the genus Hynobius, for example, there are 28 species found worldwide, 16 of which live here in Japan. Furthermore, 15 of these 16 species are endemic, which means that they can be found only in this country.


Black Rhino Numbers Rise in Kenya
September 4, 2006 www.afrol.com 

Conservation efforts are finally showing results in Kenya as black rhino numbers are on the rise after years of decline from poaching and habitat loss. Once abundant throughout sub-Saharan Africa (except the Congo Basin), poaching limited their habitat to a fragmented distribution from Cameroon in the west to Kenya in the east and south to South Africa. It is estimated that in Kenya, numbers of the eastern sub-species of black rhino dropped from around 20,000 in 1970 to less than 500 animals in the early 1980s. This drastic decline was due to poaching which took place inside and outside national parks and reserves, according to WWF. Today, iincreased improvements in wildlife management and monitoring have made a difference. Compared to 428 animals in 2003, the population increased to 539 in 2005. The Kenya Wildlife Service, in cooperation with WWF's black rhino project, is working to increase Kenya's black rhino population to 1,000 by 2020 through the expansion of existing rhino sanctuaries and through the establishment of new protected areas that can accommodate future population growth.



Steve Irwin, "Crocodile Hunter" -Life Story
September 5, 2006 www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20355067-2,00.html 
By Peter Lalor and Michael Bodey

While filming a new Animal Planet documentary off the coast of northeastern Australia, Steve Irwin was stung in the heart by a stingray's sharp, toxin-filled barbs. The barb pierced the chest wall of the 44-year-old who was snorkeling at north Queensland's Batt Reef. A friend of his told CNN that Irwin accidentally swam up on top of a stingray in the sand and it attacked, out of self defense. Paramedics were helicoptered in, but doctors believe Irwin died instantly. Wildlife and medical experts say it is extremely unusual for a stingray injury to be fatal. Steve and his wife, Terri, ran the Australia Zoo. Irwin's producers claim his television program The Crocodile Hunter is watched by 200 million viewers a week, brought 70 million subscribers to pay TV's Discovery Channel and made him one of the biggest stars in North America. Irwin's popularity in the US took hold in 1997 when his cable TV program struck a chord and his appearances on the highest rating US talk show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, increased his reach. There are about 34 fan clubs on the internet dedicated to Irwin and four years ago he was making almost $20 million a year from his TV appearances..He boasted that all the money he earned was spent on wildlife and it appears to be true. He lived in a modest bungalow and spent millions buying up areas of wilderness for parks. His commitment to animals was absolute and recently he received a lot of flak for his perceived role in having crocodile hunting banned. His empire poured money back into film productions, his Australia Zoo and property purchases. He had conservation projects in Fiji, Vanuatu and the US, and was continually buying tracts of land to reinstate endangered fauna. Estimates are of more than 24,300ha of conservation property in Australia. He also had a dream to buy a Queensland island to restore a couple of endangered species, including Sumatran tigers. "The Croc Hunter's about wildlife, conservation, saving wilderness areas, jumping on crocs, it's all about very positive things," he said. "And I firmly believe our success is not only helping wilderness and wildlife, it's helping humanity. The Croc Hunter's all about saving the world, it really is."


John Ball Zoo's stingrays have barbs trimmed
September 05, 2006 www.mlive.com  By Nate Reens

GRAND RAPIDS -- The death of Steve Irwin, known as "Crocodile Hunter," stunned Bert Vescolani, director of the Grand Rapids zoo. A stringray's serrated, poisonous spine punctured Irwin's heart while he was shooting a TV show. "This is a man who has probably been bitten or in dangerous situations hundreds of times in his life," Vescolani said. "It's very surprising that something like this happened and it's literally a freakish death." The revelation will not bring changes to the zoo's stingray lagoon. The 5,000-gallon outdoor tank is filled with yellow-spotted and cownose stingrays. Visitors can stick their hands in water and feed the creatures.The animals' barbs have been cut and cannot injure visitors, the director said. "It's been such a popular and overwhelmingly positive exhibit, one that lets our visitors experience something very few have the opportunity to." The exhibit has attracted 80,000 visitors since opening May 20. Its run has been extended until Oct. 1.


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo gets $1.46 million
September 05, 2006 www.gazette.com  By BILL RADFORD

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has received a $1.46 million donation - the largest donation from an individual in the zoo's 80-year history. The zoo announced the donation today, along with a matching gift of $1.46 million from the El Pomar Foundation. The money will go toward developing the zoo's next major exhibit, Rocky Mountain Wild, scheduled to open in spring 2008.
The exhibit, connecting zoo visitors with the wild heritage of Colorado, will include such animals as moose, mountain lions, North American river otters and grizzly bears. The donor insisted on anonymity but issued a brief statement: "I really believe in the zoo and the direction that it is going. I wanted to help the zoo realize its goals, challenging the zoo to leverage my gift to bring in new major donors." The El Pomar Foundation is providing the matching gift in honor of foundation founder Spencer Penrose and former CEO Russell Tutt. Penrose established the zoo in 1926; Tutt was a longtime chairman of the zoo board. The zoo has raised about $6.1 million toward its goal of $7.8 million in its Rocky Mountain Wild Capital Campaign. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, one of a handful of U.S. zoos accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association that operate without local tax support, depends on admissions, membership dues, donations and grants for funding. The zoo's last major exhibit, the African Rift Valley, opened in 2003.


2nd Circus Elephant Tests Positive for TB
September 5, 2006 www.prnewswire.com 

VIENNA, Va., Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey today announced that a second male elephant has tested positive and is being treated for tuberculosis (TB) at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation. While all other elephants at the Center and on our traveling circus units have tested negative for TB, the State of Florida, following USDA guidelines, has issued a quarantine notice for the remaining elephants at the Center, with the exception of elephants not housed near the others. Additionally, in accordance with USDA policy, three healthy female elephants from circus units that were briefly housed near one of the males this past winter are returning to the Center where they will be monitored by animal care staff. The three returning elephants, along with the rest of the Ringling Bros. herd and animal care staff, have all tested negative for tuberculosis and are healthy. As with humans who contract TB, elephants can be successfully treated and lead healthy and active lives. "Both elephants are symptom-free and are already undergoing the prescribed treatment," said Dr. Dennis Schmitt, Chair of Veterinary Services and Research for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.


Captive Prairie Dog Diet
September 5 2006 www.eznc.com 

The natural diet of prairie dogs consists mainly of grasses. For prairie dogs living in captivity, the diet can be composed of rabbit feed and timothee or other types of grass and hay. (Cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata, smooth brome Bromus ssp., wild oat Avena fatua), supplemented with vegetables, fruit and grains. (carrots, sweet potatoes, some safflower seeds (Carthamus tinctorius), cabbage leaf, dandelion (flower and leaf) and cress). To prevent obesity, only a small percentage should be rabbit feed (one forth of a cup per day) By feeding the animals pellets, you prevent the animal from being able to select. Hay may be fed without limit. It's best not to feed any peanuts, sunflower seeds, dog feed, cookies and other products which are high calorie and low fibre. Alfalfa is also better left out of the diet, as the calcium/ phosphor balance is too high. Chewing on hay is good for the teeth, which grow continuously, as with other rodents. The fibre in the hay also stimulates the digestion. In addition to the hay, pellets for prairie dogs may be offered. Exercise is also important in preventing obesity.


Joseph M. Forshaw Talks About Parrots
September 5, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By CLAUDIA DREIFUS

Joseph M. Forshaw, the former head of wildlife conservation for the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, is the author or co-author of 16 ornithological books, and is considered the world's leading expert on the parrot. His latest, from Princeton University Press, is "Parrots of the World: An Identification Guide," which he hopes will give "conservationists new tools for fighting the traffic in wild birds for the pet trade." Wild parrots make contact calls to each other which are mainly given in flight to maintain cohesion within flocks or between birds in trees and those flying overhead. What happens with pets is they substitute their owners for flock members and learn to imitate their "calls," which are words. Parrots in the wild make their calls in regional dialects. A study of wild birds in Trinidad established that the dialect sounds are learned by the young from their parrot-parents. A researcher took parrot chicks from nests in one area and moved them into nests elsewhere. He found that the chicks learned the dialectical calls of the adopted parents. A third of all parrot species are threatened or endangered. The most pressing threat is habitat destruction because of logging and agriculture. There's additional pressure from the pet trade where wild parrots are being taken from the tropics for sale in Europe and North America. There's tremendous mortality when the birds are transported. It is estimated that for every wild bird who makes it to the pet shop, at least 10 die.


Video Footage of Irwin's Death
September 5, 2006 www.nytimes.com  by Reuters

SYDNEY, Australia -- Steve Irwin, was killed by a stingray yesterday while filming television segments, including material for "The Ocean's Deadliest at the Great Barrier Reef off Australia's northeast coast. Witnesses on his boat, Croc One, and on a nearby diving vessel said he apparently died of cardiac arrest after the stingray attack. Video footage of the attack shows Irwin swimming above a bull stingray probably weighing around 100 kg (220 lb. His cameraman was filming in front of the ray. Steve came over the top of the ray and the tail came up, and spiked him in the chest. He pulled it out, and the cameraman only became aware of the attack when he noticed Irwin bleeding. Police said they had examined the footage and would prepare a report for the coroner appointed to determine the cause of death. Dr. Leo Smith, an expert on venomous fishes in the department of ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, said there were approximately 120 known ray species and four families of venomous stinging rays. At the base of the tail is a spine or barb that can measure up to 20 cm (8 in) in length, connected to a venom gland; in an attack, the spike and the gland may be broken off and can remain in the wound. The stingray venom contains toxic proteins, and most stingray attacks pose risk from shock, infection and the venom's toxicity, he said. Most deaths are caused by heart injuries or blood loss. "The puncture alone could have done it," Dr. Smith said of the attack on Mr. Irwin, "but the venoms do have major cardiac effects." Discovery Communications, which produces Animal Planet, said it would set up a conservation fund in honor of Irwin, and planned a marathon showing of his programs. Discovery said the footage of Irwin's fatal dive might never be broadcast. Australian newspapers paid tribute to Irwin on Tuesday, while fans including American tourists laid wreaths outside his Australia Zoo in tropical Queensland state.


Proposed Safe harbor for the California Red-Legged Frog & California Tiger Salamander
September 5, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 171
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-05/ 

Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating landowners voluntarily undertake management activities on their property to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under the Act. USFWS has worked with the Applicant to develop a proposed Agreement for the conservation of the CRLF and CTS on private ranches in Alameda County, California. The properties subject to this Agreement consist of those non-Federal lands in Alameda County, California, on which existing stock ponds will be restored and maintained pursuant to a written agreement between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the landowner. The Agreement provides for the creation of a Program in which private landowners (Program Participants), who enter into written cooperative agreements with the Applicant pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, will restore, enhance, and maintain stock ponds in ways beneficial to the CRLF and CTS. Such cooperative agreements will be for a term of at least 10 years. The proposed duration of the Agreement is 50 years, and the proposed term of the enhancement of survival permit is 50 years. The Agreement fully describes the proposed Program, management activities to be undertaken by Program Participants, and the conservation benefits expected to be gained for the CRLF and CTS. Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, copies of our preliminary Environmental Action Statement, and/or copies of the full text of the Agreement, including a map of the proposed permit area, references, and legal descriptions of the proposed permit area, should contact Ms Shannon Holbrook, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825, or telephone: (916) 414-6600.


Federal Permit Applications to Work with Endangered Species
September 5, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 171
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-05/ 

The following applicants have applied for scientific research permits to conduct certain activities with endangered species. To ensure consideration, written comments must be received on or before October 5, 2006. Submit to: Chief, Endangered Species Division, Ecological Services, P.O. Box 1306, Room 4102, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103. Documents and other information
submitted with these applications are available for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act. Documents will be available for public inspection, by appointment only, during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 Gold Ave. SW., Room 4102, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Please refer to the respective permit number for each application when submitting comments. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the official administrative record and may be made available to the
public.

Permit No. TE-038050 Applicant: Trevor Hare, Tucson, Arizona.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys and enhance propagation for Gila Chub (Gila intermedia) within Arizona.

Permit No. TE-794593 Applicant: Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to hold northern aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis septentrionalis) for educational displays within Texas.

Permit No. TE-828830 Applicant: Bureau of Land Management-Tucson, Tucson, Arizona.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys and enhance propagation for Gila Chub (Gila intermedia) within Arizona.

Permit No. TE-841909 Applicant: Prescott National Forest, Chino Valley, Arizona.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys and enhance propagation for Gila Chub (Gila intermedia) within Arizona.

Permit No. TE-841359 Applicant: Gila National Forest, Silver City, New Mexico.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys and enhance propagation for Gila Chub (Gila intermedia) within Arizona.

Permit No. TE-122838 Applicant: Jennifer Gumm, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Applicant requests a new permit for research and recovery purposes to conduct presence/absence surveys for Leon Springs pupfish (Cyprinodon bovinus) within Texas.

Permit No. TE-814841 Applicant: Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys and to collect seed and/or cuttings for Pediocactus bradyi (Brady pincushion cactus) and Pediocactus peeblesianus (Peebles Navajo cactus) within Arizona.

Permit No. TE-122856 Applicant: George Robert Myers, Austin, Texas.
Applicant requests a new permit for research and recovery purposes to conduct presence/absence surveys for Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae), Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum), San Marcos Salamander (Eurycea nana), Texas blind salamander (Typhlomolge rathbuni), and Peck's cave amphipod (Stygobromus pecki) within Texas. Additionally, applicant requests authorization to survey for and collect the following species within Texas: Batrisodes texanus (Coffin Cave mold beetle), Stygoparnus comalensis (Comal Springs dryopid beetle), Heterelmis comalensis (Comal Springs riffle beetle), Batrisodes venyivi (Helotes mold beetle), Cicurina baronia (Robber Baron Cave meshweaver), Cicurina madla (Madla's cave meshweaver), Cicurina venii (Braken Bat Cave meshweaver), Cicurina vespera (Government Canyon Bat Cave meshweaver), Neoleptoneta microps (Government Canyon Bat Cave spider), Neoleptoneta myopica (Tooth Cave spider), Rhadine exilis (ground beetle, no common name), Rhadine infernalis (ground beetle, no common name), Rhadine persephone (Tooth Cave ground beetle), Tartarocreagris texana (Tooth Cave pseudoscorpion), Texamaurops reddelli (Kretschmarr Cave mold beetle), Texella cokendolpheri (Cokendolpher cave harvestman), Texella reddelli (Bee Creek Cave harvestman), and Texella reyesi (Bone Cave harvestman).

Permit No. TE-122857 Applicant: Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
Applicant requests a new permit for research and recovery purposes to collect and survey for Heterelmis comalensis (Comal Springs riffle beetle) within Texas.

Permit No. TE-123070 Applicant: Susana Morales, Tucson, Arizona.
Applicant requests a new permit for research and recovery purposes to conduct presence/absence surveys for the following species within Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas: black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapillus), cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum), golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia), interior least tern (Sterna antillarum), lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae), northern aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis septentrionalis), piping plover (Charadrius melodus), red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis), and Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis).

Permit No. TE-009792 Applicant: The Arboretum at Flagstaff, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys and to collect seed and/or cuttings for Astragalus humillimus (Mancos milk-vetch) within New Mexico and Colorado.

Permit No. TE-028605 Applicant: SWCA Environmental Consultants, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to allow presence/absence surveys for the following species throughout their respective ranges in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas: black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), Hualapai Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus hualpaiensis), lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae), Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis), Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis), Gila chub (Gila intermedia), Sonoran tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi), and Virgin River chub (Gila robusta semidnuda).

Permit No. TE-088197 Applicant: High Mesa Research, Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys for southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) within New Mexico.

Permit No. TE-814933 Applicant: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin, Texas.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit for research and recovery purposes to conduct surveys, mist-net and collect tissue samples for Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) within Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Permit No. TE-127287 Applicant: Loren K. Ammerman, San Angelo, Texas.
Applicant requests a new permit for research and recovery purposes to conduct surveys, mist-net and collect tissue samples for Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) within Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Permit No. TE-039139 Applicant: Bat Conservation International, Austin, Texas.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit for research and recovery purposes to conduct surveys, capture, light tag and zip-line for lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) within Texas.

Permit No. TE-129406 Applicant: Gill Michael Sorg, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Applicant requests a new permit for research and recovery purposes to conduct presence/ absence surveys for northern aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis septentrionalis) within Arizona and New Mexico.

Permit No. TE-006655 Applicant: Logan Simpson Design, Tempe, Arizona.
Applicant requests an amendment to an existing permit to conduct presence/absence surveys and enhance propagation for Gila Chub (Gila intermedia) within Arizona.

Permit No. TE-130663 Applicant: Hermosa Montessori Charter School, Tucson, Arizona.
Applicant requests a new permit for research and recovery purposes to monitor and enhance propogation for Gila topminnow (Poeciliopsis occidentalis) and desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius) as well as providing management of holding facilities within Arizona.


Indy Zoo's Baby Elephant is Doing Well
September 5, 2006 www.wthr.com  By Kevin Rader

INDIANAPOLIS - African elephant, Ivory has again successfully delivered a female calf conceived via artificial insemination (AI). The 24-year-old Ivory made history on August 4, 2000, when she gave birth to the first African elephant successfully conceived and born through AI. That calf was a male, named Ajani, now age six. The second calf is a female, born at approximately 9pm on August 31, after a very short labor inside the elephant barn at the Zoo. The late August delivery was slightly earlier than anticipated (she had originally been predicted to deliver in mid-September after a 22 month gestation) The calf weighed in at 266 pounds at birth. Initial examinations by the Zoo's veterinary staff indicate that she is in good health, and began nursing from her mother at about 2am. This is the Zoo's second baby calf born in less than a year. Last October Kedar was born. The new calf is very vocal, active and curious, craving attention from the trainers who are spending 24 hours a day with her. "When we feel comfortable with how they are interacting then we will start moving them to different yards. It could take a couple of weeks or a couple of days," said David Hagan, curator for the plains and encounters at the Zoo. Tim Littig is the Senior Elephant Trainer at the Indianapolis Zoo.


Chimpanzees Cooperate When Crossing Roads
September 5, 2006 www.eurekalert.org 

Researchers Kimberley Hockings and James Anderson of the University of Stirling and Tetsuro Matsuzawa at the University of Tokyo have found that chimpanzees evaluate risk when crossing roads. Their study is reported in the September 5th issue of Current Biology. Prior research has shown that adult male monkeys reduce the risks of predatory attacks through adaptive spatial patterning, moving toward the front of the group when traveling toward potentially unsafe areas, such as waterholes, and bringing up the rear when retreating, but comparable data on great-ape progression orders has been lacking. The crossing of man-made roads, that sometimes intersect longstanding chimpanzee travel routes, presents a new situation that calls for flexibility of responses by chimpanzees. The order in which individual chimps travel within a group was studied in the small community of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Bossou, Guinea, West Africa. Adult males, less fearful, and more physically powerful, were found to take up forward and rear positions, with adult females and young occupying the more protected middle positions. The positioning of dominant and bolder individuals, in particular the alpha male, was found to change depending on both the degree of risk and number of adult males present, suggesting that dominant individuals act cooperatively, and with a high level of flexibility, to maximize group protection.


Receipt of Applications for Permit
September 6, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 172
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-06/ 

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species and/or marine mammals. Written data, comments or requests must be received by October 6, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review by any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281.

Applicant: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, PRT-127167The applicant requests a permit to import tissue samples from live wild-origin captive held Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis) from the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center in Cambodia for the purpose of scientific research.

Applicant: Crawford, Graham, DVM, Sonoma, CA, PRT-130334
The applicant requests a permit to import blood and tissue samples from live wild lemurs (Lemur catta) from Madagascar for the purpose of scientific research.


Twin Pandas Born in Southwest China
September 6, 2006 abcnews.go.com By AP

BEIJING Sep 6, 2006 (AP)- After closing the Chongging Zoo for a week to give giant panda Ya Ya some peace and quiet, she delivered twin babies about an hour apart early Tuesday. They were her first cubs, and both mother and babies are healthy. One has been taken to the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center, also in Sichuan province, because Ya Ya cannot produce enough milk for both cubs. Ya Ya was mated with 11-year-old Ling Ling from Wolong in April. The pandas watched a mating video before breeding. Last month, the government announced the birth of four sets of panda twins. China has more than 180 pandas living in captivity, according to the government. A 2002 government census found there were just 1,596 pandas left in the wild. But state media has said a new study by Chinese and British scientists has found there might be as many as 3,000.


Snow Leopard Cubs Debut At LA Zoo
September 6, 2006 cbs2.com

LOS ANGELES The first snow leopard cubs to be born at the Los Angeles Zoo in 22 years will make their debut today. The two male cubs were born May 25 and are the offspring of 12-year-old T'ung Ling and 8-year-old Gail. The cubs have already been named by Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association donors Gail and Jerry Oppenheimer. The cubs are named Jerry - after Oppenheimer - and Tom, in honor of GLAZA board chairman Tom Mankiewicz. Snow leopards solitary and only come together to mate. Only 5,000 to 7,000 remain in the wild, making them endangered. There are 170 snow leopards living in 61 zoos that participate in the Snow Leopard Species Survival Program, which makes husbandry and breeding recommendations.


Atlanta Zoo Has a Baby Panda
September 6, 2006 www.latimes.com 

After trying for seven years, the Zoo Atlanta successfully inseminated 9-year-old Lun Lun (pronounced "loon loon") at the end of March with semen taken from her male partner, Yang Yang. The cub was born after a record-setting 35 hour labor period just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. It is healthy and is being cared for by its mother. Zoo policy is not to intervene in maternal care unless something goes wrong, so the sex of the baby will not be known for some time. Dwight Larson, vice president for animal programs and science, said a second cub could be born within 12 to 24 hours after the first. Twin births occur nearly 50% of the time in giant pandas. It will be three to four months before the cub can be seen by the public. For additional updates, visit online at www.zooatlanta.org  or call 404.624.WILD.


EPA Will Ban 66 Pesticides to Save California Red-legged Frog
September 6, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SACRAMENTO (AP) - The EPA is proposing a temporary restriction on 66 pesticides often used by farmers such as atrazine, captan and malathion that scientists blame for wiping out the threatened California red-legged frog in some parts of the state. The proposed regulation comes as part of a legal settlement between the Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Biological Diversity and the pesticide industry in an effort to preserve the state's most populous native frog. ''The California red-legged frog is an extraordinary sentinel of environmental health,'' said Brent Plater, an attorney with the center. They have been listed as threatened since 1996, have disappeared from about 70 percent of their former natural habitat. The settlement is open for public comment until Sept. 18, after which it must be approved by a federal court.


Road to recovery for rare cuckooshrike
September 6, 2006 www.birdlife.org 

Although the population of Reunion Cuckooshrike (Coracina newtoni ) remained fairly constant at around 120 pairs between the 1970s and the 1990s, it has been declining over the last decade. Currently males outnumber females by almost two to one, and with the remaining population estimated at fewer than 50 pairs it is classified as Endangered. It is thought birds once primarily occupied lowland forest, but the pressures of habitat loss and predation by alien invasives, has restricted the population to a 16 km² patch of mountainous rainforest in the north of the island. Recently the Reunion Cuckooshrike action plan was implemented and is producing results. Control of predatory rats and cats is a key recommendation of the plan, and already in Réserve Naturelle de La Roche Ecrite in northern La Réunion (Indian Ocean) it has led to four out of five pairs of cuckooshrike successfully rearing chicks, compared to just two out of six pairs raising young at a nearby site without control. Thomas Ghestemme of SEOR, a local conservation NGO carried out the trial. "Following Mauritian Wildlife Foundation guidelines, we set baits in grids of 7-15 ha. Before and after the poisoning, we trapped rats to get an idea of how many were present. Early on, rat numbers were so high that it was necessary to replace the poison bait weekly for five months." Cats were also trapped in the grids. "Next season, we will extend the control programme to protect at least 12 nesting pairs of cuckooshrikes," says Ghestemme. "We will be joined in our efforts by staff from ONF, who co-manage the reserve, and SREPEN, an NGO who will inform visitors about recycling."


Swans Fitted with Transmitters in Bird Flu Fight
September 6, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By REUTERS

TORONTO - Ten whooper swans were captured in far eastern Mongolia, near the borders of Russia and China, by an international team of scientists in early August. They were outfitted with super-light Teflon backpacks containing 2-3 ounce solar-powered GPS satellite transmitters. The harnesses are made of Teflon ribbon that deteriorates and falls off within a few years. This is the latest way to track their fight and the possible spread of avian influenza. The whooper swans were chosen for the experiment because large numbers of the species have died in Mongolia and western China in the past two years. Tests verified that some of them were infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza. The H5 and H7 types of avian influenza cause very high death rates in poultry and are blamed for the vast majority of bird flu cases in humans, with the H5N1 bird flu strain killing an estimated 141 people "Although poultry and bird trade are probably the primary routes of movement (of avian influenza), migratory birds are likely involved in some areas,'' Dr. Scott Newman, a spokesman for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said in a statement on Wednesday. The team also involves scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey. "Although we are sampling wild birds for avian influenza in the field, we will not be able to fully understand their role in this disease unless we better understand their movements,'' Wildlife Conservation Society spokesman William Karesh said.


Francois' Langurs Born at Mesker Park Zoo
September 7, 2006 www.14wfie.com

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden has announced the birth of two male Francois's Langurs. Ping, belongs to mother Liang, and was born on August 16. The next day, baby Badu was born to mother Sai. Both mothers share the babies, and at times, one mother can be found holding both babies! The bright orange infants are easy to spot. There are only 60 Francois's Langurs in 13 North American Zoos, five of them found at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. Langurs are leaf-eating monkeys found in the forests of Viet Nam, Laos and China. They are usually associated with limestone formations and often sleep in caves. Mothers of Francois' Langurs typically have one infant at a time, following a 200-day gestation period, and nurse the baby for up to two years.


Federal Register Permit Applications
September 7, 2005 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 173
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-07/

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. Written data, comments or requests must be received by October 10, 2006.  Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review, by any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281. For further information contact: Division of Management Authority, telephone 703/358-2104.

Applicant: Matson's Laboratory, Milltown, MT, PRT-096048
The applicant requests renewal and amendment of a permit to import samples such as teeth from wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) from government-managed herds such as the Mackenzie Sanctuary herd and the Nahanni population in Canada for the purpose of scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a five-year period.

Applicant: Animal Source Texas, Krum, TX, PRT-120288
The applicant requests a permit to export six live captive-born lemurs (Lemur catta) to Leofoo Village Theme Park--Animal Kingdom, Taiwan for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, La Jolla, CA, PRT-844694
The applicant requests re-issuance of their permit to import biological samples taken from Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), and leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), collected in the wild from worldwide locations, for the purpose of scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a
five-year period.

Applicant: Ziccolone and Carrasco Productions, Inc., Las Vegas, NV, PRT-123261
The applicant requests a permit to import five (2 male and 3 female) captive born tigers (Panthera tigris) from Mexico to Las Vegas, Nevada for the purpose of enhancement of the species through conservation education, and return them to Mexico within a five-year period.


Draft Environmental Assessment Concerning the Pygmy Rabbit
September 7, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 173
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-07/

As part of ongoing recovery efforts for the endangered Columbia Basin distinct population segment of the pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis), the USFWS and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is making available for public review and comment a draft Template Safe Harbor Agreement addressing the incidental take of Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits (CBPR) that could result from activities associated with ranching, farming, recreation, residential upkeep, conservation programs, and shrub steppe maintenance, restoration, and enhancement on an undeterminable number of non-Federal properties. The area includes portions of 6 counties in central Washington and totals approximately 2,650,000 acres. Participants who enroll their lands under this Agreement would implement conservation measures that would be expected to provide a net conservation benefit to the CBPR. The duration of the proposed Agreement is 20 years. Copies of the draft documents and permit applications are available at : www.fws.gov/easternwashington  All comments from interested parties must be received on or before October 10, 2006. Written comments should be addressed to Susan Martin, Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Columbia Fish and Wildlife Office, 11103 East Montgomery Drive, Spokane, Washington 99206. You may also send comments by facsimile at (509) 891-6748, or by electronic mail at fw1cbprabbit@fws.gov  For further information contact Chris Warren at (509) 893-8020, or Michelle Eames at (509) 893-8010.


No Polar Bears in Singapore Zoo's Future
September 7, 2006 today.reuters.co.uk By Reuters

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Zoo is looking for a new home for its male polar bear and will no longer bring animals from the North or South Poles to tropical Singapore. Zoo director Fanny Lai said that Inuka, a 16-year-old polar bear born at the Zoo, will be moved to a zoo in a temperate climate and that Singapore has told the Rostock Zoo in Germany -- which keeps track of all captive polar bears in the world -- that Inuka is available for transfer. She denied the planned move was in response to a local animal rights group's campaign "What's a Polar Bear Doing in The Tropics?," adding that the Singapore zoo had decided to focus on being a rainforest zoo.  "You can't keep an Arctic animal in an open-air enclosure in the tropics," Animal Concerns Research and Education Society president Louis Ng told Reuters. The zoo said the bears have an air-conditioned den and misting fans. Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, will only be moved after the death of his 29-year-old mother Sheba, who will not be moved because she is too old. Polar bears in captivity have an average life span of 25 years.


New Book Highlights Amphibian Decline
September 7, 2006 www.bendbulletin.com  By Jim Witty

The new edition of "Amphibians of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia" points up a disturbing shrinkage of habitat for the 36 species in the region. Ten years after the initial publication, more than half of the species are listed either as endangered or at risk, according to authors Char Corkran and the late Chris Thoms. "The loss and fragmentation of amphibian habitats in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the alarming decline of some amphibians worldwide, make it imperative for biologists and naturalists to take responsibility for the future of local populations of native species," Corkran writes in the introduction. Another culprit is the American bullfrog, the largest and most aggressive of the lot, which "has out-eaten and out-competed native amphibians throughout much of the region." Published by Lone Pine Publishing, "Amphhibians" is a 176-page paperback that retails for $19.95.


Private Steve Irwin Funeral Scheduled
September 7, 2006 www.nytimes.com

BEERWAH, Australia (AP) -- The family of ''Crocodile Hunter'' Steve Irwin has decided on a private funeral to be held within a week, and a public memorial service will be held within two weeks, with thousands expected. In a short statement Thursday, Irwin's father, Bob, said the family and ''closest friends'' would attend the private service, confirming that the ''generous government offer'' of a state funeral had been turned down. Prime Minister John Howard had said a state funeral would be appropriate for Irwin because he was so well-loved and because of his services to Australia as an unofficial tourism ambassador. The elder Irwin said his son would not have wanted a formal state funeral because ''he's an ordinary guy, and he wants to be remembered as an ordinary bloke.'' No details were given on the possible location for a public memorial, although the Irwin family's 60-acre Australia Zoo and a 52,000-seat sports stadium in the nearby state capital of Brisbane have been mentioned. Since his death, several hundred thousand dollars in online donations from the United States alone have poured in to one of Irwin's wildlife charities. But Michael Hornby, the head of one of Irwin's conservation groups, Wildlife Warriors, said he is worried what will happen to the charitable organization after the interest surrounding Irwin's death recedes. ''But it's not just about the dollars, large numbers of people are now getting involved. That was a big thing for Steve. He wanted to get the ordinary person, everyday people, involved ... it is coming to fruition.''


Orange-bellied parrot critically-endangered
September 7, 2006 au.news.yahoo.com

VICTORIA, Australia -- The orange-bellied parrot, which has been cited by the federal Environment Minister in a decision to overturn approval for a wind farm, has been listed as a critically-endangered species. Only 100 to 150 adult birds exist and its long-term survival is not secure. "The independent Threatened Species Scientific Committee made its assessment and strongly advised me to provide the new listing." Earlier this year Senator Campbell decided not to approve the Bald Hills wind farm in Gippsland, Victoria, on the basis that it would pose a threat to the parrots. He subsequently pledged $3.2 million to protect and expand the parrots' habitat. A small bat, the christmas island pipistrelle, has also been listed as critically endangered. Senator Campbell says the numbers of the bat, which was listed as endangered in 2001, are continuing to decline due to predators such as rats, feral cats and the yellow crazy ant


Dog Trained to Find Endangered Snake
September 7, 2006 www.firstcoastnews.com  By Kristin Smith

A few years ago, the federal government had an idea - to train dogs with a keen sense of smell to find the elusive and hard to find Eastern Indigo snake, a reptile that is almost endangered. It began this program designed to prevent extinction with the help of the Jacksonville Zoo and Florida trainers. Pharoah - a show dog - had his big test Wednesday. "And he's found the right snake every time," said dog trainer, Bill Whitstine, who tried to throw him off the scent by using other snakes and other kinds of reptiles. The snakes used in the trial, are on display at the Jacksonville Zoo.


Thirty rhinos have died in Nepal the last 16 months
September 7, 2006 english.ohmynews.com

Rhinos are on the verge of extinction in Nepal. According to a recent report, prepared by WWF, Nepal Environment Journalists Group, and Wildlife Watch Group, 30 rhinos have died in Nepal in the last 16 months. 20 were illegally hunted and rest died of natural causes. Four rhinos, including a pregnant one, were hunted from Jul. 17 to Aug. 16. There are seven national parks in Nepal. Rhinos remain in only three: Chitwan National Park, Suklafanta National Park, and Bardiaya National Park. There are 377 rhinos in all of Nepal, 340 of them in Chitwan National Park alone, the report said. Electricity, bullets, ditches, and net traps are the major tools being used to kill the rhinos whose horns are used for decorative materials and as a medicine for rheumatism, arthritis, and fever. A single rhino horn on the international market sells for as much as approximately US$30,000. According to Nepali law, poaching rhinos will fetch you up to 15 years in prison and possibly a fine of approximately US$1,400. According to International Rhino Foundation (IRF), only five species of rhinos survive today: black, white, Indian, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos. These five species of rhino are further divided into 11 identified subspecies. "Without drastic action, rhinos could be extinct in the wild within the next 10 years," the IRF warns. According to this organization, only 17,500 of these marvelous creatures survive in the wild. Another 1,200 live in captivity.


Protection Sought for Giant Palouse Earthworm
September 7, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Nicholas K. Geranios

The Federal Government is being asked to protect the Giant Palouse Earthworm under the Endangered Species Act. Long thought extinct, the worm was rediscovered in the past year to occupy tiny swatches of the heavily farmed Palouse region along the Washington-Idaho border.  The USFWS has not yet seen the petition regarding Driloleirus americanus, agency spokesman Tom Buckley said in Spokane. It's too soon to know if anyone will object to the listing, or what lands might be considered critical habitat. The earthworm is native to the deep soils of the Palouse, which were built up by millions of years of volcanic ash and are some of the richest farmland on Earth. Little is known about the giant worms: how many there are, where they live, how they behave, or why they are so scarce. The worm was first found in 1897, and the species has always been elusive. It can burrow down to 15 feet deep. There have been only three reported sightings since 1987. The most recent was on May 27, 2005, when a graduate student from the University of Idaho, Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon, unearthed one specimen. The Giant Palouse Earthworm is described as the largest and longest-lived earthworm on this continent. It is pink, 3 feet long and reportedly gives off a peculiar flowery smell when handled, and can spit at attackers. Groups signing the petition are the Palouse Prairie Foundation, Palouse Audubon Society, and the Friends of the Clearwater. Locals are belatedly trying to save the last remnants of the undeveloped Palouse prairie, and the earthworm could play a major role in that.


Tiger Poo Auctioned on Ebay
September 8, 2006 www.thisislocallondon.co.uk  By David Rankin

Chessington World of Adventures is auctioning off a year's supply of tiger poo on ebay with a starting bid of £240. By Friday evening a bid of £241 had been received. The park believes it will scare off cats and foxes if placed in people's gardens, based on research carried out earlier this year. The initial research came from Dr Peter Murray from the University of Queensland, Australia, and found that a formula of the big cat's droppings warded off wild goats for three days and, as such, could be used as a dual fertiliser and repellent by farmers. A tiger produces roughly one pound of manure every day, meaning over the course of a year the successful bidder could get over 700lb of the stuff. Anyone interested in making a poo purchase will have to pick up the dung themselves and there is a strict no returns policy. Go to ebay.co.uk and search for tiger poo to find the item. Bidding ends at 5.30pm BST on Saturday, September 9. All proceeds will go to the NSPCC.


USDA Delays Chronic Wasting Disease Rule
September 8, 2006 www.aphis.usda.gov 

WASHINGTON --The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is delaying implementation of a final rule published July 21, entitled: Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program and Interstate Movement of Farmed or Captive Deer, Elk and Moose. APHIS recently received petitions from several organizations representing various state agencies requesting a delay in the effective date of the CWD rule and reconsideration of several requirements. We are currently evaluating the merits of these petitions and will publish a notice in the Federal Register in the near future making the contents of the petitions available to the public for comment. The final rule establishes a voluntary certification program for owners of deer, elk and moose herds who chose to participate and follow requirements for animal identification, testing, herd management and movement of animals into and from herds. The final rule also contains new requirements regarding the interstate movement of farmed cervids to prevent the spread of CWD.


Beluga Whale Dies at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
September 8, 2006 www.komotv.com  By AP

TACOMA - A 13-year-old beluga whale died Thursday at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma. Zoo officials say the whale, named Turner, was being treated for an infection of unknown origin. He had not eaten since Saturday, and died suddenly as zookeepers were doing some procedures to keep him hydrated. Turner came to Tacoma from the San Antonio Sea World in 1998. He had a chronic kidney condition, but zoo officials say they don't know whether that contributed to his death. A necropsy is planned to learn more about the cause of death. Belugas are toothed whales found in arctic and sub-arctic waters. Adults are white with no dorsal fin and a blunt head. They are among the smaller whales, between 10 and 15 feet long.


Panda Crushes Newborn at Chongqing Zoo
September 8, 2006 news.nationalgeographic.com By Brian Handwerk

A 2-day-old panda cub was crushed yesterday when its mother-which hadn't slept in two days-fell asleep and rolled onto her cub. 16-year-old Ya Ya fatally damaged the newborn's heart, liver, and other internal organs. Handlers were alerted to the tragedy when the cub fell motionless from her mother's nipple. Ya Ya, had given birth to twins on Tuesday at China's Chongqing Zoo. One of the twins was transferred to the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center, because panda mothers are typically unable to raise twins. The second cub remained with her mother. Carmi Penny, curator of mammals at the San Diego Zoo, explained that tragedies like Ya Ya's are not uncommon among pandas or other species-including domestic dogs. Newborn giant panda cubs weigh just 1/900 of their mother's weight (3 to 5 ounces, or 85 to 142 grams) "There's a level of risk in the early hours and early days after a birth. And with a first-time or inexperienced mother, the risk is much higher."


Indianapolis Zoo Vet Profle
September 8, 2006 www.indystar.com  By Diana Penner

Jan Ramer is one of two full-time veterinarians at the Indianapolis zoo. In recent weeks she has been busy with new babies -- a female African elephant and endangered Jamaican iguanas -- and over the next year expects several dolphin calves to be born. Ramer slept on the floor of her office the night the elephant was born, just to be on hand in case she was needed. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Ramer, 50, has been at the zoo as a veterinarian for nine years. After earning a biology degree at Purdue University, Ramer got a job as a keeper at the zoo, and at 23 she took a similar job at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Focused on primates, she loved her job, but as she began to move into management, she also moved further away from the animals.
"So I started to think more about veterinary medicine." She and her husband, Bob Newell, who at that time also was a keeper at the Brookfield Zoo, moved with their young children so Ramer could attend the University of Wisconsin's veterinary school. After working with small animals for a year after finishing vet school in 1995 and another year teaching, Ramer ended up coming home. In the past decade, the Indianapolis Zoo has expanded and built a reputation for successful reproduction -- including artificial insemination of African elephants, dolphin births and, most recently, the first-in-the-world captive hatchings of Jamaican iguanas. She and Richard Searcy, senior keeper in the reptile exhibit, are like proud godparents of the extremely endangered lizards.


Anne Baker - Dynamic Toledo Zoo Leader
September 10, 2006 toledoblade.com By JENNI LAIDMAN

After leading the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, N.Y., for 13 years, Anne Baker assumed leadership of the Toledo Zoo 6 months ago. Staff members are enthusiastic about the fact that she has monthly lunches with any employee who signs up to join her. The conversations are open, with the director both answering questions and asking them. In Ms. Baker's first weeks at the zoo, she met with every department - without supervisors - and asked staffers about their goals. It was more than window dressing. She took it seriously. She made changes. When she makes a decision, she holds people accountable. "She is very, very inclusive," said Peter Tolson, the zoo's director of conservation. Ms. Baker "has made some pretty extraordinary efforts to understand where we're at as an institution, what the mindset of the individual employees is. And also she's big on consensus-building across the board." He added: "she has very good listening skills." She also has a PhD in primatology. Currently she is dealing with elephants and the new children's zone. Adhering to AZA's new elephant recommendation means expanding the elephant yard and moving the children's zoo. But rather than just shifting the farm animal collection to a new location, she hopes to bring her concern for education and conservation together, creating not only a facility true to "green values," but one where she can help kids get in touch with the "biophilia" that E.O. Wilson talks about - to create that emotional, gut-level empathy for animals, to begin to create that caring," she said. "One of the things that we know is that for people really interested and committed to nature and the environment, it is experiences they had as a child with nature that were really important. The trick is figuring out how to create those experiences at the zoo. To figure it out, she is approaching the entire planning process backward - or at least, backward compared to how it's been done before. In the past, "basically we had an architect come in and tell us what we liked," said Mitch Magdich, the curator of education. This time, the zoo intends to go to an architect with the plan they're brainstorming. When the plan is finally drawn, it will be with an eye to environmental sustainability.


National Zoo's Asia Trail Opening Delayed
September 10, 2006 www.wtopnews.com 

WASHINGTON - The National Zoo is pushing back the opening of its Asia Trail exhibit until October 17th. The zoo says more time is needed for the animals to adjust and for staff to be satisfied that the habitats are workable and safe. The trail will be home for the giant pandas, red pandas, sloth bears, fishing cats and other Asian animals. Construction on the $34 million project began in 2004.


Teaching Zoo Animals to Take Their Medicine
September 10, 2006 www.kansascity.com  By Sandy Bauers

Zoos are using a training technique with their animals that goes back to Pavlov's salivating dog. It involves "capturing" a behavior an animal does anyway - sitting in a particular spot, for instance - by pressing a clicker or blowing a whistle and then rewarding the animal with food. Put a mat in the spot, click, and the animal learns to sit on the mat. Move the mat, click, and the animal sits there - a good technique for getting an animal to sit on a scale. An inexplicable weight gain or loss could be an early sign of illness in a wild animal that has evolved not to show symptoms, which would make it a target for predators. Keepers at the Philadelphia zoo started training in earnest about seven years ago. The downside is the time; keepers have to keep at it consistently. Before, if the keepers needed to bring in the pelicans before a thunderstorm, they had to haul out nets. Now, the birds come in on command. Veterinarian Keith Hinshaw said cats, like most zoo animals, recognize and hate the blowpipes used to shoot tranquilizing darts, and if the animal is agitated, it may become overheated once sedated, and will need more of the sedative, which is more stressful to its system. Far better, Hinshaw said, to train it to lean a hip or shoulder against the cage and accept first a touch, then the poke of a blunt instrument, then the prick of a needle. "This has changed zookeeping," said Sue Margulis, chair of the AZA's behavior advisory committee. Margulis also is curator of primates at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, where primates press their chests against the mesh of a cage so the vet can use a stethoscope to check their heartbeats. At the moment, they're learning to put up with ear thermometers. And keepers want to get females that might become pregnant used to an ultrasound probe. The trick in all this is finding the right reward. Chunks of raw meat help convince the big cats. Bits of smelt taught Inca terns, a coastal species, to take saltwater footbaths. Mealworms are meerkat candy, and possums "will do anything for wax worms," said Christine Bartos, assistant curator of ungulates and small mammals. Studies have shown that some animals prefer to work for food, said Andy Baker, vice president for animal programs. Given the option of pressing a lever to get food or eating out of a dish, a rat often will press the lever.


Biggest Wildlife Hospital Will Be Steve's Legacy
September 10, 2006 www.smh.com.au  By Matthew Benns

Before his death, Steve Irwin had dreamed of building the world's biggest animal hospital - a $4 million facility on the grounds of his Australia Zoo at Beerwah in Queensland as a tribute to his mother Lyn, who died in a car accident six years ago. Now staff at the existing animal hospital has vowed to see his expansion plans through as Irwin's legacy to Australian conservation.
"To make Steve proud we want to make it bigger and better than even he dreamed," said Australian Wildlife Hospital manager Gail Gipp. "Steve and Terri started this hospital two years ago in memory of his mother. Then one day he was sitting in here and he said: 'This isn't big enough'," she said. The hospital already cares for 4800 native animals a year that are rescued and brought in by members of the public. It runs 24-hours a day and gives veterinary advice to people with Australian animals who call from all over the world. "As an example, we just had a call about sugar gliders from the former Miss Turkey," said Ms Gipp. Michael Hornby, executive manager of Irwin's conservation group Wildlife Warriors, said the hospital's expansion plans came to fruition when the Federal Government gave it a $2.5 million grant in the last budget. "We hoped to start work in late October to turn the existing hospital into the world's biggest wildlife hospital dealing with 8000-10,000 animals every year." But he said Irwin's death had boosted fundraising towards the remaining $1.5 million needed to turn the hospital into the education and medical facility Irwin had visualized. "It will be open to the public and they will be able to come in and see what Steve Irwin was all about, which was the conservation of wildlife," he said.


UAE Marine Conservation Forum 2006
September 10, 2006 www.ameinfo.com 

The four-day Marine Conservation Forum 2006 will be inaugurated tomorrow by H.E. Dr. Mohammad Saeed Al Kindi, UAE Minister of Environment and Water Resources. Eighty marine conservation experts from the GCC, Iran and Yemen will attend the Forum at the Crowne Plaza, Abu Dhabi. The Forum is being organized by EWS-WWF (Emirates Wildlife Society - World Wide Fund for Nature) under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Environment & Water. Dr. Susan Lieberman, Director, WWF-International Species Programme and the lead facilitator of the Forum, said: 'This is the first forum of its kind for governments of this region-and I am optimistic that we will have excellent, cooperative discussions in the next four days. Coral reefs provide close to US$30 billion each year in goods and services from tourism, fisheries and stopping coastal erosion. Although they occupy less than one quarter of one per cent of the marine environment, coral reefs are home to more than 25 per cent of all known marine fish species. Properly managed, coral reefs can yield an average of 15 tons of fish and other seafood per square kilometer each year.' Dr. Lieberman also noted that worldwide, six of the seven species of marine turtles are listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered. The conservation of marine turtles requires multilateral cooperation and agreements, as well as commitments of governments sharing these species, to guarantee their survival. In this way, we are playing a part in guaranteeing the future and health of communities and economies in the region'.


Zoos Targets for Exotic Animal Thieves
September 10, 2006 www.washingtonpost.com  By SUE LEEMAN, AP

LONDON -- Thieves are targeting Europe's zoos and safari parks to supply animal collectors who want to own ever more exotic species. Conservationists say the practice is harming animals, threatening vital breeding programs, and adding to an already flourishing illegal trade in exotic birds and animals. "We live in a designer world and people are not satisfied any more with a budgie or a canary _ they want something more exotic," said John Hayward, a former police officer who runs Britain's National Theft Register, the only national database of animal thefts in Europe. He says on average Britain's zoos have suffered a major theft every week for the past few years, involving dozens of animals worth thousands of dollars. Experts say that the trade in exotic birds - both legal and illegal - has decimated populations of African gray parrots, prized for their ability to mimic human speech. Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says 360,000 African grays were legally traded between 1994 and 2003 - most of them into Europe - while many thousands more were illegally traded. In the last three years, some 80 mostly small monkeys have disappeared from some of Britain's more than 350 zoos, including several dozen large zoos and safari parks, Hayward said. Only a few have been recovered. Hayward said some animals are stolen to order by professionals. "These animals are not tame and you need to know how to handle and care for them," he said. The more exotic or endangered the animal, the higher the price. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says a single rare hyacinth macaw can fetch up to $45,000. There are casual thefts, too: In the late 1990s, a man abducted an alligator from a zoo in central England to impress him friends - then left it on the doorstep of a pet shop. Harry Schram, director of the 300-member European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, says some 40 percent of European zoos have suffered thefts. U.S. zoos also suffer thefts. In 2000, two golden eagles and a bald eagle were stolen from Santa Barbara Zoo in California, apparently for their feathers. Also that year, teenagers stole two koalas from San Francisco Zoo. Many zoos are now increasing security and some are tagging or implanting computer ships in their animals.


SE Asia Zoo Conference
September 11, 2006 english.vietnamnet.vn

The 15th conference of the Southeast Asia Zoo Association will open at Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow to start discussions on the subject "To more Friendly zoos". The three-day conference will be a chance for the association member countries to meet, exchange experiences, and boost cooperative efforts. Discussions will focus on animal raising, veterinary, education, conservation, zoo design, ethics, and animal care. The Vietnamese delegates will present nine reports on issues like management and preservation of forest animals in natural and confined environments. Among the 230 delegates attending the conference are 136 from 29 countries and territories


Federal Register Permit Applications
September 11, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 175
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-11

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species and marine mammals. Written data, comments or requests must be received by October 11, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for reviewby any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281. Further information may be obtained by phoning: 703/358-2104.

Applicant: Gibbon Conservation Center, Santa Clarita, CA, PRT-130533
The applicant requests a permit to import one live captive born female white-cheeked gibbon (Hylobates leucogenys) from the Wild Animal Park Planckendael, Belgium for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Smithsonian Institution National Zoological Park, Washington, DC, PRT-130449, 130450, 130451, 130551, and 134240.
The applicant requests a permit to import six captive born Przewalski's horses (Equus przewalskii) from Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species through breeding and reintroduction.

Applicant: Sea World, San Diego, CA, PRT-134585, 134586
The applicant requests permits to take two non-releasable walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) for the purpose of public display. The permit numbers and animals are: 134585, Tessa; 134586, Bocce. The animals were recovered as orphaned calves in Alaska in 2004 and 2005. The Service has determined that these animals do not demonstrate the skills and abilities needed to survive in the wild and considers them non-releasable. The applicant is applying for a permit to permanently hold these animals for the purpose of public display.

Applicant: Seattle Aquarium, Seattle, WA, PRT-134587, 134588, 134589, 134590, 134591
The applicant requests permits to take five non-releasable northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) for the purpose of public display. The permit numbers and animals are: 134587, Lootas; 134588, Nuka; 134589, Aniak; 134590, Adaa; 134591, Chugach. Lootas was recovered as an orphaned pup in Alaska in 1997. Nuka and Adaa were rescued as stranded pups in Alaska in 1989 and 2000. Aniak and Chugach were captive born in 2002 and 2005 from rescued parents. The Service has determined that these animals do not demonstrate the skills and abilities needed to survive in the wild and considers them non-releasable. The applicant is applying for a permit to permanently hold these animals for the purpose of public display.

Applicant: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Tacoma, WA, PRT-134592, 134593, 134594, 134595
The applicant requests permits to take three non-releasable northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) and one non-releasable walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) for the purpose of public display. The permit numbers and animals are: 134592, Toleak; 134593, Homer; 134594, Kenai; 134595, ET. Toleak was recovered as an orphaned pup in Washington in 2005. Homer and Kenai were rescued in Alaska in 1989. The walrus, ET, was rescued as a stranded calf in Alaska in 1982. The Service has determined that these animals do not demonstrate the skills and abilities needed to survive in the wild and considers them non-releasable. The applicant is applying for a permit to permanently hold these animals for the purpose of public display.

Applicant: Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, OR, PRT-134596
The applicant requests a permit to take one non-releasable northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) for the purpose of public display. Kodiak was rescued as a stranded pup in Alaska in 1989. The Service has determined that this animal does not demonstrate the skills and abilities needed to survive in the wild and considers it non-releasable. The applicant is applying for a permit to permanently hold this animal for the purpose of public display.

Applicant: Buckley V. Chappell, Forney, TX, PRT-127902
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Northern Beaufort Sea polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.


Critical Habitat for Distinct Population of the Canada Lynx
September 11, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 175
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-11 

The USFWS is announcing the reopening of the public comment period on the proposal to designate critical habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), the availability of the draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment of the proposed designation of critical habitat, and an amended Required Determinations section of the proposal. The draft economic analysis estimates the potential total future costs to range from $175 million to $889 million in undiscounted dollars over the next 20 years. Discounted future costs are estimated to be from $125 million to $411 million over 20 years ($8.38 million to $27.6 million annually) using a 3 percent discount rate, or $99.9 million to $259 million over 20 years ($9.43 million to $24.4 million annually) using a 7 percent discount rate. Comments will be accepted until October 11, 2006. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to fw6_lynx@fws.gov  or you may submit written comments and information to Field Supervisor, Montana Ecological Services Field Office, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT, 59601 OR use the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov  Follow the instructions for submitting comments. USFWS solicits comments on the original proposed critical habitat designation for the Canada lynx (lynx), published in the Federal Register on November 9, 2005 (70 FR 68294), the clarification of the proposed critical habitat, published in the Federal Register on February 16, 2006 (71 FR 8258), on our draft economic analysis of the proposed designation, and on our draft environmental assessment of the proposed designation. You may obtain copies of the proposed rule, draft economic analysis, and draft environmental assessment by mail or by visiting our Web site at mountain-prairie.fws.gov/species/mammals/lynx/criticalhabitat.htm  or from the Montana Ecological Services Field Office. Please submit electronic comments in an ASCII file format and avoid the use of special characters and encryption. Please also include "Attn: RIN 1018-AU52'' and your name and return address in your e-mail message.


Andy Warhol's "Endangered Species" Exhibit
September 11, 2006 www.enn.com

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming -The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, is exhibiting screenprints of species from mountain sheep and butterflies to gorillas to America's national symbol, the bald eagle. "Silent Spring: Andy Warhol's Endangered Species and Vanishing Animals" prints were published in 1983, four years before his death. He collaborated on the 1986 book "Vanishing Animals" with naturalist Kurt Benirschke "to raise awareness about the plight of animals in danger of becoming extinct. The positive response has spurred the museum to seek a set of Warhols for its permanent collection.


Report Praises ESA Recovery Plans
September 11, 2006 www.ens-newswire.com

WASHINGTON, DC -- A recently published 77-page report examined the fate of 31 federally listed species that have recovery plans - of the 31 species studied in the report, 19 have been recently delisted, or are likely to be delisted within the next 25 years. The remaining 12 are likely to remain on the endangered species list for decades because the species are slow to reproduce, their habitat cannot be secured, or the biologists do not know enough about the threats facing them. For all but one, recovery plans "played an important role in recovery efforts by identifying many of the actions that the services' biologists deem most important to the recovery of the species." Thirteen of the species reviewed are recovering, the GAO said, "in large part due to the implementation of actions in the species' recovery plans." Although recovery of endangered species depends on a variety of factors, species with recovery plans fare better than those without, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report detailed that recovery plans are a critical part of the government's implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and recommends efforts to reform the law should definitely keep this provision. The ESA requires the federal government's two wildlife agencies - the USFWS and the NMFS to list species determined to be threatened or endangered, to designate critical habitat and to develop recovery plans for the conservation and survival of listed species. The plans are to include site-specific management actions, measurable criteria to determine the status of the species and estimates of the time and cost to carry out the measures needed to achieve the plan's goals.


Bwindi Gorilla Naming Ceremony
September 11, 2006 allafrica.com By Salome Alweny & Edith Byenjeru

The acting Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Mr Damian Akankwasa, said a gorilla-naming ceremony aimed at gathering public support for the conservation and the promoting gorilla tourism will occur at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on November 25. "The last gorilla naming ceremony was organized in January 2004 and since then, at least eight gorillas have been born," he said. The ceremony comes at a time when the gorilla reproduction rate is quite low. According to Akankwasa, their pregnancy lasts eight and a half months and a newborn is highly dependent on the mother."Because gorillas are critically endangered species and since their population is very low, the birth of a single gorilla is very significant for those of us in conservation," he said. "A female gorilla produces young ones after every four years." Akankwasa said Bwindi has about 325 gorillas in total while Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has 55 . This gives Uganda a total of about 380 gorillas, which indicates 54 per cent of the total world population of only about 700 gorillas. Rwanda and Congo share the remaining 320. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in particular has four habituated gorillas that are friendly to humans and are used for tourism or research purposes. Each of them is allowed only eight visitors a day. According to UWA, there are 32 gorilla permits available for sale to the public every day. Each permit goes for Shs100,000 for Ugandans wishing to do gorilla tracking and $375 for foreign tourists. A prominent South African travel magazine, Gateway, named Murchison Falls National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the 7th and 8th best wild places in Africa respectively in its April 2004 issue. The two parks were said to be among the best 15 national parks in Africa.


Steve Irwin Funeral at the Zoo
September 12, 2006 www.smh.com.au

Steve Irwin's manager, John Stainton, Wes Mannion, his best friend and his father, Bob, confirmed at a press conference that they had given Irwin a private funeral service at the zoo on Saturday afternoon. Bob Irwin said that "because Steve loved the bush so much and yarning around the camp fire" the intimate funeral service, held at 2.30pm, "was just like he would have wanted, with everyone telling their favorite stories about him around a candlelit fire".  Stainton, has already indicated that the zoo will eventually consider allowing the Crocodile Hunter's fans to visit his final resting place. A public memorial service will be held on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, probably at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium - but that would depend on whether police could make arrangements for the venue in time


3 Ways to Save Cheetahs at Oregon Zoo
September 12, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

On Sunday, Oct. 15, the Oregon Zoo will feature three events to support the Cheetah Conservation Fund: The Cheetah Run is an 8K run/walk beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a 5K run/walk following at 8:45 a.m. And for kids - a half-mile dash beginning at 8 a.m. Former Gov. John Kitzhaber, a running enthusiast and the honorary Run for the Cheetah chairperson, will be preside. The event is sponsored by Azumano Travel, the Oregon Zoo, Comcast, Java Jacket, REI, Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, KINK-FM, Partners on Demand printing, the Lake Oswego Review, NW Natural and Marriott hotels and resorts. There's also Cheetah Camp for children ages 4-11. The cost is $30 and it is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon. The camp features tours of the cougar, leopard, tiger and ocelot exhibits and campers will get to visit with cheetah expert Laurie Marker and her two cheetahs, Kamau (a rare King cheetah) and Kgosi. Marker, began her work with cheetahs at Oregon's Wildlife Safari 30 years ago and has been named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet". She is CCF's founder and executive director. "The Big Cat Big Party" is the CCF's fourth annual Zoo Cheetah Benefit Dinner and Auction and takes place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Banquet Center, The cost is $75 ($150 for a special patron reception for 5-6pm)and features Marker and the cheetahs Kamau and Kgosi, and a discussion by Marker about her work in Namibia and other countries to save the wild cheetah. There is also a silent auction.


Roger Williams Park Zoo Asked to Preserve Beetle
September 12, 2006 www.turnto10.com

A national preservation group is asking Roger Williams Park Zoo to come up with a species survival plan for the American burying beetle, found only on Block Island and in a few spots in the Midwest. The zoo has been breeding the beetles in captivity and releasing them back into the wild for 10 years.


Dickerson Park Zoo's Elephant Breeding Program
September 12, 2006 www.belleville.com  By MARCUS KABEL, AP

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A 320-pound female calf named Nisha was born at 1:35 AM on July 18th at Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo. Mike Keele, chairman of the AZA's Asian and African Elephant Species Survival Plan, said Dickerson Park, with only 4-5 elephant keepers has made major contributions to the way all zoos prepare and monitor Asian elephants for natural breeding and to the science of artificial insemination. That includes completing the world's first successful Asian elephant pregnancy from artificial insemination. Haji, a healthy calf, delivered in November 1999 but died just short of his third birthday from elephant herpes virus. The Dickerson Park breeding program dates from the early 1980s, when the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 barred zoos from capturing new wild elephants. Jeff Glazier, senior keeper said previously Zoos had avoided dealing with dangerous males, but Dickerson Park acquired two bulls in 1980, a 21-month-old and a 16-year-old, and the next year, added a second female. Within a few years, the zoo was bringing in mature cows from other zoos that did not have breeding males and became a regional breeding center. One new practice that Dickerson Park researched and implemented was sending pregnant cows back to their home zoos without waiting for the two-year gestation period. The zoo's work discounted previous fears that the stress of transportation would endanger the pregnancy, and freed up space and time for breeding more cows. The first visitation breeding took place in December 1988 with a cow sent from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The female returned to her home zoo in October 1989 and gave birth in October 1990. Working with Missouri State University veterinarian Dennis Schmitt, who has become a world leader in elephant artificial insemination, the zoo came up with improved techniques for harvesting and preserving elephant semen and artificially impregnating cows. Some of that work led to the first successes in freezing semen and in being able to check whether female elephants would be viable candidates for natural or artificial insemination. Zoos have long used restraint chutes to hold elephants in place. But in the 1990s a Dickerson Zoo employee named Tod Ricketts developed the first chute that could rotate sideways and lay an elephant on its side, making it easier to do complex tasks such as artificial insemination. "I use Dickerson Park as an example of what a zoo can do if they're really committed to a species," Keele said.


Kouprey's Species Status is Questioned - A Feral Hybrid?
September 12, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By Mark Derr

In their Journal of Zoology paper, biologists from Northwestern University and the Cambodian Forestry Administration say the kouprey most likely originated as a cross between two domesticated species, the banteng and the zebu. The animal might have become wild in the 19th century as a result of the societal disruption. It was "discovered" and designated a species in the 1930s. The claim is being challenged by Asian wild cattle specialists claiming the paper has misinterpreted the kouprey's genetics and history. Slightly larger than the closely related banteng, and slightly smaller than the gaur, the kouprey is the largest of the wild cattle. Kouprey are probably extinct in the wild, victims of overhunting, war and habitat loss. There have been no confirmed sightings in more than 20 years.. There are no kouprey in any of the world's zoos. The researchers say their conclusions are based on analysis of mitochondrial DNA, or DNA inherited only from the mother, taken from two living Cambodian banteng and from the taxidermic remains of that first captive kouprey shipped to France in 1936. Essentially, they found that the mitochondrial DNA sequence of the kouprey matched that of the Cambodian banteng, indicating a common maternal original. Anticipating criticism, Dr. Galbreath and his colleagues considered two alternative interpretations. A vast genetic mixing hundreds of thousands of years ago involving banteng and a zebu-like wild ox could have produced the kouprey, they said, but that was unlikely because such events were rare, and there was no evidence that the wild ox existed. It is also possible the kouprey was a naturally occurring species whose females, as its numbers declined, mated occasionally with banteng. But the researchers doubt that could have produced two captive banteng with kouprey mitochondria. In 2004, two French scientists, Alexandre Hassanin and Anne Ropiquet of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, sequenced the taxidermic kouprey's DNA to show that the kouprey was a natural species, not a hybrid. They posted the sequence in a public genetic data bank, where it was available to Dr. Galbreath's team. Dr. Hassanin and Dr. Ropiquet have fired back in a recently submitted paper, arguing hypothetically that if the Cambodian banteng represents a separate species from the Javan banteng, then the kouprey could have derived from the Cambodian version, as the Galbreath team proposes. But it was more likely, Dr. Hassanin said in an e-mail message, that the kouprey was a natural species that evolved in Southeast Asia. On at least one occasion more than 100,000 years ago, a kouprey mated with a banteng. Their descendants are Cambodia's banteng, with mitochondrial DNA more closely resembling kouprey than banteng.  To complicate matters further, last February Dr. Hassanin and other colleagues published a paper in the journal Comptes Rendus Biologies arguing that a specimen mounted in 1871 in Paris and thought to be a domestic ox from Indochina was, in fact, a domesticated kouprey. The specimen has been at the museum in Bourges since 1931.


Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened
September 12, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 176
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-12

The USFWS has published an updated list of plant and animal species native to the United States are regarded as candidates for listing as Endangered or Threatened. This Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) recognizes 7 new candidates, changes the listing priority number for 24 candidates, and removes 10 species from candidate status. Combined with other decisions for individual species that were published separately from this CNOR, the new number of species that are candidates for listing is 279. The Service requests additional status information that may be available for the 279 candidate species identified in this CNOR. Species assessment forms with information and references on a particular candidate species' range, status, habitat needs, and listing priority assignment are available for review online at:  endangered.fws.gov/candidates/index.html


Marbled Murrelet May Lose Protection
September 12, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By AP
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-12/

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A federal proposal would slash the critical habitat in Oregon, Washington and California set aside for the marbled murrelet, a threatened sea bird, by about 95 percent, to 221,692 acres. The USFWS said the bird is already protected by other plans such as the Northwest Forest Plan and state and tribal management plans on the 3.37 million acres that would be withdrawn, and is studying a proposal to delist the bird altogether. A Fish and Wildlife proposal to delist the bird entirely is on hold pending a range-wide survey of its populations.  The delisting proposal is based on the idea that the 17,000 to 20,000 birds living off Washington, Oregon and California are not distinct from the nearly 1 million other murrelets living off the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska.


New Frog Exhibit at Vilas Zoo
September 12, 2006 www.madison.com  By Jonah Huang

"Saving the frogs" is a new frog exhibit at Henry Vilas Zoo highlighting the zoo's leadership role in combating the loss of these amphibians. The exhibit contains about 16 endangered species from Panama, and will soon be adding Costa Rican frogs to the collection -- more than 100 varieties in all. For the most part, the frogs were transferred from other zoos and herpetariums, but some were rescued from the wild, according to zoo director, Jim Hubing. Inside the exhibit, Plexiglas terrariums simulate a lush rainforest habitat. Great efforts have been made to keep the mini habitats as realistic as possible. Thunderstorms, sunrises and sunsets are created with state of the art equipment and technology to make the frogs feel at home. This unique exhibit is the only one of its kind in the United States. Not only does it educate the public about these rare frogs, but it also allows zookeepers to breed frogs and augment a dwindling wild population. "We've had some initial success with glass frogs," Hubing said. These frogs have skin so translucent that their internal organs can be seen. In addition, visitors to the zoo have reacted well to the new exhibit. "They are absolutely fascinated by them," says Hubing. "By the beauty of the animals and beautiful plantings." Over the past few decades, at least 113 species of frogs and amphibians have become extinct and over one-third of the amphibian population is globally endangered. The exhibit describes the chytrid fungus and which is seen in Australia and Central and South America absorbed through the amphibians' skin, attacking the frogs' respiratory system, and killing them within days. "If we're not able to turn around the spread of the chytrid fungus and stop the loss of habitat and pollution, we'll lose these valuable animals," said Vilas Zoo director Jim Hubing.


Andean Condors Treated and Released
September 12, 2006 seattlepi.nwsource.com By AP

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Two Andean condors, were released Tuesday in the Andes foothills just east of Santiago by veterinarians of the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo. ." One of the condors was a three-year old male that was found seriously wounded by poachers, and the other one was a two-year old female, found malnourished and with its feathers damaged. The veterinarians had rescued and treated them for weeks after finding them. Teresa Rey, director of the zoo Park, said "Above all, our mission is conservation, recovery of species and protection our natural patrimony"  The condor is Chile's national bird, and it appears in the national coat of arms.


Critical Habitat for the Rota Bridled White-Eye (Zosterops rotensis)
September 12, 2006 Federal Register Volume 71, Number 176
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-12/

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are designating critical habitat for the Rota Bridled White-eye (Zosterops rotensis). In total, approximately 3,958 acres (ac) (1,602 hectares (ha)) fall within the boundaries of the critical habitat designation on the Island of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This rule becomes effective on October 12, 2006. The final rule and economic analysis will also be available on the Internet at www.fws.gov/pacificislands


Funding Buffalo Zoo's Rainforest
September 12, 2006 www.buffalonews.com  By TOM BUCKHAM

County Executive Joel A. Giambra made good on a 4-year-old pledge Monday by adding $4 million for the Buffalo Zoo's South American Rain Forest to the county's 2006 capital budget. He and zoo President Donna M. Fernandes urged the County Legislature to hastily approve the amendment so the indoor exhibit can be finished before construction costs, which rose $1.5 million over the past year, escalate further. The increase turned the rain forest, centerpiece of the zoo's $75 million reconstruction plan, from a $13.5 million feature into a $15 million one.  The $8 million committed by the state and a $4 million challenge grant pledged by M&T Bank Chairman Robert G. Wilmers "could dry up" if the exhibit remains on hold, Giambra said.
Zoo redevelopment was stalled by last year's county budget crisis and Fernandes' decision to move to Fresno, Calif., where she headed the Chaffee Zoo for four months before returning to Buffalo. Giambra believes investing in the zoo is good for taxpayers because rising attendance and membership figures over the last few years mean higher sales tax revenues. He also considers the rain forest central to tourism development, on the same level as Buffalo's Frank Lloyd Wright structures. Modeled on the habitat around Venezuela's Angel Falls, the rain forest will be an open walk-through exhibit featuring such South American animals as vampire bats, piranhas and an anaconda.


Irwin Memorial Service Scheduled
September 13, 2006  english.ohmynews.com

Sydney - A memorial service for 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin will be held September 20th at 9 am in the 5,500-seat Crocoseum at his Australia Zoo near Brisbane. Those wishing to attend next Wednesday's service will need to book and make a donation to Irwin's Wildlife Warriors conservation fund. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Australian television, as well as in the United States and Asia. Speakers at the service will include Bob Irwin, John Stainton who was his producer and business manager, as well as daughter Bindi. Large screens will be erected in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and it is expected that the service will be screened live on TV to the homes of millions of fans across Australia, North America and Asia.


Minnesota Zoo Dolphin with Scoliosis Recovers from Respiratory Infection
September 13 2006  www.kare11.com

Ayla was born at the Minnesota Zoo in 1992. About a month after her birth, trainers noticed her dorsal fin began leaning to the left, and a lump had appeared on her left side. A week after that, a second lump appeared on her right side. She suffers from scoliosis. Senior Veterinarian Jim Rasmussen said, "It's kinda "S" shaped to the side and has some distortion top to bottom as well. Probably it's reducing her lung capacity. It would predispose her to respiratory problems. She can't exhale quite as well as a normal animal so bacteria can get into her lungs and they don't probably blow out... they aren't exhales or expectorated as easily as they are in a normal animal." Zoo staff have treated her for respiratory problems several times, and last June she went off her food, and stopped cooperating with her trainers. Veterinarians found bacteria in her blood, and shadows in X-rays of her lungs. "You can see some haziness where the lungs are, and that's an indication that she might have a little bit of interstitial pneumonia going on," said Rasmussen. They began treating Ayla with antibiotics stuffed into the herring and capelin they feed her. She began eating more readily, and cooperating with her trainers again, presenting her tail flukes so blood could be drawn. Dr. Rasmussen said this new blood sample would be analyzed for bacteria, but he's optimistic. He said Ayla had seemed better before, then relapsed, so they're continuing the antibiotics. Dolphins life expectancy is typically greater than 25 years. "If she had been born in the wild," said Dr. Rasmussen," I don't think she would have survived more than a day or two." On September 26, Ayla will turn 14 at the Minnesota Zoo.


Overview of National Zoo's Asia Trail
September 13, 2006  www.washingtonpost.com  By Karlyn Barker

Asia Trail, the $53 million upper zoo overhaul is opening Oct. 17. Everyone knows about giant panda cub Tai Shan but he naps most of the day and will be sent back to China when he turns 2.  Balawat, a sloth bear cub born six months after Tai Shan spends much of his day digging, exploring, climbing and trying to catch a ride on his mother's back. And he's going to be around for a while. For years, visitors have had to make a special effort to find the sloth bears, which live toward the southern end of the animal park in Beaver Valley. But now the sloth bear family will have new expanded quarters along the zoo's main pedestrian thoroughfare, Olmstead Walk. Other animals indigenous to that part of the world, include giant pandas, red pandas, fishing cats, small-clawed otters and clouded leopards. The new exhibit is designed to give the public an unobstructed view of how sloth bears live. There will be a digging pit with a glass front, and visitors will be able to watch Bala and his parents forage and suck insects through tubes. A stream, pools and lots of trees for climbing will offer chances for adventure.


New Bird Species in India
September 13, 2006  www.birdlife.org

NEW DELHI, Sept.- A new bird species has been found in India, the first such discovery here in more than 50 years. The multicolored bird, Liocichla bugunorum, was first sighted in May in the remote Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, a northeastern state near the border with China, by Ramana Athreya, an astronomer and amateur ornithologist. Mr. Athreya said he named it after the Bugun tribe, which lives in the area. The bird has a black cap, a bright yellow patch around the eyes and yellow, crimson, black and white patches on the wings. Mr. Athreya caught two of the species, but released them after making detailed notes and taking photographs - and keeping feathers that had worked loose in his net. "We thought the bird was just too rare for one to be killed," he said. "With today's modern technology, we could gather all the information we needed to confirm it as a new species. We took feathers and photographs and recorded the bird's songs."


Record Number of Pandas Born in Captivity in China
September 13, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By AP

SHANGHAI, China - The birth of twin pandas at a research center brought the number of the endangered species born in captivity this year in China to a record 25, a news report said Tuesday. The number of births so far this year is up from at least 19 for the research program in 2005, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The twins, both weighing about 5.5 ounces, were born Monday at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The as-yet-unnamed cubs were the first for their 8-year-old mother Youyou, the report said. The bears are the sixth set of twins born to captive pandas this year -- a sign of the growing success of China's extensive breeding program, which relies heavily on artificial insemination, Chinese researchers say. "We've pretty much resolved the problems of infertility among pandas," the center's director Zhang Zhihe was quoted as telling Chinese media.  China, the only wild home of the giant panda, has raised millions of dollars in funding for research into the notoriously slow-reproducing animals by renting them to zoos around the world. China has more than 180 pandas living in captivity and possibly up to 3,000 in the wild, according to a recent study.


15th Annual SEAZA Conference Wraps Up
September 13, 2006 vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn

HCM City - Delegates to the 15th annual Southeast Asian Zoos' Association (SEAZA) conference in HCM City were united in their concerns over the state of the region's zoos.  The conference was appropriately titled "Zoos on the Fringe" focusing on improving shabby conditions at sub-par regional zoos. As co-operation on regional issues was discussed, Viet Nam also had a chance to elaborate on its zoo development plans. SEAZA President Dr Jansen Manansang said that while large affluent zoos are important, the majority of the region's animal collections are held in smaller, less-affluent zoos that are currently suffering. "Much important research and many vital breeding programs are being undertaken in zoos across our region that are under-resourced, and some would describe as "sub-standard," he said. SEAZA's president said it was time to hold out the hand of friendship to needy zoos. He cited a motion passed at a recent World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) meeting in Leipzig that read: "We, as a community of organized zoos, have a moral, ethical and professional responsibility to engage with needy institutions in order to help them improve their standards, achieve conservation goals, and benefit the animals they hold." He also affirmed that SEAZA would continue contributing to WAZA's resolutions that aim to curb the global problems of climate change, the amphibian shortage and substandard zoos. Among the 200 delegates from 26 countries and territories attending the three-day conference are chairpersons, directors, veterinarians, and technical workers from Australia, China, Canada, Portugal, South Africa, the Philippines, South Korea and the UK.


Female Elephant Born at Wild Animal Park
September 13, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com

ESCONDIDO - A female African elephant was born at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, officials announced Tuesday. The 214-pound calf was born at 7:49 p.m. Monday to a 16-year-old African elephant named Umngani, which was part of a herd rescued from culling in Swaziland and brought to San Diego in 2003. It was the second calf from the rescued herd born at the Wild Animal Park. Park officials said animal keepers are monitoring the pair around the clock to ensure the first-time mother properly cares for the newborn. "Through these successes we are demonstrating our commitments to African elephant conservation and creating a sustainable population, allowing people to learn about elephants first hand for generations to come," said Jeff Andrews, the Wild Animal Park's animal care manager. The calf was the first sired by Mabhulane, and park officials say tests show three more elephants may be pregnant by the bull and will give birth sometime in 2007.


Przewalski's Horse Lecture
September 13, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com

In 1879 Nikolai Przewalski, a Russian naturalist, discovered a unique herd of short, stocky horses in the grasslands of central Asia. By 1900 habitat loss and hunting had decimated the population and the horse was declared extinct in the wild by 1969. Fortunately small captive populations did exist in zoos and researchers at the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) began working with an international breeding program for the species. More than 120 Przewalski's horses were born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in the 1990s. CRES has also participated in the reintroduction of the horse in reserves in China and Mongolia. A population of about 300 Przewalski's horses now exist in the wild. On Oct 7, at 4:30 p.m., geneticist Oliver Ryder will explain CRES' role in this successful venture. The event also features a tour of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Conservation Research and a wine and cheese reception. Cost of the event is $49.


Arctic Polar Bear Population in Jeopardy
September 13, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

New research suggests that progressively earlier breakup of the Arctic sea ice, stimulated by climate warming, shortens the spring hunting season for female polar bears in Western Hudson Bay and is likely responsible for the continuing fall in the average weight of these bears. As females become lighter, their ability to reproduce and the survival of their young decline. Also, as the bears become thinner, they are more likely to push into human settlements for food, giving the impression that the population is increasing. The study will be published this week in the September issue of the Journal Arctic. Claire Parkinson, a scientist at NASA, and Ian Stirling, a senior scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service, used NASA satellite observations captured from 1979 to 2004 to show the reduction in sea ice cover in several specific areas where there are known polar bear populations. In most of the areas studied, they found that ice break-up in these areas has been occurring progressively earlier. "In 1980 the average weight of adult females in western Hudson Bay was 650 pounds. Their average weight in 2004 was just 507 pounds - a 143-pound reduction," said Stirling. A 1992 study in the Canadian Journal of Zoology indicated that no females weighing less than 416 pounds gave birth the following spring. According to Stirling, if the climate continues to warm as projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the ice continues to break up progressively earlier, it is likely that in 20-30 years polar bear reproduction in western Hudson Bay will be significantly limited. Similar events may eventually happen in other areas included in the study.


Kansas City Zoo Received $1 million
September 14, 2006 www.kansascity.com  By Matt Campbell

The Kauffman Foundation today announced a gift of $1 million to the Kansas City Zoo toward its campaign to build a new entrance, create a penguin exhibit and other attractions. The Friends of the Zoo is in a campaign to raise $35 million to add to the $30 million in bonds approved by voters in 2004. The Kauffman grants are from the foundation's Legacy Fund, which was created in 2004 to make $9 million available to various Kansas City area projects.


Zoo Northwest Florida Loses Accreditation
September 14, 2006 www.pensacolanews.com  By Amy Sowder

The Zoo Northwest Florida still is still recovering from hurricanes Ivan and Dennis as well as the withdrawal of its accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. H. Doug Kemper Jr., executive director of the zoo near Gulf Breeze, said he initially decided not to reapply for accreditation as zoo workers coped with some $600,000 in storm damage and the loss of 23 animals, including 18 fragile fruit bats. But he changed his mind after accreditation officials assured him they'd take into account the hurricane problems. Kemper said he was disappointed by what he considered the accreditation group's failure to live up to its promise to overlook the damage. He said the denial was based on several factors, including downed fences, lack of potable water for the animals and unsatisfactory graphic signs at exhibits. But Kemper said water quality meets Santa Rosa County, Florida Wildlife Commission and U.S. Animal Welfare Act standards, and the other problems were unavoidable results of the hurricanes. A sore point for zoo employees is that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums donated nearly $1 million to the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, said Natalie Akin, the zoo's visitor services director. Kris Vehrs, deputy director of the association, said the Association of Zoos and Aquariums typically does not give out financial aid.The one exception was in New Orleans, she said. "The aquarium was closed for nine months,'' she said. "It was a very, very desperate situation." The zoo still maintains its accreditation from another group, the Zoological Association of America, which includes the San Diego Zoo.


Curious George Visits the Chattanooga Zoo
September 14, 2006 www.chattanoogan.com

The newest PBS Kids star Curious George will visit the to Chattanooga from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24. Chattanooga is one of the first cities Curious George has chosen to visit in the United States. Hank, Chattanooga chimp ambassador, will officially welcome the mischievous monkey and then George will meet all of his local fans for photos and autographs. The event is open to the public with regular paid admission to the zoo. Curious George was introduced to the world in 1941 in the beloved children's book by Margret and H.A. Rey. The new daily PBS series expands George's world to include a host of colorful new characters. Each of the 30 half-hour episodes includes two animated stories followed by short live-action pieces showing real kids who are investigating the ideas that George introduces in his stories. The series is designed to inspire kids to explore science, math, and engineering in the world around them.


Naples Zoo has Unique Animal Naming Contest
September 14, 2006 www.zwire.com

Typically, zoo staff select appropriate names for newborns at the zoo. But this time, everyone is being invited to pitch in to name a new black and white colobus monkey and a yellow-backed duiker. The ultimate winning names will be chosen by the new monkey's mother herself. Names can be submitted for both new babies through Sunday, Oct. 15. As both of these creatures are African species, names that relate to Africa are encouraged. Entry forms are available at The Zoo Gift Shop or online at www.napleszoo.com. No purchase is necessary to enter and you can enter as many names as you like. Zoo staff will select five potential names for each baby. The names will then be paired, one for the antelope and one for the monkey, and assigned a color. On Oct. 19, keepers will place five correspondingly colored treats on the colobus monkey island. Whichever colored treat the colobus monkey mother selects first will determine the winning names. The two people who submitted the winning names and their immediate families will join zoo director David Tetzlaff on an exclusive tour of the zoo featuring an early-morning boat cruise and a special trip to the duiker exhibit.


Lake Superior Zoo names director
September 14, 2006 www.duluthsuperior.com  BY BRANDON STAHL

After being without a director since Dec. 13, Ryan Guiker will assume leadership of the Lake Superior Zoo. Gulker has worked at Sunset Zoological Park in Manhattan, Kan., for the past 14 years. He most recently served as the curator -- second in command at the zoo and responsible for overseeing care of the animals. Sunset Zoological Park is similar to the Lake Superior Zoo in size and both are city-run and financed. He comes to the Lake Superior Zoo at a critical time -- the facility's accreditation with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association expires this month.


Repatriation for Safari World's Smuggled Orangutans
September 14, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

BANGKOK - After a police bust in 2004, Bangkok's Safari World's owners said their 115 orangutans were the result of a successful domestic breeding program. But DNA tests proved many of the apes had been taken from Indonesia. Around 50 orangutans were rescued and will be flown home to their native Indonesia on an Indonesian military transport plane on Oct. 23. While at Safari World, many of the animals were forced to stage mock kick-boxing bouts. "It's a huge scandal and it's cost a lot of time and effort, so I'm really happy to see it coming it to an end after more than three years," said Edwin Wiek of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. An Indonesian embassy spokesman confirmed the repatriation plan, but said only 41 of the primates were on the manifest, rather than 53 mentioned by Wiek. After the deaths or disappearance of at least 27 orangutan and a string of legal battles involving Wiek, forestry police and the National Parks department, the first batch was cleared for take off. Fewer than 30,000 orangutan are thought to be left in the jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia and environmentalists say the species could become extinct in 20 years if the current rate of decline continues.


Wisconsin Farm Has Third Rare White Buffalo
September 14, 2006 www.enn.com  By Emily Fredrix, AP

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Dave Heider is the owner of a farm in Janesville, Wisconsin that has been the birthplace of rare white buffalo - considered sacred by many native American Indian tribes. The rare animals are thought to bring good fortune and peace. A female named Miracle was born in 1994, and thousands of people came to see her before she died at the age of 10. A second white buffalo was born in 1996 but died after three days. Recently Heider discovered a third calf - a male. About 50 American Indians held a drum ceremony at the farm this past weekend to honor the new calf, which has yet to be named. Heider said t is no relation to Miracle. The odds of having a white buffalo are at least 1 in the millions, said Jim Matheson, assistant director of the National Bison Association. For years buffalo in general were rare but their numbers are increasing, with some 250,000 now in the U.S.. Heider and his wife have about 65 head of buffalo on their farm, which they hope to turn into a full-time business in the coming years. They plan to breed the new calf with Miracle's four daughters and three granddaughters, he said. None of those animals is white. "I guess this is going to change things," Heider said.


Critical Habitat for the Southern California Population of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog
September 14, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 178
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-14

The USFWS is designating critical habitat for the southern California distinct population segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) In total, approximately 8,283 acres (ac) (3,352 hectares (ha)) fall within the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The critical  habitat is located in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, California. This rule becomes effective on October 16, 2006. The final rule, economic analysis, and maps are available via the Internet at www.fws.gov/carlsbad/  For further information contact Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, California 92011, (telephone 760/431-9440; facsimile 760/431-9624).


Vole is Fastest Evolving Mammal
September 14. 2006 news.uns.purdue.edu By Douglas M Main

Purdue University research has shown that the vole, a mouselike rodent, is not only the fastest evolving mammal, but also harbors a number of puzzling genetic traits that challenge current scientific understanding. J. Andrew DeWoody, associate professor of genetics in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, has published a study in this month's journal Genetica. The study focuses on 60 species within the vole genus Microtus, which has evolved in the last 500,000 to 2 million years. This means voles are evolving 60-100 times faster than the average vertebrate in terms of creating different species. Within the genus (the level of taxonomic classification above species), the number of chromosomes in voles ranges from 17-64. DeWoody said that this is an unusual finding, since species within a single genus often have the same chromosome number. DeWoody's research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Stopping the Argentine Ant in California
September 14, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14 - Pesticides haven't worked, but now chemists and biologists at the University of California, Irvine, (UCI) think they may have found a natural way to finally check the spread of environmentally destructive Argentine ants in California and elsewhere in the United States. UCI organic chemist Kenneth Shea, and evolutionary biologist Neil Tsutsui along with graduate student Robert Sulc hope that slight alterations in the "recognition" chemicals on the exoskeletons of these closely related pests, can transform them into mortal enemies, triggering deadly in-fighting within their normally peaceful super colonies, which have numerous queens and can stretch hundreds of miles. One colony of Argentine ants is believed to extend almost the complete length of California, stretching from San Diego to Ukiah, 100 miles north of San Francisco. Their sheer numbers, cooperative behavior and lack of natural predators in the United States make these small, slender ants - only about 1/8 of an inch long - difficult to eradicate, The ants use chemical cues on their exoskeletons to recognize other members of their colony. Because Argentine ants in the California super colony are so interrelated, they have similar "recognition" cues and generally cooperate with each other. But in their laboratory the scientists were able to create a slightly altered, synthetic version of one of these "recognition" compounds, When coated onto experimental Argentine ants, the synthetic recognition compound caused untreated nest mates to attack. The research was described at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.


First Tree Genome is Published
September 14, 2006 www.sciencemag.org  www.eurekalert.org

WALNUT CREEK, CA--Wood from the common black cottonwood or Populus trichocarpa may one day help meet transportation fuel needs, according to scientists whose research is featured in the current issue of the journal Science. The poplar's extraordinarily rapid growth, and its relatively compact genome size of 480 million nucleotide units, 40 times smaller than the genome of pine, are among the many features that led researchers to target poplar as a model crop for biofuels production. "Under optimal conditions, poplars can add a dozen feet of growth each year and reach maturity in as few as four years, permitting selective breeding for large-scale sustainable plantation forestry," said Dr. Sam Foster of the U.S. Forest Service. "This rapid growth coupled with conversion of the lignocellulosic portion of the plant to ethanol has the potential to provide a renewable energy resource along with a reduction of greenhouse gases." "The challenge of global warming requires global solutions," said Martin Godbout, President, Genome Canada. "The international consortium that successfully sequenced the poplar genome provides a model for great minds working together and serves as an example of how discovery science can be applied to current environmental problems facing humanity." Poplar is the most complex genome to be sequenced and assembled by a single public sequencing facility and only the third plant to date to have its genome completely sequenced and published. The first, back in 2000, was the tiny weed, Arabidopsis thaliana, an important model for plant genetics. Rice was the second, two years ago. Populus trichocarpa is one of the tallest broadleaf hardwood trees in the western U.S., native to the Pacific coast from San Diego to Alaska. The sequenced DNA was isolated from a specimen collected along the banks of the Nisqually river in Washington State. The research is the result of a four-year scientific and technical effort, led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), uniting the efforts of 34 institutions from around the world.


What Happens When a Zoo Animal Gets Depressed?
September 14, 2006 www.slate.com  By Daniel Engber

Keepers can tell something's wrong when an animal becomes lethargic and unresponsive or stops eating. Other warning signs include excessive grooming (like picking fur or plucking feathers), rocking in place, and pacing. Zoo employees must first rule out physical ailments that could cause similar symptoms. Sometimes an animal can be coaxed out of a funk with "enrichment items" like toys and special foods. The pandas at the National Zoo get "fruitsicles"-apple-juice-flavored ices with embedded pieces of fruit. A blue period may also pass on its own, given enough time. Some zoo veterinarians prescribe antidepressants as a last resort. Last year, the Toledo Zoo admitted that it had been running an extensive psychiatric program: One gorilla took Prozac for anxiety that seemed to be associated with her menstrual cycle, zebras and wildebeests were given the antipsychotic Haldol to relax in a new environment, and an agitated tiger was dosed with Valium. It's not clear how well these drugs work for exotic animals-there aren't many placebo-controlled studies of antidepressant use in gorillas, zebras, and tigers. We've got more information on dogs and cats: Both SSRI-class drugs (like Prozac) and tricyclics (like Anafranil) seem to work. Researchers assess a pet's anxiety by counting anxious behaviors, like the number of times it urinates in a stressful situation. When veterinarians dole out antidepressants, they almost always go off-label. That means they're prescribing a drug that's only been approved for human use. (This is perfectly legal.) The Food and Drug Administration has approved only one antidepressant for animal use-Clomicalm, which is the same drug as Anafranil. But the approval extends only to dogs, and only to treat "separation anxiety." Studies reveal that training an anxious dog works just as well as giving it Clomicalm, but it takes a lot longer. This information came from Melissa Bain of the University of California and William Xanten of the National Zoo.


Two Atlas Lion Cubs born in French Zoo
September 15, 2006 www.int.iol.co.za

Les Sables D'Olonne, France - Two Atlas lion cubs, which are extinct in the wild, have been born in a zoo in western France, the zoo said on Thursday. Djebel and Taza, both females, were born on July 25 to seven-year-old mother Jerada and 17-year-old father Bali, the Sables d'Olonne zoo said. The last known Atlas lion in the wild, a sub-species also known as Barbary or Nubian lions, was killed by a poacher in Morocco in 1922. Around 50 live in zoos around the world. Jerada was being "a real mother hen and very protective", according to the zoo's scientific director Sandrine Silhol


One Amur Tiger cub dies at Pittsburgh Zoo; 2 still alive
September 15, 2006 www.post-gazette.com  By Anita Srikameswaran

A 5-week-old Amur tiger, the runt of the litter, died yesterday at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. A preliminary necropsy found that the female cub had an enlarged heart and a very small stomach. Tissue analysis will indicate whether those problems were congenital, which is likely, said the zoo's president, Dr. Barbara Baker. Thirty percent to 40 percent of Amur tiger cubs die, whether born in the wild or in captivity, and the mortality rate is higher with first-time mothers, like the zoo's Toma. The cub seemed as active as her two siblings, Dr. Baker said. All had been moving in and out of the nest box for about a week. But on Wednesday morning, keepers noted she was lethargic; they had intended to weigh the cubs yesterday, but instead checked them immediately. The biggest, a male, weighed in at more than 9.5 pounds, and the next, a female, just shy of 9 pounds. The smallest cub was not even half their size at less than 4 pounds. Veterinarians started supplementing the cub's intake with injections of fluid and vitamins, and also fed her nutrients through a tube in her mouth. By evening, she cuddled with her siblings in the nest box, Dr. Baker said. But around 2 a.m. Thursday, she took a turn for the worse. Staff took her out of the den to put her in an incubator in the zoo hospital, where she died a short time later. Her small size, being the cub of a first-time mom, having to compete with not one but two far larger siblings, and even the turn to cool, rainy weather might have been contributing factors, Dr. Baker said. The tiger cubs were born Aug. 8.


Jack Hanna's Celebrity Value to Columbus Zoo
September 15, 2006 www.columbusdispatch.com  By Marla Matzer Rose

"Jack Hanna's Fall Fest" is the latest example of how the Columbus Zoo's director emeritus is lending his star power to promote the Columbus Zoo. The two-weekend festival includes animal shows, live music and lumberjack demonstrations. "People (at the zoo) have talked about this, and I didn't want to do it," he said. "They talked me into it. It's part of my contract here to promote the zoo. I don't feel I personally need to build up my own name and celebrity. But if they can benefit from it, then it's fine with me." Hanna is paid a base salary of $85,000 a year for his services, plus a quarterly bonus of up to $21,250 based on several factors, including the amount of time he spends at the zoo. The zoo's marketing department in the past several months has begun using Hanna in "virtually all" of its print, radio and TV ads, Marketing Director Jeff Glorioso said. This summer, Hanna appeared on local bus "wraps" advertising the zoo, in TV ads for the new Asia Quest exhibit and in material promoting the new JazZoo concert series. Kris Vehrs, deputy director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said "The combination of his position as zoo director and a celebrity is very unusual. There have been others around the country associated with zoos, but not as directors and none probably currently as visible as Jack Hanna is," said Vehrs, alluding to the San Diego Zoo's Joan Embery and to Ron McGill, the communications director for the Miami Metro Zoo. The Columbus Zoo's ad agency, Burkholder Flint, set out four years ago to calculate the value of Hanna's TV time over the course of a year considering his many appearances on shows such as Good Morning America and Larry King Live. The agency's estimate of how much it would cost to buy the equivalent air time for advertising: more than $41 million.


"Fiesta del Coqui" at Florida's Sanford Zoo
September 15, 2006 www.orlandosentinel.com  By Walter Pacheco

The coqui frog -- beloved in Puerto Rico as a national symbol for its song, It is considered an invasive species in Hawaii - endangering the habitat of native species. The frog is the star of a new exhibit, which opens Saturday at the Sanford zoo. "Fiesta del Coqui", celebrates this controversial amphibian's history and folklore, as well as the traditions and culture of Puerto Rico. There are 17 species of coqui; they are predominantly brown with some markings, such as a stripe down their backs. They measure less than 2 inches, depending on the sex and altitude of habitat. Unlike other frogs, coqui don't posses webbed feet and cannot swim. Coqui can be found in the mountains of Puerto Rico's rain forests but also have adapted to the island's urban areas. Their distinguishing character is the croak males emit during mating season. Only a few species of coqui are capable of the distinctive song. Thanks to frog-population-control programs in Hawaii, Central Florida Zoo herpetologists were allowed to collect 30 coquis and transport them to Florida. Reptile handler Jennifer Stabile said "This is the first time that coqui have been born in captivity in the United States. We'll probably add another 50 frogs to the collection. I'm anxious to hear our guests' reactions to these little frogs."


4 Arctic Fox Pups at Assiniboine Park Zoo
September 15, 2006 winnipegsun.com By ADAM CLAYTON

MANITOBA, Canada -- The Assiniboine Park Zoo's newest inhabitants are four Arctic fox pups. Born in June, they emerged from their den about a month ago and will begin molting into their all-white winter coats in October. Arctic foxes were displayed and bred periodically at the zoo from 1965 to 1991, when the group died out. Curator Dr. Bob Wrigley said staff spent years trying to acquire more of the animals without any luck, as few North American zoos display the Arctic fox. With the help of Manitoba Conservation and the Manitoba Trappers Association, six young Arctic foxes were captured near Churchill in the fall of 2003 and brought to Winnipeg. One died, another was sent to a different zoo. It's not clear which of the four remaining adults produced the pups, but Wrigley said he's hoping more litters will follow. "There has been no breeding until this year, probably because they were still too young. With any luck they'll breed every year and we'll be able to provide other zoos with them," said Wrigley. "We've got quite a waiting list of other zoos that would like to have this species." The species, found throughout the Arctic, has one of the warmest coats of any mammal and can survive in temperatures as low as -70 C. "They're a wonderful exhibit because they're out in all kinds of weather," said Wrigley. The arctic fox is one of Manitoba's most remarkable animals and is known for its phenomenal stamina. When lemmings and voles are scarce, the animal will often travel great distances in search of food. In 1975, a male arctic fox travelled from the Hudson Bay coast to East Shoal Lake -- more than 1,000 km. Wrigley said it was the longest inland trek of a North American mammal recorded.


Employee Performance Management Software for ZSSD
September www.workforce.com/section/09/feature/24/50/31/index.html  By Todd Henneman

The San Diego Zoological Society employs 2,600 people. For years, performance evaluations had no uniform metrics and no consequences for ignoring appraisal paperwork sent by the human resources department. Managers received annual raises, which were essentially cost-of-living increases not linked to their performance. This year, H.R. Director Tim Mulligan, has introduced an employee performance management system whose ratings will determine managers' pay raises. It's part of an emphasis on employee accountability outlined in the organization's strategic plan. Like an increasing number of organizations, the Zoological Society, whose revenues in 2005 reached $176 million, wanted a Web-based employee-appraisal system that helps guide managers through the process and reduces rote work. Of 244 large and midsize organizations surveyed by consulting firm Towers Perrin, 34 percent said their spending on human resource technology increased in 2005 compared with 2004. Only 15 percent said spending decreased; the rest of the respondents said spending was flat. Halogen Software of Ottawa was chosen as the vendor. Halogen's eAppraisal performance management solution lets employees record accomplishments in an online journal that they may share with their manager. Mulligan says the tool helps to craft an accurate year-end review. This year, the Zoological Society's management team, which consists of 225 employees classified as assistant managers or higher, falls under the Web-based employee appraisal system. Next year, the practice will be expanded to include all exempt employees.


Pizza Hut Gives $10,000 to St. Louis Zoo
September 15, 2006 www.bizjournals.com

Pizza Hut plans to present the St. Louis Zoo with a $10,000 donation, which it raised through a two-month community initiative. The money is to help celebrate the annual fall festival Ottertoberfest and came from St. Louis area Pizza Hut's "Do the Zoo Thing" campaign. Local restaurants featured "The True Zoo Family Deal," a bundled meal deal where 20 percent of the proceeds from the purchase were donated back to the Saint Louis Zoo.


Cousteau Plans Resort / Marine Conservation in Hawaii
September 15, 2006 www.enn.com  By Associated Press

HONOLULU -Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society are helping to plan a 434-acre (174-hectare) resort-residential complex on Hawaii's Big Island. Cousteau has joined developer Sea Mountain Five LLC to create Sea Mountain, which would include 300 hotel rooms and a mix of between 1,200 and 1,500 single-family and multifamily units. "In creating Sea Mountain at Punaluu, we will work closely with the community to develop a Hawaiian cultural center, as well as marine conservation programs that serve local residents as well as visitors," Cousteau said Thursday. "Our new relationship with Sea Mountain provides the ideal opportunity to prove that environmental and economic sustainability are absolutely connected." Cousteau plans to locate one of his "Ambassadors of the Environment" programs at the complex. AOTE programs already exists up the coast in Kailua-Kona and in California, Fiji, the Caribbean, Tahiti and the Mediterranean. More are to be established next year, he said. George Atta, a partner of the planning and architectural firm Group 70 International, said he hoped an environmental impact statement for the project can be completed and accepted by the end of the year and that a special management area permit is issued toward the last half of 2007.


Genome of Two-toed Sloth Will Be Sequenced
September 2006 genome.wustl.edu

The two-toed sloth, Choloepus hoffmanni, will be sequenced as part of an NHGRI initiative to expand sequencing of mammalian genomes. The DNA for this sequencing effort was provided by courtesy of Dr. Oliver Ryder, at the San Diego Zoo's CRES. The C. hoffmanni genome will be sequenced to 2X whole genome coverage with plasmids plus a low coverage of fosmid end sequences (around 0.1X). For more information on the mammalian genomes represented in this initiative please visit this website. Funding for the sequence characterization of the sloth genome is being provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The sloth inhabits the tropical rainforests of South and Central America. Only one species of sloth, Bradypus torquatus, is considered endangered at present, but the continued deforestation of South and Central America could cause other species to be similarly classified in the near future. The fur of the sloth grows in the opposite orientation relative to all other mammals, presumably to provide protection against the elements, and some have fur with a greenish color due to the presence of green algae. They are nocturnal mammals that spend most of their time hanging upside down in trees - males are solitary, while females have been seen in groups. The most notable characteristics are a low metabolic rate and a body temperature of 91F. Their diet consists primarily of tree leaves, and the digestive process can take as long as one month. The sloth also can absorb nutrients from the colonies of green algae inhabiting its coat by licking its fur.


Woodland Park Zoo Celebrates Water
September 15, 2006 www.heraldnet.com  By Andrea McInnis

Several new activities are featured this weekend at the Woodland Park Zoo. The Wyland Clean Water Tour Maze, which encompasses 1,200 square feet, is set up in the zoo's Beech Grove. Wyland is a world-famous marine life artist who creates murals. Woodland Park Zoo chose to display his maze because his passion about environmentally friendly behavior matches that of the zoo staff. The Clean Water Tour was "tested" at 11 West Coast locations, including Seattle's Pacific Science Center, before being released on its own for use in aquariums and zoos. The educational art features puzzles about precipitation and recycling.


SSP for American Burying Beetle
September 16, 2006 www.blockislandtimes.com

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced last month that it has added the American burying beetle to the list of threatened or endangered animals covered by its Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. The SSP program was begun in 1981 to help ensure the survival of selected species, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild. Accredited zoos across the country work together toward this goal through cooperative population management and conservation efforts that include research, public education, reintroduction, and field projects. There are currently more than 160 species covered by SSP programs in North America. The American burying beetle is the first terrestrial invertebrate species to be given this status by the association, and Louis Perrotti, Conservation Coordinator at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, has been appointed as the national coordinator. American burying beetles are important scavengers responsible for recycling decaying animals back into the ecosystem. Listed as an endangered species since 1989, the beetle was once found throughout eastern and central United States, and in Canada; it is now native only to Block Island and seven areas in the Midwest. Once a year Scott Comings of The Nature Conservancy, has been sending a number of burying beetle grubs to Roger Williams Zoo to help with the repopulation efforts. For the last 12 years Perrotti and Roger Williams Park Zoo have been working with the USFWS on an American Burying Beetle Recovery Program. During that time, more than 2,500 beetles were reared at the zoo and released for reintroduction at a site in Nantucket, Mass. The project received the AZA's North American Conservation Award in 2000. To learn more about the American burying beetle and other conservation project, visit www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org .


Zoo phases out hybrid lions species
September 17, 2006 news.independent.co.uk

NEW DELHI, Sept. 17(AP): Authorities said they were allowing 24 hybrid lions to die off after a decades-old crossbreeding experiment at a northern Indian zoo produced only weak offspring, many of whom have already died. Most of the surviving lions and lionesses, aged 12 years or older, are only expected to live for another five to six years, Kuldip Kumar, a Conservator at the Forest and Wildlife Department of Punjab. It was hoped that the hybrids could be introduced into the wild in an effort to bolster the endangered wild lion population in India. After it became evident that the experiment dating from the 1980s to crossbreed Asian and African varieties of lions had failed, the Indian government decided against continuing the project. Of the about 80 animals bred under the programme at the Chhatbir Zoo in the northern city of Chandigarh, up to 30 of them died in 1999 and 2000 due to a mysterious illness, Kumar said, adding that it could have resulted from "excessive inbreeding or because of mixed stock.'' These animals were produced by breeding captive Asiatic lions and African circus animals, he said. The zoo has 10 lions and 14 lionesses remaining, and those appear to be healthy. However, the animals' numbers are dwindling due to poaching. Lions in the Gir forest are poached for their pelts and claws, both of which command a huge price in the illegal wildlife trade.


St Louis Zoo Closes for Private Party
September 17, 2006 www.news-leader.com  By A.P.

ST LOUIS - The St. Louis Zoo, usually closed just two days a year, agreed to shut its gates Sunday in an unprecedented revenue-raising move. For a fee neither side would disclose, Anheuser-Busch Cos. confirmed it rented the zoo for the entire day for its annual "Family Day" company party. Sixteen signs posted outside the park and media coverage let other patrons of the closure while 10,000 Anheuser-Busch employees and family members attended the private event. The event is expected to net somewhere between the $80,000 revenue of a typical Sunday and the amount raised when the zoo closed on a Friday in June 2005 for a private, black-tie fundraiser - $600,000. The zoo received about $19 million in taxpayer funding last year, accounting for more than a third of its nearly $50 million annual budget. The rest of the funding comes from sales revenue and contributions. But the rising costs of maintaining a zoo - particularly one with no admission fee - has forced zoo President Jeffrey Bonner to look for new ways to increase revenue. "There's no such thing as a free zoo," Bonner said.


Bighorns VS Domestic Sheep
September 17, 2006 www.casperstartribune.net  By SCOTT SONNER, AP

The Forest Service reached an agreement last month with the largest ranching operation in the area northeast of Yosemite National Park, to halt domestic sheep grazing near Sierra Nevada bighorn habitat on one allotment in California's Mono County and limit the use of two others nearby. The restrictions are needed to guard against domestic sheep spreading disease to the bighorns, which were declared endangered in 1999, agency scientists said. The move was praised by conservationists who have been working to protect the bighorns for years in the Humboldt-Toiyabe and Inyo national forests. The bighorn herd had dwindled to as few as 125 adults at the time of the federal listing but has rebounded to more than 300, said Daniel R. Patterson, an ecologist for the Center for Biological Diversity. The bighorns are found mostly on steep slopes and high alpine meadows north of Yosemite National Park to south of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, Patterson said. They face increased threats of contracting a pneumoia-like disease from domestic sheep as they've slowly moved from Yosemite's high country north and east into the national forests, he said. An interagency federal task force earlier recommended a buffer zone of between nine and 14 miles between the two species, the driving force behind the recent curtailment of grazing privileges. The Washington, D.C.-based Public Lands Council, representing the National Cattlemen's Association and the American Sheep Industry Association, is among those critical of the changes. Critics say the one-year ban has only postponed an inevitable showdown over whether federal land managers will side with wildlife or with the ranching families who have worked the high country range along the California-Nevada line for more than a century.


Elephant Crop Raids Foiled by Chili Peppers
September 18, 2006 www.nationalgeographic.com  Maryann Mott

Conflicts between farmers and elephants have long been widespread in Africa, where the elephant destroys crops, raids grain houses, and sometimes kills people. But elephants don't like capsaicin, a chemical in chilies so farmers are planting them around valuable crops. Loki Osborn of the Elephant Pepper Development Trust (EPDT) based in Cape Town, South Africa, came up with the idea. He first started using pepper spray to deter bears in North America. "I then brought this technology to Africa [in 1997]," Osborn said. "But it was just too expensive, so I started getting farmers to grow their own chili." The chili peppers, he says, give farmers an economically feasilble means for keeping elephants away from crops through nonlethal methods.
Osborn shows farmers how to use cheap, readily available materials to make deterrents like briquettes of crushed chili and animal dung. The bricks are then burned, creating a noxious smoke that keeps hungry elephants out of farmers' fields of maize, sorghum, and millet. The program also calls for using string fences that are slathered with chili-infused grease and mounted with cowbells that act as alarms when the fence is disturbed. The trust has held training sessions in African and Asian countries where elephant raids have been persistent problems, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Cambodia, and Thailand. "In areas where farmers are using our community-based problem-animal control techniques, most farmers have reduced crop loss by at least 90 percent," Osborn said.


Chhatbir Zoo Phases Out Hybrid Lions
September 18, 2006 news.independent.co.uk By Justin Huggler

DELHI, India - In the 1980's, officials at the Chhatbir Zoo, bred captive Asiatic lions with a pair of African circus animals, hoping to create a new attraction. But within a few years, it was obvious the plan had not worked. The hybrid species found it hard to walk, because their hind legs were weak, and by the mid-90s they showed symptoms of failing immune systems. Unfortunately it wasn't until 2000 that the breeding program was ended. By then 70 to 80 hybrids existed. Disease has killed some and some have died from fights with other lions. Now zoo authorities are waiting for the population to "phase out" before they can start breeding pure Asiatic lions. Last year the zoo opened a special enclosure to keep the lions who have become too feeble to defend themselves. Conservationists have criticized the zoo for "wasting" its breeding program on this unnatural hybrid when a true species, the Asiatic lion, is so severely endangered. The last lion census in 2000 found 320 Asiatic lions. Once widespread across the subcontinent, Iran, the Arabian peninsula, Europe, and the Balkans, hunting and human expansion have wiped it out everywhere but one corner of India - the Gir forest. Their numbers there have actually improved from a low in 1907, of just 13 animals. These animals existed on lands owned by the Nawab of Junagadh, and he decided that they should be given protection within his lands, which today lie in Gujarat. The zoo says that it will turn to breeding pure Asiatic lions after all the hybrids have died.


Climate Change Threatens Lemurs
September 18, 2006 news.mongabay.com

Dr. Patricia Wright, primatologist and Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, has spent more than 20 years conducting research at Ranomafana, Madagascar, home of four critically endangered lemur species. In a paper published by Wright and colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2005, she demonstrates how even subtle changes in climate directly result in lower reproductive success in a species of lemurs known as Milne-Edward's sifakas. In drier years, older females were unable to produce the milk their infants needed, leading to higher infant mortality. "With deforestation and habitat fragmentation increasing daily in the region, as well as global climate change, the immediate effects are the drying out of habitats like the rainforest of Ranomafana National Park," said Wright. "I was shocked to see the effect of rainfall decreases of such small magnitude on the survival of infant sifakas. The implications are huge in a world full of endangered species."   Wright's long-term study at Ranomafana also shows a decline in the population of the greater bamboo lemur, a lemur that specializes in eating bamboo plants found near rivers. This critically endangered species may be down to less than 100 individuals, making it very vulnerable to extinction from habitat changes. For more information on Dr. Wright's ongoing research in Madagascar see www.earthwatch.org.


2 New Protected Areas for Republic of Congo
September 18, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

NEW YORK (September 18, 2006) - Yesterday the Minister of Forestry Economy of the Republic of Congo, Henri Djombo, and officials from the WCS announced plans to create two new protected areas totaling nearly one million hectares (3,800 square miles). The first new protected area to be created in the western part of the country, will be called Ougoue-Lekiti National Park. It will adjoin Bateke National Park in Gabon, which was established with WCS's help in 2002. This will protect some 600,000 hectares (2,300 square miles). The northern half of Ougoue-Leketi contains a vast sand dune system, and is covered by large grass and wooded savanna patches separated by fine lines of dense gallery forest, small lakes and river valleys. The south and west of the new park supports an intact block of Chaillu forest and the Ougue River basin along which has natural forest clearings used by forest elephants and other large mammals. Until recently the region contained lions - unusual to the Congo Basin - though poaching may have wiped out the population. The Savanna landscape still supports such rare species as Grimm's duiker (a small antelope species), side-striped jackal, and rare birds including Denham's bustard. The forests support elephants, forest buffalo, bush pigs, leopards, gorillas, chimpanzees and several monkey species. The second protected area to be created in the coming year - Ntokou-Pikounda - lies southeast of Odzala Kokoua National Park, which is well-known for one of the highest gorilla populations in the world. WCS conservationist Dr. Mike Fay recorded extremely high densities of great apes in the region's broad Marantacae forests. Even though the Ebola virus has decimated great ape populations in nearby regions of northern Congo and Gabon, preliminary surveys of Ntokou-Pikounda indicate that this region still contains healthy gorilla and chimpanzee numbers. Along with great apes, this mosaic of swamp forest, clearings, and mixed forests region contains elephants, chimpanzees, crocodiles, hippos, as well as rare and threatened birds such as crowned eagles and many species of hornbills. According to WCS, large mammal populations are still relatively strong because many core areas are beyond the current reach of bushmeat hunters, leaving relatively undisturbed habitat.


"Walking" Sharks Among 50 New Indonesian Species
September 18, 2006 news.nationalgeographic.com By John Roach

INDONESIA -- More than 50 new species have been discovered off the coast of Indonesia. In addition to the two types of walking epaulette sharks, the researchers discovered 22 species of other fish, 20 species of hard corals, and 8 kinds of shrimp all believed new to science. The new species were found during two recent expeditions to the Bird's Head Seascape, a distinctive peninsula on the northwestern end of Indonesia's Papua province that is already renowned for its marine biodiversity. The Missouri-size region is home to more than 1,200 types of reef fishes and nearly 600 species of hard corals. Whales, sea turtles, crocodiles, giant clams, manta rays, and dugongs also ply the peninsula's waters. The sharks are about 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 meters) long and walk along the shallow reef flats on their fins, preying on shrimp, crabs, snails, and small fish.  Biologists suggest they could serve as models for the first animals that moved from marine environments onto land. Roger McManus, senior director for global marine conservation at Conservation International, led the expeditions.


Exotic Animal Sightings Soar in UK
September 18, 2006 www.dailymail.co.uk

More than 10,000 sightings of wild and exotic animals have been reported in the UK since 2000 according to a study by Beastwatch UK. Chris Mullins, founderd Beastwatch UK in 2001.  As a result of climate change, zoo thefts and animal escapes, it is no longer uncommon to see wild animals such as panthers, leopards, snakes and racoons in the UK, experts claim. The British Big Cat Society has reported 5,931big cat sightings, with 2004-5 figures already up 3.5 per cent on the previous year's study. Animal sightings since 2000 also include 332 wild boars and 3,389 sharks in British waters, 51 wallabies, 43 snakes, 15 owls, 13 dangerous spiders including a tarantula and a Black Widow, 13 racoons, 10 crocodiles, seven wolves, four eagles, three pandas, two scorpions, and one penguin. Carolyn Spivey, senior brand manager at Disney - which has released a DVD called The Wild and teamed up with leading conservation organizations to look at the number of wild animals at large in the UK - said Disney was thrilled to be part of this research and was completely overwhelmed by the statistics. "We were fascinated to discover that wild animals across Britain can live with humans and seem to show the same types of behaviour as the characters in The Wild," she said.


Evolution of Color in San Diego's Monkeyflowers
September 19, 2006 ucsdnews.ucsd.edu

A report in the current issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology by UCSD scientists proposes that the future of red and yellow varieties of a San Diego wildflower may depend on the fates of two different animals. Monkeyflowers have two different animal pollinators. The red form, common along the coast, is strongly preferred by hummingbirds, while the yellow variety, found east of I-15, are favored by hawkmoths. The researchers suspect the recent increase in San Diego's hummingbird population, fueled by the growth of suburban developments and gardens, will eventually favor the red over the yellow variety. "Hummingbirds are now three times as dense inland as they were on the coast 50 years ago," said Joshua Kohn, an associate professor of biology at UCSD, who conducted the study with Matthew Streisfeld, now a researcher at Duke University. "This increase in hummingbirds may be tipping the balance of selection from favoring yellow to favoring red flowers." "The shift between the red- and yellow-flowered forms can be seen along any road running from the coast inland in San Diego county and is one of the sharpest natural patterns residents can view while driving in the late spring," he adds. "We have shown that this shift is very likely due to selection by different types of pollinators. The abundance of at least one of these pollinators, hummingbirds, has recently increased dramatically and may well favor an eastern expansion of the red-flowered form."


"Carp Cake" Developed by St.Louis Zoo Nutritionist
September 19, 2006 www.chron.com  By JIM SALTER

Asian carp can eat up to 40 percent of their weight a day in plankton and were imported in the 1970s as a way to control algae and plankton in fish ponds. But during the floods of 1993 and 1995, the fish made their way into the wild. Boaters and fishermen on many Midwestern rivers have been injured by this invasive species that jumps out of the water as a flight response. And there's little profit for commercial fishermen in harvesting the fish. Now the St. Louis Zoo has proposed a partial answer to the problem. "We want to make good food of bad fish," said Ellen Dierenfeld, zoo nutritionist. She has enlisted University of Missouri-Columbia food scientist Andrew Clarke to develop a "carp cake" made from raw, ground fish. Dierenfeld hopes to begin a pilot feeding study with penguins, sea lions and pelicans by next spring. Other zoos may also participate, she said, and vitamins and mineral supplements could be added to the carp cake. The St. Louis zoo buys more than 60 tons of fish for feed each year - mainly mackerel, herring and capelin - from 30 cents to 70 cents per pound. Zoo officials believe they could save money by feeding the carp to animals. Dierenfeld believes up to 25 percent of the fish feed could be replaced with carp. "This would help reduce pressures on marine fisheries and help solve the Asian carp problem," she said. If the remaining 200 accredited U.S. zoos decided to use the carp cakes, commercial fishermen would have a reason to harvest the nuisance fish.


Three States Join to Protect Pacific Ocean Coast
September 19, 2006, www.enn.com  By A.P.

PORTLAND, Ore. - The governors of Oregon, Washington and California announced an agreement Monday to work together to improve the health of the Pacific Ocean. The governors stated that "oceans should be managed on an ecosystem level" and will send a joint message to Congress within six months opposing oil and gas leasing, development or exploration off the coasts. Goals of their agreement include ensuring clean coastal waters and beaches, protecting ocean and coastal habitats, expanding scientific research, monitoring and fostering sustainable economic development, and expanding ocean and coastal research. They hope to develop a coastal regional research plan with the National Sea Grant Office and other scholars, and to work with universities to seek funding and technical aid to support various ocean conservation programs including sea floor mapping.


Providence Zoo Plans Major Expansion
September 19, 2006 www.boston.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --Roger Williams Park Zoo is launching a $35 million renovation. Attendance has declined to about 650,000 patrons annually since hitting a record of 770,000 visitors in 1997. Zoo Director Jack Mulvena said that the goal is to become more user-friendly and bring visitors closer to the animals. The project includes a deck where people can get an eye-to-eye view of giraffes and elephants. Work has already begun to expand the living space of three female elephants, which the zoo plans to breed. One of the oldest parts of the zoo will be transformed into a trail that immerses visitors in North American ecosystems and the centerpiece will be an expanded polar bear exhibit nine times bigger than an old one. There will also be a new children's zoo. Providence officials must seek voter approval in November to borrow $11 million for the project and use proceeds from a previously approved $4 million bond. Zoo officials say they also plan to fundraise $20 million.


Recovery Plan for Camissonia benitensis (San Benito evening-primrose)
September 19, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 181
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-19/

The USFWS announce the availability of the Recovery Plan for Camissonia benitensis (San Benito evening-primrose). This plant species is found primarily in the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) in San Benito County, California; the CCMA is managed by the Hollister Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management. Printed copies of this recovery plan will be available in 4 to 6 weeks by request from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003 (phone: 805/644-1766). An electronic copy of this recovery plan is now available at endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans


Draft Recovery Plan for Nosa Luta or Rota Bridled White-eye (Zosterops rotensis)
[Federal Register: September 19, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 181)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-19/

The Rota bridled white-eye, known as nosa Luta in Chamorro, is a bird endemic to the island of Rota in the Mariana archipelago and was federally listed as endangered in 2004. In 1999, the population was estimated to be approximately 1,000 individuals, representing a 90 percent decline since 1982, and the species' core range consisted of approximately 628 acres of forest above 490 feet elevation. Available information indicates that habitat loss and degradation and predation by introduced rats (Rattus spp.) and black drongos (Dicrurus macrocercus) are having  some impact on the nosa Luta population. Due to its restricted range and small population size, the species is also highly susceptible to random catastrophic events such as typhoons and the accidental introduction of new predators such as the brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis), and avian diseases such as West Nile virus. A Draft Recovery Plan for the species is available for public review and comment. Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or before November 20, 2006. Copies of the draft recovery plan are available by request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Box 50088, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 (phone: 808/792-9400). Written comments and materials regarding this draft recovery plan should be addressed to the Field Supervisor at the above Honolulu address. An electronic copy of the draft recovery plan is also available at endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans


California Condor Hatchling at Risk from Fires
September 19, 2006 www.latimes.com  By Catherine Saillant

Wildlife biologists are hopeful that a California condor hatchling last seen nesting in a cave in Los Padres National Forest above Fillmore has survived a wildfire that so far has consumed about 74,000 acres. The chick hatched in the forest's Sespe Condor Sanctuary on May 1 and was close to taking its first flight when the two-week-old wildfire roared back over the weekend, said Ivett Plascensia, a spokeswoman for the USFWS. The bird, dubbed No. 412, was last seen when they evacuated the sanctuary Friday at the urging of fire officials, Plascensia said. The fire has since doubled in size and biologists don't know when they will be allowed back in. Biologists say they are only now beginning to assess the affect on wildlife in the Sespe, one of 10 protected regions in Los Padres National Forest. Besides California condors, the Sespe is home to mountain lions, deer, coyotes, black bears and a herd of about 30 bighorn sheep, forest biologist Maeton Freel said. Arroyo toads, red-legged frogs and steelhead trout, all endangered species, also make their homes in the area, he said. Though some animals may have perished when flames were moving quickly, they typically sense long before humans that danger is approaching,  "Most wildlife have acute smell and are sensitive to changes in wind," he said. "Wildfires are a fairly common occurrence in Southern California, so most species are well-adapted." About 61 of the large vulture-like birds soar the state's skies from Monterey to the Sespe sanctuary.


Veiled Chameleons born at Taronga Zoo
September 19, 2006 news.ninemsn.com.au

Reptile specialists at Sydney's Taronga Zoo have bred four veiled chameleons, and expect another four eggs to hatch in the coming weeks. This is the first time the species has bred successfully in an Australian zoo. The specialists at the zoo prepared the three-year-old parents for breeding by spraying them every day to simulate humidity and taking them outside for some sunbathing. The four lizards were born three to four weeks ago, and are now about five centimeters long. They are currently being fed day-old crickets, and will be put on display when they are a bit larger. When fully grown they will be about 25cm long. Veiled chameleons are named for the helmet-like ridge or casque on the top of their heads, and are one of about 80 species of Old World chameleons, or true chameleons. They are only found near Yemen and other parts of the Arabian Peninsula.


Necropsy Results for Erie Zoo's Polar Bear
September 19, 2006 www.35wsee.com

A necropsy for Alcor, the Erie polar bear who died following surgery to repair a badly broken leg, was performed at the Bolton Center outside Philadelphia where the surgery took place. A post anesthetic death was attributed to unknown causes; hyperthermia suspected. The report explains that hyperthermia is a condition where the body produces or absorbs more heat than it is able to dissipate, similar to heat stroke. It can be a concern with anesthetic surgery on any animal, but is more of a concern with large animals. With a refrigerated truck, ice baths, and even a cooled operating room, Erie Zoo spokesman Scott Mitchell is convinced that humans did everything possible to save Alcor..


Jack Hanna Will Speak at Abilene Zoo
September 19, 2006 www.acuoptimist.com

Jack Hanna will be in Abilene on Thursday to help the Abilene Zoo celebrate its 40th birthday at Nelson Park. Hanna, along with his animal guests, will speak to elementary school children Thursday morning at the Teague Special Events Center but is open only to area school children.  At 7 p.m., he will speak at a dinner at the Abilene Civic Center. Individual seats can be purchased for $50 each at the Abilene Zoo. The dinner will be the only event open to the public with Hanna that day. Proceeds from the dinner will go to the new technology educational programs for children at the zoo. The zoo is also building a new learning center at the zoo and hopes to add distance learning.


Johannesburg Primates Enjoy Enriched Environment
September 19, 2006 www.joburg.org.za  By Ndaba Dlamini

Johannesburg Zoo's famous gorilla, Makoko, now has his own colour television, courtesy of Cartoon Network and the zoo's 7 chimpanzees have a brand new gym in their night enclosures.  "Makoko and the chimpanzees had a long night, being taken into their enclosure between 3pm and 4pm every day. The television and the gym will help make the animals' nights shorter and more fun," says Johannesburg Zoo's educationist, Teresa Slacke. "Makoko, who was wary at first when the television was installed on Monday, 11 September, is enjoying the shows tremendously. For the television and his own protection, it has been placed in an enclosure so that he cannot break it." The chimpanzees' three night rooms have been fitted with untreated new wooden poles where they can swing and exercise to their hearts' content, says Slacke.  "A jungle of ropes and swings has also been installed together with rubber matting and hammocks. This is a treat for the primates." The sponsorship coincides with the launch of My Gym Partner's a Monkey, a new cartoon from Cartoon Network about a school where the main rule is "Do not eat the other students". Cartoon Network manager and marketing director, Helen Lucy, says the channel is excited about the joint collaboration with the zoo.


Seattle Judge Dismisses Elephant Lawsuit
September 19, 2006 seattletimes.nwsource.com

In June, the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN) and two private citizens brought a lawsuit against Woodland Park Zoo and the city of Seattle, accusing the zoo of violating the federal Endangered Species Act and the State Environmental Policy Act with its treatment of elephants at the zoo. Valerie Bittner, NARN's attorney, said the zoo's oldest elephant, Bamboo, was experiencing "elephant psychological breakdown" because of improper care and lack of space in its one-acre yard. NARN sought to get Bamboo moved to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, where she could roam more than 2,000 acres. King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector dismissed all the claims against the city, the zoo, its directors and staff, saying they had no merit - except for the claim filed under the Endangered Species Act, which the judge ruled belongs under the jurisdiction of federal court. Bittner said NARN will consider pursuing its case in federal court if it can raise the funds.


Monterey Bay Aquarium Inspires Sea Otter Legislation
September 19, 2006 newswire.ascribe.org

MONTEREY, Calif.-- Officials at the Monterey Bay Aquarium celebrated Monday (Sept. 18) the signing of legislation that gives new protection to California's threatened sea otter population - legislation inspired by a family visit to the aquarium's sea otter exhibit by the bill's co-author. Dave Jones (D-Sacramento). Jones and his family visited the nonprofit aquarium in 2005, where they learned about the threats facing the sea otter population. That prompted Jones' then 5-year-old son Will, in tears, to ask his dad to "do something" to help. Jones contacted aquarium sea otter researchers and subsequently co-authored the bill. "It's fantastic that a family visit to our sea otter exhibit has had such an impact on the survival of sea otters," said Cynthia Vernon, vice president of conservation programs for the aquarium. "We know that seeing animals at an aquarium or zoo has a powerful impact on the conservation attitudes of our visitors. But we don't often get to see action this dramatic as the direct result of a visit." Thursday, AZA will release "Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter," a three-year research study documenting the impact of zoo and aquarium visits.


Orangutan Survey in Sarawak
September 19, 2006 thestar.com.my By HILARY CHIEW.

Last surveyed in 1992 by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the then Sarawak Forestry Department, the Batang Ai park is estimated to host between 62 and 824 orangutans.  Together with the Bentuang-Karimun Nature Reserve across the border in Kalimantan, Indonesia, the forest complex in the south-west corner of Sarawak forms the largest protected area where the orangutan is found - 98% of the Sarawak range of Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus, one of three sub-species found in Borneo. Over the past two years, WCS researchers have surveyed the site to re-estimate the orang utan population and assess long-term threats. The data would be used to develop a conservation strategy for orangutans in Sarawak. WCS Malaysia Program director Dr Melvin Gumal says the habitat, never logged, has vital forest cover to sustain orangutans. He says shifting cultivation was done there over 50 years ago and the forest has regenerated since. He declines to disclose the survey results but says more work is needed to confirm that the population has not plummeted. The research team headed by June Rubis conducted nest counts from early 2004 to January 2005 on 11 sites in Batang Ai. In March 2005, the survey was extended to Lanjak-Entimau where out of 10 sites, seven have been completed. Rubis and her field assistants walk the 2km transect twice daily, recording the occurrence, location and decay stage of nests. Then, using a computer software program called Distance 5, the team calculates the population density based on the proportion of nest-builders in the population, the rate at which nests are produced and the nest decay rate.


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Breeds Black-Footed Ferrets
September 19, 2006 www.casperstartribune.net  By DAVE PHILLIPS

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- In 1985, there were only 18 black-footed ferrets left in North America. But an extensive recovery effort has now brought their numbers up to about 1,000. The recovery has two parts: a captive breeding program led by zoos across the country, including Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and a training program where they learn to prey on live prairie dogs before they are released into the wild. Breeding starts in spring, and the procedure is very controlled. Lights over the cages have to be measured down to the lumen. Food has to be measured to the gram. The slightest surprise can scare the animals into not producing young. Jeff Baughman oversees the ferrets at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. 22 kits were born this year: 15 to keep as breeders, seven to be sent off to breed in the wild. In the fall, hundreds of ferrets are released at 11 sites in the West. The best place for ferrets to thrive used to be a vast, prairie near the Badlands of South Dakota. It had 100 breeding pairs. Survival rates were 80 to 90 percent. Then, in 2004, federal land managers in the state gave ranchers the OK to poison prairie dogs. Mike Lockhart, who heads the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center north of Fort Collins, said ""If it keeps up, that population will go into decline." Wyoming is now the best bet, he said. Plague is present there, but the ferrets seem to survive anyway, possibly even developing a resistance. Many large prairie dog towns have sylvatic plague, a flea-borne disease introduced from Asia around 1900 that kills ferrets. "We're all really surprised," said Linkhart. "Populations in Wyoming we wrote off are now going gang busters." To come off the Endangered Species List, the population must reach 1,500 wild ferrets living in 10 locations with no less than 30 breeding adults in each colony. Currently, only about 600 black-footed ferrets live in the wild.


Sydney Australia Has a New Boutique Zoo
September 20, 2006 www.news.com.au  By Peter Trute

SYDNEY, Australia -- The Sydney Aquarium is expanding with the addition of Sydney Wildlife World, a two-level waterside facility, across the Harbour from Taronga Zoo. The zoo includes an aviary enclosed under a giant mesh roof. Visitors walk along a kilometre of walkways past reinforced glass windows looking into climate-controlled exhibits, or out on to enclosures which are open to the sky. A total 6000 insects, birds, reptiles and mammals covering 130 all-Australian species are on show in 63 separate exhibits. "We've done as much as we can to simulate the natural habitats," said general manager Ravini Perera. Wildlife World is organized into nine habitat areas ranging from arid grasslands to rainforest. A butterfly house and invertebrates section - featuring venomous spiders and giant Australian cockroaches - is also included. The new zoo, which is a profit-making enterprise, hopes to have one million visitors a year, 70 per cent from overseas. Taronga gets about 1.3 million visitors a year, with about 30 per cent of them from overseas. Ms Perera rejected claims by Taronga Foundation governor Bradley Trevor Greive that Wildlife World would threaten Taronga's viability. Mr Greive feared high-spending tourists would opt for the convenience of the small facility in the heart of a hotel precinct rather than Taronga. Ms Perera said Wildlife World was offering a different experience to Taronga. "Theirs is like a half-day excursion for the family and they have those bigger animals that they need that space to cope with," she said.


Sydney's Three Zoos Stress Cooperation
September 20, 2006 www.smh.com.au  By John Huxley

Three Sydney zoos are now competing for tourist dollars. Yesterday, the Taronga Zoo which is celebrating its 90th birthday announced the hatching of veiled chameleons. The new Sydney Wildlife Word opens tomorrow, showcasing koalas and cassowaries, wallabies and wombats and a pair of scrub pythons. And the third attraction is Featherdale Wildlife Park, which opened 21 years ago. It has newborn quolls, wombats and dingoes. Like Wildlife World, Featherdale is a commercial enterprise, owned by Amalgamated Holdings, whose other interests include Greater Union cinemas, Rydges hotels, Thredbo and the State Theatre. Despite revelations that Taronga had strenuously opposed plans for Wildlife World four years ago, the two attractions are anxious to play down reports of zoo wars, feuds and fights for incoming tourists. A Taronga Zoo spokesman, Mark Williams, denied that the $50 million project was a threat to the zoo. Indeed, the two attractions often share expertise. James Fulford, the chief executive of the Sydney Attractions Group, which includes Sydney Aquarium, stressed the degree of co-operation in animal management. "Conservation is not a brand issue. It's a crusade. We're all on the same side, doing what Steve Irwin was doing up in Queensland," Mr Fulford said However it was previously reported that Taronga Foundation governor Bradley Trevor Greive said Sydney could not support two zoos, and the new development threatened the viability of Taronga and its conservation work. "Not only will Taronga lose market share because tourists are given an incentive to go down and get a  milkshake-burger-and-see-a-koala-deal, they also have to compete and spend extra money on marketing to prevent further decline." Mr Greive said the NSW Government would have to increase its current annual grant of about $25 million to secure Taronga's future.


Restoration of Prairie Dog Habitat
September 20, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 182
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-20/

SUMMARY: Mr. Harlow Brown and Mr. Tarval Torgersen have applied to the USFWS for an Enhancement of Survival Permit (ESP) for the Utah prairie dog (UPD). The Utah Prairie Dog (UPD) is the westernmost member of the genus Cynomys. The species' range, which is limited to the southwestern quarter of Utah, is the most restricted of all prairie dog species in the United States. Distribution of the UPD has been greatly reduced due to disease (plague), poisoning, drought, and human-related habitat alteration. Protection of this species and enhancement of its habitat on private land will benefit recovery efforts. Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) between citizens and the USFWS set up voluntary conservation measures to benefit the species and the landowner. The property is currently used as irrigated pasture land and is bordered by other private land. At the present time, the property supports several active prairie dog colonies. Foraging and visual surveillance habitat will be further enhanced for the UPD by reducing the vegetation density and by seeding to improve the forage quality for UPD. The habitat improvements will be maintained throughout the term of this agreement through managed grazing. The Cooperator will receive an ESP that authorizes implementation of the conservation actions and other provisions of this Agreement and authorizes incidental take of the covered species above the Cooperator's baseline responsibilities, as defined in the SHA and would remain in effect for 25 years.


Rhino Poachers Released
September 20, 2006 www.ens-newswire.com

KATMANDU, Nepal - - The government of Nepal's has decided to release nine convicted rhino poachers and traders. The IUCN-World Conservation Union and the Asian Rhino Specialist Group joined WWF in a joint statement criticizing the decision. Poaching remains the primary threat to the species - at least six rhinos were killed by poachers in August alone. Trade in the species is illegal under international law, but rhino horns are used in traditional Asian medicines and can fetch some $30,000 on the international market. In the late 1960s there were fewer than 100 one-horned rhinos left in all of Nepal. Cooperative conservation projects, developed largely by WWF and aided by Nepal's government, helped boost the population to more than 600 individuals, with the majority found in the Royal Chitwan National Park. Recent surveys suggest less than 450 rhinos remain in Nepal. The demise of the one-horned rhino in Nepal adds to worrying trends for all five species of rhino. Only about 17,500 are believed to exist in the wild and all five are under increasing pressure from habitat loss and poaching. Two-thirds of the remaining rhinos are southern white rhinos and 3,600 are African black rhinos. Including the Nepal population, there are an estimated 2,400 one-horned rhinos remaining. Only 300 Sumatran rhinos and 60 Javan rhinos are believed to exist in the wild.


Steve Irwin Memorial Service
September 20, 2006 www.local10.com

BEERWAH, Australia - On Wednesday, at "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin's memorial service, Irwin's 8-year-old daughter, Bindi, hailed him "my hero." His father, Bob, asked people to end their grieving. And fans were invited to laugh at his television antics with out-takes and bloopers. The ceremony was carried live on three national television networks and at least one radio station. Flags on the Sydney Harbor Bridge and throughout Irwin's home state of Queensland flew at half-staff, and giant TV screens were set up for people to watch the service. The ceremony held in the "Crocoseum," in Irwin's wildlife park held only 5000 mourners - with one symbolically empty seat. At the end of the ceremony, Irwin's utility vehicle, packed with camping gear and his favorite surfboard, was driven from the stadium - through an honor guard of Australia Zoo employees. After the truck left the stadium, a group of employees spelled out Irwin's catchword "Crikey" in yellow flowers on the ground. As part of the public video memorial titled "He Changed Our World," actress Cameron Diaz and actors Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe spoke. Separately from the service, marine explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau said that, while he mourned Irwin's death, he disagreed with his hands-on approach to nature television. He noted that Irwin would "interfere with nature, jump on animals, grab them, hold them, and have this very, very spectacular, dramatic way of presenting things." "It sells, it appeals to a lot people, but I think it's very misleading," Cousteau said in Los Angeles. "You don't touch nature, you just look at it."


Man Bites Panda
September 20, 3006 www.iht.com  By AP

BEIJING - Zhang Xinyan, a drunken 35-year-old tourist, jumped into panda Gu Gu's enclosure at the Beijing Zoo to hug him. The panda, who was asleep, was startled and bit Zhang on the right leg. Zhang got angry and kicked the panda, who then bit his other leg. A tussle ensued, and Zhang "bit the fellow in the back" "Its skin was quite thick." He said. Other tourists yelled for a zookeeper, who got the panda under control by spraying it with water. Zhang was hospitalized.
Gu Gu was uninjured.


Bonner Apologizes for Closing St. Louis Zoo
September 20, 2006 www.missourinet.com  by Brent Martin

St. Louis Zoo President Jeffrey Bonner has apologized for closing the zoo on Sunday for a private party. The Zoo earned $500,000 from Anheuser-Busch, but Bonner says it wasn't worth the loss of public goodwill. Bonner says he made a mistake - that he stepped over a line. The Zoo is free to the public, supported by a tax that goes through the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District.


Oregon Zoo Celebrates Sea Otter Awareness Week
September 20, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND, Oregon - Defenders of Wildlife has designated Sept. 24-30, 2006, as Sea Otter Awareness Week. The Oregon Zoo is participating in an effort to educate the public about the sea otters place in the near-shore marine ecosystem. On Sunday, Sept. 24, Sandy the Sea Otter, the zoo's ocean conservation mascot, will kick things off. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., zoo volunteers lead activities for children of all ages between sea otter viewing areas. Activities include a demonstration using bubble wrap, plastic wrap and ice to show how sea otters' fur insulates them from the cold. Another activity allows visitors to try lifting the amount of food they would need to consume if they were sea otters. The activity station is also open Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1. Several times throughout the day zookeepers feed the sea otters and give a short presentation about the marine animals' importance. The sea otters also receive ice treats and enrichment toys, including car-wash strips donated by Kaady Car Wash. Special "Wild Life Live!" shows take place at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. The shows repeat on Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1. Oregon Zoo Executive Chef Paul Warner and his staff present menu specials created from sustainably harvested seafood in the Cascade Grill between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and the zoo's Cascade Outfitters gift shop offers a variety of sea otter merchandise. Once found from Baja California to Alaska and northern Japan, sea otters were at brink of extinction during the late 1800s and early 1900s. By 1911, only 13 small sea otter colonies existed throughout their range. The Fur Seal Treaty of 1911 ended hunting, but unfortunately the treaty came too late to save the Oregon sea otter population. An imperiled population of southern sea otters still exists in California, while a more vigorous population of northern sea otters can be found in Alaska, although its numbers are in decline due to predation by killer whales.


Kansas and Florida Zoos Swap Elephants
September 20, 2006 www.kansas.com  AP

GARDEN CITY, Kan. - Hoping to help boost the population of captive elephants, the Lee Richardson Zoo in southwest Kansas is trading two younger elephants for two older ones from a Florida zoo. Moki and Chana, both female African elephants at the zoo since 1986, will be transferred next month to Florida's Jacksonville Zoo for breeding with male elephants there. Replacement elephants, Missy and Kimba - both too old to be bred will arrive in Garden City from the Jacksonville around December. Efforts to artificially inseminate Chana, now 24, failed in 2003. Lee Richardson doesn't have space to accommodate a much larger bull elephant.   Their departure also will give the Garden City zoo time to expand its elephant facilities and bring them into compliance with new guidelines set by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.  The project, which will cost about $126,000, should be done within two months of the elephants' departure.


India to Conduct Survey of Chiru
September 20, 2006 news.yahoo.com by Izhar Wani

SRINAGAR, India -- The chiru antelope is regularly poached for its wool despite international campaigns to halt the practice. The wool is spun into shahtoosh, a shawl worth thousands of dollars. The antelope is found only in China and Indian Kashmir, at altitudes of 14,000 to 16,000 feet. "We have dispatched two teams to carry out the census and study the ecological habitat of the chiru," said senior Kashmiri wildlife official Jigmet Takpa. "The aim of the study is to conserve this endangered species. To find out how we can provide a better habitat to this animal." There were an estimated one million chiru in 1900 but their numbers are believed to have dwindled to fewer than 75,000. Both India and China protect them under wildlife acts. The wool prized by so many comes from a fine-haired under-layer that hugs the chiru's skin beneath coarser fur. The antelopes are skinned and workers pluck the pelts, then separate the fine hair -- a fifth of the width of human hair -- from the "guard" or coarse hair. It takes five chiru to make a 10 to 12 ounce shawl. The Wildlife Trust of India says 14,000 people depend on shahtoosh trading, but Kashmiri traders say the figure is more than 50,000. Some weavers in Kashmir have started making pashmina shawls instead with wool from goats in the state's high-altitude desert region of Ladakh. The census of the species has to be conducted between the end of the monsoon in September and before November's heavy snowfall.


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Looks For Surrogate Gorilla Mom
September 20, 2006 www.gazette.com  By DEEDEE CORRELL

COLORADO SPRINGS (AP) - The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is looking for a new home and surrogate mother for a gorilla whose own mother rejected him. His mother, Kwisha, was rejected by her mother and wouldn't touch him said Dina Bredahl area supervisor of primates and conservation at the zoo. Zoo employees and volunteers have been caring for seven-month-old Umande, but he will need a parent until he's about three or four years old. Zoo officials say other female gorillas at the zoo are also refusing to look after Umande, and he hasn't bonded with his father. In October, Umande will go to a not-yet-selected zoo with a surrogacy program where he'll hopefully get the parenting he's only found at human hands here. Parenthood doesn't always come naturally to gorillas. Even though they are intelligent animals, if they lack experience with parenthood, they "have no clue how to do any of those things," said Bredahl.


Day after vaccination, 2 Tigers Die at Chabir Zoo
September 20, 2006 cities.expressindia.com

CHANDIGARGH, India -- The Chatbir Zoo lost two 3-year-old white tigers this morning within a span of few hours. The tigers had been vaccinated the previous evening, said sources in the zoo said one more tiger, which had been vaccinated is in a critical condition. The male, Sourav, was found dead when the cage was opened in the morning. The female, Dia, died at 10.30 am, said the zoo officials. Dharmender Sharma, the zoo's Field Director, said: "Preliminary reports of the post mortem do not say anything about wrong vaccination. We can only confirm the cause of the death when the detailed reports come in." A team of veterinary doctors had been summoned from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, to conduct the postmortem. They were assisted by vets from the zoo. The samples have been sent to the PAU and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Utter Pradesh.


Toledo Zoo Campaigns for 10-year Tax Levy
September 21, 2006 toledoblade.com

The Toledo Zoo has kicked off its campaign to win voter approval of a 1-mill, 10-year levy that will appear on the Nov. 7 general election ballot. The proposed levy would take the place of a capital improvement levy that expired in December, 2005. If approved, the capital levy would raise $8.6 million a year and cost $30.62 for a $100,000 home The levy will help fund more space for the zoo's elephants and rhinos, update the aquarium and pay for a new Children's Zone. It would pay for more parking, five temporary exhibits, nearly $17 million in debt relief, and $10 million for basic maintenance.


Oregon Zoo Releases Butterflies
September 21, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND, Oregon - The Oregon Zoo has been rearing endangered Oregon silverspot butterflies in its conservation lab, and has released a total of 22 butterfly pupae and 18 larvae at the 280-acre Cascade Head Preserve, north of Lincoln City. The zoo hopes to stabilize the declining population. This is the eighth year the zoo has been involved in this conservation project. "This conservation effort is serving as a model for rebuilding an ecosystem," said Tony Vecchio, Oregon Zoo director. "Through the combined efforts of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we hope to stabilize the butterfly population and bring it back from the brink of extinction." This year, for the first time, the zoo piloted a new conservation internship program for high school students in partnership with Saturday Academy and the National Forest Foundation/Friends of the Forest. Student interns helped staff rear threatened Oregon butterflies and shared project information with visitors to the zoo's Winged Wonders butterfly exhibit. In October, the interns plan to work with Siuslaw National Forest staff in field-based butterfly restoration and repopulation efforts.


Protecting Florida's Panthers
September 21, 2006 www.heraldtribune.com  By KATE SPINNER

Under pressure from developers, the USFWS plans to redraw the boundary it uses to protect Florida panthers from people, roads, homes and mining. Wildlife officials expect the boundary to move east, away from growth hot spots. The change would lift some development restraints in parts of Collier and Lee counties and put more restrictions on counties north of the Caloosahatchee River, where pioneering male panthers recently have been spotted. The panthers' migration north points to the recent rebound of the endangered species, which came close to extinction in 1995. The natural migration coincides with the government's inability to stop development from shoving panthers out of their old stomping grounds. More than 95 percent of an estimated 80 to 100 Florida panthers live south of the Caloosahatchee, which flows from Lake Okeechobee to Fort Myers, said Chris Belden, a panther biologist with the wildlife service. The wildlife service estimates that a single panther needs an average of 33,000 acres of territory. Males need more range than females. Allen Webb, a supervisory biologist who is part of a team evaluating the boundary, said he does not look favorably at pushing it east, but the agency has been pressured by counties, developers and nongovernment organizations to move the boundary out of developing urban areas. The wildlife service drew the boundary line as a regulation tool six years ago, based on panther tracking data.


Enrichment at the Singapore Zoo
September 21, 2006 www.channelnewsasia.com

SINGAPORE: The keepers at the zoo are running a program to challenge their animals minds and keep them alert and happy. Keepers feed the polar bears food in blocks of ice, so they've got to use their wits to break the ice and get at the food. For the orang utans, the keepers have designed a task for them to get fruit out of a box. The apes have to push the fruit through a tunnel to the other side before they get their reward. When the elephants are idle, the keepers say they can begin to show neurotic behaviour like shaking their heads and bodies. To combat this, the keepers get the elephants to play games, such as knocking a barrel filled with fruit until the fruit comes out, or blowing fruit out of a tree trunk. "We can also see the animals display, they move around a lot they seem to be enjoying their environment. But if you think the animal is not enjoying it most of the time the animal sits alone in a corner and they look at bit depressed," said Sam Chellaiyah, curator, Singapore Zoo. The monkeys have to figure out how to get the fruit from the barrel as part of the program which has been refined over 30 years. "In a way we actually try to improve the ideas as we go along. Basically enrichment is trial and error especially for new devices, some devices work and some don't," said Diana Marlena, enrichment officer, Singapore Zoo.


Oregon & Washington Seek Lethal Sea Lion Removal
September 21, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By A.P.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- California sea lions are not listed as endangered or threatened but they are protected. Oregon and Washington are now drafting a proposal for ''limited selected lethal removal'' of the species in the Columbia River to protect the spring chinook salmon run. Sea lions are affecting both salmon and sturgeon populations but It could be two to four years before federal approval is given. When the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972, there were about 50,000 California sea lions. There are about 300,000 today. The sea lions by some estimates eat about 3 percent of the fish that gather at the base of the dam. Commercial and tribal fishermen have been urging such action for years.The state has tried using loud noises, and rubber bullets for two years. And finally, after protests, a Humane Society lawsuit and a clemency plea from President Clinton, the worst repeat offenders got packed off to Sea World in Orlando, Fla., and none was killed. Sharon Young, field director for marine issues for the HSUS said sea lions aren't the real issue. ''The killing of the sea lions will not solve the problem when there are a lot of other animals around,'' she said. She said killing sea lions is easier than taking on thornier issues such as hydroelectric dams and agricultural runoff. ''When you start taking out sea lions it looks like you're doing something to help the problem when all you are doing is distracting from the real problems,'' she said. The endangered Steller sea lion would not be affected


Scientists Find 2nd Red Panda Specimen
September 21, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

GRAY, Tenn. (AP) -- Scientists uncovered a second fossil of a red panda species first discovered at the Gray Fossil Site two years ago. Researchers from East Tennessee State University found a lower jawbone from a red panda of the Pristinailurus bristoli species last week. The species was discovered in January 2004 when ETSU researchers found a panda tooth and other skeletal fragments. Only the second panda fossil found on the continent, the remains turned out to be a previously unknown species in the red panda family. Scientists believe the jawbone is from a second specimen of the same species of red panda because the teeth are older than the first tooth found. The Gray Fossil Site near Johnson City was discovered during the widening of a highway in 2000 and is estimated at 4.5 million to 7 million years old. The university is building a $10 million visitors center with a laboratory and instruction space on a portion of the site. It is slated to open in 2007.


Federal Protection for Rare Cactus in Utah Badlands
September 21, 2006 www.enn.com  By Paul Foy, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - To protect the endangered Wright fishhook cactus and the threatened Winkler cactus, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has outlawed off-roading in most of a 222 square-mile area of public land near Factory Butte, a towering monolith that is one of the state's most distinctive geological formations. Riders can still travel on designated routes through the remote area. The 2 species are indigenous only to the area. Environmentalists have complained that motorized vehicles were crushing and killing the delicate plants.


Study on Impact of Zoos
September 21, 2006 releases.usnewswire.com

SILVER SPRING, Md. - Details of a new study "Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter: Visitor Impact Study," will be presented on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., during AZA's national conference. Cynthia Vernon, a vice president of conservation programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is also on AZA's Board of Directors and was a co-principal investigator of the study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and developed through partnerships among the AZA, Institute of Learning Innovation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The study began with a comprehensive review of existing literature about the impact of zoo and aquarium visits, and AZA held a series of public forums with zoo and aquarium professionals. Institute for Learning Innovation researchers then developed a series of studies to investigate specific factors that directly relate to visitor learning and behavior, and to analyze how this information can be used to further enhance visitors' attitudes toward wildlife and nature.


Important 3.3 million-old Skeleton Discovered in Ethiopia
September 21, 2006 www.mpg.de/english 

The skeleton of the earliest and most complete juvenile human ancestor has been found in an area of Ethiopia called Dikika. The female was only three years old when she died and belongs to Australopithecus afarensis - but lived 150,000 years before the previously discovered "Lucy". A team led by Dr. Zeresenay Alesmeged of the Max Planck Institute made the discovery which was reported in the September 21st issue of the journal Nature. Among the major scientific contributions of this find are, first, the Dikika girl documents for the first time the complete skull morphology of juvenile Australopithecus afarensis. It is now possible to study how the skull of A. afarensis changed during growth from childhood to adulthood. Second, the brain size of the 3-year-old Dikika girl is estimated at 330 cubic centimeters which is similar to that of a 3 year-old chimpanzee. However, when compared to the adult values of its species, the Dikika baby had formed only between 63% and 88% of the adult brain size, which is lower than that of a chimpanzee where by the age of 3 over 90% of the brain is formed. This relatively slow brain growth observed in A. afarensis is slightly closer to that of humans, pointing to a possible behavioral shift in this species that lived 3.5 million years ago. Third, the rest of the skeleton is represented by many bones that carry information regarding the locomotion and height of A. afarensis. The femur, the tibia and the foot of the girl provide evidence that this ancient species walked upright even at the age of three. However the two shoulder blades are similar to those of gorillas. The fingers are also long and curved as seen in other A. afarensis specimens. This may indicate that although an effective biped when on the ground, A. afarensis probably preserved its capacities for tree climbing which could have been adaptive for sleeping at night and avoiding predators. Fourth, among the rare and exciting discoveries is the hyoid bone. Its morphology in the Dikika girl is similar to that of African great apes and different from that of humans. This bone is unknown from any extinct human ancestor species except for one Neanderthal specimen, and is presumed to have had an important role in human speech development, giving us clues to the nature and evolution of the human voice box. Preparation of the new fossil is still in progress. The ribs, the vertebrae and the collar bones and their relevance to the locomotor behavior still need to be analyzed.


Lesser Flamingo Die-Offs in Africa
September 22, 2006 www.sciencemag.org  Science Vol. 313. no. 5794, pp. 1724 - 1725

NAIROBI, KENYA-- In recent months, more than 30,000 Lesser Flamingos have been found dead at Lake Nakuru. Two years ago, 43,800 of the birds perished at Tanzania's Lake Manyara, the first major die-off at that alkaline, soda-rich lake. Previous mass die-offs occurred at Lake Nakuru and two other Kenyan lakes in 1993, 1995, and 1997, as well as at two lakes in Tanzania in 2002. At the same time, birds have been gathering in places they have never been seen before. This month, thousands of Lesser Flamingos suddenly appeared at small Lake Oloiden in Kenya for the first time. As scientists investigate what is behind the deaths and shifts in feeding sites, conservationists are worried about possible new threats from human activity that could degrade the birds' primary breeding site: Lake Natron. The remote halophytic lake--whose hot, caustic waters provide a perfect nesting sight for flamingos and protect them from predators--has been proposed as site of a new baking-soda plant whose pipeline "could have quite a disastrous effect on [Natron's] water levels, which are critical for successful breeding," warns ornithologist Neil Baker, who heads the Tanzania Bird Atlas project. Next week, two dozen of the world's leading flamingo experts will gather at a workshop in Nairobi to draft an action plan to protect the Lesser Flamingo species (Phoeniconaias minor). Occasional flamingo die-offs occur naturally but ornithologist Brooks Childress, says "What is worrying is that the frequency of the [die-off] events appears to have increased." German phycologist Lothar Krienitz a research associate with the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology in Berlin says "There are strong indications that cyanobacterial toxins are contributing to the mass flamingo deaths." The poisonous substances, including the neurotoxin anatoxin-a as well as several liver toxins, may be only one of several explanations for the die-offs. He and others argue that shrinking lake levels and changing salinity have led to a different mix of cyanobacteria, some of which produce toxins that can kill the pink birds.


Balearic Shearwaters Move North
September 22, 2006 www.birdlife.org

Balearic Shearwaters nest on just five islands in the western Mediterranean, and are threatened by introduced predators, tourism, and longline fishing activities. In 1991 there were an estimated 3,300 breeding pairs, but it is believed the population has decreased by more than a third since then. "Many people believe that because Balearic Shearwaters nest in the Mediterranean, they must love warmth. However, they leave the Mediterranean in mid summer and head north through the Bay of Biscay towards relatively cool British waters. They are cold-water specialists, but with climate change warming the oceans, the seas are becoming less productive, and we believe birds are moving ever further north to find sufficient food," explained Carles Carboneras, a seabird expert with SEO/BirdLife, in Spain. The RSPB, the BirdLife Partner in the UK, is to launch a pilot study, gathering information from birdwatchers on numbers of Balearic Shearwaters observed during land-based seawatches. "More than a hundred were recorded off Berry Head in South Devon in just one day this month - which is a significant proportion of the world population." BirdGuides, a company that distributes information on bird sightings to birdwatchers across the United Kingdom, has offered to provide details of sightings they have received.


Harsh Winter is Setback for Captive Skink Program
September 22, 2006 www.scoop.co.nz

Otago skinks are critically endangered, and are predicted to become extinct within 10 years. The Central Otago Ecological Trust, the Department of Conservation and Landcare Research, are building a lizard breeding and information centre, with the ultimate aim of establishing a predator-free 24-hectare skink sanctuary near Alexandra. In November, the Trust took ownership of Otago skinks bred in Wellington and Levin, to find out how they would adapt to Otago conditions. Skinks kept indoors at the new Alexandra Museum are thriving. Of the five kept outside, just one survived the extreme Central Otago winter, which saw sub-zero temperatures lasting for days on end; the June mean temperature was the coldest for at least 10 years. "In cold weather, skinks go into torpor and hide. "It is now apparent that the standard cage design used throughout New Zealand is inadequate to maintain skinks in Central Otago winters," says Landcare Research herpetologist Trent Bell, who takes care of the skinks and is an advisor to the Trust. The Trust is taking advice from DOC and other skink breeders about new cage designs to test before next winter. "We need to simulate the thermal properties of the large schist rocks this species hides amongst, before taking responsibility for more animals to re-establish populations in the wild."  New cages will be placed inside a -8°C freezer with thermal probes placed at various points. If temperatures do not fall below zero over several days, this will indicate that skinks should be able to find refuge from frost in case of another extreme winter.


Thai Coup Squelches Kenyan Animal Trade
September 22, 2006 news.yahoo.com

The recent ouster of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has effectively killed the proposal to send hundreds of wild African animals to a safari park in the ex-premier's hometown in the southeast Asian nation. "The deal is as good as dead," said a senior official in Kenya's tourism ministry, which had promoted the deal despite a huge outcry and pending a lawsuit from wildlife activists demanding it be halted. "We hope that this would be an opportunity for the government to wiggle out of the deal," said Elizabeth Wamba, the east African spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She urged the Kenyan government to rip up the transfer agreement that was signed in November by Kenyan Wildlife Minister Morris Dzoro and then-Thai Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yongyut Tiyapairat. Under the agreement, Kenya was to have sent 175 animals, including zebras, flamingos, buffaloes, wildebeests, hippos, spotted hyena, silver-back jackals and impalas to the Chiang Mai Night Safari in northern Thailand. Thaksin, who was ousted by the Thai military on Tuesday, opened the 24-million-dollar (19-million-euro) theme park in February, but without the animals from Kenya, which would have been the zoo's star attractions.


Two Captive-bred Bighorn Sheep Releasedin the Coachella Valley
September 22, 2006 www.thedesertsun.com  By Benjamin Spillman

Biologists on Thursday morning released the fourth and fifth captive-raised sheep into the San Jacinto Mountains since last summer, when seven sheep died from a sudden disease outbreak in a nearby mountain range. Peninsular bighorn sheep are among the most intensely managed wildlife in Southern California and captive breeding and release programs have helped their population. The two sheep released Thursday near Palm Springs, both female yearlings, were born and raised at the Bighorn Institute in Palm Desert. Bighorn Institute director Jim Deforge said they wore collars outfitted with global positioning devices imported from Sweden that cost about $3,000 each. The hope is that the female sheep, called ewes, will join a small herd of 22 other sheep, a group that includes nine ewes. As recently as the 1970s, there were as many as 280 sheep in the San Jacinto Mountains, Institute biologist Aimee Byard said. By 1996, there were 19. "It is great habitat," Byard said. "We are just trying to help them hang on." On Sept. 2, the institute released three male yearlings, called rams, into Blaisdell Canyon in Palm Springs. Coyotes killed one of the rams, Deforge said.


Glen Oak Zoo Receives $1 million Donation
September 22, 2006 www.pjstar.com

PEORIA - An anonymous donor gave $1 million to the Peoria Zoological Society's capital campaign, bringing the total amount raised to $21.3 million of the $25 million it needs to expand. The donation came from an unnamed area family. Jan Schweitzer, director of development at the zoo said "We were very, very happy with the news of the donation." Zoo officials intend to present its ground-breaking plans on the first phase of the expansion project - the new Africa exhibit - at the Greater Peoria Park District meeting on Wednesday. If approved, the ground-breaking could be held in October, Schweitzer said. It will take two years to build and will include exhibits for giraffe, rhino, vulture, lions, red river hog, colobus monkey, mandrills, a small animal building featuring dung beetles, weaver birds, Zambian mole rats and more, a picnic pavilion and the boardwalk. Capital campaign volunteers are continuing their fundraising efforts to help pay for the second phase of the expansion, a new entry complex. Zoo officials hope to have 170,000 people a year visit the expanded zoo, up from about 100,000 now.


Avian Influenza tests (H5N1) Tests on Pennsylvania Mallards.
September 23, 2006 www.usda.gov

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2006 - The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior today announced final test results, which confirm that low pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus was found in samples collected last month from wild mallard ducks in Pennsylvania. This subtype has been detected several times in wild birds in North America and poses no risk to human health.
The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the presence of the "North American strain" of low pathogenic H5N1 in one of the 15 samples collected from the wild mallards in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Initial screening results announced on Sept. 2 indicated that an H5N1 avian influenza subtype was present in the collected samples, but further testing was necessary to confirm pathogenicity. As previously announced, genetic testing ruled out the possibility that the samples carried the specific highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 avian influenza that is circulating overseas. Low pathogenic strains of avian influenza commonly occur in wild birds and typically cause only minor sickness or no noticeable signs of disease in birds. Low pathogenic H5N1 is very different from the more severe highly pathogenic H5N1 circulating in parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. Highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza spread rapidly and are often fatal to chickens and turkeys. For avian influenza and human pandemic preparedness at www.avianflu.gov .


"World Animal Festival" at Oregon Zoo
September 23, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

"World Animal Festival showcases animals and the cultures they influence," says Krista Swan, Oregon Zoo event coordinator. African birds will be some of the featured creatures during the Oregon zoo's ninth annual World Animal Festival. Activity areas found throughout the zoo feature games, educational activities and take-home crafts such as Ukrainian egg decorating (first weekend only), Middle Eastern mosaics, Native American bracelet beading, and animal mask making. Visitors watch as sea otters, cougars, warty pigs, ocelots, and African birds receive enrichment treats, and learn about what is threatening the animals' survival. For several Pacific Northwest Native American tribes, the sea otter represents loyal friendship, while the salmon is seen as a provider, according to Swan. For the San Bushmen of southern Africa, they revere giraffes and hippos as "rain animals." In India, the Asian elephant appears in the Hindu incarnation of the four-armed god Ganesh, lord of wisdom, intelligence, and education. Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation has supported World Animal Festival since its inception in 1998. The festival is free with general zoo admission.


Free Caldwell Zoo Admission with a Phone Book
September 23, 2006 www.kltv.com

EAST TEXAS -- This is the first year the Caldwell zoo has offered free admission in order to collect and recycle used phone books. Zoo officials say they expected to collect 2,000 books today. "The reason we are doing this is to try to keep a small amount of trash that goes into the land fills out. We are going to take all of these phone books that we receive and have them recycled," said Caldwell Zoo Director of Visitor Services Mike Tucker. The free day at the zoo is going on again tomorrow. You get one free admission for every outdated phone book you bring in. The free admission is good for that day only.


Zoo Accreditations Announced
September 25, 2006 various news sources

Accreditation for the following Zoos was announced at the AZA Convention in Tampa, Florida by AZA President and CEO, Jim Maddy. Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Ill., directed by Tom Stalf, was accredited for the first time. The Little Rock Zoo, directed by Mike Blakely was re-accredited.  The Mill Mountain Zoo, directed by Sean Greene was given a year-long extension on its accreditation request to fix a series of on-going problems involving its finances and exhibits. After months of developing a new master plan for future programs and exhibits, the Sequoia Park Zoo has been granted accreditation. Boston's New England Aquarium's accreditation was reinstated. In 2003, the aquarium lost its accreditation over concerns about the institution's financial condition. There are 3,500 zoos in the United States.. Accreditation hearings are held every five years for AZA member institutions. Fewer than 10 percent of American zoos are accredited by the AZA. Currently, there are 210 accredited zoos and aquariums in North America.


Zoo Statistics
September 25, 2006 www.sptimes.com  By Wire services

210 - Number of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums nationwide.
735,173 - Number of animals housed in AZA zoos and aquariums in 2005.
339,195 - Number of fish housed in AZA zoos and aquariums in 2005, more than any other type of animal.
143-million - Number of visitors to AZA institutions each year.
33,300 - Number of workers employed by AZA institutions.
72,000 - Number of volunteers at AZA institutions.
4.5-million - Number of hours of work these volunteers devote each year to zoo and aquarium work.
$237-million - Amount zoos and aquariums donated to research and conservation in 2005.
$561-million - Amount zoos and aquariums spent in 2005 on construction, such as new classrooms and veterinary care facilities.
40 - Percentage of zoo and aquarium visitors who believe those institutions play an important role in education.


Benefit Raises $70,000.00 for Rosamond Gifford Zoo
September 25, 2006 bvilledailynews.com

Syracuse, NY- The "Go Hog Wild for the Zoo" fundraiser raised a little over $70,000.00 for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. The three-month promotion and raffle of a customized locally fabricated motorcycle by County Line Choppers, culminating in a block party catered by the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. More than three thousand people attended the block party outside of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and Fred Giarrusso of Syracuse had the lucky ticket, winning the custom fabricated motorcycle, valued at $40,000.00. Zoo Director Chuck Doyle was very encouraged by the large turn-out at the September 17th block party. "The thousands of people who attended the party and purchased raffle tickets not only had a great time but became more aware of the zoo and its mission." Doyle said. Executive Director of the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Janet Agostini said. Agostini says discussions are underway for a possible second Go Hog Wild for the Zoo fundraiser in 2007.


Zoo Atlanta's Panda is a Girl
September 25, 2006 www.contracostatimes.com  Associated Press

ATLANTA - Zoo staff members removed Lun Lun's baby from its birthing den Monday for the first time, 19 days after she gave birth to the new cub, after a 35-hour labor. During the 10-minute medical checkup, zoo veterinarian Maria Crane weighed the cub, listened to its heart, checked its pulse, and determined its sex. The cub is being kept from the public until it turns 100 days old, when, according to tradition, there will be a naming ceremony. Until then, panda fans have been keeping up with the cub on the zoo's online panda cam. After trying for seven years, the zoo successfully artificially inseminated Lun Lun at the end of March with semen taken from her male partner, Yang Yang. The father and cub are being kept separate, which is normal in the wild. Only three other U.S. zoos have pandas - San Diego, Memphis and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.. Both San Diego and the National Zoo have had successful panda births. It is the 5th giant panda born at a U.S. zoo in the last 6 years.


Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Cooperative Study
September 25, 2006 www.redorbit.com

Dolphin Discovery's Sea Life Park on Oahu is joining the University of Alabama, Birmingham and the National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Island Science Center in researching the effects of incubation temperature on the gender of the Hawaiian green sea turtle. They will add a pool of already captive turtles to the project. Researchers also study natural nesting locations in the northern Hawaiian Islands. Green Sea Turtles weigh about an ounce at birth and can grow to approximately 400 pounds. Although its lifespan is not know, it's believe the turtles reach sexual maturity at the age of 25 and can life up to 80 years.


Getting a Chimp to Take his Medicine
September 25, 2006 www.times-standard.com  By Kimberly Wear

EUREKA , CA -- Bill the chimp has a bacterial infection similar to tuberculosis in one lung. It's being treated with the same series of three antibiotics a person would receive for tuberculosis.. He's had raspy breathing for a decade, but attempts at getting a culture sample were unsuccessful until now, said zoo manager Gretchen Ziegler. He's responding well and not showing any side effects. The trick was finding a way to get him to take his medicine. One of them turned food orange and had an aftertaste. His keepers tried his favorite -- oatmeal. Bill stirred in until it turned orange, but wouldn't eat it. He refused fruit juice and soda. Nothing worked until they tried strawberry jam on a whole wheat bun. "You cannot fool the primates," Roletto said. Keepers have als adjusted his calorie intake so the strawberry jam doesn't put on extra pounds and his exhibit has been recently upgraded. At 60, Bill is one of the oldest chimps in captivity after Cheeta, the Tarzan chimpanzee, who's more than 10 years older."It's a fairly rare bacteria that you just don't typically find in the lungs," she said. The infection is not contagious and Bill remains out in his exhibit.


Humane Society and Detroit Zoo Collaborate
September 25, 2006 www.theoaklandpress.com  By DAVE GROVES

ROYAL OAK - On Saturday and Sunday, the Michigan Humane Society collaborated with zoo representatives and 26 area animal welfare organizations to host the sixth annual Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo - the nation's largest dog and cat adoption event. Good homes were found for nearly 600 animals," said Jan Cantle, marketing programs manager for the Michigan Humane Society. "We think it is just phenomenal." After meeting the animals in tents outside the zoo and spending a little time to get to know their favorites, adopters paid relatively nominal adoption fees to pair up with friends who have been sterilized and received age-appropriate shots, medical exams and behavior checks. Adoptive families filled out applications to aid event volunteers in helping them find good lifestyle matches. Volunteers also provided detailed information concerning care and costs associated with keeping a pet. "It's a long-term commitment, so we just need to make sure that people understand what they are taking on," Cantle said.


PETA Criticizes Six Flags Roach Contest
September 25, 2006 www.kltv.com

GURNEE, Ill. (AP)- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants Six Flags Great America to scrap its Halloween-themed cockroach-eating promotion, claiming the contest at the amusement park's FrightFest is "gratuitously cruel." The park in Gurnee, Ill., is joining other Six Flags parks in offering unlimited line-jumping privileges to anyone who eats a live Madagascar hissing cockroach. Amusement park officials are defending their menu choice. Great America spokesman Jim Taylor says the bugs are nutritious, high in protein and fat free.


Yolk Antioxidants Vary with Male Attractiveness
September 25, 2006 www.eurekalert.org

Mother birds deposit variable amounts of antioxidants into egg yolks. "For female birds, an important aspect of parental investment is the resources allocated to eggs," writes Dr. Kristen J. Navara of Auburn University and Ohio State University and her coauthors. "The resources available for reproduction and self-maintenance will be finite, so it is up to her to decide how much resource to invest in each egg she lays." Male house finches display nutrition-linked plumage ranging in color from bright red to drab yellow. The researchers found that eggs sired by unattractive males (those with less brilliant feathers) had more total antioxidants, including 2.5 times the vitamin E levels, than eggs sired by males with redder, more saturated plumage. Thus, they explain, the deposition of more nutrients could represent compensation for the disadvantages experienced by an offspring from a lower quality male, allowing females to supersede limitations of a suboptimal pairing on her own reproductive success. The study appears in the November/December issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.


Critical Habitat for Milk-Vetch Species
September 26, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 186
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-26

The USFWS has announced the reopening of the public comment period on the proposal to designate critical habitat for Astragalus ampullarioides (Shivwits milk-vetch) and Astragalus holmgreniorum (Holmgren milk-vetch) The draft economic analysis for the proposed designation of critical habitat is available at mountain-prairie.fws.gov/species/plants/milkvetche/index.htm  and finds that, over 20 years, post-designation costs for Holmgren and Shivwits milk-vetch conservation-related activities are estimated to range between $8.8 and $14.1 million in undiscounted 2006 dollars. In discounted terms, potential post-designation economic costs are estimated to be $8.5 to $13.0 million (using a 3 percent discount rate) or $8.2 to $12.1 million (using a 7 percent discount rate). The service proposes to revise boundary descriptions for two critical habitat subunits: Holmgren milk-vetch's Unit 2a (Stucki Spring) and Unit 2b (South Hills), and will accept comments until October 26, 2006. You may send comments by e-mail to hsmilkvetch@fws.gov  or through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov  Further information can be obtained from Larry Crist, Acting Field Supervisor, Utah Ecological Services Field Office, at the address listed in telephone, 801-975-3330; facsimile, 801-975-3331.


Critical Habitat for Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum
September 26, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 186
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-26

On September 14, 1998 the USFWS determined that designation of critical habitat for Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum was not prudent because designation would increase the degree of threat to the taxon and would not benefit the taxon. As a consequence of a settlement agreement they are withdrawing their "not prudent" finding. Further, on the basis of review and evaluation of the best scientific and commercial information available, they believe that designation of critical habitat continues to be not prudent for T. a. ssp. compactum. As a result, we are proposing a new "not prudent'' determination for T. a. ssp. compactum. USFWS will accept comments from all interested parties until November 27, 2006. Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum, a member of the Lamiaceae (mint family), occurs only on the northwestern margin of a single vernal pool in Riverside county. (Bauder 1999, p. 13). This taxon flowers in July and August. In 1998 the Service concluded that the limited number of individual plants and the extremely localized range of Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum, make this taxon more susceptible to single disturbance events; such as trampling during the flowering season Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum was federally listed as threatened on September 14. 1998. This taxon is not listed by the State of California. At the time of Federal listing, USFWS decided that the designation of critical habitat was not prudent because the designation would likely encourage more visitors to the geographic location containing the single known occurrence, and would undermine attempts by the CDPR to protect the site. For further information contact Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, telephone, 760/431-9440; facsimile, 760/431-9624. Or submit comments to fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov  with "RIN 1018-AU77'' in the subject line.


Endangered Species Recovery Permit Applications
September 26, 2006 Federal Register: (Volume 71, Number 186
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-26

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. Comments must be received on or before October 26, 2006. Written data should be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chief, Endangered Species, Ecological Services, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone: 503-231-2063; fax: 503-231-6243). Please refer to the respective permit number for each application when submitting comments. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the official administrative record and may be made available to the public. For further information contact: Linda Belluomini, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, at the above Portland address (telephone: 503-231-2063; fax: 503-231-6243).

Permit No. TE-129577 Applicant: Bureau of Land Management, Arcata, California
The applicant requests a permit to remove/reduce to possession Layia carnosa (beach layia) in conjunction with ecological research in Humboldt County, California, for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-816204 Applicant: University of California, Davis, California
The permittee requests an amendment to take (capture, mark, collect tissue samples and voucher specimens, and release) the Buena Vista lake shrew (Sorex ornatus relictus), the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens), the Fresno kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides exilis), the Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides), and the Riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes riparia) in conjunction with scientific research in San Joaquin, Merced, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Kern Counties, California, for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-046262 Applicant: Blake A. Claypool, Encinitas, California
The permittee requests an amendment to take (capture, and collect and kill) the Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), the longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna), the vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), the Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus wootoni), and the San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of each species in California for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-128256 Applicant: Steven Kramer, Arcata, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, and release) the tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi) in conjunction with surveys throughout the species range in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.


Endangered Species Recovery Permit Applications
[Federal Register: September 26, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 186)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-26

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. Comments on these permit applications must be received on or before October 26, 2006. Written data or comments should be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chief, Endangered Species, Ecological Services, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone: 503-231-2063; fax: 503-231-6243). Please refer to the respective permit number for each application when submitting comments. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the official administrative record and may be made available to the public. For further information contact Linda Belluomini, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, at the above Portland address, (telephone: 503-231-2063; fax: 503-231-6243).

Permit No. TE-132849 Applicant: Thomas R. Payne & Associates, Arcata, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, and release) the tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-744878 Applicant: Institute for Wildlife Studies, Arcata, California
The permittee requests an amendment to take (conduct diagnostic tests) the Santa Cruz Island fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae) and the Santa Catalina Island fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) in conjunction with allergen testing for the purpose of enhancing their survival throughout the range of the species in California.

Permit No. TE-134367 Applicant: Loren R. Hays, Huntington Beach, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, locate and monitor nests) the light-footed clapper rail (Rallus longirostris levipes), the California least tern (Sternula antillarum browni), the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), and the least Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) in conjunction with surveys and monitoring throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-134332 Applicant: Andrew S. Drummond, San Diego, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (survey by pursuit) the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-134333 Applicant: California State University, Chico, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (capture, handle, release, and harass by survey) the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) in conjunction with population monitoring in Sonoma and Santa Barbara Counties, California, for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-134334 Applicant: Lincoln Hulse, Mission Viejo, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (capture and release) the Stephens' kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi), the San Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus), and the Pacific pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-134337 Applicant: Christopher M. Powers, Carlsbad, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (capture, and collect and kill) the Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), the longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna), the vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), the Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus wootoni), and the San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of each species in California for the purpose of enhancing their survival.

Permit No. TE-134338 Applicant: Brenna A. Ogg, San Diego, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (survey by pursuit) the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-134370 Applicant: Brant C. Primrose, San Diego, California
The applicant requests a permit to take (survey by pursuit) the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing its survival.

Permit No. TE-134347 Applicant: California Department of Parks and Recreation, Mendocino,
California The applicant requests a permit to take (harm, harass) the Point Arena mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa nigra) and the Behren's silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene behrensii) in conjunction with habitat restoration activities in Mendocino County, California, for the purpose of enhancing their survival.


Petition To List the Northern Mexican Gartersnake
[Federal Register: September 26, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 186)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-26

On December 19, 2003, USFWS received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity to list the northern Mexican gartersnake as threatened or endangered, and that we designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing. On May 17, 2005, the petitioners filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, challenging our failure to issue a 90-day finding in response to the petition as required by law. On December 13, 2005, we made our 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial scientific information indicating that listing the northern Mexican gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops) may be warranted. After a 12-month analysis and review of all available scientific and commercial information on the northern Mexican gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops), the USFWS finds that listing of the subspecies is not warranted. The complete supporting file for this finding is available for inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the Arizona Ecological Services Office, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021-4951. Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, Arizona Ecological Services Office 602-242-0210 may be contacted for more information.


Fort Wayne Zoo Announces "African Journey"
September 26, 2006 www.fortwayne.com

The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo will close its African Veldt area for a major reconstruction that will add lions, cheetahs, meerkats and more, according to a fundraising proposal. Work on the $7 million project would begin this winter, the zoo said in a grant proposal submitted in February to the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, said Jane Silva, the foundation's associate director for advancement programs. The foundation approved $120,000 in grants for the project.  The first phase of the remodeled African Journey area will open in summer 2008. The new African Journey area will include: A lion exhibit surrounded by boulders and 2-inch-thick security glass. A new giraffe exhibit will allow people to hand-feed the animals. A cheetah exhibit and breeding area. A 10-acre grassland similar to the grassy, main exhibit at the current African Veldt will be home to animals that visitors see now, such as zebras, wildebeests, gazelles and an ostrich. A meerkat exhibit. A zebra researchers camp where children can use remote video cameras to study the activities of the zoo's zebra herd. And a safari camp picnic area will be large enough to accommodate school groups and overnight events. Additional plans include an expanded exhibit areas for the leopard and Colobus monkeys, New exhibits for the De Brazza's monkeys and warthogs; a new entrance experience, with visitors entering the African Journey area through the existing tunnel under Sherman Boulevard and emerging into a tin-roofed African village, which would house a snack bar and an educational building. People then would move by some of the exhibits along a Safari Trail; new winter holding areas where African animals can be housed securely during cold-weather months. The zoo has been raising money for the project from local foundations, corporations and large donors, and will also be asking for the community's support.


Oregon Zoo "Head Starts" Western Pond Turtles
September 26, 2006 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND, Oregon - The Oregon Zoo recently rounded up 46 western pond turtle hatchlings from nests near White Salmon, Wash., in the Columbia River Gorge, moving them to a safer environment for their "head start" program. The hatchlings are housed in specially designed turtle tanks at the zoo's conservation lab near the Eagle Canyon exhibit. The turtles will reside there throughout the winter, where they can grow in safety. Next summer, they will be released back into the wild. Conservation specialists have observed nests along the Columbia River since the eggs were laid in late summer. Under the supervision of pond turtle expert Kate Slavens, adult female western pond turtles were trapped and fitted with transmitters. The recovery workers then monitored the females every two hours during nesting season to determine their egg-laying locations. Once a turtle had dug her nest in the dirt, laid her eggs, and covered the nest back up, the scientists stepped in to protect the nest with wire "exclosure" cages that helped prevent predators from dining on turtle eggs. The eggs were allowed to incubate naturally and then scientists dug up the newborn turtles shortly after hatching. The quarter-sized babies were gathered together and taken to the Oregon Zoo and Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. After about 10 months, when the juvenile turtles have grown large enough to avoid being eaten by pond predators, they will be returned to their birthplace. Just one decade ago, western pond turtles were on the verge of completely dying out in Washington. Habitat degradation and disease were and still are problems, but the biggest threat to fragile baby turtles is the bullfrog. Originating east of the Rockies, this non-indigenous frog has thrived throughout the west, driving pond turtles and a host of other small, vulnerable aquatic species to the brink of extinction. The Oregon Zoo released 51 western pond turtles in the Columbia Gorge last summer. The latest releases brought the total number of head-started turtles to more than 850 -- a majority of the current existing population.


Utica Zoo telethon Will Air October 5
September 26, 2006 www.uticaod.com

UTICA - The Utica Zoo will host a fundraising telethon Thursday, Oct. 5, to raise awareness about the zoo's financial problems, said Nicole White, public events and special events coordinator. The telethon will be hosted by WKTV and Utica National Insurance Group. To find out how to help the Zoo, visit www.uticazoo.org . Options include making an online donation or downloading a letter to an Oneida County legislator asking the county to increase its financial support to the zoo.


Akron Zoo Breeds Madagascar Teal
September 26, 2006 www.ohio.com  By Connie Bloom

AKRON, Ohio - Madagascar Teal were believed extinct in the '60s and rediscovered in the '90s, according to Doug Piekarz, Akron Zoo's vice president of collections and conservation programs. It is estimated that fewer than 500 remain in the wild today. Last January, the Akron Zoo arranged to have a group of teal imported from Europe as part of a program led by the Durrel Wildlife Conservation Trust on the Isle of Jersey and the government of Madagascar. The new parents were introduced to their lush aviary this spring and chose one of the hatching boxes zookeepers provided for them near the aviary entrance. The female laid five eggs; three were fertile and on August 25th, Akron became the first accredited zoo in the U.S. to breed the species, producing 3 healthy hatchlings. The ducklings have their own doctor and are being watched closely, because their parents are first-timers that often have more difficulty raising their young. The zoo now houses 19 teals, (all but five are off-exhibit), which is approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population. The other 20 percent are in a breeding facility in North Carolina. As the species is established, the zoo will distribute teals to other accredited zoos and the Barrow Biological Field Station at Hiram College. The zoo-college partnership will provide students and faculty with the unique experience of managing an endangered species.


John Cleese Visits Dubbo for Rhino Program
September 26 2006 www.abc.net.au  By Jeremy Scott

The Taronga Foundation is working to raise money for a new Greater One-Horned rhino exhibit at Western Plains Zoo. Western Plains general manager Will Garton announced that John Cleese had agreed to a one-time performance in Dubbo to help fund the project. The concert is expected to raise $200,000 towards the $750,000 cost of establishing a 1.2 hectare enclosure in the zoo's Wild Asian Wetlands section so the breeding program may begin. The appearance was arranged by Garton's close friend, the conservationist and author Bradley Trevor Grieve, who has been heavily involved in recent fundraising efforts for the Taronga Foundation with Cleese. As part of the evening, fellow foundation patron, Richard Morecroft, will join Mr Cleese on stage for two sessions of "animated, intriguing and highly personal revelations along with an unspecified number of hilarious left field ponderings". An Intimate Evening With John Cleese will occur at the Dubbo RSL on Friday October 20 at 7pm. Tickets are $165.


Gharial Conservation Program at Crossroads
September 26 2006 www.newindpress.com

BHUBANESWAR: The first successful captive breeding program of gharials, started in Orissa in 1980. It ended in 1995 with 540 gharials either released into the Mahanadi or given to other zoos. Captive breeding continues at the Nandankanan Zoo but the Forest Department has no species conservation program in place. The problem is 2-fold. While Nandankanan Zoo is grappling with a problem of plenty. Most of their 56 gharials are housed in the over-crowded breeding pool where 2 adults recently died. The last shifting of the juveniles from the zoo was in 2002, and there is no direction on how to handle the animals in absence of a clear-cut conservation program by the Forest Department. Gharials in the wild are not sufficiently protected. In a 25-km stretch of Satkosia on the Mahanadi, only two adults were spotted. With the ever growing crocodile-human conflict incidence, the gharials are now being spotted in Chilika and Paradip, in the saline waters. The increasing incidence of flash floods in the Mahanadi is leaving them displaced. And the Mahanadi, has been over-fished and is not able to support this strictly fish-eating species anymore. SK Patnaik, former chief wildlife warden and member of the governing body of Wildlife Institute of India, says 'These sensitive crocodiles are not doing well in the Mahanadi anymore. To conserve the ones bred in Nandankanan they should be sent to other centers in Uttar Pradesh, Chambal, Ganga and Narayani where the population is surviving well.' Thankfully for the Zoo, the male offspring of Bajrabahu, who was brought from the Frankfurt Zoological Society for the breeding program in 1980 and successfully procreated in captivity till 1999, is still alive. For, he is the only one that has fathered crocodiles in Nandankanan.


China Plans to Release 620 Tigers
September 26, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

BEIJING - China plans to train 620 captive-bred Siberian tigers to survive in the wild and then return them to forests in the northeast. The tigers will come from enclosures in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, and released into a 15-hectare (37-acre) fenced patch of forest near the mountainous border with North Korea, Liu Dan, an official with the Siberian Tiger Artificial Propagation Base. Liu said trial release of 12 tigers four years ago was promising -- although ten of those tigers were now back in captivity. Other experts are critical of the plan unless the forests of northeast China are better protected from logging and human encroachment. "Highway construction, has turned tiger habitats into isolated islands promoting in-breeding," said Sun Haiyi, deputy chief of the Heilongjiang Provincial Institute Wildlife. "I think it would be more meaningful to spend money on cultivating an environment with dense vegetation rich in prey, such as deer and wild boar, where the tiger can flourish." The world's tigers are now estimated at 5,000-7,000, down from more than 100,000 in the 19th century. The Siberian tiger, native to northern China, southern Russia and parts of North Korea, is on the brink of extinction in the wild, decimated by hunting and loss of habitat, and scientists believe only a few hundred now live outside captivity.


24 Aboard WWF Helicopter Killed in Nepal
September 26, 2006 www.enn.com  By Gopal Sharma, Reuters

KATHMANDU - All 24 people on board a helicopter chartered by WWF in Nepal were killed after the aircraft crashed in bad weather two days ago. Seven of the victims were WWF staff. Director-General James Leape told Reuters that "All together it represented some of the most important leadership of the conservation movement in Nepal, and certainly many of the leaders of the WWF's efforts in Nepal and elsewhere. It is a huge loss for this organization but also for conservation in Nepal and of course for the families of these 24 people," he said. Of the 20 passengers and four crew, 17 were Nepalis. Others included a Finnish diplomat, two Americans, a Canadian and a Swiss-Australian, as well as two Russians. The passengers had attended the handover of a WWF project to the local community and were on their way back.


California Herons Move Into Urban Settings
September 26, 2006 www.enn.com  By Noaki Schwartz, Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- In the late 19th century, the nation's heron and egret populations were decimated by hunters who wanted their feathers to decorate hats. To protect them, Congress in 1900 passed the Lacey Act, which bans foreign and interstate trade in the feathers. The birds gained further protection in 1918, when the Migratory Bird Treaty Act allowed states to set seasons and enforce limits on hunting. Since then, herons have gradually returned to their previous numbers and are not endangered. In California this year, state Assemblyman Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, proposed a bill that would have made it a crime to take or destroy the nests of migratory birds, including herons. The bill failed but could be brought back for reconsideration. "Herons are one of the few success stories of local birds," said Dan Cooper, who wrote Audubon's Important Bird Areas of California and is starting a study on heron and egret nesting in Southern California. "People destroyed the wetlands and replaced them with marinas, but the herons have resisted, " he said. "They're still here." In recent years, an increasing number of herons have built nests in populated areas of Southern California as development forced them from their natural homes near streams and wetlands, said Bradley Henderson, an associate biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game.


Dwarfism in Island Mammals
September 26, 2006 www.enn.com  By Patricia Reaney, Reuters

LONDON -Remains of smaller versions of bigger animals such as elephants, hippopotamuses and deer that lived on large land masses have been found on islands. It is known as 'Island Rule'. Scientists at the Centre for Population Biology studied the fossilized remains of miniature animals that lived on Mediterranean islands between 1.8 million and 4,500 years ago. By comparing the remains of various animals they discovered that the creatures' size was due to a combination of factors including competitors and food supplies. Grass eaters like hippos were more affected by dwarfism than meat eaters. "Carnivores are affected by food availability and prey size, whereas herbivores are affected by the presence of other herbivores and also of predators. "Our study has shown that large mammals do not simply 'shrink' in response to the small size of their island homes," said Dr Shai Meiri, a member of the research team. When there is little competition for food and very few predators, herbivores tend towards miniaturisation because they don't need their size to survive, according to the scientists. Smaller animals also tend to have more offspring so their tinier size could increase the number of babies herbivores produce. Miniaturization is less dramatic for carnivores and depends mainly on the size and abundance of their prey. If the prey is scarce or small, carnivores will evolve to be smaller. The report appears in the latest edition of the journal Evolution.


Dolphin May Get a Prosthetic Tail
September 26, 2006 www.enn.com  By Phil Davis, Associated Press

CLEARWATER, Fla. - A 3-month-old baby dolphin was brought to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in December. Frail and dehydrated she was found tangled in the buoy line of a crab trap in Indian River Lagoon near Cape Canaveral by a fisherman. The line tightened around her tail as she tried to swim away, strangling the blood supply to her tail flukes. Bit by bit the tail fell off over the weeks, leaving her with a rounded stump. A team of more than 150 volunteers and veterinarians spent months nursing the baby, named "Winter", back to health. They fed her a special mix of infant formula and pureed fish in the aquarium's rescue pool. She learned how to swim without her tail, amazing her handlers with a combination of moves that resemble an alligator's undulations and a shark's side-to-side tail swipes. She uses her flippers, normally employed for steering and braking, to get moving. In the tank, she swims and plays with another dolphin, rolling and diving and surfacing to demand belly rubs and fish from her caretakers. Dana Zucker, head of the aquarium has formed a team to discuss the prospects of designing a tail for Winter. They have been consulting with a diving gear manufacturer, a tire company and the Navy, which has experience attaching items to dolphins for military research. Fuji, an elderly dolphin who lives at an aquarium in Okinawa, Japan, had part of his tail remaining on which to attach a prosthesis. Winter doesn't. Both her tail flukes and peduncle, a wrist-like joint that allows a dolphin's tail to move up and down, were lost to necrosis. "The dolphin's tail fin is the most powerful swimming mechanism Mother Nature ever designed," according to Marine scientist Steve McCulloch, director of dolphin and whale research at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. "When you see how much pressure they put on their flukes, the prosthesis is going to take a marvel of modern engineering." Veterinarians are unsure if a prosthesis will be beneficial or harmful in the long term. Swimming without a tail may ultimately wear on Winter's spine. She would need at least three tails as she grows. She is now about 4 feet long and weighs 110 pounds. When she is full grown at age 15, Winter will be twice as long and four times as heavy.  And the cost of the prosthetic tail is unknown. "All I know is Fuji's tail cost $100,000 -- and that was in 2004," McCulloch said. That's equal to the entire monthly operating budget of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Zucker said. The small animal hospital relies mostly on volunteer workers; its roof leaks in heavy rains. Zucker expects the design cost of the tail will be underwritten by the company that creates it. It's the cost of the long-term care of Winter -- and the other injured animals in her care -- that worry her.


Scientists study lion mane variability
September 26, 2006 www.sciencedaily.com

CHICAGO, -- Researchers from Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History have found that wild lions generally develop manes in accordance with local climate regimes. In Equatorial East Africa, climate is determined by elevation, thus lions with the largest manes occur at the upper limit of their altitudinal range, while similar-age males in the lowest and warmest environments typically have modest or scanty manes. But, paradoxically, other lions in low and warm regions appear to acquire respectable manes, contrary to most popular and scientific accounts of the lions from Africa's Tsavo region. "We knew about the climate/elevation correlation since we were the first to publish those preliminary results in GEO 2001, but this new development really threw us for a loop," said Tom Gnoske, senior author of the paper. "However, once we analyzed all of the statistical data we found a very strong correlation linking increased age and continued mane development -- a significant variable ignored by all previous authors."
The research appears online in the Journal of Zoology.


Race to Breed Tuatara
September 26, 2006 www.newswire.co.nz

NEW ZEALAND -- The Southland Museum in Invercargill is in a race to be the first institution in the world to hatch an endangered guntheri tuatara in captivity. Curator Lindsay Hazley says the guntheri have been at the museum for 17 years and this is the first time the female has become pregnant. But the museum is up against San Diego Zoo which also has a pregnant female about to give birth. Mr Hazley says he is sceptical about San Diego's claims because their male and female tuatara have been held separately and the eggs may not be fertile. He says the female will lay her eggs within the next few days and they will be incubated to provide the best chance of survival. If the eggs are successfully hatched it could pave the way for tuatara to be returned to mainland New Zealand within the next few years. This breed of tuatara were only discovered in 1989 on the North Brothers Island in Cook Strait.


Bighorn Sheep Injured After Release
September 26, 2005 abclocal.go.com

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) -- One of two Peninsular bighorn sheep released Sept 21 in the San Jacinto Mountains has been seen limping. Biologists will monitor the situation and hope to let nature take its course. There were no gashes, blood or other obvious signs of the injury's cause. There are about 700 bighorns in mountains from Palm Springs to the Mexico border.


Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Florida?
September 26, 2006 www.birdlife.org

Last year, Ivory-billed Woodpeckers were reported in Arkansas. Prior to those reports, the last fully documented USA sighting was in Louisiana in 1944, and many believed the species extinct both in the USA and in Cuba, the only other country where it occurred. Researchers from Auburn University and the University of Windsor report 14 sightings of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in forest along the Choctawhatchee River in the panhandle of Florida between May 2005 and May 2006. All but three of the observations were naked eye only without optical aids, and no photographs of the woodpeckers were obtained. On two occasions, two birds were seen together. In addition, on 41 occasions the researchers heard sounds that matched descriptions of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, and using automated listening stations and audio recordings from hand-held video cameras isolated 99 "double-knock" sounds and 210 "kent" calls. These, the researchers say, match historical descriptions of Ivory-billed Woodpecker acoustic signals. Examples of each are available as supplementary supporting material and can be downloaded at: www.ace-eco.org  The announcement was published in The Canadian online journal, Avian Conservation and Ecology.


5-Year Review of 37 Southeastern Species
September 27, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 187
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-27

The USFWS maintains a list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plant species at 50 CFR 17.11 (for wildlife) and 17.12 (for plants) (collectively referred to as the List). We conduct a review of listed species at least once every 5 years. Then, on the basis of such reviews, we determine whether or not any species should be removed from the List or reclassified from endangered to threatened or from threatened to endangered. Delisting a species must be supported by the best scientific and commercial data available and only considered if such data substantiate that the species is neither endangered nor threatened for one or more of the following reasons: (1) The species is considered extinct; (2) the species is considered to be recovered; and/or (3) the original data available when the species was listed, or the interpretation of such data, were in error. Any change in Federal classification would require a separate rulemaking process. Species currently under active review include the following endangered species: Anastasia Island beach mouse, Choctawhatchee beach mouse, Perdido Key beach mouse, Lower Keys marsh rabbit, Everglade snail kite, wood stork, Culebra giant anole, Gulf moccasinshell, Ochlockonee moccasinshell, oval pigtoe, shinyrayed pocketbook, fat three-ridge, Crenulate lead-plant, Catesbaea melanocarpa, Etonia rosemary, Cordia bellonis, Avon Park harebells, beautiful goetzea, Lepanthes eltoroensis, Mitracarpus maxwelliae, Mitracarpus polycladus, Peperomia wheeleri, wide-leaf warea, elfin tree fern, Elaphoglossum serpens, Polystichum calderonense, Tectaria estremerana, Thelypteris inabonensis, Thelypteris verecunda, Thelypteris yaucoensis, and Florida perforate cladonia. We are also reviewing the following threatened species: bluetail
mole skink, sand skink, golden coqui, purple bankclimber, Chipola slabshell, and Garber's spurge. The List is available on our Internet site at endangered.fws.gov/wildlife.html

What information is considered in the review?
A. Species biology, including but not limited to population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics;
B. Habitat conditions, including but not limited to amount, distribution, and suitability;
C. Conservation measures that have been implemented to benefit the species;
D. Threat status and trends (see five factors under heading "How do we determine whether a species is endangered or threatened?''); and
E. Other new information, data, or corrections, including but not limited to taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, identification of erroneous information contained in the List, and improved analytical methods.

How do we determine whether a species is endangered or threatened?
A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
C. Disease or predation;
D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

The USFWS requests any new information concerning the status of any of these 37 species. See "What information is considered in the review?'' heading for specific criteria. Information submitted should be supported by documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, methods used to gather and analyze the data, and/or copies of any pertinent publications, reports, or letters by knowledgeable sources. Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during normal business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home addresses from the supporting record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we may withhold from the supporting record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment, but you should be aware that the Service may be required to disclose your name and address pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.


Endangered Species Permit Applications
[Federal Register: September 27, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 187)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-27

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. Written data, comments or requests must be received by October 27, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act, by any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281.

Applicant: Zoological Society of Philadelphia, PA, PRT-126270.
The applicant requests a permit to import 15 captive-born tamarins (Saguinus bicolor) for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Zoological Society of Philadelphia, PA, PRT-126543.
The applicant requests a permit to import serum from one wild origin captive-held female jaguar (Panthera onca) from La Aurora Zoo, Guatemala, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Zoological Society of Philadelphia, PA, PRT-126542.
The applicant requests a permit to import one wild origin captive-held female jaguar (Panthera onca) from La Aurora Zoo, Guatemala, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Zoological Society of Philadelphia, PA, PRT-126541.
The applicant requests a permit to import one wild origin captive-held male jaguar (Panthera onca) from Belize Zoo, Belize, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Nathaniel J. Dominy, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, PRT-130146.
The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples from wild spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi frontatus and Ateles geoffroyi panamensis, and howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) collected in Costa Rica, for the purpose of scientific research.


Sentry Milk-Vetch Recovery Plan
September 27, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 187
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-27

The USFWS announces the availability of the final recovery plan for the sentry milk-vetch (Astragalus cremnophylax var. cremnophylax). Three populations of this endangered plant are known to occur on land managed by the National Park Service in the Grand Canyon National Park (Park) in Coconino County, Arizona. Persons may obtain a copy of the recovery plan by accessing the Service's Arizona Ecological Services Field Office Internet Web page at arizonaes.fws.gov  or by contacting the Field Supervisor, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, Arizona, 85021-4951 (602/242-0210) to obtain a copy via the mail


Endangered Species Permit Applications
September 27, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 187
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-27

The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species and marine mammals. Written data, comments or requests must be received by October 27, 2006. Documents and other information submitted with these applications are available for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act, by any party who submits a written request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203; fax 703/358-2281. For further information contact the Division of Management Authority,
telephone 703/358-2104.

Applicant: Charles F. Bridge, Manzanita, OR, PRT-129006.
The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Charlotte M. Peyerk, Shelby Township, MI, PRT-129016.
The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: Danial A. Peyerk, Shelby Township, MI, PRT-129017.
The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.

Applicant: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, PRT-125284.
The applicant requests a permit to export and re-import non-living museum specimens of endangered and threatened species previously accessioned into the applicant's collection for scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a five-year period.

Applicant: Robert L. Hudson, Oxford, MS, PRT-129586.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: Rodney W. Brandenburg, Longmont, CO, PRT-128485.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sport hunted from the Lancaster Sound polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.

Applicant: James R. Martell, Glenns Ferry, ID, PRT-130729.
The applicant requests a permit to import a polar bear (Ursus spp.) sport hunted from the Northern Beaufort Sea polar bear population in Canada for personal, noncommercial use.


Pittsburgh Zoo Sea Lion Paints for Fish
September 27, 2006 abcnews.go.com By A.P.

PITTSBURGH -- Zoo trainer, Kesha Phares, has been teaching Maggie, an 11-year-old sea lion at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, to paint since last year. It's enriching said Phares, "Sea lions are very smart animals, and painting keeps their minds active." It took three months to get the animal to hold a paint brush and touch the bristles to paper, Phares told the paper. Phares picks the paint colors - sea lions are colorblind - and puts paint on the brush. The paintings are done one stroke at a time, with Maggie getting a fish after each stroke. If the animal can be said to have a style, Maggie's is that she tends to put more paint on the right side of the canvas than the left.


Saving Birds Endemic to Jamaica
September 27, 2006 www.jamaicaobserver.com

There are 30 species of birds endemic to Jamaica. The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), is lobbying to designate 47 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) islandwide as protected areas. The Cockpit Country, the John Crow Mountains, Catadupa and the Blue Mountains have been ranked as the top four IBAs in need of protection, based on the numbers of endemic birds, forest size and forest quality.

The endemic Jamaican birds are:

. The Roufous Tailed Flycatcher;
. Jamaican Woodpecker;
. Arrow Headed Warbler (Ants Picker):
. Jamaican Owl (Patoo);
. Sad Fly Catcher (Little Tom Fool);
. Blue Mountain Vireo;
. Jamaican Becard (Richatee/London City);
. Jamaican Pewee (Willie Pee);
. Jamaican Elaenia (Sarah Bird);
. Jamaican Vireo Sewi Sewi;
. Jamaican Tody (Robin Red Breast);
. Jamaican Petrel (Blue Mountain Duck);
. Ring-Tailed Pigeon (Ringtail);
. Crested Quail Dove (Mountain Witch);
. Yellow-Billed Parrot (Yellow Bill);
. Black-Billed Streamertail (Doctor Bird);
. Jamaican Mango (Mango Hummingbird);
. Jamaican Blackbird (Wild Pine Sargeant);
. Yellow-Shouldered Grassquit (Yellow-back);
. White-Chinned Thrush (Chap-man-chick);
. White-eyed Thrush (Glass Eye);
. Black-Billed Parrot (Black Bill);
. Red-Billed Streamertail (Doctor Bird/God bird);
. Orange Quit (Bluequit);
. Jamaican Crow (Jamicrow);
. Jamaican Stripe-Headed Tanager (Mark Head);
. Chestnut-Bellied Cuckoo (Old Man Bird);
. Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo (Old Woman Bird);
. Jamaican Poorwill;
. Jamaican euphonia (Chocho-quit).


$1.5 million grant to buy Texas Land
September 27, 2006 www.chron.com  By AP

SAN ANTONIO - The federal government has announced more than $5.1 million in grants to buy land for endangered species habitat in San Antonio and the Edwards Aquifer region. San Antonio and the Nature Conservancy were awarded $3.5 million to help buy Comal County land to benefit the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. Nathan Allan, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Austin, said the land will connect with other protected land to provide habitat for the endangered warbler as well as a pristine recharge area for the aquifer. The Interior Department also announced a $1 million grant to help San Marcos purchase 251 acres adjacent to San Marcos Springs that will be used as a nature park. Comal County received more than $612,000 to start planning a 362,880-acre regional habitat conservation plan for the golden-cheeked warbler and the endangered black-capped vireo. The grants were among $67 million awarded for projects in 27 states.


Palestine's Qalqilia Zoo
September 27 2006 english.pnn.ps

Even within the Qalqilia Zoo, which the Israeli authorities have helped to maintain with Israeli veterinarians assisting Palestinian vets when necessary, animals have not been spared. The garden was opened in the mid-1980s, the era of government land north of the town of Qalqilia, an area estimated at 30 dunums. The animals were brought from the animal parks in Israel, which has helped with the garden at the outset. The Department of Civil Administration of the Israreli authorities aided until 1994. Director of the Garden, Said, "Animals in the park are exposed to strikes by the occupation army during invasions of the town of Qalqilia. Bullets hit the animals who are stuck inside their cages and must inhale tear gas and not be properly fed due to the impositions of curfew. Many of the dead animals including the elephant and giraffes died because of those actions and the inability of the competent veterinarians to attend to the necessary follow-up on existing case due to the Israeli forces' policy of tightened siege on the city at the time."


Tarantulas produce silk from their feet
September 27, 2006 today.uci.edu

Adam Summers, a UC Irvine assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was among the team of scientists who have found that tarantulas can produce silk from their feet as well as their spinnerets, a discovery with profound implications for why spiders began to spin silk in the first place. The discovery was made using zebra tarantulas from Costa Rica. The team found that the tarantulas secrete silk from spigots on their legs, allowing them to better cling to surfaces. Until now, spiders were only known to spin silk from spinnerets located on their abdomen and to use the silk to form webs for protection and capturing prey rather than for locomotion. If other spiders are found to have the same ability it could mean that silk production actually originated in the feet to increase traction with the diversity of spinneret silk evolving later. The findings are published in the current issue of Nature.


Rwanda Plans to Import Rhinos
September 27, 2006 www.enn.com  By Arthur Asiimwe, Reuters

KIGALI - Rwanda, home to a third of the world's 700 mountain gorillas, plans to import up to 20 rhinos over the next 15 years to draw more tourists to the tiny central African country. Talks have already started between Rwanda and officials from Kenya and South Africa -- both possible suppliers for the rhinos. The animals will be introduced to the eastern Akagera national park where a game ranger recently spotted a rhino despite previous reports of the animal's extinction in the park, also home to zebras, giraffes and elephants. The mountainous country, split by the Great Rift Valley, is striving hard to change its image stained by the 1994 genocide of some 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in 100 days of state-sponsored killing.  Tourism has become Rwanda's third source of foreign income, with most visitors heading straight for the mountain gorillas who inhabit misty rain forests near volcanoes. Some 45,000 tourists visited Rwanda last year earning the country $10 million in foreign exchange, with $100 million targeted by 2010.


Petition To List the Anacapa Deer Mouse
September 28, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 188
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-28

The USFWS has decided that a petition to list the Anacapa deer mouse as Threatened or Endangered does not present substantial information and will not initiate a status review in response to this petition. We ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of the subspecies or threats to it or its habitat at any time. This
information will help us monitor and encourage the conservation of the subspecies. The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is an abundant member of the rodent family Muridae and is widespread throughout much of North America except for the southeastern United States and some parts of Mexico. Deer mice are found on all eight of the Channel Islands (from north
to south: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Barbara, San Nicolas, Santa Catalina, and San Clemente), and are classified as separate subspecies on each island (Pergams and Ashley 2000, p. 278). Anacapa Island is one of the five islands that comprise the Channel Islands National Park and is the closest to the mainland, approximately 15 kilometers (km) (9 miles (mi)) from the nearest point along the coast. Although minor genetic differences occur between the deer mice on the three islets, all of them are classified as the same subspecies (Peromyscus maniculatus anacapae) based on both similar genetic and
morphological characteristics (Pergams and Ashley 2000, p. 286). Although not listed as either threatened or endangered by the State of California, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) has listed the Anacapa deer mouse as a Species of Special Concern.


Recovery Plan for the Hungerford's Crawling Water Beetle
September 28, 2006 Federal Register: Volume 71, Number 188
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-28

The USFWS announces the availability of the approved recovery plan for the Hungerford's  crawling water beetle (Brychius hungerfordi). The Plan is online at midwest.fws.gov/endangered  Hungerford's crawling water beetle was listed as endangered on March 7, 1994. At the time of listing, this species was known to occur in only three streams--two in Michigan and one in Ontario, Canada. Since then, the species has been discovered in three additional streams in northern Michigan. The distribution of this species prior to its discovery in 1952 is not known. Currently, only one stream is known to support a large population of the species. Hungerford's crawling water beetle is an aquatic species that is found in areas of streams with good aeration, moderate to fast flow, inorganic substrate, and alkaline water conditions, often downstream from culverts, beaver and natural debris dams, and human-made impoundments. Very little information is available on the life history and habitat requirements of this species. Threats appear to be related to habitat alteration and degradation of water quality, and may include habitat modification, certain fish management activities, and human disturbance. Factors limiting the species' distribution are not known.


Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds
[Federal Register: September 28, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 188)]
epa.gov/EPA-SPECIES/2006/September/Day-28

The USFWS announces the availability of the Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds.
There are 21 bird taxa included in this revised recovery plan; 19 are listed as endangered, 1 is a candidate species for Federal listing, and 1 is a species of concern. These taxa represent four bird families, with the majority being Hawaiian Honeycreepers (subfamily Drepanidinae, family Fringillidae). This is a new recovery plan for two of the listed birds, the O[revaps]ahu [revaps]elepaio (Chasiempsis sandwichensis ibidis) and O`ahu [revaps]alauahio (Paroreomyza maculata). Printed copies of this revised recovery plan will be available in 4 to 6 weeks by request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Box 50088, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 (telephone: 808-792-9400; fax: 808-792-9580); and the Hawaii State Library, 478 S. King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. An electronic copy of the revised recovery plan is now available online at: endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans  For futher information contact Marilet A. Zablan, Endangered Species Recovery Program Leader, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, at 808-792-9400.


Persian Leopard Born at Jerusalem Zoo
September 28, 2006 www.haaretz.com

When his daughter, a zoo volunteer who loved leopards died, her father determined to fulfill her dream. He became a member of the Friends of the Zoo, got his friends to join and raised funds. They built a new exhibit for the leopards and zoo staff decided to bring in a new female leopard. An endangered species, there are 1,300 Persian leopards in the world, living in the Caucasus and Armenia (in the distant past they also existed in the north of Israel). There are several hundred living in zoos. A female was located in the Budapest zoo. When she was a cub her father bit her during play and injured her foot, and zoo doctors had to amputate her left front leg. Because hostile relations with cage mates developed, she was unable to remain there. She was perfect for Jerusalem. For years the Biblical Zoo has been running a program in which disabled children interact with animals. She was sedated and flown to Israel, where she was successfully introduced to another female, Ashur. Two weeks ago, the zoo's 15-year-old male leopard, Max, began making unusual noises and at 3 P.M. an alert was sounded. One of the zoo staff had spotted a cat in the leopards' compound. The new female, named Adar, was standing a few meters from it, licking the dried blood on her fur. She refused to approach the cub. The animals were observed for our hours via the video cameras, then keepers pulled the newborn. Another cub was discovered dead in the enclosure. Keepers feel the pressure Adar experienced as a result of the flight had made her abandon her cubs. The death of the second newborn is attributed to the fact that during the flight the mother received anesthetics that were liable to harm the fetuses. The new male, Roo is being hand raised, and by the tenth day of his life had already doubled his weight to one kilogram.


ChimpanZoo Conference at L A Zoo
September 28, 2006 www.lacanadaonline.com

"War of the Worlds: Chimpanzee Protection vs. Chimpanzee Exploitation," is the theme of the 2006 ChimpanZoo Conference that will take place at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens from Friday, Sept. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 1. Founded in 1984 as part of the Jane Goodall Institute, ChimpanZoo is an international research program dedicated to the study of chimpanzees in zoos and other captive settings. In addition to Dr. Goodall, most attendees are members of the academic and zoological communities who are interested in chimpanzee behavior research, animal welfare and protection. Oct. 1, the final day of the ChimpanZoo conference, is also "Ape Awareness Day" at the Los Angeles Zoo with educational displays, hands-on activities, animal talks and art projects taking place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. This individual event is open to the public with paid Zoo admission.


Entertaining Review of the San Diego Zoo
September 28, 2006 www.thestar.com  By MALENE ARPE

SAN DIEGO, California -- With the newly established Air Canada direct Toronto-San Diego route you can be in San Diego in some five hours without irritating layovers, and on your way to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, which celebrates its 90th Founders Day next month. The zoo is an extraordinarily beautiful facility not only because it's full of furry, scaly and feathery cuteness, but also because it functions as a botanical garden, housing thousands of plant species. Some of the plants are as scary-looking as the animals and some of them are just as endangered. Going to the zoo is always an odd mix of wonderful and depressing, and in San Diego, both feelings are magnified. The exhibits and the variety of species are impressive and the organization of the park is very well thought-out, for your maximum viewing pleasure. But, as the zoo is at the forefront of extinction research and activism, signs and guides remind you at every turn how we've managed to destroy animals and habitats and are still cheerfully doing so, as if we couldn't at any time run out of rhinoceroses. In 1975, Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES) was started at the zoo and if you buy an overpriced pop or a panda coffee mug, you're supporting the organization. This alleviates the guilt at consuming pop from a plastic cup. The very informative bus driver will tell you where to find the giant pandas, which are a must. There are three: a two-year-old male, a grown female and a one-year-old cub called Su Lin, which means "a little bit of something cute" and that's possibly the most apt name since Ivan the Terrible. Lineups are long and somewhat slow-moving as people get mesmerized by adorableness, sucked into the cuteness vortex and unable to move. It's worth the wait. Nothing is more appealing. Not your children. Not that guy you met the other day. Not your dog. Well, perhaps the giant anteater and her cub. Or pup. Or whatever it's called. It clings to her back even though it's able to walk. For months and months it just lies there and is transported around. I went back and had another look before leaving, just to have utter contentment be the last thing I saw.


Local ZooTeens Create Chimpanzee Interpretive Exhibit
September 28, 2006 www.beavertonvalleytimes.com  By Elena Boryczka

In 1979, Jane Goodall and her husband Derek Bryceson, director of the Tanzania National Parks, visited the Oregon Zoo. Bryceson died of cancer soon after their visit, and the zoo dedicated its indoor chimpanzee viewing space to him, promising to later design an interpretive area to showcase Goodall's work. But after a 1983 change in administration, that promise was abandoned. Now, the ZooTeens have fulfilled the promise with an interpretive exibit that features photos, drawings, quotes and information boxes showing the progression of human understanding of chimps through the years. The zoo's Youth Volunteer Coordinator Mia Reager said the group for ninth- through 12th-graders was formed about 30 years ago and today consists of 325 members. She said the ZooTeens have been an amazing asset for the zoo, contributing more than 50,000 hours of service each year and providing inspiration to staff members. Some of the responsibilities of ZooTeens members include helping with the care and feeding of a number of animals, doing presentations at Zoo Camp and keeping visitors informed at Tide Pool and Bug Cart attractions. They also develop leadership skills, enjoy friendships and have career exploration opportunities. The interpretive project started with an inspiring talk by Senior Primate Keeper Dave Thomas, who told the teens all about Goodall and her history with the chimps at the zoo. The Teens decided to create a display that shows the development of understanding of primates though the years, beginning in the 1960s. Thomas said it covers three themes: Goodall and her work, the history of the chimps at the zoo and the ZooTeens. The display progresses with pictures, quotes, facts, carvings and a lower-half area designed just for children. All of the elements were created or chosen by ZooTeens members, and Reager said it is proof of how dedicated the teenagers are.


Profile of Jack Hanna
September 28, 2006 www.dailymail.com  By Mary Childress

CHARLESTON, W. VA -- "Jungle Jack" Hanna, as he often is called, began his animal adventures in his family's home, raising bluegills in the bathtub and other assorted creatures in the backyard. "I was cleaning cages at the Knoxville Zoo when I was 12 years old," he said. "I didn't care what work I had to do, I just wanted to be at the zoo." After earning a business degree from Muskingum College in Ohio, he and his wife, Suzi, whom he met and married there, returned to Knoxville and opened a pet shop. He and his wife are the parents of three daughters, Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie. He received an offer to direct a small zoo in Sanford, Fla., in 1973 and jumped at the chance. "We were there until 1975 when our youngest daughter, Julie, was diagnosed with a serious illness," Hanna said. "We moved back to Tennessee so she could be treated at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis." After several years in Tennessee, Hanna answered an ad for a zoo director in Columbus, Ohio, and the rest, as they say, is history. Hanna was named director of the Columbus Zoo in 1978 and served in that position until 1992, when he was named Director Emeritus, a position he holds today. During his tenure, the zoo has grown to house more than 6,000 animals and has gained a worldwide reputation as the premier zoo in the country. "My first priority at Columbus was to increase attendance by offering educational and entertainment events to our visitors," Hanna said. "Last year we had more than 1.5 million visitors to our zoo. Zoos today are moving forward by leaps and bounds," he continued. "Zoos all over the country are investing in 'frozen zoo' programs where we collect semen from endangered animals in order to be able to reproduce those species if necessary in the future. "More than 98 percent of the animals in our zoos have come from other zoos. We cooperate with other zoos' breeding programs, educational programs and so forth in hopes that it will make zoos all across the country better." When Hanna was invited to appear on "Good Morning America" in 1983, it was the beginning of another "career" of sorts. Within two years, he was invited to appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman," for the first time. His dad taught him to work hard and with enthusiasm. And if you've ever seem his syndicated television series, "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures," or on late-night talk shows, you know that he's followed his dad's advice to the letter. The 59-year old Hanna has been to Africa 54 times and visited every continent in the world, and thoughts of retiring have entered his mind. "But every year something seems to happen and I get busier than ever."


Vets harvest eggs from black-footed cats at San Antonio zoo
September 28, 2006 www.dfw.com  By Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO - There are only about 30 black-footed cats living in U.S. zoos. The San Antonio Zoo's pair is participating in AZA's "in vitro" fertilization project. In a procedure that's been around for two years, veterinarians extracted eggs from Buffy the cat and sperm from her companion Dijan on Wednesday. Using an endoscope to see video images of the cat's inner organs, Jason Herrick of the Cincinnati Zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, used a suction needle to remove 10 eggs from Buffy's ovaries. The black eggs measure about one-tenth of a millimeter. Buffy, who is 3 years old and weighs 4 pounds, was fully anesthetized for the procedure. Herrick placed the eggs in petri dishes with sperm extracted from Dijan. Soon, he said, he will know how many eggs have developed into embryos. But because the process of implanting embryos into female black-footed cats is still in development, the embryos will be kept frozen with liquid nitrogen. The national project so far has produced 22 frozen embryos, he said. He said embryos have successfully been transferred into female domestic cats, ocelots, tigers and African wildcats. "Hopefully, black-footed cats will be on the list soon." San Antonio's cats have been together for three months and have yet to breed on their own, which is common among the species because the sexes don't interact much, the veterinarians said. "We'd prefer for them to breed naturally, as much as possible," Herrick said.


'Kids' Free Days,' At San Diego Zoo
September 28, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Gretchen Lees

Victor the spiny anteater may seem a bit unapproachable at first. His bristly exterior and small, coal-button eyes suggest an elusive air, but if you catch him near the comfort of his home, you may at least get to say a quick hello before he drifts back to sleep. Poppy, the macaw, on the other hand, is loud and boisterous, often screaming and whistling to get attention - and she has brilliant red, blue and yellow feathers that perfectly match her personality. While Victor and Poppy may never be good neighbors (Victor prefers wombats), they do play for the same team at the San Diego Zoo - they are members of the elite group of animal ambassadors. The collection of about 45 animals are trained to work well in public appearances and act as the zoo's celebrity educators. For all of October, children 11 and under can visit Victor and Poppy and the thousands of other animals housed at the zoo for free. "Kids' Free Days" has happened at the zoo for 21 years, with the ongoing mission to educate all children about the beauty of wildlife and the ever-increasing importance of conservation and awareness. "Kids are our future," said Nicki Boyd, Animal Care Supervisor at the Children's Zoo. "We want to inspire them and allow them to realize the connection they have with the animal world - and with the entire world. We hope that this month allows some kids to visit the zoo who may not normally be able to."


Narwhal vocalizations are studied
September 28, 2006 www.sciencedaily.com

WOODS HOLE, Mass., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. marine biologist Ari Shapiro of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute says narwhal vocalizations might facilitate individual recognition or their reunion with more distant group members. Researchers recorded the sounds of three adult male narwhals in Admiralty Bay at Baffin Island, Canada, in August 2004. Recordings from two of the tagged animals revealed individually distinctive pulsed and tonal signals and whistles. The recordings from the third whale were lost. Narwhals are found in Arctic waters and may live 40 years or more. They can migrate thousands of miles in large numbers with subgroups moving in a coordinated fashion. Shapiro said he also plans to study vocalizations and movements of free-ranging killer whales in Norway this November. The results of the study are reported in the September issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.


San Diego Zoo Founder's Day
September 28, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com

On Monday, the San Diego Zoo commemorates nine decades of animal conservation, preservation, and public wildlife education. In 1916, Dr. Harry Wegeforth, founded the San Diego Zoological Garden that has, 90 years later, evolved into the world-famous San Diego Zoo. In honor of Founder's Day, admission is free to all visitors. On Oct. 14 and 15, the zoo presents the "All About Enrichment" weekend. It allows zookeepers to determine what activities will make the animals work their brains and their bodies. The animals get a chance to enhance or change their own environment by experimenting with new tools, landscapes and foods. Visitors get a chance to catch an inside glimpse of the complex and caring methods zookeepers use to keep the animals challenged and content.


Care and Feeding of Pandas
September 28, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com

San Diego Zoo researcher Ron Swaisgood will discuss the Chinese-American effort to conserve giant pandas on Oct. 11, 7 p.m. at the San Diego Zoo. The price of admission is $17  (619) 234-3153; www.sandiegozoo.org


India and China Must Cooperate to Save Tigers
September 28, 2006 www.enn.com  By Reuters

NEW DELHI - India and China must share intelligence and strengthen their enforcement agencies to crack down on organized criminal gangs that illegally trade tiger skins and parts, wildlife experts said on Wednesday. India has half the world's surviving tigers, but conservationists say the country is losing the battle to save the big cats. There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago, but now there are 3,700. Some groups say their number could be as low as 1,200. The killing has been partly fuelled by rising demand for tiger skins and parts in neighboring China. Wildlife experts said that while India and China have stiff penalties for illegal trading in animal parts, both countries lack the political will to follow through. "We need a centralized wildlife enforcement unit in both countries led by professionals who share information," said Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). The experts called for a new enforcement agency, like a "Wildlife FBI", to be set up as quickly as possible in India and China. In India, there have been only 30 convictions in the past 30 years, and there are still around 1,400 cases pending in courts.


Rajasthan plans elephant rescue centre
September 28, 2006 www.teluguportal.net

JAIPUR, India -- Rajasthan plans to set up a home for elephants rescued from all over the country. The 80 hectare center will house as many as 50 elephants according to the forest department here. "The center will be run by Help In Suffering, an NGO working for the welfare of animals in Jaipur," It will mainly cater to elderly elephants exploited by circus companies. The elephants will be provided a balanced diet and medical facilities. After similar complexes for lions and tigers, this would be the third animal hub in the Nahargarh reserves. Fifty lions and tigers are being cared for here.


Predicting Species Abundance In The Face Of Habitat Loss
September 28, 2006 www.sciencedaily.com

In a new study published in PLoS Biology, Nicholas Gotelli and Aaron Ellison test the relative contributions of habitat contraction, keystone species effects, and food-web interactions on species abundance, and provide experimental evidence that trophic interactions exert a dominant effect. Until now, direct evidence that trophic interactions play such an important role has been lacking, in part because manipulating an intact food web has proven experimentally intractable, and in part because these different modeling frameworks have not been explicitly compared.  The researchers used the carnivorous pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) and its associated food web as a model for studying what regulates abundance in shrinking habitats. With over 200 million acres of the world's forestlands destroyed in the 1990s alone, and an estimated 40% increase in the human population by 2050, a growing number of species will be forced to cope with shrinking habitat. Instead of trying to determine how individual species might respond to habitat loss, Gotelli and Ellison argue that incorporating trophic structure into ecological models may yield more-accurate predictions of species abundance--a critical component of species restoration strategies.


Baby Elephant's Weight Loss Puzzles Zoo vets
September 28, 2006 www.stltoday.com  By Jeremy Kohler

ST. LOUIS -- Maliha, the Asian elephant calf born Aug. 2 at the St. Louis Zoo has lost weight. On Thursday, the Zoo announced that she has moved indoors - out of sight of her human fans - while Zoo vets watch her around the clock. Maliha, daughter of Raja and Ellie, was born at 341 pounds. She hit a high of 349 but weighed in Tuesday at just 317. She gained back 4 pounds after two days of powdered formula supplements. The weight loss is not a crisis, said Dr. R. Eric Miller, director of the Zoo's WildCare Institute. "We don't want to take any chances," he said. An ultrasound, blood tests and a thorough physical failed to detect any sign of disease or infection. Her mother, Ellie, tested negative for a breast infection that could have been blocking milk flow. Animal science so far lacks any extensive study of infant elephant weight loss. Only about 160 elephants have been born in the United States since the 1880s, said Mike Keele, deputy director of the Oregon Zoo and chairman of a national elephant species survival program.  Maliha hasn't acted sick, but Zoo officials thought she seemed a little less peppy of late. Most likely is that Maliha's mother is not supplying enough milk. A possible culprit is that she could have an infected reproductive tract, Miller said. So the Zoo is feeding her infant formula. A company called Grober Nutrition makes a powdered formula for a number of animals - including Asian elephants. After each feeding from Ellie, Maliha gets two to three liters of the mixture through a stomach tube, Miller said. Zoo workers are hoping she takes to a bottle.


Kenya Begins Relocation of 250 elephants
September 29, 2006 science.monstersandcritics.com

NAIROBI -- Kenya's biggest elephant relocation resumed on Friday after it was suspended last year because of heavy rains. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) began the translocation of 250 elephants from a crowded coastal reserve to the country's biggest nature park, Tsavo National Park, in the country's ongoing attempt to reduce confrontations between elephants and humans.
Since last year when 150 elephants were moved, the residents around the Shimba Hills National Reserve have been able to grow crops again. Kenya's elephant population plummeted from 167,000 in 1973 to a paltry 16,000 in 1989, causing alarm in wildlife conservation circles. After the introduction of a global ban on the ivory trade, the headcount of Kenyan elephants now stands at 28,000.


Colorado Zoo sends baby gorilla to Ohio
September 29, 2006 www.ohio.com  By DEEDEE CORRELL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's 7-month-old baby gorilla, Umande, was rejected by his mother and the other females in the troupe. He will go to the surrogacy program at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio next month. Dina Bredahl, area supervisor of primates and conservation at the zoo said, "We're taking his future into account. It's a sacrifice on our part, but he's ready to be with gorillas. He seems really well-adjusted," she said, adding that his humans are careful to discipline him when he behaves inappropriately. Otherwise, she said, he could act like a spoiled brat and other gorillas might punish him severely. The zoo will place a "Farewell Registry" at Umande's Primate World exhibit for visitors to leave goodbye messages for the young gorilla. The zoo also will host a farewell party for Umande the first week of October. A date has not been scheduled.


Prague Zoo celebrates 75th birthday
September 29, 2006 www.radio.cz  By Patrick Ryan

The Prague Zoo celebrated its 75th year this week, with festivities coinciding with the national holiday of St Wenceslas Day on September 28th. On Thursday visitors were able to get a sense of the zoo's rich history through a number of exhibitions. Events included special shows for children and adults, music, and a chance to see three recently acquired South American wild pigs. There was also a "1931" theme, with free admission for zoo goers who dressed in period costumes. An actor, arriving in a vintage 1930s Rolls Royce, portrayed the first director of the Prague Zoo, Jiri Janda. His opening speech was the same as 75 years ago. Then the current director Mr Fejk spoke as well as, Mr Bem the mayor of Prague, and a few Czech celebrities like Jiri Suchy and Jirina Jiraskova. Attendance reached near record levels with more than 14,000 arriving by mid afternoon. Many of these attractions are new or improved in recent years - not least because a good part of the zoo underwent reconstruction. On the banks of the Vltava River, lower parts of the zoo were badly hit by flooding in 2002, suffering extensive damage. Prague now has nine pavilions, 150 exhibits and a total of more than 6,000 animals in more than 600 species. New plans include A new pool for sea lions, enclosures for birds and crocodiles, and a new restaurant with an African theme.


Buffalo Zoo Gets Funding for South American Rainforest
September 29, 2006 www.buffalonews.com

Thursday the Erie County Legislature approved borrowing $4 million to complete funding for the Buffalo Zoo's $16 million South American rain forest attraction. Featuring a two-story waterfall and exotic exhibits of crocodiles, vampire bats and anacondas, it will be the centerpiece of the zoo's $75 million reconstruction program. Only a week ago several lawmakers questioned the wisdom of borrowing money at a time when the county is recovering from a fiscal crisis.  At risk was the state funding, as well as a $4 million challenge grant from M&T Bank Chairman Robert G. Wilmers, whose name will adorn the rain forest. Loughran said he liked the project but was opposed to borrowing to make it happen. He wanted the county to take the $4 million out of last year's budget surplus. Zoo President Donna M. Fernandes said she was excited and relieved.


Deal Allows Hunting on Calif. Island
September 29, 2006 www.nytimes.com  By AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Santa Rosa Island, 40 miles offshore from Santa Barbara, is the second-largest of five islands in the Channel Islands park. Under the federal court settlement, private trophy hunts now run on the 53,000-acre island are supposed to end in 2011, and the deer and elk are to be removed. The Park Service bought Santa Rosa Island in 1986 for $30 million from a local ranching family that still owns the hunting concession. Litigation over terms of the deal led to the court settlement. The National Park Service says the hunts and the nonnative game interfere with indigenous plants and animals on the undeveloped and remote island, including some endangered species. The hunts also restrict public access since much of the island is off limits to visitors while they go on. The plan defies a federal court settlement and is strongly opposed by the National Park Service, which wants the nonnative game removed. It was included in the final version of an annual defense bill by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. Hunter has said his legislation is meant to give military veterans, particularly those who are paralyzed, somewhere to go for hunting and recreation. But the group Paralyzed Veterans of America -- cited repeatedly by Hunter in support of his plan -- announced over the summer that it opposed the idea because of the difficulty of traveling to and around the island, which has bumpy dirt roads and can only be accessed by boat or plane.


Endangered Anchovies Beach Themselves
September 29, 2006 www.signonsandiego.com  By Harold Heckle A.P.

MADRID, Spain - Millions of anchovies beached themselves in northern Spain. The endangered fish, all juveniles, were found stranded along large stretches of Colunga beach. Luis Laria, chief coordinator of a marine protection unit working with the government said a European Union moratorium on fishing anchovies along the northern Atlantic coast of Spain and the western coast of France has been in place for two months. Less rigorous fishing restrictions had been used for the previous two years. Experts found no evidence of toxic chemicals that could have caused the beaching. "The likelihood is that a shoal tried to swim away from hungry dolphins or tuna." A factor that may have disoriented the fish is unusually high water temperatures off Colunga in the high 70s, Laria said, adding that such a mass beaching of anchovies is unprecedented in northern Spain.


U.S.-Mexico Border Fence May Harm Animal Migration
September 29, 2006 www.enn.com  By Tim Gaynor, Reuters

DOUGLAS, Arizona -To halt illegal immigration the House has passed a bill authorizing the construction of about 700 miles of double fencing along the 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. The Senate is expected to vote on the proposal soon. But environmentalists and the USFWS are concerned that fencing off a third of the US border will negatively impact wildlife. The chain of 40 mountain ranges known as the "Sky Islands", links the northern range of tropical species such as the jaguar and the parrot in the Mexican Sierra Madre Mountains, and the southern limit of temperate animals such as the black bear and the Mexican wolf in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. The barrier would impact the fragile desert ecosystem, and could also harm migratory birds such as Gray and Swainson hawks and Rufous hummingbirds. "The fence would have a negative effect on everything from the insects that would now be flying around the lights instead of pollinating the cactuses, to the birds that eat them, right up to the large predators like the jaguars," said William Radke, the manager of the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, east of Douglas, Arizona. Radke said the fence would prevent snakes and turtles, as well as wild turkeys and road runners from crossing. In addition, the bright lights at the top of the tall fence would interfere with birds' ability to navigate by the stars. "A lot of migratory birds actually migrate at night, using stellar navigation and the moon to navigate. Suddenly lighting them up may disrupt a bird's ability to feed and rest and it may impact its survivability later on," he added. " The planned barrier would also sever the rugged highland trails used by "pioneer" jaguars currently crossing from Mexico and repopulating the rugged Peloncillo mountains east of Douglas after decades of absence. The cats originally roamed the Americas from Argentina in the south, to the Grand Canyon, in northern Arizona, but vanished from the United States several decades ago due to hunting and pressure from human encroachment on their habitat.


Zoo celebrates heritage with free admission
September 29, 2006 www.nctimes.com  By: PAM KRAGEN

SAN DIEGO ---- Back in 1916, Dr. Harry Wegeforth had a vision for creating a 100-acre zoo in Balboa Park that would bring together an international collection of plant and animal species for every San Diegan to enjoy. Ninety years later, the San Diego Zoo is world-famous for both its size, its collections and its unique animal enclosures, and the Zoological Society of San Diego celebrates that heritage this month with a number of free programs. Beginning today and continuing through the end of the month, children under 11 will get in free. And Monday is Founders Day, where admission is free to everyone. But free admission has its price. The October programs draw huge crowds from both the San Diego area and Mexico, so come prepared. There will also be a free fall festival program at the zoo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday. Pumpkin carver "Farmer Mike" Valladao, who appears at fairs all over the country, will demonstrate his techniques for sculpting pumpkins from 100 pounds to more than half a ton. Using a buck knife and a few other specialty tools, Valladao will carve five giant pumpkins with images of monkeys, polar bears, hippos and tigers. He'll be stationed just inside the zoo's entrance gates at Flamingo Plaza. Starbucks is hosting the event and will be on hand from 1 to 4 p.m. today only with free samples of its fall beverages, pumpkin spice frappuccino coffee and blended cream and maple macchiato. The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (grounds close at 5 p.m.).


Mogo Zoo Breeds White Lions
September 30, 2006 12:00 www.news.com.au  By Larissa Cummings

A NSW zoo has successfully bred Australia's first pair of white lion cubs. The snowy-white 10-week-old cubs, Purr and Joe, made their social debut yesterday at Mogo Zoo, about 10km south of Batemans Bay on the South Coast, under the protective watch of their mother Nkungwe.  It was the first time Nkungwe had introduced the cubs to their father Tim (short for Timbavate) and the other lioness in the privately-owned zoo's pride of white lions. "Like in the wild, the mum has to take the babies back to the pride and everyone has to get used to each other,'' zoo director Sally Padey said. Nkungwe was imported by the zoo with Tim and the other lioness three years ago from Timbavati in Africa, as part of a global breeding program to save the species from extinction.


Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium wins 2 Major Awards
September 30th, 2006 www.thenewstribune.com  By JASON HAGEY

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium won two of the four major awards given out annually by the AZA. The zoo's sea horse exhibit received the Munson Aquatic Conservation Exhibitry award, which comes with a $25,000 cash prize. "Once Upon a Tide: A Seahorse Odyssey," follows a character named Potbelly Seahorse through a series of adventures that teach visitors about sea horse habitat, threats to sea horses and the work of Project Seahorse. Zoo staff members conceived, created and built the exhibit, which combines traditional storytelling with claymation. Lehrman Cameron Studio of Seattle and TPN Inc. designed the graphics and displays. The AZA's top education award went to The Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater's live animal program. Presenters model outdoors activities such as mountain biking, snowshoeing and bird watching. Animals make surprise appearances, including several birds that swoop just above the heads of the audience. More than 400,000 visitors have see it since its 2004 debut. it also was an in-house effort that zoo workers conceived. They trained the animals and wrote the script, Hulbert said. The Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater was funded through the $35 million voter-approved 1999 bond measure for improvements at the zoo. Major funding for the sea horse exhibit came from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, the D.V. & Ida McEachern Charitable Trust and The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, the zoo said.