2005 Briefs :  April - June

Detroit Elephants Ready to Move
April 1, 2005 www.dailytribune.com By Christy Strawser

ROYAL OAK, MI. - Wanda and Winky soon will make a 4-day, 2,300 mile trip. The Detroit Zoo's aging elephants could leave as early as Monday for the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary, in San Andreas, California. The journey will not be without risks. Both elephants have arthritis and foot sores that will be exacerbated by the long stretch of standing in a stationary position. The moving van has been altered to provide barriers Winky, 51 and Wanda, 46 can lean against to redistribute their weight. Wanda and Winky are both on pain medications for long-term foot problems associated with confined living and each suffered a foot abscess this winter, which is a pocket of infection under a toenail. Pat Derby, co-founder of PAWS sanctuary said her staff plans to slowly introduce Wanda and Winky into the wide open space with its six elephants on 100 acres. Wanda and Winky have shared one acre at the Detroit Zoo for more than a decade. PAWS has spent all winter getting ready, studying Wanda and Winky's daily schedules to be sure they maintain the same routine in California that they had in Detroit. They have installed a whirlpool foot bath in its new gigantic barn to continue the treatments Detroit used to ease its elephants aching joints. And California's PAWS sanctuary has vets on staff, a prestigious veterinary school nearby and keepers like Derby who sleep every night with the elephants. "The zoo sent all of their special toys and foods and their diets and all of our keepers are getting familiar with that," Derby said. "They're going to be rambling around for a bit." She added that Wanda and Winky should quickly make new friends in their warm, sunny home. "Minnie and Rebecca came from the circus, so they sort of live their lives seeing new elephants come and go. So they're blase and easy- going. Annie is an ex-zoo elephant, and she just lost her companion of 40 years about five or six months ago, so she always looks at new elephants as new friends."

Monterey Aquarium Releases White Shark
April 01, 2005 www.enn.com By Matthew Fordahl

SALINAS, Cal. — A great white shark that survived far longer than any other in captivity was returned to the wild Thursday because it was growing too large and had begun preying on other fish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The shark, captured by a halibut fisherman off the coast of Orange County in August, was in captivity for 198 days. The previous captivity record was 16 days. It was also the first great white to regularly eat outside the wild, putting on 100 pounds while at the aquarium. "The larger she grew, the more that human safety and animal welfare concerns became a factor in our thinking," said Randy Hamilton, vice president of husbandry for the aquarium. She had killed two soupfin sharks earlier this year, although aquarium officials weren't sure whether the shark was hunting at the time. After close observation this week, researchers noticed it was starting to exhibit true hunting behavior. Staff released the shark south of Monterey Bay. Its movement will be tracked for 30 days with an electronic tag that was attached before its release.

Rabinowitz Receives George B. Raab Award
April 1, 2005 www.kansascity.com BY WILLIAM MULLEN

CHICAGO - - The 52-year-old Alan Rabinowitz is a renowned scientist-explorer who has also authored popular books protecting some of the world's rarest animals. Earlier this month, Rabinowitz received Brookfield Zoo's prestigious George B. Raab Conservation Award. He is director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's science and exploration programs. Brookfield is honoring him for his most notable accomplishments, tracking down remnant populations of some the rarest, most endangered big cats - particularly Latin American jaguars and Indochinese tigers. Once found, he has been able to persuade the Third World nations they reside in to set aside wilderness reserves to protect them. In his most recent book, 2001's "Beyond the Last Village," he describes how he came to be one of the first outsiders in the last 40 years to be allowed to travel into the northern forests of Myanmar (formerly Burma) to do biological surveys. Those surveys resulted in Myanmar creating huge new national parks, helped in part by the evidence he found of disappearing tiger populations and his discovery of a deer species unknown before to science. He also found a remote tribe of pygmies, the Taron, about to die out after the remaining adult members, harassed and buffeted by bigger tribes, made a pact not to have any more babies.

Minnesota Zoo Will Get Help from Bond
April 1, 2004 www.twincities.com BY MEGGEN LINDSAY

The passage of a $886 million spending agreement will support key public works projects, earmarking nearly $23 million for the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. The bonding bill, which lawmakers said is likely to be passed by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty next week, looked far different when it first went through both chambers. The DFL-controlled Senate initially agreed to much less for the Minnesota Zoo. "In a nutshell, we think this is maybe the most important day for the zoo since we opened," director Lee Ehmke said. "It's a real reaffirmation of the state's commitment to the zoo. And the package we received is fairly close to what the governor recommended."

Detroit Aquarium Backers Fight Closing
April 1, 2005 washingtontimes.com

Detroit, MI -- Detroit aquarium supporters have 2 days to come up with $150,000 to save the historic 101-year-old Belle Isle Aquarium. The aquarium is scheduled to empty its tanks and shut its doors at 4 p.m. Sunday because of budget cuts by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Some 4,000 fish and sea creatures will be loaned to the Toledo Zoo and other institutions. The Detroit Free Press says aquarium backers raised about $25,000 in donations and another $60,000 has come in from increased attendance by visitors wanting one last look at the ornate turn-of-the-century aquarium. Friends of the Belle Isle Aquarium have been selling t-shirts, flags, hosting auctions and soliciting donations to try to save the cultural institution. Detroit faces a budget deficit of $200 million in fiscal 2006 and in January Kilpatrick ordered layoffs and transit cuts. The Belle Isle Aquarium has an annual operating budget of nearly $800,000. Kilpatrick said the city would like to build a new $100 million downtown aquarium some day. For more information, click on www.belleisleaquarium.com.

Painted Lady Swarms in San Diego
April 1, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Terry Rodgers

Summerlike weather fostered a prolific hatch of desert butterflies yesterday, with gusting Santa Ana winds turning local skies into paisley landscapes. The swarms of painted lady butterflies – numbering in the millions – were a source of wonder and distraction for commuters, especially along the San Diego County coastline. The insects are a colorful byproduct of this winter's abundant rainfall, which also resulted in massive blooms of thistle, weeds and desert wildflowers. According to Greg Ballmer, an entomologist and researcher at UC Riverside, painted ladies hatch and fly north every spring, using sunlight as a compass. Most live for only a few weeks. "They will fly into the wind if they have to. Right now, they are literally looking for greener pastures" where there is more vegetation to consume, Ballmer said. Such was the case yesterday as painted ladies fought the Santa Ana winds. Many stopped to feed on flower nectar, laying more eggs to produce a new generation that in a month will continue into Northern California, Oregon and Washington. The mass movement of butterflies is technically a "dispersal" rather than a migration because, except for a few, most do not return south. These insects originally came from the deserts of Mexico and Southern California. Many of the painted ladies were blown out to sea yesterday. Surfers reported spotting butterflies mixed in the rainbows of spindrifts caused by strong offshore winds. Mark Rathsam, deputy lifeguard chief for the city of Del Mar, had close encounters with the butterflies a mile offshore while he was exercising on his paddle board. "I'd be paddling along and a dozen flying together would flutter close to my face," he said.

Critical Habitat for 42 species challenged
April 1, 2005 www.cnn.com

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- A conservative legal foundation has filed lawsuits challenging federal protections for 42 species -- 15 of which live only in shallow seasonal pools across much of California and in far southern Oregon. The Pacific Legal Foundation says the critical habitat designations, which together cover 1.5 million acres in 42 counties, drive up housing costs and taxes and harm private property rights without doing much to save species. Filed on behalf of the Home Builders Association of Northern California, the Building Industry Legal Defense Foundation, California Building Industry Association and California State Grange, the suits challenge the critical habitat designations of 27 species (21 are plants) -- and requires the agency to correct habitat areas for 15 vernal pool species. Center for Biological Diversity policy director Kieran Suckling responded that research shows species with designated critical habitat are twice as likely to recover. He accused the foundation of shopping for a conservative judge by filing similar suits in two federal courts.

Marburg Virus Outbreak in Africa
April 1, 2005 www.nature.com By Helen Pearson

An outbreak of rare and deadly Marburg haemorrhagic fever has claimed more than 100 lives in central Africa. Marburg is a virus of the same family as Ebola. It infects the cells lining the blood vessels and a subset of the body's immune cells, causing capillaries to leak fluid. Although Marburg can cause severe bleeding, in most cases patients die because the circulatory system collapses, triggering shock and multiple organ failure. It is very contagious and has no effective treatment. The virus kills at least 25-30% of the people it infects, although its deadlier cousin Ebola kills up to 90%. Nevertheless, "that's a scary proportion", says Sina Bavari, who studies the virus at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland. The current outbreak, which originated in Uíge province in northern Angola, has killed more people than any before. The disease first appeared there in October 2004 but was only identified as Marburg virus last week. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health authorities had reported 132 cases as of 30 March, of which 127 have been fatal. The virus has also attracted attention in recent years because it is viewed as a prime candidate for a bioterror agent: it is easy to mass-produce and is stable as a powder. "It's really increased awareness," says Tom Ksiazek, who works in the Special Pathogens Branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, where experts carried out recent testing on specimens from Marburg-infected patients.

North American BSE Strategy
April 1, 2005 www.usda.gov 

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2005-The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that Canada, Mexico and the United States have established a harmonized approach to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) risk mitigation to more effectively address any BSE risk in North America. This science-based framework of risk management measures for BSE has been developed with the objective to help normalize trade in ruminants and ruminant products within North America and to promote an international BSE strategy consistent with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines. The strategy also represents the integrated North American approach that will be presented to the OIE as part of any further discussions to promote international harmonization of BSE risk mitigation measures through the OIE. The minimum standards defined in the report have not been codified throughout North America. Rather, they will be considered by the appropriate animal health and public health officials in each country through their respective regulatory processes. These recommendations do not change the requirements in place for products currently being traded. The report is available on the APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov .

West Nile Virus Update
April 1, 2005 www.westnile.ca.gov

In 2005, 39 dead birds have tested positive for West Nile virus from Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Humboldt, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Yolo counties. Positive antibodies to West Nile virus have been detected in a sentinel chicken in San Bernardino County and a mosquito pool* from Orange County tested positive for West Nile virus. Go to www.westnile.ca.gov/latest_activity.htm for more information on the Latest West Nile Virus Activity in California. West Nile virus activity was detected in all California Counties in 2004. It has been detected in 19 California counties so far this year.

Roundup highly lethal to amphibians
April 1, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

PITTSBURGH--The herbicide Roundup® is widely used to eradicate weeds. But a study published today by a University of Pittsburgh researcher finds that the chemical may be eradicating much more than that. Pitt assistant professor of biology Rick Relyea found that Roundup®, the second most commonly applied herbicide in the United States, is "extremely lethal" to amphibians. This field experiment is one of the most extensive studies on the effects of pesticides on nontarget organisms in a natural setting, and the results may provide a key link to global amphibian declines. In a paper titled "The Impact of Insecticides and Herbicides on the Biodiversity and Productivity of Aquatic Communities," published in the journal Ecological Applications, Relyea examined how a pond's entire community--25 species, including crustaceans, insects, snails, and tadpoles--responded to the addition of the manufacturers' recommended doses of two insecticides – Sevin® (carbaryl) and malathion – and two herbicides – Roundup® (glyphosate) and 2,4-D. Relyea found that Roundup® caused a 70 percent decline in amphibian biodiversity and an 86 percent decline in the total mass of tadpoles. Relyea initially conducted the experiment to see whether the Roundup® would have an indirect effect on the frogs by killing their food source, the algae. However, he found that Roundup®, although an herbicide, actually increased the amount of algae in the pond because it killed most of the frogs. Previous research had found that the lethal ingredient in Roundup® was not the herbicide itself, glyphosate, but rather the surfactant, or detergent, that allows the herbicide to penetrate the waxy surfaces of plants. In Roundup®, that surfactant is a chemical called polyethoxylated tallowamine. Other herbicides have less dangerous surfactants: For example, Relyea's study found that 2,4-D had no effect on tadpoles. "We've repeated the experiment, so we're confident that this is, in fact, a repeatable result that we see," said Relyea. "It's fair to say that nobody would have guessed Roundup® was going to be so lethal to amphibians."

Endangered Species Act Study
April 1, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

An analysis of the conservation status of 1095 species that have been protected under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) indicates that those that have been given more protection under the act are more likely to be improving in status and less likely to be declining than species given less protection. The study, "The Effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act: A Quantitative Analysis," by Martin F. J. Taylor, Kieran F. Suckling, and Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, affirms the effectiveness of some controversial aspects of the act for conservation. The study finds that the longer species were listed under the act, the more likely they were to be improving in status and the less likely to be declining, suggesting ESA conservation measures act cumulatively over time. Species for which "critical habitat" had been designated for two or more years appeared more likely to be improving and less likely to be declining than species that did not have critical habitat for at least two years. Taylor and his coauthors urge that the $153 million estimated cost to complete work on the backlog of ESA listings and critical habitat designations be fully funded, and endorse a recommendation that the recovery program budget be increased by $300 million. The study is described in detail in the April 2005 issue of BioScience

Indy Zoo elephant moves to Virginia
April 1, 2005 www.fortwayne.com

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Zoo has donated a 35-year-old African elephant, named Cita, to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Va. The Virginia zoo has only two elephants, and three are needed to meet the minimum requirement set by the American Zoo & Aquarium Association. Cita who has had parts in several movies, can be temperamental, zoo officials said. She has appeared in the feature films "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle," "Pee Wee’s Big Adventure" and "The Color Purple." Indianapolis still has four adult female elephants and a juvenile male.

N. Atlantic right whale baby boom
April 2, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Jay Lindsay

Twenty-seven whales were born between mid-December and this Thursday, second only to the 31 births recorded in 2001, the best year since scientists started tracking births in the early 1990s. Just five years ago, there was only one birth. The species was hunted nearly to extinction in the late 18th century and its total population now numbers only 325 to 350. Five have died in the last six months, including at least two pregnant females and two other females that were of breeding age. The newborns face significant obstacles before they can help the population rebound, said Lisa Conger, a senior biologist at the New England Aquarium who tracks the whales. First, they must survive their migration from the calving grounds off the coasts of Florida and southern Georgia – where airplanes were used to count and photograph them – through East Coast shipping traffic to their summer habitat around Canada's Bay of Fundy. Juvenile whales also have a 25 percent mortality rate. Females don't reproduce until the age of 10.

New Desert Tortoise Study Group
April 2, 2005 www.sbsun.com By Chuck Mueller

BARSTOW - A new research arm of the USFWS , Desert Tortoise Recovery Office, has been established in Reno, Nevada. The office hopes to pinpoint reasons for the decline of the desert tortoise and end its status as an endangered species. But members of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's California Desert District Advisory Council are skeptical about the creation of another level of bureaucracy. Office coordinator, Roy Averill-Murray admitted it will be difficult oordinating with wildlife officials in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, as well as a new six-member science advisory committee composed of academic and government experts in ecology, biology and conservation. 15 years have passed since the desert tortoise was first listed as an endangered species under the state and federal Endangered Species Act, and at this point, five or six bureaucratic groups simply don’t talk to each other. Efforts to determine the cause of a deadly upper respiratory disease that has decimated the creature, and protect the tortoise from the dangers of urbanization, off-road vehicles, and predators like the raven, feral dogs and other animals have had mixed success.

Safari West Wildife Adventure
April 3, 2005 www.latimes.com By Nora Zamichow

Safari West, a 400-acre spread in Santa Rosa, might be the only spot on this continent where I could have discovered this particular joy. It's the only African animal preserve in the U.S. with a tent camp where you can be lulled to sleep by the calls of ring-tailed lemurs. It's a world apart from the experience most of us have with African wildlife. At the Los Angeles Zoo, you are lucky to be one of a small crowd separated from animals by moats, protective plexiglass and chain-link fences. Even at the much-bigger San Diego Wild Animal Park, most sightings are done from a monorail. Here, in the Sonoma Valley, I felt for the first time the grassy breath of a giraffe on my face. Some visitors come just for the day to go on one of the three-hour safari tours that take 10 or 12 people in an oversized jeep. The guide driving our jeep offered an overview and zoological trivia about the animals. I learned, for instance, that a giraffe's tongue is about 18 inches long. Zebras will kill an injured member of their herd and run off rather than risk attracting a predator. And the Cape buffalo is Africa's most dangerous animal. Safari West is home to 29 species of mammals. Some, like the cheetah, addax and scimitar-horned oryx, are endangered or classified as "extinct in the wild." The animals roam freely in large enclosures, so visitors are unlikely to see all of them. 

Adelaide Zoo Rainforest Exhibit Planned
April 3, 2005 www.theadvertiser.news.com.au

Immersion – The Rainforest Experience at Adelaide Zoo is a proposed $3.4 million project that features tigers and orang-utans. A new 9m-high pavilion styled on a Sumatran long house will feature an underwater viewing area where tigers can be watched swimming. The tigers will prowl the orang-utans' enclosure while the apes are in separate feeding areas, leaving scent to emulate life in the wild. The Orang-utans will be able to swing into the tigers' area and sit on platforms above them as visitors watch. The orangs will also be provided with climbing polls high up in the canopy. It will be the biggest redevelopment in the zoo's 121-year history, visitors will be able to meander through the exhibit on a series of boardwalks, separated from the animals by glass, not bars. The project will also include the construction of a 500 sq m holding building where the animals' food will be prepared and they will retire at night. It will allow for behind-the-scenes tours for the public and school groups. Zoo director Mark Craig said "A percentage of the income from those tours will go to help fund a conservation program in Sumatra for the animals."

New Australian birds Exhibit at Woodland Park
April 3rd, 2005 www.thenewstribune.com

Woodland Park Zoo says it will open a new exhibit featuring the Australian parrot on Memorial Day weekend. The Zoo’s Willawong Station will allow visitors a chance to feed more than 150 free-flying birds. The exhibit will include budgerigars – commonly called parakeets – cockatiels and rosellas, along with other Australian parrot species. Visitors age 3 and older must pay $1 to enter the exhibit, which includes the cost of a seed stick to feed the birds. "The thrill of having one or more of these beautiful birds fly to your hand to eat from a seed stick will make this a fun and exciting experience for everyone," said Deborah Jensen, zoo president.

Cheetahs Star in Wild Animal Park Show
April 3, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Elena Gaona

The 3-year-old cheetah did not disappoint the crowd watching her run yesterday and whizzed by at more than 60 mph, covering about 100 yards in seconds. A sleek African cat weighing 110 pounds, Kubali and 3-year-old brother Majani are the stars of the Cheetah Run Safari, and exhibit that opened yesterday at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. Each weekend, the attraction will treat visitors to a VIP look at the fastest land animals in the world for $69 plus the park's admission of $28.50 for adults. A ride in a flatbed pickup carts guests through chimpanzee and lion land to a rustic camp atop a hill. Once there, guests settle into a tent area with drinks, snacks and other animal shows while they wait for a cheetah to make his or her run; the cheetahs take turns. The cheetah runs are booked through April, Dewar said, but they are available all year. If bookings continue strong, the park could make $358,800 from the VIP tours, but that does not take into account the costs of running the attraction, slow sales days or rainy days, she said. The attraction cost about $30,000 to build, Priest said. Reservations are required for the cheetah run. For more information, call (619) 718-3000.

Petting zoo cases of E. coli rises to 24
April 4 2005 www.sun-sentinel.com

ORLANDO -- Two more people have contracted an E. coli infection, raising to 24 the total number of confirmed cases traced to a petting zoo outbreak from three central Florida fairs, state health officials said Monday. Twenty-one children and three adults either tested positive for the infection in their stool or else had a potentially fatal kidney disease known as hemolytic uremic syndrome. All in the past two months had attended the Central Florida Fair in Orlando, the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City or the Florida State Fair in Tampa. The same company, Ag-Venture Farm Shows of Plant City, supplied the animals at the three fairs. Twenty of those cases could be traced to the same strain of E. coli, said Florida Secretary of Health John Aguwnobi. 22 cases required hospitalization.``Fortunately, we've had no deaths associated with this outbreak,'' said Aguwnobi during a telephone conference call. Aguwnobi added that there were an additional 40 suspected cases, involving 26 children and 14 adults.

Hunters Win Hike in Polar Bear Quota
April 4, 2005 www.nature.com By Tamara Grüner

In January, the total quota for hunters in Canada’s Nunavut region was raised from 403 bears to 518, an increase of nearly 30%. Indigenous Inuit hunters, said that they had observed more bears in the region this year, and local wildlife organizations concurred. But scientists say the decision violates the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. This was signed by Canada, Denmark, Norway, the United States and the Soviet Union, as it then was, to protect polar-bear populations and their habitats from excessive hunting. The agreement aims to ensure sustainable, science-based management of the mammals, and requires consultation between signatory parties before quotas can be changed. "The observed increase in local density alone does not justify a higher quota," says qystein Wiig, a mammalogist at the University of Oslo's Zoological Museum, and an expert on polar bears with the World Conservation Union. Canadian officials dismiss this view. Mitch Taylor, the Nunavut government's chief polar-bear biologist, says that scientific studies were considered before increasing the quota, and that traditional Inuit knowledge about population size deserves more trust. 

Beijing Aquarium Exhibits Giant Sturgeon
April 4, 2005 news.xinhuanet.com/english

BEIJING – Nicknamed, the "panda of the water", a giant sturgeon arrived at the Beijing Aquarium yesterday after a 24-hour trip from Jingzhou, Central China's Hubei Province. The fish is 3.2 metres long and weighs 222 kilograms. It was captured last October in the Yangtze River. Experts predict it is aged between 20 and 30. The Chinese sturgeon has been nicknamed the "panda of the water." Another 11 sturgeons will be added to the aquarium from Jingzhou this week, according to the aquarium's General Manager Hu Weiyong. Before the end of April, a total of 26 Chinese sturgeons will be on exhibit. Researchers and zoo workers plan to recreate the fish's natural environment at the aquarium, and hope to find an effective method of breeding the fish artificially, Hu said. According to Zou Guiwei, deputy director of the Jingzhou-based Yangtze River Fishery Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Fishery Science, the rare fish, mostly found in the Yangtze, does most of its maturing in salt water but only reproduces in fresh water. The species does not eat in fresh water, so researchers are hoping that with a real-to-life environment the fish will break this habit, but this could take as much as a year, according to Wei Qiwei, a professor with the institute. Experts believe the species to be 140 million years old. It is now facing extinction.

Ebola Threatens Western Gorilla
April 4, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By James Owen

At meeting in Washington, D.C., last month, conservationists and ape experts learned that Ebola has taken hold in Odzala National Park in the Republic of the Congo. A year-long survey in the region by the Programme for Conservation and Rational Utilization of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (ECOFAC), a conservation initiative sponsored by the European Union provided the information. Peter Walsh, an ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said "Before the arrival of Ebola, Odzala held the single largest population of gorillas and chimpanzees in the world.... Based on typical rates of mortality in affected areas and the spatial extent of the impact zone, something in the range of 20 to 35 percent of the world's western gorilla population has died from Ebola over the last decade. This translates into tens of thousands of animals. There has also been a heavy impact on common chimpanzees." Ape experts said they fear that Ebola could infect all remaining large populations of great apes in western equatorial Africa within the next five years. The region encompasses Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African Republic.

Virginia’s Exotic Insect Zoo
April 4, 2005 www.pctonline.com

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The Bug Box, an insect zoo featuring exotic insects from around the world and interesting insects indigenous to Northern Virginia, celebrated its grand opening April 2. The new insect zoo will give families a place to learn about the importance of insects in the environment. The zoo features live and mounted insects and gives detailed information and interesting facts about the role of insects in the balance of nature. Some of the highlights include exhibits to show how honey is made, an historical look at pest control complete with the gadgets of the past and present, and interactive insect and wildlife displays featuring squirrels, raccoons, snakes and fox. ServisPros, a pest management company based in Fredericksburg and Lorton, Va., is the founder of the new Bug Box facility. It is owned by Barry and Cindy Robinson. In addition to self-guided tours, the grand opening event featured bug-themed snacks like Macho Nachos, Chocolate Chirpie Cookies, Mealworm Stir fry and Bug Juice. Other special attractions include cockroach races, live insect interactions and mini seminars with renowned Bugologist Extraordinaire, Wendy Platt. Admission to the grand opening event is free. The Bug Box insect zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is $2 for ages two and up for a self-guided tour approximately 30 minutes in length. Formal programs are also available for groups including scouts, school groups, camps and more. The new zoo will also sell hard-to-find equipment for private collectors.

Critical Habitat for Bighorn Sheep Contested
April 4, 2005 www.nctimes.com

RIVERSIDE -- A tribe filed a federal lawsuit claiming the USFWS is trying to derail development on its sovereign territory with protections for endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which operates casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, maintain that government sheep protections threaten any future development plans the tribe might have on western Coachella Valley reservation lands. The lawsuit claims more than 14,016 acres of tribal land located south and west of Palm Springs and Cathedral City would have such severe restrictions placed on development that the added red tape would cost the tribe millions of dollars to get anything built. Tribal planning officer Tom Davis said "federal regulation over the area that really isn't necessary." The Agua Caliente and its members own more than 31,500 acres of tribal land with approximately half falling within the borders of the sheep's critical habitat in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. "The fundamental issues are that we feel that the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to redesignate critical habitat for bighorn sheep after adequate research to biological and economic impacts on the tribe are considered. We don't think they've adequately done that," Davis said. Jane Hendron, a spokeswoman for the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife office, said the habitat designation was made in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Desert Survivors. "We get sued to designate critical habitate. Then when the habitat is designated, we get sued again," Hendron said. "Our budget is being used to comply with court-ordered deadlines, leaving us with almost no ability to set our own listing priorities," she said.

Competing Web sites in Toledo Zoo
April 5, 2005 toledoblade.com By STEVE EDER

Two Web sites have taken opposing sides in the Toledo Zoo controversy. The creators of the pro-zoo site - www.supportthezoo.org are charging that supporters of Dr. Tim Reichard, the zoo's recently fired veterinarian, have created two similarly named sites - www.supportthezoo.net and www.supportthezoo.com - which are redirecting Web surfers to www.doctortim.org, which calls for the reinstatement of Dr. Reichard, the 22-year veterinarian who believes he was terminated for speaking candidly to federal inspectors last year about animal deaths and animal-care concerns at the zoo. The current and former zoo employees who created www.supportthezoo.org and identify themselves as "Friends of the Zoo" say it is a blatant attempt to distort public opinion by hijacking visitors from the pro-zoo Web site. The site, www.supportthezoo.org, was designed to "reinforce and restore confidence" in the zoo in light of concerns that have come to light about the 104-year-old institution. Both sites allow comments to be posted about the controversy at the zoo. They also provide links to news stories and contact lists. Last night, www.doctortim.org had 3,580 visitors and www.supportthezoo.org had 1,095.

Marsupial "Bite-Force"
April 5, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By James Owen

After studying the bite force of mammalian carnivores, Australia scientists believe the Tasmanian devil is the most powerful biter alive today. Studying fossils, a similar conclusion was reached for extinct meat-eaters, noting that marsupial lions scored the highest overall bite force. These creatures last roamed Australia about 30,000 years ago. "A marsupial lion averaging around 100 kilograms [220 pounds] could develop a bite force approaching that of the biggest living lion at around 250 kilograms [550 pounds]," said Stephen Wroe, a paleontologist and mammal expert at the University of Sydney in Australia, who led the study. "The predatory capabilities of the [Tasmanian] devil are often underrated," he said. "A 6-kilogram [13-pound] devil can kill a 30-kilogram [66-pound] wombat." Each animal's bite strength was adjusted for its estimated body mass to give a relative value that could be compared between species. The scientists published their findings last week in the London-based science journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society (Series B) Placental mammals (mammals whose young develop in the womb) also claim some vice-jawed super-killers. They include African hunting dogs, jaguars, and clouded leopards. Among this group, the extinct dire wolf (a giant relative of living wolves) claimed the most powerful bite force relative to its size. The ancient wolf had a relatively broader, shorter head than the modern-day gray wolf. Along with bigger teeth and a studier body, the dire wolf also had a smaller braincase.

Bristol Zoo Plans Wildlife Conservation Park
April 5, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

Bristol’s proposed £30m "eco-zoo", is thought to be the first of its kind, and will be sited on 136 acres of land at Easter Compton. If planning is approved, it will open in 2009. The zoo says it will focus on a mix of species, rather than on single species in separate areas. Director Dr Jo Gipps, said: "Not only will visitors be able to enjoy a great day out, encountering wildlife in naturalistic landscapes, but they will be able to learn how field conservation projects around the world help underpin vital conservation breeding programmes conducted by the zoo." Funding for the zoo will be sought from charitable individuals, grant-making trusts and corporate partners.

N.Carolina Zoo Raises Funds
April 5, 2005 triad.dbusinessnews.com

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- The North Carolina Zoological Society in Asheboro raised just over $3 million last year, compared to $3.8 million in 2003, when it received a $500,000 bequest. Of the total, society already has transferred nearly $2.7 million to the Zoo, 13 percent more than it transferred in 2003. The society also has raised $4.4 million, including $700,000 in the first two months of 2005, as part of a long-term campaign to raise $6 million in private support to increase the size of its exhibits for elephants and rhinos. That includes $500,000 the society received in February from Leonard and Rose Herring and the Leonard G. Herring Family Foundation in North Wilkesboro to sponsor the rhino exhibit in the Zoo's planned Watani Grasslands expansion.

Decoding Snake Venom
April 5, 2005 www.nytimes.com By CARL ZIMMER

Dr. Bryan Fry, a biologist from the University of Melbourne, hunts inland taipans, nine-foot-long Australian snakes, and extracts the venom, the deadliest in the world. He also collects venom from death adders, rattlesnakes, king cobras, sea snakes and many others. He estimates that he handles 2,000 to 3,000 snakes a year. His goal is to decipher the evolution of snake venoms over the past 60 million years. Reconstructing their history will help lead to medical breakthroughs, Dr. Fry believes. For the past 35 years, scientists have been turning snake venoms into drugs. Just this February, Dr. Fry and his colleagues filed a patent for a molecule found in the venom of the inland taipan that may help treat congestive heart failure.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
April 5, 2005 www.nytimes.com By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Ecosystems perform valuable functions like filtering water, providing food and pollinating crops. The MEA report concludes that 60 percent of those functions are being degraded by human activities, both through direct actions like overfishing and through indirect ones, like the tendency of deforestation to raise the risk of floods. The report at www.millenniumassessment.org lists some instances in which destructive practices have changed and damage has been prevented, but says far more action is needed in the next several decades. The study considered various kinds of "ecosystem services": simple provisioning, like supplying water and protein; regulatory functions, including a forest's ability to store and filter water and to cool and humidify the air; cultural services, like providing a place for recreation; and life-support services, including photosynthesis and soil formation. Many of the regions where such natural assets are being most rapidly degraded are also the world's poorest, the scientists said. And as a result, deteriorating environments are likely to hamper efforts to stem poverty, disease and hunger in developing countries. But the study also said wealthy countries were contributing greatly to some problems - for example, in soaring increases in agricultural runoff containing nitrogen, a fertilizer that can create oxygen-starved "dead zones" in coastal waters. The assessment, which cost $24 million, was commissioned five years ago by the United Nations and by countries adhering to global environmental treaties on preserving wetlands and migratory species, preventing the spread of deserts and conserving the diversity of species on earth. Some ecologists not involved with the project credited the authors for avoiding old arguments that tended to set people against nature.

Hawaii Collects Endangered Species Information
April 5, 2005 abcnews.go.com

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has a six-month deadline to complete its Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy — a list of Hawaii's endangered plants, birds and insects — to receive money under the State Wildlife Grant Program. The department is seeking information and recommendations from the public to supplement its own research and will begin holding a series of statewide meetings and workshops in May, said Christen Mitchell, the program's project coordinator. The information collected will be posed on a Web site, which will be the primary means of providing information, Mitchell said. Hawaii Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy: can be found at www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/cwcs/

Ebola virus: from wildlife to dogs
April 5, 2005 www.eurekalert.org By Marie Guillaume - DIC 

Since 1976 the Ebola virus has caused lethal human epidemics in Central Africa. Research now indicates that humans do not become directly contaminated from the animal reservoir, which is still unknown, but from infected carcasses of chimpanzees, gorillas and certain forest antelopes. Results have come from work conducted over the past several years by IRD scientists and their partners to shed light on the virus's propagation paths. The discovery of Ebola virus antibodies in several species of non-human primate suggests the existence within this fauna of different degrees of susceptibility to Ebola and, possibly, of strains of various levels of virulence. However, most large primates, once infected, soon die of the disease. Their bodies then become a potential source of contamination for humans, but also for certain domestic animals. Ebola virus antibodies were detected in dogs exposed to the virus during the latest epidemics, which suggests that these animals may well have been infected and can therefore be a new source of transmission to humans. Ebola virus infection in humans provokes a violent haemorrhagic fever. It usually flares up as intense epidemics. These kill 80 % of the people infected. Seven such outbreaks have hit Gabon and the Republic of Congo since 1994, leading to 445 cases resulting in 361 deaths. Ebola virus thus constitutes a grave public health problem in these countries. No medicine or vaccine is currently available, only prevention and rapid control of epidemics by isolation of disease victims can limit its spreading.

Proposed Listing of southern green sturgeon
April 5, 2005 www.mercurynews.com By DON THOMPSON

SACRAMENTO -The National Marine Fisheries Service in January 2003 said it could find no sign that California’s green sturgeon population was dying out. That prompted the suit by three environmental groups and a March 2004 federal court ruling overturning that decision. The fisheries service cited "new information" in the intervening year for prompting its revised decision Tuesday that the ancient fish are threatened south of the Eel River. The service reiterated its earlier decision that the population in the Eel and rivers to the north is in no immediate danger. The long-lived, slow-growing fish can reach more than 7 feet long and weigh up to 350 pounds. Like salmon, they spend part of their lives in the ocean, returning to their native rivers to spawn. The service looked at studies of salmon in the Central Valley and found that dams in the upper Sacramento and Feather rivers blocked the migration of green sturgeon as well, substantially reducing the giant fish's habitat.

Colorado River Wildlife Protection
April 5, 2005 www.nytimes.com By DEAN E. MURPHY

BOULDER CITY, Nev.- Federal and state officials on Monday committed $626 million over the next 50 years to protect some of the Colorado River's most imperiled wildlife. They hope that the move will allow them to keep tapping water for swimming pools and irrigation ditches across the arid Southwest. 26 species of plants, fish, birds and other animals along 400 miles of the river below the Hoover Dam, in Nevada, Arizona and California will be affected. Environmental groups, which were invited to join the 56 agencies involved in drawing up the effort, are highly critical of it. Most of the groups refused to participate in the planning because the 100 miles or so of the river in Mexico, where some of the richest and most threatened habitat exists, were excluded. Federal and state officials said it would have been impossible to control conservation activities across the border. Critics claim the program does not account enough for global warming, and want more of the water to remain in the river for wildlife, rather than have it siphoned off for agriculture and the 20 million people in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California who rely on it to fill their bathtubs and drinking glasses.

China’s Giant Water Diversion Project
April 5, 2005 www.enn.com

BEIJING — China plans to relocate 400,000 people to establish a network of canals to supply northerners with water from the south. It will be China's second major forced relocation of residents; 1.3 million people were moved to make way for the vast Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in the southwest. The diversion project could take up to 50 years and cost more than 500 billion yuan (US$60 billion; euro50 billion). The government says that by 2050, the water-diversion network will be capable of moving 45 billion cubic meters (1.6 trillion cubic feet) of water per year.

Rescuing Smuggled Orchids
April 6, 2005 www.nytimes.com

More than 1,100 orchids from the Philippines were confiscated and placed in qurantine when they arrived at Miami International Airport last month. A ceaseless war between importers and federal enforcement agencies has led to the seizure of more than 40,000 contraband plants in the last five years. The primary reason for this struggle is to safeguard America's agriculture from pests and diseases. But in the process, many endangered specimens have been saved by the efforts of government agencies, nonprofit institutions, scientists and volunteers. Teams of plant experts across the nation are regularly called upon to rescue plants and nurse them back to health, ultimately attempting to preserve their gene lines. Dr. Kim E. Tripp, director of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, is working to save the orchids from the Philippines.

Effectiveness of Endangered Species Act
April 6, 2005 www.wpherald.com By Dan Whipple of Blue Planet

BOULDER, Colorado (UPI)-- One of the main charges leveled against the Endangered Species Act by its critics is it has not worked. Only 10 of the 1,304 species (listed under the act) have been recovered in the act's history, wrote Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chairman of the House Resources Committee, in a recent white paper on ESA reform. That is an abysmal ... rate of species recovery. USFWS statistics show that only 30 percent of species are 'stable' and only 9 percent are 'improving. A paper in this month’s journal Bioscience disagrees arguing that Pombo’s statistics are misleading. "Our findings suggest that the ESA is effective and can be improved by prompt listing, protection of critical habitat and dedicated recovery plans," said Martin F.J. Taylor, a consulting biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Ariz., and lead author of the paper. The ESA has less than 1 percent success rate for species recovery over the last 30 years, but the trouble with this criteria, the BioScience paper argues, is it does not allow for the long-term periods sometimes necessary for for biological processes to take place. "Although few threatened and endangered species have fully recovered, the short time most have been protected (15.5 years on average) renders this a weak test for the effectiveness" of the act, the authors wrote. "A better measure is the extent to which the provisions of the ESA are moving species toward recovery." 

Wolong Wired for Broadband
April 6, 2005 english.people.com.cn

The Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve in southwest China's Sichuan Province has been fully covered by a regional telecom network based on Intel's Centrino mobile technology, said Wu Haishan, PR manager of Intel's Chengdu business office. Wu said the regional telcom network covers the administrative office building of Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve, a giant panda museum, and China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas (CCRCGP), the open-air habitat for the endangered species. With the broadband network, researchers are able to process real-time data on the pandas, including photos and video signals, around the clock at any given corner of the nature reserve, or observe giant panda cubs on a daily basis without having to step out of their offices, according to Wu.

First Listing of Corals is being Sought
April 6, 2005 www.detnews.com By Cathy Zollo

For the first time, government officials have proposed protecting coral under the Endangered Species Act, and conservationists hope it's a first step toward staving off their extinction. Elkhorn and staghorn coral, the two coral proposed for listing, are related species and for the past 500,000 years have been the primary reef-builders for Florida and the Caribbean. But those coral have seen losses of 80 percent to 98 percent in the last few decades due to global warming, pollution and overfishing, though there is some disagreement among scientists about which threats are greatest. And they suffer from marine diseases that have become more numerous and virulent in recent decades. The branching coral are considered foundation species where they occur and an important defense for marine habitats against global warming. That's because they are fast growing and might keep up with rising water levels expected to accompany climate change.

Giant Lobster Dies at Pittsburgh Zoo
April 6, 2005 www.thepittsburghchannel.com

Bubba, a 22-pound lobster who spent a week at Wholey's fish market in Pittsburgh after he was pulled from the waters off Nantucket, Mass. But he died March 2 after he was moved to a quarantine area at the zoo's aquarium. Zoo officials said the bacterial infection primarily affected Bubba's digestive gland. Officials said the infection could have occurred as much as a week before the lobster's death.

25 Primate species face extinction
April 7, 2005 www.rednova.com

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) -- Human activities such as hunting and logging have driven nearly one quarter of the world's primate species - man's closest living relatives - to the brink of extinction, according to a new report. to be released Thursday by the World Conservation Union, the International Primatological Society and Conservation International. Madagascar and Vietnam each have four primates on the list. Brazil and Indonesia have three. Sri Lanka and Tanzania have two each. Colombia, China, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo have one each. One in four of the 625 primate species and subspecies are at risk. Fifty experts from 16 countries cited deforestation, commercial hunting for meat and the illegal animal trade - including for use in traditional medicines - as the biggest threats. By region, the list includes 10 primate species and subspecies from Asia, seven from Africa, four from Madagascar, and four from South America. All the animals live in areas declared biodiversity hotspots which cover just 2.3 percent of the planet but are home to more than half all terrestrial plant and animal diversity.

A list of 25 primates most threatened by extinction:

_Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), Madagascar

_White-collared lemur (Eulemur albocollaris), Madagascar

_Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus perrieri), Madagascar

_Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), Madagascar

_Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei), Congo, Rwanda, Uganda

_Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), Nigeria, Cameroon

_Mt. Rungwe galago (an as yet undescribed form of the genus Galagoides), Tanzania

_Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus), Kenya

_White-naped mangabey (Cercocebus atys lunulatus), Ghana, Ivory Coast

_Sanje mangabey (Cercocebus sanjei), Tanzania

_Bioko red colobus (Procolobus pennantii pennantii), Equatorial Guinea

_Black-faced lion tamarin (Leontopithecus caissara), Brazil

_Buffy-headed tufted capuchin (Cebus xanthosternos), Brazil

_Northern muriqui (Brachyteles hypoxanthus), Brazil

_Brown spider monkey (Ateles hybridus brunneus), Colombia

_Horton Plains slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus nycticeboides), Sri Lanka

_Miller's grizzled surili (Presbytis hosei canicrus), Indonesia

_Pagai pig-tailed snub-nosed monkey, (Simias concolor), Indonesia

_Delacour's langur (Trachypithecus delacouri), Vietnam

_Golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus poliocephalus), Vietnam

_Western purple-faced langur (Semnopithecus vetulus nestor), Sri Lanka

_Grey-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus cinerea), Vietnam

_Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus), Vietnam

_Hainan black-crested gibbon, (Nomascus nasutus hainanus), China

_Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), Indonesia 

François' langur born at Belfast Zoo
April 7, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

The François' langur is a leaf eating monkeys found in Vietnam and southern China and it is thought less than 2,500 remain in the wild. The baby's mother, called Chi, was also born at Belfast Zoo and is one of 11 François' langurs there. It is her first baby and staff said both monkeys were doing well. The zoo currently participates in a breeding program to try to ensure the survival of the François' langur species. Acting manager Mark Challis said, "We expect to transfer some of the langurs bred at the zoo to other zoos around the UK."

Oregon Zoo Changes Discount Offer
April 7, 2005

The Oregon Zoo will discount admission on the 2nd Tuesday of each month: Adults will be $2 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Children younger than 3 will be admitted free. This promotion replaces the free admission from 1 p.m. to closing program. Zoo management has chosen to charge a nominal fee and extend the discount for the entire day, thus spreading the rush of the crowds over a greater period of time. Oregon Zoo Director Tony Vecchio said the free Tuesdays were causing traffic problems on Highway 26, with traffic jams on both sides of the highway by noon. The zoo also offers a 20 percent discount on admission and train rates for any group of 20 or more paying visitors, if one payment is made for the entire purchase. School group rates, with advance reservations, are available for $3 per student. Although the zoo began charging a $1 parking fee on Jan. 1, zoo members and visitors attending catered events on any date will be exempt from paying the parking fee. Visitors also can avoid the parking fee and receive a discount on days when full admission is charged by showing proof that the visitor has taken a TriMet bus or the MAX train to the zoo. Zoo members receive free admission every day. Zoo memberships begin at $39, which includes unlimited year-round admission.

DNR Can Kill Wolves Again
April 7, 2005 www.ashland-wi.com By ANDREW BROMAN

The state Department of Natural Resources received a special permit late last week to kill wolves that prey on livestock, effectively voiding the impact of an Oregon court decision that reclassified the Timber Wolf as an endangered species. The permit allows the DNR and some tribes to kill as many as 34 wolves this year. The DNR must reapply for the permit next year, unless the wolf's classification returns to threatened species, or the wolf is completely dropped from the federal endangered species list. According to Ronald Refsnider, of the endangered species division, "Denying the DNR permission to kill could have led to public backlash. You want to make sure the general public is not taking it upon themselves to start killing what they see as problem wolves because there's nothing else out there to control that problem." In addition to limiting the killings to 34 wolves, the permit restricts the killings to a half-mile radius of a depredation site. Previously, the DNR could kill suspect wolves within a mile-radius of a depredation site, Refsnider said. The permit also requires the DNR to report killings within five days, instead of within 15 days as previously required. In 2003, the DNR destroyed 17 wolves for depredation and last year destroyed 24 wolves. The DNR estimated 373 to 410 wolves lived in the state two years ago and expects more than 400 wolves lived here this winter. Refsnider said Michigan's DNR has applied for a similar permit, and it will likely receive it. Minnesota was unaffected by the judge's ruling because it reclassified the wolf as a threatened species in 1978, prior to time frame in the court case.

Parasites Killing Mississippi River Birds
April 7, 2005 news.fws.gov

Intestinal parasites, known as trematodes or flukes, are believed to be the cause of a large scale die-off of lesser scaup, coots, and ring-necked ducks on Lake Onalaska and along the main channel of the Upper Mississippi River immediately below Lock and Dam 7 near Dresbach, Minn. Refuge staff at the La Crosse District of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge have observed large numbers of the sick and dead water birds and say higher river flows are moving some of them through the dam and depositing them along the main channel in the upper part of Pool 8. Trematode-caused waterfowl and coot mortality has been documented each spring and fall on Lake Onalaska since the 2002 spring migration. During the 2004 spring migration, about 1,060 sick/dead birds were found and total mortality was estimated at 2,400 to 2,700. Comparable losses occurred during the 2004 fall migration. Mortality this spring was first observed on March 28 and is expected to continue through the end of April.

Turtle Sanctuaries in Pulau Perhentian
April 7, 2005 thestar.com.my BY K. SUTHAKAR

KUALA TERENGGANU: Four beaches in Pulau Perhentian will soon be designated turtle sanctuaries. They are Pantai Tanjung Tukas, with 588.3m of coastline, Pasir Tiga Ruang (631.7m) and Pasir Pinang Seribu (152.8m) in Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pantai Tanjung Guntung (275.7m) in Pulau Perhentian Kecil. The islands recorded the third largest number of nestings of green turtles in the state last year with 284 nests totalling 27,795 eggs. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said villagers would be banned from collecting eggs from the areas. "The authorities will hatch the eggs in-situ (where the nests are found) instead of buying the eggs from villagers and hatching them elsewhere," he said. A Save the Turtle Nite would be held in June to collect funds for turtle conservation. Petroleum companies such as Petronas and ExxonMobil, based in Kerteh, he added, would be approached to contribute towards the fund. "We will also seek help from the Worldwide Fund for Nature in terms of funding and turtle conservation work," he said.

Nashville Zoo Opens African Elephant Savannah
April 7, 2005 www.nashvillecitypaper.com

On April 9, 2005 the Nashville Zoo will open its newest exhibit, the Cal Turner Family Foundation African Elephant Savannah Saturday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. The 3-acre habitat resembles the grasslands of Africa and includes a 150,000 gallon wading pool, a mud hole and tall trees. The habitat will be the new home for three female African elephants — Hadari, Sukari, and Kiba. Three safari "camps" along the viewing trail feature a different region of sub-Saharan Africa. Equipped with tents and basic supplies the viewing stations resemble research camps that investigate different topics focusing on elephant conservation and their relationship with the diverse human cultures found in Africa. The elephant habitat is landscaped with nearly 7,000 plants including 5,000 ornamental grasses making it the largest collection of its kind in Middle Tennessee On opening day, the zoo will offer free elephant tattoos and color-your-own buttons for children while supplies last. An African drum and dance group will perform from 11 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The zoo will also offer educational booths, elephant photo opportunities and limited edition elephant art posters to guests signing up for a zoo membership. Admission to the zoo, 3777 Nolensville Road, is $11 for adults, $7 for children 3 to 12, and $9.50 for seniors 65 and older.

Charities, nonprofits want donors' confidence
April 7, 2005 www.myrtlebeachonline.com

WASHINGTON - Three years ago a donation-skimming investigation erupted at the Washington area's United Way office, leading to the ouster of the chief executive officer, board of directors and the finance team. Since then, managers of the National Capital Area chapter have struggled to restore public trust. United Way's rapid descent and problems at other charities around the nation have helped fuel a regulatory drive to make it clearer to donors what happens to their money. Earlier this year, a California law that requires large nonprofits to open their books for an annual independent audit took effect. This week, the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony about tax-exempt charities profiting by devising ways to help corporations and the wealthy shelter their income from taxes. Charities and other nonprofits also are examining what they can do on their own to reassure donors that they are well run. Peggy Jackson, a management consultant and author of "Sarbanes-Oxley for Nonprofits," a book on nonprofit accountability, said " If donors are going to entrust you with their money, they expect a return on their donation. They don't expect you to betray their trust."

Mixing species to save world's rarest
April 8, 2005 www.kansascity.com BY SUSANNE QUICK

Researchers from San Diego to New Orleans are examining and testing the powers of cloning technology. The African wildcat, Asian banteng and a rare cow-like species called a gaur have already been cloned. Many charge that cloning is a waste of time and a misuse of needed conservation funds, but zookeepers and researchers across the country banking as much animal tissue as they can in "frozen zoos" , hoping that if a species disappears some day, zoos will have the material to resurrect it, "Cloning is just one tool," said Betsy Dresser, a senior vice president of the Audubon Nature Center in New Orleans and director of the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species. She has been active in conservation for 27 years and that tool has been used successfully by her team to create African wildcats and an antelope-like creature called a bongo. Critics such as Bruce Whitelaw, a researcher at the world-renowned Roslin Institute in Scotland, said cloning for conservation is ridiculous. He believes conservationists should be addressing issues such as human overpopulation, habitat depletion and poaching. If these aren't addressed, there will be no place for these animals in the future - even if their DNA has been stored. George Amato, director of the Science Resource C enter at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, isn't sure what the future holds for cloning in conservation. "When you consider the Sumatran rhino, of which there are only 15 breeding pairs in captivity and maybe a few hundred in the wild," you have to be open to these emerging technologies, he said. The challenge, he said, is not for conservationists to gripe about the best way to save these animals, but to get the public to care about endangered species as much as they do the latest "celebrity criminal trial," he said. Because until they get the public involved, nothing is going to save these creatures.

New Import Regulations on Swine
April 8, 2005 www.aphis.usda.gov

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2005—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to amend its regulations for importing swine and swine products into the United States by applying uniform requirements to the European Union (EU-15). This proposed regulation applies to the 15 member states comprising the European Union prior to its expansion on May 1, 2004. The EU-15 is made up of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. APHIS is proposing to place import prohibitions on all swine and swine products into the United States from any region in any member state of the EU-15 that has been quarantined by the EU due to an outbreak of classical swine fever (CSF). Quarantined areas would be referred to as restricted zones and will not be defined in an interim rule. This proposal will change the means by which restrictions are applied. In addition, under the proposal, restrictions due to a CSF outbreak in the EU-15 would be implemented and released by an administrative process rather than a regulatory process. This proposed rule is published in the April 8 Federal Register. APHIS documents published in the Federal Register are available on the internet at www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html.

San Diego Condors Go to Baja
April 8, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com

Researchers from the San Diego Wild Animal Park will take four California condors to Baja Mexico this weekend for eventual release. The effort is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's California Condor Recovery Program. The endangered birds were hatched at the Wild Animal Park in San Pasqual Valley and reared by researchers using puppets to imitate adult condors. The birds will be flown to Mexico today and then trucked to a holding pen at Sierra de San Pedro Martir National Park, south of Ensenada. They will stay there about a month to acclimate to the surroundings. Researchers hope that when they release the birds, the condors will join other members of the species living in the area. About 120 condors live in the wild in the United States and Mexico, park researchers said. In the past, condors hatched at the Wild Animal Park and at the Peregrine Fund in Boise, Idaho, have been released in Mexico after being raised by researchers at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Detroit Zoo Elephants Settle In New Home
April 10, 2005 www.dailytribune.com

Wanda, 46, and Winky, 52, arrived early Friday morning at the PAWS Sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. There was some trouble at first: thrust into the new environment, Winky reportedly refused to get out of the trailer after the estimated 70-hour, 2,300-mile journey across the U.S. Their caregivers, veterinarians and some of their favorite toys accompanied them on the trip. Their new trainer, Pat Derby, said that Wanda particularly appeared to be eager to explore the surroundings, an isolation area in a 20,000 square foot Asian elephant barn. The 2 elephants will be in isolation near their new companions, Minnie, Rebecca and Annie, for a period of socialization and acclimation while their caregivers from the Detroit Zoo remain with them to assist with helping them adapt to their new surroundings. The transfer was made possible after an agreement was reached in December by the Detroit Zoo, Columbus Zoo, San Antonio Zoo and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, after nearly six months of efforts by Detroit Zoo Director, Ron Kagan and petitions by local residents to find more room and a milder climate for the elephants.seem to be taking a liking to their new home in California, Local 4 reported.

Lawsuits Challenge California Critical Habitat
April 11, 2005 www.caprep.com

SACRAMENTO, CA (04/05/05) -- The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) has filed two lawsuits challenging the critical habitat designations of 42 California species. PLF said the designations fail to meet the scientific and legal standards required under the federal Endangered Species Act. The two challenges seek to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to bring 42 critical habitat designations into compliance with the standards mandated by recent federal court decisions. PLF’s first legal challenge would require FWS to fix the critical habitat designations for 27 species (of which 21 are plants); the second suit would require the agency to correct habitat areas for 15 vernal pool species (11 plants and 4 species of "fairy shrimp"). "There is no rhyme or reason why some areas are designated as critical habitat and no meaningful evaluation of the real costs to society of these designations—in clear violation of federal law," said Pacific Legal Foundation Principal Attorney Reed Hopper. "As a result, Californians pay more for their homes, face higher taxes, and have seen their property unnecessarily turned into what amounts to wildlife preserves. The Service must use real science to identify critical habitat areas and consider the real economic consequences of these designations."  www.pacificlegal.org/rulings/whipsnake.pdf

Fire at Pittsburgh Zoo
April 11, 2005 www.pennlive.com

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A welder sparked a fire Monday at the Pittsburgh Zoo in a nonpublic building that houses two apes, which were not injured. The fire started at about 9:15 a.m. in the winter animal holding area. The animals, two mandrills, were quickly removed, and no workers or animals were injured. The fire was began when a welder touched insulation in the walls, sparking the fire, which spread to the roof. The zoo remained open for visitors. The damage estimate is $40,000, according to Pittsburgh Fire Chief Michael H. Huss.

Mayor to Overhall Detroit Zoo
April 12, 2005 www.freep.com BY TOM WALSH

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick wants to overhaul city government, reducing 42 departments to about 25, and eliminating day-to-day operating subsidies for the Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Historical Museums. He wants the zoo and museums to be run like the Detroit Institute of Arts, which is city-owned but had all city funding for day-to-day operations eliminated last year. This means negotiating agreements for private fund-raising societies to take over running, and paying for, the zoo and museums. The zoo and historical museums had expected about $6 million in total operating subsidies next. The city is facing a deficit of more than $200 million in its $1.6-billion general fund budget next year. The zoo had been expecting about $3.2 million from the city in fiscal 2005-06, or 16 percent of its $20-million annual budget. Detroit Historical Museums, which operates the Detroit Historical Museum, Dossin Great Lakes Museum and Historic Ft. Wayne, was expecting $2.8 million, or 64 percent of its $4.4-million budget. The city closed the Belle Isle Aquarium last week. 

Japan Set to Expand Whale Hunt
April 12, 2005 news.yahoo.com

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is set to expand its annual whale hunt to take two new species as well as nearly doubling its planned catch of minke whales, media reports said Tuesday, a move virtually certain to spark global fury if true. Under a new plan for what Tokyo calls its research whaling program, Japan would take humpback whales and fin whales in addition to the four whale species it currently hunts, sources close to the situation were quoted as telling Kyodo news agency. Japan, where whale meat is regarded as a delicacy, abandoned commercial whaling in 1986 in line with an international ban, but began a program to hunt whales in what it calls scientific research whaling the following year. The meat ends up on store shelves and on the tables of gourmet restaurants. Japan maintains that eating whale is an important part of its cultural heritage despite the protests of environmentalists determined to prevent the killing of the marine mammals, some species of which are endangered. The plan is to be submitted to the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission this summer. The plan calls for Japan initially to hunt around 10 humpbacks and 10 fin whales per year, Kyodo said, and to sharply increase the number of minkes it takes each year from the 440 it took in the Antarctic in the past whaling season. Japan last expanded its hunt in 2002, when it added sei whales to the list, setting off an international furor. It also takes sperm whales and Bryde's whales in addition to minkes. It says it supports protection of endangered species but argues that others, such as the minke, are numerous enough to be hunted within limits.

Feral Cat Hunting Considered
April 12, 2005 abcnews.go.com By DEAN SCHABNER

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress, an independent organization created 70 years ago to take public input on conservation issues, is considering whether to allow the hunting of feral cats. The proposal, which was raised five years ago and voted down by the congress, was revived after a 2004 University of Wisconsin study that found non-native feral cats were a threat to native animals such as lovebirds. Estimates of the number of songbirds killed each year by feral cats in Wisconsin alone range from 8 million to 217 million, though the number is actually believed to be around 39 million, said Steven Oestreicher, the chairman of the congress.

Tiger mauls boy at zoo
12/04/2005 www.news24.com

Beijing - An eight-year-old boy was mauled to death by a tiger at a zoo in central China after scaling a fence to get a better view, state media reported on Tuesday. Mei Changhua had climbed over a one-metre-high barrier at the zoo in Changde, Hunan province on Sunday and was attacked by a tiger through the bars of its cage. His death sparked criticism of the zoo for failing to protect visitors and the boy's father who remained outside the zoo gates to avoid spending money on an admission ticket. The father only arrived on the scene after his 10-year-old nephew came to get him, following the tiger's attack on his son. He pulled Mei free from the tiger and was seriously wounded in the process, but the boy bled to death before reaching hospital. The paper said the zoo was run by a private businessman who hired limited staff.

Bus Service to Hogle Zoo Resumes
April 12, 2005 www.sltrib.com By Andrew Weeks

Three years after it stopped service to Hogle Zoo, the Utah Transit Authority is again offering Route 14 to the zoo three times a day from now through Aug. 20. The service allows riders to catch a bus from downtown Salt Lake City or the TRAX station at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. What's more, once at the zoo, bus drivers won't have to worry about limited space to turn around, an issue when service was suspended in 2002. "Some of the neighbors didn't like the idea of buses turning around in their neighborhoods," said Hogle Zoo spokeswoman Stacey Phillips, "and they couldn't do it in our parking lot the way it was configured. But now they don't have to worry about turning around The buses will pass through This is the Place Heritage Park and drop riders off across from the zoo. "We're very excited about it, because we've been without [bus service] for three years," Phillips said. Current departure times to the zoo are Monday-Friday, 7:39 a.m., 8:39 a.m. and 11:09 a.m. "We think we can provide a good service," said UTA spokesman Justin Jones, "and in the future we hope to be able to make more frequent stops at the zoo."

Polar Bear Cub at Detroit Zoo
April 12, 2005 www.prnewswire.com

ROYAL OAK, Mich., A five-month-old polar bear cub will have access to explore the tundra of the Arctic Ring of Life at the Detroit Zoo on Wednesday morning. The first polar bear cub born at the Detroit Zoo in 15 years was identified by Zoo vets as a female and her name which was selected in a contest with the community will be announced at that time. The mother, Barle, was rescued by the Detroit Zoo from the Suarez Brothers Circus in Puerto Rico in 2002, and is a first-time mother. She and her cub have been residing in a maternity den with no access to other bears since she gave birth in November. Barle has already taught her cub to swim and they will be able to swim safely in the pool that has been drained to 1 foot of water. They will remain there for at least a year and a half or until the cub is old enough to venture out on her own. "The cub now weighs about 35 pounds..[and] has begun eating soft solid food and occasionally enjoys an ice treat" said Scott Carter, Director of Conservation and Animal Welfare for the Detroit Zoological Institute.

Toledo Zoo Goes Medieval
April 12, 2005 toledoblade.com By TAD VEZNER

The Toledo Zoo's new "Dragons" exhibit, has a display of modern fire-protection gear, a drawbridge, and a variety of live species and fantastical displays. The unusual mix of fantasy and reality cost $200,000 and has been a year in the making - though some of the zoo's curators have been anticipating it for almost a decade. The Komodo dragon, or Varanus komodoensis, is the largest lizard in the world and the only one known to prey on people, although the zoo will primarily feed rodents to its Komodo. Andy Odum, curator of reptiles, and Jay Hemdal, curator of fishes, have been dying to show off a collection of dragonesque species. And now Vanessa Snyder, the zoo's curator of interpretive services, enjoys making science fun. "So much material out here lends itself to making people believe that it's real," Ms. Snyder said, gesturing around a great hall decked with stained glass windows and stone battlements. There are other live beasts in the back cave, some better at swimming than fire breathing. "Fire breathing doesn't work under water," Mr. Hemdal said. "Just kind of fizzles." Above all, Mr. Hemdal is ecstatic about getting his leafy seadragon. "It's the strangest looking of all the fish I've seen," Mr. Hemdal said. "Some deep-sea fish may be weirder, but this one is beautiful and strange at the same time." Mr. Hemdal has several other dragonesque species: Varieties of reef fish with dragon-like horns, a dragon moray eel, and a large "dragon fish," named for the look of its scales, all of which will be added to the zoo's permanent collection. Mr. Odum, who has been in the zoo business 27 years, 15 of those in Toledo, said the Toledo Zoo was well-fitted for the $200,000 exhibit. "Other zoos, they bring in a komodo, put signs up, and that's their exhibit," he said. "We did this entire thing, all the creative design, everything, in-house." The curators anticipate that "Dragons" will be around for the next 18 months.

Francois Lemur born at San Antonio’s Zoo
April 12, 2005 www.ksat.com

SAN ANTONIO -- For the first time in San Antonio Zoo's history, a Francois Lemur monkey was born.The birth, which occurred over the weekend, is significant because the monkey is an endangered species, said John Gramieri, of the San Antonio Zoo. Gramieri said there are only 73 Francois Lemur monkeys in North America. The baby monkey hasn't been named yet because its protective mother is preventing zoo keepers from checking its gender.

Following Mei Xiang Pregnancy
April 12, 2005 www.nytimes.com By COURTNEY C. RADSCH

National Zoo’s web site, nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas, provides a close view of the giant pandas' continuing pregnancy story. Giant pandas experience pseudopregnancy, meaning their hormones and behavior only mimic a real pregnancy. A definitive ultrasound is necessary to confirm whether Mei Xiang is actually pregnant until there is an actual birth or until the hormone levels return to normal. Because Tian Tian did not successfully mate with Mei Xiang, who is 6 years old and weights about 250 pounds, Mei Xiang was inseminated with Tian Tian’s sperm on March 11. The Web site includes hormone charts and analysis of pseudopregnancies from the previous two years, in addition to weekly observations and predictions posted by Dr. Steven Monfort, a zoo research veterinarian and a scientific adviser to the Smithsonian's office of the under secretary for science. Dr. Monfort suggested that visitors to the site should look for a rise in progesterone levels in the 50 to 130 days after ovulation. If she is pregnant, the levels will be high for about a month and a half before sharply dropping. This precipitous drop indicates either an end to the pseudopregnancy or a birth. With the birth not expected until the first part of August, the zoo plans to post ultrasounds, Web shots and other information as they come in. And since construction limits the public viewing area, two live Panda Cams offer an alternative to in-person visits. The best time to tune in is from 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., when the pandas are usually most active, at noon and around 3:30 p.m., before the pandas head back inside, said Matt Olear, a spokesman for the friends organization.

Oakland Zoo’s Panda Fund-raiser
April 12, 2005 www.insidebayarea.com By Laura Casey

OAKLAND — Oakland China Wildlife Preservation Foundation, the nonprofit organization charged with raising money to bring a pair of giant pandas to the Oakland Zoo, will hold its first fund-raising event next week. The $500-a-plate gala will feature a silent auction and dinner April 21. Mayor Jerry Brown and other city leaders will attend, said Debbie Bacigalupi, vice president of corporate relations for the Oakland China Wildlife Preservation Foundation. The city of Oakland and the Oakland Zoo have been working since 1999 to lease a pair of giant pandas from China for research and display. Four other zoos in the United States — San Diego; Memphis, Tenn.; Washington, D.C., and Atlanta — have pairs of giant pandas. Councilmember Henry Chang Jr. (At Large) has been leading the effort to bring the animals to Oakland. In March 2004, Chang announced a letter of intent had been signed between the Oakland/East Bay Zoological Society and the Bejing Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, bringing Oakland one step closer to acquiring a pair.

Wolverine Study in Montana
April 12, 2005 www.nytimes.com By JIM ROBBINS

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. - The wolverine, a mammal that resembles a small weasel-like bear, inhabits northern forests and is legendary for its strength and ferocity is the subject of a new research project. Dr. Jeff Copeland, wildlife biologist at the Rocky Mountain Research Station of the United States Forest Service in Missoula, is the principle investigator, and new research shows the wolverine as a species driven to roam. It keeps on moving at about 5 miles per hour whether the terrain is rough or easy. With broad feet that serve as natural snowshoes, it easily scrambles over 10,000-foot snow-covered mountains, crosses giant scree piles and lopes through lichen-draped forests, sometimes covering 25 miles one day and 25 miles back the next. A male's home range is about 500 square miles, about the same as that of a grizzly bear, which is 10 times its size. A male covers that huge swath of territory both to mate with three or four females and to rummage in avalanche chutes for the carcasses of moose or mountain goats that have perished, to hunt squirrels and insects or scrounge for berries. "The things it needs to make a living are scattered so they need that big an area to find what they need," Dr. Copeland said. While the wolverine's range has shrunk considerably in the last half century, Dr. Copeland argues that at this point there's not enough data to show that the wolverine needs federal protection. "The only scientific answer is, I don't know," he said. "We need information before we understand the needs of the animal and can make that determination."

Wal - Mart to Fund Wildlife Habitat
April 13, 2005 www.nytimes.com

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, pledged Tuesday to spend $35 million compensating for wildlife habitat lost nationwide beneath its corporate "footprint.'' Acre for acre, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would buy an amount of land equal to all the land its stores, parking lots and distribution centers use over the next 10 years. That would conserve at least 138,000 acres in the United States as "priority'' wildlife habitat. The money will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a private nonprofit group created by Congress in 1984 to leverage federal dollars for conservation projects, including 312,000 acres in Maine alone. "We introduced the concept of the offset program to Wal-Mart last year,'' said Max Chapman Jr., the foundation's chairman. "They were quick to say 'yes,' and Wal-Mart's leadership is raising the bar in conservation.'' It's the first time any U.S. corporation has pledged such an arrangement, according to Interior Department officials, who will help decide which places to conserve. Interior Secretary Gale Norton said she hopes the deal becomes a model for other companies.

Satellite Maps Help Mountain Gorillas
April 13, 2005 www.greatnewsnetwork.org

Paris - A two-year joint ESA and UNESCO project to chart the habitats of endangered mountain gorillas with satellites came to a fruitful finish in Paris, with end-users receiving final maps and geographical data products for use in the field. "These maps will help us make our anti-poaching efforts more effective," said Eulalie Bashige, Director General of the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Less than 700 mountain gorillas remain alive, found in highland forests that straddle the borders between Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. These regions make up a set of five national parks; three of these have been designated World Heritage Sires by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), while the remaining two have been nominated for the same status. ESA and UNESCO have been working together on a project called Build Environment for Gorilla (BEGo) to precisely chart the region in order to help national conservation agencies and non-governmental organisations working in and around the parks. During a 7 April meeting at ESA Headquarters in Paris, BEGo partners and end-users including the ICCN, Uganda’s Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) and the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) received the final outputs of the project – map products and layers for use in standard geo-information syste (GIS) software. "This project is a result of the Open Initiative agreed by ESA and UNESCO in Toulouse in 2001, to apply space technologies to support the World Heritage Convention," said Jean-Paul Poncelet, ESA Director of External Relations. "BEGo has been a user-oriented project, aimed at providing not just maps but a complete cost-effective information service to support UNESCO, the national authorities and the non-governmental organisations working in these places. "This fruitful partnership is an example of the potential of space technology to support the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and conserve World Heritage sites worldwide. Preserving our common heritage is everybody’s concern."

Detroit Zoo Reacts to Budget Cuts
April 13, 2005 www.freep.com BY KIM NORTH SHINE, MARTIN F. KOHN and MARISOL BELLO

Ron Kagan, director of the Detroit Zoological Institute, said the zoo had tapped nearly every fund-raising mechanism available, but plans to find more ways to raise and save money.The zoo has already sold naming rights to many of its exhibits. It has also renegotiated a contract for its concessions in order to make more money, and cut its operating hours from March through November. The zoo will raise admission 50 cents beginning by July 1. The new cost will be $11 for adults, $7 for children and $9 for people age 62 and older. He said another option is to revive a regional arts tax referendum. Voters rejected the referendum in 2000 and 2002. It would have funded places of art and culture in Wayne and Oakland counties. The Detroit Zoo, which attracted 1 million visitors last year, will also cut staff by about 14 people; six staffers were let go in the closing of the Belle Isle Aquarium on April 3, Kagan said. At a time when a severe budget crisis has the city struggling to pay just for the basic services, museums and zoos -- which serve the region, if not the entire state -- are luxuries that cannot be afforded, the mayor said. Kilpatrick said the cultural institutions should become self-sufficient rather than relying on the city for part of their funding. "I think it strengthens the cultural institutions when they are not tied to public funding," Kilpatrick said during his budget presentation before the City Council. "We're not disengaging from those institutions. We're changing our relationship." The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will continue to receive its city subsidy of $1.8 million. Kilpatrick said the museum needs more time to get its finances in order. Last year, even as the museum struggled to increase attendance and make payroll for employees, the city bailed it out.

Audubon Backyard Bird Count Results
April 13, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com

The Audubon Society and Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology, have announced the results of their Great Backyard Bird Count that occurred Feb. 18-21. Birders across the nation turned in approximately 52,000 checklists, recording 613 species and counting more than 6.5 million individual birds. The Snow Goose was the most numerous bird counted this year (835,369 birds counted). The Northern Cardinal was seen by more people (29,457) than any other species. 14 hummingbird species were sighted, unusual for a bird more commonly associated with spring and summer. Ornithologists attribute the hummingbirds' wintertime presence to abundant garden feeders. This year also marked a surge in great gray owls. In 2001, bird counters reported seeing 45 birds. This year, they sighted an astounding 574 birds. One possible reason: A crash in small mammal populations, the Great Gray Owl's primary food supply in the north, pushed the species south. Once south, the owls found their food tunneling beneath snow cover. Locating their prey by sound, birders reported seeing owls "snow diving" to catch their prey during the day. For more information and images, visit www.birdsource.org/gbbc .

PETA-Petco Agreement
April 13, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Rachel Laing

San Diego-based Petco has agreed to stop selling large birds to end a two-year boycott against the pet supply store by animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Petco, the nation's second-largest pet supply company, said it will no longer sell birds such as African gray parrots, cockatoos and macaws once those currently in stock are sold. The company also will expand its animal adoption-assistance program to include birds and other exotic animals in addition to cats and dogs. The program works with animal shelters in store communities to encourage people to consider adopting homeless animals rather than purchasing them. PETA, in turn, will end its high-profile campaign against the company, which included a boycott, protests at Petco stores, a shareholder resolution condemning the sale of animals, and will remove their www.petcocruelty.com web site.

Honolulu Zoo Operation May Change
April 13, 2005 www.kpua.net By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) The city is looking into the possibility of changing the way the Honolulu Zoo is operated. Mayor Mufi Hannemann says he will soon convene a group of stakeholders to evaluate the feasibility of forming a public-private partnership to run the city facility. Hannemann say's he'll call on city departments, the City Council, the Honolulu Zoo Society and others to discuss the possibility of entering into partnerships to see if that may be a better way to operate the zoo. Meanwhile, the mayor announced construction is set to start this week on a new home at the zoo for Rusti the orangutan. More than half a (m) million dollars in donations will be used to build a spacious new exhibit and holding quarters for Rusti, who came to the zoo in 1997.

No County-wide Funding for Dallas Zoo
April 13, 2005 www.dallasnews.com By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News

A plan for countywide funding of the Dallas Zoo is dead. It was proposed a year ago by the nonprofit Dallas Zoological Society as a way to put the perennially cash-strapped institution on firm financial footing. Under the plan, commissioners would have placed a special property tax proposal before voters and, if approved, would have taken over ownership of zoo assets from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. Michael Meadows, the Dallas Zoological Society's president, said Tuesday he was surprised to hear that commissioners considered the plan a dead issue. Society officials had said countywide funding would allow the zoo to complete an ambitious master plan that included world-class educational facilities and new animal exhibits. Although the plan at first appeared to have the tacit support of a majority of the commissioners, enthusiasm eroded as the months passed, Some felt that the county should not be in the business of running a zoo. And all were concerned about the expense. The final blow came when commissioners were told it would be difficult to create a special taxing district for the zoo. Without such a district, money for the zoo would have to come out of county tax revenues. It also comes at a time when commissioners are concerned about potential increases in jail health care and Sheriff Department staffing and are warily watching as the Legislature considers capping increases in property valuation, Mr. Price said.

Rockhampton zoo upgrade considered
13 April 2005. www.abc.net.au

The Rockhampton City Council is considering embarking on a $3 million upgrade of the city's zoo over the next 10 years. The work would be partly funded through a two dollar admission charge, although ratepayers could get six free family passes a year. Parks and Gardens director Tom Wyatt says the upgraded zoo would have a focus on conservation of endangered species and some projects are already under way. "We're carrying out a program up there with in-vitro fertilization on southern hairy nosed wombats," he said. "Breeding of koalas with the same genetics as the koalas that were in central Queensland and release them back to the wild in the Berserker Ranges. "We have two special chimps there. "They're a threatened species in Africa and we're looking to see if we can do something with them with Taronga Park Zoo and Adelaide Zoo and those places."

New Pocatello Zoo Exhibit
April 13, 2005 www.journalnet.com

POCATELLO Idaho- Pocatello Zoo will have its grand opening of the Ruffed Grouse and Mountain Quail exhibit Friday at 10 a.m. The exhibit is near the fox display in the upper level of the zoo. According to a press release, the new natural display will show visitors how the native grouse and quail live, and what is needed to protect their habitat. The project was initiated by a $6,000 donation from Don and Jane Streubel to honor the memory of Raleigh and Marjorie Davis, outdoor enthusiasts who loved upland game birds. Funding also came from a $10,000 grant through the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Pocatello employees from the Parks and Water Departments, the zoo, Idaho Fish and Game volunteers and L and A Concrete completed the project.

New Director for Jackson Mississippi Zoo
April 14, 2005 www.roanoke.com By Matt Chittum

Roanoke – Beth Poff, the 19-year Mill Mountain Zoo executive director who oversaw the zoo's rise to national accreditation and the addition of endangered species breeding, resigned Tuesday to take a job at a bigger zoo in Jackson, Miss. Poff's departure comes as the zoo tries to climb out of debt, looks for a curator and prepares for its busy spring and summer season, but she leaves on good terms and with the zoo's board hopeful about its future. Poff, now 47, started at the zoo in 1980 selling tickets and rose through the ranks from animal keeper to head of the operation. "I guess in the back of my mind I always thought someday I'm going to go to a larger zoo facility." She just started sending out resumes recently. She will take over as director of the Jackson Zoological Park on May 9. The Mississippi zoo has 350 animals on 45 acres, compared with Mill Mountain's 100 animals on 8 acres. The Jackson zoo sees about 200,000 visitors a year, or almost three times the attendance at Mill Mountain.

New Web Site for London Zoo & Whipsnade
April 14, 2005 www.netimperative.com By Robin Langford

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the charity that operates London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, has launched a new website to raise online awareness of its work and collections. The site was managed in house and designed and built by agency, The Other Media, and replaces the original static site. As well as sections on ZSL’s two living collections, at Whipsnade and London Zoo, there are areas dedicated to field conservation, discovery and learning, and the scientific work of the Institute of Zoology. A section is also included on Biota!, ZSL’s planned conservation centre in the docklands. Simon Rayner, ZSL’s head of communications: "The new website has been designed to raise the profile of our organisation, increase visitors to the two animal collections, raise awareness of ZSL’s work and provide increased revenue for the charity." The site now features tabs to navigate alongside a new search facility. The website aims to targeting ZSL’s broad and unique audience; from zoological scientists through to young children. Other new features include an interactive calendar and a shop, where users can buy tickets, memberships and adoptions, and donate to the work of ZSL. Users can also purchase images from an online library.

Brevard Zoo Hosts Special-Ed Art Event
April 14, 2005 www.floridatoday.com BY JOHN A. TORRES

VIERA, Florida – More than 400 special-education students spent Wednesday morning creating and displaying artwork at the Brevard Zoo. It was the first of three days for the 17th annual Very Special Arts festival. About 1,200 children and disabled adults are expected to take part in the program. The idea is let them experience success through the arts. Proponents of the program point to studies that say it helps improve vocabulary skills, helps prepare students for the workplace and can unite students and teachers. Student-created clay bird sculptures, mosaic butterflies, paintings of animal scenes and tiles decorated with animals adorned parts of the zoo Wednesday and the children kept creating more throughout the day. Area artists volunteer their services and expertise to this program that started in 1989. This is the second year the zoo has hosted the event.

Houston Zoo Monitors Baby Elephant
April 14, 2005 www.chron.com By SALATHEIA BRYANT

Born August 17, 2004 at the Houston Zoo, Bella, was rejected by her mother, Shanti, which is not uncommon for a first-time mother. Bella then had to endure bouts of diarrhea before zoo staff found a formula that agreed with her. And, last Tuesday, at 9 am, she stumbled on the soft ground and fell. At 552-pounds, she had some difficulty getting back up, but managed, with nudging from another elephant and encouragement from zoo handlers, to make it to the barn where she showed signs of being in pain. Zoo officials took an X-ray and discovered the fracture of her right rear femur. Hill said the X-ray was e-mailed to several veterinarians for advice on how to treat the injury. When it was decided that surgery was the best option, it took about nine men to lift Bella onto a gurney in the elephant barn and then transfer her to the clinic in a 15-passenger van. She then underwent a 2 1/2 -hour surgery at the Denton A. Cooley Animal Hospital, on the zoo grounds, at about 6:30 p.m, Wednesday. She went in around 3:40 p.m. Wednesday. Two surgeons — one out of state, another local — used four pins and a rod to repair the damaged leg. Recovery is expected to take eight to 10 weeks, but the next two weeks are the most critical because of the possibility of infection, so Bella will receive a regimen of antibiotics. Workers will have to come up with a device to restrict her mobility. Speaking in general terms about the injury, University of Wisconsin at Madison clinical instructor Joseph Foerner said most elephant fractures occur in adults. Foerner, who is board certified in animal surgery, said he attempted a surgery on the tibia of an adult circus elephant that slipped on asphalt about 10 years ago. That elephant had to be put to sleep three months later after a bone plate failed and a second attempt to repair it wasn't successful. Foerner said the operation presents some challenges, including a risk of infection and keeping the animal off the leg after surgery. "They don't happen very often and very few are attempted," Foerner said. "You're walking on the moon with those fractures. Even simple-type fractures are difficult. It's a guarded prognosis. I'm sure it was a very freakish accident." He has not seen Bella's injuries. One benefit Bella has in her favor, Foerner said, is her age. 

New Giant Amphibian Fossils in Africa
April 14, 2005 www.nature.com

Two new 250 million year-old species of large, meat-eating amphibians have been discovered. The report is published in today's issue of Nature, and describes the first and oldest amphibious carnivores from the Republic of Niger in West Africa. The animals are not found anywhere else in the world at that time and seem to be restricted to this one region of Africa that had one of the driest climates on the planet. Animal communities found in other parts of the world are similar to each other, but completely different from those in Niger. The shared temperate climates of these other communities may have forced them to evolve independently and in relative isolation from the Niger fauna. The two species of amphibians discovered are similar to crocodiles in shape. Nigerpeton ricglesi had rounded noses, with small eyes and both small and large fang-like teeth. Saharastega moradiensis had curved 'horns' on the back of its head and an array of small teeth. 

EU Legislation Effects Limassol Zoo
April 14, 2005 www.cyprus-mail.com By Sarah Mewes

Under a 1999 EU Zoo Directive, animals kept in artificial surroundings must be provided with "conditions which aim to satisfy the behavioural needs of the individual species." As a result of the directive, two big bears at Limassol Zoo will move to their new home in Hungary next month after spending years living in cramped conditions. The bears will be carried to a sanctuary in Hungary by plane under supervision of world experts on animal care and will be given a chance to re-adapt to a natural habitat and will eventually be set free. The actions being taken are the result collaboration between ARC (Animal Responsibility Cyprus), the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) and BFF (the Born Free Foundation). According to an ARC member, it is crucial to set most animals of the zoo free: "It is not that we are angry or consider the zoo a disgrace, in fact we do not want to use such language, but we do want to try our best to enforce EU legislation on the zoo in Limassol." Other animals at the zoo, which are accommodated in ways that do not meet the EU directive, include the leopards that are due to be moved to a sanctuary in Kenya as soon as the local authorities give their consent. Although the ARC intends eventually to bring many animals back to their original habitats, this will not be possible for all species at the zoo. The lioness, for example, is not fit and healthy enough to undertake airplane travel. Lambros Lambrou, director of Limassol zoo, was unwilling to comment on the changes concerning the zoo until more details were available.

No Progress in Returning Taiping Four Gorillas
April 14, 2005 www.iol.co.za

Four gorillas, smuggled out of West Africa in 2002, they were then brought to South Africa. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said today marks the first anniversary of the gorilla's arrival in South Africa on 14 April 2005. There is strong evidence to suggest that the gorillas originated from Cameroon and as a member of CITES, South Africa is required to uphold stipulations that illegally confiscated animals should be returned to their country of origin. But two separate requests by the Government of Cameroon for the return of the gorillas have been ignored by South Africa. Instead, the gorillas have been housed at the Pretoria zoo since arriving in South Africa one year ago, and have been shown to zoo visitors on special tours while their enclosure -- complete with in-house TV screens that allow the gorillas to be viewed indoors -- was being completed. The National Zoological Gardens is a government-run institution.

Zoo's first televised membership drive
April 14, 2005 memphis.bizjournals.com

"The Zoo's first televised membership drive was a great success," said Chuck Brady, the Zoo's president and CEO. "It gave us a chance to share the Zoo and the benefits of memberships with tens of thousands of viewers." Zoo officials plan to bring back the membership drive next year. The three-hour "Call of the Wild" program was broadcast live from the studios of WREG NewsChannel 3. The program highlighted Memphis Zoo history, current projects and future exhibits. Segments of the show featured live interviews with animal keepers and interpreters presenting some of the Zoo's amazing animal ambassadors. Anyone who called during the program to join the Zoo received a special gift: a pair of Memphis Zoo stuffed giant pandas. Approximately 500 memberships were sold during the Memphis Zoo's first televised membership drive on Saturday, April 9. The total cash raised from memberships, sponsorships and contributions exceeded $63,000. Since the 1990s, the Zoo has undergone a $77 million transformation. The "Call of the Wild" showcased those changes. The Memphis Zoo is a non-profit organization (501c3) dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. Family memberships to the Zoo start at $79. The Zoo currently has nearly 22,000 membership households. The Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. The Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park.

Paralyzed Panda Gets Surgery
April 14, 2005 news.xinhuanet.com/english

XI'AN, April 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Doctors at a leading hospital in northwest China say Thursday's operation on a paralyzed giant panda has been a success but they cannot tell at the moment when it will be on its feet again, or whether it ever will. The operation was conducted Thursday morning at the Xijing Hospital, affiliated with the No. 4 Medical University of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province. Prof. Li Mingquan was one of the four orthopedists who operated on Kangkang, the injured panda found by forestry workers at the Changqing Nature Reserve earlier this month. The operation lasted for two and a half hours and involved three anesthetists and two nurses, he said in an interview with Xinhua Friday. Prior to the operation, doctors reserved 400 milliliters of Kangkang's own blood for autotransfusion. The autotransfusion was successful and no excessive bleeding was reported during the operation, said Prof. Li. He said it was the world's first ever attempt to fix fractures in the thoracic vertebra of a giant panda and it was worth the risk because Kangkang could die shortly unless it was operated on. Sources with the Xijing Hospital said they had prepared a mobile X-ray device, an anesthesia respirator and an autotransfusion machine for the operation. All the equipment will be reserved for future veterinary surgeries. Kangkang was found to be suffering from fractures in the thoracic vertebra and a cataract had blinded his right eye. The veterinarians said it had probably fallen off a cliff during a fight with another panda a couple of weeks ago, because its wounds were not new. Doctors have named the panda "Kangkang", meaning healthy, with hopes it would recover soon.

Volunteers Clean Roosevelt Park Zoo
April 14, 2005 www.minotdailynews.com By ANDREA JOHNSON

MINOT, ND – With the opening of the Roosevelt Park Zoo only weeks away, students from the Burdick Job Corps Center helped rake out the monkey house and remove old hay from the sika and fallow deer pen. Students were helping out as part of National Youth Service Day. Job Corps students had their choice of service project on Wednesday. Today other students will participate in a neighborhood cleanup of areas around the Job Corps Center as part of Youth Service Days. Boy Scouts also spiffed up the penguin exhibit, taking out the grass from the habitat and installing rocks to make it look more natural. Zoo director Ron Merritt said other groups from the community also will come to help with spring cleaning at the zoo this week. And when the zoo opens, zoo goers should have some new things to see. Merritt said the otter exhibit installed last summer should still be fairly new to some visitors. The zoo also has some new baby animals that will be on display this year, including a baby Amur leopard born in January, a baby zebra born last Friday and a new grizzly bear from Montana. The zoo is open seven days a week during the spring and summer months. The price of admission is $2.75 for children ages 5 to 12; $5.50 for adults. Children under age 4 are admitted for free. A season pass for a family costs $45.

Crocodile Hunter Fights City Council
April 15, 2005 www.thecouriermail.news.com.au By Glenis Green

18 months ago, Steve Irwin said he was seriously considering moving his Beerwah zoo to another location because of problems with getting expansion plans through the Caloundra City Council. Now his fight has escalated over an application to establish a heliport and offer tourist flights from the zoo. When Irwin heard a rejection was imminent, his company, Silverback Properties, lodged an appeal with the Planning and Environment Court. Beerwah residents who support the zoo, but oppose the helicopter flights because of noise and environmental pollution concerns, have been lobbying the council for more than nine months to have the project shelved. More than 3500 people signed a petition objecting to the plan when it was presented to the council earlier this year.

Aye-aye born at Bristol Zoo
April 15, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

Only 10 institutions in the world have aye-ayes in captvity and the Bristol Zoo is proud to present a young male born there in February. Kintana is only the second aye-aye to be hand-reared in the world. The nocturnal animals, which are native to the African island of Madagascar, have long been persecuted for their unusual appearance. In some regions, they are killed by local people who believe they are ill omens. They are also viewed as pests due to their love of plantation crops, such as coconuts and lychees. He will eventually be re-introduced to his mother at the zoo. Keeper Caroline Brown said: "In the first few weeks, I was feeding him every two hours through a syringe with a plastic nibble, which meant setting my alarm throughout the night."

St. Louis Zoo Elephant is Expecting
April 15, 2005 www.kansascity.com

ST. LOUIS - Blood tests indicate that male elephant Raja's first offspring will be a female, due around the first week of November. Martha Fischer, curator of the zoo's mammals-ungulates, said the baby's gender won't be known for sure until its birth. Sri is the 24-year-old, 7,000-pound mom-to-be . She is fifteen months along in a 22-month pregnancy and will give birth to a 250- to 300-pound calf as early as September. Ellie, a 33-year-old Asian elephant, also is expecting - courtesy of Raja - and is due to give birth in July of next year.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Zoo Doo Program
April 15, 2005 seattlepi.nwsource.com By KERY MURAKAMI

Dan Corum, 43, is the new "Dr. Doo" in charge of the Seattle Zoo's popular Zoo Doo program, which sells compost made from zoo animal waste. Zoo Doo is promoted as being "the richest and most exotic compost in the Northwest.". Corum’s "turd toss" is his way of parceling out the limited supply of Zoo Doo. He flings a bit of dung (discus-style) onto a tarp spread out on the ground covered with dozens of postcards and letters addressed to Dr. Doo. Many people want to buy the compost in larger quantities than the pint or half-gallon sizes sold in the zoo gift shop. Dr. Doo selects about 100 of the letters and postcards lucky enough to be closest to the dung. Because he'll keep awarding the winners until the supply of compost runs out, he won't know precisely how many people have won until he finishes scheduling the pickups in about a week.

Detroit Zoo Duped in Bear Naming Contest
April 15, 2005 www.theoaklandpress.com By BOB GROSS

What appears to be an Internet joke might have unintentionally victimized the Detroit Zoo. The zoo and a television station collaborated on a contest to name the latest addition to the zoo - a female polar bear cub born Nov. 23. The contest winner? Talini, which is supposed to be Inuit for "snow angel." Except it isn't. The winner of the contest found "talini" after an Internet search. It shows up in a list titled "The Eskimos' Hundred Words for Snow" by someone named Phil James. But according to Lawrence Kaplan, department chairman of the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, "The Phil James list is completely fictional. None of the words on the list are Eskimo words or Inuit words." "There's a lot of crap on the Internet." said Kaplan.

Man Recovers From Elephant Kick
April 15, 2005 www.theledger.com  By Amber Smith

POLK CITY, Florida -- An elephant handler who was kicked by an elephant Wednesday is expected to make a full recovery. David R. Mannes, 52, of Clermont, was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Medical Center at 9 p.m. Wednesday after being kicked by an elephant at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Elephant Conservation Center near Old Grade Road in Polk City. He suffered a fractured pelvis and a soft tissue wound to his arm," said Melinda Rosser, a spokeswoman for Ringling Bros. Bruce Read, vice president of animal stewardship for the center, said the accident occurred when Tova, a 36-year-old female Asian elephant, wanted some bread Mannes was feeding to Lutzi, a 50-year-old female elephant who was next to Tova. "This is normal elephant behavior," Read said. "Both elephants were in the night house for their night feeding and Tova wanted the bread and the handler stepped in to say 'no.' "She was reaching with her trunk and basically knocked him down and then kicked him to get him out of the way. She is not an aggressive animal and the handler didn't do anything wrong."

Florida adopts new rules for protected species
April 15, 2005 www.news-press.com By AARON DESLATTE

TALLAHASSEE — Florida species such as the manatee and bald eagle, long considered endangered, will get a second examination under new rules approved by the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The changes are the product of a six-year struggle between the scientific community and a coalition of business interests, the Florida Farm Bureau and policy-makers intent on revising the state's criteria for listing imperiled species. In 1999, the commission voted to redefine its "endangered" and "threatened" species definition to more closely mirror those of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a scientific organization with 25 member nations. Florida, considered a national leader in endangered-species protection, would be the first state to adopt the standards. But scientists and conservationists have argued Florida's proposed classifications were weaker than the international organization's and the end result could lead to species in danger of extinction being bumped off Florida's list. The state has had a moratorium on re-evaluating species since 1994, but the commission's vote authorized the state to review the status of five species immediately, including manatees, bald eagles and gopher tortoises. State officials cautioned none of the species would have its status changed until scientific panels complete a species-by-species review. The new rules could do more to protect some species because state laws would be tailor-made, state officials said.

Toad Critical Habitat Scaled Back
April 15, 2005 abcnews.go.com 

LOS ANGELES - Federal wildlife officials scaled back habitat protections for the endangered arroyo toad in five Southern California counties in part because of the costly impact on development and water deliveries. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's final designation Wednesday of 11,695 acres in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties as critical habitat for the toad is dramatically lower than the earlier 182,360-acre plan struck down by the courts. In some cases, acreage was refined to exclude areas not used by the toad. Other areas were deleted after Interior Secretary Gale Norton determined protections or alterations to projects or developments required to protect the habitat would be too costly. The three-inch toad was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1994 because 75 percent of its habitat was lost to development. The toads are vulnerable to nonnative predators such as bullfrogs. Environmental groups said the final habitat designation falls short of what the amphibian needs to survive. The toad lives and breeds in slow-moving pools and open, sandy terraces by streams.

How to Fix the Endangered Species Act
April 15, 2005 news.search.yahoo.com By JAY LEHR, PH.D.

Using the ESA, the federal government tried to protect endangered species in its usual "command and control" manner, punishing people who discovered their land harbored a rare and vulnerable animal by imposing restrictions on how the land could be used. Under the ESA, most folks are better off looking the other way--or worse, finding ways to make the endangered species leave or "disappear." The ESA is popular with radical environmental activists not because it actually protects animals, but because it allows the activists to sue landowners and government agencies to stop development. The Property Rights Found-ation of America, under the leadership of President Carole W. LaGrasse, has worked diligently for more than a decade to protect individual freedom against the excesses of environmental activists and rogue government agencies. The foundation has developed a reasonable alternative to the ESA that the public will accept. Its recommendations are as follows:

* Listings of endangered and threatened species should be based solely on independent, peer-reviewed science, conducted by independent scientists not in the employ of either the government or environmental act-ivist organizations. DNA analysis--not just the color of fur or feathers--should be required for recognition of separate species.

* All habitat designated for protection of endangered or threatened species should be reviewed by independent scientists to ensure its quality. Gov-ernment-owned land should always be favored. Efforts to overlap protected habitat for multiple species should be made.

* All current protected habitat should be inventoried before any new habitat is designated.

* Restrictions on the use of private property for protection of habitat for endangered spec-ies should be compensated. Compensation for regulatory takings for endangered species habitat should equal the reduction in fair market value of the affected property.

* A Private Property Rights Ombudsman should be established in the U.S. Department of Interior to represent the interest of property owners.

* Citizens should be allowed to volunteer land for habitat reserves as well as bid on the right to operate such a reserve with appropriate lease compensation.

* The federal Endangered Species Act should be restructured to supersede all state and local endangered, threatened, and rare species protections on private property.

If the nation's Founding Fathers were here today, they would include all these provisions in any legislation proposed to protect endangered wildlife. Proof of this is the Fifth Amendment to the United States Consti-tution: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." Animal lovers and freedom lovers should not be divided over the best way to protect animals without endangering individual liberty. For the sake of animals and property owners everywhere, let's have the courage to follow LaGrasse's lead.

Baby Rhino Named for Designer Marc Ecko
April 15, 2005 — www.enn.com

SAN DIEGO — Designer Marc Ecko, who made a rhino logo into a fashion statement, now has a zoo rhino named in his honor. A 3-month-old Indian rhino born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park has been named "Ecko" in honor of the designer, who donated $150,000 to launch the International Rhino Foundation's project to save the species, park officials announced Thursday. The project will work with the Wild Animal Park to move Indian rhinos to reserves in India, protecting them from poachers who hunt the species for its horn. It also will support breeding exchanges between the park and zoos in India.  Ecko founded his rhino-branded apparel line, Ecko Unltd., in 1992. He said that as he learned about the animal over the years, "a true affinity was born." "More than just a logo, the rhino took on a whole new meaning as we began to coexist with it. We always said that the rhino is a survivor, so when we overcame our early financial struggles it was only natural that we dedicate ourselves to giving back to the animal that provided the inspiration," Ecko said in a statement.

Wholphin Born at Sea Life Park Hawaii
April 15, 2005 www.enn.com By Jeanette J. Lee, Associated Press

HONOLULU — A rare whale-dolphin mix has given birth to a playful female calf, said officials at a Hawaii water life park. The calf was born on Dec. 23 to Kekaimalu, a mix of a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Officials at Sea Life Park Hawaii said they waited to announce the birth on Thursday because of recent changes in ownership and operations at the park. The young as-yet unnamed wholphin is one-fourth false killer whale and three-fourths Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Her slick skin is an even blend of a dolphin's light gray and the black coloring of a false killer whale. The calf still depends fully on her mother's milk, but sometimes snatches frozen capelin from the hands of trainers, then toys with the sardine-like fish. She is jumbo-sized compared to purebred dolphins, and is already the size of a one-year-old bottlenose. "Mother and calf are doing very well," said Dr. Renato Lenzi, general manager of Sea Life Park by Dolphin Discovery. "We are monitoring them very closely to ensure the best care for them." Although false killer whales and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are different species, they are classified within the same family by scientists. "They are not that far apart in terms of taxonomy," said Louis Herman, a leading expert in the study of marine mammals. There have been reports of wholphins in the wild, he said.

Baby Elephant, Bella, is Euthanized
April 15, 2005 www.khou.com

"This morning a series of X-rays indicated that the rod and pins implanted during Wednesday's surgery were not successful in securing Bella's broken femur," said Zoo Director Rick Barongi. "It was clear from the start that surgery was our best option to repair the fracture and give Bella a fighting chance. We knew this was a high-risk procedure. That's why we brought in a highly qualified team of surgeons to assist our experienced veterinary team," said Barongi. "Euthanization was a very difficult decision," he said. "But we had to be realistic. We had already asked a lot of Bella with the initial surgery. The entire animal care team agreed that to ask her to endure another surgery." The Zoo staff that had raised Bella since her birth on Aug. 17, 2004 was given a chance to say good bye to her. Bella's mother Shanti and her adopted mother Methai were given physical and visual contact after her passing. The 8-month-old Asian elephant calf was euthanized at 9:30 a.m. Bella's body has been transported to Texas A&M where a necropsy will be performed. 

Ivan the Gorilla May Breed
April 17, 2005 seattlepi.nwsource.com

TACOMA, Wash. – Ivan is a 41 year old gorilla who spent 27 years in a concrete-and-steel cage at the B & I store in Tacoma, WA. When he arrived in Atlanta in 1994, on loan from Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, he weighed 338 pounds. Now he's a hefty 380 - the heaviest gorilla at the zoo. He's fit, he's healthy and he seems to be coming out of his shell. "I can tell you, he seems very happy and very social with the other gorillas," said Jodi Kissinger, one of Ivan's keepers at Zoo Atlanta. That has not always been the case. In the past he seemed timid, almost preferring to be alone. Given his decades of isolation in the Northwest, zoo officials were not surprised. Even though he has had access to four females - Shamba, Kinyani, Kashata and Kudzoo - since 1998 he has not bred. Females used to come over and steal his food, and slap him coming by. Now he is starting to stand up to them. Hoping privacy could be the key, zoo officials have taken Ivan to a more private habitat to introduce him to a new female gorilla named Olympia. Her outgoing character has caught Ivan's eye. "There have been certain looks between them over the moat," Turton said. Olympia was kept separated for a time to get acclimated to Ivan and the females in his habitat. If a female likes Ivan, she can make the first move, Davis said. "As long as he's receptive, it can happen," he said. "He's laid-back, and she's young." Olympia will be the sixth female zoo matchmakers have tried to get together with Ivan. He’s the only one of the zoo's three silverbacks who has not produced offspring.

The Cost of San Diego Attractions
April 17, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Judith Morgan

Annual memberships in museums, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the San Diego Zoo, paid off in guest passes and parking permits. A breezy day at the Zoo's Wild Animal park in San Pasqual Valley was better than any previous visit: Winter rains had left the place as green as the hills of Africa. A train ride on the WGASA Bush Line (included with admission) was packed with surprises, beginning with the proud trot-by of a 7- month-old black rhino. Even the train's safari guide was astonished at the robust clusterings of giraffes, elephants and antelope herds, milling near the tracks. In the sloping acres called the Heart of Africa, my niece and I leaned on a ranch-style fence to stare at an okapi -- that chocolate- backed relative of the giraffe. "Hello, friend," I called. "Come on over. I speak Okapi." The okapi fluttered its long eyelashes and ambled up to the fence, where we scratched its back and stroked its head. IF YOU GO: Information for the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park can be found online at www.sandiegozoo.org. Visit the carrier Midway online at www.midway.org . Admission for the Midway costs $13 for adults; $10 for people 62 and over; and $7 for ages 6-17. More information about SeaWorld can be found online at www.seaworld.com.

Developers Object to Habitat Protection
April 18, 2005 www.nctimes.com By Dave Downey

RIVERSIDE ---- Developers blasted a local agencies' handling of a plan to create 153,000 acres of endangered-species reserves in western Riverside County. The regional habitat conservation plan was supposed to bring clarity and predictability to the complicated process of setting aside land for protecting wildlife, but instead has delivered only confusion, building representatives said at a workshop hosted by the county Board of Supervisors. Many developers had supported the plan's creation because it aimed to clarify where they would be allowed to build and what requirements they would face if building in an environmentally sensitive area. The plan was supposed to speed up the process of getting approvals for building. Ten months after state and federal officials signed off on the $1 billion plan, developers said they are left with more questions than answers. Developers added that processing development plans is taking far more time and costing much more money than anticipated.

Preventing Invasive Species
April 18, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

According to recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article by Drs. Jonathan M. Jeschke and David L. Strayer, our best defense in combating invasive animals is ensuring that they don't infiltrate our natural areas in the first place. The authors' exhaustive analysis, which drew on data from the 15th century to the 20th century, revealed that for every four animals that made the transatlantic journey, one became invasive. Jeschke notes, "Our data indicate that once introduced, vertebrates have a 25% chance of becoming invasive. This figure, which appears to be true for other animals as well, is significantly higher than the 1% probability that dominates invasive species risk assessment. The 1% probability is based on plant invasions. Introduced animals do not act like introduced plants— they appear to have a much higher invasion success rate." The bottom line— vertebrate animals have a high rate of invasion success. Once established, they can act as biological pollutants that result in ecological and economic damages. "The best way to combat invasive species is to prevent them from being introduced. As global trade increases, precautions like port inspection and exotic wildlife regulations are essential. Consumers also need to be educated; many exotic animals that are legal as pets could be ecologically lethal if released into the wild."

London Zoo Society picks two agencies
April 18, 2005 www.brandrepublic.com MARK KLEINMAN

The Zoological Society of London has appointed The Reef and Initiative Media to build its profile among core audiences including families with young children and overseas visitors wanting a taste of the essence of London. The Reef will be responsible for a series of promotional campaigns, breaking before Christmas and running throughout next year. Initiative will oversee the Society's media strategy, including all planning and buying responsibilities. Its marketing budget is estimated to be worth just under £1m. Another strand of the strategy will be to promote entertainment facilities and corporate hospitality offers, which form an important element of the Society's income. As well as promoting the specific attractions, the Society will also focus on its remit as a conservation charity that raises money for work to protect endangered species. Around 900,000 people will have visited the zoo this year, slightly down on last year's figure. London Zoo has been affected by the general downturn in tourism triggered by the foot-and-mouth crisis and the terrorist attacks in the US. Whipsnade, however, has beaten its target for 2002 of 430,000 visitors by around 20,000.

Ocean Warming harms Elephant Seals
April 18, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

Ocean warming has a negative impact on the condition of elephant seals, reveals a study published in the Open Access journal BMC Biology at www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/3/9. High ocean temperatures observed from 1975 to the late 1990s are correlated with a 28% decrease in the weight of elephant seal pups. Elephant seals are shown to be sensitive to ocean temperature changes associated with both long-term 25-year cycles and short-term 3-4 year cycles such as those caused by El NiZo. Sea lions and fur seals that feed near their rookeries at the surface of the ocean are known to be very sensitive to water temperature changes, as an increase in water temperature usually causes their prey to migrate to cooler areas, depleting local food resources and resulting in pup starvation. Elephant seals, which feed in deep waters, were previously thought to be better buffered against ocean temperature changes than other sea mammals. A study by Dr Burney Le Boeuf and Dr David Crocker from the University of California in Santa Cruz, shows that as waters get warmer the average weight of an elephant seal pup decreases. Weaning weights are a direct indicator of food availability to mother seals during their pregnancy. Because their prey has migrated to colder waters, female seals have to swim further and spend more time searching for food. As a result, they gain less body mass while pregnant and have fewer reserves to draw on during nursing. Nursing pups get all nourishment from their mothers; changes in ocean temperature therefore directly affect the weight, and the survival rate, of the pups.

Jaguar Escape at Singapore Zoo
April 18, 2005 www.todayonline.com By Patricia Yap

One of the seven jaguars at the Singapore Zoological Gardens escaped from its enclosure at about 2pm and roamed free for about a half an hour. This was the second time in 10 years that a large cat got out of its enclosure. In 1996, a Malayan tiger was shot dead by zoo officials after it escaped from its enclosure at the Night Safari. Fortunately, the jaguar was safely returned to its enclosure within 30 minutes and visitors who were temporarily evacuated were allowed back into the zoo. The zoo, declined to give more details, but is investigating the incident. 1.2 million people visit the zoo each year.

SF Zoo sells naming rights for grizzlies
April 18, 2005 sanfrancisco.about.com

SAN FRANCISCO -— The San Francisco Zoo plans to sell the naming rights to two grizzly bears to the highest bidder. Zoo officials will auction off the right to name the orphaned sisters, who were going to be euthanized in Montana before the zoo agreed to take them in October. The zoo hopes to get at least $30,000 for naming rights for the pair at its April 29 fundraising gala, zoo spokeswoman Nancy Chan said. In November, the zoo promoted a naming contest after the 2-year-old bears made their public debut. About 750 entries came in. Winners were to be picked in January, but the announcement never came. The contest was canceled recently and those people who sent in names will be given free zoo passes.

USFWS Guidelines for Bird-Power line Strikes
April 18, 2005 news.fws.gov

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) recently released voluntary guidelines designed to help electrical utilities protect and conserve migratory birds. Working with the guidelines, a utility can use the latest technology and science to tailor a voluntary Avian Protection Plan that meets specific utility needs at its facilities. "The voluntary guidelines for protecting birds from electrocution and collisions with power lines will improve safeguards for migratory birds," said Acting Service Director Matt Hogan. "We value our partnership with APLIC and the electric utility industry, and encourage electric power companies to take advantage of the new guidelines." An Avian Protection Plan is utility-specific and is designed to reduce avian and operational risks that result from avian interactions with electric utility facilities. Electrocutions are a particular threat to birds with large wingspans, such as eagles, hawks, and owls - all species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Wire strikes are a problem for many different bird species. Birds also can cause power outages and fires, resulting in increased costs and inconvenience for electric utilities and their customers. More information can be found at www.aplic.org . "Last week's signing of the Avian Protection Plan Guidelines is a shining example of what can be accomplished when industry and the Fish and Wildlife Service roll up their sleeves and work together on a project," said Florida Power & Light Principal Biologist and APLIC Chair Jim Lindsay. The guidance document, which will be available by the week of April 18, 2005 at d , references the latest industry standards for preventing avian power line interactions.

USDA Upgrades TB Designation for California
April 18, 2005 www.aphis.usda.gov 

WASHINGTON, APRIL 18, 2005—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is amending its bovine tuberculosis regulations for State and zone classifications by upgrading California’s designation from modified accredited advanced to accredited-free. California has met the criteria for accredited-free status by demonstrating that it has zero percent prevalence of affected cattle or bison herds and has had no significant findings of tuberculosis in any cattle or bison herds in the two years since the depopulation of the last affected herd in the state. Additionally, the state has complied with the conditions of the Uniform Methods and Rules. Therefore, APHIS is amending the current regulations to remove California from the list of modified accredited advanced states and adding it to the list of accredited-free states. Cattle or bison that originate in an accredited-free state or zone may be moved interstate without restriction. For a herd to qualify as accredited, a negative finding on two annual TB tests must be attained for the herd, including testing animals of any age that are not natural additions. Deer and elk herds must test negative for 3 consecutive years. To qualify and continue as an accredited herd, livestock must be tested annually within 9 to 15 months of the anniversary of the original test. Livestock from any herd in an accredited-free state may be added to an accredited herd without a qualifying test. APHIS documents published in the Federal Register are available on the Internet at  www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before June 14. Send an original and three copies of postal or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. 05-010-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to EDOCKET at www.epa.gov/feddocket , click on "View Open APHIS Dockets," and locate agency Docket No. 05-010-1. Comments received may be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

Injured Zoo worker back at Lincoln Park
April 19, 2005 www.suntimes.com BY ANDREW HERRMANN

Nancy DeFiesta, a keeper for more than 15 years, was seriously injured last September after she entered the Lincoln Park Zoo’s outside lion pen to give the lions water after she had already let the lions free from their inside cages. DeFiesta, 61, suffered dozens of wounds on her arms, neck and head before she managed to summon a rescue team with her radio. That team used fire extinguishers to move the lions back inside through a doorway. Now, after her wounds have healed and after receiving professional counseling she has returned to work. A federal investigation blamed "human error'' for the attack but found no safety violations. The U.S. Labor Department did recommend better signs in the lion moat to show if animals are in the yard and improved use of radios by keepers to notify other staff when they are entering exhibits. The zoo has added flashing lights to alert keepers when animals are in areas and re-trained handlers on radioing other keepers about their whereabouts, officials have said. 

Condor chick hatches at Oregon Zoo
4/19/2005, www.oregonlive.com By KATY MULDOON

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first California condor chick of the year has hatched at the at the Oregon Zoo's captive breeding compound in Clackamas County. This brings the total California condor population to 245 -- up from a low of 22 birds in the early 1980s. The chick's foster mother wrapped the downy newborn in her soft breast feathers and delivered the first feeding of regurgitated raw meat. The chick is about 4 inches long and an estimated 8 ounces to 9 ounces. Its sex is unknown. The egg was laid Feb. 21 and moved to an incubator two weeks later for artificial incubation. Keepers hoped that parents Tama and Mandan would mate again and produce another egg but a second egg was not produced. It is the first chick this season for the zoo, which opened the nation's fourth California condor captive breeding program in 2003. Two more eggs from different females are due to hatch in early May.

Koalas set for return to UK zoo
April 19, 2005 news.scotsman.com By GARETH EDWARDS

Edinburgh Zoo is set to become home to the only koalas in Britain following an absence in UK zoos of 12 years. Two male animals will be sent from the San Diego Zoo along with a San Diego Zoo Keeper who will remain until the koalas are settled. San Diego is the biggest holder and breeder of koalas outside of Australia. They have operated a loan program, principally for United States zoos, for many years. The program is very strictly run and extra conditions are in place for things such as food preparation, storage and transporting of the animals. The zoo in San Diego will also provide ongoing help with the care of the animals, and if the eucalyptus they need does not grow well in Edinburgh, fresh branches will be shipped over twice a week. The koalas will be the stars of the zoo’s Oztravaganza exhibit about marsupials and Australian wildlife in June.

San Antonio Zoo Slaughter
April 19, 2005 www.woai.com By Jim Forsyth

The San Antonio Zoo’s mission statement claims an 'appreciation and concern for all living things,' but each month, zoo employees trap dozens of animals on the grounds and euthanizes most of them, according to internal zoo documents obtained by 1200 WOAI news. Zoo officials confirm that roughly two dozen cats, opossums, skunks, and occasional fox that enter zoo property from nearby Brackenridge Park are 'humanely and chemically euthanized' The cats are taken across the street to the city animal shelter, where most of them are put to death. Animal activist, Lynn Cuny’s Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Organization takes in unwanted animals, and is disturbed by the zoo's policy. Zoo Director Steve McCusker says the trapping and killing policy is necessary, because he has seen wild animals cause 'catastrophic' damage to some of the birds and small animals in his care. "They prey on bird eggs, they prey on birds, they prey on other small animals that we maintain, and they pass disease," he said. "We don't club them, we don't strangle them," he said of the small animals.  Jane Bulletined of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association says the San Antonio Zoo's problem is not unusual, and it's a difficult one for zoos to deal with. "It is an ongoing challenge, to keep the animals inside the zoo safe from other predators, or from animals that slink in during the night," she said. Cuny, who is a former employee of the San Antonio Zoo, says the policy was in place back in the mid seventies, but she had hoped that it had 'stopped as zoos develop new ways of doing things,' but Mccusker said he has no plans to change the trap and kill policy.

Elephant’s Pregnancy Criticized
April 19, 2005 www.chron.com By SALATHEIA BRYANT

Shanti, the Asian elephant at the Houston zoo who gave birth to baby Bella last August is expected to have her second calf in late 2006. The pregnancy may have occurred outside the breeding protocol to which members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, or AZA, must adhere. The zoo first should have sought a recommendation for this second birth, according to the chairman of the advisory committee overseeing the group's elephant species survival plan. "We're pleased that Shanti is pregnant again," the AZA's Mike Keele said. "I wish they had followed the procedure prior to breeding. The fact that they didn't follow the procedure is not a good thing. We still would have liked to have had the conversation. This doesn't happen that often. I believe they made an honest mistake," he said. "I think they believe they were following the recommendations as they perceived them." But zoo officials said they didn't need a new recommendation since Shanti came to Houston in 2001 with a recommendation to breed. "We were operating under the previous recommendation, which gave us the green light. Shanti was specially brought here to breed," said Sharon Joseph, the zoo's director of animal programs. Shanti, who was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, gave birth in August to Bella. However, the new mother rejected the calf by not allowing her to nurse. The newborn had to be hand-fed. Bella was euthanized last week after fracturing her right rear femur in a fall.

Gorillas in Limbo
April 19, 2005 thestar.com.my By HILARY CHIEW

After being quarantined for a year, the infamous Taiping Four gorillas look set for public display at their new home in a zoo in South Africa amid a fresh outcry for them to be returned to their range state in West Africa. Malaysia’s decision in sending the four young apes to the National Zoological Garden in Pretoria had created problems with international animal rights groups. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is now criticizing the South African Government for failing to convene a technical committee to facilitate the return of the Taiping Four gorillas to West Africa as promised. Instead the government is allowing preparations to continue for placing the gorillas on public display. "The gorillas are already on public display as foreign tourists are taking pictures of the animals, unsupervised in the indoor enclosure of a new still-under-construction facility," said Christina Pretorius, Ifaw’s Southern Africa communications manager. The four young gorillas, believed to be of the western lowland species, were smuggled from Cameroon into Nigeria some time before 2002. Babies at that time, the animals were placed at the University of Ibadan Zoological Garden which facilitated the illicit trade in the highly endangered species. Gorillas are protected against international trade through their listing under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). Trade is allowed only for scientific and conservation purposes and the specimens must be captive-bred.

Washington’s Salmon Recovery Plan
April 19, 2005 news.yahoo.com By JEFF BARNARD

VANCOUVER, Wash. - The National Marine Fisheries Service endorsed the first formal plan for restoring salmon species in the Columbia River basin. The recovery plan calls for restoring salmon species such as chum and chinook as well as steelhead trout in watersheds that drain into the lower Columbia River. The plan includes analyzing fishing, hatchery management and hydroelectric operations to determine how the fish populations were prevented from expanding over the years and strategies for overcoming those obstacles. "This really does mark a turning point in the story of salmon management in the Northwest," said Rob Masonis, regional director for American Rivers, a conservation group. "For a long time, we've been focused on preventing stocks from going extinct. Now we are talking about trying to recover abundant populations that are fishable." Other recovery proposals are expected from Oregon, Idaho and the rest of Washington state by the end of the year. The fisheries service plans to roll those plans into a comprehensive initiative to be finalized next year, officials said. More information is at: www.lcfrb.gen.wa.us/default1.htm 

Nepal's Rhinos Critically Endangered
Apr 19, 2005 www.usnewswire.com By Lee Poston

WASHINGTON -- Political instability leading to increased poaching, and a lack of adequate protection over the past five years, have drastically reduced Nepal's rhino population according to World Wildlife Fund. Sponsored by the government, a team of 25 trained field staff led by a scientist swept the park on elephant back identifying and counting individual rhinos. Census figures reveal that the population of endangered greater one-horned rhinos in Royal Chitwan National Park has dropped from 544 in 2000 to 372 today -- a 31 percent decline since 2000. At least 94 rhinos were lost to poaching. Other causes of death included flooding, fighting, predation and age. Increased poaching is probably due to the reduction in the number of anti-poaching posts from 32 to eight, but a more detailed analysis is currently underway. The Maoist insurgency has led to a situation where it is no longer practical for park staff and soldiers with the Royal Nepalese army to maintain a large number of anti poaching camps. The Census was conducted in Nepal's Royal Chitwan National Park, about 120 miles South of Kathmandu and the home of most of the country's rhinos. In the 1960s, there were less than 100 rhinos in Nepal. Intensive conservation action, especially anti-poaching efforts, pushed the numbers to 612 in the year 2000, with Chitwan alone having 544 rhinos.

Elephant Kills Tourist in Uganda
April 19, 2005 edition.cnn.com

KAMPALA, Uganda (Reuters) -- An elephant gored a tourist to death in a Ugandan national park after the man, carrying an 8-year-old boy in his arms, approached the animal's calf, wildlife officials said on Tuesday. The elephant used its trunk to hurl the man into a tree, before stamping on him and spearing him with its tusks in Murchison Falls National Park. The 28-year-old man threw the child to safety.  "The tourists were with our ranger, but they alighted from their vehicles and approached quite a huge herd," Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) spokeswoman Lillian Nsubuga said. "He says he tried to dissuade them from going closer." Female elephants are fiercely protective of anything they perceive as a threat to their young. Nsubuga said game drives were very safe, but illegal hunting had made elephants in Murchison and Uganda's other parks wary of people approaching on foot. Murchison Falls, 300 km (186 miles) northwest of the capital Kampala, is Uganda's biggest park. Sunday's attack took place during a game drive near Nyamsika Cliff, overlooking the Victoria Nile near the falls where it flows into Lake Albert. Six of the tourists, said by authorities to be Ugandans of Indian origin, left their cars and began photographing an elephant and calf. A park worker said the elephant charged at the man before picking him up, stepping on him and piercing his stomach with its tusks. "It swung him around, hitting him on the trunk of a thick tree," he told the paper. The man was dead by the time a rescue team arrived.

Bali mynah chicks at Roger Williams Park Zoo
April 19,2005 www.abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, RI – Zoo keepers at Roger Williams Park are watching and waiting -- as three Bali mynah chicks hatched April 4th are expected to leave the nest for the first time this week. They've been attended by both parents while inside a hollow log. The chicks won't be on display to the public quite yet because fledging is a critical time for their survival. Bali mynahs are from northern Bali and are critically endangered -- there are fewer than 15 remaining in the wild. The decline of the species is blamed partly on its value as a pet. The birds have a striking appearance with a dramatic white crest and black feathers around the eyes. They can also be taught to speak.

Prairie Chickens Move to NASA
April 20, 2005 biz.yahoo.com

HOUSTON, -- Once there were about a million of them, but now fewer than 50 are left in the wild. Now some of the endangered Attwater's Prairie Chickens in the Houston Zoo's breeding program will move to NASA's Johnson Space Center. Establishment of a breeding facility on about two acres of JSC land is part of a new agreement between the zoo and the space center. That agreement also sets aside about 10 acres of JSC land to grow eucalyptus trees and other plants as food for zoo animals. "This is a win-win partnership for everyone involved," said Zoo Director Rick Barongi. "The prairie chickens benefit as a species by having a quiet, secure, and safe location for the breeding program and JSC employees and area school students will benefit through the program's education component." It grew out of a chance meeting between the Zoo's then-president Philip Cannon and Howell. "As they talked about the missions of their respective organizations, it became clear there were areas of common interest and concern," said Sandra Parker of JSC's Environmental Office. The zoo's breeding program began in 1994 with two dozen eggs taken from the nests of wild flocks in Texas. Today there are 26 birds involved in the Zoo's Attwater's prairie chicken captive breeding program. Zoo officials believe a more remote and quiet location will provide a better environment for the propagation of the species.  "We believe the JSC site will not only provide a quality environment but will also give us the capacity to breed more birds," said Houston Zoo Bird Curator Lee Schoen. "Our goal is to increase the number of birds so the population can survive without human intervention."

Northern quoll 'endangered'
April 20, 2005 www.abc.net.au

The northern quoll was been officially listed as an endangered species by the Federal Environment Minister. The marsupial's numbers have been decimated by introduced predators, grazing and the northern march of the cane toad. Mary Oakwood from Envirotech has been studying the decline of the quoll in Kakadu National Park. She says the endangered listing will prompt the Federal Government to take action. "Once something is listed as endangered under this particular act, the Commonwealth Government then encourages the development of what's called a recovery plan," she said. "The recovery plan explains all the research we know about the species, and proposes management actions we can then carry out to stop the decline of the species and hopefully support recovery."

Whooping Cranes Produce Egg
April 20, 2005 www.operationmigration.org

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. - A pair of whooping cranes has produced what's thought to be the first egg from an experimental flock — a big step for the endangered species. A worker at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge discovered a whooping crane incubating an egg Saturday, but the egg was destroyed by Sunday — most likely by a raccoon or other predator, said Larry Wargowsky, manager of the 44,000-acre refuge in central Wisconsin. Joe Duff, co-founder of Operation Migration, a Canadian nonprofit organization that uses ultralight aircraft to lead whooping cranes on migrations from Wisconsin to Florida, said "We're very excited because this is way earlier than we expected," Duff said.  Whooping cranes, North America's tallest bird, typically reach sexual maturity between the ages of 3 and 8, Duff said. The mating pair was hatched in 2001 and 2002.

Authors Save Old-Growth Forests
April 20, 2005 news.yahoo.com By JOHN MCKAY

TORONTO (CP) - The fictional writer Alice Munro and other renowned authors are helping to spearhead a made-in-Canada environmental campaign designed to save the world's endangered old-growth forests. The Vancouver-based environmental group Markets Initiative says wants to get the Canadian publishing industry - and eventually other global counterparts to shift from printing on paper that originates from ancient forests to more ecologically responsible alternatives. In 2001, Munro approached her publishers and persuaded them to print her book, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage only on ancient-forest-friendly paper. Since then, 17 other publishers have come on board, such as Random House, UBC Press and Raincoast Books of Vancouver, which owns the rights to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which hits bookstores in July and is expected to sell 1.2 million copies, all on 100 per cent recycled paper. More information is at www.oldgrowthfree.com

California Condors Reproducing in Wild
April 20, 2005 www.tucsoncitizen.com By LARRY COPENHAVER

The California condor seems to be starting the 2005 breeding season with success. "We have confirmed two pairs of adults are incubating," said Kathy Sullivan, California Condor Coordinator for Arizona Game & Fish Department. "Both male and female switch out, so we know they are incubating."  Sullivan said other pairs are suspected of incubating, but that's not been confirmed. "Some of the caves are quite large, but we don't disturb them during incubation." However, biologists monitor nests after hatching to make sure the parents haven't brought dangerous trash created by humans, Sullivan said. "Bottle caps, pieces of glass and pieces of metal have been removed from nesting caves and unfortunately in the crops of birds that have died." The natural habitat of the birds is around and north of the Grand Canyon in the Kaibab National Forest, Sullivan said. That includes Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, the site where captive-bred condors are released into the wild. The eggs are expected to hatch in May, she said. The chicks are expected to fledge in November. Sullivan said monitoring condors, is made easier with satellite-monitored transmitters with Global Positioning System capability.  The transmitters are provided by Arizona Game & Fish, she said. In all, nine birds are wearing GPS transmitters, and an additional eight transmitters are ready to be deployed. For more information on the Condor Restoration Project, visit The Peregrine Fund's Web site, www.peregrinefund.org .

Old Growth Up Spotted Owl Down
April 20, 2005 www.enn.com By Jeff Barnard

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ten years after the Northwest Forest Plan cut logging on national forests by more than 80% to increase the amount of old growth forest habitat for the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet, a threatened bird that lives and eats on the ocean but nests in old trees along the coast. It also called for improving the health of watersheds to help salmon and other fish. The plan covers 24 million acres on 19 national forests and seven BLM districts in western Washington, Oregon and Northern California defined by the range of the northern spotted owl. By embracing the new concept of ecosystem management, the plan marked a major change in federal management of natural resources. The government has spent $50 million to monitor how the plan has affected watersheds, wildlife, timber supply, and other issues. But the northern spotted owl populations are down and with no clear reason why, scientists reported Tuesday. Meanwhile, the plan has fallen far short of fulfilling its promise of a steady supply of timber or replacing lost timber jobs with new opportunities in the small towns near federal forest land, said Thomas Quigley, director of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Reserarch Station in Portland. "Many of the impacts were different than predicted." Populations have fared slightly better on lands covered by the Northwest Forest Plan than on state or private lands, said Joe Lint, a BLM wildlife biologist. Scientists have no clear picture of what is causing the declines, but factors include invasion of spotted owl habitat by the barred owl, an aggressive cousin from Canada that often drives them off; habitat lost to past logging and wildfire; climate changes; and insect infestations, said Lint. Eric Forsman, a Forest Service spotted owl biologist, said even killing off barred owls was unlikely to help the spotted owl, because the territory is so large and there is nothing to stop new barred owls from migrating in from Canada.

USFWS aids Tsunami Wildlife Victims
April 20, 2005 www.allamericanpatriots.com

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it is awarding a $64,000 grant to Fauna & Flora International-Indonesia Program to aid in Tsunami relief efforts for the hard-hit province of Aceh, located on the northwestern tip of Indonesia's island of Sumatra. This grant is part of the Service's effort to lessen the threat to wildlife and ensure sustainable long-term relief efforts on behalf of the region's human populations, by supporting efforts to integrate biodiversity conservation planning into post-disaster recovery programs. "Environmental concerns need to be integrated into all recovery and resettlement plans and programs," said Acting Service Director Matt Hogan. "This needs to be done early-on and throughout the process in order to ensure a sustainable recovery and rebuilding for both local people and regional wildlife." The humanitarian crisis is expected to accelerate pressures on the already highly imperiled forests and wildlife populations of Southeast Asia. Northwest Aceh holds lowland rainforest habitat used by endangered Sumatran elephant populations, as well as endangered Sumatran orangutans, the endangered Sumatran tiger, Thomas' leaf monkey, and white handed gibbons. There are even reports of rare Sumatran rhinos living in this region. As a result of the disaster there is a fear that a large number of refugees lacking alternative livelihood options will turn to natural resources, which would lead to increased pressures on forest ecosystems. In addition to hunting for bush meat to supplement food provided by relief agencies, the need for building materials -- mainly wood -- to reconstruct the more than 300,000 destroyed houses may lead to widespread, uncontrolled logging. Unchecked reconstruction and resettlement programs may result in significant environmental impacts as well. Funding for this support comes from the Asian Elephant Conservation Act, passed by Congress in 1997 in order to address the growing threats to the survival of Asian elephants in the wild.

Elephants Escape from Seoul Zoo
April 20, 2005 www.reuters.com 

SEOUL (Reuters) - Six elephants escaped from a zoo and roamed around the South Korean capital Wednesday, briefly crashing their way into a restaurant before being rounded up, police and zoo officials said. The elephants were on a parade led by mahouts outside their enclosure inside Seoul Children's Grand Park in the east of the city when one was apparently startled and bolted, a zoo official said by telephone. The five others followed "because they have the tendency to do that," the official said. While the elephants were being led back to the zoo, three of them escaped again and crashed through a plate-glass window into a restaurant, sending terrified staff fleeing. Crowds looked on as mahouts in blue hats ran after the elephants. Amid the confusion, a man was also injured and needed hospital treatment after encountering another elephant on a side-street. Firefighters and zoo keepers, helped by police, cajoled five of the elephants back into the zoo. A police officer said a sixth was at a police station and would be sent back to the zoo soon.

Breeding Endangered Turtles
April 20, 2005 www.hindu.com By Marcus Dam

KOLKATA–India: A vivarium to breed endangered turtles is being set up by the West Bengal Fisheries Department. It will be situated alongside a research centre that will study on their behavioural pattern. Housed at the centre will be turtles belonging to at least 10 highly endangered species. These have been rescued from different parts of the State over the past few months. The population of most of the turtle species found in the State is dwindling. Though many varieties have been listed under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as being highly endangered, the law-enforcement agencies have failed to keep a check on their slaughter, the sale of their meat and their being smuggled out. Madhumita Mukherjee is Joint Director of the Fisheries Department.

Visitor Attacked by Singapore Serval
April 21, 2005 www.todayonline.com By Patricia Yap

JUST a day after the jaguar escape, the Singapore Zoological Gardens found itself faced with another crisis. During a performance at the Night Safari on Monday night, a predatory cat jumped at a Chinese tourist and left her with several wounds. According to some reports, the serval — a 10-kg cat about the size of a dog — sunk its teeth into the tourist's leg and held on for almost two minutes before it could be pried loose by shocked staff. The case has been classified as "negligence resulting in hurt". The zoo's director of zoology and veterinary services, Dr Chris Furley, said that the serval has been pulled out of subsequent performances and its continued participation in the show is to be reviewed. He assured the public that the Singapore Zoo has a "very strict safety code for keepers dealing with wild animals" and that they are trained to observe and interpret animal behaviour. The woman, a 32-year-old accountant known only as Ms Lin, has been warded at Mount Elizabeth Hospital. She was watching the 10pm Creatures Of The Night show with her sister and her four-year-old daughter when the incident took place. She was initially sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where she was given a tetanus jab and had her wounds cleaned, but had to admit herself to Mount Elizabeth Hospital when the wounds continued bleeding and her foot swelled. She filed a police report and is considering pressing charges against the zoo. A police spokesman told Today that they were still investigating the incident.

Bull Elephant Comes to Indianapolis
April 21, 2005 www.indystar.com

A bull elephant has arrived at the Indianapolis Zoo for a stay of at least five years, in hopes that he will father offspring. Maclean, known as "Mackie," is on loan from a Central Florida facility. He is one of only five male African elephants in the United States that can provide semen for breeding purposes.  He arrived Sunday and will be quarantined for 30 days before meeting the zoo's other elephants, according to a news release. Nearly 10 feet tall at the shoulder, Maclean weighs about 9,000 pounds. Through artificial insemination, he fathered the zoo's juvenile male elephant, Ajani, in 1998.

Singapore Gavial Attacks Zoo Keeper
April 21, 2005 www.channelnewsasia.com By Yvonne Ang

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Zoo has been having some trouble of late. After two recent incidents, it has reported that a crocodile had attacked its zoo keeper. Apparently, a 1.7m long gavial, a kind of crocodile, attacked a zoo keeper two Sundays ago. Jamaludin Abdul Wahid, a zookeeper of 15 years, was cleaning the gavial pen when the incident occurred. He said the animal bit through his left boot to his shin, and he had to take off his boot to pry his leg free. According to zoo staff, the gavial was being chased by another gavial when it accidentally bit Mr Jamaludin. The zoo keeper was rushed to the National University Hospital, where he might have to stay for up to six weeks. Doctors told him there were seven puncture holes in his leg; they also extracted a 2cm crocodile tooth embedded in his shin.  Fortunately, as he was wearing safety boots, his leg bone was not fractured. It is not known why he was in the cage alone, as zoo regulations specify that two experienced zookeepers must always be present when dealing with dangerous animals like crocodiles.

Studying the Bonobo
April 21, 2005 www.enn.com By Amy Lorentzen

DES MOINES, Iowa — Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh claims that bonobos, a species of ape from the Congo, are the most like humans. Bonobos constantly vocalize "as though they are conversing" and often walk upright. "If you want to find a human-like creature that exists in a completely natural state ... that creature is the bonobo," said Savage-Rumbaugh, an experimental psychologist who is one of the world's leading ape-language researchers. If the apes are able to learn language, music and art, once thought to be distinct to humans, then "it strongly suggests that those things are not innate in us," she said. "Those are things that we have created, and create anew and build upon from one generation to the next ..." she said. "Then we have the power to change it and make it any other way. We could have an ideal world, if we but learn how to do it." Eight of her bonobos will take part in unique language research. The first two bonobos will make the 16-hour road trip from the Language Research Center at Georgia State University to their new $10 million, 13,000-square-foot home near downtown Des Moines later this month. All eight -- three females and five males -- will arrive at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa by mid-May. The bonobos will be able to cook in their own kitchen, tap vending machines for snacks, go for walks in the woods and communicate with researchers through computer touchscreens. The decor in their 18-room home includes an indoor waterfall and climbing areas 30 feet high.

Scientists 'Rediscover' Rare Angolan Birds
April 21, 2005 www.enn.com By Reuters

JOHANNESBURG — The first ornithologists to visit northern Angola since the end of the country's civil war have "rediscovered" three species of bird not seen for decades, a conservation group said on Wednesday. The six-day expedition at the end of January yielded sightings of the orange-breasted bush-shrike and the white-headed robin-chat, two small birds not been seen by scientists since 1957.  The group, comprised mostly of South African scientists, also spotted a single pair of black-tailed cisticolas. These are only found in Angola and neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo and had not been seen in the wild since 1972. Dr Stuart Butchart of BirdLife International, a UK-based conservation group, said "Further surveys are urgently needed in order to establish a more accurate picture of the species' true status and conservation needs." Angola's civil war ended in 2002 after almost three decades of fighting which left much of the country in tatters. Much of Angola's wildlife including its herds of elephant were wiped out by rampant poaching during the conflict. But the enforced absence of development left large parts of the country inaccessible and acted as a shield for many species. The first photographs in decades of the rare giant sable, which is unique to Angola, were recently taken by remote cameras hidden in the bush. Tropical Angola hopes to woo tourists in a bid to diversify its oil and diamond-reliant economy. 

America’s Top 10 Green Cities
April 21, 2005 www.enn.com

NEW YORK, NY — With 80 percent of Americans living in urban areas, The Green Guide naturally wanted to find out which cities are kindest both to the environment and our health. The cities were rated according good water- and air-quality, efficient use of resources, renewable energy leadership, accessible and reliable public transportation, and green building practices. We also looked for parks and greenbelts and access to locally-grown fresh food through farmers' markets and community supported agriculture groups. Finally, we included affordability in our green criteria, since the health benefits, public parks, and other amenities of living in a greener city need to be available to more than just the wealthy. The top 10: Austin TX, Boulder CO, Chicago IL, Honolulu HI, Madison,WI, Minneapolis MN, Oakland CA, Portland OR, San Francisco CA, and Seattle WA. The Green Guide is online at: www.thegreenguide.com

Earth Day at Brookfield Zoo
April 21, 2005 abclocal.go.com

The Brookfield Zoo is planning a tree-mendous Earth Day extravaganza featuring two full days of environmentally friendly fun for the entire family. Activities take place Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. A tree-planting ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Children will be able to grab a shovel and assist the zoo's grounds crew in planting a beautiful sugar maple just west of Australia House. Also in attendance will be representatives from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, including President John H. Stroger, Jr. Presentations, lasting approximately 15 minutes, include talks about giraffes, Mexican gray wolves, polar bears, African lions, and elephants, to name just a few. Other earth-friendly activities include touring the zoo's state-of-the-art, odor-free compost facility, getting a hands-on lesson in dealing with invasive plant species by helping the zoo's horticulturists pull garlic mustard, bird watching at Indian Lake, and learning about the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Wonders of Water national campaign. In addition at Dragonfly Marsh, children will have the opportunity to create binoculars, picture frames, and journals using recycled items. The zoo's East Mall will feature entertainment including appearances on April 22 by the Rambling Naturalist, in a theatrical/interactive show, and students from the prestigious Merit School of Music. On April 23, enjoy an exciting performance by Green E-The Environmental Elvis, who is saving the planet one song at a time singing popular music of the 60s and 70s featuring witty conservation messages. Volunteers, including members of the zoo's Youth Volunteer Corp, will engage visitors young and old in a variety of interactive games and skits, including the hilarious infomercial, "Have I Got a Swamp for You." At the Hamill Family Play Zoo (admission free for Earth Day celebration), children can also help design aquariums for some of Play Zoo's critters, help decorate a gigantic Earth Day cake, plant acorns, and even receive a free tree sapling to plant at home (while supplies last).

First Single-Parent Penguin at Brookfield
April 21, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com 2005 By William Mullen

Hatched in 1990 in the Vancouver Zoo, Zurita, a Humboldt penguin came to Brookfield at age 6. The zoo's bird curator, Patty McGill--also coordinator of the Humboldt penguin species survival plan for North America--decided that a Brookfield male penguin named Zorro was a good genetic match for her, as penguins mate for life in a 50-50 partnership. "Female penguins remain faithful to their mates throughout their lives," said Darlene Broniewicz, a senior keeper at the zoo's Living Coast exhibit. "Male penguins cheat and go off with unattached females sometimes, but they always return to their mates and their nests." But when Zorro died of kidney failure in 2000, Zurita began soliciting males already spoken for causing mayhem in the colony. She was then put in isolation with a year-old male, Gazpacho, to keep her company. Male penguins aren't thought to be capable of fertilizing an egg until they are about 3, so nobody expected Gazpacho to be able to fertilize her eggs. But late in November, when Gazpacho was just 15 months old, Zurita suddenly stopped eating, a sign that a fertile egg was on the way. The keepers provided a pile of stones for Gazpacho to take to Zurita. He ignored the rocks, so Zurita gathered them herself and fashioned a nest, where she soon laid two eggs. As she began incubation, she at times left the eggs, Broniewicz said, as though inviting Gazpacho to take a turn sitting on them. Whenever she stood up, however, he expressed interest only in making whoopee. "He liked the first part of making babies but was far less interested in the second part of tending to the eggs and the hatched chicks," McGill said. Zurita ended up sitting on the eggs for the entire 42-day incubation, fed by the keepers and rising only momentarily to stretch and get a drink of water. Keepers knew Zurita could not physically care for two hatched chicks alone, raising the specter that neither would survive. So they removed the second egg. Sure enough, when the remaining egg hatched, Gazpacho again ignored his duty. "He is the youngest male on record in any zoo anywhere to have successfully fertilized an egg," Broniewicz said, "but he is just too immature to take up real parenting duties. " Without help with feeding the chick, Zurita began losing weight. She was normally fed three times a day, but keepers increased it to five so both she and the chick would get sufficient nutrition. It worked, delighting keepers. "We don't know of any other penguin anywhere that has been able to raise a chick on its own, without help from a spouse," Broniewicz said. 

Animal behaviour: When robots go wild
April 21, 2005 Nature 434, 954-955 www.nature.com doi: 10.1038/434954a By Jonathan Knight

Mechanical animals are entering the research arena. Gail Patricelli, a behavioral biologist from U.C. Davis is using a remote controlled sage grouse decoy running on tracks from a model railroad to study mating behavior on the Wyoming prairie. Radio transmitters, computer chips, digital cameras and audio recorders have become smaller and cheaper, making home-made robots affordable. As a result, a menagerie of robots — from squirrels to lobsters — have been deployed to test ideas about animal behavior that had previously been too tricky to tackle. Among the first to explore the potential of mechanized animals was Axel Michelsen at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. In the early 1990s, he built a mechanically controlled honeybee of wax-coated brass to help him decode the insects' dances, which tell others in the hive where to find food. By making his bee perform sections of the dance to an audience of real bees, Michelsen discovered how the dance revealed both the direction to and the distance from food. Patricelli built on this approach and built a robot bird for her postdoctoral research on the courtship of satin bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus). It was fairly simple: a stuffed female that could crouch, turn its head and fluff its feathers at the tweak of a joystick. Patricelli found that males modified the intensity of their display in response to cues from the female: hamming it up if she seemed receptive and toning it down if she was aloof. Researchers plan to use the same technique on sage grouse.

National Zoo Golden Lion Tamarin Dies
April 22, 2005 www.nbc4.com

A 5-year-old golden lion tamarin died Wednesday night at the National Zoo. Officials said the animal had chronic liver and gall bladder disease. Months of testing and exploratory surgery could not tell them what caused the disease, officials said. More tests are being done and officials said it will be several weeks before the results come back. The zoo has suffered a series of animal deaths, but a recent government report said zoo care is improving.

A Whole New Minnesota Zoo
April 22, 2005 www.startribune.com By David Peterson

Five years ago, Minnesota Zoo officials recruited Lee Ehmke to redesign their 485 suburban acres. Now the governor handed him $30 million to get started and promises exhibits "very different from anything we have ever had here," full of the kinds of animals zoogoers have been asking for, and not getting, for decades. First up: bears -- an animal "everyone expects to see in a major zoo and that we've never had." Over 10 to 20 years, at a cost that could exceed $100 million, "we're creating a whole sort of 'new zoo,' " said James Mayer, senior vice president of Dougherty & Co. and a member of the zoo board. Ehmke is best-known for the revolutionary $50 million Congo Gorilla Forest, though he also did the preliminary design work on the Bronx Zoo's latest offering, Tiger Mountain. With dozens of tricks zoogoers will never suspect are at work, designers create the illusion of immense acreages of habitat while still tricking the animals into approaching the humans behind walls of glass. Gorillas, for instance, are drawn into proximity with human visitors by a soothing stream of cool air trained on a key spot on hot days. The illusion can be so intense that groups of schoolchildren scatter in terror when the tiger approaches. But parents, when they enter, break into smiles and point. "It is seriously good theater," said Sue Chin, Ehmke's longtime assistant, who succeeded him as the Bronx Zoo's director of planning. "Face to face interaction with a 400-pound animal is amazing." Tacked above Chin's desk in the Bronx is a picture of herself locking eyes with a tiger. Above it a colleague has scribbled, "This is why you're here."

Vultures Endangered in India
April 22, 2005 timesofindia.indiatimes.com

NEW DELHI: The vulture in India is now on the brink of extinction. Over a decade, their numbers have dropped by almost 90 per cent, say alarmed ornithologists. Three out of nine species have been disappearing so fast that there are only a few hundreds left, say experts. "It was found that the more aggressive three species that feed on the carcass first are the ones that are becoming extinct. We feel it's the work of a mysterious virus", says Vibhu Prakash, a raptor specialist. "The vultures become lethargic almost one month before they die. They suffer from what we call the droopy-head syndrome", he says. "It is seen that while three species are dying mysteriously, the other six species are thriving", says Dr J Lindsay Oaks, a veterinarian biologist who investigated the same problem in Pakistan. "White crystal deposits are found in the kidneys of dead vultures. This is uric acid which enters their body, crystallizes and eventually kills them", says Dr Cunningham, a wildlife expert from London. "We see inflammation of the guts and kidney failure as the primary causes", says Prakash. A third theory that originated in Pakistan, says that vultures are dying due to the presence of a toxic substance in their kidneys. In the mid 90s, came Diclofenac, which is the most likely culprit. It is a pain killer to relieve domestic cattle in times of joint pains and terrible agony, believes Dr Oaks.

Protection Sought for Peary Carabou
April 22, 2005 www.nunatsiaq.com By Greg Younger-Lewis

Hunting and climate change are threatening the Peary caribou. This subspecies of caribou is known to travel in small herds across Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Government data shows Peary caribou numbers have plummeted in the past four decades. In the 1960s, researchers counted tens of thousands of Peary caribou foraging throughout the region. It is estimated that fewer than 8,000 remain, Last year COSEWIC recommended that the federal government list the Peary caribou as endangered. But Many hunters in Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay argue that Peary caribou are merely experiencing a regular drop in population numbers, not a fatal plunge. Marty Kuluguqtuq, secretary-treasurer for the Iviq Hunters and Trappers Organization in Grise Fiord said "There's a cycle, and the old-timers up here have known that for years. We feel it's our right to continue to harvest them. We've got no alternative for our livelihood, our food and our well-being." Elders in Resolute Bay say the drop in numbers actually means there are more caribou. They say the overpopulation causes the herds to disperse in search of more food. In turn, the Resolute Bay Hunters and Trappers Association condemned the COSEWIC report in a recent letter, accusing the scientists of ignoring Inuit Qaujimajaituqangit (Inuit traditional knowledge).

Bay Checkerspot Butterflies Dying Out
April 22, 2005 www.mercurynews.com By Glennda Chui

Despite the protection of the Endangered Species Act, a 443-page recovery plan and 45 years of intense scientific study the bay checkerspot is dissappearing. Across the state, once-common butterflies are declining and disappearing. Of the 18 butterflies listed as threatened or endangered in the United States, 13 are in California. The only remaining checkerspot butterflies are on Coyote Ridge near the Kirby Canyon landfill in South San Jose. Until a few years ago the checkerspot also lived at Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve in San Mateo County, which was designated by the federal government as a ``critical habitat'' for the butterfly. But it's apparently extinct there now, with no sightings since 2002. The loss is more than decorative, researchers say. Butterflies pollinate plants and give birds and other animals something to eat. Like canaries in a coal mine, they signal that an ecosystem is healthy. Arthur Shapiro, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of California-Davis, has been monitoring more than 135 species of butterflies along a line between Fairfield and Truckee for 34 years. He says the bay checkerspot's downfall started more than 200 years ago when Europeans arrived in California. They brought grasses such as rye and wheat, which soon squeezed out native plants that the checkerspots relied on. There were just a few places the foreign grasses could not penetrate -- patches of a special kind of soil called ``serpentine'' that lacked nutrients. That's where the wildflowers and the checkerspots made a last stand. In 1960, a decade before the first Earth Day, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich began tagging and counting bay checkerspots at the university's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. The butterfly became one of the most studied wild animals in the world -- a sort of lab rat for understanding how populations of animals function, flourish and decline. Over the years, the scientists closed Jasper Ridge to the public and removed grazing cattle. Yet in spite of all their efforts, by 1997 the preserve's butterflies were gone.

Climate Study Flawed
April 22, 2005 www.nytimes By ANDREW C. REVKIN

The Bush administration's program to study climate change lacks a major component required by law, according to Congressional investigators. The program fails to include periodic assessments of how rising temperatures may affect people and the environment. The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, conclude in a report to be released today that none of the 21 studies of climate change that the administration plans to publish by September 2007 explicitly address the potential effects in eight areas specified by a 1990 law, the Global Change Research Act. The areas include agriculture, energy, water resources and biological diversity. Without such an assessment, the accountability office said, "it may be difficult for the Congress and others to use this information effectively as the basis for making decisions on climate policy." The investigators also said the program was behind schedule, with just one report on track out of nine that are to be published by next September. The 1990 law requires a report to Congress every four years on the consequences of climate change.

Hunter Kills Alpha Wolf in Alaska
April 22, 2005 www.enn.com

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The alpha wolf that led a famous Denali National Park pack in Alaska was shot and killed by a hunter last weekend, causing dismay among activists who say wolf hunting should be made illegal in the state. The dead wolf was the alpha male of Denali's Toklat family, a group of wolves that has been studied for more than six decades and often seen by visitors to the national park. The wolf was shot legally by a guided hunter after it ventured out of the park boundary, officials said.  "I don't think that there's any doubt that there'll be fewer Toklat wolf sightings," said John Toppenberg, executive director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance. The 7-year-old wolf, which was identified by a radio collar that had been attached by researchers, was only one of several recent losses for the much-studied and frequently photographed Toklat group. The alpha wolf had been behaving erratically and wandering near an area outside the park where two females, including the alpha's mate, were killed in traps over the past two months after they left the park in search of food. A 55-square-mile buffer outside of the park protects wolves from hunters and trappers, but conservation groups and animal welfare activists argue that it is too small.

Elephants Thrive at Disney
April 22, 2005 www.mickeynews.com

Nine months ago, The Walt Disney World Resort animal care team welcomed a 230 pound female African elephant calf. The baby was named Kianga, which means "Sunshine" in Swahili. Kianga, and her 18-year old mother, Vasha, are part of an elephant herd (6 adult females and 2 calves) that is doing very well according to veterinarians and elephant managers. The first-time mother experienced a very short labor. With assistance from the animal care team, the newborn began nursing successfully soon after her birth. For the first week the elephant management team helped Kianga nurse by providing a booster platform, because she was too short to reach her mother's milk supply. However, after 7 days Kianga figured out how to climb on her mom's legs to get the boost she needed and hasn't had any difficulty since. Having a successful birth is a significant event both for the species and for our talented and experienced team of elephant experts who have been working on this breeding program for more than five years," said Dr. Beth Stevens, vice president of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Vasha, who is on loan from the Dallas Zoo, became pregnant through natural breeding on Oct. 4, 2002, when she mated with Jackson, a bull here on breeding loan from the Pittsburgh Zoo. This arrangement is part of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP), a consortium of zoos and wildlife parks working cooperatively to conserve elephants.

"Youngest Zoo Director" Quits
April 23, 2005 www.wstm.com

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. The man who was heralded as the nation's youngest zoo director when he was hired to run an upstate zoo just over a year ago is calling it quits. Jarod Miller was 25 when he was hired as executive director of the financially troubled Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton. Now, Miller has turned in his resignation. The move follows the recent decision by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association to pull Ross Park's accreditation. Miller had launched a 12 (m) million dollar fundraising effort last month. The highly publicized drive netted only one reported donation -- an anonymous 100-thousand dollar contribution. The Binghamton zoo gained unwanted national attention last winter when two endangered red wolves escaped through a hole in their exhibit. One of the wolves was recovered but the other was found shot to death just outside the zoo. Miller was a frequent guest on T-V programs, including "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno and "Late Night" with Conan O'Brien. Those appearances prompted some criticism from Binghamton residents who suggested Miller should spend more time at the zoo working to correct its problems.

Dealing with High-Profile-Animal Deaths
April 24, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Terry Rodgers

At America's approximately 200 zoos and marine parks, the death of a high-profile creature is traumatic. Trainers, veterinarians and other staffers at SeaWorld in San Diego have been dealing with the death of Splash, a killer whale who died April 5, after entertaining park visitors for 13 years. Splash and other star animals attract millions of fans every year – and bring in millions of dollars. When Splash died, he barely warranted a mention on the nightly news, but SeaWorld personnel who had worked closely with the 16-foot-long killer whale were devastated. Splash was a favorite among the park's animal-care staff. "He was the one that bonded the best with the trainers," said veterinarian Tom Reidarson. When Splash became ill with an infection this year, animal-care staffers thought he'd bounce back like he always had. But his condition turned critical, prompting whale trainers who were off-duty to come in to work so they could commiserate with their bereaved colleagues. Last year, 63 marine mammals died in captivity at U.S. zoos and theme parks, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. The mortality rate for marine mammals at these sites is 3.6 percent, "which is superb compared to the wild. When Splash succumbed, SeaWorld immediately posted bulletins so its employees would be the first to know. Hours after Splash's death, the trainers were so upset they could only perform a "dry" show, one in which they don't join the whales in the water. Veterinarians then performed a necropsy – an autopsy for animals – that took more than four hours. The exact cause of Splash's death won't be known for several weeks. The day after Splash's passing, 40 or so animal-care workers held an informal wake for him during their lunch break. A photo of Splash was displayed on a computer screen for the mourners. Several of Splash's organs and tissue samples were donated for scientific research. His seminal fluid went to University of California Davis. San Diego State University received tissue samples from his flippers. Blubber samples were sent to the University of Central Florida. Other researchers want to study the whale's eyes. The remainder of the carcass was sent to a rendering plant. "Nothing is wasted," SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said of Splash's 5,600 pounds of bone and blubber. "Even in death, the research continues."

Kangaroo Exhibit in Florida
April 24, 2005 www.orlandosentinel.com

The Central Florida Zoo has built one of its largest exhibits to house two red kangaroos and four emus. The 8,000-square-foot Australian exhibit features two rain shelters, as well as hills incorporated into the landscape, to keep the dessert-dwelling animals as dry as possible. The $35,000 it cost to build the animal's new home was a gift from Lena Wasserman, president of the Central Florida Zoological Society and owner of Horizon Homes of Central Florida. FYI: Females kangaroos are called blue fliers, the males are called boomers and babies are called joeys. 

Improving Zoo Elephant Breeding
April 24, 2005 www.ohio.com By John Nolan

CINCINNATI - U.S. zoos and a research foundation are trying to make the in-house breeding of elephants more productive to ensure that the pachyderms will still be around for future zoo visitors. The International Elephant Foundation is awarding grants totaling about $100,000 a year to promote research and conservation programs. It signed an agreement in December to work more closely on elephant breeding efforts with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which accredits zoos and oversees preservation programs for numerous animal species. Overseers of an international species survival program for elephants said they are coordinating research and preservation efforts to ensure that at least some American zoos will still have elephants in the next 20 to 30 years. U.S. zoos must sharply increase the number of elephants born in captivity to offset an aging population, Dinon said. If the births at U.S. zoos aren't sharply increased, "There's not going to be elephants in zoos in North America any more," he said. The expense and time involved in importing elephants, the aging pachyderm population in American zoos and a persistently high mortality rate for infant elephants underscore the need for improved breeding, zoo officials said. In recent years, 30 to 40 percent of elephants born have not survived their first year, although gains have been made with improvements in knowledge and technology, officials said. There have been successes at some zoos. Fort Worth has one male and five female elephants, including a successful birth in captivity six years ago. "We've had some other pregnancies that have resulted in stillborn animals," Wiese said. Zookeepers are paying more attention to the diet and exercise of female elephants to make them healthier and less likely to suffer problems during pregnancy, said Michael Fouraker, director of the Fort Worth Zoo and president of the International Elephant Foundation. "Breeding is the key. Imports may or may not be an option in the future," Fouraker said.

Rocking Chairs at Kansas City Zoo
April 25, 2005 www.kansascity.com By MATT CAMPBELL

This spring the Kansas City Zoo bought 40 sturdy wooden rockers at $135 a pop from Sam's Club and placed them all over the zoo. It is part of the zoo's effort to offer more animals to view and more enjoyable ways to view them. New Asian species making their debut next month include Francois langur monkeys, wreathed hornbills, tufted deer and the star summer attraction: a 425-pound white tiger. In addition, keepers are making it easier for many animals to reproduce, and they have hopes for baby kangaroos, red pandas, red river hogs and eventually giraffes. Already there are several lambs and a months-old duiker, a delicate African hoofed animal. Elsewhere, the zoo has cleared brush to make the chimpanzees and gorillas easier to see. "This zoo sorely needs comfortable places to sit," said Randy Wisthoff, who heads into his second season as director of the Kansas City animal park. "There is nothing wrong with sitting down at the zoo." The rocking chairs and new picnic tables — some wheelchair friendly — were relatively inexpensive ways to improve the visitor experience while the zoo ramps up to spend $30 million in voter-approved bonds on bigger projects in future years.

ZooPlex at Blank Zoo Park
April 25, 2005 www.theiowachannel.com

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Zoo officials and members of the South Side Des Moines Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon for the Zooplex at the Blank Park Zoo. The 10,000-square-foot hall that is geared up to host anything from company parties to wedding receptions. Leaders say the zoo has not had a facility like this before. Rental prices range from $950 to $3,000 depending on the type of event. For more information go to: www.blankparkzoo.com/

Toronto Zoo Lockout?
April 25, 2005 www.640toronto.com

TORONTO - There are nearly 400 people working at the Toronto Zoo, and right now all of them are wondering whether they'll be locked out next week. A midnight deadline to reach a deal between labour and management has come and gone, with both sides still at an impasse. So Jim Fudge with CUPE communications tells 640 Toronto the deadline has been extended until midnight next Monday morning. The zoo's 170 permanent employees and 2-hundred seasonal and casual workers have been without a contract since the end of March. The main issue is wages. If a deal can't be reached by midnight Sunday, the employees could be locked out and the zoo shut down.

Python Breeding Program
April 25, 2005 timesofindia.indiatimes.com

CHENNAI: Four wildlife centres in south India will, for the first time, attempt captive breeding of the protected reticulate python. The reticulate python is generally found in the jungles of the northeast, unlike its cousin, the rock python, which is found all over India, especially in the forests of the Western Ghats bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu. So far, the Chennai Snake Park has tried to breed the rock python in captivity but without success. The reptiles either refused to mate or laid eggs that were infertile due to "inbreeding depression", officials here said. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has identified zoos at Chennai and Mysore and Chennai's Crocodile Bank and Snake Park as the breeding centres. A CZA task force has been set up to begin the breeding project. Once the project is notified, strategies will be chalked out and breeding profiles identified in the participating zoos, zoo officials said. "There is very little technical knowledge about captive breeding of pythons and a lot of research is required," said Chennai Snake Park chairperson B. Vijayaraghavan. The park is home to seven rock pythons and 19 reticulate pythons. The python being a protected species, there is not much wild stock available to refresh the genetic profile of the zoo-bred python. "We have to think of enhancing the genetic profile of the breeding stock through exchange programmes (with other countries)," Vijayaraghavan maintained. It is also not known how many pythons survive in India's jungles since its meat is considered a delicacy in many parts of the country, he added.

Disney Elephant Calf Dies During Birth
April 25, 2005 www.sun-sentinel.com/ By Amy C. Rippel

Following a 22-month gestation a baby African elephant died late Sunday afternoon during birth at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom. The mother elephant, Ibala, 26, went into labor early Saturday night, but later her contractions lessened, and a veterinarian had to induce labor. By late Sunday, veterinarians determined through an ultrasound that the baby elephant had died, said spokeswoman Jacquee Polak. Polak said the calf would stay inside the mother until it is expelled, which could take up to a year. A necropsy will then be performed, she said. Ibala came to Animal Kingdom in 1997 from the Phoenix Zoo and became pregnant through artificial insemination. This was her first calf, Polak said. In July, a 230-pound female elephant named Kianga was born at Animal Kingdom. And in May 2003, a male elephant named Tufani was born. Animal Kingdom's breeding of its elephants is part of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's species-survival plan.

Petting Zoo Animals Die in Fire
April 25, 2005 www.wesh.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A fire ripped through two barns Monday and claimed the lives of several animals at Bill Frederick Park in Orlando. The barns housed animals for the park’s petting zoo. Four goats and three pigs died in the fire. Two pigs escaped and were not harmed, and the horses and chickens are also OK. The two barns are a total loss, though. The animals are owned by the city. No humans were hurt in the fire at the park, which used to be known as Turkey Lake Park. After the fire was extinguished, arson investigators examined the scene and talked to city workers in charge of the animals. A spokesman for the fire department said there was no power to the two barns and there was no lightning on Monday afternoon.

New Jaguar at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
4/25/05 cbs5.com

SAN JOSE – Happy Hollow Park and Zoo announced today that the zoo's newest resident, a 17-month-old jaguar, will be on display beginning on May 19. Sophia, the 65-pound jaguar, arrived from the Fort Worth Zoo on March 30. She is currently spending time in mandatory quarantine until her May debut. She comes to Happy Hollow as part of the Species Survival Plan, a program of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which consists of 39 zoos dedicated to long-term management and conservation of the jaguar. "We are particularly thrilled to be able to assist the Jaguar SSP by providing a home for Sophia. As part of the plan, Sophia could potentially be given the opportunity to breed with a SSP desired male,'' Happy Hollow Zoo Curator Valerie Riegel said.

Fort Wayne zoo opening on Saturday
April 25, 2005 www.decaturdailydemocrat.com

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo will open its 40th season on Saturday, April 30, and conclude on October 9. Zoo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is $5 for children 2 to 14, $7.50 for those 15 to 60, and $5 pfor those aged 61 and over; children under two are admitted free. In 2004, 524,000 people visited the zoo, the second-largest total in 39 years.

Oregon Zoo Keeper from Africa
April 25, 2005 www.oregonlive.com By Laura Oppenheimer:

Mukobi, is an Oregon zookeeper known for training animals that nobody else can. He also runs an award-winning program to change his homeland's relationship with animals and is at the forefront of international conservation. 30-year-old Mukobi is from Unganda and grew up near Queen Elizabeth National Park. His parents worried that the wild animals they heard at night might eat the family's chicken and goats. Or worse, the children. But it was just such an animal -- the heavily poached chimpanzee -- that put Mukobi on the path to falling in love, moving to Oregon and devoting his career to wildlife. He returns home with a 32-inch television, VCR, generator, camera, suitcases full of videos, animal trading cards and booklets to talk to Ugandan school children. He talked to more than 20,000 children during his month long trip this winter and checked in on dozens of youth wildlife clubs he launched through his Kasese Wildlife Conservation Awareness Organization. In a country with few resources, Mukobi offers rare hope for change. He intends to save endangered animals by teaching people to appreciate them.

New Madagascar Information Resource
April 25, 2005 news.mongabay.com By Rhett Butler

WildMadagascar.org, a leading information site on Madagascar, today announced the availability of PDF documents on the wildlife of Madagascar free of charge on the site's media section. All PDFs on the site can be freely distributed via print or electronic means, provided that the PDF content is not modified or altered in any way. Rhett A. Butler,is the founder of the WildMadagascar.org site. Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island is one of the more isolated countries on Earth. It sits in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa and about 70% of its estimated 250,000 species exist nowhere else on the globe. WildMadagascar.org is still in pre-launch form. The site will fully launch in late May 2005 and will feature a travel discussion forum, multiple language formats, park and wildlife profiles, commentary from leading experts on Madagascar, and a large collection of photos -- including images taken by renowned photographer Julie Larsen Maher of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The Feng Shui Disney Kingdom
April 25, 2005 www.nytimes.com By Laura Holson

When building the new entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland, Walt Disney executives decided to shift the angle of the front gate by 12 degrees. They did so after consulting a feng shui specialist, who said the change would ensure prosperity for the park. Disney also put a bend in the walkway from the train station to the gate, to make sure the flow of positive energy, or chi, did not slip past the entrance and out to the China Sea. Heeding the advice of a feng shui consultant is one of many steps Disney executives have taken at the park to reflect the local culture - and to make sure they do not repeat some mistakes of the past. When Disney opened Disneyland Paris in 1992, the company was roundly criticized for being culturally insensitive to its European guests. Now Disney burns incense ritually as each building is finished in Hong Kong, and has picked a lucky day (Sept. 12) for the opening. The financial stakes are high: international growth is a critical part of Disney's expansion efforts. Mainland China is expected to become one of the world's largest tourist destinations in the next 15 years, according to the World Tourism Organization, an international group that oversees policy issues. That trend bodes well for Disney, as Hong Kong itself is already in the top 15.

Another Giraffe Dies at Columbus Zoo
April 26, 2005 www.nbc4i.com

POWELL, Ohio -- A male giraffe known as Tsavo died Saturday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The 14-year-old giraffe was found down in his stall when the keeper arrived at 6:30 a.m. Zoo officials said he had apparently slipped or collapsed sometime during the night in a position that made it impossible for him to regain his feet. Tsavo was euthanized by Animal Health Department staff after rigorous attempts by zoo staff to resuscitate him, according to the zoo. Tsavo was born on June 8, 1990, at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. He came to Columbus in 1991. He sired four calves, all born at the Columbus Zoo. Tsavo is one of four animals that died at the zoo in less than two weeks. He and the other three, another giraffe and two zebras, were housed in an area that is undergoing extensive renovation as part of a $125 million, 10-year expansion of the zoo. The other giraffe, Kenya, died April 13 of heart failure while under sedation for treatment of an arthritic foot. The zebras, Fauna and Flora, had been moved to a nearby estate to make way for an exhibit under construction and died Friday within minutes of being released into a paddock. Officials said they became spooked, slammed into fence posts and broke their necks. Winstel said the zoo is looking closely at all the circumstances surrounding each death. On the same day that Tsavo died, a litter of Mexican wolf pups was born at the zoo. It was the fifth successful litter of Mexican wolves born at the Columbus Zoo. On Friday, a baby Siamang gibbon was born. It was the first Siamang birth to happen at the zoo, according to zoo officials.

Lahore Zoo Unable to Treat Lion Cubs
April 26, 2005 www.dailytimes.com.pk By Shoaib Ahmed

LAHORE: Nine-month-old lion cub Simba has become paralysed and no specialists are available at the Lahore Zoo to treat him. Simba is unable to move the rear part of his body. Zoo director Raja Muhammad Javed said that the cub had been ill since birth and had been given medication. "Simba’s condition has improved 80 percent," he said. Nevertheless, the zoo, which is Pakistan’s largest, lacks proper medical facilities and cases have to be sent to the Veterinary Research Institute (VRI). Sources said that unlike other zoos, Lahore Zoo did not have a team of paediatric surgeons and physicians to treat animals. "Since animals and children cannot say what they are feeling, paediatric physicians are needed to diagnose the disease," said sources. Javed admitted that the zoo did not have a proper emergency unit. He said that plans had been drawn up to acquire an X-ray machine, ambulance and two doctors.

Chimp Birth at Sedgwick County Zoo
April 26, 2005 www.kansas.com BY BECCY TANNER

Holly the chimpanzee was on birth control, but early on April 5, she gave birth to a healthy 3-pound girl, named Asali, which means "honey" in Swahili. The father is unknown. With 11 chimps, Sedgwick County Zoo has one of the largest chimpanzee troops in the nation. It wasn't expected to grow. Zookeepers suspected Holly might be pregnant a few months ago, and thought a baby might arrive sometime in April. The gestation period of a chimpanzee is 8 ½ months. "The other chimpanzees are very excited," Bailey said. "They actually sit around and try to stare at it. Some try to touch it. Holly won't let anyone touch it too much." So far, Asali's big brother, Moshie, born in 1995, has come closest to touching Asali and Holly. Asali probably will remain with the troop until she becomes a teenager. Then she might be transferred to another zoo.

New Train Attraction at Louisville Zoo
April 26, 2005 www.courier-journal.com By Sheldon S. Shafer

A new Children's Train Garden will be dedicated this morning at the Louisville Zoo. The garden is spread over about 800 square feet of space in the Islands Pavilion Commons, near the zoo's main entrance. The remote-controlled electric trains include a 1890s-model steam engine and a 1950s diesel engine, reminiscent of locomotives that operated in Indonesia. Although the cars can be rearranged, the "steam" locomotive will usually pull six to eight passenger coaches; the diesel will usually have six to eight boxcars and flatcars filled with bamboo, rock and other symbols of Indonesian industry, said assistant zoo director Mark Zoeller. Each engine is about a foot long, and the cars are slightly smaller. All of the pieces have lights inside, and the entire garden can be lit at night. The track -- about 160 feet in two ovals -- is laid out in what Zoeller said will soon be "a lush and blooming" environment of predominantly Indonesian growth. It can be taken apart and reassembled elsewhere for special events, such as Santa's holiday appearances, Zoeller said. The zoo paid Louisville sculptor David Broome about $10,000 to design the train garden, build the bamboo tunnels and bridges, and provide the two Hartland model engines and coaches, boxcars, flatcars and a caboose. A grant from Yum! Brands Foundation covered the cost, officials said.

New Elephant Encounter at Hogle Zoo
April 26, 2005 www.sltrib.com By Greg Lavine

SALT LAKE SITY, Utah – Hogle Zoo’s two African elephants, Hy Dari and Christy will move into new quarters this summer. There's a long yard for jogging. A 110,000-gallon pool for swimming, a heated-floor area shielded from the weather so the elephants can be outside on the coldest of winter days. Craig Dinsmore, executive director of the zoo, said of the upcoming Elephant Encounter exhibit will provide better lives for our elephants and a better experience for guests. Visitors previously had only one place to watch the elephants from. Now there will be several places to check them out. All the fences feature low spots to give young visitors unobstructed views. And every view is different. Some viewing spots allow visitors to see the elephants taking a dip in the recirculating pool. Other spots offer an up-close and personal view of an elephant ankle at feeding time. The zoo's two rhinos, George and Princess, will also live in the Elephant Encounter. Dinsmore said the $5.5 million exhibit, slated to open in June, is part of a $10.2 million bond that Salt Lake City voters approved in 2003. The new elephant exhibit is part of a master plan that is moving the zoo toward specializing in certain animals. Old favorites, such as Moe the hippo, who recently moved to New Mexico's Albuquerque zoo, are stepping aside so that other animals, such as the rhinos and elephants, can get improved facilities. "Hogle Zoo, with only 42 acres, is never going to be San Diego Zoo. Now I don't mean in terms of quality, I mean in terms of quantity," Dinsmore said. 

States Prepare Disaster Plans for Animals
April 26, 2005 www.nytimes.com 

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Since more than 3 million animals were killed in North Carolina in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd, many states have been thinking about emergency preparedness for animals. In Pennsylvania, several counties now are forming volunteer networks to make sure pets, livestock and even wildlife are protected and cared for in emergencies. The state's retired director of epidemiology has been with the private, nonprofit State Animal Response Team since early this year, working with individual counties to identify resources that would be useful in emergencies -- everything from special haulers to move livestock to experts in rare and exotic animals. Because many shelters do not take animals, people sometimes will not leave their homes in an emergency. Or they evacuate, then go back and get the pets, resulting in injuries and deaths said Anne Culver, director of disaster services at The Humane Society of the United States. People need to plan ahead by finding hotels that take pets and making sure that they have food, medicine and other items their animals will need when evacuated. Similarly, farmers with livestock need to prepare, which sometimes can be as simple as making sure fenced-in animals can get to higher ground if nearby creeks or rivers flood. Some states have unique ways to get the word out. Florida, for example, developed evacuation shelters that accept pets. In Georgia, the humane society went around the state teaching communities how to shelter animals during disaster. Arizona response teams are educating emergency responders and ranchers about recognizing contagious diseases and quarantining livestock. Jim Clark, an educator with the Penn State Cooperative Extension of McKean County, said many volunteers are putting together lists of nearby veterinarians, dog kennels and other resources. Two supportive websites: www.pasart.org  and www.hsus.org/disaster 

Australia Culls Wild Camels
April 26, 2005 www.nytimes.com 

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Camels were introduced to Australia in the mid-1880s to transport supplies across the desert. After trains and trucks replaced them, they were released into the wild, where, with no natural predators and ample grazing land, the population exploded --growing by an estimated 11 percent a year. Some scientists have estimated that as many as 500,000 wild camels are now roaming the country's vast deserts. Now officials in South Australia Outback say they need to reduce the population by shooting them from helicopters because the animals are straining limited water supplies for sheep and cattle. ''The simplest, quickest and most cost effective way of doing that is an aerial cull,'' said rural lands inspector Chris Turner. Glenys Oogjes, head of the animal welfare group Animals Australia Animal, said aerial shooting has been used in the past to cull wild horses and goats, and the result was a ''bloodbath. We've seen terrible cruelty involved in that sort of killing spree and it's virtually impossible operating from the air to check that every animal is killed outright,'' Oogjes said. Australia has a history of infestations by animals from overseas. Rabbits brought from Europe swarmed across parts of the Outback, and noxious cane toads brought from South America to control bugs in sugar cane fields are now spreading across the north, killing native wildlife from snakes to the small crocodiles that eat them.

Indianapolis Markets Cultural Attractions
April 26, 2005 www.wishtv.com By Ken Brewer 

INDIANAPOLIS (Marion County) - It has been nearly a decade since Indianapolis used a big multimedia marketing campaign designed to attract tourists, but the city feels now is the time to start promoting its venues. With a big red arrow, the City of Indianapolis hopes it will point visitors to the city's cultural attractions. In the next month, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Zoo's Dolphin Adventure will have grand re-openings. In June, the Eiteljorg Museum will open its new wing. The timing allows Indianapolis to do something it hasn't done in nearly a decade: launch a tourism marketing campaign. "The substantial improvements to our major cultural institutions is just something that I don't think has hit a lot of people here in Indianapolis yet," said Robert Bedell, Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. The campaign stretches beyond Indiana. The city hopes to lure people from across the Midwest to Indianapolis. The massive media campaign starts April 29th with more than 3 million inserts to be placed in newspaper and magazine advertising in the Midwest and in the New York Times. At the end of May, more than 8,300 television ads begin. Indianapolis "ambassadors" will use a "big red arrow van" to travel to festivals across the Midwest promoting Indy's cultural attractions. "We really wanted to go grass roots and find ways to connect with people, because one of the things we know is that people are more inclined when they get a word of mouth recommendation to do something than if they are if just see it in an ad," said Keira Amstutz, City of Indianapolis.

Saving Borneo from loggers
April 26, 2005 www.guardian.co.uk  by John Aglionby

At least 361 new species have been discovered in Borneo in the last decade and thousands more are probably waiting to be identified, according to a report published yesterday by the WWF. But many of these are under threat from illegal logging, the study warns. WWF is calling for support for a multinational project to protect one of the largest remaining areas of undamaged virgin forest. WWF says 260 insects, 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, seven frogs, six lizards, five crabs, two snakes and a toad were discovered there from 1994 to 2004. Among those newly identified is a 10cm-long cockroach, discovered last year in a cave in the eastern Sangkulirang peninsula of east Kalimantan, the Indonesian section of Borneo. Two other highlights were the discovery in 2000 that the Borneo orang-utan is a different species from its Sumatran counterpart and that the Borneo pygmy elephant is a separate sub-species indigenous to the island. It had previously been thought that the British introduced elephants into Borneo from India 350 years ago. To protect this biological treasure trove, WWF, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy and several other environmental groups have joined forces with Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, the three countries which share the island, to create the Heart of Borneo, 220,000 sq km (90,000 square miles) of untouched mainly upland forest. "This is an area that is still in its natural state and is ecologically connected," said Nita Murjani of WWF. "It already has several protected areas and we are trying to package the projects into something more integrated. The Heart of Borneo contains the watersheds of many of the island's major rivers. "If these were to go then the whole island would be devastated," she said. The three nations held their first working-level meeting this month and officials are expected to start implementing the vision immediately, Ms Nita said. The forces ranged against them are enormous. Deforestation in Indonesia is proceeding, according to conservative estimates, at a rate of six football pitches per minute and most of that is being done illegally.

Famous Panda Celebrates Birthday
April 26, 2005 www.thekcrachannel.com

Pan Pan, a male giant panda has turned 25 years old -- that's 100 in human years. Famous for being the mascot for the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, Pan Pan was delighted by a giant cake given to him by his caretakers. Born in the jungles of southwestern China, Pan Pan once visited the United States on behalf of the China Wild Animals Protection Association.

PETA Says "Enough is Enough"
April 26, 2005 www.peta.org By Nicole Meyer

San Diego — Coming on the heels of the deaths of two of the three elephants who had been transferred from the San Diego Wild Animal Park to Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, the zoo industry now wants to send the only survivor, Wankie, to Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo. Hogle Zoo has a disturbing record of animal care and, like all zoos, lacks sufficient space for elephants. The zoo paid a $25,000 fine to settle U.S. Department of Agriculture charges alleging chronic violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and numerous animals have died from unsafe conditions. Recently, Utah officials accused the zoo of selling bighorn sheep to a game ranch for trophy hunting. Deeply concerned about Wankie’s prospects of survival, PETA, In Defense of Animals (IDA), the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, the Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL), and San Diego Animal Advocates will hold simultaneous demonstrations in San Diego, Chicago, and Salt Lake City. PETA is calling on the zoo industry, including the San Diego Zoo, which owns her, to reconsider immediately and to transfer Wankie to an accredited sanctuary, where she could roam hundreds of acres of natural habitat, have her choice of companions, and enjoy a permanent, caring home. PETA has posted additional information at SaveWildElephants.com

Mugabe orders wildlife reserves to kill animals
April 27, 2005 www.nzherald.co.nz by Basildon Peta 

JOHANNESBURG - Fresh from his disputed victory in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, President Robert Mugabe has turned his sights on the country's wildlife reserves in a bid to feed thousands of famished villagers. Zimbabwe's National Parks have been ordered to work with rural district councils to begin the wholesale slaughter of big game. Parks rangers said they had already shoot 10 elephants in the last week and their meat was barbecued at festivities to mark Zimbabwe's 25 years of independence. The 10 elephants were killed by National Park rangers. Four of the giant animals were reportedly shot in full view of tourists near Zimbabwe's Lake Kariba, the largest man made lake in Africa and a major haven for wildlife. Five years after ordering the confiscation of white-owned farms, the Mugabe regime has turned the country once dubbed the breadbasket of Africa, into a famished land with an estimated four million rural poor suffering from food shortages. The directive is a major blow to efforts by conservationists to rehabilitate the wildlife sector which was devastated after Mr Mugabe ordered his supporters to invade and confiscate white-owned farms in 2000.

Lincoln Park Mum on Elephant Move
April 27, 2005 www.suntimes.com By ANDREW HERRMANN

In January, zoo officials announced Wankie would be shipped from Chicago this spring after her two companions died from illness. Now, under a new policy, the zoo has decided not to announce the animal's new location or moving date until after the transfer is complete. That decision is based on fears of disruption, possibly by animal rights activists, a spokeswoman said. Members of PETA are planning a protest today at Lincoln Park as well as at San Diego Zoo, which owns Wankie, and at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. The Utah facility is where Wankie will be relocated, the animal rights activists maintain. "We can't confirm or deny that,'' said Lincoln Park Zoo spokeswoman Kelly McGrath, citing the new policy, which she said was prompted by concerns for Wankie's "safety. There are people out there who are extremists,'' McGrath said. A San Diego Zoo spokeswoman also cited safety concerns in refusing to divulge the new location before the move is complete. "In the past, we've had problems,'' the spokeswoman said. In August 2003, PETA members blocked an entrance to the San Diego Zoo to protest delivery of seven African elephants from Swaziland. Protesters dumped a truckload of manure onto the pavement and locked the vehicle. Three activists stormed the administrative offices of the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa to protest the movement of four elephants into that Florida facility.

Shahabuddin's deer draws crowd to zoo
April 27, 2005 www.chennaionline.com

INDIA, Patna – The deer recovered during raids at RJD mp Mohammad Shahabuddin's ancestral house at Pratappur in Siwan district is drawing visitors to the Botanical Garden here, where the deer is being kept in a separate cage following a thorough medical examination. The presence of Shahabuddin's deer at the Sanjay Gandhi Botanical Garden has increased gate receipts by nearly 20% since yesterday. The deer was recovered along with skin of two deers and that of a tiger during raids at Shahabuddin's ancestral house at Pratappur in Siwan district last Sunday. The forest department transported the deer to the zoo on Monday. The Forest Act of 1972 prescribes a jail sentence of three to seven years to anybody found guilty of keeping a prohibited animal.

Zoo teaches via long-range safari
April 27, 2005 toledoblade.com By RACHEL ZINN

Third graders at Fort Meigs Elementary School in Perrysburg went on a high-tech safari last week, getting close looks at the horns and skin of Africa's black rhinoceros and even watching a rhino giving birth. The students' guide was Cathy Ryan, an education specialist at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. She led a long-distance learning lesson using technology that broadcast her image into the Fort Meigs classroom and allowed her to speak with students during the session through microphones. "It was really cool and really interesting," said third grader Tyler Way, who responded to one of Ms. Ryan's questions by identifying the rhino as a mammal. The rhinoceros lesson was the first of three sessions in the zoo's pilot long-distance learning program about Africa. The Fort Meigs class will take part in two other sessions in May, which will focus on animal care and veterinary medicine for African animals. As part of the program, the zoo explains to teachers how each lesson fits in with the state-mandated curriculum. "We talked about animals, life cycles, and conservation. Those are all things in the state standards," Mr. Sarnes said. The zoo also recommends classroom activities that relate to the long-distance learning lessons. Before the rhino lecture, Mr. Sarnes had his class design slides about an endangered species, and after the lesson, he guided them in making drawings comparing the life cycles of humans and rhinos.

Indian Wildlife Dept. Begins tracking tigers
April 27, 2005 www.cybernoon.com

CHENNAI (PTI): In preparation for the 'Tiger' census, which will commence later this year, the Tamil Nadu Wildlife department has commenced the task of tracking down the wild cats in the state tiger reserve and forest areas, where tigers are found. "According to the present count, there are 89 tigers in Tamil Nadu, including 29 at the Kalakkad Mundanthurai tiger reserve in Tirunelveli district," Chief Wildlife Warden, Dr. Sukdev said. He believes the number will go up 'slightly', as wild life personnel had started observing pugmarks, tiger excreta and scratchings on the ground and on trees. Responding to a query, he said wildlife officials, with the help of tribals, were keeping a close vigil on areas frequented by tigers. However, there had been no reported cases of poaching in the last five years at least, he claimed.Other forest areas where the wild cats were found are Annamalai, Mudumalai, Satyamangalam and North and South Nilgris.Ruling out the use of cameras for tracking down tigers, the officer in charge of Kalakkad-Mudanthurai, Dr. Annamalai said that cameras were, however, 'being used for other scientific purposes like studying the condition of tigers'.

Elephant Survey in India
April 27, 2005 www.telegraphindia.com By DEBABRATA MOHANTY

INDIA, Bhubaneswar – : Wildlife activists in Orissa have pointed at a bleak future for elephants in the state even as the wildlife department sounded optimistic over the results of the census survey. The department has claimed that the dung-heap method, in addition to the traditional enumeration process, would make the counting error-free. But, as the three-day census survey came to an end yesterday, wildlife activists warned that the survival of elephants was under threat owing to deforestation and diversion of forestland, mainly for mining and other development projects. "The future of elephants is not all that rosy in Orissa. The severe loss of adult tuskers/bulls due to poaching in the past decade can lead to a skewed male-female ratio in the coming years," said Kulamani Deo of Wild Orissa, an NGO. The organisation participated in the census survey at the Mayurbhanj, Mahanadi and Sambalpur elephant reserves, besides the proposed ones, Baitarani and South Orissa. "Vedanta Alumina’s proposed refinery in Kalahandi, the Brutanga irrigation project in Nayagarh and the upcoming iron and steel projects in Jajpur, Keonjhar and Sundargarh will adversely affect the elephant population in Orissa," Deo warned.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Not Extinct
April 28, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By James Owen

For 50 years the ivory-billed woodpecker has been widely considered extinct, but according to the Nature Conservancy the bird survives in eastern Arkansas, in a remote area of wetland forest. Among the world's largest woodpeckers, the ivory-bill is one of six North American bird species believed to have gone extinct since 1880. The last conclusive sighting was in Louisiana in 1944. Extensive logging in the southeastern U.S., decimated the woodpecker's habitat of mature virgin forests. Eight independent sightings have been reported since early 2004 in the Big Woods region of eastern Arkansas, a 550,000-acre (220,000-hectare) corridor of swamps and floodplain forests. The reports all came within five miles (three kilometers) of one another. John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York headed a team that assessed the woodpecker sightings. Though the images are fleeting and blurred, extensive analysis of the video by Fitzpatrick and his team made revealed the telltale features of an ivory-bill: • The bird's size matched the species's estimated 19.5-inch (50-centimeter) length, from beak to tail tip. The length of the tail was particularly revealing. • The bird's wing patterns, both at rest and in flight, had the black-and-white markings characteristic of an ivory-billed woodpecker. • The bird's back had a conspicuous area of white plumage. Fitzpatrick says these key markers clearly distinguish the bird from the smaller but similar-looking pileated woodpecker. So far the presence of only a single ivory-bill male can be confirmed. "We cannot rule out the possibility that all of our fleeting encounters involved the same bird," Fitzpatrick said. Their findings will be published in the journal Science.

Saving the Quino Butterfly
April 30, 2005 www.nctimes.com By Dave Downey

MURRIETA ---- Gordon Pratt, a UC Riverside scientist, is about to plant the first laboratory-reared larvae of an endangered butterfly in French Valley. Since December, Pratt has been raising thousands of larvae of the black-and-orange-winged Quino checkerspot butterfly, and hundreds of adults, in a laboratory at Vista Murrieta High School. Sometime this month, he plans to place larvae of one of Southern California's most threatened insects at Johnson Ranch Reserve, in hopes they will transform into colorful butterflies when rains return next winter. Pratt said he also plans to put some on plants in a fenced outdoor area next to his lab, so he can closely monitor their activity. About this time of year, he said, many larvae ---- or caterpillars ---- go into what is called diapause, and essentially hibernate until the following winter. Pratt's laboratory figures prominently in a federally-approved regional plan for boosting Quino populations in places such as French Valley, where the two-inch-long butterfly is threatened by housing tracts and the spread of nonnative plants. The Quino's favored plantago, owl's clover and white snapdragon are also being threatened. And given that it is found only in a few places in Riverside and San Diego counties, a "blinking out" of the species there, biologists say, could cause it to disappear altogether.

Borneo: 361 New Species
April 30, 2005 www.nytimes.com By Andrew C. Revkin

The island of Borneo retains an extraordinary amount of biological diversity in its interior despite intensifying destruction of its rain forests, a new study has found. In just the last 10 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund, biologists have discovered 361 species of plants and animals on the island, which is larger than Alaska and shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. It said 260 insects - including what is thought to be the world's largest cockroach - 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, 7 frogs - including the dwarf red-eyed tree frog at left - 6 lizards, 5 crabs, 2 snakes and a toad were discovered from 1994 to 2004. But even the remote inland regions could be threatened if the pace of forest clearing does not slow, the report said. The deforestation is mainly driven by international demand for tropical hardwood and palm oil and rubber, which are grown there on plantations.

Fired Toledo Vet Returns to Work
April 30, 2005 abclocal.go.com

An agreement has been made between Dr. Tim Reichard and the Toledo zoo. Under the agreement, Reichard will be employed as an off-site consultant for a period of 18 months beginning May 1. He will be paid a salary of $90,000 plus benefits. The zoo will also pay for lost wages and attorney fees totaling approximately $37,000. Reichard spent 20 years as the head vet at the Toledo Zoo. He was fired on February 28 for what the zoo called "poor management skills." The doctor claimed he was fired after speaking out about animal care issues to federal inspectors. A zoo committee reviewed his dismissal and agreed to bring Reichard back. According to the details of the settlement, neither side can comment about Reichard's reinstatement, Reichard will not perform any duties upon zoo grounds nor will he persue any legal action against the zoo. Both sides agreed in today's written statement that the arrangement is fair and in the best interests of the zoo.

Lincoln Park zookeepers euthanize gorilla
April 30, 2005 www.belleville.com

CHICAGO - Lincoln Park Zoo officials, who had to euthanize a female gorilla because of kidney failure. 7-year-old Mumbali was euthanized Thursday, the second gorilla death at the zoo this year. In February, 35-year-old Kumba died from kidney failure because of old age. Mumbali and her 9-year-old sister Rollie got sick about three weeks ago with what zookeepers believe was a virus or bacterial infection, Sue Margulis, the zoo's curator of primates, said Saturday. Rollie, who responded well to antibiotics, was recovering and being kept in isolation. But antibiotics didn't help Mumbali and zoo veterinarians tried blood transfusions and dialysis in their attempts to save her. When her condition worsened, officials made the decision to euthanize her. "We'd been working around the clock for four or five days," Margulis said. "It was devastating for all of us, but we knew it was the right decision." None of the other 10 Western lowland gorillas at the zoo appears ill.

SF Zoo Contest turns into "Grizzlygate"
April 30, 2005 www.sfgate.com

A winning bid of $32,500 at a San Francisco Zoo fund-raiser will allow winners Cinnie and Merrill Magowan of Hillsborough to call the orphaned Grizzly bear sisters from Montana whatever they want -- but it won't buy the silence of people who feel misled and betrayed. The zoo's decision earlier this month to auction naming rights to the highest bidder -- and dump a widely promoted contest that began in November -- has provoked an uproar from patrons, contestants and employees alike. "It's been a very embarrassing situation for me," zoo director Manuel Mollinedo told The Chronicle on Friday morning. Long-time zoo benefactor Cinnie Magowan said the bears would be named either after her and her husband or G.G. and Arch. Mollinedo figured that sending the 750 contestants four free tickets to the zoo and holding a random drawing for two $100 prize baskets would mollify everyone. It hasn't. "I know it's only business, and the zoo needs funds, but as an ex-computer teacher, I know the hearts of kids," said Julia Fox of San Francisco. "And they break, when adults break a promise." Sixty-five percent of contest entries were from children. Now, disappointed bear fans are suggesting other names for the twins: Shocked and Sickened, Avarice and Greed, Grin and Bear It. Some people are hoping the winning bidder will rely upon the entries in the contest, which required American Indian names. Others plan to vent their bear bile at the monthly Joint Zoo Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Animal Fetishism in the U.S.
May 1, 2005 www.nytimes.com/2005/05/01/magazine/  By Daphne Merkin

Source: National Pet Owners Survey, American Pet Products Association, 2003-2004: In the U.S. there are about 378 million pets versus 296 million people

Freshwater Fish 185 million

Cats 77.7

Dogs 65

Birds 17.3

Small Animals 16.8

Reptiles 9

Saltwater fish 7

We spend more money annually on pet-related supplies and services (an estimated $35 billion last year) than we do on toys for children. $20 million was spent on trying to return Keiko, star of ''Free Willy,'' to the Iceland waters

Singapore Zoo Changes Stage Design
May 1, 2005 www.news24.com

A moat now separates spectators from an African wild cat performing at the Singapore Zoo's nightly shows after the animal scratched a tourist, a crocodile bit its keeper and a jaguar escaped, officials said on Sunday. The zoo is considering changing the design of the stage used for its "Creatures Of The Night" show amid calls from an animal rights group to ban such performances. An online petition drive has been launched by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society. Deidre Moss, executive officer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, wants a 2002 Singapore law banning travelling circuses from bringing in wild animals for their acts to be extended to the zoo. "Whenever wild animals are used for entertainment purposes, there will be public safety issues if people are in close proximity," Moss said. Such performances are unnatural for animals, she added. Two weeks ago, an audience was waiting for a serval, a wildcat species, to jump up and grab some meat on a stick when the animal strayed and scratched the leg of Chinese woman with her child. The woman had to be hospitalized. The performance has been moved from one meter away from spectators to eight meters. Other animals such as the civet cat and the otter continue to perform on stage in front of the water-filled moat. The day before the serval incident, a female jaguar escaped from its opening and wandered around for 30 minutes before it was sedated and returned to its enclosure. Hundreds of visitors were evacuated from the zoo.

Elephant euthanized after trip to Hogle Zoo
May 2, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By Jamie Francisco and William Mullen

35-year old Wankie was euthanized Sunday after she fell ill en route from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. Her death stunned zoo officials, who said they noticed no signs of medical problems when she was loaded at 9:30 a.m. Friday into the truck. Signs of trouble arose at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, when Wankie lay down in her crate, a position that could have inhibited breathing. Kevin Bell, president of Lincoln Park Zoo, said that because elephants are so heavy, the position also could have damaged the tissue and muscle in her legs. She arrived in Salt Lake City by Saturday evening, but when her condition did not improve, a team of veterinarians made the decision to euthanize her at 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Animal rights activists expressed sadness about Wankie's death and blamed zoo officials for her illness. A spokeswoman for In Defense of Animals, another animal rights group that had been opposed to the zoo's handling of the elephants, said Sunday the zoo had rushed Wankie out of the city "to circumvent the public hearing scheduled in the Chicago City Council May 12" on sending the elephant to a sanctuary instead of another zoo. "We are holding Lincoln Park Zoo accountable and believe that they need now to release the medical records and necropsy reports of all three elephants that have died," said Rae Leann Smith, the spokeswoman. "We need to have public accountability to see what kind of care and what kind of medical treatment these animals had been receiving." 

Bridgeport Zoo Tiger Cubs Born
May 2, 2005 www.nbc30.com

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Amur tigers are the largest of the five tiger subspecies. Males weigh up to 660 pounds, while females weigh about 200 to 370 pounds. Four critically endangered Amur tiger cubs were born April 15 at the Beardsley Zoo. The two male and two female cubs were the first born at the Bridgeport Zoo since 1986 and the first offspring for the 7-year-old mother, Anastasia, and 11-year-old father, Robeki. A typical litter size is two to four cubs. Zoo Director Gregg Dancho said. "One of the female cubs died last week from congenital defects, but the other three and their mother are doing well." Zoo staff were able to monitor the births on a closed-circuit television set up between the den, where the mother had been secluded since her due date of April 7, and an area outside the exhibit. The mother and cubs will stay off-exhibit until probably mid-June. After the cubs are weaned at six months the zoo may decide to send any of its five tigers to other accredited facilities to maintain genetic diversity within the captive breeding population. The adult tigers are being fed a diet of horse meat and vitamins. Each will eat 10 to 15 pounds per day. The Amur Tiger Species Survival Plan was one of the first established, starting in 1981 with 57 tigers. There are 155 Amur tigers at 59 institutions, with a goal to keep the captive breeding population around 150, which has been met for the past 12 years. The population enjoyed 12 births in the past year, while it also saw 13 deaths. To keep the population around 150 tigers, the species survival managers recommended 16 breeding pairs for 2004-05, with anticipated offspring of 16 cubs. The majority of litters are born in the spring. Breeding success is about 44 percent for the population.

Developers Destroyed Texas Warbler’s Habitat
5/2/2005 www.woai.com

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Developers have destroyed 270 acres of habitat of an endangered Texas songbird, according to a settlement with the USFWS. A firm owned by Gene Powell and Lloyd Denton Jr. acknowledged in September that it had thinned out thousands of cedar trees on its 1,500-acre property known as Indian Springs near the future PGA Tour resort, federal records show. Mature mountain cedars are a crucial habitat of the golden-cheeked warbler, a rare songbird that nests only in Central Texas. The bird was put on the endangered species list in 1990, and the Audobon Society labels it one of the most at-risk species in North America. The firm admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to set aside 340 acres of untouched land elsewhere on the property and created a nonprofit association to maintain the natural open space. Powell and Denton said their contractors "inadvertently cleared some areas of potential warbler habitat" outside the birds' nesting season. They voluntarily reported the clearing. "If they hadn't brought it to our attention, I don't know that we would have ever known about it," said Ren Lohoefener, a Fish and Wildlife state administrator in Austin. 

Female Gorillas Fight for Status
May 2, 2005 www.suntimes.com BY ANDREW HERRMANN

Historically, zoo-kept gorillas lived alone or with a single member of the opposite sex. But in 1970, Lincoln Park Zoo allowed the first gorilla born there, a female named Kumba, to remain with her mother and later with other gorillas. This corresponded with how gorillas lived in the wild: in groups usually led by a single male. Recently the Lincoln Park troop has been undergoing a transformation. Two gorillas, Mumbali, 7 and Rollie, 9, had to be separated from the six other gorillas because of illness. Mumbali was euthanized last Thursday after she fell into a coma-like state, possibly from an infection. Rollie, a constant companion of Mumbali is being closely monitored for changes that could occur after the death of her sister. Lethargy and appetite loss, which animal experts believe are signs of depression, are not uncommon among a gorilla group after one of its own dies. Meanwhile primate curator, Sue Margulis said some dynamic social changes have occurred with the remaining females. Mumbali and her sister Rollie served as bodyguards for Mukari, a 20-year old, and without her protectors Mukari is now being pushed around by two female adults, Bahati and Tabibu. They are grabbing food from her, beating their chests or staring to intimidate her. The male leader, Jojo has been ignoring these developments. The aggressions are not necessarily dangerous, but officials are watching closely. Rollie will return to the group after she totally recovers, which may be none too soon for the beleaguered Mukari.

Red Wolves Born at N.C. Zoo
May 2, 2005 news.yahoo.com

The red wolf is considered the most endangered canine in North America, and for the fourth time in its history, the North Carolina Zoo has recorded having a litter. Five red wolf pups were born there sometime early Friday, according to zoo officials. The 3-year-old mother came from the Oklahoma Zoo and the 4-year-old father came from Florida’s Brevard Zoo. The pups, three males and two females may someday be candidates for reintroduction, they will remain off exhibit and will have only limited contact with zookeepers. At one time, red wolves, cousins to the larger gray wolf, were thought to have roamed throughout the southeastern U.S. But by the late 1970's, their population had been diminished to less than a few dozen along the Texas-Louisiana border. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fearing extinction of the species, captured the last remaining wild red wolves in 1980. With the cooperation of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association's Species Survival Plans, a captive-breeding program for the red wolf was established in zoos and their numbers have slowly recovered.

Water Main Leak Closes Woodland Park Zoo
May 2, 2004 seattletimes.nwsource.com

Woodland Park Zoo was closed unexpectedly this morning after a construction crew accidentally hit a water line, shutting off water to the 92-acre zoo. Zoo officials originally hoped to reopen by noon, but repair work took longer than expected and so the zoo will remain closed all day It is expected to re-open tomorrow. The water line broke as construction workers were doing preparation work for Thursday's ground-breaking of the zoo's Zoomazium, a $9.6 million project to turn an 8,500-square-foot area into a natural playground, said spokeswoman Gigi Allianic. The year-round playground for children 8 and younger, which will allow youngsters to crawl through mountain caves, follow animal tracks, and climb hollow trees, is set to open next spring, Allianic said.

Protestors at San Antonio Zoo
May 2, 2005 www.woai.com By Jim Forsyth

Visitors to the San Antonio Zoo met protestors Sunday. The demonstrators were protesting the zoo's practice of trapping and killing wild animals, like raccoons, opossums and skunks. Zoo Director Steve McCusker said the wildlife need to be destroyed because they kill or injure zoo animals and spread disease. 1200 WOAI news, in a series of reports late last month entitled 'Slaughter at the Zoo,' reported that the zoo routinely traps the small animals when they come into the zoo from Breckenridge Park looking for food. Skunks, possums, raccoons, and the occasional fox are 'chemically euthanized' by zoo staff, while the cats are removed to the animal control facility across the street where most of them are killed. Protester John Hackett of the group "Voice for Animals" says the slaughter is 'needless.'

Dredging could disturb Hawaiian bird
May 2, 2005 the.honoluluadvertiser.com By Suzanne Roig

HAWAI'I KAI — The native Hawaiian stilt is a slender wading bird that grows to about 16 inches in length with a black and white forehead and white belly. Stilts can still be found on all the islands except Kaho'olawe, but their numbers have not increased much. Currently there are about 1,200 birds on Maui and O'ahu, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The biggest threat to the birds is the loss of the wetland habitat. Bird lovers now fear that a proposed dredging project by the Hawai'i Kai Marina Association, might compromise a favorite spot of the stilt. The privately owned marina was created 40 years ago by Henry J. Kaiser when Hawai'i Kai was developed. The Association plans to do spot maintenance dredging around the 13 miles of waterways. There are three places in the marina designated for the dumping of dredged material — two islands, known as Rim Island 1 and 2, and a two-acre piece of land by the farmers' lots at the rear of the marina. The stilts are nesting in a marshy area on Rim Island 2. "It's important that the birds will be taken care of," said Jim Dittmar, a resident of Hawai'i Kai. "This is the only native Hawaiian stilt breeding habitat from Pearl Harbor to Kane'ohe. It is free from feral cats and dogs, rats and mongoose. It is the only breeding site in all of the state which is free of these predators."

Polar bear from zoo in Providence dies
May 2, 2005 www.boston.com

PROVIDENCE -- Trixie, an 18-year-old female polar bear at Roger Williams Park Zoo, died Saturday as zoo staff prepared her for a temporary move to the Indianapolis Zoo. Staff had sedated Trixie and had moved her to a protective carrier. They then gave her a ''reversal" drug, designed to wake her for the journey. ''She was coming out of it great. She was picking up her head. Everything seemed to be going well," said Jack Mulvena, director of the Roger Williams Park Zoo. ''All of a sudden, 10 or 15 minutes later, she inexplicably stopped breathing." An exam given to her after administering the sedative showed she was in excellent health, Mulvena added. A necropsy showed the bear had no obvious health problems, said Cheryl Cullion, the doctor who led the procedure. Trixie had been through similar sedations a dozen times before, most recently in January, without any complications, Cullion added. A polar bear's life expectancy is 20 to 30 years, but they live longer in captivity, Mulvena said. Trixie was born in captivity, and had been at the Providence zoo since 1989. While there, she gave birth to four cubs. The surviving two are in zoos in Tucson and Detroit. Roger Williams is doubling the size of its polar bear exhibit. The new exhibit, scheduled to open in 2007, is expected to include a wider variety of habitats. Trixie was supposed to return to the new quarters.

13-foot Burmese python at Blank Park Zoo
May 3, 2005 desmoinesregister.com By CHRISTINA SMITH

Des Moines, IA – Bob, a 140-pound Burmese python, is an expectant mother that was welcomed at a temporary home in the Blank Park Zoo. The 13-foot snake is on loan until September from Des Moines herpetologist Tom Weidner, who has a collection of about 200 snakes. Bob is thought to be Iowa's largest Burmese python. She is on display in the zoo's Discovery Center and is part of the zoo's Super Size Summer program, said Terry Rich, president of the zoo. A giraffe, giant tortoise, emu and bongos also will be showcased this summer as part of the program. Over the next several months visitors will be able to see Bob as she lays approximately 40 eggs, and as the eggs hatch and babies emerge. By Thursday, she had lain two eggs. Weidner thinks the snake is about 12 years old. He got her about a decade ago after she was left on the front steps in a cardboard box at the Waterloo Humane Society. Her mate is one of Weidner's albino Burmese pythons. Kevin Drees, director of animal care at the zoo, said a nesting area made of moss has been prepared for the snake, and once Bob lays her eggs, which will emerge from a slit on her belly near her tail, she will coil around them for about 65 days and will not eat.

Zoo plans to study elephant well-being
May 3, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com/ By Jeremy Manier and William Mullen

Stung by criticism heaped on his institution after the death of a third elephant in the last six months, Lincoln Park Zoo president Kevin Bell on Monday said the zoo is committed to a long-term scientific study on whether it is harmful to keep the animals in cold-climate zoos. A preliminary necropsy report on the death of Wankie, the female African elephant that was euthanized Sunday, will be out late this week. A more complete analysis of her blood and tissue samples won't be available for weeks. Bell said he invited the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open an investigation of Wankie's death, and he also asked for an independent audit of the zoo's elephant care by outside experts with the AZA. Bell said the zoo has been in the cross hairs of a national animal rights campaign since the first of its three resident elephants, 35-year-old Tatima, died Oct. 16 of a rare lung disease. That campaign intensified after Peaches, 55, died Jan. 17. Veterinarians put down the zoo's last elephant, Wankie, 35, shortly after a two-day transport by truck to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, where she was to have made a new home with elephants there. "We don't know what the cause was yet, but it's not like there has been a plague going through our zoo," Bell said.

Animal Activists Protest at San Diego Zoo
May 3, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com

SAN DIEGO – Animal activists plan to stage a protest today to express displeasure over the death of an African elephant originally from the San Diego Zoo who was euthanized after she was transferred from Chicago to Salt Lake City. Protesters are expected to gather outside the main gates of the San Diego Zoo at 11:30 a.m. to protest the death of Wankie, who was euthanized Sunday morning because she could no longer stand on her hind legs just hours after arriving at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. Wankie was 36, which is not considered old for elephants, according to Kelly McGrath, spokeswoman for Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. Wankie and two other elephants lived at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park for more than 30 years and were transferred to Lincoln Park Zoo in 2003. The San Diego Zoo maintained its ownership of Wankie.

Falling tree kills 14 Malacca Zoo flamingos
May 3, 2005 thestar.com.my BY THOMAS TAN

MALACCA: Two thirds of the flamingo population at the Malacca Zoo were killed by a falling tree during strong winds on Sunday evening. The branches of the 13m-tall angsana tree in the Mini Safari compound fell within the birds' enclosure near the zoo’s amphitheatre, killing 13 of the 21 flamingos, which were all from Tanzania. Jason Loh of Animal Adventure, the company that trains the birds for the animal show at the zoo, said the incident happened between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. "Two other flamingos were badly injured – one of which died today (yesterday),'' he said, adding that zoo workers were out for dinner at the time of the incident. Zoo workers took two-and-a-half hours to clear the branches from the enclosure and remove the dead and injured birds. "The daily bird presentation at the zoo will be carried out as usual but there will not be a flamingo show for now," he said, adding that there was a ban on the import of birds, including flamingos, due to the bird flu scare. The 21 flamingos were brought to the zoo in December 2003 and made their debut at the bird show in March 2004.

Feeding Time at the Bronx Zoo
May 3, 2005 www.nytimes.com By ROBIN FINN

3:30 p.m is picnic time for the Bronx Zoo's Sea Bird Colony. First, an array of children loop themselves around the railing at the pool belonging to the seven Magellan penguins. Next, a woman with plastic pails of fresh fish, clambers across the submerged bridge that leads to Penguin Island. Inca terns and Guanay cormorants, poised for leftovers, commence a shrieking that nearly drowns out the invitation by the zookeeper, Gigi Giacomara, to dine. Bandit, a male, is the first to waddle over. Like the rest of the penguin gang, he eats his capelin, a smeltlike fish, headfirst, chopping it up with a bill that is serrated like a steak knife. When penguins bite the hand that feeds them, as they occasionally do, it smarts. Since these portly, feathered 10-pounders are South American penguins native to the Patagonian coast, they may also carry malaria. Which is why, Ms. Giacomara reminds the children, nobody pets the penguins.  But they do appreciate an audience. Bray like a donkey in their direction and, so long as their beaks aren't mashing fish, they will shake their tail feathers and bray right back. "Hawwww," their mode of vocalizing, is why they are among a half-dozen breeds nicknamed jackass penguins.

Lord God Bird Editorial
May 3, 2005 www.nytimes.com By JONATHAN ROSEN

The ivory-billed woodpecker has been called "the Lord God bird" - but the name doesn't even make it onto the list of more than 20 common names recorded by the bird's chronicler, James T. Tanner, in 1942. But it made a terrific headline for a bird reported last week to have been rediscovered after 61 years of official extinction. "Second chances to save wildlife once thought to be extinct are rare," said Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton. Of course, chances to save birds not yet believed extinct are common, if sadly less appealing. The searchers have given us back a magnificent creature. Some 20 inches long, boldly patterned with black and white, the bird is so beautiful that Audubon likened it to a Van Dyck painting. I may never see it - though I certainly hope to - but it has new life for me and will live for other people who may never have even heard of the bird. They will want to protect its habitat and in doing so will, without even knowing it, protect the habitat of many other animals as well. All this is a great gift. Likening the bird, as Audubon did, to a work of art while it still haunted the forests of the South is charming; imagining that the bird is nothing but a work of art is overwhelmingly depressing. As Goethe said, art is long and life is short.

Invasive Plants Sold in Nurseries
May 3, 2005 news.bostonherald.com/heraldHomes

The Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group, including officials from nursery associations, nonprofit environmental groups and state and federal scientists, has released a list of 33 plants, trees, shrubs and pond weeds proposed to be banned as invasive species in Massachusetts; 29 species were listed as 'Likely invasive' plants".

Nepal’s War Threatens Rhino
May 3, 2005 www.theage.com.au By Thomas Bell

Nepal's civil war has allowed poachers to threaten the one-horned Asian rhinoceros, one of the world's most endangered species. In Chitwan National Park, home to the second largest population of the animal, numbers have fallen by 31 per cent to 371 since 2000. "This is a direct impact of the (Maoist) insurgency, because the army has a dual role," said Dr Chandra Gurung, of the World Wildlife Fund. "Whenever we have political upheaval, poaching increases." The threat from Maoist rebels to the 900 soldiers guarding Chitwan has caused them to concentrate their forces and reduce the number of posts from 34 in 2001 to eight today. Last November two rangers, two game scouts and a driver were killed by a Maoist landmine in the adjoining Parsa Wildlife Reserve. The one-horned rhino lives in the jungles that once covered southern Nepal and northern India. As this area has been taken over by humans, the rhinos have been driven into ever-shrinking pockets. Dr Gurung said a rhino horn could bring $A88,000 in China, where it is considered an aphrodisiac and a cure for epilepsy, fever and strokes. The Asian rhino was once considered a conservation success story. In 1973 there were only 100 in Nepal, but by 2000 the figure had risen to more than 600, with 544 in Chitwan and about 1500 in India, making a world population of 2100. Up to 10,000 Nepalese marched for democracy on Sunday after King Gyanendra lifted the state of emergency. It was the biggest demonstration in Kathmandu since the king assumed power.

Elephant Death Protest at San Diego Zoo
May 4, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com 

About a dozen animal-rights activists protested at the San Diego Zoo yesterday over the death of Wankie the African elephant. Holding signs that said "Another Elephant Dead Courtesy of the Zoo Industry" and "Seven Months, Three Dead Elephants," the protesters handed out fliers near the zoo entrance. The noontime demonstration was peaceful. Wankie had lived at the San Diego Wild Animal Park for three decades. She died Sunday after being moved from Chicago to a new home in Salt Lake City. The 36-year-old elephant was euthanized after not being able to stand on her hind legs. Animal activists blamed the San Diego Zoological Society for Wankie's death, saying the move to Chicago was a death sentence because the weather was too cold and space too cramped. Protesters also demanded the resignation of Douglas Myers, executive director of the San Diego Zoo. A zoo spokesman said there would be no significant changes to zoo administration and said the relocation was in Wankie's best interests because elephants are social animals and need to live in herds. Two of Wankie's herd mates sent to Chicago also died. Officials said Peaches, 55, died of old age and Tatima, 35, died of a bone-cancerlike bacterial infection that predated the move from San Diego.

How Monarch Butterflies Navigate
May 4, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

In their extraordinary annual migration from North America to Mexico, monarch butterflies are known to use the angle of polarized sunlight as a celestial guide to help them keep to a straight and true path southward. But details of their navigational machinery have remained a mystery. Now, researchers, led by Steven Reppert of University of Massachusetts Medical School, Ivo Sauman of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Adriana Briscoe of the University of California at Irvine, have explored the infinitesimal butterfly brain to uncover new insights into that machinery. Their findings show that the same ultraviolet light that has become an anathema to cancer-wary humans is critical for butterfly navigation. Also, the researchers were surprised to discover a key wiring connection between the light-detecting navigation sensors in the butterfly's eye and the creature's circadian clock--a critical link if the butterflies are to compensate for the time of day in using their "sun compass." The researchers' techniques include molecular analysis of butterfly brain proteins, as well as flight tests in which the scientists manipulated the light reaching their insect subjects and measured the navigational response. This pathway has not been described in any other insect, and it may be a hallmark feature of butterflies that use a time-compensated sun compass.

Thiruvananthapuram Zoo Seeks Male Lion
May 4, 2005 timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Thiruvananthapuram zoo has a problem. The six lionesses at the zoo have no male lion for company. Zimba, the lone male, died a few days ago. Zimba was born a weak animal and suffered from intestinal disorder. As the zoo did not want too many cubs, he was sterilized. The animal died soon after the operation. Captive lions have a life span of 18 to 20 years as against 12-15 years in wildlife. The zoo and museum director Y S Yalaki said the animal died of disorder and not of sterilization. The zoo is not keen to have too many of these lions since they are of hybrid variety, born of Asiatic and African animals. "These are not pure Asiatic breed which are valuable", said Yalaki.

Discovery of American Salamander in Korea
May 4, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

The discovery of a lungless salamander from the family Plethodontidae was made two years ago by Stephen J. Karsen, a biologist from Illinois who teaches in an International School on the western edge of the Korean peninsula. David Wake, the world's top expert on lungless salamanders, and colleagues in South Korea and Illinois report the discovery and their analysis of the new species, which they named Karsenia koreana, in the May 5 issue of Nature. "I've discovered and named nearly 50 species of salamanders - more than 10 percent of the total in the world. I've discovered new genera in Guatemala and Cost Rica. But this tops everything I've ever found by a long ways," Wake said. "For me, this is the most stunning discovery in the field of herpetology during my lifetime. It's so utterly unexpected, so completely unexpected." Although this type of salamander comprises the majority of species in the world, it is totally unknown in Asia and rare outside the Americas.

Zoos Exchange Rhinos for Breeding
May 4, 2005 www.freep.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Potter Park Zoo's 3,000-pound male black rhino, Jimma, has been moved to the Cleveland Zoo in hopes that a different male rhino might help Lansing's only female, Ebony, have a baby. Spike is expected to arrive this summer. Jimma's move took a year to plan, some special training for him, a heavy-duty forklift and 10 workers to make things go smoothly. NES Rentals of Lansing brought in a forklift capable of hoisting the endangered animal and his 2,000-pound crate last week.  Upon arrival in Cleveland after a 300-mile trek, Jimma calmly walked out of his crate, rested a short time and then started eating -- key signs that the move worked well. Jimma and Ebony had been expected to mate -- but they didn't. Neither animal had ever been used for breeding before and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Species Survival Program wanted them paired with experienced mates," said Tara Harrison, Potter Park Zoo veterinarian and curator. So Spike, a 14-year-old veteran, is expected to arrive in Lansing in six to eight weeks as a new companion for Ebony. If she becomes pregnant, a baby rhino likely would be born in 18 months.

Stray Elephants Ordered Shot
May 4, 2005 www.deccanherald.com

INDIA – The State Government in Bangalore has decided to gun down any wild elephants that stray into human habitation areas and cannot be tamed, even as a census to enumerate the endangered species will begin on Thursday. Those which can be tamed will be shifted to training camps, while normal ones will be left in the deep woods so that they do not stray into human habitation again. At present, incidents of wild elephant menace are reported mainly from Hassan and Sakleshpur taluks of the State.

Philadelphia designer gets zoo contract
May 4, 2005 www.kansascity.com

The Kansas City park board on Tuesday approved a $1.25 million contract with CLR Design Inc. of Philadelphia to develop detailed plans for three major zoo improvements. The firm, which developed the new master plan for the Kansas City Zoo, will design a new Red Barn exhibit for children, a conversion of the original 1909 zoo building into new exhibit space and a new "promenade" shortcut to the African section. They are the first big projects to be funded with $30 million in bonds approved last year by voters. The Red Barn should open by late spring or early summer next year. The design fees amount to nearly 16 percent of the projected $7.85 million cost of the projects.

Philadelphia Weighs elephant habitat upgrade
May 4, 2005 www.philly.com By Julie Stoiber

The board of the Philadelphia Zoo faced a massive matter at its retreat last month: the future of its four elephants, who provide the cash-strapped institution with 32,000 pounds of star power - and whose care will cost increasingly more as the zoo world launches a landmark national effort to breed captive elephants and improve their lives. "This is a very complex set of issues," zoo board chairman Peter Gould said in an interview. "We have not finished gathering the facts." By midsummer, zoos must detail to the American Zoo & Aquarium Association their plans for breeding elephants and updating their habitats. The 295 elephants in AZA-accredited zoos are likely to be consolidated at larger institutions, and Philadelphia hopes to be among them. "If elephants aren't breeding in captivity, they're going to be gone," Philadelphia Zoo director Alexander L. Hoskins said. The local zoo - America's first - has plans to replace its 1940s-era elephant house and grounds with a $20 million, 2.5-acre habitat, with room for six females and a bull, Hoskins said. Construction is pegged to start around 2008. But a shortfall in private donations funding both operations and capital projects forced layoffs at the zoo late last year, and raised concern over the elephant savanna as well as a planned bird habitat and new children's zoo. The board retreat was called to tackle a range of fund-raising issues. "It is enormously complicated to have four major capital projects in four years and pull it off financially," Hoskins said.

Shaking Triggers Early Frog Hatching
May 5, 2005 www.eurekalert.org people.bu.edu/kwarken

Red-eyed tree frog embryos distinguish vibrational differences, hatching early to snake attacks but not to rain. What cues prompt them to make the tiny embryos in a gelatinous egg clutch to hatch one to three days earlier than they would have if left undisturbed is a question that has now been answered in part by Boston University researcher Karen Warkentin. According to her findings, reported in the July issue of Animal Behaviour (www.elsevier.com/locate/anbehav), it's a particular characteristic of the vibrations that shake the clutch. The speed of these vibrations, how hard the clutch is shaken, and the length of and time between the movements that signal the embryos to hatch. Undisturbed, red-eyed tree frog eggs usually hatch six to eight days after fertilization, but can hatch up to 30 percent earlier if attacked by animals such as snakes or wasps.  

Australian Elephant Importation Update
May 5, 2005 www.news.com.au By Kate Murray

TAXPAYERS could face an extra hefty fee to get five Asian elephants to their new home at Taronga Zoo. Although the elephants' "visa" application has not yet been approved by the Federal Government, animal rights groups have said they will challenge the application in court if the elephants do get the go-ahead. Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell said that could mean an extra slug for taxpayers, who have already forked out $40 million for a new elephants' enclosure. "Non-government organisations have said they will take legal action if I issue a permit and that could lead to significant delays," Senator Campbell said. "I think it would be expensive for all parties and the only species to win would be a species known as lawyers." Mr Campbell toured the new $40 million elephant enclosure yesterday and said a decision on the elephants' future was "imminent". The application is being assessed by the Department of Environment and Heritage and will be passed to the Minister for a final decision.

Fort Worth Zoo's Great Barrier Reef
5/5/2005 releases.usnewswire.com By Lyndsay Nantz

FORT WORTH, Texas – Zoo visitors can now go to the depths of the Coral Sea at the Fort Worth Zoo's newest feature, Great Barrier Reef. An aquatic exhibit with three saltwater tanks containing more than 10,000 gallons of water, Great Barrier Reef is full of 500 vibrant fish, coral and even sharks and opens May 6. It is located in the Zoo's renovated Australian Outback, which also houses red kangaroos and wallabies. (Formerly named Koala Outback, the exhibit was renamed Australian Outback after the Zoo's one koala was returned to San Diego Zoo in January, after being on loan to the Zoo since 2000.) Visitors will see a diverse collection of Australian aquatic wildlife spanning 86 species (45 fish species, three small- to medium-size shark species, 30 coral species and eight invertebrate species.) Among them are clownfish, black-tip reef sharks, angelfish, brain corals, moray eels and sea apples. Full of interpretive graphics and the Coral Reef Play Area, the Zoo hopes Great Barrier Reef will be fun and educational. For more information on the Fort Worth Zoo, visit www.fortworthzoo.org

Toledo Zoo Leaders Quit
May 5, 2005 toledoblade.com By Jenni Laidman

After two months of chaos at the Toledo Zoo, William Dennler, the zoo’s executive director for the past 24 years, announced his retirement, effective immediately. Robert Harden, the zoo’s chief operating officer who has been with the zoo three years, "will work with the new executive team to assure a smooth transition," said Stephen Staelin, president of the zoo’s board of directors. He will also step down after the transition is complete. Severance packages for the two men, if there are to be any, have not been worked out, the board president said. The decision was not influenced by the board or tied to the "reinstatement" agreement made last weekend with veterinarian, Tim Reichard. The unusual reinstatement agreement pays Dr. Reichard, a veterinarian with 22 years of service to the zoo, $126,700, including lost wages; salary and benefits for the next 18 months, and reimbursement for legal fees. But the veterinarian will be a consultant, forbidden to set foot on zoo grounds even as a private citizen for the next six months. Until a new executive is chosen — a search that could take from six months to a year — the zoo will be managed by an executive team made up of board members and current zoo employees. A new director will be someone with an extensive background in animal management, according to Stephen Staelin, president of the zoo’s board of directors.

SF Chronicle Chides SF Zoo
May 5, 2005 www.sfgate.com

IF EVER AN institution needed an image makeover -- it is the San Francisco Zoo. First it said goodbye to its elephants, then it said hello to a pair of grizzlies and one of the biggest public-relations debacles in recent memory. They spurned 750 entries -- most of which came from schoolkids -- from an old-fashioned contest to name the new grizzlies. Then, they decided to do naming rights the newfangled way: by selling them to the highest bidder. Zoo officials then compounded the damage by thinking they could appease the snubbed contestants with four free tickets and a drawing for two $100 prizes. Nice try! Neither the $32,500 check nor the graciousness of the winning bidders -- who have agreed to consider the children's entries -- can erase the bad feelings from this mess. "Grizzlygate" clearly shows that the zoo's leaders are desperate for money and without much of a clue about how to build and maintain community relations. Send your name-that-zoo suggestions to letters@sfchronicle.com . It won't cost you -- or the zoo -- a dime. We'll publish a selection of your ideas. Be nice, please.

Taipei forms "Panda Task Force"
May 5, 2005 www.taipeitimes.com

Taipei City Government will form a task force soon to facilitate its bid to host the two giant pandas that China has offered as gifts to the Taiwanese people, Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (???) said yesterday. Headed by deputy Yeh Chin-chuan, the task force will strive to have the pair of pandas housed at the Taipei City Zoo. The zoo has been preparing for nearly 10 years to accommodate pandas. Construction is expected to be completed soon, zoo keepers have been receiving special training on caring for pandas, and that the funds required for the project are also in place. After Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung decided to compete for the right to house the pandas, Ma said that Kaohsiung is welcome to enter the competition, although he believes Taipei is more capable of taking care of the animals. The two pandas, very likely to be provided by the Wolong Panda Conservation District of Sichuan Province, are expected to attract more than 1 million extra visitors to the zoo each year if they are allowed to be brought to Taipei, Ma said.

Monarto Zoo’s Southern White Rhino Birth
May 5, 2005 murraybridge.yourguide.com.au

HISTORY has been made at Monarto Zoological Park with the birth of a male southern white rhinoceros in the early hours of Thursday morning. After a gestation period of nearly 16 months, the southern white rhino 'Uhura' successfully gave birth to a healthy male weighing approximately 35 to 40 kilograms. The yet to be named male is the first southern white rhino born in South Australian history. Satara, the father of the newborn, was a wild caught from Kruger National Park, arriving at Monarto under the banner of ‘Operation White Rhino' in 2002. The mother, Uhura, was born in the Singapore Zoo on May 26, 1996 and came to Monarto on December 9, 2000. Both rhinos have adapted well to Monarto's open range concept and have now successfully bred in the ‘Caddick Rhino Boma'.

Bull Elephant, Coming to Oregon Zoo
May 05, 2005 www.oregonlive.com By KATY MULDOON

Tusko, a 32-year-old Asian elephant who stands more than 10 feet tall and weighs 12,000 pounds, will be the first new elephant added to the Oregon zoo's collection since 1999. He will expand a centerpiece exhibit for the popular zoo, widely associated with a flourishing elephant program even as other zoos, pressured by animal-rights groups, struggle to maintain theirs. He is expected to join the zoo’s 6 other elephants next week from a private California elephant ranch, but won't go on public display until at least mid-June. Government regulations require zoos to quarantine new animals to ensure against the spread of disease. The zoo hopes first to breed Tusko with Sung-Surin -- nicknamed "Shine," at 22 of prime breeding age. When they get older, Rose-Tu and Chendra, the zoo's 10- and 11-year-old cows, also might breed with Tusko.

Gorilla Baby at Brookfield Zoo
May 5, 2005 press.arrivenet.com By Sondra Katzen of Brookfield Zoo

BROOKFIELD, IL.– Binti Jua, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, gave birth to a 4- to 5-pound male infant around 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2. Both are doing well and can be seen along with the other members of the gorilla troop in the zoo's Tropic World exhibit. Binti was hand-raised at San Francisco Zoo. She was never fully accepted by the gorilla group in California, and in 1991 a decision was made to move her to Brookfield Zoo for socialization and breeding purposes. In 1995, she gave birth to her first daughter, Koola, now 10, making her the second youngest gorilla mother in a North American zoo. A year and a half later, Binti became world-known for picking up a child who fell into the gorilla exhibit and carrying him in a cradling fashion to a doorway where zoo staff could reach the boy. Ramar, 37, is wild born but raised by a human family and became famous for appearing on national television and at major theme parks. He arrived at Brookfield Zoo in 1998 on a breeding loan from North Carolina Zoological Park. Prior to coming to Brookfield, Ramar had not sired any offspring, which makes his genes extremely valuable to the long-term conservation breeding program of this species. At Brookfield Zoo, Ramar has been in the ideal breeding situation among a stable, social group of several adult females. He has thrived in his role as silverback (dominant adult male) and has sired three offspring: Nadaya, 4; Kamba, 8 months; and the baby. For further information about Binti and her baby, visit www.BrookfieldZoo.org.  

Giraffe Baby at Como Zoo
May 5, 2005 biz.yahoo.com

SAINT PAUL, Minn. A female reticulated giraffe was born April 14th at Como Zoo to Daisy (Age 6) and Jahari (Age 13). Weighing 151 pounds and 5'9" at birth, she is the couple’s first offspring. Female giraffes first conceive at five years of age. The gestation period is 15 months. Females give birth standing up, and the calf is capable of standing as soon as five minutes after birth. When born, calves typically suckle within the first four hours. During these initial hours the mother produces a special milk or colostrum that passes on immunities to her young. After the first six hours a calf's ability to take on these immunities is diminished. After observing that the new calf did not suckle within four hours of birth, Como Zoo staff and veterinarians decided to intervene. Como staff then successfully bottle-fed bovine colostrum to insure the calf received the immunities essential for good health. The calf is being bottle-fed whole milk with additives such as vitamins, oils, and probiotics. She is currently fed three times a day approximately four liters per feeding for a total of 12 liters a day. At her last weigh-in she was a healthy 175 pounds.

Buttonwood Farm has Rare Goat
May 5, 2005 www.turnto10.com

RHODE ISLAND – New Bedford's Buttonwood Park Zoo is showing off a newborn San Clemente goat that was born May 1. The kid was the offspring of one of two 4-year-old San Clemente female goats donated to the Buttonwood Farm by the Swiss Village Foundation of Newport, R.I., in March. One of the females was bred before the zoo obtained her. Buttonwood officials said part of the zoo's mission is to help preserve rare farm breeds. San Clemente goats are no longer used on farms, so they are in danger of becoming extinct. According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the status of San Clemente goat is listed as critical because there are fewer than 2,000 left in the world. San Clemente goats were brought to the New World by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and inhabited the island of San Clemente off the coast of California, the zoo said. The goats are relatively small and fine-boned, and both sexes are horned with mostly red or tan with black markings.

Clearance sale at the Dallas Zoo
May 5, 2005 www.dallasnews.com By MARIANA GREENE

The animals aren't for sale, but the plants are, including a cache of orchids and bromeliads that were donated to the zoo many years ago. We gardeners owe this windfall to new exhibit construction. Some plants had to be removed; others are extras propagated by zoo horticulturists. Some standouts: Plumeria; Chinese parasol tree, a fast-growing summer-bloomer that casts deep shade; and Madagascar palm, a spiny-trunked thing that is not a palm at all. Pot sizes start at 4 inches, prices at 50 cents. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Zoo admission $8, $5 for children 3 and older. 214-670-6826. 

USDA National Animal Identification Plan
May 5, 2005 www.usda.gov

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2005-Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today unveiled a thinking paper and timeline on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and called on agriculture producers, leaders, and industry partners to provide feedback. Both documents are available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's NAIS Web site at www.usda.gov/nais and will be published in the Federal Register. "The documents we're releasing today offer a draft plan to move the public discussion forward on this important initiative," said Johanns. "We created these documents with guidance from the NAIS advisory committee and with a great deal of input from producers. We're proposing answers to some of the key questions about how we envision this system moving forward. Now, I'm eager to hear from farmers and ranchers so we can develop a final plan." These documents lay out in more detail projected timelines and potential avenues to achieve system milestones. For example, these documents propose requiring stakeholders to identify premises and animals according to NAIS standards by January 2008. Requiring full recording of defined animal movements is proposed by January 2009.  Consideration will be given to comments received on or before June 6, 2005. Send an original and three copies of postal or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. 050-15-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, an easy link to the NAIS docket and comment form will be available on the NAIS home page at www.usda.gov/nais. Once USDA receives feedback on the documents, it will follow the normal rulemaking process before any aspects of the NAIS become mandatory. The public will have the opportunity to submit additional comments on any proposed regulations. Comments are posted on the EDOCKET Web site and may also be viewed at USDA, Room 1141 South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

Wild Horses Slaughtered
May 5, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By Maryann Mott

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing the 37,000 wild horses on public lands, mainly in Nevada, Oregon, and Wyoming. Last December, Congress passed a bill that made it legal for the BLM to sell wild horses outright. Supporters of the law said its goal is to reduce the number of horses that BLM keeps in holding facilities and to reduce the agency's horse-care costs. Previously the agency had been allowed to sell wild horses, but titles to horses were not turned over until one year later. The yearlong waiting period also discouraged people from buying wild horses and selling them for profit, since the cost of a year's worth of care and feeding would have canceled out any potential resale profits. Since December the BLM has sold about a thousand wild horses under the new rules. The slaughtered horses were originally sold to the Rosebud Sioux Indians in South Dakota and to an unnamed Oklahoma man who said he wanted the horses for a church youth program. Thirty-five of the Sioux-bought horses and all six of the Oklahoma man's horses ended up at Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois, where they were slaughtered. One of three foreign-owned slaughterhouses in the United States, Cavel ships horse meat overseas for human consumption. "We're very upset by what happened," said Tom Gorey, a spokesperson for the BLM. "We're assessing our protocols. We want to make sure that if there are any additional steps we can take to ensure the horses are protected, we take them." Animal advocates say they had feared this would happen after the outright sale of wild horses was legalized. U.S. law now allows the BLM to sell wild horses and donkeys, as long as they are more than ten years old or have been unsuccessfully offered for adoption at least three times. Two bills have been introduced in Congress—one that would restore protection of wild horses and burros, and one that would ban horse slaughter in the United States. Chris Heyde of the Society for Animal Protective Legislation in Washington, D.C., supports the bills. Altogether, more than 65,000 horses—few of them wild—were sent to U.S. slaughterhouses last year, he said. 

New Species of Fox in Borneo
May 5, 2005 www.nzherald.co.nz By GEOFFREY LEAN and JAN McGIRK 

Borneo - the world's third largest island - has possibly the most diverse wildlife on the globe. It is home to an estimated 15,000 species of plant; one 52ha plot alone has 1175 different kinds of tree - a world record. Six thousand of them are found nowhere else, as are about 160 of its fish species, 30 of its birds and 25 of its mammals. Last week the conservation group WWF reported that 361 entirely new species - 260 insects, 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, seven frogs, six lizards, five crabs, two snakes and a toad - had been discovered over the past decade, a rate of three a month. Now a new kind of fox, has come to light after the report was written. The animal - which was caught on an automatic infra-red camera, set up in the forest of the Kayam Menterong National Park - is foxy red all over, and has a bushy tail. It has slightly extended back legs, suggesting that it may spend part of its time up trees. Dr Stuart Chapman, of WWF Indonesia, said that the two pictures taken by the automatic camera had been shown to scientists and the Jakarta Natural History Museum, who believed it was a new species.

USDA Probes Lincoln Park Camel Death
May 6, 2005 www.suntimes.com BY ANDREW HERRMANN

Federal authorities have launched an investigation following the death of a camel at Lincoln Park Zoo -- a death that animal-rights activists say was caused when the animal was left outside on a cold winter night last December. The zoo confirmed a camel died last winter but said the animal likely expired from a gastrointestinal disease. The zoo argued that Bactrian camels naturally live in cold weather, citing Mongolia, where temperatures reach 10 degrees below zero. The probe by USDA investigators comes after a department inspector reported the zoo was out of compliance with federal shelter guidelines -- a situation that "contributed to the death of this animal,'' according to another USDA official. The zoo acknowledged it has since altered its shelter for camels. PETA wrote the USDA in January saying that "a whistleblower'' told the group the camel was "left outdoors when keepers overlooked transferring him indoors and was found dead in the morning.'' PETA elephant specialist Nicole Meyer wrote, "We suspect the camel died from hypothermia, as Chicago has been experiencing subzero wind chills.''  In a response, Robert A. Willems, regional animal care specialist, e-mailed PETA saying the zoo was in "noncompliance with our regulations'' in the matter and listing that situation as a contributing factor in the animal's death. Willems could not be reached for comment. Darby G. Holladay, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, confirmed Willems had corresponded with PETA but would not discuss the case, citing policy not to comment on an ongoing investigation. Lincoln Park Zoo released a USDA inspection report on the camel exhibit. There is no link to the camel's death in that report. Holladay said a probe by the department's Investigative and Enforcement Service began at the zoo this week. Zoo officials were unaware of that investigation, a spokeswoman said. Lincoln Park spokeswoman Kelly McGrath said camels are rarely brought indoors at the zoo during the winter. She said it is "dangerous'' to do so because the indoor warmth could cause them to shed their coats and lose their acclimation to cold weather. Instead, the animals find shelter behind a roofed windbreak.

Penguin Chlamydia
Outbreak at SF Zoo
May 6, 2005 sfgate.com by Joe Garafoli

12 of the zoo's oldest penguins died recently after aggressive treatment for Chlamydia psittaci. This is a bird disease and is unlike Chlamydia trachomatis, a curable sexually transmitted disease in humans, said Freeland Dunker, senior veterinarian at the San Francisco Zoo. The public shouldn't be worried about catching it, zoo officials said. The disease spread through 75 percent of the zoo's colony during the past two months. Bob Jenkins, the zoo's director of animal care and conservation, said the most likely culprit was wild seagulls who constantly poach the penguins' food. A seagull carrying the disease, may have transferred it to the penguins through food they swapped spit over. Zoo handlers first noticed penguins acting lethargic and losing their appetite about two months ago. After examining the birds, officials discovered the presence of chlamydia, quarantined the most serious cases and put the penguins on an aggressive dose of antibiotics. Three birds died, and zoo officials suspect a fourth succumbed to it.. Another eight were worn down from the treatment and died of other causes, ranging from gout to renal failure. All were older birds, in their 20s, comparable to humans in their 80s according to Jenkins. All but two of the 55 surviving penguins have returned to their outdoor home and some are gathering sticks for nest building, but the intense daily treatments will probably hurt their breeding efforts. The penguins have laid only a couple eggs this year.

Zeke, the Zebra is Relocated
May 6, 2005 home.hamptonroads.com By DEBBIE MESSINA,

NORFOLK, VA — Zeke, the Virginia Zoo’s delinquent zebra, has a new home at the African Safari Wildlife Park in Ohio, where he’ll be a breeder for a herd of female zebras. He arrived Thursday afternoon at the 100-acre drive-through preserve that features more than 300 animals from 50 species. He joins 14 other zebras at the park. The 4-year-old Grant’s zebra is believed to have chased an exhibit-mate, a 32-year-old white rhino, into a moat, where she drowned last October. Then in January , he either fell or jumped from a rocky ledge, swam across a moat and wound up in the lion area, where he faced off with Kalisa , a 6-year-old African lioness. Kalisa had killed her first roommate, another female lion, during a tussle over a wild duck three years ago, but after a brief scuffle, Zeke and Kalisa retreated to opposite corners. Zeke survived with bloody claw marks down his side. Kalisa was wet and muddy. The preserve has large areas for the animals to roam, which is more suited to Zeke’s personality. The preserve, in Port Clinton , is among the nation’s leaders in wildlife conservation efforts. This year, the park anticipates more than 200 births. Some of its most significant research and breeding efforts focus on the alpaca, the giraffe and the rare giant eland.

Woodland Park Zoo’s ZooTunes
May 6, 2005 seattlepi.nwsource.com

Woodland Park Zoo has completed the lineup for its 2005 ZooTunes series, which features nine concerts in late July and August on the North Meadow. The 22nd season opens with Marc Cohn and Suzanne Vega on July 20 and concludes Aug. 31 with the Taj Mahal Trio. In between are concerts by Bruce Hornsby (July 27), Carbon Leaf (July 31), Patty Griffin (Aug. 3), Violent Femmes (Aug. 10), Cowboy Junkies (Aug. 17), Los Lobos (Aug. 24) and Neko Case (Aug. 28). The rain-or-shine outdoor series raised more than $840,000 last year for animal care, education programs and wildlife conservation. Tickets, which range from $16 to $19 depending on the show, plus a $2 service fee, go on sale Monday at all Metropolitan Market locations (see www.metropolitan-market.com for addresses).

Cincinnati Zoo Revolves Around People
May 6, 2005 www.oxfordpress.com 

Nowhere else in the Midwest can visitors experience the quality wildlife, educational and fun adventures found at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. However, there’s much more to the zoo than just the animals and plants. The zoo is like its own city, nestled inside the urban area of Cincinnati. There is a group of people that get up every morning and fight the rush hour traffic to visit the zoo every day — to go to work. This group is made up of dedicated professionals and volunteers in multiple departments working to uphold the zoo’s mission of "creating adventure, conveying knowledge and conserving nature." Visitors sometimes overlook the efforts of the many employees and volunteers that make the Cincinnati Zoo a world famous institution. So who makes the zoo so wild? "We are in the business of giving people an intimate experience with wildlife," Vice President of Public Information Thane Maynard said. "We are not just in the animal business, but we are in the people business." The "people business" can be seen in various areas of the zoo like the education department, outreach efforts, Wings of Wonder Bird Show, marketing and public relations department, guest services and much more.

255-year old Tortoise in India
May 6, 2005 news.webindia123.com

Kolkata, INDIA – The oldest resident of the Alipore Zoological Garden is a giant Aldabra-Seychelles tortoise who was brought to Kolkata, along with three other mates, from the Seychelles Islands by British seafarers and presented to Lord Clive. The four giant tortoises, kept in Lord Clive's Laat Bagan at Barrackpore, were a big draw among his guests. Squealing ladies often took tortoise-back rides, taking a tumble or two at tea parties. Three of the tortoises died and in 1875, the sole survivor was transferred to Alipore Zoo by Carl Louis Schewendler, its founder, where he has lived ever since in a small, rocky enclosure. of the country. He’s lived for 130 years in a small, rocky enclosure, but now Kolkata has suddenly become aware of this celebrity resident. West Bengal Forest Minister Jogesh Burman wants to celebrate the oldest living being in India. Up first is a hunt to find a suitable name, followed by a glittering christening ceremony. Zoo authorities are also planning a bigger, better enclosure. Alipore Zoo director Subir Chowdhury said there were documents to prove the tortoise is about 255 years old. "A tortoise of this species can live up to 320 years according to available records. He may even be over 300 years. The secret of his longevity is probably because he has remained a staunch bachelor. There are no records of his progeny or liaisons. The 250 kg, dark gray tortoise is a vegetarian with simple needs. "He is quite happy eating wheat bran, carrot, lettuce, soaked gram, bread, grass and salt. He is in good health without ever having to see a doctor in the last 29 years."

Many Taiwanese Reject Panda Offer
May 6, 2005 www.taipeitimes.com

The latest panda offer came as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan wrapped up a historic trip to China in which he was feted by senior Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao.  "We hope the pandas, with their tame nature, air of nobleness and cuddly looks will bring joy and laughter to Taiwan compatriots, and children in particular," said a senior Chinese official, in announcing the gift. China says they are a symbol of unity which will bring joy to the children of Taiwan, but not everybody in Taiwan sees the giant pandas as cuddly messengers of peace. Supporters of Taiwanese independence have dismissed China's gift as a "propaganda ploy" designed to melt the hearts of the Taiwanese people and have urged the government to reject the bears. "The pandas are a trick, just like the Trojan Horse," Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Huang Shi-cho said. "Pandas are cute but they are meant to destroy Taiwan's psychological defenses." Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang said that Beijing had classified the shipment of the pandas as "domestic trade," thereby reaffirming its claim that Taiwan is a breakaway province. "It is clear the pandas have been presented as 'goodwill gifts' in order to achieve China's goal of undermining our sovereignty and dividing Taiwan," he said.

Vegetarian Dinosaurs
May 6, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

Scientists have discovered a mass graveyard of bird-like feathered dinosaurs in Utah. The previously unknown species provides clues about how meat-eaters related to Velociraptor ultimately evolved into plant-munching vegetarians. Discovery of the bizarre new species, Falcarius utahensis, is reported in the Thursday May 5 issue of the journal Nature by paleontologists from the Utah Geological Survey and the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah. It is not yet known if these creatures ate meat, plants or both, says James Kirkland, Utah state paleontologist at the Utah Geological Survey and principal scientist for the new study. But "Falcarius shows the beginning of features we associate with plant-eating dinosaurs, including a reduction in size of meat-cutting teeth to leaf-shredding teeth, the expansion of the gut to a size needed to ferment plants, and the early stages of changing the legs so they could carry a bulky body instead of running fast after prey." The adult dinosaur walked on two legs and was about 13 feet long (4 meters) and stood 4.5 feet tall (1.4 meters). It had sharp, curved, 4-inch-long (10 centimeter) claws.

Return of the Mammoth's Ecosystem
May 6, 2005 www.sciencemag.org By Sergey A. Zimov

About 10,000 years ago, when the million-year-long Pleistocene epoch gave way to the ongoing Holocene epoch, much of the world's ecosystems changed. In what is now northern Siberia, vast numbers of large animals, among them mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, and yaks, both thrived on and nurtured the steppes that, compared to other northern regions of the world, remained relatively unscathed from the repeated advances and retreats of ice sheets. Even so, the steppes there gave way to silt, dust, and ice-based tundra landscapes dominated in some places by forests and in others by mosses. The large animals disappeared. Sergey Zimov, director of the Northeast Science Station in Cherskii in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), argues that climate change may not have been the primary reason behind the demise of this Pleistocene ecosystem. Instead, he says changing hunting practices wiped out the large animals whose absence led to the ecosystem shifts. He and his colleagues now are reintroducing bison, Yakutian horses, and other animals, eventually even tigers, in an attempt to reconstitute the Pleistocene ecosystem. The experiment will test the hypothesis that humans, rather than climate change, caused the ecosystem shift at the beginning of the Holocene. The stabilization of the northern tundra soils that this reconstitution could bring also could prevent the release of vast amount of carbon now sequestered in the Siberian soils but in danger of being released in the warmer times projected for the future.

Animal-Human Interaction in Australia
May 6, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By Stephanie Peatling

In 1996 a 13-year-old boy was attacked by a 9-foot-tall kangaroo as he looked for a lost golf ball. The boy suffered facial wounds and cuts to his abdomen, back, and legs. A court found the golf club was negligent, because it had known its kangaroo population was aggressive but had not done enough to warn visitors. Guy Ballard, a doctoral candidate at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales says "In many communities the line is blurred between people's territory and kangaroo areas." Three years ago Ballard began researching how people react to wild horses, fruit bats, and, of course, kangaroos. In some of the northern New South Wales towns he surveyed, Ballard found that 100 percent of people saw kangaroos every day. Of those surveyed, three-fourths had kangaroos in their backyards. Ballard documented 15 reports of contact where kangaroos had either growled at people or chased them away. Australia's cities are expanding. At the same time, urbanites are also leaving cities for smaller regional towns. Ballard believes this migration will likely cause confrontation between humans and animals to increase. In his work on fruit bats, which are called flying foxes in Australia, Ballard found that "there was a trend for people who had higher levels of contact with flying foxes to be less positive about them."

Elephant’s Death Sparks Outcry
May 7, 2005 www.nctimes.com By: ANDREA MOSS

A week after the death of an African elephant in Salt Lake City, animal advocates and zoo officials remain upset about the incident. Exactly why the 36-year-old female elephant became ill is still unknown. Several investigations are under way, however, and San Diego Councilwoman Donna Frye has asked City Attorney Mike Aguirre to look into the matter as well. A spokesman for Aguirre said Friday that he had yet to make a decision on the matter. The elephant, Wankie, was moved from Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo to Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo by truck last weekend when she collapsed. Unable to help her recover, zoo officials euthanized the animal. Zoo officials have said they are awaiting the results of a necropsy that may reveal why she collapsed. Activists opposed to the elephant's move, however, say her death came as no surprise. Animal welfare advocates blame the deaths on the Zoological Society of San Diego, which runs the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park and that owned the three dead elephants. They called last week for an independent investigation into the deaths, and sought the resignation of the organization's executive director, Doug Myers. Myers was unavailable for comment last week. Zoological society officials released a statement defending Myers, and noted the organization's successes with conservation programs that have boosted the number of California condors and other endangered animals. "With this long list of successes in mind, we do not foresee any significant changes to our governance," the statement said.

Scientists Discuss Disease & Ecosystems
May 7, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

Eighty scientists attended a 3-day conference at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies last week. Whirling Disease Foundation virologist Dr. Karl Johnson, co-discoverer of Ebola and Hantavirus, speaking at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) conference on infectious disease ecology, said "Our planet is supporting a population of 6.5 billion, with a projected 9.1 billion in 2050. As borders and ecological boundaries shrink, the divide between theoretical ecology and applied epidemiology is also shrinking. Successfully addressing the infectious diseases of the future will require building a bridge between both sides of the disease equation- epidemiology and ecology." The dialogue fostered by the conference gave rise to a number of exciting new education and research agendas. These included hiring ecologists in schools of public health, sharing disease ecology findings with health and veterinarian practitioners, developing interdisciplinary graduate programs to train the next generation of medical and ecological professionals, and holding future cross-discipline conferences. Conference proceedings will be published in a book, Infectious Disease Ecology, available in 2006. Additional Information is at www.ecostudies.org/cary11/index.html

Wild Ginseng May Be Disappearing
May 7, 2005 www.nytimes.com

Wild ginseng is a protected species, but deer eat the leaves, a problem quantified in a recent study, wild turkeys eat the seeds, timber companies and suburban developments take over the land and cut the trees that provide shade for it to grow, and people across Appalachia harvest the wild root. The best ginseng roots - those with the elongated necks, a few twisting rootlets at the bottom and the general aspect of a wizened gnome - can sell for more than $100 apiece. Run-of-the-mill roots go for $300 or more a pound in the booming Asian market. In China, wild ginseng is prized as a source of focus, vitality and well-being. In Appalachia, from the time of the 18th-century frontiersman Daniel Boone, it has been a prized source of income. Some ginseng hunters and dealers, known as wildcrafters or 'sangers by the mountain people, fret that the diminishing supply may curtail their ancient practice - and perhaps the economic benefits that it brought to many impoverished areas. Cultivated versions of the root are abundant but lack the economic or backwoods appeal. Circumstances are not promising. From the biology department of nearby West Virginia University to state agriculture researchers in Quicksand, Ky., and beyond into North Carolina and Pennsylvania, there are indications of a slow but steady decline in the wild ginseng harvest, though the extent and causes are matters of dispute.

Poachers Kill All Tigers in Indian Reserve
May 7, 2005 www.nytimes.com

INDIA: A government inquiry has found that not a single tiger remains in the famed Sariska national wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan. "The entire population seemed to have become extinct, primarily because of poaching" the Forest Ministry said in a statement to Parliament. The inquiry was ordered after news reports about the park's plummeting tiger population. The last census, in 2002, turned up 22 tigers at the reserve. Conservationists have decried the slaughter in Sariska and are warning of similar poaching in other reserves.

Union Activists Picket St. Louis Zoo
May 7, 2005 www.stltoday.com By Matthew Hathaway

Ten activists with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees waved signs and passed out fliers for about two hours Saturday in front of the St. Louis Zoo's north entrance, by the Living World building. Crowds going into the Zoo appeared to ignore the protesters, who chanted "Don't come out to play" - a reference to a slogan the Zoo uses in its advertising. Ben Gordon, a former painter at the Zoo who organized the protest, said the union represents about 250 of the Zoo's 1,000 employees, including maintenance workers, animal keepers, Zoo railroad operators and clerical staff. But only about 60 workers eligible for union membership pay dues. "That's because the Zoo does everything it can to discourage union representation," Gordon said Zoo President Jeffrey Bonner said he was surprised by Saturday's protest because of the institution's "free and open relationship with the union" and its record as "a workplace of choice." Bonner defended the Zoo's three-step disciplinary process, which he said in most cases requires managers to issue written warnings before they can fire workers for cause. He said that the contracting out of jobs is limited mostly to construction and fire-safety workers. Bonner also said that he encourages employees to join the union. Bonner said that the union may suffer from workers' indifference, but not intimidation from management. "We're thrilled to let them organize," he said.

Van Oosten, former Seattle Zoo Director Dies
May 7, 2005 seattletimes.nwsource.com By Alex Fryer

Jan Roger van Oosten, a passionate collector of parrots and other birds is dead at 71. Van Oosten, who maintained aviaries and established breeding facilities for parrots and other birds in such places as the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, died May 1 at Providence Hospital while being treated for problems with a blood clot. A founding member of the Seattle Zoological Society and research associate in tropical ornithology at the Puget Sound Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, he was chosen over 20 other finalists to run the zoo in late 1971. He promoted the housing of various species together in close approximations of their natural habitat, even when the creatures included prey and predators. A few birds were lost in the crocodile pen, but the idea of cohabitation caught on and is now common in zoos worldwide. Van Oosten resigned in late 1974 after a battle over expansion plans that ended when city voters rejected a proposal that included a $9.5 million conservatory on a lid over heavily traveled Washington 99, Aurora Avenue North. He later worked for a time as development director at the Pacific Science Center.

China to build giant panda museum
May 8, 2005  www2.chinadaily.com.cn

China plans to build a new giant panda museum which aims to be the biggest of its kind to introduce efforts to save the endangered animal and its habitat. The main theme of the 5,000 square meter (53,800 square foot) museum in Chengdu, capital of the southwest province of Sichuan, will be "man, panda and the harmony of nature," Xinhua news agency said Saturday. Design plans for the museum from China, the United States and France are going through final stages of decision making, the report said without giving details of the cost of the museum or its expected completion date. Early reports said the museum would be part of a 700-800 million yuan (84-96 million dollar) Giant Panda Eco Park and Tourist Area which is expected to be open to the public by May 2006. Despite intensive efforts to promote breeding in the notoriously undersexed animal, there are only about 1,590 of the endangered species living in the wild, all in China. Another 161 have been raised in captivity.

New Otter Feature at Entrance at Mysore Zoo
May 8, 2005 www.starofmysore.com

Mysore, May 8 (KCU)- An enclosure for Otters, will form the new entrance to the Mysore City Zoo, with an open pond and artificial water fall. It was inaugurated yesterday here by the Deputy Chief Minister Siddharamaiah. The enclosure has three rooms with water pool and provision for feeding the animals. A keepers gallery is located behind the enclosure. To provide a native habitat to the Otters, a system to replenish the water in the pool is made so as to have a continuous flow. Visitors have to get down two metres below the ground level to view the Otters through a glass pane. The Otters playing with small iceberg and catching the fish in the pond, is a treat to watch. It has cost Rs. 8 lakh to set up this enclosure and it has been borne completely by the Central Zoo Authority. Karnataka Zoo Authority Chairperson Susheela Keshavamurthy, Executive Director Manoj Kumar, MLA M.K. Somashekhar and Mayor S. Dakshinamurthy were present.

Dog Used as Surrogate Mother for Tigers
May 9, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By Ted Chamberlain

When the mother of newborn tiger cubs couldn't produce enough milk, zookeepers in Hefei, China, enlisted a dog. She began work when the cubs were one day old. This isn't the first time a dog has played wet nurse to tigers at the Hefei zoo, which organized a similar arrangement with another dog last year. It may not even be the oddest recent example of cross-species suckling. As of February, India's Namatia Ghosh, 46, was still breast feeding the pet monkey her husband found orphaned several years ago. "He is my son," she told BBC News. Not to be outdone, Hlah Htay, 40, helped a Burmese zoo feed two tiger cubs in April, according to the AFP news service. The cubs had been separated from their aggressive mother. Tigers are born toothless. In the wild they nurse for about six months but begin eating meat after six to eight weeks, when the mother begins sharing her kills.  

Beardsley Zoo's condor celebrates 75th birthday
May 9, 2005 www.connpost.com By Phil Noel

BRIDGEPORT, Conn - The Beardsley Zoo is celebrating the 75th birthday of Thaao, believed to be the oldest Andean condor in captivity, with singing, a scavenger hunt and an unusual birthday present. Instead of a traditional birthday cake, Thaao was given a "road kill" piata filled with his favorite treats —including whole rodents and horsemeat. "He couldn't wait to pull the rat out of it said keeper Mike Elliot. "And the horsemeat was a real treat." Although he's 75, the 25-pound Thaao shows no sign of slowing down; he still is capable of lifting and tossing objects weighing 40 pounds. Thaao was hatched May 2, 1930. To help celebrate the avian legend, Thaao has been moved to the larger exhibit at the front of the zoo, and has been much more responsive to people.

Hogle Zoo Orang Delivered by C-Section
May 9, 2005 deseretnews.com Joe Bauman

Eve, 14, is a 120-pound orangutan at Hogle Zoo. She has been a resident there since 1995. "She went into labor about 12:30" Saturday afternoon, zoo spokeswoman Stacey Phillips said. The ordinary labor time for an orang is about four or five hours, but the baby didn't come that soon. That evening, a veterinarian decided to assist Eve with a regular birth, but that wasn't possible. Petite for an orangutan, the 3.6 pound baby was too big for her, so Hogle Zoo called in experts from University Hospital. Physicians, an assistant and an emergency room expert began a C-section in the ape house around midnight. The operation took an hour and a half to two hours. "When she was born she had a very faint heartbeat," Phillips said. "She was having problems breathing." The team massaged the new arrival, gave her oxygen and took her to an incubator at the U where she spent the night. About 9:30 a.m. Sunday, the little ape was taken back to the zoo. "At that point, the mom, Eve, unfortunately didn't recognize her," Phillips said. The zoo veterinary staff is working to reintroduce the two. Meanwhile, the baby is feeding on formula. The two are staying in an off-exhibit section, and are being carefully monitored.

Canadian Endangered Species
May 9, 2005 COSEWIC announcement vancouver.cbc.ca 

ST. PAUL'S, NFLD. – The Okanagan population of Chinook salmon has been added to Canada's endangered species list following a meeting of scientists in Newfoundland last week. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada – or COSEWIC – said it reviewed the fish at the request of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, a First Nations organization.The experts found those fish were now endangered and that "changes in fisheries downstream in the Columbia River are expected this summer [which] constitute a new and imminent threat to this population." The lake sturgeon, a fish that dates back to the dinosaur age, is also on the brink of extinction in Western Canada, says COSEWIC. The committee also added the Williamson's sapsucker to the list. It's a woodpecker that lives in old-growth western larch forests, which are being lost to logging in British Columbia. A poppy, the white meconella, that grows among Garry Oak trees in southeastern Vancouver Island, is also endangered, says COSEWIC. The committee says this plant is globally rare and is now endangered by loss of habitat because of housing developments and encroachment by alien species.

New Genome-Analyzing Software
May 9, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

Michael Brent, Ph.D., a Washington University professor of computer science and engineering has applied software that he has developed called TWINSCAN to the genomes of 2 nematode worms: Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and C. briggsae. He has found 150 genes that were missed by previous analysis. Moreover, using the software, he and his colleagues have developed predictions for the existence of 1, 119 more genes. He found first of all that TWINSCAN predicted 60 percent of the genes in the C. elegans genome exactly, right own to the last amino acid. "a new level of accuracy for a complex genome," Brent said. "It's quite a step up from what you see in the human genome, for instance, where not even a third of the genome can be predicted. "We've crossed the tipping point with gene prediction where it's becoming clear that machines can beat human annotators and analysts, on average," he said. Because of the increasing speed of computers, the TWINSCAN analysis of C. Elegans is able to use more accurate models of intron length than previous analyses. This is important for finding exons, which house the coding machinery of proteins. While getting intron length is helpful for gene annotation, the process is 15 times slower than the typical, less accurate methods. Being able to define intron length has implications for the human genome, which is much larger than C. elegans and has an average intron length of about 4,000 base pairs, compared with an average intron length of a couple hundred base pairs in C. elegans.

Recent Bush Wilderness Policies
May 9, 2005 www.nytimes.com

Last Thursday the administration repealed one of President Bill Clinton's proudest and most popular environmental initiatives, a rule that placed nearly 60 million acres, or roughly one-third, of the national forests off limits to new road building and development. The Clinton rule gave protection to some of the last truly wild places in America and the fish and wildlife that live there. By the Forest Service's own estimates, these roadless areas shelter at least 200 rare species, which under the administration's less protective regime will now be more vulnerable to commercial development. The rollback also completes the administration's demolition job on the web of forest protections it inherited from Mr. Clinton. Meanwhile, the Interior Department continues to lease ever-larger chunks of the Rocky Mountains to oil and gas companies. Last month, Bill Richardson of New Mexico filed a suit against a Bureau of Land Management leasing plan that he says would leave 95 percent of the 1.8 million-acre Otero Mesa open to drilling. Also at risk are some of the most important and fragile grasslands left in America, the wildlife they sustain and - of special concern to Mr. Richardson - an aquifer that contains the state's largest untapped source of fresh water. The lawsuit is being closely watched by other Western governors, in particular Wyoming's Dave Freudenthal, who is appalled by the pace and volume of the drilling activity in Wyoming's Upper Green River Valley. It is not as if the oil and gas companies have no place else to go. Fully 85 percent of the petroleum resources on federal lands in the five Rocky Mountain states are already leased or available for leasing. Moreover, by its own admission, the industry has neither the equipment nor the manpower to exploit the leases it already owns - yet another reason to ask why the administration finds it necessary to accelerate drilling in places where moderation is required and to invite new drilling in places where there should be none at all.

"Spirits In The Wild" At Chattanooga Zoo
May 9, 2005 www.chattanoogan.com

The Chattanooga Zoo will have their fundraiser, Spirits in the Wild, on Saturday, May 21. Guests will experience wines and other spirits from more than 15 different countries. The fundraiser will also feature a chocolate fountain and hors d’oeuvres. The event starts at 6 p.m. with the Peter Moon Band performing. Cost is $35 per person in advance and $45 at the door. For tickets, please call 697-1387.  Dress for this event is cocktail casual. Guests must be of drinking age to attend. Money raised at this event will go towards the zoo’s capital campaign for a new education center, zoo entrance, and exhibits.

Report: British Flora Faces Extinction
May 9, 2005 www.nytimes.com By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON (AP) - 20 percent of native British flora species are declining at rates that put them at risk of extinction. The Vascular Plant Red Data List published on Monday indicates that one of 345 native British plant species identified as facing the threat of extinction. The plant study evaluated the status of every wild plant native to Britain, including commonly found species. Previous threat lists only looked at species already known to be rare. The widened research scope added 78 species to the threatened list, a 30 percent increase from the last report in 1999. Botanists attribute the decline mainly to intensified agricultural practices that use herbicide and fertilizer, increased use of automobiles and over grazing.  These included several common flowers previously unknown to be in danger, such as corn buttercup, English eyebright and prickly poppy. The report rated each species of flower according to the threat they are facing. The corn marigold is classed as being vulnerable to extinction, while the corn buttercup falls into the more extreme category of critically endangered. Simon Leach, one of the report's authors and a botanical adviser at English Nature, a government agency that champions the conservation of wildlife, said the decline of some floral species is already visible. ''For those of us with longer memories, it is very evident on a walk through the countryside, that in a sense, the countryside has been drained of much of its flora,'' Leach said.

Scottish Boy Initiates Tortoise Campaign
May 9, 2005 news.scotsman.com By Ben Pindar

A 11-year-old boy has kicked off a major new fundraising campaign at a Devon zoo which aims to help protect turtles and tortoises around the world. Tortoise-lover Zack Bellekom, of Taunton, Somerset, fed one of Paignton Zoo’s seven giant tortoises to help launch the Shellshock 2005 fundraising project which is being spearheaded by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza). Under the plan, visitors to the zoo will now have the chance to feed a Aldabra giant tortoise, which can grow to be 1.3-metres long and weigh 500 pounds, in return for a £5 donation to Shellshock. Eaza is a coalition of 292 zoos from 34 different European countries who work together to promote conservation across the globe and help influence decision making. To find out more about the Shellshock campaign visit Eaza’s website at www.eaza.net

Chestnut Tree Revival May Help Wildlife
May 10, 2005 dailynews.yahoo.com

Several hundred blight-resistant chestnut trees have been planted in Ohio in hopes of restoring a tree that is nearly extinct. State officials hope that thousands of acres of abandoned strip-mine land will serve as fertile ground for the tree's rebirth. At one time, the tree known as king of the forest ranged from Maine to Georgia and as far west as Indiana -- an estimated 4 billion trees. But the chestnut tree was devastated by an Asian fungal disease that began spreading in the early 1900s and tore through Ohio in the 1930s. For the Ohio farmers of Appalachia, the chestnut had served as a cash crop, like tobacco. They shipped the nuts by rail to cities where they were roasted and sold on street corners as snacks.  Farm animals ate the fatty nuts and then fed the nation. Wild turkeys, bears and squirrels multiplied on chestnuts and in turn provided hunters with ample game. Experts believe the decline of the American chestnut thinned wildlife throughout the eastern United States. Advances in plant biology and breeding have given the chestnut another chance at life, and test plantings of fungus-resistant trees have been planted in southeast Ohio. About 450 trees in all have been planted, in Perry, Muskingum and Coshocton counties. Brian McCarthy, professor of forest ecology at Ohio University who also serves on the science cabinet of the American Chestnut Foundation, believes the return of the chestnut tree could have a powerful effect on wildlife. ''Chestnut is an extremely rich seed, high in carbohydrates and the fat that large animals need to over-winter adequately,'' McCarthy said. ''Deer, wild turkey, bear -- these critters will pound down chestnuts in the winter. It could mean a lot in terms of survival and viability for a whole variety of wildlife.'' McCarthy said that it would take 100 years for the American chestnut to again have the impact of a forest giant. 

$100,000 Grant to Save Turtles
May 10, 2005 www.usnewswire.com Rick Hudson of the Turtle Survival Alliance

FORT WORTH, Texas,-- The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) recently received a $100,000 grant from The Batchelor Foundation, allowing the conservation organization to vastly expand its work and prevent the extinction of some of the most critically endangered turtles in Southeast Asia. Home to more than 90 species of chelonians (tortoises, turtles and terrapins), Southeast Asia supports the most diverse turtle fauna in the world. However, due to rampant demand and uncontrolled harvesting pressures driven by Chinese food markets, half (45) of those species are now ranked either endangered or critically endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List. "Several species are dangerously close to extinction and may fade from the earth unless urgent intervention measures are effectively taken," said TSA Co-chair Rick Hudson. "The grant will fund conservation action for 10 of the 18 species ranked critically endangered and continue TSA's involvement in four of the world's major turtle diversity hotspots including Myanmar (formerly Burma), India, Vietnam and Indonesia." The Batchelor Foundation, Inc. was founded by the late Miami aviation pioneer George E. Batchelor. His longstanding support of charitable causes benefiting children and the natural environment distinguished him as one of the area's most notable philanthropists.

Ocean climate predicts elk population
May 10, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

Mark Hebblewhite a University of Alberta doctoral student is the first researcher to show a correlation between the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) and a mammal population. A positive NPO translates into a milder climate in most of western North America, but it means more severe weather in the mountain regions, where climate is more complex. Hebblewhite analyzed the elk population in Banff National Park from 1985 to 2000 and cross-referenced his results with NPO values during that period. He found that positive NPO values translate into elk population declines in the park. Because elk have heavy bodies and long, narrow legs with small hooves, they tend to sink in deep snow making them easier prey for wolves. In the Canadian Rockies, wolves rely on elk meat for 40 to 70 per cent of their diet. His research was published this spring in the Journal of Animal Ecology. "The elk are already at a deficit in the winter. There is less grass to eat, and their bodies have to work harder and use more energy to stay warm," said Hebblewhite, who studies in the U of A Department of Biological Sciences. Cold, wet weather alone is enough to decrease an elk population, but when wolves are added to the environment, elk become especially vulnerable. Hebblewhite found that the combination of positive NPO values and wolf predation were related to 50 per cent declines in the elk population.

SD Zoo Expansion Plan Challenged
May 10, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Jeanette Steele

The "Preserve Our Parks" group filed a lawsuit last May against the city, saying it broadly violated California's environmental process when it approved the San Diego Zoo's plan. Since then, the group has narrowed its arguments, claiming city shouldn't have approved the zoo's project before it finished a Balboa Park-wide parking study that is still under way. Attorney Craig Sherman called the city's approach "piecemeal" and said, "It's not good planning and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) doesn't allow it." The group also said the city didn't consider all alternatives to the zoo's proposal that includes a four-story underground structure below the zoo entrance, a 450-space employee lot off Richmond Street and 99 public spaces near the Veterans War Memorial building. And the lawsuit contends that the city violated part of its charter that bars new roads in Balboa Park without public approval. The judge issued a tentative ruling rejecting their case. A final decision is expected in several days. Lawyers for the city and zoo rebutted each of the arguments. On the main claim, Deputy City Attorney Claudia Silva said, "To hold up a specific project proposal for a study that is not yet completed is not appropriate." The plan, called the Park Boulevard Promenade project, is to add zoo exhibit space on what is now its main 25-acre parking lot. A promenade along Park Boulevard, including a replacement of a pedestrian overpass, is also envisioned. The project is not expected to begin anytime soon because money is lacking. Although the City Council approved the plan in April 2004, it provided no method to raise $300 million for the public's share of the cost. The zoo needs to raise between $100 million and $200 million for its share.

Second Condor Chick at Oregon Zoo
May 10, 2005 www.koin.com 

PORTLAND -- A second condor egg in less than a month has hatched at the Portland Zoo's Wildlife Conservation. The chick was seen for the first time Monday while Oregon Zoo staff conducted their morning "egg watch." Paxa and mom Sawlu naturally incubated their first egg together. This is the first egg produced from the two since their arrival in Oregon. Experts say the parents have unique genetics that are critical to the condor population. This hatching makes the 246th California condor in the world. In the early 1980s the known California condor population had dropped to 22.

Denny’s Promotes Madagascar Movie
May 10, 2005 biz.yahoo.com

From May 16 through June 20, Denny's has created Madagascar Mania, an imaginative promotion that leverages the excitement of Madagascar while expanding the film's awareness inside and outside its restaurants. Each Denny's restaurant will celebrate the movie with in-restaurant merchandising, movie character masks and finger puppets, chances to win trips to the San Diego Zoo. A special menu will feature new jungle desserts -- Kids’ Monkey Milkshake, Kids' Zany Zebra Ice Cream, Safari Split and Stripe-A-Licious Cheesecake. Every child will receive a full-sized mask and cool finger puppet featuring each of the four Madagascar characters and a mischievous penguin. Adults will be encouraged to enter Denny's Madagascar Mania sweepstakes to win one of five all-expenses paid weekend trips to the San Diego Zoo. The sweepstakes will also award five Hewlett-Packard Digital Photography Packages. The movie "Madagascar", opens May 27, and is a computer-animated comedy starring four civilized animals -- a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippo -- who have lived their entire lives in blissful captivity growing up as best friends at the Central Park Zoo. One day they are put on a boat to Africa and suddenly find themselves washed ashore onto the exotic island of Madagascar. Now these native New Yorkers must learn to survive in this strange land.

Endangered Gila Chub Fish Reintroduced
May 10, 2005 news.yahoo.com By BETH DeFALCO, Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX - Hundreds of endangered Gila chub fish evacuated from Sabino Creek after a fire sent erosion and ash into the water. Using nets and an electric-shock device, biologists and volunteers scooped out nearly 1,000 Gila chub from the creek in July 2003 because they were worried the fish could be wiped out by ash and debris. Since then, they've been living and breeding in captivity. On Tuesday, 550 of the fish were redeposited into three canyons in the Santa Catalina Mountains, said Don Mitchell, fisheries program manager at the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The majority — about 340 — were returned to Sabino Canyon. Another 120 went into Romero Canyon and the remaining 90 went into Bear Canyon.  Getting the fish out of Sabino Creek was easier than getting them back in. It took an eight-person team an hour to hike into Romero Canyon carrying buckets of fish in backpacks. The Arizona Game and Fish Department packed chub — ranging in size from 1 to 10 inches — in coolers and strapped them to mules for a three-mile hike into Bear Canyon. Roads into Sabino Canyon made it easier to access that area. Mitchell said about 440 fish remain in at a state hatchery as a reserve. Arizona Game and Fish Department information is at www.gf.state.az.us/

Aquarium leaders travel to D.C.
May 10, 2005 www.thenewsguard.com

The first-ever Congressional Zoo and Aquarium Caucus was recently held in Washington, D.C. The Caucus will foster appreciation for, and recognize the impact of, America's accredited zoos and aquariums. Headed by co-chair and Founder Congresswoman Julia Carson (D-Ind.) and co-chair Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the caucus intends to "increase the understanding of the positive impact zoos and aquariums have on science education, conservation and family recreation."  The AZA community works collectively with the U.S. Congress and Federal and state agencies to shape national and international wildlife conservation policy by providing expert comment and input on such issues as invasive species, biological diversity, wildlife trade, endangered species, marine mammal protection, and species conservation. The AZA is "dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things." Founded in 1924, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association envisions a world where all people respect, value and conserve animals and nature.

Cameroon vs. South Africa in Gorilla Battle
May 10, 2005 www.nytimes.com By MICHAEL WINES

PRETORIA - Four Western Lowland gorillas - are residing at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, in Pretoria, in what it calls a "state-of-the-art, world-class facility" that is receiving its final touches.  The four gorillas, stolen as babies and smuggled to Malaysia before being surrendered a year ago, are the prize in a protracted custody battle involving South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria and much of the international wildlife conservation community. And despite Cameroon's claim on the gorillas, the zoo has no intention of giving them up. Cynics suggest that South Africa's extended pondering of the gorilla question was intended to permit the zoo to build its gorilla house and claim permanent ownership of the animals. Western Lowland gorillas are avidly sought by zoos, both for their crowd appeal and as part of the zoos' conservation mission. The Zoo’s executive director, Willie Labuschagne, claims this is malicious slander. "We've done it for protecting the animals," he said. "It will not happen in my lifetime that any assumed increase in visitors will defray the capital expenditure on this investment." Mr. Labuschagne says the overriding issue is how best to save the endangered Lowland gorilla, whose Central African habitat is being gobbled up by loggers and whose numbers have been decimated by the deadly Ebola virus. Breeding programs in zoos like his, he says, are the only solution. But Cameroon officials and some wildlife activists, led by the chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall, roundly disagree. The issue, they say, is whether any zoo should reap a benefit from smuggling vanishing species - and whether the gorillas, which apparently come from Cameroon, should not have a chance to return to their home.

Pentagon Wants Environmental Exemption
May 10, 2005 www.nytimes.com By Michael Janofsky

Since 2001, the Pentagon has been asking Congress for greater latitude in complying with environmental laws. When it came to birds and animals, lawmakers were willing to compromise, granting exemptions to federal laws. But they have been more resistant to changes that might affect human health under the Clean Air Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, dealing with solid waste; and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, which deals with toxic wastes and is better known as the Superfund law. A request for changes under those statutes is before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has yet to take it up, and the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is expected to finish a bill by Friday. As the owner of 425 active bases and more than 10,000 training ranges, the Defense Department is widely regarded as one of the nation's leading polluters, producing vast amounts of chemicals from ordnance that leach into groundwater, as well as air pollution from military vehicles. The Environmental Protection Agency lists more than 130 Superfund sites on military bases. Under the changes proposed, the military would have an additional three years to reach compliance with clean air standards in areas where training exercises have produced new levels of pollution. Under the solid waste statutes, the definition of "solid waste" for military purposes would no longer include explosives, weapon materials or munitions. And a waiver to the Superfund law would allow the military to cap financial liability for cleaning up toxic sites.

Human Pheromone Study
May 10, 2005 www.nytimes.com

Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that homosexual and heterosexual men respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that the gay men respond in the same way as women. The new research may open the way to studying human pheromones, as well as the biological basis of sexual preference. Pheromones, chemicals emitted by one individual to evoke some behavior in another of the same species, are known to govern sexual activity in animals, but experts differ as to what role, if any, they play in making humans sexually attractive to one another. The new research, which supports the existence of human pheromones, is reported in today's issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Dr. Ivanka Savic and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The two chemicals in the study were a testosterone derivative produced in men's sweat and an estrogen-like compound in women's urine, both of which have long been suspected of being pheromones. Several years ago, Dr. Savic and colleagues showed that the two chemicals activated the brain in a quite different way from ordinary scents. The estrogen-like compound, though it activated the usual smell-related regions in women, lighted up the hypothalamus in men. This is a region in the central base of the brain that governs sexual behavior and, through its control of the pituitary gland lying just beneath it, the hormonal state of the body. The male sweat chemical, on the other hand, did just the opposite; it activated mostly the hypothalamus in women and the smell-related regions in men. The two chemicals seemed to be leading a double life, playing the role of odor with one sex and of pheromone with another. The Swedish researchers have now repeated the experiment but with the addition of gay men as a third group. The gay men responded to the two chemicals in the same way as did women, Dr. Savic reports, as if the hypothalamus's response is determined not by biological sex but by the owner's sexual orientation.

Vets vs Curators at Phoenix Zoo
May. 11, 2005 www.azcentral.com  By Dennis Wagner

Jeff Williamson, zoo president and chief executive officer, said experts from three of America's top exotic-animal parks visited Phoenix recently to evaluate operations after questions were raised by members of an Animal Health Committee over who should have the final say on wildlife medical care and whether recent mistakes led to a series of deaths and health problems with animals. The controversy pits veterinarians against animal caretakers - keepers, curators and administrators - who are closest to the animals. Their findings are to be reported next month. Kris Nelson, a veterinarian whose complaints prompted the review, says dozens of exotic animals died or suffered in recent years due to neglect and misjudgments by managers and caretakers. Nelson is backed by a former chief veterinarian and a former animal nutritionist at the zoo, both of whom were replaced recently amid a struggle over animal care and management. The zoo houses an estimated 1,400 animals on a 125-acre compound in Papago Park. Nelson compiled a list of more than 30 specimens that purportedly died or fell ill due to improper care and conditions, mostly in the past year. Among her allegations: Baby monkeys died because of negligence, disease killed gazelles due to quarantine failures, and many animals suffered as a result of treatment delays. Nelson, who has been on the Animal Health Committee for four years, said alarms should have gone off seven years ago when a series of blunders killed Ruby, an elephant famous for artworks. Beginning last year, Nelson wrote a series of memos outlining concerns to zoo directors. An August letter to Ed Fox, president of the Arizona Zoological Society board, warned that animals were in jeopardy because vet decisions were being ignored or overturned by non-medical staff. Nelson said she decided to go public only after all efforts within the system failed. "It's baffling to me," she added. "I don't understand why you wouldn't . . . make corrections and that would be the end of the story." Fox said administrators are responding to concerns. Although he credits Nelson for passion and sincerity, Fox said many of her complaints about animal welfare are "misinterpretations."

New 'Iowa Pig Exhibit'
May 11, 2005 desmoinesregister.com By JERRY PERKINS

Two pregnant sows due to give birth any day have joined the wild beasts at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. The new "Iowa Pig Exhibit" will be unveiled today . The farrowing exhibit is the first phase of Blank Park's AgZoo, which zoo officials and several Iowa farm groups hope to develop during the next year. "Our goal is to help bridge the gap between agriculture and urban residents," said Anne Shimerdla, Blank Park Zoo director. Zookeepers expect the first litter of pigs will be born within 48 hours of today's dedication. Every two weeks this summer, the zoo plans to have litters born at the exhibit. A Web cam will allow computer users to see the baby pigs at www.blankparkzoo.com. The exhibit was organized by the Iowa Pork Producers Association with assistance from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and the animal science department, Kent Feeds and the Des Moines Park and Recreation Department. Funding came from Iowa Select Farms.

Brookfield Zoo’s Benefit: "Reigning Cats"
May 11, 2005 www.dailysouthtown.com By Eloise Marie Valadez

On April 26, more than 900 guests attended Brookfield Zoo’s 24th annual Whirl, a gala that attracts people not only from the Chicago area but from across the country. The event, entitled "Reigning Cats," featured a reception in The Fragile Kingdom exhibit and an elegant dinner dance in an adjacent main tent. A Dutch auction and raffle were held, and a video presentation on the zoo was shown. Because part of the event was held in The Fragile Kingdom, guests had the chance to see a variety of animals that dwell in the rainforest and desert. They were also able to view the large cats outdoors and to chat with docents who could provide information on what they were seeing. Proceeds from the Whirl will benefit the zoo's conservation and education programs as well as the Species Survival Plans, a population management and conservation program for selected species at North American zoos and aquariums.

Conservation Bank for Endangered Species
May 11, 2005 news.fws.org

FAIRFIELD, Calif. Conservation Banks were first authorized by the state of California in 1995. The banks are lands acquired by third parties, managed for specific endangered species and protected permanently by conservation easements. Banks may sell a fixed number of mitigation credits to developers to offset adverse effects on a species elsewhere. Traditionally, developers have been asked to preserve a portion of the area they are developing – a policy that can translate into scattered, small parcels of land. Conservation Banks provide for much larger acreage, where species protection is more effective as well as more efficient. A sheep ranch is now set to become a conservation bank for endangered species such as fairy shrimp and tadpole shrimp that live in vernal pools. The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday the creation of the conservation bank on Campbell Ranch. A growing number of landowners are converting their land to conservation banks to protect their property while allowing development to go forward elsewhere.

USFWS Updates Endangered Species List

May 11, 2005 news.fws.org

Cooperative efforts with the USFWS’s many partners has resulted in conservation of two animals that had been in line for listing under the Endangered Species Act and has resulted in the removal of these species from the candidate list: the Camp Shelby burrowing crayfish and Holsinger's cave beetle. A Candidate Conservation Agreement for the Camp Shelby burrowing crayfish was jointly developed by the Service, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, the Mississippi Army National Guard, and the U.S. Forest Service. Cooperative conservation efforts that led to removing the Holsinger's cave beetle from candidate status included work by the Service with the State of Virginia and a private landowner to address threats to the species. The Notice of Review also includes five new candidate species added since it was last published in 2004. The Service removed two additional species from the list of candidates due to changes in their taxonomic status. The updates result in a net total of 286 candidate species recognized by the Service. The complete Notice and list of candidates and proposed species appear in today's Federal Register.

WHO Not Receiving Data on Bird Flu
May 11, 2005 www.nature.com By Declan Butler

Tracking genetic changes in bird-flu viruses is vital for early warning of a human pandemic. But Nature has discovered that it is nearly eight months since the World Health Organization (WHO) last saw data on isolates from infected poultry in Asia. And from the dozens of patients who caught the deadly H5N1 strain this year, the WHO has managed to obtain just six samples. Affected countries are failing, or refusing, to share their human samples with the WHO's influenza programme in Geneva. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) set up a network of labs to collect animal samples last year, but it has not received any for months, and Michael Perdue, head of Animal Influenza Liaison at the WHO flu programme, complains that the FAO "hasn't been sharing" what it does have. Such lack of cooperation is a key concern as anxiety about a possible pandemic increases. Human cases are beginning to appear in clusters, which suggests that people are transmitting the virus, older people are falling ill, and milder cases are being reported. Taken together, these trends suggest that the virus is becoming less virulent and more infectious — two characteristics typical of pandemic flu strains. With so few samples to work on, it is impossible to judge how worried to be, says Klaus Stöhr, coordinator of the WHO's flu programme. "It's as if you hear a noise in your car engine, but you keep driving, not knowing whether it's serious."

New Species of Rodent Discovered
May 11, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

NEW YORK (MAY 11, 2005) -- A new species of rodent has been found in Laos by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Natural History Museum in London, the University of Vermont and WWF Thailand. The new species is described in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity and is believed to represent a new family of wildlife. WCS researcher Dr. Robert Timmins discovered the animal known as "Kha-Nyou" in Central Laos being offered for sale in a hunter’s market. Dr Mark Robinson, working with WWF Thailand later discovered other specimens of the new rodent. Based on the skull and bone structure, and DNA analysis, this particular species is thought to have diverged from other rodents millions of years ago. Very little is known about the Kha-Nyou, other than it seems to prefer areas of limestone outcroppings and forest cover, and it appears to be a nocturnal vegetarian. It also gives birth to one offspring at a time, rather than a litter. Dr. Timmins, who also discovered a new species of striped rabbit from the same region in 1999, warns that habitat protection and regulations to reduce unsustainable commercial hunting are vital to safeguarding remaining populations of the Kha-Nyou and a gallery of other unusual species. "Skeptics might say that if we are still discovering such amazing new animals, why are people worried about wildlife loss; but of course it is an indication of how little we know, and a window onto what we could be losing without ever knowing," said Dr. Timmins. WCS is working in Laos to help enact an aggressive program designed to halt illegal wildlife trade where poaching has devastated animal populations.

57-year-old chimp dies at Sacramento zoo
Thursday, May 12, 2005 www.napanews.com

SACRAMENTO -- A 57-year-old chimpanzee named Sam, one of the oldest chimps in captivity in the nation, was euthanized at the Sacramento Zoo. Before his death Tuesday, he suffered from congestive heart failure, arthritis and colitis. He was brought to California from an African jungle in 1950. Zoologists and veterinary cardiologists from the University of California, Davis, began treating his condition with medication three years ago. University researchers planned to perform a necropsy to learn more about the cause of his health problems.

Salmon Farm Escapees Threaten Wild Population
May 12, 2005 www.enn.com By Alister Doyle, Reuters

OSLO — A quarter of salmon in seas off Norway are escapees from fish farms, threatening the survival of their wild cousins in a cautionary tale for fish farmers worldwide, the WWF conservation group said on Thursday. "We suspect this is an issue for every country where salmon are farmed," said Simon Cripps, director of the WWF's Global Marine Programme. About half of all wild Atlantic salmon are born in Norwegian rivers, with lesser populations of the prized fish from Scotland to the United States. Fish farm breakouts in recent years are adding to threats ranging from pollution to dams. "Around half a million farmed fish, both salmon and trout, escape from fish farms in Norway every year," Cripps told Reuters. Fugitive farmed fish, which make up about a quarter of salmon caught in seas off Norway and 9 of 10 in some fjords, compete for food and can spread parasites to wild fish. When farmed fish mate with wild cousins, the hybrids dilute the genetic pool of up to 400 races of salmon in Norway's rivers. In turn, that could make the overall species less resistant to disease, a WWF salmon report said. Flabby farmed fish that manage to leap up rivers to lay eggs often do so after wild fish, sometimes displacing wild eggs from river beds. Wild salmon are born in rivers, swim out to sea and then return 1-4 four years later to spawn. Cripps said the WWF was worried that escapees from other fish farms, like for cod, could also hit depleted wild stocks. The world cod catch tumbled to 890,000 tonnes in 2002 from 3.1 million in 1970. 

Dinosaurs at Roger Williams Zoo
May 12, 2005 www.norwichbulletin.com By DAVID PENCEK

"Dinosaurs!", a new exhibit, opens Saturday at Roger Williams Zoo and will continue through Sept. 5. Visitors will experience 18 robotic dinosaurs on the 3-acre trail, including ta 20-foot high Tyrannosaurus Rex. They can also play Dino Detectives as they pass special decoding stations along the trail. Clues will help them discover what happened to the dinosaurs. In the Dino Discovery Area, kids can dig for fossils and interview dino descendants. "Dinos at Dusk" takes place July 2, Aug. 6 and Sept. 3 and allowing a twilight walk, and "Tyrannosaurus Roar Days" July 7, 14, 21 and 28 will feature a contest for kids who think they can roar like a dinosaur. On Aug. 17, a "Dinosaur Spelling Bee" where children compete in spelling dinosaur names. "Dinosaurs!" last came to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in 2000. They were also there in 1992, 1994 and 1997.

PETA News Release on Zoos
May 12, 2005 releases.usnewswire.com By Lisa Wathne of PETA

NORFOLK, Va.-- The controversial deaths of all three elephants within six months at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo has created a public outcry and push to stop exhibiting elephants in Chicago. But these deaths are only the most recent in a long line of injured and dead elephants, and injured and dead elephant trainers, strewn across America's zoos:

-- Since 2000, 38 elephants have died prematurely in zoos accredited by the AZA

-- At least 26 trainers have been injured or killed by elephants in zoos since 1990.

-- Trainers are allowed to use chains and sharp bullhooks to punish and control elephants

-- Elephants suffer painful, debilitating illnesses due to confinement.

-- Care for just one elephant costs on average $58,000 per year.

-- In the wild, elephants roam some 30 miles every day, yet the AZA's minimum space requirement for an elephant exhibit is equivalent to a 3-car garage.

-- Lack of space causes severe illness and disorders that result in euthanasia.

-- 50 percent of accredited zoos do not meet the AZA's own minimum standards for elephant care.

-- Elephants have sophisticated social structures, yet zoos trade them around like baseball cards, with no regard for the well-being of this animal who forms lifelong bonds.

Recognizing how difficult it is to provide good care, eight zoos in the U.S. and five in the U.K. have closed down their elephant exhibits for good. The most recent is the Detroit Zoo. Director Ron Kagan challenged zoo establishment when he decided, on ethical grounds, to send the zoo's two elephants to a sanctuary and close the elephant exhibit. The AZA objected and threatened to pull the zoo's accreditation. For video of crippled and neurotic elephants in zoos, interviews, inside sources, contact: Lisa Wathne, captive exotic animal specialist, PETA, 206-367-0228, LisaW@peta.org 

Toledo Zoo buys land for parking
May 12, 2005 toledoblade.com

Twenty weekends every year, the Toledo Zoo must turn visitors away from its overflowing main parking lot. Yesterday, a $535,000 acquisition of a 2.3-acres should alleviate the problem. It will allow a 30 percent increase over present parking capacity on the north side of the zoo. Stephen Staelin, zoo board president, estimates the lack of adequate parking costs the zoo $200,000 to $250,000 each year, including the cost of a shuttle operation, costing about $60,000 last year. The purchase also brings the zoo closer to fulfilling its 10-year master plan, which included a great deal of property acquisition. The purchase comes from the zoo's capital fund, which includes the 10-year, 1-mill capital levy as well as donations. Over the last decade, the zoo has purchased 21 adjacent properties - a total of 2.4 acres - for its eventual expansion. Those properties cost the zoo a total of $1.117 million. This week's purchase, combined with the earlier acquisitions, will allow the addition of 570 new parking spaces to the 1,200 in existence in the Trail lot. The new parking facility could exceed $1 million to construct. It is one of Mr. Staelin’s highest priorities.

Memorial Fund for Green Bay Lion
May 12, 2005 www.greenbaypressgazette.co By Kendra Meinert

Kitty the lion, unofficial face of the NEW Zoo, has died of cancer. The African lion who reigned supreme over the zoo’s animal kingdom for 18 years died during his sleep Tuesday night from cancer. Kitty, who tipped the scales at 350 pounds in his prime and liked getting scratched down from staff members, turned 18 last week, exceeding the normal 15-year life expectancy for zoo lions. When he developed a kidney infection two months ago, Dr. Tracey Gilbert of the Brown County Veterinary Hospital began giving him weekly dialysis treatments and monitoring his condition. In more recent weeks, he started to become anemic. An autopsy on Wednesday showed the advanced stages of cancer, Anderson said, including a fist-sized tumor on his lung. The NEW Zoological Society has set up a memorial fund for Kitty at www.newzoo.org. Donations will be used for future renovations of the African lion exhibit.

Tiger Cubs Breastfed by Woman Die
May 12, 2005 news.scotsman.com

Two Bengal tiger cubs that were breastfed by a woman for nearly six weeks have died of dehydration in a zoo in Burma, according to a report. The cubs were taken from their mother after she killed one of their siblings and refused to nurse them and bottle feeding failed. "We tried our best to save their lives but their livers could not accept human milk," according to the Interview journal, quoting Dr Khin Maung Win of the Rangoon Zoological Garden.

Indianapolis Zoo Welcomes Termites
May 12, 2005 home.businesswire.com

The 2005 Towering Termite Tour, the world's largest traveling interactive termite exhibit housed in a two-story high inflatable termite, has come to Indianapolis to teach curious kids and parents about the good, the bad, and the just plain strange sides of these destructive bugs. The belly of this bug (which is 69,000 times the size of a real termite) houses terrariums of real termite colonies, unusual materials attacked by termites like piano keys and magazines, fun earning games, strange but true termite facts (for every human on Earth, entomologists calculate there may be as many as 1,000 pounds of termites!) and valuable take home information for parents. Admission to the event is included in the ticket price for the Indianapolis Zoo.

Rusti's new home cost rises
May 12, 2005 starbulletin.com By Diana Leone

The Orangutan Foundation International brought Rusti, a Bornean-Sumatran hybrid, to the Honolulu Zoo "temporarily" in 1997 after rescuing him from a New Jersey roadside zoo. Its plan to put Rusti in a Big Island refuge for large apes failed, and in 2003 there was talk of shipping Rusti to a mainland facility. In February 2004, then-Mayor Jeremy Harris announced Rusti would stay at the Honolulu Zoo and that his owners, OFI, would pay $200,000 for his new digs. When the cost of a proper orangutan cage ballooned to $500,000, other donors were sought and found, among them the Chelsey Foundation of the Big Island and the Vincent Trust, which each pledged $100,000. The Honolulu Zoo Society also pledged to help. Gary Slovin, president of the Honolulu Zoo Society, said that OFI hasn’t been reliable and the construction project which was supposed to start April 18. City officials said OFI recently returned $100,000 of Vincent Trust money that the city had forwarded to it for the project and as soon as they are given the additional $200,000 , the money and materials will be given to the Honolulu Society to supervise the building of a new home for Rusti and bring him a female companion.

St. Louis Zoo Unveils"Fragile Forest"
May 12, 2005 www.ksdk.com By Jim Schugel

The Saint Louis Zoo has a new outdoor exhibit with 15-foot waterfalls, trees, and vines. It’s the new home for several chimpanzees and oranguatans. There's even a "Chimp Finder". It's got a camera to help you locate a chimp, and it's the first one at any zoo in the country. The new 12-thousand-square-foot "Fragile Forest" opens to the public tomorrow. It took 3 years to plan and 7 million dollars to build. It opens to the public tomorrow and admission is free. The zoo is open everyday, 9 a.m.till 5 p.m and starting May 27th, it'll be open 8 a.m. till 7 p.m until the end of the summer.

3 monkeys die at Lincoln Park Zoo
May 12, 2005, www.chicagotribune.com 

The president of Lincoln Park Zoo has offered to resign after three Francois langur monkeys died at the zoo this week, but his resignation was refused, according to a statement issued by the zoo this afternoon. The zoo's Board of Directors will wait for results of an independent audit before deciding how to respond to the latest animal deaths, zoo Chairman Jay Proops said in the statement. "I do not feel it is in the best interest of the institution to even consider (Kevin Bell's) resignation until the audit is complete and the board can make clear judgments based on fact, rather than speculation," Proops said. Animal rights activists have been calling on the zoo to fire Bell since the May 1 death of Wankie, the third of the North Side institution's elephants to die since October. The zoo today said that about 4 p.m. Tuesday, keepers discovered a 7-year-old female langur dead in its exhibit in the Helen Brach Primate House. Another langur, a 12-year-old male, was found dead in the exhibit Wednesday morning. The third langur died in the zoo hospital this morning. University of Illinois pathologists were called in to perform necropsies, or animal autopsies. It may take several weeks for results to be returned. In the interim, the langur exhibit will remain emptied of animals. The zoo said in its statement it would await necropsy results before stating a cause of death for the monkeys, but acknowledged "strong suspicions among zoo experts that the deaths are connected to a change of exhibit." Proops said the zoo's board has asked the AZA to immediately convene an independent panel to review the zoo's animal care and management practices. The review will begin this month and could take several weeks to complete, he said. Its report will go directly to the zoo's board.

Bonn Botanists map the world
May 12, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

Botanists at the University of Bonn have announced the publication of a world map of plant biodiversity in the Journal of Biogeography. The atlas is arranged in 867 zones or ecoregions, a common geographical standard. Data is broken down by vegetation zone. Gerold Kier, head of the project at Bonn University's Nees Institute for Plant Biodiversity, said the work represents a significant advance because the results are needed both for nature conservation planners and those engaged in basic research. They found that Borneo's lowland rainforest is the most diverse of all, with around 10,000 plant species. They also discovered that the Sundarbans region (spreading across Bangladesh and India), is the world's most species-rich mangrove area, and it has not been designated a conservation priority yet. The southern Amazon basin and North Colombia, two of the world's most biodiverse areas.need more study and "There is also little known about the biodiversity that exists in large parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, the north of China and, surprisingly, even Japan," adds Kier. The project was conducted as a component of the large-scale BIOLOG-BIOTA programme, funded by German's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and run with the cooperation of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

New Platypus Exhibit at Healesville Sanctuary
May 13, 2005 www.theage.com.au By Julia Medew

Yesterday a $750,000 platypusary - shaped like a golden egg to symbolise fertility - opened at Healesville Sanctuary. It will have three cameras to monitor the behaviour of the shy animals. "The 24-hour surveillance will teach us a lot about their intimate behaviour," zoo keeper Adrian Mifsud said. Mr Mifsud said he hoped that a no-go zone for "boys" and the dark tunnel network would provide the perfect environment for breeding. A female is being flown in from Tooronga Zoo in Sydney to mate with a locally born male next month. "If the two mate successfully, it will be the first time two platypus(es) raised in captivity will reproduce in captivity themselves," he said.

New Laser Alarm on Tirupati Zoo Cat Cages
May 13, 2005 www.hindu.com

TIRUPATI: The enclosures housing five dozen lions, tigers and panthers in Sri Venkateswara zoological park, Tirupati, will be enhanced to provide more protection by installing a laser alarm system. While the animals are already housed in strong iron cages, the possibility of vandals breaking into them cannot be ruled out completely. The cages are some distance from the security outpost, which is located near the main gate. Previously, a tiger had been skinned alive and the then Minister for Forests and Environment in the TDP regime, Ch. Ayyannapatrudu, promised to provide an alarm system for the three zoological parks at Hyderabad, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam. A laser beam will pass continuously on all sides of the cages housing the animals. Any intrusion into the vicinity will obstruct the beam, which alerts the security personnel at the maingate by raising an alarm.

Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania
May 13, 2005 www.thread.co.nz 

"Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania" Challenges Players to Create the Ultimate Aquatic Adventure. It is an expansion pack for use with the "Zoo Tycoon" PC game. It features more than 20 aquatic creatures including sea otters and octopuses, and additional zoo-enhancing objects such as aquatic shows and marine scenery and 10 new scenarios to test players’ zoo-building skills.Zoo guests can now enjoy attractions such as the shark tunnel and the dolphin ride, the latter enabling them to swim with the dolphins. Interactive tutorials and marine specialists are on hand to help players and in addition, 10 new scenarios test players’ ability to manage and maintain a successful zoo.

Editorial | Move Philly’s Elephants
May 14, 2005 www.philly.com 

Today's zoos have to evolve not only for their survival as amusement attractions and to protect the animals. Animals no longer live in cages; they wander through re-created habitats. Keepers scatter food and offer playthings to stimulate animals' intellect. Conservation and education efforts aim to help people link the captive to the wild.Scientists get smarter daily about exhibiting and preserving wild species. Yet these better ideas sometimes require hard choices, especially for historical, urban zoos with limited space and finances, as at the Philadelphia Zoo. Now, but even more so in the future, not every zoo will have the resources to display every species. Properly caring for creatures may mean saying good-bye to beloved friends. Philadelphia should start by sending its elephants to zoos that can provide them a better home. By midsummer, zoos accredited by the AZA must submit plans to breed elephants and improve their habitats, most of which don't meet the association's 2001 guidelines. AZA president William R. Foster expects half of the 80 members with elephants to spend millions in the next five years to upgrade habitats. Others will close their exhibits. Calls to remove elephants from all zoos are overwrought. They're charismatic ambassadors that educate children about the plight of their wild cousins. But "elephants aren't necessary to communicate a conservation message," Foster said.Some zoos, especially those with Serengeti exhibits nearly as large as the entire Philadelphia zoo, should keep their elephants. Philadelphia should invest its scarce land and money resources elsewhere.

Elephant weakened by infection
May 14, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com  By William Mullen & Jon Yates

Lincoln Park Zoo officials have announced, that Wankie, the last of their three elephants to die in a six-month period, had an undetected infection that reduced her lung capacity when she was shipped to Salt Lake City. A preliminary pathology report showed Wankie had lung lesions that may have been caused by mycobacterium. Another of the zoo's elephants, 35-year-old Tatima, died in October of an infection of Mycobacterium szulgai, a rare, non-transmissable disease similar to tuberculosis. Zoo workers euthanized Wankie on May 1, shortly after her arrival at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. She had collapsed during the two-day transport from Chicago to Utah. Zoo officials declined to release the necropsy report and instead summarized its findings. Zoo spokeswoman Kelly McGrath said that only the San Diego Wild Animal Park, where the animals lived until they were lent to Chicago, could release the report. Officials there could not be reached Friday.

Disney World elephant dies of infection
May 15, 2005 www.sun-sentinel.com  By Amy C. Rippel 

An elephant whose calf died in its womb last month at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom died Saturday from a uterine infection, a company spokeswoman said. Ibala, a 26-year-old African elephant and a first-time mother, went into labor in late April after a 22-month gestation period. After several hours, Ibala's labor stalled and veterinarians determined her calf had died. The calf was to stay inside the mother until she expelled it, said Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak. This week, veterinarians determined Ibala was continuing to have contractions in an attempt to expel the calf. On Friday, veterinarians performed an emergency episiotomy and removed the baby elephant. Hours later, Ibala died, Polak said. A necropsy determined she died from endotoxic shock, a severe infection of the uterus and abdominal cavity, Polak said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which monitors and regulates zoo animals, has been contacted about the death but it is unclear if an investigation will be conducted. Ibala came to Animal Kingdom in 1997 from the Phoenix Zoo. She became pregnant through artificial insemination on July 24, 2003.

Langur deaths trigger investigations
May 15, 2005 www.kansascity.com  The Associated Press

CHICAGO — An 8-year old female langur is in quarantine while Lincoln Park Zoo trys to determine what killed three other Francois langurs. Their deaths follow those of two elephants, two gorillas and a camel at the zoo since October, and the death of another elephant earlier this month in transit from Chicago to Utah. A USDA investigation is underway to determine whether the zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act, and AZA is also reviewing their practices. In addition, PETA is calling for prosecutors to investigate the zoo for potential violations of the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act. "It's unheard of for one zoo to have this many animal deaths over such a short period of time," said Debbie Leahy of PETA.

WCS Tracks Animals By Satellite
May 15, 2005 www.nytimes.com  By LYNDA RICHARDSON

WCS operates 435 field conservation projects in 61 countries, and determining exact animal numbers is essential to conservation. About five years ago, when high-resolution satellite imagery became available, Dr. Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, saw a new possible way to accurately track wildlife. WCS received $360, 000 in NASA financing last September for a three-year study to understand how to use high-resolution imagery for conservation. The Quickbird satellite was used because it has a higher-image resolution than any other satellite available, and that its owner, DigitalGlobe, had agreed to donate the imagery. On Nov. 10 in the Bronx Zoo, a Quickbird experiment attempted to capture an image of the entire zoo. The Bronx Zoo has 4,766 individual animals and 581 species. 35 zoo volunteers used maps of the zoo to record the animals' coordinates. Before the satellite focused its cameras on the zoo, Dr. Sanderson's team had set out targets for a controlled comparison, using pieces of fake fur in different colors, sizes and groupings that were positioned throughout the zoo so that they could analyze the data and develop an equation to predict what kind of animals could be seen in the imagery. "We tested that equation against the actual animals in the zoo to see how well it worked," he said. "It seems to be working pretty well for the first few species we've tested." This fall, Quickbird will have its cameras fixed on Ruaha National Park in south-central Tanzania, where the Wildlife Conservation Society has a long-term field project. The experiment will continue in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming early next year and in northern Argentina in late 2006."It's important to try to push back the human footprint," said Dr. Sanderson, whose research has found that 83 percent of the planet's surface has been encroached upon by humans. "The human footprint is threatening wildlife and wild places globally," he added. "Nature is in crisis at the moment, but human beings can do a lot to help nature if we apply a little bit of what we know, a little bit of our good will and a little bit of our wealth to build a more sustainable relationship between people and the rest of nature."

Aquariums & Zoos : Learning & Fun
May 15, 2005 www.miami.com  BY EILEEN OGINTZ

Aza is a funny-looking mascot, with webbed feet and furry feelers, but he’s really smart and can answer kids’ quesstions. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) created Aza in order to encourage kids to learn more about the natural world. Aza has his own website, www.azasweb.com , where kids can play games and parents can find out more about the special activities that will be going on at zoos and aquariums all summer. Aza's presence is part of a new ''Wonders of Water'' initiative to focus attention on how we can all help animals and sea life by conserving water and keeping it clean. Jack Hanna, a well-known conservationist and host of the popular TV series Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, has teamed up with the AZA (www.aza.org) to help get the message across. ''People need to understand how important this all is, that our life depends on clean water,'' Hanna said. "These ideas aren't an easy thing to sell.''

CWD found in New York
May 15, 2005 www.avma.org 

Chronic wasting disease, a transmissible encephalopathy, has made its debut in farmed deer herds in the eastern United States. At press time, CWD had just been confirmed in five deer from two herds in Oneida County, New York. On March 31, 2005, the NYSDAM announced they had confirmed the first case of CWD in the state. The animal, a six-year-old, white-tailed doe, was slaughtered from a captive herd as part of the state's mandatory surveillance. Preliminary tests performed at the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University determined the presumptive positive, which was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. This is the first time the disease has been identified in any state east of Illinois. Until now, CWD had been identified only in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada have also reported CWD infections. The disease has been found in captive animals in some states and provinces and in the wild in others. In some areas, the disease is found in both captive and wild animals. For the latest on the investigation, visit www.agmkt.state.ny.us/AI/cwd.html .

Whooping Crane Eggs Sent to Florida
May 15, 2005 www.tuscaloosanews.com  By JANET McCONNAUGHEY 

Two whooping crane eggs are heading to Florida by airplane this week, with an eye to increasing the flock which is trained to migrate from Maryland to Wisconsin. The eggs, from Louisiana's first breeding pair of whoopers in decades, are due to hatch next week - one on May 23, and the other two days later, according to Sarah Burnette, a spokeswoman for the Audubon Nature Institute's zoo in New Orleans. Staffers from the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species will fly with them on Tuesday to the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. There, they will be raised by caretakers costumed to ensure the birds don't come to think of people as safe or as part of their flock, then trained to follow an ultralight aircraft as they learn to migrate.

Zoo seeks help monitoring monarchs
May 15, 2005 www.argusleader.com  By Denise D. Tucker

The public is invited to help the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History in the upcoming Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. People interested in becoming part of the zoo's research team need to attend a training session at the zoo Monday at 6 p.m. Participants need to be in at least sixth grade and older. The research team will share the once-weekly responsibility of monitoring a milkweed site and collecting data regarding the life cycle of the monarch. All of the data is logged into a master system, which contains data from across the world. This will be the only registered site in South Dakota. The zoo also is in need of an adequate area to monitor for monarch larva. They are looking for an area that will not be disturbed in the next three to five years, has not and will not be sprayed, and is easily accessible. For information about the project, call the zoo's Education Department at 367-7003 or log on to the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project at www.mlmp.org .The project is being funded through the National Science Foundation and the University of Minnesota.

Akron Zoo partners with College
May 15, 2005 www.ohio.com By Carol Biliczky

This fall, about 10 Hiram College students will learn how to prepare a special duck diet of grains, mealworms and dog chow. They'll be the first students in the new Endangered Waterfowl Conservation and Propagation Center that will be unveiled Tuesday by the Akron Zoo and college officials. It will be the first such joint program for the downtown Akron zoo and for the small liberal arts college in northeast Portage County. "We're not only helping to save these ducks but will be creating a whole new group of students who will have a true appreciation for this kind of work,'' said zoo Vice President Doug Piekarz. Hiram will fund the creation of the center at its James H. Barrow Field Station, a 360-acre reserve about two miles from campus with a cold-water stream, beech and maple forests, a lab building and more. The zoo will obtain the ducks and provide veterinary care.

After Its Epidemic Arrival, SARS Vanishes
May 15, 2005 www.nytimes.com By JIM YARDLEY

BEIJING, May 14 - Two and a half years after a mysterious respiratory illness from southern China infected thousands of people around the world and brought dire predictions of recurring and deadly plague, the virus known as SARS has disappeared, at least for the moment. Not a single case of severe acute respiratory syndrome has been reported this year or in late 2004. It is the first winter without a case since the initial outbreak in late 2002. In addition, the epidemic strain of SARS that caused at least 774 deaths worldwide by June of 2003 has not been seen outside a laboratory since then. SARS is not even the nastiest bug in its neighborhood, as health officials warn that avian influenza in Southeast Asia poses a far greater threat. Health officials in China are less alarmed, but they warn that SARS could still pose a threat. This caution partly reflects the lack of knowledge about the virus: What caused it to become so virulent in the initial outbreak? Where has it gone? Will it come back? The rosiest scenario - that SARS has simply mutated into oblivion would be very nice, but there is no research to support that, said Dr. Julie Hall, the SARS team leader at the Beijing office of the World Health Organization. "Just because we've not seen SARS anymore this year doesn't mean it is not out in the wild this year."

Snake Bite Season
May 16, 2005 www.latimes.com

Between 7,000 and 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes nationwide each year, said snakebite specialist Dr. Robert Norris, chief of emergency medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. Fewer than a dozen of those are fatal, Norris said. The San Diego division of the California Poison Control System — which includes Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties — has received 15 to 20 snakebite calls so far this season, director Lee Cantrell said. The office, which handles just a fraction of total snakebites in the area, reports at least 50 bites a year, Cantrell said. In 2004, 23 people in Los Angeles County reported snakebites to state poison control, along with 17 people each in Orange and Riverside counties and 10 in San Bernardino County. There were 241 bites statewide logged at poison control last year, according to Stuart Heard, executive director of California Poison Control System at UC San Francisco's School of Pharmacy. The Inland Empire and desert beyond are the epicenter of bite activity. In 2003 there were 50 bite victims and in 2004 there were 40. Six of the 33 species of snakes in the state are venomous to humans-- all are rattlers. Mojave and sidewinder rattlesnakes are most common in desert areas, while the southern Pacific rattler--responsible for delivering the most bites--lives throughout Southern California. Rattlesnakes are 2-5 feet in length and can strike out up to half their body length. They hibernate from late November to February. If bitten: Don't panic. Seek medical help immediately. Do not elevate the bitten extremity. Do not cut or suck the wound or use a tourniquet--it can make the injury worse. About one-fourth of all bites are "dry bites" in which no venom has been injected.

Two new retroviruses from animals identified
May 16, 2005 www.eurekalert.org 

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the CDC, and the Army Health Research Center (CRESAR) in Cameroon have discovered two new retroviruses among central Africans who hunt nonhuman primates. The viruses, which have been named Human T-lymphotropic Virus types 3 and 4 (HTLV-3 and HTLV-4), belong to a genus of viruses known to spread and cause serious illness in humans. The researchers believe the findings demonstrate the need to regularly survey those human populations known to be in contact with animals for new infectious diseases emerging from animals. The study, which was first reported at the 12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, is now published in the May 16, 2005, Online Early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The discoveries of HTLV-3 and HTLV-4 show that, far from being rare events, retroviruses are actively crossing into human populations," said the study's lead author Nathan Wolfe, ScD, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

DNA Determines National Zoo’s Porcupine Sex
May 16, 2005 www.sciencedaily.com  By STOKELY BAKSH

WASHINGTON -- A month-old prehensile-tailed porcupine named Buddha is the first of its kind born at the National Zoo. DNA extracted from her quills has proven that she’s a girl. Dr. Suzan Murray explained that vets try to evaluate the eyes, ears, nose, throat and determine the gender of every newborn. "we weren't really able to tell what gender she was by just looking." Baby porcupines are born with coarse red hair, but as they grow to adult size over the next year they lose the hair and grow sharp spines. Buddha was born with soft fur and eventually grew tiny quills that would later stiffen. Animal keeper Dell Guglielmo, who cares for Buddha and her parents, said sex organs are not visible in babies and could take six months to be clearly discerned, since externally they look alike. Palpating the area between the anus and the organ did not provide a gender answer so zoo researchers recruited the help of geneticist Dr. Jesus Maldonado to lead the DNA project that would determine Buddah's sex. Typically using hair and fecal samples, collecting DNA from quills was a first for Maldonado, who had worked on other projects extracting DNA from wild African elephants and manned wolves. Maldonado first performed a blind test with Buddha's parents to figure out their gender, to see if the procedure was possible. "This genetic procedure is relatively new and I had never worked with a porcupine," Maldonado said. "It was exciting to test them blindly." Maldonado said the process wasn't as simple as looking at DNA from a human -- so far no genome map has been made for a porcupine. It took only four days, however, to arrive at the answer. "The closest sequence we found was a pig," said Andrew Rivara, an intern in the genetics program. Rivara was the technician who extracted DNA from the follicle or the white tip of the quill. Enzymes were used to expose the DNA before studying it further, he said. "It was really cool to do this in a non-evasive way," Rivara said. Murray said Buddha's case is just one of many examples of the zoo's commitment to using non-evasive measures in handling its animals. 

Madagascar -- A Movie Review
May 16, 2005 www.commonvoice.com  By Jimmy Moore

On May 27th "Madagascar," a family-friendly film opens nation-wide. The story features the adventures of the self-obsessed Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), the dreamer Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), the temperamental, but caring Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith), and the goofball Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) as they live their lives at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Encouraged by a group of conspiracy-theorist penguins, Marty is convinced that there's got to be more to life than the zoo, so with a little help from the penguins, he plans his escape so he can catch a train to Connecticut, where he has been told there are lots of open spaces where he can run free. Alex, Gloria and Melman go after him to convince him that life isn't so bad where they are. They all meet up at Grand Central Station where the entire New York City police and fire department completely surround them and foil their plans. They are packed into crates and sent on a ship to Africa along with the penguins. But the penguins take over the ship because they want to go to Antarctica to be in their natural habitat. As they turn the ship around in the opposite direction, all the crates with the main characters in them go flying into the water and they end up stranded on the island of Madagascar. While they initially think they are at the San Diego Zoo, it doesn't take the characters long to realize they actually landed in the "wild." "Madagascar" is definitely a keeper, although I was a bit disappointed the movie ended so quickly. This PG-rated film was just a little bit longer than 75 minutes and left you hanging for more at the end. I guess that's the sign of a great movie.

3rd Condor Chick Hatches at Oregon Zoo
May 16, 2005 www.medfordnews.com 

PORTLAND, Ore.-Recently, while Oregon Zoo staff conducted their morning "egg watch," they observed male California condor, Paxa, stand up and give staff their first view of a new California chick, the second hatched this year. The chick may have hatched last night or this morning. The new chick is the second condor to hatch at the zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation in less than a month.

Sleep-overs & Segways at Vancouver Zoo
May 16, 2005 www.newswire.ca 

VANCOUVER, .- The first "Nights in the Wild" sleepovers at the Zoo have been a great success. Visitors can sleep over and experience the sounds of the Zoo at night. The Zoo has also announced the first "Segway" transporter service in Canada and maybe in the World. These new people transporters travel in unique silent way around the more than 3kilometers of pathways of the zoo. Our Zookeepers report that the animals are just as interested in these machines as people are.

Wellington Zoo Turtles Sent to National
May 16, 2005, www.scoop.co.nz  Press Release: Wellington Zoo

Three Australian natives, Snake-necked Turtles, have left Wellington Zoo after 20 years to begin their new life at New Zealand’s National Aquarium in Napier. The 2 females and one of unknown sex - were born in 1986. They are small turtles with hard black shells, and grow to between 20 and 30cm long. They have a long snake like neck and little round glassy eyes". The Turtles have a natural tendancy to travel and were often found in other enclosures before the Zoo decided to place them off-exhibit for their own safety. "In the wild, these turtles naturally travel to other waterways. " said Wellington Zoo Herpetologist, Laurent Van Ham. In order to maintain their temperature during travel to Napier, the Turtles were transported together in a specialised dark polystyrene box. Since their arrival, the Turtles have been quarantined and will remain in quarantine before they are relocated to their new enclosure. National Aquarium Manager, Rob Yarrall said "Eventually the Turtles will be going in with our population of six Turtles of which there are some males, so they may breed, however we are not embarking on a purpose designed breeding programme at this stage". Natives to Australia, the Snake-necked Turtle is a common pet reptile just like the South American Redneck Sliders which are considered a pest throughout the world and are a banned species in New Zealand.

Lincoln Park Reveals Another Animal Problem
May 16, 2005 www.nbc5.com 

CHICAGO -- The Lincoln Park Zoo revealed another recent medical problem with an animal. The arm of a small ape was amputated last month. The ape injured the arm while reaching through mesh to grab food thrown by a zoo visitor. Nearly 200 people gathered for a protest outside the zoo Sunday. The demonstration was organized after three monkeys died there last week. In the last year, three elephants, two gorillas and a camel have also died. "We're very alarmed with the number of animals at the zoo who are simply found dead, who die from mysterious and undetected illnesses or who simply die from neglect," said PETA member Debbie Leahy. Since last October, nine animals have died at the zoo. Zoo officials say there's no connection between the deaths of the six larger animals, but are investigating the recent monkey deaths for a link. "That's the one place where there is a pattern," said the zoo's Steve Thompson. "All three of these animals were put into a ... new exhibit for those animals." The activists are demanding a case-by-case review of each death.

Kansas City Zoo Parners with Saturn
May 16, 2005 Biz.yahoo.com

Kansas City Area Saturn Retailers have partnered with the Kansas City Zoo as the official vehicle of the zoo. In addition, Saturn Retailers are proud to present Silver, a female white tiger, who will make her debut on May 23 to the public. Silver is the main attraction of the Tiger Trail at the Zoo this summer. Please mark your calendars for May 18 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to see the Kansas City Zoo's new exhibit "Follow the Tiger Trail." This VIP reception is by invite only and open for members of the media to preview this special exhibit. On loan from Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, Silver's exhibit will be open until October 1.  "Saturn believes in becoming part of the communities in which they dwell. That's what makes us unique; we become active in the lives of our neighbors," said Sandy Belvedere, Saturn Market Area Manager. "Partnering with the Kansas City Zoo is a great way for us to be involved in this community." In addition to Silver's stay at the Kansas City Zoo, the Cat Walk has also been renovated for this year's exhibit, which features only Asian animals. New caging has been added as well as restored landscaping to provide better habitat for new animals at the zoo.

Toads tracked with radio transmitters
May 16, 2005 www.eurekalert.org 

Connie Browne, a PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, Canada, is spending this summer haunting the ponds and sloughs in northern Alberta, using tiny radio transmitter backpacks to track Canadian and Western toads. Browne hopes to capture 12 of each kind and using soft surgical tubing, she will belt the toads into tiny, waterproof oval 'backpacks' containing radio transmitters. The signals travel up to one kilometre and will allow Browne to locate the toads and to take note of their preferred habitat. Browne began radio-tracking toads at Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta last year, and confirming earlier research, was unable to spot a single Canadian toad. The small, bumpy-skinned species, has become locally extinct. Some toads carry their transmitters for only a few days before slipping out of the belt, while others have worn them for as long as six months. Last year, Browne was able to track 12 toads to hibernation and describe their hibernation sites. The transmitters were then removed and the toads released for the winter.

Progesterone Influences Bird Sex Ratio
May 17, 2005 www.eurekalert.org 

ITHACA, N.Y. -- In mammals, sperm from the male determines the sex of the offspring. In birds, however, it is the female's sex chromosome that determines offspring sex. Now, Cornell University researchers think they understand the mechanism that several bird species use to bias the sex ratios of their offspring toward female. By experimenting with domestic chickens, they have determined that the presence of higher-than-normal levels of the hormone progesterone during the first meiosis -- the cell division that divides the sex chromosomes and genetically determines the sex of an offspring -- produces significantly more females. Stephanie Correa, a doctoral student in neurobiology and behavior at Cornell is the lead author of the study that was posted online recently in The Royal Society's Biology Letters (Vol. 1, 2005). Although the finding is not of practical use in the near future for the poultry industry, understanding the basic mechanism of biasing sex ratios in birds could provide the foundation for learning how to manipulate the sex ratio of avian offspring in the future. Research in this area is just beginning, they note, because the molecular methods used to determine the sex of the eggs has only recently been made available.

A Kemp's ridley nest in Galveston
May 17, 2005 www.chron.com  By KEVIN MORAN

GALVESTON - For the fourth year running, an endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle has nested on west Galveston Island laying a clutch of 103 eggs. Ten nestings of Kemp's ridleys were recorded along the coast below Corpus Christi this month and last. Scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service were notified and the eggs were to be taken to a Padre Island National Seashore laboratory for incubation, said Donna Shaver, a federal biologist. The eggs should hatch in early July, and the hatchlings will be released into the Gulf of Mexico. The turtle that laid the eggs is known to have visited Galveston Island at least once before. It bore a metal flipper tag that identified it as one of hundreds of Kemp's ridleys that were raised from hatchlings to about dinner-plate size at the Galveston laboratory in 1992 and 1993, said biologist Ben Higgins. The turtle was among 23,000 Kemp's hatchlings in a head-start program scientists ran for the endangered species between 1978 and 1992.

California Senator’s Report Attacks ESA
May 17, 2005 news.yahoo.com www.usnewswire.com 

WASHINGTON -- Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.) has released a report "Implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973", available at resourcescommittee.house.gov/issues/more/esa/ESA_Implementation_Report5.17.05.pdf The report was prepared at his request by the House Resources Committee's Oversight & Investigations staff. "The Endangered Species Act's less than one percent success rate for species recovery is a well-documented and readily-available statistic, but the status of the remaining species on its list has not been as clear until now," Chairman Pombo said. "This exhaustive review of government data makes it clear the vast majority of these species have not improved under implementation of current law." The staff researched and reviewed (1) all Federal Register notices for delisted and downlisted species (2) a decade-worth of agency expenditure reports (3) data from Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) Reports to Congress (4) dozens of critical habitat designation economic impact assessments, agency regulations and recovery plans and (5) discussed implementation of the act with numerous federal, state and local officials. The committee has never conducted such an exhaustive review of ESA implementation before. "The ESA has not achieved its original intent of recovering species," Pombo continued. "In fact, there is little evidence of progress in the law's 30-year history. After reviewing this body of agency information on the Act's implementation over the years, no reasonable individual can conclude that the ESA is sustainable in its current form. It checks species in, but never checks them out." Federal agency data highlighted in the report includes:

1. After more than 30 years only 10 of nearly 1300 domestic species have recovered and, in many cases, the ESA was not the primary factor in the recovery. (Report pages 9 to 12)

2. According to the FWS's most recent report to Congress, 77 percent of listed species are classified in the Service's lowest 'recovery achieved' category, having only met 0-25 percent of recovery objectives. Only 2 percent fall into the highest 'recovery achieved' category, having met 76 percent to 100 percent of recovery objectives. (Report pages 19 to 21)

3. According to the FWS's most recent Report to Congress, the recovery status of 60 percent of listed species is either 'uncertain' or 'declining'; 30 percent are classified as stable; 6 percent are classified as improving; and 3 percent (35 species) are classified as possibly extinct.

4. Of the 33 species reclassified by the FWS in the Act's history, only 10 domestic species were downlisted (status from endangered to threatened) because the species had improved. (Report page 12 to 16)

5. Erroneous data/data error has significantly adversely affected the implementation of the ESA.

-- At least 15 of the 33 domestic species that have been delisted in the Act's history were removed from the list because of original data error/erroneous data. (Report page 8)

-- Erroneous data was a contributing factor in at least 10 of 19 (over 50 percent) of the downlisted domestic species. (Report pages 12 to 14)

-- Expenditures by federal, state, and private parties on species listed based on erroneous data could total hundreds of millions of dollars. Funds spent on erroneously-listed species could be otherwise directed to species that are actually endangered or threatened. (Report pages 46 to 51)

6. According to the FWS, in 30 years of implementing the ESA, the service has found that the designation of statutory critical habitat provides little additional protection to most listed species, while consuming significant amounts of conservation resources. The Service's present system for designating critical habitat is driven by litigation rather than biology. (Report page 56)

7. The current program clearly costs billions of dollars, but insufficient economic information is collected to reasonably determine the true cost of the law, as all federal, state, and private expenditure reporting cannot be assessed.

8. Given the Act's poor recovery rate, the pool of future possible additions, current agency species data (77 percent of species having achieved only 0 to 25 percent of recovery), litigation demands and conservative consideration of cost data, the current program is not sustainable.

-- In addition to the 1,264 currently listed species, the FWS now recognizes an additional 283 species as candidates for listing. (Report page 29)

-- The FWS' current litigation workload for listing and critical habitat includes (1) 34 active lawsuits with respect to 48 species (2) 40 court orders involving 8 species and (3) 36 notices of intent to sue involving 104 species. (Report page 29, 66 to 71)

"The ESA is obviously in need of a legislative update that will focus the law on strengthening results for species recovery," Pombo said. "This report will be an invaluable guide as Congress considers the best way to do just that. It has certainly become a question of how we improve this law, not a question of if."

Catalina Island Eagles Threatened
May 17, 2005 www.nytimes.com  By CHRIS DIXON

Eagles thrived on Catalina island 26 miles across the San Pedro Channel from Los Angeles until they were devastated by the dumping of millions of pounds of DDT and other pollutants off the Channel Islands from the 1940's to the early 70's. DDT causes birds to lay eggs with shells too thin to protect developing chicks. After painstaking work by conservationists for more than 20 years, five pairs of eagles now nest on Catalina. And since 2001, some $250,000 a year - proceeds from an environmental lawsuit against a leading coastal polluter - has gone to an innovative program meant to build on that success. To protect the eagles' thin-shelled eggs, researchers remove them from the nest and replace them with copies so the eagles will not miss them. The real eggs are incubated and hatched, and the chicks are returned to their nests. This year, 11 eggs were taken, 9 were fertile, and 3 hatched into chicks. Now the program is in danger of losing its financing to other islands. An underwater plume from the world's largest known DDT contamination site, off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, is still too toxic to allow a sustainable population of nesting birds on Catalina. If suggestions put forth in a management plan are accepted, the focus would shift to Santa Cruz and other northerly Channel Islands that are farther from the source of pollution. Greg Baker, manager of the money from the suit, says the funds are need to cover projects like rebuilding other seabird populations, nonnative animal control and re-establishing healthy fisheries on a range of islands from off Santa Barbara to northern Mexico. "It doesn't appear the situation is changing for the Catalina pairs," he said, "and continuing to use the settlement funds for that case is essentially taking funds from all these other resources we have a mandate to work on."

Hawaii has most endangered species
May 17th, 2005 www.kpua.net 

HONOLULU (AP) _ Hawaii again leads the nation with by far the greatest number of plant and animal species proposed for listing as endangered or threatened. Nearly 40 percent of species listed as candidates for protective status. No new Hawaii species were added to the candidate list or removed from it for the past year, leaving the state with 107 of the 286 native plant and animal species on the list. Hawaii already has more than 300 species protected under the Endangered Species Act, giving the state about a quarter of all endangered species in the United States. Eighty-one of the Hawaii candidate species are flowering plants. The list also includes snails, insects, crustaceans, ferns and birds including the Kauai Creeper.

Scientists Support Endangered Species Protection
May 17, 2005 biz.yahoo.com Defenders of Wildlife PRNewswire

WASHINGTON -- Led by Harvard University's E.O. Wilson, ten prominent scientists in biology and other environmental fields today called on the U.S. Senate to strengthen the Endangered Species Act, rather than heed industry calls to weaken it, in order to help stem a worldwide mass extinction crisis. Today's letter stands in stark contrast to a report by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo opposing the Act, noting instead the law's success as an "alarm system" and bulwark against the finality of extinction. The letter is signed by E.O. Wilson (Harvard University), Jared Diamond (UCLA), Paul R. Ehrlich (Stanford University), Harold Mooney (Stanford University), Stuart Pimm (Duke University), Daniel Simberloff (University of Tennessee), Peter Raven (Missouri Botanical Gardens & University of Missouri), Gordon Orians (University of Washington), David Wilcove (Princeton University), and James T. Carlton (Williams College-Mystic Seaport). Full Text of Letter online at: www.saveesa.org/letter.pdf 

New Species of Salamander in Oregon
May 17, 2005 news.yahoo.com

PORTLAND, Ore. - A new species of salamander has been identified in the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon and Northern California.The Scott Bar salamander, classified as Plethodon asupak, had been considered to be a member of the Siskiyou Mountains salamander species, or Plethodon stormi, until genetic analysis showed a distinct evolutionary line, said Joseph Vaile of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center in Ashland. The word "asupak" is the Shasta Indian name for Scott Bar, an area near the confluence of the Scott and Klamath rivers.Dave Clayton, a U.S. Forest Service biologist, led the study. The genetic analysis was done at Oregon State University. The species has no lungs and instead breathes directly through its skin. The research leading to the identification of the new species was funded by the Forest Service. The results will be published in the June edition of the quarterly journal Herpetologica.

Audubon Ships Whooping Crane Eggs
May 17, 2005 www.duluthsuperior.com  BY JANET MCCONNAUGHEY

NEW ORLEANS - Two whooping crane eggs are heading to Maryland. The eggs, from Louisiana's first breeding pair of whoopers in decades, are due to hatch next week -- one on May 23, and the other two days later, according to Sarah Burnette, a spokeswoman for the Audubon Nature Institute's zoo in New Orleans. Staffers from the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species will fly with them today to the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. If they hatch, they will be raised there by costumed caretakers to ensure the birds don't imprint on people. The caretakers also will get them used to the noise and appearance of an ultralight aircraft, then the birds will be flown to Necedah, Wis., to be trained to follow an ultralight aircraft to Florida with the rest of the migrating flock.

Detroit Zoo's Wildest Party
May 17, 2005 biz.yahoo.com PRNewswire

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- Tickets for the Detroit Zoological Society's annual fundraising event, Sunset at the Zoo, promises anight of live entertainment, dancing, live auction and a spectacular strolling supper. The event, presented by General Motors, will take place June 17, 2005 from 7- 11 p.m., rain or shine, at the Detroit Zoo.This elegant fundraiser features a strolling supper from over 40 of the area's finest dining establishments including P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Rattlesnake and The Whitney. Guests will have access to the Zoo's award-winning exhibits and take in the amazing wildlife as the sun goes down. They will also have the opportunity to participate in the fundraiser's live auction which includes bidding items such as Super Bowl XL tickets and a trip to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Italy. Those who are feeling lucky may purchase "Sunset Keys" for $25 each and attempt to unlock a prize box. If your key fits, you can take home the fabulous prize inside! Tickets range from $125 to $500 per person. A VIP champagne reception presented by Bank One is available for those purchasing higher priced tickets. Tickets are available for purchase by phone at (248) 541-5717 ext. 3740. Proceeds from this year's event will benefit the Zoo's new white rhinoceros exhibit.

Nutcracking Fish at London Zoo
May 17, 2005 news.scotsman.com By Rachel Williams, PA

When the Amazon floods, nuts from the surrounding trees end up floating in the river. The Pacu, a large fish related to the piranha, has evolved the ability to crack even brazil nuts in its jaws, one of just a few fish that can. The London Zoo now has five pacus on display. Visitors can actually hear them through the glass as they use their jaws to break the tough shell and then spit out the pieces to release the delicate meat inside. Zoo workers are training the fish to associate a clicking sound and a keeper with a tea towel wrapped around his or her arm with brazil nuts, so they will not be attacked when they need to clean the tank. Dr Heather Koldewey, a senior curator at the aquarium, said the pacus "... this shows that they can actually learn and be trained." The zoo is preparing for the opening of a new aquarium and rainforest exhibit, called Biota!, in east London in 2008. They nope to have a large school of the fish by then, either through breeding or bringing them in from other centers.

Oregon Zoo Prepares for Animal Rights Groups
May 17, 2005 www.eastoregonian.info

PORTLAND (AP) — The Oregon zoo has six elephants, and Chendra is one of three trained to walk the grounds before visitors arrive. Keepers say it keeps the elephants in shape and stimulates their minds. That’s important for an elephant program, but the program may be facing problems. As the zoo prepares to build its herd, it faces some who contend that zoos are bad for elephants. Animal-rights activists argue that the beasts need room to roam and that those in zoos should be sent to sprawling sanctuaries. Groups stage protests, letter-writing campaigns, file lawsuits and lobby politicians and the public. Last year they pressured San Francisco supervisors to effectively close the antiquated elephant exhibit there unless it can provide the animals with at least 15 acres. Detroit’s zoo did away with an elephant exhibit in April. Friday, the president of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo offered to quit after a spate of recent animal deaths, including three elephants. Administrators at the Oregon Zoo, which provides 1.5 acres for elephants, say the battle may be headed their way. In Defense of Animals recently used the Freedom of Information Act to get elephant medical records from the Oregon Zoo and plans similar actions at 30 public zoos nationwide. Oregon Zoo veterinarians euthanized two elephants whose foot problems had become so severe they couldn’t support their own weight in 1996 and 1997. Mike Keele, deputy zoo director, defends the way keepers do their jobs. As coordinator of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan, he says the keepers lead the charge to improve captive elephants’ lives. "Zoos are doing more for elephants," Keele says, "than any of those groups are."

Migratory Bird Conservation Agreement
May 17, 2005 news.fws.gov

Interior Secretary Gale Norton today commemorated the 12th International Migratory Bird Day by signing a declaration of intent with Canada and Mexico to strengthen cooperation on bird conservation. She also announced $3.9 million in grants to conserve birds throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. Norton signed the North American Bird Conservation Initiative Declaration of Intent to "conserve North American birds throughout their ranges and habitats, and ultimately to collaborate with all participant nations regarding bird cooperation. More than 340 species of birds breed in the United States and Canada, and winter in Latin America. Examples of these birds include species of plovers, terns, hawks, cranes, warblers and sparrows. The declaration will formalize the process for undertaking the initiative, which is designed to address the sharp decline of many migratory bird species in recent decades. At the same time, Norton announced $3.9 million in grants to conserve migratory birds in 18 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The partners that receive these grants will contribute nearly $18 million in matching funds. The grants are made under the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 2000. The act establishes a matching grants program to fund projects that promote the conservation of neotropical migratory birds in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. The funds can be used to protect, research, monitor and manage bird populations and habitats as well as conduct law enforcement and community outreach and education. By law, 75 percent of the money goes to projects in Latin America and Caribbean countries while 25 percent goes to projects in the United States. International Migratory Bird Day takes place on the second Saturday in May each year. It encourages bird conservation and increases awareness of birds through hikes, bird watching, information about birds and migration, public events, and a variety of other education programs.

Ueno Zoo’s Eco-Project
May 17, 2005 www.yomiuri.co.jp 

In 1949 cormorants in Tokkyo Bay were losing nesting grounds to development projects so a group was released into the Shinobazu Pond, a third of which is in Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo. The original population of 19 in 1949 grew to 3,200 in 1992. Some of the birds were later moved to a newly created nesting ground in Daiba, but the population remains over 400. Cormorants are predatory, flying to the bay to catch fish but spending most of the day on islands The birds' droppings increased the concentration of nutrients in the water, resulting in excessive growth of lotuses. The zoo now spends 2 million yen a year to contain the aquatic plant. The policy of releasing injured swans and geese was implemented after the zoo placed a pair of injured eagles on an island in the pond about two years ago. The presence of the eagles was a threat to the cormorants--even though the eagles could not fly--and cormorants began avoiding the island. As a result, the island's vegetation began to flourish. The zoo concluded that injured herbivorous birds may feed off and subsequently reduce the lotus. It released 15 injured swans and geese that were previously protected in Niigata Prefecture.So far, the number of lotuses have not declined, but swans have been sighted eating the underwater root systems. The zoo anticipates that results will take effect when additional birds are introduced to the pond ecosystem. Ueno Zoo Director Teruyuki Komiya said: "Another advantage of this trial project is that the injured wild birds can stay out of small enclosures. The addition of more swans and geese will hopefully bring a balance to the local ecosystem." Hopefully there will again be room for migratory birds, such as geese, ducks and swans who have been prevented from utilizing the area.

Indian Customs Confiscates Birds
May 18, 2005 www.hindu.com  By G. Mahadevan

Customs officials seized 20 ostrich chicks, about 75 pigeons and more than a dozen pheasants at the Nedumbassery airport on July 26, 2004. The birds were brought over by a passenger who did not have the mandatory licence to import these birds and as India is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Exotic Species (CITES), the birds were transferred to the Thiruvananthapuram zoo. Zoo officials had very little warning that such a huge consignment of birds was coming their way. In fact when they arrived on August 4, 2004, officials initially mistook the ostrich chicks for the young ones of the emu. When the zoo discovered their mistake, they were overjoyed as it had been a long time since the zoo had ostriches on display. Now the ostriches are a prime source of attraction. The plight of the pigeons and pheasants is a different story altogether. Though the birds now have the relative spaciousness of a hastily-prepared enclosure inside the zoo hospital - they arrived at Nedumbasery tightly packed into small boxes - the zoo is still to make up its mind as to what to do with these birds. A number of pigeons and pheasants have already died; zoo officials are reluctant to reveal how many. Moreover, the zoo does not know to which species certain pigeons housed in the enclosure belong. As it is, the zoo does not have the space in its aviary for displaying the remaining pigeons and pheasants. "As we know next to nothing about the birds' feeding habits, mating behaviour and so on, we have no idea where we can put them. We do not want to mix the wrong species and have them fighting each other," said an animal keeper. The other option open to the zoo is to build a special enclosure for these birds, but this is easier said than done because the Central Zoo Authority would prefer that zoos did not exhibit exotic species but concentrate on endemic and endangered species. The fact that many of these birds have died is also worrying the zoo; officials are worried that if more birds die, they might have to do some explaining to animal rights organisations and even to the CZA.

Zoo chief defended by Daley
May 18, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By Dan Mihalopoulos and Jon Yates

Mayor Richard Daley defended the leader of the Lincoln Park Zoo Tuesday and openly questioned prosecutors' decision to examine the string of recent deaths there. Daley's comments came one day after officials at the Cook County state's attorney's office said they had begun looking into the deaths of three elephants, three monkeys, two gorillas and a camel. All of the deaths have occurred since October. The mayor said zoo officials are "just as concerned as anyone else" about the deaths. Zoo President Kevin Bell offered his resignation last week, but the chairman of the zoo's board, Jay Proops, refused to accept it. Proops and other board members said they back Bell, pending the results of independent zoo evaluations. Daley said Bell has been "a good public servant," and said zoo officials have done "a tremendous job." "Kevin Bell is very dedicated," the mayor said. "I know him personally. That's his passion. That's one of the last free zoos in America with great contributions by the business community and foundations and families there. That is one of our prized jewels."

Audubon Zoo hippo dies at 44
May 18, 2005 www.nola.com By Bruce Eggler

Tony, a hippopotamus that had lived at the Audubon Zoo since 1964, died Tuesday of unknown causes.  He was the zoo's only remaining hippo. His female mate and their baby died 16 years ago. Tony was 44. Hippos normally can live up to 45 years in the wild and a few years longer in captivity, experts said. "Tests are being conducted to learn why Tony died," said Dan Maloney, general curator of the zoo. He said the animal had not been ill and looked healthy Tuesday morning.

Hunters Blamed for India's Vanishing Tigers
May 18, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com Associated Press

NEW DELHI -- India's forests lost 400 tigers -- more than half of them to poachers -- in 1999-2003, highlighting an illegal wildlife trade that threatens the animals' survival, a news report said Tuesday.  An independent agency found that 411 tigers disappeared in that period, and that 173 of them died of natural causes, the Environment and Forest Ministry said. Poachers killed 238 of the animals. Conservationists fear that the current official estimates that 3,500 to 3,700 tigers remain in the wild in India are grossly exaggerated. Tiger hunting is now illegal everywhere, and international trade in tigers and their body parts is banned under the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. "The international border of India with Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar is relatively porous, which facilitates illegal transfer of contraband, including wildlife items, across these borders," PTI quoted the ministry as saying.

Belfast Loses Beloved Chimpanzee
May 18, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

One of Belfast zoo's best-loved animals, Angela the chimpanzee, has died. Diagnosed with diabetes five years ago, was put to sleep after complications arose from a leg injury. Zoo-keeper Linda Frew said the injury flared up again on Saturday and it was discovered that the 23-year-old chimp had a massive secondary infection. She was in pain and her quality of life was deteriorating. When the chimp was diagnosed with diabetes - a rare condition in chimpanzees - it was believed she would not survive for more than a few weeks. "Once I found out she would take her medication in Pepsi Max, it made administering the treatment a lot easier and she lived a very happy life," Ms Frew said.

Eight Wolves from Marinic Transferred to Osijek ZOO
18 May 2005 see.oneworld.net By Kruno Jost

Eight wolves from Marinic based private asylum, operated by the ZOOEco association, was transferred to the Osijek City ZOO and the asylum for protected animals in Rascica. This has partially solved the month-long drama of the 15 predators that were left without food at the beginning of last winter. "I am happy that our wolves have found a new home. Besides, that will ease our work on taking care of the remaining, older animals", said Slavko Cvjetkovic, the President of the Association. Although the Commission for Wildlife of the Bureau for Protection of Nature has said "that the remaining seven older wolves should be euthanized, Cvjetkovic repeated that ZOO Eco wouldn’t accept that solution. After the appeal for assistance sent by ZOO Eco to several international organizations, foreign partners and friends helped establish contacts with those who were willing to take over the animals. "We were contacted by WWUK, Kerwood from Canda, and the Rome City ZOO, who offered to accept the wolves. Unfortunately, the most viable possibility, to send the wolves to WWUK failed, for the strict rules of quarantine for the animals. Now we wait to test the other possibilities, with Canada and Rome", say at ZOO Eco.

Happy Hollow Zoo Supported by Jaguar Car Co.
May 18, 2005 www.mysan.de

IRVINE, Calif. -- Jaguar North America and San Jose British Motors are helping Happy Hollow Park & Zoo’s celebrate their newest feline -- their 17-month-old jaguar cat, Sophia. Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, which is located in San Jose, California, will host local city politicians as well as zoo supporters during a coming out celebration . Jaguar North America, which began supporting jaguar-related conservation in the mid-80s, will donate $7,000 to support the cost of exhibit maintenance for the jaguar for one year, as well as donate an additional $50 for every Jaguar car that is purchased from San Jose British Motors during the month of June 2005. San Jose British Motors also supports as an official sponsor of the celebration. In 2003, Jaguar North America developed the Jaguar Conservation Trust. The Trust is a grass roots program that protects the company’s namesake. The objective of the Trust is to support conservationists in their efforts to preserve, protect and propagate the jaguar, in the wild as well as in captivity. To date, Jaguar North America has granted over $50,000 to support this objective in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Belize -- all native regions for the cat.

Zoo opens records on animal deaths
May 19, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By William Mullen and Hal Dardick

Lincoln Park Zoo opened pathology reports on the nine recent animal deaths to reporters Wednesday. The contents, though highly technical, seemed to validate the zoo's contention that its public summaries of the reports released earlier were accurate and did not withhold any damning details. Officials seem most puzzled and concerned by the loss of three small langur monkeys who died over 36 hours in an outdoor exhibit this month. Early test results offered no clue to the cause, but zoo officials said they hope more detailed testing will bring an answer, whether it comes down to a management mistake or even deliberate poisoning. The zoo showed the reports on three elephants, two gorillas, a camel and the three monkeys to reporters from the Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times--an unprecedented move, said to zoo President Kevin Bell. Bell had to seek cooperation from the San Diego Zoo to show the documents on the elephants, which were on loan from that zoo when they died. The zoo let reporters look at the records and take notes while discussing them with a zoo veterinarian, but it declined to allow copies to be made. Bell said that because the reports are filled with technical medical jargon and observations, making them public would invite wholesale misinterpretation of the facts, particularly by animal rights organizations that are using the recent deaths in an anti-zoo campaign.

Amazon Deforestation Up 6% in 2004
May 19, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By Associated Press

BRASILIA, Brazil -- The Brazilian government has announced that satellite photos and data show that ranchers, soybean farmers and loggers burned and cut down a near-record area of 10,088 square miles of rain forest in the 12 months ending in August 2004. The destruction was nearly 6 percent higher than in the same period the year before, when 9,500 square miles were destroyed. The deforestation hit record numbers in 1995, when the Amazon shrank a record 11,200 square miles, an area roughly the size of Belgium or the American state of Massachusetts. The Amazon forest -- which sprawls over 1.6 million square miles and covers more than half the country -- is a key component of the global environment. The jungle is sometimes called the world's "lung" because its billions of trees produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Environmentalists were shocked with the new figures, which were announced nearly a year after the Brazilian government announced a $140 million package to curtail destruction."It's a tragedy, a demonstration that more needs to be done by the government," said Paulo Adario, the head of Greenpeace's Amazon program. "Clearly, Amazon deforestation is not one of the government's priority right now." Government officials were expecting an increase in destruction of only about 2 percent."We will intensify our actions to fight illegal deforestation in the most critical areas," Environment Minister Marina Silva said in a statement. She noted that deforestation in several Amazon states decreased compared to the previous period thanks to the government's efforts to implement "more lasting and effective" measures. Brazil's rain forest is as big as western Europe and covers 60 percent of the country's territory. Experts say as much as 20 percent of its 1.6 million square miles has already been destroyed by development, logging and farming. Last year, the government announced that 9,170 square miles of rain forest had vanished in 2003, but on Wednesday it corrected the figure to 9,500 square miles.

Baby Gorilla Treated for Rare Bone Disease
May 19, 2005  www.washingtonpost.com  By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

BOSTON -- A baby gorilla at the Franklin Park Zoo recently underwent an emergency medical procedure to treat a rare bone disease. Veterinarians became concerned when the 6-month-old gorilla started showing signs of abnormal behavior over the past few weeks. Tests showed signs of a metabolic bone disease, which is marked by a deficiency of vitamin D. When her condition appeared to be grow worse last Friday, the zoo assembled a team of experts to treat the gorilla. The gorilla's mother, Kiki, was sedated Saturday so the baby could be taken from her and treated with vitamins and a calcium intravenous drip.The zoo also called in two pediatricians who had never treated animals before last weekend. Dr. Eleanor Menzin, who works at Longwood Pediatrics in Boston but was on leave with a broken leg, was surprised when a colleague asked her if she was available to help treat the gorilla. Menzin knows how to diagnose and treat metabolic bone disease, though it is rare for human babies. "There are subtle differences in treatment, but it's an extremely similar disease," in humans and gorillas, she said. Dr. Hayley Murphy, director of veterinary services for Zoo New England, said the Franklin Park Zoo regularly consults cardiologists, dentists and other doctors who have limited experience with veterinary medicine. "They (gorillas) are just so much like humans," Murphy said. "It made more sense to call in a pediatrician rather than a veterinarian."

San Diego Zoo Promenade Plan Still On Track
May 19, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Jeanette Steele

Judge Ronald Prager has rejected a lawsuit by Preserve Our Parks, a group that challenged city approval of the San Diego Zoo's expansion plan at Balboa Park. In his ruling issued this week, the Superior Court Judge simply said that he affirmed his earlier tentative decision. Preserve Our Parks member Jay Hyde, who lives near the park, said his group would look into other avenues to stop the zoo's expansion. "This is another classic example of where an organization works with the city and gets something through that is not to the benefit of all the citizens," Hyde said. The group filed its lawsuit last May against the city, saying it violated California's environmental process when it approved the zoo's plan. The main claim was that the city shouldn't have approved the zoo's project before it finished a Balboa Park-wide parking study that is still under way. The proposal, called the Park Boulevard Promenade project, is to add zoo exhibit space on what is now its main 25-acre parking lot. It includes a four-story underground parking structure below the zoo entrance, a 450-space employee lot off Richmond Street and about 100 public spaces near the Veterans War Memorial building. A promenade along Park Boulevard, including a replacement of a pedestrian overpass, is also envisioned. The project is not expected to begin anytime soon because money is lacking. Although the City Council approved the plan in April 2004, it provided no method to raise $300 million for the public's possible share of the cost. The zoo needs to raise between $100 million and $200 million for its share.

The Ethics of the Zoo
May 19, 2005 www.npr.org

NPR - All Things Considered: Melissa Block talks with Jeffrey Hyson, an assistant professor of history at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Hyson is writing a book on the cultural history of zoos. We ask him about the modern interest and opposition to zoos. He says there is a tension between the desire to see the animals one would never get to see naturally in the wild, and the feeling of pity for them as they are held in captivity.

New species of African monkey
May 20, 2005 www.nytimes.com By CORNELIA DEAN

Scientists have discovered a new species of African monkey . The first new primate species in 20 years. The highland mangabey (Lophocebus kipunji) is arboreal and grows to about 3 feet in length. It has a 3-foot tail, elongated cheek whiskers, an off-white belly and bushy brown coat. Unlike other Lophocebus mangabeys, which communicate with a "whoop gobble," the new species has an unusual "honk bark," Two groups of researchers working 250 miles apart in Tanzania discovered the monkey in it’s mountain habitat where the temperature frequently drops below freezing. Trevor Jones, a wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. was in Udzungwa Mountains National Park as part of a research team that was counting populations of another type of monkey when he spotted the mangabey in July 2004. "I knew straight away it was completely different," he said. The mangabeys spend most of their days in treetops and eat mostly fruit, but also dine on leaves, flower buds and small animals. They travel in groups of 15 to 20, but when they get scared, they break up into smaller groups as they scatter into the rain forest canopy. Predators include leopards, pythons and the African crowned eagle. The discovery was reported in today's issue of Science by Jones and Tim Davenport, who had spotted the monkey several months earlier while surveying the flanks of a 10,000-foot volcano in Tanzania's southern highlands.

Suit Filed to Halt Santa Cruz Island Pig Hunt
May 20, 2005 www.latimes.com By Gregory W. Griggs

Richard M. Feldman, owner and chief executive of Santa Barbara Eyeglass Factory, has sued the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy seeking to halt their $7-million feral pig eradication program, which has killed about 1,100 pigs on Santa Cruz Island in the past six weeks. The park service has hired a New Zealand-based hunting company on a two-year contract to track down the pigs, using snipers in helicopters, dogs and electronic monitoring collars. The goal is to eliminate an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 wild pigs, which threaten nine endangered plants and indirectly harm the endangered Santa Cruz Island fox. Feldman accuses the park service of deviating from the plan outlined in an environmental impact statement approved two years ago, and that feral pigs, descendants of domesticated pigs first brought to the 96-square-mile island in the 1850s, peacefully coexisted with the foxes for about 140 years. He blames the park service for the arrival of the golden eagle, saying the predators were attracted by the carcasses of hundreds of sheep that were killed in the 1980s to stop their destruction of native plant life. "The park service puts out stories to make the pigs the villains on any number of fronts: from digging up endangered plants, increasing erosion problems, digging up Chumash archeological relics and being responsible for the destruction of the little foxes," Feldman said Thursday. "The idea that you'd have to eliminate thousands of pigs to save the Island fox is a spurious argument at best." Yvonne Menard, spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said 150 years is relatively insignificant in ecological evolution

Endangered Crocodiles Discovered in Laos
May 20, 2005, www.chicagotribune.com 

BANGKOK, Thailand -- A nest of baby Siamese crocodiles has been found in southern Laos. Seven hatchlings and an old crocodile nest were found in a small swamp in the southern Lao province of Savannakhet in March. The species is designated as being "critically endangered" according to the IUCN and can be found only in fragmented groups in central and southern Laos. The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Program made the announcement. "The discovery of a crocodile breeding population in Savannakhet province is internationally important for conserving this species, especially as no other breeding sites have been confirmed yet," Wildlife Conservation Society biologist Mark Bezuijen was quoted saying. The Lao government has made the conservation of crocodiles a high priority, and is planning to work with villagers to protect the breeding site, said Chanthone Phothitay, an official with the country's forestry department. A similar survey for endangered crocodiles is being carried out in Vietnam, and conservation activities are ongoing in neighboring Cambodia. Alvin Lopez, an ecologist for the wetlands program, said that Cambodia, with 200 adults, has the largest wild population of the species. The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Program was established last year by the governments of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to work with U.N. and private agencies on ecology issues.

Australia Comes to John Ball Zoo
May 20, 2005 www.mlive.com By Tricia Woolfenden

GRAND RAPIDS – On Saturday, the John Ball Zoo will kick off a temporary exhibit, "Summer Down Under -- Touch the Wonder," highlighted by a walk-through aviary filled with 200 budgies and a minimal-barrier yard with seven wallabies, one with a joey (baby) in its pouch. The 15-week exhibit/trail will include several other Australian species, including a sugarglider (a small marsupial), side-necked turtle, cockatoo and Australian walking sticks (insects). Visitors may buy a feedstick for $1 and handfeed the small birds, which have been known to relax on people's shoulders or heads. Krys Byland, John Ball Zoological Society's marketing director, said the new wooded trail and barrier-free budgie exhibit is indicative of the zoo's goal to create more interactive exhibits. In addition to a host of fun Aussie animals, visitors will learn about Australian slang ("Good on ya' mate," etc.), marsupials and Aboriginal culture. There's a spot where kids may play an Australian instrument such as the didgeridoo, take a "bug walk," drop in for storytelling time and compare and contrast American cowboys to Australian stockmen. The trail also will feature a few rabbits as a demonstration of the critters as invasive species in Australia. Kids may participate in a Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin look-a-like contest at 11 a.m., and zookeepers will circulate with live, touchable animals.

Zoo Vet Med Show in Cleveland
Friday, May 20, 2005 www.cleveland.com -- Clint O'Connor

This summer, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is offering a new daily presentation: "Dr. ZooLittle's Clinic. Swooping birds and other animals will entertain folks three times a day: 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. The interactive show features kookaburras landing on your hand, a lavender guinea fowl wandering about and appearances by cockatoos, a Fennec fox and a two-toed sloth. The performances are also lessons in veterinary medicine. After the 20-minute show, audiences will be invited to drop in the new Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine, which features lots of hands-on activities and views of vets caring for zoo animals.

Cornell to Study Coyotes
May 20, 2005 www.enn.com By William Kates, Associated Press

ITHACA, N.Y. — Coyote sightings are now on the increase across New York and Cornell University researchers are launching a five-year study of why the once-wary creatures are becoming more aggressive toward humans. "There is a progression of behavior, and what we are seeing right now is the last step before we start seeing attacks on people. Clearly, we are seeing coyotes grow more bold," said Paul Curtis, an associate professor of natural resources. With a $428,000 grant from the DEC, Curtis and his colleagues will study coyote ecology and behavior in both urban and suburban areas of New York. A second phase of the study will survey public attitudes and behaviors relating to coyotes. Coyotes once ranged primarily in the northwest United States, but they are quick learners, resourceful and have adapted readily to the changes caused by human occupation. Coyotes have the breeding habits, diet and social dynamics to survive in a wide variety of habitats -- everywhere from deserts and mountain tops to golf courses and city parks.

Biodiversity Report
May 20, 2005 www.nature.com By Michael Hopkin

According to a report backed by the United Nations, biodiversity is disappearing faster than ever, putting the health and livelihoods of people around the world could be under threat. Humans have done more damage to the world's stock of biological diversity in the past 50 years than at any other time in history, say the researchers behind the study, titled Ecosystems and Human Well-being: The Biodiversity Synthesis Report. Over the past century, species extinctions have reached about 1,000 times their natural rate, because of human actions. Unless this trend is halted, people will lose vital benefits from the natural world, dubbed 'ecosystem services', said Kaveh Zahedi at the report's launch in London on 19 May. "Everyone depends on nature for a secure livelihood," said Zahedi, who is head of the UN Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK. Some 3.5 billion people around the world depend on the oceans for food, added Jim Knight, the recently appointed British government minister with responsibility for biodiversity issues. But since the advent of commercial fishing, global fish stocks have plunged by up to 90%. Around 70% of the world's population still rely on nature for traditional medicines, he added.

USFWS Updates list of ESA candidate species
May 20, 2005 www.caprep.com

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the the updated list of candidates for Endangered Species Act listing in the May 11, 2005, Federal Register pages 24870–24934. The candidate list details plants and animals that may warrant Federal protection under the Act."The candidate list helps us focus proactive attention on species in need of conservation. This year, we were able to remove two species as candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act -- the Camp Shelby burrowing crayfish and Holsinger's cave beetle. Because of joint candidate conservation efforts with our partners, significant threats to these species have been removed," said Acting Service Director Matt Hogan. "While these animals may sound unimportant, both of them are indicators of the health of the environment we all share. Ensuring the conservation of these species is a victory for all of us." The new candidate species included in the Notice are:

* Two plants: the Yadkin River goldenrod found in Stanly and Montgomery Counties, North Carolina; and the Pagosa skyrocket found in Archuleta County, Colorado.

* One fish: the sicklefin redhorse, found in Georgia and North Carolina

* One insect: the Miami blue butterfly found in southern Florida

* One crustacean: the diminutive amphipod, found in the San Solomon Springs System in Reeves & Jeff Davis Counties, Texas.

Brazil Clones Calves
May 20, 2005 news.yahoo.com

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Brazil's Agricultural Research Corporation announced it had cloned two calves from an endangered species, saying the technology will help ensure the bovine's survival. The organization, known by its Portuguese acronym Embrapa, and linked to the Brazilian government, announced the birth of "Pora" and "Potira" -- calves cloned from a Junqueira cow. Junqueira cattle have been raised here since the 18th and 19th centuries but only about 100 remain. Embrapa has livestock cloning programs underway to ensure the survival of cows, sheep, pigs and horses found in Brazil since colonial times.The specimens that authorities want to keep alive are considered a national treasure, and are robust and resistant to parasites that later herds gradually acquired, an Embrapa official said. Embrapa has been working with cloned animals for a number of years. Late last year, Victoria, the first cow cloned in Brazil, produced her first calf through the use of artificial insemination.

Managing Baboon Populations in Cape Town
May 20, 2005 www.capetimes.co.za By Brett Myrdal, Table Mountain, National Park

The Baboon Management Team consists of four parties, namely the three public authorities and the private landowners. All four have agreed to work together for the protection of baboons. The first party, Cape Nature, is obliged to ensure the protection of baboons on the Peninsula. The other three members - City of Cape Town, Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), and the private landowners - are all responsible as landowners. Driven by hunger baboons carry out an increasing number of raids on the suburbs for food. This only worsens as the pine nuts from the pine plantations and the rooikrans seed pods diminish as we restore the natural forest and fynbos. The baboon management team has tested and agreed that baboon monitors work as mobile fences. Now the public is being asked to support NGOs such as Jenni Trethowan's "Baboon Matters" and Kommetjie Environmental Awareness Group, Wessa, Friends of Scarborough and Friends of Tokai and Friends of Simon's Town Coastline who need to raise additional monies to monitor the troups.

New African Monkey Described
May 20, 2005 www.science.org Vol 308 p 1161-1163

A distinct species of mangabey was independently found at two sites 370 kilometers apart in southern Tanzania (Mount Rungwe and Livingstone in the southern Highlands and Ndundulu in the Udzungwa Mountains). This new species is described in Science by Trevor Jones, Carolyn Ehardt, Thomas Butynski, Tim Davenport, Noah Mpunga, Sophy Machaga and Daniela De Luca, and given the name "highland mangabey" Lophocebus kipunji

Wankie Necropsy Report
May 21, 2005 www.sltrib.com

An early report points to bacterial infection as the possible cause of death of Wankie the African elephant, who died at Hogle Zoo after collapsing en route to Salt Lake City from Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. An early necropsy report on Wankie showed lung lesions that suggest she had a mycobacterial infection. Tatima, one of Wankie's fellow elephants at Lincoln Park Zoo, died in October from a similar infection. Robyn Barbiers, a veterinarian and Lincoln Park Zoo's general curator, told The Chicago Tribune it was impossible to detect the presence of the infections in Tatima and Wankie when they were alive. The report indicated that "the disease, coupled with . . . stress of shipping, may have been sufficient to cause collapse." On April 30, somewhere in Nebraska, handlers noticed Wankie had fallen down. By the time the 35-year-old elephant reached Salt Lake City that night, Hogle Zoo workers had to pry the elephant from the crate and support her with a sling. After several hours of massaging the elephant's legs in hopes of getting her to stand on her own, veterinarians euthanized Wankie early on May 1. "We were disappointed the necropsy results gave us no definitive answers as to why Wankie went down," Hogle Zoo Executive Director Craig Dinsmore said Friday.

Namesake Leaves Blank Park Zoo $5 Million
May 21, 2005 www.theiowachannel.com

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The man whose family name is on the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines has left the zoo $5 million. Officials at the zoo said it's the largest donation in the organization's history. Myron Blank died in February at age 93. He committed the donation three months before his death and zoo officials agreed not to announce the donation until a "Zoo Gala" event Friday. A family lawyer said the donation was not part of Blank's will. Zoo officials said the money will more than double the zoo's endowment and produce at least $200,000 a year in investment income, which helps pay operating costs.

Problem of Zoo Oversight
May 22, 2005 www.nwherald.com  The ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO – The death of a zoo animal rarely makes headlines. And when it does, the animal is mourned by zoo officials and visitors as if it were an elderly friend. It is when a zoo has a series of deaths in a short period, as has happened at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, that protesters start gathering at the gates and outside inspectors get involved. All three of its African elephants, three monkeys, two gorillas and a camel have died since October. "Zoos essentially operate pretty much on their own out there, with the exception of one federal law, the Animal Welfare Act, and that's pretty minimal," said Richard Farinato, who tracks zoo issues for the Humane Society of the United States. Few states or cities have licensing or permit requirements. Nationally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with inspecting zoos, and it has launched an investigation into the deaths at Lincoln Park. But it has only 100 inspectors to cover the country's 2,000 exhibitors – zoos, traveling roadside exhibits and aquariums, as well as more than 7,000 more enterprises such as research labs, wholesale pet breeders, and animal transporters, USDA spokesman Darby Holladay said. That clearly is not enough, said Jane Ballentine, spokeswoman for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which accredits zoos."They're overworked and overwhelmed," Ballentine said. The USDA does not track animal deaths and sees the records only when they inspect individual zoos or read the zoos' annual reports, Holladay said. Because they have so many facilities to inspect and so little time to inspect them, there is no guarantee that inspectors will recognize a trend, Farinato said. The USDA has the authority to revoke a public zoo's license and shut it down, but Holladay did not know of any cases of that happening. 

Indianapolis Zoo Reopens Dolphin Pavilion
May 22, 2005 www.indystar.com By Diana Penner 

A giant glass bubble that will allow humans to walk under water as dolphins swim by, is an exciting new feature of the Dolphin Pavilion that opens Saturday after a $10 million renovation. The new pavilion represents the biggest investment at the zoo since the completion of the $7 million African elephant preserve in 2003 and the opening of the $14.5 million White River Gardens in 1999. The tanks and life support systems -- such as the water filtration equipment -- were about 15 years old and due for major refurbishing, said Paul Grayson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the zoo.. That required shutting down the entire exhibit anyway, so the board decided to use that as an opportunity to expand and improve the entire program. Having direct contact with a dolphin is very powerful for a visitor. The zoo is developing a new program to allow some interaction with the dolphins -- touching, but not swimming, with the mammals. The plans don't stop there. Next year, zoo officials plan a $6 million overhaul of the Waters Building, home to fish, amphibians, and the walrus, seal, sea lion and polar bear exhibits. The new pavilion represents the biggest investment at the zoo since the completion of the $7 million African elephant preserve in 2003 and the opening of the $14.5 million White River Gardens.

Lincoln Park Zoo wins award
May 22, 2005 www.dailysouthtown.com By Kate McCann

The Chicago Building Congress has given the Lincoln Park Zoo a merit award for the design of its Regenstein Center for African Apes. The $25.7 million structure opened last summer and houses chimpanzees and gorillas. Construction professionals picked the ape house over such finalists as the Jay Prtizker Pavilion in Millennium Park and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Hyde Park Center. More than 50 entries in four categories were submitted. The ape house won the 2005 title for New Construction. Zoo officials said the airy facility allows for lots of natural sunlight and has furnishings of trees vegetation and rocks reminiscent of the African forests. Animals freely roam between the indoor space and outdoor areas which have natural landscaping. A green roof system also cuts down on energy costs and provides environmental benefits, zoo officials said.

Military Appreciation Day at Honolulu Zoo

May 22, 2005 www.hawaiireporter.com By Karen S. Spangler

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 4, the Honolulu Zoo will offer free admission to all military ID card holders: active, Reserve, Guard, retired and dependents. The day will feature entertainment and activities for the entire family. The first 5,000 military ID card holders will also receive a free picnic lunch. There will be a concert provided by a U.S. Marine Corps band, followed by a blessing and a hula halau performance. The colors will be presented at 11 a.m. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and other dignitaries will give welcoming remarks and a series of entertainment groups will perform from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Other activities include face-painting, animal mask coloring, a feed-the-animals game and a hands-on, skull/bio-fact table Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said. Military Appreciation Day at the Honolulu Zoo is co-sponsored by the City and County of Honolulu and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii as well as USO-Hawaii.

Conservation Plan for Farallon Refuge
May 22, 2005 www.nytimes.com By The Associated Press

FARALLON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE (AP) -- Less than 30 miles from San Francisco, an archipelago of rocky islands rises out of the Pacific Ocean, forming a largely undisturbed wildlife haven that biologists call California's Galapagos. The public isn't allowed onto the granite islands that make up the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge -- the country's largest seabird breeding colony outside Alaska and Hawaii. But on a rare visit organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, several journalists saw an ecosystem teeming with life: densely packed colonies of black-and-white murres nesting on steep rocky slopes and Western gulls squawking constantly while defending their brown spotted eggs. A herd of elephant seals lounging in a sandy cove, just out of reach of the great white sharks circling nearby. And passing by in the chilly ocean swells, a gray whale, spouting water high into the air. Only a handful of bird researchers and maintenance workers are permitted to set foot on the 211-acre archipelago at any given time, although that could change. Starting next week, the Fish and Wildlife Service will begin seeking public comment on a 15-year conservation plan that will address public access, among other issues. The agency is considering allowing small groups of naturalists to visit, but probably not tourists.

Disney Criticized for Shark Fin Soup
May 22, 2005 www.nytimes.com By REUTERS

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Conservationists slammed Disney on Monday for its plans to serve dishes such as shark's fin soup, sea cucumber and abalone in its hotel restaurants when it opens a new theme park in Hong Kong in September. "Promoting these marine species is not responsible because they are not sustainably harvested. Disney should have the social responsibility to promote responsible consumption,'' said Clarus Chu of the World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong. Conservationists have long condemned the eating of shark's fin because of overfishing and the brutal way in which it is harvested. Critics say many fisherman simply hack off the fins and throw the dying shark back into the sea. But that has not stopped Chinese communities around the world from enjoying the dish, which is considered a sign of affluence. Disney said it will serve the dish "at private functions upon request.'' "Hong Kong Disneyland takes environmental stewardship very seriously and we are equally sensitive to local cultures,'' spokeswoman Irene Chan said in a statement. "It is customary for Chinese restaurants and 5-star hotels to serve shark's fin soup in Hong Kong as the dish is considered as an integral part of Chinese banquets.''

Birmingham Zoo veterinarians
May 22, 2005 www.tuscaloosanews.com By JACQUELYN MARTIN

Every animal at the Birmingham Zoo receives regular exams, whether it is once a week or once every two years. Dr. Marie Rush, 31, is director of veterinary services, and Dr. Anna Ogburn, 32, is an interning veterinarian. The vet and intern arrive each day between 7:30 and 8 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. They usually spend mornings doing rounds, noting the animals. Some of the animals, such as the gorilla, are trained to extend their fingers and toes and open their mouths when asked by the vets. The elephant will suck air in and blow it out of its trunk or lift a foot when requested, Dr. Rush said. The veterinarians can spend that time checking major vital signs and functions, as well as drawing a blood sample to examine it. The vets spend their afternoons performing procedures, such as bandaging a wound or doing X-rays.

New Washington Park Zoo Director
May 23, 2005 www.heraldargus.com By DANIEL PRZYBYLA

MICHIGAN CITY — Johnny Martinez, 59, has been in the zoo business for 31 years, first as orangutan keeper for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and then zoo director at various locations, most recently at Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend. Now, as director of Washington Park Zoo, Martinez hopes to help transform the facility into a place where visitors are in closer contact with the animals and more educational opportunities are available. A major change in the aviary will soon allow visitors to walk through, as free-flying birds soar overhead, and there are new animals at the zoo this summer. Where it’s possible, Martinez wants to have multispecies exhibits with barless enclosures, botanical plantings, and artificial rockwork versus stonewalls and fences. Currently he is focusing his attention on the public-service areas, and identifying specific exhibits that need immediate renovation.

Major Changes at Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo
May 23, 2005 www.fresnobee.com By Jim Davis

After voters passed Measure Z, approving a tenth-of-a-cent sales tax (one penny for every $10 spent on taxable goods) meant to rebuild the zoo, the city of Fresno is ready to turn over the management of the Zoo to a new nonprofit group. The measure is expected to raise $100 million over the next 10 years to make long overdue repairs to the crumbling infrastructure of the zoo and to build new exhibits for many of the animals. Jay Weed, chairman of the nonprofit group that will run the zoo, said the board intends to offer a pay and benefits package to entice the workers to stay with the new organization. The new board is also searching for a new zoo director to replace longtime director Ralph Waterhouse who retired in November 2003. And the nonprofit board is working to negotiate a lease with the city. Another part of the transition will be determining what will happen to 38 city zoo employees and nine employees of the Fresno Zoological Society, a nonprofit fundraising arm of the zoo. 

Entertaining Tortoise Trek
May 23, 2005 www.mlive.com 

BATTLE CREEK, Mich – Each year, Al the Aldabra Tortoise, takes a 250 yard walk from his winter housing to his summer exhibit at the Binder Park Zoo. On Sunday the journey took 29 minutes and was witnessed by zoo visitors for the first time. Zoo spokeswoman Jenny Barnett said, "We find that people really enjoy this, so we decided to let them help," she said. To keep Al on course and to entice him to keep moving, carrots, leaves, and words of encouragement were offered. Al weighs 536 pounds and is at least 60 years old, Barnett said. He came to Binder Park Zoo 21 years ago from another zoo, and before that he was in the wild, so his exact age isn't known. Aldabra tortoises are native to the Aldabra Atoll, a small chain of coral islands off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. They can live up to 150 years and can get to be well over 600 pounds with a four-foot-long shell.

Primates Go Ape Over New Fragile Forest
May 23, 2005 www.stltoday.com By Shawn Clubb

The Donn and Marilyn Lipton Fragile Forest is just outside Jungle of the Apes. However, each habitat in the Fragile Forest is different, said Joe Knobbe, zoological manager for primates. The new 12,000-square-foot Lichtenstein Chimpanzee Refuge is approximately the same size as the gorilla habitat which opened in 1987, but it is designed to keep in chimpanzees, which climb and jump better than gorillas, Knobbe said. It is also necessary, because chimpanzees live in large social groups. The Dana Brown Orangutan Reserve is smaller, but with more trees for these tree-dwelling primates. Knobbe said orangutans live in smaller social groups with males sometimes living alone. Both new habitats have enrichment activities to keep the primates from getting bored. Most of these require them to think and work to get their food. The trees in the orangutan habitat contain fake wasp nests and phony durian fruit, while the habitat also has bogus termite mounds. Some of these are attached to the remotely activated feeding mechanisms. Food is randomly distributed this way, Knobbe said. This helps bring the orangutans up into the trees. "Orangutans in zoos sometimes become lazy," said Knobbe, noted that when they are fed at floor level they have no reason to go up into the trees. Knobbe said it is unimaginative to put cut up food in a pile on the floor."Naturally, these animals would spend a good part of their day looking for food," he said.So the zoo staff has come up with interesting ways of presenting food to the primates. For example, chimpanzees engage in a practice called "termite fishing" in which they put a stick into a termite mound and pull it back out with termites clinging to it, Knobbe said. The chimpanzee habitat has fake termite mounds into which the keepers put honey for the chimps to fish out. Other food items, including grapes and nuts, are put into holes in a fake log. The chimpanzees then have to figure out how to remove them.

The Detroit Zoo Art Show
May 23, 2005 biz.yahoo.com PRNewswire

ROYAL OAK, Mich– "The Wandering Naturalist" art exhibit, featuring the unique etchings of Ladislav Hanka is currently at the Detroit Zoo. The exhibit features prints created through the intaglio technique of printmaking and is inspired by the landscape and its creatures. Hanka observes and sketches nature, then inscribes the drawings onto copper plates using acid and diamond pointed tools. The plates are hand-wiped and imprinted into damp rag papers. This etching technique uses materials and methods that have changed little since the Renaissance. The exhibit features many familiar Michigan images such as box turtles, brook trout, oak trees, blue herons, and the Lake Superior coastline. Hanka, whose studio is in Kalamazoo, Michigan, values clear-eyed observation but strives to combine skillful drawing with a deeper vision to create images with greater emotional content. The Wandering Naturalist art exhibit will be displayed until September 5, 2005 in the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery. It is open during Zoo hours everyday and is free with the purchase of Zoo admission.

Elephants don't belong in zoos

May 23, 2005 www.nctimes.com By: Lawrence Carter-Long - Commentary

Kudos for John Van Doorn's excellent commentary detailing the harsh reality experienced by Wankie the elephant and her unfortunate predecessors ("Elephants start dying when the gates close," May 9). Sadly, recent tragic events at the San Diego Zoo reveal a more systemic problem with the handling, care and confinement of elephants at zoos that is even more bleak. More than 90 African elephants, most captured in the wild, have died in North American facilities since 1990. In fact, 92 percent of elephants forced to live in captivity never even reach age 40, an age far short of their natural 70-year life expectancy. Not a single death was from old age. Compare the lives elephants in zoos live with those of their wild counterparts and the reasons why become disturbingly clear. It's a miracle Wankie made it to 36 years old. Let's hope public outcry over her unfortunate death inspires the retirement of elephants from zoos nationwide to more suitable sanctuaries and prevents similar tragedies from occurring in the future. Lawrence Carter-Long is a Brooklyn-based issues specialist with In Defense of Animals, an international animal-rights group.

New General Curator for Roger Williams Zoo
May 23, 2005 www.eyewitnessnewstv.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Roger Williams Zoo is getting a new deputy director and general curator. Tim French is director of the Riverside Zoo is Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He says he’s resigning to take the job in Providence. French says Roger Williams has about 12 more acres than Riverside and operates with a much larger budget. Under French, the Riverside Zoo regained its American Zoological Association accreditation.

Breakthrough in breeding endangered wolves
May 23, 2005 www.kansascity.com By JIM SUHR

ST. LOUIS - Two artificially inseminated Mexican gray wolves recently birthed a combined eight living pups at a research site founded by late naturalist Marlin Perkins, marking perhaps the first time the non-surgical technique has worked with endangered wolves. Wildlife officials cheered word of the newcomers to the St. Louis-area Wild Canid Survival and Research Center - the world's largest holder and breeder of Mexican gray wolves - as proof of the technology's usefulness in rebuilding the population of the animals. Among other things, the "phenomenal" breakthrough someday may enable noninvasive fertilization of female wolves in the wild, no longer requiring them to be caged or disruptively brought in for insemination, said Kim Scott, the center's assistant director. Surgical inseminations have been done previously with endangered red wolves, though the noninvasive technique now appears to work with the Mexican wolves.

Global Warming Threatens Plants
May 23, 2005 news.yahoo.com

PARIS (AFP) - More than half of Europe's plant species will be at threat or classified as vulnerable by 2080 as a consequence of global warming, a study said. The big losers will be the northern Mediterranean rim, southern Portugal and southwestern Spain and mountain regions, where vegetation will be badly hit by hotter weather and water stress, it warned. "There will be a major impact, even under the most modest scenarios which simulate extreme restraint in increase of greenhouse gas emissions," researcher Sandra Lavorel of the Alpine Ecology Laboratory in Grenoble, France, who took part in the study, told AFP. The researchers used a high-powered computer model that provides seven scenarios for temperature change depending on how much fossil-fuel gas is disgorged into the atmosphere. They factored into this model the biological criteria of 1,350 species of European plants and then overlaid the result on a map to predict how Europe's vegetation might look. "More than half of the species we studied could be vulnerable or threatened by 2080," the authors say. "We found that risks of extinction for European plants may be large, even in moderate scenarios of climate change." The Alps are especially at risk, as it hosts many "niche" species that over millennia have adapted to thin soil and cold and may be unable to find a home elsewhere.

Riverbanks Zoo Baby Koala Dies
May 23, 2005 www.thestate.com 

(Columbia-AP) - Riverbanks Zoo has announced the death of a 9 month old baby koala named Karoo. Karoo was housed with his mother, Lottie. Zoo officials say the joey died late Sunday or early Monday. Veterinarian Dr Tiffany Moore says the joey showed no signs of trauma and had appeared in good health the past few weeks. Moore said tissue samples will be tested at a University of Georgia lab. The first newborn in Riverbanks Koala Knockabout exhibit, Karoo still spent most of his time clinging to his mother, Lottie. He had learned to eat eucalyptus leaves on his own and occasionally, only briefly, ventured away from Lottie. Karoo is the second koala to die at Riverbanks since the Knockabout exhibit opened in 2002. A 4-year-old male koala died in 2003 of an intestinal infection. Moore said Karoo showed no signs of intestinal problems.

India Sets UpTiger Sanctuary
May 23, 2005 www.nytimes.com By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW DELHI -- The West Bengal state government plans to set up a sanctuary for old tigers in the Sunderbans Forest in eastern India who are no longer able to catch prey. Spread over 45 acres, the center will have a fresh water pond, mangroves, deer and other animals for the tigers to prey on. A census last year in the forest bordering Bangladesh found more than 270 tigers roaming the swampy jungles. Tigers are unable to catch prey when they grow old and often enter villages to hunt cattle and even attack people. Mother tigers in search of food for their cubs may also stray into villages, said Pradeep Vyas, the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve field director. The decision to set up the sanctuary comes as the Indian government is facing criticism over news reports that all 16-18 tigers at the Sariska reserve in western India had been killed by poachers. Last month, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed a task force of wildlife experts to stop poaching of the big cat. Conservationists say official estimates that 3,500 to 3,700 tigers remain in the wild in India are grossly exaggerated. The government will carry out a census of tigers across the country beginning in November and involving independent experts.

Poll Shows People Love Elephants
May 24, 2005 www.usnewswire.com By Casey DeLaRosa

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- People love elephants, and according to a new national poll, most U.S. adults agree that seeing elephants and rhinos in real life fosters a greater appreciation of these majestic animals. According to opinion poll results released by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) today, 95 percent of U.S. adults agree that seeing elephants and rhinos helps people appreciate them more and encourages people to learn more about them and 93 percent agree that it is important that a marine life park, aquarium or zoo be accredited by a national association. Another finding shows that 86 percent of respondents agree that visiting zoos and aquariums encourages people to donate money or time to animal conservation efforts.

Following are some additional findings from the new research:

-- 96 percent of respondents agree that it is important that people work to conserve animals such as those found in aquariums and zoos.

-- 95 percent of respondents agree that many of the successes to save endangered or declining species are at least in part a result of work done in zoos and aquariums.

-- 93 percent of respondents agree that it is important that an aquarium or zoo be accredited by a national association.

National Zoo Looking for Volunteer Interpreters
May 24, 2005 fredericksburg.com By Michael Zitz

Caroline Winslow, a volunteer program supervisor at Friends of the National Zoo, oversees the interpretive programs at several exhibits, including the Elephant House, as well as the Zoo-On-Wheels outreach program and Public Inquiry Mail program and is in the process of recruiting volunteer "interpreters. Over the years, thousands of individuals from age 18 to 75 have volunteered as part of FONZ. They run the Web-cam operation in the Panda House, providing online streaming video to the entire world at nationalzoo.si.edu. Interpreters prepare for the job by taking a half-dozen classes on weeknights and weekends. In addition to natural history and conservation, they learn about public relations. Interpreters are needed for the zoo’s Elephant House, which houses Asian elephants, giraffes, capybara, a Nile hippopotamus and pygmy hippos. They work a flexible schedule of three three-hour shifts per month and attend a monthly meeting. Training begins in early June.

Performing Red Panda walks Upright
May 24, 2005 www.yomiuri.co.jp 

A red panda at a Yokohama zoo is able to walk 20 steps upright, just like humans. The female panda,began walking upright more than three years ago, according to the Yokohama Zoological Gardens-Zoorasia. The four-year-old panda named Dale has lived at the zoo for most of her life, after being abandoned by her mother shortly after birth. She tried to jump at six months and learned to stand upright soon after. Until May 15, Dale performed for the public once a week, walking four-legged on a balancing beam. The zoo says it has yet to decide when to begin the next event starring Dale.

New Rule on Endangered Species in the SW Region
May 24, 2005 www.nytimes.com By FELICITY BARRINGER

WASHINGTON, May 23 - In a memorandum dated Jan. 27, Dale Hall, the southwestern regional director of the USFWS, (Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas) said that all decisions about how to return a species to robust viability must use only the genetic science in place at the time it was put on the endangered species list - in some cases the 1970's or earlier - even if there have been scientific advances in understanding the genetic makeup of a species and its subgroups in the ensuing years. In his memorandum, Mr. Hall built upon a federal court ruling involving Oregon Coast coho salmon. The judge in that case said that because there was no basic genetic distinction between hatchery fish and their wild cousins, both had to be counted when deternining if the fish was endangered. Mr. Hall explained that , "genetic differences must be addressed" when a species is declared endangered. Thereafter, he said, "there can be no further subdivision of the entity because of genetics or any other factor" unless the government goes through the time-consuming process of listing the subspecies as a separate endangered species". His instructions can spare states in his region the expense of extensive recovery efforts. Arizona spent $2-3 million in the past 5 years for the recovery of each genetic subgroup of Apache trout. It can be argued that the funds were misdirected, since the species as a whole was on its way to recovery. Mr. Hall's memorandum prompted dissent within the agency. Six weeks later, his counterpart at the mountain-prairie regional office, in Denver, sent the following rebuttle: "Knowing if populations are genetically isolated or where gene flow is restricted can assist us in identifying recovery units that will ensure that a species will persist over time," the regional director, Ralph O. Morgenweck, wrote. "It can also ensure that unique adaptations that may be essential for future survival continue to be maintained in the species." Mr. Hall's policy, he wrote, "could run counter to the purpose of the Endangered Species Act" and "may contradict our direction to use the best available science in endangered species decisions in some cases."

Formerly Blind Gorilla Gives Birth
May 24, 2005 www.timesonline.co.uk 

A gorilla that successfully underwent the first cataract operation in its species after it was born blind has given birth in a zoo in Bristol. Romina, a western lowland gorilla, underwent two operations to restore her sight in April 2002 and September 2003. She was the first adult gorilla to receive the treatment in Europe. Last Tuesday Romina, 25, gave birth. The baby gorilla weighs about 2lb (0.9kg). Keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens will have to wait several days to determine the sex of the new arrival. It is yet to be named and is described as doing well. It has started suckling and is receiving around-the-clock attention from staff at the zoo. Melanie Gage, a zookeeper, said: "We won’t be able to tell the baby’s sex for a few more days yet as Romina is keeping such a close guard on it. They are not weaned until they are around 3 years old" Romina was hand-reared at the Rome Zoo before arriving at Bristol in November 2001 as part of an international breeding programme aimed at protecting the western lowland gorilla. Since the operation to restore her sight, Romani has interacted more effectively with the other gorillas at the zoo and bred with Jock, a 22-year-old silverback male.

Necropsy Report on baby elephant
MAY 25, 2005 www.chron.com  By SALATHEIA BRYANT

HOUSTON, TX -- Bella, the Houston Zoo’s baby elephant had to be euthanized in April after fracturing its leg. Sharon Joseph, director of animal programs said the necropsy report showed Bella had an abscess in the bone's growth plate — the actively growing region of a bone. Officials speculate that when the elephant was seriously ill last fall with bacterial enteritis in the gut, the infection may have migrated to her leg and could have weakened the femur making it vulnerable to fracture. Bella fell in the elephant yard in early April. Zoo officials decided to euthanize her a day after hardware used to repair the fracture failed. Bella was the first calf born to Shanti, a 14-year-old elephant that has been at the zoo since 2001. Shanti rejected her newborn shortly after birth, prompting elephant handlers to hand-feed the baby pachyderm. Zoo officials tried several different types of formula before finding one that agreed with the infant. Some animal rights activists raised concerns about whether the lack of mother's milk played a role in the fracture. Joseph said the report refutes that notion. " It was not related to any nutritional deficiencies. We did everything we could do for her," she said.

Activists Claim LA Zoo Violated Right To Protest
May 25, 2005 www.nbc4.tv

LOS ANGELES -- Animal rights activists who claim elephants are mistreated at the Los Angeles Zoo filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging the zoo violated their rights by barring them from protesting near zoo visitors. Zoo officials were not immediately available to comment on the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by activist Catherine Doyle and Mill Valley-based In Defense of Animals. The plaintiffs claim the elephant exhibit is inadequate, and say the city-run zoo by instituting a "free speech zone" in the parking lot directly east of the entry plaza, has denied them the right to voice their opinions where zoo visitors can hear them. In January, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Doyle against the zoo over the elephant Ruby, who was returned to the Los Angeles Zoo following a stay in Knoxville, Tenn. Doyle had objected to Ruby leaving Los Angeles because it meant separating the animal from her longtime companion, an Asian elephant named Gita. Judge George Wu said Doyle's case could be revived should the city attempt to move Ruby again.

Pesticide Website Protects Endangered Species
May 25, 2005 www.caprep.com 

SACRAMENTO, CA -- California has launched a new online resource to help protect endangered species from pesticides. Created by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the PRESCRIBE database is the first interactive, public database of its kind in the nation. The free online service, replaces more than 2,500 pages of endangered species protection bulletins for 56 of the state’s 58 counties, and allows pesticide applicators to quickly and easily identify local habitat for endangered animals and plants, and advises applicators on required precautions. PRESCRIBE can search for 30,000 pesticides by brand name, as opposed to paper bulletins that listed only the name of an active ingredient. Once species and pesticides have been identified, PRESCRIBE lists protective measures for each species and pesticide combination. The custom instructions are brief enough to be attached to pesticide user permits, sales receipts, and work orders. It can be found at www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/es/prescint.htm

Ivory-billed Recovery Team Announced
May 25, 2005 news.fws.gov By Connie Light Dickard

Less than a month after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners announced that the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge is home to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the agency said today it has named the first members of a range-wide recovery team that will craft a roadmap for the conservation of this extraordinary bird. The team will include representatives from state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation organizations, and universities. They will meet for the first time in Brinkley, Arkansas at the end of June and hopes to have a completed recovery plan by summer 2007. The recovery effort will cover the bird’s historic range and will focus on the Big Woods corridor of Central Arkansas, Eastern Texas’ Big Thicket, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, southern Georgia, and the Carolinas. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker once nested in both bottomland swamps and adjacent pine forests throughout the Southeastern United States and Cuba. Although activities are aimed at recovering the United States’ population, the recovery team plans to coordinate with Cuba and its conservation efforts. The recovery team led by an executive committee chaired by Sam Hamilton, and Jon Andrew, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System in the Southeast Region, will oversee the efforts of the team’s three working groups. The first two groups are Biology and Habitat Management and Conservation. The biology working group will focus on research, including natural history investigations, population viability, and survey techniques. The habitat management and conservation group will identify, inventory, and describe current and potential habitat and provide recommendations and advice on forest management. Dr. Ken Rosenberg from Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology will lead the biology working group. Kenny Ribbeck of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Dr.Tom Foti with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission will lead the habitat management and conservation working group. The third is the Corridor of Hope conservation working group, which is made up of public and private partners who will support the recovery planning effort and focus on land conservation in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas. This team will be led by David Goad, deputy director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and Scott Simon, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas.

Polar bear Dentistry at Seneca Park Zoo
May 26, 2005 www.democratandchronicle.com By Sarah K. Winn

It started out as a polar bear with a case of bad breath, but it turned out to be an infected tooth. The Seneca Park Zoo's 16-year-old male polar bear, Yukon, paid a visit to the zoo’s veterinarian and Director of Animal Health and Conservation, Dr. Jeff Wyatt to have the long tooth on Yukon's lower jaw extracted. It came out in five pieces. "You have to use a hammer and a chisel and you have to very carefully break a ligament that connects the tooth to the jaw. So you have to be very patient tapping away at a tooth and it came out fairly easily, but in pieces. It wasn't intact anymore so that made it easier to take out." Doctor Wyatt also found another infected tooth during the procedure. He expects to pull that tooth in a few weeks.

San Diego Zoo"s "Monkey Trails and Forest Tales"
May 26, 2005 www.etravelblackboard.com 

Journey into the depths of a tropical forest and encounter some the Earth's most rare, unique and colorful creatures during a visit to the San Diego Zoo's newest and most elaborate animal habitat ever created – Joan B. Kroc's "Monkey Trails and Forest Tales" officially opens to the public June 3, 2005. Monkey Trails, located in the heart of the Zoo, takes guests on an excursion into the wooded world of Asian and African forests flourishing with some of nature's most imperiled wildlife including mandrills, the largest and most colorful of African monkeys; Asia 's beautiful and elusive clouded leopard; the secretive and extremely rare pygmy hippopotamus; highly-prized and endangered mahogany trees; venomous snakes; the unique pancake tortoise; and two endangered crocodilians: the slender-snouted crocodile and the dwarf crocodile. Witness Africa 's master thatchers – sociable weaver birds – as they build the most massive and elaborate nest complex of any bird species in the world. Travel along an elevated trail through the treetops and observe primate and plant life in the canopy including the activity of several rarely seen species of primates – guenons and mangabeys -- whom are among Africa 's most endangered monkeys. Beautiful, exotic orchids can be spotted high in the canopy of a massive ficus tree – the heart of Monkey Trails.

Lions starve to death at bankrupt China zoo
26 May 2005 www.alertnet.org Reuters

BEIJING – A bankrupt zoo in central China has watched helplessly as dozens of its animals, including at least eight lions and 12 ostriches, have starved to death. A number of zoos have sprung up across China in the past decade to meet a growing appetite for entertainment among increasingly affluent Chinese, but many provide wretched conditions, inept management and cannot draw enough visitors to cover their costs. The zoo in Xiantao, Hubei province, did not earn enough from ticket sales to buy even basic food supplies, the Hubei-based Chutian Metropolis Daily said. One wolf, two deer and two camels had also died in the past 17 months, it said. Animal rights activists have criticised the state of China's zoos and the mistreatment of wild animals captured for their fur, or in the case of bears, for the healing power of their bile. The zoo had more than 500 animals when it opened in October 2003, but only three lions, one tiger and some other animals were still there.

Giraffes Return to Singapore Zoo
May 26, 2005 www.channelnewsasia.com

SINGAPORE : Three giraffes were shipped in from overseas for the zoo's latest exhibit. It took zoo staff 16 months to prepare the open-style enclosure that simulates the animal's natural environment and habitat. More than 6,000 square metres of space went into the making of the new exhibit, which features a dry moat that will give visitors an unobstructed view. Two of the female Angolan giraffes were too tall to be flown in, so they took the scenic route by ship from Israel. The male Baringo giraffe arrived in Singapore after a 14-hour flight from the Netherlands. The giraffes are less than two years old now, and are expected to live to the age of 30.

Egyptian Vulture Hatches at Israel Zoo
May 26, 2005 www.haaretz.com By Jonathan Lis

For the first time in 20 years, an Egyptian vulture chick has hatched in captivity in Israel. The egg was laid by a pair of vultures from Hai-Bar Carmel Nature Reserve and brought to Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo by Yigal Miller, who is in charge of birds of prey The chick is the progeny of two birds that were also raised in captivity by Miller in the Zoological Park from 1997. About a year ago the pair reached maturity, but the three eggs they laid disappeared, apparently either eaten by rats or destroyed by their parents. In April, when the new egg was laid, Miller decided not to take any chances and transferred it to the hatchery at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. For 42 days the dark brown egg lay in a warm cubicle, until the hatching process began three days ago. Yehudit Philipsborn, who is in charge of the birds section at the Biblical Zoo, took care of the egg from the moment it arrived. "We weighed it every two days and used a device similar to an ultrasound machine to see the chick's development," said Philipsborn. The hatchling's parents will apparently not be the ones to care for it when it returns to Hai-Bar. "If its parents had laid another egg, it would have been possible to return the hatchling to the nest and its parents would have fed it," Miller said. "They did not lay another egg, so a stuffed Egyptian vulture is currently being built, which will be used to feed the chick. Stuffed surrogate mothers are used to prevent the chick from becoming attached to humans, and to help prepare it for its release into the wild." The care of the vulture chick is part of a joint project between the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the Israel Electric Corp. and the Israeli zoos. Miller says he hopes he will obtain funding for attaching a satellite transmitter to the chick, so that its movements can be tracked when it migrates from Israel. The transmitter costs $2,000.

Animal Identification Strategic Plan
May 26, 2005 animalid.aphis.usda.gov

WASHINGTON,—The U.S.D.A.’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is extending the comment period for the national animal identification system (NAIS) strategic plan. The draft documents currently available lay out in more detail projected timelines and potential avenues to achieve system milestones. Originally published in the Federal Register on May 6, the notice of availability about these documents acknowledges the outstanding concerns of some stakeholders and frames questions for which USDA will be seeking answers as it moves forward with the NAIS. These questions pertain to funding for the system, confidentiality of data in the system and flexibility of the system, among other things.

Belle Isle’s Alligator gar dies en route to Denver
May 27, 2005 www.freep.com

DETROIT (AP) -- A decades old, 100-pound plus fish that many considered one of the main attractions at the Detroit Zoo’s Belle Isle Aquarium has died en route to its new home in Denver. Tests on Hal were incomplete, but officials think he may have had liver disease. Supporters of the aquarium, which closed this year after more than a century, described Hal as a beautiful monster, a polka-dotted fish somewhere between ages 40 and 70 who seemed to hang in suspension until feeding time, when it suddenly came alive. "As soon as food was dropped in the tank, he was like a rat trap that would go off. As soon as the lights would go out, he'd prowl around," Doug Sweet, the Detroit Zoo's fish curator, told the Detroit Free Press. In the wild, alligator gars can grow to up to 300 pounds and are mainly found in marsh-like environments in the Mississippi River basin.

Lincoln Park Gorilla Recovers
May 27, 2005 www.suntimes.com BY ANDREW HERRMANN

Zookeepers have now reintroduced the 9-year-old western lowland gorilla, Rollie to her six exhibit mates nearly two months after she and her younger sister fell ill. None of the other animals in the habitat--four adults and two babies--appear to have contracted the illness. An investigation into Mumbali's death found that while the two shared the same bacterial infection, a secondary infection likely killed 7-year-old Mumbali. Both animals were removed from the rest of the group while they were sick. Keepers were prepared for a possibly aggressive reception for Rollie, who hasn't been in the exhibit since April 12. Papier mache logs, gourds and a cardboard cake packed with honey, raisins and popcorn were placed around the habitat. The special treats were designed to distract the other western lowland gorillas as Rollie eased her way back into the clan, said Sue Margulis, the zoo's primate curator. Emerging into the exhibit, Rollie kept the high position for about five minutes, circling the perimeter on beams about 15 feet above the other apes, and paused atop an artificial termite mound to dig peanut butter from a tube. As the gorilla cautiously climbed down to floor level to join the other six apes, Sue Margulis radioed, "Rollie is in the exhibit with the group and all is fine.'' Apart from a couple of dominance nudges delivered while scampering by her, the gorillas mostly ignored Rollie's return.

Cincinnati Opens "Wolf Woods"
May 27, 2005 news.cincinnati.com By Jim Knippenberg

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden opens its $600,000 Wolf Woods exhibit tomorrow. It will mark the first time in the zoo's 130-year history that it has housed the rare Mexican gray wolves - so rare there are only about 50 left in the wild. Wolf Woods is the first new permanent exhibit at the zoo since the July 2000 opening of Lords of the Arctic (polar bears). Located in the Spaulding Children's Zoo and paid for with a grant from the Spaulding Foundation, the one-acre, lushly planted exhibit has river otters, gray foxes, striped skunk, wild turkeys and thick-billed parrots and the Mexican wolf, the continent's most endangered subspecies of gray wolf. The exhibit is planted with native Ohio trees and plants, and is designed to immerse visitors in the animals' world with guests wandering along paths and decks, similar to a smaller version of Jungle Trails. After passing by the turkeys and gray foxes, visitors come to the otter pool which can be viewed from above or underwater through a glass panel. The wolf area can be viewed from one of two 1,000 sq foot decks. A large pane of one-way glass also allows a peek into of their den. The exhibit also has an interactive area located in a replica of an old trapper's cabin. Half of it is called "Be a Wolf" where guests walk into a wolf den, watch videos, check out artifacts and read about the species. The other half is "Be a Wolf Biologist," where materials go into the science of understanding the animals and how they interact with humans. Thick-billed exits can be seen before exiting the area.

Akron Zoo Opens "Legends of the Wild"
May 27, 2005 www.ohio.com By Mary Kay Quinn

The Akron Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs have moved into a new climate-controlled building within the Legends of the Wild area. The $8.6-million Legends of the Wild is the zoo's largest expansion in its 52 years. It features 16 exhibits, with 20 species and more than 380 animals. Nearly half of the species in Legends are listed as endangered. Some of the larger animals are snow leopards, jaguars, Andean condors, Himalayan tahrs (a type of goat) and capybaras (giant rodents). In designing a zoo exhibit, it’s important to think of both the animals and the visitors. Most visitors, for example, are unlikely to notice how the ring-tailed lemurs in the Madagascar Building get their water. Rather than having a few aluminum bowls scattered on the floor, workers installed half a dozen fixtures that protrude about an inch from the walls. With just a couple days' training, the lemurs learned all they have to do is press on the plungers and lick up the water, said project architect Susan B. Allen of TC Architects Inc. in Akron. Safety is a key concern for the lemurs, a type of primate. Legends of the Wild was designed by Frank Horn Architects, constructed by Welty Building Co. Ltd. and managed by TC Architects. More than 30 contractors worked on it.

Minnesota Zoo’s "Creatures Beneath the Canopy"
May 27, 2005 www.twincities.com By Meggen Lindsay

APPLE VALLEY – A new exhibit featuring "mini monkeys" and other rare creatures from the South American rain forest debuts Saturday at the Minnesota Zoo. Nearly a year in the making, "Creatures Beneath the Canopy" will display endangered animals from areas home to species that can be found nowhere else. The new exhibit will feature two species of miniature monkeys: the endangered golden lion and cotton-top tamarins. It also will play host to armadillos, birds, a two-toed sloth (a furry little creature who hangs upside down), agoutis (short-tailed, plant-eating rodents) and a pudu (a tiny, shy deer). The exhibit is housed at the end of the Tropics Trail, completing the zoo's attempt to transform its focus from Southeast Asia to the world's hot spots. "Like the (lemur) exhibit that opened in 2004 as part of the Tropics Trail renaissance, 'Creatures Beneath the Canopy' reveals a slice of an entire fragile ecosystem," said Lee Ehmke, zoo director. The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit will have the following schedule Saturday through Monday: keeper talks, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; musical entertainment, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; kids' activities, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; coral reef feeding, 10:30 a.m.; kids "Crazy Hair" activity, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; costume characters "Maya & Miguel," noon to 2 p.m.

St. Louis Polar Bear Dies in Surgery
May 27, 2005 www.stltoday.com Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A popular male polar bear has died at the Saint Louis Zoo. Eighteen-year-old Churchill died Thursday during a two-hour surgery to remove an obstruction from his stomach. The bear had shown signs of abdominal discomfort and lack of appetite in the past week and underwent diagnostic evaluation.  When his condition worsened, zoo staff decided to do a laparotomy to identify the obstruction. Surgery revealed a piece of cloth and bits of plastic trash bag had obstructed the stomach. "We have not seen anyone throw anything to our bears," Miller said. "While we think we've got the best behaved visitors in the nation, it takes just one careless mistake to jeopardize the health of our animals. We hope that all our visitors will keep foreign objects out of animal exhibits and dispose of trash properly." Churchill was born at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and came to St. Louis in 1991. He had been healthy until the past week. Polar bears usually live about 25 years.

Lowland gorilla born at Denver zoo
May 27, 2005 rockymountainnews.com By Gary Gerhardt

DENVER – Rapunzel, an endangered Western lowland gorilla at the Denver Zoo is doing better with her new 4 pound baby. According to Lynn Kramer, vice president for biological programs,"Last time, she got the umbilical cord wrapped around and didn't bond properly, and then didn't know how to nurse her baby and was holding it face out rather than toward her nipple." After 48 hours, zookeepers and to move the baby, Tulivu, into the nursery to be hand-nursed. This time she is nursing correctly and bonding with the baby, whose gender isn't known yet.

Suffolk Foals & Maned Wolves at Banham Zoo
27 May 2005 new.edp24.co.uk

NORFOLK , U.K. – Banham Zoo, near Diss, is celebrating the birth of Suffolk horse colt Riley and filly Roxanne. The breed, also known as the Suffolk Punch, numbers only around 300 worldwide and is the oldest and rarest native British equine, dating back to at least the 16th century. The good news follows the deaths of three of the zoo's adult Suffolks last year. Riley and Roxanne are two of a total of 30 -odd Suffolk foals that are expected to be born in the UK this year. The horse is known for its physical strength and agricultural work. Seven foals have so far been born at the zoo, which has 11 Suffolks and three Shires. In another area, Banham Zoo is celebrating the birth of two female Maned wolf cubs - the first to be born at the zoo since 1992. Five Maned wolf cubs have previously been born at the zoo. The species is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as near threatened and is managed in captivity by an international studbook co-ordinated by Leipzig Zoo, in Germany. Once old enough the cubs will be paired with suitable males in other European collections to further the conservation efforts.

Henry Doorly Zoo’s New Orangutan Exhibit
May 27, 2005 www.journalstar.com BY ALGIS J. LAUKAITIS

OMAHA – Henry Doorly Zoo’s four orangutans — Luna, Sepilok, Jasmine and Amoi — are enjoying the Hubbard Orangutan Forest, their new $12.5 million home at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. The new exhibit features two man-made, 65-foot banyan trees, sculpted from concrete and sprayed in natural colors. The two trees support a stainless steel canopy that encloses the Orangutan Forest and a nearby enclosure for gibbons and langurs. From the top of the trees, the orangutans can keep track of everything in the whole zoo. Part of the exhibit officially opens today. Workers are finishing some indoor exhibits that are scheduled to open in August. Orangutan Forest complements Hubbard Gorilla Valley, a $14 million house and grotto exhibit that opened in April 2004. The two exhibits are linked, creating a primate world filled with gorillas, orangutans and monkeys. The forest complex includes an outdoor canopy and indoor exhibit space. Simmons said there's enough room in the exhibit for 10 orangutans plus several species of monkeys and gibbons. Similar to an aviary, the exhibit allows visitors and orangutans to study one another. Using thousands of feet of vines made of rope and polyurethane, the orangutans can climb to the top of the banyan trees or swing Tarzan-like from branch to branch. The outdoor exhibit will be ideal for arboreal orangutans, which spend most of their lives in treetops. The only time they come down is for a drink of water or to move to another area, he said.

Penguin Exhibit Opening On-Hold
May 27, 2005 www.kasa.com 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The opening of a 3.7 million-dollar penguin exhibit in Syracuse, New York, is being delayed because the birds are hiding. The 15 newly arrived penguins at Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park are afraid to venture outdoors where a big pool, with underwater viewing for the public, awaits them. Zoo officials say the slightest sound scares the colony and sends them scurrying back indoors, away from public view. The penguin exhibit will open in mid-June if the birds are comfortable with their new home by then.

El Paso Zoo Takes Action To Keep Elephants
May 27, 2005 www.kfoxtv.com

Zoo volunteers are now collecting signatures, petitioning city council to keep Juno and Savannah in El Paso. Animal rights activists say they've sent about 2 thousand postcards to the mayor's office in the last two and a half weeks asking council to remove the elephants and send them to a sanctuary in Tennessee. The group says Juno and Savannah suffer captivity induced injuries to their feet and joints because they can't exercise enough in a small, hard packed enclosure. But volunteers say the elephants are healthy and are important to the community. Meantime starting on Saturday, the El Paso Zoo will start walking and exercising Juno and Savannah for the public to see, an exhibit they say will last through the summer.

St. Louis Zoo Extends Summer Hours
May 27, 2005 www.scanews.com

The St. Louis Zoo invites visitors to come early and stay late for "North Star Summer Zoo Evenings." From May 27 through September 5, the Zoo will offer extended hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Please note the Zoo will be closed to the public all day on June 17 and will close at 5 p.m. on July 20 and August 17. The extended hours allow more flexibility for families to enjoy all of the Zoo's attractions, dining, shopping and animal exhibits including the Donn & Marilyn Lipton Fragile Forest, new outdoor habitats for chimpanzees and orangutans, Penguin & Puffin Coast, River's Edge and more. The Emerson Children's Zoo, Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel and Monsanto Insectarium are free from 8-9 a.m. every day in summer. Admission charges apply after 9 a.m. for these attractions. New! Bring the whole family to "Jungle Boogie" a free outdoor concert series on Friday evenings from 5-7 p.m. There are no concerts on June 17 and July 1. On Saturdays at 5 p.m., watch as keepers offer enrichment items to various animals. Enrichment activities give Zoo animals interesting, stimulating ways to perform natural behaviors. "Deep Sea," a 3-D adventure movie, will be showing all summer in The Living World. Tickets are $4/person. Also new is the "Dino Island" motion simulator ride located near the 1904 Flight Cage. Tickets are $3/person. A Safari Pass is available for $10/person and includes all-day admission to all special attractions. Admission to the Zoo and Summer Zoo Evenings is free every day. There are fees for special attractions.

Smithsonian in need if serious repair
May 27, 2005 news.monstersandcritics.com

Washington, DC, May. 27 (UPI) -- Infrastructure problems threatening priceless collections at Washington's Smithsonian Institution would take $2.3 billion to repair. The Government Accountability Office this week issued a report that detailed problems ranging from "chronic leaks" to "structural deterioration." It said a leak caused the first plane to reach Mach 2 to have a rust spot and facilities on the National Mall and National Zoo have been closed because of the issues, The Washington Post reported Friday. Smithsonian Deputy Secretary Sheila Burke called the GAO report "quite accurate" and a "fair analysis." "There are not enough resources to address a fairly profound shortfall in terms of an aging physical plant," she told the Post. The Smithsonian comprises some 660 buildings that display and story more than 300 million objects and documents. The repair budget for the institution for fiscal year 2004 is $184.4 million. The GAO estimated the Smithsonian would need $2.3 billion over nine years -- some $250 million a year -- to make needed repairs.

Zoo's sea lion dies at 27
May 27 2005 edmonton.cbc.ca

EDMONTON – A 27-year-old sea lion at the Valley Zoo died Wednesday, one of the oldest of its kind living in captivity. Honi, a South American sea lion, arrived at the zoo in 1980, and shared a tank with Inga and her baby Nauticus. Honi stopped eating about three weeks ago, and while staff tried various drugs and treatments, nothing could save her from old age. Dean Treichel, operations supervisor at the zoo, said. "In the wild, they can expect to live 15-20 years. In captivity, 27

Group Fights Taronga Zoo Car Park
May 28, 2005 www.smh.com.au By Carolyn Cummins

The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources and a Mosman residents action group disagree over plans for a new car park at Taronga Zoo. A development application for a three-level car park has been received from the Zoological Parks Board of NSW. The application provides for the redesign of the entry at the top end of the zoo, including the construction of a parking station for 675 cars, two levels of which will be above ground. A Zoo Car Park Action Group has been formed to spearhead resident opposition to the proposal, which involves a concrete structure being erected in a tree-lined area adjacent to the existing parking bays. The action group describes the plan as "environmentally irresponsible" and "an eyesore threatening to become a permanent scar on our urban landscape". They argue that big above-ground car parks are suited to shopping complexes, not to the green parklands that make up the surrounds of the zoo. But project manager Alex Haliburton said residents had been sent letters and he was consulting them about the proposal. Public discussion closes on June 6.

Dallas Zoo Invests in Small Exhibits
May 28, 2005 www.dallasnews.com By DAVID FLICK

Last month Dallas Zoo director Rich Buickerood learned that a plan to fund the zoo with a countywide property tax had collapsed from lack of support on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, so Dallas is investing in a series of modest but highly visible initiatives designed to build attendance. The first low-cost, big-impact project was Bug U, an interactive insect exhibit that opened last month and has proved especially popular with school groups. Native ants and honeybees, are inexpensive to acquire and are housed in a recycled facility – in this case, a stone building constructed by the Works Progress Administration that once housed the zoo administration and, more recently, a sandwich shop. The total cost was $150,000, using bond money and private donations. The Tamarin Treetops exhibit, scheduled to open July 2, will cost about half that. By contrast, Mr. Buickerood said, "You talk about an underwater hippo exhibit that you can view through glass, you're talking $10 million to $15 million." Like Bug U, the tamarin exhibit achieves savings through recycling. The zoo's old monkey house will be fitted with a new stone facade and filled with foliage designed to resemble the canopy of the tamarins' native South American forests.

Tennessee's Elephant Facility
May 29, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com  By William Mullen

HOHENWALD, Tenn. -- The Elephant Sanctuary in central Tennessee has been in existence for 16 years. It consists of 2,700 acres of forest surrounded by electrified double fences an 8-foot-high, chain-link barrier on the outside, and a much stronger inner fence of tubular steel and cable. Zoos and circuses once voluntarily sent ailing elephants to the Tennessee facility, but now, with the sanctuary often siding with animal-rights groups in their fierce criticism of zoos, many resist sending animals there. Sanctuary founder Carol Buckley only takes females, so by definition, it is a non-breeding facility where animals live out their lives. She also won't let the public in to see the elephants, saying they are not there to entertain visitors. The North American zoo community, is actually considering building spacious elephant "conservation centers" that would physically resemble the Hohenwald sanctuary, but the philosophical differences would be vast. Zoos exist to give people an up-close look at animals to generate appreciation for the peril they face in shrinking wilderness. Zoos also maintain their captive populations through breeding and manage them for genetic diversity, a skill now needed to maintain wild populations. Buckley insists the sanctuary is merely a bystander caught in the struggle between the zoo industry and the animal rightists, but she makes it clear that she thinks zoos need to pay attention to her operation and change how they care for elephants. "I don't see zoos ever becoming extinct," Buckley said. "I see them getting managers who have a vision to change their facilities to meet the needs of the animals. Instead of a business mind, you need a visionary to run the zoos."  

Dolphins Return to Indianapolis Zoo
May 29, 2005 www.indystar.com  By Rob Schneider

Saturday, youngsters ran across the floor of the new glass dome, part of the $10 million renovation of the dolphin pavilion, looking upward in search of dolphins. A crowd of at least 1,000 broke into applause when they entered the pavilion's theater for the first public show since August. Down in the dome, spectators got a sense of what it's like to be inside an aquarium. Water surrounds the dome's sides, and there's 5 feet of water overhead. The dolphins have the option of swimming in three pools and can suddenly appear out of portals near the dome, flash overhead and then disappear again.

Henry Doorley’s New Orangutan Forest
May 29, 2005 www.journalstar.com 

The newly opened $8.5 million Hubbard Orangutan Forest is being completed in two Dr. Lee Simmons, zoo director, said Phase I includes the forest habitat, which covers 3,763 square feet and is 65 feet tall. A 20-foot waterfall and two smaller waterfalls will surround a garden area complete with a bronze gorilla troop to complete the transition between Hubbard Gorilla Valley and the new Orangutan Forest. The outdoor, netted enclosed structure is where the public can observe the four female orangutans currently living there. More than 21,000 square feet of orangutan-proof stainless steel net was placed over two 65-foot tall, man-made, concrete Banyan trees. Using 120-foot tall man-lifts, zoo employees sewed together each piece of net and several other teams of construction, exhibit and zoo workers built boardwalks, created waterfalls, planted trees and poured asphalt. Thousands of feet of man-made vines drape from the branches of the trees and stilt roots of the Banyan tree provide active highways to all parts of the habitats.  Visitors can view the orangutans from a 30-by-70-foot elevated platform located north of the elevator tower, 10 feet above ground level. Phase II will provide an indoor habiat for the winter months. It is expected to be completed by August and includes an 85-feet long and 32-feet high indoor facility with skylights illuminating the 3,126 square-feet space. Seven orangutan "bedrooms" (three new and four remolded) will provide nighttime holding and management space. The orangutan bedrooms cover 1,539 square feet. The addition also features a new 16,000-square- foot genetics research laboratory.  

Perth Zoo Breeds African Painted Dogs
May 29, 2005 news.ninemsn.com.au

Perth Zoo's endangered animals breeding program has been boosted with the arrival of six African Painted Dog pups - the first litter born at the zoo in 10 years. The seven-week-old pups have emerged from their underground den for their first public outing, together with four-year-old mother, Collar. The tri-coloured pups - four males and two females - spent their first few weeks of life in a purpose-built exhibit within the zoo's African Savannah exhibit. "The first couple of months are the most critical period so we are extremely pleased to see the pups out of the den and the males cooperating with the care of the young," Perth Zoo chief executive Susan Hunt said. "Father, Evander, and his brother, Half Tail, have been regurgitating their meals to help feed the offspring and Collar. "This is natural behaviour that ensures that the young develop and become a part of the group."  

Three birds are delisted
May 29, 2005 www.rutlandherald.com

A new rule for Vermont's endangered and threatened species went into effect on April 23, bringing with it an important milestone in wildlife conservation. The common loon, peregrine falcon and osprey, previously listed as endangered were officially removed from the list. All three species benefited from the regulation of pesticides, habitat protection and active management under programs led by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Partnerships with the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, National Wildlife Federation, Vermont electric utility companies, and the support of the private landowners and the public were important to these successes.

Unruly elephant returned to sender
May 30, 2005 www.thecouriermail.news.com.au By Vera Devai

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which is opposed to Asian elephants being used in captive zoo breeding programs in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland, said today that one of the nine females due to be sent to the zoos had started attacking quarantine staff. "We understand that she was actually starting to strike people with her trunk," an IFAW spokeswoman said. The elephants, five of which are earmarked for Sydney's Taronga Zoo, have been in quarantine in Thailand for eight months while the zoos await permit approval from the Federal Government. Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell is yet to make a decision on the permits.

Released bilbies die in reserve
May 30, 2005 www.abc.net.au

All but one of the 10 bilbies released in April into the Arid Recovery Reserve near Roxby Downs in northern South Australia, have died. Bred in captivity at Monarto Zoo, the bilbies were selected to provide genetic diversity to the existing population inside the fenced reserve. Project manager Adam Bester says it seems they were unable to compete with the wild bilbies and died from starvation. He says the focus now is on training bilbies to avoid predators such as cats and foxes, so the population can survive outside the reserve.

New Elephant Complex for Seneca Park Zoo
May 31, 2005 www.democratandchronicle.com By James Goodman and Jeffrey Blackwell

ASHEBORO — The North Carolina Zoo is planning a $4.4 million elephant compound on 8 acres. The complex will include an 11,000 sq ft barn capable of housing 5 elephants, and a 23,000-sq ft yard for exercise. Construction is scheduled to be completed in January, in time for the arrival of a new baby. Genny C, one of the Seneca Park Zoo’s two elephants, gives birth next March

Metroparks Zoo Teams With Ohio State Vets
May 31, 2005 www.thelantern.com By Trisha Barker

Ohio State's College of Veterinary Medicine and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo have teamed up in an effort to improve the well-being of captive zoo animals. Pam Dennis, assistant clinical professor in the college and veterinary epidemiologist at the zoo, is directing the three year Epi-Zoo program that is set up as a partnership between the college and the zoo. The program was started to look at various health problems in populations of animals both in captivity and in the wild, Dennis said. Since its beginning in January, the Epi-Zoo program has looked at health issues in African elephants, black rhinos and different species of gazelles, she said. The scope of the project is not limited to large animals, however. "We will look at everything from golden frogs to Egyptian fruit bats to elephants," Dennis said. Zoos have an interest in captive as well as endangered animals across the world but in the past 10 years most zoo veterinary medicine has been based on zoo populations or single animal medicine, she said. Dennis said she hopes that by looking at problems such as herd health within zoo populations, some baseline information can be established and some zoo animal population questions can be answered.

Standing Lesser Panda Trademarked
May 31, 2005 mdn.mainichi.co.jp

On Monday, the Chiba Prefectural Government, which operates Chiba Zoological Park, the zoo where the lesser panda named "Futa" is on display, agreed with Nihondaira Zoo, which retains ownership of the panda, to register trademarks for him. The name Futa will probably be registered along with the image of him standing on two legs. Chiba Prefectural Government officials said inquiries had been received from about a dozen advertising firms wanting to use Futa in television commercials and to promote products. The decision to register trademarks was reportedly made to prevent advertisers from abusing the lesser panda's popularity. Zoo officials are reportedly still considering how to handle payments for use of the trademarks. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, May 31, 2005)

Scientist’s Probe Tasmanian Devil Disease
May 31, 2005 www.nytimes.com By SANDRA BLAKESLEE

LAUNCESTON, Tasmania - Tasmanian devils are marsupials that leave their mother’s birth canal when they are the size of a sesame seed, make their way to her pouch and lock onto a teat, eventually growing to the size of tiny puppies. Unfortunately a bizarre malady, devil facial tumor disease is creating a number of orphans. The disease has killed nearly half of the world’s Tasmanian devils in the last 3 years. Several have been found dangling from their dead mother’s pouch, starving to death. Nine have been rescued and are being raised by hand at the Launceston Lakes and Wildlife Park, all in strict quarantine. The fate of their species - Sarcophilus harrisii - may be decided in the next 12 to 18 months. "If they contract the disease, devils may be headed for extinction in the wild," said Nick Mooney, a wildlife biologist with Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment in Hobart. "If they're free of the disease, we may have reason for hope." "We usually don't see the disease until after the animals turn 2 years old," said Heather Hesterman, another biologist on the team. It is possible they might get the disease from their mother's milk or contact with her saliva, On the other hand, they may have resistance to it. Right now, wildlife experts are struggling to comprehend the nature of the fast moving epidemic. Moving at a rate of 6 to 10 miles a year, it is 100 percent fatal. Only the west coast, isolated by mountain ranges inhospitable to devils, is disease free. Nearly half of the estimated 150,000 devils in Tasmania are now dead.

Korean Cloning Advances
May 31, 2005 www.nytimes.com By JAMES BROOKE

SEOUL, South Korea, May 30 - A microneedle squeezes out all the genetic material from a freshly harvested human egg then the egg’s outer membrane is penetrated and a skin cell from a patient with an immune deficiency is introduced along with its new genetic code. "I never destroy any life during my process," said Dr. Woo Suk Hwang, the laboratory director at Seoul National University. Dr. Hwang's report on May 20 that he had created new colonies of stem cells that matched the DNA of their donors was a major leap toward the dream of growing replacement tissues for conditions like spinal cord injuries, juvenile diabetes and congenital immune deficiencies. In Rome, Msgr. Elio Sgreccia, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life of the Roman Catholic Church, told Vatican Radio that the research was comparable to cloning embryos, which he called a violation of human rights. Last week, President Bush announced that he would veto any legislation to allow public financing for research on stem cells created with newly harvested human eggs, saying, "I worry about a world in which cloning would be acceptable." Perspiring in the incubator laboratory, kept at a tropical 79 degrees, Dr. Hwang responded to these critics as he often has. "We use only a vacant egg, with no genetic materials," he said, moving back and forth between English and Korean. Eggs are never fertilized, he said, arguing that embryos are never formed.  

PETA Spy Reveals Self
May 31, 2005 www.nytimes.com By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Lisa Leitten is finished living her double life. For the past three years, the soft-spoken, 30-year old moved from Missouri to Texas to Virginia, applying for jobs at businesses dealing with animals. She gave her real name, and some real details about herself: a master's degree in animal psychology and prior work at a primate sanctuary in Florida. What she didn't reveal was that she was also working for an animal welfare organization, and that she wore a hidden camera to document instances in which animals were treated with what she calls horrific neglect and cruelty. Leitten called her last assignment for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals her most wrenching: nine months in a Virginia lab owned by Princeton, N.J.-based biomedical firm Covance Co. There, she says, monkeys were denied medical care and abused by technicians. The company denies the claims, says it treats the animals properly and has accused Leitten of illegally working under cover. Two weeks ago, PETA presented Leitten's assertions about Covance in video footage and a massive report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and Virginia prosecutors, calling for regulators to shutter the company's Vienna, Va., lab.

Tucson Zoo Wants to Expand Elephant Area
May 31, 2005 kvoa.com

Tucson's Reid Park Zoo needs to raise more than $8 million for a new elephant enclosure. One of the Zoo’s two elephants, Connie is 35 and near the end of her reproductive period but the other, Sheba, is 24 and should breed. Unfortunately, Reid Park’s present elephant enclosure is less than one-half acre and can’t accommodate another elephant. If money cannot be raised for a new 7-acre enclosure, with barn, exercise yard and private spaces for elephants with calves, Sheba will have to be sent to another zoo to breed and Connie will go as well so she will not have to be alone. AZA has requested a commitment from Tucson by July 1 so it can start looking for another breeding facility if necessary. Unfortunately the Tucson Zoological Society is already raising money for a new school building and is unable to raise money for the elephant facility right now, said Neal Hicks, the group's executive director.

Sustainable Traditional Chinese Medicines
May 31, 2005 www2.chinadaily.com.cn

Authorities in China are trying to make traditional medicine more sustainable. Strategies include promoting alternatives to products from endangered species and using medicine-labelling rules that set quotas for ingredients from rare plants and wildlife. Companies using such products in medicines must disclose their ingredients to, and seek approval from, the State Food and Drug Administration and the State Forestry Administration, reports Chen Zhiyong in these two China Daily articles. These authorities aim to limit the use of such ingredients by issuing a fixed number of medicine labels, which companies must display on authorised products. Of 295 traditional remedies assessed, 60 contain musk, a substance produced by male musk deer from a gland in their abdomen. In half of these, the deer musk has now been replaced with a synthetic alternative approved in March 2004.

Somali Asses Arrive at St. Louis Zoo
June 1, 2005 www.ksdk.com

Fataki, Liberty, and Tukia, Somali wild asses, recently arrived at the St. Louis Zoo from the San Diego Zoo. They will be living near the zoo's Somali wild ass stallion, Tokar. The unique species is one of the most endangered members of the horse family on the planet. Only about 700 to 1,000 exist in the wild.  The last populations of the animals are found in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The new females will not breed with Tokar because he is a relative, but they will be paired with a Swiss male later this year. The zoo hopes to find a suitable female for Tokar from a European zoo to maintain genetic diversity. Tokar is 10 years old and has been at the St. Louis Zoo since 1999 The Somali wild ass is gray with a white belly, and black striping on its lower legs. Males range from 600-700 pounds. Females weigh about 500-600 pounds. Both stand about four feet at the shoulder.  

USDA Carp Corral/Goby Roundup
June 1, 2005 news.fws.gov

The "Carp Corral/Goby Roundup" surveillance is critical in determining whether Asian carp have moved upstream of an electrical barrier near Romeoville on their way to Lake Michigan and whether round gobies have made their way farther downstream. " Invasive Asian carp can upset the natural balance of the ecosystem, and in addition, the silver carp can actually jump high out of the water and into your boat, causing a safety hazard for anglers, boaters and skiers," said Pam Thiel, project leader for the Service’s La Crosse, Wis., Fishery Resources Office and coordinator of the "Carp Corral/Goby Round Up." An electrical fish barrier near Romeoville, Ill., in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal--designed to prevent and slow the spread of nonindigenous aquatic species--has been operational since 2002. This experimental prototype has been effective, but the electrified cables could fail at any time. During the "Carp Corral/Goby Roundup," June 14-17, biologists will attempt to determine the relative abundance and upstream distribution of the bighead and silver carp—two invasive Asian carp species—and chart the downstream leading edge of the round goby. Biologists will also collect fish health samples to detect pathogens such as the non-native spring viremia of carp virus. Contact Pam Thiel at 608-783-8431 by Thursday, June 9, for more information or to secure a space. Space is limited and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

World Ocean Day Celebrated at Zoos & Aquariums
6/1/2005 releases.usnewswire.com By Jane Ballentine, AZA

SILVER SPRING, Md.– World Ocean Day, created in 1992 at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, is sponsored by The Ocean Project, a consortium of organizations and individuals from around the world who will come together on June 8 to celebrate the oceans, reflect on their importance in our lives, and take time to do something good for our blue planet. Visit www.theoceanproject.org  for more information. "AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums represent widely different geographical regions -- some are near oceans, others are adjacent to rivers, streams and lakes, while still others are landlocked, and yet oceans are relevant to all of us. With 'Wonders of Water,' we hope to demonstrate this universal connection, and that the things we put on the soil and in the water have an impact on the health of the oceans, no matter where we live in the country," according to AZA director, Sid Butler. Individuals can fight ocean pollution and protect wild animals through simple measures:

-- Cut up six-pack rings before throwing them away.

-- Recycle motor oil.

-- Reduce or even avoid the use of pesticides on their lawns and gardens.

-- Participate in a shoreline clean-up at a beach, stream or lake.

-- Don't discard fishing lines in the water or on the beach.

Salamander Used in Field Sampling Test
June 1, 2005 www.ornl.gov

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 1, 2005 — Rare salamanders at a Georgia military base are the guinea pigs for Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers whose goal is to develop methods to better determine whether a species has vanished. After not finding any flatwoods salamanders since 2001, biologists decided to look for a better survey method, said Mark Bevelhimer, an aquatic ecologist and member of ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division. A Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program project is helping in that area and addressing even greater challenges "our task is to develop a method to make field sampling techniques more accurate and efficient. With that information, we can improve our models, and we should be able to do a better job of predicting the type and location of suitable habitats plus minimize unnecessary and time-consuming sampling." Of more than 1,000 seasonal ponds at the 280,000-acre military facility in southeastern Georgia, 483 have been identified as potential candidates to support this particular salamander, technically known as Ambystoma cingulatum. Until April 21, however, none had been found over a stretch that spanned four years. Researchers noted that this was not totally unexpected because of a 100-year drought event that dried ponds and halted reproduction from 1999 through 2002. Since the first salamander was found six weeks ago, 36 more have been found in one pond, but none in 11 others that have supported them in the past.

Fifth of World’s Birds Threatened
June 1, 2005 www.stuff.co.nz

BirdLife spokesman Ed Parnell said in the statement. "One in five bird species on the planet now faces a risk in the short or medium-term of joining the dodo, great auk and 129 other species that we know have become extinct since 1500." BirdLife, a global alliance of conservation groups, said in its annual assessment of the feathered fauna that the total number of world bird species considered to be threatened with extinction was now 1212. The total reaches 2,000 when combined with the number of near threatened species– more than a fifth of the planet’s remaining 9,775 species The 1,212 figure is 10 more than last year's count, and several species from Europe appear in the list for the first time, and includes the European roller, for which key populations in Turkey and European Russia have declined markedly, Krüper’s Nuthatch, a mainly Turkish species that has declined because of tourism development of its key habitats, and the Red Kite, which has suffered large declines across Europe, despite a successful reintroduction program in Britain.

Oregon Zoo restructuries staff to prevent layoffs
June 1, 2005 www.kgw.com By ANTONIA GIEDWOYN

The Oregon Zoo is restructuring its staff by eliminating positions and letting vacant positions go unfilled, officials said. Nine employees have taken advantage of an early retirement offer and three management positions are being eliminated, according to a recent zoo memo to staff and volunteers obtained by kgw.com on Wednesday. Zoo officials said they are trying to trim the staff without having to lay off employees. 

Lego to Sell Theme Parks
June 1, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com

Danish toy maker Lego Holding is near an agreement to sell its Legoland theme-park business. The first park was opened in 1968 in Billund, Denmark, and its second in 1996 in Windsor, England. The Carlsbad park was opened in 1999. The company also operates a park in Gunzburg, Germany. Attendance at Legoland California climbed 9.3 percent last year to 1.42 million people and Park officials said revenue was up 11 percent. But after a net loss of $323 million for 2004, all four were offered for sale to allow focusing on the core toy business. A New York private-equity firm Blackstone Group has offered for about $468 million. The family that controls Lego is expected to keep a stake of 10 to 15 percent in the parks business.

New General Curator at Oregon Zoo
June 2, 2005 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND, Ore.-Oregon Zoo has promoted Chris Pfefferkorn to the position of general curator. During Pfefferkorn's seven-year tenure at the zoo, he has held the positions of animal collection manager and zoological curator. Pfefferkorn has also been active in field conservation work, helping save endangered cheetahs and leopards in Zimbabwe. Pfefferkorn, 40, came to Portland from Lufkin, Texas, where he served 21/2 years as manager of the 600-plus animal collection and its care staff at the Ellen Trout Zoo. While there, he represented the zoo on the AZA Species Survival Plans (SSP) for the Bali mynah and clouded leopard. He was also a member of AZA's Antelope Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) and was elected a management group member for the cotton top tamarin and mangabey SSPs. Pfefferkorn also served as the studbook keeper for four species of duiker. While in Portland, he has continued his work with the mangabey SSP and the AZA Antelope TAG. He is its sub-chairman for 15 different species of small antelope. Pfefferkorn is the studbook keeper and population manager for three species of duiker, population manager for Amur leopard, and a member of AZA's Wildlife Conservation Monitoring Committee.

Minnesota’s South American Exhibit Opens
June 2, 2005 www.mnsun.com By Erica Christoffer

Four tamarins: cotton-top and golden-lion are part of the Minnesota Zoo’s newest exhibit "Creatures Beneath the Canopy." The exhibit, which opened Memorial Day weekend, was added onto the Tropics Trail as a continuation of the zoo’s feature series on the world’s hot-spots. " A hot-spot is an area of large genetic diversity as far as a lot of different species of plants and animals, but is rapidly declining," said Tom Ness, tropics supervisor. Other South American rainforest residents include a two-toed sloth, three-banded armadillos, agouti, pudu, poison frogs and South American birds such as green aracaris. All the animals in the Creatures Beneath the Canopy came from other U.S. zoos. The plants in the exhibit are also very specific to South America. "We did our best to replicate the natural habitats they would be in," Ness said.

Oregon Zoo’s Steller Cove Tour
June 2, 2005 www.medfordnews.com

Oregon zoo's Steller Cove VIP Encounter offers guests the opportunity to interact with the zoo's marine mammals learn about them from zoo staff. Guests will meet the zoo's sea otters, Mira the blind elephant seal, and two Steller sea lions (Julius and Gus), plus a unique insider’s tour of the Cove exhibit. In addition to the sea otter and sea lion pools, the Steller Cove exhibit includes a kelp forest-home to many fish and invertebrates. Questions about the animals and the exhibit will be answered during the 90-minute tour as guests discover the rewards and challenges of caring for marine mammals. VIP Encounters are for guests ages 14 and up. Prices are $85 for zoo members and $100 for non-members.  Other activities for VIP Encounter guests include the chance to try out training techniques and make environmental enrichment treats for the seals and sea lions. Keepers will talk about the importance of environmental enrichment to keep animals mentally stimulated as well as current conservation efforts with marine mammals.

San Diego Zoo Unveils Elaborate Habitat
June 2, 2005 www.10news.com

SAN DIEGO -- A multiyear project beginning in 2001 is now complete. The new 3-acre Joan B. Kroc's Monkey Trails and Forest Tails exhibit replaces cramped monkey and bird cages dating to 1922. The $28.5 million environment patterned after African and Asian forests and features three kinds of large, colorful monkeys, as well as leopards, crocodiles and pygmy hippos. Money for the Heart of the Zoo came from fundraising and got a big boost in 2004 from the estate of philanthropist Joan Kroc, who bequeathed $10 million to the nonprofit Zoological Society of San Diego.

Elephant Exhibit Opens at Hogle Zoo
Jun. 2, 2005 deseretnews.com Amelia Nielson-Stowell

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Misha, a female African elephant, broke the ribbon to launch the opening of Hogle Zoo’s Elephant Encounter. At a cost of $5.5 million, the Encounter is part of a $10.2 million bond approved by Salt Lake voters in 2003. African elephants Misha, Christie and Hi-Dari and white rhinos George and Princess.will live in the habitat that features a 110 thousand-gallon swimming channel, varying terrain, three separate yards and a heated surface area. Groundbreaking for the next part of the project, Asian Highlands, the habitat for the big cats, will be in July. In addition to new features for the animals, the exhibit includes new perks for guests: walkways with varying views, an African lodge with hands-on elephant and rhino artifacts, conservation educational phones, a 13-foot elephant sculpture that trumpets and sprays water and a large rock formation where guests can get a nose-to-nose view of the animals eating. The exhibit officially opens to the public June 4. "You see a rhino's mouth for the first time," said Sid Butler, American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) executive director, pointing through the glass to a rhino eating. "An up-close personal view of animals is irreplaceable." 

SD Zoo Puts Its Money Where Its Heart Is
June 2, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Jeanette Steele

The multiyear project to renovate the San Diego Zoo's core display area will culminate tomorrow with the unveiling of the new Joan B. Kroc's Monkey Trails and Forest Tales exhibit. Replacing cramped monkey and bird cages dating to 1922, the 3-acre exhibit features three kinds of large, colorful monkeys as well as leopards, crocodiles and pygmy hippos. "We presume zoos are snapshots of pieces of nature," said Karen Killmar, the zoo's associate curator of mammals. She hopes "this would give people a feel for the variety, diversity, the beauty of the primates of Africa." The animals' lush lair is a $28.5 million, multilevel environment patterned after African and Asian forests. An overhead walkway offers a treetop view of monkey antics. At floor level, the ground dwellers – such as two kinds of wild pigs – will go eye to eye with visitors. Separate, pondlike tanks are home to the mini-hippos and crocodiles. The zoo's birds – including sociable weavers, which are master nest builders – will get two new, roomy aviaries. Everybody's getting new and larger enclosures," said Dave Rimlinger, the zoo's curator of birds. Zoo officials say it is their most elaborate habitat ever.

European Plant Survey
June 2, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

A list of the 800 most important sites for wild plants in central and Eastern Europe has been published by the charity, Plantlife International. Many of the sites contain endangered species and yet a fifth have no legal protection. Agriculture, forestry and tourism are the main threats. Hundreds of specialists from academic institutions and non-governmental organisations identified the best sites for wild plants, fungi and their habitats in seven countries. They were Belarus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The report also looked at the threats to each internationally important site for wild plants (IPA). It found that: Poor forestry practices threaten 44% of IPAs, Tourism threatens 38% and Agricultural intensification (grazing, hay-making, arable) threatens 29%. Other threats include development, urban and transport, and invasive plant species.

San Francisco garter snakes return to Zoo
June 2, 2005 www.sfgate.com By Patricia Yollin

The newest residents of the San Francisco zoo, "San Francisco garter snakes" are so rare and endangered that they had to be imported from the Netherlands. "It's kind of ironic," said Harry McQuillen, chief of the endangered species recovery program in the Sacramento office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ten snakes -- five males and five females -- will make their first public appearance today at the San Francisco Zoo. More than 50 representatives of local and national environmental agencies, along with the U.S. assistant secretary of the interior, will welcome the reptiles. "People have no idea what we're losing and how quickly we're losing it," said Jessie Bushell, an education specialist with the zoo's Animal Resource Center. Listed as federally endangered in 1967 and state endangered in 1971, the San Francisco garter snake disappeared from North American zoos in 2003, when 8-year-old Alcatraz died at the San Francisco Zoo. The snakes wild relatives can be found only in pockets of coastal San Mateo County, the northwest corner of Santa Cruz County and near San Francisco International Airport. And even though they're the patron snake of San Francisco, Lake Merced is the main place in the city where they might once have lived.

Seed Banks are a Sound Investment
June 2, 2005 www.nature.com 

Syria is home to the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), which maintains a collection of 131,000 seeds of plants eaten throughout West and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The seed bank has used these samples to rebuild crop diversity in war-torn countries, such as Afghanistan, whose own seed bank was looted in 2002. But with the United States calling Syria a sponsor of terrorism, concern is growing that US sanctions and the threat of military action could disrupt ICARDA's work. One solution, says this editorial in Nature, is to increase support for the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research set up the trust to fund more gene banks worldwide. However, the trust needs US$260 million to preserve seeds used globally and to improve seed bank storage facilities. With only 35 of the world's 1,460 seed banks meeting international standards for long-term seed storage, and nearly one-fifth of their seeds degenerating, supporting the trust's efforts to protect crop diversity and global food security would be a small price to pay says the editorial.

Ancient Bear DNA Sequenced
June 3, 2005 www.nature.com By Roxanne Khamsi

The degraded DNA of two Austrian cave bears that died more than 40,000 years ago has been sequenced. The standard practice for sequencing genes involves making numerous copies of the initial sample through PCR, but bits of contaminating DNA often drown out samples from the prehistoric animal. James Noonan and colleagues from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, decided to skip the replicating step and directly sequence the tiny amount of DNA extracted from two cave-bear bones. To make sure each portion of DNA was really from the bears rather than a contaminating source, they compared each sequence produced with the genome of the dog, a modern relative of the bear. Edward Rubin, also of the Lawrence Berkeley lab, who oversaw the investigation They recovered nearly 27,000 base pairs of nuclear DNA from the cave bears, which became extinct about 15,000 years ago. An article describing the research appears in this week's Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1113485)

Plan to Save Gray Nurse Sharks
June 3, 2005 asia.news.yahoo.com

Australian scientists will attempt to breed gray nurse sharks in artificial wombs under a plan to boost the critically endangered species' numbers, a state fisheries minister said Friday. Embryos harvested from female sharks in the wild will be reared separately in artificial wombs designed to stop the ravenous fish from devouring each other before birth in what is known as "intrauterine cannibalism...In the wild, each female gray nurse shark produces only two pups every two years - not enough to increase species numbers," New South Wales state Fisheries Minister Ian Macdonald said in a statement. Scientists believe only about 460 gray nurse sharks remain in eastern Australian waters and fear they could vanish from the region altogether within 20 years. The gray nurse shark, which feeds primarily on other fish and is not considered dangerous to humans, was decimated by overfishing and hunting until 1984, when it became the first shark species to be protected by the Australian government. However, the species has been slow to recover, and some scientists believe the local gray nurse shark population is already too low to regenerate itself naturally. Macdonald said scientists would begin by collecting reproductive and biological information to construct the artificial shark wombs, but that experiments would be carried out first on non-endangered sharks to avoid any risk to the gray nurse population. He said scientists are still in the process of developing techniques for harvesting embryos from the wild sharks.

Artificial "Ponds" for Arizona Frogs
June 3, 2005 seattletimes.nwsource.com

SAN BERNARDINO VALLEY, Ariz. — Years of drought are threatening many species in the West. Providing artificial concrete ponds for frogs like the green and black spotted frog, Chiricahua leopard frog and other species is one of many efforts being carried out to help threatened and endangered species that have been further imperiled by the drought throughout the West. Elsewhere in Arizona, biologists are plucking leopard frogs and eggs out of drying pools and taking them to museums and zoos to protect the adults and allow tadpoles to develop. To make sure endangered Sonoran pronghorns get enough nourishment, officials are watering the desert to replenish shriveled plants. With only about 60 Sonoran pronghorns left in the United States, wildlife officials are digging wells pumping water into the desert to enhance the nutritional value of the plants they eat. In New Mexico, the federal government has offered $580,000 in emergency funds to refurbish wells to help ensure the threatened Pecos bluntnose shiner fish survives. "It is important to help them through a drought because of all of the other additional problems we have laid on them," said Melanie Lenart, research associate with Climate Assessment for the Southwest, a University of Arizona project. The drought has been crippling the West for years, although a rainy winter brought some relief across the Southwest. "The question is, is this just a blip of nice precipitation in the middle of drought, which does happen, or are we really coming out of the drought?" Lenart said. Wildlife experts note that plants and animals have more difficulty adapting to drought in the forests and mountains. But in the desert, where drought conditions exist 43 percent of the time, species such as the Chiricahua leopard frogs should be better able to adapt, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jeff Humphrey. "When you see frogs declining," he said, "it throws a red flag and shows something is going wrong."

Illegal Wildlife Trade up to $6 Billion
June 3, 2005 news.yahoo.com

MOSCOW (AFP) -Next to drug trafficking, illegal trade in wild animals is the most profitable venture according to the World Wildlife Fund. Several of Russia's endangered species could find themselves extinct due illegal commerce. "The world's annual turnout of wild life trade is up to six billion dollars. Most of that trade is illegal, with up to 1000 percent profit," Alexei Vaisman, coordinator of the WWF's wildlife trade monitoring program, said. Among rare species, the kabarga deer had seen its population dwindle by up to five times, as its musk is also an expensive medical ingredient in China. "The smuggling of rare falcons has become a great problem. They are bought in the Arab states, for up to 50,000 dollars apiece, and the smuggling out of 600-650 birds a year seriously damages the population," Vaisman said. Even fairly common species like the Russian bear, which is hunted for its bile that is valued in Chinese medicine, is threatened.

Whooping Crane Born at Calgary zoo
03 Jun 2005 www.cbc.ca

The Calgary Zoo is now home to Canada's first baby whooping crane produced by artificial insemination, a feat that scientists say raises hopes for one of the continent's most endangered species. "It's another small step toward the recovery of this endangered species that has less than 500 birds in total right now," crane keeper Dwight Knapik said of the new chick, which is being cared for by its parents. In fact, at Canada's only crane breeding facility south of Calgary's Foothills, there are three more artificially inseminated eggs waiting to be hatched. A relatively small bird population and low reproductive rates have made artificial insemination critically important to the recovery of the species, biologists say. In the 1940s, the number of whooping cranes numbered in the teens. Today, there are around 450 and growing. "Now that Calgary can produce [artificially inseminated] chicks, it increases the diversity of the next generation and that's great," said John French of the Patuxent Wildlife Recovery Center in Laurel, Md. The U.S. centre has had better success with artificial insemination, creating approximately 90 birds through the technique. Meanwhile, the only wild population of whooping cranes is being left alone to make its annual trip from Texas to Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada.

Black Rhino’s Translocation
June 3, 2005 www.iol.co.za

KwaZulu-Natal is "giving away" another R10-million worth of endangered black rhinos to the private sector. The provincial nature conservation agency, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, says a second group of 17 to 20 black rhinos will be released soon into the new Zululand Rhino Reserve, south-west of Mkhuze town. The 17 000 hectare reserve is owned by a consortium of 12 land-owners who agreed to drop their boundary fences to form a new breeding haven for an animal whose numbers have plummeted dramatically. The decision follows a similar breeding-loan agreement with the Phinda/Mun-ya-Wana game reserve last year which aims to expand the range of black rhino and secure the long-term future of the species. The animals are worth about R500 000 each, according to conservation group World Wildlife Fund-South Africa. Several black rhino have been sold to private buyers over the past decade, but none of these animals have gone to KZN - partly due to the lack of large private rhino conservation land. As an incentive to create new breeding areas in KZN, founder population groups have been offered to approved reserves. All the original adult animals will remain the property of KZN Wildlife, but 50 percent of the progeny will become privately-owned.

Fort Bragg Monitors Red-cockaded Woodpeckers
June 3, 2005 rdu.news14.com

The second largest red-cockaded woodpecker population in the world is located in the longleaf pine trees of Fort Bragg. The bird is listed as an endangered species in the U.S. Since 1985, and Fort Bragg has actively worked actively to manage the population, banding and following the birds to determine their dispersal and productivity. "What we're doing for the woodpecker is also providing optimal training land for the army by keeping vegetation down and the woods open and keeping the canopy of the trees is excellent for training," said Terry Myers of the Fort Bragg Natural Resource Division.

Zoo Criticisms focus on Animal Care
June 3, 2005 www.azcentral.com By Dennis Wagner

A few years ago when Tinkerbell the porcupine wasn't performing well during educational shows at the Phoenix Zoo, keepers decided to reduce her diet. They just wanted to give her some incentive, but Tinkerbell died of starvation. And the incident is one of many listed by whistle-blowers who recently warned of a crisis in wildlife care at the 125-acre exhibition. The furor forced Arizona Zoological Society directors to commission a review by independent experts, whose report is being reviewed this week. It also prompted an investigation by U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors who enforce the nation's Animal Welfare Act. During the past three years, wildlife menageries and aquariums across the nation have come under fire based on sometimes-debatable allegations of neglect and mismanagement. Investigations stretched from the historic National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to a wolf sanctuary in Washington state. Controversy also hit animal exhibitions in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Toledo, Topeka and other cities. What's going on? The question itself prompts a heated crossfire between zoo defenders and animal rights activists. "This kind of issue has come up over and over again," says Richard Farinato, director of captive wildlife programs for the Humane Society of the United States. "Zoos should be for animals. Unfortunately, most of the time they're for people." Jane Ballentine, a spokeswoman for the Maryland-based non-profit American Zoo and Aquarium Association, answers that wildlife parks are being victimized by "animal rights extremists" and "sensationalist media" even though they are cleaner, safer and more humane than ever before. Humbug, counters Debbie Leahy, director of PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which opposes zoos entirely. She says those who cage wild animals are catching heat because "the national consciousness has been collectively raised. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg because this is a very poorly regulated industry," Leahy adds. 

St. Louis Zoo Chimpanzee Refuge
June 5, 2005 springfield.news-leader.com By Todd C. Frankel

St. Louis Zoo's new A 12,000-square-foot outdoor expanse for chimpanzees and orangutans is a part of the zoo's new $7 million Fragile Forest exhibit, which recently opened to the public. Primate curator Ingrid Porton noted that most of the zoo's eight chimpanzees had never been outside before. All but one had been born at zoos with limited outdoor space. For almost 20 years, both chimpanzees and the zoo’s four orangutans had lived in the adjacent, indoor Jungle of the Apes exhibit, where only the gorillas had access to an outdoor yard. The chimpanzees and orangutans now have 10 times more space to explore. "It's a drastic change for the animals," primates manager Joe Knobbe said.

Cincinnati Zoo Plans $40 million Extension
June 5, 2005 news.enquirer.com By Dan Klepal

AVONDALE - The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is set to begin raising money for its most expensive and ambitious expansion in history. The $40 million plan is meant to shape the park's future. This fall the campaign to raise money for a new entrance, a one-of-a-kind cheetah exhibit, and expansions of four displays demonstrating the scientific work at the zoo to save animals from extinction. Gregg Hudson is president of the 130-year old zoo, the nations second oldest with 1.2 million visitors a year.

Indianapolis Dolphin Pavillion
June 6, 2005 www.prnewswire.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Dolphin Pavillion is the first project in the Indianapolis Zoo's $31 million Campaign for Conservation and Community. The pavilion features a 30-foot diameter, fully-enclosed, underwater dome placed in the middle of the dolphin performance pool. The underwater spectator dome allows visitors a nearly 360-degree view of the dolphins - the first of its kind in the U.S. Mike Crowther, president, Indianapolis Zoo, said "We are trying to connect people on an emotional level, on an intellectual level, and even on a physical level. And the better connection that we can build, the better chance we have of saving wild animals." Behind the scenes, the Indianapolis Zoo is creating the Midwest's only in-water dolphin program. The 90-minute, fee-based, educational program is designed to give participants an opportunity to acquaint them with the training techniques used by the Indianapolis Zoo's Marine Mammal staff.

Houston Elephant Debate
June 6, 2005 www.chron.com By SALATHEIA BRYANT

Two hours before opening, handlers at the Houston Zoo busily prepare Thai, Shanti and Methai — their Asian elephant herd — for another day on exhibit and another day in captivity. The pachyderms are on exhibit 365 days a year, in a 25,000-square-foot enclosure, with a wooden platform that allows visitors to watch them wander around. By industry standards, they get the best of care, drawing thousands of visitors to the zoo each year while educating the public about the perils elephants face in the wild, zoo officials say. But recent elephant deaths at the zoo, as well as at other facilities across the country, have raised the question: Do they belong in captivity at all? "This is a critical juncture. A lot of facilities were just sort of cruising along. This controversy has stimulated them to think," said Michael Hutchins, executive director of ZooThink Inc., a consulting company that works with zoos, natural history museums and conservation groups. "Some zoos are going to get out of the elephant business. Others are going to step up to the bar, and life in captivity is going to be better than it's ever been."

El Paso Zoo Elephant Debate
June 6, 2005 www.ktsm.com 

AZA representatives and elephant specialists, Mark Reed and Steven McCuster have examined Savannah and Juno, and have announced them to be " healthy, content, and well taken care of." They said the animals had enough space for three elephants and were better taken care of than they would be in a sanctuary, where they would have less human contact. Steven McCuster, another elephant specialist from San Antonio, said elephants at a sanctuary don't even use most the land they have and discounted the belief that wild elephants travel 30-40 miles a day. But outside the zoo protestors say they are exhibiting signs of stress by "rocking" Representatives from the AZA said the rocking is not a sign of distress and even wild elephants do it. "The fact that they rock is not in anxiety its in anticipation," said McCusker, "and another theory is that they do what we do and they go back and forth to shift the weight, consider the body mass of an elephant." Both groups said they wont stop fighting for what they believe is right. "These elephants are getting incredible attention, almost one on one, they're not going to be getting this at the sanctuary," said Reed. El Paso’s city council will decide whether to keep the elephants.

Nashville Zoo Attendance
is Way Up
June 6, 2005 nashville.bizjournals.com 

TENNESSEE – Zoo officials are crediting the new Cal Turner Family Foundation African Elephant Savannah and mild weather for its record attendance last month of 92,376. That total easily topped the previous record of 74,923, set in June 1996. The May figure also is nearly 16,000 above projected totals, putting the zoo well ahead of its goal to draw 550,000 visitors this year. The $3.5 million, three-acre elephant habitat opened in April. The habitat has almost 7,000 plants, including 5,000 ornamental grasses, to resemble the grasslands of Africa, and includes a 150,000-gallon pool, mud holes and shade trees for three female elephants. This summer, the zoo plans to open a walk-in aviary for its lorikeets (Australian parrots) and "Alligator Cove," designed to resemble a Louisiana swamp.

Single origin of Malagasy primates
June 6, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

New Haven, Conn.--Yale biologists have managed to extract and analyze DNA from giant, extinct lemurs, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Radiocarbon dating of the bones and teeth from which the DNA was obtained reveal that each of the individuals analyzed died well over 1,000 years ago, according to the senior author, Anne Yoder. Living lemurs comprise more than 50 species, all of which are unique to the island of Madagascar. Evolutionary analysis of the DNA obtained from the extinct giants reveals that they, like the living lemurs, are descended from a single primate ancestor that colonized Madagascar more than 60 million years ago.

New Vaccines for Ebola and Marburg in Monkeys
June 6, 2005 www.nytimes.com By DENISE GRADY

Scientists trying to develop vaccines against Africa's deadly Marburg and Ebola viruses are reporting an important milestone, a new type of vaccine that prevents the diseases in monkeys. Successfully immunizing monkeys is an essential step toward producing human vaccines. Two new vaccines, one for Marburg and one for Ebola, were 100 percent effective in a study of 12 macaques being published today in the journal Nature Medicine. Monkeys given just one shot of vaccine and later injected with a high dose of virus did not even get sick. Normally, all the animals would be expected to die. The Marburg and Ebola viruses are closely related, and in both people and monkeys they cause hemorrhagic fevers that can be fatal within a week. There is no vaccine or treatment for either disease. Death rates in people can be high, sometimes exceeding 80 or 90 percent. Angola, where a Marburg epidemic was first detected in March, is still struggling to contain the disease, which has killed 340 of 408 victims. The virus is spread by contact with blood, saliva, vomit or other fluids from sick patients. The two new vaccines are still experimental, and will not be ready to be tested in people for at least two years. If human trials are successful, products might be ready for licensing five or six years from now, the researchers said. The vaccines would not be used for routine immunization, but would be given to health workers in high risk areas, virus researchers and people who had been exposed to the disease, such as relatives and others in close contact with sick patients. Eventually, it might be possible to combine the vaccines to protect people from both diseases with a single shot. The new vaccines are not the first to protect monkeys. An earlier one, first proved in 2003, may go into safety studies in people in the United States later this year. Each vaccine has its advocates, and researchers say it is advantageous to have several candidates on the horizon.

French Team Cloning Vietnam Ox
June 6, 2005 www.expatica.com

PARIS, June 6 (AFP) - French researchers have begun an inventory of animal species in Vietnam and a programme to clone those which are endangered to ensure their survival, a French public research institute said. One of these endangered species is the forest-dwelling ox or saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), Vietnam's emblematic mammal which weighs about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and whose discovery was only announced in 1995 in the journal Nature. "It is urgent to save it (the saola), and reproductive cloning is the solution which was decided on," said the French Centre for International Cooperation and Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD) which participated in three-day European research exhibition in Paris at the weekend. "At the moment, six-day-old embryos have been developed thanks to a cloning technique involving the transfer of cell nuclei. A number of them have been frozen, ready for implantations into carrier mothers". The programme is part of the French Biodiva project signed in 2003 for three years and funded by the foreign ministry which aims to take an inventory of and conserve the many different animals species which inhabit the isolated mountainous regions of Vietnam such as the forest-dwelling bison or gaura, the Javan rhinoceros and the giant muntjac, a type of deer. 

Protection for Barton Springs Salamander
June 6, 2005 www.bizjournals.com

The Save Our Springs alliance, an Austin environmental activist group, sent the letters yesterday to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting protection for the Barton Springs salamander, which resides in Barton Springs in Austin. The group threatens to sue under the Endangered Species Act if more isn't done. Specifically, the SOS claims the Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to finalize a salamander recovery plan and delegated water quality requirements associated with protection to the TCEQ. A Fish and Wildlife representative denies the agency isn't doing enough, saying a partnership with the TCEQ provides acceptable water quality standards. Bob Pine, supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife's Austin Ecological Services office says "We're looking for partners in any way we can in attempt to benefit the salamander through water quality standards."

Dallas Plans a Memorial Gorilla Movie
June 6, 2005 www.dallasnews.com By KIMBERLY DURNAN 

The Dallas Zoo and its volunteers are making an educational, behind-the-scenes film about gorillas, which will end with a memorial to Jabari, the primate that was gunned down by police after it escaped. The Docents Association has collected several hundred dollars from its members for a memorial 20-minute film from the point of view of a gorilla and a zookeeper, said Daryl Rupp, president of the association. "We wanted to film back-scene stuff and create something we could show in the gorilla research station. It’s going to start out with the camera coming in like the keeper comes in every morning looking at the living rooms, bedroom area and kitchen – exactly what the keeper sees when coming in the morning." The film will cost an estimated $2,000 to $2,500 and likely will be broadcast on monitors within the zoo’s gorilla research station, where volunteer guides spend hours observing the animals and discussing them with the public, Rupp said. The docents still are trying to raise about $1,500, possibly from the Dallas Zoological Society, he said.

Surgery for Riverbanks Zoo Koala
June 6, 2005 www.wistv.com

COLUMBIA, SC - Riverbanks Zoo officials say the death of her baby 2 weeks ago may have contributed to a koala’s illness. She was rushed to surgery Monday to clear up a mammary gland infection that was attributed to her sudden inability to nurse. Lab results showed the baby died from a type of bacterial pneumonia. Zoo vets say it's a pneumonia that gets into the lungs and is found in both wild and captive koalas.

Tulsa Zoo’s Religion Controversy
June 6, 2005 www.kotv.com

The Tulsa Zoo has a statue of an elephant called "Ganesha" by their elephant exhibit. For Hindu's, Ganesha is a revered deity, one of the most important in the religion. But the curator of the exhibit, Brett Fidler, says "We exhibit it out of the religious context, strictly as a museum piece." Dan Hicks, a zoo visitor wants it removed or wants a biblical account of creation included. The Tulsa Zoo says the belief that God created the animals has no scientific merit and that's why it's not mentioned at the zoo. "We display things that have been proven through the scientific method and intelligent design has not been proven, to the point that it belongs at an institution like the Tulsa Zoo." The critics also think one of the zoo's most visible symbols, the big globe by the entrance, evokes religion through the saying "the earth is our mother, the sky is our father". Zoo staff says it's there to add a Native American flair, but Hicks believe it's another example of openness to anything but the Christian view.

Jersey Zoo will sell Training Centre
June 6, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

Over the past 20 years more than 1,000 wildlife experts from around the world have trained at the Les Noyeurs centre. It is being sold after a review by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust of the way it is run. The higher diploma course will continue based at the Princess Royal Pavilion in Jersey, rather than at the centre. Other courses offered by the trust include the Diploma in Endangered Species Management which includes the management of captive breeding and caring for species in their native habitat.

Critcal Habitat for Munz’s Onion
June 7, 2005 news.fws.gov

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published today a final rule designating approximately 176 acres of land for the federally endangered Allium munzii (Munz's onion). All of the area designated as critical habitat lies within the boundaries of the U.S. Forest Service's Cleveland National Forest. Economic impacts associated with the critical habitat designation on Cleveland National Forest near Elsinore Peak are estimated to be $33,849 between 2005 and 2025. Approximately 1,068 acres of land identified as essential to the conservation of the species have been excluded from critical habitat designation because they are covered by the Rancho Bella Vista, North Peak Development Project, Lake Mathews and the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plans. "The area designated as critical habitat for Munz's onion supports a population of about 5,000 plants and is one of the least disturbed populations of this species that remains," said Steve Thompson, Manager of the Service's California/Nevada Operations. "We will continue working closely with the Forest Service to address the conservation needs of this plant." Munz's onion, a member of the lily family, is restricted to certain clay soils in western Riverside County, California. There are fewer than 19 known populations of Munz's onion. Most of the populations contain fewer than 1,000 individual plants but there are five larger populations that number between 2,000 and 50,000 plants. A copy of the final rule, economic analysis, and other information about Munz's onion is available on the Internet at carlsbad.fws.gov, or by contacting the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office at telephone number (760) 431-9440.

Dolphin Tool Use
June 7, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By James Owen

The first evidence of tool-use in marine mammals has been reported by researchers in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Dolphins there have been observed holding a marine sponge, broken off from the seabed over their snouts for use as a fishing tool. This odd hunting technique originated in a single female and is passed from mother to daughter. Basing their findings on genetic analysis, the research team suggests that this so-called sponging behavior represents the first known example of tool-related culture in cetaceans. Details of the study were published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We believe they use [marine sponges] to probe in the [seafloor soil] for fish," said co-author Michael Krützen, of Zurich University's Anthropological Institute and Museum in Switzerland. The sponges probably act as a protective glove so the dolphins don't get stung by stonefish," Krützen added. (The stonefish is a bottom dweller with highly venomous spines.) The sponge also appears to disturb fish hiding on the seabed. The dolphins then snap the fish up. The hunting tactic was almost wholly confined to a small group of females and their daughters among the Shark Bay population, with just a single male showing the same behavior.

Zoo Directors Experience 3D in Berlin
June 7, 2005 www.dcinematoday.com

On May 26, 140 zoo directors from all over Central Europe held a meeting at the Berlin zoo to exchange experiences. This year’s convention featured a very special attraction: stereoscopic nature films by nWave Pictures such as Blue Magic, The Majestic Leopard and PandaVision. After a short introduction to the principles of 3D projection, the razor sharp 3D images were projected with the Kinoton digital HD StereoVision System. This complete package includes an HD StereoVision Player with two synchronised output channels and two venue-appropriate digital projectors together with dowsers and polarisation filters. For this application, two Sanyo HD 10 video projectors were deployed. The HD StereoVision System provides passive 3D projection. The two output channels of the HD StereoVision Player run perfectly synchronously, transmitting separate pictures to the digital projectors. The 3D glasses worn by the audience are polarised in the same manner as the light emitted by the projectors, so the right eye can only see the images shown by the right projector while the left eye can only perceive the left projector’s pictures. These different views create a vivid impression of depth for any observer. 

New zoo plan is ‘back’ on drawing board
7 June, 2005 www.khaleejtimes.com  By Zaigham Ali Mirza

DUBAI, UAI — The proposal for a new zoo in Dubai is being studied by top officials in Dubai Municipality Officially announced in June 2003, the proposed new zoo has been long overdue. According to the plans revealed then, the 560-hectare Dh610 million 'landmark new zoo' was to be located adjacent to the Mushrif Park and replace the existing cramped facility in Jumeirah. Sources said that it was still unclear if the same plans would be finalized, as other options are also being considered. The existing zoo has been a major attraction for residents of Dubai and neighbouring emirates. In 2004 it had a total of 405,867 visitors, up from 366,023 visitors in 2003, and the highest since it was opened 13 years ago. Because of spatial constraints the existing facility can only maintain around 1,000 animals.

Ohio Osprey Population Revived
June 7, 2005 www.nytimes.com By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

CHARDON, Ohio (AP) -- Environmental experts say the state's osprey population is self-sustaining less than a decade after the Division of Wildlife reintroduced the raptor to Ohio. Approximately 36 nesting pairs of osprey are expecting offspring soon. The state reintroduced the bird in 1996 after it was absent for much of the 1900s in the state. Chemical pesticides and the destruction of its habitat led to the bird's decline in the area. Osprey eat mostly fish and tend to live near water. It is still on the state's endangered species list.

World-class Zoo Negara by 2015
June 7, 2005 thestar.com.my BY LISA GOH

KUALA LUMPUR: Zoo Negara aims to become a world-standard facility by 2015. Zoo Negara director Dr Mohd Ngah said "We hope that by then most of the animals will no longer be caged but will be separated from the public by means of a moat, like those of our large cats’ enclosures now." He said the 42.5ha zoo still had about 30% of land to be developed and it was hoping that its request for an allocation of RM150mil would be approved under the Ninth Malaysian Plan. "We hope to improve the public amenities – perhaps providing a canopy walk and such in the safari area which we expect to build in the 30% of land yet to be developed" Malaysia hopes to host to the International Zoo Convention for the first time in September 2007. HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd recently donated RM100,000 for the maintenance and upkeep of the zoo’s seven Sun Bears and three Brown Bears.

Australian geckos show surprising strengths
June 7, 2005 www.lclark.edu 

Portland, Ore. – The Australian Bynoe’s gecko, a line of all-female geckos doesn’t need sex or a male to reproduce and, contrary to expectations, these "Wonder Woman" geckos can run farther and faster than their sexually reproducing relatives. The research findings are published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology (Vol. 78, 3, May/June 2005) by Michael Kearney, Rebecca Wahl and Kellar Autumn. Their "clonal" way of reproducing means that a mother’s babies are genetically identical to her. A further twist to the story is that many parthenogentic species, including the Bynoe’s gecko, evolved when two species crossed, or hybridized, said Michael Kearney. He is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research at the University of Melbourne in Australia. "This makes them a bit like mules, which are a cross between a horse and a donkey," said Kearney. "Mules are very robust animals, but they cannot reproduce."

Lynx Comeback in Minnesota
June 7, 2005 www.duluthsuperior.com By Associated Press

BRIMSON, Minn. -- Only five years ago, biologists declared lynx eliminated from Minnesota. But when they started looking hard, researchers found lynx across St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties of northeastern Minnesota. Last year, a lynx den was discovered in Minnesota for the first time in more than 20 years. Ron Moen, lead researcher for the lynx project for the Natural Resources Research Institute of the University of Minnesota Duluth, leads a team that searches out and tags newborn cubs. Moen says that although there may have been no lynx or perhaps just a few in Minnesota in the 1990s, there's no question the wildcat is making a comeback now. The presence of more than 60 individual lynx has been confirmed in the state through DNA testing. More lynx DNA samples await laboratory confirmation. And at least four female lynx are currently raising kittens to add to the numbers. All those confirmations have come in just the three northeasternmost counties. Researchers now have money to expand their search westward across the state and will start looking later this year. "They've been found as far west as Red Lake for sure, and one was hit by a vehicle near Hinckley. Their range is fairly broad now," said Ed Lindquist, biologist for the Superior National Forest.

Animal Sounds in Different Languages
June 7, 2005 www.nytimes.com By Sarah Boxer

It turns out that British, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Polish, Arab, Greek, Italian, Dutch and Danish children all agree that a duck more or less quacks. But the Japanese ducks say "da-da-da," and the South Korean says "day-dub." The Pakistani ducks say "tay-tay-tay." And the Croatians go "back-back-back." The Hungarian quack is so close to a real duck's sound that it is almost impossible to transcribe. bzzpeek.com is a Web site devoted to onomatopoeia. For anyone who does not know what onomatopoeia is, bzzzpeek.com will gladly demonstrate. In fact, that's pretty much all the site does. Onomatopoetic words, "buzz," "beep" and "moo," for instance, mimic the action or object they represent. They are, in theory, international, part of a lingua franca. Cows after all, don't moo differently in Spain than in Japan, do they? And all donkeys hee-haw, don't they?

SF Bears Finally Named
June 8, 2005 sfgate.com

The grizzly girls at the San Francisco Zoo finally have names. They are American Indian names as required in a contest that came to be called Grizzlygate. The blond bear will be known as Kachina, which translates to "sacred dancer," while her chocolate-colored sister will go by Kiona, or "brown hills."  A nine-year old girl and 10-year old boy submitted the names. There were 750 submissions. The bears were supposed to get their names in January, but in April, the zoo decided to auction the naming rights instead. Fortunately the auction winners Cinnie and Merrill Magowan of Hillsborough -- who had planned to name the bears after themselves when their $32,500 bid was accepted at a gala fund-raiser -- resolved to consider contest entries instead. They chose 10 names from those submitted and let zookeepers make the final call. There were 19 entries for Kiona and three for Kachina, so a random drawing determined the two winners, who are getting prize baskets filled with grizzly items, such as plush toys, worth $100.

Koala Immigration Problems
June 8, 2005 news.scotsman.com By LINDA SUMMERHAYES

Outside of Australia, San Diego Zoo is the biggest keeper and breeder of koalas. Two of their koalas, Chumbee and Jannali, were expected to arrive at the Edinburgh Zoo in time for a major Australian festival but they have been held up by United States officials. Edinburgh Zoo spokeswoman Kate Turnbull said "We knew it would take up to three months for the paperwork to get processed so we knew we might have to reschedule. "We now hope we can show them off on Sunday, August 28 when there will be an extended opening from 9am to 9pm to cope with the expected demand." It is the first time koalas will have been kept in a UK zoo since 1992 and the imminent arrival of Chumbee and Jannali has created much excitement. A steady supply of the eucalyptus leaves enjoyed by koalas in their native homes in the eastern Australian states of Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales has also been arriving at the zoo.

Chimpanzees May Hold Vital Clues To AIDS Mystery
June 8, 2005 www.rednova.com

Paul Sharp of Britain's University of Nottingham told an AIDS conference in Durban that the latest research indicated that chimpanzees -- humanity's closest living relative -- were an important but increasingly endangered resource for a better understanding of the HIV virus. Chimpanzee populations are infected with viruses which closely resemble the HIV-1 strain of the AIDS virus most common among humans. Unlike humans, however, chimps do not progress to full-blown AIDS, an intriguing mystery for researchers who hope to discover how to slow or stop the deadly disease in humans. Sharp said researchers believed that chimpanzees originally contracted their version of the HIV virus -- known as SIV -- from other monkeys and that, at least initially, they likely suffered from AIDS-like symptoms which may have caused death. He said it was now believed that either the virus evolved to become less deadly, a scenario he described as unlikely given the long incubation period, or that chimpanzees themselves developed physical strategies for disarming the virus or holding off its impact on their immune systems. He said this natural coping mechanism may already be starting in some human populations, noting that studies have found isolated but as-yet unexplained instances of individuals where HIV infection does not progress at the same rate as seen in broader samples.

Houston Zoo Raises Prices
June 8, 2005 www.chron.com By SALATHEIA BRYANT

Houston Zoo Inc., the private nonprofit that operates the zoo, will increase adult ticket prices 21 percent July 1 — the third increase since it took over management of the city facility in 2002. Deborah Cannon, president and chief executive officer, said zoo officials looked at at least 18 other comparable zoos before setting the new rate schedule. For a family of four, we're still cheaper than going to the movies, and it's all-day entertainment." The increase — a $7 adult ticket will now cost $8.50 — coincides with the new fiscal year. The zoo's board approved a $20.2 million budget for 2006, up from $18 million.  The zoo will also increase the cost of its membership packages that include unlimited free visits and discounts to special programs and to other zoos. For example, the basic membership package will cost $50 up from $45. From 1922 to 1989, it cost nothing to visit the Houston Zoo, which today draws more than 1 million visitors each year. When HZI took over operations of the city facility, admission was $2.50 for adults.

What other Zoos Charge:

• Dallas Zoo: $8 adults, $5 children

• Audubon Zoo-New Orleans: $12 adults, $7 children 2-12

• Philadelphia Zoo: March 19-Oct. 31, adults $16.95; children 2-11 $13.95

• Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Free

• The Bronx Zoo: $11 adults, $8 children 2-12. On July 1, adult price will go up to $12.

• The San Diego Zoo: $21 adults, $14 children 3-11

German Zoo's Africa Event Criticized
June 8, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

The Augsburg Zoo is planning to stage "The African Village" - a four-day event opening on June 9. The event is intended to give visitors a taste of Africa with craft sellers, drummers, story tellers, music groups and food from around Africa. But German anti-racism forces and representatives from the black community and academics, claim that setting it in the town's zoo is racist. Noah Sow, founder of Der Braune Mob - an organisation that monitors race issues in the German media, said "It is just not the right place to display human beings, let alone their culture, Two hundred years ago African people were displayed in zoos. Now we're in 2005 and one could get the impression that nothing's really changed." Zoo Director Barbara Jantschke said she does not see anything wrong with staging the event in a zoo, where many cultural exhibitions are held. "It's a kind of market where you can see African products." She expects the event to attract some 20,000 visitors.

Killing bighorns exposed to domestic sheep
June 8, 2004 www.latimes.com Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - State wildlife officials have proposed a controversial plan to kill endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep that have had contact with domestic sheep infected with highly contagious diseases. In a proposal published last month, the state Department of Fish and Game said "allowing potentially infected animals to travel back to native bighorn herds and spread disease could be far more disastrous to bighorn recovery than the loss of a single animal through lethal take." But environmentalists oppose the plan, saying that domestic sheep instead should be removed from federal grazing lands in the rocky Eastern Sierra where bighorns live. "The proposal to kill wild bighorns to 'protect' them from domestic sheep is unwise and unethical," the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Inyo wrote in a letter. "What is necessary is to get domestic sheep away from bighorns now." After the bighorn population in the central and southern Sierra Nevada declined to a low of 100 about 10 years ago, the federal government in 2000 listed the elusive, agile creatures as an endangered species. The population has climbed to an estimated 350 in recent years, but state wildlife officials say their rising numbers increase the potential for contact with domestic sheep that carry pneumonia and other diseases that can wipe out the wild herds. "We are willing to sacrifice an animal that is diseased or potentially diseased, because of the devastating consequences," said Vern Bleich, the state biologist who heads the species recovery team. Montana wildlife officials used a similar strategy, but bighorn sheep are not listed as endangered there, Bleich said. After reviewing public comments received during a 30-day period that ended Monday, wildlife officials will decide whether to authorize the capture and possible killing of potentially infected bighorn sheep.

Woodland Park Zoo Neighbors Fight Garage
June 8, 2005 www.komotv.com By George Howell

SEATTLE - People living near The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle are fighting a plan to put a four-story parking garage in their neighborhood. Hundreds of residents packed into an auditorium on the Zoo grounds, demanding the City of Seattle reconsider building the garage on zoo property. Neighbors say the garage will be an eyesore, and bring too much traffic through their neighborhood. Many of the people who attended the meeting are also concerned about a proposal that would require residents to fork out $35 a year to park their cars along nearby streets. "They just sprung this on us," explained Sonja Tilton, who attended the meeting. "I just heard about this two days ago." Another longtime resident said, "Well, it's the size of a football field, it's four levels high. And then there's supposed to be another office building, and then a banquet center. So, it's like what are they thinking of to have these huge buildings in a place that's supposed to be natural, and to take care of the animals?" Despite all of the disagreement from the meeting, city leaders say the parking garage is a done deal.

Borneo Lowland Forests Face Extinction
June 08, 2005 www.enn.com By Reuters

JAKARTA — The lowland tropical rain forests in Indonesian Borneo could disappear in five years due to rampant logging and forest fires. In its report called "Treasure island at risk", the World Wide Fund (WWF) said the loss of forest would drastically affect the island's wildlife, endangering ecological wonders like the pygmy elephant and orang-utan, whose long-term survival is already in doubt. The world's third-largest island has lost forests equivalent to an area one third the size of Switzerland every year, or at a rate of 1.3 million hectares. It is home to more than 210 mammal species, including 44 found only in Borneo. "The consequences of this scale of deforestation will not only result in a major loss of species but also disrupt water supplies and reduce future economic opportunities such as tourism and subsistence for local communities," Chris Elliott, director of the WWF's Global Forest Programme, said in a statement. By 2020, the remaining populations of orang-utans may be too small to be genetically viable due to fragmentation of their habitat, the WWF report said. Indonesia, having lost more than 70 percent of its original frontier forest, has launched a crackdown on illegal logging, but many activists complain the authorities have failed to catch the big bosses behind the lucrative trade. Indonesia shares jurisdiction of Borneo, which lies at the centre of Indonesia's archipelago, with Malaysia and Brunei. The WWF wants to help the three nations to convert more than 22 million hectares of rainforest in an area known as "Heart of Borneo" into a reserve taking up a quarter of the island. "In the Heart of Borneo we can still achieve conservation on a big scale and win before we are left with small, fragmented forest patches," said Stuart Chapman, international coordinator of the Heart of Borneo Initiative.

Phoenix Zoo mostly clean bill of health
June 9, 2005 www.azcentral.com By Dennis Wagner

Although a USDA investigation is still underway, three independent zoological professionals have issued a nine page report clearing the Phoenix Zoo of systemic problems with animal care. While these experts found flaws in the zoo's hierarchy, staffing and planning, they did not investigage the specific allegations of animal abuse raised by an insider. Both probes were prompted by criticism from Kris Nelson, a Scottsdale veterinarian who serves on the zoo's Animal Health Committee. Last month, Nelson publicly disclosed a list of specific incidents wherein she said animals suffered or died unnecessarily. She warned that the 125-acre menagerie in Papago Park is on the brink of a scandal comparable to one that enveloped the National Zoo after a series of wildlife deaths two years ago. Congress ordered an independent investigation in 2003. "In general, the review team did not see evidence of serious deficiencies in the animal care practices in Phoenix Zoo," says a nine-page report by three zoological professionals. "No fundamental, park-wide animal health issues were seen." Despite those favorable findings, evaluators describe a litany of flaws in the zoo's hierarchy, staffing and future planning. In one section, they declared, "There is currently no clear plan for the zoo." Elsewhere, they found unclear lines of authority over animal health and husbandry.

The Wisdom of Zoos
June 9, 2005 www.csmonitor.com By Amanda Paulson

CHICAGO – Christian Science Monitor - The only elephants visible these days at the Lincoln Park Zoo's once-popular exhibit are the bronze mother and baby on a nearby drinking fountain. Even the signs by the empty enclosure have been removed. Wankie, the last of the three elephants, died last month after transport to Salt Lake City. Tatima and Peaches died in October and January. The deaths may be both natural and coincidental. Tatima, for instance, was 55 years old; Peaches contracted a rare respiratory disease. But the elephants are only the largest examples in a string of publicized animal deaths here, including three langur monkeys, two gorillas, a camel, and a marmoset, and they've sparked several investigations into zoo practices, elicited a storm of letters to the editor, and fueled a long-running debate about whether elephants - or, for that matter, other animals - belong behind bars.

PETA complaint against St Louis Zoo
June 9, 2005 www.kansascity.com By CHERYL WITTENAUER

ST. LOUIS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asking the USDA to investigate last month's death of a male polar bear at the Saint Louis Zoo. PETA claims it received a letter from an unnamed person on June 3 contending that a zookeeper, not someone from the public, left a plastic bag and other foreign objects in the bear exhibit. Churchill ingested the objects, which obstructed his stomach, causing his death on May 26. The zoo said its regular USDA inspector met with its pathologist and curator of carnivores on Monday, read the treatment notes and post-mortem report and found no indication of any animal care violation. "It's so unfortunate they choose to blame the people who care the most for animals," Dr. Eric Miller, director of the zoo's WildCare Institute, said Thursday. PETA's captive exotic animal specialist, Lisa Wathne, said Thursday she's concerned the USDA inspector drew her conclusion without knowing the letter writer's specific allegations."There's no way for us to know if they are true," Wathne said. "That's why we contacted the USDA. They have access to zookeeper and veterinary log books. We want them to let us know if these (allegations) are true." She added, "the details included in the letter sure lead us to believe (the whistleblower) is someone who works there." The letter to PETA further alleged that despite obvious signs that Churchill was in distress, the concern of keepers, and the recommendations of the attending veterinarians, it took up to two weeks for the curator to agree to exploratory surgery for the bear.

Cameron Park Zoo exhibits Texas wildlife
June 9, 2005 www.kcentv.com

A new Brazos River Country exhibit is set to open the first weekend in July at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco.. It was made possible by a $9.5 million bond issue voters passed back in 2000. A new otter exhibit is sponsored by NBC 6. The centerpiece is a sunken Spanish galleon that houses a 50,000 gallon saltwater coral reef aquarium featuring fish from the Gulf of Mexico. Exiting the aquarium, a boardwalk over a sandy beach, visitors see pelicans, gulls and other coastal birds. Bears, cougars, coyotes and river otters from an east Texas forest are also on display along with Brazos River fauna in a 35,000 gallon freshwater aquarium. There is a fossil dig for kids, waterfalls and roaming buffalo from the Texas high plains area. Thursday night, the zoo is holding a special media preview called "Meet the Flockers" and the public will get its first chance to see the exhibit on Saturday, July 2nd.

$1 million for Philadelphia Zoo Cat Exhibit
June 9, 2005 www.philly.com By Marc Schogol

The Bank of America has contributed $1 million to the zoo for an exhibit now under construction that will be called Bank of America Big Cat Falls. Zoo president Pete Hoskins said that under the renewable three-year agreement, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation also will contribute an unspecified amount for other projects and activities. Hoskins said corporate sponsorships have become an "important funding tool for major nonprofit organizations like zoos." The new exhibit is replacing the zoo's old Carnivore House and will open next May. It will house more than a dozen big cats - including African lions, leopards, jaguars, mountain lions and Amur tigers - in natural, indoor and outdoor habitats. The 1.7-acre site will include the waterfalls referred to in the attraction's name. Hoskins said that the cost of the new exhibit was about $20 million, and that with the contribution from Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America, the zoo had just about raised the necessary money. It is not the first naming sponsorship at the zoo. In 1999 the Peco Primate Reserve opened. And since then, the Dodge Rare Animal Conservation Center and the Tastykake Children's Zoo.

Dolphin and Porpoise Population Study
June 9, 2005 www.worldwildlife.org Sarah Janicke

WASHINGTON,/U.S. Newswire/ -- Leading marine scientists for the first time have assessed dolphin and porpoise populations around the world which are severely threatened by entanglement in fishing gear and recommended nine urgent priorities for action in a report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund. These nine projects highlight species threatened by bycatch that are the most likely to benefit from immediate action but are languishing without intervention. The list of dolphins and porpoises that could recover if changes to fishing methods and other conservation efforts are made includes harbor porpoises in the Black Sea, where thousands of porpoises are killed each year; Atlantic humpback dolphins off the coast of west Africa; and franciscana dolphins in South America. Most of the species on the list are threatened by the widespread use of one type of fishing gear - gillnets. These nets are difficult for dolphins and porpoises to spot visually or detect with their sonar. "Almost 1,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die every day in nets and fishing gear. Some species are being pushed to the brink of extinction," said Karen Baragona of WWF's species conservation program."

Mysore Zoo Rhinos need mates
June 9, 2005 www.starofmysore.com 

Mysore, Mysore Zoo authorities are looking for suitable mates for Bhima, a white rhino (Perato therium simum) aged 36 and Priya, (Diceros bicornis) aged 10, both two-horned rhinos of African origin. Bhima's mate Hidimbi, died three years ago, after falling ill. He seems to be very depressed since then. He was brought here from a Zoo in Southern part of Germany in 1971 when he was two years old. Priya was born in Mysore Zoo, to her parents Rajendra and Prema. She too had a mate till last year, when he died due to a malady. The average life span of an African Rhino is 40 to 45 years. It means that Bhima is nearing his old age, but Priya should be ready to breed. According to Zoo Executive Director Manoj Kumar, rhinos of the same genera are available at a Zoo in Korea. While they don’t wish to sell the animals, they are willing to exchange them for elephants. This is a common trend in all the Zoos in the world. However, stringent norms are imposed on the transport of animals overseas, and this is a major hurdle.

USFWS Hushed Report on Pygmy Owl
June 9, 2005 www.tucsonweekly.com By Tim Vanderpool

The ferruginous pygmy owl was slowing construction of a high school in 2003, when the Federal Ninth District Circuit Court ruled in favor of The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, describing the 1997 listing of the owl as "arbitrary and capricious." claiming that agency officials hadn't proven Arizona's pygmy population to be fully distinct from its cousin in other states and Mexico. But a secret document titled "White Paper: Significance of the Western Population(s) of the Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl" issued in December 2003–a few months after the ruling, boosts arguments that Arizona's pygmy owl displayed sufficient "discreteness"--or was distinct enough--to deserve special protection. And though there's been talk of plumping Arizona's population with owls from Sonora, the paper notes that land clearing and invasive plant species are wreaking habitat upon their habitat in Mexico. In addition, the paper notes that pygmy owls aren't protected by law in Mexico. (Indeed, a recent study by UA researchers Robert Steidl and Aaron Flesch found that male pygmy owl populations in Northern Sonora decreased to 28 in 2004, down from 55 only four years earlier.) "Based on this new information," says the paper, "the argument for discreteness based on differences in conservation status is stronger today than it was in 1997," when the bird was first listed as endangered. Unfortunately, the paper was sequestered away until conservation groups finally received copies through back channels and the federal Freedom of Information Act. Either way, many observers expect the report to be fully ignored, since it's contrary to the Bush administration's drive to shrink the Endangered Species List. The lesson here? Never let good science get in the way of pro-business politics.

Fishing Nets Kill 1,000 Marine Mammals Daily
June 09, 2005 www.enn.com By Ed Stoddard, Reuters

JOHANNESBURG — Almost 1,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die daily in fishing nets and urgent changes are needed in trawling methods to save nine populations under immediate threat, conservation group WWF said on Thursday. "Almost 1,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die every day in nets and fishing gear. That's one every two minutes," said Dr Susan Lieberman, director of WWF's Global Species Programme. "Some species are being pushed to the brink of extinction. Urgent action is needed," she said. Air-breathing mammals, dolphins and other cetacea drown if they get trapped underwater by fishing gear -- becoming what the industry refers to as "bycatch". The report says nine dolphin and porpoise populations -- 10 species in total -- need immediate action if they are to survive the threat of commercial fishing nets. "Between 1993 and 2003, fisheries in the United States introduced changes, such as modifications of fishing gear, that reduced cetacean bycatch to one-third of its previous levels," WWF said. "But so far, few of these successful measures have been transferred to other countries, and in much of the rest of the world, progress to reduce bycatch has been slow or nonexistent." Innovations include attaching acoustic alarms to nets which annoy marine mammals -- a method that has reduced harbour porpoise deaths in the Gulf of Maine. WWF said its report would be submitted to the International Whaling Commission's scientific committee which will be meeting later this month in South Korea.

Bush Administration Changed Climate Reports
June 09, 2005 www.enn.com By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration said Wednesday that changes made in government reports on global warming by a former oil industry advocate were part of a normal interagency review and did not violate a pledge to base environmental policy on sound science. "The facts point out that our reports are based on the best scientific knowledge and they're based on the inputs of scientists," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. Documents provided to the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that helps whistle-blowers, showed that a White House official who once was the oil industry's chief lobbyist on climate change, edited major administration reports on the phenomenon in 2002 and 2003. The official, Philip Cooney, is chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Cooney, an attorney with no science background, formerly he headed the climate issues program of the American Petroleum Institute. His changes in several major administration climate reports, some subtle with an insert of an adjective or other qualifier, tended to emphasize that climate science and the environmental impact of climate change were uncertain, according to a summary of the documents provided by the Government Accountability Project.

Critical Habitat for Fish Slough milk-vetch
June 9, 2005 news.fws.org

The U.S.F.W.S.. published a final rule today designating 8,007 acres of critical habitat for Fish Slough milk-vetch - a plant found exclusively in a desert wetland oasis in Mono and Inyo counties in southeastern California. In June 2004, 8,490 acres were proposed as critical habitat for the milk-vetch. A 483-acre parcel in Inyo County was not designated as critical habitat because surveys have demonstrated that neither the milk-vetch nor its habitat occur in the parcel. Federal land accounts for 5,401 acres of the designated critical habitat, while the city of Los Angeles owns 2,440 acres. The remaining 166 acres are located on State-owned lands. The final rule was published in today’s Federal Register. Fish Slough milk-vetch, a member of the pea family, is a perennial with lavender flowers. Threats faced by the plant include habitat destruction from off-road vehicle use; moderate to intense levels of cattle grazing; grazing by native animals; competition with non-native plant species; changes in its preferred habitat; ground water pumping and water diversions that alter the Fish Slough hydrology. Native plants are important for their ecological, economic, and aesthetic values. Plants play an important role in development of crops that resist disease, insects, and drought. At least 25 percent of prescription drugs contain ingredients derived from plant compounds, including medicine to treat cancer, heart disease, juvenile leukemia, malaria, and assist in organ transplants. Plants are also used to develop natural pesticides. A copy of the final rule, economic analysis, and other information about Fish Slough milk-vetch is available on the Internet at ventura.fws.gov, or by calling the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at 805/644-1766.

SF Penguin Keeper Quits
June 10, 2005 sfgate.com By Patricia Yollin

Jane Tollini, the world's most famous penguin keeper and creator of the popular Valentine's Day animal sex tour, has left the San Francisco Zoo. Over two decades, she turned a group of Magellanic penguins into the most prolific captive colony in the world and also the most publicized – when the birds embarked on a 6, 200-mile mock migration around their pool in January 2003. Dunker quit March 12th after she disagreed with head vet Freeland Dunker over treating the birds for Chlamydia psittaci, a contagious bacterial infection that attacks the respiratory system. Three died from the disease itself and nine others from "collateral damage," including heart failure and renal disease. The vet remains convinced that administering doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic, was the best approach -- it works for parrots. "This is the first case of chlamydia I know of for penguins in captivity or in the wild," said Dunker, who did extensive research. "We basically have something new here. We could have lost the whole colony." However, Tollini said the drug's side effects were devastating -- including anorexia and eye problems tied to light sensitivity. She favored a wait-and-see strategy and the use of Baytril, a gentler medication. She said the birds associated the medicine with food because it was hidden in their fish and injecting it would have been preferable -- an option Dunker said was infeasible because the supply of injectable drugs was too low. Although Dunker said the 52 surviving penguins' blood and fecal samples are now free of chlamydia, he worries that the weakened birds are susceptible to malaria and West Nile virus. Meanwhile, breeding is running a month behind in a colony that has produced 166 chicks in 20 years.

Toledo Zoo Board Never Got Bad News
June 10, 2005 toledoblade.com By TAD VEZNER

Members of the Toledo Zoo board committee responsible for overseeing animal care issues said yesterday that they were never told of any problems at the zoo during their regularly scheduled meetings with zoo officials and staff. The meetings occurred twice yearly and were attended by William Dennler, the zoo's then-executive director, as well as animal care staff, including curators, and Dr. Tim Reichard, the zoo's then-veterinarian. The staff would exclusively relate wholesome, positive news, such as animal baby births. The meetings were "scheduled around Dennler's presence," Mr. Flasck said, "And that may have been part of the problem," Mr. Flasck admitted. "The fact that Bill was there, I'm sure [other employees] were a bit intimidated to speak up." Still, Mr. Flasck said he was surprised no one pulled him aside privately, including Dr. Reichard, who spoke with the zoo board after his firing. Mr. Flasck said that at the animal care committee's next meeting he will suggest that board members hear from animal care staff without the executive director present, and also attend daily staff meetings, in order to "get first-hand information as situations occur."

Lawsuit Seeks Wolverine Study
June 10, 2005 www.mtstandard.com By Susan Gallagher

HELENA, Montana — A lawsuit is seeking an order to require the USFWS to conduct a 12-month study of the wolverine’s status. The study is essential to determine the animal's eligibility for listing under the Endangered Species Act, said Tim Preso of Earthjustice, which filed the suit on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Clearwater, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Northwest Ecosystem Alliance. The suit says U.S. wolverines outside of Alaska are known to exist only in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, a fraction of their historic range, although occasional unconfirmed sightings have been reported elsewhere. Problems for the species include loss of habitat because of backcountry roads and other development, trapping in Montana and denning disturbances caused by snowmobiles, according to the suit. In 2003 the agency said it had too little information to support a listing.

Flood waters endanger Piping Plovers
10 Jun 2005 www.cbc.ca 

A dramatic rise in river levels is threatening an endangered species of bird that nests on the shores of Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan. There are an estimated 115 piping plover nests buried in the sand at the Saskatoon-area lake, but more than half of them could be wiped out by rising water levels in the days ahead, said Glen McMaster of the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority. "Many of these nests will be flooded," said McMaster, an ecologist with the watershed authority's habitat protection branch. The problem stems from the recent torrential rainfalls in Alberta, which are pushing water along the South Saskatchewan River into the lake. Earlier this week, forecasters predicted that lake levels could rise as much as three metres by the end of June. Eight to 10 people are racing against time trying to move as many of the nests as they can, but it's delicate work, McMaster said. The nests, shallow bowls a centimetre or two deep, must be carefully transferred to dishes and then moved away from the shore a few metres at a time, he said. If they're moved too far, too quickly, the mothers won't be able to find them.

Third pygmy elephant killed
June 10, 2005 thestar.com. BY MUGUNTAN VANAR

KOTA KINABALU: There has been another killing of the endangered Borneo Pygmy elephant in the state. The decapitated head was found floating in Sungai Kinabatangan near a tourist spot famed for its proboscis monkeys in Sukau. This is the third slaying of such an elephant reported in Sabah over the last eight months. In November last year, two such elephants were found dead. Elephant Conservation Unit head project co-ordinator Rosdi Sakong said the head and trunk of the female adult elephant had been severed. He said the elephant, which was believed to be moving in a herd of 70, was killed in "an act of vengeance," as it was brutally cut up. The body has yet to be found. Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman expressed shock over the latest killing and ordered a full probe. Asked if he thought that angry villagers whose crops were damaged were behind it, Musa said it should be known that pygmy elephants were a protected species. State Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Karim Bujang said the Wildlife Department had begun investigations. He feared that more of the elephants might be killed if nothing was done to resolve the problem of up to 200 such elephants being displaced due to oil palm cultivation in Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu and Segama. He said the displaced herds had destroyed oil palm plantations and there was talk that those who suffered losses had vented their frustrations by killing the elephants. Karim said the authorities were looking into rounding up and relocating the elephants to wildlife reserves, or moving them out in an exchange programme involving foreign zoos.

Himalayan pheasant bred in captivity
June 10, 2005 news.yahoo.com By Baldev S. Chauhan

Shimla (IANS) Wildlife officials in Himachal Pradesh have announced the first successful hatching of two Western Tragopan pheasant chicks in captivity. The highly threatened species of Himalayan pheasant has been plagued by low fertility rates. This is the first hatching in 100 years. The chicks hatched in the Sarahan pheasantry four weeks after the hen had laid the eggs. Out of the four eggs laid, two hatched successfully," said B.L. Negi, the wildlife official in charge of the pheasantry. There are only seven Western Tragopans in the pheasantry, located at 8,000 ft above sea level, 150 km north of the state capital. The bird's plumage is so brilliant that the hill folk in the state call it the king of birds.  "One chick was hatched in 1993 but died immediately. But this is for the first time that chicks are being hatched in captivity after painstaking efforts by all to create the right conditions for the birds," said Negi. "Deficiency of Vitamin C was found to be a major factor by experts for the low fertility rates among the Western Tragopan. So we changed their diet, besides improving their surroundings in the pheasantry to make it stress free," said Negi who has been trained in Britain.

Sarus Cranes Spotted in Gujarat
June 10, 2005 www.outlookindia.com By AVINASH NAIR AHMEDABAD

A rare congregation of about 110 endangered Sarus cranes has been spotted on the outskirts of Gujarat engaged in courtship rituals indicating start of their breeding season. The spotting is considered to be important for a state which, with a mere 1,800 birds, stands only second in the country after Uttar Pradesh as far as the number of Indian Sarus cranes (Grus Antigone Antigone) is concerned. "Indian Sarus cranes which are non-migratory are rarely found in large congregations and this pre-monsoon assembly is a very rare sight," said Deputy Conservator of Forests Uday Vora. "Usually, they exist in pairs and are scattered over a large area," he said adding "there have been very few instances when these birds were spotted in such large numbers. In Sarus cranes, the female initiates the display and utters two calls for each male call. All cranes engage in dancing (commonly associated with courtship) which includes various actions like bowing, jumping, running, wing flapping or grass tossing," Vora said.  The sighting of Sarus Cranes in large numbers is an indication of the healthy existence of the endangered species in the state and also symbolic because in India, sighting Sarus pairs stands for happy marriage, according to the official. The long-legged birds with their light grey plummages and red heads were seen engaged in a kind a dance which the officials described as "courtship display" performed to win over a partner before the mating season. During the courtship, the cranes were seen engaged in a series of complex and extended series of calls, and the birds stood in specific postures usually with their heads thrown back and beaks skyward. "Such a large congregation has been seen after a long time," said Vora, "In the past such large congregation was seen only in Matar taluka of Kheda district which is considered to be the traditional home of these birds. According to forest department figures, only 120 birds were counted during the sighting of the congregation in Kheda. "About 1,800 birds were spotted in the state, largely confined to Kheda, Anand and Ahmedabad districts when a census of Sarus cranes were conducted in 2004," he said. The optimal habitat of these omnivorous cranes include a combination of marshes, ponds, fallow lands and cultivated lands.

Wild Ox Breeding Plan Continues
June 10, 2005 www.bangkokpost.com By KULTIDA SAMABUDDHI

The Zoological Park Organisation will continue with a controversial breeding programme for endangered gaur and banteng although it admits the animals will be at high risk of injury or death during their capture in the wild. Sophon Damnui, the organisation's director, conceded that catching the giant wild oxen would be difficult and there is a risk of them dying accidentally. Thai wildlife experts did not have experience in hunting and breeding wild oxen. ''However, we will do our best to ensure the animals' safety, using our skills in capturing elephants and transporting large animals between domestic zoos,'' Mr Sophon told a forum on wildlife breeding organised by the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Under the project, six female gaur and 10 banteng _ four males and six females _ are to be captured from Khao Ang Rue Nai wildlife sanctuary and Pang Sida and Ta Phraya national parks in the eastern provinces. The female gaur would mate with an eight-year-old bull gaur which had been raised in captivity at Khao Khiew Open Zoo, in an attempt to increase the wild gaur population. The banteng would be bred with domestic cows to create hybrid cattle with desirable characteristics.

California Forest Rigged with Cameras
June 10, 2005 www.enn.com By Associated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A 30-acre patch of forest near Idyllwild has been outfitted with robotic cameras and other high-tech gadgets that spy on wildlife, trees and even roots as part of a pioneering effort by scientists to take nature's pulse. Scientists sitting hundreds of miles away can remotely operate mostly wireless devices, including a camera that swings on cables through the trees, to watch bluebird eggs hatch, measure the growth of ferns and study the impact of air pollution. Devices in the outdoor laboratory allow nonintrusive, around-the-clock monitoring. The technology could eventually uncover ways to combat global warming, track the deadly mosquito-borne West Nile virus, detect water pollution before people drink it and predict the course of invasive plants that alter landscapes and choke off water sources. "This is definitely going to change the way we do science," Michael Allen, director of University of California, Riverside's Center for Conservation Biology, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise."This is going to fill in the gaps of our knowledge," said Michael Hamilton, director of the James San Jacinto Mountain Reserve where the high-tech devices have been installed."You want to know when those hot moments occur," he said. "Is the forest going to disappear in the next 50 years if the temperature changes by three degrees? Now we have a window into those variables." The information obtained could one day save lives and Earth itself, Hamilton said. "The technology has profound implications," said Deborah Estrin, director of the Center for Embedded Network Sensing at the University of California, Los Angeles. The James Reserve is a partner of the center, which was established in 2002 when it won $40 million in funding from the National Science Foundation. Of that, $4 million went to the reserve, Hamilton said. Sensors scattered throughout the reserve record temperature, humidity, wind, rain, lightning and even how cool air sweeps in at night. "It's a subtle but important change ecologically," Hamilton said, explaining that the cool air can trigger seedlings to sprout. Scientists at UC Riverside and UCLA can analyze the computerized data. 

Laysan Ducks Thrive in Midway Atoll
June 10, 2005 news.fws.gov

Laysan ducks brought to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge are adapting beyond scientist’s expectations. Surprising just about everyone involved with the project, the ducks are not only thriving but also reproducing in the first year at their new home. "The project was initiated after many years of research to understand the Laysan duck’s resource needs and limitations. We continue to answer important research questions with this project to aid in future Laysan duck translocations," said Dr. Michelle Reynolds, wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. The newest additions - four, 16-day old ducklings - are doing quite well, and more ducklings are expected to hatch in the coming days and weeks. As part of a plan to ensure the endangered ducks’ survival, 20 ducks were transferred from the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge to Midway in October 2004. Previously, the species consisted of a single population of approximately 500 birds on Laysan Island.

Elephant Domain
June 12, 2005 www.chron.com By RICK BARONGI

Elephants are one of the largest and most intelligent animals on our planet. No other animal, except man, can dominate and change a landscape as quickly and dramatically as a herd of elephants. Imagine a bulldozer working 18 hours a day, consuming 300-400 pounds of vegetation (and redistributing it in quite a different condition). Now imagine a herd of them! They are enormously adaptable, successfully living in Southwest Africa's hot dry deserts, East Africa's woodlands and savannahs, Central Africa's steamy swaps and the high cold forests of Kilimanjaro and the Ruwensoris. Revered and loved by many cultures, they are harassed and slaughtered by others. Elephants are one of the most beloved, controversial and misunderstood animals, and their management in the wild and captivity has drawn the attention and fire of numerous radical animal rights groups. Everyone agrees that we need to save elephants in the wild. The area of contention is whether or not seeing live elephants in zoos help to save their wild counterparts. A recent Harris Interactive poll confirms that 94 percent of the public believes that seeing elephants and rhinos in real life helps people appreciate them more and encourages us to learn more about how to protect them in the wild.

Brookfield Gorilla-naming Contest
June 12, 2005 www.suntimes.com BY ANDREW HERRMANN

A male gorilla, born May 2, at the Brookfield Zoo still needs a name, and a contest has been launched to find one. The winner of the chosen name gets a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo's Tropic World and lunch with zookeepers. The baby boy is the offspring of Binti Jua, whose name means "Daughter of Sunshine'' in Swahili. For Brookfield, publically naming animals is "the first step'' toward getting people to link a zoo animal with its counterparts in the wild, said spokesman Josh Mogerman. Names also help keepers in training the animals for medical care purposes, he said. Former Lincoln Park Zoo director Lester Fisher named hundreds of the zoo's animals between 1947 and 1992. The reason for naming creatures, he once explained, was to make it easier for people to relate to the animals. But names were also a way to stroke donors -- a rhino was named Marshall for Marshall Field V; an elephant was dubbed Suti, as in Sun-TImes. However, in recent years, Lincoln Park has been moving away from publically naming its animals, said spokeswoman Kelly McGrath. The zoo is "trying to reduce the idea that they're pets,'' and it has found that, with 3 million annual visitors to Lincoln Park, animals can get pretty annoyed with the public repeatedly calling their names.

India’s CZA lacks data on Zoo Animals
June 12, 2005 timesofindia.indiatimes.com

NEW DELHI: Five months after it was learned that the endangered species count was down by 26 percent from the previous year, the The Central Zoo Authority has still failed to determine the exact number of non-endangered animals in Indian zoos. The annual inventory of animals is uncertain despite the CZA's moves to improve animal care, health check-ups, set up well-equipped hospitals within the zoos, the responses from states continue to slow and lukewarm, said officials. According to CZA, states are very slow at responding, and the zoos are governed by states. Last December last it published the 2003-04 inventory of endangered animals in zoos, recording a 26 percent fall in the count. The loss they said was due to re-classification of zoos in the country. Reclassification of zoos is usually done for convenient pairing animals in captive breeding. With Indian zoos currently setting up gene pool culture units, for wild gene presevation, it was necessary for the CZA to reclassify its stock.

Revising the ESA
June 12, 2005 www.themonitor.com The Monitor View

The Endangered Species Act needs revision. Last week, the majority (Republican) staff of the House Resource Committee released a report that purports to document the law’s failure to bring species back from the brink. Among its highlights: that only 10 of roughly 1,300 federally protected plants and animals have recovered enough to be removed from the list; that most listed species have met few of the recovery goals identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; that the recovery status of 60 percent of listed species is either "uncertain" or "declining," while 30 percent of species are stable and 6 percent are improving. Based on these facts, "No reasonable individual can conclude that the ESA is sustainable in its current form," said Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, a California Republican who has been a leading voice for reform.

Yellowstone Grizzly Protection May End
June 12, 2005 www.suntimes.com BY BECKY BOHRER

BILLINGS, Mont. -- USFWS plans to propose ending Endangered Species Act protection for grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park as soon as next month according to Chris Servheen, grizzly recovery coordinator. He said delisting is being considered because the bear population has been growing steadily and adequate protections are in place for the bears and their habitat. Delisting would not automatically make the bears vulnerable to hunting. Instead, states would protect and control the bear population under their existing federally approved bear management plans. Nonetheless, some conservationists say federal officials are moving too fast to end protection. They say the bears' habitat continues to be threatened by oil and gas development and housing in rural areas. Grizzlies have been listed as threatened in the region for 30 years. More than 600 are estimated to live in the Yellowstone ecosystem, a vast swath of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The final decision on the delisting proposal. is not expected until sometime next year, Servheen said. 

Coral reef aquariums at Potter Park Zoo
June 13, 2005 www.lsj.com By Tricia Bobeda

Potter Park Zoo is adding a sunken pirate ship to house new exhibit in Lansing. "Finding Nemo," the 2003 feature film, made clown fish kids' favorite coral reef creature. The zoo's "Clown fish, Corals and Conservation" exhibit will open within a month. Rick Preuss, owner of Preuss Animal House in Haslett, assisted with the project. The zoo exhibit includes a series of reef aquariums encased in the hull of a sunken pirate ship, and large coral covered rocks. Lansing artist Tom Phillips spent the past seven months building and painting the exhibit. Dennis Laidler, the zoo's education curator, and Preuss began discussing the coral reef exhibit two years ago. Reef tanks are a captive habitat for saltwater fish and corals found in the Florida Keys or off the coast of Australia and the Philippines. The exhibit also has a lab station where visitors can view clown fish propagation, complete with a video microscope. Features still to come include a tidal pool and touch tank. Laidler expects the project to be finished within its $100,000 budget. "One thing that excites me about reef animals ... is that there is not one (other) environment that you can set up in the classroom or a kid's bedroom or in the living room that will have more ecological diversity, more interest to captivate a child than what you see in a reef tank," Preuss said.

Famous San Diego Zoo Vet Tech
June 13, 2005 www.ramonajournal.com

Not too many high school students get the opportunity to go to class each day to be taught by someone who has worked with exotic animal species including chimpanzees in Uganda, Galapagos tortoises, black rhinos, tigers, royal antelope and red-tail Boas. But then, most students don’t have Steve Culver as their teacher. Culver, San Diego Zoo’s senior veterinary technician and Ramona High School Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Veterinary Assistant instructor, brings his expertise and passion for working with animals to his Ramona High ROP students in the classroom setting and beyond. Recently featured on the cover of Veterinary Technician magazine, Culver has taught the ROP Veterinary Assistant course for three years in the hopes of passing on his love of the industry to students interested in the veterinary field. "I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for me to share stories about my experiences in veterinary medicine," said Culver in his recent interview with Veterinary Technician magazine, pointing out the benefits he receives from teaching at Ramona High as well. "I understand what I do so much more clearly as a result of dissecting and teaching its stepwise methodology." In his ROP course on introductory methods in veterinary medicine and assisting, students learn about everything from medical records and office procedures, to health and safety, vaccinations, radiology, and even surgery. "I try to keep the course fun for the students, so we do gross anatomy projects like dissecting pigs and rats," said Culver. "The students perform mock surgeries on stuffed animals, and even administer injections."

Endangered Condors at Grand Canyon
June 13, 2005 news.yahoo.com By MICHELLE ROBERTS

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. - California Condors often gather at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to watch people, socialize with one another and drink from a leaky water pipe. On some days, as many as 25 to 30 condors soar over the canyon area — more birds than were in existence a generation ago when officials decided to capture and breed them. They were reintroduced in the wild in Arizona starting in t 1996 beginning with six birds 50 miles north of here. Now there is a group of 53, including some of the first wild-born condors since the early 1980s. Two of the three fledglings hatched in Arizona have survived, and three other condor pairs are nesting this year, said Chris Parish, the Peregrine Fund's condor director in Arizona. The nonprofit Peregrine Fund runs a breeding facility in Boise, Idaho, where the birds are hatched and prepared for release, and has overseen Arizona's condor program. Parish and others say it's too early to call the reintroduction a success because the population isn't yet self-sustaining.

AZ May Import Pygmy Owls from Mexico
June 13, 2005 news.yahoo.com By ANANDA SHOREY

PHOENIX - Wildlife officials are considering importing endangered owls from Mexico to boost the dwindling population in Arizona. To protect endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy owls, development already has been slowed or altered on thousands of acres of old-growth, ironwood-saguaro forest. But with less than 20 birds remaining in Arizona, the species needs more assistance because the numbers continue dropping, wildlife officials say. The pygmy owls — already threatened by urban sprawl, logging and livestock overgrazing — are now more susceptible to predators due to the drought. They have less chance of finding nutrients from lizards and mice, U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jeff Humphrey said. The plants that harbored the reptiles and rodents have shriveled up. "The owls don't have a place to hide and stand out like sore thumbs. They are vulnerable to predation by other raptors," Humphrey said. The reddish-brown owls with cream-colored bellies weigh less than 3 ounces and nest in the cavities of trees and cactuses. They were listed as federally endangered in 1997. Bringing them up from Mexico may not solve the problem since the desert is still hurting from many unusually dry years, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Scott Richardson, who works with the owls. "To compensate for the drought is not as simple as putting out a water trough or dumping a bunch of mice out there," Richardson said. "It is a tough species to deal with ... because they are not directly dependent on water, which you could provide."

Jersey Zoo’s Budget Crisis
June 13, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

Jersey Zoo’s entrance fees could be forcing tourists away. The zoo charges a family of two adults and two children £35 admission. A child aged 4-16 costs £7.40. Deputy Gerard Baudains said he hears many complaints that the zoo is too expensive and some visitors have decided not to go after finding out the cost. It was previously reported that the Zoo wants to build self-catering apartments on its land to raise money. The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust hopes to build eight apartments on a field next to land currently used as an overflow car park. Last year Jersey Zoo spent more than £500,000 more than it had coming in. Officials believe this is a practical way of rectifying the problem. So far they do not have planning permission although the proposals are at an advanced stage.

Long Term Snake Study
June 13, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Researchers at Washington University have discovered that rattlers are adaptable and have some interesting habits. They swim and climb trees. Males may travel more than six miles a year to look for mates. One snake caught rainwater in its funnel-shaped coil and drank from its own cup. The researchers, who have tracked 28 venoumous pit vipers for six years. Veterinarians place a pinkie-sized transmitter in the snakes' body cavities, usually with a U-shaped tong and plastic buckets. The transmitters, which cost about $300 each, have revolutionized the study of snakes. Researchers also use infrared instruments to measure snakes' temperatures, and Global Positioning System units to record their locations. Corey Anderson, a Washington University doctoral student in biology analyzes the snakes' paths from the time they emerge from dens in April to their hibernation in October. He found that the snakes followed similar paths every year and avoided the vast wooded interior of the research center. Many instead clustered near the Meramec River flood plain or in an area along Interstate 44. The edge habitat has two advantages, said Chris Phillips, a herpetologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey. They have more prey for snakes and help the cold-blooded animals regulate their temperatures as they move from sun to shade.

Dodge Adventure Tour at a Zoo Near You
June 13, 2005 biz.yahoo.com/prnews

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A herd of Dodge vehicles will be coming soon to the Jacksonville Zoo. The Dodge Zoo Adventure Tour is a four-month tour of 12 zoos throughout the country. The vehicles will be the main attraction. "Partnering with zoos is a perfect fit for Dodge because we are both committed to bringing families together," said Fred Diaz, Director, Dodge Marketing. As part of the Dodge Zoo Adventure Tour, visitors will use an interactive map to guide them through the zoo to six display areas featuring games, prizes, a treasure chest giveaway, and one of six animal-themed Dodge exhibits, including a Durango painted with an oceanscape and a Caravan covered in birds. Kids will "go bananas" with face painting, coloring, a mini slot car track, animal pipe cleaner crafts and eShot photos. Adults will have the chance to get up close and personal with the Dodge, including a demonstration of Dodge's segment exclusive Stow 'n Go(TM) feature available on its best- selling minivans. Bilingual product specialists will also be available during the tour. Dodge Zoo Adventure activities are included in the price of zoo admission. The tour is scheduled to stop at the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens on June 18-19; the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro on June 25-26; the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on July 16-17; the St. Louis Zoo on July 23-24; the Milwaukee County Zoo on July 30-31; the Philadelphia Zoo on August 13-14; the Pittsburgh Zoo on August 20-21; and the Denver Zoo on August 27-28. The tour has recently made stops at the Los Angeles Zoo, Phoenix Zoo, San Francisco Zoo and the Oklahoma Zoo. Now in its second year, more than 86,000 people visited the zoos during the 2004 Dodge Zoo Adventure Tour. 

USFWS Reviews Spotted Owl Status
June 14, 2005 news.fws.gov

The U.S.F.W.S. is beginning a detailed review of the health of the California spotted owl, a subspecies of spotted owls that ranges from the northern Sierra Nevada and the Central Coast ranges south through the mountains of southern California. The Service intends to complete its 12-month review by March 14, 2006, then decide whether or not to propose listing the species as threatened or endangered. Today?s action also will open a 60-day public comment period, which will begin with publication of the notice shortly in the Federal Register Several significant natural conditions have changed in the past two years, among them the rapid spread of the barred owl, a competitor of spotted owls, and the impact of wildfires on the species. Under the Endangered Species Act, the 12-month review is more exhaustive than the 90-day finding. This is the Service’s second review of the California spotted owl in three years, both triggered by petitions and/or lawsuits by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign and other organizations. Barred owls have expanded their range 200 miles southward in the Sierra Nevada over the past two years. In one indication of its concern about barred owl predation, the Service has authorized the experimental take of up to 20 barred owls in the Klamath National Forest. The barred owls recently moved into an area where they displaced spotted owls. The California Academy of Sciences was given the research permit. Further, 28 California spotted owl territories were seriously affected by wildfires in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Diego Mountains in 2002 and 2003. The two other spotted owl subspecies, the northern and the Mexican spotted owls, have been listed as threatened since the early 1990s.

Dates in Akron zoo history
June 14, 2005 www.cleveland.com

The 52-year-old Akron zoo once featured white-tailed deer and pigs in shabby quarters, but now showcases endangered species in state-of-the-art exhibits. At a crossroads in 2000, lack of funding meant it could not improve or expand. So focus groups were consulted, and the people of Akron said they wanted gardens, big cats and educational programs. A property tax passed by voters in 2000 provides $8.1 million a year for seven years. This year, the $8.6 million Legends of the Wild, with 20 animal species in 13 exhibits, opened May 28. A $9.3 million educational center with animal exhibits and a restaurant is scheduled to open in the fall. Next year, officials at the 50-acre zoo will begin a tax renewal campaign and discuss future expansion. Currently, 13 acres are developed. "We each have something different to offer [from the Cleveland Zoo]," said David Barnhardt, director of marketing and guest services, who is also the grandson of the Akron Zoo's founder and son of the zoo's former supervisor. Akron offers a smaller, more intimate experience. Because of its size, you feel closer to the animals." Sun bears are at both zoos, but while visitors in Cleveland watch them at a distance across a moat, those in Akron can go nose to nose as the bears venture up to a glass window.

1900 - George and Ann Perkins donate 76 acres to the city. It is named Perkins Woods.

1953 - Akron Museum of Natural History opens the Akron Children's Zoo in 1953.

1960 - Monkey Island, the zoo's largest exhibit, opens.

1965-1975 - Barn and animal exhibits open, but zoo begins to decline after voters reduce property taxes and city reduces subsidy.

1975-1976 - Zoo becomes first in the country cited for violating federal Animal Welfare Act. Problems include the deaths of two black bears that developed pneumonia from damp conditions.

1979 - Board of trustees appointed to govern zoo, which becomes nonprofit and adopts theme of North and South American animals.

1980s - Several animal exhibits open. Holiday Lights and Boo at the Zoo draw thousands.

1989 - Akron Zoological Park, comprising 25 acres, is nationally accredited, exhibiting animals from around the world.

2000 - Voters approve property tax for zoo. City and housing authority donate 25 acres.

2001-2004 - Zoo opens year-round. Additional parking lots, entrance, welcome center, zoo gardens, wild prairie and penguin exhibits open.

2004 - Attendance record of 158,681.

2005 - Legends of the Wild opens May 28. Komodo Kingdom Education Center scheduled to open in the fall.

Penguins Courting at Biblical Zoo
June 14, 2005 www.haaretz.com By Jonathan Lis

Over the last 18 months the keepers at The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem (the Biblical Zoo) have noticed that one of the male penguins, number 513, is courting, a rare occurence at the zoo. Five years ago, a flock of 16 South African penguins, also called "donkey penguins" because of their braying call, were brought to the zoo. Since their arrival most of the flock has not found a partner and the local penguins do not reproduce sufficiently. The zoo decided to import a young group of penguins to increase the supply of single males. A suitable group was discovered in Holland, and two weeks ago three male and two female penguins joined the enclosure. The exciting developments between the veteran penguins and the newcomers began only after a long period of quarantine and adjustment. After the introduction of the newcomers there were some conflicts over food and burrows but then everything settled down

Como Zoo Changes
June 14, 2005 www.twincities.com BY LAURA YUEN

Born on a miniature-horse farm in Fergus Falls, Minn., Flame and Dottie came to Como Zoo twelve years ago when they were just a few months old. They are the last of the zoo's domestic animals and have now been sold to the Hemker Wildlife Park in Freeport, Minn., for $1,050 apiece. Four wallabies, new to the zoo's collection, were quarantined on concrete floors in a barn stall, waiting to take the miniatures' place. This year Como has celebrated the opening of its new visitor center, a second generation of fancier carnival rides and renovations to the conservatory — but Dottie and Flame did, in some small way, represent Como's humbler past. The wallabies should be on display to the public the first week in July, and Victor Camp, a zoo curator is hoping to land a group of kangaroos by fall. Besides offering a place to gape at gorillas, zoo officials say they must also carefully select animals so as to promote conservation, education or research

Limassol Zoo bears move to Hungary
June 14, 2005 www.cyprus-mail.com

After having spent years in cramped conditions at the Limassol zoo, two 20-year-old bears will be given a chance to re-adapt to wildlife and eventually be released in a wildlife park in Hungary. The cost of the transport – around £21,000 – will be covered by the World Society (WSPA) for the Protection of Animals.  Their new home is a forested area near Budapest and is also the habitat of some 30 other bears. Other animals at the zoo, accommodated in spaces that do not meet EU directives, will also soon be moving, as the state has already promised it will be phasing out the dated zoo. They include a couple of leopards and a tiger. As for the rest, they are too old or obese to fly. Patricia Kyriacou from Animal Responsibility Cyprus (ARC) suggested, however, that the transfer of the fit animals to better habitats, would at least make space for the ones staying behind to live the rest of their lives in better conditions. The Limassol zoo has been under fire for years because of the notoriously unsuitable conditions the animals live in.  Under the 1999 EU Zoo directive, animals kept in artificial surroundings must be provided with conditions, which aim to satisfy the behavioural needs of the individual species.

Treasure hunt at Philadelphia Zoo
June 14, 2005 www.philly.com By Pauline Pinard Bogaert

Last week 3,200 human beings roamed the pathways of the Philadelphia Zoo for the second annual Animal Ball Wednesday and 31st annual Zoobilee Thursday. The big excitement at the smaller, more intimate ball attended by 200 people was the panning for jewelry show. Big-time Philadelphia jeweler Craig Drake, who attended with his wife, Tania, supplied a half-dozen pieces of jewelry that were randomly bagged in sand; the rest of the bags contained small chunks of minerals. The bags, cost $20 each. Guests sifted the sand through a screen and water to get the jewels. "My children are going to love these stones," said Christine Martinelli, who was there with her husband, David, and didn't get a prize. Ball chairs Hamilton and Lewis deemed zoo board chair Peter Gould as most creatively dressed.

Are India’s Parks Fit to Keep Animals?
June 14, 2005 www.newindpress.com

BHUBANESWAR: Are the parks spread across the State fit for keeping animals? There are twenty five animal parks but only eight are recognised by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). Of the rest, two have been closed. Nine have not fulfilled conditions laid by CZA leading to cancellation of their temporary recognition while six are awaiting the nod of the central body after submitting their proposals. Despite their status, all 15 parks continue to keep animals. Even State Forest Department is not completely aware of their plight. It has an alibi though. In most of the parks, the inhabitants are spotted deer, a Schedule IV animal according to the Wildlife (Protection) Act and is not endangered. Most of the parks are small in nature and lack the basic facilities needed for the animals which was reflected in death of the deer at Cuttack.

Tigers Loose at Taishan in China
June 14, 2005 news.webindia123.com

Chinese authorities have confirmed that three tigers have been running loose at Taishan, a sacred Taoist mountain and major tourist site in east China. Local government officials in Shandong province, where Taishan, or Mount Tai, is located, have sealed off the area where one adult tiger and two juveniles were spotted. Hundreds of armed police, including snipers and paramilitary units, have been sent to track down the animals, the Xinhua news agency reported Monday. The provincial capital of Jinan has sent two wildlife experts from its zoo armed with tranquilizer guns in an effort to take the tigers alive. Authorities are unsure whether the animals escaped from a tiger zoo near Mount Tai or came from a safari park in Jinan. All forms of wildlife are rare at the heavily visited tourist site renowned for its stunning sunrise vistas.

Effects of Logging on Primates
June 14, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Twenty-eight years after intense selective logging stopped in the region now known as Uganda's Kibale National Park, the red-tailed guenon (Cercophithecus ascanius) is a primate still in decline. The logging practice, scientists report in a new study, changed the ecological balance for these monkeys, leading to behavioral changes and opening the door for multiple parasitic infections. The researchers focused on three primate species, collecting 1,076 fecal samples from the heavily logged area and from an undisturbed, nearby forest from August 1997 to August 2002 as part of a longitudinal study of logging's impact. The samples came from red-tailed guenon, red colobus (Piliocolobus tephrosceles) and black-and-white colobus (Colobus guereza) and were analyzed for the eggs and larvae of worms and protozoan cysts. The study appears online ahead of publication in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Giant Catfish Released in Cambodia
June 14, 2005 news.yahoo.com

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Four giant catfish will be released back into the wild in Cambodia to try to boost numbers of the species thought to be on the verge of extinction. The fish, which weigh about 110 pounds each, have been raised in captivity for the past seven years and will hopefully reproduce after they are returned to the Mekong River, said Seng Teak, country director of the World Wildlife Fund. The release is very significant for the preservation of this species for the future," he said. The fish will be released at a junction of the Mekong and one of its tributaries, the Tonle Sap, in the capital of Phnom Penh, the group said.

Western Governors Address ESA
June 14, 2005 www.casperstartribune.net By Ed Andrieski, AP

The Western Governors' Association has proposed four areas where the Endangered Species Act could be improved to make it more workable and effective:

* Increase the role for states.
* Increase certainty and technical assistance for landowners and water users.
* Increase and stabilize funding for the states.
* Streamline provisions in the act, for example, by providing for statewide, multi-species strategies.

The association is working with members of Congress to update the law. They have the support of the Western State Land Commissioners and three very respected environmental groups: the Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense, and the World Wildlife Fund. The governors also established a council to help coordinate local, state and regional plans to help the greater sage grouse, which has been declining in numbers for 20 years. Its habitat is located along 110 million acres over 11 states, including Wyoming.

National’s Giant Panda Possibly Pregnant
June 14, 2005 www.washingtonpost.com By Karlyn Barker

National Zoo scientists artificially inseminated Mei Xiang (may-SHAWNG) with semen from Tian Tian (t-YEN t-Yen) on March 11. They have been collecting urine samples every week to track her hormone levels and conducting bi-weekly ultrasound exams to monitor changes in her uterus. The ultrasounds have not shown any evidence of a fetus, but the zoo's vets say fetuses do not develop until the last weeks of the gestation period so they won’t know for 40-50 days. But today the zoo announced that Mei Xiang’s hormone levels are rising, one indication of a possible pregnancy. But she could also be experiencing a pseudopregnancy, which is common in giant pandas. Mei Xiang, 6, experienced pseudopregnancies in 2003 and 2004. This is the third year that the zoo has tried to breed its giant panda pair.

Chimpanzee Behavior Findings
June 14, 2005 www.nytimes.com By JOHN SCHWARTZ

In a paper to be published in the journal Animal Behavior, researchers claim that girl chimps watch and learn; while boy chimps goof off and horse around. Chimpanzees like to snack on termites, and youngsters learn to fish for them by poking long leaf spines and other such tools into the mounds that colonies build. A study of Gombe National Park chimpancees found that female chimps learned the skill at a mean age of 31 months, more than two years before the males. The females seem to learn by watching their mothers, said the paper's author, Dr. Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, director of field conservation at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The paper is based on four years of observation and expands on work published last year in the journal Nature.

Supreme Court Won’t Rule on ESA
June 14, 2005 www.nytimes.com By LINDA GREENHOUSE

WASHINGTON, June 13 - A states'-rights challenge to enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, pending at the Supreme Court for more than a year, failed Monday when the justices, without comment, refused to hear it. The appeal had attracted widespread attention as the most potent of several efforts around the country to make the case that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce did not extend to protecting animal or plant species that lack commercial value and that live in only one state. Coming a week after the court upheld federal authority over marijuana, even in states where its use for medical purposes is legal, the justices' action on Monday provided the latest evidence that the Rehnquist Court's federalism revolution is on the wane. At the least, the court clearly has no appetite to take the federalism battle to new ground.

Tsunami Devastating to Leatherback Turtles
June 15, 2005 www.enn.com By Simon Denyer, Reuters

NEW DELHI — They survived the dinosaurs, but leatherback turtles may have moved one step closer to extinction when last December's tsunami washed away some of their most important nesting beaches in India's Nicobar islands. More than 1,300 km (800 miles) east of the Indian mainland, the Nicobars are one of the world's four most important nesting sites for the critically endangered leatherback, the largest living marine reptile. "We have lost three major beaches which are globally significant," said Harry Andrews of the Madras Crocodile Bank, who has been surveying the population for years. "I am not sure whether those beaches will form again because water has gone far inland. If that is the case, leatherback turtles are going to have a major problem." The global population of adult females has fallen from 115,000 in 1980 to fewer than 25,000 today. It is already close to extinction in the Pacific, and could disappear entirely in a matter of decades.

Vandalur zoo Gets Animals from Singapore
June 15, 2005 www.chennaionline.com 

Chennai, INDIA – The country's biggest and most modern zoo, Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) at Vandalur, will soon acquire two female and two male chimpanzees, one male and one female wolf, two male leopards and one American alligator from Singapore zoological gardens. In exchange, Singapore will receive for four male spotted deer, two male hog deer, one male and two female barking deer and one male and one female Indian rock pythons. P C Tyagi, director of AAZP, said "Paper work from our side is over and we expect the animals within the next couple of months." This is the second consignment under a memorandum of understanding reached between the two zoological parks two years ago for exchange of surplus animals. The park, spanning 610 hectares, now houses over 1,660 animals, birds, reptiles and mammals in naturalistic enclosures.

Slow Growth Doomed the Moa
June 15, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By John Roach

The large, flightless moa of New Zealand grew much more slowly than modern birds, according to a new study of their bones, and were therefore doomed the moa to extinction when humans arrived about 700 years ago. Unlike the bones of all modern birds, several moa bones show growth marks similar to the rings found on tree stumps, said Samuel Turvey, an ecologist at the Zoological Society of London in the U.K. The rings indicate that moas took several years to grow to their full size. All modern birds, by contrast, are fully grown within a year of hatching. "In environments where mammal predators are present, there's strong pressure to mature quickly," Turvey said. "When you're young, you're really vulnerable. If you can get to adult body size relatively fast." Turvey and colleagues report their finding in tomorrow's issue of the journal Nature.

Tucson Citizens Decide on Elephants
June 15, 2005 www.tucsoncitizen.com

Reid Park Zoo's beloved pachyderms, Connie and Shaba, need expanded quarters. Whether to spend $8.5 million to enlarge their compound is the question, and City Manager Mike Hein gives an affirmative answer. Tucson-area residents have grown up with these elephants, who have lived in harmony here for more than 25 years. Hein has not received one letter opposing support for the elephants, despite the expansion cost. He proposes that costs for the zoo enhancement be paid from outside the scope of Tucson's regular city budget. Hein said the city also may issue certificates of participation. These are similar to bonds but would be paid off via zoo admission fees, which may have to be increased. He is continuing to research other creative means to finance the zoo expansion without unduly burdening Tucsonans, and we look forward to learning the results of that effort.

Blank Park Zoo Hosts "ZooBrews"
June 16, 2005 desmoinesregister.com

DES MOINES, Iowa – The zoo is having a "Crock-tail Party with Lounge Lizard '70s Music" from 5:30-8:30. Zoo Brew is a monthly affair, where those 21 and older can check out all the animals while sipping a cold one. If you burned your leisure suit, just find anything for tonight that's gaudy and bright, or even anything you might wear to the beer tent at the state fair. To keep the mood lively, Joey Libido and Sugar will spoof Vegas lounge shows with music of Tom Jones, Kathy Lee Gifford, the Captain & Tennille, Barry Manilow and David Hasselhoff. There will also be games and contests, disco dance lessons, '70s drinks, beer, soft drinks and other finger food and beverages. Admission costs $10 for the public, $5 for zoo members.

Lesser Bird of Paradise Hatches at Toledo
June 16, 2005 abclocal.go.com

A baby lesser bird of paradise chick actually hatched on May 4, but is now on display with its parents at the Toledo Zoo. Toledo is just the third zoo in the country to have bred a lesser bird of paradise. Robert Webster, is curator of birds at The Toledo Zoo. Male birds grow beautiful feathers, while the female birds do not. If it wasn't for technology, it might take seven years before we knew if the Zoo's baby was a boy or a girl. Zoo officials say now a few feathers can be sent off to a lab for DNA analysis, to determine if it's a male or female.

Indianapolis Dolphin Exhibit is Popular
June 16, 2005 www.wishtv.com By Leslie Olsen

The redesigned Dolphin Adventure, has created a problem. Guests were lining up 30 to 45 minutes in advance to get a hand stamp to see the new Dolphin Adventure – a new experience for the Indianapolis Zoo. Not since 1988, when the zoo opened has it been so crowded so often. An attendance record was broken Memorial Day weekend when 38,600 people visited. The problem appears to be in the parking lot. The zoo and White River Gardens share 2,000 spaces. Zoo president and CEO Mike Crowther says the lot is averaging 80 percent full. "We’re making sure that all of our parking booths for one thing are opening at the same time and all opening early," said Crowther. "We're stationing folks in the parking lots to direct people towards empty spaces. There are some things we can do to relocate service facilities and the administrative functions and move them around and at some point in the future, in another couple of years, we'll move our entrance from one part of where it is now to another part of the zoo," said Crowther.

Texas Blind Salamander Protection
June 16, 2005 news.fws.gov

The highly endangered Texas blind salamander spends its life in complete darkness underground in the water-filled limestone caves of the Edwards Aquifer near San Marcos -- unless it gets too close to a natural spring. Then the force of the spring shoots the salamander out of the groundwater and into the river where it often becomes catfish food. A new pipe in San Marcos Springs (formerly Aquarena Springs) in the San Marcos River is going to change all that. Instead of losing these rare salamanders to hungry fish, they will be caught in a net at the end of the pipe. The aquifer under Diversion Springs holds the only known natural population of the Texas blind salamander. Since the salamander spends its life in complete darkness, nature has decided it does not need any eyes. Instead this subterranean salamander has two black dots where others would have eyes. Its skin is white and translucent. The captured salamanders will begin a new life as part of a breeding population at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's San Marcos National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center. The Center is the only facility that rears Texas blind salamanders to augment the natural, but very limited, population.

Charity Navigator Ranks Memphis Zoo
June 16, 2005 memphis.bizjournals.com

For the second year in a row, the Memphis Zoo has been named a 4-star charity, recognizing its efficiency in managing finances and in running an effective organization. The recognition comes from Charity Navigator, a non-profit organization that advises donors on the fiscal fitness of over 4,000 charities. Elizabeth Boggan, vice president of development for the Memphis Zoo, says the recognition is an honor, expecially in light of the $77 million transformation the zoo has undergone over the last few years. New exhibits include the China exhibit that features giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le and the Northwest Passage exhibit - opening in March 2006. Charity Navigator, whose slogan is "your guide to intelligent giving," is America's largest independent evaluator of charities - ranking them on a scale of one to four stars.

Least Bell's vireo Spotted in Calif
June 16, 2005 www.nytimes.com By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – The least Bell's vireo, a gray songbird, was once widespread in the Central Valley. It disappeared from the area as the riparian habitat it favors was used for development and agriculture. About 90 percent of the valley's historic riverside vegetation has been lost, said Al Donner, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bird was put on the federal endangered species list in 1986, when there were only about 300 pairs left in the low-lying shrubbery along creeks and streams in southern California. Linette Lina, a seasonal biologist at the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge west of Modesto, first recognized the vireo by its distinctive song on Friday, then verified a nest in a patch of restored habitat along the San Joaquin River.

St. Louis Zoo Hosts Zoofari
June 16, 2005 www.stltoday.com By MICHAEL D. SORKIN

In past years, the St. Louis Zoo has sectioned off areas of the zoo and closed early on the day of Zoofari, it’s major fundraising event. But this year officials decided to shut down the entire day while 70 restaurants, caterers, bars, stages and bands get set up for the one-day affair. Zoofari, which spreads throughout the 90-acre Zoo, alternates with a more casual fundraising event and last happened in 2003. It raised a total of $594,549, of which the Zoo got $399,925 after expenses. About 2,000 people have already have purchased tickets at prices of $175 or $225 each. A table for 20 costs $7,500. Tickets are available by calling 314-768-5440. The Zoo gets about one-third of its $40 million budget from taxes, a third from sales revenue and about a third from contributions. The Zoo has advertised today's closing on its Web site, taken out an ad and even notified local hotels and Metro. But some people won't get the message and will show up anyway. Anticipating this, Zoo employees will be stationed at every entrance to distribute flyers saying that the Art Museum, Science Center, History Museum and Missouri Botanical Garden will be open today. "We want to accommodate anybody who comes," Powell said. The Zoo will reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday. Regular summer hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except on July 20 and Aug. 17, when the Zoo will close at 5 p.m.

Saatchi’s Ad Campaign for S.D. Zoo
June 16, 2005 adweek.com By Gregory Solman

LOS ANGELES Independent M&C Saatchi has released its first major campaign for new client San Diego Zoo and its Wild Animal Park, said Huw Griffith, the agency's CEO. The Santa Monica, Calif., agency's campaign, whose broadcast and outdoor components broke last week, features two 30-second spots for the new Wild Animal Park starring a talking zebra ("Robert") that taunts a lion in a Brooklyn accent. "Please, Mr. Lion, spare me, my leg is aching!" says the zebra from a proximate but safe location across a trench and fence. "I've got a little floppy leg. My tender, juicy floppy leg is aching! Ooow." In a second spot, the zebra teases the lion from behind protective glass with lip noises, baby talk and bird imitations. The lion retains its natural voice, a frightening roar, so each spot stresses that zoo visitors can get close to dangerous animals yet remain safe. The new tagline, "Are you game?" plays off of that trepidation. "Robert's voice betrays an element of false bravado," Griffith said. "The fear of the experience of being that close to a lion is an important thing to judge. We're reaching out to teens who love to be thrilled, but with something far different than a mechanical-ride theme park."

Siberian Tiger Population Stable
June 16, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com By Brian Handwerk

Approximately 334 to 417 adult tigers remain in the vast forests of Siberia, along with 97 to 112 cubs, according to data from the most extensive Siberian tiger survey ever conducted. The last similar count, taken in 1996, reported some 330 to 371 adult tigers and 85 to 105 cubs. Dale Miquelle, is the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Russia program and coordinator of the project. The census involved nearly a thousand fieldworkers using vehicles, skis, snowmobiles and foot. The entire range of remote, frosty Siberian forests where tigers may be living was surveyed. The reclusive cats are seldom seen but leave their mark by footprints in the snow and other physical evidence. The encouraging news is especially welcome because tiger numbers elsewhere in Asia have declined dramatically. In India, once considered the greatest stronghold for tigers, recent reports show the big cats disappearing altogether from some core reserve areas. Siberian Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as Amur tigers, have several advantages over their relatives elsewhere in Asia. Regional logging is extensive and growing, but thus far it has been carried out in a manner that preserves tiger habitat. Selective cutting is the norm, rather than clear-cutting. The procedure leaves behind substantial forest habitat when loggers are finished in an area. "In some cases it may be even be beneficial," Miquelle said from Vladivostok, Russia. "It may create more browse for the ungulates [such as deer and wild pigs] which are the tigers' preferred prey. What's good for them is good for tigers." 

Oregon Zoo’s Photo Classes
June 17, 2005 www.medfordnews.com

PORTLAND, Oregon – Four photo classes at the Oregon Zoo offer eye-to-eye encounters with more than 450 stunning butterflies, and the techniques of how to capture them in the perfect picture.
- Butterfly Photography for Everyone allows early entrance to the butterfly exhibit and a self-guided photo safari. Participants bring their own cameras and go at their own pace. Available dates: 6/18, 7/15, 7/23, 8/12, 8/27, and 9/3 from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Cost: $22, members $18.
- Butterflies for Beginning & Intermediate Photographers allows early entrance into the butterfly exhibit where Pro Photo Supply staff share basic camera and photography techniques. Available dates: 6/20, 7/9, 7/29, 8/6, 8/19, and 9/10 from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Cost: $30, members $25.
- Butterfly Photography with a Pro allows participants to learn tricks of the trade for great shots from Oregon Zoo's staff photographer, Michael Durham. Pro Photo Supply staff are on hand to answer technical questions. Participants must bring their own film or digital SLR camera, and macro lens and flash are recommended. Available dates: 6/25 and 8/13 from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Cost: $40, members $35.
- Digital Butterfly Photography with Experts is a two-part workshop with Oregon Zoo's staff photographer, Michael Durham. Nikon technical representatives are on hand to demonstrate the latest digital equipment and help participants with their own digital camera for a two-hour private photo shoot. Part two of the workshop is spent with Pro Photo Supply staff exploring the mysteries of ink jet printing and color managed workflow, while also incorporating images from the butterfly exhibit. Participants can bring their own digital SLR camera or use one of the latest Nikon digital models. Macro lens and flash are recommended. Available dates: 7/19 and 7/26 from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. Cost: $100 (cost includes lunch), members $85.

Advance registration is required for all classes. To register and to print off special coupons from Pro Photo Supply, visit www.oregonzoo.org/Education/adults/adultsphotography.htm . For more information, contact the education registrar by phone at 503-220-2781 or by e-mail at moddet@metro.dst.or.us.

Great Plains Zoo loses management
June 17, 2005 www.argusleader.com By JENNIFER SANDERSON

A nonprofit organization has decided not to renew its management contract of the city-owned Great Plains Zoo. High worker turnover, burned-out volunteers, mounting repair bills and questionable spending were cited by Rick Knobe, leader of a task force appointed by Mayor Dave Munson last year. Knobe found dedicated citizens behind the Zoological Society of Sioux Falls and "a lot of good but junior staff people without the experience and mentoring they needed" from top management. Ed Asper, the zoo's outgoing president and chief operating officer, did not return messages Thursday. The city owns the zoo's grounds, buildings and permanent exhibits as an arm of the Parks and Recreation Department. And it helps support the zoo's $2 million budget with an annual subsidy that this year will reach $821,372. The society since 1985 has run day-to-day operations, assuming ownership of the animals it holds in trust for the public. Those animals will revert to the city when the contract ends. Munson is putting together a transition team made up of directors from several city departments. That group will meet with board members to hash out money and staffing needs, animal inventories and immediate repairs. "There's probably no such thing as a good time for this," Munson said. "But come September, things will be starting to wind down after summer, so it will give us more time to get everything in place for the next busy season."

Calif. Scientists Plan to Kill Barred Owls
June 17, 2005 www.enn.com By Jeff Barnard, Associated Press

ARCATA, Calif. — Federal scientists are planning to shoot a small number of barred owls they say are crowding out the threatened spotted owl in northern California -- an experiment that could lead to killing thousands of the larger owls on the West Coast. The "removal" experiment would be the best way to quickly determine whether barred owls are pushing spotted owls toward extinction. If successful, officials would then consider expanding the program. Brian Woodbridge, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Yreka, Calif. said the experiment could start as early as next week. The northern spotted owls, which became a symbol of environmentalists' efforts to preserve the old-growth forests on the West Coast, are competing with the more common barred owls for nesting places and food. The barred owls, which have migrated to west from the Great Plains, also kill the spotted owls.

USDS Aids Wyoming Toad
June 17, 2005 www.nytimes.com By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- The USFWS plans to reintroduce several hundred more Wyoming toad tadpoles in Albany County. The Wyoming toad is the only toad in the Laramie Basin and the basin is the toad's only home. The toad was listed as endangered in 1984 and thought to have gone extinct in 1987, although toads were later found at Mortenson Lake southwest of Laramie. Thousands of toads have since been bred in captivity and released, with mixed results. The latest release is planned on private land near Centennial and the Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It's part of a ''safe harbor'' agreement between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the owner of the land, a nonprofit group called the Buford Foundation.

Lobbyists and US Environment Policy
June 17, 2005 www.nytimes.com

Philip Cooney, who resigned last week as chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will soon take a job at Exxon Mobil. He has long fought against limits on greenhouse gas emissions, first as a lawyer for the oil industry's main lobbying group and then at the White House, where he sanitized reports to play down the link between emissions and global warming. Yet it is surely a cause for dismay that the Bush administration has seen fit to embed so many former lobbyists in key policy or regulatory jobs where they can carry out their industry's agenda from within. Whereas the word lobbyist once connoted those who hung around in lobbies to buttonhole powerful politicians when they emerged from the inner sanctums, these modern-day lobbyists occupy the inner sanctums themselves.

WWF Releases Orangutan Study
June 17, 2005 www.newscientist.com By Gaia Vince

A report released by WWF claims that around 1000 orang-utans are being killed each year so that their babies can be traded as pets. They are the most expensive primates for sale in Indonesian markets - babies are kept as household status symbols or traded for use in the entertainment industry. Once they reach adulthood, many are killed or abandoned. It has been illegal to hunt or trade in orang-utans since 1931, but the study by WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, discovered that fewer than 10% of people found in illegal possession of the apes were prosecuted. Christian Thompson, species officer for WWF, called on the Indonesian judiciary and police to enforce the existing laws to protect the remaining 40,000 to 55,000 orang-utans. "The solutions are clear - we need better enforcement of the law to protect orang-utans and gibbons from being captured and traded illegally. Bird markets need to be monitored stringently, and a wide- scale education campaign needs to be launched in Indonesia to raise awareness about this appalling trade," he says. Over 90% of the species were wiped out during the last century due to logging.

L.A. Zoo Celebrates New Entryway Plaza
June 17, 2005 biz.yahoo.com PRNewswire

LOS ANGELES – Nine-acres of Zoo property has been transformed into the new entry plaza of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It consists of the Sea Lion Cliffs, the Children's Discovery Center and an entry walkway with paving patterns that depict a dry riverbed of the arroyo. Alongside is a river walk that leads visitors to the upper plaza and into the main Zoo area. "We're inviting families across Los Angeles to experience the new entry plaza and sea lion exhibit at their Los Angeles Zoo," said City of Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn. "Whether you're a frequent visitor or haven't been to the Zoo in a while, you'll enjoy the natural California vegetation, the brook that's modeled after the LA River, and the wonderful animals and exhibits throughout the Zoo." Los Angeles Zoo Director John Lewis said, "We are now able to share a magnificent entrance complex that features an extraordinary home for the Zoo's California sea lions. These improvements will enhance the visitor experience as well as provide a better life for these aquatic treasures." The Grand opening will be celebrated on Thursday, June 23, 2005 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.

Oregon Zoo’s Father of the Year
June 17, 2005 www.katu.com

PORTLAND, Ore. - Packy, the beloved Asian elephant of the Oregon Zoo, has taken home the 2005 title of Zoo Father of the Year. It was tight race, but Packy pulled ahead to win with 61 votes, Kiku the colobus monkey was a close second with 54, and Mandan the California condor came in third with 23.  Because the race was so tight both Packy and Kiku will receive special treats today. Packy will receive some oh his favorite food items at 1:30 p.m., while Kiku receives his treats a little earlier at 1 p.m. The zoo won't forget Manden the condor. He'll receive special food items at the zoo's off-site Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation in Clackamas County. Packy is the only second-generation captive bull elephant in the world to become a successful father. Two of his offspring, Rama and Sung-Surin, still live with him at the zoo. On the occasions that Packy and his daughter, Sung-Surin interact, it is apparent that the two enjoy each other's company. Oregon Zoo Director Tony Vecchio viewed the Zoo Father of the Year vote as an opportunity to educate the public about Asian elephants, California condors and Colobus monkeys, which are all either threatened or endangered. "Once people make an emotional connection with an animal, they're much more likely to care about the future of that species," said Vecchio. "This on-line vote has helped bring attention to the plight of these animals."

Melbourne Zoo faces elephant fight
June 18, 2005 www.heraldsun.news.com.au By Kelly Ryan and

MELBOURNE – If the Federal Government allows the Melbourne Zoo to import three Asian elephants, animal welfare advocates will resort to the courts to try to block the arrival of the elephants. More than 52,000 postcards have been sent to the Federal Government protesting against a bid by Melbourne Zoo to import Thai elephants. Almost all, printed by an animal welfare group, are from overseas. Melbourne, Taronga and Auckland zoos have applied to the Federal Government to import eight elephants for a breeding program. Melbourne Zoo wants to bring in three females to recreate a family group. Environment Minister Ian Campbell is expected to make a decision on the permit soon. RSPCA chief Hugh Wirth accused the zoos of using conservation to disguise the commercial benefits of getting the elephants.

Pittsburgh’s New Tiger Encounter
June 18, 2005 pittsburghlive.com

On June 8th the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium opened the Tiger Encounter Window, a viewing glass that stands 6 1/2 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Visitors can gather around the window and watch the tigers go about their daily lives in the exhibit on the other side of the glass. The tigers do not seem shy about coming up to the window. They often walk in circles, passing by onlookers many times, grunting and even tossing their heads. Sometimes, the cats stop and push their faces right up to the glass, and make eye contact with visitors. The area on the tigers' side of the window is a great place for the cats to relax and sun themselves, which further encourages appearances, says zoo spokeswoman Rachel Capp.  The Tiger Encounter Window -- along with the new Worlds of Discovery exhibit, with reptiles and amphibians, in Kids Kingdom -- was developed because of feedback from zoo visitors, says Dr. Barbara Baker, president and chief executive officer of the zoo. Market research shows that visitors want more interaction and intimacy with the animals, Baker says in a statement.

San Diego’s Conservation Plan Update
June 18, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Mike Lee

Eight years ago, a plan to balance development and habitat preservation for 900 square miles of southwestern San Diego County was hailed nationally as a landmark effort. Now, as the Multiple Species Conservation Program heads into its annual review today, some are describing it as a classic example of how good intentions have succumbed to lean budgets and poor coordination. Although the 50-year program has succeeded in establishing swaths of land as habitat, it still lacks a permanent source of funding and a system that would allow the public to quickly assess its progress. Add to that ongoing problems with weed control, trash dumping and off-road vehicles on protected land, and conservationists are concerned that the pioneering plan is not living up to its promise. The major participants in the conservation program are San Diego County, the city of San Diego and Poway, Santee and Chula Vista. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game regulate the program and manage some properties in the planning area. Such programs have become popular because they allow local governments to coordinate habitat preservation and meet the demands of wildlife protection agencies. The Fish & Wildlife Service says more than 400 habitat plans, including a major one in northern San Diego County, have been approved nationwide. Government agencies and the building industry tend to favor them as a way to streamline complex environmental rules and community planning. Environmental groups are split on whether they are solid conservation tools or mostly empty promises to facilitate development.In an era of state and local budget cuts, money is the most fundamental issue facing habitat plan managers. Overall, SANDAG estimates that more than $1 billion could be needed over the life of the Multiple Species program, including the establishment of an endowment to pay for the plan in perpetuity.The association is expected to consider a funding mechanism for the program in the next few years, but there are no specifics about what form that would take or how much money would be set aside. There's also no assurance that the public would be willing to open its wallet for preserving open space. "What we would do is our usual polling . . . to find out what voters will or will not accept," said Fairbanks, the regional planner. In the meantime, local officials are expecting a boost from environmental mitigation money tied to TransNet, the $14 billion sales-tax renewal measure that San Diego County voters approved last fall for road projects. TransNet will provide an estimated $850 million for environmental spending. However, it's not clear yet how much will directly benefit the conservation plan. 

Western North Carolina Nature Center
June 18, 2005 www.tuscaloosanews.com

Unlike many zoos, the Western North Carolina Nature Center limits its focus to the natural history and ecology of the surrounding mountains. The southern Appalachians offer plenty to keep anyone busy. Scientists believe the region may be second only to the Amazon in the diversity of its flora and fauna.  "Our mission is to educate people about what's here in our own back yard - either was here or is here," nature center manager Patrick Lance said. "That's a big difference between us and other zoos." The center also serves as a sanctuary for animals kept illegally as pets (as in the case of its cougars), suffered injuries that make it impossible to return them to the wild (like the center's golden eagles), or are being raised to help an endangered species make a comeback in the wild - as with the resident red wolves. The center's breeding pair of red wolves gave birth to a rare litter of pups on May 1 and zoo officials say they're thriving. The pups are expected to stay hidden in their den through this month, after which, they'll spend about nine months cavorting with their parents in their enclosure under a canopy of trees. The young ones then will be paired with a wolf of the opposite sex and desirable genetics to keep the breed replicating. Some may one day return to North Carolina for release into the wild in northeastern North Carolina, where about 100 red wolves now roam 1.5 million acres centered on the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Monkey Voluntarily Returns To Exhibit
June 18, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com

A golden-bellied mangabey, called Takala, returned to his home about 45 minutes after he had escaped through a hole in the netting that enclosed the top of the new Monkey Trails exhibit that opened June 3.  A security guard first saw the young male – about the size of a cocker spaniel – in a ficus tree that towers over the $28.5 million Monkey Trails exhibit about 5:45 p.m. The zoo doesn't know if the monkey made the hole, but it was close to one of the trees that sticks through the netting Zookeepers found the mangabey waiting outside a door to the exhibit. They opened the door, and Takala went inside. The last zoo animal to escape was a Francois' langur monkey in December. The endangered monkey was found in a tree at nearby Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School and was captured an hour later.

Where Do Elephants Belong?
June 19, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com By Jeanette Steele

Zoos and animal rights groups differ on what constitutes humane treatment for elephants. Recent controversies in several cities across the country – including the deaths of three elephants that once lived at the San Diego Zoo – spotlight an issue that animal rights advocates are rallying around: Is it humane to keep the largest land mammal on an acre or less, as many zoos do? Zoo officials claim that their methods are sound, and that they are expanding the size of elephant exhibits nationwide and increasing their support for international conservation programs for pachyderms in the wild. However, seven U.S. zoos have given up their elephants in as many years. Most notable are the San Francisco Zoo, which closed its exhibit in March and sent its last elephant to a private sanctuary, and the Detroit Zoo, where director Ron Kagan has become an unlikely spokesman for the animal rights position on this issue. In a recent speech, he said zoos are facing an identity crisis and could do better by animals. "The human desire to collect creatures and be amused by them has not served animals well," Kagan said, accepting an award from the Humane Society of the United States. "Zoo professionals are now struggling to find an ethical foundation. Are we animal advocates or just entertainers?" The Zoological Society of San Diego, which operates the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park near Escondido, stands center stage in the elephant debate. The society infuriated animal rights groups when it imported seven wild African elephants from Swaziland in 2003. Zoo officials said they were rescuing the young elephants, which were scheduled to be killed because of overpopulation at an animal park there. To make room for the newcomers, the zoo sent three older elephants – Peaches, Tatima and Wankie – to Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. Tatima died in October from a long-standing infection, said zoo officials, and Peaches died in January of old age. Wankie collapsed after being transferred to a Utah zoo from Chicago and was euthanized in May. Zoo officials don't regret the move to Chicago, saying there's no evidence that it hurt the elephants. Animal rights advocates have protested, saying the move and the cold weather worsened their conditions.

Lincoln Park’s New Children’s Zoo
June 19, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By Blair Kamin

The Lincoln Park Zoo children's zoo, circa 1959 -- was a futuristic-looking, innovative combination of zoo nursery and petting zoo dreamed up by then director, Marlin Perkins. It got a major makeover in 1988, and now, a brand new makeover, opening June 30. An artfully arranged landscape is an integral part of this $13.9 million project, which is formally known as the Pritzker Family Children's Zoo after its lead donor, the billionaire Pritzker family. A forestlike environment of quaking aspens, white pines and red oaks is a backdrop for red wolves, black bears, beavers and otters. A curving trails leads to a two-story pavilion that boasts a treelike, 20-foot-tall climbing feature for children, made of steel poles and laminated wood platforms. The crowd-pleasing animal incubators are gone -- it's better for baby animals to be treated alongside their families, zoo officials say. The new building offers hands-on experiences with turtles, snakes and insects instead Now the children just have to wash their hands afterward so they don't contract diseases.

Tucson will vote on elephants
Jun. 20, 2005 www.azcentral.com The Associated Press

TUCSON - The City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a resolution to build a breeding facility for the two elephants at the city's Reid Park Zoo. The future of the elephants has been in flux since the American Zoological Association called on the city to enlarge the enclosure to allow one of the animals, Shaba, a 25-year-old African elephant, to breed. "We wanted a resolution saying what we are planning to do with our elephant enclosure, showing there is support for it and offering a financial strategy for building it," Basford said. The breeding enclosure could cost up to $9 million. "The city manager is putting together a package that includes some private-sector funding, public funding, possibly certificates of participation that will be paid off through user fees at the park. "There's potentially some other bond money that we can also avail ourselves of," Ronstadt said.

Copenhagen Zookeepers Eat Stock
June 20, 2005 www.reuters.com

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish zookeepers slaughtered animals in their care, including more than 50 muskrats, and served the meat to unsuspecting friends and family until zoos changed their rules, newspaper Ekstra Bladet reported Friday. "A single muskrat serves up to four people. You just have to avoid saying what it is before your family has eaten it because it sounds disgusting," elephant keeper Peter Jensen was quoted as saying. Nobody at Copenhagen Zoo, home to 3,300 animals and 264 species, was available for comment. The zookeepers also feasted on antelope and gaur, the newspaper said. "It's always a success when you can serve you friends something special," zookeeper Nikolai Rhod said, adding he had also eaten rabbits, pigs and chicken from the petting zoo. Zookeepers in Denmark used to slaughter animals for meat until a zoo crackdown last year under which anyone caught doing so would face disciplinary action. Such practices did not break Danish law.

Aukland Symposium on Conservation Medicine
June 20, 2005 www.scoop.co.nz

The world’s foremost authority on Conservation Medicine, Dr Alonso Aguirre, will join New Zealand scientists and other overseas scientists in Auckland next month for this country’s first ever symposium on Conservation Medicine. Science-based professionals from all over New Zealand will converge on Unitec New Zealand’s Mt Albert campus for the symposium from 7 – 8 July, which will be a hot spot for information exchange and collaboration. The increasing threat of wildlife diseases – to people, domestic animals, and New Zealand’s unique native species, has prompted the creation of such a forum.  Conservation medicine is a new discipline that focuses on the links between the health of the environment and the health of people and animals.

Dog Nurses Tiger Cubs
June 20, 2005 www.turnto10.com

KRASNOYARSK, Russia -- A Russian dog has taken over nursing two Amur tiger cubs after they were rejected by their mother. It happened just a few days after the cubs were born at a Siberian zoo.  Desperate to save the babies, the zoo took out ads in newspapers across the country asking for a foster parent to breast feed the rare cubs. Eventually, the owners of Naida, who was already nursing puppies of her own, responded to the advertisement. Zookeepers have been monitoring the tigers and their new mother around the clock..

Toledo’s ZooToDo
June 20, 2005 toledoblade.com

Friday night was Toledo Zoo’s 18th annual ZOOtoDO "Untamed" presented by Verizon Wireless. Totem poles, Tikki huts, bird-of-paradise flowers, palm trees, rustic fences, African masks, animal crates and prints, and stuffed animals helped set the scene for the festive affair. Complimentary champagne flowed in the Africa! exhibit where guests enjoyed appetizers as the Vibe band played wild beats. Moving on to the village, some took train rides to the bush while others rode the carousel of zebras and other wild animals. Moving on to the heart of the zoo, a map guided the 1,800 guests as they sampled offerings from nearly 50 food purveyors, all of whom donated their offerings. The award for the Best Food Presentation went to Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant. Dennis Chung, the owner, made sushi until midnight as people still stood in line. The Best Booth Presentation award went to Texas Roadhouse, which was decorated with tiger stripes and lights to fit in with the tiger-themed event. However, Avenue Bistro, Mr. Beefy's, and Gourmet Galley/Rohr Fish had fantastic displays too, according to chairman Peter Boyer.

Amazon River Assessment
June 20, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center are trying to understand how the Amazon River varies in time, what causes those variations, and how sensitive it will be to ongoing, and accelerating deforestation . The first phase of the study, led by Marcos Costa at the University of Viçosa in Minas Gerais, Brazil and completed in 2002, put together an enormous collection of data describing the physical characteristics of the Amazon River Basin. The data included the first detailed representation of the stream network throughout the 6 and 1/2 million km2 basin, and by itself, took 5 people over nine months to create. Researchers all over the globe are now using this data. The second phase, led by Michael Coe, an associate scientist with The Woods Hole Research Center, was to build the first comprehensive computer model of the Amazon River and floodplain. This model, built over the course of several years and just recently completed, simulates the inter-connected river and floodplain system for the entire 6.5 million km2 basin. Currently entering a third phase of study, a model of the Amazon River and floodplain will be combined with estimates of future deforestation to understand how humans may be affecting the Amazon. Coe says, "This research will provide us with a better understanding of how sensitive the Amazon river is to human activities and can provide government managers and civil society with a tool for analyzing the costs and benefits of different land-use policies and help plan future settlement, land use and conservation priorities."

Shamu and the Zoo Vs. Mickey Mouse
June 20, 2005 www.sdbj.com By CONNIE LEWIS

The San Diego Zoo and Sea world are hoping to be the after-party destination for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration and see a spike in gate counts this summer. Judging from some recent numbers released by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, they need a boost like that. Theme park officials typically keep attendance figures and business strategies close to their vest. However, figures on aggregate attendance supplied by ConVis show that the total gate for attractions in April was 983,397, down 15.7 percent from the same year-ago month. Meanwhile, local amusement park officials expect to cash in on Disneyland’s advertising campaign commemorating its 1955 opening. Disney officials haven’t said what they plan to spend. But Reint Reinders, chairman and chief executive officer of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, said industry sources have placed the figure at $150 million to tout the anniversary bash throughout the United States and abroad.

Vietnam War Technology May Help Elephants
June 20, 2005 www.physorg.com

Dr Jason Wood and colleagues from Stanford University recorded the vibrations from the footfalls of elephants and other large mammals, including giraffes, lions and humans, using a geophone buried near a path leading to a watering hole in Namibia's Etosha National Park. Because of the differences in the size and frequency of animals' footfalls, the researchers could tell with 82% accuracy when elephants were passing the geophone and estimate the number of elephants passing the sensor. This is the first time geophones have been used successfully to detect and estimate elephant numbers. Another team tried to use a US Army surplus miniature seismic system to detect crop raiding Asian elephants in Sri Lanka, but the work was abandoned after the elephants began digging up the geophones and destroying them.

Red-crowned crane born at Fort Worth Zoo
June 20, 2005 www.dfw.com  By Christina Lane

A red-crowned crane has been hatched at the Fort Worth Zoo as part of an effort to save the second-rarest crane in the world. A male and a female pair were imported from China in July 1994 because the bloodlines in the U.S. were becoming inbred, curator of birds Brad Hazelton said. "Because they were unrelated to what we had in this country, they were very valuable," Hazelton said. The female had produced 24 eggs since 1996. All were normal but infertile, so it was assumed that there was a problem with the male, Hazelton said. However, tests done on the male showed that his sperm was healthy and normal. Zookeepers decided that there must be a problem in the way the birds were trying to reproduce, Hazelton said. Through a process called stripping, semen was collected from the male and implanted in the female, Hazelton said. Females typically lay two eggs per clutch, Hazelton said, but this crane only laid one, hatching it on June 11. This is the second time in three years the zoo has successfully used artificial insemination on the pair of cranes. The first baby crane was placed at the Dallas Zoo, said Lyndsay Nantz, communications director of the Fort Worth Zoo. Hazelton said the chick will be in the exhibit until it is fully grown, or for at least the next six months.

ECO-CELL Partners with Zoo Atlanta
June 20, 2005 louisville.bizjournals.com

ECO-CELL buys used cell phones from organizations that collect them for fund-raising purposes and resells the phones to companies that refurbish them and sell them to low-income, first-time cell-phone users in Latin America. Zoo Atlanta will begin collecting used cell phones this summer, and proceeds will go to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, a gorilla conservation effort. ECO-CELL also works with the Louisville, Denver, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Phoenix zoos, among other zoos and organizations.

Woodland Park Zoo's Zoomazium
June 21, 2005 www.signonsandiego.com  By Richard Louv

Zoos must now compete with virtual reality. Through better, safer design, modern zoos replicate natural environments, replace high walls with hidden moats, and increase the suspension of disbelief. Frank Hein, Woodland Park Zoo's program manager for the new Zoomazium program says "...kids don't come to the zoo imprinted with nature anymore," It's difficult for many adults to believe that the gap is so wide. Animal Planet can't provide kids with muddy hands and wet feet, an important part of discovering the natural world. Because of this, the Woodland Park Zoo is launching two major programs that go beyond the more traditional, five-day summer camps that other zoos offer. Now under construction, Zoomazium, is located on the site of an old primate house. It will be an 8,500-square-foot, green-roofed (covered with real plants) all-weather (particularly important in rainy Seattle) nature play space for children eight and under.. The facility, which could even offer child care, will face a woods where kids will be able to play – and maybe even build tree-houses and forts. "We're also planning to offer courses for parents – including a kind of Nature 101," says Hein. Zoomazium will also house the offices of Zoo Corps, which organizes teenagers to staff the zoo during peak season and act as program presenters at exhibits, and work alongside naturalists in the field.

Fossilized Zoo Discovered
June 21, 2005 www.news24.com 

Athens - Greek geologists have discovered a three-million-year-old 'fossilised zoo' containing the remains of prehistoric rhinos, mastodons, gazelles and carnivorous mammals near the northwestern town of Grevena, a Greek daily reported on Tuesday. The finds included the 4.39m, mostly intact tusks of a mastodon, a species that predated modern elephants, which may well be the longest ever unearthed, a senior researcher from Aristotelio University in Thessaloniki told Ta Nea daily. "All the evidence we examined suggests these tusks are the longest found in Europe," said assistant geology professor Evangelia Tsoukala. "We have contacted the Guinness Book of Records, and are expecting an answer by the end of summer. We are confident the Grevena mastodon will occupy the place it deserves in the book of records," she said. The Greek team also sought to compare their mastodon find with discoveries made on the American continent. The largest fossilised tusks ever discovered there are probably 3.9m long, Ta Nea said. The Grevena mastodon was 4.5m tall and weighed at least 12 tons.

LA Zoo's Sea Lion Cliffs Exhibit
June 21, 2005 www.dailynews.com  By Dana Bartholomew

On Thursday, city officials will celebrate a $28 million zoo-entrance renovation that includes a new zoo gate, $12 million Children's Discovery Center and a $16 million sea lion exhibit and plaza, funded by voter-approved Propositions K and CC.The 60-foot gate, hung with banners of baboons, giraffes and other zoo animals, welcomes visitors into a courtyard of date palm and olive trees. The Children's Discovery Center now offers zoo education and lectures for more than 250,000 schoolchildren a year. But it is Sea Lion Cliffs that has evoked excitement. When the old exhibit was built in the 1960s, it was filled with fresh water. Les Schobert, the zoo's former general curator, said "We didn't know they had a problem with fresh water. Each day, to salve their eyes, zookeepers had to administer a special saltwater dip. To celebrate the new exhibit, zoo officials have dubbed this season "Sea Lion Summer," which includes a giant sand sculpture, sea lion talks and sizzlin' surf bands from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends. 24 year-old Rocky, a 515 pound male and 2 females, Bee and Mona are in the process of adjusting from freshwater to saltwater, and from concrete beach to natural rock cliffs. There are also all-new waterfalls, fountains and cool spray misters as well as a 165,000-gallon pool. "It's underwater viewing at its best," said Dee. "You are going to see these sea lions for what they're built for ... speed."

Oregon Zoo gets a bull elephant
June 21, 2005 www.oregonlive.com  by KATY MULDOON

Tusko, a 32-year-old 12,000-pound Asian elephant, is on long-term loan from Have Trunk Will Travel, a private elephant ranch in Perris, Calif. The zoo plans to breed him with Sung-Surin, 22, and perhaps other females. Tusko will go on public display in midsummer if he checks out healthy after the standard monthlong quarantine. The elephant's trip from Southern California was uneventful, said Bill LaMarche, a zoo spokesman. It began Saturday morning and included one stop to check on Tusko, feed and water him, and give him a break from the vibration of freeway travel. North America's captive elephant population is declining, and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association has made breeding a priority, particularly at zoos such as Portland's, which has added 27 Asian elephant calves in the past 40 years. With the addition of Tusko, the Oregon Zoo's elephant operation, covering 1.5 acres, is at capacity with three bulls, though it could handle more cows; it has four now. If Tusko and Sung-Surin breed successfully, and their offspring is male, the calf could stay with the females for at least a few years.

Status Review for 10 Florida Species
June 21, 2005 news.fws.gov

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced plans to conduct a five-year status review of 10 endangered species in Florida, including the Florida panther, Key deer, St. Andrew beach mouse, Cape Sable seaside sparrow, Okaloosa darter; and five plants: beach jacquemontia, deltoid spurge, fringed campion, Small?s milkpea, and tiny polygala. This periodic five-year review is conducted to ensure that listing classifications under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are accurate. Specifically, this review seeks information on: (1) species biology, including population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics; (2) habitat conditions, including amount, distribution, and suitability; (3) conservation measures that have been implemented; (4) threat status and trends; and (5) other new information, data, or corrections, including taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, identification of erroneous information contained in the ESA list, and improved analytical methods. Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection by appointment. The Federal Register notice announcing this status review of 10 federally listed species is available on-line at a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-12187.htm 

Assessing Manatee Health Status
June 21, 2005 www.eurekalert.org By Sarah Carey

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Manatees depend on both natural and artificial warm water refuges like those found near coal-burning power plants to survive cold winters. As older coal-burning power plants are phased out in the next 10 to 20 years, researchers fear chronic exposure to cooler waters could weaken the large herbivores' immune system, and they could sicken or even die. By sampling manatees' tear film in addition to performing other standard tests, scientists think they might be able to evaluate manatees' immune system function and better determine strategies for rescue, treatment and rehabilitation. The current tear analysis project, builds on work University of Florida veterinary scientists published recently in the journal Veterinary Ophthalmology that described the abundance of blood vessels found in manatee corneas. Blood vessels could have a tendency to move into the cornea to supply oxygen because the tear film creates a barrier so thick that oxygen present in air can't penetrate it, said Don Samuelson, Ph.D., a professor of ophthalmology in the Marine Mammal Medicine program at University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine.

St. Louis Polar Bear Death
June 21, 2005 www.ksdk.com 

A St. Louis zookeeper's error may be at least partially responsible for the death of a polar bear at the St. Louis zoo. St. Louis Zoo President Jeffery Bonner says he has no evidence that a zookeeper left a rag lying around that ended up in the bear's stomach last month. But he won't rule it out, saying, "People do make mistakes." An investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture into the polar bear's death is on hold, until the attending veterinarian, who is away on a research trip, can return to answer questions.

Venom System in extinct mammal
June 22, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

In 1991, Dr. Richard Fox and his research team found a 60 million year-old incomplete skull fossil in central Alberta, that they now believe is the first evidence of an extinct mammal with a venom delivery apparatus. The research will be published June 23, 2005 in Nature. "Our discovery shows that mammals have been much more flexible in the evolution of venom delivery systems than previously believed," said Fox, who works out of the Laboratory for Vertebrate Paleontology in the U of A Department of Biological Sciences. Mouse-size, the ancient mammal--Bisonalveus browni--may have resembled a small hedgehog or a small mole, but it isn't related to any animal that currently exists, said Craig Scott, a PhD student at the U of A and co-author of the paper in Nature. The fossil that Fox's research team found expressed a deep groove in the upper canines, and, Fox noted, the groove resembled the grooved poison fangs found in some kinds of modern venomous snakes. He added that the fact that the walls of the groove are covered with enamel indicates the groove is not a product of post-mortem exposure and splitting but rather is the natural design of the tooth. "The groove in these teeth would have acted as a gutter, conducting fluid from its source in glandular tissues in the upper jaw down the height of the crown to its tip,"he explained. Currently, there are two types of living mammals with salivary venom-injecting capabilities: the Caribbean Solenodon (found primarily in Cuba) and the North American short-tailed shrew. Dr. Richard Fox can be reached at 780-492-5491 (office), 780-492-1252 (lab) or richard.fox@ualberta.ca . Craig Scott can also be reached at 780-975-0886 (cell).

Invasive Minnow Parasite Destoys Other Fish
June 22 2005 www.eurekalert.org

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers have discovered that a parasite carried by an invasive species of minnow is responsible for the dramatic declines and localized extinctions of a different minnow species in Europe during the past 40 years. This parasite can almost totally destroy the spawning success of the small sunbleak minnow, Leucaspius delineatus, may pose threats to the diversity and stability of freshwater ecosystems, and is genetically very similar to a parasite that can be deadly to salmon, researchers say. The findings were published today in the journal Nature by researchers from Oregon State University, the Winfrith Technology Centre in England, Idaho State University and the Weymouth Laboratory in England.

Hummingbird Flight Study
June 22, 2005 www.nsf.gov

Hummingbirds are unique among birds for their ability to hover for long periods of time. Scientists have now determined the aerodynamics of hummingbird flight by using a sophisticated digital imaging technique, disproving conclusions from numerous earlier studies that hummingbirds hovered like insects despite their profound muscle and skeletal differences. Hummingbirds support 75 percent of their weight during the wing's down stroke and 25 percent on the up stroke--in contrast insects, produce equal amounts of lift during their down and up strokes. This allocation of wing workload differs from that of other birds, which use the down stroke to support 100 percent of their weight during slow flight and short-term hovering. Researchers from Oregon State University, University of Portland and George Fox University published the new findings in the June 23 issue of the journal Nature. The National Science Foundation's division of Integrative Organismal Biology supported this research. See the Oregon State University news page for more information.

Tucson Zoo Expands Elephant Enclosure
Jun. 22, 2005 www.azcentral.com

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - The City Council has agreed to spend $8.5 million to expand the elephant enclosure at the Reid Park Zoo. The move Tuesday saves the zoo's two elephants from the threat of being shipped to a breeding program elsewhere. The money won't be needed until 2007 and a decision on where the funds will come from will be made next year. Money for the expansion won't be needed until 2007.City Manager Mike Hein said a portion of the cost will come from increased zoo-admissions prices and from private fund-raising efforts.

Japan Plans to Import Thai Elephants
June 22, 2005 www.wboc.com

BANGKOK, Thailand Wildlife conservationists are protesting plans by a Japanese zoo to import two rare Asian elephants from Thailand. The Asian Conservation Alliance says the plans mark a major threat to biodiversity in southeast Asia. A spokeswoman says developed nations don't seem to understand the importance of keeping the less than five-thousand Asian elephants still in Thailand in their natural habitat. As she puts it, "If you want to see Thai elephants, come to Thailand. You don't have to see them in a cage." The elephants are likely being held in northeastern Thailand along with nine other elephants which are to be shipped to three zoos in Australia. The alliance says the transfer would threaten a global pact aimed at protecting the elephants along with other endangered species.

USFWS Funds Assist Saiga Antelope
June 22, 2005 news.fws.gov

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it is awarding a total of $23,400 in grants to assist Russian efforts to conserve the endangered saiga antelope. Native to Russia, the saiga population has decreased by 95% in the last 20 years. The funds, administered by the Service's Division of International Conservation, will support three saiga conservation initiatives under the Division's Wildlife Without Borders- Russia program The grant awards will support projects to: (1) equip rangers of Chernye Zemli Nature Reserve with radio units and field gear; (2) erect border signs around Chernye Zemli Reserve to warn trespassers and enhance saiga anti-poaching efforts; and (3) partially fund construction of a visitor center in Kalmykia where people can learn about saiga antelope to foster greater involvement of local communities in conservation efforts. The saiga is a medium-sized antelope with a cinnamon-buff coat, bulging eyes and distinctive humped nose used to filter out airborne dust and to warm cold air before it reaches the animal's lungs. Males have ringed, wax-colored horns above the forehead which curve and swoop slightly. The saiga antelope was declared critically endangered by the World Conservation Union in 2002. Once abundant in the steppe grasslands and semi-arid desert habitat of central Asia, its numbers in the wild have dropped from over 1,000,000 in the early 1990s to fewer than 30,000 today.

EarthNews Radio: Sea Food Choices
June 22, 2005 www.enn.com

More than 70% of the world's fish stocks are overfished, depleted, or worse—extinct—as a food resource. . Making the right food choices will help to ensure ocean health and sustainable seafood harvests. Information can be found at the California Academy of Sciences’ Aquatic Biology web site:  www.calacademy.org/research/aquatic/seafood_guide/ 

Kenya Reclaims Game Park from Poachers
June 22, 2005 www.enn By C. Bryson Hull, Reuters

TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK, Kenya — Michael Kipkeu, a game warden, watches over Kenya's biggest national park, Tsavo East. Kipkeu has more than 100 rangers armed with assault rifles, trucks and airplanes, and he keeps track of his anti-poaching operations on a huge wall map he is careful to cover when visitors enter his office, set amid windswept trees and bushes just inside the park. The nearly 5,405-square-mile reserve was once home to the two lions known as the "Man-Eaters of Tsavo" which killed nearly 140 railway workers in 1898 and whose tale inspired a 1996 film starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. Lions still roam the savanna among the rhinos, elephants, baboons and giraffes sought out by tourists the world over, but most visitors have seen only a fraction of the park. Until last year, heavily armed poachers roaming its northern reaches forced the government to keep the unspoiled expanses closed to the public.

Gorilla Killing in DRC
June 22, 2005 www.news24.com

Nairobi - Three government soldiers have been jailed for allegedly killing four endangered lowland gorillas in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a United States (US) conservation group said on Wednesday. The Atlanta-based Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International said the troops were detained after offering to sell meat from the dead gorillas to villagers near the Bakumbule Community Primate Reserve (Recopriba) earlier this month. "According to eye-witness reports from people who work with us they were killed by members of the military," said Patrick Mehlman, the fund's Kigali-based vice-president of Africa programmes. The killing of the Grauer's gorillas took place on June 7 but news of it filtered out only slowly due to the remoteness of the region where the reserve is located.  Earlier this year, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported a census it conducted in one part of the Kahuzi Biega park had shown the population of Grauer's gorillas to be holding its own, despite the activity of armed groups in and around the area. The bigger picture though is worrying, according to Mehlman who said the area in which lowland gorillas are found had shrunk by at least 25% since the early 1960s. He said the total number of Grauer's gorillas left in the world is thought to be at the "lower end" of an estimated range of between 5 000 and 25 000. Grauer's gorillas are found in the wild only in some 21 000 square kilometres of the DRC's South Kivu province.

Circus Elephants Transferred
June 22. 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By Carolyn Starks

A federal judge in Washington ruled Tuesday that four elephants from a herd of 12 can be transferred from a McHenry County circus-training facility to an animal foundation in Oklahoma. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which had sued to block the transfer, had no legal standing to intervene in the move, said Derek Shaffer, attorney for the animals' owner, Hawthorn Corp. In his ruling, the judge also upheld the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision in May to approve Hawthorn's plan to move the elephants from its circus-training facility near Richmond to the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, Okla. He has said that once the transfer of the four female elephants to Oklahoma is complete, talks will resume with the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., to take the remaining seven females. The sanctuary is not set up to take the herd's sole bull elephant, which will have to find a home elsewhere.

Joan Kroc, the Zoo and the Uncaged Ape
June 22, 2005 www.voiceofsandiego.org By KEITH TAYLOR

Ever wonder how places that survive on charitable donations manage to raise all that money? Most of us are besieged by endless pleas for donations, some asking for as little as $25. Most of us ignore all the suggested amounts, check "other" on the request form, and send them five or 10 bucks. Then we wonder if they will spend it wisely. Here is a different tale of how one big benefactor to the San Diego Zoo came to be a benefactor in the first place.

Hawaiian Koa Trees Come Back
June 23, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By JEANNETTE J. LEE

HAKALAU FOREST NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Hawaii -- Yellowed grasses cover the lower southern slopes of Mauna Kea where impenetrable koa forests once stood, but Hawaii's largest endemic tree, with its sickle-shaped leaves, has reclaimed some of its former territory over the last two decades. Conservationists and small timber harvesters have replanted koa on thousands of acres on the Big Island and Maui, increasingly fencing out the cattle, pigs and goats that forage on koa bark and seedlings. They hope replanting the slow-growing trees can help restore the feeding and nesting grounds of endangered native forest birds and quench demand for valuable koa timber, with a scarcity and a lustrous grain that rank it among the world's most expensive woods. A tree can take 40 years to mature. Since the refuge opened in 1985, volunteers and refuge officials have replanted more than 271,000 koa trees on about 5,000 acres, with survival rates averaging 70 percent, said Baron Horiuchi a horticulturist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More than half of Hawaii's 31 birds on the federal endangered species list are small forest varieties, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the refuge. Twenty-eight percent of Hawaii's 93 native bird species are already extinct, according to federal figures. The birds need koa to shelter the smaller plants they feed on, such as the red splayed blossoms of the ohia lehua, giant Hawaiian raspberries and marble-sized red ohelo berries. A spreading koa canopy protects seedlings and smaller plants from cold upland temperatures, which can dip into the 20s during winter on Mauna Kea.

Rare fishing cat kittens born at zoo
6/23/2005 www.mnsun.com 

The Minnesota Zoo has announced the birth of two female fishing cat kittens. The kittens are being raised by their mother and if everything goes well, will be introduced to the Tropics Trail exhibit in July. The mother was transferred to the Minnesota Zoo in October 2003 from the Nashville Zoo. She was born the previous October at the Kheo Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand. The father, born in March 1999, has been at the Minnesota Zoo since July 2002.

Zoo reveals plan for 'mini- Eden'
June 23, 2005 news.bbc.co.uk

Officials at a Black Country zoo plan to build a smaller version of Cornwall's Eden Project. Property developers St Modwen said the site at Dudley Zoo and Castle, on Castle Hill, will contain tropical-based plants, appropriate animals and reptiles, if the Dudley Borough Council approves the £100m price tag. Approximately 1,000 jobs will be created to turn the Castle Hill area into a major tourist centre. In 2002 the management board of the 65-year-old zoo was thrown out because of rising debt - nearly £1m of council tax money was spent on the site during the previous year, and in 2003 a proposal was announced to turn the zoo into a "world class tourist attraction". Peter Suddock, the zoo's chief executive, said visitor numbers are up and losses had been reduced.

Tiger Captured
June 23, 2005 www.nst.com.my  By Shahrum Sayuthi

KUANTAN – The villagers call it Awang Senyum Ubai and over the last seven months it had eaten 60 animals, mostly cattle, goats and sheep. The 135kg tiger’s reign of terror in Kampung Permatang Senyum, Ubai in Panor, ended yesterday when it walked straight into a trap set by the Wildlife Department. A team of rangers arrived this morning and transported the animal to the Malacca Zoo. Jawahir Jaafar, a ranger from Malacca, said the tiger was healthy and about seven or eight years old.

Religious Exhibits at Tulsa Zoo Challenged
June 23, 2005 www.kotv.com 

A petition drive is underway to prevent the Tulsa Zoo from putting in a creationism display. The city of Tulsa parks and recreation board approved the Biblical display earlier this month. Dan Hicks had lobbied the board after finding several other displays at the Tulsa Zoo that could have religious meaning. But a newly formed group called "Friends of religion and science" disagrees. They say the zoo’s current exhibits provide cultural context and don't promote any religious philosophy. Retired education curator Carol Eames: "they have to realize it was never our intent to promote religion, it was to show the way that various cultures around the world look at their natural world. How they look at plants, animals and how they create beliefs about it." In a statement, Hicks says he finds it interesting that groups that claim to be about inclusion, now want to exclude." He's moving forward with plans for the display. The group, Friends of religion and science, is circulating a petition and they hope to present it at the next meeting July 12th.

Utica Zoo Director Resigns
Thu, Jun 23, 2005 www.uticaod.com  By JESSICA NOTEBAERT

UTICA -- After 34 years of employment with the Utica Zoo, Executive Director Gary Zalocha, resigned from his position last Friday. Zalocha, who recently piloted the zoo through months of financial troubles, accepted a job in building maintenance management for senior housing, said Dr. Peter Acquaviva, president of the Utica Zoological Society. "He just wanted a change; he'd been there 34 years and an opportunity arose. He just wanted to slow down a little," Acquaviva said. Elizabeth Irons, the public relations and development director at the zoo, was named the interim executive director until the zoo's board of directors decides how to proceed. Currently, Zalocha's responsibilities are distributed among Irons and other senior staff members, and the board has not yet decided whether to seek a replacement. A plan, which began more than a year ago to help the struggling zoo find the finances to survive is now paying off. A $50,000 grant was secured by Sen. Raymond Meier, R-Western, Irons said. The grant was announced the day of Zalocha's departure.

National Zoo's Panda Watch
June 23, 2005 www.nbc4.com

WASHINGTON -- Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) are now conducting a daily panda watch of Mei Xiang, the zoo's giant female panda. Zoo officials say 40 trained FONZ members are watching 23 cameras located throughout the Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat to monitor Mei Xiang's behavior. Zoo officials say 40 trained FONZ members are watching 23 cameras located throughout the Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat to monitor Mei Xiang's behavior. So far zoo officials said the volunteers have reported nest building behavior and they said Mei Xiang is being increasingly lethargic and is spending more time inside her den. The watch began last week after zoo scientists detected a rise in Mei Xiang's urinary progestin level. Scientists hope the panda will exhibit behavior to help them determine if and when a birth is imminent. To follow zoo staff and volunteers as they track a possible panda pregnancy, go to: nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/giantpandas/default.cfm?ref=giantpandas.htm . Windows Media Player 9 or higher is required to watch the pandacam online.

Dolphin Calf Born At Minnesota Zoo
Jun 23, 2005 wcco.com

Apple Valley, Minn. – Rio, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at the Minnesota Zoo, birthed a male calf on Tuesday morning after 12 months of pregnancy. "The birth was normal, and Rio and the calf appear to be healthy at this time," Minnesota Zoo Veterinarian Jim Rasmussen said. The yet-unnamed calf is Rio's fourth and weighed between 25 and 30 pounds at birth, zoo officials said. The calf is darker in color than its mother and has small whiskers on his nose that will soon disappear. Zoo officials have not yet determined the calf's paternity. They believe the father is either Semo or Chinook, the two reproductively mature males at the Zoo. The calf will be introduced to the other males after he's had time to bond with his mother, zoologists said. Male dolphins have no role in rearing calves and can interfere with the maternal bonding process. The calf is expected to go on exhibit later this summer. Until then, it can be observed on video monitors in Discovery Bay and on the Web at mnzoo.org.

Okapi born at Denver Zoo
June 23, 2005 www.denverpost.com 

Denver - Today the Denver Zoo reported the birth of a baby okapi, born under a specialized survival plan used to manage captive populations of rare species. Only 76 okapis live in zoos in America, and it's not known how many exist in the wild. The baby was born on June 17th, to mother Losi and father Shani and will be on exhibit in a few weeks. This is only the third born of its kind in the history of the Denver Zoo.

John Ball Zoo Chimp injured in fight
June 23, 2005 www.mlive.com  By Steven Harmon

GRAND RAPIDS -- It was a jungle at the John Ball Zoo last week when two male chimps, after preening and posturing before four females, battled each other. One chimp Joe Mindy, gave his half-brother Donnie, a serious gash above his left ear. All four female chimps were in their estrus cycle at the same time. Animal curator Barb Snyder called that unusual. When that happens, the female's perineal swells as a means of attracting males, and the two 26-year-old males became extremely excited. The zoo's veterinarian is treating the chimp with antibiotics. After the major fight the chimps continued to scream and slap each other over the next few days. But Joe Mindy actually helped Donnie groom the injury, said zookeeper Anne Kneibel.

Complex Chicadee Alarm Call
June 23, 2005 www.sciencemag.org

There's more than meets the human ear when the black-capped chickadee lets its flock mates know about a predator. Common throughout much of North America, a signature "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call is used in a wide variety of social interactions including warning of predators. These alarms have been found to be far more subtle and information-packed than previously imagined. Chris Templeton, a biology doctoral student at the University of Washington is the lead author of the study reported in the current issue of the journal Science. The study found that chickadees produce two very different alarm signals in response to predators. When they see flying raptors – birds of prey such as hawks, owls and falcons – they produce a soft, high-pitched "seet" call. But when they see a stationary or perched predator, the birds use a loud, wide spectrum chick-a-dee-dee-dee alarm to recruit other chickadees, as well as other bird species, to harass or mob the predator. Spectrographic analysis of more than 5,000 recorded chickadee mobbing alarm calls made under semi-natural conditions showed that the acoustic features of the calls varied with the size of the predator. And when the recordings were played back to the birds through speakers, their mobbing behavior was related to the size and threat presented by the potential predator. Templeton said chickadees can alter their mobbing calls in a number of ways, most of which humans can not hear. Most typically they change the dee dee dee not at the end of the call, sometimes adding five, 10 or 15 dees.

Frog Extinction is Catastrophic
June 23, 2005 www.enn.com By Carlos Andrade, Reuters

QUITO, Ecuador — Before the arrival of Spanish colonizers some 500 years ago, Indians in what is now Ecuador dipped their arrowheads in venom extracted from the phantasmal poison frog to doom their victims to convulsive death, scientists believe. More recently, epibatidine -- the chemical which paralyzed and killed the Indians' enemies -- has been isolated to produce a pain killer 200 times more powerful than morphine, but without that drug's addictive and toxic side effects. Pharmaceutical companies have not yet brought epibatidine to market but hope to discover other chemicals with powerful properties in frogs, which are a traditional source of medicine and food for many of Ecuador's Indians. They will have to hurry because the world's frogs and toads are disappearing at a catastrophic rate. "It's the same magnitude event as the extinction of the dinosaurs," said Luis Coloma, a herpetologist, dedicated to studying reptiles and amphibians, in Ecuador -- the country with the third-greatest diversity of amphibians. At least two out of five of the 3,046 amphibian types in the Americas -- home to 53 percent of known species -- are threatened with extinction, according to a recent report titled "Disappearing Jewels" by lobby group NatureServe. Nine amphibians, including eight frogs and a salamander, have become extinct in the Americas in the last 100 years, including five since 1980, according to the report. Scientists have also been unable to find representatives of another 117 species, which are also possibly extinct. 

University gets Mexican Salamanders
June 23, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A breeding colony of sought-after Mexican salamanders has begun arriving at the University of Kentucky. The animals are part of the world's largest research colony of axolotl salamanders, officially known as the Ambystoma Genetic Stock Center, which is relocating to UK from Indiana University. With their large, easily manipulated embryos and common mutations, the amphibians are valued for genetic and developmental biology studies that could have implications for human biomedical research. In particular, scientists are eager to understand the salamanders' remarkable ability to regenerate limbs, tissues and even parts of internal organs. "They can help us understand the secrets of regeneration," said Randal Voss, the UK associate professor of biology who is director of the colony. "And that will have direct application to humans." The 424 salamanders that arrived Monday from Indiana University are less than 25 percent of the nearly 1,800 salamanders that will take up residence at UK. The stock center includes 800 adults and 1,000 juveniles under a year old.

PETA Charged with Euthanizing Animals
June 23, 2005, www.chicagotribune.com

NORFOLK, Va. -- Two North Carolina counties have stopped turning over shelter animals to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, saying they were surprised the group euthanized cats and dogs instead of trying to find them homes. The Norfolk-based animal-rights group said it tried to have some of the animals adopted, but the condition of some strays and the availability of homes made it impossible. The Bertie County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to cut all ties to PETA, despite a written apology from its president. County Manager Zee Lamb said he believed euthanasia would be only a last resort for cats and dogs that were not adoptable. Northampton County health director Sue Gay said she assumed the same. The counties learned that most animals instead had been euthanized after two PETA workers were arrested and charged with dumping dead animals in a shopping center's garbage bins.

Rules Altered on Depletion of Fish Stocks
June 23, 2005 www.nytimes.com By CORNELIA DEAN

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed fishing guideline revisions yesterday in the Federal Register. They relate to provisions of a law that sets standards for the eight regional councils that manage fishing in national waters. It is hoped that the new proposals will end overfishing and manage stocks more realistically. As the law now stands, managers must act to restore stocks within 10 years, unless doing so is biologically impossible. Under the new rules, managers have the amount of time it would take stocks to rebound if there were no fishing, plus the time it takes the species, on average, to reach spawning age. Dr. Rebecca Lent, deputy director of the fisheries agency said, the new guideline would tighten managers' deadlines. In practice, restoring depleted stocks usually involves limits on fishing.

USFWS Sea Turtle Grants
June 23, 2005 news.fws.gov

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it is awarding a total of $89,610 in grants to assist in the conservation of international marine turtles. Once abundant throughout the world, today, marine turtle populations in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are now at a fraction of their levels prior to human-over exploitation. Almost all marine turtle populations have suffered significant declines due to habitat degradation and commercial exploitationunsustainable trade putting their future survival in the wild at risk.This massive decline has resulted in almost all species of marine turtles becoming endanger of extinction. Six of the seven marine turtle species are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: the green turtle, the leatherback, the loggerhead, the hawksbill, the Kemp's ridley, and the olive ridley. Only the flatback turtle which occurs in the near shore and inshore waters of Australia, is not currently considered imperiled. Marine turtles take 10 to 40 years to reach sexual maturity and have complex life cycles; also, they require undisturbed oceanic beaches for nesting Major threats to these species include: unlawful harvesting of eggs and meat; drowning as by-catch in fishing and shrimping operations; beach front and coastal water development; and pollution and degradation of oceanic grass beds and coral reefs. For more information on the different conservation funds the Service administers, visit: www.international.fws.gov. For information on how to apply for international marine turtle conservation assistance, please visit our marine turtle program website at: international.fws.gov/animals/marineturtleprogram.htm .

Marsh crocodiles to be flown to Bangladesh
June 24 2005 www.newindpress.com 

CHENNAI – In what may be the biggest crocodile conservation effort so far, 40 marsh crocodiles from the Madras Crocodile Bank are being flown to Dhaka. The reptiles, virtually extinct in the wild, arrived at Meenambakam airport on Thursday and will be flown to Bangladesh, on Friday. The crocodiles are being sent as part of a captive breeding and reintroduction programme after the last female mugger in captivity at the Saint Jahan Ali Mazar shrine in Bangladesh died earlier this year. Harry Andrews is director of the Crocodile Bank. The Crocodile Specialists Group, an international forum of experts, has been working on this idea for more than a year. The members will form part of the reception committee when the reptiles arrive at the Dhaka airport. The move was initiated by the Chief Forest Conservator of Bangladesh in December, 2003. The Government of Bangladesh then made a formal request to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). CZA scientific officer, Bipul Chakraborty, informed, "Marsh crocodiles help in keeping rivers free from pollution and the ecosystem in Bangladesh might suffer irreparable damage if an expeditious reintroduction of the species is not carried out."

Wildlife Smuggling over U.S. Border
June 24, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By LYNN BREZOSKY (AP)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized two white tigers on their way to Mexico and in 2001, an African elephant was smuggled across the Gateway International Bridge on a truck. The contraband is part of a global trade in endangered wildlife estimated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at $4.2 billion a year, second only to illegal drugs. "People don't realize how serious and how important this is and that this is linked to organized crime," said Crawford Allan of the World Wildlife Fund. Experts say the trade depletes endangered species and spreads diseases such as avian influenza because the smuggled animals are not examined and quarantined. Many of the animals do not survive the trip. The trade works both ways on the U.S.-Mexico border, and it is believed that Latin drug kingpins with private zoos or exotic game camps are business for breeders operating clandestinely on Texas ranches. Seized animals that are now part of the zoo's collection include mantled howling monkeys, pygmy marmosets, Amazon parrots, a leopard and a pair of lions named Mario and Juana, in honor of their discovery during a marijuana bust.

IWC Rejects Japanese Coastal Whale Hunt
June 24, 2005 www.enn.com By Jon Herskovitz, Reuters

ULSAN, South Korea — Japan suffered yet another setback on Thursday in its bid for more whaling when an international commission rejected a plea to allow Japanese coastal communities to hunt whales. An annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Ulsan voted against Japan's proposal to change commission rules and allow it to catch 150 minke whales a year off its northern Pacific coast. On Wednesday, the IWC chastised Tokyo for its scientific whaling programme, which anti-whaling states say is actually a commercial hunt in the guise of science. A day earlier Japan was also voted down by anti-whaling states in two other ballots. Twenty-nine member states voted against Japan's proposal on Thursday to allow its local communities to hunt whales, to 26 in favour. The plan needed a three-quarters majority to be implemented. Many conservationists and anti-whaling nations said they supported whaling for aboriginal communities as a form of subsistence. But they saw the measure brought by Japan -- the world's second-largest economy -- as a way to skirt rules to benefit coastal communities that are neither impoverished nor in need of whale meat to support a slim diet.

Lemur Haven Near Bolton, U.K.
June 24, 2004 www.manchesteronline.co.uk

A family of 10 ringtailed lemurs are alive and well and living in the Bolton area. The most recent members of the family are twins, born two months ago - and are the pride and joy of lifelong animal lover Terry Pearson and his wife Dorothy. Terry has been breeding lemurs for 16 years. In their homeland of Madagascar there are 50 species of lemur, of which 17 are endangered. Their main threat is loss of habitat, as people tear down forests for timber and to create farmland. Terry said: "I started breeding them as a conservation project. We send them to zoos and wildlife parks to help stop inbreeding. Our group has its own gene pool which can benefit others in different parts of the country. Sometimes we exchange animals with zoos and wildlife parks, sometimes we loan them. Occasionally we sell them. But this is not a money-making thing - it is a conservation project. We could actually do with sponsorship or other form of support." The lemurs live in two large enclosures, connected by a tunnel, on an acre of land at Terry and Dorothy's home. The couple also have four wallabies which Terry bought when Haigh Hall Zoo at Wigan closed.

Contraceptive Lowers Bird Hatchings
June 24, 2005 www.nytimes.com 

BEND, Ore. (AP) -- Bait laced with a contraceptive shows promise in combating burgeoning populations of Canada geese, sharply reducing the fertility of eggs, according to a study by the National Wildlife Research Center. The research was conducted at 10 sites around Oregon from February through May in 2004, officials said. Half the test sites were supplied with treated bait, while the other half received a placebo. ''We achieved a 51 percent reduction in hatchability of eggs in treated sites versus control sites,'' said Kimberly Bynum of the Gainesville, Fla.-based National Wildlife Research Center. ''It was definitely a success.'' Protected by the federal government, Canada geese have multiplied dramatically. There are now an estimated 2.6 million resident Canada geese in the United States who don't migrate; they prefer wide-open, mowed grass to natural terrain, so their prolific droppings often litter parks and golf courses. Communities seeking to oust the geese have tried noisemakers, scarecrows, fake coyotes and alligators -- often with little lasting effect.

Catalina Island Eagle Program Halted
June 24, 2005 www.nytimes.com

AVALON, Calif. (AP) -- Federal and state officials will stop funding a program to reintroduce bald eagles on Santa Catalina Island, but they could restart the project after 2007. Officials representing six environmental agencies made the decision as they determined how to spend $25 million in settlement money over the next five years. A Montrose Chemical Corp. factory near Torrance from 1947 to 1971 flushed the pesticide DDT into Los Angeles County sewers that empty into the ocean off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The bald eagle population on Catalina Island was destroyed in the 1960s by the DDT deposits. Montrose and other companies paid California and the federal government $140 million after 10 years of litigation that started in 1990. It was the second-largest settlement in U.S. history to the public for damage to natural resources. About $38 million, plus interest, must be used to restore the population of local fish, eagles, peregrine falcons and seabirds. See www.darp.noaa.gov/southwest/montrose/ and www.catalinaconservancy.org for more information

National Zoo Cheetah Cubs Debut
June 24, 2005 www.alertnet.org By Sandra Maler

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) - Washington's National Zoo’s 10-week-old cheetah cubs are only the second in the zoo's 116-year history. The three females and two males are still being nursed by their 4-year-old mother, Zazi, although they have begun to eat some meat. The young felines weigh only 9 pounds (4 kg), about the size of a house cat. They were born on April 14 after being conceived naturally in January when Zazi mated with 6-year-old Ume, a first-time father. "It's one of the most difficult cats we have to breed and there are 36 species of wild cats," said Dr. Jo Gayle Howard, a reproductive scientist at the zoo. The zoo, part of the Smithsonian Institution, now has 14 cheetahs. "We are at full capacity right now but we have total confidence that we can breed cheetahs again," said Jack Grisham, Associate Curator at the zoo. The cubs can be watched around the clock by live Web cams on nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/AfricanSavanna /. Zoo staff also use the cameras to keep an eye on the cats.

Tortoise Taken from Aldergrove Zoo
June 24, 2005 www.canada.com John Colebourn

VANCOUVER – The staff at the Aldergrove zoo put out a public plea to get a rare marginated tortoise back after discovering he was missing early yesterday. "Herbie is and needs special care and attention to survive," said Jamie Dorgan, the zoo's animal-care manager. "Somebody broke the chain and opened the sliding window and pulled him out." Herbie weighs only 1.8 to 2.7 kilograms and is just 25 centimetres long. Dorgan said someone with a bag or coat could easily have concealed him from security. Marginated tortoises are named for the skirt-like appearance at the back of their shells. They live between 60 and 100 years and are an endangered species.

Philadelphia Zoo President Retires
June 24, 2005 www.philly.com By Julie Stoiber

Alexander L. Hoskins, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo for more than 12 years, will retire in May after the opening of the $20 million Big Cat Falls exhibit. He was the zoo's 12th president and the fourth longest-serving leader since the zoo opened in 1874. The zoo has 1,500 animals and 1.2 million visitors a year. "This is a moment where the zoo can afford to make a transition," said Hoskins, 57. He said he will spend much of time in the next year raising the $40 million needed to complete the new children's zoo, the bird house and the elephant savannah. Zoo board chairman Peter Gould said there will be national search for a replacement. "Running the zoo is a very tough job," he said. 

China's panda news 'skips science'
24 June 2005 Luisa Massarani www.scidev.net

Chinese scientists have successfully raised the profile of giant panda conservation across the country, but if the results of a survey of a leading Chinese newspaper are indicative, media reports tend to focus on the animals, not the research. These are among the findings of a study presented yesterday (23 June) at the Public Communication of Science and Technology symposium in Beijing, China. Liuqing Yang and Susanna Priest from Texas A&M University, United States, analysed articles published between 1995 and 2004 in one of the main Chinese newspapers, The People's Daily. Over that period, the newspaper carried 341 stories about giant pandas, 147 of them focusing on conservation. However, in two-thirds of the stories, no mention was made of sources. In fact, the two main research stations where panda conservation activities take place — the Chengdu Breeding Base and the Wolong Giant Panda Research Station — were directly referred to in just 7.5 per cent of the articles. Not only are the scientists rarely cited in news articles about giant panda conservation, says the study, but details of their work appeared in only 15 per cent of stories.

Rwanda Names Mountain Gorilla Babies
June 25, 2005 www.nytimes.com  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Rwanda (AP) -- Rwanda's president, villagers and conservation workers gathered for ceremony to name 30 rare mountain gorilla babies. It is hoped that this will become an annual ceremony for one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions. More than 20,000 visit the central African nation each year Among those named Saturday were the only recorded set of twins to survive to the age of one. The twins were born in May 2004 -- only the third ever recorded. In 1986, the first recorded pair of twins died after just nine days. Of the second pair, born in 1991, one infant died within a month. The other survived to adulthood, only to be killed by poachers attempting to steal a baby gorilla in 2002.  There are no mountain gorillas in captivity, and all 380 live in central Africa. A census conducted in late 2003 found that the number was up 17 percent since the last count 15 years earlier.

Disney Cancels Shark Soup
June 25, 2005 www.nytimes.com  By KEITH BRADSHER

GUANGZHOU, China, June 24 - After weeks of criticism from environmentalists, Hong Kong Disneyland announced that it was canceling plans to serve shark's fin soup at wedding banquets in the park. As the Walt Disney Company prepares to open the park on Sept. 12, executives have taken pains to show sensitivity to Chinese culture. But their decision to offer shark's fin soup, popular at festive occasions in China for two centuries. The environmentalists pointed to scientific research linking shark fishing to steep declines in some of the world's largest shark species, including basking sharks and great white sharks. Disneyland officials said that after careful research, it had concluded that shark fishing could not be conducted in an environmentally sustainable way. "Striking the right balance between cultural sensitivities and conservation has always been our goal, and we believe this decision is consistent with our ongoing commitment to conservation and responsible consumption practices," said Don Robinson, the group managing director of the park. WWF announced on June 17 that it was asking its five million members to send e-mail messages to Disney asking the company to take the soup off its menus and work to find a sustainable approach to shark fishing. Ginette Hemley, the group's vice president for species conservation, welcomed the company's decision, but added that Disney should work to help develop a sustainable shark fishery.

Bacteria closes Toledo Children's Zoo
June 25, 2005 toledoblade.com By TAD VEZNER

Last week, two baby calves sharing the same stall tested positive during routine testing for a bacteria known as Campylobacter, a common cause of gastrointestinal illness. A sow that had just given birth in an adjacent stall also tested positive. The three animals were isolated for observation, although none shows signs of sickness, and the 30 or so barnyard animals in the children's zoo, including goats, sheep, pigs, and calves, were retested. The bacteria was found in fecal matter collected from a group of about a half-dozen sheep in the children's zoo petting area, yesterday and it was shut down an hour before closing. It will be closed for the entire weekend while animal care staff assess the situation. Zoo officials said none of the other animals showed signs of sickness, and there were no reports of patrons who have become ill.

Tulsa Zoo's creationism-vs.-science flap
June 25, 2005 www.dentonrc.com/ By ARNOLD HAMILTON

In an elephant-like statue, he saw Hinduism. In a global display, he saw pantheism. And in a memorial to a deceased baby elephant, he saw elements of American Indian and New Age religions. "The zoo opened Pandora's Box," he said, "by bringing in other religious material." It took city leaders a decade to see it his way, but finally they ordered the zoo to add – near a longstanding evolutionary science exhibit – a creationism display that provides the Genesis account of how earth and humanity began. The recent decision has infuriated some scientists, civil libertarians and ministers who decry it as an unacceptable mix of fact and faith, as well as a possible violation of church-state separation. "I just feel that there are times and places for religion and there are times and places for science," said Dale McNamara, the lone member of the zoo's governing body, the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board, to oppose placing Scripture in the origins exhibit. "This is not the proper place to put religion. Religion is not being preached at the zoo," she said. "We're not demanding anybody take anything out," said Mr. Hicks, a 43-year-old architect who leads creationism tours at the zoo. "But in Tulsa, Okla., where the majority of people are creationists, certainly if you're going to talk about origins, you'd want to make mention of the creationist viewpoint." But zoo director Stephen Walker, a 27-year zoo employee, said he believes "most zoos and museums will find this a disturbing occurrence." And he fears it could unleash a torrent of demands that the zoo add or subtract exhibits, less on the basis of science than political or religious sensibilities.

Asian Conservation Leaders Meet
June 26, 2005 news.yahoo.com

SINGAPORE (AFP) - The struggle to protect Asia's endangered wildlife has enjoyed rare progress over recent years but government inaction means many species are still doomed to extinction, according to activists meeting last week in Singapore at the Asia for Animals Conference. The rising wealth of Asians is a "double edged sword", the founder of the Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation, Jill Robinson said. Many wealthy people wisely to educate their children to become more informed about environmental and animal welfare issues, but some want to spend it on more outrageous things and usually those outrageous things become the fur off an animal's back, or shark's fin (soup) or tiger bone, something that exploits wild and endangered species. Tougher law enforcement, mainly by imposing stiff penalties and punishments for those in the supply chain, as well as getting the region's authorities to mount a joint effort are vital next steps, according to the activists. "What we have to do is to stop the supply," said the founder and president of the Visakha Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in India, Pradeep Kumar Nath. "So the Indian authorities, the Chinese, the Japanese and all these other people should come together and form a core group, a task force only for this purpose."

Endangered Species Act Challenges
June 26, 2005 www.nytimes.com  By FELICITY BARRINGER

WASHINGTON, June 22 - Thirty-two years after the Endangered Species Act gave the federal government tools and a mandate to protect animals, insects and plants threatened with extinction, the landmark law is facing the most intense efforts ever by the White House, Congress, landowners and industry to limit its reach. The obligations it imposes on government and, indirectly, on landowners are being challenged in the courts, reworked in the agencies responsible for enforcing it and re-examined in Congress. The Bush administration, in a legal battle over the best way to protect endangered salmon, declared Western dams to be as much a part of the landscape as the rivers they control. A White House appointee at the Interior Department sought to influence scientific recommendations involving the sage grouse, a bird whose habitat includes areas of likely oil and gas deposits. Some environmentalists concede that the law has provided fewer incentives for private interests, but they also fear the law's defects may be used as an excuse to destroy it.

Teenager Impaled at Australian Zoo
June 26, 2005 www.news.com.au

The 18-year-old's bloody body was discovered by police on Frome Road outside the zoo's main entrance about 6.50am (CST) yesterday. It's believed the young man, from the nearby suburb of Medindie, was climbing over the gate and fell on the metal spikes at the top. The spikes speared his groin and ruptured an artery. Police are investigating if he was involved in breaking into an ice-cream vending machine at the zoo and was trying to escape with another person. "We have reports that there may have been a second person involved in the incident," said Senior Constable Colin Haigh. Police are also investigating whether the same person left the man to die at the scene. "That's being investigated and police are now preparing a report for the coroner," he said. It was revealed that police gave directions to the teenager around the same location about six hours earlier. Adelaide Zoo and surrounding streets was closed for an hour yesterday as police and forensics gathered evidence from the scene. The zoo's director Mark Craig said the metal front gates were not designed for security and were a heritage icon. He said the gates had been there for 122 years and the accident was the first of its type in the zoo's history. Zoo staff and volunteers have been offered private counselling.

Buffalo Zoo Director Departs
June 26, 2005 www.newsday.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The president and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo plans to step down and head the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, Calif. Donna Fernandes, 46, spent five years at the nation's third-oldest zoo and started a $70 million project to modernize its facilities. Those plans have been jeopardized by Erie County's continuing financial troubles. Fernandes will depart in August, after the new Sea Lion Cove opens. The Chaffee Zoo is planning a 10-year expansion that will more than double its size to 39 acres. "It has been hard here," said Fernandes, who added she also is moving for family reasons. "I am really proud of what we've been able to do, but until there is a dedicated or predictable source of operating revenues, our hands are tied." Earlier this year, the zoo appeared to have lost about $1.4 million in county funding. The zoo decided to close two days every week, raise admission prices and lay off 20 workers. About three-fourths of the subsidy was restored and some workers were returned to the payroll, but the uncertainty took a toll and curtailed private support.

Rare Bog Turtles Released in Georgia
June 27, 2005 www.chicagotribune.com By GREG BLUESTEIN

ROSWELL, Ga. -- Wildlife researchers have released four rare bog turtles into the wild, the first group of the federally threatened species to be let loose in Georgia. The release signaled one of the first benefits of an aggressive publicly funded program meant to restore north Georgia's increasingly sparse mountain bog habitat. The species, believed to be the rarest turtle in North America, once thrived in treeless bogs at the foothills of north Georgia's mountains, where they adapted to the acidic, nutrient-poor soil. However, as former backwaters became new frontiers for development, the species has been decimated by builders who have drained and later refilled the bogs, wiping out entire turtle colonies in the process. Now less than an estimated 10,000 bog turtles remain on the continent, scattered from Georgia to Connecticut. The Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell manages one of several breeding programs. Each four-inch turtle released had an inch-long receiver attached to its shell for tracking. More about the program is at www.chattnaturecenter.com 

Detroit Zoo Budget Cut 30 percent
June 28, 2005 www.freep.com

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) -- Raising admission fees, rolling back winter hours and closing the Belle Isle Zoo and Aquarium, will not be enough for the Detroit Zoo to overcome the $4 million-plus subsidy they will lose due to city budget cuts. Zoo officials say they hope to persuade city officials to restore the subsidy, which covers about 30 percent of its operating budget, but are making fallback plans as well. Gail Warden, chairman of the Detroit Zoological Society, the zoo's nonprofit fundraising arm said "We're going to need help from corporations, foundations and individuals." Warden said he also is looking into other revenue sources including a regional millage that would require voter approval. Reducing visiting hours again might be another cost-cutting option, zoo spokeswoman Rana Kozouz said.

Flamingos Escape from Sedgwick Zoo 
June 28, 2005 www.kansas.com

Sedgwick County Zoo officials are searching for two adult flamingos that flew away from the zoo Monday afternoon. They're asking for the public's help in capturing the birds, which they think have become disoriented and unable to find their way back to the zoo. Normally, the flight feathers of these flamingos are clipped to prevent them from flying. The entire flamingo flock at the zoo has been through two rounds of clipping over the past two months. However, zoo officials said that the flight feathers of these two particular birds had not completely grown in. Therefore, they had not yet been clipped. Zoo officials said the flamingos are not aggressive but are wary of humans. Approaching the birds could cause them to take flight, which could result in possible injury or further disorientation. Anyone seeing the birds is asked to cal the zoo at (316) 660-9453. Dial 0 for immediate assistance.

New Bear Exhibit for ZooMontana
June 28, 2005 www.billingsgazette.com

By next summer, ZooMontana is expected to have a $1 million bear exhibit, thanks to Norlisk Nickel of Russia. Norlish is the parent company of local Stillwater Mining Co. Stillwater has promised to donate $25,000 a year for 10 years toward operation and maintenance of the exhibit. Norilsk's donation is the largest corporate gift ZooMontana has ever received. "Bear Meadows" is to be built next to the bighorn sheep exhibit, which was added to the zoo with a gift from Stillwater Mining Co. Bear Meadows will be a habitat big enough for four bears, including natural-looking space with rocks, logs and water features. Other ZooMontana animals were captive-born or injured so that they cannot live in the wild. Grizzly Meadows will possibly become a haven for a few orphans or other bears that cannot live in the wild. The prospect of getting a Russian brown bear or a Kodiak bear is intriguing. Frank McAllister, Stillwater Mining Company’s chief executive, said the bear exhibit gift sprang from Norilsk's desire to explain to the community who they are. 

NOAA Scientists Report Govt Pressure
6/28/05 www.casperstartribune.net 

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - Many scientists at NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for balancing hydroelectric dams against endangered salmon, say they know of cases where scientific findings were altered at the request of commercial interests, according to a survey released Tuesday by two watchdog groups. The survey was conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The survey posed 34 questions and was sent to 460 NOAA Fisheries scientists across the country. Responses came back from 124, or 27 percent. "The conclusion is that political interference is a serious problem at NOAA Fisheries," Lexis Schulz, Washington representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said from Washington. Schulz said one of the inspirations for the survey was a recent case where NOAA Fisheries adopted a policy that counts some hatchery salmon and wild salmon together when assessing their status as endangered species. The policy was adopted despite advice from the Salmon Recovery Science Review Panel, made up of independent scientists, that they should adopt rules to keep hatchery and wild fish separate.

Among the findings:

- 58 percent of respondents said they knew of cases where high-level Commerce Department appointees or managers inappropriately altered NOAA Fisheries determinations.
• 53 percent said they were aware of cases in which commercial interests inappropriately induced the reversal or withdrawal of NOAA Fisheries scientific conclusions or decisions through political intervention.
• 13 percent said they knew of cases where environmental interests inappropriately induced the reversal or withdrawal of NOAA Fisheries scientific conclusions or decisions through political intervention.
• 44 percent said NOAA Fisheries routinely makes determinations using its best scientific judgment, even when political pressure is applied, while 37 percent disagreed.

PETA Attacks Long Beach Aquarium
June 28, 2005 www.latimes.com By Amanda Covarrubias

PETA wants the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to remove fish and seafood from its cafeteria menu. The head of the Fish Empathy Project for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said serving fish at an aquarium just isn't right. "An institution with a mission that includes teaching people to respect and appreciate marine animals certainly shouldn't serve fish in its cafeteria," Karin Robertson wrote last week in a letter to Jerry Schabel, the aquarium's chairman and chief executive. Aquarium officials say they won't ban sustainable seafood, such as tilapia, farmed clams and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, that can be replenished through such means as fish farms. The facility said it co-sponsors a Seafood Watch program with the Monterey Bay Aquarium designed to educate the public about the types of fish that are safe to eat and those to avoid because they are endangered or are caught using methods harmful to other sea creatures.

Study on wild birds Spreading Avian Flu
June 28, 2005 www.baltimoresun.com By Michael Stroh

COLLEGE PARK, MD – A new $5-million, 3-year project at the University of Maryland is intended to address some of the many unanswered questions about the virus. Avian flu resides harmlessly in the gut of ducks and other waterfowl but is capable of hop-scotching into species such as chickens, pigs and humans. The project involves more than a dozen labs around the United States, and is funded by the USDA. An agency official said the grant is the largest the USDA has awarded for a single disease. The commitment reflects a growing unease among health experts that avian flu viruses now circulating in Asia could wind up in North America. The lethal H5N1 strain of the virus has led to the culling of millions of chickens and other birds and killed 54 people. Human cases have been documented in four Asian countries, the most recent this month in Indonesia. Daniel Perez, director project said the project will attempt to develop faster and more sensitive tests to detect the presence of the virus in animals, as well as new animal vaccines that could check the spread of the disease. Another key goal: the first comprehensive survey of the continent's major flyways to determine which strains of avian flu are found in migrating birds.

Fort Wayne Zoo’s 40th Anniversary
June 28, 2005 www.fortwayne.com

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo celebrates its 40th anniversary this week. Since 1965, it has been one of this city’s most popular attractions for tourists and natives alike. More than 500,000 people visit the zoo each year. It has the fourth-highest per capita attendance rate of any zoo in the country. And, unlike most zoos, Fort Wayne’s is financially self-sufficient. The zoo gets its entire $4.5million annual budget from gate fees, concession sales, ride fees, memberships and private donations. Although it is part of the city Parks and Recreation Department, the zoo doesn’t use any tax dollars for operations. It also pays for its city-operated water and sewer service.

New rabies treatment
June 28, 2005 www.nytimes.com  By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D

A 15-year-old girl is the first person to survive rabies without having rabies immunization, apparently oweing her life to a novel drug regimen that put her in a deep coma for one week. She was bitten by a bat last September. She cleansed the wound but did not seek medical attention so she did not receive rabies shots and immune globulin which is standard prevention therapy. Over a five-day period she developed fatigue, tingling and numbness in her left hand, double vision, an unsteady gait, nausea, vomiting and a fever. Brain scans had showed no abnormality Dr. Rodney E. Willoughby Jr., who examined her sent a piece of Jeanna's skin, cerebrospinal fluid, blood and other body fluids, were sent to the CDC in Atlanta where the diagnosis was confirmed. Once the symptoms have developed, it is too late to immunize. Although thousands of foxes, skunks, raccoons and other wild animals develop rabies in this country each year, only one or two people, on average, get the disease. So American physicians who have seen a case are rare, and Dr. Willoughby was not among them. But worsening symptoms were enough for Dr. Willoughby to start hitting the library, between other consultations, trying to figure out what might be new and different in rabies treatment. From his search of scientific articles and telephone discussions with the diseases centers, Dr. Willoughby said he learned that only five patients had recovered from rabies and that all had received rabies shots. No one who had not been immunized, as was Jeanna's case, had survived.

New Species of Catfish Found in Mexico
June 28, 2005 news.nationalgeographic.com

Researchers recently discovered a new species of catfish in the Lacantún River in the Mexican state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. The new species has been named after its home waters: Lacantunia enigmatica. Its traits are so distinct that it represents a whole new family of fish. The Philadelphia-based Academy of Natural Sciences, which took part in the research, announced the discovery on June 24. Not only is it the sole member of its scientific family so far, enigmatica is also the only known example of an ancient group of fish whose origins may trace back to the days of the dinosaurs. Key variations from the common catfish are in the shape of the animal's skull, jaw muscles, air bladder—which fish use to rise and sink in water—and, perhaps most noticeably, the wispy barbels, or whiskers, around its mouth.

Similar Problems at Lincoln Park and National
June 28, 2005 www.kansascity.com BY JON YATES

In the coming weeks, two monitoring organizations are expected to complete their reviews of the Lincoln Park Zoo, prompted by the zoo's own animal deaths. Since October, nine high-profile animals - three elephants, three langur monkeys, two gorillas and a camel - have died at the zoo. There are similarities between Lincoln Park’s problems and those of the National Zoo who recently went through a critical review. Both are set in the middle of bustling cities and are free to the public. Both are among the oldest zoos in the country. And both have found themselves the target of animal rights groups and the media.  At Lincoln Park, both the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have completed on-site visits and are writing up their findings, reports that are expected to shed light on whether the zoo's care for the animals played any role in their deaths.

New Penguin Exhibit at Syracuse
June 29, 2005 www.newsday.com By WILLIAM KATES

SYRACUSE, NY – Eighteen Humboldt penguins inhabit the Rosamond Gifford Zoo's new $3.7 million "Penguin Coast" exhibit. They came from Sea World San Diego (10), the Philadelphia Zoo (2), the Oregon Zoo (4) in Portland and the Brookfield Zoo (2) near Chicago. According to Nancy Porter, the zoo's aquarium collections manager, after a 3 month adjustment period, "they were quite comfortable." To celebrate the debut, zoo staff and employees wore tuxedo T-shirts. Students from two local elementary schools that raised a combined $1,700 for the exhibit started the festivities with a penguin song and dance and then a penguin-costumed parade across the zoo courtyard. Unlike most of the 13 other penguin exhibits in North America, the Syracuse zoo built a pool that is both heated and cooled for year-round use, Director Anne Baker said. Although Syracuse's temperate climate is similar to what the penguins are used to, they had to acclimate themselves to other changes and establish a colony order, said Ted Fox, the zoo's bird collection manager. Over half of the penguins have never lived in outdoor exhibits and the experiences of birds flying overhead and outdoor sounds were completely new to them.

Tortoise Smuggler Prosecuted
June 29, 2005 news.fws.gov

Robert Chung Yip Kwong has been sentenced to 5 months in federal prison and five months home detention for convictions stemming from the illegal smuggling of three types of live tortoises, including endangered radiated tortoises from Madagascar. The charges stem from the December 2003 seizure of several packages containing live Indian star tortoises, Burmese star tortoises and endangered radiated tortoises. "He was commercially smuggling internationally protected species and endangered species into the United States using express mail," said Special Agent Kenneth McCloud of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The charges against Kwong relate to 36 tortoises. Another 33 tortoises were seized from Kwong's house but not included in the charges. Radiated tortoises have been protected under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1973. With their distinctive markings and dramatic colors, the tortoises, which can grow to 18 inches long, are popular among collectors. Baby radiated tortoises, such as those smuggled by Kwong, are valued at $1,250 each. Besides being popular with pet collectors, radiated tortoises also are sought for professed medicinal purposes. Burmese star tortoises are even more valuable, with adults selling for up to $7,000 apiece and juveniles worth about half that much. They are found only in a national preserve in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. While it is not illegal to possess tortoises that were legally imported, smuggling them in without the required permits is against the law. "In the last few years we've seen a huge increase in the number of these species being smuggled into the United States," he said. "In the past three years alone, we've seized about 500 tortoises." After agents seize the tortoises they are screened for disease and treated, if needed, and placed in zoos. The tortoises seized from the illegal shipments to Kwong were placed in zoos in Texas and New York.

USDA Statement on BSE Case
June 29, 2005 www.aphis.usda.gov

USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford has issued the following statement regarding the USDA epidemiological investication into the recently confirmed BSE case: "DNA test results have confirmed that we have identified the source herd of the animal determined last week to be positive for BSE. Based on information we have received from the owner, the cow was born and raised in a herd in Texas and was approximately 12 years old. It was sent to a 3D/4D pet food plant in Texas and was selected for sampling on arrival. "The source herd is now under a hold order as we identify animals of interest within the herd. Consistent with OIE guidelines, animals of interest would include any other animals that were born the same year as this animal, as well as any born the year before and the year after. If the age of the animal cannot be pinpointed, then we may expand our inquiry to include all animals in this herd before the feed ban went into place in 1997. We are also interested in any of this animal’s offspring that were born within the last 2 years.

Washington Post Renews National Zoo Attack
June 29, 2005 www.washingtonpost.com By Karlyn Barker

Staff members at the National Zoo worried early last year over Kisangali, a female lion who was sick for weeks. She was lethargic and had bouts of vomiting and frequent thirst. Having ruled out digestive and kidney problems, a zoo veterinarian wrote in case notes that the troubles might be psychological. Three weeks later, in February 2004, a raging infection in Kisangali's reproductive tract ruptured and spilled gallons of pus into her abdomen. Despite surgery, she died. Veterinarians not affiliated with the zoo, who reviewed records at the request of The Washington Post, said the lion was showing classic symptoms of pyometra, a uterine infection. They maintained that the zoo, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution, missed an obvious diagnosis and failed to take surgical action early enough to save the 13-year-old animal. Pyometra is "a very well-known condition that could account for all the signs noted in the record," said Gary Kuehn, a retired zoo veterinarian in California. "At least five veterinarians attended Kisangali, yet there is no record that any of them considered the possibility of pyometra." The case is one of five deaths between December 2003 and December 2004 that raise new concerns about animal care at the National Zoo, according to three veterinarians and two other animal experts. A fourth veterinarian called the deaths "regrettable" but said he did not believe they reflected the overall care of animals at the zoo. The outside experts reviewed records, including medical notes and pathology reports, that the zoo provided to The Post.

Concern Over Eastern Equine Virus
June 29, 2005 www.orlandosentinel.com By Elaine Aradillas

Officials are concerned that mosquito-borne viral diseases may soon strike people after seeing more horses and chickens infected with Eastern equine encephalitis across Central Florida. Frank Wolf, environmental health director of the Osceola County Health Department, said the rain needs to let up or residents can expect to see the disease spread -- possibly to people. So far this year, there have been no reports of humans infected with the disease in Florida. Animal cases have been reported in 31 of Florida's 67 counties this year, as opposed to this time last year when only 19 counties had reported cases. In Central Florida, Lake, Volusia and Orange counties have found infected animals. The state has had a seesaw experience with Eastern equine encephalitis over the past few years. By this time in 2003, 38 counties had reported animal cases, while in 2002 it was 15. The virus, which is found in the eastern United States, has a high fatality rate among animals and is considered one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases, according to the state Department of Health.

Newborn dolphins go a month without sleep
June 29, 2005 www.newscientist.com By Andy Coghlan

A research team led by Jerome Siegel of UCLA has found that captive newborn killer whales - Orcinus orca - and bottlenose dolphins - Tursiops truncates do not sleep for a whole month after birth, and neither do their mothers, who stay awake to keep a close eye on their offspring. The feat of wakefulness is remarkable given that rats die if forcibly denied sleep. All animals previously studied, maximize rest and sleep after birth to optimize healthy growth and development. The patterns observed contrast with that seen in adult cetaceans, which normally "sleep" for 5 to 8 hours a day - either floating at the surface or lying on the bottom before rising periodically for air. The newborn whales and dolphins were continually active, surfacing for air every 3 to 30 seconds. They also kept at least one eye open to track their mothers, who seemed to set the frenetic pace by always coursing ahead of their offspring. Siegel and his colleagues found that, over months, mothers and offspring gradually increased the amount of rest until it approached that of normal adults. And measurements of the stress hormone cortisol showed that levels were normal, so the animals were not apparently stressed by their insomnia. Journal reference: Nature (vol 435, p1177)

Study Claims Breeding Programs Pay Off
June 29, 2005 www.eurekalert.org

HOUSTON, June 29, 2005 – Comparative studies of captive breeding strategies conducted at Rice University bolster the case for costly and sometimes troublesome breeding programs that preserve maximum genetic variability in small populations of endangered species. Worldwide, zoos spend millions of dollars each year transporting rare animals thousands of miles in order to breed them with their most distantly related relatives. Some have questioned the need for such programs, which can stress rare animals, even to the point of death. Rice's results, which are available online, are scheduled to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Zoo Biology. The results are based on a yearlong study of 11 generations of houseflies. The study is the first to compare the so-called "maximum avoidance inbreeding," or MAI strategy, with regimens that allow limited inbreeding.

El Paso Zoo denies Elephant Problems
June 29, 2005 www.borderlandnews.com By Darren Meritz

El Paso Zoo officials disputed an animal activist group's claim that the city's elephants are developing health problems as a result of living at the zoo. Tuesday, representatives from the organization In Defense of Animals were in El Paso and detailed what they called problems the zoo's two elephants, Savannah, 53, and Juno, 37, are having as a result of their captivity within a 1-acre enclosure. In Defense of Animals officials claim Savannah suffers from arthritis and captivity-induced foot problems, while Juno has suffered from digestive disorders, foot problems and obesity. Zoo Education Curator Rick LoBello estimated that Savannah and Juno can lead healthy lives on the acre committed to the elephants. In Defense of Animals asserted, however, that elephants need to travel up to 30 miles a day in the wild to maintain proper foot, joint and digestive health. The City Council will have a special meeting July 27 about whether to send the two elephants to a sanctuary in Tennessee.

Great Plains Zoo Changes Management
June 29, 2005 www.keloland.com 

Management of the Great Plains Zoo is being handed over to the city of Sioux Falls, and the zoo’s board has released all information on the zoo's financial situation to the city. So far this year, the zoo's revenues are up 4%. Expenses have climbed 2% and up until June, attendance was strong. But city managers who take over this fall will inherit a variety of challenges. Zoo board president, Tony Bour says repairs and upgrades should be expected. "The infrastructure is tired, sewer lines fail and because we happen to be a zoo located on a flood plane from time to time we get flooded." That's what's happened to the North American exhibit, where the city will soon begin flood repairs. The zoo transferred the buffalo that used to roam there to a park in Minnesota, the only one that would accept them. Other animals will soon follow.  Bour says, "We're in the process of relocating the elk. We can move these animals into temporary pens but because of their size it's not possible to keep them in smaller pens for any length of time."

Brookfield’s Gorilla Naming Contest
June 30, 2005 releases.usnewswire.com by Sondra Katzen

BROOKFIELD, Ill. After Binti Jua, one of the most recognizable western lowland gorillas gave birth to a male infant on May 2, Brookfield Zoo challenged the public to come up with a name for her baby. The zoo received more than 1,500 entries, and a truly great name has emerged for this great ape! The name selected is Bakari (pronounced buh-KAR-ee), a Swahili word for "promise" The name Bakari was submitted by a number of people, but Mary Ann Wolff of Bolingbrook, IL, was selected to win the naming contest with her entry. As the winner, Wolff receives a free day at the zoo that includes a behind-the-scenes tour for her and four of her guests at Brookfield Zoo's Tropic World, the opportunity to assist animal keepers in preparing the gorillas' exhibit with browse and the animals' morning treats, lunch with Tropic World keepers, a Share the Care gorilla package, and a gorilla handprint. In 1996, the now 17-year-old gorilla mother became world- renowned for picking up a child who fell into the gorilla exhibit and carrying him in a cradling fashion to a doorway where zoo staff could reach the boy.

Nine-foot, 646-pound Catfish in Thailand
June 30, 2005 sportsillustrated.cnn.com

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Thai fishermen caught a 293-kilogram (646-pound) catfish that may have been the world's largest freshwater fish, wildlife conservation groups said. The Mekong giant catfish was netted by villagers in a remote part of northern Thailand, the World Wildlife Fund and the National Geographic Society said in a statement. When wildlife officials caught wind of the catch they urged the villagers to release the adult male so that it could spawn, but it later died and was eaten, the groups said. They did not say when the massive fish was caught. The fish was the heaviest recorded since Thai officials started tracking the species in 1981 and may be the largest freshwater fish ever discovered. A picture of the fish is at: sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/more/06/30/fish.ap/index.html 

Wildlife Corridors Promote Dispersal
June 30, 2005 www.ncsu.edu/news

Scientists from NC State University , the U of Florida and Allegheny College contend that landscape corridors are effective in promoting animal and plant seed movement to help sustain diversity and dispersal of native animals and plants. According to Dr. Nick Haddad, a co-author of the July 1 paper in Science, the study shows that easy-to-measure animal behaviors can serve as predictors for whether landscape corridors will be effective dispersal mechanisms for those specific animals and the plants they eat. Corridors reconnect habitats for native animals and plants that were once connected prior to urban or farm development. Lack of dispersal means animals and plants become vulnerable to being lost or developing negative genetic effects found in small populations, like those acquired through inbreeding. Corridors were tested at the Savannah River Site National Environmental Research Park on the South Carolina-Georgia border that is mostly dominated by pine tree forests. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and by the Department of Energy-Savannah River Operations Office through the U.S. Forest Service Savannah River Institute.

USFWS biologist fired over panther data wins job back
June 30 2005 www.sun-sentinel.com  By David Fleshler

A federal biologist who was fired after accusing superiors of failing to protect the Florida panther won his job back Wednesday, on the eve of a hearing before a federal employment board. Andrew Eller, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was reinstated in a last-minute deal that both sides agreed to keep confidential. Eller, who reviewed development proposals in the agency's Vero Beach office, became a hero to the environmental movement after he filed a formal complaint last year accusing his own agency of using flawed science to approve projects in panther habitat. He spoke freely to the news media about being pressured by superiors to approve housing developments, roads and other development on land he considered vital to the endangered cat. The agency fired him in November, citing consistently late work and unprofessional exchanges with the public. Neither side would comment on the reinstatement. They issued a statement that read in full: "Mr. Eller and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have jointly come to an agreement that is in the best interests of both parties and that does not admit any liability or wrongdoing on the part of either party." Jeff Fleming, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, declined to say whether the secrecy agreement was made at the request of the service. "Both sides agreed to this," he said. "It's not unusual for personnel matters to be confidential."