Thursday, December 31, 2009


Niabi Zoo Welcomes Early New Year's Surprise (Video)

This past Sunday the Niabi Zoo in the Quad Cities area, welcomed a new baby giraffe calf. The baby was expected later in the week and staff were surprised to meet the new baby boy when they went in for a routine check on the mother Mimi. After the baby has matured, he will most likely move to another AZA insitution as part of the interzoo breeding program.

City Could End Its Operation Of Zoo, Convention Center, Animal Shelters

By Dennis Romero

Mon., Dec. 28 2009 @ 4:26PM

In its quest to stand up to a looming, $400 million budget deficit, the city will have to look seriously at the possibility of giving up its operation of the Zoo, the Convention Center and its animal shelters.

The Los Angeles Daily News on Monday reports that giving up day-to-day control of the institutions has to be on the table if the city is going to take a serious jab at the deficit. "We have to look at what the core mission of the city is," City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana told the paper. "Is it a Zoo? Is it a Convention Center? Those are questions the City Council will have to answer."

Santana says public-private partnerships could help take the costly operations off the city's hands. For example, he said, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association could easily take over the Zoo, L.A. Inc., the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, could manage the Convention Center, and the ASPCA could run the shelters.

Polar Bear Days Back at Cleveland Metropark Zoo Starting in the New Year

Use January's cold to warm your pockets with savings during Polar Bear Days at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Whenever the high temperature for the day is 32 degrees or below, it will be declared a Polar Bear Day at the Zoo. That means Zoo visitors receive half-price admission on that day. Kids under 2 and Zoo members are always free. To confirm a Polar Bear Day at the Zoo, visit the Zoo's home page or call (216) 661-6500 . We'll also be announcing Polar Bear Days on the Zoo's Facebook page and Twitter.

Zoo celebrates 110 years

Posted by: Ric Brewer, Communications

Break out the cake--today is our 110th birthday!

On December 28, 1899, the Seattle City Council officially signed the paperwork purchasing the 141 acres that would become Woodland Park Zoo and surrounding parkland. Once owned by real estate tycoon Guy Phinney, the land and its collection of animals had become a burden for his widow after Phinney died in 1893, so it was sold to the growing city for $100,000 to be developed into a park.

The purchase was controversial as many believed the land, located 5 miles north of downtown Seattle, was so far out into the countryside that no one would visit it! But generations of families have proven that wrong as what became Woodland Park Zoo is now a fixture in the lives of more than one million visitors each year. Over the course of the last century plus, the zoo has changed from an attraction that merely showcased animals for enjoyment into an educational institution that is devoted to wildlife and habitat conservation here in the Northwest and around the world.

Rare Rhinos Relocated In Effort To Keep Species Alive

December 29, 2009

This month, conservationists in the Czech Republic and Kenya launched an audacious bid to save one of the world's rarest animals: the northern white rhinoceros. Four of the last eight known northern whites in the world, two male and two female, were packed into wooden crates and sent from a Czech zoo to Kenya, where scientists hope they will get down to the business of breeding.

They do love a lot of fuss and attention, like horses really. Rhinos respond well to love and being scratched, so the whole name of the game is to make them as chilled out as possible.

- Berry White, a British rhino handler

The rhinos arrived at Nairobi's main airport at 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 19. Hamish Currie prowled the tarmac directing trucks, tractors and a giant crane as the animals came off the 747.

The Monkey thought he was sharing. No one was ready to catch the orange as he did from the attendant.

Last Updated: December 29. 2009 6:27PM

Zoo works to bring lions closer to visitors

Jennifer Chambers / The Detroit News

Royal Oak -- Plans to change the lions' habitat at the Detroit Zoo will not only bring visitors closer to the big cats but the big cats much closer to visitors.

Plans calls for filling in a dry moat barrier that gives visitors an unobstructed view of the animals and replacing it with a glass wall, which will nearly double the space for the lions and afford visitors a closer look, zoo spokeswoman Patricia Mills Janeway said.

"Warming rocks near the glass will provide the lions with a toasty perch from which to view visitors. Trees, plantings and rocks in the visitor area will mirror those in the lions' habitat, making the experience seem that much more immersive," Janeway said.

When Will That Cub Debut?

Posted at 9:58 am December 29, 2009 by Suzanne Hall

Many of you have been asking about, and discussing, the public debut of Yun Zi. Yes, it is beyond the time that Bai Yun’s other cubs have been available for public viewing, and some of you are wondering why our little boy is not outside yet. Many have asked where he will be on exhibit. I know there is a lot of interest in seeing this cub, and I hope this update will answer your questions.

Until recently, Yun Zi has been a bit behind his siblings with respect to spending time out of the den. As I mentioned in my last post (Yun Zi Takes on the World?), Zhen Zhen was following her mother out on exhibit before Christmastime. We don’t know why Zi has been slower: because he’s a boy? Because his body size is so large compared to some sibs, making it a little tougher for him to move his mass around? Personality? This is where that individual variation I mentioned before has come into play.

Somali Wild Ass Enrichment

Posted at 3:43 pm December 29, 2009 by Lance Miller

It has been a wonderful seven months since my first blog post about studying the Somali wild ass (see Wild Horses!) at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Since then I have collected behavioral and hormone data to help answer some of my original questions. These included figuring out how Somali wild asses spend their time and determining factors that cause certain animals to spend time with some animals but not others. What we have learned is that the Somali wild ass is an amazing social animal. They have associations within the herd that remain consistent, and those associations are reflected in their behavior. Since the last post we have had two newborn Somalis. Play behavior appears to be important in the development of this species, which might serve many functions

Budget zoo

…The city is now halfway through the fiscal year, and in six months it will have another budget to adopt. Before City Hall closed for the holiday break, interim City Manager Kevin O’Rourke said in an interview that the city before that budget is adopted must poll or survey residents or in some other way determine what their priorities are. For example, he said, if the city had limited resources (it does) and owned a zoo (it does not), and if residents said the zoo was not a priority, it would be reasonable to reduce spending at the zoo. It sounded a lot like priority-based budgeting and a little like another discarded program, City Auditor Mike Taylor’s citizen survey, in which Taylor polled residents in 2007 to take, for the first time in Stockton, a statistically significant measure of their perception of the city and its government (That people overwhelmingly disapproved of both was one reason a planned survey the following year was cancelled)….

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FREE day at Hogle Zoo, Wed. 12/30

Need something to do while kids are home during Winter break?

Remember, admission to Hogle Zoo is free on Wednesday, Dec. 30 as part of the zoo's wintertime "Wild Wednesdays" promotion.

This is a HOT deal, given the fact that regular admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and $7 for children ages 3 to 12. (Children under the age of 3 are free.) Other free days this winter include: Jan. 27 and Feb. 24

Remember to stop and say 'hi' to the zoo's newest member, Zuri the baby elephant.

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at GSU partners with Zoo Atlanta

December 29, 1:35 PMAtlanta Science ExaminerKristina Bjoran

Georgia State University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) recently partnered with Zoo Atlanta to go forth with cognitive research, especially with the zoo’s great apes. The partnership has already proved to be a symbiotic relationship; not only has the CBN gained valuable research, but the Center also assisted in the birth of the giant panda cub, Mei Lan.

Though the beginnings of this collaboration were as early as late 2003, the Center has worked with the zoo to develop the Orangutan Learning Tree, which officially opened in April 2007. Other projects include gorilla cognition and tool-use and the Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda breeding program.

Oregon Zoo cheetah likely died of cancer, liver disease

By The Oregonian

December 29, 2009, 1:23PM

A necropsy on a two-year-old cheetah that died Sunday at the Oregon Zoo showed that the animal had an enlarged pancreas and liver problems, zoo officials said today.

Scooter died late Sunday afternoon after he became ill around Christmas day, said zoo veterinarian, Lisa Harrenstien.

"It appeared his abdomen hurt and he didn't want to move much," Harrenstien said. "During the exam, we became suspicious of pancreatic disease and had planned exploratory surgery if the extensive fluid therapy we prescribed wasn't successful."

Necropsy results revealed an enlarged, abnormal pancreas, which may indicate pancreatic cancer, and the animal's liver was also abnormal, suggesting, Harrenstien said, veno-occlusive disease, a common ailment in cheetahs but very uncommon in other species.

"We're still in shock," said Chris Pfefferkorn, Oregon Zoo general curator. "Both Scooter and his brother, Suseli, have been popular with visitors since the opening of our new Predators of the Serengeti exhibit in September."

Panda gets last checkup before public debut

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 1:10 p.m.

— Panda cub Yun Zi is a bit of a brawler.

But his San Diego Zoo veterinarian and keepers are taking a boys-will-be-boys attitude about it, perhaps because Tuesday was the last weekly exam the 4-month-old cub will get before his public debut in January.

Zoo officials expect him to follow his mother, Bai Yun, into the public section of the panda enclosure at Balboa Park early next month.

During the Tuesday morning session, Yun Zi yipped, clawed and even tried to chew his handlers as they wrestled to measure him. He was a furry force of nature, but that pleased people in the examination room.

The cub is getting stronger, said senior veterinarian Beth Bicknese.

“He’s less squishy and has more muscle definition,” she said.

What is wrong with this picture? ? ? ? Not a darn thing, except creative funding.

It is a 'bus wrap' to advertise the zoo. Cool stuff.

Creative Ad: Copenhagen Zoo (click here)

How much would it suck if someone was afraid of snakes and had to take this bus? Copenhagen-based ad agency Bates Y&R created this hyper-realistic version of "Snakes on a Bus." A huge constrictor snake is seen crushing the metal frame of a bus, giving the illusion that all of its passengers are in grave danger. Props to Bates Y&R for great execution, and perfect use of the surrounding environment!

It is time to move Lieberman out of Homeland Security. He hasn't done anything constructive yet.

Lieberman has been Chair of Homeland Security in the Senate for far too long. He needs to be replaced. He uses the committees he sits on for political purposes and no other reason. The policies that have been in place for the USA were under his leadership and they don't work.

And maybe Janet Napolitano should have been standing at the gate in Amsterdam, you think? The policies of Homeland Security that are BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO WORK, are what was in place. Gee, maybe we all should have seen through the Bush/Cheney Faux Homeland Security the day DUCT TAPE became a priority.

If pilots need to be notified across the entire North American continent to secure their cockpits and planes than maybe the Homeland Security initiative needs to be rethought completely.

...Quite right. For one thing, Lieberman (click here), as chairman for the last two years, barely used his committee to actually explore domestic security policy. For another, it's not as if Lieberman has such a unique expertise that Americans would be at risk if, say, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) chaired the same committee. Or Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) or Thomas Carper (D-Del.) or Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)

It's one of those rare arguments from Lieberman that combines arrogance, incompetence, and demagoguery, all at the same time. A rare feat, indeed....

Demint from South Carolina needs to be impeached and brought before the Ethics Committee. It is time to deal with political 'operatives' that see their power as toys for political volleys rather than the protection of the public.

Sen. Demint Voices Concern Over TSA (click here)

Demint Blocked Senate Vote On President's Nominee To Head Agency

POSTED: 6:47 am EST December 30, 2009
UPDATED: 11:22 am EST December 30, 2009

In the wake of the bombing attempt on a U.S. airline, critics are pointing to problems at the Transportation Security Administration.The TSA remains without a leader and some people are blaming South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim Demint. They accuse of him of blocking the nomination of the man the president wants in charge.
Demint objected to a senate vote on the nominee to head the TSA, he said, because he wants to know where he stands on unions....

Unions? I would think unions would be a REQUIREMENT in any government funded agency. It is SOP for government agencies in many instances to have unions to protect their employees because of the 'cold' nature of the administration of any government agency. The government is an entity that is completely removed from human capacity and is a DISTANT manager to operations of its systems.

The more distant a manager is from actual 'work place dynamics' the more arbitrary and inefficent a work place becomes and fails in its purpose. By placing unions within the government structure as a private operation that supports the employees, it 'gives voice' to those employees that facilitates better operation and the 'human dynamic' that is needed for SUCCESSFUL purpose of any government agency.

So, Demint is completely wrong to even question that. He is wrong both in theory and practice. A unionized worker is an empowered worker and feels safe to file greivances about their work place. Union workers, believe it or not, like to contribute to their work environment to be sure they are delivering the best service for the 'excellant' pay they earn.
They value their jobs, the quality of life it brings to their families and they want their employers happy with the product to be sure it is highly esteemed in the market place, even if it is service related. If the product isn't worth the pay, it won't last for long.

In the case of Airport Security, the workers should be proud to deliver high quality service to their employers as the people they are securing, on any given day, in any given airport, could be their family members.

Unionized workers within government structures should be mandated as 'experience' enhances the ability to secure airlines. Seniority should count and there should be chances for advancement.

Demint is an obstructist. It is the priority of the RNC. He needs to be seen as a 'threat' to our national security along with anyone else 'playing games' with lives, including Lieberman and Senate Ethics Committee needs to act.