Monday, February 13, 2012

Who cared? She was alone in her decision to participate in taking substances and endangering her life besides.

...A fatal cocktail of prescription drugs and booze killed Whitney Houston before she became submerged in a bathtub, the singer’s relatives reportedly were told.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office does not believe the “I Will Always Love You” star drowned, contrary to earlier reports suggesting she slumped beneath the water in a drug-induced stupor, reported Monday.
Coroner’s officials told Houston’s family she did not have enough water in her lungs to suggest she drowned and was likely dead already....
These women are commodities.  The show must go on.

Hm? I wonder if the Roman Catholic Church in consultation with the GOP will approve of this?

PRNewswire -- While the innovative da Vinci surgical robot's use (click title to entry - thank you) is largely limited to specialized procedures, Evergreen Healthcare is the first hospital in the area to implement minimally invasive robot-assisted general surgery. This is expected to increase the number of patients who can benefit from the quicker recoveries and shorter hospital stays the da Vinci technology provides. Evergreen was also the first in the Puget Sound to perform gall bladder removal using da Vinci....

...Currently, da Vinci-assisted surgeries are largely used for urological and obstetrical procedures such as prostatectomies and hysterectomies. At Evergreen, surgeons began extending the da Vincisystem to also perform abdominal laparoscopic and bariatric procedures....

The Plutocracy continues to seek power over the electorate. Now why would that be important if they didn't want control over the USA Treasury?

Our taxes are coveted by the Plutocracy of the USA.  Our taxes.  It is only correct and decent they pay more!
Groups petition Supreme Court to overturn Montana ban on corporate campaign spending (click title to entry - thank you)

Michael Haggerson on February 11, 2012 3:18 PM ET

American Tradition PartnershipMontana Shooting Sports Association and Champion Painting have petitioned the US Supreme Court to reverse the decision by the Montana Supreme Court in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Montana that corporations cannot directly contribute to political campaigns or candidates [JURIST report]. The three groups argue that Montana's century-old ban on corporate spending, implemented by the1912 Corrupt Practices Act, is illegal [Great Falls Tribune report] in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that declared that a state cannot impose a complete ban on corporate spending. 

The Montana Supreme Court stated that the ban on corporate spending is legal because it still allows for some corporate spending and was in response to rampant political corruption by the "Copper Kings".

Campaign finance has been a hotly contested issue recently. Two weeks ago, theUS Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down a Wisconsin law that prohibited people from donating more than $10,000 per year to political action committees. In June, the US Supreme Court ruled that an Arizona campaign finance regulation violated the First Amendment. In May, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld  a Minnesota law that prohibited direct contributions to candidates and affiliated entities. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in 2009 that a Connecticut campaign finance law discriminated against minor party candidates in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Plutocrats are trampling the rights of citizens while they further a campaign to destroy the one venue of safety for the American workforce, namely the unions.  Money, the plutocrats are all about as money as they can get into their coffers, while never realizing the electorate is where their customers are and by starving them, they starve their own corporations.  CEOs really haven't got a clue, they only know that an increase at any price to viability of the company will earn them a bonus.  They haven't a clue and if they do, they don't care and their personal wealth takes precedent.  

...Thismonth, (click here) after testifying in Washington, D.C., on job creation, Snyder told reporters he does not favor pursuing right-to-work in Michigan this year. Speaking of confrontations in neighboring Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana over laws that challenge unions, Snyder said, "If you want to draw it as a contrast, you look at now that they've had those things happen, do they have a productive environment to solve problems? Not necessarily. They're still overcoming the divisiveness, the hard feelings from all of that."...

The debate of the President's budget is a non-starter.

...Are the spending numbers in the president’s budget blueprint the ones that Congress will eventually enact in FY2013?
Not necessarily, but Stan Collender, a former staffer for both the House and Senate Budget Committees, said, “Ninety-five percent of what any president proposes in his budget is noncontroversial,” so the spending numbers he spells out in his proposal will usually be close to what Congress eventually spends.
Of course, if Obama proposes to spend $3 billion in FY2013 on the National Park Service and the House committee chairman with jurisdiction over the Park Service wants to spend only $2.8 billion, in the end the chairman may get his way....
The Bush Bailout of 2008 exempted Wall Street from preventing a huge loss of GDP for the USA with skyrocketing unemployment rates.  What resulted was federal spending to stop the plummet, which the Recovery Act did and did it dramatically, and begin to focus on places within the USA economy where growth has been neglected and could immediately help recover the country.  What resulted was a national debt that was stagnating and growing due to the loss of tax base of the country.
It is time for those that have profited during these years to help pay the national debt and it is best done with tax increases. 
And since when is the National Park Service not a part of the overall GDP of the country?

How long will Assad remain immune to prosecution for overt human rights violation and will Russia become a surrogate to them?

Posted at 01:44 PM ET, 08/19/2011

International Court lacks jurisdiction over Syria (click title to entry - thank you)

Facing a new U.N. call for an international investigation into alleged Syrian attacks on protesters, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, issued a statement Friday reminding the world that he currently has no legal authority to open such a probe.
Only the U.N. Security Council, which is divided over how to respond to the Syrian crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad, can grant the prosecutor the authority to do so.
“The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has received communication from various parties alleging that crimes against humanity, including arbitrary detentions, killings of peaceful demonstrators and torture are being committed in Syria,” according to Florence Olara, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor. “The Office of the Prosecutor at this stage has no jurisdiction to investigate these allegations because Syria is not a State Party to the Rome Statute which governs the ICC.”

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, asked the U.N. Security Council Thursday to authorize an ICC investigation into alleged Syrian crimes, citing mounting evidence that the government has committed crimes against humanity during its five-month long military operation against mostly peaceful anti-government protesters....

Syria.  (click here) This June there were reports that Syrian opposition and human rights groups had asked the OTP to seek authorization for an investigation into alleged crimes by the Syrian government and that discussions about a possible U.N. Security Council referral of the Syrian situation to the ICC were occurring.  Since then the Syrian regime has continued to attack and kill protesters with at least 3,500 protesters killed since the uprising began in March.  So far the OTP has not commented on Syria.

Recently four U.S. Senators (Dick Durbin, Benjamin Cardin, Robert Menendez and Barbara Boxer) sent a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. (Susan Rice) asking for such a Security Council referral. They said, “The people of Syria deserve to know that the people of the United States understand their plight, stand behind them, and will work to bring justice to the country.” The Security Council, the Senators added, should be deeply troubled by the “credible threats to . . . [the] safety” of the U.S. Ambassador to Syria that forced him to leave the country. Security Council referral of Syria to the ICC also has been endorsed by the New York Times.

UN rights office calls for ICC trial for Syria officials (click here)
Jerry Votava on February 10, 2012 2:06 PM ET

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] Friday reiterated its call for international action to protect civilians in Syria[JURIST news archive], calling for Syrian officials suspected of crimes against humanity to be tried before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. High Commissioner Navi Pillay [official profile] is now scheduled to address the UN General Assembly [UN News Centre report] on Monday regarding the latest humanitarian developments in Syria, where the ongoing uprising challenging the autocratic rule of President Bashar Assad has resulted in a bloody government crackdown that has seen more than 5,000 people killed since March. Reports of increased violence in recent days [Reuters report] prompted Pillay earlier this week to urge international intervention [JURIST report] on behalf of the Syrian people. General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser [official profile] then made a request for Pillay to brief the 193-member Assembly after she argued that the failure of the UN Security Council [official website] to agree on collective action against Syria has encouraged the Syrian government to attack and kill civilians to quash dissent. The General Assembly also plans to discuss at the session a December report by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] that strongly condemned the recent violence [JURIST report], and upon which the Council passed an emergency resolution calling for the appointment of a special human rights investigator on Syria, the suspension of Syrian security forces suspected of human rights violations and the release of prisoners of conscience held by Syrian authorities. No other UN bodies have acted on the resolution.

Syria resumes shelling after rejecting peace force

While I understand how Russia understands how Syria needs to begin sincere talks with their people, at this rate there won't be any people to hold sincere talks with!

The Republicans are getting away with murder...

...while the jackass press is engaged in a wedge issue for ratings.

There are many denominations of 'Catholic Church' the one with the most distress over the USA's demand to have the dignity of women upheld is the Romany Catholic Church.  So, for those CONFUSED about how many 'types' of Roman Catholic there are, it is only ONE!  There is no liberal branch or conservative branch; there is simply the hierarchy and the parishioners.

The USA is NOT, I repeat NOT, going to treat women as chattel as the Roman Catholic Church would like to see them treated !

The Roman Catholic Church has more problems with state of the art medicine than a bus load of pregnant nuns!

This attempted 'power play' by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is simply a long line of idiot stances on modern day medicine, including, stem cell research, the social safety new for women, NUTRITION AND HYDRATION (Also known as The Living Will), any form of petri dish and organ transplants.

This discussion is over and I want Kasick to explain why he and his legislature wants to provide LIBERAL LAWS for exotic animal farms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Press will not turn successful and happy Roman Catholic marriages into stress nutcases for the sake of Damned GOP Wedge Issues!

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo dingoes Naya and Mattie became the proud parents of seven adorable puppies on January 30.

 The litter includes 4 males and 3 females. (Photo Courtesy: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo)
...According to the Fort Wayne Children’s zoo, (click title of entry for video - thank you) the four male and three female pups are the first dingoes to be born at the zoo since 1988.
“All of the pups appear strong and healthy, and Naya and Mattie are excellent parents,” said Elaine Kirchner, Australian Adventure Area Manager.
The zoo said for now, the puppies live indoors in a cozy nest box. When Naya enters the nest box, the puppies whimper and crawl to her belly, where they nurse. The pups’ eyes will open at around two weeks of age, and they may begin to venture out of the nest box to explore the dingoes’ heated indoor quarters....

Posted: February 10, 2012 - 2:48pm
...The zoo will open the room to the public on Monday, the zoo and Friends of the Topeka Zoo announced in a joint news release Friday.
The release said the living classroom will be themed around three major ecosystems — the grasslands, wetlands and woodlands.
In addition to animals, the classroom will feature floor-to-ceiling murals painted by local artist Charles Moore and hands-on, interactive displays featuring the latest technology.
A log cabin-style “Ranger Station’ will offer a ranger on duty, who will be available to answer questions and guide guests through the living classroom.
Dennis Dinwiddie, the zoo’s education curator, said he hoped the classroom would be a highlight of the zoo and provide it an opportunity to interact with visitors in a whole new way....

There is evidence the animals at the Thompson residence were abused.

ODA schedules meeting regarding exotic animals at zoo (click here)

5:04 PM, Feb. 10, 2012
ZANESVILLE — Marian Thompson has a month to wait until she gets a hearing with state officials regarding her remaining five exotic animals that are being held in quarantine at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium....

...The animals were removed a day after Thompson’s husband, Terry, released 56 exotic animals at their farm on Kopchak Road Oct. 18 and then took his own life. The Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office had to kill 48 remaining animals which then were buried at the Thompson farm.

The leopard Anton had to be euthanized Jan. 29 after a cage door dropped onto its neck as he was being moved from one cage to another. Copies of X-rays relating to the leopard were sent to McClelland, according to a letter to McClelland from William A. Hopper Jr., chief legal counsel for ODA, and results of tests will be available once they are completed, which could take two to four weeks.

ODA said X-rays taken before and after the leopard’s death indicated it had congenitally defective malformed vertebrae in the neck, which weakened the cervical spine and could have compounded the severity of the injury at the zoo. The zoo also stated the leopard had old injuries that had not properly healed, including broken bones in its back and tail.

Those claims have been disputed by one of the leopard’s former caretakers, John Moore. 

Moore previously said nothing was wrong with Anton before being taken to the zoo. The cat had been raised in the Thompson home for the first year of its life. Moore has not been able to visit the animals because they are restricted from public view....

Viewpoints: Help keep the Sacramento Zoo off the endangered species list (click here)

By Mary Healy and Starr Walton Hurley
Published: Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 13A
Last Modified: Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 - 1:14 pm

...For nine years, the zoo looked for a new site to "land bank" for the future. Recently, with an improved neighborhood climate and the economic downturn, the zoo's board of directors decided to refocus future plans on maintaining and enhancing the current site.

But we have much work to do. We'll need capital investments of more than $5 million just to maintain our accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums through 2018, with another $10 million for the association's five-year review cycle after that. Several million more dollars will be needed to meet the standards of a modern visitor experience, including improvements to the zoo's entrance, food services and children's recreational facilities.
These are not big numbers compared with some other projects on the local drawing board, but it's not an amount we can count on as our nation struggles to restore a more vibrant economy.
As the Sacramento Zoo celebrates its 85th birthday, the board will be making a concerted effort to gauge community support and determine where those capital funds can be found. Visit us at or email to give us feedback on ways you think the zoo can remain a treasured community asset.

February 12, 2012

BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo has reaped the rewards of an unusually warm January and set a new attendance record for the normally frigid month.
The new zoo attendance record for the month of January is 13,269 visitors, a number significantly higher than the January 2011
attendance of 8,061, Mary Woods, the zoo’s spokeswoman said.
The January 2012 number is the highest ever recorded since the zoo opened in 1970, Woods said.
The second-highest January attendance was 12,172 visitors in 2006, Woods said....

February 9, 2012

...Connie Emert says people think they dyed the squirrel, but they insist that they "found it and it was purple." There is no definite cause for this particular squirrel's color, but scientist and some locals have their theories. One zoologist suggested that the creature may have fallen into a Porta-Potty, and some worried that the squirrel's tint could prove dangerous to humans. One professor says the purple tint could be from the squirrel drinking bromide-laced water from fracking in the area. Hydraulic fracking, which is common throughout Pennsylvania, is a controversial procedure of drilling for gas that environmentalists oppose because it can lead to ground water contamination from highly toxic radioactive wastewater ...

It would seem imperiling the public is a directive of the Kasich legislature.  Perhaps the Ohio legislature and the governor don't realize Jack Hanna is a expert and that matters.

Pluses and Minuses (click here)

Feb. 11, 2012
Minus: We're deeply disappointed -- but not surprised -- that Ohio lawmakers have yet to introduce a bill to greatly limit, if not ban, exotic animals across Ohio after the October tragedy in Zanesville. As properly described by Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Thursday, "You are dealing with bombs. ... Does someone have to get killed?" The sticking point to even getting a bill introduced seems to be that the point man on the issue, state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, wants a less restrictive bill than proposed by the governor's task force, including provisions Hanna objects to. For our money, we trust Hanna's recommendations based on his lifelong experiences, including a tragedy involving a lion on his family farm decades ago. It's time for the Legislature to get a bill approved -- preferably this month.

Europe's cold close zoo outside Paris (click here)

February 11, 2012 7:42 AM

(AP)  THOIRY, France — A count who operates a zoological park on the grounds of his chateau outside Paris says some of his animals just can't take the cold this winter.

Paul de la Panouse wasn't surprised to see his ostriches and giraffes prefer the indoors, given where they come from. But even the elephant couldn't take Europe's brutal cold snap, despite its thick hide.

So Parc de Thoiry has been closed for five days, even though the bears, hippos, tigers and zebras couldn't care less and are happily prowling the 370-acre (150 hectare) grounds, including its frozen lakes.

"Ice skating," he said, regarding his giraffes and ostriches, "it's not for them."...

It would seem as though austerity issues haven't hit the Panda exhibit.  Homeless no, Pandas yes.  It is probably all private money of one kind or another.

Pandamonium and a coup for the zoo (click here)

Saturday, February 11, 2012
...Edinburgh Zoo is paying £600,000 a year to hire the pandas, which have also cost a million quid a year each to insure.
Chuck in the £70,000 of bamboo they'll chew their way through each year, and the quarter of a million the zoo shelled out on building them a new home and you can start to see why grumbly people grumbled.
But the zoo needed to gamble. Visitor numbers are tumbling, and pandas are the A-listers of the zoo world....
Landing Sweetie and Sunshine – as they're conveniently also known – on a 10-year loan is a coup for the zoo, said David Tennant on his gentle voice-over. A coup for the zoo....

I suppose zoo attendance is down so selling endangered tigers seemed more profitable.  Why are zoos not a healthy alternative for tigers?

Zoos still suspected over dead tigers (click here)

  • Published: 12/02/2012 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: News
Wildlife authorities are still convinced two male tigers slaughtered by a backyard butcher in Bangkok recently were supplied by a zoo.

The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department last week cleared two zoos in Chon Buri province _ the Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm in Bang Lamung district and Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Si Racha district _ of being involved as they were able to account for all of the tigers in their possession.
When authorities found 400kg of tiger meat in a townhouse in Khlong Sam Wa district last Saturday, a suspect they arrested claimed the meat had come from a tiger zoo in Si Racha.
Saksit Simcharoen, chief of the Wildlife Department's protected area administration, said there was little chance the tigers had been slaughtered in a forest sanctuary, although this had happened in the past.
"It is difficult to transport the whole body of a tiger out from the deep forest because of its large size and heavy weight of hundreds of kilogrammes," he said.
Kanita Ouitavon, the senior scientist at the department's Wildlife Forensic Science Unit, said DNA testing would help determine whether the tigers were from a forest reserve or a zoo. The tests will take at least one month.
In forest reserves, the most common species is the Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti).
In zoos, most are Royal Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris). However, there has been some inter-breeding.
"If [the recovered remains] are identified as Royal Bengal tiger we will know it has come from a zoo," she said. "If not, it will be more complicated."...

The Chinese government needs to outlaw all food consumption of tiger meat in any cultural context.

Since 1900, the endangered tiger's habitat and numbers (click here) have been reduced by up to 95 per cent. Poachers continue to poison waterholes or set steel wire snares to kill tigers and tiger prey, selling their skins and body parts for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

Despite 20 years of international conservation efforts, we are losing ground to save the tiger as, on the endangered species list, all sub-species of tigers are considered critically endangered species.

Of the eight original subspecies of tigers, three have become extinct in the last 60 years, an average of one every 20 years.

The Bali tiger became extinct in the 1930's. The Caspian tiger was forced into extinction in the 1970's. And the Javan tiger followed in the 1980's.

The number of tigers in the 1900's --over 100,000 -- dropped to 4,000 in the 1970's. Today, they are a critically endangered species with the total of all the wild populations of the five remaining subspecies (Bengal tigersIndoChinese tigersSiberian tigersSouth China tigers, and Sumatran tigers) is an estimated 4,600 and 7,700 tigers.

It is known that all remaining tigers live in small, isolated populations in widely scattered reserves.

Banana Sam draws bunch of well-wishers at S.F. Zoo (click here)

Six weeks after his 15 minutes of fame, Banana Sam is back where he belongs: part of the skittering horde.
The 2-pound, 17-year-old squirrel monkey was the featured attraction Saturday at the San Francisco Zoo. There, in the same spacious cage from which he was abducted in late December, the moon-faced primate raced across beams and clambered up rope ladders - amid 17 of his brethren all doing pretty much the same thing, all of them looking pretty much alike.
Banana Sam was placed back in the faux-tropical landscape Wednesday after spending more than a month in the zoo's veterinary hospital. The isolation was imposed to monitor the monkey's health and make sure he hadn't picked up any communicable diseases during his 40 hours in the outside world....

Hope Zoo Makes Progress ... But $473m Needed To Complete It (click here)

Published: Sunday
 February 12, 2012
Barbara Ellington, Lifestyle Editor
Architect extraordinaire Evon Williams is used to designing exquisite homes, but of late, this member of the Hope Zoo Kingston Preservation Foundation is getting a lot of pleasure in his new challenge of creating the structures that will comprise the eventually refurbished national treasure - Hope Zoo.
Just over three months ago, Guardsman Group Chairman Kenny Benjamin told this reporter that in his role as head of the foundation, he would ensure that during this year there would be something new to see at the zoo every month. And there is.
By midday last Sunday, the parking lot had begun to fill up with patrons who came to laze about, study, feed the budgies or just enjoy the beautiful 60-acre property.
Ursa International, world-renowned creator of zoo designs and landscape specialists, conceptualised the original designs and Design Collaborative Architects and Town Planners have been working to bring them to life. The theme is unmistakably African-inspired and, when complete, will be a joy to behold.
But just what exactly is happening at the zoo?...

'Romance at the Zoo’ sheds light on the ways of animal attraction (click here)

By JUSTIN GLAWE of the Journal Star
Posted Feb 11, 2012 @ 11:44 PM
Considering giraffes are hard to come by in Peoria, Vivian is the perfect mate for Taji, but there’s one problem.

Vivian is on birth control, and not by choice. The slender-faced creature has a problem with one of her legs, making reproduction out of the question. The condition can be passed on genetically.
“That doesn’t make (Taji) any less interested,” Jill Roderick, education director for the Peoria Zoo, said. “If for some reason she doesn’t get the birth control, we have to separate them for a few days.”
This factoid was one of hundreds handed out Saturday at “Romance at the Zoo,” a presentation and walking tour limited to visitors 18 and older.
It focused on the mating habits of a variety of animals. Those who attended the event walked away with a cornucopia of facts on the subject. It’s hard to tell exactly how useful they’ll be.
Quite a bit of the knowledge imparted Saturday would be impossible to print here. Let’s just say size matters, in varying ways. In the case of a silverback gorilla, an adult weight of 450 to 500 pounds is more than enough to make up for a certain body part that’s not quite to scale.
“He doesn’t have to impress with that,” Roderick said. “All he has to do is protect his territory, so size matters in different ways depending on what species you’re talking about.”
Male sea dragons carry eggs in their tail, male emus are wooed by females, one quarter of black swans raise children with two males instead of a male and female, and, most disturbingly, male black widow spiders sometime purposefully impale themselves on the fangs of their mate. Seriously.
“Studies have shown that when they do this, they produce more offspring than if they took off for their own safety,” Roderick said.
About 20 people were treated to a behind-the-scenes walking tour. That’s where they saw Vivian and Taji as well as rhinoceroses, zebras and lions....

Dubai Municipality plans new zoo in emirate (click here)

Project aims to transfer animals from the old Dubai zoo to the new one

By Shveta Pathak, Staff Reporter 
Published: 12:55 February 12, 2012
Dubai: The Dubai Municipality is planning to come up with a new zoo in the emirate. The civic body has already started to study the project and aims to transfer animals from the old zoo to the new one. 
Hussian Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality said a consultant and an action team will come up with the final concept of the project, including the selection of a suitable site, required area and distribution of animals in line with the international standards. 
The study is expected to be completed in two months. 
The civic body was presented with the concept of a safari, as adopted in countries like Singapore and Thailand, and cages, by the consultant....

Zoo welcomes arrival of baby tapir (click here)

Press Association
Sunday, 12 February 2012, 10:08 ET
Calf born to parents Misha and Ryan is seventh to be born at same zoo in 11 years
A Brazilian tapir has been born at a Devon zoo. The new arrival, named Dexter, was born at Paignton zoo environmental park to parents Misha and Ryan.
The zoo has enjoyed regular success with tapirs, breeding seven over the last 11 years.
Neil Bemment, the zoo's curator of mammals, said: "There are few zoo youngsters as endearing as a baby tapir.It is always good news to breed such a popular and charismatic species."
A single youngster is born after a gestation period of about 13 months. Dexter, born on 5 February, has a striped and spotted coat which he will lose as he grows older.
Brazilian or lowland tapirs are threatened because of habitat destruction and being hunted for food....

02/12/2012 01:36 PM
By: Web Staff

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- While your focus for Valentine's Day may be the loved ones in your life the Rosamond Gifford Zoo wanted to make sure that the animal kingdom wasn't feeling left out.
More than 15 species of animals at the zoo got special Valentine's Day treats Sunday. The heart-shaped treats included frozen foods and other treats. In the case of the lions, it was cardboard boxes that they can tear apart.

It's a fun event for zoo-goers to watch, but officials said it's also important for the animals.
Adrienne Whiteley, Animal Collection Manager said, “The food here's pretty easy for them, they don't have to do a lot of work for it and so they might get a little bored, so we make it a little more challenging which just keeps them active, keeps them happy. It's a little more natural behavior for them when they have to seek their food."
The event is part of a larger enrichment program at the zoo to encourage animals to use their natural behaviors....

Missing ducks lead to discovery of rare tortoises at city zoo (click here)

COIMBATORE: About twenty five tortoisesbelonging to the endangered Indian Flap-Shellvariety are attracting unusual curiosity among visitors to the city zoo with their carnivorous food habits.

They were recently discovered when zoo authorities were investigating why their manila ducks were disappearing. They found the culprits to be the tortoises, who were hiding in the pond located within the enclosure meant for the manila ducks, and ravenously feeding on their chicks. They have now been lodged in a separate enclosure and are fed mutton chops along with vegetables.

"I am curious as to how they managed to escape our notice. The zoo staff was clueless about why the chicks were disappearing," says K Asokan, director of the zoo. However, he feels that the rare tortoises are a blessing in disguise. "They are an endangered variety and I am glad to have the opportunity to conserve them. This is an added advantage to the zoo. Among the 25, 14 are adults and the rest are hatchlings," he said. It was the bigger ones that were eating the ducks, he informed....

The 10-month-old Great Pacific octopus Sea Monster changes her color and the texture of her outside "mantle," a membrane that is essentially her outer skin, to blend with her surroundings and hide from potential predators.
James Knox | Tribune-Review

Intelligent young Sea Monster makes her debut at zoo (click here)

Like a lot of youngsters, Sea Monster loves playtime with Mr. Potato Head and stacking rings.
The 10-month-old Great Pacific octopus came to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in June but just made her public debut in the facility's 1,300-gallon tank. She was caught in a fisherman's net off the coast of Oregon and rescued by biologists at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which transferred her to Pittsburgh, said Tracy Gray, zoo spokeswoman.
Marine aquarists must continuously provide mental stimulation for the 12-pound octopus because the cephalopods are intelligent mollusks and get bored easily, said Eric Kellar, a life-support systems aquarist who takes care of Sea Monster.
The water in her aquarium is kept at 46 degrees, and she would not survive in waters much warmer than 52 degrees, Kellar said. Her species of octopus is found along the Oregon coast up to Alaska and as far west as Japan.
"She takes in everything around her, and she recognizes people by what they wear and how they smell," said Kellar, who has been at the zoo for nine years. "She needs a lot of enrichment because she will literally go insane if she's just put into an aquarium with nothing to occupy her mind. I started calling her Sea Monster right away because she's quick and raring to go."
To work on Sea Monster's natural hunting instincts, Kellar hides shrimp and other treats inside the Mr. Potato Head, hamster balls and other toys and then coaxes the octopus to use her eight arms and 2,000 suction cups to get inside....