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June 2012
Contents / home
Hornbills get taste of the wild
International Year of the Rhino
DIY: Build a bat box
Holiday courses
Biodiversity Youth Symposium
Community produce animal food
Debunking myths around owls
Air Force knee deep in mud!
NZG display draws crowds
Solving wildebeest dilemma
Tick-borne disease mystery
Inspiring aspirant vets
ZooClub in scientific mode
Science going places
Talkin' about takins
Conservation Grapevine

Conservation Grapevine

SOUTH AFRICA - Five male African wild dogs have been transferred from the NZG's Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre to the National Zoo in Pretoria. The alpha male is the father of the other four dogs. The one African wild dog that the National Zoo housed will be moved to Mokopane and hopefully successfully introduced to one of their females. Conservation staff members at the Zoo have confirmed that all the African wild dogs are doing fine.

SOUTH AFRICA - Get It! Magazine Pretoria wanted to do a shoot of popular 5FM radio personality Gareth Cliff for their magazine and thought what better venue for the Pretoria resident and animal lover than the National Zoo! Gareth had a great time feeding the giraffes, meeting the penguins and seeing some other magnificent animals at the Zoo.

IRELAND - A quack-thinking nine-year-old chimpanzee snatched three baby ducklings to safety from the water surrounding Chimp Island at Dublin Zoo, and only his favourite fruit could convince him to give them up. The 60 kilo hero - apparently concerned about the threat his fellow chimps posed to the trio of three-day-old birds - waded into the water surrounding his habitat and plucked them out.

Alerted by a sharp-eyed member of the public, a zoo-keeper was called and succeeded in trading one banana per rescued duckling - later named Paddle, Waddle and Drake.

It is not the first time a member of the zoo's ape community has sprung to the rescue of birds in distress. Last year, a video of an orangutan scooping another duckling out of the water went viral when it was posted online. Source: Irish Independent

ARGENTINA - Argentine experts have discovered the near-complete remains of a new species of Jurassic-era dinosaur that stood on its rear legs and had tiny arms. The find belongs to the Abelisaurus family, the most common carnivorous species in the southern hemisphere during the Cretaceous Period, some 70 to 100 million years ago.

The fossils found are estimated to be some 170 million years old. The creature looks a bit like a scaled-down Tyrannosaurus rex, but with even smaller arms. Unlike its descendants, this six-metre long creature had completely reduced arms and tiny claws, which implies that it used only its very sharp teeth to feed itself.

Abelisauri remains have been found only in the southern hemisphere. Experts believe a great desert in the Earth's single land mass at the time, Pangea, could have acted as a geographic barrier, preventing the species from spreading north. Source: Sapa - AFP

UNITED STATES - The Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, North America's largest venomous snake, may need its own antidote. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering adding the reptile to the Endangered Species List to restrict its hunting, killing and sale.

Environmental groups filed a petition last year claiming the snake had vanished from Louisiana, was endangered in North Carolina and becoming harder to find in South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. The snakes prefer a long leaf pine forest habitat, which once stretched across 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas, but is now confined to 3 million acres.

In the United States, 99 percent of snake bites come from rattlesnakes. Of the 8 000 bites reported annually, only 12 deaths per year are reported. Source: Reuters

SRI LANKA - A shipping container filled with hundreds of elephant tusks seized in Sri Lanka in May came from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, Kenyan wildlife authorities said. The 359 tusks, weighing 1.6 metric tons (1.76 tons), had been declared as scrap plastic but were impounded in Colombo on Tuesday while en route to Dubai after scans revealed the container's true contents.

Poaching in Kenya has declined significantly since the 1980s and 1990s, when gangs almost wiped out the elephant and rhino populations, but there has been an upsurge in recent years. Elephant ivory is typically smuggled to Asia where it is carved into ornaments and rhino horn is used in traditional medicine.

The Kenyan Wildlife Service said it had made 32 arrests in May and killed two suspected poachers in various parts of the country. Source: Reuters

GREECE - Volunteers watch a Caretta caretta sea turtle approaching the sea during a release operation at Legrena village, some 50 km (31miles) south of Athens on May 23, 2012. The turtle was released to mark World Turtle Day, after a three-month treatment at the Archelon rescue centre near Athens. Source: Reuters

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