Riveting Piece About NGS Photographer & Vanishing Species



Both the New York Times & CNN seem to be reading the Zoo Peeps blog. I’m so flattered. I won’t distract you with my thoughts, but read my article on the re-branding of African wild dogs and other endangered species. The new field of conservation marketing and brand development is taking off.


Re-Painting the Spotted Dog, Spectacled Bear & those Siberian/Manchurian Felids


Short Note: A friend just shared this article with me and it is particularly timely following my post concerning the branding of uber-iconic mega-fauna. The African Wild Dog has been “re-branded” by conservationists as the painted hunting dog or painted dog in hopes of drawing more attention to the plight of this endangered canid which is also known as the Cape Hunting Dog, the Spotted Dog, and the Painted Wolf, among other names. This is not unlike the practice of re-branding  Spectacled Bears as Andean Bears. Both names have been used, but it may enhance conservation efforts to use a name that conveys a zoogeographic or faunal group designation.  These bears were formerly called spectacled bears in most zoos, but now “Andean bear” is the preferred common name among conservationists, collection managers, and educators. Similarly, the Siberian tiger is now referred to as the Amur tiger, along with other species whose range is now confined to an area along the Amur river in Eastern Siberia & Northern China (Amur-Ussuri region) such as the Amur leopard formerly known as the Manchurian leopard. Likewise, the Amur falcon (formerly called the Eastern Red-footed Falcon), breeds in the Amur region. Although the raptor may not be particularly endangered (Least Concern- IUCN), the bird that winters in Southern Africa may benefit from the zoogeographic descriptor.  Perhaps the Manchurian brown bear will be re-branded as the Amur brown bear.

For more about painted dog conservation visit http://www.painteddog.org/

Dr. Jordan Schaul, Zoo Keeper Emeritus

“Spheniscid Screening”


I wasn’t not aware that flipper/wing bands impeded motion in these temperate penguins, but perhaps the bands used in field research are different than the “plastic” ones that I’m more familiar with. I really would like to know. I suspect that perhaps wild marine birds require more durable bands and much greater mobility. I admit to total ignorance on this as I have never worked with wild spheniscid penguins in the wild. My bird banding skills are limited to psittacines and migratory and resident passerines. I have to throw in these scientific terms for tagging purposes. If you blogged you would know this.

The new technology reported in article  sounds expensive, but it’s cool and quite reliable, I think.  I remember having to ID a colony of 40 African penguins to monitor feeding. I relied on color bands and am not sure that I performed at a rate as strong as this technology. I will leave it up to those of you who are Antarctic, sub-Antarctic, and temperate penguin experts to decide.

Journal Watch Online

Hyenas Laughing

(Follow Link to BBC Report)

From BBC Report

The spotted or laughing hyena is the largest member of Hyaenidae inhabiting open areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa. These highly social predators are often erroneously labeled as strict scavengers like other members of this clade of hyaenid carnivorans. Other species include, striped hyenas, brown hyenas, and aardwolves (earth wolves).

Unlike other hyaenids, the foraging ecology of spotted hyenas is often considered similar to that of large African felids and canids with respect to their prey base and predatory behavior. They are certainly known for being indiscriminant  scavengers with robust digestive systems permitting the consumption of  very large ungulate bones. However, they hunt their fair share of ungulates, competing heavily with lions. Common prey include wildebeests, zebra and Thompson’s gazelles, but as predators they are also quite indiscriminant. Spotted hyenas have been reported to catch fish, tortoises, pythons, pangolins, and prey on black rhinos, hippo calves, young elephants, as well as humans, among other species, including a host of different ungulate species. They will avoid some of the largest of adult ungulates.   In captivity, they may live as long as 10-12 years, but have been known to live as long as 25 yrs.  These nocturnal animals are not rare is zoo collections, but are on display primarily for educational purposes, as their conservation status places them at a lower risk than many other members of their large African carnivore community.

The San Diego Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo, Toronto Zoo, Miami MetroZoo, Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, the Milwaukee County Zoo, the San Antonio Zoo, the Denver Zoo, the Honolulu Zoo, the Sacramento Zoo, the Oakland Zoo, the Rio Grande Zoo (NM), the Seneca Park Zoo (Rochester, NY), and the Oklahoma City Zoo are just some of the living institutions where you can see spotted hyenas in North America.

I welcome you to join  wildcanidkeepers@yahoogroups.com, a mailing list that serves global husbandry and health professionals working with canids and hyaenids managed in captive facilities for behavioral/endocrinological research and for educational exhibition.

Dr. Jordan Schaul, Zoo Keeper Emeritus