maandag 30 januari 2012

Amphibian Lab is Coming

January 29, 2012
The Smithsonian Tropical Institute will open a new Summit Park Amphibian Rescue Center in Panama.
The laboratory’s mission is to prevent the extinction of a number of species including the endangered golden frog, Panama’s national animal. Since 1980 more than 120 species of amphibians have gone extinct, under assault from the rapidly spreading chytridiomycosis fungal infection.
The project has already begun inside temporary refrigerated amphibian rescue containers that will house rescued species from Eastern Panama.

zaterdag 28 januari 2012

Muhammad Nur Santosa: Killing cobras to make ends meet

Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, BANTUL, YOGYAKARTA | Fri, 01/27/2012 11

They are scary and deadly. That’s what most people think when they become aware of the presence of a cobra. The snakes, known as ular sendok because the skin of their necks spreads like a spoon when they are about to attack, are indeed highly venomous.
For Muhammad Nur Santosa, 28, however, the poisonous reptiles are part of his daily life. If any cobras are found lurking in the yard of his Yogyakarta home, the father hurriedly captures them, for the animals are his source of income.

Almost every day, Nur Santosa butchers between 10 and 300 cobras to meet orders. The snakes are used for their skin, meat, gallbladders and marrow, which are in high demand for their supposed healing effects.

Muhammad Nur Santosa: JP/Slamet Susanto

“Sometimes I butcher 300 cobras a day and at other times none. Since November of 2011, I’ve slaughtered nearly 9,000 snakes,” Nur Santosa said. He keeps the reptiles, mostly supplied by hunters from various parts of Java, in cloth sacks.

Nur Santosa’s method of butchering snakes is bold and rather dangerous. With his bare hands, the man pulls cobras out of their sacks one by one, decapitating them with a pethel (adze). “I just do it carefully, observing the movement of their heads. I’m not immune to cobra venom,” he told The Jakarta Post at his slaughterhouse in Sudimoro in Bangunharjo village, Bantul.

After killing the cobras, Nur Santosa, with the help of his older brother, Wisnu Susilo, removes the skin and extracts the gallbladders. Nur’s mother, Sudiyah, removes the marrow from the bones.

Cobra meat is purchased by restaurants that serve snake meat like Burger Cobra in Lempuyangan, Yogyakarta, at prices ranging from Rp 15,000 (US$1.65) to Rp 30,000 per kilogram. The marrow and gallbladders, believed to have therapeutic effects, are sold together at Rp 25,000. Some customers even consume them right at Nur Santosa’s home.
“I eat cobra gallbladders and marrow once a year to make me healthy. They generate warmth in my body and I don’t catch colds,” said one customer, Jatmiko.

Picture location

The fat of the reptiles is fried to produce cobra oil, which sells at Rp 5,000 for a 25 millliter bottle. The snakes’ entrails are sold to feed catfish.

According to Nur Santosa, most of the cobras he butchers are delivered by suppliers in Boyolali, Central Java. “The Boyolali suppliers travel all over Java to get the snakes, which are sold to us at Rp 18,000 each,” he said.

Once a management student at Pembangunan Nasional University in Yogyakarta, Nur Santosa became a butcher out of necessity. The snakeskin handicraft business founded by his father, Seger, in 1983 collapsed following the earthquake in Yogyakarta in 2006. One of their two snake butchers was killed in the disaster and the other was crippled.

“Since 2006 I had to take over the profession as none of my family members dared to do the slaughter work,” said Nur, whose father’s production house and residence were ravaged by the quake, with the business’ entire capital lost.

Picture location

While the business had focused on snakeskin handicrafts, Nur Santosa shifted to the sale of snake meat, gallbladders and marrow. “I became too preoccupied with the cobra business to finish my studies. The important thing is I’ve got a job and cause no harm to other people,” he added.

Asked if animal lovers ever opposed the cobra slaughter, Nur Santosa said so far he had not yet experienced any protests. But, he acknowledged the declining number of cobras caught due to their shrinking population.

“I’m now butchering less than the former daily average of 300 to 1,000 snakes,” he said. In his view, the decreasing number hasn’t resulted from practices like what he is engaged in because snakes reproduce so quickly that the killing of snakes for food and medicine could have little impact.

“The cause of the population decline is the shrinking habitat of snakes. A lot of farm areas have now been converted into settlements or shopping centers so that snakes have no more space for proper reproduction,” he pointed out.

Yet, Nur Santosa is also aware that the killing of cobras will some day be restricted due to the expanding business of housing development, which reduces snakes’ habitats.
Picture location

The man opened a shop two years ago in preparation for that day. “My wife manages the shop and in case the cobra butchering business is banned, I can still support my family,” he said.

vrijdag 27 januari 2012

Animal cruelty, part 8

A reminder why I place these articles!

The manager of the largest reptile zoo in the Netherlands has often said in public (television, newspapers, etc) that private keepers of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates do not take care of their animals in the right way. He wants stronger laws and a mandatory animal-registration. He thinks he is holier than the Pope because a number of animals which are his responsibility are mistreated in a terrible way. Often this are animals that were confiscated by the government of the Netherlands. They are the property of the Dutch government and the zoo gets payed well to take care of them.

Also take a look at: 


On the quarantine room that I have mentioned before are a large number of big snakes  (Boas and Pythons) housed.
Many of these snakes have to spend their days in a terrarium of about 60 x 60 x 60 cm. And for most of them this means lifelong!
For small specimen this is not that bad, but also large specimen have to live in these small terrariums. The terrariums are also very sparsely furnished so there can be no a dignified animal life. If mammals or birds would be housed in this way every animal welfare organization would protest. But now it only are snakes, so who cares? Well, I care and I know there are a lot of other people who care too!

Madagascar Ground Boas (Aacrantophis dumerili)

A lot of these large snakes are Madagascar Ground Boas (Aacrantophis dumerili). Most of them are over 1 meter and some are as thick as a mens upper arm. These snakes are so called Cites A animals That ere close to extinction (for more info, see The Cites site). They are confiscated by the Dutch government for several reasons. The management of the reptile zoo gets well paid to take care of them and you would expect that they give them a good life.

Also some reticulated pythons (Broghammerus reticulatus) are housed in the mentioned way. These are juveniles of the large reticulated pythons that live in the expedition. The only reason why they were bred is to have a young to use for publicity in the media. No other zoo wants them. The oldest was during my internship at least 2 meters long. This snake was always very stressed during the cleaning of its terrarium because it had no place to hide.  This species is somewhat nervous by nature.

Reticulated python (Broghammerus reticulatus)

Also Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) and Rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria cenchria) are housed in this way.  Confiscated animals the zoo gets paid for.

Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus)

Rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria cenchria)

Some large Boa constrictors (Boa constrictor) of over 2 meters and 10 cm diameter are housed in these small terrariums.

Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)

Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)

A number of Madagascar Tree Boas (Sanzinia madagascariensis) are housed in these small terrariums. Some are confiscated animals the zoo gets paid for.

Madagascar Tree Boas (Sanzinia madagascariensis)
A male and a female Green Tree Boas (Corallus batesii) are housed in small plastic boxes of about 30 x 40 x 40 cm. These are adult animals. On the picture you see the male. The female is twice as big. 

Male Green Tree Boa (Corallus batesii) What you see is the helve of its "terrarium"

Animal cruelty, part 7

A reminder why I place these articles!

The manager of the largest reptile zoo in the Netherlands has often said in public (television, newspapers, etc) that private keepers of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates do not take care of their animals in the right way. He wants stronger laws and a mandatory animal-registration. He thinks he is holier than the Pope because a number of animals which are his responsibility are mistreated in a terrible way. Often this are animals that were confiscated by the government of the Netherlands. They are the property of the Dutch government and the zoo gets payed well to take care of them.

Also take a look at: 


The Burmese Pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) in the exposition of the zoo have a large terrarium. This is the only positive thing I can write about them.
They always have and always had snake mite (Ophionyssus natricis). For the visitors of the zoo it is visible on the albino specimen. The people who have to take care of the snakes know that they all suffer from this parasite. Some efforts have been made to end this parasitic invasion, but this never is successful. On the floor of the terrarium lays a kind of Novilon carpeting. Easy to clean, but it is damaged on several spots. The mites can hide there. There are also many other spots in the terrarium where mites can hide. These mites weaken the snakes because they feed on their blood!

Burmese python with pneumonia. Look at the mucus that comes
out of her trachea

Snake mite (Ophionyssus natricis)
photo: Kalle Berglof, Sweden
The picture is borrowed from
This site

Burmese python with pneumonia. Animal has difficulty breathing

 Also the Burmese Pythons in the zoo often suffer from respiratory problems, especially in the wintermonths. The terrarium is too cold in this period. This problem is easy to solve, but costs money (heating costs).
Lots of Burmese pythons died in this terrarium.

Burmese python with pneumonia. Lots of mucus in her mouth.

donderdag 26 januari 2012

Rattlesnakes Roundup ends in Claxton

Roundup ends in Claxton

CLAXTON -- In its 45th year, the festival formerly known as the Claxton Rattlesnake Roundup is undergoing something of a midlife transformation.

The Evans County Wildlife Club, which has played host to the event since 1968, recently announced that the Annual Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival is set for March 10-11. Fully owning its heritage but dropping the word "roundup," the event no longer will include the buying and selling of snakes for competition and prizes.

Crotalus adamanteus
A group of four wildlife and environmental groups that lobbied for years to stop the roundup aspect of the event praised festival officials for their decision.

"We're so happy the rattlesnake roundup in Claxton is being switched to a humane event that celebrates these great native animals and recognizes the importance of saving them," said Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity — a group that works to protect rare and vanishing reptiles and amphibians.

All other elements of the festival — a parade, a pageant, a footrace, a two-day arts and crafts show, live musical entertainment — would be retained, said Wildlife Club President Bruce Purcell. He emphasized that rattlesnakes and snakes of other species still would be exhibited live.

"We want to shift gears from a rattlesnake roundup where everybody came to see rattlesnakes to a wildlife festival where we're promoting wildlife and educating people about wildlife and the conservation of wildlife," Purcell said. "I think we can open this event up and the possibilities for our promoting and protecting wildlife are endless."

Other attractions that enhance the festival as a venue for wildlife education are being expanded, Purcell said. Among these are flight shows featuring bald eagles and other birds of prey from Georgia Southern University's Wildlife Education Center, "Let's Get Wild" shows put on by independent wildlife educator Steve Scruggs, and the Southeast Spring Classic Turkey Calling Contest, sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation annually in conjunction with the festival.

Additionally, new exhibits of snakes, fish and other wildlife are being developed in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

But Purcell said rattlesnakes would remain the stars of the show.

Last year, just seven hunters brought in about 100 snakes, Purcell said. The snakes were sold to an out-of-state buyer. With this element of the festival eliminated, Purcell said, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes instead would be exhibited in about equal numbers through exhibits obtained in cooperation with the DNR.

"As far as the public is concerned, we'll still have plenty of snakes to come look at. We're going to have rattlesnakes," Purcell said. "We simply have stopped buying and selling snakes."

The rattlesnake roundup began in 1968. Due to snake hunters dwindling and a move toward wildlife education and conservation, the Wildlife Club board unanimously voted to drop the buying and selling of rattlesnakes.

"We're not in a position to make them go one way or the other, but we certainly support the direction they're going," said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. "We think it's a good thing, and we're going to help them out any way we can."

Steve Hein, director of the Center for Wildlife Education at Georgia Southern University, also expressed support for the Rattlesnake & Wildlife Festival's new direction. Last year, for the first time, Hein and other staff members brought flight shows of the bald eagle named Freedom and other birds to the festival auditorium.

"I applaud the Evans County Wildlife Club," Hein said. "I will point out that in their (club) constitution, conservation and education have always been the mainstays, so this is not a fundamental shift in philosophy, but rather in practice."

He said Freedom and other birds from the university's collection would be back this year.

Crotalus adamanteus

The festival will maintain a stance friendly to lawful hunting and fishing as essential for wildlife conservation, Purcell said. Organizers, he added, hope to reach out to other groups such as the Ogeechee Riverkeeper and the Georgia Wildlife Federation to augment the exhibits.

The festival is the largest annual event for Claxton and Evans County. Last year's festival drew about 18,000 people, and Purcell said he hopes this year's will top 20,000. The club contributes proceeds to various charities, funds scholarships for local high school students, and makes its building, pavilions and grounds available for other community events throughout the year.

woensdag 25 januari 2012

Experts to check on anacondas' health

The four green anacondas-two males and two females-are doing fine and are kept under observation. They are normal and doing fine, said zoo authorities on Sunday, a day after a female green anaconda died due to heart failure. The zoo has contacted Dr Vasanth Shetty, dean of the veterinary college, who is a member of the zoo health committee, to conduct ultra-sonographic examination. He is likely to come here this week, the zoo authorities said. The authorities believe that there is nothing abnormal about the four surviving anacondas given that they are active and their food intake is normal. 

Mysore zoo is trying to simulate the conditions of an Amazon rainforest in a 40 ft X 20 ft area to house the five anacondas, received as gift from Sri Lanka National Zoo in Colombo.

Dr Suresh Kumar, the veterinarian attached to the zoo told The Times of India that the anaconda that died was a weakling when it arrived, but the Sri Lankan zoo authorities had told them that it would survive. While the other four anacondas have gained a minimum of 40 grams since their arrival from Sri Lanka in November-end, the one that died actually lost weight. "We contacted reptile experts and Sri Lanka zoo authorities while we focused on it. But it died due to heart failure owing to traumatic injury to heart during blood collection. Experts suggested that it is very rare," he stated. 

The Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popularly known as the Mysore Zoo, will become the first zoo in the country to house green anacondas from Tuesday.
The public and lakhs of tourists visiting the zoo can have a look at the world’s largest snake from next week. Anacondas can grow up to 20 ft in captivity.
Five medium-size anacondas, including two male, will arrive in Chennai on a cargo flight from Sri Lanka on Tuesday morning. The Mysore zoo authorities will bring them here by road. National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka in Dehiwala had gifted five green anacondas as a goodwill gesture last year.
Executive director of Mysore zoo, K. Ravi, told DC that the anacondas will be a prized possession, and the zoo would be happy to give its visitors something new and rare to see. He added, “For the first time, people will get a chance to have a glimpse of the giant snakes in real life.”
The official said that special enclosures are getting ready, and for the time being space has been created in one of the existing enclosures.
“The zoo already has a range of snake species like reticulated python, whose characteristics are similar to anaconda, and cobras. However, special arrangements are being made to create an artificial environment that mimics their natural habitat. Anacondas require temperatures around 27 degrees, and a good amount of space,” Ravi revealed.
It is learnt that the Sri Lankan government has also decided to gift anacondas to the Ahmedabad Zoo, and the consignment will also land in Chennai on Tuesday.
Karnataka Zoo Authority chairman, N. Nanjundaswamy, who visited Sri Lanka to finalise the deal, said proudly that it is a milestone in the history of the zoo.

It is routine to draw blood when the animals are shipped. Otherwise they will not be allowed to be transported. Normally blood is drawn from veins but for reptiles it is difficult to be locate veins and hence it is drawn from the heart, he explained. According to him, the four anacondas from which blood is drawn from the heart don't have any problem. "But we will subject them to ultra-sonographic examination to be sure," he stated.  

The authorities said it requires some 10 minutes for each of the reptile to be diagnosed and they won't be shifted to the zoo hospital but will be examined at their enclosure. It is a simple procedure, they stated.

The zoo officials ruled out that severe cold conditions in the city for the illness of the anaconda that died. Even when the city recorded below 8 degrees Celsius temperature, which is lowest minimum in over a century, the temperature at their enclosure was maintained over 22 degrees Celsius. The heater was kept on round the clock, they stated.

Changes proposed to endangered, threatened species list; New data, tools help update status of rare species in Wisconsin

Contact(s): Kurt Thiede, Land Division administrator,(608) 266-5833 

MADISON - Sixteen birds, plants and other animals are proposed to be removed from the state's list of endangered or threatened species as the result of a comprehensive scientific review of rare species in Wisconsin, according to state endangered species officials.
They are now starting on the administrative rule-making steps required to make the proposed changes. Information on those proposed changes, process followed, and public comment opportunities are available on the Endangered Resources pages of the Department of Natural Resources website.
Some of the 16 species proposed for removal responded well to protections given to listed species and management efforts to increase their populations, while others were found to not be as rare as once thought or no longer occur in the state.

Thamnophis radix - Plains Garter Snake

At the same time, eight different species found during the review to be in jeopardy now or in the near future are proposed to be added to the list, a status that would make it illegal under Wisconsin's Endangered Species Law for people to kill, transport, possess, process or sell them.
"Extensive review of field data from scientists and citizen monitors, DNA analysis, and new mapping technologies have given us an unprecedented understanding of Wisconsin's natural heritage," said Laurie Osterndorf, who directs DNR's Endangered Resources Bureau.
"We're proposing to update our list to accurately reflect this information, recognizing Wisconsin's success in restoring some rare species while giving others the protections they need to survive in the 21st century."
Wisconsin's Endangered Species Law requires DNR to review and, following public input, revise its list of endangered or threatened species. Since the first list was developed in 1972, it has been revised 10 times, most recently in 2011 to add cave bats due to the imminent threat of white-nose syndrome.
State endangered resources staff and outside taxonomy experts have been reviewing information to update the list since January 2010, and are now starting on the administrative rule-making steps required to make the changes.
The steps needed before revisions can be made to the list have changed as a result of Act 21, a law passed earlier this year that required an economic impact analysis be developed in consultation with those who may be affected, along with a more lengthy legislative review process.
Earlier this week, Gov. Scott Walker approved DNR's scope of the rule, which relates to the policy, purpose and objectives of the rule. DNR will go to the Natural Resources Board in early 2012 to seek approval of the scope statement, followed by seeking board authorization to collect public comment to go into the economic impact analysis required of the rule. After that analysis is done, DNR would seek board authorization to conduct public hearings on the rule specifics.
People interested in following the process can get electronic updates by visiting the Endangered Resources web page and selecting "Subscribe to E/T Updates."
Current list changes reflect new field studies, modeling, genetic analysis The current review and revision effort started in January 2010 with DNR's endangered resources staff reviewing scientific data for 3,000 plants and animals. Staff recommended 331 species for full, comprehensive status reviews, Osterndorf said. Biologists from a variety of state and federal agencies, organizations, and universities, as well as naturalists throughout the state with taxonomic expertise provided new or updated information on the population condition and distribution of rare species in the state.

Emydoidea blandingii - Blanding's turtle

"This is the most comprehensive review ever conducted by the department of the status of Wisconsin’s plants and animals," said Kurt Thiede, who leads DNR's Land Division, which includes the endangered resources program. "The program has made strides to create a more transparent list review process and has developed specific scientific guidelines governing how current research is applied to decision-making,"
DNR submitted information along with all current scientific research for each species, and made its proposed revisions. Charts with photos showing the species proposed for addition to or removal from the list are available online, along with the reason for the listing decision, Osterndorf said.
The 16 species proposed to be removed from the list are the greater redhorse, a small fish; the barn owl, snowy egret, and Bewick's Wren, the Pygmy Snaketail, a dragonfly, and two reptiles. The Blanding's Turtle review determined there are large, stable populations and wide distribution. In the case of Butler's Gartersnake, new information indicated greater abundance and range than previously believed. “Genetic analysis done by UW-Stevens Point researchers concluded that hybridization is not a threat to the species,” Osterndorf said.
The remaining species proposed to be removed from the list are plants: the American fever-few, bog bluegrass, Canada horse-balm, drooping sedge, hemlock Parsley, prairie Indian-Plantain, snowy campion, yellow gentian, and Yellow Giant Hyssop. These species are proposed to be delisted for one or more of the following reasons: determination that populations are stable or increasing; new information about the populations; a positive response to protection and management efforts; and/or determination the plant no longer exists in Wisconsin.
Species being recommended for listing to protect declining populations include three birds -- the Black Tern, Kirtland's Warbler, Upland Sandpiper; and four invertebrates -- the beach-dune tiger beetle, ottoe skipper, a leafhopper, an Issid planthopper, and fawnsfoot mussel.
Wisconsin has been a leader in protecting and restoring endangered species, and in fact passed the nation's first endangered species law in 1972, preceding the federal law. Among those endangered species whose populations have recovered in Wisconsin to the degree they have been removed from the list include bald eagles, which were removed from the list in 1997, gray wolves in 2004, osprey in 2009, and trumpeter swans in 2009.

maandag 23 januari 2012

Myanmar officials seize 10,000 snakes that were to be smuggled to China

By Associated Press.

YANGON, Myanmar — Forestry officials in central Myanmar have seized nearly 10,000 snakes in 400 crates that were to be smuggled to China.
The weekly journal Modern reported Friday that 50 cobras were among the 9,176 snakes seized in Pyin Oo Lwin district near Mandalay on Jan. 12.

The report did not say how many people were arrested but said those involved would be charged under the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas law, which carries a five-year prison sentence.
It said the 7,000 non-poisonous snakes were released into a wildlife reserve, while the vipers and cobras were sent to the state pharmaceutical company for their venom.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

vrijdag 13 januari 2012

Close call for alligator egg raiders at Australian Reptile Park

 Richard Noone, The Daily Telegraph. 
 January 13, 2012

The arrival of a large territorial male kept keepers on their toes during the annual alligator egg raid this morning. 
The Australian Reptile Park's oldest American alligator, weighing more than 200kg, had been defending a nesting site along with an angry mother and had attacked keepers in a boat earlier in the week.

"It's unusual for males to defend the nest," operations manager Tim Faulkner said.
"Brad and I were in a boat a few days ago inspecting the nests when he came over and had a go at the boat.

Close call ... Reptile keepers Brad Gabriel (R) 
and Chris Wallace (C) try to control American alligator 
´Mr Skinny' while alligator eggs are collected from a nearby nest 
at the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney 
on January 13, 2012. 

"He's never done that before."
Keepers have to harvest the eggs laid by several mature females every year to prevent any hatchlings escaping the park at Somersby, north of Sydney, and entering local waterways.
Mr Faulkner said it was also to prevent the harsh Australian sun from overheating and killing the eggs.
Only a handful of eggs are later incubated by the park based on requests from other zoos around the country.
The rest are sent to universities and museums for research.

Egg hunt ... Reptile keeper Tim Faulkner (R) collects American alligator eggs as Billy Collett (2nd R), John Mostyn (2nd L) and Karla Pound (L) try to control 'Big Mumma' at the Australian Reptile Park. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD Source: AFP

"These eggs were laid either last night or the night before," Mr Faulkner said.
"It's critical that we get in there straight away to remove the eggs because the Australian sun is too hot and once it hits that nest they overheat and actually die rather than incubate."
In a dramatic operation that staff said was as dangerous as anything they do at the park, which also houses collections of Australia's most deadly snakes and spiders, Mr Faulkner lured the mother far enough away from the nest for three other keepers to jump on its back.
Two more keepers had to jump on the large male when it crept out of the water and came close to charging.
His top jaw was tied to a tree "otherwise he'd just stand up and carry the keepers off into the water" Mr Faulkner said.
"We can tell when the females have laid their eggs because there's an instant change in behaviour from a gator that sits in the water to what all crocodilians do and that is defend that nest with their life," he said.
Australian Reptile Park
"This year's harvest has been a few weeks later than any we've ever experienced and we believe that was just because we had a very cold, wet start to summer and alligators being reptiles require that beautiful warm sun to warm up to cook their eggs and incubate their eggs."
Keepers collected 45 eggs, which is about an average clutch in the wild but a good sign for a female in captivity.

Snake wine

Snake wine – for someone literal interpretation of the “green dragon”. Is an alcoholic beverage, a feature which is a poisonous snake in the bottle. Snake wine originated in Vietnam. And from there spread throughout Southeast Asia. Peak is a popular drink in Japan reached.

They say if the snake wine has healing properties, cures everything and full of happiness, increased sexual activity. Of course, all this should be seen as a joke. All of this invented sly marketers to attract customers.

However, foreign lovers of thrills and spirits like to visit the snake restaurants. After import snake wine is banned in many countries. For the reason that used for its production of cobra and other rare endangered species of snakes.

Snake as the main ingredient of this wine is usually not appreciated because of their meat, but because of the snake venom, dissolved in alcohol. 
It is thought the wine is better than the snake is poisonous. However, the poison should not be afraid. Snake venom is protein based and deactivated under the influence of alcohol.

This drink is prepared in this way: take a large poisonous snake placed in a glass jar of rice, with many small snakes, turtles, birds, insects (specific set depends on the mood of the winemaker) and left to ferment for several months. The wine then drink small sips or small cups.

donderdag 12 januari 2012

Animal cruelty, part 6

A reminder why I place these articles!

The manager of the largest reptile zoo in the Netherlands has often said in public (television, newspapers, etc) that private keepers of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates do not take care of their animals in the right way. He wants stronger laws and a mandatory animal-registration. He thinks he is holier than the Pope because a number of animals which are his responsibility are mistreated in a terrible way. Often this are animals that were confiscated by the government of the Netherlands. They are the property of the Dutch government and the zoo gets payed well to take care of them.

Also take a look at: 


In the basement of the reptilezoo there live some Blue-tongued skinks (Tiliqua scincoides).
Every year there are a number of young born in this terrarium. Other zoos have no intrest in these young and this means that they have to live for a long period (sometimes for years) in the quarantine of the reptilezoo. This would not be that bad when these animals had a decent terrarium to live in.
But, this is not the case. These animals have to live in plastic boxes with the following measurements: 30 x 20 x 15 cm (BxDxH).

Tiliqua scincoides: no room to move for a long period! What you see is all the room they have!

There is no additional heating or illumination present except that the boxes get some light from a small window. Temperature in the boxes is "roomtemperature" which is in this case 24 degrees Celsius.
It is obvious that these animals barely have room to move.  Next to that is their main food catfood. No good circumstances for animals that easily get to fat.
The last time I saw the young in the plastic boxes were between 25 and 30 cm long!
All this animal cruelty could be prevented when they remove the male from the females in the exhibition-terrarium in the basement.

The plastic boxes in which they have to live

woensdag 11 januari 2012

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Species to be Brought Back from Extinction

09 January 2012
Through a combination of cutting edge genetic research and time-tested field work, scientists have determined that a Galapagos Giant Tortoise species long thought to be extinct in the wild may still be living on the northern end of the island of Isabela, a few hundred kilometers from Floreana, their island of origin.
This week a team of scientists from a number of institutions led by researchers in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Yale University are reporting new evidence that pure Floreana tortoises (Chelonoidis elephantopus) may still exist on Wolf Volcano on the north end of the island of Isabela.

These results, funded in part by Galapagos Conservancy, provide great hope for recovery of this species, thought to be extinct for nearly 150 years. Having previously found a small number of hybrid tortoises on Wolf Volcano, scientists returned in December 2008 to obtain blood samples from a total of 1669 individuals, approximately 20% of the estimated current tortoise population.
Results reported this week indicate that 84 tortoises were found whose DNA show that they resulted from hybridization events involving a pure Floreana tortoise as one of their immediate parents. Thirty of the 84 tortoises were determined to be less than 15 years old – indicating that the likelihood of pure Floreana tortoises still roaming the slopes of Wolf Volcano is quite high. Historical records indicate that tortoises were often moved between islands by whalers and other visitors to Galapagos in the 18th and 19th centuries, and many ended up on Wolf Volcano. These historical records provide an explanation for the unusually wide range of tortoise types found there — a population mix that would not be expected to occur naturally.

G. Becky tortoises (top photo) are native to Isabela Island in the Galapagos chain
and have a distinctly domed shape shell,
while the tortoise in the bottom photo is a hybrid with C. elephantopus,
a species native to Floreana Island some 200 miles south of Wolf Volcano on northern Isabela.
Until recently, C. elephantopus was thought to be extinct.
Genetic analysis of a tortoise population on Isabela Island suggests purebred individuals
of C. elephantopus must still be alive on Isabela.
“Galapagos tortoise populations have benefited from a long and successful history of captive breeding and repatriation,” reports Galapagos Conservancy’s Science Advisor Dr. Linda Cayot, whose work as head of herpetology at the Charles Darwin Foundation in Galapagos spanned more than a decade. “With these data in hand, the Galapagos National Park will be able to embark on a rescue mission for the Floreana Giant Tortoise species. We are extremely grateful to all the institutions who have worked together to bring us to this exciting moment.”
These findings come just as the Galapagos National Park, the Charles Darwin Foundation, and others are in the initial years of Project Floreana – aimed at restoring that island to a more pristine condition and ensuring a sustainable community for its human inhabitants. Says Dr. Cayot, “Returning true Floreana tortoises as part of that effort is now a dream that could come true.”

If interested, check out this additional information on tortoise repatriation and Project Floreana:

4000 turtles seized, two arrested

KANPUR: Around 4,000 turtles were seized from a truck at Jalaun crossing under Kotwali police station in Auraiyya district on Monday. Two persons were arrested.
The turtles stuffed in 68 sacks, some in critical condition, were found loaded on truck No: UP-17-C-4349, belonging to Shiv Pratap Rathore of Civil Lines in Etawah. The vehicle was its way to West Bengal.
The truck was intercepted by a police team during the vehicles checking drive near Jalaun crossing.
The turtles worth around Rs 20 lakh, were meant to be exported to countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore from West Bengal.
The arrested persons were identified as Nunu Kudu and Devdas, natives of West Bengal, besides the driver and cleaner of the truck.

Picture comes from this site

SP, Etawah, Abdul Hameed said that truck was spotted during the early hours of Monday. More than 4,000 sacks were seized. An investigation into the matter is going on.
There was one more person identified as Guddu, who was travelling in a four-wheeler, ahead of the truck. He managed to escape.
Wildlife experts said that the consignments also reach north east of country, including Assam via train. From there, the turtles are smuggled to countries like Thailand and Malaysia through sea route.

Narendra Verma, Auraiyya forest ranger Narendra Verma said that the turtles were brought from villages surrounding Bharthana area and loaded in a truck near Bakewar. "As of now we are waiting for court order and most probably, seized turtles would be released into the natural habitat on Tuesday," he added.

zondag 8 januari 2012

More of State’s Species (Texas) May Be Endangered

The creature was waiting for warmer, wetter weather before mating, but its species’ future is grim. The huge wildfires that swept through Bastrop County last fall may wipe it out.
“That was an extinction-level event,” said Michael Forstner, a Texas State biology professor who is overseeing the toad research.
But if the Houston toad becomes extinct and falls off of the federal list of endangered and threatened species, plenty of other species are waiting to get on it. More than 20 statewide, including several types of salamanders and snails, are under serious consideration for an endangered listing over the next four years, and dozens more are in the early stages of the process, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency is reviewing the status of 96 species in Texas as of Nov. 1. Experts call this an unprecedented flurry of activity.

Erich Schlegel for The Texas Tribune

If the Houston toad becomes extinct, Texas will lose a creature with a unique call,
Dr. Forstner said, and it will also be a worrying indicator of the health of the piney ecosystem.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in an interview this week. Her agency says even more species are under watch, including some from the National Marine Fisheries Service. The list of endangered species candidates is “very, very fluid,” she said, and could expand.
The hustle is partly a result of legal settlements last year. Two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians, sued the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to compel the agency to speed its process of deciding whether animals and plants are endangered. Their concern was that some species were left in limbo for years without a final decision. In the settlements, the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to review the candidacy of more than 250 species nationwide over six years.
Tom Buckley, a Southwest regional spokesman for the wildlife service, said that not all Texas species under review would actually get proposed for an endangered listing, and that “probably the majority will not be.”
Nonetheless, the prospect of more species being listed as endangered has rattled industries like oil and gas and ranching.

Dr. Michael Forstner, Texas State biology professor, left, and a graduate student,
Melissa Jones, seeking the endangered Houston toad.

“Landowners are very much on the defensive right now,” said Jason Skaggs, the executive director of government and public affairs for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. His group wants Congress to re-evaluate the Endangered Species Act, which was passed in 1973.
Justin Furnace, the president of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association, said endangered species issues are a big concern because of the oil and gas drilling all over Texas — and precautions to protect endangered species could affect production.
“We’re really looking for real peer-reviewed science before they take the steps to list these species and cost jobs,” Mr. Furnace said.
Oil companies have reacted with particular ire to the prospect of adding a small lizard that lives in the sand dunes of West Texas to the endangered list. In December, under pressure from the oil and gas industry, the Fish and Wildlife Service delayed by six months its decision on whether to list the dunes sagebrush lizard so the agency can gather more information about it.
Mr. Furnace said he is also keeping an eye on the spot-tailed earless lizard, which inhabits the booming Eagle Ford Shale area and could become listed. Mr. Skaggs, with the cattle group, said that his concerns included the lesser prairie chicken in the Panhandle and freshwater mussels.

Environmental groups say industry can cope with new listings. “We hear these horror stories pretty much every time there’s a proposal to list an endangered species or declare a critical habitat,” said Ken Kramer, the director of the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club. “Most of those wild allegations never come to pass.”
Currently, F.W.S. classifies more than 90 animals and plants in Texas as endangered or threatened. In good news, the concho water snake, which inhabits Central Texas, was removed from the endangered and threatened species list in October.
For some Texas scientists, the acceleration of the listings process has meant a flood of work. Dr. Forstner, of Texas State, said that over the last eight months, his projects have included the sand dunes lizard, the spot-tailed earless lizard and several species of salamanders, all of which could land on the endangered species list — in addition to the already listed toad.
“Doing it literally one right after another isn’t how we normally do this,” said Dr. Forstner, who is urging more cooperation between universities to get the research done with more cost effectiveness. The state is also figuring out how best to research the listings candidates and to help landowners deal with endangered species. On Monday, a multiagency task force on endangered species led by the comptroller’s office will hold its first meeting this year.

Ms. Combs said that Texas was “trying to have our priority of research match the feds,” but that this was often difficult to achieve and frustrating.
“I think this listing process is very burdensome, and I don’t think it’s based on sound science,” she said.
Financing for studies of potentially endangered species comes from a variety of sources, ranging from the federal government to affected industries. Toby Hibbitts, a scientist at Texas A&M University, said that his recent fieldwork on the dunes sagebrush lizard was financed partly by oil and gas. He plans more work in late spring, when the reptiles are active again.
The ultimate goal, Dr. Forstner said, is that other species do not end up as the Houston toad has — on labor-intensive life support. In the Bastrop woods, graduate students working with him spent this week setting up large blue plastic tubs and filling them with sand and a bit of water to emulate a beach, so that tadpoles have a better chance of surviving.
If the toad becomes extinct, Texas will lose a creature with a unique call, Dr. Forstner said, and it will also be a worrying indicator of the health of the piney ecosystem.
“Losing the toad is losing a native Texan,” Dr. Forstner said.