A team of vets has also been glued 24-7 to the Washington, D.C. facility’s Panda Cam since August 7, when Mei began showing signs of being pregnant. For instance, the panda has become lethargic, spending more time in her den, sleeping and building her bamboo nest. She’s also been cradling and grooming her toys. Mei’s urinary hormones also show spikes that suggest a baby on the way.
Despite these clues, breeding the endangered animals in captivity is fraught with challenges. We talked to three experts working to breed pandas to find out exactly what’s so tricky about these animals’ reproductive biology.
1. Female pandas ovulate just once a year, in the spring.
2. The pair has to be compatible.
3. Pandas have pseudopregnancies.
4. A panda fetus is extremely slow-growing, making it hard to detect pregnancy.
5. Cubs are very needy and vulnerable at birth.
Read the full story here.
Petition by Trevor Buchanan, Australia
Over 85,000 supporters, 14,000 more needed
Surabaya Zoo, also known as Kebun Binatang Surabaya (KBS), was founded in 1916 and is the one of the largest zoos in South East Asia, covering 37 acres and housing over 350 species. The zoo has fallen into disrepute over the last few years with widespread allegations of mistreatment, corruption, and uncontrolled breeding. Many of the animals cared for at KBS live in pitiable conditions, some are highly endangered species. This must stop.
The Zoo states there are 2,800 animals living there, other reports put the number at closer to 4,000. The mistreatment of the animals started to attract widespread condemnation in 2010. In that year, the Jakarta Post labelled KBS as the Surabaya “Zoo of Death”. In the same year the Forestry Ministry revoked Surabaya Zoo’s license after many animal deaths including rare species such as Sumatran tigers, Komodo Dragons, lions and crocodiles.
East Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) conducted an investigation, which found that negligent keepers were to blame for most of the animal deaths. It is alleged that zookeepers are stealing meat which they sell to the black market. Also that animals are being stolen by the zookeepers and also sold. Recently a giraffe died that was found to have an 18kg ball of plastic in it’s stomach, It had been living off food thrown to it by vistors, such as candy bars, which often still had the wrapper on it. Tigers are kept locked in small concrete cells because they do not have enough room to exercise. They are allowed out of their damp cells for only 3 days for every 10 they are locked up. Some animals have chronic long term back and leg complaints because they cannot exercise. Many have wasting digestive diseases from eating tainted meat.
We call on the honourable President, Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, take action immediately. Please act – the world is watching.
For more information on the petition and to take action, click here:
Petition to Close Surabaya Zoo