Gorilla Undergoes Cataract Surgery At US Zoo

In this image courtesy of San Diego Zoo Global, 3-year-old female western lowland gorilla, Leslie, is surrounded by ophthalmologist, veterinarians, and animal care experts as she undergoes cataract surgery on December 10, 2019, at UC San Diego Health in San Diego, California. Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Global / AFP



A team of eye doctors in California tested their skills on an unusual patient — a western lowland gorilla.

Working with veterinarians from the San Diego Zoo, an eye surgeon removed a cataract from the left eye of a three-year-old female named Leslie on December 10, zoo officials announced.

They said the surgery was performed at the zoo’s medical center and Leslie was recovering well.

The surgeon who performed the procedure, Chris Heichel, said that while he had carried out thousands of eye surgeries on human patients, this was his first on a gorilla.

“Fortunately, the similarities between the anatomy of human and gorilla eyes are great enough to allow us to safely navigate the procedure without complication,” he said in a statement issued by the zoo.

“The remainder of the eye appeared to be in excellent health, indicating exceptional vision potential for the rest of Leslie’s life.”

The procedure involved removing the cloudy lens from Leslie’s eye and inserting a new artificial lens that should provide the gorilla with clear vision for the rest of her life.

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens behind the colored part of the eye, known as the iris. Cataracts typically develop over time, as part of the normal aging process, but they can also be caused by trauma to the eye. Once a cataract develops, the lens becomes progressively cloudier and vision deteriorates.

Zoo officials said they suspect Leslie’s cataract resulted from an injury, either from a fall or while playing with other young gorillas in her troop.


Dozens Of Monkeys Die In German Zoo New Year’s Eve Fire

A sign reading “No Entrance!” is seen at the burned-out monkey house of the zoo in Krefeld, western Germany, on January 1, 2020. Fire ripped through the monkey house at Krefeld zoo on New Year’s Eve, killing dozens of animals, including orangutans, chimpanzees and marmosets, the management said.
Christoph Reichwein / dpa / AFP


Flames from flying New Year’s Eve lanterns might have sparked a blaze that killed dozens of monkeys at a zoo in northwestern Germany, management and security services said Wednesday.

The blaze tore through the monkey enclosure shortly before midnight, killing at least 30 animals, including orangutans, chimpanzees, and marmosets, police said.

“Our worst fears have been realised,” Krefeld Zoo, which specialises in primates, announced on its Facebook page.

Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to other buildings at the zoo in North Rhine-Westphalia.

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Preliminary findings from an investigation suggest the fire might have been caused by flying paper lanterns, which float into the air when lit.

Three lanterns bearing hand-written New Year’s wishes were discovered in the smouldering debris.

These types of devices have been banned in the region since 2009.

Police launched an investigation for “negligently criminal fire” and hope to establish the path of the lanterns by analysing atmospheric conditions and wind direction.

The German animal protection association quickly called for all kinds of fireworks to be banned near zoos, farms, and kennels.

The deadly blaze was “terrible proof of the dramatic consequences for animals” from “uncontrolled” celebrations, the group said.

Germans often use powerful fireworks to celebrate the New Year, and in Berlin, rescue services on Wednesday had recorded 22 injuries, some of which required amputations, from the holiday.

That was roughly comparable to levels seen in previous years.

The atmospheric effect of fireworks has also begun to spark debate, and the federal environment agency UBA estimated that the number of fine particles released in one night was comparable to the amount caused by two months of highway traffic.

Several major German supermarkets and hardware chains have decided to stop selling them, moreover.

Demand remains strong for now however, with the population spending around 113 million euros ($127 million) this year for New Year’s fireworks, the same amount as last year, according to sector federation VPI.

Around 57 percent of the county’s inhabitants would support a ban on firework sales, but 84 percent of those questioned also said they looked forward to displays next year.

Meanwhile, the Krefeld zoo planned to remain closed Wednesday with employees “in shock” owing to the “terrible tragedy”, the management said.


Canada Shuts Down Zoo, Charges Owner With Cruelty

Canada’s flag


Canadian authorities on Tuesday raided a zoo, arrested its owner, and seized more than 100 animals including lions, zebras, kangaroos and bears — after finding two dead tigers on the property.

Norman Trahan, owner of the Saint-Edouard Zoo in Saint-Edouard-de-Maskinonge, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Montreal, faces charges of animal cruelty and neglect.

If convicted he faces up to five years in prison and a lifetime ban on owning animals.

The local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which has policing powers in the province, and a team of veterinarians spent the morning cataloguing and checking on the health of each of the animals.

“Given the magnitude and the complexity of the endeavour, the operation will take place over a number of weeks and will be conducted in partnership with Humane Society International, an organization specialized in mass animal rescue operations,” Sophie Gaillard, who is in charge of the operation, told a press conference.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time in Canada that a zoo owner has been charged with criminal animal cruelty,” she said.

The seized exotic and wild animals will be moved to sanctuaries and specialized care facilities elsewhere in North America.

In a statement, the SPCA said it started investigating the zoo after receiving a tip about mistreatment of the animals from a visitor in August 2018.

Animal protection officers began documenting “significant problems” with the animals’ health and living conditions, and initially seized two alpacas in very poor condition while also finding the remains of four other animals, including the tigers, on the property.

White Tiger Kills Japan Zookeeper In Rare Attack

Japan on the map

A white tiger attacked and killed a zookeeper in its enclosure in southern Japan but the animal will be kept alive at the request of the victim’s family, officials said Tuesday.

“A zookeeper was found collapsed in a cage, bleeding,” a local police official told AFP, adding the man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The attack happened late Monday at the Hirakawa Zoological Park in the southern city of Kagoshima.

Akira Furusho, 40, was discovered bleeding from the neck and officials believe he was mauled by one of the zoo’s four rare white tigers, zoo officials said.

The zoo said the five-year-old male tiger, named Riku, was sedated with a tranquilizer gun after the attack, as rescue workers and police rushed to the scene.

“We plan not to kill Riku and continue to keep it because the bereaved family asked us to do so,” said Takuro Nagasako, a zoo official.

While the zoo was open as normal on Tuesday, the white tiger observation zone was restricted “as police continued to investigate the case,” Nagasako told AFP.

Riku — about 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) in length and weighing some 170 kilograms (374 pounds) — was born at the zoo with two other white tigers.

Tiger attacks are extremely rare in Japan, with the last one dating back to 2008, when a Siberian tiger mauled to death a zookeeper who had been trying to encourage the animal to mate.

In 1997, a Japanese couple was killed when they were attacked by tigers at a safari park in central Japan.


Zoo Celebrates Birth Of Endangered Spider Monkey

A spider monkey cub (Ateles hybrids), born two days ago, and its mother are pictured, at Santa Fe zoo, in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia on September 13, 2018. The spider monkey is an extintion danger species.


A zoo in Colombia is celebrating the birth of a baby spider monkey, a rare species in danger of extinction.

The monkey was born on Sunday at the San Fe zoological park in Colombia’s second city, Medellin, but so far staff know little about it, Carolina Diaz, the flora and fauna coordinator, told AFP.

“We still don’t know if it’s female or male because we try to leave the baby with its mother in the most natural way possible,” said Diaz.

“Right now, the baby is completely dependent on its mother.”

The black-haired monkey weighs around one kilogram (2.2 pounds) and is about 20-centimetres (eight inches) tall. It is the third such birth in the zoo since 2012.

The San Fe zoo now has 20 spider monkeys, although Diaz expects that number to rise as one male and several females amongst them are fertile.

“The coming year we’ll probably have more births,” she added.

Spider monkeys, whose natural habitat is tropical rainforests, are among the 25 most endangered primates in the world.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says the species is in critical danger of extinction.

Diaz blames that on the destruction of their habitat for livestock and agriculture as well as hunting and illegal trafficking.

In Colombia, the monkeys live on the banks of the Magdalena river, the largest in the country.

It’s been a time of many celebrations in the San Fe zoo over the last few days, with the births of a squirrel monkey, three grey-crowned cranes and two pygmy marmosets.

Lions, Tigers, Jaguar Recaptured Hours After Escaping From Zoo

File photo: A lion and her cubs at a zoo in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on May 30, 2018. Three lion cubs were born on April 14, 2018 at the zoo. Boris Roessler / dpa / AFP


Five dangerous big cats — two lions, two tigers and a jaguar — which escaped their enclosures in a flooded German zoo on Friday are reportedly back “in their cages”.

Local residents near the zoo close to the Luxembourg border were warned to stay indoors while the predators were on the loose.

A bear, which also broke out of its enclosure at the Eifel Zoo in Luenebach, was shot dead, a spokesman for local authorities said.

Officials are verifying if the fences and cages are secure, said the spokesman.

Thunderstorms had sparked flash floods in the area overnight and completely flooded the private zoo, which is located on a riverbank.

The high waters damaged the cages, allowing the animals to go on the run.

Local newspaper Trier Volksfreund said the cats were still within the sprawling 30-hectare grounds of the zoo when they were finally located by a drone.

While emergency services including firefighters and police were deployed to hunt down the predators, inhabitants of the town were told to stay indoors and to keep their windows and doors closed.

Many residents were busy on Friday clearing muddy water from their cellars and removing trees downed by the severe storm. Part of a local motorway had also been blocked off due to high waters.

Owned by the Wallpott family, the zoo is home to around 400 animals, including a Siberian tiger.

Friday’s escape came two years after a similar case in eastern Germany, when two lions broke out of their cages at the Leipzig zoo.

One of the lions was shot dead while the other was eventually brought back into captivity.

In 2015, an orang-utan was shot dead after escaping from the Duisburg zoo, and a bear escapee from Osnabrueck suffered the same fate in 2017.


Two Lions, Tigers, One Jaguar Escape From Zoo

Lion mother Zarina snarls at journalists as her cubs have their first public outing at the zoo in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on May 30, 2018. Three lion cubs were born on April 14, 2018 at the zoo. Boris Roessler / dpa / AFP


Five dangerous predators, including two lions, two tigers and a jaguar escaped from a zoo in western Germany on Friday, sparking a massive hunt, a spokesperson for local authorities told AFP.

A bear, which also broke out of the Eifel Zoo in Luenebach, has been shot.

Residents in the area have been advised to stay indoors while a hunt is underway for the big cats.

Owned by the Wallpott family, the zoo located close to the border with Luxembourg is home to around 400 animals, including a Siberian tiger and lions.

Friday’s escape came two years after another similar case in eastern Germany when two lions broke out of their cages at the Leipzig zoo.

One of the lions was shot dead while the other was eventually brought back into captivity.

Gunmen Kill Three Policemen At Benin Zoo, Abduct CEO

Gunmen have killed three policemen who were posted to provide security for fun-seekers at the Ogba Zoo and Nature Park in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The gunmen, who struck the zoo on Sunday evening, abducted the Chief Executive Officer of the zoo, Andrew Ehanire.

Public Relations Officer of the Edo State Police Command, Moses Nkombe, confirmed the incident.

He said the Police Commissioner has ordered an investigation into the attack and gave the assurance that the kidnappers would be apprehended and prosecuted.

Nkombe also assured visitors to the zoo of their safety as security has been beefed up at the Zoo.

Zookeeper Dies In British Zoo

A female zoo-keeper died in a “freak accident” in a British zoo on Monday (May 29) after a tiger entered an enclosure, the BBC reported.

The incident happened at Hamerton Zoo Park near Cambridge in the English midlands in the morning.

Cambridgeshire Police said a tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper and the female zoo keeper had died at the scene. Officers said the animal hadn’t escaped the enclosure and the death was not believed to be “suspicious”.

A new enclosure for Malaysian tigers was opened last July.

Visitors were led away from Hamerton Zoo Park, a wildlife park opened in June 1990 that covers some 25 acres.