What’s New in Zoos and Animal Science

What’s new in Zoos

St. Joseph’s heart surgeon assists Phoenix Zoo animal in removal of kidney
The oldest living mandrill, a species of monkey, in the United States was given an assist recently when one of her kidneys needed to be removed.

Houston Zoo generates $135 million in impact for Houston economy

A recent study conducted by nationally recognized economist Dr. Stephen Fuller at George Mason University indicates the combined effect of the Houston Zoo’s operating and capital budgets in 2010 generated more than $135 million in economic impact to the Houston area economy last year.

Zoo animals are like co-workers

When zoo animals die, their caretakers — those that feed and socialize them, long before and after visitors pass through the front gates — lose more than a mere chore from their daily routine.

Wild animals ‘carve’ pumpkins during BOO at The ZOO
Everyone can watch rare animals going wild “carving” pumpkins and other treats with tooth, hoof, and claw. All the fun is included in regular Zoo admission.

Zoo helps restore nearly extinct ferret in US West
Animal keepers at the National Zoo’s conservation center in Virginia sent 26 black-footed ferrets to “boot camp” Wednesday to prepare the critters for life in the wild as part of an ongoing effort that has fueled the recovery of a species once declared extinct.

Brookfield Zoo animals munch on ComEd tree trimmings
Fresh leaves and twigs — Brookfield Zoo calls it ”browse.” The animals call it delicious.

Columbus Zoo visitors and staff respond to assault on Zoo animals
Saturday, October 8 was a pleasant day in Columbus, the perfect day to take advantage of the half-price admission to the Columbus Zoo for Experience Columbus Days. Unfortunately for some Zoo visitors, this day had an ugly side despite the sunshine and warm temperatures.

Zoo plans solar field to create electricity
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is planning a solar-panel project that it hopes will provide a third or more of the energy it needs, officials announced yesterday.

Zoos seek causes of heart disease in apes
A three-person team prepares to perform a cardiac ultrasound on a 29-year-old male. The heart test is routine in hospitals. But not here at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, where this day’s patient is a 325-pound western lowland gorilla named Kwashi.

Science News

ZOO-ology: Giraffe heart spans 2 feet, weighs 25 pounds
You probably don’t spend sleepless nights pondering circulatory systems in the octopus, bat or giraffe, but the wide-awake facts are intriguing.

Monkeys ‘Move and Feel’ Virtual Objects Using Only Their Brains
n a first ever demonstration of a two-way interaction between a primate brain and a virtual body, two monkeys trained at the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering learned to employ brain activity alone to move an avatar hand and identify the texture of virtual objects.

Grazing Zebras Versus Cattle: Not So Black and White
African ranchers often prefer to keep wild grazers like zebra off the grass that fattens their cattle. But a new study by UC Davis and Kenyan researchers shows that grazing by wild animals doesn’t always harm — and can sometimes benefit — cattle. The results are published Sept. 23 in the journal Science.

Google Invests in Pig Poo Power
Google seeks to meet its carbon neutrality goal the same way Tina Turner powered the Thunderdrome in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdrome. Pig excrement.

Female Lemurs Benefit From Multiple Mates, Study Suggests
While it may not be as socially acceptable among humans, a female choosing to take multiple mates is a common phenomenon in the animal kingdom. But why the practice of polyandry (a female having more than one male mate at a time) is so prominent is still a mystery in most species.

8.74 Million Species on Earth
Eight million, seven hundred and four thousand eukaryote species share this planet, give or take 1.3 million. Eukaryotes have cells with nuclei and other membrane bound structures, which means bacteria and other simple organisms were excluded from the count.

Like Humans, Abused Baby Birds Grow Into Bullies
Much like humans, birds that are abused as tots are more likely to become abusers later on, a new study finds.

The flight of the bumble bee: Why are they disappearing?
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist is trying to learn what is causing the decline in bumble bee populations and also is searching for a species that can serve as the next generation of greenhouse pollinators.

Huge New Dinosaur Trackway Found
Fossilized tracks of dinosaurs “stomping in the mud” have been discovered in southwestern Arkansas, scientists say.

Big reveals for genome of tiny animal
A study of plankton shows that a well-preserved genome isn’t necessarily responsible for how vertebrate animals, including humans, are put together.

First lizard genome sequenced
The green anole lizard is an agile and active creature, and so are elements of its genome. This genomic agility and other new clues have emerged from the full sequencing of the lizard’s genome and may offer insights into how the genomes of humans, mammals, and their reptilian counterparts have evolved since mammals and reptiles parted ways 320 million years ago. The researchers who completed this sequencing project reported their findings August 31 online in the journal Nature.

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