Tuesday, November 21, 2006

China: Child scratched by lion cub during photo op

A three-year-old visitor was scratched by a lion cub when posing with the animal last week. The park agreed later to cover medical expenses, which totaled 1,000 yuan (US$125).

As a result of a similar incident in 1999, the park had to pay 18,000 in compensation to a five-year girl who was scratched by a tiger cub.


Complaints trip up 'Animal Olympics'

Lu Feiran
THERE will be no more kangaroo boxing at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park.

The Nanhui District wildlife center has shut down its "Animal Olympics" after complaints from city residents and animal lovers around the world, a park official said yesterday.

More than 300 creatures had been brought in all over the country for the fourth such event, which began in late September and was scheduled to run until the end of this month. The curtain came down quietly two weeks ago, officials acknowledged yesterday when questioned by Shanghai Daily.

The so-called games, held every two years, featured kangaroos boxing with humans, bears racing bicycles and other events.

They were condemned as abusive by local letter writers and on Websites around the world.

"The games never caused any trouble before, but we received complaints this year, so we stopped them," said Su Feilong, a park official.

The park also ended the practice of allowing people to pose for pictures with small animals.

A three-year-old visitor was scratched by a lion cub when posing with the animal last week. The park agreed later to cover medical expenses, which totaled 1,000 yuan (US$125).

As a result of a similar incident in 1999, the park had to pay 18,000 in compensation to a five-year girl who was scratched by a tiger cub.

"I can't imagine such things happening," said Zeezee Zhong, an employee at the Shanghai branch of Roots and Shoots, an international non-governmental environmental protection organization. "The barbaric training and competition can harm animals, both physically and mentally."

Anna Ruberg, a Denmark native who works in Shanghai as a university teacher, said she was shocked by the events at the Wild Animal Park.

"I wonder why people are interested in that stuff - it's so cruel," she said. "Animals in Danish parks are kept miles away from visitors, not to mention there's no taking pictures with them."

The park's long-standing animal "circus," which features bears and other creatures playing with balls, will continue.

Shanghai Zoo, on the other hand, says it takes a less-exploitative approach with its animals.

"For example, we have a sea lion feeding show in which our employees explain the lifestyle of the animals," said zoo official Pan Xiuwen. "It is absolutely different from an animal circus," Pan said.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/art/2006/11/21/297690/ Complaints_trip_up___039_Animal_Olympics__039_.htm

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Savannah cat found after 3 weeks on the loose in San Francisco suburb

November 18, 2006

A missing Savannah cat named Mondo has been returned home to San Anselmo after going missing for a three weeks. A Savannah cat is a cross between a regular domestic cat and the African serval, and the people who found Mondo thought he was either a baby mountain lion or some kind of cheetah or bobcat. Savannahs have long legs and friendly demeanors, and are considered very high-energy. Mondo also has very "chatty meows."


Thursday, November 16, 2006

2 cougars escape from Florida Panhandle zoo

Amy Sowder
Published - November, 15, 2006

Two male cougars at The Zoo Northwest Florida had nearly three hours of freedom Tuesday afternoon when they escaped.

The cougars were recaptured with the use of tranquilizer darts less than 200 feet from their cages. No one was injured.

Gulf Breeze residents Jon and Diane Bicker reside a half- mile from the zoo on U.S. 98. They were driving to Navarre when they saw the collection of emergency vehicles. Zoo officials locked the entrance gate.

When they discovered cougars were on the loose, they grew excited.

"With us living just down the road, we don't want to see cougars in our backyard," Jon Bicker said. "It's getting kind of scary out here. It's wild."

H. Doug Kemper Jr., zoo executive director, said the cougars wiggled their way through a hole in their cage about noon.

Within 10 minutes, zoo visitors and staff were confined to the enclosed buildings.

Santa Rosa deputies set up a perimeter to secure the cats, which also are called Florida panthers or mountain lions.

One cougar, Mexica, got about 200 feet from his area before he was shot with a tranquilizer dart and captured.

The other cougar, Athula, was tranquilized 75 feet away but jumped into thick brush between the zoo and the zoo's adjacent 80-acre property.

An Escambia County helicopter located the big cat using heat-seeking sensors.

The cougars both are 2? years old and each weighs 150 pounds.

The cage is nearly 20 years old. Although strong enough to hold zoo animals, two clips connecting the fencing had broken, according to initial reports. The fencing was going to be replaced within a few months, Kemper said.

Kemper said it's been an upsetting two days at the zoo.

"Much to my chagrin, we've had two episodes with cats in two days," Kemper said. "Don't these things come in threes? I sure hope not."

On Monday, a 19-year-old zookeeper was clawed on the arm by a leopard. She was not following protocol because she was in an unauthorized area at the time and wasn't with another person.

A buddy system is required when dealing with the large cats.

Besides the Escambia County helicopter, Midway firefighters, the zoo's veterinarian, the zoo's tranquilizer mobile unit and Santa Rosa deputies assisted in the search.

On Wednesday, the cats will be quarantined while the cage is inspected and repaired.

Before this week, the last zoo animal to escape was a kangaroo, who high-tailed it after Hurricane Ivan on Sept. 16, 2004, Kemper said.

http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/ 20061115/NEWS01/611150352/1006#

Monday, November 13, 2006

Florida zookeeper injured by leopard

Chrissy Littledale

At least one Leopard will change her spots.

Nineteen-year-old Adrienne Leopard, a zookeeper at the Zoo of Northwest Florida, was taken to a local hospital after she was injured by a leopard Monday morning.

Leopard was behind the exhibit near the animal's nighttime cage just before 9 a.m.

"She was too close to one of our big cats," said Doug Kemper, executive director of the zoo. The leopard snagged her sleeve with one of its claws and pulled her arm inside (the cage).

Leopard was treated for deep puncture wounds and lacerations to her hands at a local hospital and released.

"She was very anxious and embarrassed," Kemper said. "She kept saying, 'It's my fault. The leopard didn't do anything.'"

Kemper said the 2-year-old leopard is often given blankets and fabric toys and was likely only trying to play with the woman's jacket.

"He was just being playful," Kemper said. "But even when they don't intend to hurt us, they have all the tools to do so. (Our bodies) just can't stand up to it."

Kemper said although Leopard had worked in the area before, she was not authorized to be there at that time and was not following zoo protocol which requires zookeepers to use a buddy system in that area.

"She just simply made a mistake," Kemper said. "We are going to continue to support her and encourage her to move forward."

Kemper said he is sure the young zookeeper has learned a life lesson.

Leopard is expected to return to work on Thursday.

The leopard will also remain at the zoo.

http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ article?AID=/20061113/NEWS01/61113014

Sunday, November 12, 2006

German zoo worker killed by leopard

Saturday, November 11, 2006
Last updated 3:10 p.m. PT


BERLIN -- A leopard attacked and killed a zoo worker who was cleaning its cage in the eastern German city of Chemnitz on Saturday, police said.

The zoo director found the 23-year-old dead from a bite to the neck just after 9 a.m. A door between the stall and an outdoor cage for the Persian leopard appeared to have been accidentally left open, police spokeswoman Jana Kindt said without giving further detail.

The zoo was closed following the incident and was to remain closed on Sunday, she said.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1103AP_Germany _Leopard_Attack.html

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Prairie Wind Sanctuary

Prairie Wind Sanctuary

Prairie Wind sanctuary changes hands. Still has 16 big cats in need of placement.

2006: Michael Jurich turned over the operation of the facility to Debbie Brush.

Prairie Wind sanctuary closing

Prairie Wind Animal Refuge in Agate Colorado is shutting down. Michael Jurich (Founder and Executive Director of Prairie Wind) authorized us to place this alert in order to help save the animals in his care. Michael does not currently have email or access to the internet. He would prefer that someone take over his entire operation by purchasing the land and equipment at the facility and then becoming the new Executive Director of the nonprofit IRS 501(c)(3). This would allow the animals to stay where they are and in their current groupings and current licensing could stay in place. If this is not possible, he needs to get the animals placed at other sanctuaries as quickly as possible.

Animal Listing with photos attached. (sorry I don't have any more data than this). There are:

11 Tigers,

5 Lions,

5 Adult Black Bears,

5 Black Bear Cubs,

1 Black Jaguar,

1 Cougar,

1 Bob Cat,

2 Lynx,

2 Coyotes,

1 Arctic Fox,

1 Red Fox,

12 Wolves/Wolf-Dogs

Please contact:

Michael Jurich

22111 County Road 150

Agate, CO 80101


Wild animal refuge again howls for help

By Joey Bunch
Denver Post Staff Writer
DenverPost.com 8/8/06

Agate - Michael Jurich finds it difficult to turn away scary, wild animals, even if keeping them has cost him his home. The owner of Prairie Wind Wild Animal Refuge says he is about to go under.
But that didn't stop him from recently taking in five black bear cubs from a shuttering animal park in Idaho.

No one else, it seems, would.

"Almost every animal I've got has a different story," Jurich said. "A lot of them are real sad stories."

Hard times have hit exotic animal refuges across the country, especially those like Prairie Wind that don't earn income from exhibiting or breeding the

"I'm not making babies to put in more cages," Jurich said Thursday, as he walked the perimeter of his maze of 100-foot pens, where lions, tigers, bears
and wolves waited for lunch.

He needs $50,000 in the next six weeks to make it through the end of the year, so he can feed and care for about 40 animals on his ranch northeast of

A "for sale" sign greets passers-by at the turnoff from the dirt road to his 42-acre spread. "I've been keeping this place going for years by refinancing my house," Jurich said.

Eleventh-hour donors came through last year, when Jurich thought he couldn't make it, but now he is right back where he started.

Colorado has 15 sanctuaries or other types of parks for wild breeds such as wolves, as well as more exotic animals such as lions or tigers. Prairie Wind is feeling the same financial challenges as refuges nationwide, said Carole
Baskin, chief executive of Big Cat Rescue, one of the nation's largest sanctuaries, in Tampa, Fla.

"There's not nearly enough money being raised," she said, "so fundraising has become a full-time job for all of us."

Meanwhile, the demand for homes for unwanted cats and other wild animals has never been greater.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates there are between 10,000 and 15,000 big cats living as pets in the U.S. About half of new cat owners soon look to unload the beasts, the Humane Society estimates, as those cuddly
kittens grow larger than their owners and devour a quarter of a cow a day. The average cost for food, shelter and veterinary care for a lion or tiger runs about $50 a day.

Sanctuaries like Prairie Wind become a last resort for these cats. But many are closing down across the country as individual donations - "our bread and butter," Jurich says - have fallen.

Jurich turns away about a dozen animals a month, and he tries not to think about where they wind up. Baskin says she refuses 120 cats a year, and she doesn't know of any nonprofit refuge in the U.S. that is willing to take in new

While Jurich hopes to find long-term backers to keep his refuge going, he hopes, at the very least, to find enough support to give him time to find his animals a good home.

"Euthanasia is not an option out here," he said, "unless they start with me."

Nick Sculac, who runs Big Cats of Serenity Springs east of Colorado Springs, said he agreed to take Jurich's animals last year, but Jurich backed out.

"I don't know why he just doesn't quit," Sculac said.

Jurich would say only that "because of various issues" he chose not to hand over his animals to Sculac. "It's a dead issue," he added.

Prairie Wind volunteer Debbie Brush, a Denver financial services representative, is looking for corporate sponsors to keep the refuge afloat. She hopes to find 12 backers willing to each donate $8,000 annually, with a
different sponsor giving each month.

"These animals came out of exploitative situations - fur farms, guaranteed hunts, roadside circuses, people who got them and couldn't care for them," she said.

At Prairie Wind they have a place to live out their lives, Brush said. "It would be a tragedy for them to be displaced now."

Staff writer Joey Bunch can be reached at 303-820-1174 or jbunch@denverpost.com



Tiger rips off volunteer's arm at animal refuge near Kiowa
Woman was attempting to demonstrate to guest that animal was tame; her condition critical
By Kevin Vaughan
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

May 21, 2000 KIOWA, CO Prairie Wind: A volunteer at an animal refuge had her right arm torn off Saturday by a bengal tiger as she apparently tried to show a visitor that the animal was tame.

The 28-year-old woman was flown to Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, where she was in critical condition Saturday evening and undergoing surgery for her injuries.

"I think a mistake was made, and it was a costly one," said Elbert County Sheriff Jeff Shaw.

A woman who answered the phone at the Prairie Wind Animal Refuge late Saturday afternoon said owner Michael Jurich was not available and hung up.

Jurich opened the center, northeast of Kiowa, as a home for refugees from zoos, fur farms and hunting clubs. It houses scores of animals, including lions, tigers and bears.

An AirLife crew left the refuge with the woman at 2:24 p.m., hospital spokeswoman Sara Spaulding said.

The woman's name was withheld while her husband tried to reach other family members Saturday evening.

The refuge has a license from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Shaw said. Roughly 20 people were at the refuge when the woman was injured.

He said the Denver woman, who has been a volunteer at the center for six years, was talking about the animals with a visitor. She was asked whether the refuge's operators ever had problems with people sticking their hands in the cages.

"She stuck her hand in, and one of the bengal tigers came up to her and licked her hand," Shaw said. "She scratched its nose."

Then the 2-year-old, fully grown tiger grabbed onto the woman's hand, holding it tightly at first but not breaking the skin. Within moments, it moved further up the woman's arm, biting, and finally ripped off the limb at the shoulder.

The woman's arm was not found, Shaw said.