Loro Parque team says goodbye to the female dolphin Sanibel

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This morning our dolphin Sanibel passed away in the advanced age of about 37 years. Today, our joy of yesterday about the birth of three sea lions became greatly clouded.

Sanibel was given to the ULPGC for necropsy by Professor Antonio Fernández. In the next few days we will know the cause of death. We are losing with Sanibel one of the founding animals and we are sorry that nothing could be further done for her.

Zoophobia: An Alternate Reality

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Original Source: http://zoonation.org/zoophobia-an-alternate-reality/

Unfortunately, today we live in an age of ignorance and the misrepresentation of science by animal rights groups. Additionally, this has been propelled by the media, social media, and now by business owners. The latest announcement regarding unlikely partnerships is not the first time a company has been guided by public opinion. Unfortunately we are living in an alternate reality where public opinion matters more than science, so much that an era of zoophobia has begun.

Zoophobia is defined as an unreasonable and persistent fear of animals that can cause avoidance and panic. I would venture to say that there is now a second definition of zoophobia – An unrealistic and persistent fear of being associated with or a supporter of zoological facilities. Most phobias or mild fears begin with a misunderstanding or ignorance about what is feared. The beginning of this zoophobia era was initiated by a bad partnership, a partnerships forged in fear and not with understanding. This year SeaWorld decided to relinquish its fight against an orca-breeding ban. Not only did they stop fighting, but they also supported a re-written bill introduced to law in California that made breading orcas illegal. SeaWorld went a step further and partnered with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)–an organization that has been out spoken against animals in human care and proponents of abolishing the use of zoological facilities. While the some of the conservation projects are admirable such as ending shark finning, SeaWorld is set up to do this on their own and did not need the partnership. The partnership came down to one thing, improving public opinion, as a post-Blackfish recovery plan. This announcement set a precedent for the fate of all zoological and aquarium facilities.

Recently TripAdvisor made an announcement that they are ‘committed to improve wildlife welfare standards in tourism with industry-leading education effort and booking policy changes’. TripAdvisor is partnering with groups and will discontinue selling tickets to animal experiences that connect people with animals in human care. This new policy will go in effect in 2017 and include interactive programs such as swimming with dolphins. However they will continue to support interactive programs such as feeding programs and touch tanks under the supervision of zoo or wildlife officials. As you can see their announcement is not very clear at all. Although their new policy is a bit ambiguous, they do have the support of some major players in conservation as well as animal rights activist groups. If you’re surprised by this combination so are we, especially when two opposing forces like the Association for Zoos and Aquariums AZA) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This is a mirror image of the SeaWorld HSUS partnership.

“We believe the end result of our efforts will be enabling travelers to make more thoughtful choices about whether to visit an animal attraction and to write more meaningful reviews about those attractions.”

Stephen Kaufer, CEO and Co-Founder of TripAdvisor

Along with the ban on interactive programs, TripAdvisor is launching an ‘educational’ portal where users will be able to learn about responsible interactions with wild, endangered, and captive animals for wildlife experts. It is centered on educating the public on eco-tourism and conservation. The public will learn about these experiences by clicking on a paw icon to read information from PETA as well as academics exploring all sides of the topic. It is interesting that they mention PETA before academics. This is just another example that indicates public opinion matters more than science. Opinion is not fact; therefore information from PETA should not be included with academic information, as it can be misleading as fact given its context. This is exactly how ignorance and a lack of understanding is perpetually integrated into conversations and negates or confuses the conclusions of scientific literature. This is used to play to the emotions and not to logic. Animal rights groups and mockumentaries such as Blackfish use this tactic to elicit an emotional decision about what a person believes, which allows a person to perceive the misinterpretation of facts or manipulated facts to draw conclusions inline with what animal rights activists want. By doing this they create an alternate reality leading to zoophobia.

This is yet another precedent that will become a major challenge to raising awareness to all of the good aspect of zoological facilities, such as conservation, education, breeding programs, and scientific research. Even PETA acknowledged this precedent. “By refusing to sell tickets to businesses that treat animals as entertainment or playthings, TripAdvisor is making a precedent-setting statement about the use and abuse of animals for entertainment. PETA looks forward to contributing to TripAdvisor’s industry-leading education portal, which will empower people around the world to make better decisions when it comes to animal-friendly travel,” said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. It is clear that businesses are scared to go against public opinion even if it goes against science, which has only furthered the agenda of animal rights groups. For instance Steve McIvor of the World Animal Protection was quoted in the Guardian. He said, “We hope it will only be a matter of time before TripAdvisor will also come to realize that it has to end sales to all cruel wildlife attractions, such as SeaWorld where the animals endure a lifetime of abuse and highly stressful training to perform. Until then we will provide the best education we can on TripAdvisor’s website to steer people away from cruel venues like these.”

Many have called this an evolution of the animal and entertainment industries, a reflection of a change in public sentiment and awareness of animal welfare. However at Zoo Nation we feel this is a strongly misguided statement and that we have actually taken a step backwards. Social media forwards a good portion of this agenda and most of these decision based on ‘public sentiment’ has been emotional decisions, not scientifically informed decisions. This is how ignorance wins and this is how public opinion has become more important than science.

At Zoo Nation we support the scientific management of animals in human care. Research has come a long way and we agree that not all zoos are equal. However, the best shot of preserving species when populations are becoming decimated is through the use of zoological and conservation facilities. These facilities are on the forefront of cutting edge research, conservation methods, breeding programs, and education. Part of the problem that we are facing with an eminent sixth extinction is that people have become so disconnected with the natural world; they are under the illusion that they don’t need it. If your not connected then how can you care or be aware. Because of this people rationalize decisions on what needs to happen based on emotion and not based on knowledge. We have information at our fingertips and yet people still make decisions based on opinions and emotion. This is exactly why these new zoophobia trends continue to happen and are gaining speed. The best way to prevent the spread of zoophobia is by education and having the right information. That is why at zoo Nation we are committed to support the zoological and aquarium community by raising awareness, showing the impact they have on conservation and research, and educating the next generation in the hopes of preventing the next major extinction event driven by humans.

Two Dudes Broke Into An Aquarium And Freed A Penguin Named Buddy

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Original source: Two Dudes Broke Into An Aquarium And Freed A Penguin Named Buddy

On certain Wednesday mornings, we must contend with questions. Which is better: the new or the old? Risk or acceptance? A life of comfortable confinement—or true freedom, and its attendant dangers?

This morning, all of South Africa is grappling with these issues after two men broke into an aquarium and stole a penguin named Buddy. The pair entered Bayworld in Port Elizabeth around 3 AM on Wednesday the 21st, the Herald Live reported last week. Surveillance video shows them climbing into the penguin enclosure, taking a few selfies, bundling Buddy up in a shirt, and hightailing it out of there in a getaway car.

When zookeepers realized Buddy was missing, they assumed he was the victim of a drunken prank—like Dirk the Fairy Penguin, stolen from an Australian zoo by British tourists back in 2012. Seabird curator Cherie Lawrence warned the thieves that Buddy “only eats pilchards” and vitamin supplements, making him a high-maintenance houseguest.

But when the perpetrators came forward yesterday, they revealed a different motivation—they just wanted Buddy to be free. After busting him out of Bayworld, they released him into the Indian Ocean, via a nearby beach.

“The individuals stated that they did not agree with the penguins being kept in captivity and that their intention was to capture and then release a penguin back into the wild,” Bayworld said in a statement, after they were contacted by the men’s lawyer.

But Bayworld counters that Buddy lacks real-world survival skills, and had built a happy life at their facility. He had a mate, Francis, and two new baby chicks, one of which died after his father left.

Volunteers have spent the past couple of days searching for Buddy, who has a microchip embedded in his flipper and an unforgettable face. It’s possible that he will be returned to Bayworld a jaded penguin, grizzled by the open sea. In the meantime, let’s hope he’s enjoying his freedom, and eating more than just pilchards.

The Era Of Trump And PETA: Not A Good Time To Be Hispanic

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Original article: The Era Of Trump And PETA: Not A Good Time To Be Hispanic



It’s open season on Mexican-Americans, whether you’re a bigot running for president, or an “animal rights” organization fighting for its right to kill pets.

It’s rare that Trump and PETA are mentioned in the same breath, but get used to it. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal, as you may or may not know, is currently being sued for stealing and killing Maya, a little girl’s pet Chihuahua: not an especially unusual act for PETA, but one that was — uniquely — captured on surveillance video.

Despite PETA’s numerous animal-positive arguments — that the family ought not to be able to sue, because dogs are “worthless” (I kid you not); and that a reasonable person would not consider the theft and killing of a pet “outrageous” (er, really?) — the judge has permitted the case to go to trial.

So what does this have to do with Donald Trump? Nothing much, except that PETA’s latest virtuous strategy is to have their lawyers attack the girl’s father as not-quite-American, and possibly even Mexican — God forbid! This is a page straight out of the Trump playbook, of course: Divert attention from crucial issues by scapegoating a prominent minority, preferably Hispanic.

The court documents have been analyzed by Heather Harper-Troje, a former PETA worker who quit in disgust when PETA’s president allegedly insisted that her staff kill healthy dogs and hide the evidence. She wrote:

Time and time again Wilbur Zarate, the father of Cynthia, the little girl whose dog PETA stole and killed, was asked about his citizenship status, the citizenship status of his family members, the status of his green card by PETA’s attorney during his deposition. He even went so far as to ask if Cynthia was born in the US or in Mexico. Because Mr. Zarate’s citizenship status is relevant to the fact that PETA stole and killed his little girl’s dog how?

Ms. Harper-Troje has for years stood up to this vicious organization, despite a protracted smear campaign by PETA and its unofficial apologists. She has been targeted in particular by one ardent human, Mary Tully, who isn’t on the PETA payroll, but has an entire vast website devoted to justifying PETA’s decades of killing. (To be fair, this takes a lot of justifying: we’re talking tens of thousands of dead cats and dogs.) Read it… if you can. It’s comically dull — mind-numbing details designed to divert attention from the relevant and indisputable fact: PETA (according to its own documents submitted to the Virginia state government) poisons almost every animal unfortunate enough to be referred to its “shelter of last resort.”

Diversion is the strategy of the day. PETA apparently hopes to convince the court that this family — if indeed they are undocumented immigrants — deserve to have their pet dog lured from their porch and summarily put to death.

For a long time, this privileged, overwhelmingly white organization has bullied its neighbors, many of whom are not white and not especially well off. Members of the community worry (for good reason) that PETA will go after their pets. Some of them, to be sure, are not documented Americans and are not likely to report the organization to the police. We know, for instance, that PETA killed more animals that day than Cynthia’s Chihuahua, but the trailer park in which they rounded them up had a number of residents whose status was questionable. Certainly, the community turned out in force to protest the killing of Maya and to push for legislation curbing PETA’s ability to kill animals.

PETA has a lot to lose in this trial: $9.7 million, to be precise. It will be difficult to justify this to well-meaning donors, should the case not go their way. And so Ingrid Newkirk — who was not born in America, interestingly enough — has decided to borrow the ugliest tactic from the Trump playbook: When the game get rough, throw down that potent Mexican-American card.

It will be reassuring if this parallel strategy issues parallel results. May this election humiliate Donald Trump, and this lawsuit annihilate PETA.

LoroParque Fundación hosts the 18th Workshop on Parrots

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Between the 28th April and 5th May 2016, LoroParqueFundación hosts the eighteenth edition of the Workshop on Parrots that the institution organizes each year. This year we will welcome about forty attendees who will enjoy more than fifteen presentations on conservation and breeding of parrots. The presentation will be held in German and with a clear international focus.

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The participants from countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland will get to know first-hand pioneering techniques of pairing and breeding of LoroParqueFundación as well as the zoofacilities, its exhibition Animal Embassy and the relationship with prestigious research centres such as the Max Planck Institute, which has a unique venue of its kind in LoroParque to study animal intelligence.

Biologists of LoroParque, along with experts from various countries, bring expertise in their presentations, providing complete knowledge about different species of parrots, both released as in captivity. Practical meetings on feeding birds and hand rearing will complement some exhibits.

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Ingrid Visser visits Loro Parque

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Last week Loro Parque received another visit of Free Morgan Foundation activists, led by Dr. Ingrid Visser. This visit was not previously announced to Loro Parque (as on earlier occasions) and was not motivated by any particular concern about the health or welfare of Morgan. Most likely the visit was motivated by the upcoming workshop “Assessment of welfare of marine mammal species in zoological parks” that will be held at Nuremberg zoo in a few days. This workshop will be hosted by the Nuremberg Zoo, the European Association for Aquatic Mammals, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The main goal of this meeting is the scientific evaluation of the welfare indicators used in marine mammals, and will have the cooperation of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” and the participation of Loro Parque.

In the past we received visits by Ingrid Visser right before some of the Morgan court cases and verdicts. Thus, it does not seem strange to see a new effort by the Free Morgan Foundation or any similar organizations to criticise Loro Parque, despite the 5 verdicts and the final decision of the Dutch Supreme Court supporting the decision taken by the Dutch Government to not release Morgan. On the other hand, there is no need to use these “undercover” tactics, as Morgan’s photos and weights that prove her healthy growth are regularly updated on the Loro Parque website.

Despite the previous warning and acknowledgement of this availability, the presence of Morgan in the presentation passed totally unnoticed by Dr. Visser. Anyway, after the presentation, Dr. Javier Almunia (Director of Environmental Affairs and expert in Morgan’s case) and two of the veterinarians that take care of Morgan accompanied Dr. Visser and answered all her questions while she was taking pictures of Morgan. The veterinarians confirmed that Morgan does not have any pathology and, as a consequence, she is not currently under veterinary treatment. Dr. Visser asked about the medicines that Morgan and the other orcas are given regularly (antibiotics, diazepam, etc.), and the veterinary staff confirmed that Loro Parque does not use diazepam for its killer whales, nor for its dolphins, and that medicines are not used systematically, but only when a pathology is detected and the veterinarians dictate the prescription. Dr. Visser received the last veterinarian reports made by an independent international veterinarian with over 40 years of experience with Killer whales, proving again that there is no concern about Morgan’s health status. Dr. Visser asked about Morgan’s broken teeth, and the veterinarian staff confirmed that Morgan does not have broken teeth just abrasion in some of them.

This is the description of the last visit of the Free Morgan Foundation to Loro Parque which, yet one more time gave the correct information about Morgan, and proved itself not to be hiding anything, despite that there is no obligation to provide data to organizations that systematically create smear campaigns against Loro Parque. The intention of the Free Morgan Foundation is the same as the Born Free Foundation, PETA, etc, which is to obtain funds from donations. The problem is that they do not use the money for the animals, but instead for their own welfare, as all their projects for so-called animal conservation are useless, from our perspective based on our experience. The story of Keiko is one perfect example of donations employed in a useless way, and you can read the story here.

The welfare of our animals is publicly demonstrated every day to thousands of our visitors, our primary concern the well-being of every single animal under our care. That’s the reason why we reject the insidious attacks of these organizations.

In conclusion, Loro Parque asks all of these anti zoo organizations what they have really done for the conservation of species that are endangered and seriously threatened and need sincere commitment? Please, devote your efforts to fight the real environmental problems faced by our planet and stop trying to destroy the work we do for nature, and the effort we devote to save the world’s biodiversity.

Enough of false accusations against Loro Parque

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The video published by The Dolphin Project on its website is a new attempt at manipulation through exaggeration and dramatization of a completely normal situation in which there is no problem for the animals.

The video shows Morgan (within the medical pool) and Tekoa in the pool B interacting through the door. The interpretation that Morgan is suffering a panic attack is completely incorrect and malicious; all we see is that Morgan wants to open the door to access the pool B and be with Tekoa. When any of these animals (Morgan now exceeds 2,200 kg and Tekoa 2,700 kg) pushes the door strongly, it produces the banging sounds heard in the video.

The interpretation of a panic attack is completely ridiculous, given that the orcas are trained daily to enter and remain quiet within medical pools, since it is an essential element for the veterinarians to make routine examinations of animals or treat one if it is sick. In the same way a dog scratches a door when it wants to enter another room, orcas push the doors when they want access to another pool. It is surprising that advocates of ending the breeding of orcas in human care should be offended by these images, precisely because sexual frustration at not being able to access the pool where there are orcas of the opposite sex with which to mate can trigger this type of behaviour.

Increasingly, some self-proclaimed animal rights organizations dedicate themselves to launching these smear campaigns without any proven information based on the welfare and health of animals. Loro Parque’s orcas are under the care of our team of veterinarians, and regularly receive visits by veterinary experts in cetaceans and inspections by the competent authorities in animal welfare. None of these professionals has found that any stress and cruelty allegation is true. There is no doubt that the interest of the organizations conducting these public defamation campaigns is simply to obtain donations, and not for the welfare of the animals, but for their own welfare and benefit.

In the last 22 years thanks to the work of a zoo internationally recognized for its quality, as is Loro Parque, it has been possible to invest more than 16 million dollars in the conservation of endangered species on our planet. The most important success of this work has been to save two parrot species from being critically endangered, and to help many others to increase their small populations and not disappear forever. What are the achievements of The Dolphin Project in the conservation of biodiversity? How much money has it invested in the conservation of the most endangered species? How many species have been saved? The terrible paradox is that not only has it not helped to preserve nature, but it aims to destroy those who work daily to save species from extinction. How then can they call themselves animal lovers?

Response to the petition of the Great Ape Project Spain (Proyecto Gran Simio España) about closing the Loro Parque orca show.

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In recent weeks we have witnessed different requests made to Loro Parque about the orcas, from various organizations that claim to defend the rights of animals. These requests are not based on evidence but are based on assumptions about the lack of animal welfare that have never been verified. The case of the Great Ape Project Spain organization is even more embarrassing, because their accusations have been proven false on several occasions.

  In May 2010 D. Pedro Pozas Terrados, as Executive director of the Great Ape Project, presented to the SEPRONA headquarters in Madrid a complaint against Loro Parque for violating the Law of Zoos by keeping dolphins and orcas in captivity. In the complaint, Mr. Pozas said that Loro Parque “Infringes entirely scientific purposes of zoos and the Law of Zoos” and “the abuse, neglect or deterioration, intentional or negligent, of the animals in the zoo.” After the mandatory inspection of facilities, the team of SEPRONA agents found that none of these statements was true, and that the complaint was unfounded. As a result of the lack of veracity of the complaint the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard did not open any proceedings arising from the complaint. However, when the legal services of Loro Parque tried to contact the Great Ape Project through a Burofax to sue for false accusation, no one received the communication. It seems that either the Great Ape Project organization does not have a registered office or the executive director accepts no official communications.

  Again in 2011 D. Pedro Pozas Terrados representing the Great Ape Project Spain submitted an official request to the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament for an alleged breach of the European Zoos Directive on the transfer of the orca Morgan to Loro Parque. The Great Ape Project published the full text of the petition on its website, and made a statement to the press in which it made public the serious damage that the health of Morgan would suffer by being held in Loro Parque. In May 2012 the Committee on Petitions of the Parliament ruled on the petition and informed the Great Ape Project, after consultations with experts from the European Commission, that the transfer of Morgan was verified as having been done legally and strictly following European regulations. However, the Great Ape Project never made public the Parliament’s response to its request, and much less did it publicly announce that its arguments had not been considered. Meanwhile predictions of serious damage to the health of Morgan have also been proven to be totally wrong, Morgan is now fully integrated into the group of orcas in Loro Parque, her health is excellent and she weighs over 2,000 kilos.

  In September 2013 Great Ape Project launched a public campaign to prevent the gorilla Leon from being transferred to the zoo of Belo Horizonte in Brazil to form a family group with two females. The transfer was made on the recommendation of the head of the Endangered Species Programme of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, within a global project that seeks to establish a population under human care that allows for the saving of the species in the future. Despite the catastrophic image that the Great Ape Project endeavored to disclose in the media about the Brazilian zoo, and report a number of potential risks involved in the transfer, the fact is that it was a success. Leon is part of a healthy family unit and in 2014 the first baby from him was born. The Great Ape Project never corrected its campaign to discredit, nor recognized its error.

  This brief analysis of campaigns that the Great Ape Project has made against Loro Parque in the past clearly shows that this organization moves only with a clear anti-zoo objective, and takes every opportunity to get media coverage. In each and every one of the occasions that the Great Ape Project has publicly denounced or criticized Loro Parque it has been shown that such criticisms and complaints were unfounded. Despite this, the Great Ape Project has never recognized its mistakes nor rectified its false accusations.

In conclusion it would be important to reflect on some organizations like the Great Ape Project, whose sole activity is to constantly attack zoos. In the last 22 years, thanks to the work of a zoo internationally recognized for its quality such as Loro Parque, has been possible to invest more than 16 million dollars in the conservation of endangered species on our planet. The most important success of this work was to save two parrot species from being critically endangered, and to help many others to increase their small populations and not disappear forever. What are the achievements of the Great Ape Project Spain in the conservation of biodiversity? How much money has it invested in the conservation of the most endangered species? How many species have been saved? The terrible paradox is that not only has it not helped to preserve nature, but it aims to destroy those who save species from extinction. How then can they call themselves animal lovers?  

Loro Parque celebrates with affection Sandy’s 70th Birthday

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Today, we wanted to surprise a person dedicated to her work and transmitting energy between colleagues and visitors. She is Sandy K Bate, Manager of the Discovery Tour – that amazing experience that we are sure many of you have already enjoyed. Thanks to her commitment to Loro Parque, we have improved the park’s experience, allowing the people to get to know Loro Parque and its diversity with a lot of interesting details, learning about the history and species of our animals, as well as the functioning and maintenance of the park. Sandy knows how to reflect the dedication and engagement of Mr. Kiessling for the animals from all over the world, as well as his passion for research, education and conservation projects, which ensure the welfare and happiness of our all animals.

Loro Parque’s family wanted to share with you all the recognition for her hard work during these 15 years, always showing a high and positive moral, turning the workplace into a more productive place and full of companionship.

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Congratulations, Sandy!


The Loro Parque’s Team, Winners of the Los Silos Natural

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Once again, Yacomar, one of the members of the Loro Parque’s team, celebrated his victory having proven himself to be the fastest among all the participants as he arrived at the finish line, sharing the progress on the last laps with his teammate Adrián Trujillo.

During the entire race, the Loro Parque’s team core members have been in the lead, having made a clear claim for the top places in this competition. With ten laps still remaining in the race, Yacomar, Enrique Romualdo, Adrián y Juani Delgado were ahead of all the other participants, an achievement that they maintained until the final of the race. The loros – members of Loro Parque team – worked together and placed Yacomar in the front of the race, position that he did not lose track off until the end of the competition arriving with a time of 2:20:18.

We are proud to support this family, environment and health promoting sport, and we know that our team will continue to maintain this successful pass through the year 2016.

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We are proud to support this family, environment and health promoting sport, and we know that our team will continue to maintain this successful pass through the year 2016.