. Earth Science News .

Lions adapt to winter at Canada safari park
by Staff Writers
Hemmingford, Canada (AFP) Feb 9, 2012

A white lion slips on ice while playing with a plastic drum like a kitten with a ball of yarn, but the big cat quickly regains its footing.

The African carnivore has adapted well to Canada's cold winters.

In a neighboring paddock, a spotted hyena struggles to climb atop a wooden podium covered in ice and snow to reach her dinner -- a slab of meat.

The 400-hectare (1,000 acre) Safari Park about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Montreal offers visitors an opportunity to see lions, hyenas, camels, elephants and 520 other animals -- many of the species slowly disappearing from Africa's wilds.

"Our goal is to sensitize people to the human overpopulation that is hurting spectacular or ferocious animals dying for lack of space or killed as humans invade their territories," the private zoo's owner, Jean-Pierre Ranger, told AFP.

Safari Park is closed in winter but many of its residents still come out of their heated cages to stretch and breathe some fresh air -- even in the cold.

Many have adapted well to living in Canada and spend hours in the snow, said Sophie Robidoux, the park's zoological director.

"We keep them inside if it's really too cold, or if there's a really big snowfall," she says. "It becomes just too much work to get them out."

The animals never catch a cold or suffer a sore throat. "We don't need to give them antibiotics for respiration problems," Robidoux adds. Of course, the question is not asked of the Siberian tigers. "They prefer winter. They don't like summer."

To reward the African animals and also to encourage behaviors that we might see in their natural environment, they are offered "enrichments" such as chunks of meat hidden in cardboard boxes placed in hard-to-reach places.

Relying on their sense of smell, jumping atop posts to reach treats and so on mimics actual foraging or hunting.

In the lion's den, it is the male that serve himself first, or the most vigorous of the two lionesses. Over in the matriarchal hyena enclosure, the male cowers in a corner waiting for the females to finish eating.

Some of the zoo residents never go out in winter. Chimpanzees, for example, are deemed too fragile and are not even invited out. Elephants are also not well-adapted for Canadian winters, such as the park's 40-year-old female named Churchill.

"She would be afraid of slipping and getting hurt," says Francis Lavigne, who cares for the large pachyderm.

There is no obvious sign of cabin fever, however, in Churchill who adores human contact.

She accepts up to 50 orders in English such as "lift left leg" or "spin" that project a "Disney-esque" experience in the park that is "more play-land than pure zoo," said Ranger.

Safari Park receives about 310,000 visitors each year, generating revenues of $8 million.

Ranger hopes to add an aquatic park, camping, and offer three or four day stays for up to 250 children to learn about the animals that could triple revenues.

Related Links
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Five dead as man-eating leopard stalks Nepal village
Kathmandu (AFP) Feb 9, 2012 - A leopard dragged away and devoured a 14-year-old girl in western Nepal in what is thought to be the fifth deadly attack by the same animal in just two months, police said on Thursday.

The youngster was cutting grass in the forest near her home in Baitadi district, on the border with India, when she was attacked by the animal, said Bishnu Bahadur Karki, a local deputy superintendent of police.

"The locals found the body torn into pieces and eaten below the neck at the forest area yesterday," he told AFP.

Karki said three young girls and a 35-year-old pregnant woman had been killed in the weeks leading up to Wednesday's attack and police believed the same animal was responsible for all the deaths.

"The leopard has continuously been victimising and terrorising the people of Pancheshwor village. We requested the district forest office to allow us to kill it but they refused, saying that the law does not provide such permission," Karki told AFP.

"Our request to have the leopard handed over to a zoo has also been rejected. The villagers and police are trying hard to take that leopard into custody."

Villagers claim three more people have been killed by the leopard in nearby settlements on the Indian side of the border.

"We are scared to walk alone," Shiva Singh Saud, the headmistress of a local primary school was quoted as saying in the Kathmandu-based Republica newspaper.

"More people may be attacked if the leopard is not taken under control immediately."

Most of Nepal's leopards are found on the sub-equatorial plains of the southern Terai and in forested hill regions, where conflict with humans is a perennial problem.

Seven people were killed by leopards in the same district last year, Republica said.

And in October a leopard dragged away and killed a four-year-old boy in Bela village, in the mountains of central Nepal, just 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Kathmandu.

The boy was the third villager in three months to be killed by a leopard.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Researchers examine consequences of non-intervention for infectious disease in African great apes
Santa Barbara CA (SPX) Feb 08, 2012
Infectious disease has joined poaching and habitat loss as a major threat to the survival of African great apes as they have become restricted to ever-smaller populations. Despite the work of dedicated conservationists, efforts to save our closest living relatives from ecological extinction are largely failing, and new scientific approaches are necessary to analyze major threats and find innovat ... read more

Japan passes $33 bln fourth extra budget

UN aims for major cut in peacekeeping bill

Fukushima's temperature rise stabilized

Ailing Kodak shutters its camera operations

Redu Space Services To Build EDRS Mission Operation Centre

No more Brownie: Kodak gives up making cameras

Crystalline materials enable high-speed electronic function in optical fibers

'Pyramids' planted to revive Philippine corals

Yangtze river pollution sparks panic in China

Water group Suez strives to overcome Australian problem

Himalayan meltdown not so fast after all: study

First plants caused ice ages

Russia drills down to pristine Antarctic Lake: scientists

Land-cover changes do not impact glacier loss

Romania's incoming agriculture minister slammed for GM links

Electron-beam irradiation reduces virus-related health risk in lettuce and spinach

Brazil to lead world in biotech crops: association

Consumers Willing to Buy Sustainable US Cotton

N.Z. quake building was sub-standard: probe

Scant hope for Philippine quake missing

Philippine quake survivors beg for search help

Philippine rescuers search for quake survivors

Mali army tries to fend off Tuareg rebels as crisis grows

Chinese, Russian arms fuel Darfur abuse: Amnesty

Explosion rocks military barracks in northern Nigeria

S.Africa's strike-hit Kruger Park to hire retired rangers

Study: Neanderthals left a genetic legacy

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement