ZOO NOTES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

Willie B., a silverback gorilla
kept in isolation at the Atlanta Zoo from his
capture in the wild in 1962 until 1988,
became a father on February 9, at the age of
35. The mother of the newborn is Choomba,
age 30, making the couple the oldest to breed
successfully in captivity. The zoo built bigger
gorilla quarters in 1988 to house a 17-member
colony borrowed from the Yerkes Primate
Research Center, also in Atlanta. Hoping to
add Willie B.’s genes to the limited captive
breeding pool, the zoo initially paired him
with much younger females, in the belief they
would heighten his sexual appetite, but he
failed to impregnate any of them, and was
suspected of sterility. He and Choomba were
paired only after they signaled their interest in
each other from separate cages for months.

Citizens for the Ethical Treat-
ment of Animals has begun a letter campaign
protesting the condition of penguins kept at
the Crystal Gardens, in Victoria, British
Columbia. The penguins have reportedly also
drawn notice from the local SPCA. CETA
failed last year in an attempt to keep the
Crystal Gardens from expanding its aviary to
include more representatives of more species.
The wildlife broker Majervin-
Interzoo, owned by veterinarian Jean-Luc
Bureau of Lavalle, Quebec, has been fined
$4,000for shipping a seal in a crate that failed
the standards of the Animal Transport
Association. Destined for Tokyo, the seal
was found dead at the Vancouver
International Airport. Air Canada was fined
$1,000 for accepting the shipment.
Seven years after the only
Komodo dragon then in the U.S. died at the
San Diego Zoo and four years after the
National Zoo of Washington D.C. imported
four more of the endangered giant lizards
from Indonesia, an incubator breeding pro-
gram has produced more than 30 young, dou-
bling the population in captivity. Between
5,000 and 8,000 Komodo dragons survive in
the wild. The species originated about 200
million years ago, in the age of the dinosaurs,
but is more closely related to modern snakes
and lizards than to any known dinosaur.
A starving tiger escaped March 16
as rescuers evacuated the zoo in Luanda,
capitol of wartorn Angola. She killed South
African cameraman Rick Lomba before she
was shot.
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