Gaza zoo paints donkeys as zebras

October 11, 2009

A zoo in Gaza has come up with a creative solution to its zebra shortage by painting stripes on donkeys, United Press International reports.

Banksy woz e(eyo)reAt $15,000 a pop, zebras lie beyond the means of Gaza’s “only place of entertainment,” zoo head keeper Mahmoud Barghouti said.

“We used to have two zebras but they died from starvation during the military offensive. Some of the other animals escaped and died and some were stolen,” he continued.

Zoo officials are considering suing Israel for the damage caused during the 2008 Gaza War.

A professional artist was hired to (intermittently) black-up the donkeys, which, along with a few monkeys, cats and dogs, make up Gaza’s piss-poor collection of beasts.

The monkeys are said to have been smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, via the now-infamous tunnels that lie under the border to the southerly Arab republic.

Motorist alerts plod to charity-running “gorilla”

October 6, 2009

A Leicestershire motorist dialed 999 to report the sighting of a gorilla on the A6, only for police to discover the offending primate was a charity runner in fancy dress, The Daily Fail reports.

Rory Coleman, dressed in his gorilla costume

Jogger Rory Coleman, pictured, told Middle England’s favourite outrage factory: “I wasn’t very far from Twycross Zoo which has a large collection of primates so maybe motorists thought one of them had made a run for it.”

Fingernail-gnawing police, who, I might add, are looking an awful lot younger these days, initially refused to accost the manimal, fearing it might be some kind of swan-roasting asylum seeker hell-bent on depressing house prices in the region.

“I think [the police] twigged I wasn’t an actual gorilla when they saw I was wearing trainers and had a rucksack on my back,” Coleman mused.

A sheepish spokeswoman for Leicestershire police said: “We did receive a call from a member of the public on Wednesday at about 4.30pm who reported seeing a gorilla on the A6 and was concerned for their safety.’

Belgrade kangaroo killed in hit-and-run

October 6, 2009

Belgrade zoo lost two of its kangaroos last Wednesday, one to a hit-and-run driver, Associated Press reports.

Serbian police were alerted to the escaped ‘roo, but arrived to find it dead, the apparent victim of a traffic accident.

“Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do,” shrugged senior officer Zeljko Perosevic.

Later that day, bewildered authorities were summoned to Belgrade zoo to investigate the death of yet another kangaroo. An intruder had evidently scaled the wall of the marsupials’ enclosure, slain the mother and made off with the joey.

The deaths come a year after a female kangaroo took fright at an emu, dropped her infant and refused it any further access to her pouch. It is not known whether it was the same macropods who perished in this year’s incident.

According to a recent study back home Down Under, kangaroos have caused over two thousand traffic accidents in the past decade. A human is treated for injuries sustained in just such an accident every three days.

As for the death toll among the marsupials themselves, a 2006 study found that kangaroos were killed at a rate of 0.03 animals per kilometer per day on a sample stretch of road in New South Wales.

The Road Kill Café — motto: “You kill it, we grill it” — has recently expanded into Australia from its native Montana. Whether they intend to open a branch in downtown Belgrade remains to be seen.

Escaped red panda found mortally wounded

October 6, 2009

To lose one Red Panda, as Lady Bracknell might have observed, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both, as Galloway Wildlife Park in Kirkcudbright did last February, looks like carelessness.

The adult female, Pichu, was recovered two months later. Her cub Isla remained at large until last Thursday, BBC News reports.

Sadly, last week Isla was found injured by the side of the road between Kippford and Dalbeattie in Kirkudbrightshire. She was taken to a vet, but later succumbed to her injuries.

At the time of the escape, park owner John Denerley expressed cautious optimism for the future of the pandas, telling the BBC: “To cope with the lack of food during the winter months, red pandas have evolved several ways of meeting their energy demands. They … have a very low metabolic rate – almost as low as sloths – and can slow their metabolism even further in colder temperatures.”

Last week Denerley said: “Amazingly, Isla survived in the wild for such a long period and was in good condition since she escaped … We are devastatingly upset over her death.”

The Red Panda, also known as the Lesser Panda, or Firefox, is of uncertain phylogenetic affinity. Scientists have reached some agreement on what it is not: a cat, a raccoon, a fox or a bear. Indeed it may not even be a panda. But what it is remains a contentious issue.

A recent discussion of the phylogeny of this Asian curiosity can be found in Flynn et al. (DOI: 10.1006/mpev.2000.0819), who place it among the badgers.