Posts tagged ‘zoos’

26 January 2011

Upping the Circus Quotient

Robert Hanks · Pandas

With bread prices rising, governments are having to think about upping the circus quotient: hence, the conspiracy theories run, the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton; and hence the signing of an agreement this month for Edinburgh Zoo to receive two pandas, Tian Tian and Yangguang. Royalty and pandas have more in common than you might think: both have found their ecological niche shrinking, but have managed to cling on by rebranding themselves as a tourist draw; both have suffered over the years from a failure to renew the gene pool; and this helps to explain why both come under intense public pressure to perform sexually and produce offspring.

21 October 2010

Natural Causes

Robert Hanks

On 18 March last year a fox, or foxes, found their way through a damaged fence into the penguin enclosure at London Zoo and slaughtered 11 rockhopper and blackfooted penguins. News of the massacre only appeared this weekend, after the Independent got hold of a report on the zoo from inspectors at Westminster Council; since 2007, foxes have also killed a flamingo chick, a chicken and two mara (which the Independent described as ‘rodents resembling small kangaroos’; they’re more like guinea pigs on stilts).