Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife Conservation’
Good Zoo staff today announced significant births, including twin golden lion tamarin monkeys, a first at the Good Zoo. “The twins were born on September 4, and both the mother and father demonstrated excellent parenting skills, carrying the babies on their backs,” said Manager of Animal Husbandry Mindi White. “These are first time parents, but mom ‘Carmen’ had participated in rearing babies in a tamarin group at another zoo, and they learn maternal skills through that observation,” she added. Golden lion tamarins are endangered primates from South America. The Good Zoo tamarins are part of a cooperative global breeding program among zoos across the U.S. “The wild population in Brazil has been severely impacted by deforestation with less than 5% of suitable habitat remaining. Golden lion tamarins are classified as extremely endangered; scientists estimate a wild population of only 1,500 tamarins left in the wild,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. Tamarins born in U.S. zoos have successfully been released in the wild for restocking efforts.
On September 29, zoo staff discovered a newborn Grevy’s zebra. The foal was up following the mother Samburu, and appears to be doing well. “Samburu had a foal here last year, too, and she is a great mom,” White said. Grevy’s zebra populations have plummeted in Kenya and Somalia; less than 2,000 individuals remain. Zebra populations are threatened by habitat lost, drought and climate change, and diseases and parasites transmitted by domestic livestock.
A baby 3-banded armadillo was born on September 16, and is currently not on display. This is the mother’s second offspring. Her baby from last year is a popular ambassador in the zoo’s education department. Three-banded armadillo is found in Brazil. It was recently chosen as the 2014 World Cup mascot, as the Brazilian government seeks to educate youth that this poorly known species is threatened with extinction. It was even believed to be extinct in the wild until it was rediscovered in 1988 in a handful of locations.
“The zoo staff has worked hard with zoo colleagues around the country to develop the optimum conditions to breed these three rare species at the Good Zoo,” said Miller. “September was a banner month for us, and we hope the public will take advantage of the nice fall weather to come see the twin tamarin monkeys and the baby zebra,” she added.
The Good Zoo opens daily at 11:00 a.m. and admission is $9.00 for adults, $5.75 for ages 3-12, and free to members and ages 2 and under. Boo at the Zoo is October 11 through 13, October 18 through 20 and October 25 through 27 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. with early opening on Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. Boo at the Zoo admission is $7.25 for non members, $5.25 for members. Boo admission is reduced by $1.00 when purchased in advance in the zoo office 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily, seven days a week. For more information or to purchase Boo at the Zoo tickets in advance call the Good Zoo office at 304-243-4100.
Oglebay is pleased to announce two programs taught by Dr. Richard Bradley, the author of the new book Common Spiders of North America. The first class will be held at the Good Zoo at Oglebay on Saturday, August 3 from 1 pm- 3pm. The Common Spiders class is open to all current Master Naturalist students, people interested in joining the Master Naturalist program, and to anyone who wants to learn about spiders. Anyone 16 years of age and older can attend at a cost of $24.00 and the class counts as 3 elective hours in the Master Naturalist program.
“Spiders are a very diverse group of invertebrates, yet poorly studied and very misunderstood,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. “Part of our Master Naturalist program is teaching people about all components of a healthy ecosystem, not just the popular ones like birds and butterflies,” she added. Dr. Bradley will discuss how to identify key spider groups by web design and other identification tips. Spider biology, anatomy and behavior will also be addressed, and students will go out on zoo grounds to find and identify spiders. “We have over 100 species in our area, but North America has over 4,700 species” said Miller. Students will also get to meet the zoo’s resident tarantulas. For more information call Penny Miller at 304-243-4027. The schedule for all upcoming Master Naturalist classes can be found at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo
The second program is offered for families with young children 10 years of age and up. Families can meet Dr Bradley and go on a spider hunt at the Schrader Environmental Education Center at Oglebay for an evening program “Spectacular Spiders” from 7 pm- 9pm August 3rd. “Feeling brave?? Join Dr Bradley as he leads us for a look into the scary world of spiders. Discover some facts and fiction about spiders, then embark on a journey into their world outside,” added Schrader Center director Alice Eastman. The evening program cost is $6.00 per person, $5 each for Oglebay Institute members. For information call the Schrader Center at 304-243-4214.
The Master Naturalist Program is open to all area nature lovers, 16 years of age and older. The program was developed by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and the Good Zoo at Oglebay is a training site. Classes are held at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays and often involve walks in the woods and occasional field trips to a farm pasture, wetlands or streams.
”Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will love these classes,” added Miller. “We have husbands and wives signing up together, some teens with their parents, and lots of individuals.”
The schedule for all upcoming Master Naturalist classes can be found at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or call Miller at 304-243-4027.
Any area residents interested in learning more about birds, trees, wildflower identification, and all manner of other nature topics can sign up now for Master Naturalist classes beginning Saturday, February 23 at the Good Zoo. An introductory class Names and Identification taught by zoo director Penny Miller will teach students how to use field guides, internet resources, keys, and other resources to identify plants and animals seen in nature, taught from 9 am – noon. Popular bird expert Dr Scott Shalaway teaches Birds from 1 pm -5 pm the same day. The four hour class discusses bird biology, identification and back-yard feeding . Other spring classes include Turtles in Trouble-Conservation of the Box Turtle; Wildfowers, Trees, Citizen Science Investigators, and Nature Interpretation.
Students can pick and choose classes at their own pace and may take up to three years to complete the program, but it is possible to finish in one year. Classes cost just $6 per hour of instruction. Classes are held at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays and often involve walks in the woods and occasional field trips to a farm pasture, wetlands or streams. The curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state.
There are 14 required classes such as Mammals; Trees; Wildflowers; Backyard Habitat Improvement, Insects, and 10 others, and a variety of electives to choose from including Box turtles; Medicinal Plants; Nature Photography; Spiders; Invasive Species; Mushrooms; Astronomy and many more. Instructors include Good Zoo staff, West Virginia Division of Wildlife biologists and area college professors. Students are all nature lovers and represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds from college students, teachers, scout leaders, farmers, fisherman, to retired folks and nature photographers.
“Anyone of any age or background fits into the group, you just have to be a nature lover,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, the zoo’s curator of education.
Student Daniel Caron said, “The program is a fun and interesting way to learn about nature. I enjoy the program’s interactive, hands-on format. The classes teach me to see something different every time I step outside. This has helped me when working in my own backyard and everywhere I travel.”
“This is our 10th year, and many of our students participate in several backyard bird projects, put up bluebird boxes, survey and report frog calls, raise and tag monarch butterflies, and improve their garden and property to attract wildlife,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. Others like to help out at state or zoo wildlife events, or pass on their knowledge to children. “I enjoy teaching my grandkids and neighbors about the monarch butterflies I rear and tag,” said certified Master Naturalist Carol Saseen.
For dates, times, and an application please visit the Master Naturalist section at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or call Vickie Markey-Tekely at 304-243-4033 or Penny Miller at 304-243-4027.
“Volunteer at the WILDEST place in town!” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, Curator of Education at the Good Zoo. “We are currently looking for teen and adult volunteers at the zoo.”
Volunteers assist with summer camps, birthday parties, sleepovers and other education programs. Volunteers also share what they learn about wildlife by talking with visitors at zoo exhibits and even use live animals and artifacts to educate others.
Teen volunteers must be in the 7th grade or above. Applications are available on the Oglebay website or call the zoo education office at 304-243-4068. The Teen Volunteer Application deadline is Monday, January 7, 2013.
Adult volunteer training is held periodically throughout the year. To receive an application or more information for the adult volunteer program, call 304-243-4033 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re sure that many of our Good Zoo members are aware of the work that the zoo does to care for and breed endangered species like the Grevy’s zebras, African wild dogs, red pandas, and Panamanian golden frogs (just to name a few) at the zoo, but zoo staff, interns, and volunteers also perform a substantial amount of field conservation with the wildlife in our region as well. Over the past decade the zoo has trained nearly 60 local students in field conservation and wildlife medicine techniques through our college internship program. Some of the projects that we have and are currently working on include conservation of the Eastern hellbender, wildlife diseases in the local region, and raptor rehabilitation.
The Eastern hellbender is the largest salamander in the Western Hemisphere, growing up to 30” long. This fully aquatic salamander is considered rare or endangered in each of the 17 states that it inhabits, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Since 2005, with funding support from the West Virginia Division of Wildlife, Good Zoo staff have studied the populations and habitats of this species throughout the state of West Virginia.
In 2007 during one of his surveys, zoo curator Joe Greathouse encountered a nest of hellbender eggs that had been abandoned by the father and was growing a fungus on the clutch of eggs that would have devastated the embryonic salamanders still in the eggs. He brought those eggs back to the zoo and we raised over 120 of these individuals to the point of the eggs hatching. This was a critical moment in the conservation of this species, as it was the first time that eggs from this species had been hatched in a zoo or aquarium anywhere in the world!
Our friends at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, and the Fort Worth Zoo helped in raising several of these animals to nearly one foot in length. While we were raising these individuals, Joe studied habitats in West Virginia to determine the best place to return these salamanders to the wild, and physiological assessments and genetics studies were conducted on these individuals through collaborative efforts with the Wilds, San Diego Zoo, and Purdue University.
With funding assistance from the West Virginia Division of Wildlife and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, veterinarians at the Good Zoo were able to equip 30 of these individuals with tracking devices, and he will be studying how these individuals move in the wild over the coming months. Several of these individuals are also being utilized in reintroduction programs in the states of Ohio and Indiana as well in an attempt to hopefully be able to one day bolster the populations of this rare species in association with habitat protection.
Over the past decade, Good Zoo employees have also conducted surveys to look for a variety of diseases in local wildlife. Did you know that an ill great horned owl that was brought into the Good Zoo for rehabilitation was the first animal to have tested positive and confirmed the presence of West Nile virus in wild birds in the state of West Virginia? Since that time, we have collaborated with Cornell University and local public health officials by sending blood samples from birds that are brought into the zoo’s raptor rehabilitation program to Cornell University for analysis in order to monitor the presence of this disease in our local wild birds.
The amphibian chytrid fungus is a pathogen that is driving frogs and salamanders to extinction throughout the world. With funding assistance from the West Virginia Division of Wildlife, zoo employees and interns have collaborated with scientists from Marshall University, Washington State University, the Wilds, San Diego Zoo, and Smithsonian’s National Zoo to study the presence of this disease and its impact on amphibian populations in West Virginia.
The Good Zoo is also one of only four federally licensed facilities for the rehabilitation of wild raptors in the state of West Virginia. With the assistance of local citizens, humane officers, and conservation officers who transport injured raptors to the zoo and funding assistance from the West Virginia Division of Wildlife, we work to provide veterinary care and rehabilitation to ill or injured birds of prey with the goal of enabling their release back to the wild. Over the past decade, zoo employees have treated and returned more than 130 of these individuals to the wild in our region.
If you have any interest in supporting or participating in any of the zoo’s conservation programs, please contact us at (304) 243-4029 or e-mail Joe Greathouse at email@example.com or Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.