Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife Conservation’
The Good Zoo at Oglebay announced today that the new meerkat born at the zoo on October 22 has been named Rafiki. The zoo provided five names to vote on through Oglebay’s Facebook page and Rafiki received 63% of the votes.
“Rafiki, means ‘friend’ in Swahili, so I think it is a great name,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals. “We currently have four meerkats: Nala, Banga, Suri, and now Rafiki, at the meerkat exhibit in the main building at the zoo.”
White explained that meerkats live in groups called mobs and that they take turns watching for danger, digging burrows, foraging for food, and even babysitting. “Our mob can be observed performing their natural behaviors of foraging, digging in the sand, scent marking, soaking up some sun, or being sentry (guard) in the windowsill,” said White.
The Good Zoo is currently open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The zoo is open on New Year’s Eve from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on New Year’s Day from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. Admission is $8.95 for adults and $5.75 for ages 3 through 12. Ages 2 and under and zoo members are admitted free. The Light and Music Extravaganza and the Winter Fantasies LASER Show are included with admission. The zoo will close for public visitation on January 4 but will remain open for membership sales, scheduled education programs and birthday parties. Call 304-243-4030.
The zoo also announced its winter pre-school programs. “Each pre-school class includes games, stories, songs, activities and of course, live animals,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, Education Curator for the zoo. “These programs are designed for two to four year olds and a parent or guardian to explore nature and wildlife together.”
January’s classes include Winter Wonderland on January 20 or 23 and Are You Afraid of the Dark on January 27 or 30. Cost is $15.00 for zoo members, $19.00 for non-members and the fees include one child and up to two adults. Additional siblings are $5.00 each and a discount is available for multiple program attendance. Registration forms and the complete pre-school schedule are available online at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo.
After spending four weeks at the Good Zoo for rehabilitation, a wild bald eagle was released by the zoo staff on August 14.
“When the juvenile eagle was brought to the zoo in July by our local conservation officer, the bird was severely emaciated, only weighing 5.6lbs, and was very dehydrated,” said zoo animal curator Mindi White. “The eagle was barely standing and could not keep its head up, and the staff at the zoo immediately started fluid therapy.”
Zoo veterinarians completed a thorough examination and the tests revealed no broken bones or gunshot. The West Niles and Avian Influenza tests were also negative.
“Luckily the eagle was strong enough, after a couple rounds of fluid therapy, to eat on its own,” said White. “We needed to be careful to not over feed at the beginning since the eagle was so skinny and its stomach was small. We cut the food into pieces because the eagle, even though strong enough to eat, could not tear the food or swallow it whole. The eagle continued to eat well and the staff was happy to see the bird getting stronger and stronger each day.”
Once to an ideal weight the eagle was given live fish, proving it could hunt, and the eagle was taken to the zoo’s outdoor flight cage.
Rehabilitating a raptor takes time and lots of effort. White estimates that more than 60 hours was spent with the bald eagle in the month that it was at the zoo. “Two veterinarians, two animal care managers and two animal care keepers worked with the eagle,” said White. “The eagle gained nearly four pounds while in our care and we had to be sure that it was hunting and flying like it should before it could be released.”
The Good Zoo is licensed for raptor rehabilitation and has seen many hawks, owls, and a handful of bald eagles. “Since bald eagles are protected, when an eagle comes into the rehab program special permission has to be granted to rehabilitate that specific bird,” explained White. “In a year, we have close to 300 individual raptors come through our program. The goal is always to release the birds, but injuries sometimes are so severe that the raptors need to be placed in an accredited institution.”
The Good Zoo’s collection currently includes a red-tailed hawk and barred owl that could not be released. The zoo also has a bald eagle at the wetlands exhibit that was rehabbed in Washington State. “The eagle’s wing was broken and she could not be released,” said White. “She is a juvenile so our visitors will have the amazing opportunity to watch her mature and change into her iconic white head.
Good Zoo memberships and monetary donations help cover the cost of rehabilitating local raptors and fund other conservation programs. The zoo opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and admission to the zoo is $8.95 for non-member adults and $5.75 for ages 3-12. Zoo members and ages 2 and under are free.
They are still young, but they don’t look like it! The Good Zoo babies are starting to look like adults.
The Grevy’s zebra foal, Jamila, is going to be 2 years old in September. She still loves to hang out with her mom, Samburu, and can often be seen galloping and playing in the field. Jamila’s brown stripes have all now turned black, so the only way to tell the difference between the mares is their size. Samburu is still much larger than Jamila.
The zoo’s African Wild Dog Pack celebrated the pups 1st birthday on June 23rd. All three pups, Mikumi, Akili, and Shaba, are almost the exact same size of their parents. Their behavior is the quickest way to identify the three crazy pups. They love to ‘stalk’ each other to hone their hunting skills and are often seen chasing each other around the tree or den.
The Golden Lion Tamarins born at the Good Zoo are now 6 months old! The twin boys are doing great and the family could not be happier. The twins still are slightly smaller than their brothers and parents. The easiest way to find the newest twins is to look for the ones hanging upside down or wrestling on the vines.
Be sure to come see these rare and endangered youngsters!
To help raise awareness of the work the Good Zoo is doing to save animals from extinction and to highlight the public’s role in saving species, members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which includes the Good Zoo, are coming together in a variety of ways to help the public consider what it would be like to not be able to see, learn from or connect with these incredible animals again.
On Friday, May 15, 2015, the 10th Anniversary of Endangered Species Day, several of the Good Zoo’s endangered species will be highlighted including a special presentation on the future of the Spectacled Bear.
Stan Myers, an adult volunteer at the Good Zoo, will be at the Spectacled Bear and Otter Exhibit beginning at 10:00 a.m. “Throughout the day Stan will be explaining the status of Spectacled Bears in the world today and how they are on the brink of extinction,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals for the Good Zoo.
Black and green ribbons will be placed on various exhibits at the zoo. “The black will signify endangered/threatened/species of concern and the green ribbons will signify some type of ‘success’’, said White.
“Our success stories include our African wild dog pups, our Golden Lion Tamarin babies and our raptor rehab,” White explained. “We will have a small graphic to go along with each ribbon with facts and information. The ribbons will remain up through the weekend.
The zoo will also feature a Grevy’s Zebra video in the lobby to explain the plight of this species.
May 15 also marks the national launch of AZA SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE), said White. Through SAFE, for the first time, the entire AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium community will focus their conservation science, wildlife expertise, and 180 million annual visitors on saving species in the wild. In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species, to be announced.
This new collaboration builds on the existing conservation efforts by the 229 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. SAFE harnesses the collective power and infrastructure, along with additional funding and resources, to target specific endangered species and save them from extinction by restoring healthy populations in the wild. Through SAFE, AZA and its members will convene scientists and global stakeholders to identify factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.
The Good Zoo is currently open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $8.95 for adults and $5.75 for ages 3 through 12. Children ages 2 and under and members are admitted free. For more information call the Good Zoo office at 304-243-4030 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com/GoodZoo and join the online SAFE conversation via #savingspecies.
About AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo & aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit AZAsavingspecies.org.
The Good Zoo staff recently announced the birth of twin golden lion tamarin monkeys on February 17, 2015. “The entire family is on exhibit in the zoo’s Main Building and include father Rio, mother Carmen, two-year-old twins Vasco and Tupi, one-year-old old twins Candido and Godoi, and the two newest additions” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals.
Golden lion tamarins are endangered primates from South America that typically live in small groups. “All members of the group help care for the infants and take turns carrying them,” said White. “Since the twins can weigh up to 20% of the mother’s weight it helps her tremendously to have help from the rest of the group. Younger animals also benefit from the experience when it comes time to raise their own offspring.”
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 White. Tamarins born in U.S. zoos have successfully been released in the wild for restocking efforts.
“The zoo staff received a breeding recommendation in 2013 from the Golden Lion Tamarin Species Survival Plan and has worked hard with zoo colleagues around the country to develop the optimum conditions to breed this rare species at the Good Zoo,” added White.
The Good Zoo is currently open Saturday and Sunday only, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and admission is $8.95 for adults, $5.75 for ages 3-12, and free to members and ages 2 and under. Lorikeet Landing will open March 14, weather permitting, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday Sunday. The zoo will be open daily beginning April 1.
The 4th Annual Capture the Wild Photography Contest started March 1. “Nature photography is a wonderful way for kids and adults to appreciate nature in all of it strange and beautiful forms,” said White. Entries are due by August 1, 2015.
For more information on all activities at the zoo call the zoo office at 304-243-4100 or visit http://www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo/index.htm.
The Oglebay Good Zoo is presenting a free “Wildlife Adventure Travel Program” open to the public, on Saturday, March 7, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Good Zoo. The program will preview a unique, zoo-sponsored African safari to Tanzania, East Africa in November of 2015. The program features a detailed presentation about the trip, which are led by professional wildlife guides and accompanied by Good Zoo staff hosts.
The trip will focus on exploration of exceptional wildlife, plant life and ecosystems. Beautiful photographs from Tanzania will be shown by Penny Miller, an experienced African traveler and zoo host.
“This is truly a trip of a lifetime,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals for the Good Zoo. “We love taking people to remote corners of the world to view wildlife up close, and to interact with local people. This trip is both a nature and cultural experience, and a photographer’s paradise.”
The travel presentation will discuss costs, itineraries, packing tips, and will include light refreshments and a question and answer time.
“You will get to speak with people who have traveled on these trips in the past, so even if you are just mildly curious, please come to the presentation,” White added. “The trip is filling up fast, so please come and join our program!”
The Good Zoo requests an RSVP to White at 304-243-4029 or by email at email@example.com. Trip details can also be found on the zoo’s website.
Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo at Oglebay, is set to retire on January 17, 2015. Miller has been director of the Good Zoo since 1994. She began her zoo career at the Pittsburgh Zoo Society in 1971, and in 1974 she moved to Oglebay to assist with construction of the new Good Zoo. As general curator for 15 years, Miller managed the animal collection and keeper staff, and the education department. Under Miller’s guidance the Good Zoo moved from a collection of common North American species to a concentration of breeding rare and endangered species from around the world. “The Good Zoo curators have produced more than 20 endangered red wolves pups; Grevy’s zebra, African Wild dogs, hundreds of hellbender salamanders, tamarin monkeys, and other rare and endangered species,” said Miller.
The Good Zoo was named in memory of Phillip Mayer Good, through the support of thousands of community residents and the Laurence Good Family of Wheeling. It is West Virginia’s only AZA accredited zoo.
“Conservation and education have always been keystones of Good Zoo mission,” said Miller “I believe the Good Zoo is a crucial community asset that connects children and adults to wildlife through interactive, changing animal exhibits, creative education programs for preschoolers through adults, and adventurous international wildlife travel.”
Miller has led Good Zoo trips to the Galapagos, several Eastern and Southern countries in Africa, and will be on the zoo’s November 2105 African safari to Tanzania. Miller also plans to continue teaching Master Naturalist classes including one in February. The Master Naturalist curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state, and classes are held throughout the year at the Good Zoo.
John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, said Miller’s contributions to the zoo are beyond measure. “How do you measure the many ways she changed the lives of guests, staff, interns and docents? Under her leadership a little zoo in Wheeling, West Virginia is helping to save over 20 endangered species and at the same time helping the public better understand and appreciate the diversity and importance of each species life,” said Hargleroad.
“Penny also spearheaded many creative and entertaining events including the Good Zoo Lights Up for You and Farm Days that have grown to become the Winter Festival of Lights, and also the Ohio County Country Fair,” Hargleroad continued. “It’s impossible to know many lives have been touched by those events.”
“While she will be missed by many, I suspect I will miss her the most,” added Hargleroad.
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 22 at the Good Zoo and scheduled through mid May. Local columnist Dr Scott Shalaway will teach WV Birds. The four hour class discusses bird biology, identification and back-yard feeding. Popular returning instructor Dr Zac Loughman from West Liberty University will also teach that day, offering General Ecology, an introductory class to the Master Naturalist program. Names and Identification will be taught March 22 by zoo director Penny Miller, instructing students how to use field guides, internet resources, keys, and other resources to identify plants and animals seen in nature. Other spring classes include Creating Backyard Habitats March 2nd by Dr Candy DeBerry, and three additional classes taught by Loughman: Terrestrial Habitats; Aquatic Habitats; and Wetlands Habitats. Local expert Bill Beatty will teach Wildflowers and Weeds, and Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines. The first elective class A Tiny Tick Made Me Sick is about avoiding everything from poison ivy rashes, to snake bite while in the woods, taught by Penny Miller.
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; CSI: Citizen Science Investigator; Monarch Butterflies; Nature Photography; Invasive Species, 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 11th 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.
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.