Thursday, December 8, 2011
Most people associate flamingos with palm trees, umbrella drinks and suburban lawns. And around this time each year, many visitors might think it’s time for Lincoln Park Zoo’s flamingos to head inside for the winter.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Wow…that was something!
Last week I joined animal-care staff along with staff and interns from the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes in hosting the Great Lakes Regional Gorilla Workshop here at Lincoln Park Zoo. This was the sixth workshop of its kind, providing a framework for gorilla-care staff, veterinarians and researchers to share their expertise, discuss progressive gorilla-husbandry practices, prompt innovations and provide networking opportunities.
We focused on a number of topics last week, from gorilla diets to enrichment practices, exhibit design to social groupings. Gorilla Species Survival Plan representatives updated the group on their efforts, as did members of the Gorilla Veterinary Advisory Team. Lincoln Park Zoo’s research fellow, David Morgan, Ph.D., delivered the keynote speech at the dinner, focusing on his field work as co-director of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project. (Learn more here.)
In total, the workshop welcomed nearly 50 gorilla experts representing three universities and 15 Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions. We also held a silent auction and raffle, which raised over $1,000 for the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project.
On a personal level, I enjoyed catching up with colleagues that I only get to see at these types of gatherings. And when the workshop wrapped up, it was satisfying to have played such an integral role in this important event, where minds met and talents pooled for a singular mission—providing optimal care for this generation of gorillas and those of the future.
Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Planes, trains and automobiles…you name a mode of transportation and I’ll bet an animal has taken it. As part of our membership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Lincoln Park Zoo participates in cooperative management of animals, which means that animals born or hatched here in Chicago are often transferred to other accredited zoos.
Great care is taken with these moves, particularly with birds, many of which often can only be transferred during Chicago’s milder spring or fall seasons.
Since we’ve had some busy breeding seasons lately here at the Bird Department, we’re busy with transfers (which is a good thing). Many 2010 and 2011 chicks are now old enough to leave home—mergansers, broadbills, woodhoopoes, Nicobar pigeons, Micronesian kingfishers, kookaburras and sunbitterns are all slated to leave Lincoln Park Zoo in the next few weeks before cold weather sets in.
At the same time, new birds will be arriving to fill exhibits and meet prospective mates here. I will be exhausted by the early morning airport runs and interstate road trips, but I’m looking forward to a busy, happy shipping season!
Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds Colleen Lynch
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I am thrilled to announce that our white-cheeked gibbon pair, Burma and Caruso, just became grandparents! Many of you remember Burma and Caruso’s first offspring, male Kien Nhan, who was born in September 2001 at the Helen Brach Primate House. That little one is all grown up. He and his mate at Boston’s Stone Zoo just welcomed their first born—ten years to the day of dad’s birth—on September 2.
Kien will always hold a special place in my heart. He sustained an unfortunate injury that resulted in the partial amputation of his arm at a young age. However, he made a full recovery and adapted to life with incredible resilience and ingenuity. (I remember visitors at the gibbon exhibit unaware that the agile animal swinging around before them was missing part of his arm.)
Kien left Lincoln Park Zoo in 2008 to be paired with Iggy at Stone Zoo’s new gibbon exhibit, a move that was recommended by the Gibbon Species Survival Plan®.
Last month, I was able to visit the pair. Kien looked fantastic and Iggy looked… pregnant! Naturally, I was ecstatic to hear that their newborn had finally arrived. You can see a photo of mom and offspring here.
Congratulations to my old friend, Kien. And congratulations to the new grandparents, Burma and Caruso, who have excellent timing, seeing as how Lincoln Park Zoo is honoring grandparents and Celebrating Seniors this month.
Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The animal-care staff at the Kovler Lion House recently conducted an exhibit swap with two animals. Our male Amur leopard, Mitya, was moved from an outdoor exhibit into an indoor space and our male jaguar, Kianto, was transferred to the newly vacant, outdoor area.
Sounds simple, right? Hardly. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes with each animal move. In this case we started months ago, training each big cat to voluntarily enter a mobile enclosure that enables staff to transfer animals, as the indoor and outdoor exhibits in this situation do not connect.
Then we had to clean and disinfect the exhibits before prepping each with scent enrichment to stimulate the new occupants and prompt them to explore their new spaces.
Mitya remembered the indoor exhibit from a previous stay there, so he confidently roamed around like someone returning to familiar digs. The jaguar was a bit more cautious exploring his yard, though he soon began hopping up onto the highest perches, affording him the best view of his new space.
Both big cats are on exhibit today. If you’re free to visit Lincoln Park Zoo, be sure to stop by the Kovler Lion House and greet the big cats.
General Curator Dave Bernier
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