It’s been a busy year for Lincoln Park Zoo. We’ve seen two gorilla babies, a new male lion on the prowl at the Kovler Lion House and the formation of the zoo’s first-ever gorilla bachelor troop at Regenstein Center for African Apes.
New male lion Sahar was one of the big arrivals in 2012
Zoo scientists made the front page of the Chicago Tribune for three days running for their work to protect the Serengeti’s people and predators from rabies and distemper. Educators brought together students from Francis W. Parker School and Niamey, Niger, bridging an ocean to build a shared interest in conservation.
All of this work is excellent. None of it is free. Feeding and housing the zoo’s animals alone costs $63,000 every day. That’s why, when I look back at 2012, my primary feeling—beyond pride—is appreciation for the zoo’s wonderful friends and all that your support has made possible.
The zoo’s donors, sponsors and members are the ones who keep our gates free and open every day of the year. Our ability to share the wonders of wildlife with millions of annual visitors is also fueled by the consistent support of local corporations, foundations and the city of Chicago through the Chicago Park District.
To put all of this support in context, I thought I’d offer a few numbers from the year behind us.
$2,650 is what it costs to feed a single female gorilla for a year. Our experts tell me that our two nursing mothers need to take in twice as many calories as average…you can do the math on that one.
Something for Santa to keep in mind as he makes his list for next year’s ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One: the big cats around him in the Kovler Lion House go through $9,889 worth of bones every year for enrichment.
18 juvenile smooth green snakes were released to wild homes in the Lake County Forest Preserves this summer, the latest step in a long-term partnership to restore the insect-eating snakes to their native range. Similarly, 18 juvenile ornate box turtles, a threatened species in Illinois, are growing behind the scenes at the Kovler Lion House. Their zoo head start should help them thrive when they return to the wild this summer.
Speaking of ZooLights, roughly 240,000 guests have joined us to date for the zoo’s fun, free holiday celebration. The lights shine again this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so that number will only go up. Come join us!
That’s just a small accounting of the countless ways Lincoln Park Zoo relies on your support. Thank you for all that you do to keep the zoo free, accessible and amazing.