Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Goodbye Diana Bear

 The Buffalo Zoo is saddened by the loss of its spectacled bear, Diana, who was humanely euthanized on December 16 due to declining health. At 35 years old, Diana was the oldest spectacled bear in the world at the time of her death. Spectacled bears typically live around 20 – 25 years in captivity, and slightly less in the wild.

Diana’s personality and longevity made her a favorite Zoo resident for staff and guests. Her presence in the Zoo’s Vanishing North exhibit will be sorely missed.

Diana was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL in January of 1979, and has been at the Buffalo Zoo since May of 1980. Over her long life, Diana gave birth to three surviving cubs, who parented a total of eight offspring of their own, greatly contributing to the North American Spectacled bear population.

Diana. Photo credit: Kelly Ann Brown
Spectacled bears (also known as Andean bears) are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals. There are believed to be fewer than 2,000 remaining in the wild. They are managed as a Species Survival Plan (SSP) by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and cooperating zoos.

“When animals in zoos live well beyond their average captive lifespan, it speaks to the high quality of care they received,” said Dr. Donna Fernandes, President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo. “The Buffalo Zoo is home to several long-lived and record breaking animals. For example, servals Bob and Zizzi are the two oldest males in the United States. In 2014 the Zoo said good bye to Delmonico, the addax antelope, and Shanta, a Sulawesi macaque, who were the oldest living individuals of their species at the time of their deaths.”

Photo by keeper Caitlyn Bruce




Monday, December 15, 2014

The baby giraffe has a name!

The Buffalo Zoo today announced the name of a baby giraffe who was born in October. His name is Sampson.

Sampson was born on Friday, October 24, 2014 to mother, 5-year-old A.J, and father, 3-year-old Moke. Both are first time parents.

The day was a special one for giraffe keeper, Vicki Hodge. October 24 is her grandparents’ wedding anniversary, and also the anniversary of the death of her grandfather, whose middle name was Sampson. She named the baby in memory of him.

The name announcement coincides with a series of billboards that were unveiled around the Buffalo area this morning, revealing Sampson’s name to the community.


The billboards are provided through the generosity of Community Papers of WNY, LLC. and LAMAR Outdoor Advertising. The newspaper group will roll out a year of family-friendly activities and promotions on and off Zoo grounds throughout 2015. These efforts serve not only to welcome the giraffe and promote the Zoo as an institution of family recreation, but also to highlight conservation efforts and educational offerings for the community at large.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Luna Updates!

Luna the polar bear is recovering from an injury she sustained during a fall this summer.

The popular polar bear cub fractured the ankle joint in her left rear leg. The Zoo’s veterinarian, Dr. Kurt Volle, with assistance from veterinary surgeons from Sheridan Animal Hospital, performed the surgeries to repair the fracture. Luna has spent the time since her fall recovering in the Zoo’s veterinary hospital, where vet staff could monitor her progress and restrict her movements.

Luna's hind leg was shaved in preparation for procedures to repair her fractured leg bone. A patch of her front leg was shaved to administer an IV. Photo Credit: Kelly Ann Brown/Buffalo Zoo
Last week, Luna was returned to the holding area adjacent to the temporary exhibit space that the polar bears share with the tigers. She was reintroduced to her playmate, Kali, and the two celebrated their second birthdays together with special cakes from their keepers.

Luna celebrated her 2nd birthday with a special ice treat "cake" from her keepers. Photo credit: Kelly Ann Brown/Buffalo Zoo
The polar bear cubs are no longer the small, fluffy cubs they once were. Luna’s current weight is around 440 lbs, and Kali is a whopping 770 lbs. The average adult male polar bear weighs between 800 and 1,200 lbs. Females are usually smaller, weighing between 400 and 800 lbs.

Luna will remain off exhibit until her balance and use of her hind leg are fully restored, to avoid the risk of another injury.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Zoo Choo Train will Offer Rides to Mall Shoppers This Winter!

The Buffalo Zoo’s “Zoo Choo Train” ride has been moved to the Eastern Hills Mall for the winter season.

The Zoo acquired the new train ride for the 2014 season, and it quickly became a favorite among Zoo visitors. The Wattman mini-express train features five cars, including a turn-of-the-century style engine and caboose. Zoo officials have teamed up with the Eastern Hills Mall to give the community an opportunity to enjoy the train during winter months.

The Zoo Choo Train will be open to mall visitors beginning on Wednesday in front of one of the mall’s anchor tenants, in the family attraction corridor. It will operate there until the end of March 2015.The cost per ride will be $2, and 100% of proceeds will be retained by the Buffalo Zoo.

“We are excited to partner with the Buffalo Zoo this holiday in welcoming the Zoo Choo train to the Eastern Hills Mall,” said Brandon Salinas, Business Development Manager for the Eastern Hills Mall. “It’s a wonderful added value for our guests, and supports a cultural icon of the Western New York Community.”


The Zoo Choo Train ride became a favorite among Zoo visitors this season!
“The ride became very popular among visitors this summer, and it seemed a shame that it would be put away for winter,” said Donna Fernandes, President & CEO of the Buffalo Zoo. “The Eastern Hills Mall has graciously allocated space for us and offered to give all of the proceeds from the train back to the Zoo. We’re grateful for their partnership, and hope that families in Western New York will continue to enjoy the Zoo Choo Train at the mall until it comes back to the Zoo in the spring.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Animalpalooza!

by Courtney Macklin, animal keeper for the Buffalo Zoo

Animalpalooza at the Buffalo Zoo is an event being put on by the Zoo’s Training and Enrichment Committee. The main goal of the committee is to enhance the lives of the animals in our care. It gives the keepers a chance to share ideas, challenges, successes, and information as well as providing resources and supplies.

Usually, when people think of enrichment, they think treats and food, which is just one of many enrichment methods. During Animalpalooza, keepers will be teach visitors about the different types of enrichment activities, including exhibit design, sounds and smells, and training techniques. Training allows us to provide the animals with mental stimulation, exercise, and routine medical care. Training techniques are universal, and can be used on any animal. You can come to Animalpalooza and learn some basic animal training techniques that you can try on your pet dog, cat, or even fish!

Training sessions are used to enrich the lives of Zoo animals.

The event runs two days, November 28th and 29th, and will feature fall-themed enrichment for the animals, a training demo, bake sale, basket raffle, enrichment for kids, and more! It will be fun for the whole family and a great alternative to black Friday madness. All profits go to the committee and will benefit the animals.



Animalpalooza Schedule

Friday, November 28, 2014

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Bake sale in the reptile house
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Basket raffle in the reptile house
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Guess the pumpkin’s weight at the main entrance
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Enrichment activities for kids in M&T Bank Rainforest Falls lobby
11:00 a.m. – Get your photo taken with mascots Hank the rhino and Sam the hellbender in the reptile house
11:30 a.m. – Capybara enrichment and keeper talk in M&T Bank Rainforest Falls
12:00 p.m. – Elephant enrichment and keeper talk at the elephant house
12:30 p.m. – Meerkat enrichment and keeper talk at the meerkat exhibit (near gorillas)
1:00 p.m. – Rhino encounter at the rhino conservation station * $10
1:00 p.m. – Polar bear enrichment and keeper talk at the polarbear/tiger exhibit
1:30 p.m. – River otter enrichment and keeper talk at the River Otter Creek exhibit
2:00 p.m. – Herpetology enrichment and keeper talk in the reptile house
2:00 p.m. – Sheep training demonstration at Delta Sonic Heritage Farm
2:30 p.m. – Lion enrichment and keeper talk at the lion exhibit

Saturday, November 29, 2014

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Bake sale in the reptile house
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Basket raffle in the reptile house
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Guess the pumpkin’s weight at the main entrance
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Enrichment activities for kids in M&T Bank Rainforest Falls lobby
11:00 a.m. – Sea lion encounter and photo op * $25
11:30 a.m. – Anteater enrichment and keeper talk in M&T Bank Rainforest Falls
12:00 p.m. – Gorilla enrichment and keeper talk at the gorilla exhibit
12:30 p.m. – Meerkat enrichment and keeper talk at the meerkat exhibit (near gorillas)
1:00 p.m. – Rhino encounter at the rhino conservation station * $10
1:00 p.m. – Polar bear enrichment and keeper talk at the polarbear/tiger exhibit
1:30 p.m. – Elephant encounter at the elephant house * $10
1:30 p.m. – Sea lion encounter and photo op * $25
2:00 p.m. – Herpetology enrichment and keeper talk in the reptile house
2:00 p.m. – Sheep training demonstration at Delta Sonic Heritage Farm
2:30 p.m. – Lion enrichment and keeper talk at the lion exhibit


*Sign up and pre-pay for encounters at the front entrance.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Giraffe Born at the Buffalo Zoo

The Buffalo Zoo is celebrating the birth of a male giraffe.
                                                                                                                   
The yet-unnamed baby was born on Friday, October 24 to mother, 5-year-old A.J, and father, 3-year-old Moke. Both are first time parents.

The giraffe house will be closed temporarily, as A.J. takes some time to bond with her baby, and the herd adjusts to his presence. Zoo visitors will be able to enter the vestibule of the giraffe house and view the animals through the windows.

The gestation period of giraffes is around 15 months. Calves usually remain with their mothers until they are around 22 months old.  

Giraffes are native to the plains of Africa. The number of giraffes in the wild has dropped from 140,000 in 1999 to fewer than 80,000 today. The decreasing population is attributed to poaching, disease, and loss of natural habitat.


photo credit: Zoo registrar, Kelly Brown

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Time for Another Electronics Recycling Collection at the Zoo!

The Buffalo Zoo’s Earth Smart Squad will partner with Sunnking Inc. to host another electronics recycling collection event!


We held an event in April and it was very successful! We wanted to give Western New Yorkers another opportunity to get rid of some of some clutter while they're getting ready for the holiday season. 
                                                                        
The collection will take place on Saturday, November 15 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Zoo’s main parking lot off of Parkside Ave.

The Earth Smart Squad wants you to keep the planet in mind while you start preparing for the holidays. Electronic waste shouldn’t be thrown out with household trash. Some items may contain materials that are harmful to the environment, and most items can actually be recycled. Electronics recycling facilities are able to dispose of electronic waste in an environmentally responsible way.

Items that will NOT be accepted include batteries, and large appliances.

Anyone who brings their unwanted electronics to the Zoo on November 15 will receive a coupon for $1 off Zoo admission on that day.

The Buffalo Zoo’s Earth Smart Squad’s mission is to be leaders in sustainability by inspiring our organization to reduce its carbon footprint, while empowering the community to engage in green practices.