Tails From The Zoo

More Weird Zoo News January 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized,World News — Scott Gray @ 2:41 pm
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Funny Zoo Signs

Here are a bunch of hilarious zoo signs. http://www.zuzafun.com/zoo-signs

  • If you have fun zoo signs of your own – send us a copy and we’ll post them!

Farting Gorillas Force Brussel Sprouts Off Zoo’s Christmas Menu

ZOO managers have taken Brussels sprouts off the Christmas menu after the vegetable caused an attack of flatulence in their gorillas. The staff at Chessington Zoo fed the giant apes on the seasonal favourite as they are filled with nutritional goodness. However, they hadn’t reckoned with the gassy qualities of the tiny veggies. Now the zoo has issued an apology after guests at the zoo expressed their horror at the potent smell that started emanating from the gorillas’ enclosure.

Gorilla keeper Michael Rozzi said: “We feed the gorillas brussel sprouts during the winter because they are packed with vitamin C and have great nutritional benefits. Unfortunately, an embarrassing side effect is that it can cause bouts of flatulence in humans and animals alike. However, I don’t think any of us were prepared for a smell that strong.”

Zoo’s Penguin Afraid of Water

Keepers at a British zoo said a resident penguin with a fear of water has become a hit with curious park visitors. Staff at Blackbrook Zoological Park in Leek, England, said 11-year-old Kentucky the Humbolt penguin developed a phobia of water because he was born a runt and had problems with losing feathers too quickly, making the water too cold for his comfort, The Sun reported Thursday.

“It’s a bit too cold for him in the water, so he spends all his time on the rocks just walking around,” said Adam Stevenson, the zoo’s assistant bird keeper. “It’s a bit of a pain having to go over especially to him to feed him because he won’t go in the water, but he’s a real character and everyone at the zoo loves him. We’ve got one of the biggest collections of birds in Europe here but Kentucky is a bit of a crowd pleaser.”

“He has become quite famous because it’s quite unusual for penguins not to like the water,” he said. Stevenson said keepers douse Kentucky with water at least twice a day to keep his feathers healthy and clean.

  • LEEK, England (UPI) – © 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published: Jan. 22, 2009

Zoo Drops ‘Ranga’ Free Day Campaign

ADELAIDE Zoo has dropped an ad campaign offering free visits to all “rangas” to highlight the plight of orang-utans after sensitive redheads complained. Last week, advertisements ran offering “free Zoo entry for all rangas” during the school holidays. “Ranga” – an abbreviation of orang-utan – is a common nickname for redheads.

“We seem to be getting quite a bit of a negative reaction to that request,” said Zoos SA’s director of conservation programs Kevin Evans, The Advertiser reported. “People are possibly more sensitive about it than we thought,”  he said. “We have a campaign over the school holidays because of orang-utans being an endangered species – and so are human redheads,” Mr Evans said.

Less than 2 per cent of humans have red hair. “Because of the way people move around these days, the genes that carry redheads are breeding out to brunettes and blondes,” Mr Evans said. “Eventually it looks like they are going to be extinct as well.”

The zoo will continue to offer free entry to people with red hair for the next two weeks to raise awareness about orang-utans being endangered in the wild. The campaign is timed to coincide with the birthday of the Zoo’s male orangutan, Pusung, and will include daily talks about the species.

Dyed red hair will qualify for free entry and zoo staff will not seek proof that patrons are natural redheads.

“We’re not actually checking tops and tails, or anything like that,” Mr Evans said.

  • By Patrick McDonald, The Advertiser, September 29, 2008

February Eco-Dates January 30, 2009

Each month we will be highlighting upcoming eco-dates on your calendar. While we missed January, we’ve got February ready to go!

February 2      – World Wetlands Day

February 12    – Darwin Day

February 23    – National Heritage Day

February 28    – National Science Day

Admittedly, not a busy month but a big one if you’re a fan of Darwin and of evolution. February 12 will mark both the 200 birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversery of his seminal book, The Origin of the Species. Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection turned a lot of head back in the day and skeptics and scholars were aghast that something called evolution could be at work in the natural world. For more information on Darwin Day, please visit http://www.darwinday.org/

Both the Zoological Society of Manitoba and the Assiniboine Park Zoo are planning lots of activities for many of this year’s upcoming eco-dates including Biodiversity Day, Endangered Species Day, Turtle Day, World Animal Day and more. I hope you can make it out to the zoo over the coming weeks and months and join us as we celebrate the natural world and highlight the work that is being done to preserve and conserve the thousands of plants and animals that are losing their battle for survival.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo – open today and every day.


Jungle Love – We’re Wild at Heart! January 29, 2009

The birds and the bees have long been used to explain mating but what about lusty lions or passionate peafowl? The Education Department at the Assiniboine Park Zoo has been helping to unravel the mysteries of animal courtship, mating and everything that goes along with “making babies” for several years now. In fact, this will be our 4th annual Valentine’s Day inspired look at the love lives of animals.

We like to keep this talk light, humorous and slightly shocking as we begin to explore the weird, the wacky and the sometimes downright dangerous mating habits of animals.  We’ll explain why plants would not bloom, birds would not sing, deer would not have such nice racks, hearts would not beat so fast and why much of what is flamboyant and beautiful in nature would simply not exist without sex.

Keep in mind that our talks are like most males, all talk and no action. Just a lot of fun. Here are a couple of examples…

Did you know?

  • The male green spoon worm is 200,000 times smaller than the female! He spends his whole life sitting in a special chamber inside the female fertilizing her eggs.
  • Female moorhens prefer the shortest, fattest males! If they are fat then they have enough food reserves to sit longer on a clutch of eggs and are more successful at hatching.

Wild at Heart: Two Presentations to choose from.

February 12 or February 13, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Coffee and desserts  will be served during the break.

Zoo Education Centre, Assiniboine Park Zoo, Corydon Ave Entrance

Please call us at 982-0664 to book your spot or visit http://www.zoosociety.com. Please note – there is a minimum age restriction on these talks – no children allowed due to the subject matter.


Crafty Animals January 28, 2009

The Zoo Education Centre is offering pre-school craft making programs in 2009. Aimed at 3 to 5 year olds and their an adult partner, this new series of craft sessions falls into our Family Programs series. While we’ve run many other types of programs, this is our first “crafts only” series, because really – what kid doesn’t love crafts?

Crafty Animals is a one and a half hour program packed with zoo nimal themed crafts, from tie-snake to tissue fish to yarn bugs. Sessions will take place in February, March and April and again in the fall of 2009 (Sept, Nov, and Dec). Pre-registration is preferred, for one or all classes.

Winter Sessions: February 18, March 18 and April 15

Time:    1:00 to 2:30 pm

Visit www.zoosociety.com for more information or to register. You’ll also find information their about our other Family Programs including Zoo Tots and Amatuer Animal Puppet Hour!


Blizzard the White Bison January 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 8:15 am
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Here’s a quick update on the whereabouts and well-being of Blizzard the white bison, as some of you have been wondering where Blizzard has gone. Blizzard is spending the winter at the Calgary Zoo, having arrived there in early December of last year to much media hoopla. Blizzard will be returning to his main herd here in Winnipeg in May of 2009.

For those of you who don’t know about Blizzard, here’s a quick bit of background on him for you. Blizzard is a white  bison that was born in the summer of 2005.  He got his name, in part because of his colour (he is not albino), and in part because he arrived in Winnipeg in the midst of a snow storm in March of 2006.

Blizzard immediately made a name for himself and for the zoo through his significance to Aboriginal people. His arrival and introduction to our herd was blessed and witnessed by several Manitoba Elders and he has since been visited by thousands of First Nations people who understand the importance of the Legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman and its teachings. Blizzard has also been an important part of the Zoo Education Centre’s talks and tours, and we’ve been lucky enough to share the story of the bison with thousands of school children and zoo visitors.


Debby Continues to Inspire January 22, 2009

Debby the polar bear continues to inspire many of us, even after her death in late 2008 at the age of 42. While she continues to be missed, her memory lives on in books and sculptures and pictures and stories. Debby and her partner Skipper were such an integral part of the Assiniboine Park Zoo for more than four decades that it’s not surprising but it is heart warming.

Here at the zoo we are working hard to continue Debby’s legacy by launching the Polar Bear Conservation Fund. Several thousand dollars has already been raised even before our big fund raising kickoff in March. We hope you can join the Zoological Society of Manitoba on Sunday, March 22 for our first ever Polar Run. We’re hoping to raise tens of thousands of dollars over the coming months and years to allow us to build a state of the art polar bear conservation centre here at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. The zoo is poised to be the world leader in polar conservation and education but this campaign is a grassroots campaign and we need your help to make it possible. If you would like to donate, in memory of Debby, please visit www.zoosociety.com.

And please keep your stories and pictures and tributes to Debby coming! At Portage Ave and Main St, just in front of the TD Tower, I got to see a huge new snow sculpture depicting Debby, that was just completed yesterday for Winnipeg’s Festival du Voyageur celebration. Over the Christmas holidays Debby was the inspiration for many home snow sculptures, including the photo below. Plus, the Zoo Gift Shop and other local Winnipeg bookstores will soon be selling a book highlighting Debby’s life, written by local author, comedian and celebrity, Jon Ljungberg.

Debby during Christmas 2008

Debby during Christmas 2008


Polar Run for Polar Bears! January 16, 2009

The Zoological Society and it’s able bodied partner The Running Room, have just announced a brand new event called The Polar Run to raise public awareness and money for polar bear conservation at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

The Society and Running Room have hosted three successful Run Wild! events in the past and will be announcing details of the fourth annual zoo run very soon. This event is a departure from previous runs by taking place in cooler weather of March. Perfect weather for polar bears and polar bear supporters. We don’t care whether you run, walk, jog, jump, skip or simply sally forth – we just want you involved. Keep the dog at home but bring the rest of the family and get active at the zoo.

The Polar Run

Sunday, March 22, 2009 – starting at 8:30 am

Assiniboine Park Zoo, East Gate Entrance

Events: 3 km Polar Chug, 5 km Global Trot and 10km Polar Run

If you’re worried about pledges, raising funds, or tedious fund raising goals – forget it! We’ve got the simple answer. The 3 km and 5 km runs are only $20 while the 10 km run is $25. After March 1, sign up fees are $25 and $30 respectfully. And kids are only $10, anytime! Quite the bargain considering all funds raised go to such an important cause.

For more information please visit www.runningroom.com or www.zoosociety.com

This is a great warm up for our June Run Wild at the Zoo event, so find a friend, a coworker, a family member, a neighbour or one of each and make your way over the Assiniboine Park Zoo. (Which is open 365 days a year by the way).