Tails From The Zoo

Plastic in our Oceans June 28, 2009

Filed under: Biodiversity,Birds,Carbon Footprints,Uncategorized,World News — Scott Gray @ 1:27 am

Please reduce your plastic use, for the sake of the animals and the earth.

The Garbage Patch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUjTHB1lvM

World’s Biggest Garbage Dump: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxNqzAHGXvs

Ocean of Plastic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPBO-c5GMDQ

Not happy about how we’re treating our earth, our oceans and the animals that live in them? Take a deep breath and watch the Earth breathing…



New Zoo Geocaches Launched June 20, 2009

Filed under: Geocaching,Special Events — Scott Gray @ 4:08 pm
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The Zoological Society of Manitoba and the Manitoba Geocaching Association will be hosting their second annual “Geocaching the Zoo” event tomorrow, June 21, 2009. The weather forcast looks fantastic for a stroll with the family through the zoo to find our 8 new caches. Each cache is themed around the Zoo Education Centre’s current education campaign dubbed: Mission Big Foot.

All of the cache coordinates will be available at http://www.mbgeocaching.ca and http://www.geocaching.com as of tomorrow but we encourage everyone to stop by the Zoo Education Centre to meet with other geocachers, representatives of the MGCA and Zoo Society, and to enter a contest for finding locations.

Come and spend the day at the Zoo and learn about geocaching. This year’s theme is Mission: Big Foot!

Date: Sunday, June 21, 2009
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Enter the Zoo though the South Gate and then meet us at the Zoo Education Centre located at N49° 52.122 W097° 14.515. (To your left as you go through the gate)

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.  Introduction to geocaching presented by the Manitoba Geocaching Association.
2:00 – 4:30 p.m.  Search for the new geocaches that will be placed around the Zoo.
4:30 Prize Draw

The MBGA will have a couple of extra GPS units available for those that are interested in participating but do not own a GPS. They will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have about geocaching or the use of your GPS. A brochure and contest form will be available to participants.

Zoo Admission (Plus GST)
Adult – $4.55
Senior – $4.25
Youth (13-17) – $2.95
Child (2-12) – $2.40
Family Day Pass – $16.00
Zoo Society Members – Free

We hope to see you there! But remember – if you can’t make it out on the 21st, the new caches will be active until the spring of 2010, so we encourage you to visit us when ever you can.


Assiniboine Park is a Birder’s Paradise

Filed under: Biodiversity,Birds,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 3:53 pm
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Waxwings outside the Tropical House in December

If you’ve spent any time in the Assiniboine Park or Assiniboine Forest before, you know that birds are some of the most prolific of park users. But it’s only when you begin to compile a list of all the types of birds that can be found in the park that you realize that you’ve stepped into a birding paradise. I love to see the seasonal migrations of songbirds including a dizzying array of warblers, watch the crows put up with the harassment by the blackbirds, hear the rat-tat-tat of the pileated woodpeckers, watch the burst of colour of the American goldfinch, the aerodynamic insect catching of the cliff swallows, and partake in the quiet companionship of the seemingly ever present flycatchers.

For a full list of the species that have been recorded seasonally or year round in the park since 1945, along with pictures and sound bites, please visit: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/index.php/component/content/section/1?category=1. This list was compiled by three of Manitoba’s top birders and is a wonderful new resource for nature enthusiasts and teachers.


Eco-Friendly Zoo Initiatives

Filed under: Carbon Footprints,Eco-Projects,Education Programs — Scott Gray @ 9:47 am

The Zoological Society’s Education Department has been busy promoting Mission Big Foot, as part of our commitment to the “Year of the Carbon Footprint” in 2009. A big part of our messaging this year includes ways in which people can reduce the size of their carbon footprints, i.e. their big feet. We also want to make sure that we practice what we preach and compiled a list of actions that the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Zoological Society of Manitoba have taken to reduce the size of our footprints.

In addition to reclaiming and reusing as much materials for the old panda building for our new lion enclosure, and encouraging staff to walk or bike to work, we can proudly say that we have been doing the following:
The Zoological Society of Manitoba and Assiniboine Park Zoo are pleased to be contributing to a wilder, greener future for plants and animals by practicing ecologically sensitive business.

Eco-friendly Materials and Products:

  • Our Food Services division provides containers and plates made from Bagasse instead of polystyrene, serves drinks in Ecotainer coffee cups and clear corn juice cups, and uses forks, knives and spoons derived from potatoes instead of plastic. All of these products can also be composted.
  • Our Zoo Gift Shop uses OXO biodegradable bags.
  • The Gift Shop also sells Mr. Ellie Pooh paper products, 100% organic cotton t shirts, purses made of bamboo, coconut and bamboo xylophones, and plantable paper.


  • Compost bins are used to turn zoo classroom, Animal Tracks Cafe and Terrace 55’s food scraps into soil.
  • Large scale composting of organic materials like plant material, hay and bedding, and animal manure saves hundreds of tons of rubbish from entering landfills.


  • All paper, glass, plastic and aluminum products are collected and picked up by local companies.
  • Fluorescent light bulbs are collected and brought to a special depot for proper disposal.
  • All scrap metal is collected for recycling depots.
  • We collect used ink jet, laser printer and fax cartridges as well as old cell phones, and send it to companies that recycle the materials.
  • We purchase office paper and paper products made from recycled material.


  • We actively solicit public donations of used items like fridges, ladders, bicycles, towels, and animal equipment for reuse throughout the zoo to reduce cost and cut back on consumerism.
  • Branches and small trees are chipped and the wood chips then used for enclosures and pathways.

Environmental Education:

  • Strong environmental and conservation messaging is a vital part of all children, adult and senior programs (including camps, guided tours, and workshops) at the Zoo Education Centre.
  • The Zoo Education Centre has joined forces with zoos around North America in 2009 as part of a yearlong initiative to challenge schools, families, companies and governments to reduce the size of their carbon footprint and their negative impacts on the earth.

Reducing Our Consumption and Our Impact:

  • Both our Gift Shop and Café use Bio-Life cleaning products that are plant based (renewable), biodegradable and phosphate-free.
  • These greener cleaners are being phased-in zoo-wide as is the use of compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving devices.
  • Timers and sensors are installed in offices, buildings and exhibits so that lights are not left on.
  • We accept donations of fresh fruit and veggies from the public for the animals so it does not go to waste as well as donations of other foodstuffs, material and other pertinent items from companies to assist with costs and so the items don’t end up in the landfill.
  • Newsletters, renewal and registration forms are emailed instead of sent by regular post whenever possible.
  • If brochures, newsletters or marketing materials are produced, they are printed on 100% post-consumer paper with vegetable based inks.
  • We use electric golf carts and tour trolleys and staff get around the zoo on bikes.
  • We support and participate in anti-litter campaigns.

For more information on how you can reduce your carbon foot print, visit www.planetpartnership.com and take the short training session! Planet Partnership makes a donation to the Zoological Society for every session taken. Use the password rfapz25 to get started!


$180 million dollar park makeover June 19, 2009

The Assiniboine Park Conservancy (www.assiniboinepark.ca) has just embarked on a new $180 million dollar fund raising campaign for the Assiniboine Park and Zoo, over the next 10 years.

From the Winnipeg Free Press:



From the Winnipeg Sun:



New Vision for Assiniboine Park and Zoo announced

Details unveiled for zoo makeover


Information, which can be found at http://www.assiniboinepark.ca, on the Assiniboine Park Conservancy’s new plans for the Assiniboine Park Zoo…


The Assiniboine Park Zoo of tomorrow will keep what is good from the old zoo and create something dramatically new and exciting. While the uncluttered, park-like atmosphere of the Zoo will remain, the visiting public will be treated to natural habitats including the Boreal forest area, the arctic and our prairie home and the diversity of animals in the vast area of Asia. But that is really only a small part of the changes to occur at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

The orientation of the zoo will change so that public entry will be through an inviting new complex off of Corydon Avenue, with a themed restaurant that will be available to the public even when the zoo is closed for the night. This will make the Zoo more easily accessible and reduce vehicular traffic in the centre of the Park.

The Zoo will be a more visible and active contributor to environmental and wildlife education, research, and conservation in Manitoba. The commitment to conservation will be clearly evident as the new education campus takes root.

The Kinsmen Discovery Centre will form a part of this education campus and host a walk-through animal contact area. Also bordering the education campus will be the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) that will provide information to the public about the arctic environment and polar bear conservation. It will also help to coordinate education and conservation / research programs internationally. The centre will actively participate in and help coordinate a rescue program for orphaned polar bears in Canada and internationally, insuring that these precious animals are conditioned to our care and that their final home is committed to their long-term well-being.

The Arctic exhibit area will form the other boundary to the education campus with muskox and caribou, arctic fox, and snowy owls that surround a world class polar bear exhibit including inside, underwater viewing and a range of other viewing opportunities.

Our primates and some new species will be housed in an expansive and very comfortable and entertaining new home that will feature many rare and endangered species from Asia, including leopards, red pandas, otters, reptiles, and birds.

New to the zoo will be a heavy horse barn and paddocks. These large draft horses will be harness trained and will be used to draw wagons and sleighs for alternate transportation within the park and for special events. The barns will be open to the public and people will have the opportunity to watch as the animals are cared-for, trained, and worked.

Clearly there is an unparalleled, exciting transformation in store for Manitobans and visitors alike, as we realize a new and much improved vision for the Assiniboine Park Zoo!


The Animals Save the Planet June 8, 2009

Filed under: Carbon Footprints,Eco-Projects,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 9:07 pm
I realize that these have been out for awhile but they're brilliant!
If you'd like more information on reducing your carbon footprint,
visit www.planetpartnership.com and take the training!
Enter this password: rfapz25
You will be supporting the Zoological Society of Manitoba
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