Tails From The Zoo

Fun Friday Zoo Facts April 30, 2010

Filed under: Biodiversity,Birds,Carbon Footprints,Eco-Dates,World News — Scott Gray @ 3:30 pm
Tags: ,

Saving the Earth is a lot easier than you think!

  • A gas-powered lawn mower for one hour can emit as much pollution as driving a car more than 320 kilometres.  Trade in your gas-guzzler for an electric or solar powered lawn mower!


Following up on the recent zoo baby announcements:

  • The Assiniboine Park Zoo now has baby stones sheep, European bison, and reindeer.


Upcoming National and International Days
International Composting Awareness Week – May 3 to 9 –
Visit: The Composting Council of Canada
International Migratory Bird Day – May 9 – Visit: http://www.birdday.org/
International Day for Biological Diversity – May 22 – Visit Biodiversity Canada
World Turtle Day – May 23 – Visit: Turtle Day Celebrations


Solar Powered Trash Compactor at the Zoo April 26, 2010

The Zoological Society of Manitoba recently unveiled a new solar-powered trash compactor at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. The bin is adjacent to the Animal Tracks Cafe and will hold five times a much garbage as traditional garbage cans. This helps us to reduce the number of vehicle trips associated with frequent trash collection as well as reduce litter from overflow and reduce issues with wasps in the summer because the new bin is covered.

“In keeping with our commitment to conservation efforts, we are very please to accept Waste Managment’s donation of a solar power compator”, said Tricialynn Zacharias in last week’s press release. “It means a better environment for our zoo animals, staff and visitors.”

Watch a video of the bin’s use here: http://www.thinkgreen.com/bbsmall

Indeed, Waste Management’s generosity to donate the bin, and a companion recycling bin, is significant as the unit normally retails for $3,700.


The Zoological Society and Assiniboine Park Zoo are greening things in a number of other ways.

Zoo Gift Shop:

  • Using OXO biodegradable bags in our Zoo Gift Shop
  • Selling “Poo Poo Paper”  products, 100% organic cotton tshirts, purses made of bamboo and coconut and bamboo xylophones.


  • Compost bins are used to turn zoo classroom and zoo restaurant 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.


  • 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.

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 fruit, veggies  and 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.


These are just some of the ways we are trying to make a difference. We have plans for more solar panel use in buildings, as well as geo-thermal for the zoo.


Million $ Announcement for Assiniboine Park April 23, 2010

Filed under: Assiniboine Park,Exhibits — Scott Gray @ 11:02 am
Tags: , ,

Hartley Richardson, Chair of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy’s Board of Directors, along with park staff and management were on hand this morning to hear Charleswood MP Steven Fletcher and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz announce new funding.

A little more than $4.6 million will be going to spruce up the children’s play area at Assiniboine Park, along with the ever popular skating pond. Plans call for landscaping, water and sand play areas and tree forts. The Duck Pond will also be expanded for skaters and a naturalized wetland system in summer months.

Fletcher said Ottawa is contributing $1 million towards the renewal project.


“It will be a magical place,” said city businessman Hartley Richardson.

Work is to start immediately on the Assiniboine Park projects, Richardson said. “It’s a real shot in the arm,” he said of the funding.  “We won’t let you down.”

To read more on the projects, please visit: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/mnufuture-vision


New Debby the Polar Bear Pin April 22, 2010

Filed under: Member Notices,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 1:36 pm
Tags: ,

The Zoo Gift Shop is now the official retailer of a brand new Debby the Polar Bear™ pin.  The Assiniboine Park Zoo Gift Shop is now a Corporate Member of the Winnipeg Pin Collectors Club. Pins are available at the store for $4.99

Winnipeg Pin Collectors Club: http://www.winnipegpincollectorsclub.com/

Zoo Gift Shop: www.zoosociety.com

Pins are available at the Store for $4.99 each.

Leaping Lemur Babies! April 20, 2010

Filed under: New Animals/Births,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 1:03 pm

It’s spring in Winnipeg and that means the Assiniboine Park Zoo is gearing up for another season of babies. We already have quite a few wild geese that have made the zoo grounds their home and they are sitting on eggs. Our male turkeys have been parading throughout the zoo looking for a female turkey to impress. Plus! Twin ring-tailed lemur babies can now be seen in the Tropical House.


If you’re planning to visit the zoo soon, remember to stop by the Kinsmen Discovery Centre to see how big the “baby” meerkat is. He was born back in December of 2009 but since meerkats reach maturity by 10 months of  age, you could call him “teen” at the moment. Read all about his arrival here: https://zoosociety.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/new-meerkat-baby-at-the-assiniboine-park-zoo/.


Waldo the Grizzly Dies at 36 April 19, 2010

Filed under: Member Notices,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 1:01 pm

Waldo the grizzly bear, who lived at the Assiniboine Park Zoo for many of his 36 years, passed away in his sleep in his hibernating den, late last week. Waldo was a favourite of zoo visitors, along with his sister Hilda, who died three years ago at age 33. They were both orphaned in 1974 near Banff, Alberta, and the cubs were shipped to Winnipeg from the Calgary Zoo later that year.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo has housed grizzlies since 1951, including 12 cubs that were born before Hilda and Waldo arrived.

“Waldo will be missed by the many zoo staff that cared for him over the years, and by the hundreds of thousands of visitors who enjoyed watching him interact with Hilda, and dive into the pool for apples”, said zoo staff in today’s press release

Waldo the grizzly bear

Waldo the grizzly bear - 1974 to 2010



World Tapir Day Happens On April 27

Filed under: Conservation Programs,Eco-Dates,Extinction — Scott Gray @ 8:25 am

World Tapir Day occurs on April 27 every year. Are you ready?


The following information on tapirs comes directly from the Official World Tapir Day website: http://www.tapirday.org/


World Tapir Day has been established, in the first instance, to raise awareness about the four species of tapir that inhabit Central and South America and South-East Asia. Each of the four species is in decline, with the Mountain Tapir (below left) facing extinction within the next twenty years, should conservation efforts not be introduced in its ever-shrinking natural range in Colombia and Ecuador. The Baird’s Tapir (below right), the largest mammal of the Americas, is facing a similar threat in its home range in Central America. Across the Pacific Ocean, the Malayan Tapir faces severe threats in Indonesia and other countries due to habitat destruction. Even the Brazilian Tapir, the most numerous species of tapir, is vulnerable because of the increasing rate of destruction of the Amazon. There may even be a fifth, distinct subspecies of Brazilian Tapir, but there is little research in this area to date.

As large herbivores, tapirs are invariably the first species affected by human encroachment into their territory, and amongst the last to return to regrowth forest. They require substantial tracts of undisturbed land to maintain a genetically-diverse population. Tapirs inhabit jungles, grasslands, swamps and cloud forests, yet each is threatened by human activity – be that mining, palm oil plantations, roads or settlements. They form an important part of the ecosystem as seed dispersers, and form one of the oldest surviving genera in the animal kingdom.

Despite their size, history and ecological importance, tapirs remain one of the least recognised species of animals. In comparison with other animals, tapirs feature little in the collective consciousness and are frequently misidentified by zoo visitors. Even in their home ranges, tapirs receive little attention, with exotic species featuring more prominently in zoos, children’s books and the media.

Mountain tapir standing in a river

Mountain tapir

Baird's tapir

Baird's tapir

Photos are copyright: http://www.arkive.org


The plight of tapirs is symbolic for the wider threat to their habitats specifically, and the world’s ecology in general. The decline of tapir populations is indicative of the general health of their ranges; their disappearance from their home ranges often marks a point of ‘no return’ for the natural environment. The destruction of forests into small, isolated enclaves and the encroachment of human activity into pristine forests affects all native species. However, as the largest – yet perhaps the quietest – of animals in their ranges, tapirs disappear without trace with countless other species.

All tapirs are endangered species. Saving tapirs helps to save the rainforest. Saving rainforests helps to save the planet and prevent climate change.