Tails From The Zoo

Mayor Officially Welcomes Zoo’s Lions June 15, 2010

Thanks to ChrisD.ca for the following video from today’s press conference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RsRyhdw58Q

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From the City of Winnipeg’s Press Desk:

The Mane Attraction: Zoo visitors will be excited to hear that lions are now back on display at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

While the Zoo has displayed a number of lions over its long history, a decision was reached in 1981 to discontinue with this species due to inadequate winter facilities. Continuing public enquiries about lions prompted Zoo officials to bring in a family of lions on a temporary basis in 2005, and visitors were enthralled by the King of Beasts. Consequently, the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Zoological Society of Manitoba began planning a major renovation of the former Giant Panda building to permanently house a pair of lions.

The Zoological Society contributed $350,000 to help upgrade the facility, and to create a new interpretive hall and displays, which could also serve as an attractive space for educational activities and meetings. The displays focus on the lion’s natural history, family life, current status, how human cultures have viewed the lion over the millennia, and the ancestry of big cats and Sabretooths around the world.

The young lions have now arrived from a zoo in Ontario, and are undergoing a period of introduction. The 4-year old female is named Kaya and the 3-year-old male is Xerxes, who has not yet developed his full mane. This beautiful Pavilion of the lions gives visitors an idea of the exciting developments being planned at the Zoo and other locations at the Assiniboine Park.

Additional background:

  • Although the lion evolved in Africa 3.5 million years ago, it diversified into various races as it spread over temporary land bridges into Eurasia, North America and South America.
  • This species had the largest-known distribution of any large mammal and was common throughout the Americas (including Manitoba) until it died out here 10,000 years ago.
  • The American lion (Panthera leo atrox) was the largest cat that ever walked the earth – at least a third larger (up to 380 kg; 838 lbs) than today’s African lion.
  • Originally numbering in the millions over its vast world range, the lion has been persecuted for thousands of years, and currently fewer than 18,000 survive in Africa and 300 in India. There is concern that the species may be eliminated from the wild by the end of the century.

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Check out Chris D’s sea eagle video too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WheJCOgfl8

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Zoo Baby Update June 11, 2010

Filed under: New Animals/Births,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 5:38 pm
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We are getting lots of questions from zoo visitors and school groups about what animals are having babies this year. Well, June is a great time of year to visit our new additions, which includes offspring from the following species:

Wisent (European bison)

Stone’s sheep (a thin horned sheep from the northern Rockies)

Alpine ibex (a species of wild Eurasian goat)

Ring-tailed lemurs

Reindeer (six of them!)

Golden eagles

Black-tailed prairie dogs

Pronghorn (pictured below)

Newborn Pronghorns

We also have lots of “non-zoo” animals that make the zoo their home to raise a family. Those that have had babies that you can see this year include Canadian geese, Richardson’s ground squirrel, wood ducks, and several species of frogs (lots of tadpoles in our ponds).

 

Zoo Vision Begins With Bears June 10, 2010

Plans for Phase 1 of the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s new Master Plan have got Manitobans all abuzz about the positive changes coming to Assiniboine Park. Construction plans for the first project were rolled out on Tuesday, June 8 for a new research and education centre called the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.

Snow Turning to kick off construction

Polar bear rehabilitation, research and public education will be the focus of the first-of-its-kind, world-class International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.

Click here to see the new zoo plans : http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/making-room-for-polar-bears-95937289.html

Visit www.assiniboinepark.ca to learn all about the revisioning of Assiniboine Park.

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Follow up with a bit more of the coverage we’ve received:

Winnipeg Sun: http://www.winnipegsun.com/news/winnipeg/2010/06/08/14315936.html

CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/06/08/mb-polar-bear-rescue-centre-winnipeg.html

 

Zoo’s New Young Lions Impress Visitors June 9, 2010

Filed under: Exhibits,New Animals/Births,Uncategorized,Wild Cats — Scott Gray @ 9:49 pm
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The Assiniboine Park Zoo’s new young lion pair are proving to be a real hit with visitors. Combined with an all new interpretive building, the lion pavilion is expected to be a busy place this summer.  Xerxes and Kaya are still getting used to each other but have definitely claimed their new home as a great place to roam.

Our young male explores the trees outside

Male lion

Our young female establishes her space in the inside viewing area

Female lion

Photos by Darlene Stack, Zoo Photographer

 

Construction To Begin On Zoo’s Old Bear Range June 8, 2010

The Assiniboine Park Zoo and Assiniboine Park Conservancy announced plans today for its new International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at a unique “snow-turning” ceremony today. Construction is scheduled to begin next week on a new transition centre for orphaned polar bear cubs. The $4.5-million education and research facility and polar bear “transition centre” in Assiniboine Park Zoo will be a world-wide centre for Arctic conservation. The new building is to be constructed behind the zoo’s existing bear enclosure.

The transition centre will be off limits to the public most of the time but a new state-of-the- art Arctic exhibit, with room for six adult polar bears will open in 2013 for public viewing of bears.  The Province of Manitoba has committed $31 million to the project, including $4.5 million for the conservation centre and more than $26 million for construction of the polar bear arctic exhibit.

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For more information on this story, please see the following coverage:

Winnipeg Free Press: Work Set to Begin On Rescue Facility

ChrisD.ca:  Snow Turned on First Phase of Polar Bear Centre

 

Geocaching at the Zoo III June 6, 2010

Come and spend the day at the Zoo and learn about geocaching.

Date: Saturday June 12, 2010
Time: noon – approximately 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)

Noon – 12:30 p.m. Introduction to geocaching presented by the Manitoba Geocaching Association.
12:30 – 4:00 p.m. Search for the new geocaches that will be placed around the Zoo.
4:00 Prize Draw

This year’s theme for our caches is biodiversity so expect a very diverse set of caches! 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.

Click here for more information: http://www.mbgeocaching.ca/node/717

 

New Nature Playground For Park June 5, 2010

Filed under: Assiniboine Park,Exhibits,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 10:37 pm
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Assiniboine Park, at a unique sand-turning, announced further funding and the beginning of construction of a fantastic new nature playground. Along with an expanded duck pond, this free family fun area will be a world class attraction for Manitobans for years to come.

Nature Playground "Sand-Turning"

Read more about yesterday’s exciting news …

Winnipeg Sun: http://www.winnipegsun.com/news/winnipeg/2010/06/04/14266886.html

Steven Fletcher (MP for Charleswood, St James, Assiniboia): http://www.stevenfletcher.com/EN/3519/113550

Assiniboine Park Press Release: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/newsletter