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:



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.


Check out Chris D’s sea eagle video too:



Zoo Baby Update June 11, 2010

Filed under: New Animals/Births,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 5:38 pm

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.


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

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


The Lions Are Here! (Pass it on) May 27, 2010

Filed under: New Animals/Births,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 10:11 pm

Hey, did you hear? The lions are here!

Lions have officially arrived at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. See them in their newly renovated exhibit, across the path from the tigers. Stay tuned for details!


Sea Eagles Land in New Zoo Exhibit May 7, 2010

Filed under: Birds,Member Notices,New Animals/Births,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 1:02 pm

Stanley and Stella, the Steller’s sea eagles at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, are officially moved into their new home today, May 7th, 2010.   An official opening was held to welcome the eagles to their expansive new Asian-shores home, which includes a bubbling creek, a pond, and lots of room to stretch their massive wings.

The Zoological Society of Manitoba raised over $200,000 for the new exhibit through its members’ contributions and events such as Safeway Boo at the Zoo.  The project was managed by Mr. Steve Stephanson, Director on the Board of the Zoological Society, and designed and constructed by Bridgman Collaborative Architecture and Tractus Projects.  During the opening ceremony, the Zoological Society turned over the keys of the exhibit to the City of Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo.

The exhibit is "unveiled"

The Zoological Society of Manitoba hands over the key to the new sea eagle exhibit to the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Councillor Gord Steeves accepts the key on behalf of the City of Winnipeg

The Steller’s Sea Eagle is native to the sub-arctic west coast of Russia, although individuals occasionally migrate to Alaska and to Japan.  Weighing up to 9 kg and sporting a massive beak, it is the largest of all eagles (the Bald Eagle may reach 6 kg).  Stella arrived at the Zoo in 2005 from the Tallinn Zoo in Estonia, and Stanley in 2006 from the Liberec Zoo in the Czech Republic.   Aged seven and five, the birds have acquired their full size and attractive pattern of white and brown plumage, and have reached the potential reproductive age.  Zoo officials are hopeful that these eagles will soon begin a successful breeding career.  There are only 16 Steller’s Sea Eagles in North American zoos, and only one pair has bred to date.


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/.