Tails From The Zoo

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


Is the Assiniboine Park Zoo Accredited? October 8, 2009

Filed under: CAZA,Exhibits,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 11:13 am
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The Assiniboine Park Zoo is a proud accredited member of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which is at non-profit organization established to promote the welfare of animals and encourage the advancement of education, conservation and science.


Here is a list of all of the CAZA Institutional Members across the country.

British Columbia:

  • British Columbia Wildlife Park
  • Greater Vancouver Zoo
  • Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge
  • Mountain View Conservation & Breeding Centre Soc.
  • Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre


  • Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden & Prehistoric Park
  • Marine Life Department, West Edmonton Mall
  • Valley Zoo & John Janzen Nature Centre


  • Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo


  • Assiniboine Park Zoo


  • African Lion Safari
  • Bowmanville Zoological Park
  • Indian River Reptile Zoo
  • Jungle Cat World Inc.
  • Marine Land of Canada Inc.
  • Riverview Park and Zoo
  • Safari Niagara
  • Toronto Zoo


  • Aquarium du Québec
  • Biodôme de Montréal
  • Ecomuseum
  • Parc Safari (2002) Inc.
  • Société Zoologique de Granby Inc.
  • Zoo Sauvage de St. Felicien

New Brunswick:

  • Cherry Brook Zoo Inc.
    Magnetic Hill Zoo

New changes and animals at the zoo July 30, 2009

Filed under: New Animals/Births,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 9:33 pm

Here’s a quick update with a few of the changes that have happened with the animal collection at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

  • Lots of pronghorn babies have appeared this week. An elk and a European bison were also born over the last week. You may be wondering if this baby is Conrad’s. Yes it is. Bison cows have a gestation period of over 260 days and since Conrad was the only breeding male for the group, this baby would have been conceived back in 2008.
  • Nearly half of the lion-tailed macaque group has been moved out of the zoo. These perenially favourite monkeys were shipped out today to make room for the group that now remains at the zoo. Our group was the largest in the world in captivity but was at max capacity for the size of the exhibit.
  • Our male Matchie’s tree kangaroo passed away last week. The APZ recieved tree kangaroos back in 1994 after the popular Winnipeg Down Under promotion, which saw koalas make a brief appearance in Winnipeg. Because we could not keep the koalas (they were on loan from another zoo), we got the tree kangaroos as a replacement. Our tree kangaroos did mate over the years and successfully raised several young. The zoo still has a female tree kangaroo along with a large mob of red kangaroos and a small mob of wallabies.

tree kangaroo

  • Our peafowl have finally started raising a new batch of peachicks after a late start. While I haven’t seen very many, several females are leading their babies through the zoo on an endless quest for food.
  • The lion exhibit is really coming together and you can really get a good sense of what it will look like now that most of the framing is finished.

I’ll try to keep you updated as changes continue over the summer or you can visit us at the zoo and see for yourself!


Zoos offer family bonding May 25, 2009

Filed under: The Zoo and You — Scott Gray @ 3:55 pm
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Zoos offer great location for family bonding

By: Bonnie C. Hallman and Mary Benbow / Learning Curve / Winnipeg Free Press

The following article was posted on the Winnipeg Free Press online site, http://www.winnipegfreepress.com on 19/05/2009, 1:00 AM. All rights reserved (by the Wpg. Free Press).

What is a zoo worth to a community and its people?

Zoos are cultural institutions which reflect the social and cultural values of that community, as much as other urban institutions such as libraries, museums, parks and schools do.

Zoos reflect our shared views of the natural world, of the animals which inhabit that world and of how we humans interact with nature. Accredited zoos across the globe place great emphasis on their role as environmental and biological science educators. Zoos are also important in the protection, conservation and breeding of rare and endangered species, often acting as animal “arks.”

Thus, zoos have great value as leaders in the shift to a culture of environmental and human sustainability and contribute to many aspects of our everyday lives.

However, zoos are not only nature-based cultural institutions. They are also public spaces and landscapes that, on closer inspection, are places where people spend time together. Drawing on our own research, zoos contribute significantly to social sustainability, especially in their central importance to meaningful personal and family time.

We have found in our research on families with young children that people engage in highly valued experiences and find meaning in the zoo visit overwhelmingly for personal fulfilment — satisfaction at being a ‘good’ parent — and facilitating a family experience.

Our research, conducted at Assiniboine Park Zoo as well as larger national studies in the United States, found that parents use zoos as unique opportunities for conversation, for focused yet unstructured child-centred interaction and to be active with their children. The zoo becomes a vehicle for meaningful and rich family time, thus helping to build and maintain family bonds.

As a father in one of our studies put it, “The kids think that’s why we go to the zoo, because the animals are there. It’s a good reason for them, for us it’s family time, burns off some energy. It gives us something to do.”

Parents also expressed the value of the zoo as a place for the growth and enrichment of their children and as a place where they had the opportunity to really observe and mark (often through family photographs) the growth and changes in their children.

As one mother, commenting on a photograph taken during a recent zoo visit, said, “This picture is special I guess, you know when she is standing in front of the pond. I’ll remember where it is in front of the pond with the ducks in a couple of years,” and see how much she has grown.

“That’s kind of special.”

We know zoos such as the Assiniboine Park Zoo are places of value because of their unique role as places which support the social fabric of our communities. They are one of the few public spaces to which parents bring their children to teach them, spend time with them and encourage them, all in an atmosphere that gives children greater freedom.

In a visit to the zoo, children often direct where the family group goes and what they look at, an opportunity rarely afforded elsewhere. Safety concerns often find parents unable to relax with their children, but zoos provide an environment where parents can step back and enjoy the experience. As one parent noted, “The big thing when we go to the zoo as a family is the kids are kind of clustered together and the adults are to the side watching them walk along.”

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is the oldest public zoo in Canada and an important resource for the City of Winnipeg. Many initiatives — new exhibit for the Steller’s Sea Eagles, renovation of the former Panda exhibit to accommodate Asian Lions and the Polar Bear Conservation Fund (in memory of the late Debby the Polar Bear) — demonstrate the energy and commitment of the zoo’s staff.

Additional research shows the zoo is a popular venue for healthy activity for seniors, and, analyzing its enclosures and environments, is also a healthy place itself. Recent events at the zoo reveal the great breadth of people interested in the zoo, such as the well-attended Night Tour of the Zoo in April. The real value and meaning of the zoo may well be not only what is in the zoo, but what is in the quality of the experiences it affords for families and for us all.

Dr. Bonnie C. Hallman and Dr. Mary Benbow are professors in the Department of Environment and Geography, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources at the University of Manitoba.


Free Zoo Day May 15, 2009

Filed under: Member Notices,The Zoo and You — Scott Gray @ 4:29 am
Tags: ,

The Assiniboine Park Zoo, on behalf of the Mayor of Winnipeg, has announced today that July 1st will once again be free for all visitors. This special day has been set aside for Winnipeggers to enjoy the beauty of the zoo and the park, and will be open from 9 am to 6 pm (gates close at 5:30).


Arctic Fox Shipments April 9, 2009

Filed under: World News,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 6:40 pm
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The last few months have been interesting at the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s animal hospital with all sorts of Arctic fox shipments. The zoo had ten young foxes born in June of 2008, after a gestation of about 52 days. Their exact birthdates are unknown as they are born underground and the babies are not seen for a few weeks. One set of parents had seven kits while the other had three. The new additions made for a wonderful summer of viewing and learning at the fox exhibits.

Arctic fox do not hibernate and can withstand temperatures as low as -50 degress Celsius (perfect animals for a zoo in Winnipeg!). They have a life span of about ten years, with both parents looking after the young. Nine subspecies of Arctic fox live in the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. Arctic fox are pure white in the winter and grey-brown, light brown, gray, chocolate, or even black with a bluish hue in the summer, depending on their range. Arctic foxes are omnivorous, but feed particularly on small mammals (lemmings), eggs, carrion and berries.

Zoo keepers and vet staff had a fox round-up in early November, and after all of the kits were caught up, they were transferred to the zoo hospital. The ten kits were given a physical, vaccinated, and tattooed and micro-chipped at the hospital. This was all done while they were anesthetized as they are wild animals. After a clean bill of health they were ready for their new homes and were set up in pens with both indoor and outdoor access. It was relatively easy to find homes for the youngsters as Arctic fox are not well represented in zoos. Over the winter the foxes were sent to other zoos across the continent and across the ocean. The majority of them went by plane but one went by truck. They went to Tacoma, Washington, St.Paul, and Minnesota in the U.S., to Edmonton, Toronto, Thunder Bay and New Brunswick in Canada and also to Switzerland. There is one fox still waiting for his flight to his new home in France.

Thanks to Jacquie for this update from the zoo hospital!


Run Polar Run! March 19, 2009

The Zoological Society and the Running Room are busy preparing for this Sunday’s 1st Annual Polar Run. The Society and Running Room have already hosted three successful !Run Wild! events and we decided to initiate the Polar Run to raise public awareness and funds for a new polar bear conservation centre at the zoo.

We have had a fantastic sign-up rate so far but we would like to really raise the roof on this race. Come out to the Assiniboine Park Zoo on Sunday March 22 and run, walk, jog, jump, skip or simply sally forth and be part of the movement.

The Polar Run

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

Assiniboine Park Zoo, Zoo Gift Shop entrance at 8:00 am

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

For information on registration fees and getting your race kits,  please visit any Winnipeg Running Room location or www.runningroom.com.

And remember, this is a great warm up for our May !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.