Posts Tagged With: donation

Bamboo donation a welcome treat

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Red river hog plays in enrichment-CBThree acres of overgrown bamboo is a good problem to have, as long as you’re a Dallas Zoo animal! Our red river hogs, primates and many other animals are now benefiting from Paula Hagan and George Muszejnski’s landscape problem at their Lake Tyler property.

The couple donated more than 3,000 feet of valuable timber bamboo to be used as animal enrichment.

Enrichment is anything that enhances animal behaviors or their natural environments, according to Dallas Zoo Enrichment Committee Chair Jenifer Joseph. This can include spreading an evening snack for a tiger all across the habitat or building complex scratching structures out of natural products for the hogs and giraffes.

Bamboo is especially useful for animal enrichment because of its versatility. Food is stuffed in it for animals to dig out (think nature’s Kong toy), and it’s made into fencing, scratchers and more for the animals.

IMG_7806 Bamboo 4H CS-resize“George and I had thought about trying to find a buyer for it, but we were also wondering if the Dallas Zoo would have any use for it,” said Hagan. “Then we visited the Zoo in May with our family and noticed bamboo fencing the same size as what we had cut down.”

Hagan and Muszejnski are happy to do a good deed for Hagan’s late grandmother, who was an animal lover and originally planted the bamboo to use as fishing rods.

Now in the hands of the Zoo, staff and volunteers are giving the bamboo a second life all across the Zoo’s 106 acres.

But what about enrichment for our larger-than-life animals? Easy. DSC_0165We love larger-than-life natural donations. The Zoo’s award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit received a root ball from a large tree removed from Highland Park. Our elephants treat large logs and tree roots like furniture, moving them all around the habitat.

Interested in helping with Dallas Zoo animal enrichment? Check out these two options:

  • E-mail info@dallaszoo.com if you have a very large quantity of tree limbs, root balls, logs, etc. that you would donate.
  • Visit the Local Oak restaurant in Oak Cliff this weekend (June 23-26). A portion of all food and beverage sales will be donated to the Zoo’s Enrichment Committee.
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Categories: Enrichment | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Root Balls: An elephant delicacy

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Each morning, our five female elephants enter the Giants of the Savanna and look for their breakfast. But recently, the “Golden Girls” discovered a new treat. Temple Emanu-El, a reform Jewish synagogue in Dallas, donated nine massive red oak root balls to us after they were excavated from a building project at the temple. The root balls were scattered throughout the habitat, used as enrichment to stimulate the elephants’ natural behaviors. It gives the girls something new to explore, and guests from the temple got to see the amusing sight of them ripping apart roots with their trunks.

The root balls are delivered to the Zoo.
The root balls are delivered to the Zoo.
Ashley Allen/Dallas Zoo
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Categories: Africa, Elephant, Enrichment, Mammals | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special donor makes unforgettable contributions

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We’ve been part of her life — and her budget — since 1989, when Carrollton resident Linda Balkey made her first donation to the Dallas Zoo. And it didn’t stop there! Since 1995, Balkey has donated $25 every single month, and it’s a handwritten check every time.

Balkey holds African penguin, Opus.

Balkey holds African penguin, Opus. Dallas Zoo/Chelsea Stover

She proves that no matter how small, every donation counts. “The Dallas Zoo is just a part of my budget. You don’t have to do a lot. I just felt called to do more, and this $25 I just won’t notice,” she explained.

But we’ve noticed. Each month when we open Balkey’s handwritten check, we wondered, ‘who is this woman?’ We wanted to know more about her, so we invited her out for a special day at the Zoo.

When we greeted her at the front gate, it felt like we had known her for years. “The Dallas Zoo has a soft spot in my heart,” said Linda, a retired second-grade teacher. “You all are like teachers, heroes — people don’t appreciate you enough. But I appreciate you stepping up and taking care of animals when the vast majority of us can’t.”

Her day began with a behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe barn. Giddy as she fed the giraffes crackers, Balkey acknowledged it’s been too long since she had been to the Dallas Zoo. “I was a member when my kids were young, but that stopped when they grew up and moved away,” she said. “But I’ve kept up with you guys, and I’m so proud of your changes.”

Those changes couldn’t have happened without support such as hers. We visited our African black-footed penguins next, where Balkey got to hold and feed Opus.

Balkey feeds giraffe Auggie. Dallas Zoo/Chelsea Stover

Balkey feeds giraffe Auggie. Dallas Zoo/Chelsea Stover

When we learned tigers were her favorite animal, we knew we had to take her to their off-exhibit home. Her face lit up, and when we entered, it was if the tigers knew how special she was to us. Sumatran tiger Batu showed off, lounging in his pool, rolling over on his back and chuffing loudly (tiger lingo for “talking”).

We are immensely grateful to all of our donors, especially those who stay with us through the years. But we need you, too! On Oct. 1, we’ll launch our Decision/Donate 2014 Annual Fund campaign, where you can make a donation and vote for one of our candidates for our Animal Board of Directors! Stay tuned here on the ZooHoo! blog and on our social media sites for details.

 

Categories: Conservation, Giraffe, Penguins | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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