Posts Tagged With: wildlife

BIRTHDAY BASH! Dallas Zoo celebrates chimp & otter’s 1st birthdays

 

Chimp Mshindi at 6 months old/Keeper Will Bookwalter

Chimp Mshindi at 6 months old/Keeper Will Bookwalter

Born one day apart, guest favorites Mshindi & Tasanee turn one

WHAT: Our babies are growing up! The Dallas Zoo is throwing a first birthday party bash for chimp Mshindi and Asian small-clawed otter Tasanee tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 24), and everyone’s invited. The first 100 guests at both habitats will receive a free mini-cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Join us at 10 a.m. at the decorated Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest, as we sing “Happy Birthday” while Mshindi and his eight troop members tear into a massive, chimp face-shaped birthday cake filled with his favorite treats. Shortly after at 10:45 a.m. at the Betty Moroney Norsworthy Otter Outpost, we’ll sing to Tasanee as she and her parents dive into her floating sashimi boat loaded with her favorite food.

Otter Tasanee at 3 months old gets the hang of swimming/Dallas Zoo

Otter Tasanee at 3 months old gets the hang of swimming/Dallas Zoo

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 24. Schedule:

10 a.m.: Birthday cake presentation at Chimpanzee Forest in Wilds of Africa

10:45 a.m.: Birthday cake presentation at Otter Outpost in ZooNorth

WHERE: 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway

WHY: Born just one day apart, Mshindi and Tasanee’s births have been major success stories for their endangered species. Asian small-clawed otter Tasanee beat the odds to survive; she needed more than 100 days of devoted care from her keepers, because single otter pups usually do not make it. Chimp Mshindi has been an integral addition to the now nine-member troop. He’s the first baby since his brother, Kona, arrived in 2009, adding a positive dynamic to the troop’s complex social structure.

 

 

 

Categories: Africa, Chimpanzee, Conservation, Enrichment, Events, Media, Otter | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greening the Zoo

Rain, rain…come our way!

Horticulture manager, Randy Johnson, next to rainwater collection tank

Horticulture manager, Randy Johnson, next to new rainwater collection tank

What do rainwater harvesting tanks and reforestation have in common? They’re just a couple of the many environmentally friendly ways we create a self-sustaining ecosystem at the Dallas Zoo.

Conservation has been a pillar at the Zoo for some time now. And we aim to maximize the conservation of plants and wildlife by leading the way in sustainability and green initiatives. Through water conservation and reforestation, the Zoo reduces its ecological footprint. We hope it will encourage visitors to actively incorporate sustainable living into their own lives.

“We encourage people to lessen their ecological footprint on the earth,” said Randy Johnson, Dallas Zoo horticulture manager. “This positive impact can be a leading example for generations to come. We’re not only saving the environment, but also future generations.”

Water conservation

We’ve installed two stainless steel tanks to retain about 70% of water runoff at the Zoo. These tanks hold up to 3,125 gallons of harvested rainwater, which can be used for irrigation and other purposes, such as exhibit maintenance, throughout the Zoo.

This rainwater harvesting system reduces demand on the existing water supply and saves thousands of gallons of water over a single year. The system helps cut down on the amount of rain that washes into rivers and sewers, preventing flooding, erosion

Recently planted tree in Wilds of Africa

Recently planted tree in Wilds of Africa

and pollution. Think about it: water is a precious commodity, and rainwater tanks are an inexpensive and low-maintenance way to conserve.

Reforestation

We know trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and help offset the negative effects of climate change. As a result, the Dallas Zoo is committed to planting more native trees onsite. We’ve already planted 50 trees around the 106-acre Zoo, many in the Giants of the Savanna habitat.

Most importantly, plants and trees make up the backbone of all habitats, where animals depend on them for food and shelter. We want to use as many native plant species as possible to ensure a healthy ecosystem for the Zoo’s biodiversity.

In fact, you might say that green’s our favorite color!

Categories: Conservation, Horticulture | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reinventing the natural world explorer

Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo supervisor, Melody Wood, guest blogs on ZooHoo.

Splashing in a puddle. Building a snowman. Making a wish on a dandelion cast to the wind. Building a fort in the woods.

Momentous Institute teachers rediscover how to play.

Momentous Institute teachers rediscover how to play.

Most of us remember such moments from childhood. Unfortunately, memories like these are increasingly scarce for today’s children, who are trading authentic experiences for ones seen on a screen. But zoos and aquariums are stepping up to help reverse the trend of lost nature experiences.

Research has shown that zoological park visits promote an increased connection with nature, acting as a gateway to the wild world for millions of visitors every year.

With the help of a $10,000 grant, the Dallas Zoo is combatting couch-potato syndrome.

Teachers made a weaving board from an old cereal box and items found in nature.

Teachers made a weaving board from an old cereal box and items found in nature.

We recently were awarded a “Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo & Aquarium” grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and The Walt Disney Co., one of just 30 zoos and aquariums chosen to receive this special funding, designed to get families outside, playing in nature.

We’ve used the grant to create a new program, WildFUN (Families United in Nature), to introduce urban, under-served families to unstructured nature play, both on Zoo grounds and in community parks.

Facilitators from the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo recently flew south to lead staff from the Dallas Zoo’s Children’s Zoo, Education Department, and teachers from our program partner, Momentous Institute, in a three-day nature play training workshop called NatureStart.

NatureStart was designed as a training program for informal education professionals working with young children and their families at museums, zoos, aquariums, and nature centers. Participants rediscovered environmentally friendly ways to encourage children to care about the natural world and their role in it.

The Zoo has made a five-year commitment to work with pre-K children and their families at the Momentous Institute, a private school where 80 percent of students come from low-income families. At the end of the first year, the WildFUN participating families will create their own Family Nature Club. The program will include trips to local parks, neighborhood green spaces and, of course, the Zoo.

Dallas Zoo and Momentous Institute NatureStart workshop participants.

Dallas Zoo and Momentous Institute NatureStart workshop participants.

Equipped with techniques and activities designed to encourage exploration and discovery, Dallas Zoo staff are now ready to encourage kids to jump, run, dance, and build their way to a play-based nature adventure.

 

Categories: Children's Zoo (Lacerte Family), Conservation, Education | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Feathers, Fur and Scales Photography Contest Winners

In our 11th year of the Dallas Zoo’s Feathers, Fur and Scales Photography Contest, we’ve finally gone completely digital! This year’s contest brought in 95 total entries in our three categories: Youth, Teen and Adult. As usual, the judges couldn’t believe the level of quality they saw in the entries. Our judges included Dornith Doherty, distinguished research professor at the University of North Texas in Denton; Tom Rubeck, videographer/producer for AMS Productions; and Nathan Hunsinger, photo journalist for The Dallas Morning News.

As the Zoo’s staff photographer, it has always been my intention to include judges with various backgrounds and careers in the photography industry, which, by the nature of this variety, makes selecting winners very subjective. A photo journalist sees images differently than a fine artist or a commercial videographer. But the thread that ties all of these judges together is their interest in images that tell a story.

So take a look at this year’s winning entries. I’m sure you’ll find some you love and some you question. But that’s what makes art, art. Enjoy!

Adult Category: Taeil Kim, First Place
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Categories: Photography | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Deforestation is so last season

Stacy Lupori is a tiger, otter and primate keeper at the Dallas Zoo. She’s also an Action Team Leader for the Rainforest Action Network, where she helps coordinate campaigns to save Earth’s forests and the animals who call them home.

Cotton-top tamarin, Medusa. Her wild counterparts are critically endangered in Colombia.

Cotton-top tamarin, Medusa. Her wild counterparts are critically endangered in Colombia.

Did you know that some of the most popular clothing brands we wear use fabrics made from tree pulp? It’s an incredibly toxic process that’s destroying forests across the world and leaving the endangered animals that live there homeless.

As a zookeeper who cares for animals that are directly affected by this forest destruction, like Sumatran tigers, Bolivian gray titi monkeys and cotton-top tamarins, I feel it’s my obligation to ensure the survival of their wild counterparts.

The forests these fabrics come from include Indonesia (Borneo and Sumatra), Colombia, Brazil and even Canada. The trees are being clear-cut, processed into pulp, and used to create fabrics that are made into clothing by some of the world’s most popular brands. The incredibly harmful process known as dissolving pulp, creates a fluffy white material that gets spun into threads and woven into cloth.

Bolivian gray titi monkey, Cory.

Bolivian gray titi monkey, Cory.

This holiday season, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is asking consumers to consider not shopping at the stores dubbed as RAN’s “Fashion Fifteen.” These companies are at the forefront of deforestation for clothing. Through consumer pressure, our goal is to have these companies commit to remove forest destruction from their supply chains.

Zookeepers are critical educational and conservational messengers, acting as a voice for the animals they care for. Our animals are ambassadors for their species and they need help from those who want to protect the wild that’s left. Let’s save the remaining forests we have and the animals who live there by pledging to shop deforestation-free. For more information and to see the list of the “Fashion Fifteen,” click HERE.

 

Categories: Africa, Conservation, Education, Mammals, Monkey, Tigers, Zookeepers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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