Sunday, February 22, 2009

Radio call number retires with zoo keeper

This Friday we will bid a fond farewell to one of Como Zoo's longest working zoo keepers. Roger R. has been working for Como Zoo since 1967! Roger has worked with a wide variety of animals over the four decades he's been with Como, everything from aardvarks to zebras. Roger has a calming presence that animals respond to. He is always able to get animals to come in from exhibits, eat when they aren't feeling well, and just do what he wants.

To honor Roger, Como Zoo has decided to retire his radio call number, Z-9. He was the original Z-9 since the use of radios for communication at the zoo and all the staff agreed that it just wouldn't seem right to give that number to anyone else.

To commemorate this occassion, a banner was made for him and a duplicate will be displayed at the zoo. All of the keepers at Como Zoo hope that Roger enjoys his retirement. We will miss him terribly, but are happy that he is able to go on to the next chapter in his life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Como Welcomes Willow

As part of the Woo at the Zoo and Conservatory activities, Como Zoo guests helped name the baby giraffe born in October by submitting names throughout the weekend. Over 500 names were collected through noon today and at 2pm, Como announced the new name; Willow. The visitor that offered the name felt it was a great fit because the giraffe is graceful and slender, plus a willow tree is a beautiful flowering tree and Willow's mother's name is Daisy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Giraffe Enrichment

One of the best parts of a zoo keeper's day is being able to enrich the animals you work with. Enrichment provides mental stimulation and can also stimulate natural behaviors. With the giraffe herd at Como Zoo, we wanted to encourage them to forage more. The giraffe get alfalfa every day in mangers that are hung on the wall. Typically it takes only a couple hours for them to eat all their alfalfa. Zoo keepers came up with an idea for a puzzle feeder where there are only small openings for the giraffes to get at the alfalfa, which we figured would increase foraging time. With the help of City Trades staff, a puzzle box was created. It was made out of clear material to allow the public to see the giraffe working their tongues around inside to get all the treats and alfalfa out. Yesterday was the first day we tried it and it was a success! Mom Daisy and baby were both seen using their tongues to extract the treats inside.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Cupid!

It's February and the Aquatic Animal zoo keepers at Como Zoo are preparing for Valentine's Day. We're not preparing with your typical teddy bears and chocolates, we're preparing with a variety of fish! That's because we're getting ready to celebrate Cupid's 18th birthday! No not the Cupid you're thinking of, but Cupid the African penguin who was hatched right here at Como Zoo! As a special treat Cupid will be available to meet and greet visitors at 11 am on February 14th, and all of the penguins will be getting special enrichment as well--present the animals with items that encourage them to interact with their environment. Sometimes we give them things to play with or hide food around their exhibit to encourage foraging. It'll be fun! See you on Valentine's Day!