Monday, April 13, 2009

Como Zoo's TV Stars!

If you watched KSTP at all last week you may have noticed they had a number of unusal guests on the air! Among them were Como Park Zoo and Conservatory zoo keepers, educators, Stephano the sloth, Gonzo the hedgehog and Cupid the penguin! The occasion for all the animal stars was the annual Como Friends Sponsor an Animal Phon-A-Thon sponsored by KSTP. Over 20 people volunteered all day to staff the KSTP call room and helped folks purchase sponsorship packages to adopt animals here at Como Zoo. This was the 5th year the Phon-A-Thon has run, offering a special rate to those who call in, and it is a valuable part of our fund-raising efforts bringing in between 4,000 and 10,000 dollars! When you sponsor an animal, it helps us cover the costs of feeding, training, and enriching our animals as well as habitat maintenance. Throughout the day, zoo staff and their animal companions visited KSTP's studio to show viewers where their sponsorship money goes.

As you can imagine, being on TV was exciting, but it was even more special for Cupid who made his TV debut on the 5 o'clock news! We prepared Cupid for his TV appearance by setting up big lights in the zoo keeper office to mimic what he would see in the studio and taking him out to meet zoo visitors during our weekly Keeper Talks. He seemed comfortable with the lights and crowds, so we were hopeful he would do well on TV. Well, Cupid was a natural! We were interviewed by Cyndy Brucato and not only was he calm and curious, but when the interview was over and Cyndy had to go back to the news desk, he tried to follow her!

All in all it was a great day, thank you to KSTP and Como Friends for organizing it. If you are interested in sponsoring an animal, you can still receive the discounted Phon-A-Thon rate by clicking here. You can chose the animal you want to sponsor and you will receive a package that includes information about that animal and a photo of them as well as a plush stuffed animal, certificate of sponsorship, a 15% discount at Garden Safari Gifts, a subscription to our quarterly newsletter The Como Insider, and early news about animal births and happenings here at the zoo.

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