Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prelude to a kiss...

Working as a zoo keeper is an interesting job that is not always as glamorous as it would seem. Sure, you get to work with really cool exotic animals, but most days you come home hot and smelly after doing mostly janitorial work for creatures that make the same mess day in and day out. One of the coolest things zoo keepers get to do is build relationships with the animals they care for on a daily basis. Both my husband and I work with the animals here at Como Zoo, so I knew when I got married I wanted to have my marriage to my husband "sealed" with a kiss, a sea lion kiss to be exact!

Over the course of the month prior to my wedding, I made sure the kiss behavior was solid with Sparky VI, our show sea lion. I desensitized her to being sent to kiss another person as well as to the voluminous dress and veil that I would be wearing. After all, I didn't want fish slobber to get on my dress!

On August 31st, 2003, after the ceremony, the bridal party and guests made our way into the zoo and to the Sparky Amphitheater. Sparky came down and planted a kiss on my husband and me.

It all worked out perfectly, Sparky was very good about not splashing water or getting fish slobber on us and she also has a permanent place in our wedding album!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lemonade stand helps pinnipeds

This past weekend, the zoo keepers in the Aquatic Animal Building got a nice surprise. A young man named Marcus had run a lemonade stand and invited all his friends and neighbors to come and enjoy lemonade and cookies on August 7th with proceeds going to the Marine Animals at Como Zoo. As he put it when presenting the earnings, he had "very generous neighbors."

In total, Marcus raised an astonishing $371.06! The proceeds from the event were given to Como Friends to purchase some new enrichment items for the seals and sea lions as well as the sea birds in the Aquatics Building. We would like to thank Marcus for being so generous and thinking of the animals at Como Zoo. We would also like his recipe for lemonade, it must be very good!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New addition

On August 3rd, zoo keepers came into the giraffe barn to find the newest addition to Como Zoo. Mother giraffe Daisy and the little one (if you can call almost 6 feet tall little!) are doing well and made their debut to the adoring fans who braved the extreme heat and humidity last week. Giraffes are pregnant for approximately 15 months and babies come out weighing between 120-150 pounds and standing close to 6 feet tall. Zoo keepers were unsure of Daisy's exact due date and had been anticipating the new arrival for the past several months.

"Howie" and Mom can be seen with Aunt Clover on the outside display every day unless there is lightning in the Como area or until the weather gets too cold. Come out and see him soon.

Hot, hot, hot!

One of the most common questions the zoo keepers are asked at this time of year is, "how do the polar bears handle this hot weather?" The answer? Air conditioning and chilled water. While polar bears in the wild would encounter temperatures similar to Minnesota summers in their Southern-most range, Polar Bear Odyssey which opened on June 3rd gives the bears some options to escape the heat when the temperatures climb too high. Neil and Buzz can often be found taking a dip in one of two pools that are chilled to 65 degrees. They also can be found taking a midday snooze in the air-conditioned "knuckle" the central transfer area between the two sides of the exhibit and one of two areas the public can watch the operant conditioning training that the zoo keepers do with the bears. When the zoo is closed, the bears have five holding areas to choose from complete with straw-filled "beds" where the temperature is kept at a chilly 62 degrees. When the zoo keepers start their day in the morning, we often get to see the bears bedded down as in the picture above.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

KSTP Twin Cities Live Features Polar Bear Odyssey Opening

Polar Bear Odyssey Opening Featured on Kare 11

Monday, August 2, 2010

Check this out from KARE-11!