Monday, March 28, 2011

TOAD'ally Awesome Amphibians on KARE-11

Monday, March 21, 2011

Office Visit

Yesterday I had a special visitor to my office. The conversation was pretty one sided and I ended up doing most of the talking, she just hung out under my desk and ate fish!
It was as you can tell by the picture an African Penguin. BJ is our resident Penguin Ambassador and charms people young and old with her visits to schools, libraries, and more. The zoo keepers take her out so she can interact with us to keep the relationship strong between us and keep her comfortable around people. BJ spent most of the afternoon with me as she dozed and ate under the desk before returning to the penguin exhibit for the night to spend some time with her penguin buddies, especially her mate Fluffy. Maybe today I'll have a different animal visitor in my office...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gorillas in the snow

The gorillas ventured out to their outdoor exhibit today despite the snow being hip deep in parts. This opportunity is possible because of the warm March weather we are currently enjoying. Both Togo and Schroeder made their way around the perimeter picking up hand-fulls of snow to eat and munching on the diet the zoo keepers scattered in the yard. After getting some fresh air and brain freeze from eating snow, they made their ways back inside for an afternoon nap.

Is this a sign that Spring has finally sprung?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Prickly but adorable!

The Animal Support Building zoo keepers welcomed some new additions into the zoo collection on February 28th; Baby Hedgehogs! These little cuties are actually born with quills, but they are soft to make for an easier delivery for Mom. The quills start to harden shortly after birth. They will stay with Mom for 4-6 weeks before they start venturing out on their own and will be used by the education staff for programs once they are weaned.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Long distance love for the flamingos?

Como Zoo's Animal Support Building provides winter housing for the ducks, geese, and flamingos of the bird yard. There are several large holdings where the birds are housed with pools for swimming and deck space for sleeping, eating, etc. We have 17 flamingos here at the zoo and they can't all fit into one holding, so they are split into two groups. Recently during the morning cleaning, we discovered that at least two of the flamingos think they should be in a different holding area. "Grace" did go back into her correct holding, but it was fun to watch her venture out into the hallway and watch for "Beau" to stick his head out. Maybe there are some sparks between those two!

"Grace" and "Beau" peeking out of holding while they think the keepers aren't watching.

"Grace" getting brave and venturing out into the hall.

"Grace" thinking about making a break for the other holding to be with "Beau".

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lion's Mane Exhibit Now On Display!

We are proud to present “The Lion's Mane”, now on display in the Bonsai Gallery through May 1st.

Why does the lion have a mane? Does the King of Beasts need his mane for protection or is it a signal of his power and fitness? University of Minnesota researchers Craig Packer and Peyton West were the first to test these two theories—and their research reveals surprising facts about the mane's true purpose and its role in attracting a mate.

The Lion's Mane is a traveling exhibit designed to engage visitors in the steps Packer and West used as they searched for the answer to what at first appeared to be a simple question. To test their hypotheses, the researchers devised a number of experiments including one using life-sized, dummy lions with interchangeable mane "wigs." By observing how lions reacted to the dummies in various guises, Packer and West determined that female lions preferred males with darker manes, while males were most threatened by longer, darker manes.

The Lion's Mane enables visitors to learn about lion biology, behavior and field research by following the scientific process. The exhibit areas feature a Land Rover Research Station, Lion Identification Game, and Dummy Lion Experiment. The exhibit appeals to a general audience and is accessible to children who visit with their school groups, families, clubs, or other social groups.

National Geographic, National Public Radio, CNN, BBC, Science, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle have featured Packer and West's research.

The Lion's Mane exhibit was made possible by the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment and was created by the Bell Museum of Natural History.