Archive for February, 2014

Who Ordered This?

Commissary 107 pxl

com·mis·sar·y

noun, pronounced: [kom-uh-ser-ee]

1. a store that sells food and supplies to the personnel or workers in a military post, mining camp, lumber camp, or the like.

2. a dining room or cafeteria, especially one in a motion-picture studio. 

(Source:  dictionary.com)

Great definition, but they forgot about zoos!  Did you know that the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo operates its own commissary?  The zoo has four staff members who work seven days a week, 365 days a year prepping food for the animals.  Their daily tasks include meal planning, nutrition research, food prep, meal distribution, and of course cleanup.

To showcase the commissary staff’s handiwork, we put together a quiz called “Who Ordered This?”  Try to guess which animal goes with each of these nutritionally-balanced culinary masterpieces.  (You can find the answers at the bottom of this page):

 food quiz answers

 

Posted in: Animal Diets

For Your Zoo-to-Do List…

pheasant pigeon zoo attraction

Maggie, a very friendly green-naped pheasant pigeon in Indonesian Rain Forest, experienced a life-changing event in August when she was introduced to Zazu, a male pheasant pigeon.  Maggie and Zazu quickly became a pair, and recently welcomed a new baby!

Winter has been a busy time for Maggie and Zazu.  They built a nest on the forest floor and took turns incubating their single egg.  Now that their chick has hatched, both parents hunt for seeds, fruit, and insects to feed their chick.    

Feeding a new baby bird is a tireless job, but all their work is paying off.  The new chick is already half the size of its parents and will soon be foraging for food on its own.

Keepers are eager to learn the chick’s gender, but they’ll have to wait until they can catch it.  The chick is always on the move and darts behind vegetation when approached. “The way we determine a pheasant pigeon’s sex is by doing a blood draw.  We’re waiting until the baby gets a little older and more comfortable with the staff before we approach it,” says zoo keeper Tiffany Jones.  

Green-naped pheasant pigeons are native to New Guinea and nearby islands, and they are considered endangered in parts of their range.  Pheasant pigeons are non-flighted birds, but they can glide for short distances.  The zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan for these birds to manage breeding and maintain a genetically healthy zoo population.

Because she often strolled alongside the rain forest boardwalk, Maggie is well-known to zoo guests.  We’ll see if she returns to her old habits this summer when her chick becomes independent.  Visit Maggie and see if you can spot the new chick when the zoo opens for the season on April 26.

Click on the images below to enlarge:

 

Posted in: Baby Animals, Birds, Indonesian Rain Forest, Zoo News

Oh, Baby!

colobus baby zoo attraction

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo enjoyed a baby boom during the last week of January when two black-and-white colobus monkeys were born within two days of one another. 

“The fact that they were born within two days of each other was a big surprise,” stated African Journey Area Manager Amber Eagleson.  “We were aware that both of the adult females were pregnant, but based on their size we anticipated that one mother would deliver a bit later than the other.  We never expected two infants at the same time!”

The babies, which have not yet been named, were born on January 26 and January 28, 2014.  They were born without complication and have displayed healthy postnatal behavior.  Dr. Kami Fox, the zoo’s veterinary intern, states that “Both babies and moms are doing very well.  The newborns are clinging tightly to their respective mothers, just like they should.  The keepers have witnessed them nursing frequently as well.” 

The colobus monkeys will live indoors until the weather permits outdoor access.  During the zoo season, guests can observe the troop on exhibit in the African Journey.  The following six monkeys make up the zoo’s colobus troop:

  • adult male Finnigan
  • adult female Wamblenica
  • adult female Jibini
  • Wamblenica and Finnigan’s newborn (gender unknown)
  • Jibini and Finnigan’s one-year-old daughter Kaasidy
  • Jibini and Finnigan’s male newborn

 

Eagleson explains why the sex of the second colobus baby remains unknown, “We have yet to determine the gender of Wamblenica’s baby because mom is extremely overprotective.  Her baby clings tightly to her at all times and we’ve allowed Wamblenica some distance to avoid unintended stress on mother and baby.”

 

Colobus monkeys live in the rain forests of central and eastern Africa.  They grow into adept climbers despite their unique hand structure.  Although it is common practice to reference the “opposable thumbs” of primates, colobus monkeys lack this feature and instead use their four full-sized fingers to form a hook that helps them grasp branches. In addition to climbing, colobus monkeys can leap from tree to tree by launching themselves from a high limb on one tree to a lower limb on another.  Guests of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo can observe this behavior when the zoo opens on April 26.

 

 

 

Click on the images below to enlarge:

 

Posted in: Baby Animals, Monkeys, Zoo News

These Endangered Species Need YOUR Help

zoo bat attraction

Most Hoosiers have seen a brown bat (aka Myotis lucifugus or “Little Brown Bat”).   It’s the mosquito-gobbling, attic-dwelling species native to much of North America.  Bats, the only flying mammal in the animal kingdom, play an important role in our ecosystem.  They control the insect population and help to pollinate many plant species.

Sadly, many of our other bat species are harder to spot and their survival may be in jeopardy.

All told, 12 species of bats live in Indiana, but four of these are endangered, including:

~Indiana bat
~Gray bat
~Northern long-eared bat
~Evening bat (endangered in Indiana)

Six other species of bat are listed as species “of special concern” by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (source: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7662.htm). 

Because bats are a misunderstood yet essential part of our ecosystem, it is important that they continue to thrive in Indiana.

bat houses zoo conservation

A bat house hangs at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

What can you do to help? Build your own bat house!  Last summer, our Z-Team teen volunteers built several of these simple wooden structures, which now hang on zoo buildings.  Pam George, a retired educator, led this essential conservation effort. “This project did more than help our local bats,” said George. “It helped these teens learn new skills, and more importantly, that they can make a difference for wildlife.”

Get easy-to-use bat house plans from Bat Conservation International at batcon.org.

Please remember that bats, like any wild animal, should not be handled.

 Click on the images below to enlarge:

Posted in: Conservation