Zookeeping is an amazing profession. We work some of the most amazing creatures on the planet and with it are definite highs and lows. We have tremendous respect for the animals and all of the people working to make a difference in the world with their conservation efforts to make sure generations to come will be able to learn and advocate for wildlife. When working with animals we celebrate many births and sadly, many losses as well. In order for many facilities and species to have a sustainable future, we have to move animals to other facilities for many reasons including breeding, specialized care, space, genetic diversity, etc. Very shortly, one of our young male giraffes “Rocket” will be moved to another zoo in Wisconsin. Although we will miss him very much, we know it is in his best interest and in the best interest of the other giraffes to move him now while he is young and will be able to bond with his new giraffe family and care givers.
Everyone loves baby animals, so we’re proud to announce we have a new baby sloth! This little guy is only a few weeks old and clings to it’s mom’s belly. The male and older baby are currently being kept inside, but visitors can come see the female and her baby at the sloth habitat located next to our chimpanzees.
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As many of you know, we had three giraffes born this year. Daisy on January 11, Rocket on February 19, and Max on April 3. The weather seems to finally be warming up, so all of our giraffes have been able to venture outdoors after a long winter in the barn.
Max was the first of the babies to come outside. He can often be found with his parents, Pinda and Midas. He was of course a big hit with our visitors. This adorable and entertaining calf is sometimes seen galloping around the habitat.
Daisy and Rocket are still being bottle fed. They each get 3 quarts of formula 3 times a day, or a total of 9 quarts each day. This would be equal to a human drinking 2.25 gallons of milk a day!
Daisy and Rocket remained in the barn up until this week since they are being bottle fed and hand raised by the zookeepers. For everyone’s safety, we decided to introduce them to the rest of the giraffes slowly. For now they remain in a fenced off section to avoid any injuries with the adults. After the adjust to each other, they will be allowed into the same area as the rest of the herd. So far everything is going very well!
Meet Maximus “Max” born 4/3/14 to mom Pinda and father Midas. Max is the third giraffe born here at the zoo since January joining siblings (from Midas) Daisy born 1/11/14 and Rocket born 2/19/14. Max’s mother Pinda is a great mom and they are both doing well. Unfortunately, Daisy and Rocket’s mothers (Dotty & Mazey) did not bond with their calves and therefore would not let them nurse so their milk and colostrum dried up quickly causing us to take them to Tufts Cummings School where they received the vital antibodies and nutrients needed for survival. We are happy to report that they are doing great and are growing tall and strong. Max will stay with Pinda as long as she continues to nurse and do well. We hope the weather is warm enough to be able to let all the calves out into the outdoor yard…fingers crossed! We have been really busy getting all our animals’ outdoor homes ready for the zoo opening this Saturday. The weather is looking good so today we focused on the kangaroo, capybara and monkey exhibits!
Hope to see you this weekend for opening!
Wow, only 10 days till we open! We are so excited and it is always a crazy time here before we open. Hopefully the weather will cooperate! We have to move out of the freezing temperatures before we can move the monkeys to their summer habitats safely! It has been a long winter and let us wish for warm sunshine and the wonderful scent of Spring! On another note, our lion cubs (not so little anymore!) have been moved to the big lion habitat! They are adjusting well and we can’t wait till you see them in their new home!
Well it is almost Spring and we still have snow here at the zoo. The snow is slowly melting when we get the beautiful sunshine. Many people have asked us about enrichment for the animals. I think we enjoy enrichment as much as the animals do as it is a way to be creative and fun! We made different types of snow creatures for the animals this winter since there was A LOT of snow. We stuff the snow creatures with goodies for the animals so they have to dig around, destroy and find the treats. Above, we used marrow bones for the big cats. After this picture was taken, the girls destroyed the snowman to get to the goodies. We want to thank you for sending emails asking us if we would like donations for the animals. We say YES! If anyone is looking to donate for enrichment, we are looking for big Boomer Balls for the large animals and small boomer balls for the smaller animals. We are also looking for blankets and towels. We can’t thank our supporters and visitors enough for their love of animals and generosity!
We recently celebrated the 5th birthday of Molly, a reticulated giraffe. We made her a “cake” of carrots, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce and grain to celebrate her special day. She devoured the goodies, but we were able to share some with the rest of the giraffes! As you have probably seen, we have had two baby giraffes born here since the New Year. Daisy was born on Jan 11, 2014 and was very sick shortly after birth. However, with the help of Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Daisy is a healthy giraffe and stands at over 7 feet tall! Rocket was born on February 19, 2014 and was smaller than Daisy at birth, but we think he will grow big and strong. We are really excited about the babies and can’t wait to share them with our visitors in April. This has been a long winter for all of us and we are ready for Spring!
Happy Valentine’s Day! When working with animals, there are definitely times when “Love is in the Air” around here! We are proud of our successful breeding programs here at the zoo and for those who do not breed, successful companion relationships. The picture above is of our Watusi (Ankole Cattle) native to Africa. As you can see they handle the winter very well! The male is larger in weight and stature, but the female has longer horns. This pair had a very beautiful calf born last summer and many of our guests were able to witness the amazing birth. As many of you know, we recently had a few babies born like Daisy the giraffe and a pair of African Crested Porcupines. We’ve also had a llama born and a Debrazza guenon. As zookeepers we are very lucky to be able to witness these exciting events and to care for these wonderful animals…and we are expecting a few more babies before we open! Again, THANK YOU for sharing our love for animals on this cold, snowy Valentine’s Day! We are looking for some towels, boomer balls and blankets as donations for the animals!
We have been getting a lot of questions about how the animals handle the colder/snowier than usual winter. Yes, the temperatures have been colder and we have seen a lot of snow but the zoo has been here for over 40 years and we have faced a lot of extreme weather from hurricanes and droughts to blizzards. Because we are in New England, we are prepared for the changes in the weather. Animals are amazingly adaptive as their survival instinct is very strong. We take every precaution and provide all that they would need to make their winter warm and cozy but sometimes even we are surprised how some of our animals choose to venture outside their warm dens to brave the winter…like the hyenas pictured! The biggest challenge for zookeepers is to keep the water supply from freezing by refreshing it often. Hydration is very important during the winter months for the animals as the air is much drier. We also make sure the animals get additional vitamins and proper nutrition to keep them strong and healthy during the winter that they may not need during the summer. However, if you’re a yak, you are in your element. They thrive in this weather and surprisingly so do the camels!
On Saturday, January 11, 2014 , our reticulated giraffe Dotty gave birth to a calf we named Daisy (150 lbs, 6ft). Dotty was not interested in her calf. She has never seen a calf before (Dotty was born here at the zoo and is the second youngest female here) and we believe she didn’t quite know what to do after the birth! Our veterinarian made a quick, life saving decision to take her to Tufts so she can get the urgent care she needed. We get constant updates from Tufts and one of us goes up there to check on her each day. Great News! She should be coming home very soon, maybe today! We are really excited and a little bit apprehensive as she is a large calf that will need constant care and attention. However, this is one of the reasons we do what we do. It is amazing to be able to see new lives born and grow into the most beautifully amazing creatures, we are blessed. Thank you to everyone who have been asking about Daisy and her mom. Dotty is doing very well and her milk has dried up so we will have to feed Daisy till she is off formula. Can you keep a secret? We may have another blessed event here at the zoo soon…we’ll keep you updated!