Giraffes, Giraffes, Giraffes

It has been a busy off season here at the zoo with the birth of 3 giraffes!

Daisy was born 1/11/14, Rocket born 2/19/14 and Maximus “Max” born 4/3/14!  All the calves are doing very well and are growing big and strong.  Hopefully we will be able to let the calves out into the outer yard for opening, but we do have to be careful of the weather and make sure it is nice and warm for their safety!

Reminder: Giraffe Encounters will begin in MAY (weekends only)

Rocket and Daisydaisyrocket

Rocket was born February 19, 2014

Max born 4/3/14


Zookeeper Report


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!

Zookeeper Report

Have you heard me bugle?

Have you heard me bugle?

Fall is mating season for many of the animals here at the zoo.  The Sika Deer and the Elk are some of the animals with the loudest vocals during mating or rut season.  The elk have a series of loud vocalizations to attract the females and to show the other males who is boss.  The males will spar with other males using their antlers which is an amazing sight to see.  The males will eventually shed their antlers later this fall.  You can see the elk when taking the Woodland Express Train ride.  We have quite a few elk and we have some young elk with their mothers.  Don’t worry if you hear a loud pitch scream type of sound, that is just the bugling of the elk!

Zookeeper Report

Tanzie at Play

Tanzie at Play

Tanzania or Tanzie for short is a very active and rambunctious adolescent.  Many times she is the ruler of the chimps as all the adults seem succumb to her whims; some might call her “fresh” :-).  She has mommy, daddy and Auntie Jingles looking after her and of course keeping her entertained.  We do help them by providing daily enrichment for all the chimpanzees.  Many of our visitors have asked us “what is that in their habitat”…well we are constantly providing all forms of enrichment for them to explore, play with and destroy!  A lot of times there will be treats inside the enrichment where you will see them use tools to forage them out.  Tanzie is very active and you can see her swinging from the tree, doing flips and somersaults in the grass, climbing, spinning and jumping all over…even on top of the other chimps.  We think her chimp family adores and spoils her!  Of course, we do too!

Zookeeper Report 7/18/13

Muntjac Deer

Muntjac Deer

Many of our visitors have been asking how the animals do in this extreme heat.  Actually, they handle the heat much better than humans!  Just like with humans we have to keep a closer eye on baby &  senior animals and make sure all the animals have plenty of water.   The zoo is situated under some really tall oak trees and the shade has kept all of us very comfortable.  We took this picture yesterday of the Muntjac deer reaching for some leaves.  Muntjac deer, also called barking deer, are native to South East Asia are a very small species of deer (less than 2 ft tall and under 40lbs)  and are the reported as the oldest deer species appearing 15 – 35 million years ago!  Our little family of Muntjac deer are located right next to the zebra cafe and are one of the first animals you will see as you enter the zoo!

Zookeeper Report…Happy Mother’s Day!

Tanzie hanging on her MoM!

Since Mother’s Day is this weekend we wanted to say Happy Mother’s Day to our friends and family.  We are amazed each day by our animal moms and surrogate moms here at the zoo.  Tabitha is an amazing MOM to Tanzie….even when Tanzie does not leave her alone! Auntie Jingles is also a great mom to Tanzie.  On Mother’s Day, our moms will get a special treat!  We have a lot of new babies here at the zoo including monkeys, aoudads, goats, kangaroos, sheep and so many more to come too! We are asking for large cat boomer balls for our lion cubs as a donation if anyone would like to make a donation to the animals!  Thank You!

Zookeeper Report…Tigers at Play

Kya and Taj, sisters at play


We thought it would be great to share a picture of our Bengal tigers, Kya and Taj at play.  Kya and Taj are sisters and came to us as cubs from World Wildlife Zoo in Phoenix, AZ!  As you can see they have adapted to our New England weather and enjoy playtime out in the snow.  Like many animals, they love fresh snow and can be seen pouncing on each other during playtime!

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins!

We’re Looking for PUMPKINS for our Zoo Boo Days.  Pumpkin donations are greatly appreciated and our animals love them!  You can donate at the main entrance and please leave your name and address for a Thank You!

Taj enjoying her Pumpkin!

Gearing up for Zoo Opening…Zookeeper report!

There is a lot of activity at the zoo this week.  We are opening on Saturday and it takes a zoo wide effort to make sure we are ready.  As Zookeepers, it is our job to see to all the animal habitats, transfer animals from their winter quarters to their summer habitats while documenting and adjusting to their physical, behavioral, and social needs.  Enrichment activities continue and we are always looking for some new ideas..we’d be happy to hear your enrichment suggestions. Some of our new animals have started to arrive and we are very excited.  The Brazilian tapirs have arrived and they are currently adjusting to their new home. We are not sure if they will be on exhibit right away…we’ll keep you posted.  Brazilian Tapirs are native to South America and a distant relative to the rhinocerous!  They are very good at diving and swimming.  They live along the water and will occasionally run into the water to evade predators. They can grow to 550 lbs and to around 6 feet in length!  Here at Southwick’s Zoo the capybaras and tapirs will be co-existing in an exhibit like in their native habitat!  Here is a sneak peek!

Southwick's Zoo welcomes Brazilian Tapirs.

Tapir's are here...sneak peek!