Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is pleased to announce the arrival of Mexican Gray Wolves, the most endangered wolf species in the world. Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden has received a male and a female wolf, who will eventually be used to rear pups at the Zoo. The wolves arrived on a LightHawk* flight at Tri-State Aero, Inc. and were immediately taken to Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. These wolves were released into the recently renovated wolf exhibit today, November 13, at approximately 4:45 p.m.

The male wolf, Nagual, was born on May 4, 2005 at Wild Canid Survival and Research Center near Eureka, MO. On May 22, 2009, he was transferred to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Sevilleta Wolf Management Center, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro, NM. The female was born on April 22, 2007 at the California Wolf Center near Julian, CA. She was transferred to the USFWS Sevilleta Wolf Management Center, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro, NM on Nov. 23, 2009. This pair had pups in 2010 and 2011 and raised them in large pack. They have proven to be excellent parents.

Mexican Gray Wolves are a very significant addition to Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden’s animal collection for several reasons. Their arrival is now bringing wolves back to the Zoo’s collection. Also, there are only approximately 300 Mexican Gray Wolves in captivity and 60-70 in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. These wolves have also been released in Mexico. Dr. Susan Lindsey, Animal Curator at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden and Behavioral and Husbandry Advisor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Service states, “We are very pleased to join this conservation effort. This pair of experienced parents will make a significant contribution to the recovery efforts.”

*LightHawk provides donated flights for conservation related organizations and others working on natural resource issues. Find out more about this organization by visiting http://www.lighthawk.org.



Mark your calendars: Old National Bank Boo at the Zoo is October 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, & 28!

Reminder that all scarecrows for the Monsanto Scarecrow Contest are due tomorrow, Saturday, October 13!

Advance sale tickets are available at the Zoo, Old National Bank – One Main Street, and on www.meskerparkzoo.com.  $1 off coupons are available at all Evansville area Old National banks. 

Enjoy the new hay bale art this year and all the fun family favorites! See you at the Zoo for a spooktacularly good time!  



Visitors to Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden can now see a new species of animals, recently added to the Zoo’s animal collection.  For the first time in Zoo history, springbok are now on exhibit and visible from the Zoo’s African Panorama decks.  Two male and three female springbok were shipped from the Pittsburgh Zoo and have been adjusting well to their exhibit in Evansville.  A male calf, conceived and born at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden, now brings the Zoo’s springbok herd to six animals! 

Springbok are native to the western half of southern Africa.  Their coloration is bright reddish fawn with a dark side-band contrasting with white under parts, a white face with a dark band from eye to muzzle, and a white rump.  They have a line of white erectile hairs in a fold of skin along their lower back, and short horns that curve sharply at the tip.  These animals are typically 38-45 inches in length and reach a height at the shoulder of 30 inches.  Springbok can run at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour, jump 11 1/2 feet vertically, and 50 feet horizontally. 

 Females and bachelor males form separate herds, with breeding males maintaining that separation for females within their territory.  Females reach sexual maturity in a year and will reproduce every two years, typically producing one lamb during summer months.   Springbok graze on young, tender grasses and browse on shrubs and succulents.  The lifespan of these animals is up to 10 years. 

*Photo provided by Bill Palmer

ImageImageIt is with great excitement that Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden announce a new animal species that has been added to their collection.  Three Coquerel’s sifakas, a father and two sons, are now exhibited in the Zoo’s Lemur Forest.  Dean, the father, was born in 2001 at the Los Angeles Zoo.  His sons Sebastian and Kelyfamata were both born in 2009.  Kelyfamata (meaning “small but mighty” in Malagasy) and Sebastian are easy to tell apart due to Sebastian’s shorter tail.  All three sifakas came to Mesker Park Zoo from the Houston Zoo, where the two sons were born.  Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is one of only ten institutions with Coquerel’s sifaks.  There are currently only about 57of these animals in the captive population in the United States. 

Sifakas are a species of lemur within the Indriidae family and named after its alarm cry “shi-fak.”  These interesting creatures are native to the island of Madagascar and reside in its northwest deciduous forests and can also be found in secondary growth forest.  Sifaka’s International Union for Conservation of Nature classification is endangered because the population is decreasing due to habitat loss and hunting pressure.  Adult sifaka are similar in coloration with thick coats of white dorsally and on their head and tail with brown and maroon ventrally and on shoulders.   They also have a toothcomb for grooming similar to other lemurs.  The average adult is 100 cm in length with a weight of 4 kg.  This species usually lives in family groups with females being the dominant gender.  One very unique characteristics of the sifaka is the way they move using vertical leaps and they can hop forward when traveling on the ground.  Sifakas are herbivores, surviving in the wild on a diet that includes leaves, flowers, bark, and fruit.  In captivity, a sifaka can live up to 18 years.

Photos taken by Jessica McCauley, Zookeeper


On May 20, 2012, a new Hyacinth macaw chick hatched at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden.   Both protective parents watched as their chick emerged from the nest box for the public to see in early August.  This new addition to the Zoo’s collection is the second chick hatched by this pair of parents at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden.  In the wild, Hyacinth macaws can be found in the forests of Central South America.  Visitors are able to view the Hyacinth macaw chick in the Zoo’s Discovery Center.  This largest member of the macaw family is considered an endangered species, largely due to their popularity as pets. This species of macaw is protected by the Brazilian government, where the macaw is found in the wild, and is listed as Appendix 1 of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).  A CITES listing restricts the ability for individuals to sell this species internationally thus protecting the species in its home of Brazil.  In 2011, only two Hyacinth macaw chick hatchings were reported in zoos; one in France and one in Indianapolis. 

Talkin’ Takin!

Hello from Pico the Toucan!

I’m pleased to announce two new friends who moved into the Zoo! A male and female takin are now on exhibit in the Asian area of the Zoo, and can be found in the large centrally located yard. With horns like a wildebeest, a nose like a moose, and a body like a bison, it is easy to see why this animal was apparently the inspiration behind the character “Beast” from Disney’s movie Beauty and the Beast. Two coats of fur keep takin protected from the cold in their native habitat of the Himalayas. Tale, the male is four years old and came from the St. Louis Zoo. Two year old female Dawa arrived from the Los Angeles Zoo. According to Amos Morris, Zoo Director, “We are always excited to add a new species of animal to our collection at the Zoo, especially one with so much conservation significance.” We hope you come out and meet our two newest residents! And, stop by AMAZONIA to say hello to your favorite toucan:)!