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Archive for June, 2009

The Zoo’s baby camel is now 2 months old. She weighs over 75 pounds. She recently discovered grain and is eating that along with her bottles.  Keepers take baby for walks several times a day and exercise her in the tortoise yard adjacent to the camel exhibit. She has been shedding her coat and keepers had fun selectively grooming her head. She was seen sporting a mohawk and then a donut. This hair loss is a normal seasonal occurence for Bactrian camels which are native to the Gobi Desert where temperatures are very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer.

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Donna waits to receive a special treat at her birthday party in 2008, photo by Molly Bartels/Courier & Press

Donna waits to receive a special treat at her birthday party in 2008, photo by Molly Bartels/Courier & Press

Donna the hippo will be celebrating her 58th birthday on Saturday, July 11th. Her party is part of a larger Family Fun Day where lots of different activities and talks will be scheduled throughout the Zoo. Check back closer to the date for more information!

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Staff and docents enjoy taking the miniature donkeys and miniature horse for walks on grounds. Guests get to see and pet the animals and the animals get some exercise and a chance to see some new scenery. And another unintended effect is the chance for other animals to see the equines. The monkeys usually make threat calls, Carl the hornbill will start running back and forth, and the llamas will hurry over to stare. This picture was taken as the donkeys were being walked past the giraffe yard.

"What are you?"

"What are you?"

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jaguar meet-and-greet

The Zoo’s jaguars had their first together time this week. The female, originally from Boston, has been at our Zoo since early 2007. She turned 3 in March. The male, originally from Milwaukee, has been at the Zoo since mid 2008. He turned 5 in January. With dangerous animals like jaguars, introductions must proceed very slowly. After the male went through a quarantine period, he was moved up to AMAZONIA where the female was already residing. Staff figured out and tracked the female’s reproductive cycle because females are most receptive to meeting males when they are cycling. They started out just being in adjacent stalls and then had mesh in between. This month everything was finally in place for the jaguars to be physically together. A veterinarian was on-call in case of emergency and keepers and management closely watched for aggression. Everything went wonderfully. They were separated again each evening as a precaution. The female has finished her cycle, so the jags are separated again. But keep those fingers crossed that this meeting will mean jag babies in 3 months!

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New Zebra

A new female Grant’s Zebra has joined the Mesker Park Zoo herd. Lucy is almost 2 years old and comes to us from the Montgomery Zoo. Her arrival was timed to coincide with the departure of Mahjongg and Indy Star, the foals from summer 2008. Those girls found new homes in Minnesota and Boston. All moves were done to promote genetic diversity in the captive population.

Lucy is currently in the main yard with the giraffe and the Zoo’s two other mares. They are working out the dominance hierarchy, so Lucy has a few scrapes. This behavior is normal and staff are closely monitoring the situation. The Zoo’s stallion is currently being kept in the lower yard until the girls seem more settled.

Lucy from Montgomery

Lucy from Montgomery

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The DeBrazza’s monkeys had a joint birthday party on Saturday, June 13th. The older female’s birthday was June 7th and the male’s birthday will be June 22nd. Both individuals will be 12. They graciously agreed to share a party.  Also attending was their 7 year old daughter. The luau-themed party included lots of decorations and a little fresh pineapple and BBQ sauce as treats.

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The Zoo’s baby camel is now 7 weeks old and doing well. She weighs over 60 pounds and has added a few inches in height. She had a small setback when staff thinks her mom might have accidentally stepped on her causing baby to have a limp. Keepers have also had to keep a very close eye on her during the hot weather because her small size leads to overheating. She gets bottles 6 times a day and drinks around 18 ounces of formula each time. She has started eating some solids, mostly in the form of grass and other plants growing in the yard. Mom and baby still spend most of their time in the corner, so to see them you’ll have to go to the very front of the viewing area and look towards the barn!

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