Category — Conservation
Several weeks ago, Dr. Terri Roth, Vice President of Conservation and Science, at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), mentioned that she would like to try giving “Berit”, the Zoo’s female polar bear, hormone injections to help her get pregnant. Scientists at CREW have been hoping for a polar bear pregnancy for quite some time and this is the next obvious step in helping that along. However, the typical method of injecting bears in captivity requires sedation. Knowing this, I instantly had something else in mind. I proposed that we condition Berit to accept injections on her own terms.
That we ask her to come in to her den, lean up against the training wall, and get a special treat for allowing us to inject her. This has never been done before at the Cincinnati Zoo (on polar bears) and folks had reservations, for good reasons. Fortunately, Dr. Roth was very excited as she knows it’s much less stressful on the bears to be trained to work with their keepers for something like this. So that is my (polar bear) challenge.
I have approximately one month to get Berit trained. The first injection needs to happen towards the end of February. The really exciting part is that the ladies that care for the Zoo’s bears, Lisa V, Debbie, Lisa P, and Tanya, are amazing and are on board and supportive of the training that will need to take place to accomplish this in such a short period of time.
For the next month, we will all be working together twice a day to help Berit learn to come in, target on her nose, and then target on her side. Eventually we will bring the target closer and closer to the enclosure door, so she understands to come in and turn to her side. Once we have mastered that behavior, we will work on getting her to hold still and stay against the training wall.
Everyone is working hard to make this a comfortable and fun new enrichment activity for Berit. I am happy to report that she is loving the extra attention and yummy treats she is receiving for training. It’s really wonderful to see her run down to the training wall and get so excited for the sessions. If we are successful we may not only be aiding in her individual pregnancy but also in the conservation of this amazing species. (No pressure!)
Wish us luck!!
January 25, 2013 6 Comments
The Regional Stormwater Collaborative and the Cincinnati Zoo have teamed up for one exciting event – “Saving Rain for a Sunny Day” – an Ohio River Valley rain barrel painting event. Both the Regional Stormwater Collaborative and the Cincinnati Zoo are dedicated to reducing the amount of stormwater runoff that occurs in our cities, and to conserving as much water as we can. One easy way any homeowner can join us in saving water is through the use of rain barrels. Rain barrels are an easy attachment to your gutter and downspout. Using a rain barrel can save more than 1,000 gallons of water over a single summer. Collecting rain water in a barrel cuts down on the amount of rain that washes into streams, rivers, and sewers. By doing so, it prevents flooding, erosion, and pollution. The water captured in your barrel can be used to water lawns and gardens, reducing overall water consumption. It is an inexpensive and low maintenance way to conserve water and recue rain water runoff.
Rain barrels continue to grow in popularity across the country; however, one drawback can be their dull appearance. Some people are less likely to use them given their negative aesthetic impact to residential and commercial landscaping, even though they conserve water and save money. It is our hope that producing beautiful artistic rain barrels will make them more desirable and naturally increase interest to promote their usage.[Read more →]
December 17, 2012 2 Comments
Each summer camp season we challenge our campers to collect and recycle more cell phones than any other Zoo camper to get kids active in our Eco-cell program and build awareness about how our efforts can really make a difference in global conservation. This year we had three young ladies–Cece, Lucy, and Avery– collect over 100 phones for our program. Their efforts were rewarded a couple of weeks ago when they came to the Zoo for a special treat. They met Zoo Director Thane Maynard and interacted with Primate Team Leader Ron Evans and one of the gorilla groups. They took home a super-sized plush gorilla as a reminder of their contribution to gorilla conservation.
How does recycling cell phones help save gorillas? Cell phones contain an ore called Coltan, which is mined in endangered gorilla habitat in Africa. Reducing the demand for Coltan lessens the negative impact the mining industry has on gorillas and their habitat. The Zoo’s Saving Species program recycled more than 19,000 cell phones through Eco-cell thanks to efforts of people like Cece, Lucy, and Avery. Got an old cell phone sitting in a drawer at your home? We’ll take it!
November 8, 2012 2 Comments