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Category — Keeper’s Komments

Gladys Stones…So What’s In a Name?

So what’s in name, anyway?  As it pertains to western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), quite a bit actually.  Wild western lowland gorillas are a critically endangered species.  Zoos do not take gorillas from the wild and have not for decades.  Zoos do everything they can to protect wild gorillas.  The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden (CZBG) has partnered with in situ gorilla research and conservation in the Republic of Congo for well over 12 years.  Here at home zoos work incredibly hard to ensure we are doing the absolute best we can for our gorillas.  All gorillas throughout North America are managed cooperatively through a group called the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP).  The SSP keeps track of all 350+ gorillas cared for in 52 different institutions.  Every two years a comprehensive master plan is developed by combining data on genetics, individual gorilla personality, institutional input, and many other demographics to ensure we are able to properly managing this flagship species for many years into the future.

Zoo gorillas play a key role as ambassadors for their wild counterparts.  Through their strong appeal with zoo guests we are able to share fun facts and important conservation messages combined with action steps, giving our supporters a clearer view of the bigger picture. [Read more →]

March 5, 2013   8 Comments

Tanks A Lot Zookeeper Chris Edelen

Chris Edelen in Manatee Springs

Cincinnati native Chris Edelen has been working at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for 20 years. Chris was inspired by Jacques Cousteau and educational animal shows from his childhood to work with animals and to educate the public about them. Chris began his career here working in the Children’s Zoo and then moved to the Bird House where he worked for 12 years.

As a zookeeper at Manatee Springs, Chris is responsible for the daily care and upkeep of the manatees and their tank. He is involved with training the manatees and other animals in the Manatee Springs exhibit (excluding reptiles). He also works with our volunteer divers, preparing them for dives and maintaining their safety while they are in the tank. During Manatee Encounters, he shares factual information about the animals in Manatee Springs with visitors and tries to inspire people to take action to protect them.

Chris helps get a new manatee into the tank.

In 2011 and 2012, Chris traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula to conduct penguin censuses. Those trips have been the highlight of his Zoo career thus far.

Outside of the Zoo world, Chris enjoys karate, biking and spending time with family. His pets include birds, bats, cats, and snakes. If he could work with any animal, he would choose auklets.

July 21, 2012   1 Comment

Always A Smile On Her Face

Jenna and Mai Thai

Jenna came to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in 2009 following her graduation from Indiana University, where she majored in biology and minored in animal behavior.  Jenna began her Zoo career as an intern at the Commissary, which is where all of the animal food comes in and is then distributed to the different areas within the Zoo.  She also took part in various animal encounters throughout the park. After completing her first internship, Jenna went on to intern in the Zoo’s Education Department  and began guiding Nocturnal Adventures overnight programs.

Jenna feeding Kimba in Giraffe Ridge

Jenna works with the Maasai giraffes, greater flamingos, East African crowned cranes and Asian elephants. Her typical activities include cleaning out yards, stalls and pools, and working on enrichment training with the giraffes and cranes. Visitors can often find Jenna presenting the Giraffe Encounters or assisting trainers during the Elephant Encounters.

“I love giving the elephants enrichment and helping with Mai Thai’s elephant paintings,” says Jenna. Having the opportunity to connect with the public and teaching them about the animals she cares for is another favorite part of her job.

While Jenna has a busy schedule at the Zoo, she still makes time for her two dogs, chameleon and leopard gecko at home. Jenna is engaged to fellow Zoo employee Scott Wingate, who works in the Education Department.

July 20, 2012   1 Comment