Today is the 140th anniversary of the opening of the Cincinnati Zoo. Established in 1873, the Cincinnati Zoological Garden opened its gates to the public on September 18, 1875. Modeled on the Victorian era zoos they remembered from Germany, zoo founder Andrew Erkenbrecher and his colleagues wanted to recreate that same sort of lush garden filled with animals from around the globe, and provide a place for cultural events and family outings for city dwellers.
And now, nearly a century and a half later, their vision lives on in the very same park they founded up on the hill in Avondale. Our gardens are grander, our animal exhibits are bigger and more naturalistic, and goodness knows, we have cultural and family events of every stripe. But the role of the Cincinnati Zoo for families of our region is much the same today as it was in our early days. We provide a beautiful park that serves as a respite from urban life, and we inspire our visitors with the wonders of wildlife.
I have always been heartened over the years with stories told to me by older Cincinnatians of their fond memories of visiting the zoo – tales of grand balls at the Clubhouse on Swan Lake, hearing Placido Domingo in his American debut at the Cincinnati Summer Opera, or how important Susie the gorilla was to them when she lived in what is now our Reptile House.
Of course, we do a great many things better today than we did in our early days. Our science, conservation, veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, horticulture and education programs have all been on a steady improvement curve for decades.
Today, the Cincinnati Zoo plays a key role in our community and around the world. And all of this is made possible because the people throughout our area really love this zoo. It is with their support we pay our bills, and through them how we make a difference.
September 18, 2015 2 Comments
It’s time to go bananas again at the Zoo’s annual Ape Awareness Days weekend, free with regular Zoo admission. From 10:00 to 3:00 on September 12 and 13, guests are invited to learn more about apes and how we can help save them in the wild at the Jungle Trails and Gorilla World exhibits.
Volunteers will be on hand at the orangutan exhibit to introduce guests to our shaggy, red-haired friends, Henry and Lana. There has been some good news for orangutans in the Malaysian state of Sarawak recently. The Chief Minister announced his intentions to enact new projects that will protect orangutans and other wildlife from their major threats of illegal logging and clearing forest for oil palm plantations.
One way we as consumers can help protect orangutans is by purchasing products made with Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. The world’s most popular vegetable oil, palm oil is used in many of our everyday foods and products. Products made with sustainable palm oil, which is produced without clear cutting forests and harming wildlife, are listed in the Zoo’s Sustainable Shopper App. Download it and use it during your next shopping trip to make sure the products you buy are orangutan-friendly.
At the bonobo exhibit in Jungle Trails, guests can visit with their own closest non-human relatives. Baby Bo, who was born in March, is growing more independent and curious every day. You’ll want to see him before he’s all grown up! Here guests will learn what makes an ape different from other primates and test their own ape-identifying skills.
Over at Gorilla World, the big news, of course, is that Anju recently gave birth to the 50th gorilla born at the Zoo since 1970. The little girl is Anju’s first and Jomo’s third baby. Mondika, who was born last summer, is now a big sister! Swing by the Gorilla Wild Discover Zone during Ape Awareness Days to get the full scoop and latest news on the baby.
We also encourage you to bring any old cell phones you may have around the house and drop them in one of our cell phone recycling bins. Cell phones contain an ore called Coltan that is mined in gorilla and bonobo habitat in Africa. Recycling cell phones reduced the demand to mine more Coltan and helps preserve habitat.
We hope you will come on out on September 12 and 13 and celebrate Ape Awareness Days with us and the rest of the primates at the Zoo!
September 10, 2015 No Comments
The Zoo continues to support the Bird Endowment’s Nido Adoptivo Saving the Blues program to enhance the reproduction of blue-throated macaws in the wild in Bolivia.
The critically endangered blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis) is only known to survive on private ranches in one small region of northern Bolivia known as Los Llanos de Moxos with a population estimated at 350-400 individuals. It relies on cavities in palm trees as nest sites, but often loses out on nest sites due to competition from other macaws, toucans, bats and large woodpeckers.
The goal of the Nino Adoptivo Saving the Blues program is to increase the annual reproductive output of blue-throated macaws by providing nest boxes. The first nest boxes were installed in 2007, and more have been added over the past eight years to total 60 nest boxes in 2014-2015 season. Nest boxes are monitored twice a month by a field biologist who records the nest box contents, usage and inter-species interactions.
The 2014-2015 season was the program’s most successful year to date. A total of 10 blue-throated macaws fledged out of four nest boxes. An additional nest box was used by a pair of blue-throated macaws, but no chicks were fledged. This brings the total to 56 macaws fledged from nest boxes since the program’s beginning.
Other species continue to use the nest boxes as well, including blue-and-yellow macaws, white-eyed parakeets and black-bellied whistling ducks. However, changes made in the design of the wooden nest boxes to better suit blue-throated macaws over other species, such as reducing the size of the entrance hole, seems to be curbing some of the competition.
For this upcoming breeding season (2015-2016), the program will expand by placing 15 additional nest boxes in a new area. The program will also experiment with new, wider nest box designs to see if giving them more space will lead to a larger number of eggs laid per clutch. Another experiment will try using a more natural-looking nest box, essentially a hollowed out chunk of a dead tree trunk, to see if it is more attractive to the macaws since 36 of the current nest boxes were not used this past season.
September 9, 2015 No Comments