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critter FALL 2012

Zoo Calendar

Penguin Progress

by Dave Webster, Zoo Director

Boo at the Zoo

Presented by Wal-Mart Enjoy spooky treat stations, hundreds of Jack o’lanterns, the Endangered Species Carousel, and3 Fright Night Express Train! Boo Times October 19, 25 - 26 & 29 -31 5:30 - 8 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays October 20 - 21 & 27 - 28 3 - 8 p.m. 2 5 Fees $4/person - collecting treats $3/person - no treats 5

Train rides are $2.00 for FOZ members and $2.50 4 for non-members. Carousel rides are $1.50 per person for FOZ members and $2.00 for non-members. FOZ members may enter Boo at the Zoo free but are asked to visit free only once. Thank you! Del’s eriCAn river otter exhibits | sCovill Zoo, DeCAtur, il caramel apples will be given away each night to the first 200 visitors with treat tickets!

penguin exhibit overview

Visit the zoo on a typical day and you might not notice much progress toward the eventual arrival of penguins, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Look closer and you’ll see surveying marks indicating where utilities and elevations are being mapped throughout the zoo. As the design takes shape, Scovill Zoo and Park District personnel are meeting weekly with the exhibit planners. It’s a complicated project that includes new utilities, filtration for outdoor water and indoor air, heating and cooling, a 5,000-gallon penguin exhibit unDerwAter viewing pool, penguin containment, landscaping, and interpretive features for visitors to learn , 2012 about these fascinating aquatic birds.August The recent Zoo-rific Evening event helped raise over $66,000 for construction of the new exhibit. Construction will begin in November, right after Boo at the Zoo. We’re hoping for mild winter weather similar to last year, so work can steadily continue throughout the winter. If the construction progresses as planned, we plan to open the new penguin exhibit in June 2013.

During an August meeting, the Humboldt penguin population manager identified 10 young penguins currently residing at other zoos that will eventually make Scovill Zoo their home. Humboldt penguins are not Antarctic penguins that live in extreme cold. In the wild, Humboldt penguins catch fish in the chilly Humboldt current that flows along the Pacific coast of South America and nest on the arid coast. At the warmer northern end of their range, they typically swim in water that varies in temperature from 55 - 63 degrees. While on land on the coast of Peru, the penguins enjoy an average winter temperature of 59 degrees and an average summer temperature of 79 degrees. At Scovill Zoo, the penguins will live outdoors. Visitors will be able to look through a large window to see the penguins swimming underwater. From another vantage point, they’ll also view the birds from above, whether the penguins are swimming or spending time on land. A small door will allow the keepers to bring the penguins very close to visitors with no barrier between the handsome black and white birds and our zoo guests.

71 S. Country Club Rd. • Decatur, IL 62521 • 217/421-7435 • • @ScovillZoo on Twitter


SCOVILL ZOO Zoo Leaders Decatur Park Board Chris Riley, President Jack Kenny, Vice-President Bob Brilley II Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer Don Luy Decatur Parks Foundation Judith Locke, President Erv Arends Dr. Wendell Becton Cindy Black Bob Brilley II Brian Byers Melinda Chadwick Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer Kara Demirjian-Huss Ed Flynn Larry Foster Tom Hostetler Dr. Stephen Huss Kara Johnston Jack Kenny Chuck Kuhle Cindy Laegeler Don Luy James Neff Pete Paulin Chris Riley Margo Rozelle Rod Schanefelt Jim Schwarz Cyndy Smith Mark Tupper Dr. William Van Alstine Kathy Wiesemann Executive Director Decatur Park District William Clevenger Zoo Director Dave Webster Assistant Director Ken Frye Zoo Staff Sheila Crosby Amanda Hall Ryan Kirkland Heather Purdeu Misty Tompkins Mindy Weaver Kent Winchester Kathy Winter

critter chatter • FALL 2012 Zoo Welcomes New Wolf, Mowgli by Heather Purdeu Scovill Zoo welcomed Mowgli, a 17 week-old wolf puppy, to our zoo in August. Mowgli was born April 6, 2012 at Wolf Park near Battle Ground, Indiana. In his litter of six, there were four grey-coated and two black-coated pups. Mowgli’s mother Dharma is the sister of Scovill Zoo’s two year-old wolf Tilly. Wolf Park hand raises wolf pups from day 10 to about three months of age, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in order to socialize them. It’s quite a commitment, and they do a great job. Several Scovill Zoo keepers visited Wolf Park to observe the six pups and to meet Mowgli. It was a chance for the keepers to see how he would react to them and how he interacted with his litter mates. After Mowgli arrived at Scovill Zoo, aunt Tilly made sure that he realized she was the alpha wolf of our wolf pack. During the transition time, Mowgli felt more comfortable staying close to the keepers. After a few days, Tilly’s status orientation was finished and the two

now enjoy spending their time running, sparring, and napping near each other. We are extremely excited to have him join us. As excited as we are about Mowgli, we are sad to have lost a member of our pack. Marius came to our zoo 15 years ago as a pup. Recently, Marius developed several age-related health issues and declined in health until he passed away in early September. It was well known among zoo staff that Marius preferred our female keepers, a fact we jokingly reminded our male counterparts! On more than one occasion, he managed to playfully nip Zoo Director Dave on the backside. When Dave would turn around, Marius would be twenty feet away as if nothing happened. Dave called them “love bites.” Sixteen year-old Thalia, our other wolf pack member, is still moving about well and is as sweet as ever. Due to her age, she is kept in a separate enclosure next to the young pack. Come visit us at Boo at to Zoo to howl with our new young duo. Aunt and nephew just might howl back!

Friends of the Zoo Pumpkin Carving Party Friends of the Zoo members are invited to a fun evening of pumpkin carving at Scovill Zoo on Tuesday, October 16 from 5 – 7 p.m. The zoo will provide carving tools and fun stencils ranging from easy to challenging. Bring your own pumpkin to take home with you or leave it at the zoo so

it can be displayed during Boo at the Zoo. Your children will love hunting and finding their pumpkins along our paths. This FOZ members event is free but limited to 25 participants. Call today to reserve your space!

critter chatter • FALL 2012 Educational Offerings for All Ages I was speaking to the Prime Timers club a few weeks ago and ran into a former zoo volunteer. She told me a story about a mobile zoo presentation she had given at a retirement home 15 years ago. One resident in particular just loved being able to touch the animals and learn more about them. The volunteer could tell she had made this lady’s day by being there. As I listened to the story, I thought about the impact our volunteer had on her audience and the effect the woman’s interest and enthusiasm had on our zoo volunteer over a decade later. Do you know someone who can make such an impact as a zoo volunteer? Are you that special person? If you’d like to learn more about Scovill Zoo’s animals and share your knowledge with others, at-

by Ken Frye

tend our Adult Volunteers Continuing Education Classes in February or our new quarterly Volunteer Orientation sessions. For more information, call 4217435. Students of all ages can also learn more about the animal kingdom with our on-site or mobile Winter Classroom programs. Topics like “Learning About Life Cycles,” “The Raptor Report,” and “Remarkable Reptiles” include animal visits, a winter zoo tour, and zoo keeper presentations and discussions. Our youngest animal lovers can enjoy Animal Crackers classes (with new topics each session) year-round. For more information, please visit or call the zoo at 421-7435.

Amanda Hall Guest Presenter at AAZK Conference by Ken Frye In September, Scovill Zoo lead keeper Amanda Hall spoke at the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) conference in Syracuse, New York. Amanda presented her workshop on population management, a subject of great concern among zoo keepers. Why is population management such an important issue? Without it, captive populations and some animal species will become extinct. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) created population management programs so that zoos can help solve these problems. Managed captive programs exist in over 200 AZA institutions. Scovill Zoo’s managed animals include our sloth, red panda, meerkats,

flamingos, all of our primates, cheetahs, zebra, kookaburras, toucans, and turacos. The purpose of these programs is to control breeding and ensure genetic diversity. The goal is to have as diverse a population as possible over the next 100 years. Sometimes zoos have to trade or remove animals for the good of the species. Fortunately for Scovill Zoo, Clay the Red Panda will be joined by a female friend next spring. She is destined to go to Australia in a couple of years, but in the meantime, it would be exciting if the two produce offspring here. Scovill Zoo will also be sending off all of our turacos in exchange for a genetically valuable pair. Our zoo is one of only a few in recent years to be successful at breeding turacos, producing 6 surviving chicks in 3 years. The population manager recommended us to receive this valuable pair to see if they will be successful here.



Become a Friend of the Zoo! Give the gift that keeps on giving with a Friend of the Zoo membership. Benefits include a year of free zoo admission, reduced rate for train and carousel rides, discounts on zoo merchandise and birthday parties, and free or discounted admission to 150+ AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in the United States. Individual, grandparent, and family memberships are available.

Animal Adoptions Does your child have a favorite animal at Scovill Zoo? Adopt it! The money given to our Zoo Parent Program helps feed and care for the animals year-round. Donation amounts range from $15 (guinea pigs, glass lizards) to $50 (cheetahs, wolves, camels, zebra) and several amounts in between. Benefits include a personalized adoption certificate, subscription to the Critter Chatter newsletter, invitation to the annual picnic, recognition on, and one free zoo admission. Please call the zoo for more information!

Zoo-tique Gift Shop Need a unique gift for your favorite animal lovers? Call the Zoo-tique Gift Shop at 421-7435. We are open by appointment through Christmas. Gifts for children include stuffed animals, pens, books, games and toys. Items for adults include tagua nut art and walking sticks. Give Kathy a call to arrange an appointment at your convenience.

Looking for a unique spot for your next party or special event? Call Scovill Zoo! 421-7435

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID DECATUR, IL PERMIT NO. 330 71 S. Country Club Road Decatur, IL 62521 Return Service Requested

Scovill Zoo

2012/2013 Events PJ Party with Santa!


Saturday, December 8, 2012 1 - 3 p.m. or 5 - 7 p.m. Children aged 3 - 10 can bring their pillow and wear their favorite pajamas as they make a craft, eat yummy treats, meet some of our animal friends, and hear a story from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Be sure to bring your camera! Fee is $12 ($10 with resident discount). To register, call the zoo or visit

2013 Scovill Zoo Open Golf Outing


19, 25 - 26, & 29- 31 5:30 -8:00 p.m. Saturday & Sunday 20 - 21 & 27 - 28 3:00 -8:00 p.m. $4.00 Collecting Treats $3.00 No Treats

Friday, May 24 Hickory Point Golf Course Mark your calendars now for the 2013 Scovill Zoo Open! You’ll enjoy a great day of golf, lunch on the patio, and an evening reception. For more information, contact Rick Anderson at 421-7468.

2013 Zoo-rific Evening at Scovill Zoo Saturday, August 24 Save the date for Scovill Zoo’s 2013 Zoo-rific Evening! For more information or sponsorship information, call the Foundation office at 422-5911. See you in 2013... at Scovill Zoo!

Fall 2012 Critter Chatter Newsletter