ZooTracks • Winter 2020

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WINTER | 2020








Lincoln Children’s Zoo 1222 South 27th Street Lincoln, NE 68502 402.475.6741 LincolnZoo.org

President & CEO John Chapo

Chief Operating Officer Evan Killeen

ZOOTRACKS MAGAZINE Senior Editor & Writer | Sarah Wood Art Director | Abigail Billing

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jack Abel, Blake Anderson, Taylor Ashburn, Clark Bellin, James Bowen, Chris Campbell Eells, Terri Dunlap, Andy Frahm, Angie Hoffschneider, Cary Kline, Liz Koop, John Laflin, Jeff Maul, Jeff McPeak, Eric Mooss, Jason Muhleisen, Amanda Ostergard, Keith Peters, Natasha Plooster, John Pugliese, Jared Rector, Eric Schafer, Ricki Scully, Jon Sevenker, Jamie Tallman, Diane Temme Stinton, Sarah Teten Kanter, Aaron Wiegert, Chad Wiles, Hank Woods

Lincoln Children’s Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums


Lincoln Children’s Zoo is a member of Community Services Fund. Learn more at: CommunityServicesFund.org


A NOTE FROM JOHN Dear Zoo Members, Thank you for your incredible generosity and support since Lincoln Children’s Zoo temporarily closed to the public. The Zoo closed its doors to guests on March 13 and remained closed for 80 days. What a challenge! And, unlike other businesses or organizations, the Zoo can’t just close our gates and walk away until things start looking better. We have a living breathing collection of animals that still need to be fed, trained, and cared for 24 hours a day, all year long! The pandemic may have brought closed gates and cancelled events, but it also brought about some really incredible things like Keeper Corner videos, Symbolic Adoptions and Virtual Field Trips. Things may look different now, but we are committed to continuing to provide you and our community with the extraordinary experiences that define our Zoo. I am proud of the tremendous work our Zoo put into develop robust safety and social distancing protocols that align with public health guidance. Thank you for your patience as we all adjust to the new Zoo experience. Though much has changed over the past months one thing has never changed, our commitment to providing you and your family with a place to connect with nature and each other. From all of us at Lincoln Children’s Zoo, thank you for your continued support and continuing to prioritize the health and well-being of each other and the animals in our care.





We’ll see you at the Zoo!


John Chapo President & CEO




his summer, guests raced to meet the newest additions to Lincoln Children’s Zoo! Three cheetahs now call the Zoo home - Sita, Saba, and Nane are sisters and part of the well-known Bingwa Bunch from St. Louis. Their mother, Bingwa successfully produced and reared her litter of eight cubs; the first time in over 420 litters documented by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the average litter size being three to four cubs. The cheetahs, just over two years old and weighing about 90 pounds have had ample time to explore their new home and allow zookeepers to get to know them since their arrival at the Zoo in early October 2019. Their names meaning six (Sita), seven (Saba) and eight (Nane) in Swahili aren’t the only differentiating things about these sisters. Each cheetah has their own distinctive personality traits. “Sita is curious, Nane is shy but enjoys watching me work, and Saba is strong and sassy” says Emily Pasch, Lead Cheetah Keeper. Aside from behavioral differences, each cheetah has their own individual markings on their body as well as their face. The black tear marks or malar stripes are individual to each cheetah and assist with sun glare allowing the cheetah to see further and more clearly, much like the paint a football player may use under their eyes. These athletes of the Savannah have non-retractable claws that act as cleats, digging into the ground to gain traction and assist with stability. Cheetahs are made for


sprinting with their slender, streamlined body, flexible spine and long legs. Their long tail acts as a counter balance while running and their over-sized lungs, heart and breathing passages allow for more oxygen to be pumped during running.

Guests have the opportunity to watch the fastest land animal sprint across a 150-foot-long run reaching speeds near 70 mph. Scheduled shows will take place in a brand-new outdoor amphitheater, complete with stadium seating, shade awnings and an audio system so that zookeepers can interact with both the animals and the guests. When the cheetahs are not participating in a run, they have access to indoor space as well as an outdoor habitat designed with enrichment and comfort in mind. Native grasses, logs and a heated hand-carved concrete rock make ideal conditions for perching, pouncing and enrichment opportunities.

Sita, Saba, and Nane and their five siblings, known as the Bingwa Bunch, at 12 weeks old with their mom Bingwa. Photo courtesy of the St.. Louis Zoo.



Gender: Female From: St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri About: Playful and curious. A quick-learner, always picks up behaviors first.


Gender: Female From: St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri About: Sweet, shy, and has a slight head tilt when she watches keepers.


Gender: Female From: St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri About: Sassy and tells you she is in charge. Loves to sit in the middle of the tall grasses on the mound.


Gender: Female From: Colombus Zoo in Colombus, Ohio About: Very vocal when keepers are near and purrs a lot. Very direct with what she likes and dislikes.

Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal in the world, reaching speeds of 70 mph in three seconds! Click the image to watch a cheetah video.

WINTER 2020 | LincolnZoo.org



South America

Giant Anteater Range

an you imagine eating nothing but ants all day long? Giant anteaters spend their days searching termite mounds for their meals and can consume up to 30,000 ants and termites per day. The giant anteater has the longest tongue in relation to its body size of any mammal, plus their head and nose is perfectly designed to get into ant hills and termite mounds. Not only do giant anteaters consume large quantities, but they do so with impressive speed. A giant anteater can stick its tongue in and out a whopping 150 times per minute and only feed at each mound for about a minute to avoid being bitten by their prey. This summer guests at Lincoln Children’s Zoo had the opportunity to get an up-close look at this fascinating creature when the brand-new anteater exhibit opened in July as part of the Phase 2 Expansion. Asterix, a male giant anteater is 1 year old and came to Lincoln from Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in early November. Born on December 15, 2018 Asterix currently weighs about 88 pounds and will continue to grow until reaching adulthood, likely weighing close to 90 pounds and measuring 6-7 feet in length. In order to reach that size, anteaters eat nearly all day in the wild and here at the Zoo their diet is supplemented with a very special smoothie. This isn’t your ordinary fruit drink, this smoothie is packed with loads of insects, pelleted insectivore, water and a dry food base keeping Astrix in top shape. In addition to his smoothie, Astrix receives


his favorite treats of wax worms and avocado apple puree. A second soon to be named female giant anteater joined Astrix in late spring from Zoo Boise in Idaho. Lincoln Children’s Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and these two anteaters are a recommended breeding pair. Breeding and transfer plans through SSP summarize the current demographic and genetic status of the population, describe the Animal Program’s management designation, and recommend breeding pairs and transfers. These plans are designed to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable population for the long-term future. The giant anteater conservation status is currently listed as “vulnerable” meaning that their population is decreasing, and these conservation efforts are more important than ever. When guests arrive in the brand-new anteater space, they will notice the exhibit glass comes to a point in the center of the building which presents a full view of the animals and offers the feeling of immersion within the habitat. Concrete termite mounds with specialized tubes filled with insects, give the anteater the chance to feed as they would in nature and a wading pool offers this expert swimmer a chance to cool off and use their nose as a snorkel in the water. Truly one of the most interesting creatures on earth, the giant anteater will spark curiosity and delight for guests at Lincoln Children’s Zoo.


FUN FACTS • Giant anteaters do not have teeth; instead, they have a tongue that is 2 feet in length. · Their tongue is coated in a sticky saliva allowing them to slurp up ants and termites. · The giant anteater’s sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than a humans. · They have one of the lowest body temperatures of any mammal at 91 degrees Fahrenheit. · Giant anteaters are great swimmers, and use their long nose as a snorkel.

CONSERVATION · Giant Anteaters are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and are considered the most threatened mammals in Central America. They are considered extinct in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Uruguay. · One of the major threats giant anteaters face is habitat loss. Their grassland habitats often are destroyed by fires set by sugar cane growers who traditionally burn their fields prior to harvest. · Other threats anteaters face include hunting, road kill incidents and their low reproductive rate. • Work is being done to project this great species. In Brazil, burning sugar cane is slowly being phased out in some parts of the country and conservationists are working to collect data on how roadways affect giant anteaters.



Early in the morning on November 13, 2019 the Zoo welcome our 11th Matschie’s tree kangaroo joey. Born to mother Judie and father Bexley, this new joey was one of only three born in zoos worldwide that year. This was the second joey born to Judie and Bexley, who are a breeding pair recommended by the Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan (SSP). The female joey was named Som (sew-m) after the Som River in the YUS Conservation Area of Papua New Guinea, where Matschie’s tree kangaroos are native. At just over a year old, Som stays completely out of mom’s pouch, but will stick her head in to nurse. She will

continue to nurse until she is 12-13 months old. While Som still nurses, she also eats solid foods and her favorites include browse, carrots, bananas, celery and corn. Som is very curious of her surroundings. She is always eager to check out new enrichment items, often exploring as soon as it is put out. As Som has grown she has become a great jumper and climber. Next time you are at the Zoo be sure to stop by the Animal Kingdom Building and watch this curious girl explore. Matschie’s tree kanagroos are an endangered species. Learn more about conservation efforts from the Tree Kangaroos Conservation Program.

Click the image to watch a super cute video of Som.



BLACK AND WHITE COLOBUS MONKEY Meet the newest member of our black and white colobus monkey family! Born early in the morning on January 19, 2020 to parents Nali and Ty, this little girl has quickly become a source of joy here at the Zoo. Named Até after the Greek goddess of mischief by generous donors, she has lived up to her namesake. Até is an active and curious baby, always eager to play with her parents and aunt and learn how to be an adult monkey. Weighing only 21 ounces two days after birth, Até has met all of her growth milestones and now weighs just under 5 pounds. Born with all white fur, she started to grow into her adult coloration within a few weeks and looked like a mini adult at around five months old. For the first three months Até stayed around her mom and aunt Sana. Since

then she has been running, jumping, and exploring her surroundings. At two months old, she started to test out adult food including browse, lettuce, hay, leafeater biscuits, and veggies in addition to nursing. Colobus are typically weaned from mom’s milk by seven months. Showing her playful nature, Até’s favorite thing to do is hang from one of the adult’s tails and watch people. Whenever zookeepers are nearby she runs to the fence to say hi. Be sure to stop by the colobus monkey habitat during your next Zoo visit to keep up with Até as she continues to grow and show her playful personality.

THREE-BANDED ARMADILLO It’s a boy! A baby three-banded armadillo was born to parents Fez and Fiz on March 31, 2020. The newest addition to the Zoo, named Eli by generous Zoo donors, was only the size of a ping pong ball at birth. Armadillos are born with their shell and able to curl up into a ball. Their shell is soft at birth, but quickly hardens within hours. Eli stayed in the nest box until about six weeks old when he would start venturing out at night. Now nine months old, Eli is growing fast. As zookeepers started to see Eli show more of his personality they could tell he is sweet and cautious. While mom zips around lightning fast, Eli prefers to stop and smell everything. Next time you stop by the Animal Kingdom Building make sure to say hi to this sweet boy.

WINTER 2020 | LincolnZoo.org

Eli at 10 days old.

Eli at 15 days old.


collectible poster

(the panther chameleon)

Download ZooTracks and print these pages (9-10) to hang your poster.

– color change is typically subconscious, affected by temperature, mood and light hello – eyes rotate independently of each other my name is – toes are didactyl or mitten-like HENSON

Fascinating Facts

lincoln children’s zoo

a socially distant zoo experience open-year round! reserve your tickets at Lincolnzoo.org advance ticket reservation required


receive free


t f i G t c e f r e T he P



Spread holiday cheer and show your love for the Lincoln Children's Zoo through our Symbolic Adoption program. Each animal adoption comes with a plush of your adopted animal and a certificate of adoption. Visit LincolnZoo.org for more info.





While the Zoo was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our team created new ways to share the animals with those at home. Keeper Corner reached thousands of viewers and the Boston Globe listed it as one of the “Top 7 Virtual Field Trips for Kids That Entertain and Inform.” Did you miss these great videos? Check them out at LincolnZoo.org.


After much anticipation, Phase Two of the Expansion opened on July 6, 2020. Guests can now visit and learn about cheetahs and giant anteaters. A 26 foot tall one-of-a-kind play structure, Ellie the Elephant, gives guests a birds eye view of the Zoo.



During the Zoo’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zoo’s Education Team hosted free virtual field trips. Our team provided 75 45-minute virtual field trips for up to 100 students at a time utilizing Zoom, allowing us to provide this experience to 7,500 children across the state. Students were able to ask questions, chat with the zookeepers and meet three exciting animals.




After being closed to guests for two months, the Zoo reopened with Wildlife Walk. This one-way socially distant experience allows us to welcome guests back to the Zoo with the health and safety of our staff, animals, and guests in mind. Tickets must be reserved in advance at LincolnZoo.org.


No trip to the Zoo is complete without a ride on the ZO&O Railroad. On June 27, 2020 train rides became extra special with the unveiling of our brand new energy efficient electric train.

WINTER 2020 | LincolnZoo.org



s it a monkey, a cat, or a weasel? The Fossa is often confused as a hybrid of these animals because of it’s cat-like claws, long monkey tail, and round weasel ears. However, the fossa is most closely related to the mongoose and prefers to live in the remote forested areas of Madagascar. Fossa have a strong, muscular build with a tail that makes up at least half of their body’s length. Agile and intelligent, Fossa dynamically move throughout their forest homes and easily scale, then jump from tree to tree. With rotating ankle joints and retractable claws, Fossa are one of the few animals that can climb down a tree headfirst. Hunting at dusk and dawn, the fossa proves to be a strong hunter. It preys on small to medium sized animals and prefers ring tailed lemur but have been known to take down wild pigs, fish, and birds. Here at the Zoo, the Fossa diet consists of


whole prey such as pheasants, quails, and mackerel as well as pork, beef, chicken, fish and turkey.

Agile and intelligent, Fossa dynamically move throughout their forest homes and easily scale, then jump from tree to tree.

Here at the Zoo, our resident Fossa, named LeeZoe, is a 7 year old male who came to the Zoo in 2014. Weighing in at 19 pounds, LeeZoe is strong and agile and enjoys running through his exhibit space and scaling trees, walls and even the ceiling! This Fossa loves his enrichment activities and keepers do an excellent job of keeping him mentally and physically stimulated. LeeZoe’s habitat had a recent redesign and now includes dozens of natural climbing structures, enrichment hanging toys, and even a water feature for him to cool off in. Next time you are at the Zoo, be sure to stop by and watch LeeZoe impress you with his athleticism and agility.


Virtual Field Trips Missing traditional field trips this year? Lincoln Children's Zoo is now offering virtual field trips! Meet animals and talk with Zookeepers in this interactive Zoom video chat field trip! Perfect for elementary, middle or high school students as well as college and adult groups.

Learn more and schedule your virtual field trip at LincolnZoo.org

Health and safety is a top priority at camp! Find out more at LincolnZoo.org Looking for toddler programs? Check out Tots & Turtles!

DECEMBER 28 – 31


8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. LPS NOT IN SESSION







JANUARY 18 8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. LPS NOT IN SESSION






Register online at LincolnZoo.org



Tangra and Tanner are a playful and curious pair. They love to engage with Zookeepers and guests. Have you interacted with these two?




winging from limb to limb, loud whoops, hollers, and playful interaction are just some of what guests can expect when they meet two members of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo family.

size and structure. Although different in color, these two gibbons have a similar life story. Both were hand-raised by zookeepers and lived together at Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas since 2010 before coming to Lincoln.

Tangra and Tanner, both white cheeked gibbons joined the Zoo in November of 2019 and have quickly become a crowd favorite. Tangra, a female, is 24 years old and Tanner, a male, is 21 years old. On average, gibbons live 28 years in the wild and 30-50 years in a Zoo setting.

Upon their arrival, zookeepers found the pair to be playful, curious and engaging with staff and guests. From their exhibit window, Tanner and Tangra enjoy captivating visitors with their acrobatics and boisterous calls. When not showing off for guests, Tanner and Tangra relish in interactive toys provided by their keepers for enrichment; complex puzzle feeders combined with simple items such as cardboard boxes, and rubber balls with

Tangra is blonde and Tanner is black due to dimorphism; the difference in appearance between males and females of the same species such as color, shape,

holes all serve a greater purpose for the pair. These enrichment toys offer the gibbons a chance to exhibit problem solving skills as well as practice natural behaviors such as foraging. Intelligent and curious, the gibbons love learning new things and attentively train with their zookeepers daily. Tanner and Tangra gladly present their hands, feet, back and heads to their keepers to perform routine health checks as well as grooming. The next time you stop by Lincoln Children’s Zoo, be sure and visit the gibbon habitat and say hi to Tangra and Tanner.

Click the image to watch the Keeper Corner episode about gibbon training with Zookeepers Missy and Tori.

FUN FACTS • Gibbons are born with blonde hair, and by the age of 2 their hair turns black. As they reach adulthood, males remain black in color, while the females return to blonde. • They spend all their time in the high canopies of the forest and almost never come down to the ground. • They have the longest arm length compared to their body size of any primate. • Gibbons are one of the few primate species that mate for life.

WINTER 2020 | LincolnZoo.org


all about the zoo!

Use your knowledge of the Zoo to complete the puzzle!



4. Take a break and play in the Secret _____ 5. Let’s take a ride on the ZO&O _____ 9. This means I prefer to be awake at night 10. _____ have stripes that are as unique to each animal as fingerprints

1. The fastest land animal 2. Flightless birds that prefer to swim 3. Lincoln Children’s _____ 6. The first animal you pass when you enter the Zoo 7. The tallest land animal 8. Meet many reptile friends in the _____



ests in 1965? first opened to gu o Zo e th ow kn u e Did yo ing trips around th ilroad began mak And the ZO&O Ra ! ed fore the Zoo open Zoo two years be



4 6


8 10

Download Zootracks and print these pages (17-20) to complete the activities.

ANSWERS ACROSS: 4. jungle, 5. railroad, 9. nocturnal, 10. tigers ANSWERS DOWN: 1. cheetah, 2. penguins, 3. zoo, 6. red panda, 7. giraffe, 8. hive


snack break! Follow the path through the maze to help Pheobe the giraffe reach her yummy lettuce snack.

Giraffes spend most of their time eating, between 16 and 20 hours a day. They can eat up to 75 lbs of leaves and twigs in a day. That’s a lot of food!

backyard scavenger hunt Head out to your backyard or a nearby park and see if you can find the following items.

1 A yellow leaf

5 A dark rock

2 A small insect

6 3 blades of grass

3 A flower petal

7 A hole in a tree

4 A bird

8 A crooked stick

What kind of cat is no fun to play games with?

Why do fish live in saltwater? Because pepper makes them sneeze!

A cheetah!

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot.

Why are tigers terrible storytellers?

Pheobe’s Favorite Jokes!

Because they only have one tail.

crack the code Use the key below to crack the code and guess the animal.

Code: I have a long tongue and eat ants. Animal: Anteater

December 10 - January 9 Dancing Trees • Light Tunnel • Holiday Train Rides • & More! Masks Required • Social Distancing Practices • Timed-Ticket Entry



1222 South 27TH Street Lincoln, NE 68502 LincolnZoo.org

Become a Zoo member

Join the Herd Memberships Available at lincolnzoo.org, at the Zoo or by calling 402-475-6741




Support your Zoo! It costs $13,000 to care for the Zoo's animals each day. Funds from your Zoo Membership go directly to support the animals in our care. During these challenging times, your support of Lincoln Children’s Zoo is more important than ever! Not only does your Zoo Membership grant your family incredible benefits, the funds go directly to support the highest quality of care for our beloved animals, foster education, and support conservation efforts.

don’t miss out on: • FREE unlimited admission to the Zoo year-round • Discounted tickets to Zoo events such as Boo at the Zoo & Zoo Lights Powered by LES • Discounted registration for Zoo Camps and upcoming fall and winter camps • Discounted or free admission to nearly 200 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums nationwide • And more! Head to LincolnZoo.org for a full list of member benefits *Zoo activities and events are subject to change due to COVID-19 concerns.

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