For Members of Lincoln Park Zoo 路 A Magazine of Conservation and Education 路 Winter 2013
Everything You Wanted to Know About Lincoln Park Zoo
IN THIS ISSUE Volume 12 Number 3 · For Members of Lincoln Park Zoo
FEATURES How Does the Zoo Stay Free?
Lincoln Park Zoo is free to visit, but it sure isn’t free to run! See how we can welcome everyone, with your help.
How Are the Animals Paired Up?
Who Answers the Questions?
What Happens After Hours?
Do the Animals Get Bored?
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Gorillas prefer social groups, Amur tigers enjoy the solitary life, but every zoo pairing is carefully planned by experts. From armadillo encounters to how Feces Save Species, zoo educators use FAQs to introduce larger lessons about wildlife. We explore how nocturnal species spend their “days” as well as what animals do after the crowds leave. For some species, napping the day away is entirely natural behavior…although new tools are increasing insight into wild well-being.
Where Does All the Poop Go?
President and CEO Kevin Bell reflects on his own zoo FAQ: How can we make Lincoln Park Zoo better?
News of the Zoo
A construction update for Regenstein Macaque Forest, prairie species return to the wild and fun summer events.
Looking forward to ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One—and the first season of Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Tis the season! Get ready for Members-Only Night at ZooLights and the Conservators’ Council ZooLights Party.
Continue Your Visit Online Visit www.lpzoo.org for Lincoln Park Zoo photos, videos and up-to-date info on events and animals. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter!
Handling animal waste isn’t just a disposal problem—feces are a great resource for zoo experts looking to learn more about the animals in our care.
We'd Like to Hear from You! Send your feedback on this issue of Lincoln Park Zoo magazine to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s Growing in the Gardens?
Cover: Black rhino Kapuki nuzzles with baby King
From choosing plants to dealing with winter, Director of Horticulture Brian Houck answers some deeply rooted questions.
LINCOLN PARK ZOO MAGAZINE President and CEO Kevin J. Bell
Editor James Seidler
What’s New at the Zoo?
Art Director Peggy Martin
Communications Specialist Craig Keller
We check in on the summer’s new arrivals, sharing baby pictures and looking at how the little ones have grown.
FAQ Lightning Round
From chewing cardboard to dealing with loss, we field as many Zoo FAQs as we can handle.
Designer Joann Dzon
QUESTIONS? Contact the Membership Department. Staff are on hand during normal business hours— phone 312-742-2322 or visit us online at www.lpzoo.org.
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, 312-742-2000, www.lpzoo.org. Lincoln Park Zoo is supported through a public/private partnership between the Chicago Park District and The Lincoln Park Zoological Society. The only privately managed free zoo in the country, Lincoln Park Zoo relies on membership, individual, foundation and corporate support as well as earned revenue.
perspective A Letter From President and CEO Kevin J. Bell
Finding the Right Question As the public face of Lincoln Park Zoo, I field a lot of questions. How is such a great zoo free? What do the animals do after the gates close at night? And what’s next for Lincoln Park Zoo? These are all great questions. Given how often we hear them, we decided to devote a whole issue to answering them. It’s a fun chance to look “under the hood” at how Lincoln Park Zoo works day to day. I’ll leave answering the FAQs to the experts. But the theme made me reflect on another question, one I try to answer every day as the zoo’s President and CEO. Put simply, it’s “How can we make Lincoln Park Zoo better?” There’s not one answer, obviously. There are potentially hundreds, extending across everything the zoo does, from the experience of a guest walking through the gates for the first time to our conservation projects a world away. So, like any organization, we have to make choices as to
what to prioritize. Given the zoo’s footprint, “going big” isn’t always an option. But we can go for best, as we learned in September when the Association of Zoos and Aquariums awarded the zoo-led Serengeti Health Initiative its highest award for International Conservation. Over 10 years this project has vaccinated more than 1 million domestic dogs in the area surrounding Serengeti National Park, protecting the region’s people, pets and predators from disease. Hundreds of human lives have been saved as a result, even as African lions and African wild dogs have avoided the scourge of rabies and distemper outbreaks. It’s gratifying to receive the recognition of our peers. Beyond that, though, the award signifies that our constant efforts to improve are on the right track. We’ll never be able to definitively say how we can make Lincoln Park Zoo better. But that’s only because every new answer we find will just prompt us to ask the same question again. Kevin J. Bell President and CEO
The Serengeti Health Initiative won the AZA’s Top Honors in International Conservation for its work to protect the African region’s people and predators. See more Serengeti updates at www.lpzoo.org/magazine.
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Why is there no charge? How’s the zoo funded? –Bambi R.
How Does the Zoo Stay Free? Well, it isn’t easy! It costs $62,000 a day just to cover everything that goes into keeping Lincoln Park Zoo free and open to everyone 365 days a year. What’s in that total? Everything from keeping the lights on to ensuring harbor seals have their daily herring at the Kovler Sea Lion Pool. The C.H. “Doc” Searle, M.D. Animal Hospital and conservation programs in Africa are included in that sum. Likewise boomer balls and tulip bulbs, great ape puzzle feeders and field trip packets for more than 100,000 students every year. So where does the money come from? Basically, it can be broken down into three pools. 2 LINCOLN PARK ZOO
BY JAMES SEIDLER
Lincoln Park Zoo’s generous members and donors actually make up the largest portion of the funding pool. Last year your combined contributions added up to nearly $9 million, 40 percent of the zoo’s roughly $22 million budget. People’s motivations for supporting Chicago’s free zoo are as diverse as the supporters themselves. Some are motivated by the zoo’s commitment to education or conservation. Last summer two pre-teen donors, Deven and Ava, famously contributed the proceeds from their lemonade stand to support the zoo-led Serengeti Health Initiative, a project they’d read about on the zoo website. Most donors, though, grew up visiting Lincoln Park Zoo and give today to ensure it remains free and open for future generations to enjoy. As Conservators’ Council member Brittany Smith shares, “The fact that it’s free to the public is important to us, and we want to help maintain that.”
Have you ever grabbed lunch at Park Place Café or taken a ride on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel? Picked up a ticket for Jammin’ at the Zoo, a souvenir from the Wild Things Gift Shop or even the parking tab after an all-day visit? If so, thank you, because you were supporting Lincoln Park Zoo. These kinds of earned revenue—snacks, souvenirs, tickets, rides and more—add up to nearly $8 million a year, or 35 percent of the zoo’s operating budget. (That’s a whole lot of spins around the carousel.) Unsurprisingly, visitor support changes with the seasons, surging in summer when zoo grounds are packed with guests and thinning out in January and February after the off switch is thrown for ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One. The weather can play a big role as well; stormy springs and sweltering summers can discourage people from seeing what’s new at the zoo. Regardless of the weather, the zoo’s event planners are always trying to find new ways to entice visitors. “We want to keep the guest experience fresh,” says Senior Director of Guest Services Erika Kohler. “We saw that this summer with new events like Salsa at the Zoo Presented by MyHabanero.com or Locally Sourced at the Patio. We’ll see it this winter too with the first season of Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo.” All these programs add fun to the zoo experience…and keep Lincoln Park Zoo free for everyone. So if you’re ever considering one more ride on the LPZoo Children’s Train, take our advice—go for it!
The Chicago Park District
Lincoln Park Zoo was run by the Chicago park system for much of its 145-year history. Founded by the Lincoln Park Commission in 1868 and later folded into the Chicago Park District, the zoo employed city workers and relied on city funds for buildings, upkeep and animal care. In 1995, the zoo reorganized, moving under the private management of The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, an independent body that had been founded in 1959 to improve and support the zoo. As part of the ultimate public-private partnership, the Park District agreed to provide the zoo a fixed subsidy every year going forward: $5.5 million, plus some utility services. “The arrangement has benefitted the zoo and the City of Chicago,” says President and CEO Kevin Bell. “But because it’s fixed, it stays the same while our costs keep going up.” The proof is in the numbers: The Park District support made up 46 percent of the budget in 1995 but only covered 25 percent last year. As a result, it’s necessary for us to raise more and more of the budget—which we have, with your help. So thank you for keeping Lincoln Park Zoo free!
Why do you give?
Let us know at www.lpzoo.org/magazine
Zoo donors and visitors play the biggest role in supporting Chicago’s free zoo.
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Do the tiger and others in that house have mates/ friends that they can play with? –Cristina Tuazon
How Are the Animals Paired Up? The question of companionship is definitely a core zoo FAQ. Guests see a solitary animal and wonder, naturally, if that individual is lonely without some conspecific company. But that’s basically a question of biology. Some species are social, gathering in big groups and displaying a lively array of interactions—picture the African wild dogs or meerkat mob at Regenstein African Journey. But others are essentially solitary. They live alone in the wild, coming together only to breed. These solitary species include most of the big cats at the Kovler Lion House, meaning the Amur tigers aren’t looking for playmates. 4 LINCOLN PARK ZOO
“We try to emulate the wild structure as much as we can,” says Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross, Ph.D. “Lions live in prides in the wild, and it’s important for them to have companions here at the zoo. But tigers are solitary in the wild, and we reflect that in their living conditions here.” That’s not to say the tigers aren’t engaged. They receive daily enrichment—scents, snacks, logs to scratch—to encourage activity and natural behaviors. But barring a breeding match or the occasional pairing of siblings from the same litter, company can be more stressful than stimulating for many solitary species.
Some species, like Amur tigers, are naturally suited for solitary lifestyles, but planning for Sichuan takins and western lowland gorillas has to involve a social element.
Outgrowing a Group
making sure there are enough new births to keep the populaEven when you do have a stable social tion’s size stable. The new arrivals Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed group, change is inevitable. Like us, this summer—from Francois’ langur Pierre to the baby whiteA few times I recall animals grow. They mature. They cheeked gibbon—came about thanks to planning sessions beseeing one adult takin in age, and they eventually die, all tween the PMC and individual Species Survival Plans®. a separate area from the natural outcomes that can spur Often, the best match for breeding requires an animal to others. What are some change. move from one zoo to another, a recommendation that isn’t of the reasons that might Take the case of the solitary made lightly. “It takes a lot of effort to make these transfers hapresult in this separation? Sichuan takin. That was male Bao pen,” says PMC Director Sarah Long. “We want to make sure –Claudia Hueser Zhen, who was born at the Antelope the genetic benefit is worth it for the population as a whole.” & Zebra Area in 2007. He grew with Still, to answer the question above, the average zoo animal is the rest of the goat-antelope herd, but as likely to make a move in its lifetime. Part of that is just the naBao Zhen began to reach maturity, he became ture of life. “If offspring can’t stay with their parents indefinitely, increasingly likely to butt heads with dominant male Quan Li. a move is going to happen,” says Long. “Even with species where Realizing the change in the group dynamic, the zoo’s care- offspring can stay in the social group, they may be needed as givers moved Bao Zhen to an adjacent exhibit. There he could mates and/or social companions elsewhere.” maintain proximity with the rest of the herd as the Sichuan As Long notes, not every move is about breeding. Many Takin Species Survival Plan® found him a suitable permanent are designed to meet the social needs of animals that do live in home. (He made the SSP-recommended move to The Wilds in groups. Great ape troops, in particular, can require social engiOhio this year.) neering to balance the animals’ complex personalities. For example, female gorilla Kowali left Kwan’s group at Regenstein Center for African Apes to move to Knoxville Making Moves (But Not too Many) Zoo in July. The impetus behind the move was to proInter-zoo moves like Bao Zhen’s are guided by scivide companionship for Wanto, a male who was entists at the Association of Zoos and Aquariliving alone. Kowali’s presence jumpstarted a ums’ Population Management Center (PMC), How often are the socialization process that has the ultimate goal which is headquartered at Lincoln Park Zoo. animals changed of Wanto and Kowali living in a natural social The PMC works with zoos—and species— & rotated with other group with two other females. throughout North America, drafting breeding zoos/habitats? and transfer plans for roughly 340 species. “These moves require a lot of coordination, –Click Around A big part of the PMC’s mandate is to but they’re made in the best interests of the Chicago population,” says Long. “We wouldn’t do them assist zoo professionals in making matches to otherwise.” preserve a species’ genetic diversity as well as
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Who Answers the Questions?
BY CRAIG KELLER
Guest engagement leaders and ambassadors field FAQs from visitors and broaden the conversation beyond fun facts. “Is that a hyena?”
Visitors to the zoo’s African wild dog exhibit invariably ask the question. It’s easy to see why. Wild dogs and spotted hyenas have similar coats and saucer-shaped ears. Both are carnivores. Hyenas are larger but not by much. Zoo educator Mark Johnson, who’s delivering a chat at the exhibit, has anticipated the question. He shows a visitor side-by-side photos of the two species that clearly distinguish their physical differences. But Johnson is just getting warmed up. The question is an opening, a “teachable moment” in the lingo of the zoo’s guest engagement leaders (like Mark) and volunteer guest engagement ambassadors—or GELs and GEAs—the zoo’s frontline question wranglers. “I can talk about the dogs’ habitat in Africa and then segue to the zoo’s Serengeti Health Initiative,” says Johnson, referring to the zoo’s ambitious conservation project in east Africa. The initiative includes vaccinating domestic dogs in rural villages to thwart the spread of canine distemper and rabies to wild dog packs and hyenas in adjacent wildlife reserves.
“People are like, ‘Wait—the zoo does that?’” says Johnson. “They’re surprised to hear the zoo puts so much effort into projects abroad.”
Such moments crystallize the broader intent of the zoo’s ongrounds informal education program. “Our GELs and GEAs focus on our three core categories: animal adaptations, animal care and conservation and science,” says Amanda Berlinski, the zoo’s manager of guest engagement. “Ultimately, it’s about driving connections that highlight the amazing work going on behind the scenes at the zoo.” Director of Education Allison Price breaks that philosophy down further. “Everyone loves fun facts about animals—how long is a giraffe’s tongue, how high can a serval jump—but that only scratches the surface of all there is to learn here,” says Price. “We contextualize those facts within deeper stories the zoo has to tell,” she says. “Like the science behind the rhino breeding program that led to a successful birth this year. If your visit to a training demonstration or mobile learning station doesn’t show you the work we do or our passion for nature, then we haven’t succeeded.”
Follow the Leader
The six GELs—two year-round and four seasonal from May– September—are staff members that lead an ever-evolving variety of daily animal talks, encounters and demonstrations. They introduce kids to La Plata three-banded armadillos at Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House, describe cow milking in-depth at the Farm-in-the-Zoo and explain the foraging habits of avian species in the Free Flight Area at the McCormick Bird House. GELs receive ongoing weekly training on conservation and care at the zoo. Many past and present GELs are recent college graduates pursuing careers in wildlife and environmental sciences. That knowledge helps them explain how apes sequencing symbols on a touch-screen computer contributes to better exhibit design. Or the meticulous science behind rhino breeding and pregnancy monitoring. They build bridges from simple questions. “Visitors sometimes ask if we go in with the animals,” says GEL Danika Baer. “That lets us talk about how the zoo strives for indirect contact that encourages animals to behave as naturally as possible. We can share how operant conditioning prompts gorillas, harbor seals and other species to participate in their self-care.” 6 LINCOLN PARK ZOO
Zoo educators turn questions about species like African wild dogs and animal encounters into a springboard to share the zoo’s larger mission of conservation and care.
Seven themed mobile learning stations located throughout the zoo also function as Q&A hubs. Volunteer GEAs (60 at last count) preside over the imaginatively built carts, rotating from one to the next in hour-long shifts. The themes—comparative anatomy, diets and enrichment, endocrinology, habitats, behavioral research, olfactory adaptations—may sound like hard sells. But age-appropriate banter and fun props easily engage little ones and families. Play a plinko game to learn about animals’ habitat niches! Spin the wheel of enrichment to find out how zookeepers elicit natural play behaviors from animals! “Our ‘Feces Saves Species’ cart is a huge hit,” says Berlinski, referring to an interactive station that graphically represents the samples used by zoo endocinologists to monitor stress and reproductive hormones. “Poop is popular.”
Beyond the Grounds
Learning doesn’t necessarily end at the conclusion of a zoo visit. GELs and GEAs also point visitors to other zoo resources. Examples include scientist blogs on the zoo’s website and the after-hours Wine & Wildlife lecture series, which recently focused on black rhino conservation—a natural transition for guests curious about King, the zoo’s infant male rhino. “The first step is getting people, especially when they’re young, to fall in love with our animals,” says Johnson. “Then we can talk about extinction, habitat loss, conservation efforts and ways you can help. Fortunately, that first part is easy.” WINTER 2013 7
What Animal is That?
More than 1,700 students from 18 underserved Chicago public schools participate in YRC, a nine–month program that teaches the inquiry-based science practiced by zoo researchers. The initiative is made possible by the support of the Polk Brothers Foundation, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Students choose whether to study animal behavior or ecology and biodiversity, then conduct studies at the zoo (on the main grounds and at Nature Boardwalk), school and home. Animal care staff and biologists with the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute consulted on Creating Young Researchers, which complements Observe to Learn, an animal behavior app launched earlier in 2013. Tablets are available at the zoo for the YRC-participanting schools to use during their scheduled visits. Their growing presence at schools also fuels their increasing use in zoo education initiatives. Zoo scientists use similar apps to gather their own daily data on animal behavior. “Students—especially those at different developmental levels—really feel engaged using the iPad apps,” says Graszer. “It makes them feel like actual researchers.” Which, of course, they are. The Creating Young Researchers app lets local students ID species including fireflies and chipmunks.
Identifying zoo animals is easy. Colorful signs provide the species’ name, physical traits, native habitat and more. But what about the animals we encounter (or fail to notice) every day in our urban neighborhoods? Middle school students participating in the zoo’s Young Researchers Collaborative (YRC) program have an app for that. Creating Young Researchers is a new iPad application, available for free download in the iTunes Store, that helps users study the biodiversity within a given area. Urban wildlife species are identified through photos, short text descriptions and audio recordings of their vocalizations. Tapping plus and minus buttons underneath each photo produces population counts in handy spreadsheets, bar graphs and pie charts that can be quickly shared by email. Species are divided among mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates that live throughout the Chicago metro area—from coyotes to woodchucks, barn swallows to ring-billed gulls, painted turtles to American toads, dragonflies to crickets. Even the common housefly, earthworm and ant make an appearance. “We have a lot of insects on here,” says Chrissy Graszer, the zoo’s manager of student and teacher programs. “Because in some heavily urbanized neighborhoods that might be mostly what people see.” 8 LINCOLN PARK ZOO
Looking for more info about local species? Follow the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute on Twitter: @lpz_uwi
Black Rhinoceros Diceros bicornis michaeli Rhinos, both in their native plains of Africa and at the zoo, are by nature solitary animals. Adults come together to breed, mothers rear young, but these massive herbivores typically spend their lives alone. With that in mind, the redesign of the Harris Family Foundation Black Rhinoceros Exhibit, completed in 2009, was intended to give the animals their space while preserving opportunities for breeding…and calf rearing. A massive sliding door between the two northernmost exhibits let male Maku and female Kapuki come together when she was in estrus. Some nifty hormonal sleuthing by zoo endocrinologist Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., paired with behavioral observations from our animal care experts, completed the rhino match that produced baby King in August. With the baby born, Kapuki and King are living separately from dad once again. “That’s how it would be in the
wild,” says Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The male doesn’t do anything to care for the calf. If there’s a Don't the rhinos male in the area, the female would get lonely living probably chase him off.” solo? Does it affect The only male Kapuki has to their behavior? chase at the zoo is her little one, –Claudia Hueser who shows a typical youngster’s spirit in trying to play away from mom. But even with animal care staff offering extra attention, Kapuki is committed to following her little one around and keeping him out of mischief. The social bond between mom and calf will last anywhere from two–four years, as it would in the wild. Then, as King matures, he and Kapuki will return to their natural solitary lifestyles. Luckily, we have plenty of cute contact between the two to witness until then. See photos and videos of King on the move at www.lpzoo.org/magazine!
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What Happens After Hours? Most animals end their day after the guests leave, hunkering down for a well-earned night of sleep. But what about the zoo’s nocturnal species? What do they do after dark? Read on to find out.
Day for Night
Many of the zoo’s nocturnal species reside at Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House. The Gallery section of the building alone includes La Plata three-banded armadilDo you light up the los, cactus mice, lesser Madagascar cages of nocturnal hedgehog tenrecs, pygmy slow lorises, animals at nighttime, Egyptian and straw-colored fruit bats like the bushbaby and and Moholi bushbabies (also known the loris, so they can as galagos). be active and “play”? To ensure visitors will see these ani–Grace Palacio mals active and not snoozing, a reversed light cycle is established. From 9 a.m.–7 p.m. the lights are on but very dim, simulating moonlight; from 7 p.m.–9 a.m. they’re on full blast. It’s the exact opposite of the schedule for the Gallery’s dirurnal (daytime active) species. In some cases it makes exhibit maintenance a relative snap. “When we want the galagos to go into their off-exhibit holding area, we turn the lights off in holding and turn them on in the exhibit,” says Curator Diane Mulkerin. “They automatically shift over.” The bushbabies also have a habit of waking up around 6:30
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a.m. “It’s the only time you can see them moving around with the lights on,” says Mulkerin. Visitors who’ve sought out the Hoffman’s two-toed sloths and dwarf crocodiles and caimans in the building’s glass-domed Ecosystem know these nocturnal animals rarely move during sunlit hours. “That’s why it’s a great idea to visit during ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One, when the building stays open late for the public,” says Mulkerin. “The crocodilians swim around more, and the sloths climb trees and all over the mesh.”
Unlike their wild counterparts, the African lions at the zoo don’t have to hunt at night. They’re a bit more active after-hours, though, says Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “Sahar is younger, so he’s more curious,” says Kamhout of the zoo’s 3-year-old male lion. “He’ll go outside in the evening and early morning. He’s very observant of everything around him.” The big cats and other mammals with outdoor yards at the zoo have outdoor access at night and can go in or out. (The animals at the Farm-in-the-Zoo are an exception to the rule and are kept indoors overnight.) But they often prefer to hang out in their behind-the-scenes living spaces. “Those areas serve a purpose,” says Kamhout. “There’s hay bedding in there. That’s where they’re fed.” The four young sisters in the zoo’s African wild dog pack— whose wild counterparts sometimes hunt in the early evening— often opt for a group nap in the late afternoon. “They pile up on each other,” says Kamhout. “It looks like one big wild dog.”
Patsy, the zoo’s female aardvark, sleeps even more during the day. Regenstein African Journey’s only completely nocturnal species, the long-snouted insect eater occasionally rouses herself to forage for mealworms, crickets and nutrient-rich grains. Her burrow is kept dimly lit during daylight hours to encourage this active behavior. “To her, this is the kind of place she’d spend her day in the wild” says Kamhout.
A Tawny Tale
Most of the winged occupants of the McCormick Bird House begin seeking out roosting spots for the night minutes after the public departs. But the building does have one bona fide nocturnal species: a tawny frogmouth male and female breeding pair (no chicks yet, though a chick was born to a previous pair in 2006) who make their home in the Mountain Clearing. Often mistaken for an owl, this member of the nightjar family has dark gray and black feathers that blend into the bark of trees in its native Australia. “As nocturnal animals, they camouflage really well,” says Sunny Nelson, the zoo’s Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds. “When they’re alarmed, they go into an upright, erect position where their heads are elongated. It makes them look like a tree branch.” Small beak tips peeking out from puffy feathers also disguise another impressive feature, the birds’ big mouths, which they use to hunt rodents and insects. “We tend to offer them food later in the afternoon to give them a chance to forage around,” says Nelson. “We can assess their nightly activity by what’s in disarray—
wing prints, nest materials, where they’ve pooped,” says Nelson. “But by the time we arrive for our morning shifts they’re back to sitting on a log.”
After-Hours Animal Care
When the public leaves the zoo, what do the keepers do with the animals? Do they get a walk out of their enclosures or are they brought into the buildings? –Lauren Ofner Sadofsky
Just as it does for us, night time means peace and quiet for the zoo’s animals. Animal caregivers, from keepers to curators to veterinarians, have well-honed response procedures in place 24/7 in the event of an emergency. But the zoo doesn’t need lots of keepers hovering around habitats in the wee hours. “At night, our animals don’t necessarily want us bothering them,” says Megan Ross, Ph.D., the zoo’s vice president of Animal Care. “They’re sleeping, so we’re not doing much for them then.” There are certainly exceptions to the rule. “When we have births, or if an animal is injured or sick, they receive around-the-clock care,” says Ross. In such cases, keepers rotate in shifts. They made sure a newborn klipspringer born in August was fed throughout the night. They babysat female western lowland gorilla Nayembi as she recovered from a facial injury. (You can visit the rambunctious, fully healed little one with playmate Patty in their family troop at Regenstein Center for African Apes.) Zoo staff also keep a close eye on unfavorable forecasts. “We check the weather reports every day,” says Ross. “We’re not leaving animals outside if a storm is coming or temperatures are dropping.”
Moholi bushbabies, aardvarks and tawny frogmouths are among the zoo’s nocturnal species. Diurnal animals, like western lowland gorillas Bana and baby Patty, catch their Zs at night like the rest of us.
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Whether it’s play with mom, a special “looky loo” mirror or icy enrichment, all the zoo’s animals have special offerings to keep them engaged.
Do the Animals Get Bored? “Someone might come up to the lion yard and say Sahar looks bored,” says Matthew Heintz, Ph.D., the zoo’s Welfare Monitoring Post-Doctoral Fellow. “Actually, wild lions spend up to 20 hours of the day sleeping. It’s what they do.” Understanding the natural behavior of animals in the wild is critical to providing appropriate care for those living at zoos. But animal welfare is never a simple matter. Snapshot impressions of how an animal appears to be faring don’t provide the entire picture. “Good welfare can be challenging to evaluate because there are lots of different things that can affect it,” says Megan Ross, Ph.D., vice president of Animal Care. “That’s why we have keepers, veterinarians, endocrinologists and behaviorists who come at welfare from different angles. It sounds like an easy topic, but it’s very complex.” Zookeepers are the first line of defense. If they notice a behavioral change that doesn’t seem quite right they call in the zoo’s veterinarians, who make house calls around zoo grounds every day. They also encourage activity by training individuals to participate in their self-care and providing stimulating enrichment appropriate for a given species. “Scent enrichment makes sense for cats. Puzzle feeders occupy fingers and minds for gorillas, who forage all day,” says Ross. “But putting a big object in with hoofstock can frighten them because they’re used to being prey species. You have to know your animals.” 12 LINCOLN PARK ZOO
Heintz, who’s studied wild chimpanzee play behavior in Tanzania, is using ZooMonitor, a new iPad app developed by the zoo, to take behavior monitoring research to the next level. Modeled on programs used at Regenstein Center for African Apes, it lets zoo scientists and caregivers review data collected daily on a variety of species to determine if, say, the way an animal is using an exhibit is new or part of a recurring seasonal pattern. One recent focus: collecting baseline data on the baby black rhino, King, and his mom, Kapuki. “We’re looking at the frequency of typical mother-calf behaviors as well as how this youngster exhibits play behavior with mom or by himself,” says Heintz. “King has a lot of energy, and there’s been plentiful nursing. Kapuki is doing what she needs to do.” Heintz and the zoo’s endocrinologists at the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology also study animals’ stress by analyzing hormone levels in fecal samples. This valuable information can help confirm or guide animal care decisions related to observed behavior. All the baseline data will help link future changes in behavior to health and welfare. One added benefit for Heintz: collecting it certainly isn’t boring. See more enrichment at www.lpzoo.org/magazine!
Where Does All the Poop Go? Most of the poop produced by the zoo’s animals is hauled off by a certified waste management company. But plenty of it is repurposed. How much? Try tens of thousands of fecal samples from more than 50 species. All of it stored in carefully labeled bags and boxes and stacked in freezers located throughout the zoo. This dung depository provides vital material for the zoo’s Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology. Researchers led by Davee Center Director Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., extract hormones associated with stress and reproduction from the feces. Measuring hormone levels over time can reveal patterns that help guide animal care and welfare decisions. Like when to introduce a breeding pair of rhinos—normally solitary animals— at just the right time. Or whether construction on the upcoming Regenstein Macaque Forest is stressful for the African wild dogs who live nearby. “We have 10 freezers around the zoo—21-cubic-foot capacity like your standard home fridge—and they’re all full,” says Santymire. “We keep processed samples in test tubes and extra samples in case we have questions later about those animals and
Where does all the poop go? And how much is there?
want to run tests again. The stuff we’re –Christy Hruska actively working on is stored in three freezers at the lab.” She summarizes her team’s workflow as such: “Animals defecate. Keepers put the feces in sealable bags, label it for us and throw it in the freezers. We come by monthly to pick up samples from the black rhinos, red river hogs, Bactrian camels, La Plata three-banded armadillos…and process samples every month. We analyze about 10,000 samples a year, and we’ve been doing this for seven years.” Do the math. The freezers also store fecal samples collected and pre-processed by field researchers studying wild chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park and mountain gorillas in Rwanda. The sample tally on those? About 3,600 for the chimps, 9,000 for the gorillas. “Once we finish a study or publish our research, I ask myself, ‘Time to throw out these samples?’” says Santymire. “But I always have more questions—and the animals keep pooping. My strategy? Buy more freezers!”
Far from being a total waste, animal feces let zoo scientists, including Lab Associate Michael Landeche, learn more about animal stress and reproduction.
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Will Anana ever get another polar bear to share her habitat? –Spencer
field note Polar Bear Ursus maritimus
Anana, the zoo’s female polar bear, engages scores of guests. Visitors marvel at the 650-pound swimmer as she glides like a submarine through her 266,000-gallon pool. She’s the sole resident of one of the world’s largest polar bear exhibits—and in her case, one is not a lonely number. Polar bears are solitary animals. In their Arctic home, individuals exemplify endurance, hunting seals across vast ranges of sea ice and ocean. Encounters with other bears are infrequent. Mating is an exception to the rule. But even this ritual, which takes place between late winter and early spring, lasts at most a few weeks before the successful breeding pair parts ways. Motherhood is another exception. Moms give birth in winter dens to two cubs about 265 days after mating—a period that includes delayed embryo implantation so the female 14 LINCOLN PARK ZOO
can conserve energy during warmer weather when ice melts and seals are harder to find. After birth, the small family group remains together for two–three years. Other kinds of interactions in polar bear society aren’t quite so sociable. Male polar bears battle fiercely over the few available females during breeding season; the latter mate only after their cubs disperse. Males attempting to scavenge another bear’s seal kill often instigate a fierce fight, with smaller combatants usually heading away hungry. Anana, at 14 years old, may still be able to mother cubs. It’s possible she’ll be paired with a male in the future if hormone measurements green-light the option and a breeding recommendation is made by the Polar Bear Species Survival Plan® which manages this vulnerable species’ zoo population. If and when that day arrives, Anana will keep swimming, dozing in her den behind the scenes and chasing the occasional fish tossed into her pool by keepers. “She’ll chase them down in the pool for exercise,” says Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “Little known fact, though: her favorite treat is peanut butter.”
What's Growing in the Gardens? We get to the root of your questions about the zoo’s gardens
The zoo’s gardeners let their lovingly pruned plants and cultivated blooms speak for themselves. But while these green thumbs tend to blend in with their leafy surroundings, they often field questions from visitors intrigued by their activities and impressive results. Director of Horticulture Brian Houck answers five of the most frequent garden-related queries:
How do you choose your plants?
All gardeners are passionate about their plant choices, and we’re no exception. We consider many factors home gardeners also scrutinize: amount of sun/shade, if the location is wet or dry, height, how we’ll be able to water this plant and, finally, blooms and how the plant contributes to the garden aesthetically. Unique to the zoo, we consider height to make sure children can see over plants to spot the animals too!
Why are you pulling out those nice-looking plants?
We do swap out water-thirsty plants for ones that can survive with far less water. We also harvest plant material that can be fed to certain animals to add variety and nutrition to their meals.
How do you work in and around animal exhibits?
Teamwork is critical! We work closely with animal keepers to access these areas and do these projects with as many people— and as quickly—as possible. It can be a lot of fun for the garden volunteers to be in an animal’s exhibit one morning.
What do you do in winter?
The gardeners work just as hard in the winter, but yes, the work does change. Pruning trees and shrubs keeps us very busy on the zoo’s 49 acres. Admittedly, on those very cold days even the gardeners are inside working on the next year’s garden plans or the zoo’s interiorscapes.
How do I volunteer?
The Volunteer Information Sessions held in February are a great place to start. You’ll learn about the horticulture volunteer program and can sign up for an interview. Garden volunteers have great camaraderie and share a passion for contributing in a meaningful and direct way. Their caretaking efforts are directly connected to the success of the zoo’s gardens.
“September charm” anemones have faded, but the zoo’s gardeners stay busy prepping the occasional animal exhibit—and getting ready for winter.
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1. What’s New at the Zoo? Everyone, it seems! It was a busy summer for new arrivals, as the zoo welcomed an exciting array of babies and hatchlings. We offer a look at the little ones when they first arrived…and an update on what they’re up to now. Red Kangaroo
Born spring 2013 The first new arrival of the season was actually among the last to be seen. A tiny joey was born in the red kangaroo mob sometime this spring. But the little one spent summer growing out of sight in mom’s pouch, only occasionally teasing an arm or leg. Now fully visible, the joey will soon be exploring on its own.
Trumpeter Swan Cygnets
Hatched June 5 These honking new arrivals grew quickly after making their way out of the shell. By the end of summer the five cygnets had shed gray feathers for sleek white plumage like mom and dad. They made their way to the wild in September through the Iowa Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project.
Born July 11 While this tiny monkey showcased a vibrant orange coat at birth, the little langur’s markings are quickly darkening to match the black of mom and dad. The infant, dubbed Pierre, is a welcome addition for an endangered species.
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Born August 16 This little ape is the fourth offspring for breeding pair Burma and Caruso, who were matched by the Gibbon Species Survival Plan®. The baby still clings to mom as she swings through the exhibit. As is customary with this endangered species, the baby’s coat will darken to dad’s black by age 2.
Hatched June 7 This small scavenger was incubated behind the scenes after mom and dad abandoned the nest, but animal care staff reintroduced the growing bird to its parents in August. The chick is now close to adult size—females are larger than males in this species—and sharing Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit with its parents.
Born August 4 Animal care experts had to intervene to hand rear this tiny dwarf antelope behind the scenes at Regenstein African Journey. Even as it approaches adult size off exhibit, this little one will max out at 20 inches in height.
Born August 26 This big baby came into the world at around 50 pounds, doubling his weight in the first week of life. Named King, the active infant is a welcome addition for an endangered species facing a conservation crisis in the wild. The zoo is a safe refuge, though, offering plenty of play for the little one—and close attention from mom Kapuki.
See the latest update on the new arrivals at www.lpzoo.org/magazine.
using their former exhibit space to advance the care and conservation of endangered black rhinos. The zoo made a significant investment toward that goal with the 2009 creation of the Harris Family Foundation Black Rhinoceros Exhibit. This important work, which includes conservation projects in South Africa, received a welcome boost with the August arrival of baby rhino King.
Why doesn’t the dwarf crocodile in Regenstein African Journey eat the fish that share her exhibit? Fielded by zoo educators
While female Maggie has been known to take the rare snap at the Mozambique tilapia sharing her exhibit, the carefully formulated diet she receives generally satisfies her appetite.
Why don’t the African wild dogs, lions and tigers jump out of their exhibits? Fielded by zoo educators
These awesome predators may seem to be just arm’s-length away, but they live in exhibits carefully designed to ensure they stay “home.” Moats and walls meet strict standards provided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
My son keeps asking me when the penguins will be back.
Kristin Morris We can’t offer an exact timeline, but we do have plans to bring back penguins in the future!
Chimpanzee cardboard consumption and African lion acrobatics are among the remaining zoo FAQs.
FAQ Lightning Round
Many years ago, I remember a vacant building where the Wild Things Gift Shop and Café at Wild Things are now. What did that building once house? Peter Kaspari
The building you remember was the former Small Mammal House. Once possibly the oldest building on zoo grounds, dating back to 1889, it housed everything from Arctic foxes to two-toed sloths. But the historic framework couldn’t meet modern needs for animals or visitors, and the building was torn down in 1997. Why is that ape eating cardboard? Fielded by zoo educators Cardboard offers extra enrichment for the zoo’s chimpanzees and gorillas…and a bit of harmless roughage as well.
My children want to know why you don't have any elephants. Melissa Griffin Donovan While elephants lived at the zoo in the past, we’re committed to
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Are emotional issues addressed following the loss of an animal...both with zoo staff and the other animals in the exhibit? Sherrill Randolph Dunsmuir
On the animal side, our caregivers offer extra attention after a loss in a social species, keeping a close eye on the group to ensure there’s stability and that the animals seem to be acting normally. Depending on the situation, animal care staff may offer extra enrichment or training sessions, but it’s all dependent on what the animals want—some may prefer to be alone. Additionally, a lot of careful planning goes into ensuring that social animals have appropriate companionship, especially with geriatric animals. When male lion Adelor passed away, animal care staff offered Myra extra training sessions. But they had also notified the Lion Species Survival Plan® that Myra might soon need companionship, prompting the arrival of current male Sahar. For zoo staff, there’s an Employee Assistance Program that’s available to all Lincoln Park Zoo employees should they require help. But in the face of a loss, the care group often comes together to support one another and remember the departed…as happens with people too.
Farewell to a Zoo Friend
Chimpanzee Keo, a beloved Lincoln Park Zoo resident since 1959, passed away in September. You can read our tribute to Keo—and leave a memory of your own—at www.lpzoo.org/magazine.
news of the zoo
Construction continues for Regenstein Macaque Forest, ornate box turtles are again growing behind the scenes at the Kovler Lion House and Zoo Ball 2013: Wild at Heart was another success, welcoming Chairman of the Board John Ettelson, Co-Chairs Jennifer Caruso, Vasiliki Weiden and Charlotte Monhart, Women’s Board President Peggy White and President and CEO Kevin Bell.
What’s Happening with Regenstein Macaque Forest?
It’s a fitting time for the west side of the zoo to “Get Ready for Snow,” but the chilly conditions forecast aren’t the winter weather ahead. Instead, the slogan refers to the planned completion of Regenstein Macaque Forest in fall 2014, which will include the arrival of Japanese macaques, or “snow monkeys.” The zoo took the first steps toward this exciting, immersive exhibit in August when a building crew erected a construction fence and bid farewell to the old Kovler Penguin-Seabird House. (The former building—another icy environ—reached the end of its lifespan and closed in November 2011.) Construction has now expanded to the area surrounding Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café and the LPZoo Children’s Train, which has temporarily moved to the Main Mall. The ultimate vision is for a garden parkscape to surround the café, with an expanded Lionel Train Adventure nearby. Regenstein Macaque Forest will anchor the area, of course, combining lively social displays with cutting-edge research and education programs modeled after the award-winning Regenstein Center for African Apes. Thanks to the Regenstein Foundation, Lionel, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Stewart Foundation for their support.
Who’s Returned to the Wild?
While Lincoln Park Zoo introduces visitors to animals from around the world, our scientists and animal caregivers are also busy reintroducing vulnerable species to the zoo’s backyard. Many of the reintroduction programs have a prairie focus as zoo experts work with local wildlife agencies to reestablish this fragmented habitat that once covered much of Illinois. In June, 18 ornate box turtles that spent a year growing behind the scenes at the Kovler Lion House were released to sand prairie habitat in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Savanna, Illinois. VIP care at the zoo of-
fered a “head start”—and extra growth—that should help the threatened hatchlings thrive in the wild. The reintroductions continued when meadow jumping mice were released to Lake County’s Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve in July and September. Bred at the zoo, the tiny leapers were the first wave in a long-term project to recolonize restored habitat with this native species. Finally, for the fourth straight year, zoo-hatched smooth green snakes were released to the Lake County Forest Preserve District in September. These tiny, vibrant insect eaters are another native species looking to reestablish a foothold thanks to zoo expertise. Researchers are monitoring them and the other species to learn how they’re adapting to their new homes… valuable information for future reintroductions.
What Was Shaking at the Zoo This Summer?
Plenty of dancing feet, for one thing. The zoo’s premier summer fundraiser, Zoo Ball 2013: Wild at Heart, presented by Guggenheim, ended with a surprise appearance by KC and the Sunshine Band. The gala, hosted by the Women’s Board of Lincoln Park Zoo and chaired by Jennifer Caruso, Charlotte Monhart and Vasiliki Weiden, raised more than $1 million to support Chicago’s free zoo. Salsa at the Zoo Presented by MyHabanero.com shared smooth moves at the Café at Wild Things in July, August and September. Jammin’ at the Zoo also got guests jumping with shows from Plain White T’s and Michael Franti & Spearhead. There was plenty of relaxation on tap as well. Guests sprawled out on the South Lawn for free showings of Clueless, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Zoolander at Zoovies Presented by popchips. Locally Sourced at the Patio debuted, offering local music, art and drink specials from Lagunitas Brewing Company from July through September. And guests enjoyed wine from around the world and garden presentations at a sold-out Wine & Wildflowers Garden Party on July 31. WINTER 2013 19
calendar Glide and Glow
Lincoln Park Zoo will once again be shining with 2 million lights for ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One. Starting November 29, this holiday spectacle will include familiar favorites like hot chocolate, ice carving and visits with Santa. But winter fun at the zoo this year includes a smooth new element: Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo. The Farm-in-the-Zoo’s Edible Garden will sprout a special skating rink from November 29–March 2. Ice fans can work on their “crop circles” from noon–9 p.m. daily. Private rentals are available too—call 312-742-2400 if you’re interested. Lincoln Park Zoo members will have the skating and lights all to themselves on December 5 as we celebrate the inaugural Members-Only Night at ZooLights! Members and their guests will have exclusive access to the zoo. This fun, free event lets us highlight how much we appreciate members—and share the brilliance of ZooLights. Thanks also to Pepsi, United and WLIT for their support.
Upcoming Events Sunday, November 24 Sunday Family Fundays: Animal Extremes
Sunday, December 8 Conservators’ Council ZooLights Party
November 29–December 1; December 6–8, 13–23; December 26–January 5 ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One
Saturday, December 22 Family Polar Party Saturday, December 29 Family Polar Party
Thursday, December 5 Members-Only Night at ZooLights
NEW! Members-Only Night at ZooLig hts December 5 5-9 p.m.
See the full calendar at www.lpzoo.org/calendar
ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One Calendar November 2013
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15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 This year’s winter fun will include Ice Skating at the Zoo along with Family Polar Parties and the brilliance of ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One.
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29 30 31 *Members Only
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Members decorated Anana’s window at Members-Only Morning and will enjoy exclusive run of ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One at Members-Only Night at ZooLights on December 5.
An Extra Night at ZooLights—Just for You!
ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One is one of Chicago’s top winter events…and it can get busy. Members asked if they could have a night all to themselves, and we’re making it happen! Members-Only Night at ZooLights will take place Thursday, December 5, from 5–9 p.m. Join us for all the fun of this holiday extravaganza, including a few extras just for members and their guests…like free ice skating at the farm. Can’t make it December 5? Don’t worry, we’ll still have hot chocolate, cookies and kids’ activities in the Members Lounge on other ZooLights nights through December 31. Meet us in the Tadpole Room on the lower level of Park Place Café from 5–8 p.m.
Conservators’ Council ZooLights Party
Conservator’s Council members and above can start their ZooLights season right with a special party at Regenstein African Journey on Sunday, December 8, from 3–5 p.m. Guests will enjoy a buffet dinner, drinks and kids’ activities before heading out to experience the beauty of the zoo in lights. Space is limited, so reserve a spot by calling 312-742-7747 or emailing email@example.com.
Looking Back at Members-Only Morning
More than 700 members and guests joined us August 10 for a sunny Members-Only Morning. Attendees were able to “wake up” with the north end of the zoo, spotting species like giraffes, Andean bears and black rhinos as they started their days. Guests left messages for polar bear Anana on her window,
made treats for meerkats and heard zoo endocrinologist Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., share how her research conserves wildlife at the zoo and a world away. Be sure to join us for the next Members-Only Morning, which will take place in spring 2014.
Special Gift Ideas to Support Chicago’s Free Zoo
There are plenty of ways to share your love of Lincoln Park Zoo this holiday season. • Purchase a gift membership by calling the Membership Hotline at 312-742-2322 • ADOPT a Lincoln Park Zoo animal for someone on your list at www.lpzoo.org/adopt • Fill an animal’s stocking with something from our Wish List. See the options at www.lpzoo.org/wishlist • Spread some joy by making an unrestricted gift to Lincoln Park Zoo’s Annual Fund
Follow Us Online! Lincoln Park Zoo magazine isn't the only way to stay up to date on the zoo's world of wildlife. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the zoo blogs at www.lpzoo.org. New animal arrivals, special events, field reports by zoo scientists— they all await your discovery online.
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The Gift That Gives Twice
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Support Lincoln Park Zoo’s animals and share a cuddly gift by purchasing a special holiday ADOPT. This year’s gift package focuses on the zoo’s most popular Asian animals: Amur tigers, red pandas and Bactrian camels. Take one—or all of them—home by visiting www.lpzoo.org/adopt today!
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