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For Members of Lincoln Park Zoo • A Magazine of Conservation and Education • Winter 2012

Past Meets Present

Zoo Milestones Highlight Today’s Successes



Volume 11 Number 4 • For Members of Lincoln Park Zoo

Deeply Rooted While zoo blooms have changed over the years, visitors are always at the root of our garden planning.





A Century of Big Cats


Leading the Lab

As the landmark Kovler Lion House turns 100, it continues to evolve to meet the needs of the animals that call it home.

Lisa Faust’s path from intern to Vice President of Conservation & Science reflects how much Lincoln Park Zoo’s research efforts have grown.


Then and Now


Ready for Release

Look back at the origins of the Helen Brach Primate House, Antelope & Zebra Area and Regenstein Small Mammal–Reptile House.

Decades after filling Lake Michigan with fry, the zoo has science-based reintroduction programs returning species of all stripes to the wild.


Class Is Still in Session


Ape Crusaders

The “Answer Man” has moved on, but zoo educators are displaying a global reach in fielding questions—and sharing knowledge—about wildlife.

A batch of female gorilla births decades ago set the stage for the zoo’s first all-male bachelor troop today.

Perspective President and CEO Kevin Bell uses the zoo’s proud history to measure how it can continue to move forward.


Wild File


News of the Zoo


Your Story

A titi monkey baby, new chicks for a species on the brink of extinction and fall migration at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Summer event highlights, updates from the Serengeti and a zoo welcome to new experts in conservation and care.

Childhood visits inspire a lifetime of support from Carol Stein Sterling and husband Jim.

Continue Your Visit Online Visit for Lincoln Park Zoo photos, videos and up-to-date info on events and animals. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter!

We’d Like to Hear from You! Send your feedback on this issue of Lincoln Park Zoo magazine to

Cover: 3-year-old lion Sahar stares from his perch at the 100-year-old Kovler Lion House. Left: New gorilla Mosi heads outdoors at Regenstein Center for African Apes. LINCOLN PARK ZOO MAGAZINE

President and CEO Kevin J. Bell Art Director Peggy Martin

Editor James Seidler

QUESTIONS? Contact the Membership Department. Staff are on hand during normal business hours— phone 312-742-2322 or visit us online at

Communications Specialist Craig Keller

Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, 312-742-2000, 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

Looking Back, Moving Forward Tradition is an important part of Lincoln Park Zoo. That comes with being one of the longest-running zoos in the country. As you see new lion Sahar at the Kovler Lion House, you also get a glimpse of a building celebrating its 100th anniversary. When you visit the new baby Bolivian gray titi monkey, you can also marvel that you’re in a building originally built before the Great Depression. It’s fun to have this living connection with the past. But our proven success lies in how far we’ve come through decades of advancements in conservation and care. When I first arrived as curator of birds in 1976, no fulltime educators or scientists worked at Lincoln Park Zoo. Today it’s impossible to imagine the zoo without them. They’re a vital part of what we do. Much like we need experts to care for animals of all sizes, we need profession-

als to package lessons on animal adaptations so they’ll stick with young learners. We need trained scientists to research how zoo animals can be most comfortable in their homes and how wild populations can be brought back from the brink of extinction. When I became director of Lincoln Park Zoo in 1993, we were still managed by the Chicago Park District. When the Zoological Society took over management of the zoo in 1995, we became the only privately managed free zoo in the country. This gives us a flexible framework in welcoming 4 million guests every year. Our successes under this model include state-of-the-art buildings like Regenstein Center for African Apes and the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo and world-class research centers such as the Urban Wildlife Institute and Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology. The zoo is always learning from our significant history as part of the fabric of Chicago. Similarly, I’m always excited to work with the zoo family to make your experience even better. I look forward to doing so with your support. Kevin J. Bell President and CEO

Tiny ornate box turtles are growing behind the scenes in the landmark Kovler Lion House, highlighting the joining of old and new.

WINTER 2012 1

A Century of Big Cats Celebrating 100 Years at the Kovler Lion House


Opening with a Roar The October 27, 1912, edition of the Chicago Tribune announced the opening of Lincoln Park Zoo’s new Lion House in the sensationalized style of the times: “Moving Day in Park ‘Jungle’: Jungletown at Lincoln Park was all upset yesterday. Rajah, the prince of all tigers in captivity; Prince, one of the oldest inhabitants and the patriarch of the lions; jaguars, panthers and a mandrill moved from their old home into their new $150,000 mansion.” That $150,000 price tag—nearly $3.5 million in today’s dollars—made it the most expensive building in the zoo’s 44-year history. Designed by famed Prairie School architect Dwight Perkins, through his firm Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton, the building showcased lion mosaics, ornate brickwork and an elegant vaulted tile roof. The design was a hit right away, winning a gold medal that year from the Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Beautiful as the design was, it was more focused on visitors than animals, though—another hallmark of the times. The building’s south wall packed 13 animal exhibits side by side, a layout intent on displaying as many animals as possible. Still, the new home reflected progress. As the Tribune concluded, “All the new dens have skylights and plenty of fresh air. After they were released, most of the animals seemed to enjoy their quarters.”

Evolving to Meet the Times The architectural flourishes that impressed Perkins’ peers in 1912 remain unchanged. Terra cotta lions still pose above the entrances. This impressive facade prompted the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to designate the building a Chicago landmark in 2005. See all the highlights from Lincoln Park Zoo’s 144-year history with our zoo interactive timeline at


The Kovler Lion House’s landmark façade has changed little over 100 years, but revolutions in care have resulted in larger living spaces for animals including African lions (Sahar, at top) and Amur tigers.

But the building’s exhibit spaces have evolved over the years to reflect increasing understanding of animal needs. “Throughout the zoo, the trend over time has clearly been fewer animals, fewer species, fewer exhibits and larger exhibits,” says Steve Thompson, Ph.D., the zoo’s senior vice president of capital and programmatic planning. At the Kovler Lion House, those original 13 exhibits have repeatedly been combined and expanded, most recently with a $1.75 million renovation in 2007 that added 1,270 square feet of habitat to the south exterior. Large outdoor exhibits on the building’s north end—added in 1971—give lions and tigers more room to roam than Rajah or Prince could have imagined in 1912. The newest set of paws prowling the outdoor space belong to 2year-old male lion Sahar, who arrived from the Bronx Zoo in March through a transfer recommendation from the Lion Species Survival Plan®. The growing big cat spent most of the summer being introduced to resident female Myra, who first came to the zoo in 1997. Lion biology suggests Sahar will increasingly assume a leadership role as his mane fills in. But Myra was the clear alpha animal during introductions. “This was her home,” says Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “Everything was new for Sahar.” Slow and steady introductions familiarized the pair with one another, and the new pride began living together full-time in August. As Sahar and Myra lack a breeding recommendation, no cubs are expected. But the grouping does provide them with the companionship this social species needs. It’s the latest change in a building that’s seen plenty of them over the past 100 years. The exterior remains the same, but the rest of the Lion House always advances to meet the needs of its amazing animals.

See more photos of the new “king” of the Lion House at

FALL 2012 3

Leading the Lab An Intern Crunching Numbers in the Attic On Lisa Faust’s first day at Lincoln Park Zoo in 1997, it was easy for the young researcher to meet the rest of the Conservation & Science Department: there were only three other scientists. Not that her office set-up was conducive to socializing. An intern, she was stationed in the windowless fourth floor of the zoo’s Matthew Laflin Memorial Building. There she pored through old mammal population records to discover whether

zoo mammals showed bias in the sex of their offspring. “I definitely remember being in ‘the attic’ eight hours a day without sunlight,” she laughs. “Other people had behavioral work on zoo grounds. I was the only one up there all the time.” But that time in the attic was fruitful. Faust’s work there cemented her interest in the scientific discipline of demography—the study of populations. It prompted her to see zoos in a new light, as centers for science and conservation. Most importantly, it led to her first job that fall. She came back to prepare her work for publication and ended up landing the position of administrative assistant/conservation coordinator. In that role she had a firsthand look at the changes taking place in a rapidly growing department. Dedicated research at the zoo only dated back to the 1990 hiring of Steve Thompson, Ph.D., the zoo’s first scientist—and first head of Conservation


& Science. By 1997, the department was hosting international workshops on Bali mynah conservation and developing guidelines to standardize record keeping for zoos and aquariums throughout North America—all while awaiting the opening of the William C. Bartholomay Center for Conservation and Science, which provided a permanent home for zoo science in 1998.

Now Leading a Global Team In the 15 years since Lisa arrived at the zoo, she’s experienced some big changes. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She’s traveled to Africa for research, visiting elephants in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park and consulting with primate sanctuaries across Africa to assist population planning. She’s analyzed population trends for eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, transformed our understanding of animal life expectancies and crunched the numbers to see whether breeding and transfer recommendations are being carried out by zoos across North America. Most recently, she became Lincoln Park Zoo’s vice president of Conservation & Science. She was named to the role in July after a search including top candidates from across the country. She takes the helm of a department very different from the one she first experienced. The number of researchers has grown from five to nearly 50, scientists committed to topics ranging from the wildlife making its home in Chicago’s backyard to great-ape cognition. Faust oversees a team that has members studying disease dynamics in the Serengeti, traveling the United States to assist the science behind a black-footed ferret reintroduction program and doing match making and family planning for more than 500 species across North America. While the projects have expanded, the baseline commitment to using good scientific research to improve animal management and wildlife conservation remains unchanged. “We have a fantastic suite of strong conservation and science initiatives at the zoo,” says Faust. “We try to really focus on the data we need to make better decisions about how to manage, what to conserve. I love this applied focus on sciencebased action. It brings a real urgency to what we do every day, because someone’s waiting for the answer.” From the Serengeti to the zoo’s backyard, you can follow field updates from zoo scientists at

Lisa Faust, Ph.D., started at the zoo as an intern in 1997 and is now Lincoln Park Zoo’s new vice president of Conservation & Science. Faust oversees field conservation projects ranging from eastern massasauga rattlesnake recovery to improving management for elephants in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park. The lead researcher regularly works in the field herself. At top left, she’s looking for massasaugas in Michigan, while below she’s monitoring a herd of elephants (center) tracked via radio telemetry (left).

Then and Now Beyond the Kovler Lion House centenary, three more zoo buildings are celebrating milestones. Built in different eras, the Helen Brach Primate House (75 years), Antelope & Zebra Area (30 years) and Regenstein Small Mammal–Reptile House (15 years) all reflect the zoo’s constant drive to improve conditions for visitors and animals alike.

75 A Swinging Place When the Small Animal House opened in 1927, it represented the height of zoo knowledge at the time. Designed by architect Edwin Clark, it featured indoor-outdoor exhibits as well as “vita-glass” skylights that let in more ultraviolet light than standard glass, a boon for animal health. The $221,249 building (more than $5 million in today’s dollars) housed chimpanzees, capuchin monkeys, red-faced macaques and more. Zoo icons including gorillas Bushman, Sinbad and Otto later made their homes there. The primate focus proved forward-looking, as the building underwent renovations in 1992 and reopened as the Helen Brach Primate House. Vines, trees and murals created a more naturalistic living space. The “Dream Lady” statue hasn’t changed in 90 years, but a 1992 renovation made the Helen Brach Primate House a better home for its swinging residents. The Antelope & Zebra Area gives grazing species such as waterbuck room to roam. Outdated exhibits in the old Reptile House were replaced with state-of-the-art habitats with the 1997 opening of Regenstein Small Mammal–Reptile House.



Today, the Primate House has a family focus. Bolivian gray titi monkeys, endangered white-cheeked gibbons and Francois’ langurs are among the species to have produced recent new arrivals. “Since the building was built, we’ve learned a lot about what these animals need to thrive,” says Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy.

30 years

A Home for the Herds When the Antelope & Zebra Area first opened in 1982, it represented a $2 million investment in previously undeveloped land at the south end of the zoo. It was dedicated to animals that roam and graze: American bison, Arabian oryx, Bactrian camels, Grevy’s zebras and more. But it also reflected a commitment to replacing an older “menagerie” mindset with an emphasis on fewer species, many of which were in need of conservation. The area originally featured two ramps offering elevated views of the exhibits and interior living space. They closed in the 1990s, though. Why? “We always had problems with people dropping stuff—sunglasses, hats, you name it,” says General Curator Dave Bernier. Maintenance was also an issue, as was the fact that interior views were often limited to empty stalls. The area’s impressive residents remain, though, including Bactrian camels and Grevy’s zebras, both of which are still endangered. New arrivals like Grevy’s zebra colt Kito bring continued hope for resurgence.

15 Years of Small Wonders

15 years

When Regenstein Small Mammal–Reptile House (SMRH) opened in 1997, it offered a look at the future. In the previous Small Mammal House (located at the site of Wild Things gift shop) and Reptile House (now Park Place Café), light cycles and heat and humidity levels for the building’s diverse residents had to be controlled manually. Not so in SMRH. These elements were controlled by computers, which cycle heat and shuffle lights to simulate night and day for nocturnal and diurnal residents. Now, 15 years later, those automated elements still function, ensuring that Aruba Island rattlesnakes slither through tropical heat and cactus mice are active through noontime “nights.” But despite the automation, animal care staff still find plenty to keep them busy. “Maintaining habitats for more than 40 different species is a lot of work,” says Curator Diane Mulkerin. “But it’s a lot of fun too.”

Ready for Release


at the site of what later became the Reptile House and what is now Park Place Café. (Look along the building’s exterior— you’ll find plenty of decorative scales, shells and fins suggesting this original purpose.) But while the fish were bred in impressive numbers, planning for their release didn’t extend beyond dumping them into the waters of Lake Michigan. Afterward, the follow-up only went as far as responding to complaints from fisherman about a lack of bites. “If the fishermen are deluded, it is all their own fault,” said Floyd Young, then aquarium director and later head of Lincoln Park Zoo.

Strengthening the Science

Stocking the Waters In 1924, the city’s newspapers were awash with Lincoln Park Zoo’s first big release to the wild. “Fishtivities on Lake Shore,” one paper trumpeted. “Finny Tribe to Provide Delicious Dainties” and “So You Can Fish Again,” others announced. The Chicago American had all the details in the March 17 edition. “First steps to restock Lake Michigan were taken yesterday when 1,000,000 young white fish were dropped into Belmont Harbor at Belmont Avenue and the lake…The restocking will continue at the rate of 1,000,000 every day or two until 18,000,000 of the white fish and goodly numbers of wall-eyed pike, salmon, trout of the lake and brown German species and other fish adaptable have been fed in.” Each of these small fry had its origins at Lincoln Park Zoo. They’d hatched in the city’s first aquarium, built here in 1923


Reintroductions at Lincoln Park Zoo have come a long way. What was once a simple release has been refined into a science. Indeed, the zoo gathered reintroduction experts from around the globe for the First International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference in 2008. “A lot of work has focused on individual species, but we also wanted to examine reintroduction practices as a whole,” says Conservation Biologist Joanne Earnhardt, Ph.D. The zoo has plenty of examples within its own walls to study. Endangered red wolves and trumpeter swans are among the species the zoo has returned to the wild. The zoohosted Avian Reintroduction and Translocation Database lets researchers learn from past efforts to restore birds to the wild. The expertise of zoo population planners has placed species as diverse as Puerto Rican parrots and African elephants on the road to recovery. Most recently, the zoo has been partnering with local conservation agencies to apply population-planning and animal-care expertise to restoring threatened species to Illinois. One example has its headquarters at the Kovler Lion House, where a hard-shelled set is growing behind the scenes. The non-feline new arrivals are ornate box turtles, which have become threatened in Illinois as their sand-prairie habi-

Fish releases from the zoo aquarium to Lake Michigan were big news in the 1920s. At top left, zoo director Alfred E. Parker, park commissioner Sanderson Fyfe, aquarium director (and later zoo director) Floyd Young and an unknown attendee ready fry for release. Lincoln Park Zoo has helped restore species from trumpeter swans to red wolves to the wild. Now the zoo is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to give ornate box turtles a healthy head start before restoring them to Savanna, Illinois.

tat has fragmented. Eggs from a stable wild population were brought to the zoo to hatch in a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 18 resulting tiny turtles will spend a year putting on weight and preparing for release. This “head start” should give the poky animals faster footing in the wild. “Our goal is to see these turtles strong, mature and ready to thrive in the wild when they leave the zoo next year,” says General Curator Dave Bernier. Another species receiving a head start at Lincoln Park Zoo is the smooth green snake. For a second straight summer, Reintroduction Biologist Allison Sacerdote, Ph.D., released these tiny insect-eaters to the wild in a partnership with the Lake County Forest Preserve and with support from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund. A steady diet of crickets and wax worms at the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo helped the young snakes grow strong for a successful release. Sacerdote also eases the reptiles into

the wild by initially releasing them into “soft release” enclosures that expose them to the landscape while protecting them from predators. It’s a far cry from the great fish dump of 1924. Last year tiny transmitters let Sacerdote follow the snakes as they established themselves in their new home. This year, special drift fencing will guide their dispersal—and help researchers track their progress. All this helps the scientist build better reintroduction practices for the future. But the human touch remains essential as well. “Technology has made a big difference for reintroduction programs,” she says. “But good partnerships are just as important.” Learn more about zoo reintroduction programs at

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Class is Still in Session


Decades ago novel inspirations sowed the seeds for today’s advanced public education programs. Seminal Science Questions? Marlin Perkins, Lincoln Park Zoo’s director from 1944–1962, had answers. Specifically, “Answer Man” Fred Meyer. In March 1947, Meyer, a junior zoologist at the zoo, assumed his new post inside the Lion House, fielding random queries from the visiting public about zoo species. According to an Associated Press report, “Perkins said the zoo’s official answer man is armed with a head full of facts, a card case full of answers for anticipated questions and a zoological library for a quick check in case he gets stumped.” The Q&A station was equipped with a bulletin board on which Meyers posted fun animal facts. (“The body cells of an elephant and those of a mouse are of approximately the same


size.”) It was created to spare busy animal keepers from their daily barrage of questions. Many older Chicagoans also have fond memories of the Traveling Zoo. Launched on a massive scale in 1957, the Traveling Zoo featured a 33-foot-long, 8-foot-wide, 12-foot-tall trailer hauled to adoring crowds at local parks throughout the summer. Its 16 glass-fronted enclosures displayed a variety of small zoo animals and required a police escort to navigate city streets.

Expanding Horizons Today’s mobile learning stations—educational carts devised by teams of professional educators after extensive research—represent the modern-day successor to Perkins’ trivia-dispensing zoologist.

“Education has gone beyond simple facts and did-youknow scenarios to a more hands-on experience,” says Director of Education Allison Price. “Our new mobile learning stations enable guests to experience the zoo by building animal enrichment or turning a human into an animalistic predator.” Specialized educators transmit the zoo’s conservation message all the way to Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation and West Africa. In Montana, they’ve helped implement classroom-based activities to educate teachers and students about a reintroduced population of black-footed ferrets—a species once thought to be extinct. In Africa, the zoo’s recent Community of Conservation project spanned continents to bring together students and educators from Niamey, Niger, and Chicago’s Francis W. Parker School to explore conservation and cultural collaboration. “Protecting our world’s species and habitats requires a global effort,” says Senior Director of Learning Innovation and Collaboration Leah Melber, Ph.D. “Connecting Chicago youth with international peers as they explore the natural world reinforces the importance of conservation both locally and globally.” The education department, founded in 1978 with a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has grown from a few educators to more than a dozen, expanding and contracting to tackle the zoo’s busiest seasons. Dedicated volunteers contribute to much of the frontline learning. Department staff now orchestrate a score of student, teacher and public programs that would have left Fred “Answer Man” Meyer speechless. The Wine & Wildlife series caters to adults with lectures from zoo scientists. Public programs such as Yoga at the Zoo demonstrate a commitment to more holistic, contemporary trends. Conservation-oriented summer camps, Zoo

Rooted in extensive research, the zoo’s new mobile learning stations (opposite) offer hands-on lessons. Learning has long been part of the zoo experience. Director Marlin Perkins (top right) shared wild insights with the popular tv show Zoo Parade, while educators and the Traveling Zoo delivered animal encounters to sites throughout Chicago.

Explorers field trips and the school-year-long Young Researchers Collaborative address scholastic standards by emphasizing research-oriented, inquiry-based science. Students recording wildlife data at Nature Boardwalk are testament to a history of educational initiative that’s never rested on its laurels. “Don’t be surprised if soon you see young learners utilizing iPads and data-collection apps to facilitate animal behavior studies,” says Vice President of Education Rachel Bergren. “We want to foster a creative and experimental atmosphere. We look to colleagues in zoo, aquarium and museum education for inspiration and collaboration as we seek to deliver programs that make a difference.”

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Ape Crusaders


A fortuitous streak of female births beginning four decades ago set the stage for thriving gorilla families leading to today’s bachelor troop.

The First Gorilla Family It was a girl that got the ball rolling at Lincoln Park Zoo. Kumba, who lived to the age of 34, was born on July 22, 1970. She was just the 14th gorilla born at a zoo and the first for Lincoln Park Zoo. Her parents—male Kisoro and female Mumbi—had come from the wild. Former zoo director Dr. Lester E. Fisher allowed Kumba to remain with her mother, who nursed the infant in the Primate House, where the zoo’s gorillas then lived. Hand-rearing infants to monitor their health and ensure their survival had been the prevailing protocol at zoos that had hosted births. While it remains an option that’s sometimes necessary, the success of Fisher’s decision set a precedent. One month later, though, Mumbi had apparently tired of the task. “Kumba is beginning to teethe, and I think Mumbi misses her mate,” commented Fisher to a Chicago Tribune reporter in late August, 1970. The reporter described Kisoro as “unmoved by the whole thing…and bounding about in the opposite cage with Helen, his newfound flame.” Little Kumba spent the next year being cared for in the zoo’s nursery.


Grouping gorillas in small family units led to six more births over the next four years. But space contraints stymied further progress in the Primate House. That situation was remedied in a huge way with construction of the Lester Fisher Great Ape House in 1976. On a grand scale, but lesser than the state-of-the-art Regenstein Center for African Apes that replaced it in 2004, it provided spacious, multilevel habitats where up to four family troops could thrive.

Flourishing Females It may seem that male gorillas have always had top-banana status at the zoo. After all, this is where the legendary Bushman captivated millions of starstruck admirers worldwide during the 1930s and ’40s. Other reigning silverbacks through the years— Sinbad, Otto, Frank, Koundu, JoJo and Kwan among them—could be considered flagship ambassadors for both their species and the zoo. Yet Bushman and Sinbad lived out their years alone during an era when little was known about

Another New Arrival

As the magazine went to press we were happy to welcome a new gorilla baby! Learn more at

the species’ needs. And if it hadn’t been for a lopsided ratio of births favoring females in the years closely following Kumba’s birth in 1970, those birth numbers might not have been so impressive. “An imbalance in favor of girls allowed us to leave them together in the group,” recalls Fisher. “If there had been more males, it would have been necessary to separate them when the males got to be teenagers. With so many girls, our gorilla families just grew bigger and bigger.”

Bring On the Bachelors This fall, though, it’s all about the boys at Regenstein Center for African Apes. The recently formed bachelor troop of four male adolescent western lowland gorillas—Azizi, Amare, Mosi and Umande—is the zoo’s first such grouping in its long history of caring for this endangered species. The new crew has its natural counterpart in the wild. Growing males in traditionally structured silverback-dominated troops typically leave when the silverback begins to see them as threats to his breeding supremacy. By joining up with other single males, they find security and learn social and physical skills through active play. Some will lead their own troops later as silverbacks. Some remain bachelors for life. Scientists and animal care staff at the zoo have eagerly awaited the chance to observe the new troop. They haven’t been disappointed. Playful teasing, taunts, staring contests and high-speed chases ensued as the four teens were gradually introduced to each other this past summer. “This bachelor group is a significant milestone in terms of management and research at Lincoln Park Zoo,” says Steve Ross, Ph.D., director of the zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes. “We’re uniquely positioned to detail the development of this group over time and compare that to how silverback-led family groups behave. It gives us a much richer understanding of the species, their social dynamics and their management needs.” Silverbacks including Otto (inset), Koundu, Kwan and JoJo (from top) have often received the bulk of the attention at Lincoln Park Zoo. But it was the birth of female Kumba (opposite, as infant and adult) in 1970 that set the stage for gorilla families that now include a bachelor troop featuring new gorillas Mosi and Umande (below).

WINTER 2012 13

Deeply Rooted Director of Horticulture Brian Houck looks back at Swain Nelson’s original landscape plan for Lincoln Park and shares how the zoo still provides a vital urban oasis with its garden master planning.

The visitor experience has been central to the zoo’s gardens since Swain Nelson’s original vision (opposite). Styles have changed over the decades, as a Victorian-era decorative scheme (top) is augmented with native prairie plantings such as golden rod and coreopsis at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo (right).


Swain Nelson, the landscape designer who created the original master plan for Lincoln Park in 1865, wasn’t just honed in on horticulture. “Nelson’s master plan shows tiny stick figures of people walking through the park,” says Houck. “That thought— that this should be a place of easy recreation where people could get away from the rest of the city—still applies. The zoo is still filling that niche.” Houck cites a mid- to late-19th century feature that once provided that escapist aesthetic on zoo grounds: the Birch Canal, constructed in 1877. The canal extended from the North Pond (adjacent to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum today) to another pond later reshaped into the zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon and Swan Pond. Another section of it became the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool along the zoo’s northern border. “People paddled down it in canoes,” says Houck. “It was heated with steam pipes to grow tropical lilies. It’s not unlike walking into Regenstein African Journey today and seeing all those tropical plants.” In other respects, today’s plantings address cultural needs in a much different era. “In the late 19th century, people didn’t need to see the prairie. It was all around them. They wanted Victorian gardens with colorful annual beds,” says Houck. The Great Garden south of the Lincoln Park Conservatory and west of the zoo is a spectacular surviving example. “Now that we’ve lost so much prairie, the reverse is true,” continues Houck. Native prairie plants (coreopsis, golden rod, tall grasses) thrive at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo and around the Waterfowl Lagoon. Yet the shift toward more immersive pastoral qualities also echoes Nelson’s original 60-acre park design, a naturalistic scheme influenced by the ridges, lagoons and sand dunes along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. “There have been tweaks here over the years, but the essence of it remains intact,” says Houck. “We’re still being informed by the past. Historic trees, an emphasis on shade, garden plantings. Lincoln Park was a leader in horticulture for the nation, and we aspire to be that again.”

Great Gardens

See landscape views throughout the zoo’s history at

WINTER 2012 15

wild file Tallying Another Titi Our Bolivian gray titi monkey family welcomed another new arrival to the treetops in the Helen Brach Primate House. The baby monkey, born August 18, is the ninth offspring for dad Ocala and mom Delasol. These social primates are native to Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. They live in small family groups in the rainforest canopy, feeding primarily on fruits and leaves. The group here consists of Ocala, Delasol and five offspring, including the new arrival. At 21, Delasol set a zoo record by becoming the oldest female titi monkey to successfully give birth in an accredited zoo. But while she handled the bulk of newborn care right after birth, the other family members quickly chipped in to help rear the baby. “For titis, dads and the older siblings do most of the carrying,” says Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “It gives mom a chance to rest and recover.” Animal care staff named the little one A.J. in honor of Andy (James) Henderson, a former zoo employee who sadly passed away in August. Andy was a longtime primate caregiver and managed the titi monkey population plan for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

New Chicks for a Species on the Brink Known for their vibrant songs and plumage, Bali mynahs have nearly vanished in their native range of Indonesia. These birds have disappeared in the wild due to poaching for the illegal pet trade. But zoos are collaborating to save this critically endangered species, working together under the umbrella of the Bali Mynah Species Survival Plan®. Their efforts received a boost this summer with five successful Bali mynah hatches at the zoo’s McCormick Bird House. “Every hatch is exciting, but it’s a thrill to contribute to this kind of recovery,” says Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds Colleen Lynch. Lincoln Park Zoo’s role in conserving Bali mynahs goes beyond the hard work from animal care staff that went into the hatch. Senior Vice President of Capital and Programmatic Planning Steve Thompson, Ph.D., maintains the species’ studbook, a collection of family trees for every bird in North American zoos that lets population planners make the best matches to maintain genetic diversity. Vice President of Animal Care Megan Ross, Ph.D., serves as species coordinator, helping zoos throughout the country coordinate new pairings to keep the population healthy. President and CEO Kevin Bell even contributed to Bali mynah conservation efforts during his tenure as the zoo’s curator of birds. He regularly traveled to Indonesia during the 1980s–1990s to release captive-reared birds to the wild. You can see a slideshow from his travels at “Much still needs to be done to save this species,” says Bell. “But these hatches are a happy milestone.”


The baby Bolivian gray titi monkey at the Helen Brach Primate House was the ninth for parents Ocala and Delasol. Bali mynah chicks provided a boost for a species on the brink of extinction.

New Faces at Nature Boardwalk The zoo’s urban oasis welcomed plenty of visitors this fall, city dwellers looking to get a taste of nature. But a wild welcome was also extended to the range of native species. Black-and-white warblers, red-breasted nuthatches, belted kingfishers, Swainson’s thrush and common yellowthroats all passed through during fall migration. Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo also offered a welcome refuge for a brown thrasher, a species in greatest need of conservation in Illinois. The visits weren’t limited to flybys. Snapping turtles have colonized the water and shoreline in increasing numbers, Coordinator of Wildlife Management Mason Fidino reports. The area’s raccoons have also been spotted doing a bit of night swimming. “We saw raccoon tracks on the island, so we put motion-triggered cameras out there to learn more,” says Fidino. The nocturnal omnivores are swimming to the island under cover of darkness—another example of the diversity, and surprises, on display at the zoo’s native ecosystem.

field note Grevy’s Zebra Equus grevyi In the wilds of eastern Africa, Grevy’s zebras travel across the savanna, feeding on grasses and gathering in small, fluid herds. Females breed throughout the year, giving birth to offspring after a gestation period of 13 months. The new arrivals can stand within minutes of birth and run short distances across the plains within an hour. As far as we’re aware, though, none of them have had their names determined by an online poll. That’s one crucial difference between the wild and Lincoln Park Zoo, which dubbed a new Grevy’s zebra colt Kito thanks to the input of the zoo’s biggest fans. The colt was born August 23 to mother Adia and father Clayton. As zoo animal care experts monitored the well-being of mom and baby, they also produced a set of Swahiliinspired names for fans to choose from. Kito (“jewel”), Akili (“clever”), Hanisi (“born on Thursday”) and Daktari (“doctor, healer”) were all in the running. But Kito was the clear favorite, receiving more than half of the 2,400 votes cast in a week of polling. “The name’s fitting, as we think Kito’s a treasure,” says General Curator Dave Bernier. Unfortunately, he’s a rare one. Grevy’s zebras are endangered in the wild due to hunting and habitat loss, although zoos are working together to reverse that trend. Kito’s birth was recommended by the Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. While Kito is precious, he’s not averse to getting his hooves dirty while playing in the yard...just like his cousins in the wild. Grevy’s zebra colt Kito with mom Adia.

See video of Kito soon after birth at

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news of the zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo,” says Gamble. “Most veterinary graduates have worked with dogs, cats, cows, sheep and chickens, but not exotic species. Dr. John learned the medicine for eight species while in school—now he’ll help care for more than 200.”

Research Scientist Joins Fisher Center Staff The Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes also welcomed a new expert to its staff. Lydia Hopper, Ph.D., began as a research scientist in September. Hopper received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2008 and was a post-doctoral associate with Georgia State University. “Lydia’s expertise is primarily in the study of chimpanzee social learning, though she has worked with other primate species as well,” says Fisher Center Director Steve Ross, Ph.D. “She’ll administer much of the on-ground behavioral research with the chimpanzees and gorillas at Regenstein Center for African Apes. We’re excited to work with her on new projects in the near future.” From left: Zoo Ball co-chairs Suzanne A. Meder and Cynthia Ross Polayes celebrate the record-breaking proceeds of Zoo Ball: The Great Catsby with President and CEO Kevin Bell, Chairman of the Board John Alexander and Women’s Board President Abby Zanarini.

Back for Barks Anna Czupryna, a research associate in the zoo’s Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology, returned to Tanzania in August for her third field season as part of the Serengeti Health Initiative, a collaborative effort to preserve the wildlife of this African ecosystem while benefiting local people. Armed with camera traps, test tubes, a centrifuge and sealable plastic bags, Czupryna visits households, adminsters inoculations, checks up on previously vaccinated dogs and collects data photos. By comparing survival, reproduction and life expectancy data among dogs with and without vaccinations, she can see whether the population is increasing due to the project’s efforts. Follow Anna’s field updates on Twitter: @AnnaSerengeti.

Zoo Welcomes New Veterinary Resident While medical school graduates who treat humans have countless residency programs to which they can apply, veterinary school grads have far fewer choices. Those intent on working with a range of exotic animal species have less than 20 options. Lincoln Park Zoo offers one such program approved by the American College of Zoological Medicine and overseen by Kathryn Gamble, D.V.M., the zoo’s Dr. Lester E. Fisher Director of Veterinary Medicine. In July, Gamble and her staff welcomed John Flanders, D.V.M., into the three-year training program. Flanders, a graduate of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, interned last year at Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in small animal medicine and surgery and has completed preceptorships in Cincinnati and St. Louis. “Dr. John has a lot in common with our mission at


Summer Event Highlights The Women’s Board of Lincoln Park Zoo scored a roaring success July 13 with this year’s Zoo Ball. The 35th annual gala, themed “The Great Catsby,” transported more than 1,000 guests to the elegance of the Hamptons for an evening of cocktails, entertainment and gourmet dining. A surprise appearance by the Village People thrilled attendees, but the best treat of all was more than $1.2 million raised for the zoo. Proceeds help fulfill the Women’s Board pledge to fund Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Generous support was provided by presenting sponsor Guggenheim; silver sponsor J.N. Pritzker/Tawani Foundation/Pritzker Military Library; and entertainment sponsors Marcus Lemonis and Beth Levine. Additional support was given by Sentient Jet and United Airlines. Thousands of revelers also partied after-hours during this summer’s Jammin’ at the Zoo concert series. Thanks to Neon Trees, Hedley, Better Than Ezra, Tony Lucca, Hot Chelle Rae and Allstar Weekend for crowd-pleasing performances. Thanks also to sponsors Pepsi, MINI of Chicago, United Airlines and 101.9 FM The Mix. Yoga at the Zoo Presented by Walgreens, with additional support from LUNA, is another seasonal program fast becoming a perennial favorite. Outdoor classes provided a calming boost of energy at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Adults and parents with toddlers got in the flow from June through September.

Caregivers Honored with Awards awarded its 2012 Conservation Prize to the Lincoln Park Zoo chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK). The award honors zoos, aquariums and individuals who have exhibited an “above and beyond” contribution to saving wildlife and wild places in nature. In other honors, Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy and keeper Leslie Lurz received an AAZK Excellence in Journalism Award for their article “Biggest Loser—Ape Style,” appearing in the February 2012 issue of the Animal Keepers’ Forum.

field note Snow Leopard Uncia uncia As Chicagoans settle in for months of snow and ice, it’s easy to admire an animal with a built-in scarf. Throw in a snow leopard’s natural power and grace, and you have one of the most majestic—and well-insulated—animals at the Kovler Lion House. As their name suggests, snow leopards need a thick coat. These ambush predators are native to central Asian mountains ranging from China to the Himalayas. To stay warm in that frigid home, they have dense fur reaching 1 inch in length on their backs and 3 inches on their bellies. Ample padding protects paws from frost—and sharp rocks. Finally, a fuzzy tail reaching up to 3 feet in length can be wrapped around the face to further shield the big cat from the sharpest cold snaps. Unfortunately, the very fur that lets this solitary species thrive in the mountains contributes to its decline. The species is endangered, largely due to poaching for pelts. Lincoln Park Zoo contributes to its recovery by participating in the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan®, a collaborative effort by zoos across North America to conserve the species. While peers in the wild are under threat, Lincoln Park Zoo’s resident snow leopard, a male born in 2003, is safe and snug as the city looks forward to frost. While the big cat always has the option to retreat to his warm, indoor den, he’s often seen outside playing in the snow. “He really likes the colder weather,” says area Lead Keeper Anthony Nielsen. Maybe if the rest of us were equipped like him, we would too.

WINTER 2012 19

membership matters

Member benefits include the LPZ VIP treatment as well as discounts and priority registration for Summer Conservation Camp.

Free Zoo Safari Tours on Tap

Early Summer Camp Sign-up

Safari-and Zoologist-level adult members and above: mark your calendars for free Zoo Safari Tours on November 10–11 and December 8–9. These exclusive, 45–60-minute guided tours focus on African animals’ adaptations and habits at Regenstein African Journey. Spots fill up fast, so reserve yours today at Can’t make these dates? Keep an eye out for spring 2013 tour dates in ZooMail!

Parents, it’s not too early to start planning your kids’ participation in next summer’s Conservation Camp. Active Donor Club contributors get to register extra early beginning at 10 a.m. on February 13, two weeks before registration opens to the public. Active Safari and Zoologist-level members can register beginning February 20, one week before public registration. And all zoo members receive a 15 percent discount on registration. More than 700 campers took part in Conservation Camp (4-year-olds to kids entering fourth grade) and Zoo Crew (kids entering fifth–eighth grades) this past summer. Call the membership hotline today at 312-7422322 to check your status!

Members Lounge at ZooLights The glittering light shows aren’t the only luminaries at ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One. Members will once again receive red-carpet VIP treatment during this year’s festivities, with exclusive access to the Members Lounge in the Tadpole Room on the lower level of Park Place Café. Warm up with free hot chocolate, cider and tea, cookies and crafts between 5–8 p.m. each night of ZooLights! You can also sponsor a night in the Members Lounge—learn more at

Follow us Online! Lincoln Park Zoo magazine isn’t the only way to stay up to date on the zoo’s world of wildlife. Get your daily dispatch of what your support makes possible by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the zoo blogs at New animal arrivals, special events, field reports by zoo scientists—it’s all awaiting your discovery online. 20 LINCOLN PARK ZOO

LPZ VIP Perks We think it’s fashion-forward to sport your members-only lanyard with your membership card when you visit the zoo. But it’s also your ticket to VIP treatment: front-row viewing during keeper chats at Regenstein Center for African Apes, members-only Meet an Animal encounters, discounts at zoo restaurants and gift shops and more.

February Is Member Appreciation Month February is again Member Appreciation Month at Lincoln Park Zoo! Enjoy free Zoo Safari Tours, a members-only Sleep Under the Skyscrapers, members-only animal encounters, extra discounts on food and retail purchases and unlimited free parking for Individual and Household-level members. Look for more details in January and February ZooMails! Don’t receive our weekly email digest? Sign up at!

your story A Lifetime’s Support for Lincoln Park Zoo Daily Delights Growing up in the neighborhood, Carol Stein Sterling had plenty of opportunities to make Lincoln Park Zoo memories. “My grandmother would take my sister and me to the zoo very often,” the Conservators’ Council donor says. She remembers marveling at lions’ roars and the sheer size of fabled gorilla Bushman. She enjoyed countless rides on the zoo carousel and train. But more than anything, she appreciated the zoo’s accessibility. “Because the zoo was so close, and we went there so often, I never really felt the animals were something other than myself,” she says. “They were part of our life; they were part of our environment.”

A Continued Connection Today Lincoln Park Zoo’s animals still play a big role in the life of Carol and husband Jim. Although the couple splits time living in California and Chicago, they’re still frequent zoo visitors. “In winter or summer, we always make it to the zoo when we’re in Chicago,” she says. ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One is always a favorite draw. The couple also enjoys the immersive atmosphere of Regenstein African Journey and the calls of the white-cheeked gibbons, which remind Jim of his time living in Thailand. They recently came in for a Night Hike for donors, which gave them a chance to see wildlife after hours. “It was such a different experience,” says Jim. While the zoo’s amazing wildlife keeps the Sterlings coming back, it’s the institution’s accessibility that’s drawn their continued support. “It’s constantly improving,” says Jim. “It amazes me that this zoo lets people flow in and flow out.” “That’s why it’s so important for donors to support Lincoln Park Zoo,” adds Carol. “Because it’s free.” Carol Stein Sterling and husband Jim’s support for the zoo is rooted in Carol’s childhood experiences here, including rides on the train and visits with iconic zoo gorilla Bushman.

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PO Box 14903 Chicago, IL 60614

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ZooLights Is Ready to Shine Gather your mittens, your wish list for Santa and a good dose of holiday cheer: ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One is ready to once again illuminate winter at Lincoln Park Zoo. More than 2 million lights will glow throughout zoo grounds, outlining snowflakes, candy canes and new 3-D animal light displays. We’ll flip the switch for the free holiday fun November 23. Afterward, ZooLights will shine each Friday–Sunday until December 26, at which point the lights will stay on nightly until January 6. (Santa heads back to the North Pole after December 23.) The snowy spectacle will include extra fun for members, who can duck into the Members Lounge to warm up with cookies and crafts. Polar Parties are scheduled December 7 and 21 to give 4–5-year-olds the chance to learn how polar bears and penguins survive in frigid homes. Finally, Conservators’ Council donors will enjoy their annual ZooLights party at Regenstein Center for African Apes on December 2. Dinner, drinks and behind-the-scenes tours will be part of this exclusive donor experience. See more upcoming events at

Give the Gift of Wildlife Looking for a meaningful gift this holiday? ADOPT an Animal at Lincoln Park Zoo for a loved one! Present them with a snow leopard, black bear, fennec fox, African lion or red wolf holiday gift package that includes a cuddly plush, ADOPTion certificate, photo, fact sheet—and the satisfaction of providing critical support for the zoo’s animals. Shop our ADOPT packages at

Subscribe to ZooMail What are the boys in the new gorilla bachelor troop up to? What bright ideas might we suggest for your visit to ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One? Subscribe to our weekly ZooMail digest at to receive the latest animal updates, inside scoop on programs and more!

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Winter 2012 Lincoln Park Zoo Magazine