UPROAR, 2021 Summer

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Editor and Designer: Kristina Barroso Burrell Photo Credits: Zoo Staff 2021 General Info: Open April 2 – October 31 Regular Hours: 10 am – 5 pm June 1 - August 31: 10 am - 8 pm www.potawatomizoo.org (574) 235-9800

Our Mission: To inspire excellence in education, conservation, and improved animal quality of life. Contact Us: Community Outreach: (574) 235-7654 Development: (574) 245-6138 Education: (574) 235-7621 Gift Shop: (574) 235-5615 Guest Services: (574) 235-7620 Marketing: (574) 235-7576 Membership: (574) 235-7651 Special Events: (574) 245-6163 Volunteers: (574) 235-9070 Zoo Camps: (574) 235-9801 Copyright 2021: All rights reserved. Potawatomi Zoological Society, Inc. Postmaster: Send address changes to P.O. Box 1764 South Bend, IN 46634 (574) 235-9800

Visitors to the inaugural Eat and Drink at the Zoo event on May 15 enjoyed walking around the Zoo, sampling favorite foods like tacos from Franky’s Tacos and ice cream from Martin’s School of Cooking, favorite drinks from places like Silver Harbour Brewing and Round Barn Estate, and watching their favorite animals enjoy special enrichment.

The Potawatomi Zoological Society is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization.

Eat and Drink at the Zoo

Cover: This sand cat kitten, one of the Zoo’s new species in the Learning Center, has a yawn after a nap.

Summer 2021



FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dear Zoo Friends, By now, many of you may know about our Big & Loud campaign to bring giraffes to the Potawatomi Zoo and renovate the former chimpanzee habitat into a suitable space for a new pride of lions. This project is one I’m personally excited about, that the community has been asking for, and we can’t wait to see it completed. Public and private support for this $6.3 million campaign—$4.8 for the new giraffe habitat and $1.5 for the lion habitat renovation— has been extraordinary and heartwarming. We’ve been thrilled with every check, envelope of cash, and online gift that has been given in support of this goal, from the $1.5 million lead gift by the Laidig family to the $3.16 left by one of our youngest visitors. One of the key features of this project is the outdoor raised platform and feeding deck. Not only will this platform be a beautiful addition to our Zoo, it will give visitors the chance to be eye-level with the world’s tallest land species and enjoy a public-access giraffe feeding experience. Another part of this project that is so important to me is the indoor viewing area. Giraffes are adapted for warmer climates, and having an indoor area where visitors can see the giraffes will be instrumental in educating our visitors about this species and wildlife conservation all year long. It’ll also give our visitors valuable insight into how we care for giraffes. Progress will continue on the giraffe barn, savanna, feeding platform, and water feature all summer. We anticipate that most of the project will be done by the fall of 2021, but our grand opening will be in 2022. We don’t yet have a set transport date for the giraffes, although it should also be sometime in the fall. We plan to start the lion renovations after the giraffe habitat is complete. We're designing a larger, more naturalistic environment that will provide a new pride of lions with exceptional welfare and quality of life. As we celebrate 100 years of the Potawatomi Zoo, I am so proud to be part of bringing giraffes to the Zoo. I truly believe that this project will have a positive, meaningful impact on the entire region. We owe so much to each and every one of you who has supported this project through donations, questions, and public support. We couldn’t have done this without you. Architectural model of the giraffe barn. Provided by Arkos Design.

Josh Sisk Executive Director




This spring, the Zoo welcomed some new species, and a few new animals moved to the Zoo as part of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plans (SSP). Two new species at the Zoo are the sand cats and common genets, both of which live in the Learning Center. Sand cats are a small, African wild cat native to desert regions of northern Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia. There are five male sand cats: Pumpernickel, Toast, Bagel, Biscuit, and Crouton. Common genets are a nocturnal species that’s also native to deciduous and evergreen habitats throughout Africa and the Middle East. They look a little bit like cats or weasels, but they’re part of a family called Viverridae that also includes binturongs and civets. The male genet is named Tyga, and the female genet is named Kylie. A number of new animals have come to the Zoo this year through recommendations by their respective SSPs, including two female two-toed sloths (Lily and Tofu), a female North American river otter (Wildcat), and male Sichuan takin (Caboose). SSPs are inter-zoo cooperative species population management programs that work to create stable, genetically diverse populations of animals within zoos. The Potawatomi Zoo has 59 species that are part of Species Survival Plans, and 17 of them have breeding recommendations. Other animals that moved to the Zoo include a male plains zebra (Zodiac), a female emu (Imogen), and a small flock of chickens. As an AZA-accredited Zoo, bringing animals to the Zoo, and occasionally moving animals from our Zoo to other zoos, are important parts of maintaining healthy populations with the best possible quality of life, part of the mission of the Potawatomi Zoo. Right, top to bottom: Tofu, two-toed sloth; Caboose, Sichuan takin | Below, clockwise from right: Zodiac, plains zebra; Kylie, common genet; Wildcat, North American river otter


In River Years Park

Summer 2021

With research by Rick Riddle, retired employee of the South Bend Parks and Recreation Department.

In 1921, the Board of Park Commissioners voted to accept an offer from Albert Russell Erskine of one deer as a foundation for a zoo at what was then known as Pottawatomie Park. By 1922, the Zoo’s collection included a few deer, foxes, a wolf, raccoons, and monkeys. The Zoo was originally located near the current entrance, but it moved to its present-day location in 1926, the same year bison were added. Pokagon, the Zoo's first bison, quickly became a public favorite. As the Zoo continued to grow, more animal housing was needed, and the Zoo submitted plans to the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1939, construction began on the building that is now the Amur leopard and snow leopard indoor holding. From such a humble beginning, the Potawatomi Zoo has grown into an almost 23-acre facility with 147 species, and it’s about to take other huge step forward with the construction of the giraffe savanna, the largest project to date. The Zoo is so proud of every milestone it has taken with the city, the community, and the region, and it looks forward to growing through another 100 years of conservation, education, and the highest quality of animal life. Right, top to bottom: Red Barn; Pokagon, the Zoo's first bison; chimpanzee exhibit construction Below, top row: Visitors wave to brown bears; aerial of the Zoo; Caesar and Dandelion, African lions Below, bottom row: WPA building and outdoor enclosures; construction on the Zoo's train barn






Roaring Forward The Zoo’s annual fundraising event, Roaring Forward, presented by Sym Financial, was held on February 20, 2021. It was organized differently this year in response to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus. In addition to a limited number of in-person tickets, attendees had the opportunity to attend and participate virtually. In-person guests were able to talk to Curator of Animals Jami Richard, about some of the Zoo’s ambassador animals including the two-toed sloth, barred owl, and tamandua. Virtual attendees were able to watch the entire event as well, including the animal encounters. Both virtual and in-person guests participated in the silent auction, live auction, and “Fund A Need,” which raised money for the Zoo’s operating budget and to purchase a mobile x-ray machine. The x-ray machine was a critical need for the Zoo’s new giraffe herd, and it was fully funded during the event. The Zoo met its fundraising goals for the event and received numerous compliments from both in-person and virtual guests. Many thanks to title sponsor Sym Financial, as well as sponsors Centier Bank, Lake City Bank, Meridian Title Corp., Plews Shadley, Racher & Braun, Wells Fargo Advisors: The Anella & Anella Group, Arkos Design, Healy Group, Lazar Scientific, Inc., Meijer, Milestone Fence, Round Barn, South Bend Endodontics, Barb & John Phair, Jason Schultz, Deb & Bob Urbanski, and one anonymous donor.

Zoo Yoga

Stretch and bend in the evening at the Zoo! Register online.

06/01 06/15 07/06 07/20 08/03 08/17 Third Thursdays

Celebrate the Zoo’s 100th anniversary in its current location with treats and activities. Regular Zoo hours.

06/17 07/15 08/19 Member Appreciation

Discounts and deals just for Zoo Members this week. Regular Zoo hours.

07/18 - 07/25 Brew at the Zoo

Sample adult beverages at the Zoo during this adults only event. Zoo closed regular hours.

09/25 Zoo Boo

See the decorations, collect candy, and enjoy the Halloween season with your favorite animals.

10/22 - 10/24

LAST ZOO DAY 10/31 Gift of Lights

Close out the year with the Zoo’s holiday lights display. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays.

11/26 - 12/19 Clockwise from top right: Executive Director Josh Sisk; Potawatomi Zoo Board Member Patrick Stalvey and his wife talk to Director of Development Margie Anella; guests look at silent auction items; Curator of Animals Jami Richard with Barry, barred owl

Some events require special tickets. See Zoo website.

Summer 2021



New Animal Encounters Animal Encounters have returned to the Zoo this year. They include a North American Bison Encounter, as well as a new Rhino Encounter with Masamba, the Zoo’s southern white rhinoceros. “These animal encounters allow visitors to get up close and personal with animals, but it also gives the Zoo an opportunity to tell more people about their conservation story,” says Josh Sisk, executive director of the Potawatomi Zoo. “An encounter like this can create so much empathy, not only for the larger rhino and bison species, but for all plants and animals that are part of their wild habitats.” During the Rhino Encounter, participants can meet Masamba, talk to one of his zoo keepers, and potentially touch him. Rhino Encounters take place every Saturday Guests touch the Zoo’s southern white rhino, Masamba. and Sunday at 11 am. Tickets for the Rhino Encounter are $50 per person (10% Zoo Member discount) and are limited to visitors ages six and up. Each session has a maximum of six people. The Bison Encounter offers participants a chance to meet the Zoo’s three North American Bison, Geronimo, Bobbie, and Zipper, talk to their zoo keeper about the largest North American species, and feed the bison. Bison Encounters take place every Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm. Tickets for the Bison Encounter are $20 per person (10% Zoo Member discount). Each session has a maximum of six people. All participants in Animal Encounters must have a ticket, wear a mask, and sign a waiver. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult over 18. Most Animal Encounter sessions last about 20 to 30 minutes. The animals participate voluntarily, and the Zoo cannot guarantee any specific experience.

To purchase tickets for your Animal Encounter, visit www.potawatomizoo.org/plan-your-trip/animal-encounters

Conservation at the Zoo Visitors to the Zoo have two new ways to help the Zoo fulfill its mission of conservation locally and around the world. Through donations, admission, membership, and some special events, the Zoo is able to contribute thousands of dollars to animal conservation projects like Wildcat Conservation, Red Panda Network, Snow Leopard Trust, Okapi Conservation Project, and more. This year, anyone who gives at least $5 to Potawatomi Zoo Conservation at Admissions, the Gift Shop, or Concessions, will get this button as the Zoo’s way of giving thanks for community support of conservation. Another new conservation project is the Zoo’s partnership with ECO-CELL, an electronics recycling program. Anyone can bring in their old phone, iPod/iPad, tablet, adapter, charger, etc., and leave it in the collection box inside the front entrance. ECO-CELL reuses, resells, and recycles as many of the donated electronic items as possible. This helps reduce the demand for an ore called Coltan, which is largely mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the native habitat of animals like gorillas and okapis.




Eat And Drink at the Zoo The Zoo’s inaugural Eat And Drink At The Zoo event on May 15 sold out advance tickets to just over 500 guests. This new adult event brought local food and drink vendors to the Zoo for sampling. “The Zoo can be a great experience for everyone, and events like this give our adult visitors a chance to try something new at the Zoo,” says Josh Sisk, executive director of the Potawatomi Zoo. “We love inviting the community to see the Zoo in a very different way.” Not only were there regional food and drink vendors, musical guests UltraFab, Starheart, and DJ Classic entertained visitors, and zoo keepers set up animal enrichment viewing opportunity with the Amur tigers, North American river otters, and painted dogs. Two artists, Dennis Anderson and Kim Hoffmann, were also part of the event, painting and drawing animals around the Zoo. All guests had unlimited train and carousel rides, and VIP guests were able to enter the Zoo half an hour early to meet the southern white rhinoceros, Masamba. Many thanks to the sponsors, Gordon Food Service and Acme Water World, as well as all the vendors: Allie’s Catering, Barnaby’s South Bend, Dunkin’, Franky’s Tacos (winner of the People’s Choice Food Award), Fresh Thyme, Hacienda, Hershey, Let’s Spoon, Martin’s Catering, Martin’s School of Cooking, Meijer, Oh Mamma’s, Nothing Bundt Cake, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Potawatomi Zoo Catering, Stanz Foodservice, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Maplewood Brewery, Metazoa Brewing Company, Rhinegeist Brewery, Round Barn Brewing, Round Barn Winery, Saugatuck Brewing Company, Silver Harbor Brewing Company (winner of the People’s Choice Drink Award), Pepsi, and United Beverage.

Longer Zoo Hours! June 1 through August 31 10 am to 8 pm

Ever wanted to see red pandas at dusk? Find out what the tigers do after 5 pm? Or pet alpacas after dinner? Now you can!

Check out our longer summer hours this year!

Summer 2021

Care Corner



Four smalls ways we work with our community to help make a better world.

On June 8, the Zoo hosted Kindness to Prevent Blindness, a collaborative program between the Elkhart Education Foundation and Boling Vision Center to provide free vision screenings, exams, and glasses to all 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade students in Elkhart and St. Joseph County Schools. The K2PB eye care mobile unit was at the Zoo from 4-6 pm, but because of bad weather, the Zoo lent its STEM classroom to the K2PB team so they could do their work inside. K2PB gave glasses and/or eye exams to 45 children. To learn more about Kindness to Prevent Blindness, visit www. elkharteducationfoundation.com/k2pb. This year, the Potawatomi Zoo is partnering with KultureCity to make the Potawatomi Zoo and all of the programs and events in our Zoo sensory inclusive. As a certified Sensory Inclusive facility, visitors to the Zoo with sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation can download the free KultureCity App to view what sensory features are available at the Zoo and how to access them. Visitors can also see the Zoo’s Social Story online, which provides a preview of what to expect at the Zoo. Visitors who may feel overwhelmed by the environment can check out sensory bags equipped with helpful tools. To learn more, visit venue. kulturecity.org/venues/potawatomi-zoo.

This year, the Potawatomi Zoo became a member of the Association of Minority Zoo & Aquarium Professionals as a support organization to help further AMZAP’s goals of building a sense of community among minorities in the zoo field and promote animal care and conservation careers as viable options for interested minorities. AMZAP offers outreach, mentoring, and professional development resources to people of diverse ethnic and racial heritage interested in working in zoos and aquariums. To learn more about AMZAP or how you can be a member, visit their website, www.amzap.org. After suspending offsite outreach programs in 2020, the Zoo’s Education Department has started visiting libraries, educational events, schools, and adult care facilities to talk about animals and conservation. Off-site outreach programs impact thousands of people each year and are a significant piece of the Zoo’s mission. This year, Education has already participated in 34 off-site programs and have scheduled 38 more. Thanks to a grant from the American Electric Power Foundation in 2019, the Zoo was able to purchase a new van to give educators another safe way to transport themselves and animals. To schedule an outreach program or learn more, email education@potawatomizoo.org.





by Kristina Barroso Burrell Marketing & Communications Manager


n fall of 2020, the Potawatomi Zoo broke ground on the giraffe savanna and feeding adventure, part of the Big & Loud campaign, the Zoo’s largest capital campaign in its history. The Zoo officially announced the project to the public on March 1, 2021, and the goal is to be ready for the giraffes to arrive at the Zoo sometime in the fall of 2021. The giraffe savanna and feeding adventure includes more than 2.2-acres of habitat, a feeding deck, water feature, and a 10,000 square foot barn at the heart of the Zoo. Besides giraffes, the Zoo is planning to have zebras and ostriches in the savanna, and hopefully add smaller birds as time goes on. There’s a lot of work that goes into building an extensive new habitat and bringing a new species to the Zoo. From developing a campaign to designing a barn, to determining what kind of plants to add to the water feature, there are hundreds of big and small decisions. Leading the project is the Zoo’s executive director, Josh Sisk, who has dreamed of bringing giraffes to the Potawatomi Zoo since he started here in March of 2015. As a former giraffe keeper, they’re a species that’s near and dear to his heart. One of the aspects of the project he’s most excited about working on is designing the state-of-the art barn. “It was so important to me that this be a facility that will last long into the future,” says Sisk. “A few of the features intended to give the giraffes the maximum quality of life are the floors, catwalk, windows, and air circulation.” The giraffe barn has individual stalls with rubber floors, and a large, communal area with natural substrate floors. These kinds of flooring are best for giraffe hooves, and with large animals, keeping their feet healthy is a critical part of keeping the whole animal healthy. As well, there’s a raised catwalk for keepers and veterinary staff to examine their faces and necks more easily. Since the weather in Indiana isn’t exactly like an African savanna, the giraffes will have to be indoors for parts of the winter. The air circulation system recycles every 20 minutes with fresh, clean air. The large windows will let in plenty of natural light, and there’s space for the giraffes to move around and socialize in the common area.

Summer 2021

Giraffe Campaign

Funds Raised

Percent Constructed

Giraffes Anticipated



Giraffes Arriving

One final unique feature of this giraffe barn is the indoor visitor viewing center. This indoor area will give guests the chance to see the giraffes all year long, even in bad weather, even in winter. It will also give guests an up-close look at what zoo keepers do to care for giraffes. By sharing this behind-the-scenes view of the giraffes, Sisk's goal is for people to have a greater understanding of zoos, animal care, quality of life decisions, and ultimately, the broader picture of global animal conservation. The exact arrival date for giraffes isn't currently known, and won't be publicized. It’s complicated to transport large animals like giraffes, and factors like schedule, heath, and weather all play a role. “We know everyone is looking forward to the arrival of the giraffes, from staff to donors to the community,” says Sisk. “We plan to make a ‘big’ deal about their arrival as soon as we can!” The Zoo has made substantial progress on this project and it should be ready for giraffes this fall, although some of the art pieces won't be installed until spring of 2022. Work on the 'loud' half of the Big & Loud campaign—renovating the former chimpanzee habitat to house a new pride of lions—will hopefully begin sometime in the winter or early next year. Together, these two projects will change the footprint of the Zoo and hopefully be a treasured attraction in the community for years to come.




By Amanda Brunson-Cruz Education and Volunteer Manager


oos are an amazing resource for learning about the natural world. They are a place where you can learn about Amur tigers, native to Eastern Russia and Northern China, and move to learning about southern white rhinoceros, found in southern Africa. At the Potawatomi Zoo, we strive to encourage learning more about the animals in our care for zoo staff and the public. Not only does this help us, it promotes greater understanding of the wild counterparts of our animals and promotes science and science education for students of all ages. Some behavioral studies are done during classes and camps, and they’re an excellent way to introduce the scientific method to younger students. The Zoo also partners with local colleges and universities to provide undergraduate and graduate students with unique research opportunities like giving an ecology and environmental biology class from the University of Notre Dame “fishy water” from our carp moat for DNA studies or giving research groups space for behavioral observations. Several Saint Mary’s College students recently provided enrichment items to different species of primates and cats and observing their behavior. One group provided black-and-white colobus, spider monkeys, and golden-lion tamarins with different colored rubber ducks to see if they would prefer one color over another. The colobus and spider monkeys seemed to prefer different colors. Another group observed as we gave catnip to the tigers, snow leopard, and sand cats. The tigers chose to ignore the catnip, but Dian, the snow leopard, was actively engaged. This kind of research helps us Researchers from Saint Mary's study catnip and wild cats. too. Along with providing students a way to conduct their own research, understanding which enrichment our animals interact with best will help us to keep them active and engaged.

Want to partner with the Zoo or learn more about our ongoing research? Contact education@potawatomizoo.org

Summer 2021



A black-and-white colobus tries out a leaf. Colobus are a tree-dwelling Old World monkey species that primarily eats leaves, fruits, and seeds. They have an unusual, complex digestive system that allows them to eat foliage toxic to other monkeys.

Recently, scientists have discovered that some mammal species as diverse as platypus and springhares, fluoresce under certain wavelengths of light. Researchers from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI, came to the Zoo to test our hedgehog tenrecs, North American porcupine, and sugar glider for fluorescence. The Zoo also participates in studies with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions. Often this involves gathering fecal samples from animals. Fecal samples are useful because they can be collected easily, contain lots of information about animals, and there is an abundance of them at a zoo. Currently, fecal samples are being collected from our black-and-white colobus, as well as colobus at other facilities. These will be analyzed to observe the effects of diet on the microbiome—the microbes that live in the gut. The health of an animal’s microbiome will not only affect their digestive systems, but also has wide ranging effects on the body including the immune system. Studies such as these can help zoos better understand the effects of diet on animal health. We are also participating in a study of Amur leopards. Researchers will be looking at hormone levels in fecal samples to learn more about the reproductive cycle of female leopards. This can lead to improvements in breeding programs in zoos and increase our understanding of Amur leopard behavior in the wild. With the pending arrival of giraffes, the Zoo is partnering with Dr. Laura Kloepper who heads the Kloepper Laboratory of Bioacoustics and Animal Behavior at Saint Mary’s College to learn more about giraffe vocalizations. Giraffes have been thought to be largely silent, but new research has found they do make some low frequency vocalizations. We plan to record vocalizations as the giraffes are introduced to their new space and potentially continue in the future as new individuals are added.

A class from Notre Dame studied the carp water.

We are excited to capitalize on these opportunities to work with scientists and researchers. Not only is it part of our mission to inspire excellence in education and conservation, it makes the Zoo a better community member and steward of its resources.

Want to study animals too? Resources for making ethograms (a way to observe and track animal behavior) are available to download on our website under "Field Trips" at





By Anna Pelc Curator of Records


eople are often curious about how we get animals to the Zoo. There are really two parts to that question. First, how do we acquire new animals or species, and second, how do they actually get to the Zoo?

As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), many of our animals are part of Species Survival Plans (SSPs). Within these plans, breeding and transfer recommendations are put out yearly, bi-annually or every three years depending on the species. Once a recommendation for transfer is set in motion, zoos work together to determine a timeline to send out or receive a new animal. In order to get any new animal, there are a few steps that have to be done first.

All parties must agree to the recommendation and terms of transaction. Within AZA-accredited facilities, transfers are normally a donation to the receiving facility. Buying or selling animals, especially SSP animals, is rarely done. Paperwork of the agreed-upon transaction terms is signed by both institutions. Medical records are reviewed by our staff veterinarian and pre-shipment testing requests are sent to the sending facility. These pre-shipment requests may be determined by the state veterinarian for certain species. We also communicate with the Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH). Pre-shipment exams are completed, medical records reviewed once more by our veterinarian, and medical clearance must be granted. We obtain any necessary state-federal-local permits. Ensure quarantine space is available. Every animal entering our Zoo from another facility must go through a quarantine period (normally 30 days) before integrating into our main animal collection. Arrange for transport with staff or professional animal hauler.

Summer 2021



Physically getting the animal to the Zoo is done in several different ways. Some animals are transported by car. Some can fly by commercial plane. Some of the larger animals, though, are transported by specially licensed animal haulers.

Caboose loading onto the trailer at Pueblo Zoo. Cr. Pueblo Zoo

When our male Sichuan takin passed away in 2019, Animal Care management began communicating with the Takin SSP about bringing a new male to the Zoo. We’ve had successful breeding of our younger female takin, Yi Liu, and the SSP agreed on a breeding and transfer plan in January 2020. They recommended a new male from Pueblo Zoo in Colorado, named Caboose.

The Animal Care team started the process by communicating with Pueblo Zoo. Together, we decided on a timeline and transport details that worked for both facilities. Once the timeline was established, our veterinarian reviewed Caboose’s records, requested specific kinds of testing like bloodwork and vaccinations (testing is unique to every species and sometimes specific to each animal), and their veterinary staff scheduled the pre-shipment exam. Initially, all the steps were completed at the beginning of 2020, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, shipping animals between zoos stopped almost completely as every facility tried to decide what their new health measures and procedures were. After checking with the Indiana state veterinarian, we were finally able to reschedule Caboose’s transport, a whole year after it was initially supposed to be done. Since he was coming from Colorado, a brucellosis and tuberculosis-free state, no additional testing would need to be completed again. He only needed a visual exam and health certificate before we could arrange transport with the professional animal hauler. We stayed in constant communication with Pueblo Zoo during the hauling process. He loaded on the trailer quickly and easily, and there were no problems during the cross-country drive. He arrived on a clear April morning and unloaded safely and easily here at the Zoo, too. Caboose has already integrated well with our four female takins, Mulan, Yi Liu, Patty, and Emei. We hope that this breeding recommendation turns out to be a successful one and that we’re able to contribute to the inter-zoo Sichuan takin population.

Left to right: Caboose exiting the trailer at the Potawatomi Zoo and getting to know the other takins.

A 16





Aerial photograph by Cory Wise, Wise Drone Media

By Margie Anella Director of Development


ringing giraffes to the Zoo is an idea that started years ago, but the fruition of it might have been South Bend’s worst kept secret. It was such a relief to finally publicly announce the Big & Loud campaign on March 1, 2021, but in reality, fundraising for the giraffe savanna had been going on since 2019. In the fall of 2019, Daniel and Allison Laidig asked what it would take to start a campaign to bring giraffes and a feeding station to the Zoo. At the time, Zoo leadership gave the Laidigs what sounded like a huge, albeit fair, estimate. The Laidigs generously offered to give the Zoo half of the estimate because they felt it was critical to the success of the campaign to have a lead donor who showed confidence in the project. Zoo Director Josh Sisk, Director of Development Margie Anella, and Development Manager Danielle McCausland started working with the Board of Directors and outside consultants to design a campaign, the size and scope of which the Zoo had never attempted. Major donor campaign pieces were designed. A timeline was mapped out. Donors were identified. It was both an exciting and terrifying time, but Sisk, Anella, and the Laidigs believed that this was a project the community would be thrilled to be a part of. Then: the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Everything changed. Suddenly the Zoo had new priorities. All non-essential staff were sent home. The focus became minimizing contact between Animal Care and animals while still providing the highest quality of care, finding new sources of revenue while the Zoo had to remain closed, doing as much work as possible from home, and figuring out what would come next.

Summer 2021



In the midst of all this chaos, the campaign pieces were delivered to an empty office. “We had a moment,” says Anella. “We had to ask ourselves if moving forward with this campaign was the responsible thing to do. Would people care about giraffes during a global crisis?”

We were just


for the best, and our hopes were far


It was a hard decision to make, particularly when construction costs started to rise and after having to recalculate the total cost of the project. After a lot of discussion both within the Zoo and with the donors who had already signed on to the project, the Zoo decided to move forward. “Little did we know that the response would be so overwhelmingly positive,” admits Sisk. “We were just hoping for the best, and our hopes were far exceeded. We had so many gifts at naming opportunity levels that we were able to create more.”

During the quiet phase, the first phase of the campaign in 2020, the Zoo raised around $4 million from private donations. It was clear that this was a project the community supported. In some ways, it seemed like donors were happy to contribute to a small piece of good news in a year where there was so much uncertainty and hardship. Because so many travel plans were canceled, so many families couldn’t be together, many donors said they wanted to support a local, outdoor, conservation project where families could be together in the future.

~Josh Sisk

That support carried over once the project was announced publicly. The Zoo received an outpouring of donations from all over the world, big and small. From named gifts to recurring gifts to envelopes with pennies and nickles, this giraffe savanna and feeding adventure wouldn’t be happening without every single donor who believes in the Zoo’s vision. “We say this all the time, because it’s true every time,” says Sisk. “From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. Just like you, we can't wait to see giraffes at the Zoo.”

Lead donors Allison and Daniel Laidig spoke at an event in September 2020 about their passion and enthusiasm for this giraffe savanna, and why they believe it will be a benefit to the Zoo and the region.




By Margie Anella Director of Development


ometimes we know when people have left the Zoo in their wills and sometimes it comes as a delightful surprise. That was the case last fall when we got a letter informing us that the Potawatomi Zoo was one of three recipients of a bequest from the estate of Catherine Metzger. We didn’t recognize the name and couldn’t immediately Josh Sisk and Tammy Tidey talk about her friend Catherine Metzger, and her love of nature and animals. make the connection, so we reached out to the executor of Catherine’s estate, Tamara Tidey. Tammy was thrilled to hear from us, and happy to discuss the bequest. “Cathy was such an animal lover! She left her estate to organizations that help the environment and animals, and the Zoo was one of them,” Tammy said. Since we were, coincidentally, in the middle of the Big & Loud giraffe and lion campaign, it made sense to make this bequest part of the campaign. Based on the size of Cathy’s gift, we informed Tammy that if she wanted to direct the gift to this campaign, there were naming opportunities for a gift of this size. Tammy quickly responded that she was sure that is what Cathy would have wanted. A few months later we were hosting a cultivation event at the Zoo for the Big & Loud campaign to which donors, as well as prospective donors, were invited. Tammy and her husband, Bob, were able to join us that evening. Upon seeing the scale of the project, Tammy became overwhelmed with emotion. Through tears she said, “I wish Cathy could see this. She would have loved it.” As a donation recipient, we are so honored to be a part of supporting our donor’s lifelong passion, even after they’ve passed. It’s stories like these that remind us how powerful and meaningful giving can be.

Join the Wildlife Legacy Society The Wildlife Legacy Society is a giving society that honors all those who make the Potawatomi Zoo part of their legacy by creating a planned gift.

For more information, contact Danielle McCausland at danielle@potawatomizoo.org

Summer 2021



AAZK UPDATE Dear Potawa tomi

Zoo friends :

Every year, the Potawat omi Zoo AAZ money for a K raises nimal conse rvation wit for Rhinos, h Bowling an internat ional conse initiative rvation raising mon ey for thre that protec e projects t rhinos an d their eco Wildlife Co systems: Le nservancy, wa Action for Kenya, and Cheetahs in the Interna tional Rhin o Foundatio This year, n. we’re partn ering with Spares! Buy Strikes & bowling tic kets from S Spares (str trikes & ikesandspar es.us) and from AAZK o t-shirts n Facebook (@potawatom in July. Bo izooaazk) wling ticke t s can be us between Jul ed anytime y and Septe mber. Your support hel us learn ab ps out and pro tect rhinos like Masamba in the wild. For event u pdates and links, follow @potawatomi zooaazk on Facebook or check the Zoo's w ebsite: www.potawat omizoo.org/ events. Thank you f or helping!

E Potawatomi Zoo AAZK PS: We’re a lso having a BFR virtu al silent auction on August 13!

DID YOU KNOW? AAZK stands for the American Association of Zoo Keepers and is a nonprofit volunteer

organization made up of professional zoo keepers and other interested persons dedicated to professional animal care and conservation. The national AAZK fosters a professional attitude in animal keepers through publications, conferences, and chapter activities at local zoos. As well, the national AAZK and local AAZK chapters hold many fundraising events to support wild animal conservation and promote public awareness and education. The keepers at the Potawatomi Zoo worked with the National AAZK to create our current chapter in 2014. We are pleased to be part of the national AAZK organization and we look forward to contributing to animal conservation in the coming months and years.

Follow us at www.facebook.com/potawatomizooaazk to learn more about animal conservation!


Potawatomi Zoological Society 500 S. Greenlawn Ave. South Bend, Indiana 46615 Call 574-235-9800 for more information www.potawatomizoo.org

September 25 21+ Event

Brews, food trucks, music, and a whole Zoo to explore when this annual South Bend tradition returns! Tickets go on sale August 10


Zoo Member pre-sale August 3


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