2023 Winter Wild Magazine

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Welcome to a new year, and thank you for a fantastic 2022!

After a chart-topping return from pandemic restrictions in 2021, last year turned out to be the second best-attended in Roger Williams Park Zoo’s history; that was a fine way to celebrate the Park’s and the Zoo’s 150th anniversary.

Although you might consider spring, summer and fall the best time to spend a day at the Zoo, wintertime has a lot to offer. First, we ensure our pathways are clear of snow and ice so your stroll outside can be safe and leisurely. Second, while a handful of animals with primarily outdoor habitats are not visible in cold weather, you might be surprised to discover just how many of the Zoo’s residents are perfectly comfortable and visible every day this time of year. And, finally, don’t forget that your Zoo has indoor habitats where both you and the critters can enjoy a tropical heatwave no matter the weather. Elephants and giraffes will often be found indoors at the Textron Elephant and Giraffe Pavilion during the winter, and, of course, the South American creatures in Faces of the Rainforest and wildlife from the South Pacific that live in Adaptations are always part of an immersive climate experience.

Your adventure in both the Rainforest and Adaptations might well include a glimpse of young animals recently born at the Zoo, including Paia, a Matschie’s tree kangaroo who should begin exploring the world outside her mother’s pouch sometime during February. We often see her tail or a hand, and occasionally her face poking out of the pouch already!

In this issue of Wild, look for further information about Winter Wonder Days and World Wildlife Day. We are also launching this year’s edition of the Endangered Species Youth Art Contest and hope you will encourage the young people among your family and friends to join in the creativity and fun.

Finally, I am excited to announce that we are presenting an opportunity to join a safari in Kenya next October. If a visit to Africa is on your bucket list, there is no time like the present. Details about the trip can be found in this issue of your Zoo membership magazine.

Every day is a new day at the Zoo! We are glad to have you along on the journey, and I look forward to seeing you here soon.


Winter is an exciting time to see some animals at the Zoo

Winter is an exciting time to see some animals at the Zoo, such as red pandas and snow leopards, that are happy and active during the winter months. And you’ll be happy with half-price admission throughout January and February.

If you have yet to visit the Zoo in the winter, come and enjoy the season.

Fun Facts about Snow Leopards

•The snow leopard isn’t even a leopard. In terms of genetics, snow leopards are more closely related to tigers than they are to leopards, despite their eerie resemblance.

•Snow leopards have evolved to make their bodies better suited to their frigid habitat. They are stocky cats with short legs and short, rounded ears that help prevent the loss of body heat. They also have wide nasal cavities to heat the air they breathe before it reaches their lungs.

•Snow leopard fur is incredibly thick– up to five inches– to better insulate them in the snow. This fur also covers their large paws,

which function almost like snowshoes, making it easier for them to walk and stalk their prey in the snow.

•This thick snow leopard coat is colored to match the icy environment. Typically, they have a white-gray coat with black rosettes that provide the ideal camouflage, and their belly is pure white.

•Another intriguing adaptation is that its tail is exceptionally long (around 3 feet) and large compared with other cats because they use their tails to cover sensitive areas to keep them warm. Their tails also store fat when food is more difficult to find.


New Animals at the Zoo

Chuck the southern tamandua

Born in May, Chuck the tamandua resides in Faces of the Rainforest alongside mom Carina and dad

As we reflect on 2022, we would like to take an opportunity to look back on the cute babies and new arrivals that crawled their way into our hearts. We look forward to our future and all the exciting things to come!

Saluda the red wolf pup

Salvador. Chuck has grown a lot since we first announced his birth and continues to thrive! His curious and adventurous spirit gets him into all sorts of silly mischief. He loves training with his keepers and will never say no to a mealworm treat.

Born on May 5 to firsttime parents Brave and Diego, this was a historic birth for our Zoo and an emblem of hope for the survival of this species. Only 15-20 red wolves remain in the wild and are all located in eastern North Carolina.

The Southern tamandua, also called the lesser anteater, is the arboreal relative of the anteater. Native to South America, they use their sharp claws and prehensile tails to climb trees and grip branches.

Willie and Nelson the Nigerian dwarf goats

Our new kids on the block joined the Zoo in May at just 3-months old. Want to tell these rambunctious brothers apart? Willie has a white spot on his head!

Saluda was the first red wolf born at the Zoo since 2005! Today, Saluda has nearly approached the size of her parents. Her inquisitive and playful nature brings new energy to her family pack.

Red wolves were listed as extinct in the wild by 1980. Through the collaboration of the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), the last 14 remaining wild red wolves were brought into zoos to establish a captive breeding program with the primary objective of forming the foundation of a wild population through reintroduction back to the wild. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of these partner facilities across the United States, the captive red wolf population has once again risen steadily to nearly 250 wolves!

Nigerian dwarf goats are often beneficial to pastures, readily eating many invasive plant species including poison ivy and poison oak!

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the golden lion tamarin

This tiny addition to our tamarin family made his first appearance in August. Born to dad Kyle and mom Raff, his big personality shines brightly amongst his siblings Boudica and Angus. Archie loves to explore his rainforest home when not playing with his brother and sister.  Fun

A group of these primates is known as a troop! With just 2,500 of these beautiful pint-sized primates left in the wild - a third of which descended from individuals bred through reintroduction efforts by collaborative conservation partners - every birth is a shining light for this species.


the Masai Giraffe

Hey, Providence… have you met Providence, the Masai giraffe? At 20-months-old, this quirky and sassy girl won our hearts when she graced us with her presence in November. She continues to grow increasingly comfortable with her giraffe companion Jaffa and her new bestie, Cora.

Paia the Matschie’s tree kangaroo

Born to mom Keweng and dad Morobe, Paia was the size of a lima bean when she was born on June 27 and crawled blindly into her mom’s pouch, where she continued to grow and nurse. It wasn’t until December that our little joey started to make her first appearance.

Paia, which means fire, was named after her mom’s feisty personality. Although she will continue to spend the next couple of months in her mom’s pouch, she is already showcasing her inquisitive personality, just like her mom.

This birth is significant for the Zoo, and this endangered species. Today, it is estimated that there are fewer than 2,500 adult Matschie tree kangaroos left in their native habitats in New Guinea. The Zoo actively participates in the Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan, which focuses on breeding to ensure the survival of this species and has long supported wildlife and habitat conservation programs to help this species survive including a close partnership with the Tree Kangaroo SAFE Program and the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program.

Our Zoo was selected as a part of a breeding recommendation based on the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Masai giraffes. The SSP is a vital initiative created by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to ensure that endangered species, like giraffes, maintain a genetically diverse and biologically sound population.

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World Wildlife Day 2023 – March 3

2023 Theme: Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation

Protecting wildlife and wild places is at the very core of the Zoo’s mission. We pride ourselves on our environmental impact, locally and globally, working with collaborative partners to conserve multiple species and ecosystems.

It takes an incredible team of Zoo staff, volunteers, and collaborative partners to contribute to conservation efforts that have lasting impact. Today, we highlight two of the Zoo’s influential individuals who have made their mark on environmental conservation.

Lou Perrotti is the director of conservation programs at Roger Williams Park Zoo, and coordinator for both the American burying beetle and North American wood turtle species survival plans (SSP). He has over 25 years of experience and has significantly contributed to the field. Perrotti often emphasizes that conservation is not just about saving the “charismatic and cute animals” but must include all threatened species. Since 1994, Perrotti has led the charge on the American

burying beetle recovery. This species is known for being nature’s most efficient recycler and was once native to 35 states across the US. Today, it’s population has dwindled to only seven states. These insects are crucial to nature for their ability to reprocess decaying animals back into the ecosystem and stimulate the growth of plants and foliage. Perrotti has made significant strides since starting the program and has maintained and improved American burying beetle populations on Nantucket Island. In 2021, for the first time in 56 years, the American burying beetle was brought back to New York State thanks to Lou’s work in partnership with SUNY Cobleskill’s Environmental Management program.

Another local species Perrotti has worked with is the timber rattlesnake. Since the 1960s, this species’ population has continued to decline due to poaching and habitat loss. Within the past decade, a new and serious fungal disease has been discovered and further damaged populations.

Perrotti’s conservation impact has been felt near and far. He continues to work closely with local environmental facilities to save and safeguard native turtles like the Eastern box turtle, Eastern spadefoot toads, and the New England cottontail. He has also traveled the world and assisted with conservation


efforts in Papua New Guinea, Chile, and Panama, focusing on insects, amphibians, and tree kangaroos. Without Perrotti’s wildlife conservation efforts, some species could have disappeared entirely.

“I am incredibly proud of the work myself and my colleagues have accomplished over the years,” said Perrotti. “I hope we will leave this world as good, if not better, to the next generation.”

Another extraordinary staff member who has made an impact on our wild world is Dr. Karin Schwartz. As the records manager in the animal care department here at Roger Williams Park Zoo, she is also a partner data management advisor for AZA’s animal programs and the International Union of Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Specialist Groups for over 25 years. Additionally, she has worked with various insitu (wild animal populations) and ex-situ (species managed under human care) conservation initiatives.

Schwartz believes that the best possible means of protecting species and their genetic information, can only occur if the in-situ and ex-situ conservation communities work together.

Today, Schwartz serves as a data management advisor to the AZA Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan®, Cheetah Survival Plan, Tapir Taxon Advisory Group and has participated in other various programs associated with the conservation of these species in the wild. Most recently, she served as a research scientist and intern research coordinator for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia where she coordinated work by interns on cheetah conservation research.

It helps keep animal care staff, veterinary care teams and animal population managers up-to-date with the most crucial information about the animals in their collection.

With over 1,300 institutions utilizing this management system in 102 countries worldwide, it contains over 220,000,000 husbandry records, ten million individual animal records and more. This expansive network allows zoos, researchers, and academic institutions to have very specific information vital to their research right at their fingertips! Everything from typical species’ behavioral observations and common medicalrelated complications to intensive population analysis - this vast knowledge allows experts to make tremendous strides in their work that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

“With extensive experience as a data management specialist in both the ex-situ and in-situ conservation sectors, I have dedicated my career to the One Plan approach (development of conservation management strategies and actions by all responsible parties for all populations of a species, in or outside of their natural range), as this epitomizes the conservation ethic that is needed to stem the decline of species that are headed towards extinction.”

Through her work at three different zoos - Roger Williams Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, and Milwaukee County ZooSchwartz has used the Zoological Information Management System. This global animal management system provides real-time knowledge that allows zoos, aquariums, and wildlife institutions the ability to catalog animal-related data.

Our current extinction rate caused by humans is said to be between 100 to 1,000 times greater than it would be under natural conditions. With the speed and intensity at which wildlife and habitats are being destroyed, soon very little could be left.

We thank and honor individuals like Lou Perrotti and Dr. Karin Schwartz, along with all of our staff involved in wildlife conservation. Through decades of dedication to their work, the world is more biologically homogenous, and there is greater hope for a brighter future.


Corner Kids’

Can you answer these WILD trivia questions?

PaPer Plate arctic Fox

(From I Heart Crafty Things)

1 2 4

Which of these animals does NOT hibernate in the winter?

a. Skunks

b. Bears

c. Snakes

d. Honey Bees

e. Snails

Male narwhals use their long tusk to:

a. Hunt for food

b. Compete with other males

c. Defend from predators

d. Locate each other


Though this species is typically nocturnal, this subspecies is not:

a. Arctic Wolves

b. Snowy Owl

c. Polar Bears

d. Caribou

Wood Frogs survive the winter by:

a. Creating a small shelter out of dirt or mud near ponds and trees.

b. Hibernating in dens located in or on top of trees.

c. Freezing their body and completely stopping their heart rate.

d. Burrowing under the mud of ponds and hibernating there.

e. None of the above


• paper plate

• scissors

• white tissue paper

• white cardstock paper

• 2 wiggly eyes

• black pom

• glue


Step 1: Start by cutting your paper plate in half. Fold the corners of one of the paper plate halves inward towards the center of the plate to create a triangle shape. Staple the pieces shut in the back.

Step 2: Put your stapler inside the triangle shape and staple it onto your other paper plate.

Step 3: Add some glue onto your paper plates and cover them with tissue paper. Trim off any pieces that hang off the ends.

Step 4: Glue your large googly eyes and black pom onto your fox face.

Step 5:

Cut two triangle ears, four legs and a tail out of your white cardstock paper. Glue them onto your paper plate arctic fox craft. (Optional: Add tissue paper onto the tail to give it more texture.)

Answers located on bottom of page.

Guess Zoo? Can you identify these animals? Answers located on bottom of page.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Wild Trivia Answers: 1: D • 2: B • 3: B • 4: C; Guess Zoo Answers: 1. Beluga Whale 2. Bison 3. Elephant Seal 4. Grizzly Bear 5. Narwhal 6. Reindeer 7. Snow Leopard 8. Snowy Owl
7 8

Calling all young artists and wildlife enthusiasts!

6th annual Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

With support from Jerry’s Artarama of Providence

Our 2023 contest opens for submissions beginning February 1, 2023! In celebration of Endangered Species Day (May 19, 2023) local K-12 grade students and homeschoolers in the New England area are encouraged to submit their artwork depicting threatened/endangered species. Raise awareness about the importance of protecting wildlife and wild places and get the chance to win cool prizes including a family membership, Zoo swag and gift cards to Jerry’s Artarama.

Share the love this Valentine’s Day while supporting wildlife!

Send your loved one the cutest Valentine’s Day card around! Or GO BIG and make your Valentine a symbolic Zoo animal parent by adopting an animal in their name.


Click here for contest guidelines and to submit art  Deadline to enter is Sunday, April 2, 2023
K-2 Grade Winner: Madelyn Huggins (African Elephants) 2022 Grand Prize Winner: Gina Yang (Green Sea Turtle)
All gifts must be received by Wednesday, February 8th to arrive on time to your loved one. to Send a Valentine  8


Safari Mystique Under African Skies

September 30 – October 11, 2023

Plan a trip you’ll remember forever. For your safari, discover spectacular national parks and conservation areas that manifest the great diversity of wildlife and habitat found in Kenya.

Safari Highlights

Ol Pejeta Conservancy boasts the highest density of wildlife in Kenya outside of the Maasai Mara. Over 90,000 acres provide sanctuary to the endangered black rhino, utilizing the latest technology in monitoring and tracking while smart fencing allows migratory species to roam freely. Protected species include black rhino, chimpanzee, African wild dog, leopard, cheetah, lion, elephant, hippo, Grevy’s zebra, and Jackson’s hartebeest.

Lake Nakuru National Park is located in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru is one of the most biodiverse regions in Africa and a sanctuary for Kenya’s largest population of wild rhino, Rothschild’s giraffe, hippo, bushbuck, leopard, and nearly 450 bird species.

Maasai Mara National Reserve may undoubtedly be the most iconic wildlife destination in the world, the Maasai Mara flows openly to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to form the Serengeti or ‘Endless Plain’ in the language of the Maasai people. Covering nearly 12,000 square miles of an unobstructed conservation area, it hosts the largest land migration in the world. More than 2 million wildebeest, zebra, antelope, and Cape buffalo make a circular trek following the life-giving rains that bring mineral-rich grasses.

Click here for more information 

Information Night - Tuesday, February 7th

Join us for a very special information night on Tuesday, February 7th to learn about our upcoming African Safari trip presented by Stacey Johnson, Executive Director, Roger Williams Park Zoo. Stacey will share information on the trip based on his past African safari experiences. Stacey’s love of nature and all wildlife has taken him far and wide, from field research in the Yucatan to Kenya and Patagonia. Light snacks and refreshments will be offered.

Have questions, but can’t attend in person, there will be a virtual option to join, please RSVP here 



winter Events & Ongoing Happenings at Zoo & Carousel


• ZOO HOURS: 10am to 4pm Zoo closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Except for Holidays and School Vacation Weeks)

• CAROUSEL HOURS: Weekends 12pm to 4pm

• 1st to 28th: Winter Wonder Days

• 21st to 25th: February School Vacation Week (Zoo Open Monday through Sunday)


• ZOO HOURS: 10am to 4pm Zoo closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Except for Holidays and School Vacation Weeks)

• CAROUSEL HOURS: Weekends 12pm to 4pm

Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence


Roger Williams Park Zoo Department of Marketing and Public Relations

Corrie Ignagni

Vicki Scharfberg

Nate Amaral

Designer Sara Beatrice

Tandem Designworks

Photo Credits

Roger Williams Park Zoo

WILD is an online publication of the Rhode Island Zoological Society, Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02907-3659

For membership information call (401) 785-3510 x375 or visit rwpzoo.org.


Officers Patrick T. LeBeau, CFP,® Chair

Nancy Allen, Vice Chair

Sandra L. Coletta, Vice Chair

Margaret Ferguson, Secretary

Maribeth Q. Williamson,


Board of Trustees

Martha Bower

Douglas Caniglia

Claire N. Carrabba

Cheryl Cohen

Barbara Cottam

Sarah Denby

Cindy Erickson

Pamela Heffernan

John J. Igliozzi

Elizabeth Rollins Mauran

Dr. Jeffrey Mello

Howard Merten

John J. Palumbo

Steven M. Parente

Karen E. Silva EdD, CHE


Stacey Johnson

Executive Director

Rhode Island Zoological Society/ Roger Williams Park Zoo

Wendy Nilsson

Superintendent of Parks

Providence Parks Department

Chairman Emeritus

Sophie F. Danforth*

Trustees Emeritus

Margaret E. Curran, Esq.

Thomas P. Dimeo*

Jocelin Hamblett

James S. Harper III, VMD*

Bradford B. Kopp

Arthur D. Little

Nancy G.R. Moger

Richard Nadeau

Jane S. Nelson

Cate M. Roberts

Philip A. Segal, Jr.

Robert F. Stoico


Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information visit www.aza.org

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