The Cameron Park Zoo Education Department received a grant to provide a free ZooMobile programs to schools in McLennan County, and Jessica Gabler, a senior at Baylor University and employee of the Cameron Park Zoo, brought the ZooMobile to Lake Air Montessori students in late February and mid-March after Spring Break.
Mr. Cross’s first, second, and third grade students thoroughly enjoyed the live animal presentation. The students in Mr. Cross’s class wrote to Jessica drawing pictures of their experience of seeing and touching the animals and thanking her for her time.
Anna C. wrote, “Thank you for bringing in unusual animals that we don’t find in our backyard.” Bolton G. wrote, “Thank you for coming to our school. I liked the python. I also liked the Eastern Screech Owl.” Taylor F. wrote, “I enjoyed the animals a lot, especially Mr. Squiggly McCloud. I’m glad the zoo is so nice to come and show us all the beautiful animals!”
Thank you, Cameron Park Zoo, for enriching our students’ lives and their appreciation for these beautiful and interesting animals. Story reported with the help of Adriann Freeman, Assistant in Mr. Mark Cross’s Gr. 1-3 classroom.
Cameron Park Zoo Programs & Exhibits Curator, Terri Cox, was interviewed today by Tomo Machi, Director of Fuji TV Station and his interpreter, Keiko Tamura. Fuji Television is based in Japan and is interested in the Cameron Park Zoo orangutans’ iPad use. The interview took place via Skype and focused on Cameron Park Zoo’s participation in the Orangutan Outreach Apps for Apes program. (http://redapes.org/multimedia/apps-for-apes/) Most exciting was the fact that the orangutans also got to Skype with Fuji TV! It was the first time that the orangutans have Skyped and they responded to it very well. Mei even came down to the front of her enclosure when Keiko Tamura called her name via Skype.
The orangutans received the donated iPad from Connie and Russ Kassner in August 2012 and all them have taken to the devise very quickly. Mei, the female, particularly enjoys the iPad. The orangutans enjoy a variety of applications ranging from musical apps to “Fruit Ninja.” The males seem to enjoy the music applications the best.
This is a wonderful enrichment tool for the animals and also an excellent way to observe cognitive abilities of orangutans. When zoo visitors watch the orangutans enjoy their iPad it gives our keepers an opportunity to share information about the plight of orangutans in the wild. Both species of orangutans (Bornean and Sumatran) are critically endangered due to poaching for the pet trade and habitat destruction for logging, farming, and mining. Palm Oil is perhaps the largest threat to orangutans. About 5000 orangutans have been killed or have died in recent years as palm oil plantations take up their habitat. To learn more about palm oil and how your choices affect orangutans visit: http://www.cmzoo.org/conservation/palmOilCrisis/.
Green Mountain Energy Solar Video
The Cameron Park Zoo and Green Mountain Energy Sun Club worked together to bring yet another solar array group to Central Texas. This large solar array allows the Zoo to continue our mission of conserving natural resources, while also serving as a teaching tool about alternative energy sources. See this video to learn more about our partnership and energy savings!
Cameron Park Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three Sumatran tiger cubs. The cubs, two females and one male, were born April 19th. This is the second litter for Maharani and Kucing, the zoo’s adult tigers. Maharani gave birth to two cubs in August of last year, but rejected the cubs and they had to be hand raised by zoo staff members. Rejection of one or more cubs in a litter is not unusual for a young tiger’s first pregnancy.
It is unusual for the zoo to allow another pairing so soon after an animal has given birth, but since Maharani was not rearing her cubs, and being kept separate from her mate Kucing was causing her stress, the zoo decided to allow the pair to be reintroduced. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) that makes breeding recommendations for zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) requested that the female not be fitted with a birth control implant since she is in her reproductive prime and her bloodline is important to the SSP and the future of captive Sumatran tigers. It was decided that if breeding activity occurred we would separate the tigers, but if a pregnancy occurred we would try to allow Maharani the opportunity to rear her own cubs.
The keepers observed breeding activity two different times and both times separated the tigers. However, it was evident by early April that Maharani was showing signs of pregnancy. By checking the dates that the two breeding activities occurred, the zookeepers could accurately predict the due date and a baby watch began. Sumatran tigers have an average gestation period of 103 days.
This time Maharani did everything correctly. She immediately began cleaning and caring for her young and has been a very attentive mother during this critical first month. Maharani and her cubs are healthy and have developed a strong bond and in a few more weeks the babies will be large enough and strong enough to navigate the exhibit yard first under the supervision of zookeepers, then with their mother’s guidance.
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