Zoo News

Donna, Cameron Park Zoo’s 18 year old female black bear developed tooth root abscess at the base of two of her canines which is not an uncommon problem in bears. As bears age their teeth wear down giving bacteria access to the inside of their teeth.  Donna, who was a rescue bear in Springfield MO, had most of the wear on her teeth prior to coming to Cameron Park Zoo. Cameron Park Zoo’s veterinarian, Dr. James Kusmierczyk, diagnosed the problem with X-rays and the help of a local human dentist, Dr. Richard Hansard, and dental technicians from Ledet Dental. Unfortunately, medication alone was not enough to clear the infection. The zoo consulted with veterinary dentist Dr. Bert Dodd at Texas A & M, and decided root canals would be required. This procedure would have to be done at the Texas A & M University School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital.

There was only one problem: the zoo’s van was not tall enough to accommodate the mobile medical crate that Donna would need to be in for transport. This specialized stainless steel crate would allow the doctors to safely access Donna in order to anesthetize her. The transport van had to be tall enough to accommodate the crate, but it also had to be air conditioned in the cargo area since she would be transported during the heat of a Texas summer day. The zoo researched options and the only thing they found was a rental van in the DFW region that would cost $500 per day. The surgery was scheduled for 9:00 am on Wednesday, July 8th so zoo staffers would have to pick up the van on Tuesday and most likely not return it until Thursday, depending on Donna’s recovery time.  For a non-profit organization $1500 is a lot of money especially when added to the amount of the dental procedure itself. Luckily, one of the zoo’s Community Partners saved the day! Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat dealership offered the use of the perfect air conditioned cargo van to transport Donna to her procedure.

On Wednesday July 8th at 7:00 am Donna, Dr. Kusmierczyk, Animal Care Manager, Manda Butler, and Zookeeper Megan Robertson loaded into the borrowed van and made their way to the Texas A & M University School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital. With the help of Texas A & M’s zoo medicine service and Dr. Dodd, both root canals were performed. The transport and procedure went very well, and Donna is now back at home, happy and healthy and now on a special diet to maintain her dental and overall health.

Again a great big thanks to Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat for partnering with Cameron Park Zoo to help us provide our animals with the best of care!

 van 3  van 1  #4

Grace & Baby


Thanks to the generous donations of supporters, Lucy has been chosen for our new baby girl’s name!

2015 is the Year of the Gibbon and Cameron Park Zoo is celebrating in a very special way! Today zoo officials are proud to announce the birth of a baby girl to Spike and Gracie, the zoo’s White-handed gibbon pair. Spike and Grace are long-term residents of Cameron Park Zoo and this is their second offspring. The first, Mel, was born September 27, 2000 and now lives at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. This new baby, a female was born Saturday, June 13th. Baby and parents have remained in the gibbon night house over the past few weeks in order to allow time for bonding. Today zoo officials allowed the new family to spend time outside on Gibbon Island. Baby and parents enjoyed the outing and they should be out on the island with access to their night house in case they want to go inside to cool off throughout the summer.

The entire staff of Cameron Park Zoo is very excited to name this little girl, but they need your help. Half of the staff wants to name her Lucy and the other half wants to name her Emma. You can break the tie by voting with donations to the zoo’s ultrasound campaign. Having state of the art medical equipment is crucial to providing the exceptional medical care for gibbons and all animals at Cameron Park Zoo. Voting stations will be available in the Zootique Gift Shop or you may vote  online here.

White-handed gibbons are mostly monogamous, living in groups of 2 to 6 members. Females usually give birth to only one offspring about every 3.5 years. The gestation is 7 months and the babies are weaned at about 20 months. The average lifespan is 30 years in the wild and up to 44 years in captivity. White-handed gibbons are distributed throughout the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN). The Year of the Gibbon was initiated by IUCN, Species Survival Commission (SSC), Primate Specialist Group (PSG) and Section on Small Apes (SSA), as an opportunity to gather together in order to take necessary and tangible steps toward gibbon conservation. The plight of the small apes has often been overshadowed by the great apes, despite being considered the most threatened primate family. Conservationists, zoologists, scientists, governments, decision makers, companies and the general public are welcome to join us in an attempt to move this amazing ape out of the shadows and into the limelight. To learn more: http://www.gibbons.asia/year-of-the-gibbon/.


Did you know that currently only three male orangutans in the world are trained for voluntary blood pressure readings and two of those animals reside at our own Cameron Park Zoo?  Those same apes, Mukah and Kerajaan, are also being trained for voluntary awake echocardiograms.  We have an excellent veterinary care program at Cameron Park Zoo, but it is limited by the lack of specialized equipment needed to accurately monitor animal health.  Cameron Park Zoo does not own an ultrasound machine, but has been able to start training our male orangutans for performing awake echocardiograms, using a dated loaner machine and software which prevents detailed measurements from being performed.Mukah ultrasound

A new ultrasound machine, with a probe specific for echocardiograms, would enable us to obtain these measurements and contribute more to the Great Ape Heart Project as well as the understanding of cardiovascular disease in orangutans overall.

This new ultrasound has multiple capabilities and with the proper probe we could also detect pregnancies quicker and more definitively. Pregnancy detection in zoo animals can be difficult.  In larger animals such as rhinoceros and antelope, zoo veterinarians use a specially designed probe to detect pregnancy. Currently, the Cameron Park Zoo does not own this probe. Obtaining a new ultrasound with multiple capabilities and the proper probe would enable us to detect pregnancies quicker and more definitively

We need your help and if all of our Cameron Park Zoo members would donate a minimum of $15 per household, we could reach our goal of $65,000 to purchase a new ultrasound and probes.  You can donate online or mail a check to Cameron Park Zoo, 1703 North 4th Street, Waco, Texas 76707.

Generous donors like you are the key to our success at Cameron Park Zoo! This medical equipment is expensive, but the benefit it would bring to our veterinary care program is priceless.

More information & to donate visit: http://www.cameronparkzoo.com/donate/support-animals/ultrasound-fundraiser/