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Beardsley Bart Says Spring Is Coming

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Feb 022021
 

Beardsley Bart (Photo by Jack Bradley)

Who needs Punxsutawney Phil when you have ‘Beardsley Bart?’ Beardsley Bart, Connecticut’s own Prognosticating Prairie Dog, dug out from a snowstorm early this morning to share his weather forecast with a small gathering of his friends. This year, he did not see his shadow, revealing that Connecticut will enjoy an early spring.

“Beardsley Bart is a very early riser and when he came out this morning, he confirmed that he did not see his shadow,” explained Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “But every year, Beardsley Bart says that spring is coming eventually, and he has always been 100 percent correct.”

Dancho invites everyone to visit the Zoo throughout the cold weather, as that’s when many of the animals are most active. A new Mexican gray wolf, North American river otter, and Amur tiger are among the newest animals at the Zoo.

 

Editor’s Note: Punxsutawney Phil and Connecticut’s official hedgehog, Phoebe, both saw their shadows and predict another six weeks of winter. 

Sad News From The Beardsley Zoo

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Jan 112020
 

We are sad to announce that due to advanced age, declining health and quality of life considerations, the Zoo bid farewell to our North American bison, Sweetpea, through euthanasia.

Sweetpea was born at the Zoo, and is remembered by her animal care staff and friends as a “gentle giant.”

Animal Care Specialist and Zoo Registrar Linda Tomas summed up the feelings of Zoo staff in her comment: “I will always remember her for her eager anticipation for treats, her happy play with a new tree or pumpkin in the yard and her soft fuzzy head. I miss her and am grateful for having had the chance to be a part of her life.”

Teddy Bear Fest At The Zoo

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Aug 082019
 

The Beardsley Zoo will host a Teddy Bear Fest on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 12-3 p.m.

Bring your favorite teddy bear friend to the Zoo! This “beary” fun day will feature children’s crafts and storytelling focusing on Bear Awareness and the facts about real bears.

FREE admission for children under age 12 who bring their teddy bear to the “Teddy Bear Clinic” and are accompanied by a paying adult.

It’s Happening At The Library

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Jul 162019
 

The Case Memorial Library, 176 Tyler City Road, Orange, offers the following events this month.

 

Color War
Tuesday, July 16, 3:30 p.m.
Prepare to get messy! Tweens will be playing an epic game of capture the flag with color powder, which will be used to “color-tag” the other teams! This program will take place on the lawn behind the library, and is open to tweens entering grades 4-6. Registration is required. Parents must sign their tween up in the Children’s Room. Registration cannot be completed over the phone or online. If you have any questions, please call the library at 203-891-2170.

Oscar Film: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Wednesday, July 17, 1 p.m.
When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.1 hr. 46 min. R.

Beardsley Zoomobile
Thursday, July 18, 1 p.m.
For children ages 3-5.  Meet and touch amazing animals, plus examine rare artifacts!  Registration is required.

 

Mystery Book Discussion
Thursday, July 18, 7 p.m.

Join Librarian Samantha Jasulavic for a discussion of I Found You by Lisa Jewell.

Teen Craft: Paper Flowers
Friday, July 19, 3 p.m.
For students entering grades 7-12. Make your own colorful crepe paper poppies.

Chess Club
Tuesday, July 23, 3:45 p.m.
Come join our chess club! This club is open to beginners and experienced players. During our meetings, children and tweens will be able to learn about this strategic board game and play against other club members. Feel free to bring your own chess board as the library has a small supply. For children and tweens in grades 1-6. Registration is required. Click below, stop by the Children’s Room or call the Library to sign up!

 

Events are free and open to the public, except as noted. Please pre-register.

Phone: 203-891-2170

Beardsley Zoo Welcomes Rare Amur Leopard Cubs

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Mar 112019
 

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, last week, announced the addition of two new, and extremely rare, Amur leopard cubs to their facility.

The zoo reported that six-year-old Freya gave birth to three cubs on January 25. Two of the cubs, a male and female, survived. The third cub was euthanized due to maternal-induced injuries, according to zoo officials.

The female cub has melanism, which makes this Amur leopard even rarer. Melanism is a rare condition in big cats that gives them dark-pigmented fur.

Unfortunately, she suffered the loss of her tail due to Freya displaying hyper-grooming behaviors, and the cub underwent lifesaving surgery shortly after birth. She was treated with antibiotics for an infection, but now she has completed the medication and is doing well, the zoo said.

The male cub reportedly is completely healthy.

Endangered Species

The zoo reports that Amur leopards are critically endangered, with only 80 leopards of their kind left in the wild. There are around 200 in human care worldwide. Only six Amur cubs were born in the U.S. in 2018, with five surviving.

Zoo Director Gregg Dancho said, “Amur leopards are on the brink of extinction…The Species Survival Plan’s breeding recommendation is designed to bolster the number of individuals in human care, for potential future breeding, as well as the opportunity to return certain members of the species back to the wild someday. The birth of these cubs brings a few more precious Amur leopards to the population, which can help ensure the survival of these majestic animals for future generations.”

Both of the six-week-old cubs are in seclusion in the Zoo’s Animal Health Care Center. There is no official date yet for the cubs’ debut in the public exhibits.

It’s Happening At the Zoo: Meet The Two New Mexican Wolves

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Feb 062019
 

On Tuesday morning, Feb. 5, the Beardsley Zoo welcomed two young (2-year-old) male Mexican Wolves to join its 11-year-old spayed female.

After they were introduced, the boys brought out the puppy in their older companion. They bounced around, ran after one another and seemed to have a great time.

Although, during the playtime, the female did not hesitate to put the boys in their place if necessary.

NOTE: The nearby female red wolf that reportedly is in heat, ran from one end of her enclosure to the other to check out her handsome new neighbors.

Here’s what the zoo had to say about the new wolves:

Born on May 13, 2017 at the Endangered Wolf Center of Eureka, Missouri, the brothers arrived on December 6, 2018, and have been in quarantine, required for any new Zoo arrival. The males have now joined the Zoo’s remaining female to begin a small pack. The Zoo lost a second female due to a medically untreatable condition last month. Guests will be able to view the three Mexican Gray wolves between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily from the W.O.L.F. Cabin (Wolf Observation Learning Facility).

As with the female Mexican Gray wolves, the brothers will not be named. This serves to emphasize their wild status, and helps to prevent human/wolf interaction so that a re-introduction to the wild at some point may be possible. No breeding is planned for the new pack, although a Species Survival Plan recommendation may be made in the future. The Species Survival Program (SSP) is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) breeding and management program designed to preserve the long-term sustainability of animal populations in human care.

The existing Mexican gray wolf at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo was born in 2007 at the California Wolf Center in Julian, Calif. The Zoo is also home to two Red wolves, one male named Peanut, and one female named Shy. The Mexican gray wolves and the Red wolves are two of the rarest mammals in North America. Both species at one time were completely extinct in the wild.

“Both species of wolves at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo are imperiled. It is only through managed breeding and reintroduction that they survive in the wild today,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “We’re pleased to add two new wolves to our Wolf Observation Learning Facility, and offer our guests an incredible opportunity to see these beautiful and fascinating animals up close.”

Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, returning the Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo” to the wild was a significant milestone for wildlife conservation efforts. More than a million wolves were killed in the U.S. between 1850 and 1900. In 1907, a call was made for the extinction of the entire species. Throughout the wolf’s history, they have been hunted and reviled due to fear and misunderstanding.

In 1998, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 11 Mexican gray wolves back into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, in an effort to restore balance to the Southwest’s ecosystems under the Endangered Species Act. Wolves contribute to the health of the environment by keeping deer, elk and javelina populations in check, preventing these animals from population growth that results in overgrazing and the destruction of habitat that other species depend upon.

Come to the Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave., Bridgeport, to see these beautiful animals. We are so lucky to have this wonderful resource only a few minutes away from Orange.

While you’re there, be sure to visit the Amur Tiger sisters, at just over a year old, they are almost as big as their mother. The Red Pandas are enjoying their new habitat, and they are so cute, everyone loves them.

When the weather warms up a little more, the prairie dogs will be scampering around, too.

Did you know that the Beardsley Zoo has a beautiful carousel and an awesome Victorian Greenhouse?

The zoo also offers many volunteer opportunities and hands-on educational programs for children and teens.

Get involved and enrich your life and the lives of these precious animals.

Agenda: Dec. 12 Board of Selectmen’s Meeting

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Dec 112018
 

File photo of First Selectman Jim Zeoli during a selectmen’s meeting.

The Orange Board of Selectmen meet at Town Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Following is the agenda:

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

(2 minutes per speaker)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

MINUTES

* To consider and act on the approval of the minutes of the November 8, 2018 Special Meeting of the Board of Selectmen  * To consider and act on the approval of the minutes of the November 14, 2018 Regular Meeting of the Board of Selectmen

NEW BUSINESS

1. To consider and act on the request from Cub Scout Pack 922 to waive the customary rental fee for HPCC for Pinewood Derby Event – Brian Cleveland, Cub Scout Pack 922

2. To consider and act on moving the polling location for District 1 To consider and act on the request to approve the tax refunds totaling $10,205. 70

COMMITTEES

1. Pension Board – Selectman Goldblatt

2. Capital Planning – Selectman Okenquist

3. Bond Construction Oversight – Selectman Goldblatt

4. Personnel – First Selectman Zeoli, Selectman Okenquist, Selectman Davis

Adjournment

FYI * * * Approved Minutes of October 10, 2018 Board of Selectmen Meeting Revenue and Expenditure Reports Appointments & Reappointments 2019-2020 Board of Selectman Meeting Schedule Memo

Beardsley Zoo Director Makes Big Announcement At Tiger Cubs’ Birthday Celebration

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Nov 252018
 

Fans of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo are aware that the two female Amur Tiger Cubs, Reka, and Zeya turned one-year-old on Sunday, Nov. 25.

The birthday celebration included free tiger bookmarks for the first 500 people through the gate, and two encore presentations of Fostering Felines, a presentation from Animal Care Specialist Bethany Thatcher. Tiger Talks, highlighting the plight of Amur tigers in the wild, took place in front of the habitat throughout the day. Proceeds from the sale of Team Reka, Team Zeya, or Team Tiger Cubs t-shirts and tiger cub stuffed animals go to a proposed expanded tiger habitat.

Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, who began working at the zoo in 1975, and earned his way up to his current position, has always yearned to have a larger habitat for the Tigers who live there.

After the rare tigers were born, nurtured by caring human “parents” and thrived in spite of their 25% chance of survival, the zoo began an ambitious fundraising campaign to see Dancho’s dream come true, build a massive, more appropriate habitat for these beautiful cats.

While their caregivers placed the cubs’ birthday presents around their enclosure, Dancho addressed the crowd who’d come to attend the birthday celebration.

He gave a brief history of the tigers at the zoo and described the enormity of the proposed upgrade. Then he made a big announcement. Just in time for the Cubs’ first birthday, the zoo received a $1,000,000 donation for the tiger habitat from longtime zoo supporter, Pamela Hope Kochiss-Werth.

“The existing tiger habitat was built several decades ago and has been on our wish list to expand and renovate. Our intention is to create a habitat more in keeping with 21st century accredited zoo standards,” Dancho said. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude at Pam’s extreme generosity.”
“The Zoo is asking for matching donations,” Dancho said, “Everyone has an opportunity now to help. There’s no donation too small.”

This is the first grant made by Kochiss-Werth’s new foundation and reflects her individual philanthropy. “As a Bridgeport native, I have many fond memories as far back as 1958, of enjoying wonderful times with my family at Beardsley Park and the Zoo,” she said in a press release. “I feel honored and blessed to be able to contribute to the Zoo’s growth, important programs, and life-enriching contributions to Bridgeport and all Connecticut communities.”

And at 12 p.m., after the cubs received their presents, guests were treated to chocolate and vanilla striped cake and hot chocolate and hot apple cider.

FACTS: When these tiger cubs were born, they had only a 25 percent chance of survival and were the only two Amur cubs added to the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Amur tiger population in 2017.

Sadly, tigers are thought to occupy less than 7 percent of their original range, according to the AZA’s statistics. Threatened by poaching, tiger-human conflict, habitat loss and degradation, and loss of prey, four of nine subspecies have disappeared from the wild.

Celebrate The Tiger Cubs First Birthday At The Zoo

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Nov 232018
 

Reka and Zeya are turning one, on Sunday, November 25, 2018, so come out to celebrate the beautiful tigers’ special day at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We’ve all watched them grow from less than 2 pounds each with a 25% chance of survival to almost 200 pounds and healthy members of their species.

The day will include two presentations at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., in the Research Station by tiger Animal Care Specialist, Bethany, describing how the cubs were rescued and raised.

Cake and hot chocolate for all guests at noon, with special birthday enrichment gifts for the cubs, and Tiger Talks in front of the tiger habitat all day.

The first 500 guests receive a free tiger bookmark. And the zoo will be selling Team Tiger t-shirts.

Don’t miss this very special day.

Orange Day At The Beardsley Zoo

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Sep 292018
 

It only happens once a year, and that time is coming soon.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport will host Orange Day on Sunday, Sept. 30.

Orange residents can enjoy a day of fun at the zoo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a reduced admission cost of just $5 with an ID as proof of residence.

This is a great time to visit the zoo. Rochan the Red Panda and his new mate Mari are preparing to move into their new habitat. Shy, the Red Wolf has a new companion named Peanut. And of course, the two tiger cubs are getting bigger and more beautiful every day.

One of the most exciting things to happen this past summer is the birth of a baby Giant Anteater on July 30. The previous one was born a couple of years ago and everyone had a wonderful time watching it grow.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to see this little boy by Orange Day as he’s still a little too young.

So, mark your calendars and cross your fingers for excellent fall weather on Sept. 30. Don’t forget your ID!