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.

Zoo News: Tiger Habitat Expansion On The Horizon With Your Help

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May 232018

Orange Live has been committed to keeping its promise to limit its coverage area to the town of Orange, crossing into Woodbridge for Amity High School news, as this is where Orange residents send their teens to public high school.

The other place from which we will share information is the Beardsley Zoo. WHY? Because it is Connecticut’s Zoo, just a short car ride from Orange, and a valuable resource for children and adults alike to learn about the many endangered species of animals in the world and because we admire the Zoo’s commitment to conservation and its efforts to keep these animals from becoming extinct.

If you have been to the Orange Business Expo, especially if you are accompanied by a child, you delight in the Beardsley Zoo booth, and whatever creatures they’ve brought with them that day.

If you have visited the zoo recently, you know that Rochan, the Red Panda, has a new girlfriend “Mari,” and together they will soon have a lovely large new habitat. Jabba, the sloth, also has a new girlfriend “Hope,” and you can see them lounging around in the rainforest building.

The one thing that you may have lamented over in past years is the seemingly small Tiger cage. I know that my daughter and I have always wished they had more room. So imagine my delight when I learned a few weeks ago while talking to Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, that the Zoo plans to greatly expand the Tiger habitat.

Here is a press release from the Zoo about this very important project:

On November 25, 2017, the Zoo welcomed two female Amur tiger cubs. Both cubs were hand-reared by their care
staff and are growing up fast. These cubs are significant to the survival of their species as Amur tigers are endangered in the wild.

Amur tigers, once known as Siberian tigers, no longer carry that name since they are extinct in Siberia and are now found primarily near the Amur River in Russia. As zoos across the country work to support all endangered species, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is proud to play a vital role in the survival of Amur tigers.

In January, we asked for support to raise funds to create a concept rendering for a new tiger habitat. A new tiger
habitat is a dream of Zoo staff and we are committed to make this a reality, but we need your help.

The goals for redesigning the Amur tiger habitat are increased indoor and outdoor space, immersive wildlife experiences for guests and additional education space to include presentation opportunities, photo opportunities, and signage.

We just received a $15,000 challenge grant from the Bradshaw-Mack Family Foundation in support of the new
Amur tiger habitat. Every dollar you give today will double and 100% of your support will help us build a
new tiger habitat.

Give today and be a part of the new tiger habitat and your Zoo’s future.

Warm Regards,
Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director

P.S. Donors at the $2,500 level will be showcased on a ‘Founding Families’ plaque at the new habitat!

EDITOR’S NOTE: The zoo is not funded by the state and depends upon admission costs, donations and fundraisers to continue to keep the animals fed, happy and healthy.   


Beardsley Zoo: Have You (and Your Children) Visited The Tiger Cam Yet?

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Feb 132018

On Saturday, Nov. 25, the Beardsley Zoo welcomed a litter of extremely rare babies when their 10-year-old Amur tiger, Changbai, gave birth to four cubs. Only two of the four survived.

According to Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, There are only 500 Amur tigers known in the wild. “They are a sub-species of the Siberian tiger, and because the cubs are both female, they are among the most valuable big-cat cubs in the world.”

According to the zoo, Changbai became uninterested in nursing her kittens after the first one died. Zoo staff took the remaining three into their care, but another one died later that night.

The two surviving cubs, Reka and Zeya, are cared for in the Zoo hospital in a 90-degree ambient temperature enclosure to sustain the cubs’ warmth.

Dancho said, “Reka and Zeya almost never made it, and almost certainly would have died if they had been born in the wild. They were both underweight — just 2.2 pounds — and they were rejected by their mother.”

Now, at almost 3 months old, the cubs are spending most of the time in a playpen inside the zoo’s hospital building, cavorting with one another and exploring cardboard boxes and plastic chew toys. The sisters keep each other company, but, according to the zool if only one cub had survived, a dog would have had to be brought in as a surrogate sibling.

The zoo has set up a tiger cam so everyone can enjoy the girls’ antics from in their nursery every day, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The cubs take a lunch break from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., but you can still watch earlier footage of them during that time!

Difficult Beginning

When the cubs were born, they were underweight as Dancho said. When they are mature, they will weigh about 350 pounds.

The Amur tiger is not doing very well in the wild (just 500). in addition to the wild tigers, there are several hundred in zoos worldwide, including about 130 in North America, according to zoo officials. Only seven surviving cubs were born in the USA in 2017.

It’s important to note that the tigers are not owned by the Beardsley Zoo, but by a zoo collective. The goal is that after they mature, they’ll be able to give birth to several litters of their own.

Dancho said he hopes people will contribute to the zoo to help finance the construction of an expanded tiger exhibit. The project has been on his bucket list for some time.

“The one that we have isn’t bad, but it was opened about 40 years ago and it’s showing its age,” he said.

If you would like to help the zoo with the tiger exhibit, click this LINK.