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Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Mourns the Loss of Red Panda

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Jul 312020
 

Meri, the Red Panda (Jack Bradley)

The family at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of Meri, a seven-year-old female Red panda, on Monday, July 27. The Zoo’s animal care team found that she had passed away in her sleep during the night, with no obvious signs of distress. A post-mortem necropsy showed that the cause was a cardiac condition.

The Zoo sent out this notice today: Born on June 27, 2013, at the Detroit Zoo, Meri came to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo on January 11, 2018, from the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington, Delaware. She was named for Meriadoc Brandybuck, a character in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings. She was a beloved member of the Zoo family.

“Meri will be deeply missed by all of us here at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “She had a unique personality and related well both to her companion, Rochan and to her animal care staff. It has been our privilege to have known her for the past two years.

The Zoo remains home to Rochan, a six-year-old male Red panda who has been part of the Zoo family since October 2015. The Natt Family Red Panda Habitat opened in October 2018, a gift from Bob and Helen Natt of Easton, also funded by monies raised by supporters and from the Werth Family Foundation.

The Red panda habitat offers indoor and outdoor viewing access for the Red pandas with air-conditioned indoor living quarters and a yard landscaped with bamboo and plenty of treetop spots for sunbathing.

Rochan and Meri were part of the Species Survival Program (SSP), a breeding and management program designed to preserve the long-term sustainability of captive-based animal populations. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will work with the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan to identify another female Red panda as a new companion for Rochan.

Beardsley Zoo Opens On Monday – Here’s What You Have To Do

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May 282020
 

With the Coronavirus, our lives have changed in many ways. We can’t just go to the supermarket and zoom down an aisle for something then backtrack if we forgot an item (one-way traffic).

Well, going to the zoo is no different. You can’t just show up on a whim due to stricter protocols.

The Beardsley Zoo is opening up again for the first time since March 17 on Monday, June 1, and things have changed. Not only do they have several new animals, including a female companion for Peanut the wolf.

Watch this VIDEO so you will know what to expect before going and once you get there.

Beardsley Zoo Re-Opening Plans Announced

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May 192020
 

Some Good News From Zoo Director Gregg Dancho:
As we move to re-open, I want to share with you our plan. The Zoo will open on Monday, June 1.  We are implementing a new online ticketing system to welcome everyone back safely and efficiently. The Zoo will be splitting the day into two sessions allowing for up to 500 guests per session. We will open the Zoo at 9 a.m. and will close at noon for cleaning. We will then re-open at 1 p.m. and close at 4 p.m.
We will be requiring all guests to wear a mask. And the more creative the better!
We have created a one-way loop around the Zoo so guests can explore while social distancing. All buildings will be closed to the public; however, guests will be able to pre-order food online from the café and pick it up from our take-out window. Also, the gift shop will be open for online purchases which will be made available for pick up at gift shop kiosk.
Ticket prices will be reduced from $16 to $15 for an adult and from $13 to $10 for a child and a senior and as always children under 3 are free. We will not be able to accept coupons or allow for any partner discount at this time. We also will not be able to rent wheelchairs or strollers.

A zoo volunteer interacts with the goats.

As we welcome you back under these new circumstances, we appreciate your patience as we look to be able to provide you the best Zoo experience in the safest manner possible.

We ask that you also please continue to check our website www.beardsleyzoo.org and our Facebook page for the most up-to-date information. We greatly appreciate all your support. We are thrilled have the sights and the sounds of guests back at your Zoo.
And I promise to continue to send you updates.
I

Beardsley Bart

would like to know what you are thinking. If you have a question, comment or concern please feel free to email me at info@beardsleyzoo.org. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Even though we have been continuing to work behind the scenes and even as we continue to provide enrichment every day for our animal residents, nothing is the same without you.
Your Zoo family, both two and four-legged, can’t wait to see you!
Gregg

Beardsley Zoo Welcomes Kawoni the Red Wolf

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May 082020
 

Kawoni. (Photo by Jack Bradley)

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is pleased to announce the newest addition to the Zoo family, an eight-year-old female Red wolf named Kawoni. Arriving at the Zoo in February 2020 before the Zoo’s temporary closing due to the pandemic, Kawoni spent her first weeks in quarantine, required for all new arrivals. Once she was verified to be in excellent physical condition by the Zoo’s on-site veterinarian, Kawoni joined the Zoo’s existing male Red wolf, Peanut, in the Red wolf habitat.

In the Cherokee language, Kawoni means “Flower Moon.” May’s full moon appears this week, and according to ancient traditions, it is known as the Flower Moon for the abundance of flowers this month.

Kawoni was born at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in May 2012 in Tacoma, Wash. She arrived from the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Ill. When the Zoo reopens, guests will be able to view Kawoni and Peanut between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from their habitat beside the W.O.L.F. Cabin.

A Message From Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho

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May 022020
 

Dear Friends,
After 40 years in the Zoo business, I thought I might have seen it all. Never would I have anticipated closing our doors, as spring began, without knowing when we could welcome you back. Never could I have anticipated my staff wearing masks throughout their workday to protect each other and the animals under our care. And never did I ever think I would get so many questions about a Netflix series.
Every day of this quarantine has given me the opportunity to reflect on my career here at the Zoo. What I found was my joy always came from the same place – my interactions with you!
Over the past 7 weeks, I have received calls from people I hadn’t heard from in years offering words of encouragement. The Zoo has received an abundance of cards and well wishes from our friends’ ages 2 to 92. We have received donations of hundreds of dollars and donations pooled from children’s allowances. And we have received donations from every corner of the world. The outpouring of support has made an impact on the entire staff as they continue to come to work each day to care for our animal residents.
I am overwhelmed by how the Zoo has played such a significant role in so many of your lives and how so many of you have asked what you can do to support your Zoo.
With that being said, I want to share with you some incredible news.
The Zoo just received a $100,000 challenge match from Pam Kochiss-Werth. Pam’s generous donation means that every dollar donated to our Emergency Operating Fund will be matched! Being able to raise $200,000 will have a significant impact on our recovery efforts.
As we continue to make hard decisions in order to protect the future of your Zoo, every dollar donated makes a difference. Our operating funds shortfall began on March 17 and continues today. Even once we reopen, many sources of income will remain unavailable to us as we continue social distancing.
As Governor Lamont begins to re-open Connecticut’s economy, it looks like the Zoo will soon be able to welcome you back. Our number one priority is keeping you, our staff, and our animals safe as we move forward. We appreciate your support and patience as we work together to figure out the coming months. Please look at our website for all the up-to-date information.
Please, share this incredible donor match opportunity with your friends and family.
We can’t do this without you!
All my best and please stay safe,
Gregg
Click HERE to make a donation.

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.”

Fantastic! — Amur Leopard Cubs Now On Display At the Beardsley Zoo

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Jun 182019
 

The Beardsley Zoo welcomed two rare Amur Leopard cubs in January. The male looks like his parents (brown with spots) But his sister looks more like a panther. she also doesn’t have that magnificent tail — it had to be amputated after her mom cleaned her soon after birth.
As far as her coloring, well, here’s a press release from the zoo that thoroughly explains that:
One of the two Amur leopard cubs  (Panthera pardus orientalis) at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has a condition known as melanism. The male cub has the usual spotted coat, while the female cub is melanistic, a condition where the body produces an excess of black pigment, the opposite of albinism.
At first, a melanistic cat might look solid black, but even melanistic leopards are spotted. If you get a close look, you may be able to discern a pattern of black rosettes on a black background. Researchers have found that frequencies of melanism in leopards vary significantly across habitat types—highest in tropical moist forests and near zero in open habitats.
A melanistic cat living in deep jungle amid thick vegetation—where there are significant areas of dark shade—can blend into the background. But in the Amur leopard’s open-forest habitat, areas of dark shade are harder to come by, making a melanistic leopard much easier to spot.

For a leopard, survival depends on spotting prey before being spotted, so blending into the background is important. For that reason, while the Zoo’s female cub may one day be recommended for breeding, any of her descendants would not be included in reintroduction plans. For reintroduction, the intent is to produce genetic lines that will maximize survival in the wild. A melanistic cat, while normal in all other aspects, is at a disadvantage in the wild, because they would be more noticeable than typically spotted leopards.

While 11 percent of leopards alive today are thought to be melanistic, most are found in Southeast Asia, where tropical forests offer an abundance of shade. Melanism provides additional camouflage in those habitats, giving the predators an advantage when hunting. An extremely rare melanistic leopard was recently sighted in Africa for the first time in a century. There is currently one other melanistic Amur leopard in this country at the San Diego Zoo.

NOTE: The babies are now on display in their mother’s usual habitat with a viewing window. On Monday they didn’t come out until around 1 p.m. but that could change.
Before your children go off to summer camp, make sure you bring them to the zoo to see these magnificent cats.

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!

Mark Your Calendars, AARP Fourth Fridays FREE

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Aug 212018
 

AARP CT’s Fourth Fridays Free at the Beardsley Zoo is back!

AARP will provide members with free admission on the fourth Friday from May through September (Aug. 24, Sept. 28 remain) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Come to the zoo as many times as you like, (on these dates) but please, be sure to register (HERE) individually for each visit so the AARP knows to expect you.

Arrive at the zoo by 3 p.m. (closing time is 4 p.m.) and see the AARP CT representatives outside of the front gate for check-in and your admission certificate.

AARP members may purchase admission for up to three additional guests at a 15% discount off regular admission prices through its ongoing AARP Member Offer. You’ll even get a coupon for the gift shop!

How’s This For A Summer Camp Experience?

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Jun 072018
 

If you’re looking for a summer camp experience for your child this year, have you considered the “Zoo Patrol”?

The Beardsley Zoo offers the Zoo Patrol, a week full of Zoo Keeper talks, behind the scenes tours, hands-on learning, games, crafts and so much more.

Zoo Patrol is open to children ages 6-8, 9-11 and 12-14 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It takes place in the Research Station and throughout the zoo grounds

This is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about all kinds of animals, and the zoo’s conservation efforts. Every day includes snack time with an air-conditioned break. Special Friday activities include a carousel ride and a trip to the gift shop.

Cost is $165 per week for members, $180 for non-members.

Click HERE for session dates and to register. Hurry, though, spaces are filling up quickly. Don’t miss out, register NOW.