Baby Giant Anteater Born At The Beardsley Zoo

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Jul 142021

For the third time in Zoo history, a Giant anteater has been born at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.

Arriving on June 15 after a 175-day gestation period, the baby weighed 4.3 pounds at nine days old, and 6.1 pounds at 23 days old on July 8.

Proud parents are third time dad, E.O., and fourth time mom, Pana. The pair was brought to Connecticut’s only Zoo with the hopes of successful breeding, which occurred for the first time in 2016. Currently mother and baby are in seclusion most of the day, with brief forays into the outdoor habitat for fresh air and sunshine.

“We couldn’t be happier that our Giant anteaters Pana and E.O. are parents for the third time,” explained Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “We encourage everyone to follow the baby’s growth and progress on our Facebook and Instagram pages until the baby is a bit larger.”

Mochilla, the pair’s first offspring, is now in residence at Alexandria Zoo in Louisiana. The second-born, Tupi, is now at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee. 

(Photo by Greg Westman)

Female anteaters give birth to one offspring and the baby rides on mom’s back for the first several months of life, occasionally venturing off not too far from mom to explore its surroundings. For the first week, mom spends most of her time sleeping while bonding occurs and the baby gains strength and weight.

When Pana and her baby are outside, EO will not be allowed to be in the same habitat due to the mother’s protectiveness. Pana and the baby will be outside for guests to view later this summer, alternating with EO.

Weighing the baby for the first time. (Photo by Linda Tomas)

The Giant anteater parents came to the Zoo from Palm Beach Zoo in Palm Beach, Florida. Both Pana and EO are twelve years old. They arrived in late May 2015 and are a highlight of the Pampas Plains habitat, which opened in August 2015. Featuring animals from the Pampas region of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, the exhibit represents the Zoo’s South American Adventure. 

About Giant Anteaters

Giant anteaters can live up to 26 years in human care and are usually solitary animals. They weigh up to 100 pounds, and are five to seven feet long. Their home range is from southern Belize to northern Argentina and they live in grasslands, humid forests, and woodland areas.

Anteaters have one of the lowest body temperatures in the animal kingdom at 91 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit and can eat up to 30,000 ants per meal in the wild. The Latin name for anteater is Vermillingua, meaning “worm tongue,” which can be as long as two feet. 

Beardsley Zoo Baby Anteater on Mother’s Back — File photo from September 2016.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Designated As Part Of The Pollinator Pathway

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Apr 222021

In an important collaboration with The Pollinator Pathway program, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has joined the chain of properties with gardens that support butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. With multiple gardens throughout the Zoo grounds emphasizing the important connection between animals, people and plants, the Zoo was
already recognized as a Monarch Waystation and as a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.

“The Pollinator Pathway designation is one more way to signal the Zoo’s role as a community leader in supporting wildlife and wild places,” said Horticultural and Greenhouse Manager Jonathan Dancho.

“Our emphasis is on planting food sources for pollinators, using plants native to Connecticut, and not relying on chemicals to maintain the beauty of the Zoo grounds.”

One important plant that the Zoo has included in its gardens is milkweed (Asclepias), both a food source and a host plant for Monarch eggs laid on the underside of the leaves.

Although the Zoo is lushly planted with pollinator-friendly species throughout the grounds, special gardens in addition to the Butterfly Gardens include the Sensory Garden, where volunteers maintain plants with fragrance and interesting textures, the Browse Garden, where foodstuff and plants used for enrichment are raised for the animals, the Rose Arbors, and the rare and beautiful plants found in the Victorian Greenhouse.

There also are rain gardens that collect water runoff in porous earth, preventing it from reaching nearby waterways, and ponds placed to provide habitat for amphibians.
“We want to educate guests so they know that what they do in their own gardens at home is making a positive impact for beneficial insects and birds,” said Dancho. He recommends that at least two-thirds of the garden should be native plants, using either trees, shrubs, or flowering plants as a food source. Just as important is to provide clean water, and foregoing pesticides.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo joins dozens of towns and properties throughout the state listed as Connecticut Pathways. More information can be found at pollinator-pathway.org

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Pollinator Gardens

The Zoo has seven butterfly/pollinator gardens and several other planting areas that use native plants to attract butterflies. Native plantings also are used in and around animal habitats to provide colorful flowers for guests and nectar sources for pollinators.

Plants that help pollinators in more than one way are extremely helpful, such as Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed). Butterfly Weed is a native plant used throughout the life cycle of monarchs, from chrysalis through adulthood. It is also a nectar source for a wide range of other butterflies and beneficial pollinators.

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 99th year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species.

Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers, Amur leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves.

Other highlights include our new Spider Monkey Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plains with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries.

Guests can grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization approaching its 100th year at a
time when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and eco-systems is more important than ever.

Covid-19 safety rules remain in effect. Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website
at beardsleyzoo.org. Face masks are required for everyone over the age of two, with the exception of those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them. Social distancing is mandated throughout the Zoo.

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: Rochan and Meri’s Habitat Opening Saturday Morning

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Oct 122018

For months frequent visitors of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave, Bridgeport, have anxiously been awaiting the opening of the new Natt Family Red Panda Habitat.
Rochan, the male red panda came to the zoo as a temporary visitor a couple of years ago, but his popularity led to his permanent residence and the addition of a female companion, Meri.
A brand new larger habitat with better viewing options for visitors has been constructed on the opposite side of the zoo (they are currently in front of the rainforest building) and will be moving to the isolated curved area where the pronghorn used to be (around the corner from the leopards).
The zoo announced today that the grand opening will be on Saturday, Oct. 13, with a ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m.
Come help celebrate Rochan and Meri’s new home, with paid Zoo admission.