What's New at the Zoo
August has arrived! August the Arctic fox that is! Now on exhibit is a two year old male Arctic fox! August comes to us from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA and is on exhibit in our middle zoo area near the eagles.
Arctic foxes are native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and they're common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. They prey on any small animals they can find, including lemmings, voles, ringed seal pups, fish, and bird eggs. They will also eat carrion berries and seaweed.
The Arctic fox lives in some of the most frigid extremes on the planet. Among its adaptations for cold survival is its deep, thick fur. The fur is brown in the summer and white during the winter. Arctic foxes average in size at about 85.3 cm (33.6 in) in body length, with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat.
Attention Binghamton, a stormy blizzard has arrived at your zoo! Recently the Binghamton Zoo has received a pair of Snowy Owls to the collection. The birds, Blizzard (male), and Storm (female), are on loan to us from the Columbus Zoo.
The birds, which were originally hatched in Hanover and Dierenpark Zoos in Germany, came to the United States last year as part of the AZA Snowy Owl SSP's plan to increase the genetic diversity of the North American captive population, and they will be set up to breed here at the Binghamton Zoo. As imported from Europe, they represent some of the most important genetic stock in North America and we are extremely excited to be able to bring the birds here! Currently, there are approximately 35 Snowy Owls in AZA zoos across the country.
Also known as the Arctic Owl or Great White Owl, Snowy Owls are found throughout northern Canada, Alaska, and Europe where they live on the sparsely planted tundra. In many of these areas, the lack of any sort of elevation and trees has forced the birds to become ground nesters. They usually nest underneath low growing shrubs, but in the area of their favorite prey items, Lemmings and Voles.
The females can lay up to 9 eggs in a clutch, which hatch after an incubation period of 32 days. During the winter season, birds move south to seek additional prey items, and have been sighted on occasion in the Southern Tier area of New York State.
Join the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park in welcoming three new additions to our African penguin exhibit! The trio comes to us from the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, CA. Howard, Dyer, and Adasha join our current penguin colony, bringing its total to seven. Howard hatched in January 2007 at Steinhart Aquarium, while Dyer and Adasha were born in May 2007 at the Tautphaus Zoo.
The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is pleased to announce the arrival of another big cat! Kalinika, an Amur leopard, comes to us from the Philadelphia Zoo. She was born in Winnipeg, and is currently 13 years old. Kalinika will be on exhibit in our Great Cats of Asia building next to our Amur tigers.
Amur leopards are found in the Amur River Valley between Russia and China. They are critically endangered with fewer than 40 individuals in the wild. An adult female Amur leopard typically weighs 55-95 pounds. They stand between 18-30 inches in height at the shoulder. Kalinika is a beautiful cat, and she is sure to be loved by all at the Binghamton Zoo!
Rainforest Building Renovation:
While most people stay indoors during the cold winter months, the Binghamton Zoo has been busy creating new exhibits and welcoming a variety of new animals. The largest of these projects is the Tropical Rainforest building. Over the past several seasons it has been the home to many species of tropical birds. The new concept focuses on South America and is a series of smaller exhibits within the tropical plantings. Upon entering the forest you will see Prehensile-tailed Porcupines, the colorful Green Aracaris, a small species of toucan, as well as Dwarf caiman, a member of the alligator family. Look closely in one of the other exhibits, and you will find a long-time resident of the zoo, Patience the two-toed sloth!
As you follow the pathway you will notice lush orchids and Bromeliads in the trees and along the edge of the stream and ponds you will find aquatic turtles basking in the sun. And as the season goes on, you may even see butterflies gently moving from plant to plant seeking nectar.
Barn Yard Renovation:
For the 2013 season, our goat yard located by the main entrance is being transformed into an interactive barn yard environment! Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to walk through this revamped exhibit, where they will be greeted by a number of new species of farm animals! Our barn will be opened up for the first time to guests, allowing them the opportunity to meet, feed, and pet our new variety of domestic animals as they pass through. As you can see in the photo, the first posts of our updated barn yard have been laid. More information and specific animal species will be announced at a later date.