Consider an adventurous gift for the Zoo!
Meet Laurel, Matilda and Sage, three Canada lynx kittens born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. At six months old, they are becoming more adventurous every day, but are never too far from their mama’s watchful eyes. Lynx have been successfully breeding in the Colorado wild for more than a decade now, but it took a concerted effort on the part of conservationists. After a 25-year absence from our state, lynx became one of North America’s highest profile carnivore reintroductions. It is estimated that 200-300 now exist in Colorado’s mountain regions.
Successful reintroduction into the wild is also the goal for black-footed ferrets and Wyoming toads, which are two animals that benefit from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s conservation efforts. This year, we took adventurous steps with these species.
Black-footed ferrets are on the ground again in Colorado after 20 years! Two wild release sites were opened last year, one of which is the Walker Ranch west of Colorado Springs. It is the only private site in the state, and 50 ferrets were released there last fall. Zoo staff recently volunteered as part of a team of all-night “spotlighters,” who looked for ferrets that successfully overwintered and perhaps bred since being released last year. Using bright spotlights to reflect the emerald green eye shine of these nocturnal hunters, the team experienced a few adventurous nights that ultimately resulted in seven encouraging sightings. Fifty more ferrets have since been released on the ranch.
Rare Wyoming toads have been bred for reintroduction at our Zoo since 2004. Declared extinct in the wild, previous efforts to release tadpoles by several zoos have not been as successful as hoped. So, last year our staff designed a new program in hopes of increasing survival rates. This new method of head-starting involves careful raising of tadpoles for one year before releasing them as much larger and, hopefully, more resilient toads. Due to our past success in breeding and raising these toads, we were given approval by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to proceed. This summer, the first rounds of head-started toads were released near Laramie, WY on their adventurous quest to reclaim their habitat. We have our fingers crossed that these groups will continue to adapt and thrive.
As you know, our conservation efforts are also focused on habitat preservation for wildlife. We have become a leader in the sustainable palm oil movement. To help people distinguish which companies are making the most progressive efforts toward the use of sustainable palm oil, we recently upgraded our shopping app with a new rating system. We encourage you to be adventurous and learn more at http://www.cmzoo.org/palmoil, where you can download the app and start making a difference for wild orangutans and other animals.
If you haven’t stopped by The Loft recently while at the Zoo, I highly recommend you do so. Children (and adults) are being adventurous in the newly remodeled and expanded space, which features plenty of interactive opportunities with our outreach animals, including Frida, our new three-banded armadillo. The remodel was completed at the end of May, just in time to accommodate record-breaking crowds over the summer. The Loft’s staff of interpretive keepers engage guests with memorable, up-close animal experiences that help impart our mission of conservation.
Upgrades to our Australia exhibit started in September. By next summer, we will have brand new buildings for the budgies and alligators, and a remodeled exhibit for wallabies that will allow you to see them year round. Plus, an exciting new Australian animal is coming that we can’t wait to tell you about — it’s a secret for now, so stay tuned!
Our commitment to providing the best animal care and guest experiences possible at our Zoo means constantly assessing our infrastructure and making necessary improvements. We have been able to do this because of people like you who support us through attendance, membership, donations and good words in the community. Not only did we experience the highest number of guest visits in our history this past year (648,374), we were ranked the #5 top zoo in the nation and 13th in the world by TripAdvisor.
It has been an adventurous year for us, but there is so much more to be done. Conservation of wildlife is a forever commitment, and your continued support is needed and appreciated. As you make decisions about your giving, please consider an adventurous gift for the Zoo this year. Your dollars go directly to support the Zoo’s mission of education, conservation and animal care.
President & CEO