Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s conservation team recently returned from Panama. The trip highlighted CMZoo’s commitment to support ongoing research, education and breeding efforts for amphibians facing threats in the wild.

As part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation (PARC) project, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is actively involved in saving 12 top-priority species of Panamanian amphibians threatened by an infectious fungus called chytrid.

Thanks to the breed and release work done with Wyoming toads, CMZoo and its partners have played an important role in helping support PARC. While the CMZoo conservation team was in Panama, they shared valuable knowledge and provided a case study to help further release strategies and future planning. With the sharing of information and financial support, we are excited to help develop future release plans for PARC.

Amphibians worldwide are facing a mass extinction, and by visiting CMZoo, you’re supporting teams focused on finding solutions. This trip was funded by our Quarters for Conservation program. Every time you visit the Zoo, you are making a difference for Panama frogs and many other species around the world.

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Our new shipping container farm recently produced its first crop!

The container is equipped with the latest hydroponic vertical growing technology, including blue and red LED grow lights with specialized wavelengths for leafy green production. In this first harvest, the CMZoo horticulture team looked for uniform shape and size in each plant, signs of disease or deficiency, any dead or damaged leaves, and ways to best transplant the next crop.

Through surveying the weight, time, and resources of this first crop, the horticulture team was happy with the success of the beautiful harvest and is already fine-tuning the farm in preparation for the next harvest.

This harvest is the first of many tests of the fully automated computer system that tells the CMZoo horticulture team the recipe of light, water, nutrient and spacing needs for the specific plant species. After a period of testing, the goal is to add more shipping container farms sourcing 50 percent of the lettuce for the giraffe feeding experience. An even longer-term goal is to grow 80 percent of lettuce for Zoo animals in farms like this one.

The next time you visit CMZoo and feed our giraffe herd, you might be feeding them lettuce straight out of our own farm!

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Five Rocky Mountain goats call CMZoo home. Twinkie (17), Yazhi (12), Albert (8), Lena (3) and Blanca (9 months) make up the herd seen high up in their customized habitat made up of cascading rock formations. This steep habitat mimics the terrain Rocky Mountain goats experience in the wild.

Their unique hooves have two toes with a soft center that acts as a kind of climbing shoe. Keepers help our goats get the best grip on the rocks through important voluntary hoof care training.

Our goats also participate in target training and scale training. When keepers ask the goats to touch or move to a target, they are rewarded with their favorite treats. This training allows keepers to weigh them on a scale, administer vaccines or other medications, and check their hoofs for overgrowth or foreign objects.

Next time you visit CMZoo, stop by the Rocky Mountain goat exhibit and watch members of the herd scale rocks with their nimble hooves!

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A magical experience is waiting for you at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo this winter!

With gorgeous views of Colorado Springs, CMZoo is the perfect place to be outside in nature, breathe fresh mountain air, grab a warm beverage from the Cozy Goat, get tickets at a discounted rate and visit your favorite animal friends.

Almost all of our animals can be seen all year long and the Zoo is open every single day! Animals such as our wolves, moose, Rocky Mountain goats, mountain lions, tiger, leopards, bears and otters thrive in the cooler weather. Animals native to warmer climates, like hippos, penguins, lemurs, primates, giraffe and wallabies, are given the option to go outside if it is a safe temperature. But guests can still see them in their warm indoor spaces, when they choose to stay inside.

Get more of the Zoo to yourself during our slower season, which is also our Value Days admission pricing season! Did you know you can get lower-cost daytime admission tickets through the end of February? Depending on the time of day, adult tickets range from $14.75 to $24.75 and child tickets (ages 3 to 11) range from $10.75 to $20.75. Children age 2 and under are just 75¢. Advance tickets are required. Find tickets and more information at cmzoo.org.

Take some time for you and your loved ones by enjoying a breathtaking adventure with us this winter.

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It’s easy to see how much Omo has grown since his first few months with us, but our 18-month-old hippo is doing a lot more than just gaining pounds. He’s hitting training milestones, getting more independent and growing some impressive tusks and teeth.

Just like when he was born, Omo is still playful, curious and energetic. Within the last few months, Omo has become even more independent and explores – and even naps – on his own away from his mom, Zambezi.

Omo is learning foundational voluntary husbandry behaviors: target and open-mouth training. During target training, keepers ask Omo to move to a specific area, which allows them to visually check him and present him with new enrichment activities, among other things. They might ask him to step onto the scale, for example. (He now weighs over 765 pounds!) Open-mouth training is a first step toward allowing keepers and veterinary staff to check and clean his teeth and tusks, which are now easily visible when he opens his mouth!

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Wednesday is our spunky and curious giraffe calf who is learning new things quickly and already starting training!

When Wednesday was six weeks old, Wednesday’s mom, Bailey, had a few off days where she didn’t want to nurse very much. After observing this, keepers stepped in and fed Wednesday milk and grain from a bowl. Bailey seems back to normal and is nursing Wednesday again. Because the keepers needed to step in early, they have been able to start training Wednesday to walk on a scale. Wednesday’s most current weight is 266 pounds.

As she continues to grow and train, Wednesday will learn how to shift spaces and how to touch her nose to a target, and eventually participate in our hoof care program. These important foundational behaviors will help keepers check up on Wednesday’s health and move around the giraffe spaces.

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Atka, our Alaska moose, isn’t fazed by single-digit temps. Moose have adaptations that help them survive the winter, including a thick winter coat and a long nose that warms air before it hits their lungs.

Moose are active throughout the winter months, spending time foraging and roaming in their native habitats, including some parts of Colorado. As you make plans to enjoy outdoor winter activities, it’s important to keep moose in mind. Give them space, learn where they’re most frequently spotted and help keep wildlife wild with these tips.

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It’s been a couple of months since the last update with Omo. Our 16-month-old hippo still shares space with his mom, Zambezi, but he’s quickly gaining independence. As Omo grows up, keepers will be focusing on a lot of voluntary health training. The first step is getting him comfortable with approaching his keepers through target training. Check out this video to find out how Omo is growing up and choosing to participate in target training.

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How Do the Grizzly Bears at CMZoo Spend the Winter? As our 17-year-old grizzly bears, Emmett and Digger, prepare for the winter, they will start living at a much slower pace.

We often associate bears with hibernation, but science has shown that many animals, like raccoons, skunks, and bears, survive the winter using torpor instead, which is a much lighter form of hibernation. True hibernators include animals like chipmunks, ground squirrels and woodchucks. Animals in true hibernation remain in a low-energy state through the entire winter, and waking up takes a lot of time and energy for these animals.

Instead of this deep hibernation, grizzly bears enter into torpor, where they fall into a deeper-than-normal sleep during their inactive moments of the day, which conserves energy. When in the torpor state, they will also experience decreased breathing, heart rates, lower metabolic rates and a slightly reduced temperature. Bears are still intermittently active during the winter months but are able to sleep more than 100 days at a time without passing waste, eating, or drinking.

But do all bears go into torpor?

While there is still lots of ongoing research being done on bears, biologists have found that torpor behaviors tend to depend on location, climate, food supply in the wild and the individual bear. Certain bears in warmer climates will only spend two or three weeks in torpor. If bears have a lack of food supply, they will come out more often to find food.

When Emmett and Digger’s wild grizzly bear cousins up in Montana head into winter, they “den up,” or build a den with natural materials that they sleep in most of the winter. Emmett and Digger have access to their outdoor day beds year-round but also like to create their own dens throughout their yard in the winter.

They even cuddle with each other!

Emmett and Digger move a little slower in the winter, but are still active and captivating. They will casually splash in their pond, play-wrestle, and slowly explore their habitat. Keepers reward the grizzly bears with special treats like salmon, other meats and fruits for participating in husbandry training and shifting.

Emmett and Digger can often be seen snuggling together, investigating enrichment items, and training with keepers throughout the whole winter season. Visit them in Rocky Mountain Wild.

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Pumpkin SMASH! It’s that time of year again! Not only are pumpkins a tasty treat, they also serve as exciting enrichment for a number of animals at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. As you can see, each animal has a different approach to ripping into a pumpkin. The hippos like to crunch the pumpkins with their powerful jaws while the skunks like to ‘go all in’ and tear pieces apart with their tiny claws and teeth. The elephants use their strong trunks to squeeze the pumpkin open before delicately directing the gourd to their mouth. The behavior of our mountain lions is probably similar to your cat at home! They bat at the pumpkins and use their sharp claws and rough tongues to retrieve the meat their keepers hid inside.

Enrichment opportunities like this are important for the bodies and brains of our animals, because it’s good for our animals to problem solve. Enrichment is good for both animals and humans! As the holidays approach, it can be hard for us humans to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and lower stress. Our partners, Children’s Hospital Colorado, have provided some great tips for eating well, navigating holiday travel and having happy, healthy holidays this year: https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/parenting/parenting-articles/happy-healthy-holidays/.

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