Spring is quietly approaching. Flowers are starting to break through the ground, some are even blooming already, and grassy areas are greening with new blades. Those are regular signs, accepted and expected, with spring. For zoos, another sure sign of spring is when plans to move animals start to take shape. When the temperatures climb out of the refrigerator zone and enter a more temperate one, it's safer to move animals outside from winter holding or to other zoos. With extensive planning some moves between facilities can happen during "the off season," roughly November to March due to the cold or June and July due to the heat. However, most will happen during the milder weather of April, May, August, September and October, all of course, weather permitting.
Many red kangaroos born at Lee Richardson Zoo can be seen at other AZA accredited facilities across the country. In a few months, two more zoos will be added to that extended family. As many LRZ regulars know, our two male lion cubs soon will be going to Dallas Zoo and joining other lions there as part of a new exhibit.
We are not just sending animals out this spring, but also will be bringing some in. Another gaur soon will be housed in our Wild Asia area. More flamingos will be dipping their beaks in our pond after arriving in Garden City and clearing quarantine, as all new animals to the zoo must. It is standard procedure for all new animals to go through a period of quarantine to ensure they do not bring any diseases or parasites into our current collection.
Quarantine periods also are being scheduled for other animals coming to Lee Richardson Zoo this season. Staff will be making arrangements for two guira cuckoos, two maned wolves and a siamang to come to Garden City. The cuckoos will eventually join other cuckoos in our large walk-through aviary. Soon to be occupying the center yard in the South American Pampas region of the zoo will be two young male maned wolves. A male siamang will join our adult female currently in Wild Asia while the younger one goes to another zoo to be paired with a male at that facility. There are actually three zoos involved in our little siamang triangle with three individual moves making three new pairs at three institutions. This is all in line with the recommendations of the AZA siamang SSP (Species Survival Plan). A SSP is a cooperative committee that coordinates breeding and moves for a particular species in order to achieve a genetically and demographically healthy population. The maned wolf move is also in accordance with recommendations from the SSP for that species.
Moves between zoos are not all that are in the works. The Marie Osterbuhr Aviary will be even livelier than it is now once the more tropical birds return from our off-exhibit holding or as we call it, "winter bird holding." Exotic birds also will be returning to the aviary in Wild Asia. "Sniffy," the mischievous giant anteater, also will be back in public view once the temperatures are friendlier.
Spring is also the time of year generally associated with baby animals. Lee Richardson Zoo pronghorns generally are presenting us with offspring in May. Although we still will keep a watchful eye, the birth of fawns this year is questionable due to the young age of the new breeding male. Other babies we will be watching for are: alpaca, Bactrian camel, Pygmy Slow loris and Bali mynah. Whether you stroll through looking for new arrivals or just enjoying the emergence of spring, Lee Richardson Zoo is a perfect place to stretch your legs and enjoy the outdoors after being inside during the inclement weather of the last few months.
Visit our award-winning Web site at www.garden-city.org/zoo.