While the weather is unreliable, spring is nonetheless on its way. Trees are budding, flowers are blooming and wildlife is becoming more active. As the weather warms up, Lee Richardson Zoo experiences many changes as well. A visit to our beautiful "Oasis on the Plains" is a great opportunity to see the best of what spring has to offer.

Earlier this year we were lucky enough to have an addax and three baby otters born at Lee Richardson Zoo. While the addax baby was born on exhibit and is visible as long as the weather is pleasant, the otters have remained more elusive. Ariel, our otter mother, is a first-time parent and she has proven to be the "hovering" type. Otter babies normally remain in their den for several weeks after birth as they become more independent, open their eyes and build a buoyant layer of fat. At around 2 months old, their mother will usually take them out for their first swim. Those first two months have come and gone, leaving staff and public alike excitedly watching for the babies' first foray outside. While the babies are growing and developing well, Mom is not yet confident her babies are ready to face the big, wide world. It is only a matter of time, however, before Ariel decides her squirmy young ones need to get outside to burn off some energy.

Other new arrivals to the zoo include three bar headed geese which will join the other birds in the aviary once the weather warms up, several Madagascar hissing cockroaches which are used in educational programs and a snow leopard who transferred here from the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque, N.M. Both the geese and the cockroaches will not be visible to the public for at least a month as they are being kept separate from the other animals for quarantine. Kalmali, the snow leopard, is being quarantined on exhibit, however, so you may be able to see him getting comfortable in his new digs over the next several days.

These animals are just the first of our spring arrivals. Visit the zoo often this spring and summer to see what other changes you may notice. From the plants and animals to exhibits, change is definitely in the air at Lee Richardson Zoo. Visit our website at www.leerichardsonzoo.org for sneak previews of what's happening at the zoo.