Brevard Zoo Membership Newsletter Fall 2019 - Page 14

NEW AT THE ZOO New Arrivals Our first wrinkled hornbill chick in seven years hatched to parents Morticia and Gomez on April 12. They do not have a name as we have not yet identified their sex. Wrinkled hornbills are critically endangered due to habitat loss in their native range of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. He is the third stingray born at the Zoo, following last year’s pups Dallas and Clementine. Jasper is currently living in a nursery space in the aquarium, and keepers note that he is very active until it’s time for a nap—then he becomes an expert at hide and seek! Training the Next Generation Every semester, roughly a dozen college students and recent graduates join our team for a three-month, curriculum-based internship program. You’ll find these hard workers aiding staff in our animal programs department, Restore Our Shores and the Sea Turtle Healing Center. At a luncheon in early August, our 14 summer interns presented an overview of their projects. Highlights included blue-tongued skink training and a red kangaroo enrichment ball! The Zoo made headlines nationwide after female klipspringer calf Clarice was born to parents Deb and Ajabu on April 15. This tiny antelope is thriving in the home she shares with her parents, marabou storks, west African crowned cranes and southern ground hornbill JD. Southern stingray pup Jasper was born on June 10 in the Paws On aquarium. On June 19, we welcomed two balls of cuteness—rock hyrax pups Turnip and Radish! The pair was born to mom Buffy and dad Fangs, who gave us Gnocchi and Hashbrown last year. Turnip and Radish have been checked out by our veterinary team and appear to be in excellent health. They are living behind the scenes, and we hope that they will serve as animal ambassadors in the near future. Sharing Our Knowledge One thing that sets our facility apart from many others is the degree to which volunteers participate in animal husbandry. At the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ annual conference in New Orleans this September, director of volunteer programs Kathleen Nichols and sea turtle program manager Shanon Gann gave a presentation about the roles volunteers play in this aspect of our mission and how staff facilitate it. The lecture was strongly received, leaving volunteer managers from other zoos and aquariums motivated and inspired. Keeping an Eye on Kibibi In July, 20-year-old white rhino Kibibi appeared lethargic and uninterested in food. She was defecating far less than usual, and liquid soon began pouring out of her nostrils. Our veterinarian, Dr. Trevor Zachariah; local equine veterinarian Dr. Bradley Newman; and our animal care staff were on hand to bring her back to health. A specialized camera called an endoscope revealed a mass of food trapped in her esophagus, and Kibibi began recovering once it was 14 removed. We are happy to report that she is back with the rest of the crash in Expedition Africa! Brevard Zoo News | Fall 2019 | Growing the Next Generation of Conservationists Aquatic grasses are truly amazing. In addition to serving as a food source for manatees and sea turtles, these plants form “communities” that can support tens of thousands of fish and millions of invertebrates per acre. Unfortunately, the environmental issues facing our region have led to extensive loss of aquatic grasses in the Indian River Lagoon. This summer, our Restore Our Shores team was awarded a grant from the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program to pilot an exciting aquatic grass restoration initiative. Similar to our popular Adopt-A- Mangrove program, Grasses in Classes engages students in growing aquatic grasses at school until they’re big and strong enough to be planted in a protected area of the lagoon. The students will return to the restoration sites periodically to monitor the success of their plantings. Grasses in Classes is a partnership with Dr. Robert Virnstein (a biologist with more than four decades of seagrass restoration experience) and Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program.