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Fort Wayne Children's Zoo animals have been on the move

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 12:01 am

Dec. 13, 2012

The zoo's animal population changes constantly.  New animals arrive - they are born here or come from other zoos.  Other animals leave - they may die or depart Fort Wayne for homes at other zoos.

Why do we send animals to other zoos?  In many cases, we're simply mimicking nature, where offspring are "kicked out of the nest."  This avoids conflicts that arise between adults and maturing children as well as potential inbreeding between parents and children.

Endangered animals may be sent away to breed with unrelated individuals, so that the population remains genetically diverse.

Within the last month, a few well-known zoo critters have moved on to live at other accredited zoos. Tuck, a Ruppell's griffon vulture born here in 2011 and her companion, Natelie, who lived here for about a year after hatching at the Detroit Zoo, recently went to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Kesi, a female reticulated giraffe born here in June 2010 and the youngest member of our herd, now lives at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Her departure helped with management of our own herd: Kesi is now removed from any potential breeding situations with her father, Jelani, and she now lives with giraffes that are unrelated to her.

The Species Survival Plan (SSP), which coordinates breeding among endangered animals in zoos, recommended that our female Sumatran tiger, Kemala, be moved to the Toronto Zoo to breed with a male whose bloodlines make him a good match for her.

Though these three moves have come in quick succession, we're not sending all our animals away! New critters will arrive this winter and in the spring - stay tuned for details.

Last-minute holiday gift Ideas

Do your last minute holiday shopping at the zoo.

*The Gift Shop is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. It has a huge selection of plush stuffed animals and unique animal-themed gifts. Members get 10 percent off!

*Zoo memberships: Order online today at www.kidszoo.org!

*Adopt an Animal: Put an adorable red panda (plush, not real!) under the tree and help care for the zoo's animals for an entire year! Adopt online or call 427-6831. Order by Dec. 18 for Christmas delivery.

*Gift Certificates and more: Contact our Guest Services staff for help with Zoo Gift Certificates, Ride Passes, Day Passes, and more. Reach them 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays in person or at 427-6800. They'll also be available 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

Holiday Break Camp

Avoid post-holiday let-down: Send the kids to Holiday Break Camp at the Zoo!

Dec 26: ZooTots - ages 3 + adult

Dec 27: KaZoos - ages 4-5

Dec 26: Cool Cats - ages 6-12

Dec 27: Frozen Science - ages 6-12

Dec 28: Happy Zoo Year - ages 6-12

Register online today at http://kidszoo.org/programs-and-events/zoo-school/ or call 427-6808 for details.

Cheryl Piropato is education and communications director for the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.