Come to the zoo to celebrate Earth Day! Learn about our efforts to sustain biodiversity and see how you and your family can make a difference. Chat with zoo staff at animal demonstrations featuring some of the zoo’s resident endangered species and visit “green” activity stations representing Seafood Watch, Save the Rain, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program, and many more!
I recently had the honor of receiving the Key4Women Community Impact Award from Key4Women, a Key Bank-sponsored organization that helps women succeed in business.
Of course I was thrilled to get the award, but the best part is, Key4Women offered to make a generous donation to a cause of my choice!
Normally this would be a tough decision. I’m a huge supporter of many causes, most of them animal-related – plus it’s my job to raise money and support for the many missions of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.
But in this case, it was easy – I chose the zoo’s Amur Leopard Woodland project!
Friends of the Zoo conceived this project when the zoo joined the Species Survival Plan for Amur leopards last year. Amur leopards are not only magnificently beautiful, they are the world’s most endangered big cats, with only 84 remaining in the wild. The SSP recommended pairing two young leopards, Tria from the Greenville (SC) Zoo and Rafferty from the San Diego Zoo, in hopes they would have cubs.
We welcomed the pair and our keepers worked to gradually introduce them – with great success! The couple accepted each other and on June 19, Tria gave birth to twin cubs, Milo and Mina. If you have not yet seen these adorable babies, you really should visit us soon.
The Friends was already raising funds to create a new home for Tria and Rafferty, and the new additions make this goal even more pressing. It will take about $400,000 to transform our former lion exhibit into a new habitat tailored for Amur leopards, including lots of vertical space, trees and climbing structures to accommodate their climbing prowess.
The sooner we can do this, the better – and there’s a fun way you can help! You can participate in the Syracuse Zoo Family Fun Run, a kid- and stroller-friendly 2.5K (1.5 mile) walk/run through part of Burnet Park and the zoo’s Wildlife Trail on Saturday, September 28. It ends with a party in the zoo courtyard, fun giveaways, free zoo admission and more. And yes, we hope to make it an annual fundraiser.
Of course when my staff asked what our first fun run should benefit, you know what I said! Our 2019 run is the Run for the Cats, and all proceeds will go to the Amur Leopard Woodland project. You can find more information on the fun run and sign up at http://syracusezooevents.org/family-fun-run/ .
Meanwhile, if you can’t make the walk/run but want to donate to this project, please visit http://syracusezooevents.org/amur-leopard-campaign/ or call us at (315) 435-8511 x8526.
President + CEO
Friends of the Zoo
Asian Elephant Extravaganza celebrates Asian culture and the zoo’s magnificent elephant herd. Join us for a day-long celebration that blends wildlife conservation education with the rich culture and heritage of the native countries of Asian elephants.
Activities include keeper talks and demonstrations at the Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve, education stations with elephant biofacts, information about the significance of elephants in Asian culture as well as performances of music, dance and artwork from Thailand, Bali, India and other South Asian countries. This event also features games and an elephant art raffle!
Events take place at the Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve unless otherwise noted
*Listen to zoo announcements for location
Subject to change, weather permitting
10:15 a.m. – Siri the Asian Elephant inaugurates the new Elephant Crossing
10:30 a.m. – Performance by the Buffalo Gamelan Club — Javanese percussion ensemble
10:45 a.m. – Painting enrichment with Siri the elephant artist
11 a.m. – Bharatanatyam Dance Performance (Classical Indian Dance)
11:30 a.m. – Sound Journey with Helena Zera
Yoga practitioner Helena Zera plays a crystal lyre and Tibetan singing bowls to take elephants and people on a half-hour Sound Journey, a meditative experience guided by tones and vibrations.
Noon – Elephant watermelon smash
12:30 p.m. – Gamelan music performance
12:45 p.m. – Elephant tunnel keeper talk – See elephants use their new tunnel!
1 p.m. – Bollywood ZOOmba dancing – come join in the fun!
1:30 p.m. – Gamelan music performance
2 p.m. – Spotlight on elephant foot care and training with Romani
2:30 p.m. – Gamelan music performance
3 p.m. – Raffle drawing winner announced; elephants receive a big ice treat!
In partnership with the Syracuse University South Asia Center.
|This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts.|
Presented by Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in partnership with Greening USA
Learn about our efforts to sustain biodiversity and see how you and your family can make a difference.
Enjoy eco-friendly activities and giveaways as well as information on how you can help Planet Earth.
Chat with zoo staff at animal demonstrations featuring some of the zoo’s resident endangered species
Learn about the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program and earn an endangered species trading card.
Engage in nature play at Explorer’s PlaySpace and receive a magnifier for examining bugs and flowers.
Make your own pollinator seed ball to plant in your yard to attract butterflies!
Attend mini-tours and demos about animals and conservation at the zoo!
10:30 a.m. – Sharing Space with Snakes
11 a.m. – Ocean Pollution Plastics
USS Antiquities Cave
11:30 a.m. – Guided Green Tour*
Meet at the Gazebo
Noon – The Dirt on Decomposers
1:30 p.m. – Mythbusters: Bats!
2 p.m. – Species at Risk Talk: Red Wolf
2:30 p.m. – Camel Talk*
Northwestern Mutual Animal Encounter
3 p.m. – Ask an Educator!
Schedule subject to change
*Outdoor activities are weather-dependent. Announcements 5-10 minutes prior to activity will confirm occurrence.
Family Volunteer Cleanup Day
Sunday, May 18, 2019 | 9 – 11 a.m.
Registration is required; Click here to register or sign up at Party for the Planet.
Bring the family to participate in a volunteer cleanup of the Burnet Park side of the zoo’s perimeter. This event is designed for families of all ages to demonstrate community volunteerism. The first 200 participants who sign up and show up the day of the event will receive a free native plant. If you submit a picture showing that you planted your plant, you will be entered to win a special keeper talk at the zoo. Drinks and snacks will be provided at the end of the cleanup, and the first 100 people who registered will receive wristbands for free admission to the zoo the day of the event.
Please allow me to share with you a love story that has unfolded at your zoo over the past year — the story of Abe and Fatima.
Abe, our male siamang ape, is a longtime zoo resident who turns 40 on February 12. He was in need of a companion after his mate of 10 years passed away.
If we were to write an online dating profile for Abe, it would read something like:
Ruggedly handsome, distinguished male siamang, 39, seeks female counterpart to share Primate Park. Active, extroverted, engaging. Likes babies, rope swings, sun-bathing, painting, eating oranges, singing duets. Dislikes difficult puzzles, wet feet. Prefers outgoing, playful type for friendship, grooming, camaraderie.
In his 32 years in Syracuse, Abe fathered and raised four babies and outlived two mates. He has won thousands of hearts with his spirited personality, great love for babies – human and siamang – and boisterous vocalizations that bring zoo-goers running toward Primate Park to see him put on a show.
But in recent years, Abe found himself single – not a natural condition for siamangs. The largest of the lesser apes, siamangs are social animals that mate for life. If one of a pair dies, the survivor will seek another love interest. That’s why our animal care staff were on a mission to find a match for Abe.
As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), our zoo participates in Species Survival Plans for many endangered species – including siamangs. We asked the siamang SSP to find a female for Abe.
If we imagined his perfect match, her profile might read:
Petite, attractive female siamang seeks mature male companion to share golden years. Laid-back, easygoing, great hair. Enjoys climbing, grooming, hugs, dried fruit, toys, singing duets. Dislikes puddles, wet feet. Prefers affectionate, fun-loving type for company, perhaps romance?
Fatima, 34, fit this description exactly, but she lived 2,000 miles away at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. Luckily, the SSP located her in their database and recommended pairing her with Abe.
After Fatima arrived in late 2017, our staff started introductions. At first, Abe tried to get a reaction by beating against the mesh barrier between them – but she was unfazed. By Day 2, they clearly wanted to meet. Soon they were grooming each other through the mesh. I am happy to say they have been a couple ever since. Now they are never more than a few yards apart.
I see their story as one example of many such love stories at the zoo, stories that show how invested our staff is in the health, welfare and, yes, happiness of every single animal in our care.
Your contributions enable us to treat each animal here as an individual personality, a life, a soul. If you would like to support our efforts, you can do so HERE.
President + CEO
Friends of the Zoo