Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kansas City Zoo Animal Insights

Welcome to the new Kansas City Zoo blog. This will be a great place for zoo enthusiasts to learn a lot about the animals here at the zoo, and the people who work with them. I am the supervisor over the African Savannah area, and since I have the honor of kicking of the animal department’s contributions, I thought I would share a little bit of what we are looking forward to in 2010.

If you are at all familiar with our African Plains exhibit you have surely noticed our large herd of scimitar-horned oryx. This species has been extinct in the wild for almost 25 years now, but has a very large captive population, and we have been working with them here in Kansas City since 2002. Between then and 2007 we had 21 oryx births, and many of those offspring are now scattered in zoos around the country in breeding herds of their own. One of our crowning achievements with this species was to be able to send one of our animals to Tunisia to be part of a re-introduction project in 2006 (pictured here as it released into a boma in Africa). Now, after a 3 year hiatus, we are breeding oryx again. A new male was acquired according to Species Survival Plan recommendations last summer and was introduced to our herd in August. With 12 breeding-age females in our current herd, there should be plenty of calves to watch on exhibit starting as early as May of this year.

We are hoping for a few more exciting events as well, including another zebra foal later this summer and possibly endangered black-footed cat babies in our kopje area. We are looking into adding another species to our plains exhibit but will have to wait and see what happens. In any case, the African Savannah has always been a pretty dynamic area, so come on out and see what’s new all year long.

Tim Wild
Animal Supervisor-Savannah