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Zoo News: Any time’s good time for giving thanks

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the past year and appreciate all that we must be thankful for. It has been a tumultuous year at Roosevelt Park Zoo with a lot of changes and challenges but even with all of that there are a myriad of reasons to give thanks for this past year.

To begin, the winter held on a little longer than we had hoped. The zoo’s annual attendance got a slow start but by the end of September, the zoo reached over 100,000 guests for the third straight year. Despite the winter storm at the end of October brought fears that the rest of the year would fail to meet expectations, a change in weather prevailed and we were all blessed with some beautiful weather that allowed the animals to get back outside, at least for a few days.

As for the animals in the zoo, the year has been bittersweet. We saw the arrival of many new animals including the trio of lions, a pair of Amur leopards and a family group of black and white ruffed lemurs. We got to watch the Amur tiger cubs mature to the point that it became difficult to tell them from their mom. To date, only Viktoria has been relocated, but the boys’ day is coming.

None of the success in our animal collection or guest attendance would be possible without the zoo’s staff. Whether taking care of the animals, their habitats, the grounds, or other facilities, we are thankful for a staff that cares. The hard work does not go unnoticed by our guests which was most apparent when the zoo received a $10,000 contribution to the zoo because she was so pleased with how nice and clean the grounds were every time she visited.

The zoo has a lot to be thankful for with the progress it has made with various projects in the zoo and looking forward to the future. We saw the completion of the Amur Leopard Forest exhibit completion of MI-7 designs and the new African Plains Building. Plans were created to design a space for the giraffes during the construction process that would allow them to stay in Minot during the wall construction. Designing is one thing, but raising the cost to construct it was another. Again, the zoo was blessed as an individual in the community stepped forward and contributed the $2.5 million needed so the giraffes could remain in Minot.

The zoo is most thankful for the community that recognizes its importance and continues to show its support through visitation, sponsoring events and contributing to the efforts to provide improved spaces for both animals and guests. It sounds so simple, but I have seen communities that take their local zoo for granted and seem to watch them deteriorate right before their eyes.

The zoo will be closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving Day but will reopen on Friday. So ahead, we have Black Friday, Cyber-Monday, and Giving Tuesday. If you are so inclined, we hope that you are as thankful for the zoo as others, and keep Roosevelt Park Zoo in mind as Giving Tuesday rolls in.

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