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Zoo News: Looking at the busy weeks ahead

Leading up to the Christmas holiday, life at the zoo seems to only get busier. I am constantly astonished by how much gets done by so few people, but somehow it does. It would be a lie to say that the weather has not been helpful.

This week alone, we are hosting a zookeeper from a zoo in Oregon that tiger cubs, Dmitri and Luka, will be transferred to. She is shadowing our large cat keepers to see how they are managed, trained and basically try to get to know them before the move to their new home to make the transition as smooth as possible. Along with hosting the visiting zookeeper, the zoo hopes to take advantage of the warmer temperatures for some late animal transfers.

If plans work, the zoo will be transferring the crowned cranes who are still in the bongo barn that we need to empty in preparation for the MI-7 flood mitigation project. We’ll meet the zoological facility receiving Jeb and Linnea halfway between the two institutions to make the transfer. With plans to be in eastern N.D., we are trying to work out the details to have the zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, to send the female aracari, a bird, recommended to pair with our lone male. Plans for this transfer were canceled several times before due to weather restrictions. With highs reaching 50 on Wednesday, this may be our last window of opportunity before next spring for her transfer.

After this week, it will be all hands on deck for Sunday’s Christmas at the Zoo event. The current forecast is looking pretty good with highs in the upper 30’s. The zoo will open its doors at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, with cookies, crafts, hayrides and plenty of Christmas cheer. Admission to the zoo for this event is $2 for members and $3 for non-members. There will be a chance to see Santa Claus and possibly even the Grinch. To spread the Christmas magic across the community, the zoo will be hosting a food and toy drive in conjunction with the event. Guests that bring in a food item or toy will receive a free admission for each item dropped off. And finally, if you have not purchased your membership for the upcoming year, Greater Minot Zoological Society (GMZS) Board members will be hosting a membership drive. The event runs through 2 p.m. and should be a great opportunity to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit.

If all of this wasn’t enough, soon after the Christmas at the Zoo event, the zoo will be loading up the tiger cubs for transfer and move right into baby watch at the lion building. That will be discussed further next week.

So, let’s all take advantage of the weather while we have it to get to the zoo to see the cubs before they leave and say hello to our newest tiger, Finn, who has only recently been given access to his outside habitat. Life ahead is crazy busy, but then, sometimes crazy is good.

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