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Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Invites the Public To Join in Citizen Scientist FrogWatch USA

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – February 8, 2017 – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo invites residents to become Citizen-Scientist volunteers, and participate in a “FrogWatch” census in area wetlands. In a collaboration between the Zoo, The Maritime Aquarium, and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, volunteers will make regular visits to wetlands in their neighborhoods and keep a frog log to record the frog and toad calls they hear. Working with experts, volunteers will learn about local frog species, then visit wetlands once or twice a week for about 15 minutes each night this spring and summer. The watch begins a half hour after sunset, making the watch ideal for families with older children. Observations are reported to a national online database to contribute to amphibian conservation efforts. “FrogWatch USA is a wonderful way for us to engage a new generation of people interested in preserving animal habitats and conservation,” explained Jim Knox, education curator at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. “This program demonstrates how we can all play a part in protecting wildlife.” Volunteer do not need any prior experience or knowledge about frogs. One training session is required, each from 7 to 9 p.m. Choose from: Wednesday, Feb 22 at The Maritime Aquarium, 10 N. Water St., Norwalk Wednesday, March 1 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave., Bridgeport Wednesday, March 8 at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven  Why Frogs? Frogs and toads play a vital role, serving as both prey and predator, in wetland ecosystems and are considered indicators of environmental health. Many previously abundant frog and toad populations have experienced dramatic population declines both in the United...

Come See Mini Horses for the Mini Break at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – February 16, 2017 – Just in time for the mini school break next week, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has a little idea that’s sure to be a big hit with the kids. New to the zoo family is a pair of miniature horses, diminutive charmers named Nutmeg and Caramel. Guests will find them in an exhibit at the New England Farmyard. “This is a great week to announce our miniature horses are here because it’s hard not to fall in love with them,” explained Gregg Dancho, director, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. “They look like regular horses, but they’re much, much smaller. Small children will find they’re at eye level with them.” Joining the zoo from a farm in Vermont, Nutmeg is a male, and Caramel is a female. They’re shorter than the smallest pony: they both stand about 9 “hands,” or 36 inches tall. Full-grown miniature horses weight between 150 and 250 pounds. Although small, they are quite strong. Miniature horses are proportionally the same as a horse, except that their eyes are larger. With some of the largest eyes found in mammals, they have 350-degree vision, with a tiny blind spot. Very few animals have this range of vision. The American Miniature Horse Association, which keeps track of breeding and most of the minis in the world, began in 1978. But minis have a long history. Small horses and ponies were first used to work in coalmines in England and Holland. Brought to the U.S. in the nineteenth century, they were used in coalmines as recently as 1950. The tunnels in mines are small, and full sized...

Head Over Heels–And Hooves–At Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Head Over Heels—and Hooves—at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo  A Closer Look at Who’s Taking a Roll in the Hay   BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – February 7, 2017 – Love is in the air throughout the month of February, including at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Courtship rituals here, like everywhere in the world, are wildly diverse. A male otter may bite the female’s nose to show he’s interested; swans engage in an elaborate dance, synchronizing their movements. Just like their human counterparts, there are animals that mate for life, like wolves, and some, like prairie dogs, whose entire mating season is only one hour long. What makes one species choose monogamy as the secret to survival, while others form a looser bond, coming together only to procreate?   “If we’re looking for inspiration in the animal kingdom, swans are a picturesque example of lifelong commitment,” explained Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “But some vultures mate for life, too,” he added, proving that love isn’t always pretty.   At the Beardsley Zoo, lifelong lovers include wolf pairs and Howler monkeys. If you’re looking for examples in your own backyard, look no further than coyotes, barn owls, and bald eagles. Some of the monogamous species are together until death do they part, while others might separate only after a nesting failure.   Monogamy is relatively rare in the animal kingdom, with less than five percent forming lifelong bonds. As a survival plan, monogamy can be tricky. Males of many species are not designed for fidelity, so that sharing their genetic material is not dependent on a single mate. Where animals are monogamous, it is believed that the couple bond helps to ensure the survival of the young, because there are two parents to provide food and guard the nest.   Zoos are charged...

“Beardsley Bart,” Connecticut’s Prognosticating Prairie Dog, Makes His Groundhog Day Weather Prediction

“Beardsley Bart,” Connecticut’s Prognosticating Prairie Dog, Makes His Groundhog Day Weather Prediction  Zoo Director Gregg Dancho and Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim Act as Interpreters BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut – February 2, 2017 – Who needs Punxsutawney Phil when you have ‘Beardsley Bart?’ Beardsley Bart, Connecticut’s own Prognosticating Prairie Dog, came out early this morning to share his weather forecast with a small gathering of friends. Bart’s closest confidante, Gregg Dancho, director of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, served as his interpreter, along with Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim. “Beardsley Bart is a very early riser and when he came out this morning, he confirmed that he did not see his shadow,” explained Dancho. “He’s happy to report spring is just around the corner and he looks forward to all his friends coming to visit him soon.” Mayor Ganim added, “According to Beardsley Bart, spring is coming to Bridgeport, and spring is coming everywhere.” He emphasized that Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is everyone’s zoo. “It’s a great place and it’s the only zoo in the state. We need everyone to come and enjoy it,” he said. # # # EDITOR’S NOTE: To interview Gregg Dancho, Beardsley Bart’s interpreter, please call Lisa Clair at (203) 256-0802 or cell: (203)...