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Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho Cleans Animal Habitat Wearing an Eagles Jersey

Super Bowl Wager Required Dancho to Clean the Bald Eagle Habitat in the Winning Team’s Jersey  Bridgeport, CT, February 6, 2018—The Bald eagles at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo welcomed Zoo Director Gregg Dancho to their habitat for cleaning Tuesday morning, a task he hadn’t performed since his own zookeeper days. As dictated by the term so the wager, Dancho wore a (borrowed) Eagles’ jersey while doing his habitat housekeeping.  Zoo directors at Zoo New England in Boston/Stoneham, Mass., and Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island will also clean animal enclosures. All of the losing zoos will also donate $1,000 to conservation work or a youth-focused program to the winning zoos:  Philadelphia Zoo, Elmwood Park Zoo, and Lehigh Valley Zoo, all in the Philadelphia area. “Unfortunately, I felt certain that the Patriots would win the Super Bowl,” said Dancho. “It was nice to go back to my roots here at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, as I started as a zookeeper 38 years ago. Our animal care staff are truly the behind-the scenes professionals who make our Zoo a treasure for Connecticut.” He added, “It’s all in good fun. As with everything we do at our nation’s accredited zoos, the focus on conservation and education is ultimately what the wager is about. We’re always looking for ways to spread the word about saving endangered animals and teaching our children the value of preserving nature. We’re all winners in the...

More Zoo Babies: Three Maned Wolf Pups Born at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo!

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – January 31, 2018 – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is experiencing an exciting baby boom of endangered animals, with the birth of three critically-endangered maned wolf pups (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in December, adding to the two Amur tiger cubs born four weeks earlier. The three pups were born on December 27 in a heated enclosure prepared in advance for the birth. The adult maned wolves are first time parents, but are relaxed and caring for the babies together, as is the norm for this species. This is a significant birth, as captive breeding can be difficult with maned wolves, and for the fact that this is the first time for this species at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo—in fact, for Connecticut itself!      The female maned wolf, Bonita, and male, Paulo, are devoted parents.  Bonita has paid particular attention to the smallest pup in the litter, separating it from its littermates to be sure it has time to nurse adequately. Paulo is anxious to return that pup to the litter, not liking to see his pups separated from each other.  Bonita is age six, and arrived at Connecticut’s only Zoo from the Greensboro Science Center in December 2011, while “Paulo” is age seven, and arrived in March, 2016 from the Philadelphia Zoo. Today, there are about 4,000 maned wolves in the wild. This number is dwindling due to their severely compromised habitat being destroyed by farmers through intense deforestation. In addition, they are threatened by road kill, persecution by humans, and disease due to contact with domestic animals. There is also a belief that certain of their organs have magical healing...

How Far Will Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Director Go to Support Patriots in the Super Bowl?

Northeastern Zoo Directors Join in Super Bowl Wager to Support Their Teams Bridgeport, CT, January 30, 2018—The animals at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo may soon be welcoming Zoo Director Gregg Dancho to their enclosures for a bit of housekeeping while wearing a Philadelphia Eagles jersey—if the Patriots lose the Super Bowl, that is. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, along with Zoo New England in Boston/Stoneham, Mass., and Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island, is challenging the Philadelphia Zoo, Elmwood Park Zoo, and Lehigh Valley Zoo, all in the Philadelphia area, to a friendly wager.  Every zoo director has agreed to the terms: if their team loses, the zoo director will clean out an animal exhibit while wearing the winning team’s jersey. Additionally, the losing zoos will each donate $1,000 to the winning zoos to assist with conservation work or benefit a youth-focused program. “Luckily, I feel certain that the Patriots will win the Super Bowl,” said Dancho. “I look forward to seeing my colleagues at the Philadelphia Zoo, Elmwood Park Zoo, and Lehigh Valley Zoo cleaning out animal exhibits in a Patriots jersey.” He added, “As with everything we do at our nation’s accredited zoos, the focus on conservation and education is ultimately what the wager is about. We’re always looking for ways to spread the word about saving endangered animals and teaching our children the value of preserving nature. We’re all winners in the...

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Introduced Rare Amur Tiger Cubs for the First Time

Seven-Week-Old Tiger Cubs Represent Species at Risk for Extinction in the Wild Bridgeport, CT, January 11, 2018—Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo provided area media a first in-person look today at the rare Amur tiger cubs born at the Zoo. Two of a litter of four cubs survived after their mother, Changbai, neglected them, causing Zoo staff to step in. Since their birth on November 25, 2017, they have been cared for around the clock at the Zoo’s Animal Health Care Center. Zoo Director Gregg Dancho was joined today by Zoo Deputy Director Don Goff, a Co-Chairman of the Felid Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) that oversees conservation efforts for the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) accredited institutions. Zookeepers Chris Barker and Bethany Thatcher and Vet Tech Jenny Gordon brought the tiger cubs out from the nursery for their introduction. Dancho announced the cubs’ names, Reka—which means “river” in Russian, and Zeya—the name of a tributary to the Amur river in Russia, acknowledging the cubs’ Russian heritage. Dancho also announced a new fundraising campaign to raise money for architectural drawings for a new tiger habitat. The first step is a $5,000 goal for architectural drawings to begin the planning process. The public is encouraged to donate at impactvine.com. The birth of the tiger cubs is a once in a lifetime experience for many of the Zoo staff, and for Zoo guests, said Dancho. “From the moment when we realized that their mother, Changbai, was not responding to the needs of her offspring, it was never guaranteed that the cubs would survive,” he explained. “This is the first time in the history of...

When the Weather Outside is Frightful at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Keeping Animals Healthy and Safe in Frigid Winter Temperatures BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – January 5, 2018 – Whether it’s a blustery day of snow, or a number of days in a row with bitterly cold temperatures, the animal care staff at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is prepared to keep their animal charges safe and warm. For most of the animals, their exhibits offer them the opportunity to choose whether they are outside or in, and they spend the day going back and forth. Some of the Zoo’s animals are delighted to be in the midst of snow and ice, ignoring their heated dens. That includes the North American River otters with their dense fur that prepares them for a deep freeze. The Amur leopards and Amur tigers are also frigid-weather hardy, as their native range is the cold winters of the Russian Far East and China, and they happily choose the snow and wind.  The Canada lynx is another species that finds January weather a breeze, with a native habitat that extends into Siberia, Alaska, and Canada. Many of the North American species have evolved in cold weather climates, with heavy fur to keep them warm in spite of harsh winds and deep snow. Species like the Bison, the Pronghorn, and the Red panda are well suited to the coldest temperatures. For the alligators and outdoor aviary turtle pond, the pool heater is turned up to 65 degrees. By increasing the temperature the heat rises off the water, and birds perch over the pond and absorb the radiant heat from the water. Christmas trees are put out for the raptors and...