Winter 2019
Our Favorite Zoo Critters Masthead
Zoo Director's Update
Winter at the zoo is the time of year to reflect on the past year and to plan for warmer days ahead. 2018 saw a lot of activity in our animal department with several new animal additions including the giant anteater, a new female giraffe, a male colobus monkey, a female and male red panda and many Sitatunga antelope births just to name a few.

In addition the zoo had several construction and improvement projects in the works, including a major paint project inside Amazonia and the construction of the budgie walkabout is finishing up.

Looking forward, we have one of my favorite cold weather events in Evansville. Orchid Escape opens on February 10 and runs thru March 17 th . We bring in thousands of blooming orchids to the tropical rainforest of Amazonia. Many different displays line the path of Amazonia and our botanical volunteers are there to answer questions and guide you through this event. Orchid Escape is free with admission to the zoo or if you are member, it is always free.

The springtime will see the opening of Budgie Walkabout, an outdoor meshed habitat right next to the Engelbrecht carousel, where you will have the opportunity to get up close to and feed hundreds of Australian parakeets. This new experience also includes special access to feed the birds from our party rooms that are available to have your next birthday at the zoo .

Hope to see you at the zoo soon and thank you for supporting your Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden.

Erik Beck
Executive Director
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden
Evansville Zoological Society
How does a bat hang upside down?
Be sure to turn on your media device sound.

Video: Carrie Ullmer, DVM, Staff Veterinarian
Jennifer Evans, Development Director
During a routine wellness check on the zoo's bat population, our veterinarian describes the bat's ability to hang upside down with its head facing in the direction of its feet. Pretty neat, huh?! 

 To see and learn more about the Pallas and Jamaican bat, visit Amazonia. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the constant 75 degree temperature as you explore the stunning beauty and diversity of animal and plant life in the South American rainforest while encountering dozens of rainforest residents from high in the canopy to the forest floor below – Including these intriguing winged mammals! 
Tragelaphus spekii
Photo: Paul Bouseman, Deputy Director
Article: Susan Lyndaker Lindsey, PhD, Animal Curator
The sitatunga ( Tragelaphus spekii ) is a semi-aquatic antelope occupying marshes and swamps, papyrus beds and the wetter areas of savannah and rainforest habitat. They face a current downward population trend although they are not currently classed as threatened. In the US they number less than 100 animals and are found only at eight Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) institutions and two non-AZA institutions.

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden has been one of the more prolific breeding facilities for this program. Last fall we welcomed our new breeding male. Born at San Diego Wild Animal Park in 2013, “Bamm Bamm” came to us in September 2018 from Fort Wayne where he was a proven breeder. He was introduced to our females for a few weeks in November, in order to try to time any births for “just right” weather (not-too-hot and not-too-cold temperatures). Look for a number of births late summer/early autumn 2019, as our herd grows. 
Meet Sonny & Bonnie!
Photo: Jennifer Evans, Development Director
Article: Jessica Sigmon Katz, Education Assistant
Leigh O'Donnell, Membership & Development Coordinator
Sonny (age 7) and Bonnie (age 6) are our resident San Clemente Goats in the Ambassador Program. Sonny and Bonnie are used through the zoo's docent program to educate visitors on the differences between wild and domestic animals, animal adaptations, and the complexities of endangered species. Although domestic, San Clemente goats are critically endangered. They carry unique genes that are valuable to the future of agriculture.

Docent volunteers have been working with Sonny and Bonnie over the past year to train them to walk on leash throughout the zoo, in order to train them for human interaction so they can be used as ambassador animals. Animals come to our ambassador program with varying degrees of training and socialization. Sonny and Bonnie are a little shy and “skittish” and needed time and positive reinforcement to get ready to go on outreaches and walk zoo grounds to interact with the public on a busy day.

When the weather is warmer you may see Sonny and Bonnie strolling throughout the zoo with docents - Be sure to stop to say, “Hi!”!
Say "Ahhh…"
Article: Carrie Ullmer, DVM, Staff Veterinarian
Have you ever had a toothache? If so, then you know how painful they can be and how important dentists are. Just like in human and pet health care, regular dental exams and cleanings are an essential part of keeping the animals at Mesker Park Zoo healthy and comfortable. Read more...
15 year-old clouded leopard “Miri” receives a dental evaluation by Dr. Ullmer after her teeth have been cleaned.
This radiograph shows a fractured upper canine tooth that previously received a root canal (the bright white stripe down the center of the tooth) versus a canine tooth that was broken but had not yet received a root canal. This is also from “Miri” the clouded leopard.
Summer at Zoo Camp!
Do you have a young animal or science lover in your life?! Let them spend summer at Zoo Camp - Eight unique week-long sessions covering topics like animal care, sustainability, STEM & much more! Click here for more info...
Photo: Jessica Sigmon Katz, Education Assistant
Orchid Escape Opening Night - Saturday, February 9th
Escape the cold and journey to South America! Be the first to stroll through Orchid Escape, a tropical jungle filled with blooming orchids, waterfalls, and exotic animals. Guests to the Opening Night will enjoy the tastes of South American fare, music, art demonstrations, and docents sharing interesting tidbits about our plants and animals. Click here for info and tickets.
The Photo Ark - Saturday, February 2nd - FREE Event!
Henderson Community College Preston Arts Center has a special invitation just for Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden's members and supporters to view the award winning photography exhibit, The Photo Ark, on Saturday, February 2, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Created by Joel Sartore, this exhibit looks to capture every species on earth, and will embody some of the most awe inspiring images.

In addition to the art show, Zoo members, supporters, and guests are invited to join the 1:00 p.m. presentation, Sartore vs. Audubon, by guest lecturer Scott Shupe with Audubon.  
Please help us track attendance with your registration .  This event is free.
No tickets required.