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Archive for October, 2012

One of the challenges we face as an institution is emergency preparedness. Documentation of an emergency plan and evidence of drills on that plan are required by our Accrediting body, the Association of Zoo and Aquariums. In addition, it is our ethical responsibility to protect the animals in our care, as well as staff and visitors and, finally, it is just good business. To that end we are always prepared to react to an emergency, from a lost child to a weather event. We drill multiple times a year on various aspects of our emergency plan and are confident we have the tools and training to react to virtually any challenge.

When it comes to the animals in our care, the foundation of our plan is prevention. When we select the species we will hold, careful thought is given to our ability to properly care for them. This incudes not only daily care and veterinary care, but also how we would manage them in an emergency situation, particularly related to weather. Therefore, we critically analyze the habitats that will be the homes of our charges to be sure that they are appropriate, not only for their daily life, but also in the event of a storm such as we are about to experience.

So let me assure you that the marvelous creatures we care for will be protected in the best possible manner during the coming storm, not as a result of last minute decisions, but as the result of extensive planning, practice and constant review.

– Larry Sorel, County Zoo Director

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Photo by Noelle Sippel

One of the important activities for our animal care staff is providing opportunities for enrichment, or physical and mental stimulation, to all the animals in our care. This can be some in the form of food hidden around the habitats, smells such as perfume or spices placed in strategic locations or “toys” that can be manipulated. While all the animals benefit in some way from enrichment, our guests seem to most identify with the activities of the primates. It seems that we see a bit of ourselves when we are watching the primates play.

Yesterday, I was in the Zoo enjoying a beautiful October afternoon when I came across our olive baboons making creative use of an empty wire roll. Click here to watch the snippet of video I was able to capture!

– Larry Sorel, County Zoo Director

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Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Although the sun is only peeking through the clouds occasionally today, we had a bright and busy day here! For those who loved Puff, it is a sad day. Some people are coming in to check on how the other sea lions, Marina, Lily and Flounder, are doing now that Puff is no longer swimming with them (read our full press release on Puff here). A few of the kids have written notes to the sea lion zoo keepers to tell them know they are being thought of today and that they will miss Puff too.

Photo by Rachel Baker August

The Monroe County Youth Bureau had their awards ceremony here today…over 300 people enjoying lunch, a scavenger hunt and being acknowledged for their outstanding work. To the right is Monroe County Youth Bureau Director Bob Zinck with one of the master of ceremonies Nyiaesha Colon and attendee Nyasia Smith.

Photo by Rachel Baker August

And Rochester Institute of Technology students are here as well interning with a keeper by cleaning and feeding some of our animals. Here is Abbey Moreland (photo at left) an RIT Biology major handling Bouncer , our ball python, along with keeper Kellee Wolowitz.

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

And finally, the docents, our friends from Ganondagon and other volunteers did a stellar job teaching everyone about animal biology, habitat and Native American culture for our annual Genesee Trail Day!

I’m not sure we had enough packed into this one day at the Zoo! Oh right…and some people just came to stroll around to enjoy the animals who are very active on this cool day!

– Rachel Baker August, Executive Director for the Seneca Park Zoo Society

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