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Tagged: David Blaszkiewicz

GETTING TO KNOW LOU: KELP GULLS AT JOHN BALL ZOO

 

For my first blog I'm going to focus on some zoo residents (my favorites) who you've probably all seen but maybe haven't given much thought to.  Namely, the Kelp Gulls.  Kelp Gulls are widespread on islands and rocky coastlines of the Southern Hemisphere, but one was recently spotted as far north as Florida.  I know this because the researcher who found it contacted us to make sure it wasn't one of ours.  "Why us?" you ask.  Because John Ball Zoo houses the last three Kelp Gulls in North American zoos.  They're quite common in the wild, so the American Zoo and Aquarium Association is phasing them out and once ours are gone you'll have to catch a plane or boat to see one.

THE CARE & FEEDING OF JOHN BALL ZOO'S BABY PENGUINS.

 

 

David's blog is accompanied by a video blog.  Find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgkhm8LAcuY

 

 

John Ball Zoo’s penguin species is the Magellanic or Spheniscus magellanicus.  They are native to Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands in the southern hemisphere.   As wild birds they would begin breeding about September, but we keep our flock on a light cycle that mimics the northern hemisphere (particularly Grand Rapids) so ours begin breeding in March.  Females almost always lay 2 eggs,

 

FRESH PRODUCE ITEMS MAKE FOR GREAT ANIMAL ENRICHMENT.

Last October Zookeeper David Blaszkiewicz posted a blog about a start-up garden here at the Zoo.  The plan was to grow fresh produce that is not normally included in our animal diets, but items that would make for a great special treat (enrichment) for the animals.  The Zoo’s enrichment garden is now in its third year and although it provides some local, seasonal produce, it’s not nearly enough for all the animals – all summer long.     Last year David’s blog ran too late to ask you to consider donating some of your excess homegrown produce.  This year, however, we’re hoping the timing is right and you would be willing to send a share of your garden bounty our way!   As David puts it, “If you are up to your armpits in green beans, don’t forget your furry, feathered and scaly friends at the John Ball Zoo.”   (no pesticides, please) 

 

Last summer, keeper Dan and I hatched the idea of starting an enrichment garden for John Ball Zoo animals.   Novel food items (treats) are one facet of enrichment, defined as items and activities designed to stimulate the animals brains' and keep them engaged and active.