Our Newest Addition is OTTER-ly adorable!

We are exploding with excitement to announce the newest addition to the Children’s Zoo: TNT, the North American river otter! We have been introducing him to Bootie, the river otter that currently lives here. On the morning of June 8th, the two went on exhibit together for the first time! Visit us on Facebook to see their adorable video.


North American river otters are highly territorial mammals. Until just a few months ago, the Children’s Zoo was home to two female river otters, Bootie and Mika. Unfortunately, the two never became friends. Mika passed away this last winter as the oldest living North American river otter in a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).


Unable to survive in the wild, Bootie found a home at the Children’s Zoo, where she is an ambassador for her species. Having been born in the wild, Bootie is a great candidate for breeding in the North American river otter Species Survival Plan (SSP), a global AZA sponsored program that works toward saving animals from extinction. With the new available space, and a recommendation from AZA to breed, it was decided that a young male should join her. The Brookgreen Gardens, located in South Carolina, offered to loan TNT to us, hoping the two would produce healthy babies called pups. A natural aquatic acrobat, make plans to see TNT’s silly water antics this summer!

Click here to watch a video of Bootie and TNT going on exhibit for the first time together!

 

 

You have GOAT to meet our newest friends!

Bouncing, leaping, and prancing—these are just a few of the silly antics our newest residents like to pull. Flash and Fraser, two adorable baby pygmy goats, will soon be seen hoofing it around the goat yard. The two will join Bandit and Buttons, the alpine goats, in mid-June. Check out our Facebook page daily for the most current, up-to-date news at the Zoo, including the goats official debut date!

Pygmy goats originally hail from West Africa. Their friendly, curious, and playful nature, as well as their hardiness and ability to adapt to most climates, has allowed the pygmy goats to spread all over the world. Enjoyed as both pets and dairy producers, pygmy goats can be found on many farms across the United States.

The goat yard is now officially open for visitors to enter and join our hoofed friends. Kids (and kids at heart!) can now pet and groom the goats, allowing for tactile learning and development.

Fraser, mostly white with caramel flecks and black feet, is the big softy between the two. He will probably be found leaning against your legs, or nibbling gently at your shoelaces. Flash, on the other hand, is ready to show off his fearless leaping abilities! Mostly black with two white racing stripes up his sides, he is often seen bouncing off of various logs and rocks as he fights invisible bad guys. 

Flash Fraser

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Coo-coo-come and see the newest residents at the Children's Zoo!

 

The aviary has eight new feathered friends waiting to coo at you this summer! Friendly and sociable, ring-necked doves are the perfect addition to the flock.

Originating from Africa, ring-necked doves are named for a dark patch of feathers that circle around their neck. They have gentle personalities, often spending their afternoons softly crooning at passing guests. Don’t be surprised if one of them lands on your finger while trying to nibble at your millet treat this summer!

As with all new animals that arrive to the Zoo, the doves are currently in quarantine, and must be temporarily kept apart from the cockatiels that normally live in the aviary. Once out of quarantine, the other birds will join them in the exhibit on the first weekend of June. While the aviary is not currently open for walkthroughs, you can still observe the doves from outside the exhibit.

We are hoping to create a larger population of our new coo-ing friends through breeding, so be on the lookout for fluffy baby birds. 

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Happy Birthday Mika!
The oldest North American river otter in the nation!


If you have visited the Zoo in the last four years, you have probably seen Mika, the North American river otter, sleeping in her exhibit. Unlike Bootie, the other otter that lives at the Children’s Zoo, she isn’t one for dashing around and doing flips in her pool. While she does have her spry moments, she can often be found curled up in her warm den, enjoying the senior life. On December 31st, Mika will be turning 20 years old, which makes her the oldest North American river otter living in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility. 20 years is an amazing feat, as the average lifespan of these otters is only 8-9 years in the wild.otterr-m1

Thanks to the increased focus on animal welfare by zoos and aquariums that follow AZA’s strict standards, geriatric care is a growing part of a zookeeper’s job! Many of the animal residents at the Children’s Zoo have called Saginaw their home since the 1990’s! If your family has ever had to take care of an aging cat or dog, you know all about the extra effort that goes into making sure an elderly animal is comfortable. Not only do most of these senior animals require medications to help with aging joints, zookeepers must also be aware of even the slightest changes in their weights or behaviors.

Thanks to the expert staff here at the Children’s Zoo, Mika seems to be enjoying her golden years. With fresh fish and vegetables delivered to her soft bed three times per day, many of the staff members wish they could be a retired North American river otter at the Zoo.