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  • Pokémon GO at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

    by Donnie Gallagher | Jul 15, 2016

    Have a wild time and a safe Pokémon GO quest at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Before setting out on your quest, be sure to read and understand the following rules for playing Pokémon GO within the Zoo:

    • We know how important it is to catch ‘em all, but even a Pokémon Master must stay within guest areas. Please do not enter any restricted areas to follow Pokémon.
    • If you see a Pokémon close to a one of our Zoo’s “wild” residents in their habitat, please don’t attempt to follow it or enter any animal enclosures. That is one Pokémon battle you can pass on.
    • If you find the PokeStops while on the Safari Africa Expedition or while on any other ride, please do not exit the ride or disregard the ride safety rules under any circumstances.
    • With more than 20 Pokéstops and over 56 acres to explore and hatch eggs, be sure to stay hydrated.  And don’t forget to look up now and then to see our live animals.  They are amazing too!
    • Kindly pause play during rides for your safety throughout the duration of any ride within the Zoo until you exit the ride completely.
    • Please be courteous and respectful to Zoo guests and Zoo employees. That means looking up now and again and watching your step.
    • Be aware of your surroundings and fellow Zoo guests. Who knows, you may even meet a fellow Pokémon GO trainer!
    • Happy catching!

    Pokémon GO is the newest smartphone app from Nintendo that has users chasing 150 different characters to move up levels as they are walking outside.  Doing so at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is an all new way to explore the Zoo! It uses GPS and augmented reality, so you’re walking around your own neighborhood or at work seeing Pokémon. Police warn don't use the app while driving and pay attention to your surroundings. Law enforcement also cautions that players should be aware of sharing their location which makes it easy for people to follow you.

  • Adopted Baby Chimp Keeva

    by Donnie Gallagher | Jul 13, 2016

    If you walk by the chimpanzee habitat in Primate World, you’ll see something quitekeeva4special. One-year-old baby chimp “Keeva” holding on to mom, “Abby,” playing with “Twiggy” and “Jamie,” or chasing the ducks that share the same space. Watching her today, you would never know the challenging start she experienced.

    On March 12, Keeva was born at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to mother, “Carole.” After the animal care team observed that Carole was not adapting to motherhood appropriately, the difficult decision was made to removeand hand-rear Keeva. Knowing they needed to move as quickly as possible to find Keeva a chimp mom, it was decided that she would be moved to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo where she was matched with proven surrogate mom, Abby.

    keeva2Keeva and members of animal care team from Maryland Zoo flew down to Florida where she was introduced to the animal care team here at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The Zoo’s primate team along with the general curator immediately showed baby Keeva to the chimp troop so they could start becoming familiar with each other’s scent through protective mesh. For the next 6 months,baby Keeva received round-the-clock care from her caregivers, including feedings every 2 hours, helping her gain strength and mobility. We watched her gain confidence in her skills, become curious of her surroundings, and get stronger. At about six months, it was time for the next step – a full introduction.

    We all waited on pins and needles -- ultimately wanting the best for Keeva. After days of monitored interactions, and some patience on Abby’s end, Keeva began holding on to Abby’s back, as a baby chimp should do. While we celebrated the successful moment, integrating a baby chimp into a social group is not easy nor quick. The next steps were to introduce her to the other female chimps, Jamie andKeeva1 Twiggy, and eventually male, Bahati. One by one, the chimp troop fell for Keeva’s undeniable charm, and one by one, each member of the group completed the circle of Keeva’s family.

    At just over a year old, Keeva has captured the hearts of her chimp troop, the animal care team and all the guests who come to see her. We are proud of the efforts made by our animal care team to little Keeva in order to provide a healthy and promising life. We are thrilled she was able to find a home, and a happy ending, here with us at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. 

  • Sunset Celebration: Opening Weekend

    by Donnie Gallagher | Jul 13, 2016


    Find some of our favorite moments from opening weekend of #SunsetCelebration! Join in the fun on Fridays and Saturdays, July 15-Aug 6, with illuminated entertainment, delightful dining, special animal encounters and a laser light show finale. Visit TLPZ.org/summer.
  • Manatee Mom and Calf Get a Second Chance

    by Donnie Gallagher | Jul 12, 2016


    Two endangered manatees have a second chance at life in the wild after critical care at the Manatee Hospital at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. A manatee mother and her dependent calf were rescued March 15, 2016 in waters near Tarpon Springs after the mother was injured in a watercraft collision. “Shamrock,” a 810-pound female, arrived with a pneumothorax injury (collapsed lung) which healed after three months of care. Her dependent calf, “Emerald,” a healthy 335-pound female, accompanied her. The pair returned to Tarpon Springs waters on  June 23, 2016 at Spring Bayou, winter home to numerous manatees.

    To date, the Manatee Hospital at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has taken in more than 400 wild manatees for critical care for a variety of severe illnesses and catastrophic injuries including boat strikes, cold stress, orphans, entanglement and red tide exposure. Of those, more than 230 have survived and been returned to Florida waters.
     
  • Leap Year Leopards Now "Ambassadors-in-Training"

    by Donnie Gallagher | Jul 07, 2016


    The 3-month-old clouded leopard cubs are taking on a new role: animal ambassadors-in-training. The Zoo's pathways and gardens are serving as a "classroom" for the cubs to practice harness training -- walking on a lead with a trainer. Learning to be a cat ambassador will take some time as the frisky felines learn to master a number of critical behaviors. The #TwoCute duo has been eager to participate in training sessions so far and will be allowed to advance at their own rate. With this new role, "Aiya" and "Shigu" -- and their human handlers -- will help to teach guests about the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species.
  • New Kids On The Block

    by Christina Lasso | Jul 07, 2016

    Have you met the newest residents at the Wallaroo Station petting zoo? Adopted from the Tampa Bay SPCA, seven goats have found a new home at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. In our search for new animals to participate in the daily goat presentation at the Zoo, Livestock Animal Care Manager Melinda found a goat available for adoption at the local SPCA. When she went to meet him, to her surprise and delight, there were six more goats waiting to be adopted!  Melinda happily rescued all seven goats where they are now settled in to the petting zoo.

    Get to know our new kids on the block!

    • "Wizard" has an adorable face and is smart...when he feels like it.
    • "Oz" is the biggest, but don't let that fool you! He is a gentle giant and loves being rubbed on his neck.
    • "Django" is the middle child of the group and is easy-going.
    • "Georgia" is small, but has a big personality.
    • "Paco" has the best facial hair out of all the goats and will stomp his feet when he gets excited!
    • "Twilight Sparkle" may be the smallest of the group, but don't underestimate her! She will stand her ground so much that the other goats don't challenge her.
    • "Princess Merida" is the baby and can be a handful, her keepers say. She is a very fast learner and has already advanced into the daily Goat Show.
    Django
    "Django"
    Paco_2
    "Paco" 
     Oz
    "Oz"

     Twilight Sparkle
    "Twilight Sparkle"
     PrincessMerida
    "Princess Merida"
     Georgia_2
    "Georgia"
     Wizard
    "Wizard"
  • Rescued Black Bear Cub

    by Donnie Gallagher | Jun 14, 2016

    A Florida black bear cub rescued from brush fires in Lake County in April is one step closer to his return to wild habitat. “Smokey Jr.,” as he was affectionately nicknamed by Lake County Fire Rescue, had his final check-up at the Zoo’s veterinary hospital -- his home for about 4 weeks -- and was given a clean bill of health. Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) relocated him to Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park in preparation for release late this year. 

    2While in veterinary care at the Zoo’s hospital, Smokey Jr. exhibited a healthy appetite which consisted of a milk-based formula, rice cereal and the introduction to blueberries and strawberries. He grew from 6 pounds to 18 pounds, tripling his weight. The singed fur he had upon arrival grew out, with no visible markings remaining. In addition, veterinary team members reported his demeanor and behaviors were consistent with that of a wild bear -- he avoided people where possible and when approached (for closer observation or weight checks) he would snarl and swipe.

    The Zoo looked after the young cub using FWC protocols, as it has for3numerous others, with the goal of reintroduction to wild habitat. This means he was monitored with minimal interaction to reduce the likelihood of imprinting or habituation.

    Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo works with the FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS) to provide veterinary support for native Florida wildlife including manatees, panthers,  black bears, bald eagles, whooping cranes and gopher tortoises. The newest patient was the 13th black bear to receive care at the Zoo, which has provided a home for a total of five black bears including three current residents (two young females and an adult male).

    CubRehab_1 CubRehab_3 CubRehab_2
  • Project Golden Frog

    by Donnie Gallagher | Jun 13, 2016

    PFrogs_3
    As the cultural symbol of the Republic of Panama, golden frogs are a national treasure, much like the bald eagle in the United States. In response to a dramatic population decline of the species, a cooperative program called “Project Golden Frog” was formed to assist with field research, captive propagation, habitat conservation and education of this critically endangered species.  The Zoo is one of a few in North America who participate with national conservation and breeding efforts for these rare amphibians. We talked to the Zoo’s herpetologists to learn more about efforts to help conserve these fragile frogs.

    The Zoo houses a small breeding group of Panamanian golden frogs in a dedicatedPFrogs_2space in the Discovery Center. As a species that is typically solitary in the wild, Zoo herpetologists first separated the frogs to mimic their native environment. Mating season is typically between November and January, at which time a male “attaches” himself tightly to the back of a female (piggyback style) for several days – or even weeks – until the female lays her eggs. The male will immediately fertilize the eggs, then separate from the female. About six days later, tadpoles hatch out. They are so small they look like little black dots! These tiny tadpoles cling to rocks and graze on algae for 180 days as they grow in preparation for metamorphosis into “froglets.”

    In 2015, a very successful breeding season produced 90 froglets, who are growing alongside new tadpoles from this year’s breeding season. While it is nearly impossible to estimate just how many new tadpoles there are, the Zoo’s HerpetologyPFrogs_1team is optimistic for a comparable number to last year. Those who survive to adult-hood will transform into vibrant shades of yellow with black stripes and grow up to 2 inches in length.

    For amphibians in peril like the Panamanian golden frog, successful breeding and management programs are critical to the perpetuation of the species. The conservation efforts by the Zoo’s herpetology team helps provide hope for this amphibian, and others, currently at risk of extinction. To learn more, visit http://www.projectgoldenfrog.org/. When you visit the Zoo, your paid admission, and purchases of food or gifts, contributes to animal care, global conservation and education programs.

  • Feeding Time with the Indian Gharials

    by Donnie Gallagher | Feb 19, 2016


    Ever wondered how a crocodile with such a long narrow snout eats its food?  Here’s an up-close and personal look at how the Zoo’s herpetology team keeps our three resident Indian Gharials “smiling.” In order to make sure each fish-eating crocodile gets its fair share of food, nutrients, and vitamins, the team separates the animals by tapping a bamboo training tool in different areas of their habitat. When the animals respond to the signal, our keepers hand feed the long-snouted crocs their preferred and natural diet of small fish.
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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is featured among the “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S” by TripAdvisor (2015) and “10 Best Zoos in the U.S.” by Trekaroo (2015). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 

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