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Detroit Zoo

"Wanda & Winky" was illustrated by Susan VanDeventer
Susan VanDeventer Warner

In April 2005, the Detroit Zoo made history.

It moved its last two elephants, Winky and Wanda, to a sanctuary in warm-weather California. 

That made Detroit the very first zoo in the nation to give up its elephants for humane reasons. 

Now retired Walled Lake teacher Linda McLean has written a children's book telling the story of Winky and Wanda, and in doing so, educating youngsters about how elephants live while in captivity. 

The Detroit Zoo has a new polar bear named Tundra

Jun 28, 2016
Tundra, the Detroit Zoo's newest polar bear, arrived this weekend from Indianapolis.
Photo courtesy of the Detroit Zoo

On the polar opposite of an Arctic day, the Detroit Zoo officially introduced its newest guest on Monday: Tundra, a 29-year-old polar bear relocated over the weekend from the Indianapolis Zoo. 

"Tundra arrived over the weekend and is acclimating very well to her new environment, said Ron Kagan, executive director for the Detroit Zoological Society, in a statement. "She is sweet and curious and rather sprightly for an elderly bear." 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

If you have any kind of affection for penguins – and really, who doesn't? – start making plans to check out the Detroit Zoo's Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

The zoo's biggest, most complex project ever is set to open its doors next week. 

The $30 million conservation center aims to be a state-of-the-art habitat for 83 King, Gentoo, Macaroni and Rockhopper penguins.

Liam Quinn / Wikimedia Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit Zoo is set to open what they call the largest penguin facility in the world next week.

The zoo, located in Royal Oak, will reveal the roughly $30-million Polk Penguin Conservation Center to the public after months of renovation and anticipation.

Opening on April 18, the exhibit will house 83 penguins, including four of the 17 species: king, macaroni, rockhopper, and gentoo.

From left to right, RECaP research assistant Sophia Jingo, Tutilo Mudumba and Robert Montgomery
Dave Ellis / Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Wildlife conservation in Africa is an important and difficult environmental issue for the continent as many of the planet’s most majestic animals are under threat. A group at Michigan State University is working to find creative ways to minimize the loss of animals such as lions, giraffes and elephants.

Robert Montgomery, an assistant professor with MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Tutilo Mudumba, a graduate student from Uganda, joined Stateside to talk about their efforts with the RECaP Laboratory.

Jan Paul Zegarra / flickr creative commons

The Detroit Zoo has sent 22,571 tadpoles of an endangered species to be released in wild, making it the best breeding results in the zoo’s history.

Twenty of the frogs were kept to continue breeding at the National Amphibian Conversation Center, located at the zoo. The rest of the frogs were sent to Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

The Woodward Spine

Neighbors of the Detroit Zoo are complaining about the noise -- and it's not the lions, the tigers, or the bears that they have a problem with.

It's the noise produced by the summer crowds the zoo brings in, various night-time events like concerts, and loudspeakers playing prehistoric dinosaur noises.

Jack Salvati and Cynthia shake hands
Cassandra Salvati

A very special mayor has just been sworn into office. Eight-year-old Jack Salvati of Milford is now the Mayor of Amphibiville at the Detroit Zoo. Salvati earned the prestigious position after applying with a written essay. He talked to us about his favorite amphibians and what he plans to do in his two year term.

Listen to our conversation with Salvati below:


Jack will be the mayor of citizens such as this Green Tree Frog.
User e_monk / flickr.com

An 8-year-old boy from Milford has been sworn in as the new boss of the Detroit Zoo's amphibian population.

Jack Salvati this week began his two-year term as the mayor of Amphibiville, a 2-acre wetland village that's home to the National Amphibian Conservation Center.

Jack sought the office because of his love for amphibians. The mayor called his swearing-in "the happiest day" of his life.

A plaque bearing Jack's name and photo will be displayed in the National Amphibian Conservation Center throughout his term. He also receives a plush frog and a one-year family membership to the zoo.

The zoo invited candidates ages 7-12 who live in Michigan to enter the mayor's race by submitting a 100-word essay.

The outgoing mayor is 13-year-old Gabriel P.J. Graydon of Southfield.

  A baby giraffe was born at the Detroit Zoo on Tuesday evening. And it's a boy!

The calf arrived after a 15-month gestation period.

"When I first saw him, he was lying in the grass. And he picked his head up," said Carter. "Of course he picked up this big neck, and I was struck by how tiny and fragile he looked."

Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer at the Detroit Zoo, said this is the first live giraffe birth at the Zoo in 22 years.

Detroit Zoo wants new kid mayor of Amphibiville

Sep 28, 2014
Detroit Zoo website

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Zoo is seeking human candidates to become the next leader of its amphibian population.  The zoo in Royal Oak is looking for a 7- to 12-year-old Michigan resident to serve a two-year term as mayor of Amphibiville, its two-acre wetland village and home to the National Amphibian Conservation Center. Candidates must write an essay of 100 or fewer words on why they should be mayor and submit it to the zoo by Friday.

Center for Zoo Animal Welfare

Top officials from the Detroit Zoological Society are headed to Beijing, where they’ll lead a workshop for senior staff from China’s three largest zoos.

CEO Ron Kagan is touring the zoos in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to scope out current animal care practices there.

Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter says Kagan will brief the team on his findings in Beijing, so they have a good sense of where the Chinese zoos stand going into the four-day workshop.

There are 2,5000 dams in Michigan and more than 90% are going to hit or exceed their design life by 2020. On today's show: How concerned should we be about our aging dams, and is there the money and political will to fix them? Then, the state's chief medical doctor explains why this year's flu season seems to be a particularly rough one.  And, one man from Ann Arbor is working to earn respect for dads all over America with the Dad 2.0 Summit. Also, the Detroit Zoo is not just a tourist attraction, it's a leader in animal conservation and preservation. 

First on the show, the data and numbers crunchers have been working away, trying to peer into the future to figure out what lies ahead for Michigan over the next 10 years in terms of jobs and pay.

The verdict: Michigan's economic axis is tilting west. Rick Haglund's recent story for Bridge Magazine is headlined: "Future job growth favors West Michigan." 

And Don Grimes is with the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy at the University of Michigan.

They join us today to discuss the issue.

Wikipedia

It was 1883 when the Detroit Zoo first opened its doors at Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street, across from what would become Tiger Stadium.

By 1928, the zoo had moved its current home at 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. It's the No. 1 paid tourist attraction in Michigan, drawing more than 1.1 million visitors every year.

The zoo's mission has evolved  since those early days, shifting from animal care to animal welfare. It's a leader in animal conservation and welfare.

Detroit Zoo Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Ron Kagan  gives us a closer look at the ways the zoo has become such a leader in protecting and preserving animal species.

Listen to the full interview above.

The Detroit Zoo announced the largest single private gift in its history Wednesday—and it’s all about penguins.

The $10 million gift from the Polk Family Fund will go toward building the Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center.

Zoo officials say the Center has been in the “planning and design” phase for two years now.

wikipedia

The Detroit Zoo is trying to “wean its visitors off the bottle”—off bottled water, that is.

The zoo plans to phase out sales of bottled water over the next 2-3 years.

Sarah Pope, the zoo’s manager of environmental services, says bottled water creates lots of plastic waste and other environmental costs. In fact, it’s the number one contributor to the zoo’s plastic waste.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Chrysler waves the white flag

Chrysler is now agreeing to recall some 2.7 million older model Jeeps. At first, Chrysler refused to recall the cars and the company maintains the vehicles are not defective. Safety regulators say 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty Vehicles can catch on fire when they're rear-ended. The design flaw has killed 51 people in fiery crashes.

Michigan counties will receive disaster relief

President Obama has approved a disaster declaration for 16 Michigan counties hard hit by spring floods. The declaration will help communities repair and rebuild roads, bridges and other public infrastructure damaged in the flooding. This does not include assistance for individuals or businesses. State and federal agencies will soon hold briefings across the state to help communities understand and start the application process.  

The Detroit Zoo and the DIA are safe

Legislation was signed into law yesterday allowing the Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts to get millions of dollars in tax revenues as promised from the metro region. Several metro cities were skimming some of the revenue generated by multi-county millages voters approved to support the zoo and the museum.

DIA

The Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts will now get millions of dollars in tax revenues as promised from the metro region.

Several metro cities were capturing some of the revenue generated by multi-county millages voters approved to support the zoo and the museum.

The cities claimed they were allowed to by state law. A Wayne County Circuit Court decision supported that claim.

Annmarie Erickson is the Chief Operating Officer of the art museum. She credits the public’s outcry for the new legislation signed into law today. 

The Woodward Spine

The Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts are supposed to get a cut of taxes collected from the greater metro region.

But dozens of cities and townships have been holding out, thanks to tax loopholes.

Republican Representative Eileen Kowall says the people of Metro Detroit voted to send these taxes to the zoo and the DIA.

The Woodward Spine

Some communities in Wayne County have been using tens of thousands of dollars in property tax money intended to support the Detroit Zoo for their own civic improvement projects.

Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties approved a property tax increase in 2008 to help fund the Detroit Zoo. 

But the Detroit Free Press reports some Wayne County cities have collected the tax and spent it instead on sprucing up their own downtowns.  In some years, the money has added up to more than $200,000.

African slender-snouted crocodiles
Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo has some new residents: four crocodiles.

The zoo located in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak says the four African slender-snouted crocodiles - two pairs of 21-year-old brothers - are from Zoo Miami.

They'll be on display for the Detroit Zoological Society's annual Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser tonight. Their new home is the Detroit Zoo's former hippo habitat.

The new crocodiles are about 5 feet long and weigh around 30 pounds. They can grow up to 13 feet and weigh as much as 500 pounds.

The tragedy that unfolded for the exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio on Tuesday night and Wednesday highlighted the lack of regulation in Ohio for a particular type of animal compound.

Terry Thompson kept bears, tigers, lions, monkeys, and other animals on his property.

He reportedly did not display them to the public for compensation, and was not required to carry a permit from the USDA. And an Ohio state law regulating exotic animals had expired.