Detroit Zoo events focus on conservation of endangered species
Red panda-monium will kick off a weekend of celebrating wildlife as the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) hosts back-to-back festivities at the Detroit Zoo for two endangered species.
International Red Panda Day will be observed on Saturday, September 21, at the Holtzman Wildlife Foundation Red Panda Forest to celebrate red pandas Ravi, 3, Ash, 4, and Ta-Shi, 14. Zookeeper talks will take place at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Interactive learning experiences will enhance guests’ knowledge about these charismatic creatures, the threats they face in their natural habitat and the work the DZS is doing to protect wild red pandas.
Guests will have the opportunity to explore images of red pandas taken in Nepal and China with the use of trail cameras, important conservation tools to understand wild red panda populations. A bamboo observation station will allow guests to use tools to explore this important dietary staple for red pandas.
“Our goal for International Red Panda Day is to increase awareness, foster respect and compassion, and provide opportunities for guests to take action that will help red pandas and other wildlife,” said DZS Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter.
The following day, southern white rhinoceroses Jasiri, 19, and Tamba, 18, will be celebrated – along with their wild counterparts – during World Rhino Day on Sunday, September 22. Engaging learning activities will take place throughout the day at the rhino habitat, with storytelling at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and zookeeper talks at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Guests will learn of the threats facing these mega-herbivores as well as facts about the five species of rhinos living in Africa and Asia.
Visitors will have the chance to build observation skills by comparing themselves to a life-size cutout of a rhinoceros’s body and plaster casts of rhino footprints. Guests will also be able to examine rhino horn replicas while learning about how poaching has impacted wild populations as well as conservation efforts to save these species.
“We love the chance to celebrate rhinos Jasiri and Tamba at the Detroit Zoo, especially when it’s part of an international program of awareness of the plight of wild rhinos,” Carter said. “People drive the market for rhino horn, even here in the U.S., and we can be part of the solution to save rhinos in Africa and Asia.”
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 235 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.
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