Catch up with the latest news at LRZ with articles, press releases, and other fun updates
written and created by Zoo Staff.
By Julianne Turner, Guest Engagement Coordinator
This Sunday, the Lee Richardson Zoo will be celebrating Father’s Day alongside another very special day: World Giraffe Day! There will be different activities and stations throughout the day, and you can try to find all of our animal dads as you explore the zoo!
We have three giraffes that call our zoo home. Jasiri is the youngest, born just last year. Cleo is the adult female, mother of Jasiri. And Juani is the adult male, who gets to celebrate Father’s Day with us as Dad to Jasiri! One way you can tell Juani apart from the others is that he is the tallest giraffe of the three.
World Giraffe Day is recognized annually on June 21st, the longest day of the year. This day is set aside to celebrate and learn about giraffes. There are four distinct species of giraffe in Africa, and these can be split into seven subspecies based on the areas where they live and slight genetic variations. Here at the zoo, we have reticulated giraffes.
Over the last 30 years, the number of giraffes in the wild has dropped by almost 40%, and as an entire group, they are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is part of the reason why we are so excited to be able to celebrate Father’s Day with Juani. By becoming a dad he is helping the survival of his species for the future! To celebrate World Giraffe Day with us, stop by the giraffe habitat between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. this Sunday to see a Discovery Cart and Keeper Chat all about the tallest species in the world!
Along with Juani, there are many other animal dads here at the zoo! You might see Razi the lion lounging in his yard. He is the father of Lulu, who still lives here, and four other males who now call the Denver Zoo their home.
We also have a new dad here at the zoo! On June 2, we welcomed a baby red ruffed lemur to the world, bringing our troop size up to four! There are now two adult males, Frank and Bogey, one adult female, Sorsha, and the one male juvenile. While Bogie is the father, both males will likely spend time with the young one as it grows up. You can wish both Frank and Bogey a very happy first Father’s Day by visiting their habitat between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, where we will have a Discovery Cart set up so you can learn more about this amazing species.
We hope you join us on Sunday, June 20th for a day full of fun! We will have animal dads around the zoo marked with bowties on their habitats so you can wish them all a Happy Father’s Day. There will also be Discovery Carts by the giraffes 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and the lemurs 2 p.m.-4 p.m., and a giraffe Keeper Chat around 10:30 a.m. for you to enjoy.
We wish you all a very Happy Father’s Day and hope to see you at the zoo this weekend!
Image: Reticulated Giraffe Calf Jasiri, born to Cleo and Juani
Red Ruffed Lemur Birth
Sorsha, a critically endangered five-year-old red ruffed lemur who lives at the zoo, gave birth to a healthy baby on June 2, 2021. Mother and baby are both doing well. This is the first lemur born at Lee Richardson Zoo.
This is also Sorsha’s first offspring or pup as baby lemurs are called. The new mom is being very attentive to the newborn. Staff will be monitoring the pup’s growth and other developmental milestones as well as mom’s maternal behavior. Mother and baby will be in one of the dayrooms at Primate Forest. Unlike most primates who carry their infants with them, red ruffed lemurs ‘park’ their offspring while they go foraging. This means you may see Sorsha climbing around the dayroom without the little one who will still be in a nestbox, and most likely won’t poke its head out for several weeks. The adult male lemurs, Frank and Bogey, can be seen in the outdoor area. They will join the others once mother and baby have settled in.
Sorsha arrived from Henson Robinson Zoo in Springfield, Illinois, to join the males at Lee Richardson Zoo after construction of Primate Forest was completed last year. The pairing was a result of a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan (SSP). Lee Richardson Zoo is proud to work with the other participants in the SSP toward the long-term sustainability of red ruffed lemurs and enhancing the conservation of the species in the wild through combined efforts and cooperative management of the population.
Red ruffed lemurs are native to the northeastern part of Madagascar. They are critically endangered due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as hunting. They are one of the largest lemur species. Learn more about how you can help red ruffed lemurs when you visit the zoo.
Jaguars are Feline Fine at LRZ
Kaya, a female, twelve-year-old jaguar from the Salisbury Zoo in Maryland was introduced to four-year-old jaguar, Luna, in Cat Canyon on the morning of June 1st. While the two cats had previously been able to smell, see, and hear each other through a divider in their indoor quarters, this was the first time they shared the same space.
Animal Care staff looked on as Luna cautiously approached Kaya. Luna, the younger jaguar, is known for being inquisitive; her first interactions with Kaya were no different. Kaya allowed Luna to approach her, the pair met face to face, and sniffed one another thoroughly.
After checking out her older habitat mate, Luna quickly moved on to exploring the rest of the outdoor area. Kaya calmly watched Luna’s every move from one of her favorite spots in the yard. Luna would approach Kaya off and on throughout the morning. Other than a few tail twitches and a couple of “that’s enough” warning snarls from Kaya, the pair were introduced successfully without incident.
Jaguars are listed as near-threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Both cats came to the Lee Richardson Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for jaguars. Jaguars are the largest cat species in the Americas. They are an apex predator and used to live in every American country except Canada.
Learn more about this species by visiting Kaya and Luna at Cat Canyon during your next Zoo visit. The Zoo is currently open from 8 am to 7 pm with the drive-through closing at 6 pm.
Image: Jaguars Kaya (seated front) and Luna (behind)
Employee of the Quarter - Bart Garcia
Congratulations to Bart Garcia for being recognized as the Lee Richardson Zoo's Employee of the Quarter!
To acknowledge his efforts and outstanding performance, Bart was nominated for this award by fellow zoo employees.
Bart is part of the Maintenance crew at LRZ and is known for his positive attitude, ability to problem solve, and willingness to support fellow coworkers.
Thank you, Bart, for your continued hard work and dedication!
Image: Employee of the Quarter - Bart Garcia