ZOO GNUS

Catch up with the latest news at LRZ with articles, press releases, and other fun updates

written and created by Zoo Staff.

Meet Bill Elliot

Even when animals aren’t visible within the zoo, we still love to celebrate them! “Bill Elliot”, the Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove, turned eight on August 13. Bill has been spending his time behind-the-scenes while the free flight area of the Marie Osterbuhr Aviary is being renovated. Bill’s animal care providers stated that he loves rain showers (mimicked using a hose for light misting) and spending his time low to the ground. Considering Luzon Bleeding Heart Doves are found in forests, it makes sense he’d like the occasional rain shower!

            The Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove is native to the Northern Philippine islands of Luzon and Polillo. They are easily recognized by their white breasts, gray backs, black wing bands, and bright red chest plumage. Their red chest plumage resembles that of an abstract bleeding heart, hence their name. These birds can be found on the forest floor, gathering seeds, berries, insects, and worms. They tend to nest low in the trees or in dense vegetation or shrubbery, which allows them to seek cover from predators.

            Doves are a type of bird in the family Columbidae (doves and pigeons) found on all continents except Antarctica. When we think of doves, we might not think of the most aggressive type of bird (we’ll leave that to the raptors and cassowaries). The bleeding-heart dove can be quite territorial, defending its territory with calls and fights that can sometimes lead to the death of the losing bird. One thing all doves and pigeons do have in common is their ability to produce  crop milk, a type of milk that is fed to their young. This is not a milk quite like we think of with mammals, it’s more of a regurgitated bird mush that can be produced by both males and females. While that might not sound like the most appetizing food, baby doves find it quite tasty.

Bill Elliot will be returning to the Marie Osterbuhr Aviary soon. Keep up to date with the progress of the Marie Osterbuhr Aviary reopening via social media at Lee Richardson Zoo or on our website, www.leerichardsonzoo.org.

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Image: Luzon bleeding heart dove - "Bill Elliot"

- Alyssa M. Conservation Awareness Manager

Red-Ruffed Lemur Pups

The Zoo’s first-ever-lemur baby, red ruffed lemur Mafy, born last June, now has a brother and sister! The pair of lemurs were born on the morning of June 28th at the Zoo’s Primate Forest - Lemurs!

 

Red ruffed lemurs can give birth to 1 – 6 infants in a litter, while 2 – 3 is more typical. Mother Sorsha has been extremely attentive to the infants, and after just over a week of bonding time, brother Mafy, uncle Frank, and father Bogey were able to join them in the indoor dayroom. The boys have been very interested in their new family members but have been extremely respectful of matriarch Sorsha and her babies. Very precocious and curious, the infants are already poking their heads out of the front of the nest box. Chances for visitors to see them become better each day.

 

The births of Mafy and his as-yet-unnamed siblings were the result of breeding recommendations 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. Learn more about how you can help red ruffed lemurs when you visit the zoo.

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Image: Two red-ruffed lemur pups