penguin encounter education

Education Intern Field Guide: August

August is the unofficial month of CATS at Tanganyika!

We house several species of cat at the park, as you all well know! August is a celebratory month for a lot of our cats; Clouded Leopard Day is on the 4th, International Cat Day is on the 8th (celebrate your house cats, too!), World Lion Day is on the 10th, and Black Cat Appreciation Day is on the 17th. Next time you visit the park, make sure you wind your way over to Cat Circle; not a lot of people make it over there! Turn left in front of Lorikeet Landing, keep walking past the kookaburras and the toucans, and you will arrive at the snow leopards, cheetahs, and binturongs (also called bearcats). You may even catch a carnivore keeper in their routine, and they would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about cats. It is usually fairly uncrowded and quiet over there – a welcome break from the occasional craziness of feeding bunnies, tortoises, and guinea pigs!

This past July, our monthly exclusives were a bat-eared fox experience and a TMC painting extravaganza. In lieu of that, for August, one of the exclusives will involve snow leopards! We have 14 snow leopards total, including the cubs you can see as you come into the park. Book the August monthly exclusive, and you will be able to witness the cats demonstrate some of their natural and trained behaviors, as well as chat with keepers about snow leopard conservation efforts being undertaken both here and out in the world.

Photo credit to Karen Rudolph, our head carnivore keeper! You may have recently seen her in the nursery window, bottle feeding a snow leopard cub or two

Park Babies and Our Breeding Programs

If you’ve been to Tanganyika lately, you might have noticed all of the babies! Tanganyika has been a breeding facility since the beginning, the first animal to be born at the park being a white tiger. Since then, the park has become known as one of the best breeding facilities of cats in the world, and does its best to focus on population conservation, with an emphasis on endangered or threatened populations.

Tanganyika’s nursery is one of the first things you can see when you enter the park, and you definitely don’t want to miss seeing the jaguar and snow leopard cubs. Our nursery takes great care of recording the care of our cubs that come through the nursery. Each cub moves through with a greatly detailed record sheet that includes information of their weight, how much milk they drank, if they’ve relieved themselves, what supplements were given, and any other notes to be highlighted. These records assist our keepers in knowing what worked, what didn’t, and what can be changed in order to increase their daily nutrition. Tanganyika works closely with a rehab facility to do studies and nutrient measurements on our milks used for the cubs. 

The breeding programs found here at Tanganyika not only benefit our park, but they also increase the genetic diversity of animals at many other facilities as well! Some of the offspring from Tanganyika can be found all over the United States in different wildlife parks and zoos! If you ever get the chance to go visit the Phoenix Zoo, you might get to see Nessie, the offspring of our very own pygmy hippos, Pluto and Posie. 

While some of the babies have gone off to other locations, there are still so many babies to visit right here in the park! Some of these younglings include two giraffes, a mandrill, a colobus, and a porcupine. When you first enter the park, you might be able to see the two little giraffes out in their enclosures attached to the giraffe yard. Or you can take a stroll through monkey circle, stopping to visit the colobus and mandrills. The baby porcupine also is making its way out to say hello, so try to catch a glimpse at their exhibit!

Undercover Keepers, every day at 1:30!

Have you ever wondered what our keepers do behind the scenes? Let our team take you undercover as we reveal the secrets and mysteries of the zoo and the animals that reside here!  Every day this program could be wildly different; you could get to see one of our many animal artists in action, for example. We also give our animals lots of enrichment to keep their lives interesting and fun, and during this program you might get a chance to make and/or share some enrichment with an animal! You will most likely get to see some of our animals’ trained behaviors, as well. Training can help enrich the lives of our animals and often helps with their care. While part of an Undercover Keepers program, you always get to learn some awesome new things about animals from the keepers who care for them everyday!

Jungle Juniors and Cub Club → Recruiting young animal enthusiasts!

Twice a week, there are some amazing opportunities for animal encounters and experiences wildly different from anything else you may have seen before!

Jungle Juniors is available every Monday morning from 9 AM to 10 AM. This fun and educational activity hour for 3 to 6 year olds can be enjoyed by all ages of participants. Each week a different animal is highlighted within a chosen story. This story is followed by some awesome hands-on activities and crafts, and then a special animal visit or encounter! Two kiddos who love coming to Jungle Juniors are Brooks and Blakely. Brooks is often away on other adventures but his face expresses pure joy during the whole program when he attends. Sister Blakely comes almost every week and still has tons of fun and learns new things. Some previous experiences jungle juniors have had include meeting Nemean the lion, Paco the penguin, Jade the serval, and so many other experiences!  

Cub Club is every Wednesday from 9:30-10 AM, and is made up of some amazing toddler-friendly activities! These include a special song, storytime, and a visit from an animal ambassador (you may even venture into the park to meet the ambassador!). This event is fun for toddler and babies, especially, but guests of all ages are gladly welcomed! Previous experiences include meeting Yolandi the African penguin, Chewie the two-toed sloth, Betty Boop the warthog, and many more! Depending on the animal, you may get the chance to touch and take photos with them, too!

Be sure to reserve your spot for the weeks to come HERE.

Recent Jungle Junior Okapi visitor



Share this article with your friends & family!