Parents, you won’t want to miss the season opener Saturday at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. You and your kids will have a fun-packed day plus the opportunity to see something pretty rare — three Los Lobos Mexican gray wolves that have joined the zoo’s family.
Mexican gray wolves are the most endangered wolves in North America, with only 40 remaining in the wild. The wolves now living at the zoo are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, a wildlife conservation program that conserves a select and threatened or endangered species population. The zoo also is working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s international recovery program that will reintroduce captive-born wolves into the wild.
Even the wolves that are part of the Species Survival Plan could be returned to the wild, so it’s important that their natural behaviors be observed, even their feeding habits. During your visit, you may have the chance to see them feeding as wolves do in the wild. They will receive prey carcasses from time to time.
The Lehigh Valley Zoo prides takes pride in its conservation efforts, says zoo president and CEO Rick Molchany.
“We are a little zoo that does really cool things,” Molchany says.
The exhibit will open officially with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m., but activities begin at 10 a.m. when the zoo opens. And there are so many fun and educational things for you and your kids to see and do.
Head to a table set up near the Birds of Prey exhibit any time from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where each member of the family can make a wolf mask.
And, don’t miss the Howling Contest at noon that will be conducted with the help of local Boy Scouts. Everyone is invited to compete by offering up their best wolf howl for a chance to win prizes. Celebrity judges will pick the winners.
Join in on the scavenger hunt for wolf tracks for a chance to win prizes from The Morning Call, a zoo partner. The Call also will provide each kid with a commemorative 8 1/2-by-11-inch wolf poster.
The zoo will have several animal encounters throughout the day. Some will allow you to touch and pet animals, such as snakes, lizards, ferrets and rabbits, and others will provide you with an up-close look at species, such as porcupine, penguin, spiders, owls, hawks and more. In addition, animal artifacts — elk antlers, a wolf skull, bones teeth and more — will be on display.
The zoo is located at 5150 Game Preserve Road near Schnecksville. Hours: Beginning April 1,10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission: $9.75 for adult (12-64), $8.75 for seniors (65 and older), $7.75 for children (2-11) and free for children under 2.
On Saturday, Boy Scouts in uniform will be admitted free. And Scout family members will get a $2 off the regular admission. Info: 610-799-4171 or www.lvzoo.org.
Original post by Irene Kraft at 6 AM on March 29, 2011
Photo credit: Allen Ssm
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