Tuesday, November 3, 2015

And The Winners Are ... Announcing the 9th Annual Zoo Boo Costume Awards

With our 9th annual Zoo Boo one for the books we want to say thank you to the participating area businesses who helped make Zoo Boo a success. For a complete list of the business please visit the Zoo Boo page on our web site. 

And now (drum roll please!) Here are photographs of the businesses who received special recognition at Zoo Boo.

Congratulations from Wildwood Wildlife Park and Friends of the Zoo.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Celebrating Teeke the Giraffe's Third Birthday

Who doesn't love a birthday celebration? Friends and family singing Happy Birthday followed by cake? For Teeke, our male giraffe, Sunday was no different except that this birthday cake was edible and very giraffe friendly!

Visitors to the park wished Teeke a happy birthday and imagined him blowing out three birthday candles (which happened to be his favorite: carrot sticks)!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Jolie Femme Sasha et FĂ©roce Lloyd

Our final salute to the hard working compassionate zookeepers at Wildwood Wildlife Park is Sasha Busjahn who has chosen the Greater Grison to highlight and imitate. Lloyd's favorite spot to sleep is inside a log; when Lloyd was off exploring Sasha crawled right in to see how comfortable it really is but we don't think she will be stealing his sleeping spot any time soon! 

Greater grison's are mustelidae, a family of carnivorous mammals that include the badger, mink, otter and wolverine.

Greater grison's have a long body which resembles the honey badger. Greater grison's don't ever have to worry about being confused for a honey badger since the two of them will never meet each other: the honey badger lives in Africa, while the greater grison lives in Central and South America. The "grison" part of the name is an English variation of the word "gris" which is French for the color gray. Like its relative the honey badger, the greater grison is very temperamental. It is unknown if any creature outside of humans hunt them.

Greater grison's are gray in color with a black muzzle, throat, chest and underside. They have a white "U" shaped marking that runs around the top of their head tapering off near their shoulder. Greater grison's sleep during the day, hunting during the night, dawn and dusk.

Greater grison's are found in a wide range including savannas, grasslands, rainforests and evergreen forests. They prefer to live near water choosing to make their home in rocks, under tree roots or in vacated burrows. Greater grison's eat whatever is available: small mammals, birds and their eggs, lizards, amphibians, and fruits. In some areas, grisons are trapped for body parts and for the pet trade.

Grisons are agile runners, swimmers and climbers communicating by a variety of snorts, screams, barks and growls. Breeding occurs in Late August, early September and the female grison will give birth to 2-4 young. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Hanging with the Sloths and the Black & White Ruffed Lemur

We are pleased to introduce Wildwood Wildlife Park's newest zookeeper Marisa Levin. She may be new to the park but it didn't take her long to select her favorite animal for National Zookeeper Week: the sloths. Sloths spend a lot of their time sleeping so it is only natural that Marisa would demonstrate how relaxing and comfortable a sloth's favorite sleeping spot is! 

Sloths are tropical mammals that live in Central and South America. A sloths long arms allow them to spend most of their time hanging upside-down from trees. They use their huge hooked claws to hang onto branches while munching on leaves that other animals can't reach. As you can imagine, a sloth's long claws make walking on the ground difficult, which dictates that they spend their lives in the tree tops of the tropical rain forests. It may surprise you to learn that sloths are excellent swimmers! From time to time they will drop down into the water from their treetop perches. 

It can take up to one month for a sloth to digest one meal. The sloth's diets consist of tough leaves that are difficult to digest. Their leafy diet isn't very nutritious and do not get much energy from it. This may be why sloths are so slow!

Sloths both mate and give birth to their young in trees. Courting starts when a female yells a mating scream letting the males in the area know that she's ready to mate. Males will fight for her by hanging from branches by their feet and pawing at each other. After 5-6 months females will give birth to a single baby. Babies cling to their mother's belly for several weeks after birth, and will remain by their mother's side for up to four years. These drowsy tree-dwellers can sleep up to 20-hours a day and when they are awake they barely move at all!

While four of the sloth species range over large portions of norther South America and are common in protected areas, two species of the three-toed sloths, the maned three-toed sloth and the pygmy three-toed sloth are listed as endangered species on the IUCN Red List.

Wildwood Wildlife Park's zookeeper Brooke Rose is showing off her balancing skills as she recreates the amazing climbing ability of Wildwood's male Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Bobby. Brooke has been here at Wildwood for 6 years! 

Populations of wild ruffed lemurs are critically endangered in Madagascar, which is the only place lemurs are found in. This species is endangered primarily due to the loss of habitat as the forests are cleared for logging and farming. The name “lemur” means “ghost “ in Latin. The first people to hear their loud calls thought they were ghosts in the forest. Lemurs have a wide range of vocalizations.

Black and white ruffed lemurs live in social groups made up of many males and many females, who are in charge. They live primarily in trees are are excellent climbers and jumpers. 

Ruffed lemurs are frugivores, eating mainly fruit, but also eat edible plants and flowers. The black and white ruffed lemur is one of only two types of lemurs to build nests for their young. Females typically have 2 babies, though they can have as many as six. Unlike other lemurs, the babies stay in the nest while the mother looks for food and if the mother needs to move them, she carries them in her mouth. Other lemur species continually carry their young on their backs. 

Zookeeper Week: A Duet of Monochrome, Zoo Style

Today we are featuring Hannah Arnott and Katie Quednow, Wildwood Wildlife Park interns who have chosen their favorite park residents to imitate as part of our National Zookeeper Week.

Hannah is showing off her pearly whites imitating our baby male zebra Zorro - it looks like both of them have something exciting to say about greeting our visitors to the park!

As you can probably guess, the zebra is closely related to horses and donkey but what sets zebras apart is their unique black and white stripes. Did you know that each of the animal's stripes are as unique as fingerprints, no two are alike. Theories abound as to why zebras have stripes including: to repel insects, provide camouflage in grassy areas, confuse predators, to reduce its body temperature, or to provide a way of zebras to recognize each other.

Zebras are herbivorous feeding primarily on a variety of grasses. They are also known to eat shrubs, twigs, leaves and bark.

Zebras are born with brown and white stripes, changing to the signature black and white as they develop into an adult. The foals have soft fuzzy fur and are able to walk within 20 minutes following birth and are able to run within one hour. Mares will keep other zebras away from her newborn for the first two or three days until her foal can imprint on her by sight, voice and smell.

Zebras are very social animals and live in large groups called a harem. Sometimes these harms will come together to form temporary groups of up to 30 members. Zebras sleep standing up and while in a group can be warned of danger. If they spot danger zebras will bark or whinny loudly to warn others in the group.

Wildwood intern Katie is striking a queenly pose in keeping with the the regal charm of the park’s black leopard Toby.

Zoologically speaking, the term panther is synonymous with leopard. The black panther is the common name for a black "big cat" with a coloration melanistic gene that causes the beautiful black coloration. Did you know that Toby, like other black leopards are not totally black but rather have a spotted pattern which you can see from a certain angle. Underneath that beautiful fur their skin is a mixture of blue black gray and purple with rosettes

Leopards live in sub-saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India, and China, however, much of their populations are endangered. The leopard is able to hunt and kill animals that significantly outweigh them. These nocturnal hunters are so comfortable with their climbing skills that they often hunt from trees and, using their impressive strength, will drag their kill high into a tree keeping it safe from scavengers such as hyenas.

Leopards can give birth at any time of the year, a typical litter will consist of two cubs. A mother leopard keeps her cubs hidden, moving the cubs frequently from one safe location to another until they are old enough to begin to play, a precursor of developing hunting skills. The cubs will stay with their mother for two years. Other then a cub with the mother, leopards are solitary animals.

Leopard populations are declining due to being hunted for their soft fur which is prized in the production of coats and robes. Poaching and habitat loss are the reasons why the population of leopards are relatively low. These beautiful big cats are in far more danger from humans than we are from leopards. When brought into close contact with human ranches, leopards may prey on livestock. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Cute as a Coati

Thursday's zookeeper of the week is Melanie Czajkowski who is about to celebrate her first year as a zookeeper at Wildwood Wildlife Park. To commemorate National Zookeeper Week, Melanie has selected as her favorite park resident the coatimundi.

The coatimundi or coati is a medium-sized mammal found only in North and South America and are members of the raccoon family.  Coatis have a slender head and as you can see, a slightly turned-up nose. This feature is part of the reason why it is given the nickname 'the hog-nose raccoon.' Additionally they have a very long tail and often hold the tail erect; using it as a way of keeping troops of coatis together while walking or foraging in tall vegetation. The tip of the coatis tail can be moved slightly, just like a cat.

Coatis are active day and night and feeds on lizards, fruits, nuts and seeds, insects, birds eggs, rodents and small reptiles. A forest dweller and an agile tree climber when the coatis is on the ground, its short forelegs give it a bearlike gait.

Females and their young travel in bands but males are solitary. Males join the band only during the mating season, typically at the start of the rainy season, when there is an abundance of food. When the female is ready to give birth she will leave the band of coatis to build a nest in the trees or on a rocky ledge, where she will give birth to 2-7 kits. The female and her young will rejoin the band when they are about 6 weeks old. 

Coatis communication using chirping, snorting, or grunting sounds. The also use postures to convey simple messages. In her photo Melanie has chosen a favorite posture of our one-year old coatis: the adorably cute tactic of begging the zookeepers for their favorite food of grapes and mealworms.

Thank you Melanie for sharing your love of animals and for highlighting the coatimundi.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Lindsay and the Bob Tailed Cat

Today we are pleased to introduce you to another of Wildwood Wildlife Park's dedicated zookeepers, Lindsay Krapfl and her favorite animal, Keeta, our one-year old female Bobcat. 

The bobcat is the most common wildcat in North America and is named for its short, bobbed tail which appears to be cut or 'bobbed.' Its ears are black-tipped and pointed, with short black tufts of hair. Many people refer to the bobcat as a wildcat. While Wildcats are native to Africa, Europe and Asia, a bobcat is a small lynx of North America and are known as the North American Wildcat.

The bobcat prefers to live in woodland areas, but, unlike the lynx, it does not depend exclusively on deep forests. In addition to living in woods and forests these solitary animals can be found in swamps and semi-desert areas.

The bobcat is crepuscular, meaning that it is more active during the twilight hours just before dawn and dusk. During cold or the winter months it will often become active during the day.

Bobcats are amazing hunters - stalking its prey with both stealth and patience eventually capturing their meals with one leap. They are agile, climbing trees seemingly without effort and are also very good swimmers.

Bobcats are carnivores; their diet consists mainly of small animals including rabbits and hares and are also know to eat rodents, birds, and bats. 

Bobcat's mating season is late winter, but anytime throughout the year is possible. Bobcat litters can be between 1-6 kittens that are usually born in the early spring. The kittens begin eating solid food around two months and begin learning to hunt at 5-months of age.

Like other cats the bobcat will often mew, hiss, growl ... and purr.

If you encounter Lindsay we hope you will thank her for sharing her passion for animals - or maybe just wave and "meow." 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Zookeeper Appreciation Week: A Labor of Love

Today's celebration of National Zookeeper Appreciation Week post highlights Wildwood Wildlife Park's Head Zookeeper Jennifer Domaszek. As our fans and friends know, Jennifer has a special place in her heart for Kya, our beautiful Striped Hyena. 

During last year's National Zookeeper Week Jennifer selected Kya as her favorite zoo resident. Just a few weeks ago we celebrated Kya's fourth birthday and this year's appreciation celebration holds special meaning: the bond of motherhood.

Last October we were pleased to announce the safe arrival of Kya's cubs born on August 29th. When it was time for our Head Zookeeper to choose a photograph to feature during this week, she quickly chose this image of Kya, "I wanted to use my pregnancy [for this year's National Zookeeper Week] and re-enacted Kya being stretched out while she was pregnant. She ended up having her babies 3 days after I took the photo!"

We are pleased to report that not too long after Jennifer's re-enactment, she and her family welcomed the safe arrival of twin daughters.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Celebrating National Zookeeper Week: Do You Flamingo? We Do!

It's no secret that we love animals: big and small, cute and cuddly, creepy and crawly - we love them all. But it is all the work that goes on behind the scenes - the efforts to maintain the Accreditations and Recognitions and the Zookeepers who help care for our residents that help to provide positive experiences that last a life time. It is why we look forward to celebrating National Zookeeper Week. 

What is National Zookeeper Week?

The third week in July has been set aside as a time to highlight the role animal care professionals play as educators and conservation ambassadors. This is an essential role and responsibility of the Zookeeper as the need to protect and preserve wildlife and their habitats increase. 

Zoo and Aquarium professionals care for hundreds of species three hundred and sixty five days a year, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week - from hurricanes to blizzards and heat waves, Zookeepers must be ready for everything. A keeper's day can include many tasks including cleaning, food prep, medical treatment, training, enrichment, landscaping, exhibit design, public outreach and education and much more. For these animal care professionals it is much more then a job, it's a passion and a calling. 

This week we will be featuring our zookeepers and their favorite animals in a daily posting here on our blog. We are going to kick off the celebration highlighting one of our newest exhibits: the flamingos, we hope you will come back every day this week to see a new picture of the zookeepers imitating their animals! 

The flamingos pink or reddish color comes from the rich sources of carotenoid pigments in the algae and small crustaceans the birds eat. The long legs of flamingos let them wade in to deeper water then most other birds to look for food. Flamingos are unique that their bill is held upside down in the water. They eat by sucking water and mud in the front of the bill and then pumping it out again at the sides. Here, briny plates called lamellae act like little filters, trapping shrimp and other good food the flamingos like to eat.

Flamingos lay one large white egg in a mud nest built by both parents. After a chick is hatched, the chick will stay on the nest for 5-12 days. During this time, the chick is fed a type of “milk” called crop milk that comes from the parents upper digestive tract. Both males and females can feed the chick this way, Even flamingos that are not the parents can act as foster-feeders. 

It is believed that the begging calls the hungry chick makes stimulate the secretion of the milk. While feeding a chick, the parents lose their bright pink colors turning themselves to pale pink or white. The parents will gain their color back once the chicks begin eating on their own.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Happy Birthday Kya!

It's no secret that the qualifications of a zookeeper is more than just a love of animals. They spend their days being the eyes and ears of the entire zoo no matter what the weather. Constantly getting wet and dirty and being on duty during the weekends and holidays is just part of their day. Our zookeepers also are in constant contact with visitors to the zoo; answering any questions they might have and oftentimes working in the encounter areas of the park. And as you can probably imagine, over time, zookeepers develop a special relationship with one or more of the animals.

During our Zookeeper Appreciation week we highlighted our dedicated and trained zookeepers on our Facebook page and gave them the opportunity to share one of their favorite animals at the zoo. Head Zookeeper Jen Domaszek posed with her Wildwood favorite, Kya the Striped Hyena.

In celebration of Kya's fourth birthday on May 31st, we have selected her as the subject of today's blog post.

Kya is a Striped Hyena, which is one of the three hyena species. The other two are the Brown Hyena which are a near threatened species and the more commonly known Spotted Hyena.

Unlike the Spotted Hyena, that live in clans run by one dominant female, both the Brown and Striped Hyenas are solitary animals. 

Although hyenas physically resemble dogs they are actually more closely related to cats. Hyenas are well known scavengers, but will also hunt their own food. Striped Hyenas like Kya also eat fruit and other plant matter. 

Wish Kya a happy birthday and if you are lucky, you might catch her in the act of enjoying her favorite treat - peaches!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Do The Zoo Again and Again!

Spring ... and our much anticipated opening day ... is just around the corner. Everyone at Wildwood Wildlife Park is getting anxious to open our doors and welcome visitors to the Zoo!

Now is the perfect time to purchase a zoo membership. Visit for an hour or spend the day, your membership pass allows you to visit as much as you like. And the best part? There are several options to choose from - you're sure to find a membership that fits your family! 

Did you know that a Zoo Pass pays for itself in as little as two visits?!

Whether you’ve had one in the past or are thinking about getting a Zoo Pass for the first time, now is the time to do it!  Specific details and other information can be found here on our web site.

See you at the Zoo! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

William E. Gardner Education and Events Center Slated for Opening Spring 2015

Look deep into nature, and then you will
understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

The Domaszek family and Wildwood Wildlife Park staff are dedicated to the preservation and conservation of all animals. Wildwood Wildlife Park team’s mission: to provide an exciting zoological collection and educational facility to all visitors. Promoting life-long learning by enriching minds, fostering environmental respect, while helping prepare our visitor for our conservation future. We strive to provide experiences that last a lifetime with every visit no matter your age.

Daily programs are held at the Wildwood Wildlife Park amphitheater where visitors learn about various mammals, birds, primates, and reptiles. The park’s staff works hard to provide a variety of educational programs and learning experiences at the zoo. Thanks to the hard work and dedication from the entire Wildwood Wildlife Park staff, the park received the prestigious Zoological Association of America accreditation in June 2008 and was reaccredited in 2013.

The zoo’s new William E. Gardner Educational and Events Center has been a work in progress and will be filled with amazing things to see and do. Proceeding on our philosophy of continuing education, the William E. Gardner Educational and Events Center will enhance our schools, camps, scouts and 4-H field trip experiences.

Visitors will be able to peer into the world of honeybees and witness these amazing creatures performing their specialized duties to produce honey.

Microscope tables allow insect investigation. Explore the educational tables with hands on examination of skulls, fur and artifacts and fun activity sheets for the kids. Animal displays include: snake, amphibian, lizard, arthropod, insect and finishes.

Our Conservation Corner features information on conservation efforts to help protect sloths, lemurs, leopards, cheetahs, and tigers; conservation causes that Wildwood Wildlife Park actively supports.

Zoo visitors will find opportunities to learn in every corner of the Educational and Events Center. And of course, watching and exploring animals is an educational experience in itself!

The journey of making our mission and the vision of the zoo being a place for guests to spend time with their families, making memories and watching their children learn, laugh and play has been made possible thanks in part to sponsors of the William E. Gardner Education and Events Center (photo below.)

Thank you sponsors of the William E. Gardner Education & Events Center:
Pukall Lumber Company - Van Natta's Plumbing - Hallman Lindsay Quality Paints
Wilderness Sales & Service - Quality Heating Inc - Furniture and Appliance Mart

Friday, February 13, 2015

Continuing Education and Conservation: Wildwood Wildlife Park Lemur Exhibit

The zoo may be closed for the season but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been hibernating waiting for spring. If you’ve driven by the zoo lately you know that nothing could be farther from the truth! We can’t wait for spring to show off the new and exciting changes at Wildwood Wildlife Park.

We’ve got that reputation among our zoo members and visitors that there is always something New at the Zoo. Today we take you on a behind the scenes look at the new lemur house.

Did you know all species of lemurs are native to Madagascar?

Wildwood Wildlife Park is fortunate to house four different species: the Ring-Tailed Lemur, the Brown Lemur, the Red Ruffed Lemur and the Black and White Lemur.

The Red Ruffed and the Black and White are two species of ruffed lemurs named for the “ruff” of long hair that runs from the ears along the cheeks to beneath their chin. Ruffed lemurs are the largest of the lemurs - about the size of a large house cat. 

The name “lemur” comes from the Latin word for “ghost.” Lemurs communicate with each other using a complex system of at least 12 different vocalizations. These vocalizations can be low grunts, gurgling sounds or a cackle like roar. It’s no wonder that the first people to hear the loud calls of a lemur thought they were ghosts in the forest!

Can you guess the favorite food of the lemur? If you guess fruit - you’re right! But they also eat other food including leaves, flowers, buds and fungi. When the lemurs aren’t foraging for their food in the treetops you’ll find them dangling from their arms or legs to get to a hard-to-reach treat if they can’t get it from a standing position.

When a female lemur is ready to give birth she begins making a nest - in the wild the nest can be high up in a tree usually 60 to 80 feet from the ground. Would you be surprised to know that baby ruffed lemurs don’t cling to their mothers: the mom thinks it is time to move her baby, she carries him or her in her mouth.

Lemurs are critically endangered. The main reason is the loss of their rain forest habitat. Madagascar’s forests have been reduced by as much as 85% due to extensive logging for cooking fuel, building materials and what is called slash-and-burn farming.

Wildwood Wildlife Park is dedicated to help save these beautiful, inquisitive and vocal animals. We look forward to your visiting the new lemur exhibit.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Your 2015 School Group Tour! Contact Wildwood Wildlife Park To Reserve Your Date!

It's no secret that our School Group Tours are one of the hottest events in the Northwoods. To quote an excerpt from the Wildwood Mission Statement: "We strive to provide experiences that last a lifetime with every visit no matter your age."

We are accepting reservations for your school group tour for spring 2015.  Click on the image below to enlarge, print and share the School Field Trip information.

Call the park to reserve your date for one of the wildest field trips anywhere!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wildwood Zookeepers visit Camp Angel at Camp Manito-Wish

One of the New Year traditions that we look forward to is traveling to Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, to visit the Angel On My Shoulder kids at Camp Manito-Wish. On January 9th several of the zookeepers from Wildwood made their annual visit bringing with them several of our special residents.

Angel On My Shoulder is a non-profit organization that assists and supports individuals, families and caregivers affected by cancer. Camps, such as the one the Wildwood zookeepers participated in, offer the assurance that make it clear they are not alone.

Camp Angel holds their winter session at Camp Manito-Wish YMCA in Boulder Junction. While it is cold outside the cozy and warm Northwood's cabins with the fireplaces keep everyone warm and toasty. The campers enjoy popcorn, hot chocolate, and other treats while playing games and getting to know each other and their counselors. Campers at Camp Angel offer a number of interesting, unique and educational presentations; the zookeepers all look forward to their presentation.

Each zookeeper spent approximately five minutes talking about the animal before the children were able to ask questions of the zookeepers. The zookeepers then lined up so the children could touch and pet each animal and ask additional questions.

Our time spent with the campers at Camp Angel is something we always look forward too. No matter what the temperature is outside when we leave, we're wrapped in the warmth of courage, love and hope.

Three of the five animals at Camp Angel. Left to right: Daffy the striped skunk,
Arnie the 9 banded armadillo, Peanut the Flemish giant (rabbit).
Not shown: a box turtle and African spurred tortoise.