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Buffalo Zoo Lion Pride Continues To Grow

Buffalo, N.Y. (June 29, 2016) –The Buffalo Zoo welcomes the birth of three African lion cubs to first-time mother Lusaka and Tiberius, now a father of four.

Lion-Cub-TrioFor the second time in just over as many months, Buffalo Zoo President & CEO Dr. Donna Fernandes is thrilled to announce the birth of three African lions. The litter, born May 12 at the Zoo is comprised of two females and one male. The nearly eight-week-old cubs are the first for mother Lusaka (6) and father Tiberius (3). Both adult lions are the offspring of native African lions and were paired as a result of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommendation. Lusaka was born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. in 2010 and Tiberius was born at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY in 2013. They arrived to Buffalo in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

“We were so excited to share the news at the end of April about Tobias, our first lion cub in twenty- five years, so the media and the public can imagine our excitement at sharing the news about three more cubs and our growing lion pride,” Dr. Fernandes expressed. Tobias made his public debut on Father’s Day, and has not disappointed visitors as he navigates the large boulders and other elements of the exhibit in an effort to be as nimble as his parents.

The cubs recently underwent their first health check-up and weighed-in between eleven and thirteen pounds. Unlike Tobias, who was bottled-fed with formula through the protective mesh enclosure, the new cubs have been fed exclusively by their mother, with the only human interaction the result of their health screening. “The overall comparison between the experiences of each lioness underscores the fact that each case is different. We are simply thrilled at our ability to contribute to conservation efforts of the species through public awareness and, of course, through the eyes of a child, “ added Dr. Fernandes.

The next steps for lion keeper staff are to complete introductions of the lionesses and all four cubs, with a final introduction of Tiberius to the entire pride. Once this process is completed, and unless completed sooner, it is expected that the newest cubs will make their public debut in August. In the meantime, the Zoo will keep the public updated through its social media pages, including any decisions concerning how the cubs will be named.

African lions are classified as vulnerable in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service takes a stronger stance, classifying the African lion as endangered. Loss of habitat and poaching are among the key causes of this classification. Every cub born and successfully reared will make a difference.

Lion Cub To Make Public Debut On Sunday, Father’s Day

Tiberius and Tobias copyBuffalo, N.Y. (June 17, 2016) – The Buffalo Zoo is excited to announce that Tobias, the three-month- old African lion cub will be making his official public debut this Sunday, Father’s Day.

It’s going to be a proud Father’s Day for Tiberius, the three-and- a-half- year-old male African lion, as his first offspring is planned to make his public debut this Sunday, June 19 at the Buffalo Zoo.

On April 27, the Zoo announced that on March 5 of this year, a male African lion cub was born to first-time parents Lelei (6) and Tiberius. The cub, later named Tobias by his keepers, is the first lion cub to be reared at the Zoo in twenty-five years.

“The decision to commit to a schedule for the public is based on several factors,” according to Zoo president & CEO, Donna M. Fernandes, Ph.D., “we wanted to be sure of successful introductions between the father and the mother and cub so that they could be presented as a family. In addition, we had to be sure that the cub’s ability to navigate the exhibit had developed to an acceptable level. We are thrilled that the public will now have the opportunity to appreciate him as we do.”

Over the last few weeks, off-hours, keepers slowly began introducing the cub to the exhibit space, followed by his mother, and finally his father. The cub currently weighs 13.7 kg (30 lbs.).

Beginning this Sunday, June 19, and barring inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances that would be announced via the Zoo’s social media pages, the cub will be in the lion exhibit daily from the Zoo’s opening at 10 a.m. through at least 2 p.m.

Buffalo Zoo Engages Former Leader Of Burchfield Penny

Ted PietrzakBuffalo, N.Y. (June 15, 2016) –The Buffalo Zoo has contracted with non-profit leader and former museum director, Ted Pietrzak, to coordinate the capital campaign project to renovate its historic reptile house.

The Buffalo Zoo is thrilled to announce that Ted Pietrzak joined the Buffalo Zoo three weeks ago to coordinate its latest campaign project. Originally completed in 1942, the Zoo’s historic reptile house was a milestone for then curator and now world-famous herpetologist Marlin Perkins, of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom fame.

Pietrzak brings a wealth of experience to the position, which includes being the former director of the Burchfield Penny Art Center from 1998 to 2010. Under his leadership, the Center raised over $36 million for the construction of the Center’s state-of-the-art space within Buffalo’s Museum District.

Zoo president & CEO, Donna Fernandes Ph.D, is pleased with his positive decision to assist in this project, “I could not think of a more qualified individual than Ted to help us restore and modernize our beloved reptile house. While our intent is to maintain many of the building’s historic elements, we are also looking to the future. Infrastructure, exhibit improvements, and new exhibits for the likes of the highly anticipated Komodo dragon are part of the plan. Ted is just the right person to help us reach these goals.”

After leaving the Burchfield Penny Art Center in 2010, Pietrzak started his own firm, Pietrzak & Associates (TP+A), with a mission to support non-profit cultural institutions with their large-scale fundraising efforts. Most recently, Pietrzak was instrumental with the successful campaign that brought a new staging structure to the popular Shakespeare in the Park summer series. Of this newest endeavor, Pietrzak states, “I am thrilled to be working with my long-time colleague Donna Fernandes on this important project. We share a vision of building and strengthening our region’s cultural assets, such as the Zoo, for the benefit of their individual missions and for the benefit of the community as a whole.”

The $2.5 million campaign is part of the Zoo’s overall master plan, now entering phase three. Previous phases have included M&T Bank Rainforest Falls, Garman Family Arctic Edge, and others. Work is set to start late in 2016 if the campaign goal has been met. Interested philanthropists can contact the Zoo directly for additional information.

Buffalo Zoo Names Male African Lion Cub

Baby-Lion-Cub-Press-030Buffalo, N.Y. (May 24, 2016) –The Buffalo Zoo announces the name Tobias as official name of near three-month-old male African lion cub.

On April 27, 2016, the Buffalo Zoo announced the birth of a male lion cub to first time parents Lelie and Tiberius. At the time of the announcement, it was still uncertain what the cub would be called, or the process by which the Zoo would eventually name him.

In the case of this cub, the first in twenty-five years, the husbandry and overall care took a personal turn for his caregivers, led by Alicia DuBrava, lead big cats keeper. As the cub of a first-time lioness mother who had difficulty with successful nursing, he was trained early to accept feedings through the holding area protective mesh. His continued growth and positive health checks are testament to this successful approach, which enabled bonding with his mother while satisfying his nutritional needs.

At close to twenty pounds and nearly three months old, however, it is understandable that the keeper staff began to call him by something; that something being the name Tobias. When discussions occurred surrounding an official public name, it became clear that the entire Zoo team had embraced this name for him and has decided to keep it. The name has no particular significance other than a fascination of comparing Tobias’ paws and toes to those of his parents. According to DuBrava, “while it is not uncommon to have a public and completely different behind-the-scenes name, we are hopeful that the public will embrace this name, particularly when considering his cute nickname, Toby. We hope they will be pleased.”

Efforts continue to acquaint Tobias with the rest of the lion pride, and planning has started for his introduction to the outdoor yard as a precursor to his eventual public debut. The Zoo will continue to keep the public informed of progress at all levels.

River Otter Pups Born at the Buffalo Zoo

North-America-River-Otter-PBuffalo, N.Y. (May 4, 2016) – The Buffalo Zoo is thrilled to welcome a litter of North American river otter pups.

The litter is comprised of a male and a female born on February 28, 2016 to mother, eleven-year-old Ellie.  The father of the litter is nine-year-old Rascal.  This is the second litter of pups born to the otter pair, with their first litter born in 2014.

Since their birth two months ago, Ellie has once again demonstrated attentive maternal care, including teaching them to swim in an inside pool adjacent to their den.  Keepers have named the pups Luke & Leia, in homage to the infamous sci-fi siblings.  They were introduced to their exterior habitat on May 2. Based on positive observations, Zoo staff is pleased to report that the public may get a glimpse of the pups in Otter Creek between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. daily, weather-dependent.

Conservation efforts in the 1990’s have brought the North American river otter population to a stable status in the wild, after being on the verge of extinction. 

The Otter Creek exhibit is presented by 2findyourhome.Buffalo

Zoo Announces the Birth of a Male African Lion Cub

Baby-Lion-Cub-Press-030Buffalo, N.Y. (April 27, 2016) –The Buffalo Zoo announces with cautious optimism the birth of a male African lion cub to first time parents Lelie and Tiberius. 

Buffalo Zoo President & CEO Dr. Donna Fernandes is pleased to announce the birth of a male African lion cub, the first cub in twenty-five years.  The birth occurred on March 5, 2016 at approximately 6 p.m.  The nearly eight-week-old cub is the first for mother Lelie (6) and father Tiberius (3). Both adult lions are the offspring of native African lions and were paired as a result of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommendation.  Lelie was born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. in 2010 and Tiberius was born at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY in 2013. They arrived to Buffalo in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

According to Dr. Fernandes, “we are cautiously optimistic concerning our new lion cub and we are thrilled with his progress so far, but he is not out of the woods yet. In fact, it is common not to have any surviving offspring of a first-time litter by a lioness, in the wild or in human care.”  The litter was comprised of four cubs but three died within the first two days, which makes the surviving cub all the more important. Keepers are following by-the-book care standards, monitoring the mother and the cub during this critical bonding and growth time.

It is expected to be some time before the new cub will make his public debut in the lion exhibit.  He will need to achieve several milestones, including continued growth and positive health checks. Given the expected public interest, the Zoo will be posting pictures and video snippets of the cub to its social media pages on a regular basis over the coming few months.

Lelie’s half-sister Lusaka (6), born three weeks after Lelie in 2010 at the Smithsonian National Zoo will also be going off-exhibit in the coming days.  She is displaying signs of pregnancy and will be maintained in holding until further notice.  Any news concerning this development will be offered by the Zoo in due-time.

African lions are classified as vulnerable in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service takes a stronger stance, classifying the African lion as endangered.  Loss of habitat and poaching are among the key causes of this classification.  Every cub born and successfully reared will make a difference.

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