North Carolina Zoo

Jockey's Ridge
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory is expected to release his state budget proposal this week. It will likely spark the usual fights over Medicaid and teacher pay. But buried inside the budget will be a major reorganization of state government that could impact the millions of visitors to North Carolina’s state parks, science museums, aquariums, and even the Zoo.

The move involves the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the various attractions it manages: two science museums in Raleigh, 35 state parks, three aquariums, even Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head.

Patches relaxes at the zoo.
NC Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo's popular polar bear, Patches, died on Sunday.

In recent weeks, Patches had become uninterested in food, and was lethargic, according to Ken Reininger, the zoo’s general curator. Tests revealed the female bear had an extensive lung mass which was likely cancer.

“In the wild the average life span of a polar bear is 15-to-18 years old,” said Dr. David Jones, director of the zoo. “Patches was 26-years-old. She exceeded wildlife expectations by living a long life.”

Campers at the NC Zoo in Asheboro learn to use radio telemetry
NC Zoo

A dozen lucky kids tented overnight on the grounds of the NC Zoo recently. They were taking part in a one-of-a-kind summer camp. Carol Jackson tagged along with a video camera.

Usually when kids camp overnight at a zoo they look closely at the animals and learn from the keepers, or maybe the veterinarians.

On July 30,2014 the North Carolina Zoo’s female lion Mekita and male lion Reilly welcomed four cubs.
NC Zoo

July 30, a lion gave birth to four cubs at The North Carolina Zoo. It's the first birth since October 2006. The four cubs are not on exhibit now, but the zoo has made a behind-the-scenes video of them available. They are with mother Mekita:

Gorillas
wunc

This fall the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro will ship its five gorillas away.  The decision was made after a recommendation from the members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Gorilla Species Survival Plan. 

Here’s the problem—wild gorillas exist in groups that include one male, two or three females and their offspring.  Two baby male gorillas were born at the North Carolina Zoo this fall, Apollo and Bomassa, and all was well.

But then the father, Nkosi, died in November, which left no adult male role model for the two young gorillas.   

cougar kittens
NC Zoo - Still from video

Too cute for words. Kind of hard to imagine them growing into cougars:

Patches the Polar Bear enjoys space to himself at the NC Zoo.
North Carolina Zoo via Twitter

The North Carolina Zoo posted a terrific video: the resident polar bear enjoys a paddle.

(The zoo is currently closed due to the cold conditions.)

Baby gorillas “Bomassa” and “Apollo” with moms “Jamani” (second from left) and “Olympia” will both get a first-birthday party at the N.C. Zoo on August 3.
N.C. Zoo photo by Diane Villa

Baby gorillas Bomassa and Apollo, who were born at the North Carolina Zoo, have reached a milestone: their first birthdays. 

This male baby gorilla was delivered by C-Section at N.C. Zoo Sunday Acacia. A name has not yet been chosen.
Aaron Jesue

UPDATE: The North Carolina Zoo announced on Wednesday that the baby gorilla born to mother Acacia has died. They say that the cause is uncertain, although it is possible that the mother may have accidentally rolled over onto the the infant in her sleep.

A chimpanzee eats treats from inside a papier-mâché egg at the North Carolina Zoo.
Zoo photo by Tom Gillespie

Who says animals can’t participate in an Easter egg hunt? This weekend, while thousands of children across the state hunt for candy-filled Easter eggs, the North Carolina Zoo will give its animals their own egg hunt.

The “Egg-Stravaganza” begins Saturday morning, and it involves zookeepers putting papier-mâché eggs filled with animal treats inside the animals' living spaces. Some of the lucky creatures that will be getting eggs include gorillas, elephants, ocelots, Red River hogs, seals, bears, and a cougar.

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