In the last quarter of 2009, we announced the departure of Mikey and Boxer, DWA's first captive born Red howler monkeys, to their new home at the Cologne Zoo in Germany. I am glad to report that both males have adjusted to their new habitats and are living in separate small groups with female howlers, hopefully to reproduce in the near future. As part of this collaboration, we will receive unrelated animals, since both Mikey and Boxer were fathered by Rifito and his genetics have been isolated from all of Beto's (the now dominant male) family group. The original group of five howlers that arrived in 1998, were transferred from Venezuelan zoos where they had been taken when families realized they could no longer meet their special dietary needs. During this time, howlers have been exhibited in Howler Junction but now have a new home known as Howler Heights. Displaying the only Red howlers in the U.S., we hope to provide additional animals not only to European zoos, but to others, with some being relocated to Singapore in the future for their new River Safari which is scheduled to open in 2013.
Some less obvious changes can be found in the aquarium portion of the DWA. The addition of micro-exhibits to the aquarium during this year allow for the displaying of species that often tend to get lost in the background or need a safe area away from larger, would-be predators. Harlequin shrimp may be tiny in size but they are colorful and intriguing to watch. Pot-bellied seahorses and a new generation of Ribbon seadragons are also on display.
In October 2009, I assisted the film crew from Sky's TV Series, Vet Adventures, as they filmed at the Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos, Peru. The series follows Luke Gamble, a veterinarian from Dorset, England, as he teams up with organizations and individuals throughout the world showing various species of animals. Luke also visits some of the many charities supported by WVS (Worldwide Veterinary Service). In November 2010, Luis Sigler traveled to Iquitos to help with the filming of Jack Hanna's Into the Wild series, which will air in March 2011.
Perhaps the most noticeable addition is the Chilean wine palm which can be seen at the entrance on the corner of Corbin and Laws Streets. This majestic specimen was planted just in time to be adorned with lights for the holiday season. On the inside, temporary trees have also been trimmed for the many private events during the month, as well as for the Child Protective Services Holiday Event on December 6th. This annual affair is one the most rewarding things we do each year and is always enjoyed by all.
Please stop by the Admissions Office to pick up your free copy of the latest edition of DWA's historical/pictorial reference. One copy will be available per active membership. Thanks for being a member of the DWA during 2010 and we look forward to many more years!