Recognized as the oldest living Canada lynx, Calgary had called BPZOO home since 2009.
At 20 years and seven months, Calgary was recognized as the oldest Canada lynx living at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility – and the second longest lived lynx in the historical population.
Cal, as he was affectionately called, was beloved by his zookeepers. They remember him as a laid back cat; very agreeable with training and husbandry exercises, but aloof when he wanted to be – only becoming interested in something just as his keeper was ready to move on. Calgary was regularly seen in his habitat lazily snuggling in one of his elevated den boxes with his seven year-old mate Sylvie. Zookeepers knew his love of wild prey items, often acquired from local game officials, would always result in him demonstrating his wild cat behaviors. Additionally, Cal was fond of keepers spreading scent enrichment throughout his habitat and he seemed to most enjoy spices including curry and paprika. His caretakers already miss hearing his loud call during the winter months, observing his interaction with enrichment and seeing the pair curled up together in the morning.
Calgary’s advanced age meant that he required extremely specialized care that included differentiated diets, additional health screenings and routine medications.
“Our dedicated animal care, veterinary, and curatorial staff diligently work to meet the husbandry, behavioral, welfare, and veterinary needs at all stages of an animal’s life – from our youngest to our most geriatric animals,” said Keith Lovett, Director of the Buttonwood Park Zoo in a letter to the community earlier this year. “Geriatric animal care is an area that BPZOO dedicates many resources to and has had much success in. The almost record-breaking longevity of Cal is a testament to the high quality and expertise of care provided here at the Zoo. Zoo staff will dearly miss Cal, but they take solace in knowing how impactful his presence at the Zoo was in inspiring guests to appreciate his species and to protect natural environments of North America.”
Dr. Erica Lipanovich, BPZOO’s staff veterinarian, examined Calgary on Saturday, December 26, 2020 after his caretakers noticed a lack of stability in his back legs and reported that he was not interested in offered food. “During his examination it was determined that Calgary was suffering from end stage kidney disease as well as there being evidence of potential cancer. Due to his poor prognosis and advanced age, the decision was then made to humanely euthanize him.”
Calgary will be deeply missed.
About Canada lynx
Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) are listed as Threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act due to lower population size and inadequate protection of habitat on Federal lands. Within the northern boreal forest regions of North America, they are listed as Least Concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature as they are more widespread and abundant. Their range coincides with that of their main prey, the snowshoe hare. BPZOO will continue to work with AZA’s Canada Lynx Species Survival Plan program to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild.
If there is one thing that can spark joy in 2020, it’s a baby – or in the case of Pepper and Jack, an adult pair of bearded emperor tamarin who call Buttonwood Park Zoo home – two babies! Four year-old Pepper, BPZOO’s female bearded emperor tamarin, gave birth to her second set of twins on October 13, 2020. These babies came one year, almost to the day, of their older siblings Brie and Gouda, who were born at BPZOO on October 20, 2019.
While Zookeepers were able to track Pepper’s first pregnancy through weight checks, they knew much more about her second pregnancy, thanks to the ability to perform an ultrasound. This important veterinary monitoring takes time, trust and skill to develop and the process began the moment Pepper arrived from the Twycross Zoo in the United Kingdom in 2018. Positive reinforcement training for husbandry and veterinary management allows BPZOO staff to provide the highest quality of animal care and it ranges from something as simple as an animal approaching a keeper to take food to scale training, crate training, injection training and beyond. With respect and trust between the animal, and their keeper, the capabilities are endless in what can be achieved – including performing ultrasounds on a bearded emperor tamarin throughout her second pregnancy!
“With the opening of the Zoo’s Rainforests, Rivers & Reefs exhibit in 2017, the Zoo has been very successful in creating stimulating, natural environments for its many species of small South American primates and this has resulted in several important births“, said Keith Lovett, BPZOO Director and Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) New World Primate Taxonomic Advisory Group (NWPTAG). “All of the primates at the Zoo are managed as part of AZA Species Survival Plans including the bearded emperor tamarins and these births will help improve the genetic diversity of this population of primates that continues to decline in the wild.”
Native to Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru, these small, tree dwelling monkeys reside in lowland tropical rainforest, typically between 80 – 95 feet elevation and their diet consists of tree sap, fruits, insects, and eggs. While they are not currently endangered, rapid deforestation, infrastructure construction and popularity within the illegal pet trade may threaten this species in the near future. Currently, there are only 31 bearded emperor tamarins at 10 AZA institutions – including the 6 residing in New Bedford.
Join us for Elephant Appreciation Day on Saturday and Sunday (9/19 & 9/20) as we celebrate Ruth and Emily’s 62nd and 56th birthdays! Stop by the Asian elephant habitat at 10:00am or 3:00pm during the Elephant Keeper Chat to wish Ruth and Emily a BIG Happy Birthday. Our dedicated elephant keepers will be available to answer questions while offering these pretty pachyderms some special birthday surprises.
Did you know – Ruth is the 3rd oldest Asian elephant and Emily is the 9th oldest Asian elephant in an AZA accredited facility? Their vitality and health in their advanced age is a testament to the high level of care we provide for these magnificent animals. It is an honor and a privilege to provide a home for these beautiful elephants and we welcome the community to join us in celebrating them!
- If you would like to bring Emily and Ruth a birthday gift, donations of unopened packages of unsalted shelled peanuts, yogurt covered raisins, and dried fruit will be accepted on their behalf.
- You can make a donation in their honor that goes directly towards Asian elephant conservation.
- Or you can symbolically adopt an elephant through our new Adopt an Animal program.
If you can’t make it to the Zoo, we will also be celebrating with a Facebook Live video on Saturday at 10:00am – tune in to our Facebook page and watch our special girls enjoy birthday treats and festive enrichment.