Kansas City Zoo

South African Tourism / Flickr — CC

How can you keep it in?

Don’t even try this weekend, with so many activities to tempt your expressive side, from the pure nostalgia of “Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees” (one of them, anyway) to the opportunity to literally skate away from your troubles.

So how can you not let it out? There you go.

1. ‘50 Summers of Love’

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With ice caps shrinking and global temperatures on the rise, animals who live in the Arctic Circle are at increasing risk. Today, we speak with two scientists from Polar Bears International who spent their summer in and around the Arctic studying the namesake animal of that organization. With less ice on which to hunt, will the iconic northern predator adapt in time to avoid extinction?

Pixabay

Whether you choose to refute it or thrive in it, the world is indeed a strange place.

Even relatively common leisure-time activities can’t evade the peculiar wonder of it all, as with this weekend’s oddly tinged excursions into comedy, theatrics, music and more.

If only for the next few days, wherever it may lead, just go with the strange flow. Anyway, you can deny it all later. Well, except for that. Nice try, though.

Hafiz Issadeen / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Missouri is among a consortium of schools with tiger mascots that are ramping up efforts to address the dwindling global tiger population.

The University of Missouri (Truman the Tiger,) Louisiana State University (Mike the Tiger), Auburn University (Aubie the Tiger) and Clemson University (The Tiger and Tiger Cub) are committing to more and better research, education and awareness, across disciplines, related to tiger conservation efforts.

courtesy Kansas City Zoo

Misting fans, chilled pools, ice treats and air conditioning. It's what a lot of people turn to in the summer in Kansas City — and so do the caretakers of the animals at the Kansas City Zoo.  

During the summer months, many of the animals are more active in the mornings when it's cooler. 

Kansas City Zoo / Facebook

A chimpanzee at the Kansas City Zoo died Wednesday from internal injuries after a fight with other chimps. 

According to Sean Putney, the zoo's senior director of zoological operations, Bahati, a 31-year-old male chimp was taken to the animal health staff after falling from a tree during a "skirmish" with the other chimps.

Jolynne_martinez--Flickr CC / photo circa 1962

I think we all know that Father’s Day is the second most important day of the year devoted to honoring a parent.

History suggests as much: President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day an official U.S. holiday in 1914, yet it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon did the same for Father’s Day, which failed to save him from the Watergate scandal. Nice try, Dick.

That said, playing second fiddle is important – just ask the guy playing second fiddle. So go and do something fun with your favorite paternal figure this Father’s Day weekend. No, not Mom! Good grief.

Kansas City Zoo

For the first time, the Kansas City Zoo’s baby chimpanzee has enjoyed being on public display with her twelve companion chimps. Baby Ruw was born at the zoo in April last year but rejected by her mother.

The 10-month-old spent Sunday morning touring her open habitat, clinging to the backs of older chimps. The zoo's senior director of zoological operations, Sean Putney, says Ruw’s reintroduction is going well.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

As part of our 30/30 Vision series, KCUR takes a look at three of Kansas City’s grandest ideas from the last 30 years. We also looked at magnet schools and the Wizard of Oz theme park.

Kansas City Zoo Archives

If you visited the Kansas City Zoo anytime from the late 1960s to the early 1990s you’ll probably remember the Great Blue Whale. The giant concrete play structure was made up of 18,000 pounds of concrete and metal rods.

 

The Whale so well known that I have clear memories of the whale — which is impossible since I wasn’t born until 1995.

 

The Great Blue Whale was removed from the Zoo in the 1990s, when the zoo went through major renovations. At the most, I may have caught glimpse of it from my stroller.

Courtesy Photo: Kansas City Zoo

Yes, it's going to be a warm weekend, but at 11 o'clock Saturday morning, you'll be treated to something special if you're at the Kansas City Zoo. Some of the zoo's penguins will be parading around the Helzberg Penguin Plaza, greeting guests.

"The birds actually seem to like it," says Director of Zoological Operations, Sean Putney."When we go in to get them, they don't quite smile, but when we walk toward the door, they follow us immediately." 

When a child fell into the gorilla habitat of the Cincinnati Zoo last week, the event ended in the death of the gorilla. What are the ethics at the intersection of human and animal life?

Plus, the story of a KC resident who, as a toddler, escaped from his mom and entered the seal exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo.

Guests:

Austin McKahan / The Kansas City Zoo

Nikita the polar bear is leaving Kansas City. His next project? To procreate on behalf of his entire species. We bid a fond farewell to this 1200-pound celebrity covered in fur. 

Guest:

  • Randy Wisthoff, executive director and CEO, The Kansas City Zoo

Courtesy Photo / Kansas City Zoo

A letter to Kansas City Zoo members from the CEO:

I’ve been a “zookeeper” for a little over 38 years – wow — time has flown by. 

My first animal charges, back at the Omaha Zoo, were gorillas, orangutans, sea lions, rhinos, gaur (wild cattle from SE Asia), elephants and an assortment of monkeys. I was hooked from day one even though I never imagined working at the zoo as a career opportunity.

So many things have changed in the zoo world since that time, except, our number one priority each and every day is our animal care and their welfare.

Cody Newill

Everybody knows that Santa Claus is used to some cold weather — how else would he tolerate the sub-zero climate of the North Pole?

But old Saint Nick took things a step further over the weekend by taking a dip with the Kansas City Zoo's penguins.

Breeding In Zoos

Jul 16, 2015

The Kansas City Zoo recently welcomed its newest edition to its collection, the baby gorilla Masika. In light of this birth, Steve Kraske talks with one of the zoo's animal curators about the efforts, techniques, and difficulties when it comes to breeding animals in captivity.

Guests:

  • Cinnamon Williams is a curator at the Kansas City Zoo who supervises the gorilla area.

Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo officials announced Tuesday the birth of a Western Lowland gorilla. The baby is the first gorilla to be born at the zoo since 1975.

In a Facebook post the Zoo said the baby was born on Memorial Day and both mom and baby are doing well.

The mother is 27-year-old Makari and the father is a 31-year-old silverback named Radi. 

The True Life Of Kansas City Zookeepers

Jul 8, 2014
Butterflyxoeio / Flickr Creative Commons

So, you like animals? You enjoy watching them, taking care of them, and talking about them? Would you make a good zookeeper? Guest Host Brian Ellison takes a look at the true life of Kansas City Zoo zookeepers on Tuesday's Up to Date. Find out what it's really like to chase a fugitive chimpanzee and keep the penguins healthy and happy in their habitat. Speaking of penguins, you can watch the penguins at the Kansas City Zoo live right here.

Guests:

Shawn Kincaide / Flickr--CC

The Kansas City Zoo is rolling out a new system for free visits after more than 20,000 people overwhelmed the zoo during a free admission day in March.

Some guests became unruly – and shots were fired in a parking lot as people left the zoo.

"We want everybody to come to the zoo, but what wasn't working was everybody coming on that one day we designated free day," says Kansas City Zoo executive director Randy Wisthoff.

Kansas City Zoo visitors were locked up indoors for an hour Thursday while seven chimpanzees ran free outdoors in an area accessible only to zoo personnel.

Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff told TV-9 the chimps using a tree branch for a ladder was an example of primate intelligence and strength.

"Chimps are so much stronger than humans that they can go up in a tree and pull on something long enough and pull a piece of log off, that's apparently what happened," he said.

Fights and gunshots in a Kansas City Zoo parking lot are prompting a debate on the future of “free admission days” that are held four times a year. Monday's was the second such event marked by unruly behavior and fighting among young people.

No injuries were reported, but many of the throng of 20,000 zoo visitors reported they witnessed fights and heard the crack of gunshots coming from one of the Swope Park parking lots.

Esther Honig / KCUR

About 50 penguins are settling in to their new home at the Kansas City Zoo, as the Helzberg Penguin Plaza opens to the public October 25.

Kansas City Zoo director Randy Wisthoff says one of his first ideas when he arrived here ten years ago was opening a penguin exhibit. From his experience at the Omaha Zoo, he knew they were crowd pleasers.

"We hate to say it in the zoo world, but they are cute," Wisthoff says. "They do look like people.  And they’re fun in water and out of the water."

Shawn Kinkade/ Flickr-CC

Lions, tigers and (panda) bears, oh my! Two thousand zoo and aquarium professionals are in Kansas City this week for the annual convention of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 

In the first part of Tuesday's Up to Date, we take a look at the challenges zoos face these days and how that's been affecting attendance. We also discuss what zoos are hoping their visitors get out of the experience. 

Guests: 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

If you're a zoo-lover, you’ve probably heard that the Kansas City Zoo’s very popular Polar Bear, Nikita, has a new friend.

Six-year-old Nikita, a male, has been joined by female Berlin, 17 years his senior.

Berlin came to Kansas City from the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. Her habitat there had been destroyed by this summer's floods. 

After a short stay with two neutered males at the Minnesota Zoo, wildlife conservation experts decided to pair Berlin with a more virile male.

Top Of The Morning News: Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jun 6, 2012

A circuit judge is backing the Cass County board of commissioners in its decision to not hold a vote on a zoo tax.  Prairie Village leaders have rejected a parks sales tax proposal... It's a daily digest of headlines from KCUR.