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Construction is Underway for the New American Black Bear Exhibit at Binder Park Zoo

August 28, 2013

The three orphaned Alaskan black bears that were rescued by Binder Park Zoo last year are now 18 months old. Officials at Binder Park Zoo report that the bears are doing very well and are rambunctious teenagers. The cubs were temporarily on exhibit last year and have since been off exhibit, and will be until their permanent home is finished later this year. According to Diane Thompson, Binder Park Zoo’s President & CEO, “Construction has been underway for several months, and we are looking forward to having the exhibit open by the year’s end.” The original date, which was set for the summer of 2013, was moved due to various exhibit construction requirements. Because the new bear exhibit is going to be where the old cheetah exhibit used to be, the bear construction needed to wait until the cheetahs could be moved to their new home in Wild Africa. “Moving the Cheetahs to Wild Africa has always been part of the plan and we are delighted to have them there, where they belong, with the rest of our African species,” states Jenny Barnett, Binder Park Zoo Director of Wildlife, Conservation & Education. “When the bears arrived, we assessed the possibilities and decided the best place for them would ultimately be the old cheetah exhibit. The exhibit area offers great space for the bears, has plenty of shade, and also offers a water feature; which the bears will enjoy.” Designing this exhibit is a very detailed process, one where many people are involved. The exhibit design team meets to discuss the overall aesthetics of the exhibit, if the plants and native fauna found in the exhibit are safe for the bears, as well as one of the most important aspects of the design process, safety. “Creating an exhibit for a large species like the black bears is not something that can be rushed,” states Thompson. “We have spent countless hours going through the exhibit plans to ensure that this exhibit, upon completion, will be safe for our zookeepers, our guests, and the bears themselves.” The exhibit also must meet many stringent requirements by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an organization through which Binder Park Zoo is accredited. The accreditation process includes an initial application and a two to three-day on-site inspection by a team of zoo and aquarium professionals. This visiting team observes all aspects of the facility operation including keeper training, safety procedures for animals and humans, educational programs, veterinary programs, conservation programs, and a financial review. “Binder Park Zoo has been an accredited institution since 1983 and it is something that we are very proud of,” states Thompson. “Accreditation by the AZA is what sets the standards for zoos today and we are among only 221 zoos across the United Sates to reach these high marks.” In addition to the Zoo staff, there are many outside contractors that have been brought in to work on the exhibit and the holding area. A dedicated team of volunteers have also stepped-up to give their time to get this exhibit ready to open. “Our volunteers give a tremendous amount of time to the Zoo and really go above and beyond,” states Thompson. “We’d also like to take this time to thank the community for their support and to those who have donated to bring the bears to our community.” Although the construction and site preparation work continues, funds are still needed to help pay for the new bear exhibit. If you would like to make a donation to the American Black Bear Exhibit, you may do so by calling the Zoo’s main number - (269) 979-1351, or by mailing to Binder Park Zoo Attn: American Black Bears, 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, Michigan 49014. Donations are also accepted online at If you have questions or seek further information on this exhibit, or any of the other wildlife at Binder Park Zoo, please contact Diane Thompson at (269) 979-1351 or email About Binder Park Zoo Over 7,000,000 people have visited Binder Park Zoo and an additional 500,000 have been served through outreach programs since was established in 1975. It is located outside of Battle Creek, Michigan, on 433 acres of natural forests and wetlands. In the past 38 years, the Zoo has grown to be one of the leading cultural attractions in the region. It was created on the model of an entrepreneurial self-supporting nonprofit organization, and is managed by a zoological society board of directors to "nurture empathy, understanding, and conservation of nature." In the last twenty years a conservation education center, a 40-acre natural wetlands exhibit, the 50-acre Wild Africa exhibit, and Conservation Carousel have been added to the original 80-acre zoo. Binder Park Zoo serves over 60,000 people annually in 30 different types of formal education programs and is heavily involved in conservation of wildlife and natural habitats on five continents. In cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and others, Binder Park Zoo is actively working to conserve a wide array of endangered species both at the Zoo and worldwide.

After 29 years, Binder Park Zoo says Goodbye to a Beloved Member of their Family

July 30, 2013

Zoo staff are mourning the loss of a beloved Zoo resident. Honey, the Zoo’s 43 year old, female white-handed gibbon passed way recently on July 4th. She was being treated for decreased appetite and lethargy as well as weight loss. Upon postmortem examination, Zoo Staff veterinarian Dr. Judilee Marrow discovered a large mass in Honey’s intestinal tract. The average life expectancy of a gibbon in the wild is about 25 years and 40 years in captivity. The loss of Honey has been felt across the entire Zoo family. “The early morning hours without hearing Honey’s echoing songs serve as a constant reminder that she is no longer with us,” states Jenny Barnett, Director of Wildlife, Conservation and Education. Honey first arrived at Binder Park Zoo in 1984 traveling with her mate, Coffee, and their one year old, female baby named Cocoa, from the Bronx Zoo in New York. Both Coffee and Honey were brought back from Vietnam in the early 1970’s by an American soldier who purchased them in a market and kept them as pets until they became mature. He then donated the pair to the Bronx Zoo where they lived for many years until they came to live at Binder Park Zoo. Coffee died 4 years ago, in 2009, at the age of 40. “Honey loved her keepers, she loved to come up for back scratches and treats but she would only do this for the keepers who worked with her regularly and she was very suspicious of most everyone else,” states Jenny Barnett. “She was a dominant female and ruled the roost when she was in her prime. Her mate, Coffee, was at times a little bit afraid of her. The soldier who donated them to the Bronx Zoo actually kept track of them and came to visit them several times. They clearly knew him and responded positively towards him.” In 2011, Honey was introduced to a new companion, a 46 year old, male gibbon named Bruce who came to Binder Park Zoo from the Detroit Zoo. The two never had any offspring due to Honey’s age but Bruce served as a companion for her until her passing. Primates such as gibbons are very social animals and live a monogamous life with their mate. They rarely live a solitary life in the wild and will often find a new mate when a companion dies. Currently, Zoo officials are in communication with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to determine what is best for Bruce, the Zoo’s remaining 46 year old white-handed gibbon. Captive white-handed gibbons are monitored throughout the United States by AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that genetically monitors the captive populations of wildlife and ultimately seeks to build a healthy and viable captive population of gibbons should they ever become extinct in the wild. The SSP makes all recommendations for zoo captive wildlife from the standpoint of which animals are good breeding pairs and which are too close in genetic compatibility. Bruce, because of his old age, will not be recommended to be part of a breeding pair nor will he be moved to another facility. The white-handed gibbon can be described as having long, agile arms and legs allowing them to swing from tree to tree in a swift efficient manner. Individuals vary in color from dark brown or black to pale blond, but always with a white fringe framing the black face and white upper sides of the hands and feet. The white-handed gibbon is found in the tropical rainforests of southern and Southeast Asia, in the countries of China, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, where they occupy only the upper canopy of the forest and rarely, if ever, descend to the forest floor. Their diets consist of fruits, which make up half their diet, but they will also feed on insects and other plants. A very unique attribute of the gibbon is their song, which can be heard for miles letting others know they have claimed this territory. To hear a gibbon call, visit The white-handed gibbon is classified as Endangered (EN) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List largely due to deforestation from logging and agriculture. The white-handed gibbon is sometimes hunted for its meat and the capture of young gibbons for the pet trade is widespread in some countries, particularly Thailand. Commonly, the mother is shot so that the young can be taken. According to the IUCN in China, the species is currently known only from Nangunhe Nature Reserve in the Prefectury of Lincang, south-west Yunnan.

Binder Park Zoo Announces a New Exhibit Opening for their Oldest Resident

June 8, 2013

Binder Park Zoo announced late last year that their resident Aldabra giant tortoise, Al, would be receiving a new home at the Zoo in the 2013 season. After months of exhibit design and construction the Zoo announced today that the exhibit would be open to the public on June 8th and are welcoming guests to see Al in his new home for the very first time. The ribbon cutting for Al’s new digs will take place at 11:00am on June 8th. The new exhibit is located along the Forest Walk just past the walk-through aviary in Wild Africa. The much needed exhibit was made possible through a generous donation from Bob and Ellie DeVries with a matching grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The donation totaled $75,000. Al, who is estimated at close to 75 years of age, has resided at Binder Park Zoo since 1984 and his old exhibit had not received a renovation since that time. The new exhibit allows Al the ability to spend more time in the outdoors. Because of the cooler climates in Michigan, and with Al being over 600lbs, he wasn’t able to go on exhibit until temperatures consistently remained above 50 degrees overnight. Al’s new exhibit has an indoor heated viewing area for the public to see him on the cooler days and an easily accessible outdoor exhibit area that he may walk to from his indoor exhibit. The Zoo would like to extend a special thank you to the CSM Group, Associated Construction and Hoffman Brothers for their diligent work with making the exhibit a possibility. “This exhibit will be a great change in Al’s quality of life,” states Jenny Barnett, Director of Wildlife, Conservation and Education. “He will have more space and more outdoor time than ever before and he loves to be outside!” Al was acquired by Binder Park Zoo through a private party, so little is known about his life before he came to the Zoo. Al is the oldest species currently residing at the Zoo and weighs well over 600lbs! Three years after Al’s arrival he was introduced to a female named Speedy who lived on exhibit with him for 21 years and became his companion. Unfortunately, Al lost his mate in 2010. She died at the age of 51. The typical lifespan for an Aldabra tortoise is over 100 years. Since her passing, zoo officials have noted the increased attachment that Al has to the zookeepers. The Zoo is hoping to raise funds to bring another female Aldabra giant tortoise to the Zoo as a mate for Al. The Aldabra tortoise is native to a small chain of coral islands found in the Indian Ocean, called the Aldabra Atoll. The climate typically ranges between 75 to 85 degrees year round, which is why Al needs a warmer climate here in Michigan, before he’s ready to greet guests on exhibit. Fortunately for the Aldabra tortoise, they are not classified as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). They are, however, a protected species by the Convention on International Trade in Endanger Species (CITES). The Aldabra tortoise was actually one of the first species to be protected to ensure its survival. Today they are flourishing with over 100,000 in population thanks to Charles Darwin, who help instate this protection order in the late 1800’s.

A Grandson and Grandmother Are reunited at Binder Park Zoo

April 15, 2013

Binder Park Zoo announces the arrival of a new male snow leopard named Raj. The 11 month old male arrived on March 5, 2013 from the Akron Zoo in Ohio. Raj was born on May 14, 2012 to Shanti, a female snow leopard that was born at Binder Park Zoo in 2008. Shanti is the daughter of Lotus, the Zoo’s 16 year old female snow leopard, making Raj Lotus’ grandson. You can find this rambunctious 60lb snow leopard on exhibit with his grandmother this spring when the Zoo opens for their 36th season on April 20th. Although Raj is now a one year old, he still acts very much like a cub. Guest will find him bouncing around his exhibit, climbing into a hollow log and pushing a ball around. He has been enjoying his new space and is busy checking everything out. Grandma Lotus is taking his arrival in stride, but is definitely keeping her distance. “Even though Lotus and Raj are closely related, they have no concept of that and will behave as if the other animal is a complete stranger. Since snow leopards are solitary animals, we will take our time with introductions,” states Jenny Barnett, Binder Park Zoo Director of Wildlife, Conservation and Education. Many will recall the conservation success story that took place at Binder Park Zoo back in 2008 when Raj’s mother, Shanti, a 1 lb, 10 ½ inch cub was born. She was the very first snow leopard cub in Binder Park Zoo history and has gone on to have two cubs of her own. Raj was the second cub born to her. Like Shanti, Raj is part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that monitors the captive population of snow leopards in all accredited zoos in the US and helps integrate programs to help wild populations as well. Snow leopards are endangered in the wild making this SSP one of the most important efforts currently underway. For now, their legacy and fight for survival are dependent on the captive population of snow leopards and the conservation programs currently underway to help save this species. “It is estimated that there are only 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards left in the wild, which is why programs such as the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) here at Binder Park Zoo, and other zoos across the country, are so important. They help to ensure the genetic viability of the species,” says Barnett. “It can be difficult to breed snow leopards in captivity and it is important that we continue to improve our captive husbandry techniques to ensure the survival of this species.” Snow Leopard Information The snow leopard inhabits one of the harshest environments on earth, the mountainous regions of central Asia. From China, Mongolia, Nepal and India to Afghanistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Pakistan, the snow leopard is making its last stand. Listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the number of snow leopards has dropped alarmingly and is now estimated to be between 3,500-7,000 animals in all of its remaining habitat. It is unknown if any animals survive in Afghanistan and very few remain in Pakistan. Recent wars and fighting have made the situation even more critical in this region. China appears to be the snow leopard’s last stronghold with about 2000 animals remaining, but this is still a critically low number putting the cats in danger of extinction. Conflict with humans is the main reason for the disappearance of this big cat. From habitat loss due to livestock grazing driving away the wild prey they normally eat, to hunting and poaching for their valuable fur, to killing the cats in retaliation for preying on livestock, the snow leopard is in big trouble. There are a number of efforts underway to help save the snow leopard in which Binder Park Zoo participates including the International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT) and the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). The AZA has taken action by bringing the plight of this animal to public attention though the work of the Snow Leopard SSP. The SSP works to keep a large, genetically viable, healthy group of snow leopards in zoos and preserves throughout the United States and the world. If snow leopards become extinct in the wild, the hope is that one day captive-bred animals may be able to return to the wild if suitable habitat is ever restored. The SSP also works to preserve native habitats and educate local people about the snow leopard and have them take a lead role in the conservation effort. The International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT) has a number of projects in Mongolia and India and is conducting research in many other areas to determine the population of the leopard. In Mongolia, rural villagers are given the opportunity to increase their income in return for the protection of snow leopards. Through Snow Leopard Enterprises, a branch of ISLT, villagers are given equipment and training to produce handcrafts, which are then marketed internationally. In return, the villagers must sign a contract agreeing to perform wildlife-friendly herding practices that will not harm the leopards or their natural prey. For more information on ISLT visit

Forest Facts, Friends, and Fun!

March 3, 2013

It’s time to celebrate one of the features that makes Michigan the beautiful state that it is – TREES! It’s true that Michigan forests play an important role for both commerce and wildlife – but the majestic forests also offer the perfect setting for cross country skiing, picnicking, hiking, bird-watching and more. Come join in the celebration on Wednesday, March 13th at 7:00pm as the Brigham Audubon hosts this night of educational fun at Binder Park Zoo. Guest presenter Bill Botti, director of the Michigan Forest Association, will share from his impressive background in natural resources. The presentation will include the development of Michigan’s forests from the time of glaciers to the present as well as address current programs that promote education and wise forest management. Bill began his career at an early age, being appointed Nature Director in a New Jersey Boy Scout camp at the age of 15. He earned degrees in Forestry and was hired by the Michigan Department of Conservation - receiving numerous special project assignments with the State of Michigan over his 32 year career. Additionally, Bill has written a book on the history of Michigan’s state forests that was released in 2006. There are plentiful forests in the area that are open to the community and provide some unique opportunities for year-round outdoor activities. With spring quickly approaching you may want to plan a visit to the W. K. Kellogg Experimental Forest in Augusta – where you can witness maple syrup being made in the log cabin that was built from the forest’s experimental timber. For other nearby forests and activities they offer visit The Battle Creek Brigham Audubon program is free and the public is welcomed to attend. The event will take place at Binder Park Zoo’s Cross Administration Building (Binder Park Zoo Office) on Wednesday, March 13th. A short Battle Creek Brigham Audubon business meeting will start promptly at 7:00pm with the program beginning immediately afterwards at 7:15pm. For more information, please contact Binder Park Zoo: (269) 979-1351 or For more information on Battle Creek Brigham Audubon visit their Facebook page at or email them at

There’s A New Doctor In Town and You’ll Find Her at Binder Park Zoo

March 4, 2013

Imagine a young, dark haired girl named Judilee skipping around San Diego – and more specifically imagine her doing so on the grounds of the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park! It was here where, as a young girl, Binder Park Zoo’s new Veterinarian, Dr. Judilee Marrow and her family enjoyed many outings each year among the zebra, giraffe and spider monkey exhibits fully utilizing their season passes. It was from this exposure that Judilee at a young age would establish her own dream of one day becoming a zoo veterinarian. It would require determination and a long term commitment – something that Judilee was willing to tackle in order to achieve her goal. Judilee’s nine years of education have taken her to several cities with numerous experiences along the way. And most recently her education brings her to Battle Creek and Binder Park Zoo! Judilee earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and she continued with veterinary school at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. With a desire to gain increased knowledge regarding zoo medicine, wildlife and exotic species, she furthered her education by completing two one-year internships – one near Chicago, and the other at Kansas State University. In 2009, Judilee was selected for a coveted position as a resident in training at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC. This is only one of a dozen or so programs accredited by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM). The National Zoo (a zoo of 2,000 animals and 400 species) would further enhance the level of Judilee’s medical and animal knowledge as she worked alongside a wonderful staff and with fantastic animals during her three years there. Dr. Judilee Marrow officially joined the Binder Park Zoo team as the staff veterinarian on October 15, 2012, and she is off to a productive beginning. Along with seeing to the needs of the animals in her care, she has also reorganized the Zoo hospital to fit her work style and is analyzing ways to make continued improvements where needed. Judilee’s face lights up and reflects an engaging and contagious smile as I ask her some additional questions pertaining to her career. What are some factors that led you to your decision to join the team at Binder Park Zoo? After working at zoos of varying size, I wanted to work at a small zoo. It is rewarding to work closely with a small staff and collection. Binder Park Zoo is also incredibly committed to conservation and is enrolled in 18 Species Survival Programs (SSP), a number normally only seen in larger zoos. What is your typical day like? The morning begins with a meeting of department supervisors and animal keepers to discuss the veterinary plans for the day as well as for the week. After this meeting I read through animal records, review lab tests, and then set out to make my rounds. I usually focus on a specific section of the zoo each week – for instance, this week is East Zoo Week! When I evaluate the animals I’m observing and checking on issues regarding environment, behavior, and feed, and then I address those issues. I also examine the animals for things such as hair loss or wounds that might signal an animal needing medical attention. My afternoons are typically spent in the lab reviewing any samples that were taken earlier, or in my office to complete any necessary paperwork. It is simply amazing to me that on any given day I might observe everything from a giraffe to a cricket frog. But having said all this, keep in mind the day plan can change suddenly if any animal medical emergency should arise – they are always the top priority. And if a situation develops at 4:30pm – I know I will not be returning home until the condition has been thoroughly assessed and the proper care plan has been implemented. What do you enjoy most about your job? Actually, I love everything about my job! But if I have to provide you with just one aspect – it is the science of anesthesia. It is a niche area of medicine where I enjoy discovering the specific anesthesia plan for each animal that ensures the utmost safety for humans and animals. Because every animal is unique, the requirement for each case is different and requires a thorough evaluation and specialized tweaking. What conservation programs are you passionate about? I’m interested in all types of conservation programs but I’m probably most passionate about SSP management programs which I have been involved in throughout my entire career. The Species Survival Plan is a breeding and conservation program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums designed to ensure the survival of selected species, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild. As I mentioned earlier – the fact that Binder Park Zoo is involved in 18 SSP management programs is truly impressive and I’m thrilled to be a part of this commitment. What is one of your aspirations that you hope to achieve both professionally and personally? It is a main goal of mine to pass my board examination from the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) and be recognized as an ACZM diplomat. Or in other words, I’m looking forward to becoming board certified in zoological medicine. This is significant not only for Binder Park Zoo, but to the state of Michigan as a whole because currently there are only two ACZM board certified veterinarians in Michigan. Achieving this goal will allow me to continue to develop our knowledge base at Binder Park Zoo, and will aid in the development of future zoo projects. It is an intense and lengthy process that includes application, resume, extensive publication, and recommendation credentials, all before I can take the two day examination. It is an ambitious goal but an endeavor well worth accomplishing, both professionally and personally. Lastly, what animal fact do you find most fascinating? I do find gorillas to be fascinating in general – everything from their extremely unique scent to the fact that every gorilla has its own individual nose print. Welcome to Binder Park Zoo Dr. Judilee Marrow. We are looking forward to the 2013 season that is upon us. Submitted by: Robin Spiech Contributing Freelance Writer

Binder Park Zoo Welcomes Three Orphaned Alaskan Black Bears

July 26, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kari Parker Marketing Manager Phone (269) 979-1351 ext.154 Email Check us out on Facebook - Binder Park Zoo Welcomes Three Orphaned Alaskan Black Bears Battle Creek, MI July 26, 2012: Three orphaned Alaskan black bear cubs were recently rescued from the wild by Alaskan government officials and have found a new home at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan. “We received a call from Alaskan wildlife officials. They said a mother black bear had disappeared, leaving behind three baby bears. If Binder Park Zoo could take the cubs, they would try to capture them; if not they would be left alone, which would mean certain death,” explained Diane Thompson, Binder Park Zoo Interim CEO. “Of course we immediately agreed to assist in rescuing these orphans by providing a home where they would not only be well cared for, but well received by our supportive community.” They arrived by plane late last week and will be on exhibit this weekend. Visitors can expect to see three rambunctious and playful cubs. Photos and videos can be seen by visiting the Zoo’s Face Book page. Helping to bring the bears to Binder Park Zoo is the Zoo’s longstanding community partner, the Battle Creek Community Foundation. “We all share the same world and we will all share in the joy of opening our arms to welcome the bear cubs," says Brenda Hunt, CEO of the Battle Creek Community Foundation. "Battle Creek is a community that cares – we care about our world, we care about neighborhoods and we care about one of our greatest cultural institutions –Binder Park Zoo. The gesture of opening our arms to the bear cubs will assist the Zoo, and it symbolizes how we open our arms to help each other every day in our community. It's why we live, work and raise our families in Battle Creek." Once Alaskan officials became aware of the orphans, the three cubs, two males and one female, were carefully monitored and a rescue plan was put into place that provided them with a temporary home at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. Because cubs in the wild depend completely on their mother for the first year of life, they would not have survived on their own and it was critical that they be rescued. Cubs generally stay with their mother for 1 ½ years learning necessary survival skills; without these skills, their chances in the wild alone are greatly diminished. At the time of discovery the Alaskan officials were unable to determine why the mother had disappeared, but poaching could have been a factor. In North America, the black bear has become the victim of poachers looking to turn a profit in the Asian medicine market. The bears’ internal organs and claws, which are used in traditional Chinese and Asian folk medicine, are a major contributor of this problem. According to The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly and black bear poaching for Asian markets has been a problem nationwide for years, with recent investigations and prosecutions in the Pacific Northwest and several Southern states. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) report released on November 12, 2007 ranked the world’s most threatened bear species listing six of the world’s eight species of bears as threatened with extinction; Asia and South America were listed as the areas most in need of conservation action. Only the black bear is listed as secure in its range with a population of 900,000, which is more than twice that of all of the other bear species combined. Currently the giant panda remains as the only bear listed as endangered. “Black bears are remarkably intelligent and they have learned to live alongside humans, whether we like it or not,” commented Jenny Barnett, the Zoo’s Director of Wildlife, Conservation and Education. “Their population is growing and Michigan is no exception as we have seen black bears moving closer to our community. We are hoping to take this opportunity to educate our guests about living with black bear in the area.” It is estimated that the cubs are approximately 6 months old and weigh 30 pounds. Zoo visitors can see them on exhibit beginning this weekend. The Zoo will also be looking for help in naming their new additions and Zoo guests can look for more information at the exhibit. About Binder Park Zoo Over 7,000,000 people have visited Binder Park Zoo and an additional 500,000 have been served through outreach programs since it first opened in 1977. It is located outside of Battle Creek, Michigan, on 433 acres of natural forests and wetlands. In the past 36 years, the Zoo has grown to be one of the leading cultural attractions in the region. It was created on the model of an entrepreneurial self-supporting nonprofit organization, and is managed by a zoological society board of directors to "nurture empathy, understanding, and conservation of nature." In the last several years a conservation education center, a 40-acre natural wetlands exhibit, and the 50-acre Wild Africa exhibit and conservation carousel have been added to the original 80-acre zoo. Binder Park Zoo serves over 60,000 people annually in 30 different types of formal education programs and is heavily involved in conservation of wildlife and natural habitats on five continents. In cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and others, Binder Park Zoo is actively working to conserve a wide array of endangered species both at the Zoo and worldwide.

Get Wild for Wine!

May 8, 2012

Binder Park Zoo’s 4th annual wine tasting event “Corks for Conservation” is taking place on Saturday June 2nd from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. The Zoo will close at 5pm. The event is sponsored by Panera Bread. Sample some of the best wine and spirits Michigan has to offer! Enjoy the Zoo after-hours with live music, delicious hors d'oeuvres provided by Panera Bread, a silent auction, animal presentations, and of course wine from several Michigan based wineries, as well as beer and vodka, all while helping conserve endangered wildlife! “We’ve had wonderful participation by the community every year allowing us to raise important resources which go toward supporting our conservation initiatives here at the Zoo,” states Amy Riegel, Binder Park Zoo CFO and event chair. “This adults only event is fun and entertaining but most importantly, it helps us further our mission to nurture empathy, understanding and conservation of nature.” In addition to the wonderful Michigan wines, Arcadia Brewing Company of Battle Creek, will be pouring several of their microbrews. New this year, Binder Park Zoo is happy to welcome Valentine Vodka out of Detroit, bringing with them sample-sized cocktails featuring their Michigan made, gold medal winning vodka. Atlas Sales will lead a special VIP wine tasting class for the evening, “Around the World for $15 or less” and will feature great wines from different regions. They will also host a tasting station at the event. VIP participants will learn what makes a great wine, and how to find great value wines at their local suppliers. The cost to attend this class is $15 and pre-registration is required. The class starts promptly at 5:30. The Zoo will close at 5pm that day and gates will re-open at 6pm for the event. Upon arrival guests will receive their commemorative tasting glass and drink tickets so they can begin their tasting journey through the Zoo, while enjoying live music by Drop 35 and hors d’oeuvres provided by Panera Bread. Be sure to stop by the silent auction tent to place bids on a variety of creative and fun packages. Proceeds from the auction and the 50/50 raffle are an important contribution to this fundraising event. To learn more about each of the participating wineries, please check out their websites or visit them on face book. Fenn Valley Winery – Black Star Farms –, Hickory Creek Winery – Warner Winery – Lawton Ridge Winery – Sandhill Crane Vineyards – Sleeping Bear/Cherry Creek Winery –, Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery – B Nektar Meadery – St. Julian Wine Co. – Tempo Vino Winery – Arcadia Brewing Company – Dunn Beverage International, LLC – Valentine Distilling Co. – The cost to attend Corks for Conservation is $40 for individuals and $75 for couples. Designated Driver tickets are available at $25. Participants must be over the age of 21 and able to present a valid ID upon entry. Tickets are limited so purchasing in advance is encouraged. Tickets purchased the night of the event (if available) will be $45/$80/and $25 for designated drivers. Tickets are available online at and at the Zoo office. For more information visit the Zoo’s website or call 269-979-1351. Proceeds from this event will go to support the many conservation efforts that the Zoo is involved in including 16 different American Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plans. Corks for Conservation highlights the Zoo’s partnership with the International Snow Leopard Trust.

The Wonderful World of Warblers

January 11, 2012

The Wonderful World of Warblers Presented by Binder Park Zoo and the BC Brigham Audubon Society If you're looking for a reason to be swept away from the cold of January, the next Battle Creek Brigham Audubon presentation is for you! This 1-hour program will feature the prized gems in the birding world known as Warblers. These tiny flighty birds can be hard to find and most species are only in our area for a few weeks each spring and fall. Take advantage of a warm meeting space with fresh goodies, coffee and time with friends while Nature Photographer Josh Haas displays some of his amazing images of Warblers with tips and tricks on how to find, identify and photograph Warblers. Josh is a Michigan Nature Photographer and Co-Owner of Glances At Nature Photography. For the past 5 years, he's sold his work at Art Shows in Michigan as well as on-line at Josh has expanded the business to include trips and workshops all around the Mid-West. He partners with local organizations such as the Kalamazoo Nature Center, the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, and Michigan Audubon to provide Photography Workshops as well as programming. His work can be seen in multiple publications for these organizations and more throughout Michigan. A short BC Brigham Audubon business meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, with the presentation beginning immediately afterwards at 7:15 pm. The meeting will take place in the Cross Administration Building (Zoo Office). The event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Binder Park Zoo: 269-979-1351

Spotted Turtles May Be Slow but Are Quickly Disappearing

December 14, 2011

In recent years, it has come to the attention of naturalists and ecologists statewide that Michigan spotted turtle numbers are being threatened. Do you want to learn more about this species and what is being done to ensure their survival? Join Binder Park Zoo and the BC Brigham Audubon on Wednesday, December 14th at 7:00pm for a presentation about spotted turtle behavior, habitat and their basic ecology. Diana Lutz, an Interpretive Naturalist and Certified Interpretive Guide at Pokagon State Park in Angola, IN, will lend her expertise in explaining this species and the research that has lead to the conservation efforts that are taking place currently.

Diana Lutz, a Quincy native who now resides in Coldwater, MI, received her master’s degree in Zoology from Michigan State University in 2009. While in college, Ms. Lutz had the opportunity to compile research on Michigan spotted turtles and even chose the species as her thesis topic. In fact, prior to her research, there had been no documented studies of the spotted turtle in Michigan. Throughout her research, telemetry, a process in which radio signals are used to analyze measurable data, was used to track the spotted turtles in Michigan and some very interesting discoveries were found, in which Ms. Lutz will be sharing at this month’s presentation.

“I have two passions in life, turtles and birds,” said Diana Lutz. “I have been very fortunate to have traveled many parts of the world on turtle and birding expeditions and am very excited to spread the word about conserving Michigan’s spotted turtle population.”

A short BC Brigham Audubon business meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, with the presentation beginning immediately afterwards at 7:15 pm. The meeting will take place in the Cross Administration Building (Zoo Office). The event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Binder Park Zoo: 269-979-1351.

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