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Rosamond Gifford Zoo Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Discussion in 'United States' started by fkalltheway, 3 May 2009.

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  1. fkalltheway

    fkalltheway Well-Known Member

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    Really surprised that there were no treads about this zoo. Has anyone ever visited this zoo? It's located in Syracuse, NY for those of you unfamiliar with it. It used to be called the Burnet Park Zoo, but was re-named after a generous donation. I am a big fan of this zoo so let's get the conversation started about this great place!

    I'll be posting pictures from it a little later, so be sure to look out for those.
     
  2. loxodonta

    loxodonta Well-Known Member

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    I have visited this zoo a couple of times on my way out to Toronto and Ohio I decided to write a review.
    It has a typical New York zoo style layout: one main building with outside exhibits. The main building is divided into four animal sections- U.S.S. Antiquities, Diversity of Birds, Adaptations and Social Animals.
    U.S.S. Antiquities is the zoos aquarium/herp house with the only mammals being a GLT and Prevost's squirrels. I was there less than two years ago and thought the collection was nice with exhibits ranging from a mix species exhibit with dwarf caiman, giant river and yellow spotted amazon turtles and a rhino iguana to a tropical saltwater tank with bamboo sharks. Nothing spectacular but enjoyable. Other species included retic and blood pythons, lined seahorses, various species of frogs, yellow spotted salamander and other freshwater turtles.
    Diversity of birds is a large indoor aviary with a few small enclosures. The aviary its self is not impressive but I liked the collection. It was not location specific as it had palawan peacock pheasant, chestnut mandible toucan, luzon bleeding heart dove, various lories, nicobar pigeon and asian fairy bluebird. There was also a large hybrid macaw and radiated tortoises in the aviary.
    The Adaptations buildings has a mix of species but mostly mammals. The exhibits are medium to small and house egyptian fruit bats, two toed sloths, naked mole rats, ocelots, fennec foxes and virginia opossum. The last time I visited this whole section smelled like ocelot urine. They had just recently been put on exhibit. The zoo has since added fossas and sand cats to this area.
    The Social Animal section has most of the zoos primates, N.A. river otters, african lions and meerkats. The primate exhibits are small and none of them had outside areas (They have what looks like an outdoor island exhibit but I have never seen water surrounding the island which would allow the primates access). The species include siamangs, mandrills, vervet monkeys, ringtail and b/w ruffed lemurs, GLTs and squirrel monkeys. The lion enclosure is one of the smallest and barren I have seen at an accredited zoo and has a large window for viewing. Last time I was there the male began roaring and it was almost deafening because of the reverberation off the concrete walls and viewing glass in such a small habitat. They also have two females. The river otter exhibit is average and has a underwater viewing window with bluegills and pumpkin seeds in the foreground. The meerkat exhibit looks like the outside of an African hut that they share with von deckens hornbill.
    There is also a cafeteria, classrooms and a banquet area in the building.
    Outside the building, in the courtyard, is the waterfowl pond. I think I remember flamingos in the pond but I'm not sure. I do remember a graphic picture of ducks stomach cut open with coins coming out of it. It was there to remind people not to throw coins into the pond because this was the end result. I thought it was effective.
    To the left of the cafeteria is the asian elephant exhibit. It is very small and all concrete with a pool to bathe in. It is sectioned off into two parts: one is a demonstration and training area and the other was a display area. Most times I have been there Indy, the bull, is in the display area and one or more of the females is in the demonstration area. Rosamond Gifford also may be one of the few zoos that allows you to touch one of the elephants during the demonstration. They currently house 1.3 elephants with two more females on loan to African Lion Safari in Canada. As a side note, one of these females recently gave birth to a son and was named after the director of the Rosamond Gifford zoo.
    To the left of the elephants is the farm animal area with various domestic hoofstock and a dog.
    Further to the left of that is a small collection of raptors which included peregrine falcon, turkey vultures and african crows.
    Before you start the Wildlife Trails section of the zoo, there is a bird show area and a swan pond. The bird show had owls, hawks and falcons. Only place I have seen a merlin/pigeon hawk.
    Wildlife Trails is the largest section of the zoo with a half mile trail that has about two dozen outdoor exhibits. All the species are found in or can tolerate cold weather. Starting from the raptors the first exhibit you come to is the spectacled bears. The bears the last time I visited came from the Erie Zoo. They lived in what looked like a modified bear pit with a rocky hill in the center that bears could climb and be eye level with visitors. They also also had numerous wooden structures to climb and a stream that ran around the circular enclosure with parts they could soak in. It used to be home to a huge Kodiak bear. Across from the spectacled bears are the andean condors and snow leopards. The condors are in a relatively small enclosure with a large tree they can use. The snow leopards enclosure is decent sized that has a small rocky hill with a stream running through it and is well vegetated (they have plenty of hiding spots). Across from the snow leopard is the red panda/muntjac exhibit. I have only seen the pandas once because it always seems hot when I visit. It is an average red panda exhibit but the zoo has had a lot of success breeding this species. Next to the red pandas is the collared peccary exhibit. I have only seen one in this barren exhibit. Next to the peccary is the bison pasture. The viewing area is partially blocked by trees and it can be difficult to see them. It is a fairly large enclosure. Next to them is the elephant summer yard. Compared to the other elephant area this is heaven. It is a large grassy yard (a least a couple of acres) with a large real tree and plenty of enrichment. I will put a picture up in the gallery. The only thing it is missing is a pool but a new elephant exhibit is in the works (I will address this later). It is a very good elephant habitat and with a little more work could be one of the best. Across from the elephant yard is the Thorolds deer yard. It is as large as the elephant yard and had about 7 or 8 individuals including young and a massive buck. The enclosure is built on a hill so it give the animals different terrain and allows the visitor great views of this magnificent species. Across from the deer and next the elephant, is the red wolf enclosure. You are elevated and look down into the enclosure which is heavily planted and can be difficult to spot the wolves. The exhibit is also very large. Next to the wolves are the amur tigers. This large habitat is also one the side of a hill but instead of looking up, you look down the hill. It has large viewing windows with a pool right in front so on hot days visitors can watch the tigers play in the water. This is one of my favorite amur tiger exhibits. Across from the tigers are five small exhibits with various wildlife. I have seen fisher, bald eagles, eurasian lynx, himalayan pheasent, red fox, golden eagle and barn owl. Next are the Turkmenian markhor and Rocky mountain bighorn sheep. Both exhibits are typical rocky, hilly terrain with boulders, logs and some grass. Average but nice. Next to them are the caribou and arctic wolves. The caribou are behind the wolves but they look like they share the same space. The caribou can look down at the wolves but the wolves can not get up to the caribou exhibit. Last time I went, I got to watch a keeper give the wolves frozen quails as an enrichment and they loved them. Across from the wolves are the yaks. This enclosure housed musk ox prior to the yaks. The last exhibit is the humboldt penguin exhibit. It was redone recently and is an excellent exhibit. It has indoor/outdoor and underwater viewing with a large pool and every time I visit there are chicks.
    Overall I think the Rosamond Gifford zoo is nice and recommend it to anyone in the area or wants to make the drive. The outdoor exhibits are some of my favorite and the collection overall is good. It does have some work to be done, mainly elephants and primates but the zoo has addressed this and plans to have new elephant and primate exhibits in the future. They would like to bring back their two elephants in Canada to start breeding again (the zoo has had some bad luck with elephant breeding). The current zoo map shows they have moved the bison out and plan on expanding the summer yard which I am glad to see. I would honestly like them to expand into the deer yard but I will take what I can get.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jun 2009
  3. fkalltheway

    fkalltheway Well-Known Member

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    Nice review loxodonta! I've been meaning to write one since my original post but wasn't sure how to edit my old posts. I haven't been out there since this past winter right after they lost JJ the Mandrill but plan to make it out there sometime soon. I'll post some more pictures in the gallery, I have some of the exhibits up on Wildlife Trail, including some of the Elephant Day Yard.
     
  4. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I love all of the zoo reviews that get posted here on ZooChat. Thank you for taking the time to type it out!:)
     
  5. okapikpr

    okapikpr Well-Known Member

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  6. fkalltheway

    fkalltheway Well-Known Member

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    Some updates about RGZ:

    --This year's nine Humbolt Penguin chicks have matured enough to go out in the main exhibit. This brings the zoo's penguin colony up in number to 40 individuals. RGZ has amazing success with breeding this species and has lots of SSP recommended breeding pairs. Initially when the exhibit opened in 2005 they started with around 16 animals, and in 5 years the colony has more than doubled.

    --Commenting on the news link okapikpr posted a while back, the guanacos now live in the former Caribou enclosure on the hillside above the Arctic Wolves. The Caribou now shares and exhibit with yak on a rotational basis. I think they're trying to get them acclimated to one another and possibly house them together.

    --The bison exhibit is no more. This area is being utilized as part of the new elephant exhibit, and from my understanding will be the site of the new elephant barn.

    --In July the zoo opened Primate Park, which provides most of the zoo's primates with access to an outdoor space. The former moated exhibit which housed gibbons has been completely redone and is now enclosed by a tall mesh structure. There are both grass and rocks here as well as lots of climbing features and a glass viewing window. Different primate species will be let out of their indoor exhibits on a rotating basis, among them the lemurs (ring-tailed and black-and-white ruffed), simangs, and Patas Monkeys (a new species for the zoo).

    I think that the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is a great zoo in Central New York that is well worth visiting. It's roughly half indoors and half outdoors and can be seen in a few hours. They are constantly adding new animals and improving exhibits for current species in their collection.

    I plan to go out there on Monday so I'll try to get pictures of all these new things that I listed in this post. It kind of seems like I'm the only one with photos in the gallery for RGZ. Does anybody else visit this zoo?
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2010
  7. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good. I look forward to visiting in the fall.
     
  8. siamang27

    siamang27 Well-Known Member

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    It seems like RGZ is a nice small zoo that can mostly be seen at any time of the year, since half of it is inside and many of the outdoor animals are cold-weather species. Disappointing about the lion exhibit though but judging from the review they always seem to be upgrading exhibits - glad to see primates can go outside instead of being stuck indoors all the time.
     
  9. fkalltheway

    fkalltheway Well-Known Member

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    I love going to the zoo in the winter. The animals are more active outside and are usually easier to see, especially the wolves. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything that's exhibited outside which cannot be seen in the winter besides the flamingos, which are still visible but aren't allowed out on the main pond.
    I just added a few pictures to the gallery, mostly of the lions and tigers in the winter at the zoo.
     
  10. fkalltheway

    fkalltheway Well-Known Member

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    Here's just a few updates after my visit yesterday. It turned out to be in the mid-90s so many of the animals were resting but the crowds were minimal due to the heat.

    Primate Park is a really great space for the zoo's primates! By filling in the moat they were able to increase the space available. It is very tall and has many climbing opportunities as well as a waterfall and heated rocks (not needed yesterday). The animals are visible from many places and there are two glass viewing windows, one of which is in a tunnel which goes a small way out into the exhibit. There is glass viewing on three sides of this tunnel which gives a nice view of the exhibit. Yesterday the Siamangs were on exhibit, but the lemurs and Patas Monkeys can also be rotated through this space.

    Also I didn't realize that construction on the new elephant exhibit had already started! Lots of progress has been made since I was there in March, with a barn structure taking over most of the former Bison yard. The sign states that the new elephant barn will be 10,000 square feet with a viewing window, which would allow visitors to view animals inside the barn (a first at Syracuse). The sign also says that there will be a seating area, presumably for the elephant demos which are very popular here. When the exhibit opens, the zoo's 4 elephants (1.3) will be joined by the rest of the zoo's elephants (1.2) which are currently residing in Canada. It will be great to see so many elephants at Syracuse, and I'm excited to see Little Chuck, who should be around 3 when the exhibit opens.

    I posted a lot of pictures in the gallery of these new exhibits as well as some other exhibits. Check them out and let me know what you think.
     
  11. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    I'll be visiting the zoo on October 2nd. I look forward to this little NY zoo. It will be interesting for me to see how it compares to Buffalo and Seneca Park Zoo.
     
  12. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    I'm tipping everyone off about the big news before the press conference (the zoo's facebook page suggested that guests find the answer on syracuse.com). The zoo will be introducing a new baby to the press this morning...a baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth! I already thought the zoo had a lot sloths! Very interesting and exciting birth to hear about, for me anyway.
     
  13. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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  14. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have a larger map than the one on the zoo's website?

    Thanks!
     
  15. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    I'll try to take a picture of my map tonight and upload it here and/or can privately send it to you if you like. The map on the website is a little outdated anyway with some new animals and changes in the recent year.
     
  16. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    That would be great, thank you!
     
  17. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately I can't find my zoo map, so it may take awhile. I'm hoping I can find it somewhere tonight. I'll post it if I find it, sorry!
     
  18. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry about it, I appreciate you making the effort.
     
  19. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    According to the zoo's facebook page, the male tiger from the Buffalo Zoo has arrived to their zoo. However, I was wrong about what male tiger they were going to send. I thought it be the younger one, Pavel (Warner). I assumed they'd keep the mating pair of Toma and Sungari together when they shipped off the adult cubs. But after doing some research, I see that Pavel isn't old enough to reach sexual maturity yet. So the oldest adult male, Toma, born in 2001 at the Toronto Zoo, has switched zoos.

    I'm curious to see if the Buffalo Zoo will get a new male tiger to mate with either Sungari or Thyme if they eventually ship off one of the cubs due to a SSP recommendation. But I think for awhile, they will just have the three Amur tigers.

    EDIT: Not sure if this should have went under the Buffalo Zoo forum instead. However, if they post any photos or a video on facebook, I'll post it to this thread.
     
  20. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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