On the Move

By July 11, 2017All News, Zoo

Like the fast-moving, high-mileage migratory animals in our care, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is progressing at a steady pace

“Magnificent Migrations” is the focus at Travelers Sunset Affair, the sizzling summer gala presented by Como Friends. Not only does the theme give Como Zoo keepers a chance to highlight some of the amazing animal movers in their care, it also gives Como Friends’ supporters a chance to reflect on the impressive forward progress made possible by their generous contributions.

“Como itself is moving forward at a fantastic clip thanks to an infusion of more than $37 million in private contributions in recent years,” says Como Friends’ President Jackie Sticha. “Thanks to the new Visitor Center, beautiful landscapes like the new Minnesota Garden, amazing new animal habitats like Polar Bear Odyssey and Gorilla Forest, we’re also able to welcome nearly a half million more visitors every year than we did just a decade ago.”

Contributions to Sunset Affair’s Fund-A-Need are critical to keeping up with the needs of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory’s nearly two million annual visitors, not to mention the magnificent animal migrators guests are about to meet at Travelers Sunset Affair.

Polar bears near the Hudson Bay migrate inland each summer as the sea ice recedes, and move back out to their frozen hunting grounds in the fall once the ice firms up. In Churchill, Manitoba, where many Como Zoo keepers have taken part in conservation and research projects with Polar Bears International, nearly 1,000 animals make the move every season. To see how far some bears travel, check out the “Bear Tracker” page at Polar Bears International which keeps tabs on selected bears fitted with GPS collars.

Bison herds of up to 4 million animals once roamed the Great Plains, traveling up to 400 miles every year on the move from their winter to summer ranges.

Monarch butterflies that flit around the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Enchanted Garden make one of the longest migrations on earth, traveling between Canada and Mexico every year. The average 2,500 mile trip is so long that it takes two to three generations of insects to complete it.

Flamingos in Kenya take flight with spectacular effect every spring as they migrate to the Rift Valley Lakes of east Africa.

Reindeer can cover up to 3,000 miles every year to find food, avoid the cold, and to get away from biting insects. As a running herd, they can reach speeds of 35 miles an hour, and manage to cover an average 110 miles a day when they’re on the move.

 California sea lions like Sparky stay in their coastal waters year-round, but they have been known to travel far distances in search of food. In fact, the very first Sparky the Sea Lion was rescued from the side of the road near The Dalles, Oregon, where she’d turned to chase salmon up the Columbia River gorge.

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