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Wild For Life
40 minutes | May 18, 2022
Protecting Turtles at the Toronto Zoo
This episode is all about turtle conservation as every May 23rd we celebrate World Turtle Day. Donnell Gasbarrini joins me on the podcast to discuss the status of turtles around the world as well as the Toronto Zoo’s efforts to help protect turtles through their Adopt-A-Pond program (and app) and the Headstart program to help save the Blanding's turtle from going extinct. Donnell also provides some tips on how you can avoid running over turtles in the spring, summer, and fall when driving up to your cottages for some rest and relaxation.
55 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
How the Toronto Zoo is Going Net Zero
The Toronto Zoo has always been a conservation driven organization, where many of the initiatives started by the staff to reduce their impact on the surrounding environment and this is why I was not surprised when Kyla Greenham, Manager of Conservation and the Environment at the Zoo, told me about the release of their new program TZ Net0, a program where the total output of the Zoo will be zero. This program is not an easy one to pull off, but according to Kyla the staff have been the driving force behind many of the current accomplishments of the programs including reduce water waste. Kyla gives us a list of the goals of the program and why they chose them.
40 minutes | Apr 14, 2022
Studying the behaviour of Juno the polar bear
Sophie De Vos joins me on the podcast to discuss her study on the behaviour of Juno, the polar bear, to ensure that the bear is doing well. Sophie is an undergraduate student from the Netherlands who flew over to the Toronto Zoo to study Juno on an overseas internship. Sophie recounts her journey from the Netherlands and how she is adapting to Canadian life. She also details the behaviour study and the type of behaviour patterns she is observing in Juno.
38 minutes | Mar 31, 2022
The birth of a giraffe at The Toronto Zoo
Jason Pootoolal, zookeeper, joins me once again on the podcast to talk about the new giraffe addition at your Toronto Zoo. Jason tells me the behind-the-scenes details of what it’s like to take care of a pregnant giraffe and how the baby is born. He also discusses what it’s like to take care of a newborn giraffe and how the birth of this newborn will help the conservation of these endangered giraffes in the wild one day.
32 minutes | Mar 23, 2022
New Baby Cheetahs at The Toronto Zoo
There are three new cheetah editions at your Toronto Zoo this year so you know I wanted to talk about these cute cubs in this episode. Keith Pickthorn, a zookeeper in the African Savannah area of your Zoo, joins us on this episode to discuss the pregnancy, birth, and rearing of the cute big cats. He talks about how zookeepers monitor the animals during the pregnancy and rearing period and what he looks forward to you seeing when the babies are introduced to their outdoor habitat.
37 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
Immerse yourself at The Toronto Zoo with the new app, On Thin Ice
I bet you didn’t think that The Toronto Zoo could get anymore interactive! Well, think again because the Zoo released a new app called “On Thin Ice” where you can play a virtual reality game on your phone at the Zoo in the Tundra area. The app is designed to teach you about Climate Change and how animals such as Polar Bears, Caribou, and Bowhead Whales are being affected by the consequences of climate change. Denise Hill-Fox and Dyann Powley join me on the podcast to discuss the various features of the app, including the virtual reality game, the See Your Impact section and the exploratory map of the Tundra section at the Zoo.
39 minutes | Feb 9, 2022
WFL 85: Considerations when designing habitats at The Toronto Zoo
Have you ever wondered how each habitat at the Zoo is designed and what type of considerations are taken into account when a new habitat is designed? Brent Huffman, Lead Keeper of Mammals at The Toronto Zoo, returns to the podcast to talk about one of his favourite things are the Zoo: habitat design. Brent tells about all of the different considerations that need to be addressed when designing a new habitat or altering existing ones. Habitats need to provide accessibility to keepers, the veterinarian staff, the garden staff, and more. It also needs to provide a number of different viewing areas that will be optimal for visitors to see the animals. Of course, the most important consideration is that of the animals and their welfare. Brent provides us with different thinking around habitats at The Toronto Zoo.
50 minutes | Jan 26, 2022
WFL 84: Celebrating Charles, the Silverback Gorilla’s 50th Birthday
Heidi Manicki joins me on this episode to help celebrate Charles, the iconic Silverback Gorilla, who turned 50 this year. We discuss how Charles has matured over his years at the Toronto Zoo including his number one fear! We also discuss how important Charles is as an iconic connection for visitors to learn about how we can better protect critically endangered Western Lowland gorillas in the wild. Keep listening for a surprise announcement to help protect gorillas!
32 minutes | Jan 12, 2022
WFL 83: How the Toronto Zoo uses their manure to produce electricity in partnership with Zooshare
I am excited to tell you that Kyla Graham, Manager of Conservation and Environment at the Zoo, joins me on the podcast to discuss the planning and implementation of the Zoo’s new BioGas program that it runs in partnership with ZooShare. Kyla described how the partnership with ZooShare was initiated to help the Zoo to find a process that will not only dispose of the 3,000 metric tons worth of manure per year but do it in a way that contributes to renewable energy. Here are links to ZooShare and an article that provides a summary of the project: 1) ZooShare website: https://zooshare.ca/ 2) Summary article of BioGas: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-zoo-manure-into-electricity-1.6277735?fbclid=IwAR078VDoK_mB3LxrSgLKHSKLaZCevbysU7FwicP0nMZ6h3AO-a0U_LnaxSc
50 minutes | Dec 22, 2021
WFL 82: Learn about the Amur tiger breeding program and the new tiger cub at the Toronto Zoo
Nigel Parr, Zookeeper, stops by the podcast to tell us about the breeding program that brought us Mila, the Amur tiger cub, to the Toronto Zoo. We go in-depth on the breeding process and Mila’s parents; how the Zookeepers help monitor the health of the cubs; and, how the cub is cared for by Mila’s mom Mazyria and the Zoo staff. Help protect Amur Tigers: https://www.sumatranrangerproject.com
35 minutes | Dec 8, 2021
WFL 81: New Wild Encounters at the Toronto Zoo
You can count on the Wild Encounters program at the Toronto Zoo to add more benefits to your visit to the Zoo to get a behind-the-scenes tour of some of your favourite animals such as the polar bears and giraffes. There are now new encounters including goats, reptiles, and the hidden zoo (a look behind the zoo into some of the research). Hollie Ross, the behavioural husbandry supervisor, is my guest on the podcast today to discuss the new encounters and how they can add even more to your Toronto Zoo experience.
36 minutes | Nov 25, 2021
WFL 80: Coorporative Breeding Programs at the Toronto Zoo
Brent Huffman, lead curator of mammals, at the Toronto Zoo joins me on this episode to discuss the importance of coorporative breeding programs at the Zoo. Brent defines the term “Cooporative Breeding” and tells us about various examples of breeding programs at the Zoo as well as some of the other zoos with which the Toronto Zoo works to ensure the proper breeding of a species in question. Brent also discusses the purposes of the Species Survival Plans (SSP) and how they function at the Toronto Zoo.
29 minutes | Nov 10, 2021
WFL 79: Transferring Theo The Rhino from the Toronto Zoo
How to you transport a juvenile rhinoceros from Toronto to Vancouver during a pandemic? Vicki Hardstaff, the Toronto Zoo’s Animal Logistics Coordinator, joins me in today’s episode to discuss the planning and execution of transferring Theo the rhinoceros to the Greater Vancouver Zoo. We discuss the number of Zoo staff that accompanied Theo; his surroundings during the transfer; and, how long the distance actually is between Toronto and Vancouver!
53 minutes | Oct 27, 2021
WFL 78: Native Bat Conservation at the Toronto Zoo
Toby Thorne, Native Bat Coordinator, and Melissa Mayhew, Senior Environmental Scientist at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) join me on the podcast to discuss why native bat conservation is so important to the Canadian environment and how the partnership between the Zoo and the NWMO is working to help protect bats and their habitat.
38 minutes | Oct 6, 2021
WFL 77: Increasing the breeding success of the Oregon Spotted Frog
The Oregon Spotted Frog is listed as an Endangered Species under the Canadian Species At Risk Act; therefore, the breeding success and reintroduction of offspring to the natural habitat is of utmost importance. It’s not surprising that the Toronto Zoo is partnering with Laurentian University to help research how to increase the success rate for the Oregon Spotted Frog breeding program at the Toronto Zoo. Briar Hunter is a Master’s student at Laurentian University who is involved in the research of the breeding program and joins me on today’s episode to discuss her research purpose, collaborators out west, and what she hopes to accomplish after her research. Briar’s supervisors for her Master’s thesis are Dr. David Lesbarreres (Laurentian University) and Dr. Gabriela Mastromonaco (Toronto Zoo).
25 minutes | Sep 22, 2021
WFL 76: Animal Welfare Science at the Toronto Zoo
I am joined by Maria Franke, Manager of Welfare Science at the Toronto Zoo, on today’s episode to discuss how the Zoo monitors and studies animal welfare for its species. Animal welfare is always the number one priority. It uses a holistic approach that includes monitoring the physical, mental, and emotional status of the animals with a focus on quantitative data. Maria discusses how animal welfare at the Zoo is a collaborative effort and how the new Outdoor Orangutan Habitat will help to monitor the species’ welfare and allow comparisons of welfare between indoor and outdoor habitats.
30 minutes | Aug 25, 2021
WFL 74: Explore Goat World at the Toronto Zoo
I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Corbett today on the podcast to discuss the New Goat World habitat at the Toronto Zoo. The habitat offers goats a chance to climb, cross bridges, and climb the “Toronto Zoo” structure where guests can get a great photo! Amanda tells you about the goat species we have at the Zoo and how the Zookeepers look after them, including their behavioural husbandry.
38 minutes | Aug 11, 2021
WFL 73: Conservation Genetics of the Bison at the Toronto Zoo
Dr. Liz Okruhlik joins me on the podcast to discuss how she got her new position at the Toronto Zoo. She is the Conservation Research Veterinarian and hands down have THE best title in conservation. Dr. Liz tells me about the incredible work involving the conservation genetics of bison, camels, and white rhinos at the Zoo. We discuss the importance of genetic diversity within a wild population to maintain resiliency.
47 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
WFL 72: Studying Orangutan Behaviour Between Two Exhibits at the Toronto Zoo
Ezekiel Gading joins me on the podcast to discuss his Master’s research thesis of studying the animal behaviour of one of the most charismatic animals in the animal kingdom, the orangutan. Ezekiel in conjunction with the Toronto Zoo has a unique opportunity to study how the Sumatran orangutans at the Zoo will behave after the move from the current indoor habitat to their new outdoor habitat. Ezekiel and I discuss the science behind studying behaviour and how scientists measure animal welfare. Listen in on this great discussion on orangutan behaviour and how this species will adapt to their new outdoor home.
37 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
WFL 71: Plastic-Free July Competition that you can join with the Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is participating in an international competition called Plastic-Free July to lead by example in the fight against using single-use plastics. Kyla Greenham, Manager of Conservation Programs and Environment, joins me on the podcast to tell you how the competition works; how you can reduce your single-use plastic pollution; how the Zoo is reducing their single-use plastic use on their grounds; and, how technology is being used to prevent single-use plastic from entering the Great Lakes. Would you like to reduce your plastic footprint? Join the challenge by clicking the following link: https://plasticfree.ecochallenge.org/ Use the password: TZ2021to join the Toronto Zoo team and help us win the competition.
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