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Back in Borneo: The final chapter

Blog Header - Conservation 2 Deep in the jungles of Borneo in 1971, a 25-year-old anthropologist named Birute Galdikas first began her life-long career studying orangutans in the wild. Birute was one of famed anthropologist, Louis Leakey’s three “angels,” which also included Jane Goodall (studying chimpanzees in Tanzania) and Dian Fossey (studying Mountain gorillas in Rwanda). Birute’s research at Camp Leaky continues today in promoting scientific study and conservation of orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park. This southern Bornean, peninsular, 125,000 square-mile, peat swamp park with a 100-foot towering tree canopy juts into the Java Sea. In addition to being home to the largest wild population of orangutans (6,000), the forest supports semi-wild, orangutans rescued by Birute from the pet trade and released more than 30 years ago. Many of these rescued and rehabilitated orangutans and their offspring provide park visitors with surprisingly up close, inspiring encounters and incredible photo opportunities, all in a free-range, forested setting. Our visit to Camp Leaky proved a perfect final day for our annual, integrated conservation trip to Borneo, connecting human, livestock, forest and orangutan health!

Blog and photos, unless otherwise noted, by: Dr. Jeff Wyatt D.V.M., M.P.H., Director of Animal Health and Conservation for the Seneca Park Zoo Dr. Andrew Winterborn D.V.M., Seneca Park Zoo and University of Rochester veterinary alumnus; University Veterinarian, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada


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Back in Borneo: Chapter 3

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How do healthy goats and cattle save orangutans from extinction? It’s all about deforestation, specifically illegal logging. Health in Harmony, Seneca Park Zoo’s conservation anchor in Borneo, reports a 68% decrease in illegal logging households for more than six years. This impressive accomplishment rings true as we have spent six days meeting Farmers’ and Widows’ groups investing in and relying on revenue generated from healthy cattle and goats. Such revenue includes highly productive organic farming from composted manure as well as meat production.

Highly reproductive goats (especially healthy twin kids) underscore the benefit of enhancing animal health & husbandry. Training has expanded formally with use of the FAMACHA card.  Pinker color to conjunctival mucous membranes under lower eyelid indicates anemia is not a health concern. New training in selectively administering oral de-wormer may decrease parasite loads in overall herd of approximately 250 goats.

As Ibu Setiawati and Jilli implement their new health monitoring and treatment practices, we look forward to returning next year for more good news.  Thank you Seneca Park Zoo donors for supporting Health in Harmony, making a true difference for goats, cattle, villagers and orangutans.

Blog and photos by:

Dr. Jeff Wyatt D.V.M., M.P.H., Director of Animal Health and Conservation for the Seneca Park Zoo

Dr. Andrew Winterborn D.V.M., Seneca Park Zoo and University of Rochester veterinary alumnus; University Veterinarian, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada


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Back in Borneo: Chapter 2

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Seneca Park Zoo’s One Health-One Medicine veterinary approach emphasizes the connection between humans, wildlife and environmental health. That connection can be found in Rochester, through the relationship between the Genesee River and sturgeon health, and it can be found on the opposite side of the globe, as witnessed by the coexistence of Bornean villagers with the rainforest and its role in orangutan survival.

We recently enjoyed a species sharing medical experience when Valerie Lou, M.D., the University of Rochester International Medicine fellow sent this year to Borneo by the Seneca Park Zoo’s American Association of Zoo Keepers chapter, joined us on farm rounds. Dr. Lou journeyed to Borneo to mentor villager health care in ASRI Klinik, in synchrony and harmony with impactful orangutan forest conservation programs. Dr. Lou joined our veterinary & herd health team for a day with Jilli and Ibu Setiawati, as we recorded data, performed physical exams and healthy baby checks, de-wormed and hoof trimmed 37 cattle and goats under the care of 23 farmers’ groups and widows.

Blog and photos by:

Dr. Jeff Wyatt D.V.M., M.P.H., Director of Animal Health and Conservation for the Seneca Park Zoo

Dr. Andrew Winterborn, D.V.M., Seneca Park Zoo and University of Rochester veterinary alumnus; University Veterinarian, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


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Back in Borneo: Chapter One

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Health in Harmony’s mantra, “Saving the Rainforest with a Stethoscope,” takes on greater meaning in this, our third conservation-medicine expedition to Borneo. Our veterinary mentoring of farmers and ASRI conservation staff last year has resulted in a more formal preventive medicine approach for cattle and goat herds, and in health trend tracking, performed and expanded by Jilli and Ibu Setiawati. Healthier livestock provides villagers with sustainable, forest-friendly, revenue generating alternatives to illegal logging and slash and burn farming practices.

We are honored and proud to participate in Health in Harmony and ASRI Klinik’s capacity building and mentoring initiatives which promote healthier lives for villagers and protect forest for 10% (2,500) of the world’s remaining Bornean orangutans currently thriving in Gunung Palung National Park.

Blog and photos by:

Dr. Jeff Wyatt DVM, MPH, Director of Animal Health and Conservation for the Seneca Park Zoo

Dr. Andrew Winterborn DVM, Seneca Park Zoo and University of Rochester veterinary alumnus; University Veterinarian, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


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Goodbye Sultan

There are many benefits to working for a wonderful organization such as the Zoo. There are also, at times, tough circumstances to endure. One of those circumstances is the death of a favorite animal. This week, one of my favorites, a beautiful bird named Sultan, passed away. You might find it odd to reminisce about a golden pheasant, but Sultan lived a long life and was easily recognizable because of his colorful plumage.

Photo by Matthew Burroughs

Photo by Matthew Burroughs

When I began working here in 2012, Sultan and his mate, Pyrite, occupied an exhibit near Lou the hyena. I would stop by to say hello most days while on my walk. By the autumn of that year, Pyrite had passed away due to age and there was talk that the outdated exhibit would be taken down. If that happened, what would become of Sultan? The recommendation was made for Sultan move to the aviary. Following a brief period in an introduction cage, he was released to explore his new home. He settled in and flourished. He seemed brighter and more active in the warmth of the aviary amongst the other birds. While he always received excellent care here at the Zoo, while in the aviary he received more attention from visitors because he was such a striking addition. He continued to delight us until he finally slowed down and began to show his age.

For the past few months, Sultan stayed in the back corner of the aviary. Zoo keepers paid special attention to him and continued to monitor him until finally, on Monday, his time at the Zoo came to an end.

“Sultan came to the Zoo shortly after I did 10 years ago, and he was already an adult when we got him,” said Curator David Hamilton. At the time of his death we knew he was at least 10, but by most estimates he was likely 14, a long life for a golden pheasant.

“He was truly a success story,” said Assistant Curator John Adamski. “Moving Sultan into the aviary and out of the cold really was a benefit to him. I feel really good about how he was handled.”

Adamski added: “We weren’t sure how he would do in the aviary because pheasants are notoriously aggressive. But he made friends; first with the Lady Amherst pheasant and then with the crested wood partridges.”

The beautiful Sultan became an icon in the Zoo’s aviary, and his long, comfortable life is a testament to the care and attention animal care staff gives to all our animals.

Michele Schepisi-Ritchie, Office and Marketing Assistant


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Seneca Park Zoo membership is the wildest value in town

Seneca Park Zoo membership continues to be one of the foremost choices for families and animal lovers when deciding where to spend entertainment dollars. With the arrival of the New Year, we’ve brought some changes to the structure of the Zoo’s membership program, making it more customizable than ever, with combinations of benefits that will appeal to everyone.

Kenneth Madison and Ethan Thomas (grandson) (2)These benefits are available in to all members:
• Free Zoo admission all year and Member Express Check-In
• Enter the Zoo at 9:30 a.m. all year. That’s 30 minutes earlier than non-members.
• Discounted admission at more than 170 zoos and aquariums in North America
• 10% discount at ZooShop and cafés
• Invitations to exclusive member events
• Discounts on ZooBoo tickets
• ZooNooz, our quarterly newsletter, mailed to your home

We have listened to feedback from our members and added a la carte items, including personalized cards for children and limited edition member T-shirts, so you may tailor your membership to meet the needs of your family. We continue to offer Penguin Circle, our best value, and have added Otter Circle. It includes all of the benefits of Penguin Circle plus the opportunity to attend behind-the-barrier group tours. For a full list of benefits, click here.

Mary Pat Keith and Aiden DeRisio (1)

Photos by Kelli O’Brien

We have expanded our membership program to include our premier membership tiers, Partners in Conservation. These members receive a range of benefits and privileges not available to others, including private behind-the-scenes tours, chances to meet zoologists and zoo keepers, opportunities to participate in field research with a Zoo expert and more. The generosity and commitment of our Partners in Conservation allow the Zoo to continue to be the natural place for families while building on its role in conservation leadership.

Members are vital to the Seneca Park Zoo. Regardless of the membership you choose, your support allows the Zoo to accomplish important conservation initiatives and education programming. For this, we thank you.

Michele Schepisi-Ritchie, Office & Marketing Assistant


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2014: The Zoo in Review

The Zoo celebrated another great year working hard to maintain awareness of the Zoo’s role within the community, through its conservation and education efforts as well as fundraising events. The Zoo continues to work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and its Species Survival Plan (SSP) to help keep animal populations healthy and sustainable, therefore showing our commitment to saving species.

Learn about the great efforts we highlighted in our holiday video here:

Check out some other highlights by clicking through the photo gallery below:

- Kelli O’Brien, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator

- Michele Schepisi-Ritchie, Office and Marketing Assistant

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