Zoo wishes granted

For the past several months Minoters have kept busy making the wishes of Roosevelt Park Zoo’s keepers come true. The zoo has been updating a wish list, which is found on Amazon.com after running a quick search for “Roosevelt Park Zoo wish list.”

There are many items to choose from, varying in price from inexpensive lattice balls to a $300 ultrasonic probe. All purchases on the wishlist get delivered to the zoo offices at its new visitor center building.

Zoo keeper Allison Suda explained that in addition to the general overhaul as the zoo recovers from Minot’s 2011 flood, there are a number of smaller items, tools and conveniences the keepers need assistance getting in time for the park’s reopening.

Among the practicalities of buckets, carabiners and water bottles, the wish list also includes a number of toys, puzzles and other items that help the zoo’s animals recollect themselves after their stressful two-year dispersal. One of the more unique articles is the puzzle ball, a sphere or sometimes cuboid of varying size and design that contain a treat inside of it. This adds incentive for an animal to figure out how to manipulate the treat free from the device, rewarding as it challenges.

“Weekly we get boxes,” she said, a varied assortment one might not at first think would be integral to the running of a zoo. Grass mats, “jolly balls,” rawhide bones and pieces of driftwood. “The items provide stimulus for animals that promote natural behaviors,” explained Suda, adding an element of diversion to the zoo’s enclosures that keeps the animals happy and free from boredom.

“We had lost some things from the flood,” she said, “and these give them something to do, and give them a reason to re-explore their enclosures.”

A link to the wish list can also be found on the Roosevelt Park Zoo Facebook page, which also contains updated information on the ongoing renovations before the expected reopening on May 4.