International Conservationist for African Painted Dog Hosted by Utica Zoo

Utica, NY ­– The Utica Zoo will host Wilton Nsimango of Painted Dog Conservation from Zimbabwe on Saturday, August 13th for an African painted dog centric event with a presentation by Nsimango as the event’s keynote speaker.  The day will include multi-age activities, presentations, and opportunities to become involved in international conservation efforts on behalf of the endangered African painted dogs.

Interactive and impactful opportunities will be offered throughout the day:

  • Junior Ranger Station: Located in the center of the zoo near the temporary gift shop/auditorium, visit an activity table for children to complete various activities and earn a junior ranger sticker.
  • Recycling station to collect donated cell phones (must be SIM card eligible) and laptops
  • Snare Wire Art:  Support the Zimbabwe-based Painted Dog Conservation organization by purchasing snare wire art.  This unique offering emphasizes the threat to many African species due to the use non-discriminatory snares
  • The Utica Zoo gift shop will contribute 10% of all African painted dog related items this
  • School and Art Supply Collection:  Zimbabwe Painted Dog Conservation participates in ex-situ and in-situ conservation education with the local primary and secondary schools situated in and around the Hwange National park. The school and art supplies are used at the Children’s Bush Camp when the students visit the camp for a period of 4 days learning about nature and wildlife.  Pencils are used to draw animals and trees with special labelling of adaptations. In the ex-situ conservation activities, students are engaged in several activities which include written and art work. The local schools conduct “Prize Giving” days were excelling students are rewarded for their excellent performances. The supplies are also utilized as prizes.

Nsimango’s travels throughout the US are conducted in collaboration with several zoos; travel to the Utica Zoo is provided by the Maryland Zoo and the Utica Zoo then supports the travel to his next stop in South Bend Indiana to the Potawatomi Zoo.  This opportunity is possible through a sponsorship from zoo supporters Debbie and Jim Wurz, who are also supporting significant renovations to the habitat.

This year’s visit is a second visit for Nsimango; in 2019, zoo hosted him for a community presentation. At the time the Utica Zoo didn’t have painted dogs on exhibit.  This changed in 2020 when Cincinnati Zoo engaged in breeding as a recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP).  The litter born was abundant and Utica Zoo welcomed a trio of young sisters. 

All activities are included with regular zoo admission; all free benefits apply to Utica Zoo and AZA reciprocal members.

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The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!