Living a Zoo Dream – Allen’s Swamp Monkeys

Doctors and scientists say we shouldn’t sit for longer than 30 minutes without getting up, as it slows metabolism by up to 90 percent.

noqui

Noqui – male Allen’s swamp monkey.

It can be difficult to find time to move within a busy workday, but I have found my new way to try to meet this goal: Noqui (top) and Fern (Bottom).

Noqui and Fern are the Allen’s swamp monkeys at the Lake Superior Zoo, and their exhibit is just outside of my office. I try to make it a point to get up at least every two hours and visit them. It is amazing and fascinating to watch these animals on a daily basis, as you can really learn about personalities, traits and quirks.

Fern, the female, is outgoing and often interacts with zoo visitors through the glass. She has little fear of anything or anyone, including her roommate with Noqui in the exhibit, the African crested porcupine.

Noqui is more of an introverted type and can, at times, prefer to be alone. He also has a curiosity for new enrichment (zoo talk for new experiences and toys we provide the animals). He explores his exhibit and takes apart anything he can.

The zoo staff has implemented an enrichment program for Noqui, along

fern

Fern – female Allen’s swamp Monkey.

with many other zoo animals, to help fuel this inquisitiveness. The program includes allowing Noqui to use an iPad to create artwork (my son would be jealous), as well as various puzzle feeders that require multiple steps to get the reward of a grape or piece of dried fruit.

While learning about these animals is one of the perks of my job, much more goes into it. This past week I continued to learn more about the zoo staff (I now know almost everyone’s name), and we are beginning to discuss the exciting new animals and exhibits we plan to bring to the zoo.

It is amazing how much thought and care is given to any new animal exhibit, acquisition or even subtle changes to the zoo environment. The staff is always thinking about what is best for the animals, both at our zoo and for the species as a whole.

I will share information about the new and exciting exhibits and visitor experiences at the Lake Superior Zoo as we finalize plans. Have a great week, and find an excuse to get up and move today.

Corey Leet is CEO of the Lake Superior Zoo. You can contact him at cleet@lszoo.org or 218-730-4500, extension 203. Find his blog at lszooduluth.org and on the Lake Superior Zoo’s Facebook and Twitter profiles.


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