November 5, 2013

Red River Zoo Recognized with Prestigious Bean Award

Silver Spring, Maryland - The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced that the Red River Zoo has received Significant Achievement with a 2013 Edward H. Bean Award for its long-term propagation and management of red pandas.

"The AZA Bean Award acknowledges the Red River Zoo for its incredible leadership in conservation science," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "It is important to recognize the hard work that will help prevent red pandas and other imperiled species from going extinct."

"The Red River Zoo is a perfect example of how even small zoos can make serious, significant, and real-world contributions to conservation," said Red River Zoo Director Lisa Tate. "By taking our conservation mission seriously, we have been able to sharply focus on our red panda breeding program, making it highly successful and effective. The Red River Zoo's ongoing contributions to red panda propagation, including importing much needed genetically diverse animals from China, illustrates our dedication to this species."

The Edward H. Bean Award is a historic award within AZA, established in September 1956, honoring the first director of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo and one of the founders of AZA. The Edward H. Bean Award recognizes propagation or management programs that contribute to the reproductive success of one or more species and/or subspecies.

The Red River Zoo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which does not receive any tax based funding. As a result, the zoo's financial resources are limited. However, despite these constraints, the Red River Zoo plays an important role in the conservation and propagation of the red panda styani subspecies.

In 1993, the Red River Zoological Society was formed with the mission of developing a zoological park dedicated to education and conservation of rare and endangered species - the Red River Zoo. In the spring of 1999, the Red River Zoo opened its doors and one year later celebrated the birth of its first Chinese red panda. In February 2007, at the request of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Panda Species Survival Plan® (SSP), the zoo imported a male and female red panda from Japan to assist in increasing the genetic diversity of the North American population. This was at a cost of $40,000, which is a large expenditure for a zoo of this size. This illustrates the zoo’s dedication and ongoing commitment to the conservation and propagation of this subspecies. Since 2000, the Red River Zoo has celebrated 12 more successful births, and the zoo is responsible for the birth of one-fifth of the 61 red panda in North America.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more visit

September 15, 2013

Opening of Otter Rapids at the Red River Zoo

The Red River Zoo will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference on Monday, September 16th at 10:00 am.

Otter Rapids, the Red River Zoo’s newest exhibit, is a premier attraction and River Otter habitat. The project was designed by Schultz and Associates in consultation with Zoo professionals to create this immersion habitat. The exhibit was made possible by a generous donation by Bob and Linda Wilm.

Zoo visitors will be able to see and feel what it is like to be a River Otter by entering an indoor “otters den”. The public will be able to watch otters both on land and swimming underwater.

The exhibit was built primarily with local contractors along with firms in Bismarck and an internationally recognized company that specializes in theming for zoos and aquariums.

The Zoo is excited to showcase this new exhibit to the public on September 16th at 10:00 am following a formal ribbon cutting ceremony with the exhibit’s donors, builders, Red River Zoological Society Board of Directors, and the FMWF Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors. The Red River Zoo will be open every day in September from 10 am to 5 pm to premiere this stellar new addition.

August 26, 2013

Red River Zoo Unveils New Public Art Piece

Thanks to a grant received by the Red River Zoo, a new glass mosaic art piece is being unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday, September 3rd at 10:00 am at the Zoo. The grant is part of The City Arts Partnership Grant Program, funded by the Cities of Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo. This grant is administered by The Arts Partnership.

The artist, Magda McGowan Szeitz, has a BFA from MSUM and has been an artist for over 23 years. She has done numerous commissions and her work has shown nationally. The glass mosaic tells the story of the Zoo’s history, featuring animals from the past, present, and future of the zoo.

Please join us for the unveiling and be the first to see this beautiful new piece of public art!

July 24, 2013

Red Panda birth at the Red River Zoo

The Red River Zoo announces the birth of a male Red Panda cub.

Born on June 14, 2013 the red panda cub is currently staying in his indoor quarters with Mom. When he gets a few weeks older, he will begin to venture out into the outdoor exhibit area visible to the public. His parents, Yukiko (dad ) and Shantou (mom) are eight years old and were imported by the Red River Zoo in 2007 from Japan to help increase the genetic diversity of the captive population in the U.S. The Red River Zoo is a leading breeder of Red Pandas and has bred one-fourth of the captive red panda species in North American zoos.

The Red River Zoo is excited to partner with MATBUS in the naming of this new panda. “Mattie” will serve as an ambassador for the Red River Zoond a mascot for MATBUS. The Red River Zoo and MATBUS both share a strong commitment to conservation. Many MATBUS passengers are the youth of our area. With Mattie as an ambassador we hope to encourage young passengers to Go Green by riding MATBUS. Watch for Mattie on MATBUS Summer Youth Pass designs, in advertising to promote their field trip services and as the face of The Red River Zoo!

February 28, 2013

Muntjac Fawn Born at the Zoo

The Red River Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a female Muntjac Fawn.

Muntjac are some of the world’s oldest and smallest deer. Native to Northern China, Muntjac males have antlers and tusks which are used to fight for territory.

The Red River Zoo has successfully bred Muntjac to help create greater genetic diversity for the captive population in North America. Once old enough, the offspring are sent to other zoos to help with their breeding programs.

The female fawn was born Saturday, February 23rd and is on exhibit with her mom in the Rotary Wings over Asia Aviary. The Red River Zoo is open on weekends during the winter from 10am to 5pm. We invite you to join us in welcoming this new addition to the Zoo!

January 1, 2013

Red River Zoo to Unveil New Exhibit

The Red River Zoo will be unveiling a new exhibit at a press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 3rd at 10:30 am. The new exhibit will house the Zoo’s endangered White Naped Cranes.

White naped cranes are large birds native to northern China and Mongolia. This crane is experiencing a rapid and on-going population decline in the wild primarily due to loss of their wetland habitats.

This exhibit was made possible by the generous donation of labor and materials by Lowes, the National Association of Women in Construction, and several area businesses.

To prepare for the opening of the exhibit, area school children have been learning about these rare birds through the Zoo’s education department. Approx. 40 children will be attending the press conference and will be making origami cranes with Elmo from Sesame Street Live just prior to the press conference.

Elmo will be present to help cut the ribbon on this new exhibit.

For more information, please join us at the news conference on Thursday, January 3rd at 10:30 am. The press conference will be held at the Red River Zoo’s Carousel Pavilion.

September 20, 2012

Prairie Public Radio Interview

Jim Mady, the CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Red River Zoo’s executive director Lisa Tate did an interview on Prairie Public Radio on the Red River Zoo and why zoos are important.

September 17, 2012

Association of Zoos and Aquariums CEO to Visit Fargo

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums President and CEO, Jim Maddy, will visit the Red River Zoo in Fargo this week. Mr. Maddy is traveling to Fargo from Silver Spring, Maryland to attend the Zoo’s annual celebration, ZOOlebration on Thursday, September 20th.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is the national organization which provides accreditation for our nation’s Zoos. Accreditation is the “gold star standard” of modern zoos. Fewer than 240 Zoos meet the high standards of AZA accreditation. The Red River Zoo has been accreditated since 2006.

Jim Maddy is a nationally recognized leader in conservation policy and advocacy. Jim previously served as President of the National Park Foundation (NPF) for nine years. Prior to NPF, Jim served as President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) through four federal election cycles and broke ground as the first Executive Director of the Western Governors' Association (WGA). At WGA, Jim developed policies and programs in the areas of natural resources, the environment, human services, economic development, international relations and state governance.

Jim's service on the Board of Directors for The Center for Clean Air Policy has put him at the forefront of climate policy and air quality issues since 1985. Jim is a founding board member and serves on the executive committee of the board.

Jim holds an M.A. in Economics from West Virginia University.

August 29, 2012

Red Panda birth at the Red River Zoo

The Red River Zoo announces the birth of a male Red Panda cub.

Born on May 20, 2012 the red panda cub has just started emerging from his nest box area. His parents, Yukiko (dad ) and Shantou (mom) are seven years old and were imported by the Red River Zoo in 2007 from Japan to help increase the genetic diversity of the captive population in the U.S. The Red River Zoo is a leading breeder of Red Pandas and has bred one-fourth of the captive red panda species in North American zoos.

Relatives of giant (black and white) pandas and raccoons, red pandas are considered members of their own unique family - the Ailuridae. There are only an estimated 10,000 Red Pandas world wide. While protected, their numbers continue to decline in the wild mainly due to habitat loss and poaching. Red pandas spend most of their lives in trees and even sleep aloft. Their main diet is bamboo, but they also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. Red pandas are most active from dusk until dawn and tend to be reclusive by nature.

July 22, 2012

New Bactrian Camel Exhibit

The Red River Zoo is proud to announce the opening of our new Bactrian Camel Exhibit.

Thanks to a generous contribution by Fargo West Rotary, the Red River Zoo has a new exhibit for our growing Bactrian camel herd.

The new exhibit features a large grass and sand area and includes a large pond for soaking. They also have large holding areas and an indoor barn for calving and inclement weather.

Unlike dromedary camels which have a single hump and are from southern desert climates, the Bactrian camels have two humps are native to cold, steppes of central and northern Asia including the Gobi desert in Mongolia.

Bactrian Camels are critically endangered. The Red River Zoo has successfully raised several Bactrian camel calves.

June 28, 2012

Red River Zoo to Build River Otter Exhibit

The Red River Zoo announced the construction of an exciting new exhibit today. Thanks to the generosity of donor Bob Wilm, the Zoo will soon begin construction of a North American River Otter exhibit. The new exhibit will have a naturalistic design, complete with a water feature which will incorporate a waterfall, river, and pool for swimming. The design of the indoor viewing area will give the visitor the feeling of being inside an otter's den, immersing them in the world of an otter. Underwater viewing will allow visitors to enjoy the otters in a naturalistic habitat and above ground viewing will also be available.

Planning for the exhibit began in the spring of 2011 and construction was slated to begin in spring 2013. However, this spring two displaced otter pups were found in the Sheyenne River area. The staff of the Red River Zoo has been hand-raising the pups, who are both healthy and doing very well. The acquisition of the pups has moved the project up and construction will begin this summer with an opening in the spring of 2013

The Zoo is currently working on a campaign to raise the remaining funds for the exhibit and the ongoing care of the otters. An additional $200,000+ will be raised for the project and several giving options will be available, including naming rights. The female has been named Annabell, but naming of the little boy is still available. Donations can be made online by calling the Zoo at 701-277-9240.