“Birds aren’t scary!” Oh, really? Tell that to a rabbit or a squirrel or a fish or anyone who has tempted fate with a voracious flock of seagulls by taking a bucket of fries onto the beach at the Jersey shore! Birds can be unpredictable. Predatory birds are some of the most adept hunters in the world, mighty, majestic — and a little intimidating. Mammals run the gamut, from the smallest mouse to the largest elephant to the person you see in the mirror every day. Mammals are often the apex predators in their ecosystems.

Pesto the Skunk - An Elmwood Park Zoo Animal Ambassador 

Laura Soder, Manager of Ambassador Animal Engagement at the Elmwood Park Zoo, hasbrought along her friend and Animal Ambassador Pesto the Skunk!

Getting an animal ambassador ready to help with the Zoo’s many educational programs doesn’t happen overnight. It takes training! See how one-year-old Pesto is definitely getting the hang of it!

A True Temple Owl: A Visit With Stella!

This is Temple Ambler EarthFest. Of course, Stella, Temple’s Living Mascot, is making an appearance!

Laura Soder, Manager of Ambassador Animal Engagement at the Elmwood Park Zoo, shares how Stella and several of the Zoo’s amazing residents became animal ambassadors, essential parts of the Elmwood Park Zoo’s mission to foster an appreciation for wildlife and the environment.

Zoom Into Scary Science: Creepy Creatures

Join the College of Science and Technology to learn about all things creepy, crawly, slimy, hairy! During this family-friendly program, you'll learn more about the invasion of the (icky!) spotted lanternfly and its impact on farming in Pennsylvania from Assistant Professor of Biology Matthew Helmus, who was featured in the New York Times for his lanternfly research. Then it’s on to (scary!) bats — linked with vampires for hundreds of years and a potent symbol for what can go bump in the night — with Brent Sewall, assistant professor of biology, who studies emerging infectious diseases in wildlife, particularly white-nose syndrome in bat populations.

Learn About Birds of Prey and Carrion Birds

Did you know most birds of prey mate of life and have just one brood per season? Ospreys use some interesting material for their nests, including caution tape, clothing, even a flip flop will do. Highly territorial, bald eagles will lock talons and fight to the death! Unlike other birds of prey, vultures are social and like to hang out in groups. Cindy Ahern, Adjunct Instructor in the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture programs in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, provides invaluable insight into the wonders of bald eagles, great horned owls, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, osprey, turkey vultures and black vultures. Thank you to Scott Ahern for his wonderful images of birds of prey in the wild and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research for images of their invaluable rescue efforts.

To the Rescue for Birds in Need

When native birds have been found injured, orphaned, or ill, the community turns to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. TSBR’s professional staff and volunteers provide the best, if not only, chance these animals have to return to the wild. The mission of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research is to provide professional, compassionate rehabilitation to native injured and orphaned wild birds and contaminated wildlife, and to promote their stewardship through education and humane research. In this video, Clinic Director Andrea Howey-Newcomb provides a tour of some of their facilities. You can also view releases a variety of birds on the Tri-State Bird Rescue’s YouTube channel, including a great horned owlospreybald eagle, and red-shouldered hawk.

A Glimmer of Hope for Bats

Pennsylvania's bats help maintain natural ecosystems, and — by eating bug pests — help people. Several species of bats, though, are starting to disappear, partly due to a deadly emerging disease known as white-nose syndrome. Millions of bats have already died and the disease has spread across North America just in the past few years. Perhaps nowhere has been harder hit than Pennsylvania, where bats have undergone dramatic declines, newly landing three species on the state Endangered Species list. In this National Public Radio program, Temple Biology Department Assistant Professor Dr. Brent Sewall, his student Marianne Gagnon, and colleagues Greg Turner from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Barrie Overton from Lock Haven University discuss research they are conducting to help bats survive.

Cave Conundrum: Has White-nose Syndrome Caused Bat Population Declines?

Brown bat with white nose syndrome

Bats have been dying during hibernation in recent years, most due to white-nose syndrome, an emerging infectious disease. How bad is this problem?  Is it severe enough that we can detect declines in bat populations across large geographic areas?  If so, is white-nose syndrome to blame, or could there be other causes?  Temple Biology Department Assistant Professor Dr. Brent Sewall, and his colleagues Tom Ingersoll of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and Sybill Amelon of the United States Forest Service have examined these questions in their research. Recently, one of his publications was profiled by the Natural Inquirer, a publication of the United States Forest Service that is written for science classes of elementary, middle, and high school students. The Natural Inquirer article walks students through the process of scientific inquiry, breaking down the white-nose syndrome research, and making it accessible to young learners. The article includes examples, activities, discussion, and reflection questions to teach about the research while evoking curiosity in budding young scientists. 

Elmwood Park Zoo — All About Eagles

Philadelphia is home to the Eagles. It's the national bird! How could we not talk about Eagles? In this "Zoo School Live!" video from the  Elmwood Park Zoo, we meet Reggie the Bald Eagle. View another video of the zoo’s bald and golden eagles here. Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.

Meet Banshee the Baby Barn Owl!

At Temple, owls are near and dear to our hearts. So, welcome Banshee, a newborn barn owl that has come to Elmwood Park Zoo by way of the Philadelphia Zoo. Elmwood Park Zoo has the unique opportunity to hand-raise Banshee to become one of the zoo's animal ambassadors. Many zoos and animal institutions are moving towards hand-raising or imprinting owls when they are young so that they can get used to all of the unique situations they may encounter later in life in their job as ambassadors. The Elmwood Park Zoo is also home to Temple’s live owl mascot, Stella the great horned owl and her mate Sherlock! Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.

Elmwood Park Zoo — Turkey Vulture and Red-tailed Hawk

The Elmwood Park Zoo’s "Zoo School Live" provides a chance for everyone to meet some of the Zoo’s wonderful residents “up-close” virtually. In this video, we meet Stan the turkey vulture and Hunter the red-tailed hawk! Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Take a walk out in the woods at night. What do you hear? There is a whole lot of activity going on! Nature doesn’t sleep when the sun goes down! In this video from iEcoLab in the Biology Department at Temple University, Biology graduate student Payton Phillips explores the nocturnal lives of wildlife in Philadelphia and beyond. All photos were taken using motion-sensitive trail cameras in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Bucks and Montgomery counties in 2019 and 2020.

A Jaguar in Norristown

Jaguars are the third largest cat in the world and the largest cat in the Americas. A jaguar’s eye-catching spots, which you can see in-person thanks to Inka the jaguar at the Elmwood Park Zoo, resemble roses (also known as rosettes) and they help to distinguish them from other cats. Unlike other breeds of cats, the jaguar enjoys water and has the ability to roar. They can vocalize a variety of sounds such as snarls, grunts, growls and roars. Out of all the cat family, the jaguar has the strongest bite and uses its muscular jaw to suffocate and crush its prey. Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.

Look Up in the Sky! It’s a Flying Mammal!

In this video, we’re heading into the inner sanctuary of the Elmwood Park Zoo’s lively collection of straw-colored African fruit bats and get an up-close encounter with Purple, one of their 13 bats. Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.

Oh Rats!

Meet the wood rat family, which recently welcomed two newborns at the Elmwood Park Zoo. You can meet the babies here. Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.   

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