Jim Knox, Curator of Education for the Beardsley Zoo and Jessica Summers, Director of Development and Marketing for the Beardsley Zoo, along with three seasoned animal ambassadors, joined the Westport Woman’s Club for their April Club Day Luncheon.
Each of the Animal Ambassadors tells a story about the Zoo’s mission. The Club Members happily met Wiggles, a 12-year old rescue Chinchilla who was brought to the Zoo when his former owners could no longer care for him. Lilith, a 12-year old Eastern Screech Owl who came to the Zoo when motorist spotted her on the side of the road after being hit by a car. She has been rehabilitated, but a damaged wing keeps her from being able to be reintroduced to the wild. And Darth Gator, a 3 year old American Alligator who is the poster-gator for the conservation success story that surrounds the return of the species from the brink of extinction.
The Beardsley Zoo is an accredited zoo and a private non-profit. The staff acts as caretakers for 130 species primarily from North, Central and South America. They are held to high standards to make sure the animals are well cared for, receive proper medical attention and even get the kind of enrichment programs that exercise their brains as well at their bodies. The Zoo participates in programs designed to help save endangered animals, like the Andean Condor currently being re-released into the wild, and Guinea Hog originally brought to the US by people including Thomas Jefferson because they were smaller and could be raised in developing towns and cities. They develop and implement programs that educate children and the community overall.