WUFT News

Florida International Teaching Zoo Has Two New Monkeys

By on October 1st, 2013

BUSHNELL – The Florida International Teaching Zoo is happy to announce two new additions to its zoo family.

During the last week of April, the zoo’s laboratory rescued Bolivian squirrel monkeys reproduced for the third time, adding two new baby monkeys, one boy and one girl, to the existing troop of two males and five females.

“These are relatively common monkeys still in the wild but that doesn’t mean its not good husbandry technique for the students to learn,” said Mark Wilson, doctor of veterinary medicine and director of the Florida International Teaching Zoo (FITZ).

Wilson said that these monkeys are rarely seen in such large groups at other zoos. Keeping them as a group ensures that young monkeys have a better opportunity to learn social and parenting skills, making them a valuable breeding resource for other zoos.

“These two guys are really both really good fathers,” he said. “So the little male monkeys, they’ll know how to be dads too so they’ll go into other zoos and continue the breeding success.”

FITZ, a not for profit educational facility accredited by the Zoological Association of America, teaches its students how to be responsible animal caregivers and certifies them as veterinary assistants.

“The role of a veterinary technician/assistant is to assist the doctor with the care and treatment of the patient. Just like a nurse to a doctor in the human field,” Pia Oresjo, a certified veterinary technician at UF Zoological Medicine Service, wrote in an email.

The zoo management program is one year long and designed to give students experience working in a real zoo. Wilson said it consist of about 40 percent classroom time and 60 percent working directly with the animals. The class sizes are kept under 10 people in order to increase the amount of hands-on interaction students get.

Fred Evick, who finished the program last year, said, “You don’t have a teacher just teaching theory, you have an educator who’s actually a veterinarian who takes care of these animals and that makes a big difference.”

The zoo is home to spotted hyenas, rare nene geese, royal Bengal tigers, kangaroos, a Colobus monkey, owl monkeys, sacred ibises, the largest family of patas monkeys in captivity, broad-snouted caiman and more.

One the zoo’s goals, aside from teaching students zoo management, is to breed future generations of rare animals so fewer are taken from the wild.

Taking animals from the wild increases their stress levels and makes it more difficult to breed them, said John Brickel, general curator and FITZ graduate.

“And it doesn’t do much for our conservation efforts,” he added.

Currently, FITZ is working to develop its web program where people can pay a yearly subscription of $25 to access hour-long videos produced by the zoo twice a month on its website, www.floridazooschool.org. Previews of the videos are free.

“It’s fun but its also educational,” Wilson said.

One of the segments in the videos recreates famous movie scenes with guinea pigs as the stars.

“Some of the guinea pigs have actually started unionizing because they think it’s a little embarrassing,” Wilson joked.

The Florida International Teaching Zoo, 4258 SW 52nd Terrace, Bushnell, Fla., offers guided tours from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday and special group tours by appointment. A $6 donation is encouraged.

For more information visit the the zoo’s Facebook page or call (352) 867-7788.


This entry was posted in Environment. Bookmark the permalink.
  • oncefallendotcom

    So the only solution the high and mighty lawmakers can come up with is more Constitutional deprivations? Lets just have more warrantless searches of Tea Party members, Nation of Islam members, NRA members, and other groups we don’t like as well, and we will see how far that will go. Lawmakers just feel thy must do something about that fire, even if it means using gasoline to try to put it out huh? Perhaps FloriDUH can start by taking off the dead, out-of-state, deported, and incarcerated registrants that artificially inflate registry numbers. Then, remove all the petty offenses like public urinators and stop prosecuting people like Kaitlyn Hunt. Best of all, return the registry to a cops-only list of only high risk individuals. That would be a start.

  • Mr. Jay

    Let’s get something straight: National forests, parks, etc. are PUBLIC lands, OWNED by WE THE PEOPLE. They are OUR property, adminstrated by our SERVANTS working through the US Government, which is OUR SERVANT, DOING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. We do NOT need permission from this or any other government to be present on OUR LAND. This government has forgotten that it works FOR us and is to SERVE US. They are our PUBLIC SERVANTS. We need to remind them of that, by any and all means deemed necessary.

 

More Stories in Environment

This octagon-based receptacle, which looks as if its been opened, sits in front of Dragonfly Sushi in downtown Gainesville. Morgan Kalish, a downtown worker, smokes a cigarette as he walks by it on Monday morning.

Cigarette Receptacles Making Impact Downtown

The local Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is seeing success after the installation of more than two dozen cigarette receptacles in the downtown area. The program hopes to expand into midtown, despite vandalization by the homeless.


Skeletonization of a Gainesville air potato leaf shows why the air potato beetle is considered one of the most successful biocontrol approaches in recent decades compared to other projects — current or past.

Plant-Eating Beetle: Cheapest Way To Kill Weeds

The FWC has seen recent success in controlling invasive plants that overrun Florida with the use of air potato beetles, and other beetle species.


Cedar Key School’s Future Farmers Of America Chapter Fights Local Hunger

Students from Cedar Key School, a public K-12 school, vow to fight hunger in Levy County by cultivating land at the school to provide fresh, healthy food. The school donated 7,000 pounds of fresh food to the Cedar Key United Methodist Church Food Pantry.


The town’s water tank lies behind a barbed chain link fence in the forest, across from Otter Creek Baptist Church. When the water is stored, the contaminants accumulate because it sits in the pipes and doesn’t circulate.

Water Contamination Problems Persist In Otter Creek

Otter Creek’s search to buy land acquisition with a source of clean water may lead to an end to the town’s ongoing water-contamination issues.


Withlacoochee River and Dunnellon Trail Bridge.

Long-Awaited Dunnellon Blue Run Trail Extension Under Construction

Dunnellon is using funds from a Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant to finish a section of path that connects the Dunnellon and Blue Run trails. The trail will now fully support hiking, jogging, biking and rollerblading after its expected completion in December.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments