Lehigh Valley Zoo
Video released on: October 10, 2009
Tracery Werner: Today we’re at the Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville. This intimate zoo is perfect for families especially those with little children because they can get up close and personal access to the animals. Let’s go on a tour. When you enter the zoo the first exhibit that you’ll see are these little guys, the Jackass Penguins from South Africa in the Jaindl Penguin Pavilion. I’d like to know how they got such an unfortunate name as Jackass so I’m going to ask Stacey Johnson the Executive Director here at the zoo. He’s out there right now getting ready to feed them. So, Stacey, why are they called Jackass Penguins?
Stacey Johnson: They have a social call that sounds a lot like a braying donkey, so it’s kind of a descriptive thing, when you hear a bunch of them on the beach all together and they’re all going [braying noise], like that, it sounds like a donkey so they get the name Jackass Penguin.
Tracery Werner: And how many males and females do you have?
Stacey Johnson: We’ve got two girls and six boys. It’s a group of eight right now. We’re expecting our flock to grow over time but these are all youngsters. The oldest one is actually three years old and they’ll live to be in their mid-twenties so they really are a bunch of kids; they’re not even mature yet.
Tracery Werner: I actually think they’re quite adorable and I’d like to pet one if we can get one to come over. What do you think?
Stacey Johnson: They are adorable but it’s a bad idea to try and pet them. I wouldn’t do that. These guys are predators. They catch fish like sardines and anchovies and herring and they swim at about 4 miles per hour and they catch that stuff on the fly with their beaks. They’re tough. They can hurt you.
Tracery Werner: And because visitors to the zoo can’t obviously come into the enclosure like we’ve done today, they can watch public feedings?
Stacey Johnson: Yeah. We have two public feedings every day, mid to late morning and mid to late afternoon every single day we do a demo and we talk about the natural history of the species. We talk about their diet and the conservation issues and it’s a pretty exciting time.
Tracery Werner: Well, Stacey, thank you for showing us the penguins. We’re going to continue on our tour now.
Stacey Johnson: My pleasure. Let’s go.
Tracery Werner: After the penguins, the Northern River otters are my favorite. They may look cute and cuddly but these carnivorous creatures have powerful jaws and sharp teeth. They’re very playful acrobatic swimmers as you can see. These two are named Han and Lea. They’re from North America and will grow to 15 to 20 pounds. Another popular interactive exhibit at the zoo is this one, the Red Kangaroos. Visitors to the zoo can actually come inside the enclosure and watch zookeepers feed the animals. Did you know that these marsupials can easily hop at 30 to 60 miles per hour for up to six hours without stopping? And since these vegetarians extract all the moisture from the plants that they eat they can go for long periods without drinking water. Heck, we just started the tour and I’m already thirsty.
Built in the 1970’s, the Lehigh Valley’s Zoo is part of the Trexler Nature Preserve, which was started by General Harry Trexler more than 90 years ago. With its elevated viewing platforms, it’s a great place to bond with the animals. [Music] What? Being at the zoo makes me feel like a kid again.
Stacey Johnson: We do have that affect on people.
Tracery Werner: One of the zoo’s interactive exhibits is Lorikeet Landing. These little rainbow colored birds will land right on you during feeding time. They’re native to Australia and have specialized brush-tipped tongues that are designed for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. And they’re tapered wings and pointed tails allow them to fly easily, with great agility. Aren’t they cool? I’m hanging out in the petting zoo with Billy and the goats and they’re having a little munch here. You might not know this but the Lehigh Valley Zoo also offers great educational programs for students and families. They can learn about things like conservation, wildlife, and ecology. They even have an overnight adventure program called ‘Explore & Snore’. Well, this wraps our tour. I’m going to stay here and make some new friends and help this guy have his snack. Thanks for joining me for this edition of Lehigh Valley Visions. Is that good? Are you enjoying that?