Through the generosity of donors, Oglebay’s Good Zoo has started a multi-phased plan of upgrades scheduled for 2020.
“The first phase is focused on the Family Farm Yard area by the red barn,” said Dr. Joe Greathouse, Oglebay Good Zoo director. “The asphalt has been replaced with a soft surface in the goat, llama and donkey habitats. This change improves the animals’ health and well-being, specifically their joint and hoof care. Additional upgrades include a new, larger barn for multiple llamas and alpacas as well as a larger habitat for the goats that includes new climbing structures for their enrichment.”
Guests will experience improved educational signage, and as the weather improves, updated programs that will provide information on agriculture, where food comes from and the care of companion farm animals.
EDUCATION AT THE CORE
“Education, conservation and animal welfare are at the core of Oglebay’s Good Zoo mission,” said Eriks Janelsins, Oglebay Foundation president and CEO. “Our talented team provided over 1,020 education programs for families, schools and regional hospitals in 2019. The educational outreach and physical enhancements at the zoo are being done to keep the zoo current and relevant.”
As the year progresses, the Good Zoo will provide greater detail on the upgrades scheduled for this year including additional animals and habitats. Some of the changes will be more visible than others, but the goal is to help the zoo grow and develop programmatically to keep pace with its growing membership. To date, Good Zoo membership has risen to 9,000 — a 15 percent increase from 2019.
In cooperation with West Liberty University Zoo Science major, the Good Zoo provided training for over 95 future animal care or conservation professionals in 2019 in the form of internships, apprenticeships, and experiential opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.
PARTNERSHIPS PLAY MAJOR ROLES
Partnerships with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Williams Companies and The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio, have played major roles in the development of the Good Zoo’s conservation efforts. Additionally, in partnership with Williams Companies, the Good Zoo unveiled the West Virginia Conservation Center in 2019. This new facility aims to educate guests about West Virginia’s native wildlife including bobcats and eastern hellbender salamanders.
West Virginia’s native pollinators have also found a new habitat at the Good Zoo’s pollination garden which opened in 2019 in partnership with Williams Companies.
“Through our conservation efforts, the Good Zoo team has tagged more than 250 monarch butterflies as part of Project Monarch Watch,” said Greathouse.
“The generosity of individual donors makes the ongoing growth and development of the Good Zoo possible,” Janelsins added. “The community’s financial investment in the Oglebay Foundation allows us to match funds to strategic priorities for the benefit of everyone.”
The Good Zoo is open to the public daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more at www.oglebay.com/good-zoo.