Animals of the Genesee

This Saturday and Sunday we will be celebrating My Genesee Weekend, with a focus on animals from the local region. I have the great opportunity to work with some of these animals at the Zoo and hope you’ll visit them!

If you’re looking to learn more about lake sturgeon when you come to the Zoo, head to the Genesee Trail near Eagle’s Landing Cafe. Did you know we have three brand new sturgeon in the aquarium in the ECO Center? Their names are Ryan, Matthew, and Carter. They are one year old and weigh around 20 grams. Right now, they are being fed frozen blood worms and mysis shrimp two times a day.

sturgeon Catina

When we feed the sturgeon, we put them in a smaller container so we can monitor their eating and it is easier to find food. They get weighed every week to ensure they are continually growing and gaining weight. This summer, our other sturgeon, Badger, Blotch and Bullseye, outgrew the ECO Center aquarium and were moved into the pond near where the bald eagle, Abe, resides.

Another animal being featured this weekend is the North American river otter. This is also one of my favorite animals to work with! We have three otters at the Zoo: 13-year-old sisters Heather and Sara, and our male 9-year-old otter, Sailor. Did you know that the otters participate in scientific research? As part of a project being conducted this summer by Dr. Caroline Delong of RIT, each otter is trained to learn object and color recognition behaviors.

otter Catina

This study is testing to see how well they can distinguish different shapes, which could have interesting conservation implications for this species. You can read more about this work is this summer’s ZooNooz.

Sturgeon and otters are just two of the amazing species that make up the unique ecosystem of the Genesee River Valley. Head to the Zoo this Saturday and Sunday for My Genesee Weekend to learn more about the biodiversity of this region and what you can do to help protect it.

–Catina Wright, Zoo Keeper