Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby it's cold outside

Baby it's cold outside… really! But with the cold comes the holiday season and snow, which Zuri seems to love when she can get her trunk on it.

Something else Zuri likes to do in the winter - stay warm. She has radiant heaters, as well as a large heated concrete pad in her outdoor exhibit, which usually do the trick to keep her comfy. But, when the temperature drops too much, she hurries inside because her skin is still baby soft - for an elephant, at least - and she needs the extra help staying warm.

With each snowfall, Zuri gets to pop outside a couple times a day for fresh air and sunshine. She loves to plow through the snow. If you're lucky, you can catch her balling up piles of snow with her trunk and shoveling it into her mouth for a rather chilly winter treat.

Like most youngsters, Zuri loves the Christmas season. In addition to the ZooLights! that are all around, Zuri gets the occasional gift from her friends in Utah. If you're wondering what Zuri likes for Christmas, look no further than the Amazon wish list for her here. This page is filled with all sorts of toys with which Zuri likes to play - and eventually destroy thanks to her elephant strength!

Here's hoping you can catch her out and about on those sunny winter days this holiday season, because we know Zuri would love to wish you a Happy New Year in person!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's almost pumpkin time!

If you were here for last year's Boo at the Zoo, you may have seen Zuri smash a few pumpkins as she got into the Halloween spirit. But, you may also have noticed that Zuri was much more fond of squashing the seasonal gourds than she was of eating them.

This year, Head Elephant Keeper Doug Tomkinson thinks all of that will change, thanks in large part to Zuri's new propensity for eating, as opposed to nursing. That's right, Zuri has ramped up her eating habits to involve many more solid foods, and less nursing.

Furthering the likelihood that our little girl will smash, and then eat her pumpkin treat is the fact that Zuri has been busy enjoying squash in her diet lately.

"She had pumpkins last year, and all she knew was to smash them," Tomkinson said. "But now she's eaten large squash and she'll likely have a better time eating the pumpkins."

So, for those of you out there who want to see Baby Zuri and her mommy smashing pumpkins and enjoying treats for Halloween, look no further than Boo at the Zoo on Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be candy for kids 12 and under, and a lot of fun going on in Zuri's neck of the woods. Remember, Boo at the Zoo happens rain or shine!

And, sorry folks, she won't be wearing a costume. They don't make a ballet tutu in her size!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Official!

Zuri hit the 1,000 lb mark today. Of course, that's a mere fraction of what she will be some day, but it's exciting none the less!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1,000 Pounds and Still So Small!

While most people aren't too fond of tracking an expanding waistline, our little Zuri is nearing a milestone weight that it is nearly impossible for a human to even think about… 1,000 pounds.

But considering that adult African elephants can weigh up to 12,000 pounds, at only one twelfth of what will one day be her weight, Zuri has quite a way to go before hitting full-grown status.

But still, Zuri nearing the 1,000 pound marker is a very fun time for us and, to give her fans some perspective on what the weight really means, below you will find some other things that also weigh 1,000 pounds:

10 hellfire missiles

119.8 Gallons of water

Just under 1/2 of a classic VW Beetle (hard top)

Just over 3 Shaquille O'Neals

222 bricks

181,436.948 pennies

1,000 16 ounce cups of coffee

Of course, even at 1,000 pounds, Zuri is still a lot cuter than all of the items listed above. So, if you have the chance, come see her while she is still small - and she's still very small and cute. In fact, many of our guests she still looks the same size she was when she was born!

And, don't worry, we will be sure and let you know the day she hits the exact number.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Plan ahead-- Gifts for Zuri's birthday!

Can you believe that Zuri the elephant is nearly one-year-old? It seems like only yesterday that keepers at Elephant Encounter were gearing up for a really big birth. Already Zuri has brought so much joy to Hogle Zoo staff and guests and next month we're going to celebrate her day.

If you're looking to help out Zuri, as well as Utah's Hogle Zoo, be sure to check out our Enrichment wish list now available on Amazon.com There are items you can purchase for Zuri's upcoming birthday party, as well as needs for other animals at Hogle Zoo.

This is an easy way for you to help our animals get more enrichment items into their exhibits. Through enrichment​, zookeepers​ provide opportunit​ies to learn, interact and exhibit natural behaviors-​ resulting in healthier,​ happier animals. The donations to the animal enrichment​ program at Utah's Hogle Zoo are tax deductible​. Please include contact informatio​n so that we can acknowledge your generous gift.

Who can resist such a face?

Also plan on joining us for Zuri's first birthday party coming up Saturday August 14 from 11 am to 2 pm. Take a look at Zuri's first year scrapbook created by Stampin' Up! and sign a birthday message to her. Watch her open her presents and cake during a special birthday program at 10:30 am, and after that there will be free cupcakes for the first 500 guests in the Oasis Plaza. There will also be make-and-take crafts from Robert's Art and Craft and Stampin Up! for the kids.

It's going to be quite a wild party!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

You could visit Zuri's African ancestors!

How would you like to win a trip to Kenya and visit the land of Zuri's ancestors? Now here's your chance! You can with the Zuri African Safari Giveaway! FOX 13 has teamed up with Utah’s Hogle Zoo for an amazing contest.

First, search for Zuri, Hogle Zoo’s baby African Elephant, located somewhere new each weekday on Fox13now.com. Remember what page you found her on that day and what she was doing. Then, tune in to Fox 13 News at Nine that same night for your chance to call in to the FOX 13 Contest Line.

The first caller who can tell the folks at Fox the correct location Zuri the baby elephant was found that day and what she was doing on Fox 13’s website, wins a fabulous Park City getaway. Plus, daily winners will be invited to Zuri’s Birthday Party on August 14th at Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

All daily winners present at Zuri’s Birthday Party will be entered into a random drawing for the Grand Prize, a trip for two to go on an African Safari in May 2011!

Here's a hint: Follow us on Twitter at @Hogle_Zoo and "Like" us on Facebook because we'll post a little clue each day so it's that much easier to find Zuri on Fox's website!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Zuri's in grocery stores!

Spotted this poster of Baby Zuri at the grocery store the other day and it seems like she's everywhere this summer! On billboards. On posters. And why shouldn't she be? Zuri's amazing!

Pick up a 12 or 24 pack of Dr. Pepper or Diet Dr. Pepper cans that feature the exclusive “Baby Zuri” can panel offer – bring the can to the Zoo – and if you Buy One Regularly Priced Adult Ticket, you’ll Receive a Child’s Ticket FREE.

And don't forget to visit Zuri while you're at Hogle Zoo, she's even better in person!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zuri's Mud Puddle

What's better than cooling off on a hot summer day than in a nice mud puddle? Zuri's got that one down!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Target Training

We've told you a little about Zuri's training... now we'll show you! That yellow stick in the keeper's hand is called a target. It's got a soft foam tip that is brightly colored so that Zuri knows where the keepers want her to move. And when she touches the target with her trunk, she gets a treat!

You can also see that you're never too old for training, as momma Christie does some work herself!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We're gonna' need a bigger boat...

...or wading pool.

The keepers say they go through "quite a few" wading pools for little Zuri, but try to reuse them as often as possible! "We just bang out the dents and let her go for it again and again," they added for some guests who were watching Zuri "swim." Too cute, and Zuri is such a good baby.

You can see more videos of Zuri and more on Hogle Zoo's Official YouTube Channel!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Running Through the Sprinklers

The young 'uns always love running through the sprinklers!

Just another summery Saturday with a cool water hose and Zuri at Hogle Zoo...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

They grow up so fast!!

Right now little Zuri is 756 pounds. Little? Well, compared to Christie who weighs in at about seven thousand pounds! Not only do the little ones grow up so quickly in weight, but Zuri is also growing through her training.

One thing the Elephant Encounter keepers are working on is separating Zuri and Christie for a short amount of time to work on training separately. For a few minutes a day, Zuri goes out into the yard by herself and there were even a couple of times where Zuri did an Elephant Encounter program all by herself! The crowd was thrilled and Zuri got some grapes-- her new favorite training treat. It doesn't happen for very long, Zuri still wants to be with her momma, and the two are always happy to see each other.

We'll have some great Zuri pictures posted this weekend now that the weather is cooperating, but in the meantime why don't you check out Zuri and Christie during one of our two daily programs at Elephant Encounter? The training programs are at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. Also, if you need a little Zuri fix while you're sitting at your computer right now, be sure to check out our Facebook page photos submitted by staff and followers and "like" us if you don't already!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer of Magpies

You know summer has arrived when you can find those twice-daily programs at Elephant Encounter. Visitors are thrilled to see Baby Zuri working alongside with her mom Christie each day, while learning more about how our keepers make sure the elephants are healthy.

Outside of the programs, however, Zuri has quite a bit of fun chasing magpies around her yard. Keepers talk about how Zuri really makes sure her yard is "secure!" They say, "Zuri sees the birds land and then readies for a charge by putting her ears up and back and running straight for them." Of course, nobody gets hurt, but like a baby, Zuri is curious about everything she encounters.

Elephant programs at Elephant Encounter are every day at 10:30 and 1:30. Be sure to get there early for a good spot and be sure to ask questions!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer School

Though many of your kids might be out of school for the summer, this is the time that Baby Zuri is in school learning and training with her keepers. One of the keepers at Elephant Encounter recently said that they work on Zuri's training four to six times a day now that the weather is nice outside.

Right now Zuri is working on body positioning training to help the keepers take better care of her. If Zuri learns to back up, or present her side now, it will greatly ease the care in which she receives. Body positioning helps make it easier to bathe Zuri, as well as give inspections to make sure she's healthy and happy.

We always practice positive reinforcement with our Hogle Zoo animals, and Baby Zuri is no exception. If she doesn't feel like working during her training sessions, she doesn't have to, but it's hard for her to resist when she's got some of her favorite treats for rewards! Just like a little baby, Zuri's tastes for reward treats are changing. For a few months, she really loved pomegranate juice for rewards; now she's off the juice and looks forward to bananas and bread for a training job well done.

Remember when you come to Hogle Zoo this summer, Zuri's still a baby! Though she weighs in at just a little bit under 750 pounds, she's still growing quickly and will celebrate her first birthday later on this summer! It's also Dari's 50th birthday (she's the oldest African elephant in accredited North American zoos!) this summer, so keep an eye on our events calendar here to make sure you're part of the festivities.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Training and the meaning of "Foot"

Zuri loves today’s springtime weather! In fact, we’ve hit a major milestone for this time of year—Zuri and Christie have access to their outside yard where they can choose to be in or out at night because the temperatures are so mild.

Just the other morning when our keepers came in to start their day, they had a little laugh when they saw sleeping Zuri; They found her outside in the working yard at Elephant Encounter, sound asleep in her kiddie pool! She’s such a funny baby playing in her hay-filled pool and then getting all tuckered out.

Zuri’s training is coming along nicely too, right now she’s learning “foot” which is a very important behavior for elephants. “Foot” is essential to help the keepers take great care of the elephant’s foot pads. When Zuri learns “foot,” she’ll know to present to the keeper the underside of her foot so they can make sure that there is nothing stuck in her foot to cause any problems, and this will also help with care of her toenails.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pomegranate Juice Treats

With the snow from this week's storm melting, Zuri will be on exhibit more often toward the end of this week. Still, she is benefiting from the training she is getting from her keepers as she and Christie gear up for this summer's training programs.

Zuri's current favorite method of positive reinforcement? The pomegranate juice treat!! Just the other day, Zuri was getting a pomegranate juice reward for a training session well-done and was so excited she did a headstand! We don't know whose reinforcement was more positive; Zuri's treat or the keepers getting the treat of seeing Zuri's enjoyment.

Hogle Zoo will continue seasonal Pachyderm Programs at Elephant Encounter beginning May 1. These programs showcase the training and behavioral enrichment provided to the elephants, and Zuri will be there right alongside her mom. There are two Pachyderm Programs every day: one at 10:30 am and one at 1:30 pm.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Zuri update on 97.1 ZHT today

If you're in Utah, you know how the spring weather goes: sunny one minute, snowing the next. Right now Zuri and Christie do not have a regular schedule as to when they're going to be out in the working yard. Fear not! We still have a Zuri update for you!

This morning, Lead Elephant Keeper Doug Tomkinson was on 97.1 ZHT talking to the Z Morning Zoo about the latest Zuri news. If you missed it, why not check out the podcast this weekend? Then you'll have your Zuri fix, and we'll bring you more from Elephant Encounter very soon.

Head to the "Podcast" section on 97.1 ZHT and then scroll down to 971 ZHt's Morning Zoo 3-26-10 Part 1 to listen to the segment as it aired live this morning with Frankie, DB and Jessica.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Springtime with Zuri

It's not quite warm springtime weather yet, but Zuri has been spending more time outside in the working yard with Christie. There haven't been many blog updates lately because the weather hasn't allowed Zuri and Christie a regular outdoor schedule for us to report to you, but it seems that things are getting nicer and soon we'll have plenty to show you and talk about!

The elephant keepers called this morning and reported that Zuri weighs in at 614 pounds. She's growing like a good baby elephant, nursing and even eating some hay. As the weather has warmed up in the past few days, the Elephant Encounter staff have been training with Christie as they ready for pachyderm programs which start in a couple of weeks. Zuri has even started a little bit of training too, becoming quite skilled in learning to open her mouth when she is asked. This helps keep Zuri healthy, as keepers can look at her teeth and tongue to make sure everything looks okay.

Of course Zuri gets a treat when she opens her mouth and seems to really enjoy when she gets a squirt of fruit juice!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mom and Baby!

Christie and Zuri enjoying another winter day outside. Elephant Encounter is wonderful for any season!

Also be sure to check out our first Hogle Zoo podcast where we interview the artist of the Baby Zuri poster featured in this year's World of the Wild Art Exhibition!

Or check it out on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wintertime Outside

Here's a fun video of Christie and Zuri outside on one of January's less-blustery days!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Zuri's Winter Wonderland

Quite a few people have asked us, "Does Zuri like the snow?" You can see from these pictures taken by Hogle Zoo elephant keeper Eric Peterson that Zuri is having a great time this winter! Christie and Zuri have been going outside quite a bit this winter, and the snow we had over the past couple of days was very entertaining for the young elephant.

Eric said, "There was a snow bank that Zuri kept sticking her head into, and then she kept swishing her trunk around in the snow for quite awhile!" Was Zuri making snow angels? Maybe snow elephants!

Take a look:
Zuri's making "snow elephants" with a swish of her trunk.

Zuri started out using her trunk to eat the snow, then opted for a full-on Olympic-style snow bank face plant.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Still growing!

The keepers at Elephant Encounter have been working to get a height on Baby Zuri and it appears she is getting taller just like any baby does. When Zuri was born, she was 36" tall-- that's three feet to you and I! We are pleased to report that Zuri measured in at 44" tall today. That's getting to be about a foot taller than when she was born just five months ago.

The weather has been chilly, but yesterday's temperatures were falling on the warmer side for a Utah January. Zuri and Christie went out for quite a bit of time during the day, and visitors who happened to be enjoying the sunny chill were able to view them in the working yard at Elephant Encounter.

Zuri is also still playing with Christmas trees left over from the holidays a few weeks ago. She likes to drag the trees around and bury her head in the soft pine needles, then push the trees on the floor before she swings her little trunk back around them. It's quite a sight to see a growing baby elephant play with a Christmas tree!

Monday, January 4, 2010


We hope that everyone had a fantastic holiday season and 2010 is starting out well!

Another Zuri milestone was reached just before the new year! Elephant Supervisor Doug Tomkinson revealed that Baby Zuri now weighs 502 pounds, which means that she's doubled her weight since she was born in August. Things are going so well with Christie and Zuri and it is going to be an amazing year watching this baby grow up.

We know Zuri is a star, but now she is going to be immortalized as the "face" of this year's World of the Wild Art Exhibition at Hogle Zoo. 17 years ago, this art show began as a way to showcase both local artists and wild life and wild nature art. Since then, this has become one of the premiere venues in Utah for featuring artwork of this type. Each year the art show sells a limited poster, and if you're a Zuri fan you're going to need to pick up right now for only $10!! Guess what? You can! Go to our Web site to order this collector's piece featuring our own Baby Zuri:

What's even cooler is that for only $5 more, you can have this beautiful work of art signed by the featured local artist, Cara Koolmees. And don't forget the 17th Annual World of the Wild art show at Hogle Zoo begins January 30, 2010!