Zoological District Resident (Jackson/Clay County MO) pricing is only $5 Adults, $4.50 Seniors, $4.00 children 3-11. Regular Pricing $11.50 Adults; $10.50 Seniors; $8.50 Children ages 3-11. 2 and under are free.
Located in Swope Park at 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, Missouri. Just off I-435 and US-71 highway, the Zoo is easily accessible from any part of the metropolitan area. 816.513.5800
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In February of 2009, Liz Harmon, Director of Conservation, traveled to South Africa to work on a black-footed cat project. The trip had 2 main objectives; to assist the Black-footed Cat Working Group in their mission to understand and conserve BFC's in the wild and to develop in-country relationships with zoos in order to further captive populations of BFCs. The black-footed cat is a small (<2kg) felid with a limited range in southern Africa. this species is included on Appendix 1 of CITES, is listed as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, and is ranked as the most vulnerable of the Sub-Saharan cat species by the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN. Despite its current conservation status, the black-footed cat has received very little attention by the conservation community. In fact, a single study of its basic ecology by Dr. Alex Sliwa represents the only detailed information available for this species in the wild.
Critical information such as current distribution and the existence of distinct sub-species is still unknown. In addition to determining current distribution, habitat use, genetic diversity and reproductive fitness, there is a need to better understand infection disease prevalence of and potential health threats to black-footed cat populations. This data would better define the species' conservation status and allow wildlife managers to better direct conservation resources and actions.
The specific objectives of the Black-footed Cat Working Group include: 1) Verify the current distribution of the black-footed cat in the western regions of southern Africa 2) Collect ecological data on radio-collared black-footed cats 3) Obtain biological samples from black-footed cats that will provide a long-term renewable resource of genetic material including DNA samples for studies into the conservation genetics of this species 4) Investigate genetic variation in black-footed cats from across the range to determine the extent of population differences 5) Establish baseline health parameters for free-living black-footed cats 6) Determine infections disease prevalence and identify disease agents that could threaten existing populations 7) Investigate reproductive status of wild male cats, as the effects of reduced genetic diversity are most easily seen in ejaculate quality 8) Contribute cryopreserved spermatozoa samples to genome resource banks in South Africa and the U.S. that could be used to bolster genetic diversity and the viability of captive populations without removing animals from their native ranges 9) Increase public awareness of black-footed cat conservation and increase awareness of the human behaviors that negatively impact these fragile populations
Harmon was able to spend three days working with scientists from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, Louisville Zoo and the Kolonge and Wuppertal Zoo both in Germany. We captured one cat and radio collared it for further study. This is quite an undertaking. The cats are spotlighted at night and then pursued until they go down a hold. At this point, the team dug the cat out of the hole and immobilized it. The cat was measured, weighed, blood and skin samples were taken the cat is radio collared. It was then released back into the hole that it was removed from. They also spent many hours locating radio collared cats and monitoring other wildlife in the area. The work took place on a farm outside of Kimberely, South Africa.
The second objective of this trip included: 1) Personally visit each zoo, wildlife park and Non-Governmental Organization using a prioritized list 2) Tour and inspect current facilities to determine suitability to house and breed black-footed cats 3) Make suggestions as to how facilities can be improved, if necessary 4) Discuss previous attempts to house and breed black-footed cats, if applicable 5) Train staff on husbandry techniques 6) Present husbandry materials
Steve Wing, the General Curator at the Louisville Zoo, and Harmon visited five facilities in four days. They traveled over a large area of South Africa. They met with individuals from the Bloemfontein Zoo, HartebeespoortDamAnimalPark, DeWildtWildlifeCenter, Johannesburg Zoo and the National Zoo of South Africa. They were able to offer come management suggestions and set the groundwork for future black-footed cat breeding and exhibit facilities. One of the key components was educating South Africans as to the presence of black-footed cats. They are not well known and so little is being donít to preserve their habitat. All of the facilities they visited were interested in assisting with these programs.
A special thank you to the Kansas City Zoo Photo Club who assisted in the funding of Harmon's trip along with funding from a separate conservation fund.