Cougar Mountain Zoo offers talk about tigers

February 15, 2011

A Bengal tiger is captured on film in Kanha National Tiger Preserve, India. By Robyn Barfoot

On Feb. 27, Cougar Mountain Zoo will host a lecture on the dilemma of the Bengal tiger.

General Curator and Zoo Manager Robyn Barfoot will be the speaker.

“The lecture was the suggestion of one of our zoo members who wanted to know about my trip to India and the conservation work I had done,” Barfoot said. “She suggested making it a public meeting and I ran with it.”

According to Barfoot, the Bengal tiger has seen a 97 percent drop in its population in the past 100 years. In search of answers, she recently made a visit to India and met with directors from different tiger parks as well as the director of the World Wildlife Fund.

The lecture will go more in-depth on the subject of the tiger and discuss ways people can help.

“I will have a slideshow of photos from my trip and will touch on ecotourism in India and what that means for the Bengal Tiger,” Barfoot said. “There will be a Q-and-A section and information on what ‘we’ can do to help the wild tiger. It’s going to be a relaxed environment, encouraging interaction and open discussions about the plight of the tiger.”

Cougar Mountain Zoo is home to four Bengal tigers. Senior Keeper Sasha Puskar has been at the zoo since June 2005 and has worked closely with the tigers since their arrival.

“I work daily with our now four Bengal tigers with general husbandry, feeding, medicating (if needed) and training,” Puskar said. “From the tools obtained by the zoo and Robyn, I do my best to provide anyone I encounter a vast amount of information about this vanishing species.”

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Find reindeer games aplenty at Cougar Mountain Zoo

November 30, 2010

Santa Claus feeds apple slices to Olive the reindeer last year at the barn attached to Santa’s House during the annual Issaquah Reindeer Festival. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Reindeer Festival raises money for exhibits

Not many people can name all nine of Santa’s reindeer, but Cougar Mountain Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot can name 10.

That’s right. There’s Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen — not to mention Rudolph — and, Olive, as in “All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names; they never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”

“Zookeepers have a very strange sense of humor,” Barfoot said.

There weren’t always 10 reindeer at Issaquah’s Cougar Mountain Zoo. The first group of reindeer, six in all, came directly from Siberia 23 years ago. Though at the zoo — and in Issaquah, no less — the reindeer not only help Santa every Christmas season but also bring in much-needed dollars for the zoo, which has a slow season during the cold, rainy months. Read more

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Issaquah zoo raises more than $50,000 to add cheetahs

October 22, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 22, 2010

Cougar Mountain Zoo is more than $50,000 closer to opening a cheetah exhibit.

The zoo hosted a gala fundraiser last month to raise some of the $100,000 needed to add cheetahs a big cat collection comprised of tigers and a cougar. The masquerade soiree raised $51,800 through ticket sales, auctions and the chance to purchase a photo alongside a 4-year-old female cheetah.

Cougar Mountain Zoo aims to become the first facility in Washington to open a cheetah exhibit.

Zoo leaders announced plans last summer to add a cheetah exhibit and plan to construct and open the habitat by late 2011 or early 2012.

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Zoo offers chance for photos with cheetah

August 31, 2010

Cougar Mountain Zoo has raised all but about $100,000 needed for the Issaquah institution to open a cheetah exhibit, possibly as early as next year.

The zoo has planned a posh Cheetah Masquerade Gala for Sept. 18 to help meet the fundraising goal. Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot announced a special treat for attendees at the gala: the chance to have their photo taken next to a cheetah.

Only a lucky handful can get up close to the cheetah — a 4-year-old female named Taini from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Ore. — by bidding for three photo opportunities up for grabs in a silent auction.

Wildlife Safari, a drive-through preserve about 90 minutes south of Eugene, is the only facility in the Pacific Northwest to exhibit cheetahs.

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Off The Press

April 27, 2010

A tiger’s birthday is a once-a-year delight

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

It was a sunny, gorgeous day April 11 as the 3-year-old tore into his presents with his teeth and claws and gnawed on a rack of ribs to the delight of more than 100 people.

But this wasn’t your average toddler. This was Taj, Cougar Mountain Zoo’s golden Bengal tiger, one of only 102 left in the world, who turned 3 that day. (In fact, the last golden Bengal that was seen in the wild was spotted in 1932!)

If you weren’t there, you truly missed something special. But never fear, you get a second chance this Sunday, May 2, when Almos, the zoo’s royal white Bengal tiger, one of only 400 left in the world, will celebrate turning 3.

Watching these big cats, who weigh more than 400 pounds, pounce and chase things will turn you into a kid again. Read more

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Cougar Mountain Zoo tigers celebrate first Christmas / Dec. 29, 2009

December 29, 2009

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Off The Press

November 17, 2009

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

Last week, I decided to drop by Cougar Mountain Zoo to check on Taj and Almos, the elder of our local, rare Bengal tigers. I’ve seen them grow up, like many of you have done.

I knew they were moving into their new, larger, adult habitat at some point. (Taj had been in there for nearly three weeks. Almos, a little shyer about the move, maybe because he heard people talk about the horrors of packing and moving, had entered the enclosure only three days before.) Read more

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New Cougar Mountain Zoo tiger habitat / Nov. 12, 2009

November 16, 2009

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New Bengal tigers get names, go on display

August 25, 2009

Issaquah’s newest tiger additions have names and are on display for visitors at Cougar Mountain Zoo. Read more

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New Bengal tiger cubs at zoo / July 11, 2009

July 14, 2009

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