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A New Zoo for Buffalo
Founded in 1875, the Buffalo Zoological Gardens is the third oldest zoo in the United States and was once one of America’s leading zoos. But in recent years, the Zoo was in danger of losing its accreditation as many of its exhibits no longer met the standards of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Following the zoo’s mission of conservation, education, and recreation, a complete transformation was planned for the entire 23.5 acre complex.

In A New Zoo for Buffalo, WNED producer Lynne Bader-Gregory documents the intricate planning and careful construction of two major attractions for the revitalized Buffalo Zoo: Otter Creek and Sea Lion Cove.

North American River Otter Otter Creek, a new home for North American River Otters, will be the most ambitious exhibit to be constructed in decades. River otters are fresh water mammals that used to be native to Western New York. Otter Creek was developed to be a natural habitat that would improve the experience for both the animals and zoo patrons. Its first residents will be a pair of brother and sister otters, Harry and Hermione.

Next door, Sea Lion Cove is under construction. Over the winter, the Zoo’s new sea lions will be trained. A New Zoo for Buffalo will show how animal handlers teach them the behaviors that will become part of their daily performance at the new exhibit.

Funding for A New Zoo for Buffalo was provided by Robert and Elisabeth Wilmers.

View the program online (requires Windows Media Player):
  • Segment 1 (4:55) - Donna Fernandes introduces viewers to her master plan for the Buffalo Zoo.
  • Segment 2 (3:19) - Viewers are introduced to the Vanishing Animals exhibit and three interactive Ecostation Habitats.
  • Segment 3 (3:23) and Segment 4 (3:24) - These segments show the process of building an Otter Creek habitat that mimics Lechworth State Park.
  • Segment 5 (4:36) - The Otter Creek habitat is ready for Harry and Hermione, and zoo visitors enjoy the new exhibit.
  • Segment 6 (4:37) - This segment outlines how the Sea Lion Cove exhibit was developed and how the sea lions are trained.
  • Segment 7 (4:07) - The future Indoor Rainforest Exhibit is discussed (includes program credits).
Taping Rights:
One Year from Each Broadcast
30 minutes
TV Parental Guidelines:
Curriculum Enrichment Ideas:
  • "Who Am I?" Lesson Plan
    Students create a collaborative bulletin board displaying animal pictures and their descriptions. These pictures and descriptions then create an interactive matching game, based on animals found at the Buffalo Zoo. (Grades 2 - 3)
  • Adopt an Endangered Animal/Plant
    Students will discuss why we need to help animals or plants that are scarce. Students will brainstorm which animal, plant, or tree they would like to adopt, using the Buffalo Zoo's Adopt-an-Animal program as a resource. (Grade K)
  • Polar Animals Lesson Plan
    This is a lesson plan for Grades 3-4, involving the study of polar region animals. Students will use a variety of research resources, including books, web sites, and Video on Demand.
  • Buffalo Zoo - Great Depression Exploration
    Students will study the history of the Buffalo Zoo, including WPA renovations that took place from 1938 to 1942. (Grades 3 - 8)
Student Activities:
  • Kratt's Creatures - Who Lives Here?
    In this series of interactive games, students must put animals into their proper habitats, found in locations around the globe. (Grades 1 - 3)
Companion Web Site:
  • The Buffalo Zoo
    The Buffalo Zoo web site includes information about the zoo’s animals and events, as well as educational resources and a kids’ page.
Related Resources:
  • NATURE Critter Guide
    How fast can a cheetah run? How far can a lemur leap? What's the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? Find out the answers to these and many other questions about your favorite animals. Search by letter of the alphabet or by animal category.
  • BBC Science and Nature: Animals
    Search for information on hundreds of animals with "Wildfacts," play interactive games to learn about animal behavior and survival, download photos and activities, and get advice from animal experts. Also includes a "Children's Zone."
  • Biodiversity 911
    Students can learn what biodiversity is, view movies about the variety of life on earth, and play games that reinforce the concepts of biodiversity issues.
  • EcoKids!
    This site offers games, information, and activities about wildlife, science & nature, environmental issues and more.
  • Enchanted Learning - Habitats and Biomes
    This resource introduces young students to the habitats and biomes of the world, and the animals who inhabit them. These pages also include student printout activities.
  • Backyard Jungle
    This PBS online resource includes science games and environmental education for students. Students can discover online field guides and photos posted by other Backyard Jungle members, or become members and share their own environments online.
  • Otternet
    Learn about various species of otters, including the North American River Otter. This site also contains resources for kids and information about saving otters through environmental conservation.
  • The Marine Mammal Center - California Sea Lion
    Find information about the California Sea Lion's habitat, diet, behavior, and characteristics. A printout information sheet is also available (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Local Resources:
Related Performance Indicators:
 Students explain the importance of preserving diversity of species and habitats.
 Students describe the range of interrelationships of humans with the living and nonliving environment.
 Students recognize that traits of living things are both inherited and acquired or learned.
 Students describe how plants and animals, including humans, depend upon each other and the nonliving environment.
 Students describe how living things, including humans, depend upon the living and nonliving environment for their survival.
Oishei Foundation
Corporation for Public Broadcasting