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County Executive's Office

Falk Opens Endangered Amphibian Exhibit

December 27, 2005
Topf Wells 608-266-9069 or Jim Hubing 608-266-4708
County Executive

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today (12/27/05) opened the Henry Vilas Zoo’s new amphibian exhibit featuring plants and amphibians from Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. The spectacular exhibit, located in the Zoo’s Discovery Center, showcases three different habitats connected by water. Falk said: “The public, especially children, will learn a lot and have fun with this exhibit. Besides seeing these beautiful, endangered little creatures, kids can learn about their biology and habitat. The exhibit even simulates key features of the habitat such as thunderstorms. On behalf of the thousands and thousands of zoo visitors who will be delighted by this exhibit, thank you to its funders, the Henry Vilas Zoological Society and Maddie’s Foundation.” As part of the opening, Falk activated the simulated thunderstorm. This exhibit is part of the Henry Vilas Zoo’s cooperation with Zoo Atlanta and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in a global initiative to save endangered amphibians from extinction. Because amphibians are more threatened than either birds or mammals, there is an immediate need for conservation centers capable of sustaining breeding colonies. The new amphibian exhibits, designed and built by Variance Intelligent Habitat Systems, are artificial eco-systems that replicate South American rain forest amphibian habitat, including the simulation of events such as tropical thunderstorms. Four different species of frogs (Glass, Tree, Rain and Poison Dart) live in the new exhibit. In addition to the remarkable new exhibit, Henry Vilas Zoo has also constructed amphibian-breeding habitats. Several species have laid eggs, which have now hatched into tadpoles. When mature, these frogs will become part of breeding colonies. Falk concluded: “I’m especially proud that our great zoo is a leader in conservation of highly endangered amphibians. This effort is a great step forward for our zoo as an institution dedicated to conservation.” # # #