Ocelot chosen as Oregon Zoo’s "mother of the year"

PORTLAND – In spirit of the upcoming holiday, the Oregon Zoo has chosen their 2007 Mother of the Year.

With nearly 50 percent of the online votes, Alice the ocelot was chosen as this year’s winner. Runners up were Mali the Colobus monkey and Bonita, a Humblodt penguin.

“Alice is a great choice for Zoo Mother of the Year,” said Oregon Zoo Director Tony Vecchio. “She’s new to the zoo and has an important conservation message to tell.”

Shortly after arriving at the zoo last spring, 14-year-old Alice and her mate, Ralph, settled in and produced a cub. Rio was born Sept. 14 of last year.

“We were very pleased with how protective she was with her cub,” noted Dave Thomas, a senior keeper at the zoo. “Her mothering skills were even more impressive, given that she was recovering from a broken leg at the time, and that she hadn’t given birth to a cub for a few years.”

Vecchio viewed the Zoo Mother of the Year vote as an opportunity to educate the public about animals that are either threatened or endangered.

“Once people make an emotional connection with an animal, they’re much more likely to care about the future of that species,” said Vecchio. “This online vote has helped bring attention to the plight of these animals.”

5/11/2007

http://www.koin.com/Global/story.asp?S=6504127

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