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Cosley Zoo Success Stories

Your donations help care for more than 200 animals every day at Cosley Zoo. Animals who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to survive on their own in the wild. These conservation success stories are not possible without your support.

Please help to continue to provide the high-quality care to the animals at Cosley Zoo with a tax-deductible donation.

Red-tailed hawk Anna has resided at Cosley Zoo since July 2002. Found in Naperville as an adult, she was underweight, lethargic and had an injury to her right wing. Anna was taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, where it was determined that she would never be able to fully extend the damaged wing or sustain flight. Without the ability to fly, she could no longer be an effective hunter or evade dangers. Anna was deemed non-releasable into the wild, and instead came to Cosley Zoo.

Once at the zoo, Anna continued treatment for some minor health issues and acclimated well to life in our care. Seeing Anna as a brave and curious animal, our dedicated animal care staff integrated her into our positive reinforcement training program. During her training sessions, Anna is given the opportunity to learn and make choices. She now participates in her own care, moving from perch to perch for exercise as well as resting on a scale so staff can monitor her weight. Her training sessions are an important part of Anna’s care, allowing her to maintain a healthy body weight and activity levels.

The average life expectancy for red-tailed hawks living in the wild is 10 to 15 years. Found in the wild as an adult, Anna’s age is estimated to be between 17 and 19 years old, meaning she has already exceeded her life expectancy and continues to thrive in our care. She continues to be a living example of the impressive power and grace found in the wilds of Illinois!

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Beau the Blanding’s turtle was less than a month old when she arrived at Cosley Zoo in August 2018. Prior to her arrival, Beau was incubated and hatched at a Forest Preserve District of DuPage County facility as part of the Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Project. Cosley Zoo has been an active partner in this head start program since 2001, providing care for and raising critically endangered turtles for release back to the wild.
On Valentine’s Day 2019, at only six months of age, Beau was found unresponsive during the morning health and wellness checks. The zoo’s animal care staff immediately jumped into action, providing life-saving CPR and supportive care while consulting with veterinarians. For more than two hours, staff took turns performing compressions until Beau was able to breathe on her own.

While the animal care staff typically does not name the releasable turtles in the head start program, in the midst of a little conservation miracle, the keeper staff couldn’t resist, and named the turtle Beau. Staff continued supportive care for the following weeks and months, while she continued to grow and thrive. Beau was released into the wild in August 2019.

During their first year of life, Blanding’s turtles are especially vulnerable to predators. They are also more susceptible to illness or injury due to environmental contaminants at this young age. The Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Project aims to secure the survivability of the species by ensuring as many animals as possible reach that critical year one milestone. To date, through the Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Project, we have released over 3,000 Blanding’s turtles (including our little fighter, Beau) back into the wilds of DuPage County.

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Wiley the coyote has been living at Cosley Zoo since 2014. Prior to his arrival at the zoo, Wiley was cared for at a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility, where he was taken as a pup. While at the rehabilitation facility, the staff there realized Wiley didn’t have the skills needed to survive in the wild. He was unable to hunt for and catch his own food, relying on his human caretakers to provide it for him. Wiley also lacked appropriate social skills needed to assimilate to life in the wild. Because he was imprinted, identifying with humans better than he did with other coyotes, he would have been unable to establish himself in the complex social structure of a coyote pack. In need of a permanent home, Wiley came to Cosley Zoo.

When Wiley first arrived at Cosley Zoo, he was assigned a team of trainers and they quickly got to work. Through daily training sessions and enrichment activities, our staff developed a strong, positive relationship with Wiley. We have been able to build trust and confidence with him and Wiley now eagerly participates in our behind-the-scenes “Coyote Connections” program, where he serves as an ambassador for his wild counterparts. The dedication of Cosley Zoo’s animal care department has led to a successful second chance at life for Wiley. He is easily one of the most engaging ambassadors at the zoo today. Wiley has found his forever home at Cosley Zoo where he helps to connect people with animals and nature.

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Lucy our white-tailed deer has been a favorite of both zoo staff and visitors since she began living at the zoo in 2009. Prior to her arrival, Lucy was illegally kept as a pet where she became entangled in barbed wire, sustaining injuries to her head and face, including a significant tear to her nose.

Lucy underwent surgery, but her nose refused to heal correctly. Fortunately for Lucy, the scarring that remains is strictly cosmetic. However, being raised by humans meant that Lucy had come to rely on them for food and shelter, making her unable to survive in the wild. Needing a permanent home, Lucy was placed in the care of the dedicated animal welfare team at Cosley Zoo.

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