We are delighted to welcome 2017 after the whirlwind of activity that characterized 2016 at the Conservators Center. Last year brought many new visitors, supporters, and people on site taking care of our animals, as well as new programs and projects. We truly appreciate our longer-term friends for their unending support.
Joy Courson, who has been with us as a volunteer since 2009, has joined us as our very first General Manager. Joy teamed with Julia Matson Wagner, our administrative organizational guru, and the leadership at the Center is making great strides in developing plans for future business growth. As we continue to develop, we can impart our message of conservation to a broader audience.
Additionally, during 2016, we welcomed several new animals into the fold. This includes our first bobcat birth on site and our first Arctic fox in residence. We also lost some old four-legged friends; we think of them often and fondly, however, and know they lived full lives making an impact on all of the people they met during their times at the Center.
We are thrilled, too, that Tut and Wendy Fennec Foxes have come to live at the park where they are daily demonstrating their excitement about being part of all the activity on site. Their new, much larger winter quarters will be ready for them shortly, thanks to a generous sponsor. A large viewing window will let visitors sneak a peek at them even when they are napping in the afternoons. Binturongs Cole and Sash also soon will be enjoying their own new winter housing as part of the same sponsor’s gift.
Our community continues to expand in meaningful ways. In the past year, we have launched new programs, trained additional tour guides and docents, and embraced new adopters and business partners. We have been delighted to host the thousands of visitors who have traveled to our park to meet our amazing resident animals, and to share our ambassador animals with an even larger audience through our continuing partnership with the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.
Also of note is our ongoing participation in nationally coordinated efforts to assist with disaster preparedness for zoos, our continued relationships with multiple coordinated breeding efforts, and our service as a resource for regulatory and legislative officials. We believe in being an active participant in efforts to enhance animal welfare and preparedness.
Your support through visiting us and sharing your experience by word of mouth or on social media has helped us grow and transform into a more mature organization with new experiences in the park each year. Thank you for being an important part of our mission to reconnect people with wildlife, and we hope to see you in 2017!