INDIANAPOLIS — Do you know how long a polar bear can swim before it needs a break on land? Or what the difference is between a white rhino and a black rhino (hint, it's not the color)?
Zoogoers of all ages can find those answers and more when they participate in Dial-a-Hero, an audio tour featuring the six finalists for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation.
The Indianapolis Prize is all about conservation, and two prize-related activities at the Indianapolis Zoo this summer are all about having fun while learning about the heroes who are saving the world's threatened animals from extinction.
Dial-a-Hero is featured on signs that are strategically placed on zoo grounds posing a question about the animals that each of the six finalists is working to save. By dialing 245-4084 from their mobile phone and pressing the appropriate number key, zoo visitors can get that answer plus more information about each finalist and the work for which they are being honored by Indianapolis Prize.
The Dial-a-Hero signs are at:
- Polar Bear Exhibit - Steven Amstrup, Ph.D, Polar Bears International (2012 Indianapolis Prize recipient). Press 6# to listen;
- White Rhino Exhibit - Markus Borner, Ph.D., Frankfurt Zoological Society. Press 7# to listen;
- Red Panda Exhibit - Rodney Jackson, Ph.D., Snow Leopard Conservancy. Press 8# to listen;
- Flights of Fancy Budgie Aviary - Carl Jones, Ph.D., Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. Press 9# to listen;
- Guinea Baboon Exhibit - Russell Mittermeier, Ph.D., Conservation International. Press 10# to listen; and
- Red Ruffed Lemur Exhibit - Patricia Wright, Ph.D., Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments. Press 11# to listen.
In addition to Dial-a-Hero, zoo visitors can join in the fun by playing the Hidden Heroes scavenger hunt game found inside their show schedule. This new Indianapolis Prize activity invites zoogoers to look for the letters hidden around zoo grounds that will fill in the mystery message on the game card. Unscrambling the letters will reveal the animals being saved by the six Indianapolis Prize finalists.
Three heroes are featured now through July 10, and three more will be on the game cards beginning July 11.
Once visitors complete the game card, they can turn in an entry form in the zoo gift shop for a chance to win in a weekly drawing for an Indianapolis Prize conservation hero prize pack.
Sept. 29 is Meet-a-Hero, Be-a-Hero Day at the zoo. Dr. Steve Amstrup, winner of the 2012 Indianapolis Prize, along with other finalists, will appear at the special event from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Dolphin Gallery. Zoogoers can pick up the newest set of Conservation Heroes Collectors Cards (free to the first 1,000 visitors) and interact with these scientists.