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Madison's resident foxes make a splash with the community

Madison's resident foxes make a splash with the community

Near the railroad track lining Warner Park, depressions in the snow marked many paths -- coming, going and crossing. Some of the prints set close together, others further apart.

Most of the tracks belonged to two foxes, according to Madison resident Rhonda Martin.

Martin lives near Warner Park on Madison's north side, and sees the foxes so regularly she can keep track of their family trees. She can list the members of the family individually, noting when and how many babies (known as kits) each had, as if she knew them personally.

One female fox had two kits in 2011, one of which took over territory near the baseball field where the Madison Mallards play. He’s still there, Martin said. The other kit -- a female -- made a den down the railroad tracks from her mother, and had five kits of her own in 2013. She and four of her kits were run out of the territory by the fifth, a male.

Man adopts dog with secret sniffing ability

Man adopts dog with secret sniffing ability

There are thousands of successful adoption stories coming out of the Dane County Humane Society. Countless pets have found homes but News3 traveler Mark Koehn has a story not so much about adoption but about fate.

The story begins one morning this past July; Tim Stephenson was watching the news.

"I saw her on News3, the pet of the week. Then I hear a little bit of the stories that she's not really adoptable," Stephenson said.

Ten-year-old Sassy was brought to the news station but adoptees knew older dogs can sometimes be harder to place.

"Just because she's 10 years old and she has a few problems, it doesn't mean anything. I'm not going to let her die just because of all of that," said Stephenson.

Stephenson said he wasn't going to let her die just because she was 10 years old and had a few problems, but he expected to not have to keep up with such a fast pace.

Pet food chain and Dane County team up for Henry Vilas Zoo

Pet food chain and Dane County team up for Henry Vilas Zoo

Dane County and Mounds Pet Food Warehouse raised $20,000 to be donated to the Henry Vilas Zoo Animal Warehouse fund, according to a release from the Dane County Executive's Office.

According to the release, five stores competed by creating unique displays in each store during the month of May to raise the money.

The Middleton location raised the most, earning employees with a behind-the-scenes-tour of the zoo.

According to the release, the money will be used to purchase toys and materials to keep animals happy and healthy.

Mounds and Dane County partnered in 2011 for the same cause. They raised $18,000 that year.

Rock and Roar zoo benefit shows attendees after-hours fun

Rock and Roar zoo benefit shows attendees after-hours fun

The Rock and Roar benefit is one of the ways the Henry Vilas Zoo is able to stay free for the community and attendees of the upcoming party get to see the zoo after hours.

The Rock and Roar zoo benefit is Saturday from 7-11 p.m. and WISC-TV is a proud sponsor. The event is one of Henry Vilas Zoo?s two premier fundraising events each year.

With the purchase of a ticket you not only get into the fun but it also comes with food, music, dancing and even a free ride on the carousel.

?The cool thing about this event is that the zookeepers have the animals on exhibit longer. So people can come and still tour the zoo as they do during the day,? said Autumn Hayes, special events coordinator at Henry Vilas Zoo. ?What?s really neat is we have up-close animal encounters. Our education animals come out and people can go and interact and learn about different animals here.?

Zookeepers week is time to thank caregivers

Zookeepers week is time to thank caregivers

It's National Zookeepers Appreciation Week, which runs from July 15-19, and Madison's Henry Vilas Zoo is participating with meet-and-greet sessions throughout the week.

Though it's going to be a hot few days, animal caregivers at Madison's zoo will be out taking care of the many creatures at the downtown facility.

On a warm day like Tuesday with temperatures in the low 90s and heat values in the upper 90s, Henry Vilas zookeeper Beth Peterson said an example of one job responsibility is making sure the animals, which come from a diversity of habitats throughout the world, are cared for and healthy.

"Part of being a zookeeper … is that you really get to know what's normal behavior for them," Petersen said. "Knowing what to pay attention to, to know if they are showing signs of stress, especially in warm weather like this, is a big part of your daily routine."

New African lion arrives at Henry Vilas Zoo

New African lion arrives at Henry Vilas Zoo

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on Thursday announced the arrival of a new female African lion at Dane County's Henry Vilas Zoo.

The lion came to Madison from the Sedgewick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan.

Ronda Schwetz, director of the zoo, said that Shakura is just over two years old and is a young adult. The Lion Species Survival Plan, which works to preserve a species over generations, sent Shakura to pair with Henry, the older male lion currently at the zoo.

The SSP makes matches to help produce the healthiest and most genetically sound offspring possible for the long-term health of the whole population.

"Shakura is very energetic and fun to watch on exhibit. She has taken to her new surroundings very well," said Schwetz in a Dane County news release.

Zoo to host winter carousel benefit for Vilas, bears

Zoo to host winter carousel benefit for Vilas, bears

Fundraisers will support polar bears and zoo project    

Henry Vilas Zoo said it will host two winter carousel ride fundraiser events in early 2013 to benefit the Animal Health Center and Polar Bears International.

The zoo carousel will be open Jan. 19 and Feb. 23 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for carousel rides, refreshments, kids’ craft activities and photos with Vilas mascot Henry the Lion.

Rides will cost $2 and organizers will ask attendees make a donation for refreshments and craft activities.