Wiggles the Chinchilla’s brief tenure as the first Mayor of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo came to an end on Sunday, Jan. 3. The elderly chinchilla passed away from advanced age with his devoted campaign and animal care staff beside him. As a long-time animal ambassador and a veteran of ZooMobile visits to senior centers as well as starring roles at children’s birthday parties, 19-year-old Wiggles beat out six other candidates to claim his spot as the titular head of the Zoo in November 2020.
“Although Wiggles did not serve long as the Zoo’s mayor, he served as an educator for the Zoo for nearly two decades. His role was to engage children and adults alike in recognizing the need to understand animals of all species, to highlight the delicate balance between living things and their environment, and to foster curiosity,” said Education Curator Jim Knox. “Wiggles was the consummate animal ambassador and a beloved member of the Zoo family. We feel his loss deeply.”
As the second-place winner, Amur leopard Kallisto will step into the role vacated by Wiggles and fulfill his duties through the duration of his 12-month term.
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo:
Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 99th year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tiger and leopards, maned wolves, and Mexican grey wolves and red wolves. Other highlights include our new Spider Monkey Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization approaching its 100th year at a time when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and eco-systems is more important than ever.
Covid-19 safety rules remain in effect. Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org. Face masks are required for everyone over the age of two, with the exception of those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them. Social distancing is mandated throughout the Zoo.