You can be a hero for wildlife by visiting the Zoo or Safari Park, or by joining the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, which supports our tiger project in Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.
About Author: Jenn Beening
Posts by Jenn Beening
Wild populations of tigers are at an all-time low, but we haven’t lost hope. Understanding tiger behavior and implementing science-based conservation efforts can save these majestic big cats. Get ready for Global Tiger Day on July 29 with these fascinating facts.
There are six subspecies of tiger living today; Amur or Siberian, Bengal or Indian, Indochinese, Malayan, Sumatran, and South China.
3 tiger subspecies (Bali, Javan, and Caspian) are extinct, and the remaining six are all highly endangered due to poaching and habitat encroachment.
The earliest tiger fossils date back about two million years.
In the last 100 years, we have lost 97 percent of wild tigers.
At the current rate, all wild tigers could be extinct in five years.
Tigers are ambush hunters, with only about 1 in 10 hunts resulting in a meal.
Tigers have the largest canines of any big cat species, reaching 2.5 to 3 inches long.
A tiger’s tongue is covered with small, hard, hooked bumps called papillae—making it a perfect scraper to rasp off fur, feathers, and meat from bones.
They can take down prey five times their own weight.
A tiger can cover a distance of up to 33 feet in one leap.
Tigers are solitary cats, unless a female is raising cubs.
A tiger’s night vision is six times better than that of a human.
Female tigers are about 20-percent smaller and lighter than males.
A tiger’s confrontational roar contains energy in the infrasonic range, below human hearing, which helps the sound carry over long distances.
Each tiger has a unique stripe pattern, most include more than 100 stripes. Researchers observing wild tigers can identify individuals by their particular stripes.
A tiger’s stripes are skin deep.
Tigers have white spots on the backs of their ears, which could serve as “false eyes,” making the tiger look watchful to predators. These spots may also help communicate with other tigers, especially between a mom and her cubs.
Tigers can sniff out hidden messages left by other tigers through scent marks.
Tigers have partially webbed toes and their claws can reach 4 inches long.
A tiger’s front feet have an extra claw called a dewclaw, which is used specifically for climbing and gripping.
While most cats avoid it, tigers seek out water to swim and hunt.
Celebrate Global Tiger Day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Tiger Trail on July 29, 2015. Festivities include keeper demonstrations, tiger enrichment, conservation displays, and much more.
Pollinators are one of Mother Nature’s greatest gardeners, yet many populations continue to decline at an alarming rate. While National Pollinator Week continues to raise awareness, conservation of our precious pollinators is a year-round project. One way you can be a hero for wildlife is by creating a pollinator-friendly habitat in your own yard or community, and invite hummingbirds, bees and butterflies to do what they do best.
For starters, you’ll need a nectar source for your hummingbird guests. They get most of their nectar from tubular blossoms, the perfect shape to accommodate their long, slim beak and tongue. Hummers like bright plants that are open during daylight hours, when the birds are awake and hungry. Sage is an excellent option for these tiny pollinators, not to mention the added bonus of providing your herb pantry with some homegrown goodies.
It’s no secret that honeybee and native bee populations are in trouble. Entertain bees in your outdoor space by planting a diversity of vibrant flowers. It’s extremely important to select plants that do not contain neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that may contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder. Nowadays, some stores label plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids, but many do not, so it’s best to consult with your local nursery before purchasing.
Including suitable nesting habitat in your landscape can help bolster the struggling populations of native bees. Many are solitary (so you don’t need to worry about a hive) and a good number of species are considered stingless, in case that is a concern. You can purchase ready-made nesting houses for mason and orchard bees online, or make your own.
For butterflies, a simple search on Google will help you discover which species are common in your area. Once you know which butterflies live in your region, it’s important to learn about their habitat needs. Certain species require specific host plants to serve as larval food for caterpillars. Choose a variety of colorful, native plants with upward-facing blossoms as they provide a landing pad for butterflies to stop and sip on sweet nectar.
Adding a water source for all of your pollinator guests is another great idea. If you’re going to use a bird bath to accomplish this, just be sure to add stones that peek above the surface so your tiny guests (bees) don’t drown.
Do you have any tips for creating a pollinator-friendly garden? Leave them in the comments.
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 10 Cats You Don’t Want to Cuddle With.
There’s no doubt that domestic cats are cute and cuddly, but when it comes to their wild brothers and sisters, we strongly advise keeping your hands to yourself.
With two- to three-inch long canine teeth, Connor would rather chow down than cuddle with you.
We suggest you steer clear of Nindiri, or suffer the same fate as this poor rabbit.
Kamari might look cute, but servals are perhaps the best hunters in the cat world. They make a kill in about half of all tries, which means you probably wouldn’t survive a snuggle session.
The legendary snow leopard is rarely seen by humans. Cuddling with one? Don’t kid yourself.
One look at Teddy and you know he isn’t in the mood for some TLC.
With the ability to reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this cheetah’s gaze.
If you’re thinking “Aw, this looks just like my fluffy Felix,” think again—fishing cats can be very aggressive.
Izu barely has enough patience for his cubs, so he probably isn’t interested in your warm embrace either.
The same is true for Oshana.
Mountain lion, puma, cougar, panther—this cat is known by more names than just about any other mammal—”cuddle buddy” isn’t one of them.
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 11 Incredibly Awesome Animal Moms.
While baby business in the natural world differs across species, one thing for certain is the fact that moms are awesome. So today, we’re celebrating some of the best mothers we’ve recently observed at the Zoo and Safari Park.
The heartwarming bond between Imani and Joanne is a wonderful sight, especially given this little gorilla’s story.
7-year-old Nindiri gave birth to her third cub on March 12, 2015. The healthy cub still needs a name, vote for your favorite here.
Funani is very protective of her latest baby and has kept her calf so close that animal keepers have not been able to determine yet if the calf is male or female.
This little piggy went to the market… these little red river piglets were born at the Safari Park last month.
Sisquoc and Shatash’s new condor chick hatched on April 11 is very valuable to the condor population.
When baby Denny arrived in December 2014, first-time mother Jessica naturally rose to the occasion of raising her youngster.
Onshe gave birth to her first curious kitten last October. Kamari’s cuteness can be seen in the Zoo’s Kopje area.
Oshana the African lioness has had her paws full taking care of a cute quartet of cubs.
First-time mother Addison also welcomed a cute quartet of spots last summer. Keepers describe Addison as an excellent mom, calm, confident and extremely protective.
Petunia, born on August 1, 2014 to mother Tayana, was the 67th greater one-horned rhino to be born at the Park since 1975.
A rare white ellipsen waterbuck calf named Luke stood out among his her, but his mother kept a close watch on her youngster.
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 24 Rhino Facts You Should Know.
It’s time to stop the merciless killing of rhinos. Join us on Endangered Species Day, May 15, 2015, as we #Rally4Rhinos the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
It’s estimated that a rhino is poached every 8 hours. At this rate, rhinos could become extinct in 15 years.
In total, there are less than 30,000 rhinos remaining on Earth.
A group of rhinos is sometimes called a “crash.”
All rhinos are herbivores.
Rhino gestation lasts 15 to 16 months. The only animal with a longer pregnancy is the elephant.
Newborn calves are able to stand on their feet and start to nurse two to three hours after birth.
Because rhinos are very nearsighted, they often charge when startled; in the wild, rhinos have been observed charging at boulders or trees.
The biggest threat to rhinos is humans; civil war in their native lands and poaching for their horns has decimated wild populations.
Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same material as our fingernails.
The demand for rhino horn has gone from subsistence hunting by locals to highly organized international crime rings.
In 2014, the toll from poaching was the worst yet: a horrifying 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa.
Close to 100 known rhino species have existed. Today, only five continue the line: two native to Africa (black and white) and three native to Asia (Greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran).
The rhino’s ancestors walked the Earth 55 million years ago.
Black, white and Sumatran rhinos have two horns; Javan and greater one-horned rhinos have one.
Despite their name, black rhinos and white rhinos are the same color – brownish gray.
Black rhinos can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour).
Standing at up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) at the shoulder, white rhinos are the largest rhino species and the second largest land mammal.
White rhino males can be persistent, with courtship lasting 5 to 20 days.
There are only five northern white rhinos remaining on the planet. One of them, an elderly female named Nola, lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The three Asian rhinos use enlarged incisors or tusks, rather than their horns, when fighting or defending territory.
All three Asian rhino species are excellent swimmers.
Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of the five rhino species and the only type covered with a coat of shaggy hair.
Through collaborative, science-based, multidisciplinary conservation efforts at the Safari Park, we have successfully added the births of 93 southern white rhinos, 66 greater one-horned rhinos, and 13 black rhinos to the worldwide population.
Lend a hand to save rhinos. Write “STOP KILLING RHINOS” on your hand and post your photo to Instagram or Twitter with the #Rally4Rhinos hashtag. Participants are automatically entered to win two beautiful rhino paintings by Jeremy Donovan Rohr. Learn more HERE.
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. See her previous post, Best of Vine: Safari Park.
If you haven’t stopped to smell (or observe) the flowers and plants at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, your senses are seriously missing out. Inspiration is in full bloom! And today, the brains behind the stunning botanical arrangements at the Safari Park are eager to share this spring-inspired DIY project.
Step 1.) Start by filling the bottom of your pot with soil mixture. For best results, your mixture should be equal parts soil, pearlite, and sand.
Step 3.) You can also include pre-cut succulents in your arrangement. In fact, recycling these fleshy plants is a great way to reuse them and fill any gaps in your bouquet. Just be sure to let cut plants rest in a dry place for three to five days before planting. Once they’ve dried for a few days, simply stick a hole into the soil and insert your cut stem.
Step 4.) Have fun with your arrangement and try to incorporate different succulent species for a colorful display. If you’re visiting the Safari Park, stop by the Plant Trader where you can pick up drought-tolerant plants from our own collection.
Do you have any horticulture-based requests for our team? Leave them in the comments and we’ll gladly offer tips from the experts.
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 19 Fascinating Butterfly Facts.
Saturday, March 14 marked the start of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s annual Butterfly Jungle event. Before it opened to the public, a handful of lucky photophiles got to preview the Hidden Jungle during our Instameet Photo-Walk & Challenge. Guests of the event had one hour to creatively capture as many photos and videos as possible, then upload their experience to Instagram. Three winners were selected by Safari Park staff based on the following categories.
Best overall photo by @duhrock
Best overall video by @petercsanadi
Best photo/caption combo by @mckenzie_bell. “Why couldn’t the butterfly go to the dance? Because it was a mothBALL #SorryCinderButterfly”
Don’t forget to upload your Butterfly Jungle memories on Instagram for a chance to win a Cheetah Safari for two. Simply tag your photos with #ButterflyJungle to enter. Submissions close Sunday, April 12. VIEW THE GALLERY
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 19 Fascinating Butterfly Facts.
Because Butterfly Jungle is back at the Safari Park…
1. Butterflies taste with their feet.
2. A group of butterflies is sometimes called a flutter.
3. Their eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.
4. There are 165,000 known species of butterflies found on every continent except Antarctica.
5. Many adult butterflies never excrete waste – they use up all they eat for energy.
6. Despite popular belief, butterfly wings are clear – the colors and patterns we see are made by the reflection of the tiny scales covering them.
7. Butterfly wings move in a figure “8” motion.
8. Butterflies vary in size – the largest species may reach 12 inches across, while the smallest may only be half an inch.
9. Some butterfly species lay their eggs on only one type of plant.
10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was no joke – the first meal after a caterpillar hatches is usually the eggshell from which it has just emerged.
11. In some areas, the number of feeding caterpillars on plants is so great that you can actually hear them munching. Thus, manners are not important in butterfly society.
12. The process by which a caterpillar magically transforms into a butterfly, aka metamorphosis, is completed in 10 to 15 days, depending on the species.
13. Butterflies are essentially cold-blooded.
14. Skipper butterflies fly so fast they could outpace a horse, but most butterflies fly at 5 to 12 miles per hour (8 to 20 kilometers per hour).
15. Butterflies have a long, tube-like tongue called a proboscis that allows them to soak up their food rather than sip it.
16. Males drink from mud puddles to extract minerals that aren’t available in flowers. This behavior is known as “puddling.”
17. “Puddle clubs” are groups of butterflies that gather at wet soil to suck up salts and minerals.
18. Some butterflies have been seen drinking blood from open wounds on animals.
19. Scientists thought butterflies were deaf until the first butterfly ears were identified in 1912.
Join the conversation: Do you have any butterfly facts to add to this list? Share them in the comments.
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 13 Animals Grumpier Than Grumpy Cat.