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San Diego Zoo Begins Transformation of 8 Acres for New Africa Rocks Exhibit

Ruva, a South African porcupine breaks ground on the largest expansion in the Zoo's 99-year history. Pictured from left to right: Krista Perry, animal trainer, San Diego Zoo; Conrad Prebys, who gave the visionaly gift of 11 million for Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks; and Debbie Turner. At center: principal donor Ernest Rady and wife Evelyn Rady. At far right: Robert Horsman, chairman of the board, San Diego Zoo Global.

Pictured from left to right: Krista Perry, animal trainer, San Diego Zoo; Conrad Prebys, who gave the visionary gift of $11 million for Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks; and Debbie Turner. At center: principal donor Ernest Rady and wife Evelyn Rady. At far right: Robert Horsman, chairman of the board, San Diego Zoo Global.

An African crested porcupine had the honor of taking the first dig this morning, when the San Diego Zoo broke ground on the largest expansion in its 99-year history. Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks is a $68 million project that will transform eight acres of the Zoo and replace 1930s-era grottos and enclosures (formerly known as Cat and Dog Canyon) with new habitats for African plant and animal species that range from savanna to shore.

When the exhibit opens in 2017, Africa Rocks will entirely transform the area that was previously a steep canyon. Africa Rocks’ gently winding, ADA-accessible pathway will lead guests through different types of African habitats—including a West African forest, acacia woodlands, Ethiopian highlands, kopje gardens and a Madagascar habitat.

More than 4,500 individual donors, including the visionary gift of $11 million from Conrad Prebys, have contributed to the Africa Rocks Campaign. Principal donor Ernest Rady provided a $10 million matching gift challenge in 2013 that resulted in 3,800 individual donors giving more than $20 million toward the exhibit. Other principal donors, Dan and Vi McKinney, gave $5 million for the creation of an African penguin habitat. Additional funds have been generously given by corporations, private foundations and estate gifts.

”We want Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks to showcase Africa, where wildlife and habitat are being threatened like never before,” said Douglas Myers, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “The new area has been designed with some innovative exhibit features that demonstrate San Diego Zoo’s leadership in animal welfare and give us some amazing storytelling opportunities, to help connect people to wildlife.”

Africa Rocks will be a home to mammals, reptiles, birds, and plant life native to Africa. The exhibit will feature a range of primates, including hamadryas and gelada baboons, vervet monkeys, and lemurs. Other mammals in the exhibit will include southern ratel, fossa and an African leopard.

The Zoo is now home to two African penguins, found in the Children’s Zoo—but expect this number to grow when Africa Rocks’ penguin beach opens, and the Zoo begins its participation in an international species survival plan for these endangered aquatic birds. There will also be a walk-through aviary with sociable weavers.

Dwarf crocodiles will be among the reptile species in Africa Rocks, which are the smallest of the crocodile species. Other reptiles featured in the exhibit will include Agama lizards and spurred tortoises.

The Zoo will also be relocating several old-growth trees, including a ficus and a sausage tree. Other African-native plants in the exhibit will include acacia, aloe, Madagascar ocotillo and palms.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Photo taken on July 29, 2015 by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Female Northern White Rhino Dies in Czech Republic: Only Four of These Rhinos Remain Worldwide

Global_logo_color webThe Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic has announced that an elderly northern white rhinoceros, Nabiré, has passed away. The female rhino was born in 1983 and died July 27, 2015 from complications with a pathological cyst. Her death leaves only four northern white rhinos remaining in the world: an elderly female at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, named Nola; and three under human care at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the African nation of Kenya: a male, Sudan; and two females, Najin and Fatu.

“Our condolences go out to the Dvur Kralove Zoo for this particularly difficult loss,” said Randy Rieches, curator of mammals for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Watching this wonderful subspecies move one step closer to extinction breaks the hearts of all of us who have worked with and love rhinos.”

Northern white rhinos are at the brink of extinction because of poaching in Africa. Only a few have lived in zoological settings, and those animals have been largely non-reproductive.

San Diego Zoo Global is working to save the genome of this rhino subspecies through the collection of genetic material. Samples of 12 northern white rhinos are currently preserved in the Frozen Zoo® at the San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research.

San Diego Zoo Global just received a $100,000 grant from the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation to continue this research and rescue effort.

“After hearing about the plight of the northern white rhino, I shared San Diego Zoo Global’s plan for a genetic rescue of the species with the Scripps family,” said Doug Dawson, executive director of the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation. “Instantly, we unanimously and enthusiastically agreed this is where we wanted to commit Miss Ellen’s philanthropic investment this year!”

In addition to the genomic research at the Institute for Conservation Research, a rhino rescue facility is being built at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to house a colony of white rhinos, to ensure the preservation of the species. Those who want to contribute toward San Diego Zoo Global’s work to end extinction of the white rhino can visit www.sandiegozoo.org/rhino.

In the wild, rhinos are killed for their horns—a unique physiological feature made up of keratin, the same material that forms human hair and fingernails. Many cultures erroneously believe the rhino horn has medicinal value, so sadly, the illegal market in horns taken from poached animals continues to thrive.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the mission of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

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Mayor Officially Opens New Balboa Park Roadway

PrintSan Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember Todd Gloria today joined San Diego Zoo Global staff to officially open the newly renovated Old Globe Way, on the south side of the San Diego Zoo. The widened and landscaped roadway leads to the Zoo’s new employee parking structure and the Old Globe, past the Casa del Prado and the San Diego Museum of Art.

“This Old Globe Way project is a gift to all of San Diego, creating a wonderful connection between two of the City’s most cherished landmarks: historic Balboa Park and the world-famous San Diego Zoo,” said Mayor Faulconer. “It’s fitting that the project opens during the Balboa Park Centennial as we elevate, celebrate and promote the park for 2015 and beyond.”

The Old Globe Way project—including a renovated roadway that leads to the Old Globe theater complex and Village Place (an improved turnaround and unloading zone that serves the Casa del Prado)—cost more than $2 million to build.

The transformation of Old Globe Way was made possible in large part through grants from the Legler Benbough Foundation, the Parker Foundation and the Balboa Park Trust at the San Diego Foundation. Also mentioned in the ceremony was the Centennial Walkway that links Balboa Park with the San Diego Zoo, through a landscaped path including two elephant topiaries and the new San Diego Zoo employee parking structure, which is expected to reduce staff use of the main guest parking lot.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291 

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African Serval Kittens and Mother Play, Pounce at the San Diego Zoo

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A male two-month-old African serval kitten plays with one of his new enrihment items at the San Diego Zoo this morning.

Three African servals were doing what cats do best this morning at the San Diego Zoo—pouncing, digging, hunting and sleeping. The mother, Onshe, and her two cubs (who have not yet been named) received their daily enrichment, with a few extra treats thrown in. In addition to new piles of mulch, the cats were given carved, painted gourds covered with different scents from food seasonings. They were also given a few pinecones filled with paper and skin shed from a snake. The enrichment items, created by the Zoo’s “Epic Teen” summer camp participants, were designed to encourage the animals’ natural foraging and investigative behaviors.

The male and female servals were born on May 13. While they’re the same size and weight, keepers are able to tell them apart by the pink spot on the male kitten’s nose—the female’s nose is solid black. The serval kittens are still being nursed by their mom, but they are starting to try solid food, when their mother shares her carnivore diet with them. As they mature, they are becoming more adventurous—and are venturing farther and higher from their mother in the exhibit, as they test their ability to climb and jump. Guests visiting the San Diego Zoo can find the trio of servals in the Rock Kopje area on Front Street.

The San Diego Zoo is hosting Nighttime Zoo, presented by Cymer, now through Labor Day, Sept. 7. During this special event, guests can stay in the Zoo until 9 p.m. and experience toe-tapping, body-moving music in a variety of sounds and styles throughout the afternoon and evening—including rock tunes through the decades, festive mariachi melodies, a brass band and even a cappella harmonies. The Zoo has also added a 15,500-square-foot exhibit for Asian leopards that is the new entrance to the Barlin-Kahn Family Panda Trek. All Nighttime Zoo activities and entertainment are included with admission to the San Diego Zoo.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Photo taken on July 17, 2015 by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

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TRIPADVISOR ANNOUNCES TRAVELERS’ CHOICE ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS: San Diego Zoo Leads the Pack at #1 in the World

PrintTripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, today announced its Travelers’ Choice™ awards for zoos and aquariums around the globe. In total, 289 winners were identified, including the top 25 in the world and dedicated lists for Asia, Canada, Europe, India, South America, South Pacific, the U.K. and the U.S.  The awards are based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers across the globe. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for zoos and aquariums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

 “The Travelers’ Choice awards are recognizing the top zoos and aquariums around the world that are the favorites of the TripAdvisor community,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Travelers visiting these award-winning attractions can get a close look and learn about the magnificent creatures that inhabit the world around us.”

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Birthday Cake for Breakfast: Cheetah Cubs at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Turn One

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Male cheetah cub Wgasa (left) and female cub Pumzika (right) enjoy a special birthday cake in celebration of their first birthday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Four cheetah cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park turned one year old today and received specially made birthday cakes for breakfast, in celebration. Members of the Safari Park’s nutritional services team made the four individual ice cakes and placed them in the exhibit the cubs share with their mother, Addison. The cakes were made with the cheetahs’ favorite food items: blood, chicken broth, ground meat, and chunked meat, drizzled with more blood for good measure.

The cubs were a little hesitant to try their birthday treats, since this was their first time seeing ice cake. However, following their mother’s lead, they soon gathered around to enjoy the birthday feast—licking the blood- and broth-flavored ice layers and eating every piece of the cake décor. The décor included the word “one” on the front of the cake, written in ground meat, and a cupcake-shaped cake topper complete with a candle, made of ground beef and frozen blood, sprinkled with chunks of meat.

The cakes were given to the cheetahs by their keepers as an enrichment item. Enrichment is important for the cats, as it keeps the animals stimulated and active, allowing them to show their natural behaviors.
The cheetah cubs were born to first-time mother Addison on July 13, 2014 at the Safari Park’s off-site cheetah breeding center. The family moved to the Safari Park’s Okavango Outpost when the cubs were four months old. The two male cubs, named Wgasa and Refu, and the two females, Pumzika and Mahala, were all named after former areas of the Safari Park.

Cheetahs are found in Africa and a small part of Iran. They are classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It is estimated that the worldwide population of cheetahs has dropped from 100,000 in 1900 to just 10,000 today, with about 10 percent living in zoos or wildlife parks.

San Diego Zoo Global has been breeding cheetahs for more than 40 years, yielding more than 150 cubs. It has been instrumental in the formation of a Breeding Center Coalition (BCC) to create a sustainable cheetah population that will prevent extinction of the world’s fastest land animal. Eight other organizations are participating in the breeding program for this endangered species: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas; White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla.; The Wilds and the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio; the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.; the St. Louis Zoo; the Wildlife Safari in Oregon; and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

The cubs and their mother can be seen from the Africa Tram Safari or from the pathway at Okavango Outpost. Through Aug 16, Safari Park guests can enjoy amazing animals like these cheetahs during extended summer hours—from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily—along with special Asian-themed entertainment at the Summer Safari Asian Celebration, included with Safari Park admission and membership.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Photo taken on July 13, 2015 by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

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Annenberg Foundation Grants San Diego Zoo Global $200,000

Global_logo_color webThe Annenberg Foundation is helping San Diego Zoo Global work toward its goal of ending extinction and supporting the distribution of the San Diego Zoo Kids Network to children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses across the country. A recent grant of $200,000 from the Los Angeles-based organization will be divided between two projects: one that assists researchers in finding breeding alternatives for the northern white rhinoceros and one that delivers children’s educational programming, filled with animal interactions and animal stories, to promote well-being of young patients.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park near Escondido, Calif., is home to one of only five remaining northern white rhinos in the world. Because of the scientific expertise of researchers at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research and the animal care facilities at the Safari Park, the Annenberg Foundation has granted $102,000 to the organization, to be used toward the genetic rescue of the Northern white rhino—including developing techniques to reliably reproduce this species.

The remaining $98,000 of the grant is given to assist in delivery of San Diego Zoo Kids to 14 children’s medical facilities. San Diego Zoo Kids is a closed-circuit television broadcast channel that gives children the opportunity to see animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The channel combines videos of animals at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, along with conservation fieldwork, footage from live animal cams, and interviews with keepers and scientists. These videos provide entertaining and enjoyable stories for children and their parents.

The channel also provides content from partner zoos around the country. To date, San Diego Zoo Kids features stories from the Los Angeles Zoo, the Denver Zoo, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, and the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The creation and development of San Diego Zoo Kids was made possible by a founding gift from businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by The Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

About the Annenberg Foundation

The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. The Foundation and its Board of Directors are also directly involved in the community, with innovative projects that further its mission of advancing a better tomorrow through visionary leadership today. The Foundation encourages the development of effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

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San Diego Zoo Veterinarians Conduct Ultrasound on Giant Panda

PrintSan Diego Zoo veterinarians and panda keepers gathered early this morning behind the giant panda exhibit for an ultrasound examination of 24-year-old female Bai Yun. Veterinarians used ultrasound technology to look for signs of fetal development in Bai Yun’s reproductive track, including the uterine horns, and signs of an embryonic sack. The staff is monitoring the mother of six pandas for a possible pregnancy, following an artificial insemination procedure that took place four months ago.

The 240-pound panda was lying still while being fed honey-water from a squeeze bottle during the examination, which lasted about 20 minutes.

“As I’m feeding Bai Yun during the exam, I look for different things,” said Kathy Hawk, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. “If her eyes look soft, it says to me that she is content with what I’m feeding her and comfortable with the veterinarian during the procedure. This morning Bai Yun made it clear to me that red apples were out and that honey-water is in – she liked the honey-water.”

Animal care staff will continue to monitor Bai Yun with regular ultrasounds, thermal imaging, and hormone testing over the next few weeks. San Diego Zoo staff members are keeping the area around Bai Yun’s den quiet, and only essential staff is being allowed in the area.

Following natural breeding sessions between Bai Yun and Gao Gao in March 2015, which didn’t appear to animal care staff to be successful, it was decided, in collaboration with our Chinese conservation partners, to conduct artificial insemination with sperm stored in the Frozen Zoo®. The sperm used was from giant panda Shi Shi, who was the first breeding partner for Bai Yun. His sperm was used during an artificial insemination procedure with Bai Yun in 1999. That procedure produced the first cub born at the San Diego Zoo – and the first in the United States – a female named Hua Mei. In 2003, Shi Shi returned to China for his retirement years, and he died in 2008. The San Diego Zoo has a record of success, with six cubs being born in San Diego since 1999.

A panda’s fertilized egg remains suspended until a trigger in the environment indicates it is time to implant. The trigger is still unknown to scientists. Giant pandas routinely delay the implantation of the fetus as long as four months. After implantation, the fertilized egg begins to develop. Impending birth is predicted on the basis of behavioral, hormonal, and anatomical changes documented by scientists at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research.

If a cub is born, Bai Yun will be the oldest giant panda known to give birth to a cub. The mother and the cub would be expected to remain in the den for four to five months before returning to a public exhibit.

Newborn giant panda cubs are born without sight and weigh an average of 4 ounces (112 grams) when they are born. They are pink with thin white fur that will gray before the trademark black-and-white markings develop, within the first months. The sex of the cub would not be known until animal care staff members examine the cub, which would not be expected to happen until the cub approached two months old.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

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Koala Joey at San Diego Zoo Checks in as Healthy — with an Attitude

 A nine-month old koala joey cuddles with his mother, Cambee, at the San Diego Zoo.


A nine-month old koala joey cuddles with his mother, Cambee, at the San Diego Zoo.

A nine-month-old koala joey underwent a routine health check earlier today at the San Diego Zoo. The male joey, yet to be named, was brought down from the perching structure he shared with his mother and placed on a scale for his weekly weigh-in. While being weighed, his keeper provided him with a plush toy koala to hold onto for comfort, so he wouldn’t be stressed during the brief separation from his mother. The weekly health check is important, as it provides keepers the opportunity to see the animal up-close and lets them know the joey is growing as he should.

“This little guy is healthy and right on track with his development,” stated Jennifer Roesler, senior keeper. “He has only been out of the pouch for about eight weeks, and we’re learning he is very vocal with a little bit of attitude—definitely a momma’s boy, but also showing his independence by venturing off from mom from time to time and interacting with some of the other females in the habitat.”

The joey’s mother, Cambee, stayed nearby during his health check, keeping an attentive eye on her offspring. She quickly nurtured her joey when his exam was complete and resumed their daily routine of perching and mostly sleeping. While Cambee has occasionally allowed the joey to try eucalyptus, he is still nursing as his primary source of nourishment and will continue to nurse until he is around 14 months old.

The San Diego Zoo has the largest breeding colony of Queensland koalas and the most successful koala breeding program outside of Australia. Researchers at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research are studying koala populations, both at the Zoo and in the wild, to better understand the species’ complex ecology, mating behaviors and health. The information gleaned from this work will help further develop conservation strategies for koalas.

Zoo guests can see the koala joey and his mother, along with the other 18 koalas in the colony, at the Zoo’s Australian Outback habitat. During Nighttime Zoo, now through Sept. 7, the Zoo offers extended hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., allowing visitors to view the koalas during their more active hours of early morning and early evening. Nighttime Zoo features entertaining shows, music, acrobatics, animal encounters, and more. All Nighttime Zoo activities and entertainment are included with San Diego Zoo admission or membership. For guests who can’t visit the Zoo, the koalas can be viewed on the Zoo’s Koala Cam.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Photo taken on July 9, 2015 by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Two-week-old Giraffe Calf Makes Debut at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Two-week old Congo hurries to keep up with his mother, Chinde, at the Safari Park.

Two-week old Congo hurries to keep up with his mother, Chinde, at the Safari Park.

A two-week-old male Ugandan giraffe slowly followed his mother, Chinde, into the East Africa habitat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The lanky calf hesitantly left the area where he has lived since he was born on June 22. With his comparatively short legs, the calf had to run to keep up with his mother’s long, slow strides as she led her baby to a watering hole, where the other giraffes in the exhibit came to sniff and lick the new member of the herd.

Keepers named the calf Congo, after the river in Africa. He measures more than six feet tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. All giraffe numbers are declining, but of the nine giraffe subspecies, the Ugandan giraffe is the only one that is endangered. It is believed that fewer than 700 of this subspecies remain in only a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.

San Diego Zoo Global is partnering with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to help conserve giraffe in East Africa. In 2015, a team of scientists from the Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research have been developing a conservation project that will include Kenyan pastoralists to find ways to collaborate to protect giraffes in the savanna.

Photo taken on July 6, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291