Public Relations

Public Relations

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Tag, You’re It!

The public is invited to help select a name for the Zoo's rambunctious jaguar cub.

The public is invited to help select a name for the Zoo’s rambunctious jaguar cub.

A jaguar cub taps his mother playfully during a morning spent outside at the San Diego Zoo. Animal care staff has been giving the mother, Nindiri, and the wobbly-legged cub access to explore the area beyond the two bedrooms they share.

The public is being asked to help the Zoo select a name for the young cub through voting at www.bit.ly/NameTheCub. Voting will close on Sunday, May 24.

The cub was born at 8:30 p.m. on March 12, 2015, inside the jaguar den at the Harry & Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey exhibit. This is the third cub for 7-year-old Nindiri.

Photo taken on May 22, 2015, by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Hippo Mother Nudges Curious Calf at the San Diego Zoo

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Devi gets a gentle, loving nudge from her mother, Funani.

Devi, an 8-week-old hippopotamus is nosed to shallower water by her mother Funani Thursday morning at the San Diego Zoo. The female calf has recently been venturing to the farthest reaches and deepest parts of the 150,000-gallon pool.  But everywhere Devi goes, Funani is just a few feet away. Hippo mothers are known for being very protective.  For the first six weeks of Devi’s life, it was very hard for guests – and keepers – to see the calf because Funani often had her tucked into vegetation near the shore, and kept her body between the calf and the public.

This morning, the curious calf could be seen repeatedly popping up to the glass wall of her 150,000 gallon pool take to take a look at all the guests who were fascinated with her. Hippos have a membrane that protects their eyes and allows them to see underwater, which means that Devi can watch the guests watching her.

Devi was born on Monday, March 23 at 6:30 a.m. with animal care staff observing. Funani and Devi share the exhibit with Devi’s father, Otis. Mother and daughter can be seen on exhibit Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The hippopotamus is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, known as the IUCN. The primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

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.

Photo taken on May 21, 2015, by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo.

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

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Masai Giraffe Calf Deemed Healthy and Strong after First Medical Exam at San Diego Zoo

Here's looking at you, kid!

Here’s looking at you, kid!

A one-day-old female Masai giraffe at the San Diego Zoo had her first medical exam earlier today. Veterinarians and animal care staff covered the newborn’s eyes with a soft towel to keep her calm while they confirmed her sex, checked her eyes, ears, tongue and throat, drew blood to ensure she is nursing properly, and checked her umbilicus for proper healing. Initial results determined the calf is healthy and strong, even though she is still getting used to her long, wobbly legs. The lanky youngster weighed in at 136 pounds and stands 6 feet tall; she may weigh as much as 500 pounds and stand 7 to 7 ½ feet tall by the time she is 6 months old.

After the exam, the youngster ventured around the maternity yard with her doting mother, Bahati. The curious calf interacted with her father, Silver, and other members of the Zoo’s giraffe herd from the protective fencing set up by keepers to separate the newborn and her mother from the herd until the calf is strong enough to venture into the larger habitat and interact with the others.

Bahati gave birth to the calf in the afternoon of May 19 after a three-hour labor under the watchful eyes of her keepers and to the amazement of Zoo guests. The experienced mother immediately began bonding with her calf, and Bahati helped the calf stand just minutes after her introduction to the world.

Masai giraffes, also known as Kilimanjaro giraffes, are the world’s tallest land animals and are native to Kenya and Tanzania. Masai giraffes are the most populous of the giraffe subspecies, but all giraffe populations have decreased from approximately 140,000 in the late 1990s to less than 80,000 today because of habitat loss and competition with livestock for resources. As a result, the future of giraffes is dependent on the quality of habitat that remains. San Diego Zoo Global supports community conservation efforts in Kenya and Uganda that are finding ways for people and wildlife to live together.

This is the 11th calf born to Bahati. Visitors to the San Diego Zoo can see the giraffe calf, yet to be named, on exhibit in the Urban Jungle.

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 May 20, 2015 by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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#Rally4Rhinos Trending Around the World; San Diego Global Sparks Campaign to Stop Poaching

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Local students got involved in San Diego Zoo Global’s Rally 4 Rhinos event.

Students from San Pasqual Union Elementary School in Escondido were among those who lent a hand to help San Diego Zoo Global raise awareness of the plight of rhinos in the wild and the urgent need to protect these iconic endangered species for future generations.

 As part of San Diego Zoo Global’s Rally 4 Rhinos campaign, the public was asked to celebrate Endangered Species Day, May 15, by spreading the word about rhino poaching, writing a rhino conservation message on their hand, taking a photo, and posting the photo to social media using the hashtag #Rally4Rhinos. The campaign spread like wildfire, reaching around the world, with postings from San Diego, the Eiffel Tower in France, Vietnam, rhino preserves in South Africa, beaches in Brazil and beyond.
There are five species of rhinos – black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan. With all species together, there are less than 30,000 rhinos worldwide. Rhinos are facing the worst poaching crisis in history, with an average of three rhinos a day being killed in South Africa. At the current poaching rate, rhinos could become extinct in 15 years. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are made of keratin, the same thing as human fingernails and hair.
Photo taken on May 15 by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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A Not-So-Little Girl: Hippo Calf Born in April at the San Diego Zoo is Female

Keepers have confirmed the seven-week-old hippo calf is a girl.

Keepers have confirmed the seven-week-old hippo calf is a girl.

After nearly two months of waiting, animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo today have determined with 100-percent certainty that the new hippopotamus calf is a girl. The calf, born March 23 to mother, Funani, has been named Devi.

Due to the very protective nature of a hippo mom, the calf was often kept tucked into vegetation growing along the edge of the hippo pool. Funani would also place her body between the baby and the viewing area.

Devi is the fifth calf that Funani has raised at the San Diego Zoo. Hippo calves typically nurse for about eight months. And while she hasn’t been weighed, keepers estimate that Devi weights between 90 and 110 pounds. Funani weighs about 3,500 pounds.

Devi and Funani can be seen in the Zoo’s 150,000-gallon hippo pool on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Devi’s father, Otis, is on exhibit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The hippopotamus is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, known as the IUCN. The primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo taken on May 12, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Northern White Rhino Under Veterinary Care at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SafariParkBlogNola, a critically endangered 41-year-old northern white rhino, is undergoing medical treatment at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Keepers noticed a swelling on Nola’s right hip late last week and began monitoring the area. The swelling continued to grow over a few days, causing concern for the elderly animal.

On Saturday, in an attempt to find out if the affected area was an abscess or something else causing the swelling, the veterinary team lanced the growth. “We found the swelling was consistent with a large abscess, filled with pus,” stated Meredith Clancy, associate veterinarian, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “We were able to flush the area with sterile saline and will wait on tests results to determine what is going on with Nola.”

The rhino, a favorite of the animal care team and Safari Park guests, doesn’t appear sick outwardly so veterinarians are hoping the swelling is a walled-off abscess that isn’t affecting her systemically, or affecting her entire body. Nola has been put on a course of antibiotics as a precautionary measure. She will be carefully monitored, having the area flushed on a daily basis. Test results from fluid and tissues samples taken on Saturday should be available within a week to two weeks.

Nola is an exceptional rhino in more ways than one. She has a great relationship with her keepers and due to her ongoing, age-related medical needs, they interact with her in ways they might not be able to do with other rhinos. During her examination, she walked slowly through the field with both her keepers and the veterinary team, allowing the veterinarians to aspirate fluid from the abscess site. “Nola is a great patient,” added Clancy.

Nola is one of just five northern white rhinos left in the world. Three other northern white rhinos are in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and one is in the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. The five remaining rhinos are all non-reproductive.Poaching for its horn has brought the northern white rhino to such critically low numbers.

Currently, a rhino is poached every eight hours in South Africa. With dramatically low populations of all five rhino species, rhinos could become extinct in 15 years. On Endangered Species Day, May 15, the Safari Park will be holding a “Rally 4 Rhinos” to raise awareness of the plight of rhinos and the urgent need to protect them for future generations. A ceremony will take place at the Safari Park’s African Plains Overlook beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will include guest speakers, special entertainment and a sky art project. For more information, visit www.Rally4Rhinos.org

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.

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

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San Diego Zoo Full of Flower Power During Garden Festival 22nd Annual Garden Festival presented by Sparkletts

PrintHorticulturists at the San Diego Zoo are gearing up for the 22nd annual spring Garden Festival presented by Sparkletts. Beautiful Forth Night lilies, sunflowers, orchids, Japanese coral trees, pink hibiscus and yellow daisies are just a few of the flowering plants that guests have the opportunity to see. During the two-day event that takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 9, and Sunday, May 10, guests can enjoy and learn about the importance of the Zoo’s world-class plant collection. The Zoo’s botanical garden is not only a visual delight of greens, reds, oranges, yellows and blues, its plants and flowers are also the major source for our animal browse.

The Zoo has more than 700,000 plants in its accredited botanical collection including over 900 different types of orchids. To showcase the orchids, the Orchid House, which is only open to guests once a month, will be open both days during Garden Festival.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for guests to learn and gain knowledge they can put to use in their own backyard gardens,” said Dan Simpson, horticulture manager for the San Diego Zoo. “At various spots on Zoo grounds, guests can visit interesting booths and learn about things like what makes up good soil and compost at the ‘Can You Dig It’ booth.”

Guests can also listen to special keeper talks focusing on animals and discover the secret powers of flowers: how they provide primary and supplemental food for our animals. Display booths, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, will offer visitors the chance to get gardening tips from horticulture experts with advice to grow by; discover an important native plant, the matilija poppy; learn the what, why, and how of each part of a blossom; and test their flower power.

During the Garden Festival, there will be self-guided walking tours, an educational scavenger hunt focused on flowers and fun activities for kids. Guests can chat with a Zoo insect keeper and may meet a researcher from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research who is working to save plant species around the world and in our own backyards.

Stop by the Koalafornia Boardwalk at 12:30 or 1:30 p.m. both days to take in a fun, interactive show, where the zany Dr. Zoolittle reveals the secret powers of those garden superheroes, flowers!

Garden Festival is included with Zoo admission and membership. For more information and a schedule of activities, visit www.sandiegozoo.org/gardenfestival.

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 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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Grizzly Bears Wrestle in Snow at the San Diego Zoo

Grizzly bear brothers Scout and Montana enjoyed a "snow day" recently at the San Diego Zoo.

Grizzly bear brothers Scout and Montana enjoyed a “snow day” recently at the San Diego Zoo.

Grizzly bears Montana and Scout received a cool surprise when they were released into the exhibit Saturday morning at the San Diego Zoo. Everything in their habitat was covered in snow, given to them as a gift from a donor. The bear brothers were hesitant at first but quickly warmed up to the experience by wrestling, running and a lot of digging.

The San Diego Zoo’s 8-year-old grizzly bear brothers have been at the San Diego Zoo since 2007 and have a reputation for being playful. Snow is just one of the many items provided as an enrichment activity for exploring and foraging.

It was once thought that there were 86 different kinds of grizzlies and brown bears in North America alone. Today, scientists agree that there is only one species of brown bear with 6 recognized subspecies. Brown bears in interior North America are known as grizzly bears because their brown fur is tipped with white or tan; the word “grizzly” means “sprinkled or streaked with gray.”

Photo taken May 2, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Eight Captive-reared Mangrove Finches Prepared for Return to the Wild

Global_logo_color webOn Friday, April 17th, the Mangrove Finch Project team transported eight captive-reared mangrove finches back to Isabela Island to begin the careful process of preparing the birds for their release. The Mangrove Finch Project team, led by the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment via the Galápagos National Park Directorate (GNPD), in collaboration with San Diego Zoo Global and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, is in the second year of its effort to save the critically endangered mangrove finch.

During February 2015, eggs and one wild hatchling were collected at Playa Tortuga Negra, Isabela Island. Eight fledglings were captive reared at the Charles Darwin Research Station’s (CDRS)  facility on Santa Cruz Island. The fledglings were reared and cared for around the clock by a team led by San Diego Zoo Global and expert staff and volunteers from the Charles Darwin Foundation and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Fund.

The mangrove finch (Camarhynchus heliobates), the rarest of “Darwin´s Finches,” has an estimated population size of just 80 individuals, with fewer than 20 breeding pairs. Research shows that the introduced parasitic fly Philornis downsi is one of the principal causes of high nestling mortality, with as much as 95% of nestlings dying during the first months of the breeding season in natural conditions.

Upon arrival at Playa Tortuga Negra, the eight fledglings will be placed in small cages suspended inside the pre-release aviaries. The birds will be released into aviaries built for the purpose and held for 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to life in the wild. During this time, the aviaries will be filled with fallen trunks, bark, fresh leaves and branches and leaf litter. Natural foods of mangrove finches, like live locally caught insects, will be released into the enclosures to encourage natural foraging. Eventually the aviaries will be opened and the birds will then be free to leave. Aviary entrances will be left open, and supplementary food will be provided should the birds return. Tiny transmitters weighing 0.3g will be attached to the tails of the fledglings prior to release so the field team can monitor their initial distribution and survival for up to 22 days.

Intensive conservation management to increase the number of fledglings produced each year was initiated in 2014 by the Mangrove Finch Project team. For the first time in the Galápagos, eggs were collected from the wild, transferred to Puerto Ayora and then captive reared. Fifteen fledglings were successfully released back into the wild in May 2014. Due to the tiny population of the mangrove finch, and with no viable technique to protect wild nests from P. downsi parasitism at present, the collection of eggs and the captive rearing of nestlings is a successful strategy that will continue.

The Mangrove Finch Project is a bi-institutional project carried out by the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galápagos National Park Directorate, in collaboration with San Diego Zoo Global and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The project is supported by Galápagos Conservation Trust, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, The Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust, Galápagos Conservancy, and The British Embassy in Ecuador. Thank you also to Lindblad Expeditions and Metropolitan Touring for providing their tourist boats to help transport the eggs to the incubation facility.

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 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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Zoo Penguins to Benefit from a $5 Million Gift!

PrintCritically endangered African penguins at the San Diego Zoo are one step closer to having a new home, thanks to a $5 million gift from local philanthropists Dan and Vi McKinney.

The McKinneys’ leadership gift, along with support from 1,550 additional donors, will enable the Zoo to create Penguin Beach, a seashore habitat and breeding center that will be home to as many as 50 African penguins. Penguin Beach, which opens in 2017 in Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks, will resemble southern Africa’s shoreline with a sandy beach nestled among towering boulders. Gentle waves from a 60,000-gallon penguin pool will lap on the sand and guests will be afforded close-up and underwater viewing. Also included are 30 burrows that lead to nest boxes in a penguin care center, where parents can nurture their chicks.

“The McKinneys are longtime supporters of the Zoo—we are thrilled and grateful for their generosity now and over the years,” said Douglas G. Myers, CEO and President of San Diego Zoo Global. “They are committed to providing an excellent home for the African penguins as well as an amazing opportunity for guests to experience the world of these extraordinary black-and-white birds. In addition, their gift is helping the Zoo embark on a conservation breeding program for this endangered species.”

In honor of the McKinneys, two African penguin brothers that arrived at the Zoo a few months ago from the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho, are now named Dan and McKinney. The pair, which is currently living in an off-exhibit area, will serve as ambassadors for their species. Animal care staff, who are working with Dan and McKinney, hope they will make occasional educational appearances in the near future to bring public awareness about their species, which faces many threats in the wild.

In the early 1900s more than 1 million African penguins lived along the shores of southern Africa. Since then, the population has plummeted to 40,000 birds—and in the past 10 years alone, their numbers have dropped by 70 percent. San Diego Zoo Global partners with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on African penguin conservation efforts, and Penguin Beach will enable the Zoo to play a big role in a breeding program for these charismatic endangered birds.

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 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