Public Relations

Public Relations

0

Taking a Peek at New Penguins at San Diego Zoo

African penguinA 15-month-old girl named Caroline and her mother, Jeanna Basnett, came face to face with a male penguin at the San Diego Zoo’s new penguin exhibit this morning. Today is the first day these endangered birds are viewable by guests and eager visitors took advantage of the close-up views in the penguin exhibit’s underwater viewing area.

The sibling birds, both male, have been busy exploring their habitat, spending time swimming in their chilled pool and sunning themselves on the rocky beach area.

These two penguins, which are a year and a half old, arrived from the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls and will serve as ambassadors for their species. Animal care staff is working with these two penguins, and after some training guests may see the penguins during occasional educational appearances to bring awareness about their species, which faces many threats in the wild.

Photo taken on Dec. 18, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

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

2

Greater One-horned Rhino Calf Being Hand-raised at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Greater One-Horned Rhino Calf A 3-week-old greater one-horned rhino calf received a morning bottle feeding at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. After his feeding, he ventured out of his nursery stall for some fresh air and exercise with his keepers. The male calf, yet to be named, was born on Nov. 27 to first-time mother Kaya in the Safari Park’s Asian Plains exhibit.

The calf was small at birth, weighing about 160 pounds (the average birth weight for this species is 160 to 176 pounds). While Kaya nursed and cared for her newborn for almost two weeks, keepers monitoring the calf realized he wasn’t gaining weight as he should. To provide the calf with the optimal care to thrive, he was taken to the Safari Park’s animal care center where he is watched around-the-clock and bottle-fed every two hours.

Since the calf is being raised in a nursery setting, it is important for him to get daily exercise. After only a week in the nursery, the little rhino is growing stronger and gaining weight at almost four pounds a day. He currently weighs 190 pounds and when full grown can weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds.

Visitors to the Safari Park may see the baby rhino at the animal care center nursery corral between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m. daily, weather permitting, when he is brought out to exercise.

Once widespread in Southeast Asia, the greater one-horned rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal. This species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching threats and the illegal use of rhino horn. Worldwide, a rhino dies every 8 hours due to poaching. There are an estimated 3,250 greater one-horned rhinos remaining in the wild. This calf is the 68th greater one-horned rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975, making the Park the foremost breeding facility in the world for this species.

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, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities 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 Dec. 17, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

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

0

San Diego Zoo Gives Enrichment Wreaths to Meerkats

Meerkat WreathA meerkat sits in the middle of a wreath inside its enclosure this morning at the San Diego Zoo. The wreath was one of four made by animal care staff, crafted from lavender star plants grown at the Zoo and accented with a bow created from a part of a palm tree. The other wreaths sported red hibiscus flowers. All were “trimmed” with mealworms, which is part of the meerkats’ usual diet.

The wreath enrichment was created to encourage the six meerkats’ natural behavior to dig, forage and explore. Meerkats live in underground burrows in large groups called a mob. Meerkats have long claws to help them dig their burrows and to uncover food. They have a special membrane that covers the eye to protect it from dirt and rocks while they burrow. They also have ears that can close to keep out soil when digging.

There are wreaths and lights decorating the entire San Diego Zoo during the annual Jungle Bells celebration, presented by California Coast Credit Union. The holiday event runs now through Jan. 4, 2015, with the exception of Dec. 24, and is free with paid admission or membership to the San Diego Zoo. Visit www.sandiegozoo.org/junglebells for a schedule of other activities and more information about Jungle Bells.

Photo taken on Dec.15, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
2

Elderly Northern White Rhino Passes Away at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SafariParkA northern white rhino, Angalifu, passed away in the early hours of this morning, Sunday December 14. The male rhino, who was estimated to be 44 years of age, was under veterinary care for a variety of age related conditions. His death leaves only 5 Northern white rhinos left in the world – one elderly female at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 1 at a zoo in Czechoslovakia and 3 in Africa.

“Angalifu’s death is a tremendous loss to all of us.” said Randy Rieches, curator of mammals for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Not only because he was well beloved here at the Park but also because his death brings this wonderful species one step closer to extinction.”

Northern white rhinos have been brought to the brink of extinction due to poaching in Africa. Unfortunately only a few have been preserved at zoos and these have been largely non-reproductive.

“More than two decades ago we started working with the species here at the Safari Park.” Said Barbara Durrant, director of reproductive physiology for the San Diego Zoo Institute of Conservation Research. “Unfortunately we only had three rhinos here at the Park and they were all of an advanced age. We were not able to get them to breed and we have been sadly watching their species being exterminated in the wild.”

In the wild rhinos are killed for their horns, a unique physiological feature made up of keratin (the same material in human fingernails). Many cultures believe rhino horn has medicinal value and the black-market in horns taken from poached animals continues to thrive.

Protected from the poaching that has wiped out northern white rhinos in Africa, Angalifu has been living at the Safari Park since his arrival from the Khartoum Zoo in the late 1980s. Although holding out little hope for the species, conservationists at San Diego Zoo Global continue to work to find a way to recover the species. Semen and testicular tissue from the male rhino have been stored in the Frozen Zoo with the hope that new reproductive technologies will allow recovery of the species.

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 onsite 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 important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
0

Cheetah Cub at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Shows Off Speed

SafariParkA 7-month-old cheetah cub, Ruuxa, was full of energy as he sprinted and chased his puppy companion, Raina, during a training session at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park earlier this week. Safari Park trainers observed the male cheetah playfully instigate a wrestling match and tackle Raina, a female Rhodesian ridgeback.

The cheetah and dog are often brought to an area at the Safari Park where they can play off-leash and reach full running speeds chasing each other around. These exercise sessions provide Ruxxa with the opportunity to thrive by expressing natural behaviors like sprinting and chasing. This is also an opportunity to help build his muscles and stamina, which will allow him to reach his running potential.

“The behavior you see is the instinct of a maturing cheetah to chase and rehearse predatory behavior. Due to Ruuxa’s unique relationship with Raina, he doesn’t actually treat her like prey by swiping her legs out from under her. Instead, he is learning how to tackle and wrestle a bit,” said Janet Rose-Hinostroza, an animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Raina encourages this behavior and enjoys playing with Ruuxa immensely.”

Visitors to the Safari Park may see Ruuxa and Raina on a Behind-the-Scenes: Cheetah & Friends tour or during one of the training sessions around the Park.

San Diego Zoo Global, which has been breeding cheetahs for more than 40 years, yielding more than 130 cubs, is a leading partner in the cheetah Breeding Center Coalition. The coalition’s goal is to achieve a sustainable zoo population of cheetahs. It is estimated that the worldwide population of cheetahs has been reduced from 100,000, in 1900, to just 10,000 left today, with about 10% of those living in zoos or wildlife parks.

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, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities 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

1

Sloth Bear Siblings Make Debut at San Diego Zoo

sloth bear SahaasaSloth bear siblings moved to their new exhibit this morning at the San Diego Zoo after completing quarantine at the Zoo’s animal hospital. The bears were quick to explore all the features of the habitat including the felled-tree climbing structure, a raised platform and puzzle feeders that reward the animal with food treats when jostled or rolled. This bear species is omnivorous but uses its claws and digging ability to seek out insects from the ground and inside rotting trees. When it comes to its diet, the sloth bear has more in common with anteaters than other bears.

The Zoo’s sloth bears, named Sahaasa (male) and Kayla (female), are on loan from the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Sloth bears, despite having “sloth” in their name, are not slow-moving creatures and can run faster than humans.

The bears made their exhibit debut just in time for the opening of the San Diego Zoo’s annual Jungle Bells celebration, presented by California Coast Credit Union. This year’s event features a new area: the Northern Frontiers Holiday Forest, inside Polar Bear Plunge, has decorated trees designed to entertain during the day and a light display that will delight at night.

The Zoo stays open until 8 each night of Jungle Bells, letting guests experience exotic animals and seasonal entertainment after dark. Just for Jungle Bells, animals “sing” during Carols at Camp Critters at Wegeforth Bowl. Dr. Zoolittle, the Zoo’s physician of fun, will be performing his own wildlife take on the classic Clement Clarke Moore poem, “The Night before Christmas,” at the Koalafornia Boardwalk.

Santa’s elves return to their stage inside Urban Jungle for a “Toy Shop Hop” on their large trampoline. Guests can visit with Santa and have photos taken with the jolly old elf inside an elaborate igloo located in Discovery Outpost. The Zoo’s Twinkle Light Trolley carries guests around the Zoo to view the animal-shaped light sculptures.

Jungle Bells is not just about holiday sights and sounds but holiday smells and tastes, from seasonal treats like hot chocolate and cookies offered at many of the Zoo’s restaurants and food stands. Happy Holidays Happens, a happy hour at the Zoo’s Albert’s Restaurant, offers discounted drinks and appetizers from 3 to 5 p.m. each day of Jungle Bells.

Zoo guests can take an adventure to the North Pole on THE POLAR EXPRESS with the SimEx-Iwerks 4-D version based on a children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, now playing in the Rio 4-D theater inside Discovery Outpost. “Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas” is showing at the 4-D theater by Skyfari West.

The Jungle Bells holiday celebration runs Dec. 13-23, 25-31, 2014, and Jan. 1-4, 2015, and is free with paid admission or membership to the San Diego Zoo. Click here for a schedule of other activities and more information about Jungle Bells.

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, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities 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 Dec. 11, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

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

0

With Experience, People Can Tell Bears Apart

Andean bearStudying the social interaction of bears through the use of camera traps and visual observations requires that humans be able to tell individuals apart. A study done using volunteers to study the vulnerable Andean bear indicates that people can learn to identify individual bears, given a little practice. The research, done by San Diego Zoo conservationists with international collaborators using photos spanning many years, also indicates that young bears usually retain many of their unique markings as they grow older.

“Knowing, scientifically, that people who have been trained to identify individual bears can do so with a reasonable expectation of accuracy helps us to know that the work we are doing to learn about these bears is based on good science, not just personal opinion,” said Russ Van Horn, Ph.D., a lead researcher on the study and a research scientist for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. “It also allows us more freedom to engage local citizen scientists in the effort to save the species around them.”

Published in a recent issue of “Wildlife Biology,” the study used photos of Andean bears in many different zoos.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
2

Leucistic Monocled Cobra Undergoes Extensive Medical Exam at San Diego Zoo

WhiteCobra_001_Med

A monocled cobra at the San Diego Zoo received an extensive medical exam earlier today in preparation for its release from quarantine. With safety as a main priority, reptile keepers carefully took the venomous animal from its quarantine holding area, placed it in a container and transported it to the Zoo’s Jennings Center for Zoological Medicine.

Once at the veterinary hospital, keepers placed the venomous snake in a plastic tube that immobilized the snake’s head, allowing the medical team to safely work with the animal. While keepers kept a continued, watchful eye on the snake, Dr. Beth Bicknese, San Diego Zoo veterinarian, and Marianne Zeitz, senior veterinarian technician, worked to anesthetize and intubate the animal, allowing them to draw blood, take radiographs (X-rays), check its fangs, venom glands and heart and determine its sex.

WhiteCobra_003_Med

The leucistic cobra (leucism is characterized by reduced pigmentation, unlike albinism, which is no pigmentation), estimated to be around 2 years old and measuring just over four feet long, was determined to be female and in good health. If results from today’s blood work reveal no hidden medical issues, the snake will be released from quarantine and eventually placed on exhibit at the Zoo’s Reptile House.

WhiteCobra_005_Med

The venomous cobra made news in early September when it was reported loose in a semi-rural neighborhood in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Believed to be a pet that got loose or was released, the animal eluded animal control officers for four days. It was eventually caught by Los Angeles County Animal Control officers and sent to the Los Angeles Zoo. The San Diego Zoo was asked to take the animal as it is one of only two zoological facilities in the United States with the proper antivenom for the snake.

WhiteCobra_004_Med

Monocled cobras are native to Southeast Asia. When threatened, they raise their body, spread their hood, and usually hiss and strike in an attempt to bite and defend themselves, injecting a toxin that can prove fatal.

Photo taken on Dec. 4, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
0

Colobus Monkey Baby Cuddles Close at San Diego Zoo

Colobus monkeysA 10-day old eastern Angolan colobus monkey was held by a member of the troop this morning at the San Diego Zoo’s Lost Forest. This is the 20th offspring for mother Lulu, whose name means pearl in Swahili. This new baby was born on Nov. 21. Lulu has had four generations of offspring and is approximately 29 years old, making her the oldest Angolan colobus monkey to give birth.

Angolan colobus monkeys are born completely white. It’s thought that this makes it easier for the whole group to identify and look after the infant. These monkeys practice alloparenting, which means every family member participates in raising the infant. The youngster can often be seen being passed around as each colobus monkey takes turns caring for the group’s newest addition.

This youngster’s color will change to black within six months, making the juvenile an almost perfect copy of the adults. Angolan colobus monkeys are often referred to as leaf-eating monkeys because of their large, ruminant-like divided stomachs that enable them to digest high-cellulose plant material.

Photo taken on Dec. 2, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

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

0

Preference for Gravid Females Makes Rare Iguana Consumption Unsustainable

Global_logo_color copyThe Valle de Aguán spiny-tailed iguana is a critically endangered species found in Honduras. A recent survey of people living in the region shows that, although residents are aware of the endangered status of the species, the iguana continues to be hunted for food. Of particular concern is the preference for the consumption of female iguanas that are gravid (carrying eggs in their body).

“In this study we worked to gain a better understanding of how humans are harvesting the species for food,” said Stesha Pasachnik, Ph.D., a lead researcher on the study and a postdoctoral research associate for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. “The information we gained indicates a use that is not only not sustainable but is likely to accelerate this species’ extinction due to the loss of gravid females.”

Published in the December issue of Herpetological Conservation and Biology, the study gained firsthand information regarding the hunting, harvesting and consumption of the species. Although the study, supported by the Bay Islands Foundation and San Diego Zoo Global, highlights an area of serious concern, it also recommends work to educate residents about the species and ways that harvesting can be made more sustainable.

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