Uncategorized

san diego zoo

0

Hippo Mother Nudges Curious Calf at the San Diego Zoo

caption

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

1

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
2

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
2

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.

Imani

The heartwarming bond between Imani and Joanne is a wonderful sight, especially given this little gorilla’s story.

Nindiri

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

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.

Pigs

This little piggy went to the market… these little red river piglets were born at the Safari Park last month.

chick-and-Satash

Sisquoc and Shatash’s new condor chick hatched on April 11 is very valuable to the condor population.

Jessica

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

Oshana the African lioness has had her paws full taking care of a cute quartet of cubs.

addison

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

Petunia, born on August 1, 2014 to mother Tayana, was the 67th greater one-horned rhino to be born at the Park since 1975.

Luke

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.

0

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
0

May 9 Is World Binturong Day!

Binturongs are also known as "bear cats" because they look like a cross between those two animals.

Binturongs are also known as “bear cats” because they look like a cross between those two animals.

A bintur-what? A bintur-right? No, a binturong. Most people have never heard of a binturong let alone seen one in person, which is a good reason zoos everywhere are celebrating the very first World Binturong Day on May 9, 2015.

Binturongs are mammals about the size of a medium-size dog. They are native to the forests of China, India, Indonesia and Southeast Asian forests, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Borneo. Something really unusual about them is their scent—they smell like hot buttered popcorn! But more about that later…

Binturongs have delighted guests at the San Diego Zoo for many years. Currently we have three in our collection and they are all animal ambassadors. Phuket (Foo-KET), a young three-and-a-half-year-old male binturong, lives in the Children’s Zoo. Called “Phu”, by his keepers and trainers, he always delights kids during school programs and impresses Zoo visitors with his playful antics during his walks around the Children’s Zoo. Another young male, three-and-a-half-year-old Khi, (Kee), lives in Urban Jungle. He loves early morning walks  through his “neighborhood.” The elder of the Zoo’s binturongs, 14-year-old Bap Rang (“Bop Rong) meets hundreds of guest each month as a regular star of our Backstage Pass experience.

Binturongs are in the Viverridae family. Some of their relatives include civets and genets, even though they don’t look anything like them. Many people think binturongs look like a cross between a bear and cat, which is why they are sometimes called “bear cats.”

Taxonomists have grouped binturongs, civets, and genets together because they have something in common: the perineal gland (located under the tail). This unique gland secretes a thick substance that smells just like hot buttered popcorn—although some people think it smells like over-cooked rice. And here’s where that special scent comes in: the secretion, called civetone or musk, carries hormonal information that allows the male binturongs to find the females in their dense jungle habitat. A binturong’s home range can be hundreds of acres in size, which would make it hard to find one another if it weren’t for civetone. By rubbing the perineal gland against branches and tree trunks, female binturongs leave scent marks in the treetops throughout their territory.

A female binturong’s estrus cycle lasts 80 days. During this time, she is looking for Mr. Bintur-right—and he is very busy looking for her! The estrus cycle is the only time a male binturong is welcome into a female’s foraging area without a fight.

caption

A binturong’s tail provides balance as it moves along tree branches, but the animal can also hang from it!

An adaption that allows binturongs to live comfortably up in trees is their prehensile tail. Binturongs and kinkajous (from South America) are the only two carnivores with a prehensile tail. A binturong’s tail is strong enough to support the animal’s body as it hangs from a branch—when it needs to dangle to reach ripened fruit or bird eggs. Binturongs are considered carnivores, yet their diet looks more like that of an omnivore because they eat things other than meat. They will dine on just about anything that doesn’t eat them first, including small birds, small reptiles, amphibians, carrion, and seasonally ripened fruits.

A binturong’s  gastrointestinal tract doesn’t completely digest meals—food travels quickly through their system. But that short time is just long enough for the outer layer of a seed to break down, allowing it to germinate quickly when expelled. A binturong’s scat or waste helps more plants to grow!

Now that you know more about binturongs, we hope you’ll celebrate the very first World Binturong Day by helping us preserve their future. All nine subspecies of binturong are listed as “vulnerable with decreasing populations.” Today, the biggest threat to binturongs (and so many other animals) is loss of habitat for the creation of new palm oil plantations.

Palm oil is the number one ingredient in over half of the products in the average American household today. It’s in just about everything you can imagine: crackers, lipstick, detergent, margarine, shampoo, chocolate, and more! Living without palm oil is not a viable option, but buying products made with a sustainable source of palm oil is. Certified sustainable palm oil and certified sustainable palm kernel oil are produced on plantations that comply with globally agreed upon environmental standards.

There are more than 80 different names for palm oil. This fact alone makes it very difficult for consumers to decipher ingredients on labels. But two free apps—available for all types of smart phones—will help you find and purchase products from companies that use sustainable sources of palm oil.

To find these free apps, search “palm oil” in your app store. Once you learn which products are binturong-friendly, it will make shopping easier and you will not only help the binturong but all the other animals—like orangutans and clouded leopards—that share the same habitat. Happy World Binturong Day!

 

Maureen O. Duryee is a senior animal trainer at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous blog, Clouded Leopard Success.

0

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.

#Rally4Rhinos

It’s estimated that a rhino is poached every 8 hours. At this rate, rhinos could become extinct in 15 years.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

In total, there are less than 30,000 rhinos remaining on Earth.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

A group of rhinos is sometimes called a “crash.”

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Rhinos may look indestructible, but their skin is actually quite sensitive, especially to sunburn and biting insects.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

All rhinos are herbivores.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Rhino gestation lasts 15 to 16 months. The only animal with a longer pregnancy is the elephant.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Newborn calves are able to stand on their feet and start to nurse two to three hours after birth. ­

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Because rhinos are very nearsighted, they often charge when startled; in the wild, rhinos have been observed charging at boulders or trees.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

The biggest threat to rhinos is humans; civil war in their native lands and poaching for their horns has decimated wild populations.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same material as our fingernails.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

The demand for rhino horn has gone from subsistence hunting by locals to highly organized international crime rings.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

In 2014, the toll from poaching was the worst yet: a horrifying 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

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.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Black, white and Sumatran rhinos have two horns; Javan and greater one-horned rhinos have one.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know 25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Despite their name, black rhinos and white rhinos are the same color – brownish gray.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Black rhinos can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour).

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

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.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

White rhino males can be persistent, with courtship lasting 5 to 20 days.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

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.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

The three Asian rhinos use enlarged incisors or tusks, rather than their horns, when fighting or defending territory.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

All three Asian rhino species are excellent swimmers.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of the five rhino species and the only type covered with a coat of shaggy hair.

25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

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.

sdzsp-southernw sdzsp-greater 25 Rhino Facts You Should Know

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.

1

Bones on the Beach

The team repositions the whale skull for better access for cleaning, measuring, and sample collection.

The team repositions the whale skull for better access for cleaning, measuring, and sample collection.

The Wildlife Disease Laboratories of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research and the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM) have had a long-time working relationship. So when Scott Tremor, the mammologist at SDNHM and a long-time friend of mine, called me in March to tell me about his latest adventure and make an interesting proposition, we were intrigued. A 30-foot-long juvenile humpback whale had died, and the carcass had washed ashore at Pelican Point, on the tip of Point Loma. Humpback whales are relatively rare off San Diego’s coastline, so the museum wanted to preserve the specimen for its collection. It had laid on the beach in the sun for over a month, and Scott was collecting volunteers to help clean the bones.

Having never necropsied a whale and being unfamiliar with the anatomy, I thought it would an amazing experience. This rare opportunity also enticed a few coworkers and two pathologists (Dr. Jenny Bernard, Dr. Andrew Cartocetti, Megan Varney, and Rachael Keeler) to put on their Tyvek® suits and boots and help out. With the warning that the carcass may have washed away overnight and may not be there when we arrived, we met up with other volunteers at the San Diego Natural History Museum and headed to the beach.

Pelican Point is a relatively narrow beach surrounded by a high cliff. This beautiful spot, part of Cabrillo National Monument, is closed to the public—the only way to reach it is down a cliff wall using a knotted rope. We timed our excursion to coincide with low tide, so we could access the beach and the whale. There, we were met by Southwest Fisheries Science Center employees, who are responsible for testing tissues and collecting measurements on all beached cetaceans. Dr. Thomas Deméré, curator of paleontology at the SDNHM, led us through the process. One of his areas of expertise and interest is in the evolutionary history of baleen whales, also known as the mysticetes. He explained that baleen species (humpback, fin, blue, minke, right, and grey whales) are filter feeders, but have all evolved different feeding strategies. Fossil evidence shows that all baleen species evolved from toothed whales. In studying today’s mysticetes , scientists have discovered that baleen whale embryos develop upper and lower teeth that simply never erupt. At some point the teeth are reabsorbed and baleen is formed. Because baleen is made of keratin, it rarely fossilizes and has not been studied much—making it important on this excursion to comb the beach in search of the sloughed baleen in addition to recovering the whale’s bones.

When we arrived, the whale looked like a white-grey mound. The goal of the day was to disarticulate the skull from the body and move it to the base of the cliff. Naturally, the tide washing over the carcass had removed some of the flesh exposing some bone, but there was still a lot of work to be done. The soft, rubbery flesh was hard to cut through and the sand dulled our knives immediately. Tom was amazing at directing us the best way to maneuver the skull so we could cut away the muscles. In the end, the strength and endurance of so many people accomplished our goal; we separated and lifted the 300-pound skull to a safe place on nearby rocks. All the while, a pleasant breeze of fresh ocean air kept the smell away. It wasn’t until later in the car ride home we realized we smelled like the hold of a fishing boat!

As you would expect, Scott and his volunteers made many more trips to the beach to recover as many bones as possible, stacking them at the base of the cliff. On April 14, the skull was placed in a sling, and the U.S. Coast Guard airlifted it first to a nearby parking lot, then on to a spot where it was buried so local insects could finish cleaning the bones. All of the other bones were carefully moved assembly-line style by a group of volunteers. It was front-page news in the local media that day! What a great opportunity we had collaborating with our neighbors at the San Diego Natural History Museum to turn a tragedy into valuable learning experience.

 

April Gorrow is a senior pathology technician at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Read her previous blog, Nature’s Excellent Engineering Feat: The Egg.

0

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
1

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