Standing close to a 430-pound gorilla, his brow furrowed and eyes stern, it’s easy to tense up. However, once you adjust to his sheer size and powerful appearance, it becomes clear that he is actually remarkably calm—peaceful even. What many people don’t realize is that gorillas are naturally quiet and peaceful. They are gentle giants. This is especially true of the geriatric silverback who lives at the Safari Park. Now 51 years old, Winston wins the hearts of all those who come into contact with him—both people and gorillas. His easygoing, kind, and relatable character, combined with his experience, size, and influence, make him a likable and trusted leader of the family troop.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is celebrating the birth of two Sumatran tiger cubs—the first of this critically endangered species to be born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Tull Family Tiger Trail habitat in seven years. Their birth also comes just in time for Global Tiger Day. With only an estimated 400 to 600 Sumatran tigers remaining on Earth, the births are significant in increasing the worldwide population of this tiger species and furthering the nonprofit conservation organization’s ongoing work to conserve them.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has announced construction is officially underway on the largest and most transformative project in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 50-year history. The all-new Denny Sanford Elephant Valley will reimagine the heart of the Safari Park, turning the current elephant environment into a dynamic savanna and a place of exploration. Elephant Valley will give guests of all ages the opportunity to connect with elephants like never before, encouraging greater empathy, understanding, and appreciation of this majestic species—and igniting a passion for wildlife.
In the mid-morning hours of July 6, 2023, guests to the San Diego Zoo were treated to a rare and remarkable sight. Red panda Adira entered her outdoor habitat in the Zoo’s Asian Passage with someone new: her small and curious 1-month-old cub. This milestone was immensely significant, as the new cub is the first red panda born at the Zoo since 2006, and this marked the first time staff and guests were able to get a glimpse of the youngster outside its den.
Who can it be now? One look at two of the Safari Park’s newest residents—from their duck-like bills to their short legs, webbed feet, and otter-like tails—and it’s clear there is only one thing they can possibly be: platypuses Ornithorynchus anatinus. Since their debut in November 2019, this species is becoming more familiar to our visitors, and now it’s time to get to know the delightful duo, Birrarung (“Birra,” for short) and Eve.
Veterinarians gave their first exam this morning to four capybaras, members of the world’s largest rodent species, born Monday at the San Diego Zoo. The four capybaras, which weighed between 3.5 and 4 pounds, were born on-exhibit in the Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey. Capybaras are the world’s largest rodent and are found east of the Andes, on Central and South American riverbanks, beside ponds and in marshes, or wherever standing water is available.
Butterflies and moths make up one of the largest and most recognizable groups of insects, the Order Lepidoptera. Derived from the ancient Greek words for “scale” and “wing,” the name perfectly describes a key characteristic of moths and butterflies: the tiny, keratin-based scales that cover their wings. Over time, lepidopterists (people who study moths and butterflies) have identified more than 274,000 species—and there are many more to discover.
A baby giraffe, called a calf, can stand up and walk about an hour after it comes into the world, front feet first. At least, it should be able to. That wasn’t the case with Msituni (see-TOO-nee), a giraffe born at the Safari Park February 1, 2022. Matt Kinney, DVM, senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and his team were quick to respond. “Our wildlife care specialists and veterinary team have worked with a number of giraffe calves, and we were quickly able to recognize that this calf needed our help,” he said.
Imagine wandering through the heart of the African savanna, immersed in the sights and sounds of the grasslands. Vistas on either side of the path transport you to a place filled with wonder as you experience up close the sheer majesty of connecting with a herd of African elephants. It’s where wildlife dreams meet reality. It’s the Denny Sanford Elephant Valley at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Seemingly outfitted in sleek tuxedos—from their webbed toes to the tip of their flippers—African penguins are always dressed for the occasion. For Lucas, a four-year old penguin at the San Diego Zoo, snazzy new shoes are taking his dapper look to the next level. However, the rubber and neoprene booties aren’t “statement” shoes. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. Lucas’s new orthopedic footwear could be the key to helping him fit in with his colony.
The Rose Parade gives San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance an incredible opportunity to bring our conservation message of hope to a global audience, empowering viewers to join us in making a meaningful difference for wildlife, people, and the planet we all share. Through this larger-than-life storytelling opportunity, we spark the imagination and touch the hearts of countless allies around the globe, inviting them to save, protect, and care for wildlife worldwide and to join us in our commitment to a world where all life thrives.
From up-close encounters with a myriad of wondrous wildlife, to the treehouse and “splashy” water play area, the San Diego Zoo’s Wildlife Explorers Basecamp isn’t meant to be seen—it’s to be experienced. The most significant expansion in the Zoo’s 106-year history, this immersive new world takes you into four unique ecosystems— and introduces you to the species that call them home.