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.
The summer bushfires of 2019–2020—christened the “Black Summer of Fire”—dealt a deadly blow to Australia’s iconic koalas. In the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, an out-of-control mega-blaze tore through the ancient bush, burning a staggering 80 percent of the World Heritage Area and heavily impacting the koalas there. Once a thriving community of 3 to 4 million, koala numbers are now as low as 300,000—and conservation scientists predict that koalas may be extinct in New South Wales by 2050. Saving each and every koala population is vital to their survival as a species.
While a large portion of the Sumatran tiger population lives within the protection of national parks, up to 70 percent of Sumatran tiger habitat lies outside this protected area network. This means that substantial numbers of Sumatran tigers may live in heavily isolated, non-protected, marginal habitats—leading to a high incidence of interaction with people.
Physician scientist. Wildlife conservationist. Visionary leader. Family man. The inimitable Dr. Kurt Benirschke (“Dr. B”) was a trailblazer—passionate about gathering and sharing knowledge to make the world a better place for both people and wildlife. Whether he was sneaking vital veterinary medicine through Checkpoint Charlie into East Germany or flying through a raging thunderstorm in a single-engine plane to pick up chromosome samples in Paraguay, Dr. B was dedicated to solving problems and exploring ideas that would transform both human and veterinary science.
Native to the dry, sandy regions of North Africa, the fennec fox Vulpes zerda is the smallest fox species, measuring about 15 inches long (plus an 8-inch tail) and weighing about 3 pounds. Large, dark eyes sit atop the fox’s tiny, pointed face, which is framed by those characteristic jumbo-size ears. At the San Diego Zoo's Wildlife Explorers Base Camp, within the Desert Dunes Habitat, you will see the amazing, adorable Fennec Fox!
In 1969, Charles L. “Chuck” Bieler had just started as group sales manager in the marketing department at the San Diego Zoo when a young Joan Embery, who worked in the Children’s Zoo, offered to introduce him to one of the big cats. After some trepidation, he agreed. Walking away from that encounter, he confided to a colleague that he had never petted a lion before. When she realized he wasn’t joking, she whispered back, “I know you are new to the Zoo, Chuck, but the cats with stripes are tigers.”
Eighteen-hundred acres of land in the San Pasqual Valley and a vision of what wildlife conservation could become. That’s what Dr. Charles Schroeder had back in 1969 when we broke ground for the Wild Animal Park, Dr. Schroeder’s “zoo of the future.” As executive director of the Zoological Society of San Diego, Dr. Schroeder had big plans for his “natural environment zoo,” with its expansive, multispecies savanna habitats and revolutionary approach to wildlife management that would forever change what zoos would look like.
When guests see a red panda at the San Diego Zoo, their first reaction is often “what’s that?” What they see is a fiery red-orange and reddish-brown mammal about the size of a large house cat, with a round face, keen eyes, distinctive white and brown markings, a long, fluffy tail, and a fondness for climbing trees. But it’s not a cat. It’s not a fox or a raccoon. And it’s not a bear.
Cameroon’s Ebo forest is one of the last remaining sites inhabited by forest elephants in the entire Gulf of Guinea biodiversity hotspot—the area of tropical Central Africa to the northwest of the Congo basin. Since we first established trail cameras in the forest in 2016, we have gathered a wealth of evidence of African forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis presence, despite the fact that the cameras are currently restricted to the relatively small area (approximately 40 square kilometers, or roughly 15 square miles) of the Ebo gorilla range.