The Inside Look: Festival of Flight bird tours were a wild and wonderful way to see the San Diego Zoo in action last month. I am an educator who leads behind-the-scenes adventures at the Zoo. Our bird tour experiences were so unique this year that I was as excited as the guests to experience our special animal interactions! The Zoo’s bird collection is incredible and includes almost 400 species and subspecies, which comes to about 3,500 individual birds. During our special tours, we got to spend some time with our feathered friends and meet the keepers who keep them happy, healthy, and entertained.
Archive for the 'California Condors' Category
October is Kids Free Days at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Our Institute for Conservation Research staff are sharing their interactions and connections with nature at a young age and how these connections put them on their career paths. Read a previous post, A New Nature.
As a young person, it was a sense of wonder—a mixture of curiosity, interest, and desire for discovery—that kindled my interest in becoming a scientist. Years later, working as a conservation scientist at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research stimulates this sense of wonder. Now, however, the larger and more important context is the preservation of the astounding diversity of forms of life—the numerous species and their populations. This is the driving force for efforts my colleagues and I undertake. At a time when species are being lost at an unprecedented rate, this can be a challenging outlook. Yet, a single moment or moments of experience can make it all worthwhile, justifying tedium, overcoming frustration, and ablating despair.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that the current extinction rate for species on our planet is more than 1,000 times the rate it would be naturally, thanks to human factors. Climate change is implicated in reductions to water availability in ecosystems and ice in the Arctic. These days you only have to turn on the television to have a front row seat for the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Everywhere you look, the news about the state of nature seems gloomy. (more…)
A few months ago we started working on program for our dedicated polar bear and giant panda fans to allow them to get in the driver’s seat and take a stance in the effort to save these two majestic bears. Today we are excited to announce that the program – which we are calling Animal SOS – is finally ready for all of you to see. www.sandiegozoo.org/animalsos
It’s the end of the year and time for a new cohort of California condors to begin the mentoring process at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Four youngsters, fresh out of their nest boxes, have been selected to prepare for eventual release to the wilds of Baja California, Mexico. They are currently sharing a small enclosure with a mentor bird while the group adjusts to communal living, and shortly the group will be given access to a large flight pen where they will live for the next eight months. During this time, researchers from the Zoo’s Applied Animal Ecology Division will be documenting their behavior as a continuation of a study we began a few years back. The goal of our research is to determine any social or temperamental factors that might help us to predict which individual birds are going to be successful when released to their native habitat.
The Santa Barbara Zoo will become only the second United States zoo where the public can view the critically endangered California condor on exhibit. Santa Barbara will join the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park which has been exhibiting the California condor since the year 2000.