Tag Archives: San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells Brings a Winter Wonderland to San Diego Zoo’s Polar Bears

Sledding: No Sleigh Needed! San Diego Zoo Polar Bear Belly Slides During Polar Snow DayPolar Bear Plunge at the San Diego Zoo was transformed into a winter wonderland early this Friday, as nearly 26 tons of glistening white snow blanketed the polar bear exhibit. The three bears — Kalluk, Tatqiq and Chinook — showed their excitement by frolicking in the snow. They rolled around in the fresh powder and wrestled with each other all morning long. Animal care staff also scattered yams, carrots, melons and beef femur bones throughout the exhibit as added enrichment, and watched as the bears pounced and dug for their prizes.

This surprise snowy enrichment was made possible by donors who contributed to the animal care wish list on the San Diego Zoo website, sandiegozoo.org. Enrichment is very important for the bears, as it stimulates them, keeps them active and promotes natural behaviors.

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Giant Panda Mr. Wu Celebrates Third Birthday at San Diego Zoo

Xiao Liwu (pronounced sshyaoww lee woo), a male giant panda, celebrates his third birthday today by posing with his beautiful two-tiered ice-cake. An excited crowd watched as Mr. Wu made his way over to his cake and began devouring the slices of fruits and vegetables layering the top. The Zoo’s nutritional services team—the imaginative force behind this year’s impressive cake—spent weeks freezing and sculpting the blue and orange icy treat. The two-tiered cake was made of water mixed with food coloring and frozen into layers. Bamboo stalks, a favorite of Mr. Wu’s, were used to support the top tier. The cake was decorated with sliced fruits and vegetables, colored pieces of ice, pureed yam frosting, and a little honey.  The San Diego Zoo is home to three giant pandas: Xiao Liwu; his mother, Bai Yun; and his father, Gao Gao. Giant pandas are on a research loan to the San Diego Zoo from the People’s Republic of China.

It was a birthday extravaganza at the San Diego Zoo this past weekend! Giant panda Xiao Liwu (pronounced sshyaoww lee woo)—Mr. Wu to his keepers and fans—was all energy as he celebrated his third birthday in spectacular pirate-themed fashion. The birthday bear, whose name means “little gift,” came out of his den to find a festive atmosphere, complete with decorations, a brand-new swing, and a beautiful ice cake proclaiming, “Happy Birthday Mr. Wu.”

Hundreds of guests watched as the easy-going bear opened gift after gift.

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Africa Rocks Expansion Coming to San Diego Zoo in 2017

Africa Rocks South PlazaAn African crested porcupine had the honor of taking the first dig this week, when the San Diego Zoo broke ground on the largest expansion in its 99-year history. Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks is a $68 million project that will transform eight acres of the Zoo and replace 1930s-era grottos and enclosures (formerly known as Cat and Dog Canyon) with new habitats for African plant and animal species that range from savanna to shore.

When the exhibit opens in 2017, Africa Rocks will entirely transform the area that was previously a steep canyon. Africa Rocks’ gently winding, ADA-accessible pathway will lead guests through different types of African habitats—including a West African forest, acacia woodlands, Ethiopian highlands, kopje gardens and a Madagascar habitat.

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Old Globe Way Project Complete, Connecting San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park

Old Globe WaySan Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember Todd Gloria joined San Diego Zoo Global staff this week to officially open the newly renovated Old Globe Way, on the south side of the San Diego Zoo. The widened and landscaped roadway leads to the Zoo’s new employee parking structure and the Old Globe, past the Casa del Prado and the San Diego Museum of Art.

“This Old Globe Way project is a gift to all of San Diego, creating a wonderful connection between two of the City’s most cherished landmarks: historic Balboa Park and the world-famous San Diego Zoo,” said Mayor Faulconer. “It’s fitting that the project opens during the Balboa Park Centennial as we elevate, celebrate and promote the park for 2015 and beyond.”

The Old Globe Way project—including a renovated roadway that leads to the Old Globe theater complex and Village Place (an improved turnaround and unloading zone that serves the Casa del Prado)—cost more than $2 million to build.

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Penguin Cam Now Live Online From San Diego Zoo

Taking a Peek at New Penguins at San Diego ZooA live cam showing the antics of two young penguins at the San Diego Zoo’s Children’s Zoo debuted this month. The new cam, featuring penguins Dan and McKinney, is part of a popular feature of the San Diego Zoo Global web site, that can be seen at sandiegozoo100.org/penguincam.

The two young penguins are residing at the Children’s Zoo while their new habitat, Penguin Beach is being built. 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 more than 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 new habitat is being funded largely by 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.

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