Category Archives: Zoos

A Koala Baby So Adorable, It Will Instantly Make Your Day [VIDEO]

Meet Imogen, a 10 month old baby koala at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Australia. It is her first photo shoot and she is darling. Watch her overwhelming cuteness as she eats greens, plays, and, well, simply exists. Fun fact — a baby koala is called a “joey.” Watch the little video and this joyful joey will surely make you smile:

Watch This Adorable Baby Polar Bear Grow Up [VIDEO]

This insanely cute baby polar bear at the Columbus Zoo is growing up so fast! Watch the video to see her go from one week to almost 3 months old and learning to walk on all fours:

SeaWorld San Diego To End Orca Shows and California Bans Captive Breeding

SeaWorld has faced a world of backlash since the 2013 documentary Blackfish depicted the problems within the sea-park industry and the sad consequences of enclosing highly intelligent marine mammals in a tank.

After years of protests, the CEO of SeaWorld Joel Manby has announced putting a stop to the controversial theatrical orca shows at its San Diego park. The plan is to phase them by the end of 2016.

The decision to end the orca shows is a direct response to customers, as attendance at the San Diego park dropped 17% last year and continues to drop. Manby said:

“We are listening to our guests, evolving as a company, we are always changing. In 2017 we will launch an all new orca experience focused on natural environment [of whales]. 2016 will be the last year of our theatrical killer whale experience in San Diego.”

Photo by Stig Nygaard / CC BY 2.0
Photo by Stig Nygaard / CC BY 2.0

In addition, SeaWorld will implement a few more changes, including replacing the shows with a new orca experience that emphasizes a more natural environment for the mammals and an informative, conservation-minded approach that inspires people to act. Manby wants to refocus SeaWorld on the conservation of animals, not their entertainment.

SeaWorld San Diego Changes

Although the orca shows will continue at SeaWorld’s other parks in San Antonio, Texas and Orlando, Florida, this represents a step in the right direction. Manby’s decision comes days after congressman Adam Schiff said he would introduce legislation to end the captivity of orcas at SeaWorld:

“The evidence is very strong that the psychological and physical harm done to these magnificent animals far outweighs any benefits reaped from their display. We cannot be responsible stewards of our natural environment and propagate messages about the importance of animal welfare when our behaviors do not reflect our principles…The decision by SeaWorld to phase out killer whale shows in San Diego is a welcome step along the path towards ending the captivity of these magnificent creatures. Much more needs to be done, however.”

In an attempt to do more, California Coastal Commission approved a $100 million expansion of the orcas’ tanks in San Diego in October, but attached an amendment that banned captive breeding – including through artificial insemination – and also banned the sale, trade or transfer of captive orcas. The amendment halted the project, which would have tripled the size of existing enclosures.

Photo by Scott Akerman / CC BY 2.0
Photo by Scott Akerman / CC BY 2.0

Featured image by Josh Hallett / CC BY 2.0

What Does It Mean For Every Chimp, Even the Ones in Captivity, to be ‘Endangered’?

All chimpanzees – both in the wild and in captivity – are officially protected as “endangered species” under the Endangered Species Act.

This means it is now against the law to harm, harass, kill or injure any chimp, wild or captive. It brings an end to decades of exploitation and abuse, from using chimps in biomedical research and lab testing to using them as props for entertainment and selling them in the wildlife trade. All chimps will be sent to sanctuaries and rescue centers to spend the rest of their years in much better living conditions.

Photo by Ryan Summers / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Ryan Summers / CC BY-SA 2.0

The rule follows a petition filed in 2010 by Dr. Jane Goodall, The Humane Society of the United States and other groups, to eliminate the distinction between the legal status of captive and wild chimps. Before, the former were listed as “threatened” while the latter were “endangered.” But the change became official on June 16 and went into effect on September 14, after a 90-day grace period.

So now, all chimps have the same protections under the Endangered Species Act, making Goodall – founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace and one of the biggest chimp-advocates – very happy. In a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release, Goodall said:

“I was so pleased to hear about the proposed rule. This is exceptional news for all chimpanzees and for all the petitioners, especially the Humane Society of the United States, who have worked so hard on this issue. This decision gives me hope that we truly have begun to understand that our attitudes toward treatment of our closest living relatives must change. I congratulate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for this very important decision.”

Featured image by Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

Week-Old Baby Hippo and Its Mom at the San Diego Zoo

Meet Funani, a mom hippopotamus at the San Diego Zoo, and her adorable newborn calf. Funani gave birth on March 23, 2015 and the baby hippo has spent the first days of his life nursing and learning to swim.

Baby hippos typically weigh around 50 pounds when they’re born and stay very close to their mothers for the first several weeks of their lives. In this video you can see momma Funani and her baby spending good quality time, bonding, playing and relaxing in the water.

Funani is a 30-year-old hippo who has raised four other calves at the San Diego Zoo, three females and a male. The sex of this new baby hippo has not yet been determined and won’t be until the staff and vets can get close enough.

No matter the sex, this baby hippo is heart-meltingly adorable. Watch the video to see just how cute he or she is!