Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
TORONTO, ON, Thursday, February 4, 2016: Just shy of their four month milestone on Saturday, February 13
, the twin cubs now weigh 5.55kg and 4.85kg. Both continue to become more active and playful, often play-wrestling with one another. Both are trying hard to walk and are improving daily. Their noses are almost fully blackened and their fur continues to become fuller and fuzzier and their teeth continue to come in. Stay tuned for a special announcement about naming them on Monday, February 8, Chinese New Year!
To support our work in giant panda conservation
Please note, Er Shun and the giant panda cubs are not on exhibit and media are not permitted in the maternity area of the Giant Panda Exhibit. Toronto Zoo staff will provide updates, photos and video as they become available.
The Toronto Zoo would like to acknowledge the ongoing support from Chongqing Zoo and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding for their expertise on raising baby pandas, and also for providing us with two giant panda specialists whose knowledge and experience has been invaluable during this time.
for more information on Giant Panda Conservation at the Toronto Zoo.
TORONTO ZOO IS CELEBRATING LEAP YEAR WITH GLOBAL CONSERVATION EFFORTS
The Toronto Zoo is LEAPING in anticipation of Monday, February 29, 2016! The following are two (of the many) great conservation programs Toronto Zoo coordinates to ensure the survival of endangered amphibians globally.
MAKING THE LEAP TO SAVE THE DUSKY GOPHER FROG
Photo Credit: John Tupy
Toronto Zoo is proud to be home to 20 dusky gopher frogs, the most critically endangered amphibian in North America. Their habitat has been so drastically changed by humans that these small frogs now only live in a single pond in the state of Mississippi, with an estimated wild population of just 100 frogs. With the support of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, zoos across North America have taken up the important cause of the dusky gopher frog in the hopes of breeding and releasing them back into restored habitats in the wild. The 20 dusky gopher frogs that live at Toronto Zoo are the only ones found in Canada, and with the help of our highly successful animal reproduction programs, we hope to breed these frogs in 2016, adding further to the genetic diversity of the assurance population maintained by zoos.
The dusky gopher frog however, is notoriously difficult to breed. In the wild, these frogs go through a hibernation period, where they sleep throughout the cold winter. They then wake to warm springtime rains, and once the temperature warms up enough, the frogs finally start calling and breeding. The zoos working with dusky gopher frogs try to mimic the specific natural cues found in southern Mississippi to encourage the frogs into breeding mode. Zoos have been working towards perfecting the combination of temperature, moisture and timing to make the environment optimal for natural breeding to take place however, this is a very delicate balancing act requiring extensive expertise and collaboration.
In the spring of 2016, the Toronto Zoo will be balancing the delicate environment and cues dusky gopher frogs need to breed naturally. To help the frogs reproduce, thus ensuring the continuation of their species, the Toronto Zoo is exploring the possibility of administering hormones that promote their breeding behavior. It can be considered a fertility treatment, for frogs! If everything goes as planned, these will be the first dusky gopher frogs bred in Canada, and we will be one of only a handful of zoos to have successfully bred them with the help of these special hormones. Want to help dusky gopher frog? Donate now to support the amazing work happening at the Amphibian Rescue Centre at Toronto Zoo!
Due to the sensitive nature of the dusky gopher frogs, they are held in a quarantine area of the Zoo and are not visible to the public. The next time you are at the Zoo you can read about the work happening in Toronto Zoo’s Amphibian Rescue Centre by visiting the Americas pavilion.
TORONTO ZOO MAKING COMMITMENT TO RELEASE THOUSANDS MORE PUERTO RICAN CRESTED TOAD TADPOLES
BACK INTO THE WILD POPULATION IN 2016
Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is proud to confirm their continued commitment to the breeding of the Puerto Rican crested toad in 2016. In 2015, Toronto Zoo was extremely successful with 9,000 tadpoles being sent to Puerto Rico in June 2015. The tadpoles were released in the Rio Encantado region of northern Puerto Rico on June 11, 2015. Plans are in motion to once again release thousands of tadpoles in Puerto Rico in 2016. The Zoo’s very own Dr. Andrew Lentini, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, will be participating in field work in Puerto Rico this coming fall, which will include the monitoring of released animals and creating additional habitat for future releases.
The Puerto Rican crested toad is listed as a Critically Endangered species by theInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is found only in Puerto Rico. In collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), tadpoles hatched at the Toronto Zoo are released in Puerto Rico each year for the purposes of sustaining and rebuilding the wild population.
The SSP for the Puerto Rican crested toad was developed, in part, to reintroduce the species back into the wild. The Toronto Zoo has been an active participant in the breeding program for over 30 years. We are proud to announce that, with the addition of 2015’s tadpoles, a total of 140,128 Puerto Rican crested toads have been released back into the wild from the Toronto Zoo to date.
CLICK HERE for more information on the Puerto Rican crested toad.
If you would like more information on the above conservation stories, or if you would like to speak with Dr. Andrew Lentini, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, please contact Amanda Chambers, Supervisor of Public Relations and Events firstname.lastname@example.org or #416-392-5941.
for more information on Conservation Initiatives at the Toronto Zoo.
SPRING 2016 VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN
BECOME A VOLUNTEER TODAY!
Wetland Enthusiast, Lifelong Learner, and Toronto Zoo Volunteer!
Meet Jim Skene. He is a Summer Information Volunteer at the Zoo."I thought I knew everything about wetlands," says Jim. That was until he met Zoo staff and Volunteers and took part in Volunteer Training. It "really opened my eyes to what is below the surface of the water. Where do dragonflies lay their eggs? Where do turtles go in the winter?"
Jim's love of animals and belief in the importance of learning for people of all ages brought him to the Toronto Zoo.
He feels as a Zoo Volunteer he has helped people become more aware of wildlife conservation. "Conservation is about doing more," says Jim. "I feel that I am doing more through my Volunteer work at the Zoo."
DO YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER AT THE ZOO LIKE JIM?
for more information on Volunteer Recruitment on now through Friday, March 18, 2016.
POLAR BEAR FEST AT THE TORONTO ZOO
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2016
Photo Credit: Jim Skene/Toronto Zoo
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Free with Zoo admission
Celebrate International Polar Bear Day and show your love for polar bears by joining us at our very ‘cool’ Polar Bear Festival. Visitors will be able to take part in fun and educational activities that help raise awareness and support this threatened Canadian species. Polar Bear Fest includes polar bear themed children’s activities and crafts (indoors!), silent auction with a chance to win a special behind the scenes tour for four people, and much more!
*proceeds will support polar bear conservation.
Conserving the Polar Bear (*Pre-registration required)
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
$5 per Member, $8 per Non-Member plus General Admission fee
Join us for a special presentation to meet two of our very own polar bear keepers as they share stories of the Zoo’s family of polar bears, the importance of enrichment, their experiences in Churchill, and how the Zoo is helping to support polar bear conservation in the wild. Following the Toronto Zoo's keeper presentation, Luana Sciullo, from York University will share her exciting research on wild polar bears which investigates their success at finding food in relation to environmental change in Canada’s Arctic.
PLUS, those who register to attend this presentation will have an exclusive opportunity to win a special Meet-the-Keeper experience for themselves and one guest at the Zoo’s polar bear exhibit!
Limited space is available! CLICK HERE to register today!