ZOO insider A Quarterly Newsletter for the Members of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
doubles in size Inside this issue Holiday Gift Guide Sitting Down with Senator Williams Zoo Lights Event Announced
members Dear Members, As you all know, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is still working to overcome the significant financial losses faced during the March 16 through June 4 closure, and
through the continuing pandemic. Your support has been crucial during this difficult time, as revenue from the Membership program has contributed to 15% of the Zooâ€™s overall
operating budget. We truly could not have gotten through this unprecedented time without your dedicated support.
Now, as we approach the holiday season, we want to express our gratitude for your
continued support and encourage you to consider the Zoo when reviewing your holiday lists. Zoo merchandise, Adopt an Animal packages, and Wild Encounters all make great gifts for family and friends.
You can also give the gift of a Zoo Membership with our Digital Membership Cards that help
make the Zoo experience even more streamlined for our Members. Just buy or renew online! For a full list of Zoo gifts, browse our digital Holiday Gift Guide here. With each purchase from or contribution to our Holiday Gift Guide, you will help support the education, conservation, and care of some of the most magnificent animals in the world. Thank you as always for your continued support and have a happy holiday season. Sincerely,
Want a hippopotamus for Christmas?
Adopt our pygmy hippo! Lori Elder, Member Services Manager Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Face masks are required for all visitors at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Face masks are to be worn in both indoor and outdoor locations. The Zoo will continue to monitor and evaluate the County Health Department and CDC requirements.
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New Additions While â€œthe human world is a messâ€?
(as a popular cartoon crab would say), life in the animal kingdom goes on! The newest additions to the Zoo
family include three new African lion cubs, five new cheetah cubs and
their mother, a new clouded leopard named Moana, Smiley the sea lion pup, and two new siamangs.
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 2
THE ZOO THANKS YOU
Thank you to our loyal sponsors, vendors, and partners for your continued support! Allegheny Health Network
Beyond Spots & Dots
Busy Beaver Building Center, Inc.
Green Mountain Energy
UPMC Health Plan
Chick-fil-A Consolidated Communications
PA Virtual Charter School
DICK’S Sporting Goods
Thank you for sponsoring Zoo’ZZERTS DRIVE-THRU
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Become a corporate sponsor today
New Siamangs Swing Into Pittsburgh The Zoo is thrilled to welcome two new siamangs to Pittsburgh! Lulu, a four-year-old female, arrived from
Metro Richmond Zoo, and Jagger, a four-year-old male siamang, came from Southwick’s Zoo in Massachusetts.
The two have recently been introduced
behind-the-scenes and are now in the
process of exploring their new habitat
in the Day Room at The Islands.
Welcome to Pittsburgh, Lulu and Jagger!
Photo: Gerri Hernández
IN THE COMMUNITY Sitting Down With Senator Williams The Zoo was honored to welcome Senator
Lindsey M. Williams for a visit earlier this year, and had the opportunity to ask her a few
questions about wildlife, her favorite animal, and of course what she loves about the Zoo.
What was your first visit to the Zoo like? My first visit to the Zoo was in law school shortly after I moved to Pittsburgh. I remember being
impressed with how big it was! I loved the layout and how it felt like you were in a different world.
Senator Lindsey Williams
Do you still have time to visit the Zoo? Not as much as I’d like, but I try to take advantage of every opportunity I get to visit. Why do you think zoos and aquariums are important? Zoos and aquariums help teach the public about animals and conservation of their natural habitats. They are places that all age groups and people of all backgrounds can come to
learn something new. It is incredibly important to have a cultural attraction like the Zoo in
Western Pennsylvania. Not only is it somewhere that our local residents can experience and learn, but it draws people from around the world to our region.
Thanks for your support, Senator, and we hope to see you soon!
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 4
doubles in size We are thrilled to share that the three
the last 21 years. One of the main reasons
hours of July 16 are all doing well!
destruction. Many endangered lions live in
African lion cubs born in the early morning
One female cub and two male cubs were born and began nursing right away. With
good fortune, Mom has proven to be very attentive and caring for her young.
for the decline in the population is habitat grassland and forest areas of Africa and
India. As the human population increases, these lion habitats are destroyed in order to create more homes and buildings
for people. It is our hope that through
The birth of these new cubs is a significant
education and respect for our wildlife
African lion births since 1975 and bring
population trend for our animal cousins in
milestone for the Zoo, as these are the first
friends that we will begin to see a positive
with them the opportunity for a pride of
lions to call Pittsburgh home. These new
cubs will help to sustain the managed lion
population in the U.S. and continue to help conserve this critical species.
The cubs are currently spending time
behind-the-scenes in the Animal Care
Center while the new lion exhibit is being
renovated. Visit pittsburghzoo.org for the
Once numbering in the millions, there are
latest lion updates including when the lion
The population has declined over 43% in
date the cubs will be on exhibit. n
now only 10,000 African lions remaining.
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exhibit renovation is complete and the
Click for the latest updates on our animals
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 6
GLOBAL IMPACT In just the last year, the Pittsburgh Zoo
how to help
& PPG Aquarium team conducted,
supported, or advised on 97 conservation
projects based across all 7 continents and all 5 oceans.
While some of these projects took place
right in our backyard - like the propagation,
tagging, and release of monarch butterflies;
other projects are still taking place abroad like our partnership with Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust.
• Renew or gift a Membership
• Buy tickets to visit the Zoo • Buy Zoo merchandise • Make a donation of any size Thank you for directly sustaining this critical work that the
We invited Jess Dawson, CEO of Victoria
Pittsburgh Zoo continues
Falls Wildlife Trust in Zimbabwe, to share
firsthand the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on wildlife conservation efforts,
and how our collective work saves animals.
From the desk of Jessica Dawson: Chief Executive Officer of Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust: It’s quiet here in Victoria Falls. Our borders
restrictions and, like in many parts of the
primary source of financial support for parks
lost real estate. It didn’t take our furred and
are closed; there is no tourism. Tourism is the and preserves. Closing wildlife preserves and dismissing rangers now means that there is no true deterrent for poaching. Locals
venture out in small groups under curfew
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world, wildlife is venturing into town, revisiting feathered brethren long. Just weeks into
COVID-19, the elephants, lions, and others started coming a little closer and staying a little longer.
Photo © Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust
The Pittsburgh Zoo’s own Willie Theison and Dr. Joe Gaspard attaching a GPS collar to track this bull’s movements along ‘wildlife corridors’ and through communal areas. This research will help to map ‘Hot-Spot’ areas of human-elephant conflict so that we can better direct our elephant management efforts on the ground. With this research we hope to improve community livelihoods by reducing the number and extent of crop-raiding elephants, and assess corridors utilized by elephants. As these animals get braver, wildlife
Thanks again to the support of our donors
dangerous for both people and wildlife. Our
unusually high incidents of snaring this year.
conflict becomes more frequent and more
Community Guardian 24/7 wildlife mitigation hotline is receiving significantly more calls to discourage elephants and lions out
of new settlement areas and rural crop
fields. Thanks to the loyal support from our donors and friends, we have so far had the capacity to respond to most calls for help. It’s so important that we have the funds to continue; if we don’t, the animals run the
risk of being branded “problem animals” and being destroyed.
Elephants in the suburbs around Victoria
Falls pose a threat to residents, pets, and
workers. Serious wildlife-human conflicts,
such as loss of life, can result in the animals being euthanized. Our Wildlife Guardians
are on call 24/7 to mitigate these conflicts
by escorting elephants out of high-density suburbs and rural areas surrounding Victoria Falls.
and friends, we have been able to respond to The number of wildlife snare entrapments increases when economic strain impacts
a particular region as bush meat becomes
the lone source of food for some. In the last few months we’ve removed more than 20
snares – that’s equivalent to all the snares we removed in 2019! Sometimes, we’re
unable to find a reported animal or unable to respond to in time. Last weekend we were called to rescue a hippo still tethered to a
tree on an island in the Zambezi River. It only took us 30 minutes to reach it but we were
too late. It was killed and carted off across
the river into Zambia. Large rope snares are
deliberately set to capture large animals like giraffes, which provide a large amount of meat for a hungry family.
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 8
EVENTS & EXPERIENCES SPOT THE DOTS SCAVENGER HUNT Now through Wednesday, September 30
In celebration of our five
new cheetah cubs, you’re
invited to participate in a “Spot the Dots” scavenger hunt presented by Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh. From
August 17 through September 30, travel through the
Zoo to solve six riddles and submit the winning word to win a prize! Sponsored by Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh.
WINTER WILD ENCOUNTERS Now through December 31
Select Wild Encounters are back with new
safety protocols and modified operations! Each inperson Wild Encounter is 30 minutes long and can
accommodate one group of up to five guests within
the same family. The seasonal winter Wild Encounters animals include penguins, cheetahs, and more! Sponsored by GEICO Military.
Thank you for your continued support!
Saturdays & Sundays October 17–18 & October 24–25
Drive through the Zoo and
collect sweet treats at each
candy stop, visit the Trick-Or-Treat Trail sponsored by
Allegheny Health Network, for even more goodies, wave
to some of your favorite characters, and see the animals celebrate with their own Halloween-themed treats.
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DESTINATION CONSERVATION DIGITAL SERIES October 19, November 18, December 14 learn more
Our Destination Conservation
series, in partnership with Peoples Natural Gas, brings the world to you! Each month we will release a new video on Facebook that highlights the dynamic conservation work that the Zoo and Peoples are both
working on. Sponsored by Peoples. Thank
you for all you do to help protect our planet!
ALL NEW! ZOO LIGHTS DRIVE-THRU Select nights November 27– January 3
Buy tickets Tasty winter treats, classic
“frosted” characters, and carols along the way!
Drive through the Zoo at night while guided by a themed
audio tour as thousands of
environmentally friendly LED
lights transform the park into an
unforgettable winter wonderland. Be a part of the magic!
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 10
education virtual programs story time
Pre-recorded Members: $5/story Non-members: $10/story Get ready to snuggle up and listen to a
story from the comfort of your home. These
pre-recorded videos are available to view at your leisure and help to support the care of
all Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium animals.
zoo kids Ages 4-6
30 minutes live via ZOOM Members $10, Non-members $16 Zoom link will be sent prior to program
UP ALL NIGHT Date: Saturday, October 24 Time: 10am Focus: Nocturnal Animals
OCEANS OF FUN Date: Saturday, November 21 Time: 10 am Focus: Ocean Animals
45 minutes live via ZOOM Members $15, Non-members $21 Zoom link will be sent prior to program
CARING FOR CATS Date: Saturday, October 24 Time: 11am Focus: Caring for the Zooâ€™s Cat Species
1 hour live via ZOOM Members $20, Non-members $26 Zoom link will be sent prior to program
ANIMAL PAINTING Date: Saturday, November 14 Time: 10am Join one of our talented members from
our creative services team and get ready to create an animal masterpiece!
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at the zoo programs Teen Program
KEEPER CONVERSATIONS $14/student Dates: Oct. 3, Nov. 7, or Dec. 5 Time: 2 to 4pm Students in grades 9-12 who would like to
shadow a zookeeper will tour animal areas as they chat with keepers and aquarists
about the work they love. Space is limited for this exclusive opportunity.
zoo explorations Ages 6- 12
KidScience Grades 6- 8
Members: $16 first child; $8 each additional sibling Non-members: $22 first child; $14 each additional sibling
Classes begin in October
Let’s go on an adventure! Join us for a
and a desire to work for conservation.
themed tour of the Zoo. Get an up close look at some our amazing animals and
talk to the experts. Get ready for a Zoorific time! This is a rain or shine event. Please dress for the weather as the program will
occur outside. Children will be divided into age appropriate tour groups.
We are seeking students who will be
in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade with a passion for animals, an interest in science,
KidScience students become part of the Zoo’s research team and get hands-on experience doing real animal behavior
research. Students attend class at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on
Saturdays throughout the school year and for three weeks in the summer. Please contact the KidScience
Coordinator, Mandy Revak, for more information at 412-365-2567.
WHAT’S FOR LUNCH Date: Saturday, September 26 Time: 10 to 11:30am Gorillas! Learn about animal diets and
watch our gorilla troop receive a tasty treat!
COLORS & PATTERNS Date: Saturday, October 3 Time: 10 to 11:30am Tigers! Learn all about animal patterns and watch the tigers get enrichment!
Members: $18/person, Non-members: $24/person; Children under 2 years are free with a paying adult
PUMPKIN PALOOZA Date: Sunday, October 4th Time: 10 to Noon It’s a pumpkin party! Join us as we kick
off the fall season with all things pumpkin! Meet our education animal ambassadors, bring a pumpkin to decorate, and enjoy
tasty pumpkin treats! Don’t forget to bring your camera for a festive family photo.
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 12
at the zoo programs
NEW! Twilight Treks Ages 6- 12
Winter Mini Camp Ages 5-9
Fun at the Zoo doesn’t have to end when
Members $32, Non-Members $38 All four days: Members $112, Non-Members $136 Dates: Dec. 28, 29, 30 & 31; 10am to 3pm
$30/person Dates: Check website for dates Time: 6 to 10pm
the sun goes down. Our NEW Twilight
Trek program gives you the opportunity
to explore the Zoo at night! This fun-filled night includes a special tour, scavenger hunt, meeting and learning about
education ambassador animals, a craft,
and a pizza snack. This program is a great opportunity for scout groups and family
Winter Mini-Camp is a five-hour program that focuses on the beauty and magic of
nature. Children can choose to participate for one, two, three, or all four days!
Participants will learn about a new topic
each day through live animal visits, craft projects, and exciting zoo tours.
groups! Groups should have a minimum
of 20 and a maximum of 30 participants.
Program is designed for children ages 6-12 accompanied by an adult.
Adult Programs NATURE’S WREATH
Want to join in the fun but don’t have a large group? Check out our special themed Twilight Treks:
Members $64, Non-Members $70 Saturday, December 5 12:30 to 3 pm
A TALE OF SCALES
One of our
Date: Saturday, November 7 Snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodilians – learn about all of these scaly creatures
during this Twilight Trek focused entirely on reptiles! It’s sure to be a ssslithering good time.
most popular programs
is back for
the holiday season.
The Zoo’s talented horticulturists will
offer guidance as you create a decorative
masterpiece to enliven your holiday décor. Wreaths, embellishments, visits from our
education animal ambassadors, and light refreshments are included. Feel free to
bring any additional adornments and hand pruners, if you’d like. Space is limited!
POLAR BEARS & PENGUINS Date: Friday, December 4
degrees below zero? To walk on ice that’s
four feet thick and swim in frigid water? Join us as we focus on 2 of our most popular residents from the Arctic and Antarctic.
12 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Unscramble: Giraffe, Capybara, Lion, Penguin, Lynx, Snake, Turtle, Tiger, Alligator, Shark, Cheetah, Elephant, Anteater, Jellyfish, Flamingo, Bat
at the ends of the Earth at temperatures 70
Zoodoku: (left to right) ROW 1: Fossa, Siamang, Tarantula, Red panda ROW 2: Tarantula, Red panda, Fossa, Siamang ROW 3: Red panda, Fossa, Siamang, Tarantula ROW 4: Siamang, Tarantula, Red panda, Fossa
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live
safari scholars Virtual Sessions
Members $40/student; $8 each additional sibling Non-members $46/student; $14 each additional sibling
Join us while we ZOOM age-appropriate
animal class. The most well-known class
a variety of topics. Virtual Safari Scholars
with a backbone. Join us as we explore
each program lasting 45 minutes.
special, while discovering that very
Dates: November 9 – November 12 Times: 10am or 1pm Every animal in the world belongs to an
and fun, interactive programs focusing on
of animals are vertebrates – animals
registration includes four days of programs,
the traits that make each Zoo resident different animals often have a lot in
common! For our final activity, students
will create their very own animal species.
Ages 5-8 IF I RAN THE ZOO Dates: September 28 – October 1 Times: 10am or 1pm
Ages 9-12 ANIMAL HANDLING & CARE
Join us as we explore different careers
Dates: November 9 – November 12 Times: 10am or 1pm
From diving with fish to bathing an
animal care professionals to provide a
animals! Find out what it takes to run
residents. We’ll explore the tricks of
animal exhibit as a final project. Supply
procedures and animal training sessions.
at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
Students will learn what it takes for
elephant, we care for more than 4,000
healthy, fulfilling life for your favorite Zoo
the Zoo and create your very own
the trade while we examine real life vet
suggestions for the final project will be
sent out prior to the start of the program.
Ages 9-12 ANIMAL CONSERVATION & RESEARCH
Dates: September 28 – October 1 Times: 10am or 1pm
Homeschool Day $10/person
Students will examine how the Zoo
supports animal conservation and
Date: Tuesday, October 6 Time: 10am to 2pm
Along the way, students will learn
Homeschoolers of all ages are invited
Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and with our
the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
to protect and preserve endangered
experience will feature a STEM focused
students will conduct their own animal
but fun for all ages) and visits from
research locally and worldwide.
how science is used at the Pittsburgh
to a day of Wild Investigations with
conservation partners around the world,
This socially distanced self-guided
species. Throughout the course,
scavenger hunt (designed for ages 8-12,
behavior research project.
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 13
kidsâ€™ corner zoodoku
Each row, each column, and each of the large four squares
should have one of each animal. Fill in the blanks with the following animal names or pictures: red panda, turkey, siamang, or fossa. Solution on page 12.
Unscramble the words. Answers on page 12.
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Join us for our virtual adult lecture series this fall, featuring 3 of the Zoo’s professional staff. Cost includes all three thought-provoking chats, along with access to recordings. Learn something new and have fun, too, with some of the people that make the
Pittsburgh Zoo so special.
R EC TURE SE
Members: $45/household Non-members: $63/household
CONSERVATION PHOTOGRAPHY Wednesday, October 21 | 1 to 2pm As a conservation photographer, Paul Selvaggio has
captured the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s diverse
collection and significant animal events for close to 30
years. Join him as he shares his photos from several of the Zoo’s major conservation projects, such as Project
Frozen Dumbo, the Sea Turtle Second Chance Program, and, his personal passion, coral conservation research and restoration with SECORE International. NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH Wednesday, November 18 | 1 to 2pm Commemorate Native American Heritage Month with
SunBear Coe, the Zoo’s IT specialist and descendant of
the Ute and Dakota Tribes. He has performed throughout North America as a traditional and contemporary
singer, dancer, and storyteller. SunBear will share his
performances, as well as talk about the symbolism of Photo by Carly Stinelli
animals in Native American culture, some of whom reside here at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
THE EVOLUTION OF ZOOS IN PITTSBURGH Wednesday, December 9 | 1 to 2pm The Pittsburgh Zoo was not always the only zoo in town! Join lead keeper, Ray Bamrick, as he explores how previous zoos in the area dating back to the 1800’s
paved the way for the zoo you know and love today.
Ray will lead you on a photographic journey focusing
mainly on the early to mid-20th century, concluding with
personal photos from the start of his 38 year career in the old Zoo building.
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 15
holiday gift guide With each purchase from or contribution
Wild Encounters Get closer than
support the education, conservation, and
Wild Encounters at the Pittsburgh Zoo &
to our Holiday Gift Guide, you will help care of some of the most magnificent animals in the world.
you ever imagined with in-person or virtual PPG Aquarium. Encounters start at $75 Amazon Wishlist Through animal
Membership Make your loved one’s
enrichment, we provide animals with the
free admission to the Zoo, discounts at
We accomplish this by offering new food
exclusive events, and much more. With a
novel scents. Visit our Amazon Wishlist for
times as you would like for an entire year –
the animals. Items start at $5
Memberships start at $65
Adopt an Animal Support your
of a friend, family member, or someone
purchase of treats, toys, plants, and supplies
for wildlife and the wild places they live.
as well as provide specialized training for
your generous gift
are available for symbolic adoption.
adventures last all year. Members receive
opportunity to express natural behaviors.
our gift shop and restaurant, invitations to
items, objects, toys, nest materials, and
Zoo Membership, you can visit as many
enrichment items you can send directly to
now that’s a great investment!
Make a donation in honor or memoriam
favorite Zoo animal! Your gift supports the
important to you that shares your passion
for the 9,000 animals that reside at the Zoo,
The honoree will be notified of
Zoo keepers and horticulturists. All animals
Adoption levels start at $30 Online Store Shirts, mugs, and more! Shop our new online retail store for all Zoo merchandise.
16 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
What are the penguins doing? You can watch them anytime on our penguin cam!
Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 17
We are open! Fall Hours
Zoo Opens – 9am Gates Close – 4pm Park Closes – 5pm
Zoo Opens – 9am Gates Close – 3pm Park Closes – 4pm
Sept. 8 through Dec. 31, 2020
Jan. 2 through March 31, 2020
Zoo Insider is published by the Zoological Society of Pittsburgh. Supported in part through funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, and PPG. © 2020 Zoo Insider | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium | All photography © Paul A. Selvaggio unless otherwise noted. One Wild Place · Pittsburgh, PA 15206 | 412-665-3640 | All rights reserved
A Quarterly Newsletter for the Members of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium