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October-December 2020

ZOO insider A Quarterly Newsletter for the Members of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Lion Pride

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 Zoo’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.

1 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

New Additions While “the human world is a mess�

(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


Thank you to our loyal sponsors, vendors, and partners for your continued support! Allegheny Health Network



Beyond Spots & Dots

Eat’n Park


Busy Beaver Building Center, Inc.

GEICO Military


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

3 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

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

Lion Pride

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

the wild.

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.

5 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

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

to support.

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.

donate now

Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 8


Learn more

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

book now

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

buy tickets

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.

9 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

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

Ages 6-12

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 Zoo’s Cat Species

Ages 10+

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!

11 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

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.

family programs

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


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

Ages 5-8

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


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.


in-person Sessions

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.

live animals.

Fall 2020 VOL. 27, NO. 4 | 13

kids’ 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.

















14 | Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

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

register now






Pittsburgh Zoo so special.


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

Honorary/Memorial Donation

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.

their name.

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

contributed in

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

Winter 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

Profile for Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

ZooInsider | Fall 2020  

A Quarterly Newsletter for the Members of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

ZooInsider | Fall 2020  

A Quarterly Newsletter for the Members of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Profile for pghzoo