Foxpaws Spring 2020

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foxpaws PALM





W onde rfull y Wild


board of trustees


Chairman: Treasurer: Secretary:

Bill Appel * Craig McCollam * Sandra Cooper Woodson * President/CEO & Assistant Secretary: Allen Monroe *

Jon-Marc Blalock Susan E. Cooper * Melinda Drickey Marylynn Gladstein Patti Grundhofer * Candace Holzgrafe H. Earl Hoover II Suz Hunt Sis Jackson Michael Kiner * Janet Lanterman * Jaishri Mehta Peter Scheer

Michael Schreter Dick Shalhoub * Bill Simpkins BJ Skilling Phillip K. Smith, Jr. * Roger Snoble * Mary Lou Solomon Larry Spicer * Sam Spinello Nancy L. Stegehuis Van Tanner * * Board of Directors PRESIDENT EMERITA Karen Sausman TRUSTEE EMERITUS Curt Ealy Sherman A. Smith



City of Indian Wells – Mayor Ty Peabody City of Palm Desert – Mayor Gina Nestande and Councilman Sabby Jonathan City of Rancho Mirage – Councilman Ted Weill Coachella Valley Water District – Jim Barrett and Anthony Bianco Wayne Connor Associates – Wayne Connor Greater Palm Springs CVB – Scott White and Davis Meyer Bill Powers Judy Vossler Carol Wright

SECRETARY EMERITA Mary O. Cone LEGAL COUNSEL Brian S. Harnik Roemer & Harnik, LLP

ON THE COVER Aerial photo of The Living Desert today FOXPAWS EDITORIAL STAFF Project Manager Erin Scott Design Lourdes Muñoz

Dromedary Camel

CONTRIBUTORS Kirk Anderson RoxAnna Breitigan Mike Chedester Amy Crabb Dr. James Danoff-Burg May Guzman Allen Monroe Greg Murphy Erin Scott Angela Woods

FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK As The Living Desert celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is


table of contents 01

From the President’s Desk


50 Years of Conservation at The Living Desert


50 Years of The Living Desert


Like a Zoo... Only Better


Whitewater Rocks


Meet our New Australian Neighbors



Golden Anniversary Gala

17 ZooNews 18 WildFile 20 Events Calendar 21 SocialButterfly

important to reflect and consider what it took to get us to this point of becoming a world leader in education and conservation for desert wildlife and wild spaces. The need to educate the public about the natural world will only increase into the foreseeable future. If we want to remain a vibrant conservation organization in the year 2070, what lessons can we learn from the past to help ensure a successful future? I believe the path to future success depends on three things: a relevant mission, passionate staff, and community engagement. The critical essence of the mission of The Living Desert has remained unchanged since our founding: Desert Conservation through Preservation, Education and Appreciation. The inconvenient fact is that as the human population grows and our impact on the natural world increases, the need for education will only grow. If people are not connected with nature, they will not make good decisions on the use of natural resources, support the protection of wild habitats, or understand the efforts needed to maintain the ecological balances on our planet. The mission of The Living Desert keeps us focused on our primary task, working to make the world a better place. One message I often hear is how wonderful our paid and volunteer staff are at meeting the needs of the guests by providing excellent customer service or sharing the stories about the plants and animals that call The Living Desert home and I could not agree more. It takes an outstanding staff to make a great zoo and we are lucky to have so many people who are passionate about their work. For many of them, a career at a conservation organization is a calling that they pursue both to protect endangered species and to dedicate their commitment to making a difference. It might surprise you to learn that more people visit the major North American zoos and aquariums each year than go to NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB games combined. That’s more than 181 million people a year visiting zoological conservation organizations like The Living Desert. It is this audience that zoos can best engage with as future ambassadors for our planet and all the living things on it. As we look forward to the next 50 years, we will aim to help our guests discover the wonder of wildlife and spark a passion to care for the natural world at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

Allen Monroe, President/CEO foxpaws |



By Dr. James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens has been active in conservation since day one and

even more so currently. We have always taken our mission of desert conservation seriously, even dating back to when we were a dirt nature trail through a protected area for which we continue to manage and care. The ways in which we bring our mission to life each day has changed to reflect important priority shifts on what we should focus on, as well as improved understanding of the most effective approaches to make conservation most effective. One recent historian of science has suggested that there have been four phases in the history of conservation: Nature for Itself, Nature Despite People, Nature for People, People and Nature. Each phase is defined as having had unique purposes and unique types of conservation stories on which they focused. Saving species at The Living Desert has reflected and continues to reflect every one of these four phases to date. Equally important for me personally, every one of our departments, not just the conservation department, has directly contributed to our conservation successes throughout our history. Come with me now on a short tour of 50 years of conservation at The Living Desert as we retrace the history of conservation by highlighting a few of our main projects!

In the 1970s and 1980s, the focus of conservation globally and also here at The Living Desert was on preserving and protecting landscapes through protection and education about its importance, a phase that has been termed Nature for Itself. To this end, at our inception in 1970 we were entrusted with the care of what has now become 1,200 acres in The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Importantly, our nature preserve is also contiguous with the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The connection with this larger protected area helps further ensure that the bighorn sheep, desert iguanas, owls, and hundreds of other animals and plants that call the nature preserve home now will continue to do so in the future and with the support of local communities. Since our inception, this has keenly involved our education, gardens, and facilities departments to ensure that the nature preserve is in its most ecologically thriving condition.

Desert Tortoise

As we all became more aware of the harmful effects of what humans have done to the planet, in the 1980s and 1990s, our conservation work was focused on addressing extinction threats directly. This phase of conservation was termed Nature Despite People, where the focus was on threats to species and habitats caused by humans and creating strategies that could reverse or at least reduce them. During these decades, The Living Desert first became involved in breeding and releasing species whose populations were in decline. We have been the world leader in the Mexican wolf project, and still serve as one of the two leading organizations in collaboration with dozens of other organizations that comprise the bi-national recovery program. Once there were only seven remaining adult Mexican wolves in the wild that were brought into zoos, including The Living Desert, to become the start of a breeding program and subsequent reintroduction program. As of September 2019, there were as many as 441 Mexican wolves back in their native ranges, thanks in no small part to the work of The Living Desert! Similarly, since the 1980s, we have bred and released into the wild other species into many countries around the world including endangered animals like addax, Arabian oryx, Channel Islands foxes, and Peninsular pronghorn. Additionally, we have helped to care for and rear thousands of animals and tens of thousands of plants from hundreds of species on grounds. These animals act as insurance populations to help ensure the foxpaws |



long-term existence of all these species in cooperation with the other zoos in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Obviously, our top-quality animal care and gardens departments have helped lead these efforts for The Living Desert! In the early 2000s, conservation thinking moved away from single species focuses and instead moved toward managing ecosystems, often with the goal of providing sustainable benefits for people in the form of ecosystem goods and services. This phase can be thought of as Nature for People. Our education and park services departments have led our conservation efforts addressing this phase by 4

creating programs that get families and individuals out into nature to gain from the psychological and physical health benefits that come from outdoor recreation. These departments have created many programs that help people heal using nature, including our Me and You at the Zoo, Starry Safari, guided hikes, and more. The success of these programs attests to the benefits that our guests derive from these exploration-based programs. In the last few years, the most recent conservation phase began, one that The Living Desert has been at the forefront in leading. People and Nature recognizes that humans living nearby nature are a vital part of nature conservation and must be at the core of these efforts. The Community-Based Conservation Engagement Initiative (CBCEI) has been led by The Living Desert on behalf of all the organizations in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since CBCEI’s inception. Most of our newest conservation projects promote local people as leaders in conservation to help ensure their support and participation in the long-term care of nature. Examples of this include several projects. First, our evaluation study helped determine how the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit in South Africa could be even more effective in developing support for conservation among the communities surrounding the reserve on which they work. Second, our Time to Talk Trash campaign enlists the public to help properly dispose of food waste so as to reduce the

amount of trash to which ravens have access. Raven populations are over 700% what they were only a few decades ago due to subsidies provided to them by humans. This unnatural level of raven populations means that these influential desert tortoise predators are everywhere, which also decreases native songbird and lizard populations. People living near nature really do determine the success of our conservation efforts and these projects empower them to take appropriate action. One project that is particularly important for the People and Nature phase is our Building Community Conservation Success workshops. These social science training workshops teach conservationists, who are usually biologists, how to conduct surveys to best learn from their local communities. We have led these trainings in six countries with over 200 conservationists from over 40 organizations. Importantly, we stay in contact with workshop participants afterward to help them create additional surveys, analyze data, advise on data interpretation, and provide support in whatever other ways would help. Because of the multiplying effects of training others to do surveys, the impact of The Living Desert on improving conservation has increased even more than if we had done a small subset of the studies ourselves. The education and administration departments have been particularly helpful in making this important project be so effective. We have helped to change conservation for the better with our innovative and leading-edge approaches, since our inception with our contributions to more than 70 projects. Each of these projects have involved many collaborators – not just the conservation department, not just the many volunteers who have helped, and not even all the other staff from the other departments at The Living Desert. One organization alone cannot be as effective as multiple collaborating ones! To this end, we are and remain grateful to the more than 100 conservation organizations with which we partner to make the natural world a better place. Just as important as the conservationists who work on these projects with us directly, we are grateful for the support of our members, guests, and supporters. We would not have been able to acheive all of what we have done without you. Thanks for being Agents of Conservation along with us over the last 50 years!


We are eager to see the heights that The Living Desert can scale in the next 50 years. Join us in this journey and make our conservation impact even greater! 5

Admissions Building, 1978

First Bighorn sheep lamb born, 1973

Karen Sausman and first animal, Twix, a kit fox, 1974

50 years of

The Living Desert Early Guest Pass, Circa 1980

Carousel Ribbon Cutting, 2009

The Packrat Van, 1982

(B) Phillip Boyd, Bert Holloway, (F) Karen Sausman, Lucien Shaw, Circa 1970

Chase Aviary, 1976

Karen Sausman with Steve Chase, 1989

Trail Guide, 1981

Village Watutu Opening, 1999

Like a Zoo... By Kirk Anderson, Garden Curator

only better

Upper Colorado Desert Garden

A promotional tag line used at some point during

The Living Desert’s 50 years is an amazingly apt, if somewhat ambiguous summation, of its identity. “Desert Conservation through Preservation, Education and Appreciation.” The Living Desert was conceived by visionary individuals at a time when much of the creosote-studded valley floor still lay only touched by coursing sands driven by westerly winds. Today, The Living Desert is notably recognized as a top zoo in the nation. During countless interactions over the years, first-time guests have invariably related to me how pleasantly surprised they were by their visit - it’s not what they expected, it’s not like other zoos they’ve been to… it’s better. The difference, I believe, are the gardens. Having strolled amongst, crawled through, bled on, dreamt of and sweated in The Living Desert’s gardens for the past 33 years, maybe I’m biased. But I think the fact that the primary objective during The Living Desert’s initial stages of growth, and continuing on as a major focus through 1988, was the development of the botanical gardens, is still felt to this day. The Irvine Gardens, funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, are the backbone of the North American experience at The Living Desert. Initially they foxpaws |


were ten gardens representing eight different vegetation/ geographic zones of North American deserts, an educational ethno-botanic garden of local native plants and a demonstration garden to stimulate landscape ideas for homeowners using plants native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Construction on the gardens commenced in 1974 with the Mojave Garden and culminated with the Chihuahuan Garden (1988).

Yuman Garden

The original plan drawn out by Landscape Architect William Peacock, in collaboration with Park Director Karen Sausman, was closely followed. The Demonstration Garden (1977) was partly supplanted by the Hoover Education Center (1988) and re-appeared across 8

the pathway in an enhanced version, the Wortz Demonstration Garden (1998). The shifting sands of the Lower Colorado Desert Garden (Sand Dune Garden) (1981) were permanently stabilized with the opening of the Tennity Wildlife Hospital (2002). The MacDonald Butterfly Garden arose at that time to fill a portion of the original garden’s footprint.

gray-green leaves; thorns and succulence are all plant adaptations to surviving in a hot, arid climate. Examples of convergent evolution are witnessed as one moves from the North American part of the park to the African section. Aloe, Euphorbia and Alluaudia are the African or Old World counterparts to the Agave, Cacti and Ocotillo of the New World, respectively.

Ms. Sausman’s idea for how to present the plants for interpretation was unique. Rather than prosaic plant displays of onesies or twosies she wanted the gardens planted to create an immersive experience, to create the feeling of having been transported to the area being represented, of emulating natural patterns of plant distribution. Secondary garden pathways loop the visitor through the space away from the main path and allow for the translocation, if even momentarily, to the featured region.

The slender horn gazelle habitat opened in 1981 thereby broadening The Living Desert’s interpretive scope to the flora and fauna of the Old World. African acacias or thorn trees are the quintessential symbol of the African landscape and The Living Desert’s collection of thirty species imbues that section of the park with an authenticity not found in many North American zoos. Their sensitivity to frost and cold precludes growing most of the African acacias in much of the country. From the towering apple-ring acacias (Faidherbia albida) bracing the pathway to the grove of powdery-barked fever trees (Vachellia xanthophloea) neighboring the Thorn Tree Grill to the dense canopy of black monkey thorns (Senegalia burkei) shading the giraffe feeding platform the experience is genuinely African.

A trip through many zoos can be a fairly linear experience tracing along an array of animal habitats. The Irvine Gardens and their looped pathways create a depth that is unlike most zoos. They allow for a sense of exploration, a quiet, less hurried retreat where the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world can sneak through the electronic force field that encapsulates each of us these days. They give Mother Nature a chance to make a connection away from our blue light existence: Gambel’s quail and Abert’s towhees scratching through the mulch beneath a desert willow looking for seeds, the industrious activity of a harvester ant colony, the tireless foraging of any one of the 100+ species of native bees that make the gardens their home, the seemingly haphazard wanderings of Eleodes beetles, the nearly invisible brush lizard on its smoke tree perch or the push-up antics of the desert spiny lizard, great-horned owls on their daytime roost in the palms, the scents of creosote, sage and desert lavender. The call of the Least Bell’s Vireo, a federally listed endangered species, can be heard in some areas of the park. The Living Desert’s gardens have provided suitable habitat for several nesting pairs for a number of years now. The natural look and feel of the gardens helps to foster that sense of being ‘out’. For 50 years the remnant patches of native wash community plants have provided a thread of continuity through the grounds blending and obscuring the boundaries of developed vs. natural. By virtue of concentrating on desert systems most of the plants at The Living Desert share similar adaptive strategies, again, providing continuity and cohesion to the overall atmosphere. Small, gray to

Tending to spine-infused gardens can prove challenging as plant protection mechanisms do not discriminate between herbivores and gardeners. It takes committed individuals who can tolerate being seasonally roasted and treated as human pincushions and keep coming back for more year after year. The Living Desert has been fortunate to have just such a crew. As The Living Desert celebrates its Golden Anniversary, the current staff of ten who comprise the Garden Department, bring over 200 years of service dedicated to making The Living Desert the best it can be. I’d like to thank them for their ongoing effort to make a difference. Kirk Anderson, Garden Curator - 33 years Bob Linstead, Plant Propagator – 29 years Federico Vargas, Collections Gardener – 28 years Gilbert Ochoa, Collections Gardener – 28 years Sybil Rivera, Botanical Registrar – 21 years Mack Nash, Gardens Supervisor – 19 years Rigoberto Campos, Groundsman – 17 years Craig Patton, Collections Gardener – 14 years Mark Reeder, Collections Gardener – 14 years Jamie Sagmiller, Collections Gardener – 1 year Working in the gardens and with all of The Living Desert staff has been a rewarding and unique experience, like a job…only better. Cheers to the next 50 years!!! 9

WHITEWATER ROCKS! Whitewater Rock & Supply Co. has been serving Southern California’s landscaping needs since 1962 and supporting The Living Desert since 1991. From their iconic I-10 location at the Whitewater Exit, they offer a full range of building stone and rock products along with outdoor décor such as fireplaces, pottery and statuary. This is matched by their broad range of support for The Living Desert, which includes Business Membership, animal habitats, and annual underwriting of Howl-O-Ween, WildLights and Zoobilee Gala signature events. To experience an example of their product line and largesse, please stop by the bat eared fox, cape rock hyrax and leopard tortoise habitat, generously furnished with Whitewater rocks.

“The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature and wildlife that thrive in desert environments all over the world. Because of our love of the desert and the mission of The Living Desert, we had an opportunity to help in its early stages of development and watch it grow over the years. Memorable visits with our grandchildren have included camel interactions, giraffe feedings, chasing butterflies, visiting the petting area, checking out the trains and enjoying Howl-O-Ween and the WildLights during the holidays. What could be more fun for a young person than to see such a wide variety of wildlife and experiences first-hand?” – Linda Jo and Allan Bankus, Jr. Whitewater Rock & Supply Co.

For information about business membership, sponsorship or event underwriting opportunities, please contact Greg Murphy, Corporate Giving & Special Events Gift Officer, at 760-346-9584 or foxpaws |




AUSTRALIAN NEIGHBORS In anticipation of our newest habitat Australian Adventures, you’re invited to meet your new

neighbors! Get to know the interesting and unique species that will join the Australian Adventures habitat and greet you during your visit. Australian Adventures is set to open March 21, 2020. It will feature a walk-through experience with wallabies and many other adventures.

Red-necked Wallaby:

Meet the walkabout mob

Linus - Birthday is February 2016 Sydney - Birthday is November 2017 Jonathan - Birthday is December 2017 Ross - Birthday is December 2013 Zander - Birthday is August 2017

Incoming: Melbourne - Birthday is January 2013 Rocko - Birthday is January 2018 We don’t know our exact birthdays because we each hid out in our mom’s pouch for the first few months of our lives. We like bouncing around and are looking forward to meeting you in our new Australian Adventures home. We are curious, friendly, and enjoy sharing leaves with our friends.

Yellow-footed Wallaby:

Meet the rock-climbing mob

Our mob will not bounce around with you, but you will be able to see how agile we are up on the rocks. We are a little feistier than our red-necked neighbors. We love to eat grasses, plants and shrubs. Someday, because of our family dynamic, we may have a joey or two in the future.

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Laughing Kookaburra:

Meet the comedians of the outback

Adelaide - Birthday is September 2009

Tarzana - Birthday is January 2010

Turtle - Birthday is April 2016

You can hear us across the zoo when we use our cackling laughter-like call. Our favorite item to munch on is mice, so you will always like having us around.


Meet the soil engineers

People will also call us brush-tailed rat kangaroos or woylies. We love to dig and use our prehensile tails to collect items for our nests. We have been known to move about six tons of soil a year and never need a drink of water while doing so.


Meet the second-largest bird siblings

Little brother, Fazie - Birthday is March 14, 2018

Big sister, Elle - Birthday is March 15, 2018

We love to lunch on lettuce and bugs. We love water, playing in it, swimming in it and drinking it.



Join The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens for the party

of the half-century as the Zoo celebrates 50 years of desert conservation by honoring the past and building for the future. The wonderfully wild evening takes place on Saturday, March 7, 2020 with a Golden Opportunities Cocktail Reception, 24K Fine Dining and Entertainment. All proceeds benefit building the Zoo of the Future and the next phase of our $34 million Pride of the Desert Capital Campaign. This includes the new Crossroads of Conservation lion and rhino habitats, bringing these iconic African species to the Coachella Valley. The dazzling cocktail reception, underwritten once again by Shirley Smith, will abound with animal encounters along with a Winoceros Wine Pull, opportunity drawings for unique onsite experiences, and entertainment by the Citrus College Blue Note Orchestra and DJ Baz. Guests will then be dazzled by 24K Fine Dining and Entertainment in tented opulence where “paws” will be raised to support lions and rhinos. The celebration will be capped off with a performance by The Midtown Men, from the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys”. The Golden Anniversary Celebration’s honorary chairs are Harold Matzner and Shellie Reade, along with event chairs Patti Grundhofer and Dennis Flaig-Moore. Presenting Sponsors Harold Matzner and Shellie Reade, are joined by Platinum Sponsor Edie McCarthy and the Patrick M. McCarthy Foundation; Gold Sponsors Sharon and Dean Baltzell, the City of Rancho Mirage, Susan and James Gould; Silver Sponsors Bright Event Rentals, Jan Salta, and BJ and Van Skilling; and Bronze Sponsors Suzan and Bill Appel, Lu Barnes, Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sharon and Craig McCollam, and Karen Miles. Golden Anniversary Gala tickets are $550. Table sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available. Supporters may also consider a Tribute Ad in the Gala Program to commemorate the 50th Anniversary or to honor those who have generously contributed to our growth over the years. Go for the Gold and learn more about event support and marketing opportunities by contacting Greg Murphy at (760) 346-9584 / or visiting foxpaws |


Sponsors PRESENTING SPONSORS Harold Matzner and Shellie Reade PLATINUM SPONSOR Edie McCarthy and the Patrick M. McCarthy Foundation GOLD SPONSORS Sharon and Dean Baltzell City of Rancho Mirage Susan and James Gould SILVER SPONSORS Bright Event Rentals Jan Salta BJ and Van Skilling BRONZE SPONSORS Suzan and Bill Appel Lu Barnes Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau Sharon and Craig McCollam Karen Miles MEDIA SPONSORS Palm Springs Life The Desert Sun COCKTAIL RECEPTION PATRON Shirley Smith ENTERTAINMENT PATRONS Candace and Jon Holzgrafe WINE PATRONS Rita Stec and Lance Eldred Dick Shalhoub GIFT BAG PATRONS Patti Grundhofer Dennis Flaig-Moore INVITATION PATRON Donna MacMillan TABLE CENTERPIECE PATRON Whitewater Rock & Supply Co. “RAISE THE PAW” PADDLE PATRON Aristotle Capital Management, LLC PHOTO PATRON J. Squire Junger




Golden Opportunities Cocktail Reception | 24K Fine Dining | Solid Gold Entertainment Black & Gold Cocktail Attire | Complimentary Valet Parking

TICKETS $550 IN HOMAGE TO OUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY For tickets, table sponsorships and event underwriting opportunities, please contact Greg Murphy at 760-346-9584 or, or visit


Please join us for the party of the half-century in celebration of 50 years of desert conservation as we honor the past and build for our future.

2020 GALA COMMITTEE Honorary Presenting Chairs Harold Matzner and Shellie Reade Dennis Flaig-Moore, Chair Patti Grundhofer, Co-Chair

Gold Carpet Hosts Susan Stein, Fashion/Scene Editor, Palm Springs Life Peter Daut, Emmy-Award Winning Television Journalist


Karen Alciatore Suzan Appel Mary Barnum Jon-Marc Blalock Karla & Jeff Elder Erica Espinola Lea Goodsell Marylynn Gladstein Lindsay Grant Jan Harnik

Candace Holzgrafe Janet Lanterman Jaishri Mehta Davis Meyer Jneil Nelson Nick Raab Dick Shalhoub Mary Lou Solomon Patty Spicer Susan Stauber

Gala Emcee Haley Clawson, KESQ News Channel 3 Chief Meteorologist

Auction Host Brian Harnik, Esq.

Nancy Stegehuis Susan Stein Carla Sullivan-Dilley Judy Vossler Julie Williamson Sandy Woodson Frank Goldstin Momentous Events

Benefit Auctioneer Karen Sorbo


ZOONEWS ZOO NEWS CAMEL CONNECTION Camel Connection at The Living Desert is the new must-do activity at the Zoo! Generously sponsored by Edeltraud McCarthy, Camel Connection offers guests the opportunity to get up close to our herd of four camels, feed them, take a selfie, and more. Available daily from 9:00am-4:30pm, $5 for members and $7 for non-members. 2019 WILDLIGHTS A SUCCESS! The 27th Annual WildLights delighted over 30,000 guests this holiday season with new light displays and synchronized light zones. Generously presented by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, WildLights showcased the new Dazzling Gift, a 15’x15’ lighted present that proved to be a great photo op! The Living Desert is grateful for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation’s nearly twentyyear commitment to supporting this beloved holiday tradition.

Camel Connection

#SAVINGSPECIES MURAL Have you seen it? The Living Desert is home to a new art mural in the Living Legacy Garden. Muralist Jonathan Martinez (@art_ofthe_endangered) created a unique and engaging mural featuring a black rhino and an African lion as a prelude to our upcoming expansion projects, Crossroads of Conservation. During your next visit, take a moment to snap a photo in front of this beautiful work. The mural is sponsored by long-time supporter Lu Barnes, who wanted a unique way for Zoo guests to share their experience at The Living Desert on social media.

Rhino and Lion Mural

Dazzling Gift

As part of The Living Desert’s ongoing effort to make smart conservation decisions, foxpaws is now printed on 30% post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled paper. The Living Desert is committed to reducing our footprint, sharing conservation action steps; and inspiring our guests to help do their part. Every choice, even the small ones, can add up to a big difference and big impact.


WILDFILE WINEMAKER DINNER SERIES The Living Desert’s Winemaker Dinner Series kicks off this January. Returning by popular demand, our exclusive Winemaker Dinner Series is held from 6:00 – 9:00pm at various venues throughout the Zoo. Don’t miss this curated opportunity to enjoy some of the best wines, paired with a four-course chef-prepared dinner of culinary delights. These events will sell out. Tickets are now on sale at or by calling (760) 346-5694, ext. 2128. Individual event: $150 January 16, 2020 – Twomey/Silver Oak Cellars - SOLD OUT February 13, 2020 – Flora Springs Vineyards March 19, 2020 – Trefethen Vineyards April 16, 2020 – Far Niente Vineyards

WineMaker’s Series

JOIN US FOR BRUNCH AT THE ZOO | 10AM-12PM Share your Saturdays with us and enjoy a delightful brunch with animal encounters. Every Brunch is different; we hope you’ll join us for all of them! January 18 - Meet the Vet! Meet the Zoo’s veterinarian and visit with some of our animal ambassadors. Location: Tennity Wildlife Hospital and Conservation Center February 22 - Leopard and Hyena Enjoy exclusive hyena and leopard keeper chats and learn more about these special species. Location: District Commissioner’s House in Village WaTuTu March 21- Australian Adventures A special keeper chat with a preview of the new Australian Adventures habitat. Location: The new Kookaburra Café Overlook Individual Brunch: Adults: $30 | Children: $25 Call us at (760) 346-5694 to buy your tickets today! Members only. Programming subject to change.

Brunch at the Zoo

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ZOO BIRTHDAY PARTY | JANUARY 11TH Join The Living Desert as we kick off our 50th Anniversary Celebration. On January 11th, join the fun and experience special birthday themed activities and treats. To learn more, visit

PRIVATE SAFARI AND BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS Private Safaris and Behind-the-Scenes tours are a memorable way to experience The Living Desert. Aboard your private shuttle, your tour guide will offer a curated experience and delight you with informative stops as you make your way around the zoo. You’ll make stops at all the major habitats, walk through the Tennity Wildlife Hospital, and have an exclusive viewing of our Amur leopard. All tours are based on availability and must be scheduled in advance. Private safaris require a 48-hour lead time, and behind-the-scenes tours require a 12-day lead time. Book your private tour today by calling (760) 346-5694.

Private Tour

ZOOCAMP Save-the-date for Spring ZooCamp April 14-15 and 16-17. If you’re a budding naturalist and animal lover, you’ll want to participate in the fun. Learn how The Living Desert staff care for the amazing plants and animals at the Zoo, you may even be asked to help! Classes are from 8:30am-12pm and begin in the Education Center before venturing out on the grounds. Registration for members and general registration begins January 4, 2020. Register online at or by calling (760) 346-5694.


EARTH DAY CELEBRATES 50 YEARS Be part of the movement and attend the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and join The Living Desert as we Party for the Planet. On Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 9am-12pm, The Living Desert will host various activities for the entire family. Assist with various conservation projects, take a guided pollinator or nature walk, or even a guided trail hike. Participate in native plant revegetation of the Discovery Loop Trail, and visit the many exhibitors stationed at the Discovery Center.

Earth Day



THURSDAY, 2 Winter ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm FRIDAY, 3 Winter ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm Starry Safari 5:00pm - 9:00pm SATURDAY, 11 The Living Desert’s 50th Birthday Celebration 9:00am - 12:00pm

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MAR 2020

Spring Eggstravaganza

FRIDAY, 7 Starry Safari 5:00pm - 9:00pm

WEDNESDAY, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Me and You at the Zoo 9:00am - 10:00am Me and You in the Garden 10:00am - 10:30am FRIDAY, 3 Starry Safari 5:00pm - 9:00pm

SATURDAY, 8 Fairytales and Frog Day 9:00am - 12:00pm

SATURDAY, 4 Palm Desert Brew at the Zoo 6:00pm - 9:30pm

THURSDAY, 13 Winemaker Dinner Series 6:00pm - 9:00pm

TUESDAY, 7 Spring ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm

SATURDAY, 22 Brunch at the Zoo 10:00am - 12:00pm

THURSDAY, 16 Winemaker Dinner Series 6:00pm - 9:00pm SATURDAY, 18 Brunch at the Zoo 10:00am - 12:00pm

WEDNESDAY, 5, 12, 19, 26 Me and You at the Zoo 9:00am - 10:00am Me and You in the Garden 10:00am - 10:30am

APR 2020

WEDNESDAY, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Me and You at the Zoo 9:00am - 10:00am Me and You in the Garden 10:00am - 10:30am

FEB 2020

JAN 2020


WEDNESDAY, 4, 11, 18, 25 Me and You at the Zoo 9:00am - 10:00am Me and You in the Garden 10:00am - 10:30am FRIDAY, 6 Starry Safari 5:00pm - 9:00pm

Palm Desert Brew at the Zoo

SATURDAY, 7 50th Anniversary Gala 5:30pm - 8:30pm

WEDNESDAY, 8 Spring ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm

THURSDAY, 19 Winemaker Dinner Series 6:00pm - 9:00pm

THURSDAY, 9 Spring ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm

SATURDAY, 21 Brunch at the Zoo 10:00am - 12:00pm Australian Adventures Grand Opening

SATURDAY, 11 Spring Eggstravaganza 9:00am - 12:00pm TUESDAY, 14 Spring ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm 20

THURSDAY, 16 Spring ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm Winemaker Dinner Series 6:00pm - 9:00pm

MAY 2020

WEDNESDAY, 15 Spring ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm

FRIDAY, 1 Starry Safari 5:00pm - 9:00pm

SATURDAY, 9 Train Day 9:00am - 12:00pm

WEDNESDAY, 6, 13, 20, 27 Me and You at the Zoo 9:00am - 10:00am Me and You in the Garden 10:00am - 10:30am

SUNDAY, 10 Mother’s Day Brunch 9:30am - 1:00pm

FRIDAY, 17 Spring ZooCamp 8:30am - 12:00pm SATURDAY, 25 Earth Day 50th Anniversary 9:00am - 12:00pm

Fairytales and Frog Day

SOCIALBUTTERFLY SOCIAL BUTTERFLY We love seeing how our members spend their time at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, whether it’s at a “members only” event, or just a fun day at the zoo. When you tag a photo on social media that features The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens with the hashtag #TLDmember, we notice! Share your photos and experiences while you’re at The Living Desert. Use #TLDmember in your post, and you may see your photo in the next issue of foxpaws! For more information, please visit We can’t wait to hear from you!



47900 Portola Ave. Palm Desert, CA 92260

EXPLORE THE WORLD WITH THE LIVING DESERT The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Travel Club offers unique and memorable adventures that put you in the middle of the wild places we love and face to face with the animals that call it home. All our trips are small groups and offer intimate, one of a kind experiences. You will travel with expert conservationist and wildlife interpreter Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. Each year we offer two trips. Our upcoming trips for 2020 and 2021 include: • Kenya and Uganda, June 2020­— SOLD OUT • Amazon River, Iguassu Falls and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, October 6 – 18, 2020 • Antarctica, January 3 – 17, 2021 • Botswana and Namibia, October 2 – 13, 2021 Visit our website to see itineraries and pricing for each of the trips: Join The Living Desert Travel Club by calling Amy Crabb at (760) 340-4954 or email You will be invited to Travel Nights and receive “first dibs” opportunities on upcoming trips. Botswana

We hope you can travel with us soon to experience your trip of a lifetime!

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