Young Tiger Siblings Explore Outdoor Habitat for First Time
SAN DIEGO (Oct. 12, 2023) —Two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs emerged from their den today at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The cubs, born July 12, stepped out to explore their outdoor habitat, much to the delight of wildlife care staff and volunteers.
The nonprofit San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance revealed the cubs’ names in September—the female cub is Puteri, (pronounced Poo-tear-e), which means "princess" in Malay; and the male cub is Hutan, (pronounced Hoo-taan), which means "forest."
Cubs’ Arrival Increases the Population of this Critically Endangered Species
SAN DIEGO (July 27, 2023) — San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is celebrating the birth of two Sumatran tiger cubs—the first of this critically endangered species to be born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Tull Family Tiger Trail habitat in seven years. Their birth also comes just in time for Global Tiger Day. With only an estimated 400 to 600 Sumatran tigers remaining on Earth, the births are significant in increasing the worldwide population of this tiger species and furthering the nonprofit conservation organization’s ongoing work to conserve them.
SAN DIEGO (June 1, 2023) — The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is celebrating a conservation milestone with the birth of an endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo—only the second time this species has been born at the Safari Park. The female joey, named Kikori, was born to mother Arona and father Bek, at the end of August 2022 at the Safari Park’s Walkabout Australia.
“We are elated with the birth of this Matschie’s tree kangaroo joey,” said Donovan Vila, wildlife care specialist, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Matschie’s tree kangaroos are endangered, so this joey provides hope for the future of this species.”
Recent Births and Hatchings Offer Guests Rare Opportunities to Learn About Little-known Species—and Celebrate “Mother’s Day” Every Day
SAN DIEGO (May 11, 2023) – From Arabian oryx to Nubian ibex, and spotted turtles to Amur leopard cubs, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are brimming with babies! Every day is “Mother’s Day” and “Babies’ Day,” as a spring baby boom is now providing guests at both the Zoo and Safari Park with remarkable opportunities to see and learn about amazing young wildlife—including an okapi calf, a Matschie’s tree kangaroo joey and a Przewalski’s horse foal at the Safari Park; and Andean bear cubs, Lord Howe Island stick insects and Fijian iguanas at the Zoo.
Babies are always delightful—cute and fun to watch grow—but more importantly, these wildlife youngsters serve as ambassadors for their species. Seeing a baby animal up close provides guests a unique opportunity to connect with them, with the hope that each visitor gains a greater appreciation for the species, and the urgent need to conserve and protect wildlife and native habitats.
The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), participate in the AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP) to maintain healthy, genetically diverse assurance populations of many threatened and endangered species.
Guests visiting the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park can see the newest generation of young wildlife and their doting mothers, while also enjoying special events and activities.
At the San Diego Zoo
Nighttime Zoo May 26-Sept. 4
The San Diego Zoo’s annual after-dark extravaganza—Nighttime Zoo—offers guests live music, entertainment, special events and more while learning more about wildlife from an unusual nighttime perspective.
This summer, two dazzling events will light up the night. "Call of the Night"—a 12-minute symphony of live music, lasers, moving lights, rhythmic acrobats, fog and bubbles—will be presented nightly at Hua Mei Plaza; and "Jambo Dunia!," a 15 -minute spectacular celebrating Africa along Front Street, will be led by the Zoo’s musical act, Chameleons, and showcase festive pageantry with giant, handcrafted puppets.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Journey into the Wild – all new!
Join the Safari Park’s wildlife care specialists at an all-new conservation presentation—making its debut this month—highlighting a variety of wildlife ambassadors! Species will vary each day and represent San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s conservation work in South America (Amazonia) and right here in our own backyard in the Southwest. Journey into the Wild takes place daily at 2 p.m., at Benbough Amphitheater.
All summer long, guests at the Safari Park can experience up-close wildlife encounters, entertainment, culinary delights and more, making memories that last a lifetime. For guests looking to upgrade their visit, the Safari Park offers memory-making Safari Experiences, including:
A Behind-the-Scenes Safari, allowing guests to venture deep into the Safari Park, get a closer look at their favorite wildlife and meet the wildlife care specialists who care for them.
A Wildlife Safari is a great way to see antelope, giraffes, rhinos and more from the comfort of a covered, open-air safari truck, and journey into our African savanna habitats with an expert guide.
The Flightline Safari is an exciting zip line adventure, allowing guests to soar like a condor over the Safari Park. Riders travel more than two-thirds of a mile over the Asian and African savanna habitats, above exotic wildlife including wildebeest and antelope.
Roar & Snore Safari is an overnight tent-camping experience in a scenic location that overlooks the East Africa savanna habitat—the Safari Park’s largest—inhabited by giraffes, rhinos, and more.
The Sun Up Cheetah Safari gives visitors a chance to witness the fastest animals on land doing what they do best, before the Safari Park opens. Safari guests take an early morning expedition with an experienced guide and enjoy the remarkable sights and sounds as a new day begins.
With every visit to the Zoo and Safari Park this summer, guests become allies for wildlife. With every admission ticket, and each time guests purchase an item or share what they have learned about wildlife and conservation, they help San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance take another step in achieving its mission of saving animals and plants worldwide, and creating a world where all life thrives.
Sometimes called “the Last Wild Horse,” Its Birth Is the First at the Safari Park in Almost a Decade
SAN DIEGO (Jan. 27, 2023) – Conservationists at the nonprofit San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance have announced the birth of a Przewalski’s horse —a critically endangered species of wild horse that was categorized as Extinct in the Wild until 1996. The foal is the first Przewalski’s horse born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since 2014, and is one of only four individuals born in North America over the past year.
Vultures have one of the worst reputations in the Animal Kingdom just by doing what comes naturally—eating carrion. These unique birds serve as the custodians of the wild, and are critical to ecosystems around the world.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a long history of success in breeding endangered vultures, including Ruppell's vultures like this one, Egyptian vultures, and most famously, the California condor.
Click the link below to learn more about San Diego Zoo’s vulture conservation efforts:
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 22, 2022) —The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has announced the birth of a male southern white rhino calf, born at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center. The calf was conceived through natural breeding and was born on Aug. 6 to first-time mom Livia, and father J Gregory. Wildlife care specialists report the calf is healthy, confident and full of energy, and that Livia is an excellent mother, very attentive and protective to her offspring.
SAN DIEGO (May 12, 2022) – A 3-month-old giraffe calf at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has received a new lease on life, thanks to swift intervention by the conservation organization’s wildlife health and wildlife care teams to correct abnormalities that threatened the calf’s survival. The female youngster—named Msituni (pronounced see tune neee), which means “in the forest” in Swahili— received a pair of specialized giraffe-patterned orthotic braces that attached to her front legs to help correct a hyperextension of the carpi, bones that are equivalent to those in the human wrist. This disorder had caused the giraffe’s front legs to bend improperly, and made it difficult for her to stand and walk. Wildlife care staff said Msituni’s chances of survival would have been very low without the treatment provided by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance team in collaboration with orthotists from Hanger Clinic.
SAN DIEGO (Sept. 23, 2021) – After more than four decades of successfully breeding, rearing and introducing California condors and other vultures back into their native habitats, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is ushering in a new era of vulture conservation. Wildlife care specialists at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have begun hatching and raising the Western Egyptian vulture, a species native to southern Europe, Asia and northern Africa. Listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, very few of these rare birds live in the United States—and this novel breeding program represents new hope for increasing the conservation population of the species in North America.
“This is an endangered species with a rapidly declining population trend, as is the plight of many vulture species,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Increasing the number of individual birds and maintaining genetic diversity in North America is an extremely important part of our work. As Egyptian vulture numbers continue to decline in their native habitat, the genetic line of every individual becomes increasingly more important to the continuation of this species.”
A chick named Jamila was successfully hatched earlier this year, and she is the offspring of the only Western Egyptian vulture breeding pair in North America. She is also the first hatchling of the species in San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s 105-year-history. To ensure Jamila’s survival after hatching, wildlife care specialists used 40 years of experience conserving threatened vultures by puppet rearing her—a practice where they passed food to Jamila from the beak of a lifelike hand puppet resembling an adult vulture. This care process is particularly valuable to the successful rearing of a chick from a species with such low population numbers, and with inexperienced parents. It also ensures that the chick not only receives proper care, but also does not form a bond with humans.
“Puppet versus hand rearing is an important distinction to make, as these are very intelligent animals that can easily imprint on humans, if we are not careful,” said Peterson. “Due to the low numbers of Egyptian vultures, each one is very special. The likelihood of survival for each offspring is greatly increased by assisting with rearing in the early years of a program. The California condor program is a great example of how this method is used.”
Worldwide, vultures are considered one of the most threatened groups of birds, yet they are essential to a healthy ecosystem—preventing the spread of disease to other wildlife and to humans. The well-known California condor program is a noteworthy conservation success story as it not only allowed scientists to study the species, but also helped them develop and enhance the systems necessary to preserve a vital vulture species that was near extinction. California condors are just one of 19 of the world’s 23 vulture species that San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has cared for, and the Egyptian vulture is the 11th species that has successfully bred at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Moving forward, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance plans to use its vulture expertise to continue increasing this species populations, and work with additional partners—including zoos and other conservation institutions—to help supplement the program when needed.
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 27, 2021) – A six-day-old female southern white rhino calf explored the Safari Park’s 60-acre African Savanna earlier this morning—running, playing and curiously getting close to Cape buffalo that share her habitat—all under the watchful eye of her protective mother. The calf, yet to be named, was born in the early hours of Aug. 22 to first-time mom Kianga, and father J Gregory.
“We are delighted to welcome this calf to the Safari Park’s crash of southern white rhinos,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Babies are always delightful—cute and fun to watch grow—but more importantly, they serve as ambassadors for their species. Seeing a rhino up close allows our guests to connect with them, with the hope they gain a greater appreciation for them, and the vitally important need to conserve and protect rhinos and their native habitats.”
Wildlife care specialists report the calf is healthy and nursing well—and Kianga is proving to be an excellent mother, who is very attentive to her offspring. Estimated to weigh around 125 pounds at birth, the little ungulate with big feet will nurse from her mother for up to 12 months; and she is expected to gain about 100 pounds a month for the first year. When full grown, at around 3 years of age, she could weigh between 4,000 to 5,000 pounds.
Rhinos are very important to the ecosystems in which they reside. Southern white rhinos live in the savannas of Africa. These gentle giants are mega-herbivores, grazing on grasses—which helps maintain the diverse African grasslands, increasing plant diversity and providing grazing areas for other animals that share their natural habitat, such as elephants, zebras, antelope and gazelles.
There are an estimated 18,000 southern white rhinos remaining in Africa. The southern white rhino is classified as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, due to poaching threats and illegal trafficking of rhino horn. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has been working for more than 40 years, along with other accredited zoos, to keep a sustainable population of rhinos safe under human care while working to protect them in sanctuaries in their native habitats.
Kianga’s calf is the 104th southern white rhino calf born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since 1972. The rhino calf and mom can best be seen roaming their habitat from the Park’s Africa Tram, a Wildlife Safari, a Balloon Safari or from the Park’s giraffe cam (showcasing a multitude of wildlife including rhinos, giraffes, Nile lechwe, African crowned cranes, gazelles and other species) viewable online at sdzsafaripark.org/giraffe-cam.