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Zoo chef, nutritionist prep healthy cake for Packy's party

Paul Bosch, the Oregon Zoo's new executive chef, may have worked for Elephants Delicatessen before, but he's never cooked for an actual elephant — until now. "I'm really looking forward to making Packy's 51st birthday cake," Bosch said. "It's always a little intimidating to cook for a celebrity, but we're trying some new things this year, and I think he's going to like it." Elephantastic, featuring Packy's 51st birthday party, takes place Sunday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free with zoo admission. Birthday cake for human party guests will be served at noon, courtesy of Lamb's Wilsonville Market. Packy receives his cake at 2 p.m., and visitors can join in singing a birthday song to the prestigious pachyderm as he chows down. For more information, visit oregonzoo.org/events.

Five Humboldt penguin chicks hatch at Oregon Zoo

The spring baby boom continues: Five new hatchlings have joined the Oregon Zoo's 18 adult Humboldt penguins over the past month — the first penguin chicks to hatch at the zoo in four years. During hatching season, zookeepers routinely check the progress of brooding penguin parents, briefly removing eggs from nest boxes each day to make sure they are fertile and in good condition. And this year, one of the eggs presented keepers with a rare opportunity: the chance to watch a Humboldt penguin chick as it first emerges from its shell.

Oregon Zoo sponsors lecture by polar bear expert

Every Arctic autumn, pregnant polar bears excavate a tunnel in the snow to serve as their over-winter maternity ward. When spring arrives, they emerge with cubs and a huge appetite. This remarkable process — called denning — allows vulnerable infant bears to be born into one of the harshest environments on earth. But as climate change transforms the Arctic, mother bears are being forced to adjust where and when they den. Will their maternal strategies adapt fast enough?

Famous elephant Packy is turning 51 at Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is throwing an elephant-sized party to celebrate the species that made it famous. Elephantastic, held each year on or near Packy's birthday, takes place Sunday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the zoo. Packy, the oldest male Asian elephant in North America, turns 51 that day. Elephantastic, free with zoo admission, features a full day of activities, with games, crafts and that ever-popular fashion accessory: elephant ears.

Out like a lion: zoo smashes March attendance records

The Oregon Zoo shattered attendance records in March, as nearly 160,000 visitors flocked to the park to see new additions like pink flamingos, a baby DeBrazza's monkey and a river otter pup just learning to swim. This week, the zoo's monthly discount day offers a chance to see more animals for less. Second Tuesday is tomorrow, April 9, and admission is just $4.

Just say 'Mo': Zoo's baby river otter gets a name

After several weeks of consideration, keepers at the Oregon Zoo have settled on a name for the new baby river otter. The pup will be called Molalla, or Mo for short, named after the Oregon river.

Eggs-citing time for kids at zoo's annual 'Rabbit Romp'

Eggs-citing times are in store Saturday, March 30, when the Oregon Zoo hosts its annual Rabbit Romp, a celebration of spring for all ages. Rabbit Romp is sponsored in part by the Oregon College Savings Plan and is free with regular zoo admission.

As spring break nears, flamingos are set to 'flock this way'

No need to book that trip to Miami: For spring break this year, locals can get their flamingo fix at the Oregon Zoo. This morning, 21 lesser flamingos waded into the newly remodeled Africa Rainforest aviary, where the pink birds can be seen by zoo visitors starting March 23.

Wakey, wakey! Zoo rouses 3,500 caterpillars for trip north

Over the past two weeks, Oregon Zoo conservationists have roused more than 3,500 Taylor's checkerspot caterpillars from their winter dormancy, transferring the tiny larvae to "wake-up chambers," where they have been eating voraciously, according to zoo butterfly keeper Mary Jo Andersen.

Newborn De Brazza's monkey debuts at Oregon Zoo

A baby De Brazza's monkey was born at the Oregon Zoo over the weekend. Late-night keepers first saw the new arrival around 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 24. The mom, 22-year-old Brooke, has been keeping her newborn close, and the zoo's animal-care staff has yet to determine the baby's gender.

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