Media Resources

Zoo celebrates polar bears' birthday Dec. 1

Oregon Zoo polar bears Conrad and Tasul may be getting on in years, but they still like a good party, keepers say. On Saturday, Dec. 1, the popular brother-and-sister pair turn 28 — quite old for polar bears — and at 10:30 a.m. that day the zoo will throw a birthday party for them, with treats and enrichment items that encourage the bears to exercise and think critically.

Penguins make big splash at zoo homecoming

Flightless birds aren’t typically migratory, but don’t tell that to the 16 Humboldt penguins making their home at the Oregon Zoo. For much of the past two years, the penguins shared a divided portion of the zoo’s polar bear habitat while improvements were made to their own quarters. This week the sleek seabirds returned home, waddling over the familiar rocky terrain and darting through the clear water of the zoo’s Penguinarium. The popular exhibit will reopen to the public on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Zoo to host Orangutan Awareness Week Nov. 11-17

The Oregon Zoo will mark Orangutan Awareness Week, Nov. 11-17, showcasing the highly endangered apes and their struggle to avoid extinction. Daily keeper talks and feedings will take place at 1 p.m. at Red Ape Reserve, where Inji, a 52-year-old Sumatran orangutan, and her grandson Kutai, 18, share a home with the zoo's white-cheeked gibbons.

Oregon Zoo turns 124, gears up for 'quasquicentennial'

The Oregon Zoo turns 124 years old today, and staff members are already planning celebratory events for the months leading up to next year’s 125th anniversary.
“It’s quite an impressive milestone we’re coming up on,” said Kim Smith, zoo director. “This zoo has been community supported since 1888 — a time when there were no cars, no planes and only 38 states in the union.”
Heading into its “quasquicentennial” — a fancy word coined by Funk & Wagnalls editor Robert L. Chapman in 1962, the year the zoo’s iconic Asian elephant Packy was born — the zoo will partner with other local institutions to celebrate its roots in the community. Among plans for the coming year is a collaborative exhibit with the Oregon Historical Society, which will trace the zoo’s progress from a small collection of exotic animals at a downtown Portland pharmacy to a national leader conservation, education and animal welfare.

Zoo-assisted study to search Cascades for wolverines

Biologists seek first photo evidence of species in western Oregon. Some will tell you it's a pygmy variety of bear. To others, it's a superhero with fierce sideburns. On the spectrum of enigmatic beasts, it's only slightly less mysterious than a sasquatch. But the wolverine is a very real animal, and biologists want to know whether the species is living in Oregon's Cascade Mountains.

Trick or meat: zoo tigers celebrate Halloween birthday

Amur tigers Mikhail and Nicole turn 14 this week at the Oregon Zoo, and keepers plan to treat the brother-and-sister pair to a Halloween-themed birthday bounty: a meatball-studded cardboard birthday cake, scented papier-mâché party balloons, and some pumpkins stuffed with delicious carnivore snacks. The tigers, wearing orange and black for this (and every) occasion, will receive their goodies at 10:31 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Zoo study seeks method for predicting elephant's due date

As Asian elephant Rose-Tu heads into her 21st month of pregnancy, anticipation is building at the Oregon Zoo. Some staffers have organized informal office pools to guess the date of the calf's arrival. And this week the zoo launched a contest on its Facebook page: Whoever guesses closest to the actual date and time of birth gets to be first in line at the calf's public debut.

Pachyderms pulverize pumpkins in prelude to 'Howloween'

Visitors can see some of the world's largest land animals demolish some of the area's largest pumpkins at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, during the Oregon Zoo's annual Squishing of the Squash. "Our elephant herd will get a 700-pound pumpkin to smash, play with, munch on and maybe even roll around in," said senior elephant keeper Shawn Finnell. "It will be interesting to see what Rose-Tu does this year. She's twenty-one months pregnant, so she could be extra hungry, or she might not be into pumpkins at all."

Oregon Zoo sponsors local teens’ trip to see wild polar bears

Gresham High School senior Haley Schaeffer, along with three Beaverton students known as the Conservation Crew, will be heading to the Canadian tundra this weekend for a weeklong teen leadership camp sponsored by Polar Bears International, the world's leading polar bear conservation group. The Oregon Zoo selected Schaeffer as its 2012 representative in PBI's "Arctic Ambassador" program, based on her past outreach and community involvement. She will join 15 other teens from across the United States, Canada and Australia at the camp, which takes place in and around Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Zoo shows off stripes, spots during ‘Tiger and Leopard Awareness Day’

Two critically endangered cat species will share the spotlight Sept. 30, during the zoo's first Tiger and Leopard Awareness Day, presented by Banfield Pet Hospital. Visitors can learn more about the zoo's Amur tigers (Mikhail and Nicole) and leopards (Borris and Kia). These cats' wild counterparts, native to the Amur region of southeast Russia, are among the most endangered big cats in the world. Fewer than 500 Amur tigers are believed to remain in the wild, and the number of Amur leopards is estimated to be fewer than 40.

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