Media Resources

Zoo experts hope rabbit romance sparks panda passion

Coaxing endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits into "breeding like rabbits" has never been simple. But a recent breakthrough at the Oregon Zoo suggests the secret to rabbit chemistry lies in the right matchmaking service. Now, the mate-compatibility research may prove beneficial for another unlucky-in-love endangered species: the giant panda.

"The panda is the world ambassador for all endangered species," said Meghan Martin, the Oregon Zoo research associate who led the study. "If our research with pandas shows similar findings to what we've seen in pygmy rabbits, it will be a very big deal for the zoo breeding world."

Love is in the air, treats in store for zoo animals on V-Day

Roses are nice, chocolates are too, but animals crave other treats at the Oregon Zoo. Keepers will spread the love Thursday, Feb. 14, delivering some nontraditional Valentine's Day gifts to the zoo's primates, marine mammals and cougars.

Has trunk, won't travel: Lily belongs to Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo has it in writing: Lily the elephant is here to stay. In an agreement finalized today, the zoo assumed legal ownership of Rose-Tu's new calf from Have Trunk Will Travel, the California-based company that had previously held rights to the young elephant.
"Lily's living arrangements were never in question," said Kim Smith, zoo director. "But this makes it official: Lily will live her life with her family herd, the way elephants should."

Oregon Zoo hedgehog forecasts six more weeks of winter

It might be nice outside now, but don't pack those snow tires and chains away just yet. Jabari, the Oregon Zoo's African pygmy hedgehog, saw his shadow today, indicating six more weeks of winter could be in store. Or not.

"Last year, Jabari predicted an early spring, which was not all that accurate here in the Northwest," Smith said. "But our hedgehog does have about the same success rate as Punxsutawney Phil."

Zoo rings in Year of the Snake with free admission - Feb. 10

Bubba, the Oregon Zoo's impressively huge Burmese python, will be slithering into the spotlight soon. The zoo is offering free admission Feb. 10, celebrating the start of the Lunar New Year — and, according to Chinese astrology, this one will be the Year of the Snake. Visitors to the zoo Feb. 10 can take in animal talks, have an up-close encounter with a live snake, and learn more about conserving endangered Asian wildlife.
"Celebrating the Lunar New Year helps us bring attention to Asian animals that are imperiled, including snakes," said Kim Smith, zoo director. "We want visitors to make a connection with the animals here — even the cold-blooded ones — so that they leave the zoo wanting to make the world a better place for wildlife."

Zoo to Punxsutawney Phil: You ain't nothin' but a groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil may hog most of the attention on Groundhog Day, but Oregon Zoo traditionalists say Jabari the hedgehog is the one to watch. The spiny little creature, whose name is Swahili for "brave one," will boldly make his prediction Saturday, Feb. 2, at 10:30 a.m. in the zoo's entry plaza: Will it be an early spring this year, or should we hunker down for six more weeks of winter?

City OKs all the Oregon Zoo's remodeling plans

The City of Portland has granted land-use approval to the Oregon Zoo for improvements to be made across the zoo site over the next decade. The decision, which took effect Jan. 28, allows work to proceed on the full complement of zoo projects approved by metro-area voters in 2008. In all, these projects will transform nearly 40 percent of the zoo site.

"We're very grateful for this vote of confidence from City of Portland and equally grateful for the community's ongoing support," said Kim Smith, zoo director. "The zoo prides itself on doing the right thing — for the animals, of course, but also for our neighbors, for our visitors and for the entire community. The next 10 years should be among the most exciting in the zoo's 125-year history."

Two for the road: zoo finds home for orphaned cougar cubs

A pair of young cougar cubs found orphaned and starving near Missoula, Mont., have briefly taken up residence behind the scenes at the Oregon Zoo while they await a flight out of town this evening en route to a new, permanent home at Tennessee's Chattanooga Zoo. Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman described the 5-month-old siblings, one male and one female, as "intensely cute, but far from cuddly." "The cubs are about as large as medium-sized dogs, with paws as big as bread plates," Schireman said. "They still have a bit of blue about their eyes and the fuzzy spotted coats you see on younger cougar cubs, but both the blue and the spots have begun to fade."

Masto-gone: zoo's ice age visitor to return to Smithsonian

The Oregon Zoo’s Lilah Callen Holden Elephant Museum — home to elephant-related art, historical artifacts and a 7,000-year-old fossilized mastodon skeleton — will close its doors for good this month, as the zoo prepares for construction on Elephant Lands, a dramatic expansion of the Asian elephant habitat. Zoogoers wishing to see the museum one last time may visit Jan. 11-21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Oregon Zoo’s top ten conservation stories of 2012

From pinhead-sized caterpillars to California condors, spanning locations as far flung as Uganda, Peru and Estacada, the Oregon Zoo's conservation efforts made a difference for dozens of threatened and endangered species in 2012. Here's a look back at our conservation highlights from the past year.