The Oregon Zoo will soon bid goodbye to one of its tallest out-of-town guests ever: Riley, a 17-foot-tall reticulated giraffe, will be returning home to Utah's Hogle Zoo this month following a two-year stay in Portland.
Polar bears like it cool, elephants like it warm and the Oregon Zoo likes it sustainable. Now, zoo construction crews have begun work on a project that will let these two endangered species keep each other's thermostats at comfy levels via an innovative high-tech system buried 12 feet underground.
Two Native American totem poles that loom tall in Oregon Zoo history will reappear on the zoo campus soon — newly refurbished, brightly painted and more striking than ever. The totem poles — one crafted by Chief Don "Lelooska" Smith and another by father-and-son artists Rex and Ray Losey — have been on the zoo campus for decades, becoming familiar visual cues for visitors over the years.
Starting today, Oregon Zoo visitors can see three cotton-top tamarins — a species of small New World monkey named for the striking crest of long white hair on their heads — at a newly refurbished spot in the zoo's Fragile Forests section, animal-care staff announced.
Keepers this week tried a new cat toy out on the Oregon Zoo's aging Amur tiger Mikhail, and the result was a splashy swim on a warm summer day. On Tuesday, zookeepers tossed a 3-foot-long green plastic cylinder into the tiger pool from a rooftop overlooking Mikhail's habitat. The 400-pound tiger bounded right in after it, splashing playfully and batting the toy around.
The Oregon Zoo may soon be welcoming another litter of African lion cubs, its second in two years. Animal-care staff say Kya, one of two female lions in the zoo's Predators of the Serengeti habitat, is pregnant and expected to give birth in September.
In case you needed another reason to love firefighters: They're now helping senior-citizen primates at the Oregon Zoo kick back in style. This month, the Clackamas Fire District donated around 2,000 feet of decommissioned fire hose to the Oregon Zoo, where a pair of creative keepers is turning the hose into hammocks for 54-year-old orangutan Inji and gibbons Phyllis and Duffy.
The Oregon Zoo's Lorikeet Landing, home to several species of the exotic and brilliantly hued birds, will close for the season as usual Oct. 12, but when it reopens next spring, some different residents will inhabit the space.
Crews this week will begin laying tracks for the new Oregon Zoo railway, which is just a few months away from reopening after being offline for nearly a year. Circling a 20-foot-high elevated trestle in the forest north of Elephant Lands, the new ride will take visitors along a route optimized for spectacular views of animals as well as the annual winter ZooLights display, which opens Nov. 28.