Media Resources

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.

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.

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.

Oregon Zoo wins three national awards for conservation, environmental efforts

The Oregon Zoo received three prestigious awards from colleagues at zoos and aquariums across the country Wednesday — two for conservation work on behalf of imperiled Northwest species plus a special Green Award for environmental efforts in its day-to-day operations. The awards were announced in Phoenix Wednesday at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' annual conference.

"These awards are like the Oscars of zoos and aquariums," said Kim Smith, zoo director. "They not only recognize the Oregon Zoo's commitment to wildlife and the environment, but show that we have earned the respect of our peers in the zoo and aquarium world. We are very, very proud."

Voluntary polar bear blood draw at Oregon Zoo is a species first

How do you get a half-ton hypercarnivorous beast to willingly submit to a blood test? The short answer to this riddle is, of course, "very carefully." But a broader answer has resulted in significant animal welfare advances at the Oregon Zoo, where polar bear siblings Tasul and Conrad recently became the first of their species to allow blood samples to be taken without being anesthetized. Tasul has been comfortably allowing the zoo's keepers and veterinary staff to draw blood from a back paw since December, while her brother, Conrad, had his first voluntary blood draw this month. Preliminary lab analysis suggests this new method may physically reduce stress during veterinary treatment.

Zoo releases 1,183 endangered butterflies into wild

The Oregon Zoo's butterfly conservation lab successfully released the last of this season's 1,183 zoo-reared Oregon silverspot butterfly pupae this week. A dozen pupae (butterfly cocoons) were transported to coastal headlands to complete their transformation and join their wild counterparts.

Once common along the Oregon coast, the Oregon silverspot was reduced to four Oregon populations by the 1990s. The species was listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1980 — one of two Oregon butterflies listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Oregon Zoo’s youngest elephant, Samudra, turns 4 years old

The Oregon Zoo's youngest elephant, Samudra, turns 4 years old Thursday, Aug. 23, and keepers say the popular pachyderm has done quite a bit of growing up this past year. Like many 4-year-olds, Samudra is active and inquisitive, loves to play in water, and prefers fruit to vegetables, according to keepers. But after a few years of depending on his mother for milk and being nurtured by his "aunties," he is now nearly weaned — a necessity with Rose-Tu's second baby on the way — and he has also received some life lessons in what it means to be a bull.