Animals to feast on St. Patrick's Day treats, March 17

Keepers plan holiday-themed enrichment for orangutans, cougars, hippos

Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, including a red-haired lad and lassie from the Oregon Zoo known – on March 17 anyway – as the O’Rangutans.

On Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., visitors to the zoo’s Red Ape Reserve can watch Kutai and Inji, a pair of critically endangered Sumatran orangs, explore a cardboard lucky clover mine in search of leprechaun gold (treats wrapped to look like gold nuggets).

At 1 p.m., mountain lions Chinook and Paiute will enjoy some lickable green shamrocks painted on the windows of their Cougar Crossing habitat, and at 2:30 hippos Bubbles and Poppy will go bobbing for green goodies (heads of lettuce floating in their pool).

This is the 12th year that special St. Patrick’s Day enrichment treats have been handed out to zoo residents. The Oregon Zoo is known internationally for its enrichment programs, which mentally and physically stimulate animals by providing them with opportunities to play, hunt and forage. The zoo’s volunteer enrichment team works with keepers to create the treats and activities, which are tailored to the needs of individual animals.

Highlights from a previous year’s St. Patrick’s Day event

The zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Washington’s pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles, Oregon spotted frogs and Kincaid’s lupine. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.

Media contact: 

Media contacts:

Hova Najarian at 503-220-5714 or
Tinsley Hunsdorfer at 503-220-2448 or

Media information: 

What: A sneak preview of St. Patrick’s Day enrichment at the zoo. Polar bears Conrad and Tasul lick a cream-cheese rainbow off their exhibit windows and paw through a big “pot of gold” (barrel of golden ice cubes).
Where: Meet Hova or Tinsley at Gate D.
When: Friday, March 16, at 10:30 a.m.
Why: This is the 12th year special St. Patrick’s Day enrichment treats have been given to Oregon Zoo animals. The zoo is internationally renowned for its enrichment programs, which mentally stimulate the animals and provide them with the opportunity to play, hunt and forage.