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It is with great sadness that Zoo Miami announces the passing of “Red,” a 27 year old male ostrich.  Red was found deceased on Wednesday morning by his keepers and a thorough necropsy was performed by the Animal Health Department yesterday.  Though there was no initial obvious cause of death determined, there were several tissue samples submitted for more in-depth testing that will hopefully provide a better answer.  The results of those tests won’t be available for several weeks.

Red was a long-time resident of Zoo Miami having arrived here in August of 1996.  Over the years, he had become a personal favorite of the zookeepers who cared for him.  Often seen sharing the habitat with the giraffe and zebras, he got his name from the red color that his skin would turn during the breeding season.  He could also be heard making a characteristic “booming” sound and then seen “dancing” in front of his keepers as a form of courting them!

Standing over seven feet tall, ostriches are the largest of the world’s birds and though flightless can run over 40 miles per hour.  They have huge eyes that are actually larger than their brains.  Though not particularly intelligent as a species, Red stole the hearts of his keepers with his antics.  He was the last remaining ostrich at Zoo Miami and his loss has left a large hole in the hearts of his keepers and those who had the privilege of knowing him.

at Friday, December 3, 2021


Today, Zoo Miami’s flock of forty Caribbean flamingos (18 males and 22 females) were rounded up on their habitat so that they could each receive their annual wellness exams.

The Animal Health team set up a mobile clinic alongside a specially constructed corral area adjacent to the habitat and one by one, each flamingo was brought in to be checked by Zoo Miami Associate veterinarians Dr. Rodney Schnellbacher and Dr. Marisa Bezjian with assistance from the Animal Science and Animal Health teams. 

Examinations included getting individual weights, collecting blood samples, and checking the overall body condition with special attention to the feet which can be susceptible to certain issues.  In addition, each flamingo was vaccinated against West Nile virus.  Some of the younger individuals that were receiving their first annual exam also were implanted with transponders for identification.

Other than some minor eye issues commonly associated with advanced age and some foot issues that will be carefully monitored, all of the flamingos appeared to be in good condition and were successfully returned to the habitat immediately following the procedure. 

These exams are part of an important preventative medicine program designed to identify any potential health issues within the zoo’s population.  Because they are wild animals, they oftentimes will disguise any symptoms of disease or illness until the progression is advanced.  By being able to identify any potential issues during early stages through preventative exams, lives can, and have been saved.

at Thursday, December 2, 2021


On October 26th, “Barney,” a 28 year old silverback lowland gorilla underwent a thorough physical exam as part of a preventative medicine program at Zoo Miami.  During that exam, it was diagnosed that the gentle giant was suffering from a minor case of pneumonia that would require treatment.

With humans, an important part of treating many respiratory ailments involves the utilization of a nebulizer which enables the patient to breathe in medications that can then directly reach the lungs to provide relief and promote healing.  Though this is usually not difficult to do with a human who understands the purpose of the nebulizer, this is much more of a challenge with a nearly 400 pound gorilla!  To effectively administer treatment, the patient must remain still and voluntarily inhale the medication while the nebulizer is held in front of the nostrils.

Thanks to a dedicated and committed effort by the Zoo Miami Animal Science team, staff members have been able to successfully train Barney to sit still while presenting his nose to a zookeeper, separated by a safety barrier in the holding facility at the gorilla habitat.  The keeper then places the nebulizer in front of Barney’s nostrils while he takes deep breaths to properly inhale the medications.  These treatments have been taking place daily for several weeks and have proven very beneficial to Barney’s recovery from pneumonia. 

This treatment is just one example of how zoo animals are trained to perform certain behaviors that allow them to contribute to their own health care without the need to restrain or anesthetize them.  As with humans, anesthesia can often be the most dangerous part of any procedure so the ability to eliminate the need for anesthesia is a major benefit.

On behalf of everyone at Zoo Miami, we wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season!

at Monday, November 29, 2021


It is with great excitement that Zoo Miami, in collaboration with Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, announces that the pair of bald eagles that have been the subject of their “Eagle Cam” have produced an egg!!

In collaboration with Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment at the Zoo Miami Foundation, a man-made nesting platform was constructed for a pair of bald eagles that had lost their nest to a storm.  When that nest was destroyed in the storm, the two chicks that were in it fell over 80 feet to the ground.  Sadly, one of the chicks did not survive.  The other was badly dehydrated and had suffered a fractured wing.  After surgery and months of rehabilitation at Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, the eaglet was successfully released on the border of Everglades National Park by Miami-Dade-Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Because of the lack of success the adult pair had in raising the chicks due to the unstable nest location, Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill teamed up with Wildlife Rescue of Dade County’s Lloyd Brown, to construct a stable platform at the previous nest sight in hopes that the pair would return and utilize the platform to rebuild their nest. 

In addition to the platform, the team also installed state-of-the-art high definition cameras that would allow the activity at the nest platform to be viewed online 24 hours a day.

Though many experts said that the eagles would not return due to the construction of the platform and installation of the cameras, they did indeed return and after some hesitation, began to rebuild their nest on the man-made platform!!  For weeks, we have observed the pair bringing in a variety of materials ranging from thick branches to soft grasses as they worked together to construct the new nest.  The big question was whether or not they would actually get to the point of producing eggs. 

There was a scare a few days ago when a rogue female that was unofficially named “Jezebel,” flew into the nest and fought off the male!  It has been documented that eagles will occasionally try to take over the nests of other eagles when there are limited nesting areas so there was a real fear that this may occur.  Fortunately, the pair was able to take the nest back and “Jezebel” has not been seen since!

Yesterday evening, “Rita,” the female eagle was seen sitting on the nest for the first time at night.  She was restless as she kept repositioning herself in what appeared to be attempts to get more comfortable.  Then, she ruffled up her feathers and appeared to be shivering.  When she stopped shaking, she stood up and there was a freshly laid egg under her! 

This is extremely exciting for everyone who has invested so much time and effort to provide these majestic birds with a safe and stable nesting area for all the world to see and appreciate without being intrusive.

Bald eagles typically lay two eggs so it is expected that “Rita” will lay another egg within the next few days.  If all goes well, with an incubation period of approximately 34-36 days, we could see eagle hatchlings sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Day!

With that said, there are still many things that could go wrong.  The eggs may not be fertile.  They may be predated on by anything from small mammals to other birds.  The parents may become sick or injured and not be able to care for the eggs.  A severe storm could damage the eggs, etc.

The fact is that there are many challenges still ahead for this pair of eagles.  Whatever happens, we must let nature take its course and will not interfere with any natural process.  However, we hope that whatever happens, the unique opportunity provided by the work of Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment will help connect people to nature in a more personal way.

There is an old saying that states: “In the end, we protect what we love, we love what we understand, and we understand what we are taught.”  Hopefully, by viewing the life and challenges of these eagles in real time, people will learn to understand then better and in turn, love them.

Here is the link to the live Eagle Nest Cam: 

Happy Thanksgiving!

at Thursday, November 25, 2021


Zoo Miami breaks all-time attendance record by welcoming more than 1 million guests in fiscal year 2021.  Following closures and setbacks from the global pandemic and years of coming close to the milestone, Zoo Miami makes history with more than 1 million visitors.

“We are beyond excited to have reached this milestone, especially during an unprecedented pandemic.  We are forever grateful for the support of our community who visited us as soon as we re-opened and for those that continue to visit.  We thank you for enjoying the fresh air, flora and fauna at Zoo Miami.  The benefits of nature are immeasurable for good heath of the mind and body,” said Will Elgar, Zoo Miami Director.

Guests are to expect a celebration to come in the New Year.  Visitors can look forward to enjoying music, giveaways, surprises, and special activities.

Zoo Miami will continue to have a lot to celebrate in 2022.  The New Year will bring them the opening of a new Sea Turtle hospital to help heal and nurture turtles in need so that they can return to the wild.  They also will continue making plans for the new Animal Hospital to replace the current hospital that opened in 1986.         

“Our goal has always been to provide premium care for all our animals. To do this, it is essential to have an experienced veterinary team (already in place) and an animal care facility that meets today’s modern standards followed by other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions and private state-of-the-art veterinary hospitals.  Other 2022 plans involve enhancing current animal exhibits,” said Elgar.

1M+ Video link here:

at Tuesday, November 2, 2021

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