Last ticket sold at 4:00 PM
Today, Zoo Miami’s newest baby Slender-Horned Gazelle was introduced to the exhibit with its parents. The calf was born on August 21st but has been in seclusion with its parents to give it time to properly bond and ensure that it has a good healthy start to life. Mom’s name is “Gladys” and dad’s name is “Pip,” in honor of legendary performers, Gladys Knight and the Pips! In keeping with the theme, the baby, a male, has been named, “Bubba,” after one of the actual “Pips!” At birth, the calf weighed just over 3 pounds and presently has the body size of a Chihuahua with very long legs!!
With less than 2,500 believed to exist in the wild, the endangered Slender-Horned Gazelle is found in isolated pockets of the Sahara in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria. Found in herds of usually less than 8 individuals but sometimes numbering close to 20, their greatest threats are hunting and human activity in their range. Their most common natural predators are lions and jackals. Weighing between 40 and 60 pounds, they selectively feed on a variety of flowers, fruits and young leaves from the plants found in their habitat. Both males and females have slender horns with the male’s growing longer to a length of approximately 15”. They are relatively small gazelles with an adult shoulder height of approximately 28 inches.
The Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) has selected Zoo Miami’s Conservation Action Center as the 2021 recipient of the Innovative Programming: Environmental Resiliency and Sustainability award. This award is given in honor of the outstanding work done by Zoo Miami to advance the park and recreation profession in Innovative Programming for environmental resiliency and sustainability.
“Zoo Miami, the leading conservation and education wildlife advocate of Miami-Dade County parks, is honored to be awarded with the Florida Recreation and Park Association Award for the Conservation Action Center! Since we opened in January 2021, we are proud to share our local and global conservation work with our community of supporters!” said Will Elgar, Zoo Miami Director.
The Conservation Action Center, presented by the Marc and Robin Osheroff Family, is an immersive, interactive exhibition experience that introduces guests to conservation stories, both globally and locally. Guests can learn what they have in common with a polar bear and crawl through a larger-than-life python while learning about the impacts of invasive species. Visitors can see how fast they can scoop the “poop” into compost bins in “What’s the Poop?” and whack out environmental threats in “Habitat Whack-A-Mole.” They can touch a “robo-frog” and see how they help save frogs in the Amazon! They’ll explore the “Finding a Shared Habitat” house to see how their everyday actions at home impact their ecosystem and experience how environments come to life as they pledge to take action on behalf of wildlife. The Conservation Action Center tells powerful and personal stories of animals and people alike. Guests can discover their connections to conservation and see how they are helping to save species!
The Florida Recreation and Park Association annually awards park and recreation agencies, employees, volunteers and partners that have made an impact on their community. Nominees must submit information and details supporting the nomination and a volunteer committee made up of their peers reviews and rates the submissions. The FRPA Awards presentation takes place at the Annual FRPA Conference in August. Winners are presented with a plaque and recognition through the FRPA Journal. More information on the Awards Program can be found at frpa.org/awards.
About the Florida Recreation and Park Association
The Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) was established in 1942 as an organization dedicated to the promotion, preservation, advancement, and advocacy of the Parks and Recreation profession. FRPA is directed by a volunteer Board of Directors and an Executive office located in Tallahassee, FL. Members are professionals working for federal, state and local park, recreation department and leisure service agencies throughout the state of Florida. For more information visit frpa.org. Follow FRPA on Twitter and Facebook.
Travel the world in one day by foot, on a safari cycle or on a tram tour! With almost 750 acres and 4 miles of walkways, Zoo Miami is home to more than 3,000 animals representing more than 500 different species. A proud advocate for local, national and international wildlife, Zoo Miami is involved in 30 wildlife and environmental conservation initiatives annually across five continents. From jaguars in the Amazon, tigers in Asia, to koalas in Australia and crocodiles in the Florida Everglades, a trip to Zoo Miami will transport you around the globe with refreshing water play areas, up close animal encounters and feedings.
Zoo Miami, a Miami-Dade County Park, is located at 12400 SW 152 street; Miami, FL 33177. General zoo admission is: $22.95/adult, plus tax and $18.95/child (3-12) plus tax. Children under two, zoo members, and parking are free. Zoo Miami’s hours are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; last ticket sold at 4 p.m. For tickets, reservations, & operations updates please visit http://www.zoomiami.org or call (305) 251-0400
It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that Zoo Miami announces that last night, “Hope,” the koala, was found dead by zoo staff. The staff had been making regular checks on him following several days of lethargy and lack of appetite.
Over the last year, Hope had demonstrated some recurring issues with his gastrointestinal system that the Animal Health department was monitoring and treating. These issues are not uncommon in koalas and Hope did show some positive improvement with the treatments he was given. However, over the past week, his health seemed to rapidly decline. In order to better determine the cause of this decline, zoo veterinarians immobilized him to be able to do a thorough examination that included X-rays, blood collection, and various cultures. The initial examinations did not reveal anything obvious that would explain the decline but it was hoped that test results would be able to better illuminate any underlying issues not immediately visible. Sadly, Hope died before we were able to receive and evaluate the results of those tests. A thorough necropsy will be performed today to hopefully explain this devastating loss.
When Hope was born on May 30th of 2019, he was only the third koala born in the zoo’s history and the first to be born at the zoo in over 28 years. His birth brought international attention and joy from around the world. He received his name because shortly after his birth, Australia was suffering from catastrophic fires and many felt that his birth was a symbol of “hope” that things would get better. Zoo Miami sent thousands of dollars in Hope’s name to Australia to support the wildlife rescue efforts taking place in the midst of those fires.
Hope’s 5-year-old mother, “Rinny,” and 10-year-old father, “Milo,” continue to live at Zoo Miami and appear to be doing well.
On March 13th of this year, Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill was notified by Lloyd Brown, founder of Wildlife Rescue of Dade County (WRDC) of which Ron is a Board member, that he had just been contacted by Audubon Eagle Watch volunteer, Jeanne Kaufmann. She told him that a bald eagle’s nest in South Miami had been severely compromised by a storm and that the two chicks in the nest had fallen 85 feet to the ground. Sadly, one of the chicks died but the other was still alive, lying at the base of the nest tree, but appeared to be injured.
Lloyd and Ron, along with WRDC team member Jemma Peterson, drove to the location where they met with Jeanne who guided them to the chick at the base of the nest tree. With one of the parents still circling above, Lloyd carefully examined the chick and noticed that it was severely dehydrated and appeared to have an injury to one of its wings.
After discussions over the phone with U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, it was concluded that as a life-saving measure, the bird needed to have immediate medical attention and permission was given to transport it to the WRDC facility for treatment and hopeful rehabilitation.
Working closely with avian veterinary specialist, Dr. Don Harris and VCA South Dade Animal Hospital, who donated their services, the eaglet, determined to be a female, was closely examined and X-rays revealed that it indeed had a broken right wing. Thanks to a successful surgery by Dr. Harris, in addition to a variety of other treatments over several months, she has been able to regain full use of her injured wing.
Lloyd and his team have dedicated many hours over the last several months to rehabilitate this eaglet, providing regular flying exercises to build up her strength, as well as teaching her how to fish while providing other food options that she may encounter in the wild. To our surprise, in addition to fish, one of her favorite foods is iguana! This is a unique adaptation to the South Florida environment with a potentially beneficial impact on efforts to control an invasive species. Should this individual be successfully released into the wild and eventually raise chicks of her own, the hope would be that she would teach her chicks to also hunt iguanas, thereby creating a generation of bald eagles that would help provide a natural control over the population of these invasive lizards!
After over 5 months of dedicated care and rehabilitation of which all out of pocket costs were covered by the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment at the Zoo Miami Foundation, it has been determined that this magnificent raptor is ready for release!
The release is set for this Saturday, August 21st, at 11:00AM. It will take place on the border to the main entrance of Everglades National Park (SW 237th Avenue and Ingraham Hwy, adjacent to the canal that borders the front entrance of the park). This event is not open to the public but special access is being given to the media in what we all hope will be a wonderful “feel good” story. Interested media is asked to arrive no later than 10:45AM so that they can be in position to capture the moment that we open the crate door and she flies free for the first time in her life!
As a side note, Lloyd and his team, along with Ron Magill, have been working over the last several days to install a more secure platform in the nest tree where the original nest was destroyed by a storm. Financed by the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment, they have also installed high-resolution web cameras around the nest platform. Since eagle pairs usually return year after year to the same nest site, the hope is that the parents of this rehabilitated eagle will return this year to rebuild their nest on the much more secure platform with the eventual goal of successfully laying eggs and raising chicks. If that indeed occurs, the web cameras will be able to live stream the entire process so that anyone in the world can watch what is sure to be a truly wonderful natural series of events!
During initial rounds this past Sunday morning, zookeepers were unable to find “Gizmo,” a nearly 8 year old meerkat. Sadly, after a meticulous search of the habitat, both above and below ground, his lifeless body was located in what appeared to be a collapsed tunnel. Though zoo staff is still waiting for the final results of a necropsy, it appears as if Gizmo may have been in the tunnel when it collapsed, trapping him inside.
Gizmo was born at the Brevard Zoo in October of 2013 and arrived at Zoo Miami in June of 2018. Since his arrival, he has been a favorite among staff and guests alike and his loss has been devastating, especially for his keepers.
As part of the daily routine caring for the meerkats, zookeepers are very diligent about manually collapsing all the tunnels within the habitat at the end of each day in order to prevent the tragedy that apparently struck Gizmo. Unfortunately, because the meerkats are constantly digging, another tunnel may have been quickly constructed following the keeper maintenance routine and sadly, because of the excessive rain we have experienced the last several days, it was unstable and collapsed.
Tragically, a similar incident happened in July of last year when one of the first meerkats to be born at Zoo Miami was also found trapped inside a collapsed tunnel and did not survive. The meerkat exhibit will remain closed until further notice as zoo management reevaluates the procedures in place to see what changes can be made to help ensure the prevention of a similar occurrence in the future.
The meerkats have been a fan favorite of Zoo Miami since their arrival in June of 2000. Their popularity is global thanks to the “MeerCam,” which allows anyone anywhere in the world to view the meerkats online through a webcam. Though temporarily disabled during this difficult time, the hope is to have it up and running as soon as new protocols and procedures are established and the habitat can be reopened.