Wildlife Blog

5 Cool Facts about Polar Bears for Polar Bear Day

Polar bears

Did you know today is Polar Bear Day? Here are five cool facts about polar bears to celebrate:

  1. Polar bears’ fur is actually clear and hollow. It appears white or yellow because of the reflection and scattering of light.
  2. Polar bears are the world’s largest land predators, weighing up to 600 kg (1300 lb.) and measuring up to 3 m (10 ft.) tall.
  3. Polar bears have excellent senses of smell. They can smell a seal’s breathing hole, or aglu, up to 1.6 km (1 mi.) away.
  4. A female polar bear builds a maternity den in a snow drift to prepare for the arrival of her cubs.
  5. Polar bears have two coats of fur and a thick layer of blubber to help keep them insulated from the cold.

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Oakland Zoo Cares for Rescued Tiger Cub

Rescued female tiger receiving extended care at the Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital; Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

A rescued female tiger cub is receiving extended care at the Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

The Oakland Zoo is caring for and treating a female tiger cub rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The cub was rescued from a private facility where she had sustained multiple bone fractures due to malnutrition. Because the bone fractures hadn’t been treated properly at the facility, some had healed at abnormal angles.

Now in the zoo’s care, the cub was examined and given nutritional supplements and pain medication. Once her bones build up enough calcium, zoo veterinarians and surgeons will determine the next stage of treatment in her healing journey.

“Seeing this young tiger enduring such obvious suffering is extremely difficult…no animal should experience life in this way. We are grateful to serve in a role that gives her hope for brighter days ahead”, says Nik Dehejia, CEO of Oakland Zoo.

For more information, visit the Oakland Zoo website.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services, and Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, examining a CT scan of the rescued tiger; Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital staff performing a thorough examination of the rescued tiger. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services, and Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, examining a CT scan of the rescued tiger. Photo Credit Oakland Zoo.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services, and Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, examining a CT scan of the rescued tiger. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

Rescued Manatees Returned to Wild

Manatee Release (Squirrel)

Squirrel, the manatee, on his way back to Florida waters. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

The Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership released five orphaned manatees to Blue Spring State Park in Florida. Blue Spring State Park is home to a spring that stays a constant 22°C (72°F). These warm waters provide a refuge to hundreds of manatees during the winter months.

The five manatees had originally been rescued as calves in 2020 or 2021. Over the past few years, they were treated and rehabilitated by a partnership of organizations, including SeaWorld Orlando, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Brevard Zoo, Georgia Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Save the Manatee Club.

The manatees were fitted with GPS tracking devices so their progress can be monitored.

For more information, see the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership website.

Manatee Release (Squirrel)

Squirrel, the manatee, being examined and measured before being released into the waters at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

Clank the manatee

Clank, the manatee, being carried on a tarp toward the water at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. When he was rescued as a calf, he weighed 58 kg (128 lb.) He now weighs 329 kg (725 lb.). Photo by Save the Manatee Club.

Clank the manatee getting released

Clank, the manatee, getting released at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. Photo by Save the Manatee Club.

Manatees

The five orphaned manatees were released into the water at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. This spring is home to hundreds of manatees because it stays a constant 22°C (72°F). Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

5 Cool Facts about Groundhogs for Groundhog Day!

It’s Groundhog Day today! Will the groundhog see his shadow? While groundhogs may not be the most accurate weather predictors, they are pretty cool animals. Here are 5 fun facts about groundhogs to celebrate Groundhog Day!

Groundhog or woodchuck

  1. Groundhogs are also called whistle pigs because they let out a shrill whistle when they sense danger.
  2. Groundhog burrows can be up to 20 m (66 ft.) long and contain many tunnels and chambers. They even have bathrooms!
  3. Groundhogs are true hibernators. In the winter, their heart rate slows from 80 beats per minute to 5. Their body temperature drops from 37°C to 3°C (99°F to 37°F). That’s barely above freezing!
  4. Groundhogs can climb trees! Sometimes they climb trees to reach apples or pawpaws (a kind of fruit).
  5. In the spring and summer, groundhogs eat at least half a kilogram (1 lb.) of vegetation per day! Luckily, they have teeth that never stop growing to keep up with the constant wear and tear.

Read our article about groundhogs for more cool facts about them!

PHOTOS: Baby Monkeys at San Diego Zoo

Baby squirrel monkeys at San Diego Zoo

Baby squirrel monkeys at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Lots of monkeying around happening at the San Diego Zoo these days! The zoo is celebrating the birth of four baby monkeys: two squirrel monkeys – one born Nov. 27 and one born Nov. 28, a Schmidt’ red-tailed monkey born Nov. 11, and a DeBrazza’s monkey born Oct. 28.

The babies and mamas are doing well, and guests to the zoo can now view them in their habitats.

For more information, visit the San Diego Zoo website.

Baby red-tailed monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo.

Baby Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Baby red-tailed monkey at the San Diego Zoo.

Baby Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Baby DeBrazza’s monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo

Baby DeBrazza’s monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

5 Cool Facts about Penguins for Penguin Awareness Day

Emperor penguin

It’s Penguin Awareness Day today! Here are five cool facts about penguins to celebrate.

  1. Emperor penguins don’t build nests. Instead, the male emperor penguin balances the egg on his feet and covers it with a warm layer of feathered skin called a brood pouch.
  2. African penguins are also called jackass penguins. They make donkey-like braying sounds to communicate.
  3. One species of penguin is called the macaroni penguin. They’re not made of noodles, but they do have fun yellow feathered crests on their heads.
  4. Penguins have white bellies and black backs, which aids in camouflage. Their white belly will blend with the light when predators look up at them from below, and their black backs meld with the darker seas when predators look down on them from above.
  5. Gentoo penguins are the fastest penguins, swimming at speeds up to 35 km/h (22 mph).

POLL: Which Animal Should We Add Next?

UPDATE: The winning animal is HAMSTER! Check out our article about hamsters here!

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Which animal would YOU like to see added to our Animal Facts page?
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Poll will close Friday, January 19, 2024.

VIDEO: Rare White Rhino Calf Born at the Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo was thrilled to welcome a new baby white rhino on December 28. Mother Sabi is doing well as a first-time mom, keeping close watch of her calf and keeping him clean.

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo. Photo credit: Toronto Zoo.

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo.

Photo credit: Toronto Zoo.

White rhinoceroses are considered Near Threatened by the IUCN, with their numbers decreasing in the wild. Toronto Zoo participates in a conservation breeding program to maintain genetically diverse populations of white rhinos.

For more information, see the Toronto Zoo website.