CA -- San Diego -- Balboa Park -- San Diego Zoo (Koala):
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Wikipedia Description: San Diego Zoo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The world-famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California is one of the largest, most progressive zoos in the world with over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species. It is privately operated by the nonprofit Zoological Society of San Diego on 100 acres of parkland leased from the City of San Diego, and ownership of all animals, equipment and other assets rests with the City of San Diego.
The Zoo offers a guided tour bus that traverses 75% of the park. There is an overhead gondola lift (called Skyfari, a play on "Safari"), that provides an aerial view of the Zoo and is a quick way to move between opposite ends of the Zoo.
Exhibits are often designed around a particular habitat. The same exhibit features many different animals that can be found side-by-side in the wild, along with native plant life. Exhibits range from an African rain forest (featuring gorillas) to the Arctic taiga and tundra in the summertime (featuring polar bears). Some of the largest free-flight aviaries in existence are here. Many exhibits are "natural" with invisible wires and darkened blinds (to view birds), and pools and open-air moats (for large mammals).
The San Diego Zoo also operates the San Diego Wild Animal Park, which displays animals in a more expansive condition than at the Zoo. Animals are regularly transferred between both parks, as well as other zoos around the world, usually due to Species Survival Plan recommendations.
The cool, sunny maritime climate is well suited to many plants and animals. Besides an extensive collection of birds, reptiles and mammals, it also maintains its grounds as an arboretum, with a rare plant collection. As part of its gardening effort, it raises some rare animal foods. For example, the Zoo raises 40 varieties of bamboo for the pandas on long-term loan from China, and it maintains 18 varieties of eucalyptus trees to feed its koalas.
The Zoo provides society memberships for only a slight premium over the general admission fee, and currently holds over 250,000 members. Society memberships provide year-round re-entrance rights, guest passes and a subscription to the Zoo's magazine ZooNooz. It uses income from its attractions to maintain the animals and support zoological education, science and conservation. For example, it maintains a research division, the department of Conservation for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) .
It is extremely active in conservation and species-preservation efforts. Its Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) raises and releases California Condors, Pandas, Tigers, African Black Rhinos and a large number of other endangered species. It employs numerous professional geneticists, cytologists and veterinarians and maintains a cryopreservation facility for rare sperm and eggs.
In addition to its normal publicity efforts, and web page, the Zoo also produced a short TV program for a number of years with Joan Embery. Joan Embery brought various animals to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and more recently, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The Zoo loaned the animals.
The Zoo interns only selected graduates of the Veterinary College of the University of California, Davis. Its keepers are unionized.
The Zoo literally counts its animals as priceless. It carries the value of its animals and plants at one dollar, in accord with customary practice among zoos.
The San Diego Zoo grew out of exotic animal exhibitions abandoned after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Dr. Harry Wegeforth founded the Zoological Society of San Diego, meeting October 2, 1916 and initially following precedents set by the New York Zoological Society. A permanent tract of land in Balboa Park was set aside in August 1921, and the zoo began to move in the following year. The publication ZooNooz commenced in early 1925.
The San Diego Zoo has been a pioneer in building "cageless" exhibits. The Zoo's Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) was founded in 1975. CRES was renamed the division of Conservation and Research for Endangered Species in 2005 to better reflect its mission.
The San Diego Zoo is one of the world's few major zoos to have almost all of its major exhibits be open-air; in fact, the only major exhibition building on grounds is the Reptile House.
* The first two giant panda cubs in U.S. history to have been born in the U.S. and survive into adulthood, Hua Mei (female) and Mei Sheng (male) were born at the San Diego Zoo, in 1999 and 2003, respectively.
* The San Diego Zoo currently has the largest population of Giant Pandas outside of mainland China, Bai Yun (female), Gao Gao (male), two year old Mei Sheng, and a female panda cub, Su Lin, born on August 2, 2005. They can be seen on the San Diego Zoo Panda Cam.
* The zoo was featured prominently in the 2004 movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, though filming was not done at the San Diego Zoo.
* In the Dreamworks feature film Madagascar, the animals from Central Park Zoo assume they must be in San Diego Zoo upon landing in Madagascar, due to the pristine white beaches and "extensive habitats"
* During the 1960s and 1970s, admission for children under 16 was free regardless of whether they were accompanied by a paying adult.
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