11 August 2010

San Diego Zoo ...

Katy & I spent about 4.5 hours yesterday wandering around the San Diego Zoo.

It was such a beautiful sunny day and the zoo was just about the most  perfect place to spend it.

The San Diego Zoo sits on 107 acre and is located in Balboa Park and  is considered one of the largest & most progressive zoos in the world with over 800 different species and  4000 animals.

It  is also one of only a handful of  zoos in the world that has every major exhibit, expect the reptile house,  as an open -air exhibit due to it's cool sunny climate.

- The Monkey Trail -

The San Diego Zoo also operates the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which is an 1800 acre park and houses over 3000 of the zoo animals.  The animals are rotated between the zoo & park so they can spent time in the larger enclosures.

FYI: The SD Safari Park is home to the largest veterinary hospital in the world.

- Gibbons -

"Animals are regularly exchanged not only between the two locations but also between San Diego Zoo and other zoos around the world, usually in accordance with Species Survival Plan recommendations." (wiki)

- Flamingos -

"Next door to the hospital is the Institute for Conservation Research which holds the park's Frozen Zoo ( It employs numerous professional geneticists, cytologists and veterinarians and maintains a cryopreservation facility for rare sperm and eggs )."  (wiki)

- Meerkats -

"The San Diego Zoo also has an amazing collection of rare & exotic plants and it also raises over 40 varieties of bamboo to feed the Giant Panda bears as well as 18 different types of eucalyptus trees to feed the Koalas."  (wiki)

- Bamboo Graffiti -

The San Diego Zoo is one of only four  zoos in the US to be lucky enough to have Giant Panda's on display.

The Memphis Zoo, Atlanta Zoo and National Zoo in Washington, D.C also have Panda bears.

The San Diego Zoo has been involved in Panda Conservation & research for over 14 years now and  has seen more live births than any other zoo with five Giant Panda cubs.

- Su Lin -

 All Giant Pandas in the world belong to the People's Republic of China and are loaned out to zoos around the world as part of ongoing conservation efforts.

A panda is usually loaned out for a ten-year loan period with the provision that all cubs born belong to China and must be returned  shortly after the cubs reach the age of three.

Each  zoo  pays China a loan fee of million dollars ($1,000,000) per year and an additional one-time fee of $600,000 per cub born.

Panda are rare and very expensive  - in addition to the loan fees the maintenance, food & care of each panda's yearly upkeep is approximately 5 times as expensive as that of the next most expensive zoo animal - the elephant.

- Yun Li -
"The Giant Panda is a conservation reliant endangered species. A 2007 report shows 239 Giant Pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country.
Wild population estimates vary; one estimate shows that there are about 1,590 individuals living in the wild, while a 2006 study via DNA analysis estimated that this figure could be as high as 2,000 to 3,000."    (Wiki)
- Zhen Zhen -

Monday, August 15th,  is the last day that Su Lin & Zhen Zhen will be on display at the San Diego Zoo.

They are now both over three years old and are scheduled to be returned to China at the end of the summer.

"We will miss Su Lin and Zhen Zhen, but as a conservation organization we are aware of the significant breeding contributions they will make in the preservation of this critically endangered species at another panda conservation center such as Bi Feng Zia," said Carmi Penny, co-head of the San Diego Zoo's Giant Panda Conservation unit."

This was the first time either of us had ever seen a panda and it is easy to see why they are one of the most adored & beloved animals on earth.  

- Zhen Zhen -

This was also the first time I had ever seen a Koala bear.


They were all sound asleep except one who was half awake but keep nodding off as we watched him.

Apparently koala's sleep about 22 hours a day.

They are just as cute in person as they are in pictures!

- Nap time-

Here is a look of some other sights we saw at the zoo....

- Smile -


Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my!
- Life is more fun at the zoo -

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  1. OK thats a good enough reason for me to pack the kids in the car and go for a road trip.
    Have to plan that one for next summer.
    that zoo looks incredible!!!

  2. Really nice pictures, Nancy, and a very enjoyable review of my favorite zoo in the entire world! How did you know what the 4 US zoos that have giant pandas are? (have you read our book?)

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America's Best Zoos

  3. I enjoyed your blog. Just wanted to say "hey!" Lisa (Washington, DC area)


garden thoughts ...

'I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself. And I find sufficient purpose for my day.'
- Robert Brault -