Just because the temperatures are getting colder doesn’t mean a trip to the zoo is out! With the only exceptions being Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is open every day. With more visitors to contend with in the summer months, you’re likely to get more out of your visit during the fall and winter months! And the animals are usually more active in the cooler weather as well!
Need more reasons to visit? Here’s a look at some of the newest additions at the zoo that you won’t want to miss.
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
SEA LION PUP
Among the newest attractions to the zoo is a sea lion pup born this past September to first-time mom, Maggie. The pup is only the second to be born at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. In the summer of 2009, keepers said they were “pleasantly surprised” to find that one of its sea lions, Zoey, had given birth. “We are so very excited,” Zoo President and CEO Dr. Barbara Baker said in a press release of the 2009 birth. “This is the first sea lion to be born in the 111-year history of the Pittsburgh Zoo.” Sea lion keeper, Judy Obeldobel, says Maggie is definitely benefiting from watching Zoey. “The fact that Maggie witnessed and participated in the development of another pup for the last 16 months, will help her be a good mom as well,” Obeldobel said in a blog on the zoo’s website.
NEW TIGER CUBS
In September, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium celebrated the addition of three baby Amur tiger cubs. Toma, the zoo’s 12-year-old Amur tiger, gave birth to the cubs in September. “The baby tigers are really important to us,” the zoo’s Curator of Reptiles and Kids Kingdom Henry Kacprzyk told KDKA. “The birth of these tigers is key to the survival of the species in the United States. There’s not many tiger births that occur — and Pittsburgh is one of the leaders in tiger breeding; and people want to see them up close.”
While you’re checking out these adorable new additions, you won’t want to miss the three new baby springboks! The zoo welcomed the two males and a female springbok in June. These bouncing bundles of joy look similar to gazelles and can leap up to 13-feet into the air. “If they are being chased by a lion of a leopard or a cheetah, they need a way to get away, and one of the things they do is [bounce] straight up,” Dr. Baker told KDKA. Native to Africa, the springbok is about as common there as white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania!
AFRICAN PAINTED DOGS
They’re no longer babies – having celebrated their first birthdays in November; but the litter of African Painted Dogs born at the zoo is definitely worth visiting! With only between 3,000 to 6,000 African Painted dogs remaining in the wild, keeping these puppies alive has been a very big deal for the zoo staff over the last year. Now full-grown, the dogs overcame a huge obstacle early on when their mother died two days after giving birth. Remarkably, however, the pups survived with the help of a very special surrogate named “Honey.” Honey, a mixed-breed dog from a local animal shelter who happened to be nursing her own pups at the time, helped raise these special zoo pups as well!