Category Archives: News: Press Release

Meet Polar Bears Nora and Hope!

October 9, 2017 (SALT LAKE CITY) – After much anticipation, Utah’s Hogle Zoo is pleased to introduce two year-old polar bears, Nora and Hope.
The two female bears arrived last month and have been spending time getting acquainted with their keepers, their new home and each other and now they’re ready to meet the community!

“Introductions have gone better than we could have expected,” said Rocky Shores keeper Joanne Randinitis. “We were concerned that Nora wouldn’t know how to react to another bear. But she’s done great.”

Nora was born at Columbus Zoo Nov. 6, 2015. Her mother began leaving her unattended in the den for prolonged periods of time. Keepers made the difficult decision to hand-rear the tiny cub.

She was sent to Oregon Zoo last September, in the hopes she might be mentored by their senior bear. “For a young bear that was hand-raised, the companionship of another bear is so important for developing social skills,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees Oregon Zoo’s marine life area. Sadly, Oregon Zoo lost their senior bear shortly after Nora arrived. Again, Nora was without bear companionship.

About seven weeks after Nora was born, she was diagnosed with metabolic bone disease which happens because of an imbalance of calcium, Vitamin D and other nutrients. Columbus Zoo staff immediately started supplementing her diet with calcium and Vitamin D. She responded well. However, metabolic bone disease may contribute to skeletal problems later in life. Nora currently has some joint disorders that are likely to develop into arthritis and she may appear to limp or ‘waddle.’ Veterinarians at Hogle Zoo have been in regular communication with both Columbus and Oregon Zoos to ensure that Nora receives the most effective treatment possible which will include lots of aqua therapy!


Nora enjoying her ‘test’ visitors while looking through the window at the seals and sea lions.

Hope, named after Point Hope, Alaska, as well as a nod to the optimism for the future of the endangered species, was born at Toledo Zoo on December 3, 2015. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended Hope’s transfer. The SSP prioritizes putting young animals together when they are mature enough to leave their mothers. In the wild, young bears separate from their mothers around age two and may band together to survive the harsh conditions in the Arctic.

The hope is that Hope will be a great mentor bear for Nora. They’re only one month apart in age and have the same youthful energy. And so far, it’s going smoothly.

Hope is almost 180 pounds heavier than Nora but that did not cause any problems during their first few encounters.
Zoo animal care staff has been hard at work getting the bears comfortable in their new homes and with each other and they’ve both done a terrific job.

“Both bears are eating a lot and playing with their toys,” Randinitis said. “They’re both resting on opposite ends of the exhibit. They both initiate approaching each other and retreating so neither one is overpowering the other. It’s just been great.”

The polar bear is among Hogle Zoo’s Big 6 Conservation Species – six species receiving the focus of the Zoo’s conservation efforts. “As one of our signature programs we concentrate our financial and staffing resources to try to save this particular species,” said Liz Larsen. “Our leadership in the zoo community toward conservation has helped secure us as a flagship institution for such a high profile species as polar bears.”

Hogle Zoo has a long history of caring for polar bears – offering a home to the species from 1957 – 2003, during which time Hogle Zoo produced 10 offspring. The opening of Rocky Shores, in 2012, saw the much anticipated return of the polar bear after a nine year absence. Designed to be a long-term breeding and conservation facility Hogle Zoo hopes to contribute to the study and science of polar bears for years to come.

Hogle Zoo is leading the way with its work with Polar Bears International as an Arctic Ambassador Center (AAC); a collection of zoos, museums and aquariums that educate the public about climate change and provide leadership for carbon-emission reductions in our communities. Global warming is melting the Arctic sea ice polar bears call home, and with it, access to the food and shelter necessary for the species’ survival.


Hope exploring her new home.

Zoo Announces new President

Salt Lake City, UT (September, 2017) –
Utah’s Hogle Zoo is pleased to announce Steve Burns as the new President/CEO, replacing Craig Dinsmore who is retiring after 20 years.

Burns is currently the Executive Director of Zoo Boise in Idaho and Executive Director of the Friends of Zoo Boise, where he served for 20 years. He is known through the AZA community for his commitment to and passion for conservation having served as Chair of the AZA Field Conservation Committee and as member and Chair of the national Board of Directors for AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums).

“I’ve been watching Hogle Zoo for 20 years,” Burns said after the Zoo’s Board of Directors made the announcement. “I’ve known Craig, I’ve visited the Zoo and I’ve been impressed. It’s a beautiful Zoo and there’s amazing support from the community. The Zoo wants to move in the direction of going beyond the gates and doing conservation of animals in the wild. When you put those three factors together it made the choice easy.”

During Burns tenure at Zoo Boise he led three successful capital campaigns, built or remodeled 85% of the zoo’s exhibits, increased attendance 90% over 20 years and promoted a culture of conservation.

“A change in leadership brings great opportunities for an organization’s growth and mission,” said the Zoo’s current CEO, Craig Dinsmore. “I have every confidence that Steve will be an outstanding President/CEO and that Hogle Zoo will continue to excel with his leadership.”

Burns will move his family to Salt Lake City, and is slated to start in early December. “I love the mountains. If I had a choice between the beach or mountains I’d pick the mountains every time. That Salt Lake has such an abundance of those makes it all the more special.”

Once settled, Burns is eager to continue expanding Hogle Zoo’s mission in creating a better place for wildlife. “I think zoos continue to evolve,” he said. “The natural world is not in good shape and the natural world needs zoos to move in the direction that every time someone visits they’re not only having a good time with their family, they’re helping animals in the wild.”

Retirement Announced

Salt Lake City, UT (July 11, 2017) –
After 20 years at the helm of Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Craig Dinsmore, President and CEO has announced plans to retire in early October, 2017.
Dinsmore’s tenure at Hogle Zoo is marked by $72 million worth of upgrades including new exhibits – Elephant Encounter, Asian Highlands, Rocky Shores and, in 2014, African Savanna as well as a new animal hospital.
The Zoo has grown from 750,000 visitors annually during Dinsmore’s first year to over 1.1 million visitors today, and is Salt Lake City’s most-visited, paid, attraction.
“I look back on my 20 years as Director of Utah’s Hogle Zoo with both pride and gratitude,” Dinsmore said. “Our progress has been a product of a great team united in the pursuit of excellence, and a supportive community which has generously supported our growth and improvements. Whether that support came at our gate through our 1.1 million+ annual guests; public tax support through bonds and the Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) tax; or our thousands of members and donors; the result has been a resounding message: that having a high-quality zoo is important to the vitality of a community.”

Dinsmore’s contribution to the zoo community has stretched beyond the Zoo’s 42 acres. Nationally, he served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and on the AZA Accreditation Commission which promotes the highest standards for all AZA member institutions.
“All modern Zoos have an important role to play for the future of wildlife and nature, both locally and worldwide,” Dinsmore said. “Endangered species are vanishing at an alarming rate. People, especially children, are engrossed in their handheld technologies, becoming disconnected from nature. Zoos provide that link to nature, wildlife and wild places, and can be a catalyst for action to save species.”

Dinsmore, 66, came to Hogle Zoo in 1997 after serving in leadership positions at both Topeka Zoo and Audubon Zoo before making his way out west. The Colorado native is looking forward to new life adventures after his 42-year career in zoos.

“When I first met Craig some 20 years ago, I became most impressed with his vision of what he believed Hogle Zoo could become,” said James E. Hogle, Jr., Chair Emeritus. “For the years that followed, Craig never wavered from bringing his wonderful vision. Today’s highly regarded Zoo reflects much of what he hoped and planned. We will all greatly miss Craig, his dedicated leadership, wisdom, wit, and especially for me, his friendship.”
Paul Dougan, Hogle Zoo Board Chair adds, “On a personal and professional level, Craig will be sorely missed but he leaves us in a very stable and enviable position,” he said. “Our financial health is sound, operations run with flawless precision and our second Master Plan, which will be our road map through 2030, is nearly complete.”
“Over my career in business and service with other nonprofits, I have never worked with a better manager than Craig,” Dougan said. “He has a unique combination of technical and practical knowledge of the Zoo world and the people skills to both manage and develop a wonderful staff, and to work seamlessly with our Board and officers.”

Hogle Zoo has begun the search for a new President and CEO and expects that process to be complete by the time Dinsmore retires in October.
In announcing his retirement to staff, Dinsmore said “As you go forward, never forget how important each of you is to the Zoo’s success and remember also that you work you do makes a difference: for a guest, for our animals and for each other.”
Dinsmore is working with the Board and senior staff is setting the stage for a smooth transition of leadership. “We will all be working to guarantee that the success of the past years continues long into the future.”

Polar Bear Announcement

SALT LAKE CITY / PORTLAND / TOLEDO (May 24) – Utah’s Hogle Zoo is excited to announce the addition of not one, but TWO polar bears making their way to Salt Lake City this fall!

Meet Nora and Hope – two unrelated polar bears, both roughly 1 1/2 years old, who will soon swim together in Rocky Shores. This after the Zoo lost beloved polar bear, Rizzo, to kidney failure, in April. “Saving polar bears is a huge commitment our Zoo is making,” said Liz Larsen, Director of Conservation. “We’re so excited that we have this opportunity to demonstrate our leadership in polar bear conservation with these cubs.”

 

1 1/2 year-old Nora, from Oregon Zoo

1 1/2 year-old Hope, from Toledo Zoo

Nora was born at Columbus Zoo Nov. 6, 2015. Her mother began leaving her unattended in the den for prolonged periods of time. Keepers made the difficult decision to hand-rear the tiny cub. She was sent to Oregon Zoo last September, in the hopes she might be mentored by a senior bear. “For a young bear that was hand-raised, the companionship of another bear is so important for developing socials skills,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees the Oregon Zoo’s marine life area. Sadly, Oregon Zoo lost their senior bear shortly after Nora arrived.

“From the time she was a week old, Nora has interacted almost exclusively with people,” Cutting said. “Hope should be a great companion for her. The two bears were born less than a month apart and they have a similar youthful energy.”

  
Nora has already achieved worldwide fame as a video of her playing in a pool of ice reached nearly 50 million views on Oregon Zoo’s Facebook page.

Hope, named after Point Hope, Alaska, as well as a nod to the optimism for the future of the endangered species, was born at Toledo Zoo on December 3, 2015. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended Hope’s transfer this fall. The SSP prioritizes putting young animals together at the point where they are mature enough to leave their mothers. In the wild, young bears separate from their mothers around age two and may band together to survive the harsh conditions in the Arctic.
“In her almost two years, Hope has been a great ambassador for her endangered species and become much beloved by the Toledo Zoo community,” said Shayla Moriarty, Toledo Zoo’s director of communication.           

Hope with mom, Crystal

The polar bear is among Hogle Zoo’s Big 6 Conservation Species – six species receiving the focus of the Zoo’s conservation efforts. “As one of our signature programs we concentrate our financial and staffing resources to try to save this particular species,” said Liz Larsen. “Our leadership in the zoo community toward conservation has helped secure us as a flagship institution for such a high profile species as polar bears.”Hogle Zoo has a long history of caring for polar bears – offering a home to the species from 1957 – 2003, during which time Hogle Zoo produced 10 offspring. The opening of Rocky Shores, in 2012, saw the much anticipated return of the polar bear after a nine year absence. Designed to be a long-term breeding and conservation facility Hogle Zoo hopes to contribute to the study and science of polar bears for years to come.

Hogle Zoo will send Rocky Shores keepers to each sister zoo to spend time with both bears before they transfer to Salt Lake. Keepers from Oregon and Toledo will also make the trek to Hogle Zoo to ensure a smooth transition.
VIDEO LINK OF NORA: B-roll, courtesy Oregon Zoo (early parts courtesy of the Columbus Zoo):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/76aowustrhy7e73/05-17-2017BestofNora.mov?dl=0
VIDEO LINK OF HOPE: B-roll, courtesy Toledo Zoo
https://youtu.be/4sTvHYhczR4

Zoo Mourns Loss of Polar Bear

Salt Lake City, UT (April 9, 2017) – Rizzo, the beloved 19 year-old polar bear that lit up Rocky Shores, has passed away.

After a long week of attentive care, Hogle Zoo veterinary and animal care staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Rizzo. She was in renal failure; a terminal condition in which the kidneys cannot filter waste from the blood.

Zoo veterinarians and animal care staff kept Rizzo comfortable and monitored her on an hour-by-hour basis. Her condition began to decline throughout Saturday afternoon and she struggled to keep food down.

Rizzo passed comfortably and pain free.

“We announced her condition yesterday knowing how much she meant to the community,” said Erica Hansen, Community Relations Manager. “We were hoping we had more time.”

As per regular Zoo procedure, veterinarians will perform a necropsy (animal autopsy) to give her a thorough medical work-up and to contribute further to the science and study of this majestic species.

“How do you thank a bear who has brought so much to the lives of so many?” said Hansen. “Our Facebook page has been flooded with our guests sharing photos and memories. She just brought so much joy – we will miss her everyday.”
Renal failure is not an uncommon condition in older polar bears (median life expectancy of a female polar bear is 24 years).

She came to Hogle Zoo in 2012 with the opening of Rocky Shores; heralding the end of a nine-year polar bear hiatus. Rizzo arrived with a big splash garnering oohs and aahs from an adoring community seeing, for the the first time, what a polar bear looks like from underwater.

Utah’s Hogle Zoo has a long and successful history of caring for polar bears beginning, roughly, before 1957 to 2003 and seeing over 10 successful cub births. The Zoo is committed to the preservation of this magnificent species and has chosen the polar bear as one of its “Big Six” – The Zoo’s six signature conservation species.

Rocky Shores was designed as a long-term breeding and conservation facility. The Zoo will work with AZA (Assoc. of Zoos and Aquariums) and the Species Survival Plan (SSP) to determine how to proceed following Rizzo’s passing.

Meet Diego

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is pleased to introduce full-grown male sea lion, Diego!

12 year-old Diego arrived in January from Indianapolis Zoo and has been getting acquainted with his keepers, his pool and his fellow pinnipeds (Maverick, the other sea lion, and the three harbor seals).

“We could not be more pleased with Diego’s calm, agreeable disposition, or how well he’s adjusted to his new home,” said Rocky Shores keeper, Michelle Hanenburg.

Diego is an impressive 667 pounds (compared to Maverick at 480 pounds) and came to Hogle Zoo with more than 50 learned ‘behaviors,’ including: a front flipper stand, smiling and doing the boogie!

Conservation Award

SAN DIEGO, CA (Sept., 2016) – Utah’s Hogle Zoo is proud to announce recognition for its contribution in rescuing and rehabilitation of gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA), the primary accrediting body for top zoos and aquariums in the United States since 1974, recently announced recipients for the Association’s International Conservation Award during its annual conference.

The award recognizes exceptional efforts by AZA member institutions toward habitat preservation, species restoration and support of biodiversity in the wild.

Along with eight sister institutions, Utah’s Hogle Zoo was recognized for its partnership with G.R.A.C.E – Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center.

GRACE is the world’s only sanctuary for Grauer’s gorillas, a highly endangered gorilla subspecies found in the war-torn Congo. Together with the help of AZA, GRACE’s mission is to rehabilitate gorillas rescued from poaching so they can return to the wild. They also work to educate the Congolese communities to promote understanding, appreciation and conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat.

“What they’re attempting at GRACE is the first of its kind,” said Liz Larsen, Director of Conservation, Hogle Zoo. “We’re taking orphaned gorillas and we are creating surrogate family groups in order to release them back into the wild. Our Zoo institutions are well positioned as conservation organizations with not only professional expertise but we’re able to pool our resources to provide direction and leadership and it’s been quite successful.”

GRACE notes (www.gracegorillas.org) that Zoos play a critical role in staff training. “In 2009, our staff had little or no experience with gorillas and, thanks to this major investment in training, are now among the most experiences gorilla care experts in Africa and arguably the world.” This support is financial as well as sending animal care staff, veterinarians and offering administrative oversight. Hogle Zoo is proud to have its own executive director, Craig Dinsmore, currently serving on the Board of Directors.

Photo credit: GRACE

It’s a baby Burro!

For the past two years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Utah’s Hogle Zoo have partnered to bring wild horses and burros to Hogle Zoo. The animals typically arrive in April and remain at the Zoo through October, greeting guests riding the train.

Hogle Zoo is the temporary home to two wild mustangs, two burros and now this male baby, born Tuesday, Sept. 6. Affectionately referred to as “Burro-ito” by its keepers, the little guy is settling in nicely, adjusting well to animal care staff and getting along great with the other burro and mustangs.  The baby along with the other burros and mustangs can only be viewed along the Zoofari Express train ride.

This partnership has allowed the BLM to showcase a small sampling of the wild horses and burros (donkeys) that are available for adoption or sale within their program.

Any member of the public who is interested in adopting the wild horses or burros after they leave the Zoo in late October, can contact guest services to receive information about adopting the BLM animals, or leave a message on the Utah Wild Horse and Burro Hotline, 801-539-4050 to be contacted about adoption options.

Those not spoken for by the end of September will be available for adoption in early October through the BLM’s wild horse and burro facility located in Delta, Utah.

The BLM protects, manages and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The act declares that wild horses and burros are “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” The BLM and U.S. Forest Service manage herds, in their respective jurisdictions, within areas these animals were found roaming wild in 1971.

The BLM’s goal is to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands.

For more information about the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, visit: www.blm.gov

Oldest Giraffe Passes

Utah’s Hogle Zoo Says Goodbye to Oldest Giraffe, Daphne

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is mourning the passing of Daphne, the oldest giraffe in North America. At 31 years old, Daphne far surpassed her fellow giraffes – a testament to the loving care she received. The average lifespan for giraffes is 15 years.

Animal care staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Daphne based on her decline in strength, low energy and a lesser response to pain medications.

“We found her lying down which Daphne hasn’t done for a long time” said Dr. Erika Crook, Associate Veterinarian. “We’d been monitoring her for a few months and as is often the case with animals, they let you know when it’s time.”

Keepers noticed a decline in Daphne’s comfort and attitude. “She wasn’t as perky as usual and she was more sedentary,” said Lisa Ellison, giraffe keeper.

“She was having aches and pains like a great grandmother would,” said Dr. Crook. “She needed medication to make her comfortable.”

It began taking keepers a longer time to convince Daphne to take the medications, “they worked hard and used every trick up their sleeves,” Dr. Crook said.

Animal care staff took their cues from Daphne on how to proceed day to day. Her advanced age, and related degenerative musculoskeletal issues finally caught up with her. She also exhibited a considerable decline in appetite.

“You know, she went on her own terms,” said giraffe keeper Lisa Ellison. “She had a nice week last week – the weather was warm, she was moving well and we had a good last week with her. It was just her time and she let us know that.”

Daphne came to Hogle Zoo in 1985 and was a wonderful mother to many calves and a caring ‘auntie’ over the years, including, most recently, to baby Willow.

“She was a very ‘judgy’ giraffe,” Ellison joked. “She just had this look that looked like she was judging you. She was also very observant – she learned by watching the other giraffes.”

Hogle Zoo currently has three female giraffes, including four month-old Willow, and one adult male. The Zoo continues to work in conjunction with AZA, SSP (Species Survival Plan) and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation – the recipient organization of the Zoo’s animal encounter proceeds.

Daphne will continue to serve as an ambassador to her marvelous yet threatened species as Hogle Zoo will make contributions to various museums, including the Museum of Osteology.

Creekside Play Area Opens

More For Kids to do at the Zoo!

SALT LAKE CITY (May, 12) – Utah’s Hogle Zoo gets set to turn the page on a new chapter as it cuts the ribbon on Creekside, an interactive play area for the kids!

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Karen Hale, Associate Chief Administrative Officer of Mayor McAdams office, join the festivities Thursday, May 12, 9:30 a.m. as the Zoo cuts the ribbon and the first wave of children play, learn and explore.

PLAY: Creekside (adjacent to Lighthouse Point splash zone) offers brand new play equipment including tree house elements, slides, spider web netting, swinging vines and rickety bridges.

LEARN: Creekside features the Wyatt Fricks Discovery Theater, named for a young boy who passed away at an early age. His love for the Zoo lives on as children get up close with small animals during daily animal encounters. All programming is proudly sponsored by Mountain America Credit Union.

EXPLORE: Creekside brings guests closer to Emigration Creek with a boardwalk that offers access never offered before. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the shady pathway while looking for native wildlife along the embankment.

The Discovery Amphitheater, pathways and restrooms are all ADA accessible and the play area has features that allow wheelchair access. The play area also features a sensory wall for children on the autism spectrum.