Zoo Update with Tom Jacobson

Introducing VIVAD: Virtual International Vulture Awareness Day!
September 1, 2020
Drawing of an elephant

GLAZA member Sydney Lopez sent a wonderful letter describing how much the Zoo means to her family, especially her autistic brother, who enjoys expressing himself through animal inspired artwork. Original artwork by Jesse Lopez courtesy of Sydney Lopez

Since our Zoo first closed to the public in March, we’ve learned new ways to communicate about our mission and activities. From the amazing outpouring of generosity for our spring appeal and the Virtual Beastly Ball to day-to-day emails, tweets, and Instagrams, I’ve been overwhelmed by the passion of Angelenos for the Los Angeles Zoo. I hear from our members and donors every week how much they value our curators, keepers, and other staff who look after the animals in our care. Staying in touch while working from home means a great deal to me and to the Zoo and GLAZA staff. Thank you for cheering us up during this extraordinary time!


Jesse Lopez Photo courtesy of Sydney Lopez

We’re doing our best to keep you connected. We love sharing news about births at the Zoo, including ocelot kittens, Sichuan takin calves, Chacoan peccary piglets, a bongo, and of course Angela the baby gorilla who is now almost nine months old. Our first conservation ambassador, LouAnne Brickhouse, is keeping everyone up to date on our California condor conservation program through her Instagram @TheDailyJames. We turned our Migrant Education Program virtual for 90 students who worked online with Curator of Education Coral Barreiro. Their final projects—zoo dioramas, presentation videos, posters, animations, and even a puppet show—were a dazzling display of all they learned. I’ve had the pleasure of co-hosting with CEO and Zoo Director Denise Verret a new LA ZOOm to You series for our Safari Society and Business Partners, webchats that have featured the Zoo’s expertise in gorillas, peninsular pronghorn, and combatting wildlife trafficking. The extraordinary communications creativity of our staff, students, donors, and friends matches the passion of our work saving species from extinction.


The virtual version of the Zoo's successful Migrant Education Program inspired creative and engaging student presentations. Image courtesy of L.A. Zoo Learning and Engagement Staff

While the pandemic has forced us to explore new ways to collaborate with the people of Los Angeles on wildlife conservation and nature education, our new skills will continue to benefit us all now that the Zoo has reopened to the public. We already plan for the 2021 Beastly Ball to feature an online component to build on the huge audience of the 2020 virtual Ball. As we’ve all reconnected with family and friends via Zoom, Hangouts, Teams, and other online platforms, we’ve also deepened our bond with you while we’re physically apart. We look forward to welcoming you back to the Zoo in person, but love the inventive ways we’ve connected since March. Please stay in touch!


LouAnne Brickhouse is the Zoo's first conservation ambassador. She is a volunteer with the California condor staff. Photo by Michael Clark