Zoo Update with Tom Jacobson

Winter Wonders
November 17, 2020

Your compliance with health and safety requirements is greatly appreciated! Photo by Jamie Pham

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for everything! We were thrilled to welcome everyone back when the Zoo reopened on August 26, and then devastated when we closed again for a week in September due to poor air quality resulting from local wildfires. Now that we’ve been open for a couple of months and Thanksgiving is approaching, I’m thankful for the resilience of our Zoo family, including our wonderful members.

As you know, our visitor capacity is still limited by government health protocols, and we are committed to the safety of everyone at the Zoo, including the animals. We look forward to increasing our capacity as soon as it’s safe to do so and are delighted that our members are returning with such enthusiasm during this first phase. We’re doing everything we can to provide as much member access as possible, so we appreciate your patience as we all adapt to the ever-changing situation. Please “help us help you” by limiting yourself to two reservations a month and by canceling your reservation if you are unable to come—this allows other members to enjoy the Zoo. We are offering renewing members 14 months (instead of 12) as a thank you for your understanding during this period of limited capacity. Your support is now more important than ever, and we’ll get through this challenging time together.

As you return, we hope you’ll notice a few changes. The Zoo is full of life, and life is all about change. It’s almost unbelievable that western lowland gorilla Angela will be a year old in January! During our closure, she has been growing, getting to know the other gorillas, and exploring her habitat. According to Animal Keeper Tania Prebble, “she is very inquisitive these days, venturing away from mom more. She not only eats solid food, but she eats and chews on browse like everyone else. She is secure with her aunt Rapunzel taking her for a ride and has been climbing all over the night quarters. I believe she is an advanced little girl with all of these little milestones.” Other births at the Zoo during the last several months include 38 birds (including 7 critically endangered California condors), 18 reptiles, 4 primates, 6 hoofstock, 4 meerkats, 1,668 amphibians (including 1,634 endangered southern mountain yellow-legged frogs), and most recently a male Masai giraffe.

Because our visitor capacity is limited and we can’t gather for in-person events, we’ve been creative in helping people connect with the Zoo, including online retail sales opportunities through our website (masks are still the big seller) and the 1 million-plus Facebook impressions for Jabari the gorilla playing in water.

Welcome back to your Los Angeles Zoo—a safe, healthy haven for people and animals!


Sharing gorilla youngster Angela's development has been a bright spot this year. Photo by Lori Conley