L.A. Zoo Welcomes Winter Babies In Time For The Holidays

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

December 17, 2014

Baby Giraffe With Mom 12-9-14 by Tad Motoyama

Photo Credit: Tad Motoyama

L.A. Zoo Welcomes Winter Babies In Time For The Holidays

Media Are Invited To The Debut Of Three Giant Otter Pups And A Baby Giraffe Named Leo!

While guests are enjoying the L.A. Zoo’s enchanting holiday light spectacular in the evenings, there have also been a few exciting animal additions that can now be seen during the daytime hours as well.

Three giant otter pups, one male and two female, born September 14, 2014 recently went outside for the first time with their parents to learn to swim in their new habitat in the Rainforest of the Americas exhibit. These babies are the first litter to be introduced to the public since the exhibit opened in April. Up until a few weeks ago, the parents were teaching the babies to swim in a small pool in their holding area off exhibit until they were ready to be introduced to the larger pools in the outdoor habitat.

“The babies have picked up swimming very fast,” said Jennie Becker, Curator of Mammals at Los Angeles Zoo. “The parents are excellent teachers. The staff provided the water and a small pool, but it was the parents putting the babies in the water and encouraging them to swim.”

The giant otter babies can now be viewed on exhibit with their parents daily, unless the parents choose to bring them inside or weather permitting.

The Zoo also welcomed a male Masai giraffe calf, born on November 20 to parents Hasina, 6-years-old, and Artemus, 18-years-old. This is the second calf for Hasina who came from the San Diego Zoo in 2010. The baby currently stands at around 6-feet-tall and weighs close to 150 pounds.

This is a birth the L.A. Zoo is thankful for this holiday season as the population of giraffes across the African continent is drastically declining due to hunting and habitat loss. A local couple also felt a connection to the baby giraffe as they made the decision to adopt the baby and formally name him Leo.

In making a significant gift to the Zoo’s animal acquisition fund, which promotes vital wildlife preservation and breeding projects here and around the world, donors Patricia and Stanley Silver have chosen to name the baby giraffe. Mrs. Silver, a Glaza trustee, named the baby “for my father, Leo Guthman, because he would be so proud to be a part of the Los Angeles Zoo.”

Leo can now be seen on exhibit with the other giraffes daily, weather permitting.

WHAT: Giant Otter Babies and Giraffe Baby Press Debut

When: Thursday, December 18 at 9:30 A.M. – WEATHER PERMITTING

Should the media tour be canceled due to rain, an email will be sent out by 9:00 A.M., December 18.

Where: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027

MEDIA:  Media staff should park in the Zoo’s south lot near the public bus circle, and a Zoo staff member will transport them to the giraffe habitat followed by the giant otter habitat.

VIDEO LINK:  http://we.tl/SjQuQhGgqc (Giant otter babies swimming)

Photo credit: Tad Motoyama

About the Los Angeles Zoo

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $19 for adults and $14 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.