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Zoo Atlanta
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The official Zoo Atlanta Google+ page.
The official Zoo Atlanta Google+ page.

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Read our latest #KeeperStories post from Deidre Ousterhout, Keeper II, Ambassador Animals!

The role of the Ambassador Animals Team is quite critical and is more important than ever. If you’ve ever seen a World of Wild Theater or Amy’s Tree presentation or animal encounter or have visited the petting zoo, then you’ve already interacted with one of us, and hopefully during that interaction you learned a thing or two. And that learning is the reason why our jobs are so critical.

In addition to a fun and educational day with family or friends, we see your Zoo adventure as an opportunity to save a species. Look at the southern three-banded armadillo: It is a mammal from South America that, when rolled up, resembles a coconut. This circular creature is listed as Near-Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning that if its habitats continue to be destroyed, the species may become listed as threatened or possibly even endangered. Luckily, the southern-three banded armadillo has a voice expressed through those of us who care for these animals here at the Zoo. You may have never heard of this animal before, or may have never seen an armadillo, but our wish is that when you see one at the Zoo, on TV or in the wild, it will fill you with joy and spark an interest inside you to learn more. The more you learn about how valuable armadillos are to the world, the more compassion you will develop in your heart. From an onlooker’s perspective, compassion may not appear to be a very powerful tool, but when combined with determination and a little patience, I truly believe that compassion will play an ultimate role in the future for wildlife and wild places. With an open heart, together we can save wildlife.
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We hope you’ll join us this Saturday, September 22, as we observe the second-ever World Gorilla Day! All four sup-species of gorilla are listed as critically endangered, and they need our help more than ever. Join us for special keeper talks between 11 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. to learn more about the magnificence of gorillas and the simple ways we can help them in the wild. #WorldGorillaDay #OnlyZooATL
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Did you know your cup of coffee could be the small change you make in being bird-friendly for this month’s #OneThingWednesday conservation theme? Loss of habitat is one of the biggest threats birds face, which is why shade-grown coffee is for the birds! When you purchase shade-grown coffee, you’re helping create and preserve locations where birds can thrive. If you don’t have access to shade-grown coffee, don’t worry! Organic coffee beans are more than likely grown under bird-friendly conditions and are a good substitute.

https://zooatlanta.org/be-bird-friendly/
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Although she is the smallest in our gorilla family group, she still has a big role for her species! Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. Over the past 25 years, combined threats have reduced their populations by 60 percent. The populations living within North American zoos are overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse gorilla population for future generations. Mijadala, or “Mija” for short, is the 23rd gorilla born in Zoo Atlanta’s Ford African Rain Forest and is a granddaughter of the legendary late Willie B. #HappyBirthday #OnlyZooATL
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We’re looking through all of Mija’s baby pictures as we celebrate her second birthday and this photo from 2016 was too precious not to share! Did you know this method of carrying her young on her leg is unique to Kudzoo? #HappyBirthday #OnlyZooATL #Throwback
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Happy birthday to Mijadala! The littlest member of Taz’s group turns the big 2 today! #OnlyZooATL
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The next time you visit, you may see someone we know everyone has missed. Danica W. shares an update on Idgie! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL

Last week we were able to reintroduce Idgie the red panda back to her outdoor habitat in the Asian Forest. After some brainstorming between the Animal Care Team, Maintenance Team and Horticulture Team, we have modified her new ramps and perching to accommodate some mobility issues she is experiencing. Idgie is 12 years old, and red pandas generally live up to their mid-teen years in human care. These new ramps are gradual, have some gripping bamboo “steps” for her while she climbs, and will make the habitat easier for her to navigate. She spent most of the day exploring and took some occasional naps up in her favorite new hut. Like the giant pandas, we’re now able to monitor Idgie with a camera in her habitat, so keep an eye out for Idgie guest appearances on PandaCam!

--Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals

(photo by Danica W.)
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Visiting us on Saturday? Zoo Atlanta will close early on Saturday, September 22, as we prepare for Sippin' Safari presented by Groupon. Gates will close at 2 p.m.; Zoo grounds will close at 3 p.m. Consider visiting early, and be sure to enjoy World Gorilla Day during the day! #OnlyZooATL
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Pongo + bubbles = Joy!

Lead Keeper of Primates Lynn shares that the Primate Team regularly introduces new opportunities to the habitats for the orangutans, who are by nature curious. During Play the Animal Way last weekend, the team introduced non-toxic bubbles to Pongo's family's environment. As you can see, Pongo had a bubbly blast! (Video by Lynn Yakubinis) #OnlyZooATL
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How can you help Idgie's counterparts in the wild this #RedPandaDay? Take care what you share. Social media is playing an increasing role in helping to perpetuate the demand for the illegal wildlife trade. You can help by not sharing or re-posting viral photos or videos of "cute" exotic pets. But do spread this message -- it's an easy way to help! #IRPD2018
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