Zoo-a-Thon: Behind the scenes with the Philadelphia Zoo

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Wednesday, February 16, 2022

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- 6abc is once again partnering with the Philadelphia Zoo to host Zoo-A-Thon.

It all happens Wednesday, February 16.

As part of the event, we're bringing you special stories to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo.

Wild Connections

The Philadelphia Zoo has always performed outreach at area schools. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person visits became impossible. This prompted the Zoo to create the Wild Connections program, which lets children get a new perspective of ambassador animals in a virtual setting.

Despite the pandemic, the Philadelphia Zoo has found a way to continue educating students.

Species Survival

The Philadelphia Zoo teams up with other Zoos around the country and world to make sure that certain animals find perfect partners to breed. The Species Survival Plan promulgates genetic diversity and hopes to one day repopulate endangered species in the wild. The Philadelphia Zoo's first Franois' langurs were recently born through this program.

The Philadelphia Zoo's work includes creating survival plans to help species avoid extinction.

Feeding 1,700 animals

The Zoo moves around 40 tons of food per week. It costs a little more than $500,000 to feed the entire collection every year. One of the surprisingly expensive items this time of year is browse, or vegetation, shipped from Florida. During the summer, PECO collects edible browse when trimming power lines and donates it to the zoo.

If you think feeding your family can be challenging, and expensive, try doing it for 1,700 animals!

Training sessions

The Philadelphia Zoo is home to many ambassador animals that guests get to experience when they visit. For example, a Harris Hawk has been trained to fly freely overhead, perching in trees as it would in the wild. Animals also participate in enrichment by performing tasks that mimic wild behaviors. The Big Cat Feed Pole allows lions, for example, to exercise their sight, smell, and muscles to retrieve a tasty snack. This keeps the animals happy and healthy.

The Philadelphia Zoo is home to many ambassador animals that guests get to experience when they visit.

Larry Bowa tells us why the Zoo is worth your donation

Larry Bowa is a Philadelphia Phillies icon, having played on the 1980 World Series champions team. He has called Philadelphia his home for decades and enjoyed countless visits to the Zoo over the years with his daughter. He tells us why the Zoo is worth donating to.

Larry Bowa on why the Philadelphia Zoo is worth your donation.

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