Animal Updates

Alaska Zoo Animal Updates

In an effort to provide visitors and supporters with the "scoop" on animals at the Alaska Zoo, we are providing updates to this page weekly. Thank you for your interest!

OCTOBER 2017

  • 10/10/17: On Wednesday, October 11, visitors may notice our tigers out of view and some work being done in their habitat. They will only be locked in their dens temporarily as zoo staff and Lowes staff work to build them a new platform in their habitat. The tiger cannot be in their habitat when work is happening (of course!!). Lowes will also be helping the zoo to re-carpet the Discovery Center and do some painting. Be sure to stop by after October 11th and check out our Discovery Center face-lift (and learn about our history through cool pictures!).
  • 10/3/17: Animal staff are busy working on arrangements for travel for the sets of bear cubs remaining at the zoo. The Cold Bay cubs will likely be the first to leave for their new home, but we will keep posting updates as it progresses! Our one remaining swan cygnet may be traveling to Iowa for a release back to the wild, the same place the adult swans at the zoo are from. Ideally, these releases to the wild result in healthy swans joining the masses in migration each year. Just a note about the polar bears: Ahpun and Lyutyik are still separated, but will be back together after staff monitor Ahpun for signs of pregnancy.

SEPTEMBER 2017

  • 9/26/17: We do not yet have an official date on when the brown bear cubs will go to their new home, but we are busy making preparations for their travel. We will be keeping the remaining swan cygnet at the zoo until further notice. We continue to work on the otter habitat. Their current pool will be drained and refilled for fresh water access. Our merlin (small falcon species) will be moving to the old squirrel habitat to see if she’s more comfortable being at a higher vantage point. Birds often like higher areas to perch off the ground.
  • 9/20/17: Just a quick note about our polar bears for all of our bear cam viewers and visitors coming by their habitat - you may be wondering "where in the world is Ahpun"? She is currently residing in a separate "off exhibit holding area" with it's own outdoor yard and den building. She is living apart from our male Lyutyik this fall in an effort to aid implantation of a fertilized egg which could occur (since fall is post-breeding season). Females need distance from males during this time to provide the best changes for implantation. If she is successful, we may have denning and cubs in her future! Fingers crossed! We hope this will answer your questions about why you are seeing Lyutyik living solo right now. Who knows, maybe he is enjoying having the place to himself!
  • 9/19/17: Our facilities staff is hard at work to finish the river otter habitat before the snow flies. Crews will be working on it this week and we hope to have the otters using at least part of it very soon. Once they are moved back to their zoo habitat, staff will begin adding dirt and back-filling all of the compressed soil the otters left behind in the infirmary yard. 
  • 9/12/17: We would like to extend a huge thank you to all who came this past Saturday for the first-annual 'The Zookeeper Games' event. It was fun and very well attended. We appreciate your support! As for updates, the bear cubs in the orphaned cub facility have been confirmed for a mid-October departure to their new home. On that same front, the bear cubs in the infirmary yard (the cubs from Cold Bay, Alaska) will be leaving for their new home in the near future also, with a date and details yet to be confirmed. Be sure to come to the zoo soon to pay these cubs a visit! They are fun to watch and interesting to learn about!
  • 9/5/17: The black bear cubs who were in the infirmary yard were successfully transferred to their new home, so we will soon have the brown bear cubs from Cold Bay, Alaska in the infirmary yard (later this week).

AUGUST 2017

  • 8/29/17: The black bear cubs in the infirmary yard are scheduled to leave within the next week. Once they have gone to their new home, the cubs from Cold Bay who are currently residing at the polar bear facility will move to the infirmary yard. In other news, our wolverine Olga has a swollen foot which is being treated with antibiotics and monitored. Also, as visitors may have noticed, our adult brown bears have been busy digging large holes!
  • 8/22/17: If you visit the zoo soon, you may notice our moose being separated from each other. We have two bulls and they are entering the fall 'rut', or breeding season, that bull moose go through each year. They have increases in aggressive behavior toward other males during this time, so we will keep them separated until tempers and testosterone levels subside! Also, the black bear cubs currently in the cub facility will be leaving for their new home in Canada on August 31st. The cubs currently in the new polar bear area will then be moved to the cub facility.
  • Note: We will be draining the seal pool on Wednesday, 8/16 to clean it and refill it.
  • 8/15/17: This summer has been a whirlwind, so we apologize for the lapse in updates! We have had a record-setting summer of bear cub intakes from wildlife agency staff, in most cases due to cubs orphaned when their food-conditioned mothers became accustomed to trash and lost their avoidance of humans. These are very sad cases, with 5 of the cubs coming from our very own Anchorage hillside area. We hope these cubs will serve as a reminder to us all to secure trash and other bear attractants to keep bears wild. In all cases of this season's cubs, zoo staff was able to secure good homes for them at other respected facilities. We were happy to have all of our new cub facilities at our disposal this season - the infirmary (indoor and outdoor areas), orphaned cub facility and new polar bear transition facility. We are certainly using them all! In other news...
    • We are in the process of completing the new pool lining and expanded land space for the river otter habitat. We hope to have them back in their home this fall!
    • We are also building fence for the new moose habitat which will encompass the area next to the creek restoration and part of the creek area. We have a plan approved which will provide the moose access to the area without causing disruptions to the creek. Once the moose are moved here, we will begin work to expand the muskox habitat.

MAY 2017

  • 5/17/17: Lyutyik, the male polar bear was shifted to the new off exhibit polar bear yard to offer him some new choices and a change of scenery.
  • 5/15/17: We received Malala a female snow leopard from the Central Park Zoo in New York on May 5th.  She is adjusting well and is getting familar with our keepers and Nakai her next door neighbor. 
  • 5/13/17: Maya the musk ox had a female calf at 5pm tonight, just 7 hours short of mother's day!  Baby and mom are both doing well.

MARCH 2017

  • 3/15/17: Peggy Sue, the female porcupine, had her teeth trimmed.  Her initial injuries where thought to have come about after she was hit by a car.  She had to have one of her front paws amputated and her jaw does not align correctly, which would normally allow her incisors to wear down naturally.  Because porcupines teeth continually grow she need us to trim them for her every 2-3 months.
  • 3/1/17: Wild bald eagles have been frequenting the zoo visiting with resident eagles, Jude and Leuco.

FEBRUARY 2017

  • 2/20/17: Jake and Oreo, the brown bears, where both awake and chilling out on the porch to the den building.
  • 2/14/17: Flying squirrels will be moving to a large outdoor enclosure today. With all of the very cold weather, we have been slowly acclimating them. We will take advantage of this warm weather and a heat pad to finish their transition. Look for them next to the Sitka deer.