show episodes
 
Wild For Life is the Toronto Zoo podcast that brings you behind the scenes and unveils the "hidden zoo." Each episode brings you information on the critical conservation work that protects endangered species and works to preserve biodiversity. You will hear from nutritionists, ecologists, veterinarians, social scientists, wildlife biologists, and more that are working hard to help protect wildlife from all over the world.
 
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show series
 
The Vancouver Island Marmot is designated Critically Endangered under the Canadian Species At Risk Act and the Toronto Zoo (and their partners) are making sure that the cute marmots increase in a population where they would be no longer considered endangered. Stacy Soh, zookeeper at the Toronto Zoo, joins me on the podcast to tell you why she loves…
 
The Toronto Zoo is working to help protect the critically endangered Black-Footed Ferret from going extinct in the wild through a breeding program. Yeshy Beyersbergen joins me on the podcast to tell us about the program that raises the ferrets at the Zoo with the goal of releasing them into the wild to add to the population in North America. Yeshy …
 
The Jane Goodall Act will revolutionize animal welfare in institutions by revealing how accredited zoos, like the Toronto Zoo, prioritize animal welfare and conservation of their animals compared to roadside zoos and private owners of exotic animals such as big cats (tigers, lions, etc.), primates, and other animals that require trained zookeepers,…
 
Every time there is a new edition to the Toronto Zoo, the staff is very proud to speak about it. Today is no different. Amanda Caroll joins me on the podcast to discuss the journey to the birth of the new Sumatran orangutan at the Zoo. We discuss the pregnancy, birth, and how well Sekali (the mother) is taking care of her new bundle of joy.…
 
This episode is all about turtle conservation as every May 23rd we celebrate World Turtle Day. Donnell Gasbarrini joins me on the podcast to discuss the status of turtles around the world as well as the Toronto Zoo’s efforts to help protect turtles through their Adopt-A-Pond program (and app) and the Headstart program to help save the Blanding's tu…
 
The Toronto Zoo has always been a conservation driven organization, where many of the initiatives started by the staff to reduce their impact on the surrounding environment and this is why I was not surprised when Kyla Greenham, Manager of Conservation and the Environment at the Zoo, told me about the release of their new program TZ Net0, a program…
 
Sophie De Vos joins me on the podcast to discuss her study on the behaviour of Juno, the polar bear, to ensure that the bear is doing well. Sophie is an undergraduate student from the Netherlands who flew over to the Toronto Zoo to study Juno on an overseas internship. Sophie recounts her journey from the Netherlands and how she is adapting to Cana…
 
Jason Pootoolal, zookeeper, joins me once again on the podcast to talk about the new giraffe addition at your Toronto Zoo. Jason tells me the behind-the-scenes details of what it’s like to take care of a pregnant giraffe and how the baby is born. He also discusses what it’s like to take care of a newborn giraffe and how the birth of this newborn wi…
 
There are three new cheetah editions at your Toronto Zoo this year so you know I wanted to talk about these cute cubs in this episode. Keith Pickthorn, a zookeeper in the African Savannah area of your Zoo, joins us on this episode to discuss the pregnancy, birth, and rearing of the cute big cats. He talks about how zookeepers monitor the animals du…
 
I bet you didn’t think that The Toronto Zoo could get anymore interactive! Well, think again because the Zoo released a new app called “On Thin Ice” where you can play a virtual reality game on your phone at the Zoo in the Tundra area. The app is designed to teach you about Climate Change and how animals such as Polar Bears, Caribou, and Bowhead Wh…
 
Have you ever wondered how each habitat at the Zoo is designed and what type of considerations are taken into account when a new habitat is designed? Brent Huffman, Lead Keeper of Mammals at The Toronto Zoo, returns to the podcast to talk about one of his favourite things are the Zoo: habitat design. Brent tells about all of the different considera…
 
Heidi Manicki joins me on this episode to help celebrate Charles, the iconic Silverback Gorilla, who turned 50 this year. We discuss how Charles has matured over his years at the Toronto Zoo including his number one fear! We also discuss how important Charles is as an iconic connection for visitors to learn about how we can better protect criticall…
 
I am excited to tell you that Kyla Graham, Manager of Conservation and Environment at the Zoo, joins me on the podcast to discuss the planning and implementation of the Zoo’s new BioGas program that it runs in partnership with ZooShare. Kyla described how the partnership with ZooShare was initiated to help the Zoo to find a process that will not on…
 
Nigel Parr, Zookeeper, stops by the podcast to tell us about the breeding program that brought us Mila, the Amur tiger cub, to the Toronto Zoo. We go in-depth on the breeding process and Mila’s parents; how the Zookeepers help monitor the health of the cubs; and, how the cub is cared for by Mila’s mom Mazyria and the Zoo staff. Help protect Amur Ti…
 
You can count on the Wild Encounters program at the Toronto Zoo to add more benefits to your visit to the Zoo to get a behind-the-scenes tour of some of your favourite animals such as the polar bears and giraffes. There are now new encounters including goats, reptiles, and the hidden zoo (a look behind the zoo into some of the research). Hollie Ros…
 
Brent Huffman, lead curator of mammals, at the Toronto Zoo joins me on this episode to discuss the importance of coorporative breeding programs at the Zoo. Brent defines the term “Cooporative Breeding” and tells us about various examples of breeding programs at the Zoo as well as some of the other zoos with which the Toronto Zoo works to ensure the…
 
How to you transport a juvenile rhinoceros from Toronto to Vancouver during a pandemic? Vicki Hardstaff, the Toronto Zoo’s Animal Logistics Coordinator, joins me in today’s episode to discuss the planning and execution of transferring Theo the rhinoceros to the Greater Vancouver Zoo. We discuss the number of Zoo staff that accompanied Theo; his sur…
 
Toby Thorne, Native Bat Coordinator, and Melissa Mayhew, Senior Environmental Scientist at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) join me on the podcast to discuss why native bat conservation is so important to the Canadian environment and how the partnership between the Zoo and the NWMO is working to help protect bats and their habitat.…
 
The Oregon Spotted Frog is listed as an Endangered Species under the Canadian Species At Risk Act; therefore, the breeding success and reintroduction of offspring to the natural habitat is of utmost importance. It’s not surprising that the Toronto Zoo is partnering with Laurentian University to help research how to increase the success rate for the…
 
I am joined by Maria Franke, Manager of Welfare Science at the Toronto Zoo, on today’s episode to discuss how the Zoo monitors and studies animal welfare for its species. Animal welfare is always the number one priority. It uses a holistic approach that includes monitoring the physical, mental, and emotional status of the animals with a focus on qu…
 
I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Corbett today on the podcast to discuss the New Goat World habitat at the Toronto Zoo. The habitat offers goats a chance to climb, cross bridges, and climb the “Toronto Zoo” structure where guests can get a great photo! Amanda tells you about the goat species we have at the Zoo and how the Zookeepers look a…
 
Dr. Liz Okruhlik joins me on the podcast to discuss how she got her new position at the Toronto Zoo. She is the Conservation Research Veterinarian and hands down have THE best title in conservation. Dr. Liz tells me about the incredible work involving the conservation genetics of bison, camels, and white rhinos at the Zoo. We discuss the importance…
 
Ezekiel Gading joins me on the podcast to discuss his Master’s research thesis of studying the animal behaviour of one of the most charismatic animals in the animal kingdom, the orangutan. Ezekiel in conjunction with the Toronto Zoo has a unique opportunity to study how the Sumatran orangutans at the Zoo will behave after the move from the current …
 
The Toronto Zoo is participating in an international competition called Plastic-Free July to lead by example in the fight against using single-use plastics. Kyla Greenham, Manager of Conservation Programs and Environment, joins me on the podcast to tell you how the competition works; how you can reduce your single-use plastic pollution; how the Zoo…
 
Ryan Hegarty, the Lead Keeper at the Australasia Pavilion at the Toronto Zoo, joins me to discuss the amazing Tree Kangaroo. These cute animals have adapted to live in trees with their long nails on their front paws and their rigid tail used for balance. Ryan gives us the details on what it’s like to care for Puzzle, the Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo. Ryan a…
 
Brendan Bonner and I sit down to discuss why sloths move so slow and how do they survive in the wilderness. This conversation explores how animals adapt to their surroundings over time (evolution) for the best chances of survival. Brendan and I discuss competition for food, camouflage, teeth, and modified “feet” to help the sloth be successful at s…
 
The Toronto Zoo Greenhouse is in the middle of showing off its new Amorphophallus bloom that only blooms once every two years. Amber Vitek, who tends to the tropical plants, joins me today to discuss the bloom, its memorable smell, and why it is important to freeze the reproductive parts of the plant. Amber also tells me of the new @zoogreenhouse a…
 
I had the chance to sit down with Mary-Kate Whibbs, The Great Lakes Program Coordinator, who focuses on coordinating outreach programs on local aquatic species. A part of the program is dedicated towards teaching kids about the migratory fishes of the Great Lakes. Mary-Kate tells me about two of her favourite species, American Eel and Atlantic Salm…
 
Imagine if you could watch orangutans all day to observe their behaviours to better understand their ecological dynamics within a troop dynamic and in their environment. It would take an abundance of scientific observation that a field team could not complete due to the number of resources it would require to complete the study properly. However, n…
 
Nutrition is of the utmost importance at the Toronto Zoo and the Nutrition Science Program is always looking for ways to offer food that will ensure the animals at the Zoo are healthy. Jaap Wensvoort, Manager of Nutrition Science at the Zoo, joins me on the podcast today to discuss the Browse Program that helps to keep the animals healthy and menta…
 
I am joined by Andy Cockburn on today’s episode to discuss how the Keepers at the Toronto Zoo look after their grizzly bear population. Andy talks about how the bears came to the Zoo; the differences in size between males and females; the difference in weight throughout the year; and explains the difference between hibernation and deep sleep. This …
 
Have you ever wondered how the animals’ habitats are built at the Toronto Zoo? It seems like all of these complex habitats are built every once and a while, but it seems seamless; however, that can’t be the case…and it isn’t the case. The animal habitats and designs are managed by the diverse team of professionals and led by the Project Management …
 
Dr. Jill Bueddefeld joins me on the podcast to talk about her research in Collaboration with the Toronto Zoo to study how visitors at the Zoo receive, and act on, conservation messaging to help protect the planet’s animals. Major issues that are raised, such as the 6th Mass Extinction, are often met by the public with overwhelming feelings as the i…
 
The Toronto Zoo participated in a long-term study to observe when their young Sumatran orangutans would lose their baby teeth. The data collection was part of a larger study across many zoos in North America to provide more information surrounding the age range at which the primates lose their teeth. The purpose of the study was to help scientists …
 
There is a lot of work involved in caring for a newborn animal at the Toronto Zoo. It starts with caring for the pregnant Mom to be and continues with caring for the newborn. Ensuring the new Mom has everything she needs to take care of her new addition. Kim Welfle, Zookeeper at the Zoo, joins me on today’s episode to discuss how the staff works to…
 
Brenden Bonner never thought that he would have such a passion for frogs until he started working as a Zookeeper in the Americas Pavilion at the Toronto Zoo. Since then, Brendan has learned a lot about the different species of tropical frogs that he looks after at the Zoo, including the conservation efforts in which the Zoo plays a direct role - wh…
 
Andrew Lentini, Senior Director of Wildlife And Science, and I reflect on some of the great conservation projects and events that took place at your Toronto Zoo in 2020. We discuss the record number of Blanding’s turtles that were released this year into the wild and why the program has been so successful over the past decade. We talk about the add…
 
Dr. Gabriela Mastromonaco sits down with me today to discuss a pilot project of using reproductive sciences to artificially inseminate wood bison in controlled and semi-controlled environments. This ground-breaking research is happening at your Toronto Zoo and has seen some great success within controlled environments. This past fall, Gaby’s team a…
 
Toronto Zoo Zookeepers, Ashley Slack and Deserrai Buunk, sit down with me to discuss the biology and conservation of the greater kudu. Ashley and Deserrai talk about their love for hoofstock animals, how they take care of the kudu at the Zoo, why the mixed-species exhibit is great for enrichment, and their conservation in the wild.…
 
I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Paula Mackie, a Reproductive Sciences Coordinator at the Toronto Zoo, about what the Reproductive Sciences team does to help drive conservation at the Zoo. Paula tells me about how her passion for conservation guided her to work at the Zoo after exploring and working in other fields. She discusses the ste…
 
Did you know that the red panda (Ailurus fulgens), known for being cute and cuddly, is an animal that is not related to the giant panda at all? In this episode, I interview keeper, Lisa Termini, who has the joyous opportunity to work with these incredible animals. I had the chance to ask Lisa some questions to find out more about the red pandas inc…
 
Jon Spero, Lead Keeper of Birds, joins me on the podcast to talk about the four species of hornbills at the Toronto Zoo. During the episode, Jon and I discuss the unique features of these wonderful birds, their cavity nests, and their conservation. Listen to why these birds are so important and find out what bird they are most often mistaken for.…
 
Use this audio tour while on your Drive-Thru BOOmobile adventure at the Toronto Zoo! This NEW adventure takes you on a tour around the Zoo from the comfort of your own car and with this audio tour, your family can enjoy the beautiful fall foliage and festive décor while listening to a special Halloween-themed podcast! Book your tickets at torontozo…
 
The learning and Engagement team coordinates everything from sign content for our animal habitats to the volunteer and school programs that are designed to help you engage and learn about all of the wonderful conservation work that happens at the Zoo and within the community. Mary Ellen Fraser and Shawn Blackburn join me in today’s episode to discu…
 
Horticulture enthusiasts lined up to take a whiff of the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum), Vincent Van Gross, whose name describes its smell. With blooms occurring once every 6-10 years and lasting for about 36 hours, this was a must-see at your Toronto Zoo! Clare Wharton joins me on the podcast to discuss the organization of the plant collec…
 
The Toronto Zoo has a number of functions occurring at the same time from Zookeepers to Guest Services, the staff deal with many moving parts on a daily basis. One important function at the Toronto Zoo is to create better opportunities for the animals to strive and for researchers along with the public to learn about the animals that need protectio…
 
Brent Huffman is back on the podcast to provide you with great information on the cheetah. We talk about how the cheetah is built for speed as they are the fastest land animal. We also talk about their social dynamics and how it affects the way the Zoo cares for them. Finally, Brent tells us about the conservation status of cheetahs and how the bre…
 
The Eland is a dynamic species that has a varied herbivore diet and an interesting herd dynamic. I wanted to find out more about the Eland so I sat down with Zookeeper, Jason Pootoolal, who passionately describes what it’s like to look after the Eland herd at the Zoo and what challenges wild Eland face in the African Savanna. https://www.wildlifeco…
 
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