(Pittsburgh) (2018)—The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium was honored by their peers at the recent Zoological Association of America annual conference for their successful Amur tiger population management program and for the design of the Zoo’s most recent exhibit, Jungle Odyssey.
“We are proud of our work every day at the Zoo,” says Dr. Barbara Baker, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “And to be honored for our efforts by one of the top zoological associations is extremely rewarding.”
Significant Propagation and Length of Commitment to a Single Species—The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s Amur tiger population management program.
Forty nine years ago, the first-ever Amur tigers arrived in Pittsburgh at the Zoo on August 25, 1969, beginning the Zoo’s long relationship with Amur tigers. In 1973, the first-ever tiger cubs were born. Through the years, 13 different generations of Amur tigers have been born, producing 259 descendants to date. For a species facing near extinction in the wild, successful efforts to breed Amur tigers in Zoos is vital to saving this iconic species.
Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence—Jungle Odyssey
Finding the balance between providing great viewing opportunities for visitors and designing a perfect environment for the animals was the puzzle of Jungle Odyssey. The exhibits had to be designed with the animals’ needs and comforts in mind while also creating an educational environment for visitors. Plenty of lush green grass, tropical trees, sand, stone, and heated pools were created for the animals. Rubberized floors in the behind-the-scenes areas provided a soft surface and reduce joint stress. New enrichment and training areas now provide behavioral growth for the animals, but also allow visitors to observe natural behaviors. A large interactive termite mound for the giant anteaters was designed as enrichment for the animals, as well as for the visitors. Seeing capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, mingling with giant anteaters creates a fun discussion for visitors. The ocelots’ and fossas’ interactions with keepers also thrill visitors, and the pygmy hippo, playing in the mud on land or diving in the water, always manages to catch our visitors’ eye.