Explore

“View the Zoo anew” with the help of these fun and fascinating curated lists!

 

#SavingSpecies

Just by visiting the L.A. Zoo, you’re supporting efforts to save endangered and threatened species around the globe. Fact is, your hometown zoo is a conservation leader that commits expertise, technology, and funds to help save animals every day – animals like the ones listed here. As you enjoy this tour, please know that your contribution to this important work is greatly appreciated. We also invite you to take the time to think about additional ways you can help wildlife and the planet.

 

Saving Species Map

 

All classifications are according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • 1. Fiji Banded Iguana

    • STATUS: Critically Endangered. As one of the most geographically isolated lizards in the world, this striking creature is endemic to just a few of the southeastern Fijian islands, and has already disappeared from some of them.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: International Iguana Foundation (IFF) supports efforts to reforest Fiji banded iguana habitat, control introduced predators, and maintain captive breeding groups that will produce offspring for release to the wild.
  • 2. Armenian Viper

    • STATUS: Near Threatened. Armenian viper populations have declined by 80 percent since 1975—largely the result of habitat destruction and over-collection for the exotic pet trade.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: Both the L.A. and Saint Louis Zoos are partners in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Program (SSP) for this pit viper, which is notoriously difficult to reproduce in captivity. In July 2015, two female Armenian vipers gave birth to a total of eight babies—a first for the L.A. Zoo.
  • 3. Komodo Dragon

    • STATUS: Vulnerable. Although wild populations are stable at this time, the world’s largest lizards are found only on a tiny group of Indonesian islands. Habitat loss, natural disasters, and rising sea levels due to climate change are potential threats.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: The Komodo Survival Program monitors wild Komodo populations and encourages local communities to become involved in finding sustainable practices that help humans and dragons to share habitat.
  • 4. Chacoan Peccary

    • STATUS: Endangered. This pig-like animal is found only in a small region of Paraguay known as the Chaco. Hunting and habitat loss due to ranching and agriculture have led to the peccary’s disappearance from large areas of its range.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: Chaco Center for Conservation and Research (CCCI) works to restore parts of Chacoan peccary habitat and studies remaining wild populations.
  • 5. Peninsular Pronghorn

    • STATUS: Critically Endangered. Once numbering in the thousands, only about 250 remain in the wild.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: The Peninsular Pronghorn Recovery Project, established in 2000, maintains captive breeding centers in Baja California, Mexico and coordinates assurance populations at the L.A. Zoo and other U.S. institutions. Although still fewer than they once were, peninsular pronghorn have been reintroduced to parts of their historic range where they had not been seen for decades.
  • 6. Western Lowland Gorilla

    • STATUS: Critically Endangered. A major threat to wild gorilla populations is habitat loss due to unsustainable mining for minerals used in consumer electronics.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: In addition to supporting the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE), which is focused on eastern lowland or Grauer’s gorillas, the Zoo participates in environmentally friendly electronics recycling in order to reduce mining in fragile gorilla habitats. You can help by recycling your unwanted handheld electronic devices at the L.A. Zoo. Look for the ECO-CELL bin at the front gate.
  • 7. Asian Elephant

    • STATUS: Endangered. Asian elephants face many threats, including poachers, habitat loss and degradation, and conflict with humans.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECTS: The Biodiversity and Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT) and the Cambodian Elephant Conservation Group (CECG) are working to protect Asian elephants and their habitat. They study the remaining wild populations and find nonlethal ways for farmers to protect their crops from hungry elephants.
  • 8. Madagascar Radiated Tortoise

    • STATUS: Critically Endangered. Without concerted intervention, these beautiful reptiles may become extinct within 50 years.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: In 2016, the Turtle Survival Alliance opened the Tortoise Conservation Center in Madagascar. The TCC will serve as a central hub for the TSA’s Confiscation to Reintroduction Strategy, in which confiscated tortoises will be treated and returned to health, and then reintroduced into secure community-protected habitats.
  • 9. Jaguar

    • STATUS: Near Threatened. Rainforest habitat loss continues to put pressure on wild populations.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: Through research, education, and outreach, Paso Pacifico helps local communities in Mexico and Nicaragua learn how to coexist with jaguars.
  • 10. Harpy Eagle

    • STATUS: Near Threatened. Populations are on the decline due to deforestation and hunting.
    • CONSERVATION PROJECT: In addition to establishing a captive breeding program in 1989, the Peregrine Fund carried out an extensive education campaign designed to teach people that harpy eagles aren’t dangerous to humans, and that they should be protected. This helped to change attitudes to such a degree that, in 2002, Panama declared the harpy eagle its national bird.

Undercover Cuties: Mammal Edition

With all the attention that large, popular mammals like lions, giraffes, elephants, and gorillas get, it’s sometimes easy to forget that nearly 100 mammal species call the L.A. Zoo home. Here’s a tour of less obvious yet equally captivating choices that you’ll want to add to your list of must-see mammals.

 

Undercover Cuties Map

 

  • 1. Linné’s Two-Toed Sloth

    With large soulful eyes, a penchant for taking it slow, and a love of roses, perhaps you’ve just found your Valentine’s Day mascot. (NOTE: Sloths don’t give roses, of course. They eat them.)

  • 2. Prevost’s Squirrel

    Belonging to the genus of squirrels – Callosciurus – collectively known as the "beautiful squirrels,” this beauty is one of the most colorful mammals in the world, an eye-catching mix of black, reddish-orange, and white.

  • 3. Red-Rumped Agouti

    Not only is this South American rodent super-adorable – picture a guinea pig with a more distinctive nose and longer legs – it also possesses a super talent, as the only animal known to be able to crack open the husk of a Brazil nut.

  • 4. Ocelot

    Also known as the dwarf leopard, this compact feline sports beautifully intricate markings, which wildlife author and Boy Scouts co-founder Ernest Thompson Seton described as “the most wonderful tangle of stripes, bars, chains, spots, dots, and smudges” looking as though "they were put on as the animal ran by."

  • 5. Mandrill

    For a testament to this animal’s beauty, look to no lesser authority than famed naturalist and biologist Charles Darwin, who called the mandrill "the most vividly colored specimen in mammaldom." 'Nuff said.

  • 6. Ring Tailed Lemur

    This striking, highly social primate with a narrow, fox-like face and dense fur hails from Madagascar, where it lives in female-dominated groups of up to 30 individuals.

  • 7. Peninsular Pronghorn

    If you can, catch a glimpse of this elegant desert dweller – the world’s fastest living hoofed mammal and the second-fastest land mammal, able to cruise at 40 to 60 miles per hour for one hour or more. (Cheetahs run up to 70 mph, but only for short bursts.)

  • 8. Chacoan Peccary

    Talk about undercover! The Chacoan peccary was first identified through fossil data in 1930 and thought to be extinct until 1971, when it was discovered alive, well, and incredibly cute in the Chaco region of Argentina.

  • 9. Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby

    Able to glide gracefully through rough terrain – jumping up to 12 feet from rock to rock – this Australian cutie moves awkwardly on flat surfaces, which makes us love it even more.

  • 10. Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

    You’re really going to dig this adorably stocky marsupial whose build and claws are adapted for prodigious digging.

Leap Off The Pages of "The Jungle Book"

This tour of the Zoo will transport you into Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories as you encounter animals made famous by this beloved collection and the movies it inspired.

 

Jungle Book Map

 

  • 1. Python > Kaa

    We dare you to spend some time staring at the green tree python in the LAIR to see if this mesmerizingly bright snake has the power to hypnotize. Our guess? Yessssssssss, it doessssssss.

  • 2. Asian Elephant > Hathi

    Destruction of natural habitats like the jungle described by Kipling is a primary threat to Asian elephants in the wild. Learn about this and other dangers and what you can do to help at the Elephants of Asia exhibit.

  • 3. Monkeys > Bandar-logs

    Like the troop of Old World primates that attempts to abduct Mowgli in the story, mandrills live in large groups ranging from 20 to as many as 200 and divide their time between traveling along the rainforest floor and swinging and sleeping among high tree branches. They can also be very mischievous.

  • 4. Bear > Baloo

    Though they don’t sing like Baloo in the movies, American black bears like our Ranger are highly vocal, using up to 20 different sounds in a variety of contexts.

  • 5. Tiger > Shere Khan

    While the Jungle Book baddy was a Bengal tiger, our tigers are Sumatran, but no less powerful and captivating.

  • 6. Maned Wolf > Mother and Father Wolf

    Unlike the Indian wolves that raised Mowgli in the story, maned wolves – which are native to South America – are solitary and do not form packs. Maned wolf pups rely on their parents for food for up to one year.

  • 7. Jaguar > Bagheera

    Black panthers in Asia and Africa, like Bagheera, are actually leopards, while black panthers in the Americas are jaguars, like the sleek, spotted residents of our Rainforest of the Americas. They’re all cousins within the Panthera genus of felines.

Foodie Tour

The Zoo is a multi-sensory experience – with plenty of wonderful things to see, hear, feel, smell, and, yes, taste. That’s why we're serving up this food-lover’s guide. Bon appetite!

 

Foodie Tour Map

 

  • 1. Reggie’s Bistro

    Named for its famous neighbor – Reggie the American alligator – this café has achieved renown of its own for gourmet hamburgers, our favorite being the Beastly Burger with Havarti and arugula. There’s a lot here for vegetarians to love, too, with hearty grilled Portobello mushrooms, black bean burgers, and a seasonal salad that includes shaved veggies like beets and fennel plus a sprinkling of nuts and fruit. Everything on the chef-created menu pairs well with the red and white wines available by the glass from Napa Valley vintner Hess.

  • 2. Kettle Corn/Mahale Café

    While a giant bag of kettle corn can fuel an entire day's trek around the Zoo, be sure to save a few handfuls for a moment of rest at Mahale Café, which is named after mountains and a national park on the shore of Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika famous for its chimpanzees. Grab a locally brewed I.P.A. (India pale ale) – which pairs exceptionally well with lightly sweet and salty kettle corn – from among the craft beers on tap and enjoy the pairing on the café terrace, where you’ll see and hear chimpanzees, lions, and giraffes.

  • 3. Churro Factory

    One theory on the history of the churro holds that this fried treat was brought to Europe from China by Portuguese traders, then popularized in Spain before making its way to Mexico and the US, where it has become an iconic favorite. With a perfectly crunchy exterior and a spongy, steamy inside, the Zoo's churros are a must. In honor of the churro’s origin, follow your worldly snack with a peek at the giant Chinese salamander in the nearby LAIR or stroll up the road to see the peninsular pronghorn from Baja California.

  • 4. Café Pico

    Being in L.A., authentic Mexican food is essential. Café Pico offers handmade street tacos, tortas, salsas, agua frescas, and more. Enjoy your home-style comida in the lush outdoor seating area, then check out a nearby Mexican native, the Baird’s tapir.