The Santa Barbara Zoo is home to 160 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. More than 500 animals are exhibited in open, naturalistic habitats. Following is a list of major exhibits; there are many more than are listed here.
Denotes that this species' reproduction is being managed through the AZA's Species Survival Plan (SSP), though not all of the Zoo's SSP species are currently being bred. For more about this program, visit the Population Management page.
Covering more than an acre, the African Veldt exhibit is visible from the Cabrillo bike path and waterfront. A large barn was especially designed for its tall residents - Masai giraffes - and keepers feed the animals in elevated troughs from the second floor of the building. Guests can feed these magnificent creatures from a newly constructed deck on weekends and seasonally during the week. Also on view in this space are East African crowned cranes, and African spurred tortoises. Slender-tailed meerkats are nearby.
A father-daughter pair of Amur leopards is on view in this area. It is believed that there are less than 35 left in the wild, as they are being hunted for to extinction for their fur. Efforts are underway to request that the proposed Siberia-Pacific Pipeline be re-routed to avoid the animals' only habitat in the wilderness of the largely undeveloped Russian Far East region of Primorye.
Includes Condor Country, home of four juvenile California condors, Channel Island fox, Rattlesnake Canyon, home to endangered reptiles and amphibians, bald eagles, and desert tortoises. It offers stunning views of the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, Santa Ynez mountains and city of Santa Barbara.
Cats of Africa
Two African lion cubs have been born in this new exhibit, which opened in March 2003 and was designed to accommodate lions in groupings similar to those in the wild, meaning a male and a few females with their offspring. On view is a breeding pair Gingerbread and Chadwick, who have produced two cubs: Kiki, born in February 2004, now at Zoo Atlanta (where recently she gave birth to cubs); and Docha, born in April 2005, now in a new exhibit at the John Ball Zoo (Grand Rapids). In an adjacent exhibit is a pair of highly endangered Black-footed cats. It is hoped that this pair will also breed.
Channel Island Fox
Exotic animals aren't the only ones threatened. The Channel Island foxes make their homes just 18 miles off our coast… and now at the Santa Barbara Zoo, where they have successfully bred in captivity. The Zoo has taken a lead in managing the Channel Island foxes' Species Survival Plan, and their exhibit is slated for renovation in the near future. In the wild, the foxes face unique challenges to their survival, including predation by golden eagles, habitat destruction by feral pigs, and canine distemper. Four of the six island fox subspecies have declined by as much as 95% since 1994 and are considered endangered by the US. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Zoo's foxes come from San Clemente Island.
The flamingos are on exhibit directly across from the lemurs at the Flamingo Pool. The Zoo's flock has bred and produced chicks for the past two years. At first, the chicks have downy gray plumage. They don't obtain their distinctive pinkish coloration until they are about one year old.
The Crawford Family Penguin House
Opened in June 2006, this exhibit of warm-weather Humboldt penguins offers both above-ground and underwater viewing, as well as nesting boxes built-in for breeding. These penguins are found along the Pacific coast of South America from Peru to Chile. The adjacent aviary features Inca terns and will soon be home to more birds native to the South American area.
Eeeww! Hair-Raising Helpers from Around the World
Eeeww! That is the first reaction many people have to the slithery or creepy crawlies we share our world with. These animals may be hair-raising, but they are also big helpers - as bugs, lizards, spiders, snakes all play a part in making human lives better. This exhibit features creatures from Latin America, the American Southwest, Africa, and Southeast Asia such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches (push a button to hear the hiss), cobalt blue and goliath bird eating tarantulas; rosy boa; desert hairy and whiptail scorpions; Puerto Rican crested toad; tiger salamanders; giant millipede, African fat-tailed and day geckos, among many other species.
Attractions don't come any bigger than the two female Asian elephants who have resided here since summer 1972. When Sujatha and Little Mac arrived, they stood four feet tall - but as the girls grew, so did their need for space. The height of the barn has been raised twice as the elephants grew to maturity. A renovation completed in 2005 extended the yard, enlarged the pool, brought the surrounding pathways into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and developed a beautiful Asian botanical setting. An "enrichment wall" provides the animals with a variety of stimulating activities; animal care staff can hide food in various cubbyholes. A new dynamic exhibit of Asian pond turtles has been built adjacent to the elephant exhibit; visitors cross a bridge between the two new exhibits.
The Forest's Edge -- Western Lowland Gorilla
When The Forest's Edge opened in June 1996, thousands of people lined up to catch a glimpse of its first resident, Max. Shy Max never did venture far outside his indoor space, but nonetheless captured the hearts of local residents. He passed away in October 2003. His companions, two young siblings Goma and Kivu who joined Max in 1997, have since grown into silver-backed adults and live in an all-male "bachelor troop." The AZA will make recommendations as to whether additional male gorillas will be added to this exhibit.
Santa Barbara has had its share of famous animals, but is best known within the Zoo community for its successful breeding program with giant anteaters. These animals have not reproduced successfully in many other zoos, but they seem to like Santa Barbara. When "Grandma," who had produced several offspring, passed away at age 35 in 2001, she had lived longer than any other known anteater. Her passing was eulogized nationally on ESPN during a University of California at Irvine basketball game. (Their University mascot? The anteater.) Today, the breeding program continues with a renovated exhibit and a new pair of giant anteaters. In September 2004 a young male, name Mochila ("backpack" in Spanish), was born and though he eventually got too big for it, he liked to ride on his mom's back.
Santa Barbara Zoo's white-handed gibbons welcomed the newest member with the birth of a baby in October 2002, and the exhibit which used to house a family of four now holds two as the young males were sent to other zoos to start their own families. They are particularly active on their island home and their distinctive "whooping" call can often be heard throughout the Zoo.
Zoo guests see spots at this exhibit - two highly endangered, strikingly beautiful snow leopards live here. Found above the tree line in central Asia's dry mountainous country, snow leopards are prized as hunter's trophies and destroyed as predators of domestic flocks. There are estimated to be only 3,500 to 7,000 of these elusive creatures in the wild and 281 are currently in captivity distributed among 75 accredited zoos.
Goeldi's Monkeys and Titi Monkeys
Bolivian gray titis (or white-eared titis) are endangered South American monkeys that wrap their tails together as a sign of bonding. The Zoo's pair have been recommended for breeding under an AZA regional management plan. They are located in the South American area, adjacent to the Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, Toco toucans, and the other new monkey species: Goeldi's monkeys.
The Tropical Aviary features tropical birds from Africa and South America. There are wading birds such as scarlet ibis and white faced whistling ducks, and perching birds including glossy starlings, and gray tanager. There is also a green-cheeked Amazon parrot, free flying macaws and alligator snapping turtles.
Wings of Asia boasts two waterfalls, a pond and wooden guest walkways offering viewing of ten varieties of colorful and rare Asiatic birds. The exhibit's enhanced slope now allows visitors to view the birds from various perspectives - in tree tops, perching on bushes, swimming in the pond, preening alongside waterfalls, and feeding on the ground.