Episodes
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 better protect orangutans in the wild. By getting this data from zoo populations, it helps researchers better understand and rehabilitate wild...
Published 02/24/21
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 together to make certain the newborn offspring is healthy and happy. She uses the Zoo’s newest addition to the Grevy’s zebra herd, Poe, as an example...
Published 02/10/21
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 - where tadpoles are released in Puerto Rico. I had the chance to sit down with Brendan on his second appearance on the Wild For Life Podcast (he...
Published 01/27/21
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 addition of an endangered Masai giraffe calf that helped us all get through the pandemic lockdown in the spring. Finally, we talk about an exciting...
Published 12/30/20
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 and project partners attempted to artificially inseminate wood bison at the Zoo within a semi-controlled environment.
Published 12/16/20
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.
Published 12/02/20
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 steps (and patience) it takes to create an animal embryo and she also explains to me why it’s so hard to preserve sperm from large cat species.    ...
Published 11/18/20
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 including what they eat, how the zookeepers use behavioural husbandry to work closely with the animals, and why they are endangered in the wild which,...
Published 11/04/20
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.
Published 10/21/20
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 torontozoo.com today and use this audio tour while on your Drive-Thru BOOmobile adventure at your Toronto Zoo.
Published 10/15/20
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 discuss how the programming unfolds whether you are visiting the Zoo or connection with us through our virtual content.
Published 10/07/20
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 collection, why the corpse flower has an awful smell, and how it’s linked to the plant's reproduction success. 
Published 09/23/20
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 protection.    The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy is an organization that helps fundraise to pay for the many projects at the Toronto Zoo. I sat down...
Published 09/09/20
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 breeding program at the Zoo is designed to help maintain genetic diversity.
Published 08/26/20
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.wildlifeconservancy.ca/donate
Published 08/12/20
When I think about the zebra, I think about another prey item; however, there is so much more to zebra than being prey for African Savanna predators. Amanda Taylor, Zookeeper at the Toronto Zoo, sits down with me to discuss the Grevy’s Zebra, the herd at the Zoo, and why these animals are classified as endangered in the wild.
Published 07/29/20
Jenn Martin sits down with me to discuss Bactrian camels with me. I have great respect for any animal that lives in some of the harshest conditions in the world, where temperatures range from -40C to 40C, but the camel scoffs at those types of conditions as they are built to withstand temperatures, blowing sand, and low water conditions. Jenn talks about the various adaptations that camels have devised for the wild landscapes that make them so hardy.  She also discusses what it’s like to...
Published 07/15/20
How do you take care of a 2000 pound wood bison at the Toronto Zoo? Well, I sat down with Zookeeper, Amy Goswell, to talk about the Zoo’s wood bison population. We discuss the Behavioural Husbandry work done with the animals to ensure the staff can provide the best care for these magnificent animals.  Amy and I also discuss how these animals fared over the past 200 years as their wild numbers declined from over 150,000 to only a few hundred - rising again to over 10,000 individuals. Amy...
Published 07/01/20
Do you like crocodiles, snakes, and turtles? How about if they were from the Indo-Malayan Region? Well, you are in luck! I had the chance to sit down and chat with Rick Vos, Lead Keeper of Amphibians and Reptiles at the Toronto Zoo. Rick tells us about how he became a Zookeeper and describes some of the reptile exhibits in detail. Rick even discusses some of the predatory features of snakes as well as why turtles in the region need to be protected.
Published 06/17/20
Safety and security is a priority at the Toronto Zoo, especially during these unprecedented times where we must practice social distancing and pandemic protocols to ensure our safety. I was wondering how a Conservation facility like that of the Toronto Zoo would handle this pandemic when the province announced a state of emergency. I sat down with Joanne Eaton, who is the Safety and Security Manager at the Toronto Zoo, to ask her how the safety policies and processes were implemented for the...
Published 06/03/20
Use this audio tour while on your Scenic Safari 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, you will have your very own Zoo Keeper commentary to learn about animals as you pass through the variety of Zoogeographic areas! Book your tickets at torontozoo.com/scenicsafari today and use this audio tour while on your Scenic Safari at the Toronto Zoo.
Published 05/19/20
I meet some amazing Zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo every time I interview them for an episode on this podcast. I always ask the Zookeepers to share stories about the animals they have worked with over the course of their careers. It’s the best part of my day to hear how the various personalities of the animals can make a Zookeeper’s day! Unfortunately, we can’t fit every story into each of the podcast episodes; however, I am pleased to tell you that we included some of the best stories from...
Published 05/06/20
I meet some amazing Zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo every time I interview them for one of the episodes on this podcast. I always ask the Zookeepers to tell me some stories about the animals they have worked with during their careers. It’s the best part of my day to hear how the various personalities of the animals can make a Zookeeper’s day! Unfortunately, we can’t fit every story into each of the podcast episodes; however, I am pleased to tell you that we included some of the best stories...
Published 04/22/20