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
 
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…
 
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.…
 
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…
 
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 o…
 
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 discuss…
 
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 …
 
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! Unfortunate…
 
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! Unfortu…
 
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 their animals. It’s the best part of my day to hear how the various personalities of the animals make the Zookeeper’s day that much more interesting. Unfortunately, we can’t…
 
In this episode of the Wild For Life Podcast, we are going to learn about the Great Canadian Raccoon. We often see raccoons in Toronto in alleys, curiously peering into garbage bins, and crossing streets, yet we never think about how successful they have been in adapting to human development. Zookeeper Kyle Banton-Jones discusses why raccoons are s…
 
I had the chance to sit down with Toronto Zoo Zookeepers Aly Pidgen and Lindsay Vasseur to discuss the Caribou herd at the Zoo. They discussed what it’s like to care for the herd and go into detail on the behavioural husbandry. Don’t miss the chance to get up close to these wonderful animals at the Zoo during their wildlife encounter: http://www.to…
 
Lauren Ogle, Manager of Guest Operations, joins me on the podcast today to discuss how hard the Zoo works to ensure your visit is the best experience every time you come to the Zoo. Lauren discusses the creative ideas that are implemented at the Zoo that augment your visit and make learning about Wildlife Conservation entertaining. Lauren also intr…
 
You haven’t seen a horse until you have seen the Przewalski’s Horses (P. Horses) at the Toronto Zoo. These rugged wild horses may be shorter than the horses that you are used to seeing in a parade or on the farm, but they are tougher than you would think. Their harsh wild environment demands it. I sit down with Toronto Zookeeper, Jenn Martin, to di…
 
Gorillas may be one of the most iconic species at the Toronto Zoo and they are the subject of today’s episode. I sit down with Zookeepers Ali Vella-Irving and Heidi Manicki-Claffey to discuss the unique personalities of the gorillas at the Zoo and how Zookeepers take care of such a large and strong animal. I also ask them questions about the conser…
 
The Polar Bears at the Toronto Zoo are always a sight to see when you visit. The massive bears are playful, active, and massive in size and personality. Aly Pidgen is a Zookeeper at the Zoo who takes care of the polar bears and sits down with me to give us a great behind-the-scenes look at these majestic animals. She talks about each of the bear’s …
 
Giraffes are a unique animal with their long necks and very long and flexible tongues. I wanted to find out more about giraffes at the Toronto Zoo, so I got the chance to sit down with Brent Huffman, Zookeeper, to ask him some questions about the two Masai giraffes at the Zoo. Brent and I discuss their conservation needs in the wild in light of the…
 
Volunteers play an integral role in educating people who visit the Toronto Zoo. In this episode, I interview Karen Conway and Denise Hill-Fox, who are Coordinators of Volunteering and Engagement, to discuss the various volunteer programs at the Zoo and the training that is involved in each volunteer program. Karen and Denise discuss how they starte…
 
Habitats at the Toronto Zoo are carefully planned, designed, and constructed to make the animals feel at home as well as provide a function in the husbandry of the animals. Dave LaGrotta and Katrina Salvador sit down with me to discuss the details of designing and constructing habitats at the Toronto Zoo. We discuss everything from the design of ha…
 
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the world and it’s a United Nations World Heritage Site; therefore, it is important that you are aware of how to protect this reef. Sam Ironside, Wildlife Care Keeper in the Australasia Pavilion, is here to help you understand how she cares for the live corals and fish from the Great Barrier Ree…
 
Amanda Carroll, a Zookeeper in the Indo-Malaya Area of the Toronto Zoo, joins me on the podcast to discuss the care and conservation of the Sumatran orangutans. During the interview, Amanda talks about the level of care the animals receive at the Zoo and how they rotate the animals on display to mimic how they live in the wild. We also spend some t…
 
I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Julie Ward, Lead Keeper of the African Savanna at the Toronto Zoo, to discuss the unique characteristics of the white lions at the Zoo; their personalities; and, how those personalities play a role in their husbandry. Links Mentioned During The Episode: Global White Lion Protection Trust Homepage: ht…
 
I had the pleasure to sit down with Mary-Kate Whibbs and Kat Lucas to discuss the Toronto Zoo’s Great Lakes Aqua-Links Program. Mary-Kate and Kat visit classrooms all across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to educate students on the fish and invertebrates of the Great Lakes Watershed. The students participate and rear their own salmon from eggs to h…
 
Tigers are one of the most iconic species in the world and the staff at the Toronto Zoo are working hard to make visitors aware of their conservation status in the wild. I interview Bailey Druery and Sarah Stata who are Zoo Keepers of the Amur and Sumatra Tigers, respectively, at the Toronto Zoo. Bailey and Sarah describe each of their tiger specie…
 
One of the greatest things about a Zoo is to see how animals behave in an up close and personal environment. The Toronto Zoo produces daily shows that provide you with the opportunity to experience how their behaviours in the wild could be used to demonstrate conservation messages such as picking up litter and putting in the recycling bin. I had th…
 
I sit down with Sonia Hojka, who is a Zoo Keeper at the Zoo, to discuss the biology, behaviour, ecology, and conservation of the ring-tailed lemurs. We chat about some interesting facts about the primates including how they like to cuddle, how they use their tails, and how the females are leaders of the troops - and what that means for reproduction…
 
Paul Gellatly, Curatorial Gardner, and Amanda Theodoridis, Curatorial Assistant, join me on the podcast this week to discuss the Toronto Zoo’s extensive plant collection. Paul and Amanda explain how they manage the thousands of plant species at the Zoo; how the Zoo is about to finish the process of becoming a Botanical Garden; describe how theAmorp…
 
Maria Franke, Manager of Welfare Science at the Toronto Zoo, sits down with me to discuss the conservation of the black-footed ferret and the Vancouver Island marmot, which are two species that are considered to be Species At Risk. The black-footed ferrets are Endangered and the Vancouver Island marmots are critically endangered. During the episode…
 
Today, I am speaking with Paul Yannuzzi and Taylor Tabobondung, who work at the Toronto Zoo as part of the Adopt-A-Pond - Blanding’s Turtle Head Start Programme and Turtle Island Conservation. Paul discusses how Blanding’s turtle eggs are rescued from the wild and brought into the Zoo to be reared for the next two years before the turtles are relea…
 
I had the pleasure to sit down with Erica Jacques, Zoo Keeper in the African Rainforest Pavilion, and Alison Babin, Zoo Keeper in the African Savanna, to discuss two species of hippos at the Toronto Zoo. These passionate Keepers give us the details about the personalities, husbandry, and conservation status of the pygmy and river hippos. I was real…
 
On this week’s episode, I have a great conversation with Brent Huffman, a Zoo Keeper at the Toronto Zoo with 6 years of experience working with the Kangaroos. We sat down in the New Kangaroo Walk-Thru – Opening this Summer! - to find out more about this lovable animal from Australia. We discuss the differences between Kangaroos and Wallabies; Why K…
 
Have you ever wondered how the Toronto Zoo feeds all of the animals their specific diets that will allow them to grow big and healthy? Well, I had the chance to sit down with the Zoo’s Nutritionist, Jaap Wensvoort, and the Zoo and Wildlife Foundation Nutrition Resident Sarra Gourlie to discuss how they develop balanced diets to ensure the optimal h…
 
Did you ever wonder why the Polar Bears have an empty barrel in their enclosures that they can fill up with water during play time? The barrel is part of the Polar Bears’ behavioural enrichment program to mimic the behaviours they would do in the wild. Behavioural Enrichment is part of the subject of today’s episode, where I sit down with Hollie Ro…
 
I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Kyla Greenham, Manager of Conservation Programs and Environment at the Toronto Zoo. Kyla and I discussed some of the many sustainable programs that are currently implemented at the Zoo. We also had the chance to discuss how the passion to be eco-friendly was initially driven by the staff at the Zoo a…
 
Dr. Kevin Kerr, Curator of Birds and Invertebrates at the Toronto Zoo, joins me on the podcast to discuss the husbandry and conservation projects at the Zoo. If you are into birds, then this episode is for you!. Kevin talks about how species are chosen to be hosted at the Zoo; which species participate in the breeding programs; and, which species c…
 
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