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.
 
Olivia Wilder Times™ features celebrity and other unique guest interviews that are informal and conversational. The over 600 guests have included TV/FILM: Linda Evans, Beau Bridges, Andie MacDowell, La Toya Jackson, Eric Roberts, Sean Young, Richard Thomas, Billy Zane, Gilles Marini, Robert Townsend, Joanna Cassidy, Melora Hardin, Debi Mazar ; Justin Kirk, Clark Gregg, Tom Conti, Henry Goodman, Cung Le; Justin Chon and Solomon Trimble (Twilight); RuPaul, Josie Bissett, COMEDY: Dane Cook, Gre ...
 
Anthony Gold from Anthony’s Desk shares his lessons learned from entrepreneurship, building social impact businesses, startup investing, running successful for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and his own personal growth. He’s had the great fortune of being an investor, entrepreneur, CEO, software developer, hardware engineer, and intern - and is still amazed that one of the supercomputers he architected is in the Guinness Book of World Records. Anthony has had his work, including his mos ...
 
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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…
 
Two women thought they'd met the man of their dreams. But one of them would be found dead of mysterious circumstances and one would go missing never to be seen again. Would justice prevail to convict Drew Peterson for these crimes? Resources: Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48: Drew Peterson, Investigation Discovery Channel, April 5, 2018 Justi…
 
A teenager goes missing in Morgan Hill, California never to be seen again. It would take meticulous detective work to prove she'd been the victim of a murder and bring her killer to justice. "Disappearance tests 'no-body' murder cases" by Jenna Lyons for The San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 16, 2017 Statement of Facts: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Offi…
 
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…
 
This month's series features crimes that were solved...without a body. Tom Capano thought he'd pulled off the perfect murder when his ex-girlfriend disappeared. Meticulous detective work and dogged determination would be needed to solve the crime. Resources: And Never Let Her Go by Ann Rule, 1996, Simon & Schuster. The FBI Files: Deadly Obsession, …
 
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.…
 
A story about a teenage stalker who hides in his victim's homes to prey upon them becomes an urban legend. But, the true life and crimes of Daniel J. LaPlante would be a real-life horror story. Resources: "Witness describes abduction by LaPlante", Paul Langner for The Boston Globe, Oct 21, 1988. Commonwealth v. Daniel J. LaPlante, Sept 14 - Nov 16,…
 
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 mysterious murder of Fred William Oesterreich in Los Angeles in 1922 would be revealed years later as one of the strangest and most bizarre true crime cases in California history Resources: A Crime to Remember: Guess Who?, Season 4, Episode 6, The Investigation Discovery Channel "The Story of Dolly Oesterreich" by Erin Kelly for All That's Inte…
 
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…
 
In 1998, a 14-year-old disappeared from Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. It would be feared she had become a victim of serial killer, Leonard Fraser, but this story would end with a shocking revelation. Sources: 60 Minutes Australia - ‘The Girl in the Cupboard’”(2003) - https://youtu.be/os_K-e_qwu8 "She had everyone fooled" in TheAge.com.au, Apr…
 
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…
 
A well-respected educator in Bakersfield, California is accused of a brutal crime - the murders of five of his family members. Resources: "The Mystery of the Lost Weekend", by Keith Morrison for Dateline NBC, July 24, 2009. "Vincent Brothers and murdered wife had rocky relationship say witnesses" by Jessica Logan for Bakersfield.com, March 7, 2007.…
 
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…
 
In this month's series "Bad Teacher" I'll share cases of educators who committed newsworthy crimes. First up, a 34-year-old teacher scandalizes the nation when she is convicted of child rape with one of her 6th grade students. Sources: "Strange Love: Mary Kay Letourneau", 7 News Spotlight, July 8, 2020, retrived on YouTube. "Mary Kay Letourneau: 15…
 
We conclude this two-part episode with a young woman who comes forward claiming to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. The investigation into her claim would take decades to solve the mystery. Time Stamps: 05:03 - "Miss Unknown" 22:47 - Investigating the Claim 28:06 - "Fraulein Annie" 30:20 - Anastasia Tchaikovsky - Rescue Story 53:30 - Anna Anders…
 
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…
 
On this first part of a 2-part episode, I share the fascinating story of the disappearance of the last imperial family of Russia, the Romanovs. After their disappearance, most believed they had been executed by the Bolsheviks, but sightings of one or more of the Romanovs would continue for years. Did some of Tsar Nicholas II's family members escape…
 
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…
 
On this second part of a two-part episode we continue the story of 9-year-old Walter Collins who went missing from Los Angeles in 1928. In part two, we discover that a serial killer, Gordon Stewart Northcott, has been preying on boys and young men in the LA area. Was Walter Collins a victim of Northcott's? Sources: The Wineville Chicken Coop Murder…
 
In this month's series I'll tell you stories about people who missing and then, months or years later, miraculously reappeared. But, these stories all have a twist - were they who they claimed to be or were they imposters? In this first episode, you'll hear about a young boy who goes missing in 1928. When he returns home, his mother will say he's a…
 
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.…
 
The life and tragic death of a young socialite in the 1930s inspires an Academy Award winning movie. But, Starr Faithfull's life was far from the glamorous treatment it would receive on the big screen. Sources: Ripped from the Headlines: The Shocking True Stories Behind the Movie's Most Memorable Crimes by Harold Schechter (Little A, 2020) The Pass…
 
As a bonus for this month's theme "Stranger Than Fiction" I interview author Harold Schechter about his new book, Ripped from the Headlines: The Shocking True Stories Behind the Movies' Most Memorable Crimes, an anthology of forty true crime cases that inspired films. Links: https://haroldschechter.com Purchase "Ripped from the Headlines" here.…
 
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…
 
Two women accused of murder in the Roaring 20s would become the inspiration for one of the best known and longest running shows in American musical theater history. This is the story of the real life Roxie and Velma from "Chicago". Resources: "1924 - Beulah Annan & Belva Gaertner". Newspaper articles compiled and posted on Chicagology.com. Ripped f…
 
In 1986, a beautiful young mother discovers her husband is cheating on her and files for divorce. Soon afterward, she goes missing. Discovering what happened to Helle Crafts would take an small army of detectives, forensic scientists, serologists, forensic anthropologists, a police diving team and other investigators to unravel this bizarre crime a…
 
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…
 
In the last chapter of "Till Death Do Us Part" a woman meets and quickly marries a man. He promises her a new life, but soon after the wedding she goes missing. It will take years of investigative and legal work to bring her killer to justice. Sources: "Till Death Do Us Part: True Stories of Newlywed Murder Cases" by JJ Slate, RJ Parker Publishing,…
 
A bride sees many red flags in her relationship before walking down the aisle, but her fear of angering her fiancee would compel her to go through with the ceremony. Within hours, that decision would become fatal. #domestic violence #coercive control Resources: "Murder-Suicide claims Indiana doctor, nurse on wedding night, police say", by Janet DiG…
 
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…
 
A new bride decides she's made a mistake in tying the knot. The decision she makes in order to end the marriage will be a shocking act of cruelty. Resources: "A Murder in Glacier Park" by Justin Franz for The Flathead Beacon, Dec 17, 2013 "Newlywed Cliff Death" by Ryan Owens for ABC News, Sept 11, 2013 "Glacier Park Murder: Friends warned Kalispell…
 
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 …
 
In this series, I'll share cases of newlyweds whose lives were cut short by the person who vowed to love them forever. In this first case, a young bride is unaware that her new spouse married her to collect on a $1 million dollar life insurance policy. Resources: 'The Other Woman' Testifies in Newlywed Murder, CBS Miami 4, March 25, 2014. Several a…
 
This is Part 2 of "The Pelley Murders". In this episode I'll tell you about Jeff Pelley's trial, theories of the murders, and give you a strange and compelling story about who else may have been responsible for the murders of Bob Pelley and his family. Resources: The Prom Night Murders: The True Story of a Twenty Year Mystery by Carlton Smith, St. …
 
A 17-year-old is suspected in the murder of four of his family members because he was forbidden from attending his prom. Was this a case of a homicidal teen or a rush to judgement? Resources: The Prom Night Murders: The True Story of a Twenty-Year Mystery by Carlton Smith, St. Martin's Press, 2009 "Inconsistent with the Laws of Nature" by Mark Grib…
 
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…
 
In this series, "Last Dance", I share stories of crimes that happened on prom night. In the first episode, a teenager commits an act of parricide then attends his prom and holds a party at the crime scene. Resources: Adam Sapikowski - crime and trial reported by WRAL.com over several articles - https://www.wral.com/news/local/asset_gallery/1066030/…
 
An abusive stepfather gets his comeuppance when his stepsons turn on him resulting in a grisly murder. Resources: "Joshua and Jerome Ellis guilty of stepfather killing", BBC News, Feb 26, 2014. "Kids Who Kill: Responsible Child inspired by the true story of two young brothers who stabbed their stepfather", Graeme Culliford for The Sun, Dec 17, 2019…
 
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…
 
A child, unwanted from birth and neglected by her birth parents, is hopeful that her new stepmother will love her like a daughter. It is not to be and her story will become a cautionary tale in the U.K. of how the child protective system spectacularly failed Lauren Wright. Resources: "Tragic tale of a child unwanted from the day of her birth" by Te…
 
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 our new series, “StepMonsters,” I’ll share stories of bad stepparents whose actions became true crime news. In this first episode I'll share the story of a young boy who went missing and was found in a very unlikely place. Was he the victim of abuse as he would claim and, if so, who was the person most responsible - his stepmother, his own fathe…
 
A gruesome crime would become a media sensation in Canada in 1946 when a beautiful young woman was accused of the grisly murder. This is the case of the infamous Evelyn Dick and the Torso Murder of 1946. Link to listen to the song "Evelyn Dick" by The Forgotten Rebels - https://youtu.be/OAkxFSM_rNs Resources: The Torso Murder by Brian Vallee publis…
 
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…
 
In 1991, Kurt Cobain released a song on the album Nevermind. Titled "Polly" the song was inspired by a kidnapping and rape of a young girl in Tacoma, Washington. This is the story of that crime. Listen to "Polly" by Nirvana here: https://youtu.be/3H0NHHKBemg Resources: "Story Behind the Song - Polly" by Hayley Selfridge on YouTube "Nirvana's Darkes…
 
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