It’s been a wildly busy past few months for Honolulu Zoo. Already comprised of 880 individual animals from more than 125 species, the zoo recently welcomed a new batch of critters, including two donkeys and three ferrets. As part of the zoo’s encounter animal collection, the donkeys and ferrets will be available for guests to get a closer look.
“The ferrets are very well-trained and really friendly,” says Honolulu Zoo director Jeffrey Mahon, Ph.D.
One of the most exciting features for the last few months has been the birth of lion cubs.
“We have three lion cubs, and they are getting pretty big now,” Mahon says.
Also on the way for the zoo is a forthcoming reptile and amphibian house that will be finished later this year. According to Mahon, one highlight will be giant salamanders that are up to five-feet long.
The zoo also recently was in the process of finishing up construction on an improved viewing area for the elephant exhibit, which was set to be completed in December. The revamped elephant pavilion will allow visitors to get an even better look at the animals, and the structure is being decorated with artwork made by students from high schools around the island.
Honolulu Zoo also received widespread attention when one of its educators, Stephanie Arne, won a national search for the host of the new Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom web series. The series is an online version of the Emmy-winning Wild Kingdom program.
Arne, who is the education outreach coordinator for the Honolulu Zoological Society, will take viewers on various wildlife adventures as the Wild Guide. Visit www. wildkingdom.com for more information and to view episodes.
“Stephanie is exactly what we were looking for to host the new series—her energy, passion and excitement about wildlife and nature is contagious,” stated John Hildenbiddle, senior vice president of brand management, Mutual of Omaha in a press release. “Each finalist was outstanding, but Stephanie really exceeded our expectations and brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to carry the message of Wild Kingdom to the next generation of viewers.”
Entrance for Honolulu Zoo is $14 for adults, $6 for children under 13, $8 for kama’aina and military, $4 for kama’aina and military children under 13. Children 2 and under get in free. The zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; the ticket office closes at 4:30 p.m.