All Stories

The Bizarre Boat-Billed Heron

by larissa ogin, keeper assistant   In 2020 we welcomed three Honduran boat-billed heron (Cochlearius cochlearius ridgwayi) chicks to the Emerald Forest Aviary and one to the River Valley Aviary. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens started housing boat-billed herons in 1990 and has had many years of successful breeding since then. This bizarre-looking heron is known for its odd-shaped bill that resembles the hull of a boat. They’re also recognizable by their large, dark eyes t... Read More

Do Manatees Celebrate Thanksgiving?

By Fatima Ramis, Wildlife Wellness & Research Officer   During Thanksgiving we gather from far and near with loved ones and those we haven’t seen in years. We endure long car rides and sometimes stressful plane rides. We endure this to unwind from our fast-paced lives, be close to others, and of course feast! Are we alone? Our large marine friends may share more with us than facial hair. ... Read More
Posted by Morgan Purvis at 11/24/20

Gardening with Trees: Part One

By Jen Best, Horticulture Supervisor   You look at that brown twig sitting in a bucket of soil at your local plant nursery and think, “Why should I plant this puny little tree?” My question is, “Why shouldn’t you plant a tree?” Trees are incredible. This is a fact. If there were no trees, the world would be a sad, sad place. They take all the carbon dioxide that we exhale every day, along with the carbon dioxide produced from our civilized technologies (... Read More
Posted by Morgan Purvis at 11/24/20

Lusia the Manatee Release

What better way to recognize Manatee Awareness Month than by releasing a manatee back into the wild?  We successfully released Lusia the manatee in Daytona Beach on November 19 after she spent three months here in rehabilitation. She's our third release in 2020 and 16th total since the opening of the Manatee Critical Care Center. Staff estimated her to be around 4 years old due to her size, weighing 713 pounds at her release. Lusia was rescued on Aug. 22 when she was found floating... Read More
at 11/20/20

Cold Weather Veggies

By Jen Best, Horticulture Supervisor   The weather is finally cooling and hopefully going to stay that way. You know what that means—time for a “green” winter! It’s time to be sowing and planting those lettuces and kales and collards and chards and mustards… I could keep going but you get the idea. The cooler weather is the perfect time to get those leafy greens in the ground. Even if you don’t like cooked greens, many of them are wonderfully delici... Read More
at 10/29/20

October is for Bats

By Allison Liu, Bird Keeper   Happy Halloween from one of the spookiest animals around: bats! Bats are the only mammals that fly and they are most active at night, so keep your eyes peeled for a bat while you’re trick or treating.  Contrary to popular belief, not all bats want to suck your blood. Most bats are omnivores and enjoy eating insects, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and nectar. They can disperse the seeds of fruits and flowers when they defe... Read More
at 10/29/20

Grevy's Zebra Trust

The Grevy’s Zebra Trust (GZT) is an incredible, hardworking organization that not only combats the very challenging issues that wildlife face, but also brings an invaluable level of assistance to communities that share their home regions with wildlife. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens began supporting the community-focused work of the GZT in 2014, and in January of this year, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, I was honored to attend the Great Grevy’s Rally of 2020 in Kenya!  ... Read More
at 10/15/20