Having problems viewing this? View it in your browser here.

Helping hornbills, kiwi and penguins

From Asia's rhinoceros hornbills to New Zealand's kiwi and Africa's penguins, your Zoo's donor-funded Conservation Today program is helping wild birds.


The Zoo's rhinoceros hornbills are helping their wild counterparts in an unusual way. Read more here.
Photo: Casey Cook

Your Toledo Zoo participates in the international kiwi Species Survival Plan (SSP), a group of organizations all around the world working to help this endangered species.
Photo: Mehgan Murphy/Smithsonian

When you buy selected Zoo merchandise (like items with this print, created by the Zoo's own penguins), you support Conservation Today. Look for displays at the Zoo's North Star Trading Post® and KC's Corner Store. Merchandise includes selected plush animals, totes, apparel and more.
Photo: Deborah Noward


Rhinoceros hornbills

Asia's dense forests are home to many animals -- elephants, tigers, crocodiles and rhinoceros hornbills.

These elegant birds are admired by indigenous people there. That includes particular admiration for their long tail feathers, which drives some people to hunt and kill the birds.

Your Zoo supports targeted efforts to protect hornbill nests from poachers in Thailand, helping to ensure that more of these animals reach maturity.


Kiwi are unusual among bird species. They have wiry, cat-like feathers around their faces; poor eyesight (a mammalian trait); and an excellent sense of smell (rare among birds).

But these beloved nocturnal birds -- the national symbol of New Zealand -- are in trouble. According to information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), wild kiwi populations have declined 90 percent or more over the last century. Primary threats come from stoats (non-native, weasel-like animals), dogs and ferrets, along with habitat loss and competition for food.

Your Zoo is helping to protect kiwi nests in New Zealand so vulnerable chicks have a better chance of survival.

African penguins

You probably think of cold climates when you think about penguins, but Africa has its own species, called African penguins.

In the last decade, though, wild African penguin populations have dropped dramatically -- more than 60 percent, by some estimates.

Historically, environmental catastrophes like oil spills were among the biggest threats these birds faced. But today, climate change is an even bigger threat, because it appears to be changing fish movements during African penguins' breeding season. As the birds attempt to follow their prey, they're forced to swim farther from their chicks; this results in both emaciated adults and starving young.

Your Zoo is working with the world's largest seabird rescue operation to help African penguins. It's something we take personally; Staci Bekker, one of our Aviary keepers, even traveled to Africa to help care for sick and injured penguins there.

Donor support has also helped purchase data loggers for a ground-breaking project. By fitting young, hand-reared African penguins with satellite transmitters and then releasing them, our conservation partners are gaining valuable insight into African penguins' early lives. This will enable us to give them the help they need to survive.


Successes like these are possible because of people just like you who support Conservation Today, the Zoo's donor-funded conservation initiative. Thank you for your support!

story by Kandace York
Sept. 12, 2013


Above: Your Zoo's Conservation Today program helps many of its animals' wild counterparts. Photo: Ty Photography

Banner photo, top of page: Candee Ellsworth




For more information about any of the Zoo’s programs or services, please call 419.385.5721 or visit toledozoo.org.