A San Diego Zoo Podcast
ROARING INTO SEASON 2
An all-new season of our podcast, Amazing Wildlife, has taken flight! Join hosts, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Ambassadors Rick Schwartz and Marco Wendt, for a fresh perspective and unique insights into the intricacies of wildlife conservation.
From caterpillars metamorphosing into butterflies here in the Southwest, to on-the-ground community efforts to save mane-less African lions with our partners on the savannas of Kenya—and so much more!—you’ll be transported deep into the world of wildlife and conservation around the globe.
Tune in to Amazing Wildlife online or wherever you listen to podcasts for Apple or Android.
Your Hosts: Rick Schwartz and Marco Wendt
Discover a Diversity of Wildlife
Episode 1 - Currently Live
Secrets from Inside the Chrysalis
Everyone enjoys the beauty of the butterfly, and we all know they come from caterpillars. But how do they go from one to the other? In this episode of Amazing Wildlife, Rick and Marco follow their curiosity about what happens in the chrysalis. Joined by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Senior Wildlife Care Specialist in Entomology Lynn Fennema, we learn what a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly, the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis, and so much more!
Episode 2 - Currently Live
No Mane, No Pride—No Problem
Are they still lions if the males do not have a mane and they don’t live in a pride? In this episode of Amazing Wildlife, Rick and Marco explore how and why some lions of Kenya thrive without a pride, and the males lack manes. Joined by Founder and Executive Director of Ewaso Lions Dr. Shivani Bhalla, and Research Manager of Ewaso Lions Toby Otieno, we learn more about humans and lions living together, and the importance of community-based conservation.
Episode 3 - Currently Live
The Little Mouse That Matters: Pacific Pocket Mouse
Amazing Wildlife highlights a tiny species from the Southwest Conservation Hub, one of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance's eight areas of conservation focus. Alison Greggor, Ph.D., a researcher for the organization, speaks with Rick and Marco about a unique rodent that weighs about as much as three pennies: the Pacific pocket mouse! They discuss where this granivore can be found, how its diet determines its biology, the threats facing this species, its surprising life expectancy, and more!
Episode 4 - Currently Live
Uncovering the Secrets of the Bushmaster
Amazing Wildlife makes its way to the Amazonia Conservation Hub to highlight the longest venomous snake in the Americas, and the third-longest venomous snake on the planet: the bushmaster! Hosts Rick and Marco are joined by Brett Baldwin, associate curator of herpetology and ichthyology at the San Diego Zoo, to discuss their diet, how they capture prey, and the observation methods used to collect information about them. We also discover that although many people may be scared of venomous animals, their venom may hold secrets for medical advancements that could end up helping a lot of humans.
Episode 5 - Currently Live
Taking Care of Twin Andean Bears—A Conversation with a Wildlife Care Specialist
As they continue highlighting the Amazonia Conservation Hub, Rick and Marco speak with Senior Wildlife Care Specialist Lindsey Shafer about Alba, a female Andean bear at the San Diego Zoo. Alba recently gave birth to twin Andean bear cubs—the first twins of their species born at the Zoo since 1993! Amazing Wildlife examines what it’s like for this special omnivore to care for these extraordinary bears, and what wildlife care specialists do when cubs—in this case, two of them—join the family.
Episode 6 - Currently Live
Nocturnal Wildlife—An Adventure at the San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo
In this episode, we explore the world of nocturnal animals—including some you may see at San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo! Join Rick and Marco as they discuss their favorite nocturnal species, in the sky and on the ground. Find out about reflective eyes, super hearing, and animals that live in the darkness of caves!
Episode 7 - Currently Live
Giraffes: The Watchtowers of the Savanna
Did you know that the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is dedicated as World Giraffe Day? Amazing Wildlife heads to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance's Savanna Conservation Hub to honor the long-legged, long-necked giraffe for its special day, on June 21. Rick and Marco are joined by lead wildlife care specialist Charlie Hyde, who shares his 15 years of expertise at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Charlie shares the uniqueness of the tallest land mammal's tongue and hooves, and explains what makes their neck different—though they have the same number of vertebrae as people. With giraffes in a mixed-species habitat, we'll learn how they interact with the other wildlife, and how their height plays a big part in everyone's environment.
Episode 8 - Currently Live
Connecting Communities and Wildlife for a Conservation Win
Amazing Wildlife continues its exploration of the Savanna Conservation Hub, and looks at how the conservation of rangeland grasses benefits leopards, Grevy’s zebras, and hundreds of other species. Tomas Pickering, Ph.D., a senior researcher at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance working in community engagement, joins Rick and Marco, and describes the work in Kenya—a country at the forefront of community-based conservation. Tomas gives insight into communities that are removing invasive plants and reseeding with native grasses, so all wildlife in the area can benefit. The hosts and Tomas also highlight the community-based women’s organization called the Chui Mamas (meaning “Leopard Mothers” in Swahili), working to support conservation and coexistence with carnivores.
Episode 9 - Currently Live
Can AI Benefit Wildlife? Conservation Technology Says Yes!
Calling all tech lovers! Amazing Wildlife is joined by the head of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance's Conservation Technology Lab, scientist Ian Ingram. He shares with Rick and Marco how the latest technology is being used to help wildlife, and how we hope to implement it in the Asian Rainforest Conservation Hub. The trio discusses the use of artificial intelligence (AI), how cameras know what they should or shouldn't record in native habitats, and how sensor systems can detect things that people cannot. Ian also describes how, in the not-too-distant future, scientists might use drones and four-legged robots to set cameras.
Episode 10 - Currently Live
Stripes and Whiskers—Celebrating International Tiger Day
Happy International Tiger Day—also known as Global Tiger Day—on July 29! For this very special episode of Amazing Wildlife, Rick and Marco are joined by Lori Hieber, lead wildlife care specialist for the primate and carnivore team. Lori, who has worked with tigers for 15 years, describes the different subspecies of tigers and their various sizes. In addition, Lori tells us more about the four tigers currently at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and how the team can identify them through their unique markings and personalities.
Episode 11 - Currently Live
Trunks, Tusks, and a Ton of Facts for World Elephant Day!
In honor of World Elephant Day—celebrated on Saturday, August 12—Amazing Wildlife visits the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to highlight the world’s largest living land mammal. Rick and Marco chat with Catie Aubuchon, a wildlife care specialist, to unpack pachyderm facts and get a better understanding of all that goes into caring for elephants, from getting to know individual personalities to understanding the dynamics of the herd at the Safari Park. We also find out how many pounds of food an elephant eats in a day, and the surprising number of teeth they have—and we debunk some myths about their trunks and tusks.
Episode 12 - Currently Live
Getting to Know Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Get to know one of the largest species of the great apes, the gorilla! In this episode of Amazing Wildlife, Rick and Marco visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to speak with Breanne Murray, a senior wildlife care specialist. After discussing some popular gorilla terminology, the hosts learn about one of the world's oldest silverbacks, who lives at the Safari Park. They also get an “inside scoop” on how two young male gorillas are learning how to become silverbacks. Breanne explains the three stages of being a gorilla, and how gorillas explore their curiosity at the Safari Park.
Episode 13 - Currently Live
The Value of Vultures—Why They Are Vital to Ecosystems
Join us, as Amazing Wildlife gets ready to celebrate International Vulture Awareness Day (September 2). Rick and Marco visit Jenna Stallard, wildlife care manager of birds at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We’ll learn about Old World vultures (from Europe, Africa, and Asia) and New World vultures (from the Americas and the Caribbean), in addition to what makes vultures unique, and why they are vital to their ecosystems. The hosts and Jenna debunk myths about vultures—who have great personalities, despite popular belief. We also find out more about vulture breeding at the Safari Park, the threats to vultures—including poisoning—and how Egyptian vultures are surprisingly skilled at using tools.
Episode 14 - Currently Live
A Ton of Rhino Facts and Conservation Conversations for World Rhino Day
It’s World Rhino Day (September 22)! For this special day to raise awareness about rhino conservation, Amazing Wildlife is joined by Gavin Livingston, the curator of mammals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Rick and Marco discuss the five different species of rhinos, and offer some interesting facts about their hair color—and how much their head weighs (hint: it’s three times the size of something in your kitchen!) Gavin offers insight into rhino conservation science at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as threats to rhinos in their native habitats, and why they are vital to their ecosystems. We also learn the importance of diversity in rhino conservation, and Gavin’s predictions for the future of conservation.
Coming Soon! Every Other Friday, a New Episode Is Released
Season 1 Podcast Episodes
Episode 1 - Currently Live
Elephants: Who's Leading the Herd?
Description: For the very first episode, Amazing Wildlife explores the gender roles of African savanna elephants and their responsibilities in the herd, and demystifies the structure of the elephant trunk. Host Rick Schwartz explains how we can distinguish between an African forest elephant, an African savanna elephant, and an Asian elephant. Host Ebone Monet sits down with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance President and CEO Paul Baribault to find out how the organization partners with the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary to save and protect orphaned elephants in Kenya.
Episode 2 - Currently Live
Polar Bears: Rulers of the Arctic
BBBBRRRRRR it's cold in here! In this episode, Amazing Wildlife analyzes the behaviors of the polar bear and explains the tools these creatures use to survive in the extreme weather conditions of the Arctic. Hosts Rick and Ebone discuss the parents' roles in raising cubs, how polar bears hunt for food, and the challenges of studying such a big animal. The hosts answer a question from a young listener about why polar bears are (or aren’t) white.
Episode 3 - Currently Live
Koalas: Braving the Australian Bushfires
Some may think that koalas are “bears,” but that is not true! In this episode, Amazing Wildlife explains what species koalas are, and why they move slowly and often look sleepy. Host Rick Schwartz tells us how koalas break down and digest eucalyptus, a plant that is toxic to most animals. Host Ebone Monet chats with Dr. Kelli Leigh from Science for Wildlife in Australia to find out how koalas were saved during the Australian bushfires in the summer of 2020. You’ll learn how the San Diego Zoo takes care of koalas, and what you can do to help save our animal friends.
Episode 4 - Currently Live
Tigers: Exploring the Six Subspecies
They are powerful, elusive, and disappearing. We’re talking about the mighty tiger! Hosts Rick and Ebone explore the many mythologies surrounding the tiger in different cultures, clear up common misconceptions about the white tiger, and explain the differences between the six subspecies. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Baribault joins the show to discuss how the organization partners with SINTAS Indonesia for a first-of-its-kind long-term research and conservation project to reduce the number of human-tiger conflicts.
Episode 5 - Currently Live
Pacific Pocket Mouse: Little Creatures, Big Impact
In this episode, Amazing Wildlife looks at one of the smallest mammals in North America, the Pacific pocket mouse. Rick tells us how this animal got its name, their importance for our environment, and the threats they face in their native habitats. Ebone is joined by Dr. Debra Shier, who leads San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Pacific pocket mouse conservation program. Dr. Shier details the process of researching the animal that has made a comeback after it was thought to be extinct!
Episode 6 - Currently Live
Komodo Dragon: The Deadly Bite
Discover the real-life dragons of Komodo Island on this episode of Amazing Wildlife! Hosts Rick and Ebone uncover how this fascinating reptile got its name, the evolution of the species, and what makes their bite so deadly. The hosts respond to a young listener's question about the Komodo dragon's diet.
Episode 7 - Currently Live
Gorillas: Gentle Giants
They are among our closest relatives in the Animal Kingdom. We’re exploring unique facts about these charismatic, intelligent forest dwellers…gorillas! Hosts Rick and Ebone examine the similarities between gorillas and humans, and reveal how gorillas are endangered—even though they have no natural predators. Biologist Dr. Bethan Morgan joins the show from Cameroon’s Ebo Forest, where a distinct sound led a San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance scientist to discover a group of gorillas previously unknown to science.
Episode 8 - Currently Live
‘Alalā: The Disappearance of the Hawaiian Crow
They’re endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and found nowhere else in the world. We’re exploring how the introduction of cats, dogs, rats, and mongooses contributed to the population decline of a bird revered in Hawaiian culture—the ‘Alalā! President and CEO Paul Baribault joins the show as we learn about how San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and its partners are working to protect and breed this endangered bird so populations can fly through their home forests once again.
Episode 9 - Currently Live
Giraffes: Hello Up There!
Today, we’re discussing the tallest land animals: giraffes! Hosts Rick and Ebone reveal interesting characteristics of the species, which can kill a lion with its kick—and we explore their unique features, such as hair-covered horns called ossicones. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance scientist Dr. Kirstie Ruppert joins the show to talk about her work with the Twiga Walinzi group to protect giraffes in Northern Kenya from being hunted and illegally trafficked.
Episode 10 - Currently Live
Penguins: Tuxedo-clad Seabirds
They are black and white and loved all over. We’re talking about penguins! Hosts Ebone and Rick highlight the social dynamic of these flightless seabirds, and reveal how the San Diego Zoo is able to reflect the native habitat of African penguins, who live in a warm climate. Dr. David Roberts joins us from the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, also known as SANCCOB, who are first responders for coastal birds. Dr. Roberts explains what is necessary to save underweight and abandoned African penguin chicks, to help support the population of this endangered species.
Episode 11 - Currently Live
Leopards: Solitary, Cryptic, and Out of Sight
Who knew that leopards are attracted to perfume? Hosts Ebone and Rick talk to a San Diego Wildlife Alliance scientist, Dr. Nicholas Pilfold, about how a specific scent helped him photograph an elusive black leopard. Little is known about the population size or conservation status of African leopards, but Dr. Pilford gives details about the Uhifadhi wa Chui project that is trying to help change that. Uhifadhi wa Chui means “leopard conservation” in Kiswahili.
Episode 12 - Currently Live
Black Rhinos: Touting Their Horns
This episode is dedicated to conservation efforts to save the black rhino, which is unfortunately critically endangered due mostly to international trade in rhino horn. Hosts Ebone and Rick address this problem, as well as how the size and strength of rhinos affects the way specialists at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park care for them. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance President and CEO Paul Baribault is back to discuss working with the organization’s partners to help protect native populations of black rhinos and achieve population sustainability.
Episode 13 - Currently Live
Black-footed Ferrets: Road to Recovery
Once thought to be extinct, black-footed ferrets have another chance at survival! Hosts Rick and Ebone explore the reasons that the species is at risk, and the animal’s interesting journey on a road to recovery. Pete Gober from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives us an inside look at the innovative science and technology responsible for these mammals making a comeback. And Dr. Oliver Ryder, director of conservation genetics at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, tells the story of Elizabeth Ann, the first cloned black-footed ferret, who recently celebrated her first birthday!
Episode 14 - Currently Live
Thick-billed Parrots: A Colorful Conservation Saga
We’re traveling to Mexico to explore the mystery of the thick-billed parrot! Hosts Rick and Ebone explain how this red and green bird, once found in several areas of the Southwest, is now reduced to an endangered population in the mountain forests of northwest Mexico. Later, Amazing Wildlife is joined by Dr. Nadine Lamberski, chief conservation and wildlife health officer at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, who describes the current conservation plan—using information about the thick-billed parrots’ migratory patterns to help improve their chances for survival in native habitats.
Episode 15 - Currently Live
Naked Mole-rats: Think Pink
This episode is dedicated to an animal who doesn’t need a fur coat, since it spends most of its life underground. Naked mole-rats are found in East Africa’s deserts—and while these special “beauties” might not win any pageants, they are fascinating! In this episode, hosts Rick and Ebone explore the naked mole-rat’s status in nature, unique behaviors, and social structure. We’ll also hear from a young listener who will help us dig up the most interesting facts about these pink, wrinkly rodents.
Episode 16 - Currently Live
Bees: Busy Pollinators
The more you know about bees, the more you can appreciate these unique insects, and how they provide us with much more than just honey! Hosts Rick and Ebone explore the many contributions of bees, and share some cool facts. These specialized insects are called pollinators—they gather nectar and pollen from flowers, and they play a very important role in ecosystems worldwide.
Episode 17 - Currently Live
Burrowing Owls: Small Wonders
When you think of owls, you may think of big birds that come out at night, often seen in trees. But in this episode, Amazing Wildlife looks at the tiny burrowing owl, which is active in the daytime and found on—or under—the ground. Hosts Rick and Ebone explore what makes these birds so unique, what’s behind their declining numbers, and their connection to prairie dogs and ground squirrels. Later, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Colleen Wisinski shares how her team uses technology—such as trail cameras and GPS transmitters—in conservation of burrowing owls in Southern California.
Episode 18 - Currently Live
Butterflies: Nature's Transformers
Join hosts Rick and Ebone as Amazing Wildlife explores the colorful world of butterflies! Symbolic for transformation, their metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to adult butterfly has fascinated people for centuries. In this episode, we’ll discover how butterflies help scientists measure the health of the planet. And Paige Howorth, the San Diego Zoo's director of invertebrate care and conservation, will explain why the Quino checkerspot butterfly, native to Southern California and Baja California, Mexico, might be hard to spot.
Episode 19 - Currently Live
April Fools: Masters of Deception
Amazing Wildlife’s April Fools episode takes a look at opossums that play dead, insects that look like plants, and other wildlife that might fool you. Their seemingly deceptive behaviors can help wildlife protect themselves from predators or sneak up on prey. Hosts Rick and Ebone unveil some of the surprising reasons behind the wild performances—plus, young explorers join the conversation.
Episode 20 - Currently Live
African Forest Elephants: Elusive Pachyderms
What is the difference between an African forest elephant and an African savanna elephant? This episode is dedicated to the most elusive of the three living elephant species. We’ll journey to Central Africa to learn about forest elephants in their native habitat. Hosts Rick and Ebone are joined by Dr. Ekwoge Abwe, manager of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Central Africa Program’s Ebo Forest Research Project, which encourages local communities to take pride in the forest’s unique biodiversity.
Episode 21 - Currently Live
Gorillas: Great Apes and COVID-19
Find out what happened when gorillas tested positive for COVID-19 in January 2021. Get a behind-the-scenes perspective on how wildlife health specialists at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park responded to the gorillas’ illness, and the steps they took to ensure every gorilla’s recovery. Hosts Rick and Ebone will hear from the director of veterinary services at the Safari Park, Dr. Lauren Howard, about their work, and the use of the first COVID-19 vaccine approved for animals.
Episode 22 - Currently Live
Jaguar: A Big Cat That Swims
It’s South America’s only native big cat, which you might find swimming in a river, climbing a tree, or trailing prey. In this episode hosts Rick and Ebone uncover fascinating facts about the sleek, powerful, and elusive jaguar. You’ll find out what separates the jaguar from other big cats, how jaguars manage to take down much larger animals without relying on speed, why jaguar numbers are declining, and how you can help with conservation efforts.
Episode 23 - Currently Live
Giant River Otter: South America’s “River Wolf”
Meet the longest member of the weasel family, and find out why the giant river otter is known as the “river wolf.” Hosts Rick and Ebone will discuss what separates this otter from all others, covering everything from this carnivorous species’ favorite meal to its aquatic adaptations. River otters are “team players” that live, hunt, and defend their territories in family groups.
Episode 24 - Currently Live
Andean Bear: The Bear with Many Names
This tree-loving bear is known for the light-colored fur around its eyes, in a pattern that looks like a pair of eyeglasses. In the South American countries where these bears are found, people refer to them as jukumari, ukumari, or ukuku. However, their most widely used name comes from the mountain range where they live. The Andean bear is the closest living relative of the extinct species of North American short-faced bear. Hosts Rick and Ebone explore how this remarkable bear has managed to survive.
Episode 25 - Currently Live
Galápagos Pink Iguana: The Case of the Disappearing Young
Let’s take a virtual trip to the Galápagos Islands. Near their highest peak lives a unique reptile. These large lizards were officially classified as their own species in 2009—but only 200 to 300 remain in their native habitat. Young pink iguanas face obstacles to survival that range from an active volcano to feral cats looking for their next meal. Join hosts Rick and Ebone to learn more about this critically endangered species, and how technology is helping to improve conservation strategies to save them.
Episode 26 - Currently Live
The Bonobo: Humans’ Lovable Cousin
Get ready to learn about an endangered great ape known for being kind to strangers, peaceful, and highly intelligent. Found only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bonobos have fascinated people for nearly 100 years. Bonobos are often compared to their closest relatives, humans and chimpanzees, and are known to express empathy for strangers. Hosts Rick and Ebone will explore their unique behaviors, which have been studied by researchers seeking clues about the natural history of people.
Episode 27 - Currently Live
Orangutan: Everyone's Favorite Redhead
You might know them for their long arms and unique colored hair. We're talking about the tree-dwelling great apes of Southeast Asia—Orangutans! Hosts Rick and Ebone reveal how this species got its name, which is often mispronounced. Find out about how to tell the difference between the different types of orangutans, the unique closeness they have with their mothers, and how the rate of reproduction and deforestation are contributing to a lower orangutan population. Tanya Howard, senior wildlife care specialist with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, joins Amazing Wildlife to discuss the primate’s unique characteristics, such as an affinity for alone time.
Episode 28 - Currently Live
Galápagos Tortoise: Island Elder
This show is dedicated to an animal that has the secret to longevity. The Galápagos tortoise has been known to live more than 100 years. This giant tortoise is one of the most well-known animals found on Ecuador's Galápagos Islands. The archipelago's biodiversity inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Hosts Rick and Ebone discuss how the San Diego Zoo has one of the largest and oldest colonies of Galápagos tortoises in the world—with some of the tortoises first arriving in 1928. And a young listener will get a chance to have Rick answer questions about the giant tortoise.
Episode 29 - Currently Live
Southern White Rhino: Mud Lover
Amazing Wildlife examines a subspecies of the second-largest land mammal on the planet, the white rhinoceros. Hosts Rick and Ebone provide insights on how the southern white rhino marks its territory, its affinity for mud, and its complex social structure. The duo discusses the theory of how the white rhino got its name through miscommunication between languages, and shares current solutions for saving this species that is declining due to threats of poaching. Later, Rick answers questions from one of our young listeners.
Episode 30 - Currently Live
Northern White Rhino: A Race Against Time
After spotlighting the southern white rhino, Amazing Wildlife explores a functionally extinct subspecies, the northern white rhino. “Functionally extinct” means there is no chance for the current population, as it is, to naturally reproduce. Hosts Rick and Ebone detail what led to the northern white rhino’s critically endangered status and the factors that make it impossible for this rhino to mate and reproduce on its own. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance's Barbara Durant, director of reproductive sciences, and Marlys Houck, curator of the Frozen Zoo, join the show to discuss the reproduction technologies scientists are using to preserve and maintain northern white rhino genes to bring the subspecies back.
Episode 31 - Currently Live
Przewalski's Horse: Last of the Wild
Amazing Wildlife uncovers fascinating facts about the last living "wild" horse, the Przewalski's horse! Hosts Rick and Ebone explain how the closest living relative of the domestic horse got its unique name, and its recovery from once being considered extinct in nature. Later, we’re joined by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Barbara Durant, director of reproductive sciences, and Marlys Houck, curator of the Frozen Zoo, to hear about the first cloned Przewalski's horse, conservation efforts to save the species, and the process of reintroducing it into its natural habitat.
Episode 32 - Currently Live
Fiji Iguana: Camouflaged Cutie
What is the beautifully colored arboreal species found only on the Fiji Islands? We’re talking about the Fiji iguana! Hosts Rick and Ebone reveal what makes the Fiji banded iguana unique, how this lizard is perfectly shaded to camouflage with the forest, and what classifies a lizard to be an iguana. Kim Gray, curator of herpetology and ichthyology at the San Diego Zoo, makes an appearance to explain the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program and the threats that impact the Fiji banded iguana.
Episode 33 - Currently Live
California Condor: Soaring from Extinction
The spectacular California condor is the largest bird in North America. They are known for their enormous black wings that can stretch nearly 10 feet from tip to tip. At one time, there were thousands of California condors across the western United States and in Mexico. In the 1970s, biologists found that only a few dozen condors remained in their native habitats. On this episode of Amazing Wildlife, hosts Rick and Ebone will talk to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Associate Director of Recovery Ecology Nacho Vilchis, and to Ron Webb, lead wildlife care specialist for the condor project. We’ll explore how San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance worked with partners to save the California condor when there were only 22 left in the world!
Episode 34 - Currently Live
Cheetah: Made for Speed
As the fastest mammal on land, the cheetah can reach speeds of up to 70 miles an hour. But you are more likely to see cheetahs sleeping than running at full speed—if you are lucky enough to spot one at all. Hosts Rick and Ebone chat with San Diego Zoo Safari Park wildlife behavior expert Janet Rose-Hinostroza about the cheetah's solitary nature and unique characteristics. We’ll explore why cheetahs in human care are sometimes paired with a domestic dog, and look at the significant role these cheetahs play in expanding this threatened species' genetic diversity.
Episode 35 - Currently Live
Grevy's Zebra: A Star in Stripes
Meet the largest of the three zebra species. The Grevy’s zebra is not only larger than the plains zebra and the mountain zebra, but it has thinner stripes. In addition, this zebra’s thick neck and large, round ears give it the most mule-like physique of the three. Amazing Wildlife hosts Rick and Ebone talk to San Diego Zoo wildlife care supervisor Mike Langridge about what it takes to care for Grevy’s zebras—and what makes them so unique.
Episode 36 - Currently Live
Okapi: It's Related to Giraffes?
This Amazing Wildlife episode is all about a beautiful and unusual mammal. The okapi (pronounced oh-KAHP-ee) is native to the dense rainforests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With its white-and-black stripes, it looks like it must be related to zebras. But take a look at an okapi’s head, and you’ll notice a resemblance to giraffes. Hosts Rick and Ebone find out how okapis manage to blend in with surroundings in their native habitat.
Episode 37 - Currently Live
Platypus: A Duck-billed, Egg-laying Mammal
The animal explored in this episode is so unusual that when it was first discovered by European explorers, they had a hard time convincing scientists that it was actually real. Amazing Wildlife hosts Rick and Ebone reveal some cool facts about the platypus—an egg-laying mammal! Find out how the San Diego Zoo Safari Park became the only zoo outside Australia to house platypuses.
Episode 38 - Currently Live
Matschie's Tree Kangaroo: Look Up
In this episode of Amazing Wildlife, we’re traveling to the cloud forests of the island of Papua New Guinea. Locals call Matschie’s tree kangaroos “ghosts of the forest” because they are so hard to spot, and they move so quickly. Amazing Wildlife hosts Rick and Ebone discuss how the Matschie’s tree kangaroo is uniquely adapted for climbing trees, and how zoos are working together to save this endangered species.
Episode 39 - Currently Live
Cassowary: Dino Birds
Venture to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northeastern Australia to learn about one of the world’s largest birds. At nearly 6 feet tall, the southern cassowary isn’t the world’s tallest bird—and although males can weigh up to 121 pounds, that’s not enough to make the cassowary the heaviest bird. But cassowaries might hold the title of the bird with the fiercest reputation.
Episode 40 - Currently Live
Tasmanian Devil: Ghosts of Tasmania
They are carnivorous. They are marsupials. They are endangered. Amazing Wildlife explores what makes the Tasmanian devil so fascinating. Their powerful bite and ghostly snarl have led to the “devil” comparisons—but while they may look fierce, Tasmanian devils typically eat wildlife that has already died, instead of hunting. Hosts Rick and Ebone will discuss the disease outbreak that is behind a dramatic decline in the devil population.
Episode 41 - Currently Live
Kangaroo: Mighty Marsupials
This episode of Amazing Wildlife spotlights one of Australia's most beloved endemic species. The kangaroo is known for its many familiar characteristics, from its powerful kick to the female’s joey-toting pouch. Hosts Rick and Ebone will explore this plant-eating marsupial’s lesser-known behaviors, and a young listener will have an opportunity to find out how much they really know about these popular hoppers.
Episode 42 - Currently Live
Chimpanzee: A Conversation with Conservationist Jane Goodall
For this very special episode of Amazing Wildlife, join global phenomenon and world-renowned conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, as she shares her lifelong passion for wildlife and her commitment to saving our natural world with President and Chief Executive Officer of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Paul Baribault. The two will sit down and chat about Jane’s lifelong commitment to conserving our natural world; and as Chair of the Jane Goodall Institute’s USA Board of Directors, Paul Baribault talks with his friend about her love for chimpanzees and what it will take to protect and save our closest relatives—and the planet we all share.
Episode 43 - Currently Live
Tuatara: Little Dragons
This episode takes us to New Zealand, to explore the native habitat of the tuatara. This reptile is known for preferring cool climates and for having a “third eye” on its forehead—and although it looks a lot like a lizard, its lineage traces back to the age of the dinosaurs. Hosts Rick and Ebone talk to Kim Gray, curator of herpetology and ichthyology, about this truly one-of-a-kind animal that’s called a “living fossil.”
Episode 44 - Currently Live
Mountain Yellow-legged Frog: Restoring Ecosystem Balance
Found in high-elevation streams in the Sierra Nevada mountains, mountain yellow-legged frog populations have been declining since the 1970s. Hosts Rick and Ebone are joined by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Research Coordinator Leah Jacobs to talk about a large-scale reintroduction project for this endangered frog, and the challenges conservationists face as they try to restore ecosystem balance.
Episode 45 - Currently Live
Rattlesnake: Venomous Viper
This episode of Amazing Wildlife explores how rattlesnakes have gotten a bad rap—and that they rattle in hopes of keeping others away from them, because they would rather avoid conflict. Hosts Rick and Ebone debunk myths about these predators that struggle to survive as humans move in on their habitat. You’ll discover cool facts about rattlesnakes (which, surprisingly, are good swimmers) and why we need them—plus, a young listener will have a chance to ask questions about them.
Episode 46 - Currently Live
Desert Tortoise: Star of the Southwest
The desert tortoise, a long-lived species that inhabits the Mojave Desert, is known for its thick, domed shell known as a carapace. Hosts Rick and Ebone reveal many interesting facts about these tortoises, including that they are quicker on their feet than one might think. Melissa Merrick, associate director of Recovery Ecology, will discuss how San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and its partners are working to help these tortoises survive, after years of population declines.
Episode 47 - Currently Live
Chinese Giant Salamander: Living Fossils
The Chinese giant salamander can grow to nearly 6 feet in length and live as long as your grandparents. Hosts Rick and Ebone explore the underwater world of this sleek and mysterious, gill-less creature that absorbs oxygen through its skin! This episode also features a conversation with Brett Baldwin, associate curator of herpetology and ichthyology, who will discuss efforts to stop illegal poaching of this critically endangered species.
Episode 48 - Currently Live
Axolotl: Forever Young
The axolotl has gotten a boost in popularity, thanks to its inclusion in a widely popular video game, but many people may not be familiar with the secret behind the amphibian’s infant-like smile. Hosts Rick and Ebone explore interesting facts about this species, found only found in Lake Xochimilco, within Mexico City. Curator of herpetology and ichthyology Kim Gray describes the axolotl’s unique behaviors, from its mating dance to its regeneration abilities.
Episode 49 - Currently Live
Sun Bear: Sun in the Trees
In this episode, we learn about a bear that carries sunshine wherever it goes. Sun bears get their common name from the white or yellowish crescent marking on their chest, which many people think looks like a rising or setting sun. Hosts Rick and Ebone discuss the many adaptations that make sun bears perfectly designed for life in the trees. Senior Wildlife Care Specialist Chris Torres shares how experts create stimulating environments for sun bears at the San Diego Zoo.
Episode 50 - Currently Live
Grizzly Bear: North American Brown Bears
Brown bears are brown, right? Well, in this episode of Amazing Wildlife, hosts Rick and Ebone discuss the bear that comes in various shades, from a light cream color to almost black. They will also explore how grizzly bears differ from other types of brown bears. Wildlife Care Specialist Hali O'Connor will join Rick and Ebone to talk about Scout and Montana, two grizzly bear brothers she has cared for since they were 10 months old.
Episode 51 - Currently Live
Sloth Bear: Active Insect Eaters
What’s in a name? Sloth bears share a few characteristics with sloths—including shaggy hair around their shoulders and 3-inch-long claws—but that's about all. In this episode, hosts Rick and Ebone discuss the bears that don’t hibernate, and explore adjustments that sloth bears have made to avoid potential conflict. A young listener will also ask questions about this bear that snacks on termites.
Episode 52 - Currently Live
Giant Panda: Black and White—and Loved All Over
The giant panda is a bear that’s immediately recognizable, and beloved all over the world. This bamboo-eating black and white bear is native to China, where it is a national treasure. We’ll explore the giant panda’s conservation journey from near extinction, and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s 30-year contribution to collaborative panda conservation efforts. Hosts Rick and Ebone will be joined by the Alliance’s director of conservation science, Ron Swaisgood, Ph.D.