Alex, CMZoo’s 5-year-old common warthog, is one busy piggie. He’s great at training, enjoys wallowing in mud, melts into a nap when scratched, and sometimes goes on walkabouts with his keepers. Alex is even learning how to share space with hippos, Zambezi and Omo!

When Alex is outside, you can usually find him in the yard between Water’s Edge: Africa and Primate World. If you’re lucky, you might catch Alex on an afternoon walkabout in Hippo Plaza or hanging out with Zambezi and Omo in the main hippo yard, best seen from the rope bridge. These moments with Alex are not scheduled, so feel free to ask our staff about Alex during your Zoo visit.

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Celebrate our ‘flockstars’ on International African Penguin Awareness Day (IAPAD), on Sat., Oct. 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Zoo!

Penguin enthusiasts will gather in Water’s Edge: Africa for crafts, games, and other activities available throughout the day – including keeper demonstrations during penguin feeding times, at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. There’s no cost to attend IAPAD events, but advance daytime admission tickets are required and can be purchased at

Each visit to CMZoo is conservation in action. Wild African penguin populations face many threats and continue to struggle in the wild. But, penguin protection organizations are making great strides to save this endangered species, including our partnership with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).

SANCCOB rescues and rehabilitates adult penguins, conducts important research and educates the public about African penguins and their ecosystem. Thanks to our members’ and guests’ support, CMZoo has been a longtime supporter of SANCCOB, having donated more than $130,000 to African penguin conservation since 2010.

In 2020, we also joined the African Penguins SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) conservation effort, which is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Under this additional conservation commitment, the Zoo sends $3,000 annually to SANCCOB in support of their Robben Island Ranger. This ranger closely monitors the Robben Island penguin colony in South Africa, helping researchers keep track of the penguin population. The ranger also plays an important role in the direct care of penguins, and other seabirds, by identifying population crises and transporting birds in need of medical attention to the SANCCOB rescue and rehab facility for treatment and eventual re-release.

Learn more about our history of African penguin conservation, thanks to guests’ and members’ support, here:

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3-year-old Alaska moose, Atka, has been busy growing an impressive set of antlers, exploring his yard and mastering navigation since he recovered from toe surgery earlier this year. Check in with the ‘prince of Rocky Mountain Wild’ and stop by to see his ever-changing antlers next time you’re at the Zoo.

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Step up to the hoof block with Wednesday, our 10-month-old reticulated giraffe. As students around Colorado head back to school from summer break, our partners at Children’s Hospital Colorado have provided some excellent tips for helping kids settle into the routine.

At CMZoo, keeper teams help animals succeed as students, too! 10 months old may seem young to start studying, but Wednesday’s team wasted no time helping her learn foundational husbandry behaviors that will allow her to voluntarily participate in her own healthcare for the rest of her life.

Way to go, Wednesday!

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With each passing day, the development of our black-footed ferret kits seems to be on fast-forward, as they eagerly explore their surroundings and pick up new skills. Black-footed ferret (BFF) kits are about the size of a pinky finger when they are born. They experience major milestones, such as growing their baby teeth, eating meat, and opening their eyes, in their first 60 days of life.

Since 1991, we have successfully bred 605 BFF kits in our behind-the-scenes conservation center. We have partnered with other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center and other organizations to breed, release, and monitor black-footed ferrets to increase their wild population.

Native to prairies stretching from Mexico to Canada, BFFs were thought to be extinct in the 1980s. During Western frontier explorations in the early 1900s, cargo ships from Europe and Asia inadvertently brought sylvatic plague to North America. The spread of the plague bacteria by fleas among prairie dogs (and other animals), combined with poisoning and eradication programs led by newly settled farmers and ranchers who saw prairie dogs as pests, drastically reduced the prairie dog population. Because prairie dogs are their main food source, BFF populations declined dramatically along with them.

On Sept. 26, 1981, a ranch dog named Shep caught a BFF. Shep’s catch led to the discovery of a small population of the elusive animals in Meeteetse, Wyoming. Since then, zoos, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center and other organizations have banded together to breed, prepare, release and monitor BFFs to increase the population.

Because they or their offspring could be released to the wild, every effort is made to keep the black-footed ferrets as wild as possible. So, they are not visible to CMZoo guests. Guests can see a BFF, named Rouge, in The Loft! Every CMZoo guest helps support this important program because 75 cents from every visit goes to Quarters for Conservation, which helps fund BFF conservation and other important efforts around the world.

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Nine-month-old prehensile-tailed porcupine, Mocha, recently made her home in My Big Backyard and is turning heads with her captivating snoot and unique tail. Prehensile-tailed porcupines are native to the forests of Central and South America, making their homes high up in the treetops. True to their name, prehensile-tailed porcupines have a prehensile tail, which means they can grasp tree branches and hang solely by their muscular tail.

Mocha was given her name by her keepers because of her mocha-colored quills and to promote sustainable coffee. Using sustainable coffee helps protect the native habitat of the prehensile-tailed porcupine.

Mocha is still young, but she has already developed a sweet disposition and gently takes food from her keepers during training sessions. She is curious, smart, eager and already excels in husbandry behaviors such as target training, crate training and scale training. Mocha also lets her keepers touch her, which is foundational as they develop a trusting relationship and expand her training to include regular health checks in the future.

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There’s a new face in Scutes Family Gallery! Aysan (ICE-on) is an 8-year-old female Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth who came to CMZoo to join 31-year-old male Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth, Bosco, on a breeding recommendation.

Aysan and Bosco have settled in nicely together, and have even been seen touching noses and calmly interacting. Aysan’s keepers are working on building a trusting relationship with her and making the tree-filled atrium a comfortable new home for her.

Guests can see Aysan right away. Often, Bosco is on the right side of the atrium and Aysan is on the left side. To tell the sloths apart, look at their nails. Bosco prefers his nails to be longer than Aysan.

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Bean, our 4-year-old Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth, isn’t just a caramel-colored, upside-down smiling face. She’s an avid explorer and an A+ student with an enviable nap schedule. While sloths are only active for about 4 to 6 hours every day, Bean makes the most of her waking hours. She is very smart and eager to train with her keepers, often offering a behavior before keepers ask.

Trained behaviors like target training and ‘hang out,’ a cue that asks Bean to hang from her back legs and stretch down, are important for daily exercise, mental stimulus, routine health checks, and building trust with keepers. Because she picks up on things quickly, the sky is the limit for Bean’s training in the future.

When Bean isn’t in training mode, she is actively exploring her indoor and outdoor spaces, using ropes or the rafters. Bean is very curious and creative; you may notice some pink and blue spots on Bean’s fur from recent paintings she participated in for enrichment.

While sloths are adorable and look perfectly snuggle-able, the best way to love them is to observe them from a distance or up-close with respect for their personal space, under the supervision of professional keepers. You can find Bean taking a nap under her heat lamp, exploring The Loft’s highest perches, snoozing in her hammock, hanging out under her tree or training with her keepers.

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Give these two new residents your warmest welcome and step into the Quiet Zone at the beaver pond! The beaver pond by The Lodge at Moose Lake is home to two brand-new furry and adorable friends! One-year-old American beavers, Squash and Hashbrown, recently moved in with our 15-year-old beaver, Acorn. While they are still settling in and adjusting to life at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, they are quickly becoming more confident, and have made fast friends with Acorn, who is showing them the ropes. While their keepers have high hopes for their future endeavors as ambassadors, trust is being established between the new beavers and the keeper team.

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There are some new whiskers, feathers and wings for you to visit in My Big Backyard on your next CMZoo adventure. Stop by and say hello to the 2-month-old guinea fowl chick (known as a keet), honeybees, African fruit chafer beetles, 3-month-old rats and extinct-in-the-wild Simandoa cave roaches!

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