Celebrating Earth Day with 'animal ambassadors' from the San Diego Zoo

Some furry and slimy animals stopped by ABC News headquarters in New York to raise awareness about animal conservation ahead of Earth Day.
29:25 | 04/20/17

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Transcript for Celebrating Earth Day with 'animal ambassadors' from the San Diego Zoo
Every on I'm Charlie James thanks for watching ABC news did gulf. Earth Day is April 22 at today to celebrate the Earth's beauty and show support for its conservation and we have some Barry special guest here today to help us celebrate a couple days early. Please welcome to keep her Rick from the San Diego zoo and an animal ambassador. Yeah had. Hi this song winning. Season after him there couldn't believe that's an attacker out. We didn't second here. So this is an African penguin a lot of people don't realize there are truly warm weather penguins ill sooner from Antarctica which is. Mostly true except for the species in this speech is also known as the black footed penguin and sometimes we're giving their colleagues like a mule or donkey so they also deepening. Yeah. Nancy and when they don't let him art. We need it land they live in the southern portions. South Africa along. The West Coast and then in video. Andy willow nest there on the warm beaches and it's a lot of people think warm and how does that work well. They do have a couple of cases different from the cold weather friends of course their blubber layer of artists they also look above the eyes you can see. Little things thoughts there. And those pink spots are we have flushed look happily Ares and so they get too warm they can ring bring the blood up an area that capillaries reedy eat out that way. They also find places to hide shade of course is that a good portion that they swimming as well. The challenges if you mention Earth Day which we're very excited about a very important for us to really remind you what's going on out there where. There. We come and join us when he hunting type here. Leaders here ago. So if you want. But buddy's place. Right here. He went faced questions are. Their feathers at. The feathers are very tight together so he proves that way. Webbed feet for powerful sleep with also flap their wings through wings Duchardt sleepers but their true wings and they'll they'll help them along about twelve miles an hour the water. Elect us think that this particular species this is actually endangered species there. Challenges they face are many one of the challenges of course is anytime boils over the ocean. It ruins this feather coat and the canceling because they can't regulate temperature problem what happens we have a layer of air trapped beneath those feathers. The health protection from the colder climates of the water when he its oil you know can no longer do that so ruins it. The other showers they faced you kind of weird out of explaining earlier. They have their nests in guano which one it was how the layers of their own hoop and it seems kind of grossed over the hundreds of years they've been using those nest sites. The guano gets hard impacts and let's Adobe. So their nest sites it can burrow down into that and it keeps a perfect temperature for them and there are a cold at night no big deal it's two during this sunny day. No big deal is perfect well. One I was harvested for fertilizers very rich in nitrogen very good for plants especially if you're planting over and over in each year. You depleted nitrogen from the soil is of the guano that act and there which unfortunately for these guys ruined their opportunities for having state nesting area that's temperature controlled. So all these challenges they face a really cool thing fur started. At the Maryland zoo these guys actually live there although it is who we partner with others is around the nation can. Get their heartbreak his letter here today there's other they have that are here today for re. These guys are very TV friendly. They'll like us and we part of the disease grows the clippers whose two successfully breed these guys in the super Portis dialysis population. To the point now that they have sent their payments to others used it to be opening up this summer hold areas well with African penguins. Because he is once we can stabilize the area where there found naturally mr. partly appropriately. Population. The other cool thing because if you have been taking care of these animals for so long and they know them so well. It says it keepers and we do quite often. Now when there is oil spilled hope in Handel in care for sick and injured animals and get the most stable for the zookeepers don't think awhile. Other fun stuff to rises when doing for a long time you know housing these animals they have come up with the ways for different styles of temporary homes for the penguins we can place on the beach for the users and that's exit the theater now missing their one nesting sites so works out quite well for them. And we're very honored as if you persons who staff. And not just take care of these animals then and show people women and educate them about them but that nebulous term back and he's allowed ports well. And we should send all the animals you're bringing today ABC have concert. And me that yes and so it's not just these payments all of these animal right. In the overall yeah the overall theme for any. Species really was on the might have we do have one animal that's very abundant here in the US but has a cousin that is a very abundant and we'll gets Allen eventually but. The weather and always remember one point time all of this in stable all these animals had a viable population in the wild and something has changed now on the environment or shifted. That isn't made as of the numbers drop. And so even for animals are you might think aren't in danger it's always good to be thoughtful how you interact with them in the wild and things you can do for conservation as well and for maintaining a healthy population of minority exist. So much for him now you want it seen lately and when he. Fell without a pilot apparently are analyze it certainly. And it you know anti. Israel support your owns it was well. You know zoos across the nation worked get a got a question ought. You know what our city users with a bass who's your biggest competition. A not only think because we all work together for conservation I think our biggest competition is indifference you know someone who doesn't care about the wild life for care about animals. That's our biggest competition that's why we have these ambassador animals come out. And hopefully turn indifference to inspiration and get people excited about learning more about wildlife so he's got from the well yes yes and he's. Not had gas. So they are Panamanian golden frauds and they're also senator for to have poisoned her with aero frauds because. In the wild the food they eat creates sort of a mixture in them that they excrete a pox. So to the touches on their trying to eat them. The very bitter or even poisonous and there's a lot of stories about these similar species of frogs where you can actually rubs on them and use it as a poison dart Eros that's where incomes are. That said you can companies. Because they've been in the zoo their entire life. So they're quite accustomed to hand the zoo diet is not exactly like. The diets in the wild so they don't have anything to excrete the poison. And these are non poisonous thing to decaf. But other names for it but there independently and fraud in this one. This community oh there goes. Everybody so that the importance of this particular species that you're looking here they are fundamentally speaking in the wild. So in the wild there are no more of them. The Panamanian government along with the people there recognize how important species is and really cool thing I mean hats off the Maryland zoo there when the first zoos in North America. To not only happen in their care. But and to figure out the proper proper breeding needs of the species and they have so many now. Like the penguins they can send them off others whose city is also as a breeding program as well. Very important because. There are things right now on their environment what it means clause that certain fondness for the kicked fungus and interrupts or portability so even if their the environment itself is is okay and stable. If that fungus is an environment it will kill off our. Frogs and other amphibians are super important for in the environment even our own we have frogs or could service here helping keep everything healthy. Without them in the environment to be very dangerous for other species of reserves in the environment fall apart a little bit. So we're very excited that. Zoos in the US especially relative density great job re establishing healthy population so as soon as an advocate on this and a control in the wild. We can certainly released him. Absolutely the goal is that all the animals we have here today talk about alteration. The goal is that they'll always how wild car parts. And for those we have that either are fundamentally extinct in the wild or we have another when the represents. An animal its extinct in the wild. That we will eventually those guys back in the habitats with a blown. Acute. I don't write but aren't always interesting patterns and lines. Actually the opposite I mean theoretically yes in certain dappled light does coloration could break up the body powder make it very hard for them to be seen. But the reality is bright colors I just allowed usually means stay back importance. I want to be nicer might facilitate trust me I Kerio right. So there's also a lot of other species that are like that butterflies or another example you've these brightly colored butterflies they're gonna toxins and as well or at least he's bad. You have some species that is survived by pretending. They're toxic but they're not really but they have acceleration and predators left them alone so who works out well for them. We're gonna put these guys away though. See who we get color out maximum contaminant that's him. The rest of the animals our problem is that act right these are all Californians right here we came out on a ton airplane the other day. This is a skater green of one. These are ridiculously abundant everywhere. And I'm on vacation. Just ask you know unfortunately they're not in Florida what you would see even their floored at how this past the release and now in the environment. However this lovely green one here does help us talk about two very important things and conservation. Hey if you put an exotic pet your care when it the snake article one you don't want any more. Find a suitable home don't just let out a while. The impact the green iguana has had Fijian species of Igawa is huge they're ruling that habitat for the native species. And the Fijian strength of one that we were in Isuzu. Is critically endangered we head start program secure proper places where very few rounds it can be found non. And they are right there on the edge of extinction something were aggressively fighting so it doesn't actually happen. Also the nice thing about this guy here is you won't be able to talk about some class taste as an honest. That's a rough life for a for ambassador. Through usher the red lights. And there. We got so that these guys are the green of one archery and speeches these these long crazy nails right here Couri for holding on trees. They're very abundant south in Central American force where they can be found. So much so that if war actually on the mini from the photographer who's a chicken industry. Analysts are too loud to him. This guy though was someone's and then was relinquished because it is entity take proper care. They are -- of war a vegetarian a few well. So they are strictly might some bugs on the keys and quite by accident but there any leafy greens some fruits and flowers and things of that nature. But again the big message with the species you know this particular species has been very. On sort of displacing native species should you ever find yourself having Wendy's or needs ought to count for that matter if you. Aren't gonna keep it in to the proper permit U but the proper Cisco news sure they may survive as an impact from the native wild. I've never seen close up the skin is really beautifully the pale their efforts and can you explain what what the bone hot. Oh. Well it's actually. Two things they have a due out down. Here so this flap of skin down here and they have the spikes going all on the body here and the clerics is might change a little too so if there was another male in his territory. He would stand a really tall pushes for at least down lets us do that swell out Tyson bit. So it's used for display purposes. If he was trying to attract a lady friends say maybe he'll get some salad with me. He would also have coloration chains like flushing coloration and again also shall for the due out and have different head bobs. The really cool thing about a lot of analyst adaptations is they all do server purpose and as we just don't know what those purposes are. So this is it time to observe and you know the speeches realize there's a lot of really cool intricate things about them. The mail sometimes will class actually see he's got some nice big arms right here those extra large skills to help protect if they get to a fight or anything like. Seen with the Giles down here all of these are all part display. You are now here's de. We got up early this morning so but we're a long exactly and then over here regency course oops. Nice long tail here that tells him for balance while climbing a from the trees but also again if ever feel threat feeling threatened by an animal they can turn silence and use it as a win. Very hard and callous and so they can actually. Odyssey hurt something really bad the difference here away. Mary for the next 10. Our goal from one rep tile to another. This was near and dear to my heart mystery here. This is that powerful in this desert us. Now it's a tortoise not a turtle when the first thing people always ask is how can tell a difference and say you know it's spelled differently that's. Aussie good look at defeat though I don't think this is here on camera or not but up front here anyway on the back feet there's no wedding. So these are nice thick spurred like claws. They're great for digging in the soil in the desert and tortoises for the most part are going to be land only. It will go into water not furnished that there had can't reach out to soaker baze perhaps to get some water treatment and I'm gonna go underneath it hold their breath and swim around. Like a turtle bonds now turtles will come out on land also worse than themselves on a rocker. Oh down blog perhaps cement that. But you'll see web toes or between naturalness. Feet on its rules and there are much better for swimming hold about the going to want for part one time. California desert tortoise and endangered species. So these guys have all sorts of things going on their lives one of which of course is human population and one thing we always hear a lot of people say is that. No he was that this is that if I was C north for as many bad things it humans may have purposely accidentally done for species. There are a bunch of other humans other than some amazing work for those beached itself and protect them and bring them back. And really the goal for earth there any other day is to find sustainable ways that we can keep living here on earth and so and they naturally the big messages well. So some of the working down the conference doesn't Taurus it was habitat human growth. And another thing just humans come into the territories we tend to bring this thing like trash stuff in. Well there's animals aren't native like to follow humans like crows and ravens are sequels and coyotes it. Might increase their population to Wear this species and the view them in certain areas before. So they like Pete the youngsters it's become an in the territories. And then of course Los lots of places to dig their burros act it's always there they're doing there at their numbers. I would say their their numbers are fairly stable where they are how ever with the increase in human population growing we don't start maybe changing a few things we do we might searching it and no worse position. So some of the work scientists are doing right now they'll put a little GPS look here on them making a pox it right on there doesn't affect their life about. And we can see exactly how much territory do and how they interact with each other spaces required for a healthy desert tortoise life. We also use camera traps throughout their territory to see what is increase or decrease in predatory behavior in their area to have a better idea was influence of humans moving into a space. The predators have followed them and that sort of thing. How does that affect the Taurus. But there adaptations for living in a desert are awesome date on the drinking water and water shows up. They are just like any other animal sensitive to bare metric pressure change so they know ordering storm is coming when it rains it that's it usually once or twice and that's it. And those soil so hard usually runs right off drains out right away. This species will go out since rain coming and they actually use their paw or their feet. To dig out shallow Davis in the soil around there Dan now collect water gathering some during the one way. He's got a great mean if you know they they. That resting and instead of big they're a penthouse let me. Not a mean urged. The better right here to that this is called a therapist and we call Michelle normally but it the treacherous here it is fair to using proteins as your fingernail. As so this is part of his body it's not like he'd hop on Croat who through different shows and that is not calcium based. His spine and ribs are attached to it is lungs are right up here. So it's all part of his body. Heart. Yeah current and seven dollars a little bit that but it's very much part of the body and it does grow them some people say if you look at the ring opera how old are for featuring music your growth. That's not entirely true if food is scarce during one year or abundant another. It might Alter hollering count looks it's not real viable ways they can't live in eight years old easily that the offer your condolences a confiscation would prefer old news soon though given the size forty or about. You know Rick and maybe a little more openly in the face. Agreements open. Ari earlier I had mentioned I Edmonton analysts very abundant in the US. And it's much tutored if you like that that I think he knew in my trash and it right exactly or anywhere else in the US. This is of course an old possible and they are indeed abundant here in United States far from an endangered species in fact. This pieces is done so well when it's believed when settlers first of America they only found along eastern coast. And as settlers moved west but possibly follow them now inhabits all of North America. But a really good reason to have a similar that's that is of course is represented Parsons now there are old pop some oh so we call them possibly because we as Americans to shorten things. And give different nicknames. But there's true species several species of possible that your cousins of the species is an Australian union other areas. And they are facing many challenges to India habitat loss and things of that nature so it's always good to point out you know you never know what speech is doing really opening the mind is species Aurora oh with Imus a get out now. The other reason I brought a posthumous so cool. People see them in a yard like human story trash like it's grosans eradicate these things they want out of their their super important they will eat all sorts of fun stuff bugs bugs out of things massacred guard your flowers they left. But then here's the real real one. You may have heard the news recently that Lyme Disease is expected to get worse this year because of the way the weather patterns are changing everything else. They're expecting increase in in Lyme Disease issues I know some people who happen it's a horrible thing to go through and deal with. They usually get them from deer ticks usually happens from a bite from a deer tick. This particular species as they wander through your yard your partner neighborhood where ever because of the way there Harris along a sort of the ground as they walked east Axel jump on. Fifty to a hundred every night. What do they do out her. Sex they Levy Dixon bugs. They can't carry the disease their body temperatures to most as it's actually survive and then. And in turn they will be as technical streets feet per second up all those ticks as they go so this is the species that. You look at the first like other knowing their past but you get to know what they do you realize how important art environment especially those humans. Are now dead ankle dangerous. Just. Exactly exactly and the applications they have a great you know we hear about the hanging upside down which is only true when their they usually do that did you have a -- and south she's wrapped around my thumb prints for grasping. But speaking of thumbs here on the backs what when real animals we know that the thumb on the back foot. So on the grasp and hold onto the treatments is very well. Nice long whiskers were looking around in their environment open look around the night they don't seem very well and good hearing for listening for other predators. Courses lovely quote keep the national over the ground pick up statistics. Very long at the hypnotic. Well they didn't nocturnal so I guess here colonel's well that would be a good bet the house but all honesty we tend asleep during their of course we're gonna work during most of time. The weakens and they went up at these pets they are not going to be friendly to us about that. Keep in mind just went up to date has used for a daytime schedule being an ambassador animals coming on education program all the time. Is cute and cuddly as they look and I love them very much I would never went as a and that of domestic animals that I have that have been bred for hundreds of years to be pets that. Today ending a scene not today we got a couple rounds that we're time I think we can hear now we hear one of the early granny. In the get this before we get the one that's really ready. Numbering of the scanner here. The well in our seelig of may not be needed but we do adjusting case. So this is Turkey vulture. They're native to North America and a lot of people see them flying high up in the sky. They think they've seen the California contour which is the story and tell a little bit about here. Turkey boulders are much smaller condors and because they're so you condors left California condors left in North America or in the world really. Every single one of those pac has radio frequency tags on their wings so they don't have tags and seen flying appeals to attack on the wings. In this on the California on but Turkey vultures are Connors general super power for our environment. This particular bird is fascinating on many levels. There with a few bird species a house a true sense of smell the smell the rotting carcass. And they can't for whatever reason he things like anthrax and other back here's that would kill any other species. And their body processes and who put out the other and his bird poop and that's it. So doctors are actually study or diced scientists actually study in the process of their body has to basically eliminate all of those bad harmful things environment. If these species to species but the Turkey evil too early California copper were to go completely extinct. We lose that cleanup crew opportunity. And their or don't bring. Marina you leave your lunch down. Ingraham. Hook up. We will be exactly accrue in those decaying indices the disease things. Eventually Rainwater washed and or water system that could really upset the entire arm. And her. Well yes we have several species that some that are extinct in the wild completely or like California condor there were only 22 left. On the planet at one time and they are it was decided by fish and game this while a services if you. City goes to a few others illogical facilities to get together bring those animals in from the wild create a breeding program that is all based on science are essentially. They did DNA screening every single bird the broad and see who was related to whom live very viable and healthy. Population now this time is almost 500 in the population. With about half of that flying free back in the wild so conservation takes time that started in the 1980s and he rear 2017 to get those numbers. The country's domestic a lot of time and effort but it does lot of animals are moving off that indeed species list. And that's where our whole goal was of course. I know writing an amazing Alan. There Sokol look at the rules and those this kind of float along and the we beat their wings all for one. Lying next guest has been done talking how hot that apparently I don't hurt him. Off in the wings. No unintended help unintended or completely and sort of switch out one bird for another. Right on track and our body and feels good about it. Oh my goodness. I love this bird so this guy Ayers a regular old raven. They defiant throughout North America. But his story is this is important he was injured in the wild and could not be re released and so therefore he makes a great ambassador because the times was taken to care and heal him. Basically prevented him from around that big that Carrey doing a basically allow for her but there. Go allow for him to be very accustomed to working with people and it's a great great and we get up close personal because you don't really get that chance to off the wild. We see them everywhere in the park and all that sort of thing but then we don't. Really good chance to see him up close and -- story about being hurt in the wild and then being taken care of his great. But he's also wonderful representative of species related to called the whole way and Crowe are ala. And that as a bird species that has gone extinct in the wild San Diego's and global along with. Again you assists while that services. And the city or they turn the state of Hawaii has a lot of work to create breeding facilities for them so I am just keep it. The governor and to basically create a sustainable population hopefully we released back into the wild and it's worth noting that we don't just release animals back of the wild without much force one and go thank you. Without really doing a lot of work at a time you have to have a secure wildlife for the challenge they faced a lot of introduced species that didn't belong why. Introduce diseases also effectiveness while swift meat that's your habitat for them. And then there's a lot of things that they lose knowledge of when there in as the environment breeding verses if they are raised by their parents in the wild. Forcefully that while there is no longer safe for them how the commanders who environment that's an hour seventies and how to deal with predators and things like that when he be released safely back in the wild that. Evil and are released we track and we follow. There's teams of people out there seeing how they're doing is not as simple as opening the doors are very have a nice life and it's a long process to make sure we're doing right by these animals and right at the conservation for them. Smart trek oh no it. Not really tricks of what's it's just we know they like you so they're so Smart we can capitalize on the natural curiosity and pop process. To work with the showing their national leaders like asking the flight from here come through here go somewhere else. He does is great behavior which is announced behavior to where we set out some rocks. And a little vase with water it's too low for him to reach and he knows that put the rocks in the base to raise a lot of them know you can get her to card. To raise out wirelessly to drink and these are things that they've been seen doing in the wild they would use tools as well something for the longest time. With spot me unique humans and chimpanzees and now we realize that there are many bird species usually related to crow family. And even elephants as well using tools. And figure out problem solving things like that high. What we have one more animal or our suit today. The go ahead with the skyway with the put him away from an example comes out. And this next guy may be one that. People aren't as an. Angel heard of that is that or they think. It's another particular species and it really is if it's offered him had jumped after on the table. Gonna all missed it tri overtime. There you go girl this is Savannah Savannah as an Africans herbal. Now people look at the spotted pattern and think she can guarantee that it cheetah sitting next this event means he's about as much much smaller than a cheetah. Cheese is much larger. Although similar somewhat pattern. Pattern to their coat because it live in this environment. The Savannah as a Africa so the African circled though. Not currently in danger they're doing okay but another great example species that. We know is doing well the wild that we can wake up in the months ago oh numbers what happened. They're nickname is draft count and the reason I bring that because that's what happened with the directly stop for the longest time draft for doing just fine. Recent studies show they have dropped 40% in a population just the last. About computers so. She's two decades so these are things we wanted to bring up our days be considerate and thoughtful of the animals might think you're doing all right. But we benefit to what's going on. Some of the cool adaptations about the Africans herbal. The most obvious those giant years. Everyone ethical issue debut as a grown or years. He's grown and orders I promise. Those ears serve them very well although they do see well they hear much better so in the wild she would sit in this position or a seated in this matter had a high. And they would listen for rodents underground. Or for birds flying towards them they actually hear the wing cutting through the air flying towards them. From this was mistakenly upwards of ten to twelve feet straight up and grab that bird at a mid flight from leverage in flight meal if you will. Not here in overtime Everett if I told materials anyway hours right. More than just keep it exactly. This. At around you might Russell's weight spots on the back years reserved for those false eyes so at a distance another cap might be trying to sneak up ocean has constant inimical steal it from her. Well see might be able to segment of the season now to a sneak up water you think oh the eyes of their from the gore on this side. Well as you Goran decided sneak up on arguably rate from a virtually hear you. By your movement or see you with her eyes. And other scientists believed to those would be following sponsors she has a Kitna to through the tall grasses where they go on the view the scenic contrasts and follow Obama here. One is down started. Thank you my pleasure in bringing me and although it. And hear any art help on Earth Day. And Earth Day is April and if you want to celebrate and you should. This. Or. You all I don't you know. Rio de facto say good at extinction or risk getting as a global sort of landing set for all the conservation progress we have over a 140 around the world that we do. You can learn more relevant that website even donate if you want or like you said yes definitely go to your locals who support and we all work together for the efforts of conservation and education so. Support local zoo. Huge thanks Cusick keep correct and to the San Diego Zoo are. Allowing us to have these animals here today thanks for watching ABC news digital.

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