News Release

January 15, 2013

Contact: Sondra Katzen
Public Relations

Note: Images of Valentino, JoJo, and Sabu may be downloaded at

Brookfield Zoo’s Animals Make Great Valentine’s Gifts for Animal Lovers

      Brookfield, Ill.—Are you and your significant other “birds of a feather”? Do you think your honey is the “cat’s meow”? Do you go ape over your sweetheart? If so, the Chicago Zoological Society has the perfect Valentine’s Day gift: a bird, a cat, or an ape! The Society’s Share the Care program is featuring three amazing animals: Valentino, a 2-year-old Humboldt penguin; JoJo, a 32-year-old western lowland gorilla; and Sabu, a 2-year-old snow leopard.

Contributions toward a Share the Care package will help Animal Programs staff provide the best possible care for the animals throughout the year. Two options are available: a Basic Package or a Plush Package. The Basic Package, which is $35, includes a 5-inch x 7-inch color photograph of the chosen animal, a personalized certificate, a fact sheet about the species, a Share the Care decal, and an invitation to the exclusive Share the Care Evening in summer 2013 (ticket purchase required). The Plush Package, which is $60, features all the benefits of the Basic Package, as well as four free tickets to the Share the Care Evening and a plush animal of the selected species.

Valentino was born on Valentine’s Day in 2011 at Columbus Zoo and came to Brookfield Zoo in November of that year on a breeding loan. At Brookfield Zoo, he was slated to be paired with a specific female based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Humboldt penguins. However, Valentino had eyes for another, Patty, 5, and because the two also made a good genetic match, the pairing was allowed. An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited AZA zoos and aquariums. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

JoJo, a 32-year-old western lowland gorilla, arrived in 2012 from Lincoln Park Zoo. He also came to Brookfield Zoo based on a breeding recommendation because he is an excellent genetic match for all three females—Binti Jua, Koola, and Kamba—who are currently residing at the zoo. Western lowland gorilla females are the ones who pursue the males for attention, and since his arrival, JoJo has been quite receptive to the females’ advances and come-hither looks.

In mid-October 2011, Sabu, now a 2½-year-old snow leopard, arrived at Brookfield Zoo to be paired with a female, Sarani, 2. The two are on breeding loans from different zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. When the two big cats have both matured to adulthood, staff hope to see the arrival of snow leopard cubs.

A gift card carrying your name and Valentine’s Day message can accompany the gift. To ensure regular mail delivery by February 14, orders must be received by February 8. Or, stop by the zoo’s Administration Building (near the South Gate) to get your Share the Care package. It may also be purchased on the zoo’s Web site, For more information, call Brookfield Zoo at (708) 688-8341.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.

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