Below you will find the list of animals currently off exhibit at the Virginia Zoo. For some we will provide brief explanations as to why they are not viewable and others will have more in depth content further down the page. There are a number of reasons why some animals may not be viewable – some of them temporary and some permanent. Please note, at times animals may not be listed below if they are off habitat due to outside temperature requirements/weather or have access to their indoor areas as this situations can happen at a moment’s notice at any time.
Remember, if you do not see an animal in their habitat, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are “off exhibit.” For animal wellbeing, our animals are provided with covered areas or indoor access so they have the freedom to choose if they are visible or not. Don’t be afraid to ask a staff member or volunteer if you are unsure – we are always happy to help!
Animals currently off exhibit:
- Animal Ambassadors (These animals live behind-the-scenes year-round).
- Bald Eagle (Refer to posting below).
- Cinereous Vulture (Exhibit construction).
- Kangaroo (No longer a Virginia Zoo species).
- Meller’s Chameleon (Retired behind-the-scenes).
- Ostrich (Not currently housed at the Virginia Zoo).
- Prairie Dogs (Not currently housed at the Virginia Zoo).
- Two-toed sloth (Exhibit remodel).
- Wallaby (Retired behind-the-scenes).
- White-faced saki monkey (Exhibit remodel).
What are ambassador animals? Well, technically all the animals who call the Zoo home are animals who are ambassadors for their species! However, in this case, we are speaking about the group of animals that participate in educational programs like Zoo Live! Shows, Animal Meet-and-Greets, Media Interviews, Classes, Camps, and more! Essentially, these animals are the ones you can get up close and personal with at the Zoo (with the assistance of their handler of course!). They play a very special role at the Virginia Zoo. Their job is to connect our guests directly to wildlife conservation and educate them about the importance of their species and others like them! It is because of this role and their frequent interaction with guests that they are housed behind-the-scenes. This provides them a safe, quiet place to rest and a controlled environment to continue training with their handlers!
We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Abe, the Virginia Zoo’s male bald eagle. Abe, who resided on the North America trail, has been at the Zoo since 1992. As a senior animal, it is suspected that Abe passed away due to age-related issues. We are still awaiting final test results to confirm.
Abe came to the Virginia Zoo as a rescue/rehabilitated eagle after an incident left him flightless. At over 33 years of age, he far exceeded the median life expectancy of 16.5 years for bald eagles in human care – a true testament to the wonderful care he received here at the Virginia Zoo.
Due to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which regulates bald eagles in human care, it is unlikely we will acquire another bald eagle and or be able to house one in this particular exhibit. However, the Zoo is home to a rehabilitated female bald eagle, Sanibel, who is an animal ambassador currently working with her keepers to prepare for school programs and encounters.
There will be some exciting changes happening to this area of the Zoo soon, so check back in the spring for more information!
Our cinereous vultures, J.D. and Eve, are actually viewable right now! Though they may be difficult to spot since their habitat doesn’t directly come in contact with our guest walkway. However, when visiting with the tapirs, if you look close enough, you may be able to spot them behind the tapir habitat! This is their temporary housing area while we work on building them a new habitat right across from the Asia: Trail of the Tiger entrance! Stay tuned for progress!
Many of you may remember when the Australia Walkabout was full of some of our favorite animals from the land down under like kangaroos, wallabies, emus and more! While the emus and cassowaries still reside there and would love a visit from you, the kangaroos and wallabies have sadly aged out. The Virginia Zoo is still home to two senior wallabies who have retired behind-the-scenes to enjoy some quiet time and extra attention from their keepers. The Australia Walkabout is currently closed as we reevaluate its future and is currently operating as a transitional space for the arriving and departing animals.