{ Blog }

Responsibly Constructing California Trail
California Trail—Friday, March 31, 2017

Did you know the Zoo has a team of biologists who have been monitoring the construction activity on California Trail since day one? Within Knowland Park, the site of the new California Trail project, are some pockets of a sensitive plant community known as Maritime Chaparral, which along with the Park’s grassland and woodland is home to the threatened Alameda Striped Racer snake – as well as many other native plants and animals. We have therefore been responsible for constructing the project in a sensitive way that preserves large areas of quality habitat for local wildlife to use. 

During construction, Oakland Zoo enlisted the experts at Swaim Biological Inc. to ensure that we were being good stewards of the landscape. Karen Swaim – an expert on the Alameda Striped Racer who has been attached to the project since the mid-1990s – and her team of biologists have a constant presence on the construction site. Their primary roles have been to: 
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California Trail—Friday, December 23, 2016

The end of the year is a time for celebration, reflection, and gratitude. At Oakland Zoo, we feel gratitude year-round for our many friends who help keep our animals healthy and active, and give our community members a joyful place to spend time with loved ones. 

We are especially grateful today for the 400+ members of our Bay Area community who have contributed to California Trail, which is now 90% funded! Your gifts will make it possible to create a new experience that celebrates our state’s natural heritage and open California Trail in summer 2018. The connections our guests make with the animals on the Trail will motivate them to support protection of California's native species.

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Zoo Visitors Support California Wolf Recovery Efforts
California Trail—Friday, October 28, 2016

It was December 2009 when Oakland Zoo first presented the California Wolf Center at a Conservation Speaker Series. At the time, the SoCal-based organization was carefully watching Oregon’s gray wolves as they crept closer and closer to the Northern California border. In 2011, male wolf OR-7 (AKA “Journey”) crossed that border and changed the wolf story in our State. After nearly 100 years, this momentous return led the California Wolf Center to establish a team in the Bay Area to focus on gray wolf recovery. 
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California Trail Progress! One Year Into Construction
California Trail—Friday, September 23, 2016

The last twelve months have been highly productive at Oakland Zoo, especially for California Trail construction activity! This time last year, we had a new perimeter fence extending around the project, and Overaa Construction had their first team on-site to begin work on the hilltop Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center (officially named in January 2016). 
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Celebrate America’s Lion at Oakland Zoo!
California Trail—Monday, August 01, 2016

Do you feel like you’re seeing more Mountain Lions in the Bay Area? The California drought and human encroachment on their habitat have driven them into urban areas and more frequent contact with humans. A lack of understanding for these generally elusive cats can lead to public fear, and end in fatal results. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) initiated work to devise better strategies for coping with the increase in calls and encounters. 

Oakland Zoo was motivated to get involved alongside CDFW, who for many years has partnered with Your Zoo to support important work in protecting wildlife. In 2012, we reached out to discuss ways the Zoo could leverage our animal expertise and state of the art facilities to provide support for successful encounters that were safe for both people and lions.

We weren’t the only ones looking to find solutions to help wild mountain lions. Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP), an Oakland Zoo conservation partner, had begun researching movements of wild lions in our region, and actively working to change public perception through education. At the same time, Zoo partners at the Mountain Lion Foundation (MLF) were supporting new legislation in State Bill 132 – which passed and came into law in January 2014. SB 132 requires “nonlethal procedures when removing any mountain lion that is not considered an imminent threat to public health or safety.” Further, the bill enables CDFW to authorize partners like the trained veterinarians at Oakland Zoo to help carry out those nonlethal procedures when needed. 

The passing of SB 132 was a huge win for California’s lions. To ensure its success, Oakland Zoo brought together CDFW with BAPP and MLF, as well as other international wildlife professionals, for a week-long training intensive with the Human Wildlife Conflict Collaboration. Afterward, the group put their heads together to identify real solutions to better handle mountain lion encounters in urban areas. The resulting alliance became known as BACAT – or Bay Area Cougar Action Team (“cougar” being another name for mountain lion). Together, this dedicated team will ensure a positive future for California’s lions.

Read more about BACAT and all the services now available for mountain lions captured in urban areas at http://www.californiatrail.org/partner.html.

Then visit Oakland Zoo on Saturday, August 6th to learn more about wild mountain lions – and their future as part of the Zoo’s new California Trail – during Lion Appreciation Day. See you there!

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Pace quickens as construction begins on education building, animal houses, and an overlook with stunning views of the Bay Area
California Trail—Monday, June 06, 2016

For the past eight months, construction activity for California Trail has focused on the entry point - a.k.a. “California Station” - next to giraffes in the Main Zoo, the hilltop Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center (shown through pictures on the Construction Info page), and the aerial gondola system that will operate between the two.  
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“Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center” Named at Oakland Zoo’s California Trail Expansion
California Trail—Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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Cars Arrive from Switzerland for New Aerial Gondola
California Trail—Friday, April 01, 2016

Today 16 gondola cars began arriving at the Zoo after their overseas trip from Switzerland to Oakland! These poppy-orange vessels can carry 6-8 individuals, as well as strollers and wheelchairs, up to the new California Trail experience in just a few minutes. You'll enjoy spectacular views of the Bay Area as you soar over a herd of 20 American Bison. 

The aerial gondola system was chosen as the most ideal mode of transportation from the Main Zoo to California Trail based on its minimal environmental impact, allowing it to seamlessly and quietly traverse over treetops and sensitive habitat slated for preservation and enhancement as part of the project.

The Zoo has contracted with the Austrian-Swiss company Doppelmayr Garaventa Group – a leading manufacturer of aerial gondolas worldwide, with more than 14,600 installations in 89 countries from Lake Tahoe to the Swiss Alps. Visitors to Oakland Zoo will enjoy their quality during a comfortable and easy ride from California Station in the Main Zoo to the hilltop Visitor Center. 

Look for the launch of the new aerial gondola in spring 2017. 
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Construction Begins on California Trail at Oakland Zoo
California Trail—Thursday, September 24, 2015
We are very pleased to share news that construction on the Zoo expansion - California Trail - has officially begun! 
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Your Oakland Zoo is Growing
California Trail—Thursday, August 13, 2015

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