Matchmaking Goes a Long Way for Animals

New York, N.Y. -- Experience the wild side of romance at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s zoos this Valentine’s Day. While we humans exchange heart-shaped boxes and red roses, creatures of all kinds at the zoos will be showing their own version of animal magnetism.

An array of exotic wildlife lives at each WCS facility. Some animals prefer to live alone; others chose to live in very large groups that can sometimes be dominated by one high-ranking male. But many WCS animals live with mates specifically chosen for them through a cooperative breeding program called the Species Survival Program (SSP). Administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the program arranges the most genetically compatible matches for rare or endangered animals to help ensure the longevity of their species – much like a match-making service for animals.

If you’ve already found your match, bring that special someone to a WCS facility this February 14 to see how the animals show affection to their loved ones. And if you’re single this Valentine’s Day, come see the animals anyway. After all, if WCS can inspire so many great matches for its residents, who knows what might happen for its visitors.

WCS’s Central Park Zoo:

Monkey Love – The snow monkey troop is a playful bunch comprised of both males and females. Flash, a snow monkey that’s lived at the zoo for several years, is the dominant male in the group and doesn’t like competing for love. 

Spotted Singles – The Central Park Zoo has two female snow leopards.  Like some humans, they prefer a more solitary lifestyle. Each beautiful cat lives in her own exhibit space giving zoo-goers twice the chance to see them in a majestic, naturalistic environment that closely resembles their native habitat in the mountains of Mongolia and surrounding Asian countries.

WCS’s Queens Zoo:

Eagle’s Love Nest – Chivalry seems to be alive and well in the zoo’s bald eagle exhibit. Longtime zoo resident Mel has shown he knows how to treat his gal pal, Claire.  Mel makes sure that Claire gets first dibs on all their food.  She even gets to pick where to perch, without any objections from Mel, proving he is a real regal eagle.  

Bear Hugs - Playful Andean bears Spangles and Cisco can be very affectionate towards each other. SSP animals, they often cuddle together or play in the winter after a light snowfall.  But like most human couples, this pair isn’t without the occasional tiff, but the female, Spangles, knows how to keep her male counterpart in line. Though she weighs a mere 150 pounds, it’s still clear that she’s in command of 400-pound Cisco.

Birds of the Same Feather – The Queens Zoo is home to both cranes and swans, two avian species that choose their mates for life. Male cranes even pitch in when it comes to parenting. They sit on nesting eggs to keep them warm while their mates take a break.

WCS’s Prospect Park Zoo:

All in the Family – Bole, a Hamadryas baboon, has a harem of three adult females in his family troop, so there definitely won’t be a shortage of affection for him this Valentine’s Day.

Perfect Pandas – An SSP pair of red pandas at the Prospect Park Zoo have been living together for the last year. They are often seen snuggling close to each other, proving that they are a most compatible match.

Holding Hands – Saki monkeys Opus and Winola are a male-female duo that seem to care about each other very much. Opus, the male, is often seen caressing Winola’s face and staring deep into her eye, making sure she knows who matters.

WCS's Bronx Zoo:

Pool of Love - The famous Bronx Zoo California sea lions are always visitor favorites.  Of the seven sea lions, Kiani is the only male in the pool.  He spends his days in the water with his three girlfriends Clarice, Indy, and Cloe, while keeping a close eye on his three babies.  This affectionate family loves the cold weather and enjoys putting on a show for the crowd.

Barbara Russo - 212-439-6527;
Fran Hackett – 718-265-3428;
Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182;

The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park and is open 365 days a year. Fall/winter hours are 10am to 4:30 pm. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children ages 3-12, and free for children under 3. For general information, please call (718) 271-1500, or visit our website at

The Prospect Park Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and older, $3 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April.  The Prospect Park Zoo is located at 450 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. For further information, call 718-399-7339 or visit

The Central Park Zoo, a Wildlife Conservation Society park, is located at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $5 for children 3 to 12, and free for children under 3. Admission includes entry into the main zoo, and the Tisch Children’s Zoo. Fall and winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Tickets are sold until one half-hour before closing. For further information, please call 212-439-6500 or visit

The New York Aquarium opens every day of the year at 10am, and closing times vary seasonally. Admission is $13.00 for adults, $9.00 for children ages 3-12 and $10.00 for senior citizens (65 and older); children under 3 years of age are admitted free. Fridays after 3pm, admission is by suggested donation. The Aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other Aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the New York Aquarium, Brooklyn’s most heavily attended attraction and a beloved part of the City of New York.

The Bronx Zoo, a Wildlife Conservation Society park, is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adult admission is $15, children (3-12 years old) $11, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $13. Parking is $12 for cars and $16 for buses. WCS’s Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit or call 718-367-1010.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: