Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, formerly the Living Desert Museum, is a non-profit zoo and desert botanical garden located in Palm Desert, Riverside County, California, United States. The Living Desert is home to over 500 animals representing over 150 species and welcomes over 500,000 visitors annually. Situated in the Sonoran Desert of the Coachella Valley and Santa Rosa Mountains foothills near Palm Springs, California, The Living Desert is set on 1,200 acres, with 80 developed as zoo and gardens.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens has been a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1983, and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). It has participated in species reintroduction programs including the peninsular bighorn sheep to the local mountains and returning Arabian oryx to Oman.

 Barn owls at the zoo

The gardens of the Low Desert – Colorado Desert were established in 1970 as a 360-acre (150 ha) wilderness preserve by several trustees of the Palm Springs Desert Museum. By 1974, the gardens housed a kit fox, tortoises, lizards, and two bighorn sheep. In 1974–75 the Mojave Garden was built, a replica of the High Desert – Mojave Desert. Additional facilities have gradually been constructed, including greenhouses, model trains, and designed landscape gardens. New animal introductions include rhim gazelles (1981); mountain lions, bobcats and badgers (1993); meerkats; cheetahs and warthogs (1995); striped hyenas (1998); giraffes and ostriches (2002). The 'Amphibians on the Edge' exhibit shows a variety of different species of frogs, toads, and salamanders (2007). The Endangered Species Carousel was constructed in fall 2009, and the Peninsular Pronghorn Exhibit was constructed in fall 2010. The exhibit, Monarch of the Desert, was constructed on the North America Trail and featured the majestic jaguar. In 2020, Australian Adventures opened as an immersive habitat featuring Bennett's Wallaby, Yellow-footed rock wallaby, kookaburra and more. The Living Desert opened the Rhino Savanna in Fall 2021.[1] The Living Desert is one of six accredited (AZA) private zoos in the United States and operates as a non-profit.

In 2023, the Animal Care Department voted to unionize.[2]

^ Reyes, Jesus (2021-11-13). "Grand opening of the Rhino Savanna at the Living Desert". KESQ. Retrieved 2022-10-18. ^ "National Labor Relations Board". nlrb.gov. nlrb. Archived from the original on 2023-02-18. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
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