Zoo Welcomes Lars the Black Palm Cockatoo to Animal Ambassador Team

Photo: San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo has announced the newest addition to its esteemed Animal Ambassador Team, Lars the Black Palm Cockatoo. Born at San Antonio Zoo in April 2022, Lars has quickly become an integral part of our mission to educate and inspire visitors about the wonders of the animal kingdom. 

Black Palm Cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) are a captivating species native to New Guinea, the Aru Islands, and Cape York Peninsula. Known for their remarkable intelligence and unique courtship rituals, Black Palm Cockatoos have gained recognition as the only documented species to create and utilize tools to produce sound. The male birds modify sticks and seed pods to create "drumsticks," which they use to rhythmically bang on trees to attract a mate. Each Black Palm Cockatoo boasts its own distinctive drumming style, making them truly remarkable creatures. 

Lars was named after Lars Ulrich, the renowned drummer for Metallica, paying homage to the Black Palm Cockatoo's intriguing courtship behavior. Just like his namesake, Lars captivates audiences with his charismatic presence, engaging personality and, of course, his drumming skills. 

 "I grew up with Metallica as my favorite band, and being a drummer myself have a great appreciation for Lars Ulrich. I was thrilled to hear that the team had chosen this name," said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. "While Metallica did not visit San Antonio on their latest tour, zoo guests can find this Lars touring and educating our guests here on our grounds." 

San Antonio Zoo takes great pride in its successful breeding program for Black Palm Cockatoos. Since 2017, we have been the sole facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to successfully breed these magnificent birds through hand-rearing and parent-rearing. This year alone, we celebrate the hatching of five adorable palm cockatoos, each contributing to the conservation efforts of this incredible species. 

Black Palm Cockatoos face various threats in their natural habitats, including habitat destruction, hunting, and capture for the pet trade. As an AZA-accredited facility, San Antonio Zoo remains committed to not only breeding these birds but also raising awareness about their conservation needs. By introducing Lars as an Animal Ambassador, we aim to closely engage and inspire visitors to appreciate and protect these treasured creatures and the habitats they call home. 

Lars joins a diverse group of animal ambassadors at San Antonio Zoo, which includes mammals, reptiles, and other birds. As part of our Animal Ambassador Team, Lars will participate in educational opportunities that allow guests to meet animals up close and personal. Through these interactions, visitors will learn to love, engage with, act for, and protect animals and the places they live. 

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