Zoo Boise Logo

Vote for the U.S. Bank Baby Animal of the Year

Update: The sand cat kittens have won the U.S. Bank Baby Animal of the Year contest. Thank you to everyone who voted on our Instagram and Facebook pages!


The world is full of awards and award shows, but none of them are as prestigious as the U.S. Bank Baby Animal of the Year. We’ve had several significant animals born or hatched at Zoo Boise this year and it’s up to YOU to vote on a which one will receive this honor.

Here are your nominees:

Sand Cat Kittens – These three bouncing baby kittens were the first sand cats ever born at Zoo Boise and the first sand cats born in 2021 at a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). These births are not only important for Zoo Boise, but vital for the conservation of sand cats worldwide. There are only 51 sand cats in zoos accredited by the AZA, which means Zoo Boise is currently caring for 10 percent of the total population. Parents Nala and Simba were paired together as part of the Sand Cat Species Survival Plan, a conservation program aimed at maintaining a healthy and genetically diverse population of sand cats in order to increase their numbers.

Magellanic Penguin Chicks – Parents Jimmy and Rose have had two penguin chicks in the last year and a half. They have been a bonded pair for about two years since Rose joined Zoo Boise from Sea World San Diego. Jimmy has been a Zoo Boise resident since 2008. He previously lived at the San Francisco Zoo. Both chicks grew up quickly and learned how to swim ahead of schedule. They have since moved from the penguin nursery and into the main exhibit.

Red Panda Cubs – These red panda births are very exciting and significant for Zoo Boise. The cub’s parents, Dolly and Spud, have been matched as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Program (SSP). The SSP is one of the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s many conservation programs. Its primary role is to serve as a breeding program for selected endangered or threatened species – a special animal dating service, if you will. The goal is to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population for these animals in order to increase their numbers and be able to reintroduce certain zoo-bred animals into their natural habitats, if necessary.

Voting is now open on Zoo Boise’s FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM pages. Voting ends at 11:59PM MST on 10/26/2021.

Zoo Boise is grateful to have so many fabulous partners. For more than ten years, U.S. Bank has been Zoo Boise’s season sponsor. Their support has made it possible for millions of people to connect with wildlife, support wildlife conservation, and enjoy a fun day at the zoo.