Stories by Evan Garcia

Birds Saved from Extinction Living in Chicago Zoos

A Guam kingfisher at Lincoln Park Zoo. This type of bird now only exists in captivity. (Heather Paul / Flickr)

In the mid-1980s, the Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo set up critical captive breeding populations of two bird species native to the Pacific Islands. A new report from the Center for Biological Diversity underscores the impact of such programs.

How to Keep Pets Calm During Fireworks Displays

Fireworks can be a lot of fun for humans, but frightening for some pets. Learn what you can do to ease your pet's stress when the celebrations start.

More Mobility for Shedd Lizard, Thanks to 3-D Printer

Hiss Majesty, a 16-year-old Caiman lizard at the Shedd Aquarium, was fitted for a new prosthetic limb on Wednesday.

Hiss Majesty, a 16-year-old Caiman lizard at the Shedd Aquarium, was fitted for a new prosthetic limb on Wednesday.

Bobcat Trapping Ban Still on the Table, Says Lawmaker

While bobcats are seldom seen by humans due to the species' elusive nature, wildlife experts say their numbers have increased in Illinois. (Don DeBold / Wikimedia Commons)

An Illinois senator is renewing his call for a proposed ban on bobcat trapping and the sale of the animals' pelts after a reported deal with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources fell through.

Zip Line and Treetop Obstacle Course Opens in Cook County

A new zip line and obstacle course is the first of its kind in the Chicago area. (Go Ape)

Starting Saturday, thrill-seekers and nature lovers will get the chance to swing, soar and climb through a new zip line and obstacle course nestled in the treetops of a Cook County forest preserve.

Endangered Zebra Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed the birth of a female Grevy's zebra on Saturday. (Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo)

The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed the birth of a female zebra on Saturday. It's the first zebra birth at the zoo since 2012.

Unanimous Vote Gives Waukesha Access to Lake Michigan Drinking Water

| Paris Schutz

The city of Waukesha on Tuesday was given a green light to divert water from Lake Michigan for its drinking water supply after eight representatives from the states that border the Great Lakes voted unanimously to allow the diversion.

Strawberry Moon Caps off Summer Solstice on Monday

Monday marks a rare celestial event for stargazers: For the first time in decades, the full moon falls on the summer solstice.

Find the Shedd's Frog Hopping Around Chicago This Week

Don’t be alarmed if you spot a large, colorful frog hopping around the city this week.

Urban Explorer Photographs Chicago’s Abandoned Sites and Buildings

Photographer and urban explorer Rick Drew. (Rick Drew)

Rick Drew has been exploring and photographing abandoned sites in and around Chicago for a decade. But the hobby is considered by some as simple trespassing. "Chicago Tonight" asked Drew about his eccentric – and sometimes dangerous – pastime.

Lincoln Park Zoo Announces $125M Campaign, Major Exhibit Plans

The Lincoln Park Zoo unveiled plans Thursday for major renovations to the Kovler Lion House and the construction of a new polar bear exhibit.

Shedd, Brookfield Zoo 1st in US to Receive Humane Certification

Mexican gray wolf pups, an endangered species, at Brookfield Zoo. (Brookfield Zoo)

Two Chicago-area institutions are the first in the nation to receive certification in a new program that assesses the well-being of animals held in captivity.

Study: Carbon Dioxide Could Keep Asian Carp out of Great Lakes

This bighead carp was caught in the Illinois River, the principal tributary of the Mississippi River. There are no North American fish large enough to eat Asian carp, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee. (USGS)

A process similar to making soda water may be an effective strategy in warding off an Asian carp invasion that’s threatening the health of the Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan.

Mayor Breaks Ground on 40-Acre Bike Park on Southeast Side

A BMX biker performing a wheelie. (Andrey Marshak / Wikimedia Commons)

Billed by the city as the first park of its kind in the Midwest, Big Marsh Bike Park will open this winter at a former industrial site that's now part of a 270-acre habitat restoration project.

Shedd Installs Largest Lithium-Ion Battery of Any US Aquarium or Zoo

The Shedd Aquarium has added a new source of power as part of its green initiative – and it isn’t coming from the institution's electric eels.

EPA: Widely Used Herbicide is Harmful to Wildlife

Some farm groups are criticizing a new report about the hazards of atrazine, a herbicide that was banned by the European Union more than 10 years ago.

Chicago Wins Gold at Gardening Show in Ireland

Chicago’s green thumb just got some international accolades. A garden designed by the Chicago Park District was awarded a gold medal at Bloom, Ireland's largest gardening show.

Officials Warn of Rabid Bats After 6 Found in Cook County

(Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Six bats found in Cook County that were reported to local authorities this year, including three in Chicago, have tested positive for rabies, the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control (CCDARC) said Thursday.

How a Park Bench Monitors Air Quality on Chicago’s Southeast Side

The Environmental Protection Agency recently installed a park bench equipped with air pollution sensors at a CPS elementary school. It's one of just seven such benches in the U.S.

Photographer Captures Rare Owls Nesting, Breeding in Cook County

Two years ago, amateur photographer Josh Feeney spotted a nest of owls within a Cook County forest preserve. Since then, he's returned to the site to check on the rare species and recently found evidence of successful breeding.

10 Things About Chicago Beaches You Might Not Know

Chicago’s beaches – all 27 of ‘em – open for the season Friday. Here are 10 things you may not know about the city's sandy side.

Volunteers Collect Dead, Injured Birds in the Loop

Since 2003, a group called the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors has made it their mission to collect birds that have been killed or injured after striking buildings and other structures.

Solar System Symphony Melds Music with Astronomy

Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars. (NASA)

A Northwestern University graduate student is combining his love of music and astronomy to stage a solar system-inspired concert.

1st Successful Camel Birth at Lincoln Park Zoo Since 1998

With fewer than 1,000 Bactrian camels estimated to be living in the wild, the species is classified as critically endangered. On May 9, a Bactrian camel calf was born in Chicago.

‘Super Slimy’ Granddad at Shedd the World’s Oldest Aquarium Fish

Granddad is an Australian lungfish believed to be a century old that arrived at the Shedd Aquarium 83 years ago. (Shedd Aquarium)

Granddad is believed to be the oldest fish in captivity at any public aquarium or zoo in the world. The Shedd estimates he’s at least a century old and that an “excess of 100 million visitors” have passed through the aquarium since his arrival.