Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Salmon Eggs-Travaganza at Oregon Zoo Education Center this Saturday

January 11, 2018


Amanda Smith, USFWS: (971) 270-8725 or
Hova Najarian, Oregon Zoo: (503) 220-5714

The salmon’s annual return from the ocean might be the most iconic wildlife spectacle in the region — but equally intriguing, if not quite as splashy, are the salmon’s humble beginnings as eggs. Wildlife enthusiasts can get a closer look this weekend during the Salmon Egg Festival, an Oregon Zoo celebration held in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. in the zoo’s Education Center, Fish and Wildlife Service experts will be on hand to talk about the salmon life cycle, as the zoo unveils its new salmon-egg aquarium. All activities are free with zoo admission.

“From Alaska to California, salmon connect everything from bears to trees to people,” said Grant Spickelmier, zoo education curator. “They are a celebrated symbol of the Pacific Northwest — vital to our region’s ecology, culture and economy.”

Salmon begin life in freshwater streams and rivers — first as eggs that resemble the colorful tapioca “pearls” found in bubble tea — and remain there up to a year before heading downstream and out to sea. Most of their adult lives are spent in the ocean — sometimes as long as eight years — and eventually, they return to the streams in which they hatched to continue the cycle.

The upriver bright fall Chinook salmon eggs at the zoo were raised at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery in the Columbia River Gorge, where millions of salmon are produced each year. Once they hatch, they’ll move to the zoo’s Great Northwest area, alongside the other species in the Eagle Canyon habitat.

“We are very excited at this opportunity to partner with the zoo to share the science of salmon,” said Roy Elicker, assistant regional director of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fisheries and Aquatic Conservation program. “We look forward to teaching the next generation of conservationists how to be good stewards for our iconic Pacific Northwest salmon.”

Salmon face threats that include habitat destruction, dams and pollution. All Pacific salmon rely on clean water and habitat, which can be damaged by stream-bank erosion due to logging, vegetation removal for development, and chemical pollution from urban and agricultural runoff. In addition, dams used for hydropower can block salmon migration, reduce important spawning habitat and create conditions favorable to salmon predators.

To see a video about salmon and their life cycle, go to For information on how to help, visit

As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs.

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.

The zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit for fare and route information.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.