News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
July 27, 2023
Brookfield Zoo and Tennoji Zoo Celebrate 50 Years of
Chicago and Osaka being Sister Cities

Brookfield, Ill – Next week, Chicago and Osaka, Japan, will be celebrating 50 years as sister cities. To highlight this upcoming milestone, on World Nature Conservation Day, which is July 28, Brookfield Zoo and Osaka Tennoji Zoo’s Humboldt penguin colonies will be front and center, emphasizing a shared connection.

The Japanese zoo, which is more than 108 years old and houses about 1,000 animals of 180 species, recently opened a new habitat for its Humboldt penguins. It joins Brookfield Zoo in a coordinated effort to increase public awareness about the importance of protecting the world’s natural resources. This includes Punta San Juan, a reserve located in Peru along the western shores of South America and home to the largest colony of Humboldt penguins. The species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources due to climate change and severe weather, human encroachment, energy production, mining, and pollutants, among other threats.

“We are proud of our shared interest in protecting natural resources around the world,” said Dr. Michael Adkesson, president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society and director of Brookfield Zoo, “This is a perfect opportunity for us to be able to convey the important conservation fieldwork that we help conduct at Punta San Juan.”
Since 2007, the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, has partnered with the Punta San Juan Program in its mission to deepen its knowledge of the area’s ecosystems and to promote the conservation of biodiversity as a value of local and worldwide importance.

“The Tennoji Zoo is excited to collaborate with Brookfield Zoo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sister cities relationship between Osaka and Chicago. As part of the collaboration, we will be sharing the importance of protecting the world’s natural resources and highlighting conservation efforts in Punta San Juan, Peru, during World Nature Conservation Day,” said Takeshi Mukai D.V.M., zoo director of  Osaka Tennoji Zoo.

Punta San Juan is also home to populations of Peruvian fur seals, sea lions, and other species. The reserve is managed by the Punta San Juan Conservation Program, a long-term project that conducts research and monitors wildlife for conservation efforts. Signage at the Humboldt penguin habitats at Osaka Tennoji Zoo and Brookfield Zoo communicates identical information about the Program and how guests can learn more about it, as well as how to support it. To learn more about the program, visit and search Punta San Juan.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people to wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The Zoo is also accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, and the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association. Brookfield Zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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