It’s not a polar bear or a panda or even a wolf.
The Santa Barbara Zoo’s newest resident is a dog – a 10-month-old Golden Retriever to be exact.
Bradley is in training to be the zoo’s first ambassador dog.
The zoo says that his job will be to “connect with Zoo guests, young and old, to encourage empathy for animals, and to help guests care about animals at home and in the wild.” He will not be going into any of the animal enclosures.
While Bradley is in training, the zoo says visitors likely won’t see him, but if all goes as planned, he’ll eventually join keeper talks on subjects including responsible pet choices and animal training using positive reinforcement. Zoo officials say he may also participate in education programs like Zoo Camp and provide outreach to local schools, retirement homes, and hospitals.
The zoo says Bradley sleeps in a heated office and has a fenced exercise and play area on Cabrillo Lawn where he can run free and play when he is not working.
A professional dog trainer is reportedly working with Bradley and training zoo staff members to work with him, as well.
The Denver Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Washington state, and the Oklahoma Zoo also have canine ambassadors.
Prior to announcing the addition of Bradley, the zoo offered a few social media teases, posting pictures of the pup’s nose and paw print.