Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vegetation Cleanup Becomes Zoo Browse

Thanks to the efforts and dedication of a local father, The Sacramento Zoo’s browse program continues to flourish, and the animals continue to find themselves with browse to eat. John Cleckler, a local father dedicated to preserving nature, organized volunteer work days to clean and preserve a Sacramento area Wildlife Preserve. Rather than wasting the branches and clippings from the trees, the parents from the California Montessori Project’s Carmichael Campus regularly bring the edible clippings to the Zoo as a donation. The zookeepers immediately feed the fresh browse to a variety of animals, including giraffes, chimps, lemurs, and many different bird species, and it helps to replicate their diet in the wild. Read his story below to see how one parent’s dedication can affect the entire community.

My daughter started school at the California Montessori Project’s Carmichael Campus last year. When I found out the school was next door to a 4-acre preserve/outdoor classroom, I immediately had to figure out a way to get involved. 

The Koobs Preserve was in need of major maintenance. I organized the first school parent preserve work day last school year and was the only one to show up. Things have improved since and we have anywhere from 10 to 25 people show up for our monthly work days. 

The preserve has come a long way this year. The hope is to begin enhancing the habitat after we get a better hold on taming the more invasive vegetation. Part of our vegetation control has been the removal of non-natives. A few months ago, one of our core parent volunteers mentioned her interest in cutting down acacia trees. A few days later something clicked and I made the connection to the zoo browse program. 

The school has been very excited about contributing food to the giraffes. Wildlife education and experiencing the outdoors is key to a Montessori education which is why the preserve is so important to our school and having this connection to the zoo was special.

There are Koobs Preserve work days the second Saturday of every month and classrooms use it daily. There is a Vietnam Memorial on the site and special ceremonies are held on Veterans and Memorial Day. Mr. Koobs passed away last week and his memorial was held at the preserve on March 22nd.

John Cleckler

How can you help? Instead of green wasting your tree trimmings, consider donating them to the Zoo instead! Visit our website to learn about the Browse Program, which species of tree we will accept, and how you can donate. You are welcome to bring them to us, or if you are within a five mile radius of the Zoo, we will come to you!

Buckeye Bridge, before & after

Path, before & after

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lion Cub Update & Video - 20 Weeks Old

The trio of African Lion cubs have reached the 20 week mark and are growing fast! Earlier this week they received a feline distemper vaccine, their last round of cub vaccines. They've gained about 6-7 lbs each from last months exam with the male weighing in at 36 pounds and the girls weighing 32 and 31 pounds. The cubs are eating meat and nursing less and less.

With this new milestone zookeepers have begun training the cubs, when they want to cooperate, for things like stepping on and off a scale, and stationing (standing in a designated place). Zookeepers encourage their behavior from a protected side of the mesh while rewarding them with small treats. They have also introduced the cubs to some lion sized toys.

Each one is developing a personality all of their own. The male appears to be very laid back and confident in comparison to the females who seem to be more cautious. You will most often find the cubs sleeping or playing near their father while mom observes from a distance. This is typical lion behavior as the role of adult males is to protect the cubs while the females are out hunting.

Photo by Erik Bowker
Photo by Erik Bowker

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Heritage Oak Trees

The Sacramento Zoo is home to some of the city’s oldest residents, three approximately 300-year-old Valley Oak trees, also known as Heritage Oak trees, which are environmentally protected in Sacramento. The Valley Oak is the largest oak tree in California and the drought-resistant tree can grow to over 100 feet tall and live for almost 500 years. In order to protect the trees, the Sacramento Zoo has placed a fence around them. The fence impacts the space available on the Reptile House Lawn and some of the activities and events that have previously been held under the drip line of the trees.

One of the biggest concerns is the effect of foot and vehicle traffic on the roots of the trees. Compacting the earth around the tree reduces the gas exchange that is necessary for the roots to live. Also, watering under the trees can cause root rot and would aid in the demise of the majestic tree. Moving forward, the Zoo will work diligently to maintain the health of the protected oaks while also efficiently utilizing space for events and Zoo programming.

The Valley Oak trees are a part of the Sacramento Zoo’s diverse collection of botanical specimens that contribute significantly to the landscape and habitats enjoyed by visitors and animals alike. As stewards of the earth, it is important that the Zoo protect these graceful giants that carry great historical importance in the region and are home to local wildlife. Collectively, valley oak riparian forests support 67 nesting bird species including the Swainson’s Hawk which is threatened with endangerment in California. Valley oak riparian forests also provide homes or cover for several other species endangered statewide or federally including the Greater Sandhill Crane, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Elderberry Longhorn Beetle. Valley oak seedlings, acorns or roots are nutritional staples for many species including the Pocket Gopher, California Ground Squirrel, Scrub Jay, Yellow-billed Magpie, Acorn Woodpecker, Black-tailed Deer, Feral Pig, and some cattle.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sacramento River Cats #ZooNight

#ZooNight is back a the Sacramento River Cats on Saturday, April 25th at 7:05 pm. Watch your hometown team take on the Tacoma Rainers followed by the Sutter Health fireworks show!

Snow Leopard Jerseys
The River Cats players will be sporting custom Snow Leopard jerseys for the evening’s game that will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Bids close at the bottom of the 6th inning and proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Sacramento Zoo.

Purchase discounted advanced tickets here! Senate seats are $20 (regular price $25) and Assembly seats are $16 (regular price $20). Use promo code Sac Zoo for the offer.

Visit us on Game Night
The Sacramento Zoo will have a kiosk set up to answer questions and share information about upcoming events, membership, group rentals and much more. Come say hello and pick up a coupon for discounted Zoo admission! You can also meet Gus the Green Tree Frog after he helps throw out the first pitch.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March is Museum Membership Month

Did you know that there are more than 30 museums in Sacramento! Many organizations, including the Sacramento Zoo, are members of the Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM). Area museums include everything from fine art and culture to native, exotic and endangered wildlife.  

Being a part of SAM affords the Zoo opportunities to be involved with partner organizations in the community, utilize the resources that other museums offer and bring events like Museum Day to the Zoo. This month, on the heels of a successful Sacramento Museum Day, SAM has identified March 2015 as Museum Membership Month!  The benefits of museum membership often extend well beyond a financial savings and include exclusive experiences only available to members.  Plus, there’s something for everyone as the thriving Sacramento museum community offers memberships at virtually every museum and/or destination.

If you are not already a Zoo member you are missing out! Membership benefits include admission to the Zoo for a full year, discounted admission to more than 150 other zoos and aquariums, priority summer camp registration, discounts in the café, gift shop and to events, ride tickets and more.

Take a look at all there is to offer and start your California adventure right here in the heart of the golden state’s capital! For more detailed information about benefits offered by local museums, please visit the Sacramento Association of Museums website.  To join the Sacramento Zoo’s membership flock, visit the membership webpage or call (916) 808.5888.

Museum Day 2015 at the Sacramento Zoo
Museum Day 2015 at the Sacramento Zoo
Up-close with a North American River Otter

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Congrats Brevard Zoo & Mulac!

The Sacramento Zoo would like to give a hearty congratulations to the Brevard Zoo and Jaguar parents Masaya, and Mulac.  Masaya gave birth to a pair of cubs on January 27th. While the sexes of the two cubs are not known at this time, veterinarians suspect that both may be female.

If the name Mulac rings a bell, it is with good reason. Prior to the Brevard Zoo, Mulac lived at the Sacramento Zoo. At the recommendation of the Jaguar species survival plan® (SSP) he moved to the Brevard Zoo in 2013 to be paired with Masaya.

Jaguars are an endangered species with estimates indicating that Jaguars have lost nearly 50 percent of their home range in the last 10 years. In appearance Jaguars are often confused with Leopards because both cats have a similar brownish/yellow base fur coloring that is marked distinctively with spots, but the Jaguar’s spots are rosettes, which are spots within spots.

Photo courtesy of Brevard Zoo
Photo courtesy of Brevard Zoo
Photo courtesy of Brevard Zoo
Mulac at the Sacramento Zoo in 2013

Friday, February 20, 2015

42,649 Volunteer Hours

By Brooke Coe, Volunteer Coordinator

I am constantly amazed at the dedication of Sacramento Zoo volunteers. Without their unceasing support, our educational programs, special events, and maintenance of Zoo animal areas and grounds would fail to thrive as they do. Without hesitation and without expectation, the approximately 1,745 volunteers at the Sacramento Zoo jump in to any task asked of them and are pivotal in making the Sacramento Zoo a success.

Last year, Zoo volunteers dedicated a total of 42,649 hours of their own time to the animals, Zoo visitors, and students. This is phenomenal! The Keeper Aide volunteers gave more hours in 2014 than they ever had in past years, and the Zoo Docents and Zoo Teens combined donated over 30,000 hours of their time to the Zoo. And let’s not forget the event volunteers who worked 12 different events throughout the year, and the organizations that brought groups of people out for events and projects with our animal care department. Whether they are educating the public, scooping ice cream, or scooping poop, Sacramento Zoo volunteers come back time and time again, and it is a great testament to their dedication to a wonderful cause.

Thank you to all of the Sacramento Zoo volunteers. It is because of you that this Zoo is as successful as it is. I look forward to your help in another great year!

To find out how to become a volunteer, visit the Sacramento Zoo volunteer webpage.

Zoo Teens
Boy Scouts, event volunteers
Corporate volunteers at Ice Cream Safari
Keeper Aide