Friday, April 10, 2015

Julia & the BIG Day of Giving!

As you walk through the Zoo and look at the animals, you may chuckle at the quirky Wolf’s Guenons or be in awe of the actual size of a giraffe. But did you know that of the 136 species currently at housed at the Sacramento Zoo, over half are endangered or threatened with endangerment? Part of the Sacramento Zoological Society’s mission is to inspire a connection with wildlife so that future generations will continue to be stewards of the earth and make efforts to protect these animals in their natural habitats.

Julia, the Thick-billed Parrot is one of the endangered species at the Zoo. Thick-billed Parrots are the only parrot native to the United States, but loss of habitat due to deforestation and human encroachment has driven them out of their range in southern Arizona and New Mexico. Julia acts as an ambassador to bring awareness to the plight of her fellow Thick-billed Parrots and to bring attention to the conservation programs in place that are working to re-establish this species in its natural habitat in the United States. During the Wildlife Stage Show at the Zoo, Julia will even collect donations from audience members to place in her conservation box; the donations go directly to Thick-billed Parrot conservation.

Join the Sacramento Zoo and Julia on May 5th for the Big Day of Giving.
Over this 24-hour period, we will join with over 500 other local nonprofits with a goal to raise over $5 million and make the Sacramento region #1 as the most generous community in the country on this national day of giving.

Last year, the Sacramento Zoo was able to give over $100,000 to conservation programs because of the support and generosity of our donors. Every dollar you give will not only help the Sacramento Zoo support conservation programs locally and globally for animals like Julia, but will also help us get a boost from a pool of incentive funds.

Keep an eye out for Julia in the coming weeks on the Zoo’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine as she helps us to let you know more ways that your support helps the Sacramento Zoo preserve wildlife. And be sure to visit on May 5th and donate to the Sacramento Zoo so you can help Julia and all the other animals threatened with extinction. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Duiker Calf Update

The Sacramento Zoo’s female Yellow-backed Duiker calf, born November 7th, is growing up! At 5 months her brown calf coat is starting to turn into the adult coloring, blackish-brown. She has also begun developing the yellow crest of hair along her rump that this species of duiker is named for.

She still nurses from her mother frequently despite eating a normal adult diet of hay, pellets and browse. Now however, she has to kneel or lay down to try and fit under mom in order to suckle. Her current weight is 53 pounds, quite a change from the 8 pounds at birth. However, she still has some growing to do until she reaches her adult weight of around 165 pounds.

Although duikers tend to be very shy and flighty, zookeepers that she is familiar with have been able to train her to jump on a scale and also station (standing in a designated space), rewarding her with pieces of apple (apple is like candy to a duiker).


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