Friday, September 19, 2014

Farewell to CJ the Sumatran Tiger

CJ the Sumatran Tiger born on March 3, 2013 will soon be moving to his new home at the LA Zoo. His move is based on a recommendation from the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan® and coincides with the timing that young tigers usually leave their mothers. He is so big now, that it can be hard to tell him apart from his mom Baha.

Come say farewell to CJ! He is on exhibit with mom starting around 3:30 pm each day until October 2nd. In addition, he will be on exhibit all day from Sunday, September 21st through Tuesday, September 23rd.

Baha will be reintroduced to Castro the male in the months following CJ's departure so you will soon see two tigers on exhibit again.

CJ, September 2014 - Photo by Mike Owyang
CJ, May 2013 - Photo by Erik Bowker
CJ, April 2013 - Photo by Erik Bowker
Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered and found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra off the Malaysian Peninsula. Fewer than 500 Sumatran Tigers are believed to exist in the wild and approximately 200 live in the zoos around the world. The Sacramento Zoo participates in the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP), coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are cooperative breeding and conservation programs designed to maintain genetically viable populations of animals in captivity, and to organize zoo and aquarium-based efforts to preserve the species in nature.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Female Giraffe Gave Birth to Stillborn Calf

The Sacramento Zoo is saddened to share that Shani, the Sacramento Zoo’s female Masai Giraffe gave birth to a stillborn female calf in the early afternoon of September 14th.

The first signs of labor were observed by zookeepers this morning. Our veterinary staff consulted with many colleagues as staff monitored the progression of her labor. Shani was having difficulties delivering the calf due to a poor presentation involving the calf’s neck being wrapped around her long forelegs. The Zoo’s animal care staff and veterinarians worked with the Large Animal Reproductive Service from UC Davis to assist Shani in the delivery of the stillborn calf. Without intervention, Shani would not have been able to deliver the calf and her health would have been in jeopardy. A full necropsy of the calf will be performed at UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

“Intervening in a giraffe delivery is no trivial task, but our staff and specialized giraffe-handling facilities enabled us to assist Shani successfully,” said Dr. Adrian Fowler, Acting Director of the Sacramento Zoo. “We are pleased to say that Shani appears to be recovering well and the birth does not seem to have created any complications for her moving forward.”

It is not uncommon for first time giraffe mothers to have stillborn calves or lose them early in their rearing; 23% of calves do not survive the first 30 days.

The Sacramento Zoo is one of 29 AZA accredited institutions managing 111 Masai Giraffes in North America. The Masai Giraffe is the largest subspecies and is found in southern Kenya and Tanzania. Populations in the wild are declining.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Celebration of Life for Mary Healy

Please join us for a Celebration of Life for late Zoo Director Mary Healy on Saturday, September 20th at 3 pm at the Sacramento Zoo.

RSVP by email or call (916) 808-8815 by September 12th.  View invitation here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Animal-Shaped Bike Racks

The Land Park Community Association (LPCA) recently raised funds and commissioned three animal-shaped bike racks designed and built by Gina Rossi of Rossi Sculptural Designs. The unique and striking bike racks are outside the front entrance to the Sacramento Zoo and in the shape of a giraffe, chimpanzee and cheetah. They are created from recycled horse shoes which showcases recycling and repurposing items into something new and durable.

On Saturday, August 9th, LPCA board members, Councilmember Steve Hansen, artist Gina Rossi and Sacramento Zoo staff joined for the unveiling of the amazing bike racks.

The tragic news, released the day before, of Zoo Director Mary Healy's death while on her way to the Galapagos struck all those involved with the bike rack project and in a show of sympathy, Steve Hansen lead a moment of silence in her honor.

Gina Rossi also added a touching tribute by creating a custom heart for the new giraffe sculpture dedicated to Mary Healy and her impact on the community.

Thank you to the Land Park Association and Gina Rossi for making this wonderful bike rack project possible and for your heartfelt tribute to our Zoo Director.

Chimpanzee bike rack
Cheetah bike rack
LPCA board members, Zoo board members, Councilmember Steve Hansen
The heart of the giraffe, dedicated to Mary Healy
Touching tribute to Mary Healy
Giraffe bike rack

Friday, August 8, 2014

Passing of Zoo Director Mary Healy

We are devastated to share that Zoo Director, Mary Healy has passed away. Mary had left port in Ecuador on her way to the Galapagos Islands on Thursday when she suffered a cerebral aneurysm. Later that day she was declared brain dead and then suffered a massive coronary heart attack.

Born in 1953, Mary began her career in the zoo profession as a bird keeper at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina. Years later, after a stint with a Disney animal park, she made her debut as the Sacramento Zoo Director in December of 1999. Under Mary’s direction, a full-scale veterinary hospital was built at the Sacramento Zoo and renovations for new habitats have been completed for lemurs, Thick-billed Parrots, Giant Anteaters, Ground Hornbills, Burrowing Owls, Yellow-billed Magpies, Tamanduas, giraffes, Red Pandas and North American River Otters.

Throughout that time, Mary dedicated time to serve as Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She also served on the Accreditation Commission. Mary was the president of the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums and was one of nine international council members for the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Last year, Mary was presented with a Women Who Mean Business award by the Sacramento Business Journal.

Mary Healy was a leader in the community and a passionate advocate for animals.  She will be greatly missed by zoo staff, colleagues, supporters and the larger zoo community.

A memorial in Mary’s honor will be held at a later date. Her family has requested that no flowers be sent and donations in her memory be made to the Sacramento Zoological Society.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shani the Masai Giraffe is Pregnant

The Sacramento Zoo is excited to announce that Shani the Zoo’s female Masai Giraffe is pregnant with her first calf. Based on breeding behavior and gestation length it is estimated that she will give birth in November or December.

“The Zoo is overjoyed that Shani is pregnant, the last time there was a giraffe birth at the Sacramento Zoo was in the 1980’s,” said Mary Healy, Zoo Director/CEO. “Shani and Chifu, the Zoo’s two Masai Giraffes, were brought to the Zoo with the hope that they would become the nucleus of a new herd to support the genetic diversity of the North American Masai Giraffe population.”

The Sacramento Zoo is home to five giraffes: three female Reticulated Giraffes, one male Masai (Chifu) and one female Masai (Shani). In 2010, the Zoo completed renovations on the giraffe exhibit that includes a state-of-the-art, heated, block barn that is fully equipped for the birth of calves.

The Masai Giraffe is the largest giraffe subspecies and is found in southern Kenya and Tanzania. In addition to a difference in size, Reticulated and Masai Giraffes tend to have slightly different spots - a Masai giraffe's spots are usually darker and irregular in shape. Gestation is 14 to 15 months with the female giving birth alone in a secluded spot free from predators. When a calf is born, it can be as tall as six feet and weigh 150 pounds. Within minutes, the baby is able to stand on its own.

Shani and Chifu are two of fewer than 100 Masai Giraffes in institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Observation of giraffes in zoos has helped field researchers to recognize physical characteristics and social behaviors in the wild. The Sacramento Zoo partners with the Wild Nature Institute, a field research group that is currently studying Masai Giraffe demographics and the African Savanna ecosystem with photo recognition software. The study, which includes more than 1,500 Masai Giraffes, will allow researchers to follow the giraffes’ movements and reproduction habits in the wild in order to understand where and why their populations are declining.

Chifu and Shani

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Small Wonders Construction

On January 30th, the Sacramento Zoo broke ground on the Small Wonders of Africa exhibit. Since then, we have been working hard to transform the area. As the summer draws to a close, we are happy to report that the new exhibit will be opening this fall!

Small Wonders will house six new African species: African Straw-colored Fruit Bats, Aardvark, Wolf's Guenons, Red-billed Hornbills and Crested Guineafowl. Later this year, Banded Mongooses will join the Aardvark on exhibit.

Each of these species will help tell the story of East Africa, presenting the challenges of conserving wildlife in this unique corner of the world. The Sacramento Zoo has been an active participant in many East African conservation programs to educate the African people who share the landscape with native wildlife.

Small Wonders has improved and expanded on an existing structure – both on-and off-exhibit animal facilities. It replaces the existing mesh with modern, finer-grade stainless steel and glass in some areas to allow for greater visibility. The previous six exhibits were combined to form three large spaces where the new Eastern African animals will live. The renovation also includes an artificial termite mound where guests will be able to observe nocturnal Aardvarks even as they sleep.

Visit the Small Wonders of Africa page for more information.