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

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Finding Love in All the Right Places

Did you know that volunteering as a couple at the Zoo can be a great way to revitalize a relationship and reconnect with your partner? This may seem odd to many, but becoming Docent volunteers at the Zoo has helped John and Cyndi Ginn’s relationship grow.

John and Cyndi met at a church social; Cyndi remembers John standing by himself in the back of the room and affectionately recalls his “ugly pants.” The couple bonded right away, became engaged and then married. They will celebrate 40 years of matrimony this March and have three children and three grandchildren. As retirement approached, John worried about getting bored and having too much time on his hands – this was not to be so. The couple quickly found ways to volunteer in a variety of organizations including bingo for the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corp, classroom volunteering and other activities.

In 2012, John came across a notice in Maagizo for Docent volunteers. Both John and Cyndi signed up and have been volunteering at the Zoo ever since. According to Cyndi, with a smile and an affectionate look at John, “Volunteering at the Zoo allows us to work together and has brought us closer.” Prior to volunteering at the Zoo, they often did the same things, but separate – John would coach the kids’ soccer team and was head referee for their clubs while Cyndi was the soccer registrar. As Sacramento Zoo Docents, they always work at the same stations and one is seldom seen without the other.

The Zoo stays with them even when they are not within the gates, providing them with another similar interest to explore. They enjoy watching animal shows on TV together, visiting other zoos and quizzing each other on animal facts (sometimes getting competitive in the process!).

Docents are volunteer educators who provide tours, station talks and wildlife wagons for zoo visitors. You'll learn about the exciting animals that live at the zoo and current conservation issues worldwide. For more information on how to become a docent, by yourself or with a loved one, visit the Sacramento Zoo Docent webpage.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lion Cub Update - Sixteen Weeks Old

The African Lion family of five have been together for a month now and the interactions between the cubs and parents are amazing to watch. Lions are different from other cat species, living in prides instead of being solitary in their behavior. The 16-week-old trio of cubs are learning from their parents, testing boundaries and sometimes being scolded by mom and dad. They are learning how to be one of the pride, what their roles are and the hierarchy between the cubs themselves.

The cubs also learn specific behaviors from the same sex parent. The male cub pays close attention to how his sire acts and you'll often see them spending time alone together as the cub learns how to be a male lion. The same goes for the pair of female cubs and time with their mom.

Along with chewing on grass, sticks and sometimes each other, the cubs are nursing less and starting to eat whole food following mom's example at mealtime. This switch will help the cubs get the nutrition they need during their rapid growth spurts.

The extra barrier in front of the lion exhibit has now been removed so visitors can enjoy a better view of the pride.

Photo by Erik Bowker
Photo by Erik Bowker
Photo by Erik Bowker
Photo by Erik Bowker
Photo by Erik Bowker

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Death of Zebra & Brush Rabbit

The Sacramento Zoo is saddened by the death of two of its older, endangered, residents yesterday. A female Grevy’s Zebra and Riparian Brush Rabbit were both euthanized due to age related illnesses.

While the Zoo’s only Riparian Brush Rabbit’s exact age is not known, she was at least 8 years old and potentially one of the oldest among the population. Sunday morning she was found in her exhibit with a new injury to a previously damaged left eye. During an examination, veterinarians also found that she had a severe urinary tract infection. The infection compounded with her most recent injury and age severely reduced her chances of survival/recovery and the decision was made to euthanize her. She came to the Sacramento Zoo during her twilight years as an un-releasable retiree from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Recovery Program that was administered by the California State University Stanislaus Endangered Species Recovery Program. Even though she was hidden most of the day, she still managed to charm guest and keepers. Keepers would plant grass in the exhibit to provide a more natural habitat and the next day she would have eaten most of it. The Sacramento Zoo is the only zoo to have ever exhibited this endemic endangered species.

Riparian Brush Rabbits are a federally endangered subspecies that occupy small pockets of riparian vegetation (the bank of a river or stream) in the San Joaquin Valley. Only 10 percent of the Central Valley’s habitat for the Riparian Brush Rabbit still exists.

Tallulah, a 21 year-old Grevy’s Zebra, was suffering from severe renal failure and did not respond to comprehesive treatment over the weekend. Given her poor prognosis and declining quality of life, the decision was made to euthanize her. It is estimated that wild zebras can live up to 20 years in the wild.

Tallulah’s zookeepers described her as not being like the Zoo’s other female zebras. She was happy to trail along behind the others and always came across a bit timid and shy...unless you had snacks. Tallulah became most animated when it was time to eat! During her recent treatment zookeepers made sure that she had plenty of good treats.

The wild population of Grevy’s Zebras has been drastically reduced in the past few decades. Although protected by law, their beautiful pelts continue to demand a good price on the black market. Loss of habitat and competition from cattle are also threats to their survival.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

$100K to Conservation in 2014!

The Sacramento Zoo is proud to announce that in 2014 it provided over $100,000 to support more than two dozen conservation organizations locally and around the world. The funding is generated through programs that include Quarters for Conservation and a portion of Zoo Memberships.

Conservation is a priority at the Sacramento Zoo. The Zoo participates in and supports projects that involve species recovery, veterinary care for wildlife, habitat research, zookeeper education, the protection of species and ecosystems and much more.

For the second year in a row, in 2014, the Sacramento Zoo gave more than $100,000 to programs such as Red Panda Network, Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and the Sahara Conservation Fund.

At the Sacramento Zoo, visitors are able to take an active part in conservation support through the Quarters for Conservation program. As guests enter the Zoo, they receive a token representing their contribution to conservation, which enables visitors to vote for one of three conservation projects at the wishing wells in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza. Each project is guaranteed $5,000 annually with additional funding based on the number of votes received. Every vote makes a difference.

Last year 370,141 visitors voted to support an Artificial Penguin Nest Project, Sumatran Tiger Conservation and locally, Pacific Fisher Conservation. $50,000 was divided amongst the three projects, with the amount determined by the number of votes each project received.

The three programs selected by the Sacramento Zoo for 2015 are Giant Armadillo and Giant Anteater Conservation, Snow Leopard Conservation and locally, Tricolored Blackbird Conservation. Each of these species is facing trouble in their natural habitat and play an important part in their local ecosystem.

In 2015 the Zoo is increasing its commitment to conservation. Every time a guest has fun riding the train, carousel, participating in a giraffe encounter or experiencing the Serengeti Cyclone, a quarter will be added to the conservation fund. This is in addition to existing programs.

To learn more about 2015 recipients visit the Quarters for Conservation webpage.

Vote for a conservation project each time you visit!
Quarters for Conservation voting station.
New in 2015, a quarter from carousel & train rides go to conservation.