Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Celebrity ZooMobile Visit to Valley Oaks Elementary

In mid-May Leticia Ordaz, a reporter/anchor for KCRA 3, made a special appearance with the ZoomMobile at Valley Oaks Elementary in Galt.

Leticia attended Valley Oaks Elementary as a student and was excited to help inspire Mrs. Gomez’s 6th grade class to work hard in school and reach for their dreams.

Leticia Ordaz Speaking to Students
“I was extremely honored share my story with my elementary school and to be a part of the ZooMobile program.  The program really emphasized the importance of being good citizens, taking care of the planet, and protecting animals in this world. I hope my visit helped inspire the next generation to believe in themselves, that they all have what it takes to succeed and to reach for their dreams. I hold a special place for higher education, the Sacramento Zoo and my hometown (Galt).”  – Leticia Ordaz

Students Meeting a Six-banded Armadillo
"It's extremely important for educators and community members to seize opportunities to teach young people about their environment and making good choices, all the while showing the connection between how those choices affect the living things that reside on our planet.  The ZooMobile experience spoke directly to the positive roles living organisms play in their environment, and how their absence could have negative effects on mankind.  Leticia speaking specifically about making good choices and following one's dreams, meanwhile maintaining friendships that nurture those dreams, also spoke volumes.” – Mrs. Gomez


Mrs. Gomez's 6th Grade Class with Leticia Ordaz and Zoo Guests

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Welcome Our New Director/CEO, Kyle Burks

Dr. Kyle Burks

After an extensive search and interview process that included candidates from around the country, the Sacramento Zoological Society’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Kyle Burks, former chief operating officer of the Denver Zoo, as the new Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Zoo. Kyle will assume the position beginning June 15, 2015.

“We conducted a nationwide search and identified several highly qualified candidates for the position,” said Jeff Raimundo, President of the Sacramento Zoological Society’s Board of Trustees. “We are impressed with Kyle’s background and vision for the future, and we feel he will bring renewed passion, energy and innovation to our community jewel.”

Dr. Kyle Burks grew up in Huntsville, Texas and attended Texas A&M University. He earned a B.S. in Experimental Psychology and then a M.S. from Georgia Tech where he worked closely with the Zoo Atlanta director. Kyle’s extensive work history includes being recruited to the Opening Team for Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1997. While there, he served many roles including training the park’s operations managers to understand the animals in the collection, serving in a temporary assignment as the Curator of Education for Cast Programs, managing the Wildlife Tracking Center and helping to develop and monitor Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s strategic plan. In 2008, Kyle joined Denver Zoo as Executive Vice President and COO. In that role, he was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the zoo, including veterinary and daily care of the animal collection, education, conservation, operations, human resources and campus management. Kyle also served as the Denver Zoo’s Interim President/CEO from July 2013 through February 2014.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work at Sacramento Zoo, a community treasure that has inspired wonder and awe for 88 years,” said Burks. “I look forward to leading the Zoo’s highly regarded team. Together we will continue to make the community proud, living up to our responsibility of maintaining the highest standards of animal care while providing an amazing experience for our guests.”

As the new Director/CEO of the Sacramento Zoo, Kyle will ensure the Zoo achieves its mission to inspire appreciation, respect, and a connection with wildlife and nature through education, conservation and recreation. In this role, he will oversee 108 employees, a collection of more than 500 animals on 14-acres, as well as the Zoo's robust education and international conservation programs. Kyle will serve the Sacramento Zoological Board of Trustees which consists of 20 members.

Kyle succeeds Mary Healy, the Zoo’s director for nearly 15 years, who died unexpectedly last August while on a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Once again, the Zoo staff would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support received in the wake of Mary's passing. We look forward to a bright future for the Sacramento Zoo under Kyle's guidance and leadership.

Friday, May 15, 2015

SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction

Did you know that the Western Pond Turtle is not only an endangered species; it’s also the only turtle native to California? These little ambassadors are one of 10 inaugural species that are the focus of the national SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction campaign organized by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The campaign launches today, Endangered Species day.

The Sacramento Zoo is helping bring attention to the plight of these animals and many other endangered species this weekend through a variety of activities. You can go to Keeper Chats, Animal Encounters or Wildlife Stage Shows to learn more about endangered species. If you’re feeling photogenic, take a “shellfie”  at our turtle photo-op. You may also notice caution tape and signs at some of the Zoo’s exhibits, highlighting some of the other endangered species at the Zoo. Visit the Member & Visitor Services Office to get a special t-shirt designed by FishFlop creator Madison Nicole for a $20 minimum suggested donation. All money raised through the sale of the shirts will go to the Sacramento Zoo’s Conservation Fund that supports more than three-dozen conservation programs around the world.


Take a shellfie at the Zoo and make a donation to receive a SAFE shirt

For decades, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival, and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the American Bison, the California Condor and a variety of aquatic species. 

Through SAFE, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will convene scientists and stakeholders globally to identify the factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.

In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species and then add an additional 10 species each year for the next 10 years. The inaugural 10 species include: African Penguin, Asian Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, Cheetah, Gorilla, Sea Turtles, Vaquita, sharks and rays as a group, Western Pond Turtle, and Whooping Crane.


Western Pond Turtle

Take Action! One of the easiest conservation actions you can take is to visit the Sacramento Zoo! Doing so directly supports the collaborative efforts of hundreds of researchers, field conservationists and scientists from AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums working to save animals from extinction.

For more information, visit saczoo.org/SAFE and follow the online conversation via #savingspecies.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ostriches on the Move

Some of the Sacramento Zoo’s big birds recently made a big move.  The Zoo’s Ostriches have gone to the Wildlife Safari in Oregon where they will be integrated into a multi-species exhibit with giraffe, rhino, zebra and more.

Moving the ostriches was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but the result of months of planning and coordination. Working with Wildlife Safari, the state of Oregon’s department of Agriculture, and the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), employees at the Sacramento Zoo coordinated the move.

How do you go about relocating an Ostrich? When moving them the paramount concern is for the health and well-being of the animal, eliminating stress at all costs. Staff at the Zoo made sure that Wildlife Safari received a complete history of the ostriches that included their training, personalities and diet. Also a veterinary exam was completed that included bloodwork required by the state of Oregon.

The means of transportation when moving an animal is given much consideration due to a number of factors: the type of animal, travel distance, government regulations and requirements for transport. Birds and many small mammals are shipped via cargo carriers in animal crates certified for animal safety. Obviously, airlines provide shorter travel times for greater distances than land carriers. However, for a large animal such as an ostrich, an airplane flight is simply not an option and a road trip is planned.

For this trip, the Zoo used a company that specializes in animal transport. The trailer that housed the Ostriches during his journey was a custom-made animal trailer specifically built to transport large animals. The size of the trailer is large enough for the animal to be able to move about freely, but safely, inside the trailer. 

The Ostrich’s move went smoothly and they are now acclimating to their new environment. Keep an eye out for new faces and improvements at the Sacramento Zoo this summer.



Friday, May 8, 2015

A Giraffe Receiving Laser Therapy?

By Dr. Tara Harrison and Marilyn Koski

The Sacramento Zoo’s 16-year-old Reticulated Giraffe "Goody" suffers from chronic joint abnormalities that contribute to her arthritis. Weighing 1,500 pounds and standing at just over 14 feet, can make treating her challenging.

Zookeepers and veterinarians use a type of voluntary, positive, training, called operant conditioning, to help treat her. Through operant conditioning, Goody is trained to hold her feet in certain positions or locations, enabling her hoof to be trimmed or other alternative treatments for her lameness. The goal is to reduce stress, creating a more relaxing treatment process for her.

The Sacramento Zoo has partnered with UC Davis Integrated Medicine Service, Respond Systems (low level laser and magnetic therapy systems) and Multi-Radiance Medical (low level laser systems), to try a broader range of therapies for Goody.  In addition to treating Goody with anti-inflammatory medications and a glucosamine supplement, we are trying physical rehabilitation techniques, including low-level (or cold) laser treatments.


Low Level Laser Therapy (or Cold Laser) is also referred to as phototherapy. The cold lasers work by photo-biomodulation and are used to stimulate cellular processes to improve circulation and decrease inflammation. During the treatment, she happily nibbles on acacia leaves. In the future we hope to include acupuncture therapy.



Though relatively new to zoological medicine, these therapies have been used for many years in human medicine, small animal and equine veterinary medicine. Although we cannot change the fact that Goody has arthritis, we hope to ease the effects of her arthritis and joint abnormalities as she interacts with her fellow giraffes at the Sacramento Zoo.

Goody the Reticulated Giraffe

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A BIG (Day of Giving) THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who supported the Zoo on May 5th by donating, sharing, liking and posting! You made it an amazing day of giving with $25,805 raised for the Zoo. Together, the Sacramento region raised $5,613,799 for local nonprofits and we're proud to be part of this historic day in philanthropy. From our spokesbird Julia and the rest of the #BigDog2015 team at Sacramento Zoo, we extend a heartfelt THANK YOU!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BIG Day of Giving is Here! Donate!

The BIG Day of Giving is finally here! From midnight to midnight on May 5th, you can donate here to support the Sacramento Zoo.

The Sacramento Zoo’s mission is to inspire appreciation, respect and a connection with wildlife and nature through education, conservation and recreation. The Zoo is home to more than 130 species, over half of which are endangered or threatened with endangerment – many of these due to human encroachment. The Sacramento Zoological Society strives 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. The Zoo’s goal is to raise $20,000 on the Big Day of Giving with your support to continue its efforts to conserve endangered species at home and around the world.


Make a donation today!
Every dollar donated will receive a boost from a pool of incentive funds
Donations can be as small as $25 or as large as $10,000
Everyone who donates $100 or more will be entered in a drawing to win one of twelve 5"x7"
canvases painted by some of the Zoo's Animal Ambassadors

Make your donation count even more
Help the Sacramento Zoo win a prize challenge by donating from 2 to 2:59 pm today.
The nonprofits with the most number of unique donors and the most dollars raised during that hour will win $1,000 each.

Spread the word - your help makes a big impact
Like the Sacramento Zoo on Facebook, share our #BigDoG2015 and #SacZoo posts.
Follow the Sacramento Zoo on Twitter and use #BigDoG 2015 and #SacZoo and share our posts
Find the Sacramento Zoo on Instagram and like the Zoo's #BigDoG2015 posts

Tell your family and friends about the BIG Day of Giving and encourage them to join in.

Your contribution of any amount will help the Sacramento Zoo continue to inspire future generations to conserve animals threatened with extinction. Thank You!!

Julia the Thick-billed Parrot is the spokesbird for #BigDoG2015. See why in this video!


See why the dedicated volunteer Zoo Teens support the Sacramento Zoo in this video they made!