Monday, May 23, 2016

Sacramento Zoo Mourns Loss of Grevy's Zebra

The Sacramento Zoo is sad to share that after a rapid decline in health over the last few weeks Mara, a 20-year-old Grevy’s Zebra was humanely euthanized the evening of Sunday, May 22. A full necropsy will be performed at UC Davis.

Over the past three weeks zookeepers and veterinarians had been closely monitoring Mara as she progressively became lethargic, had a sever lack of appetite, and experienced weight loss and diarrhea. She was receiving supportive care such as antibiotics, pain medications and gut protectants. Tests were inconclusive as to a root cause. During her last 24-hour she stopped eating, drinking and urinating. Due to her serious decline and concerns for her quality of life, the decision was made to euthanize during a medical examination.  

“Mara was a quiet and dependable zebra who was happy to follow along with the herd,” said Melissa McCartney, Primary Ungulate Zookeeper at the Sacramento Zoo. “At mealtime she had learned to knock on the shift door to let keepers know she was ready for breakfast and wanted to be let in first.”

Mara came to the Sacramento Zoo in 2000 from the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The Sacramento Zoo has been home to Grevy’s Zebras since 1973.
The Sacramento Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan®. The main focus of this plan is captive breeding and educational awareness to prevent the extinction of this species. From 1978 to 1999 the Zoo had 22 foals born. In 2000 the Sacramento Zoo made the decision to participate in the SSP® in a different way, to give females who are past breeding age or have never conceived with a proven stallion, a home. The non-breeding females that live at the Sacramento Zoo are animal ambassadors for their species and serve an important role in educating the public.

This species of zebra lives in a dry, nutrient-poor habitat in Africa. Their social organization is very different from that of other zebras. Intense competition among females for limited resources prevents long-lasting bonds from being formed. Life on the African plains is also full of danger and predators are a constant threat to the zebras’ survival. Because Grevy’s Zebras are more solitary, they do not have the safety of a large herd to protect them and instead rely on excellent hearing, with large ears that can rotate in any direction. 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. The Sacramento Zoo has been a longtime supporter of the Grevy's Zebra Trust, a program founded to address the urgent need to conserve Grevy's Zebra in the rangelands of Kenya and Ethiopia by incorporating human and wildlife interests into all of their programs.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Red Panda Beckie Passes Away, 3rd Oldest in AZA Zoo

We are sad to announce the death of Beckie, the Red Panda. At the age of 16 she was the third oldest Red Panda in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums facility and was just two weeks shy of her 17th birthday. In zoos, the median life expectancy for a Red Panda is 10.4 years.

“While the loss of Beckie is difficult, her life is one that should be celebrated,” said Primary Carnivore Zookeeper Amanda Watters “She was well loved by staff and considered our supermodel Red Panda.”

Veterinarians had been treating Beckie for liver disease for over two years. During the past six weeks her condition worsened as she became anemic. An ultrasound exam showed that both her liver and spleen was affected and likely causing her reluctance to eat. In the early afternoon on May 19th, after discussing her quality of life, the difficult decision was made to humanly euthanize Beckie. A complete necropsy will be performed at the UC Davis.

“Beckie was very old for a Red Panda and the zookeepers and veterinarians took excellent and special care with all her geriatric needs,” said Leslie Field, Supervisor of Mammals at the Sacramento Zoo. “She was a sweet Red Panda and lived her last years with other, older Red Pandas.”

Beckie was born June 8, 1999 at the National Zoo. She had lived at the Sacramento Zoo since 2006.
Red Pandas are native to Eastern Asia, including Nepal, Burma, Tibet and south-central China. They are mostly solitary, small carnivores, whose markings mimic the reddish-brown tree trunks of their habitats. Also known as a “fire fox” or “bamboo cat”, Red Pandas are endangered in the wild. The Sacramento Zoo supports the Red Panda Network, an organization committed to the conservation of wild Red Pandas and their habitat throughout the education and empowerment of local communities. The Sacramento Zoo also participates in Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP®) program that cooperatively manages specific populations with the goal of sustaining a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied species well into the future.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Masai Giraffe Calf Explores Exhibit

Rocket, the Masai Giraffe calf born on April 10, 2016, experienced his first introduction to the giraffe exhibit this morning.

Mother and calf will have daily access to the exhibit for an hour or two in the morning to slowly acclimate. This is a fluid schedule that may change depending on mother and calf’s needs.

When they are in the giraffe yard, public access around the giraffe exhibit will be limited, creating a quiet atmosphere while Rocket explores and gets to know the other giraffes.

For previous photos, videos and updates, read the past giraffe calf blogs.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Sacramento Zoo Thanks YOU!

THANK YOU to everyone who supported the Zoo on May 3rd and 4th by donating, sharing, liking and posting!

Despite technical issues on May 3rd, the Sacramento Zoo made the best of the Big Day of Giving thanks to patient and perseverant donors! The silver lining was speaking with so many donors throughout the day that wouldn’t let the difficulties stop them from supporting the Zoo!

We are still working on the donation, matching gift and overall totals due to the technical hiccups and will update this blog soon! Regardless, millions were raised for 570 local nonprofits and we’re proud to be part of this day in philanthropy. From our spokesbird Charlie and the rest of the #SacZoo team, we extend a heartfelt THANK YOU!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

BIG Day of Giving is Here! Donate!

The BIG Day of Giving is finally here! From midnight on May 3rd to May 4th at 3pm, 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. Last year, the Sacramento Zoo hosted over 53,000 schoolchildren from a 24-county region on organized field trips. Over 100,000 guests were able to learn about animals during Stage Shows and Keeper Chats. Also, over 10,000 people were visited by Charlie, the BIG Day of Giving Spokesbird, or one of his Animal Ambassador friends. These programs and more are only possible with the generosity and support of our loyal donors. Every dollar you give will help the Sacramento Zoo continue to educate and inspire young minds across the region.


Make a donation today!
  • Every gift made today to the Sacramento Zoo will receive a 10% match from Nacht & Lewis, up to $5,000!
  • 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 an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Interpretive Center and a chance to meet this year’s BIG Day of Giving spokesbird, Charlie.  
Meet Charlie in person! Donate $100 or more for a chance to win.
Make your donation count even more
  • Use your Golden 1 debit or credit card and Golden 1 will proportionately match up to $50,000 of members’ online gifts.
Herkimer the Desert Tortoise and Animal Ambassador
Spread the word - your help makes a big impact
Your contribution of any amount will help the Sacramento Zoo continue to educate and inspire our future generations. Thank You!!

Charlie the Great Horned Owl is the spokesbird for #BigDoG2016. See why in this video!



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ring-tailed Lemur Finds Permanent Home

The Ring-tailed Lemur that was discovered in a Turlock backyard last year has found a permanent home. He will be moving to the Detroit Zoo the first week of May.

The Detroit Zoo has experience working with Ring-tailed Lemurs that have come to them from part of the illegal pet trade. Unfortunately as a result of their upbringing and not having many of their social needs met, lemurs that come from the pet trade often do not behave like normal lemurs and do not always know how to interact with other primates. The Detroit Zoo is currently home to five Ring-tailed Lemurs, three of which are former pets.

In order to prepare for his departure, the Ring-tailed Lemur has received a final exit exam at the Sacramento Zoo’s Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital. The thorough exam checked his overall health and the final report was sent to the veterinary team at the Detroit Zoo. Animal Care Staff in Sacramento have also had conversations with staff in Detroit to discuss the lemur’s current behaviors and tendencies and have shared videos of the lemur.

All of the behaviors the Ring-tailed Lemur from Turlock is exhibiting are ones that staff at Detroit have seen in other former pet lemurs are behaviors and that they are prepared to work with. After the lemur arrives in Detroit he will be housed near the other Ring-tailed Lemurs and given as much time as he needs to acclimate to his surroundings. From there, the keepers will work with him over the next months and years to introduce him first to another Ring-tailed Lemur; hopefully he will eventually be integrated into the entire lemur group.

We are happy that this lemur, who was a product of the illegal pet trade, will have a permanent, safe home in Detroit!

Photo by Mike Owyang
Photo by Mike Owyang

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Giraffe Calf Update & Video

At just over two weeks old the male Masai Giraffe Calf, born April 10th is steadily gaining weight and growing taller. He also has a name, Rocket! Zookeepers chose the name based on his playful personality and on-the-go attitude.

Shani and her calf spend most of their time behind-the-scenes in the barn, bonding, with periodic exercise sessions in the side-yard. Rocket needs to grow steadier on his long legs before he learns to maneuver the giraffe exhibit and be introduced to the rest of the herd. Currently, Rocket is interacting with and becoming acquainted with his herd-mates when they stick their head over fences or stall doors to inspect him. Rocket is learning to manipulate browse with his long, prehensile tongue, even though nursing is his source of nourishment right now. Although he can still walk under his mother, Rocket is growing taller and stronger each day.

Based on the signs Rocket, Shani, and the rest of the herd are giving, zookeepers anticipate the pair making their public exhibit debut in mid-May. However much like other timelines at the Zoo, everything will be done on mom and the calf’s terms. This time frame therefore is fluid and can be shortened or lengthened depending on zookeeper and Veterinarian staff daily evaluations.

In the meantime, Rocket and Shani will have intermittent access to the giraffe barn’s side-yard, where lucky and quiet guests might catch a glimpse of Rocket. These viewing areas will continue to remain quiet zones, creating a peaceful environment for the pair until the time that they venture out into the main exhibit.

A special thanks to the ungulate zookeepers for the following photos and video! To give mom and calf a quiet space, only necessary animal care and veterinary staff have access to their area.



Masai Giraffe calf, 5 days old
Masai Giraffe calf with mom, 5 days old
Masai Giraffe calf look out of the barn with mom, 14 days old
Masai Giraffe calf getting to know the herd, 14 days old
Masai Giraffe calf, 14 days old
Masai Giraffe calf at 14 days old checking out everything, even the floor!