Thursday, January 24, 2008

A big help from a little girl

By Kim Sheffield, Membership Assistant

It was a fairly uneventful rainy day until one little girl shook things up a bit. This little girl, by the name of Maya Vargas, shyly wandered up to the membership office window with an envelope in hand. After a little encouragement from her mom, Kelly, she told me that she had a donation for the "giraffe house." Since she was just a little girl, I thought she might have a few dollars to donate (which is always greatly appreciated, because really, every little bit helps), but no, she had a whopping $96! Her mom proudly stood by & took pictures of her handing me the envelope (that not only had the money, but a lovely drawing of a giraffe). Maya had a community service project for her school & she had heard about our dilapidated giraffe barn, so she wanted to raise money to go towards helping out our giraffes. She was such a sweetheart! I was so happy to see such great generosity come from a littlest of people. Thanks Maya!

You can help continue Maya's mission.....If you would like to donate to the giraffe barn project, please contact Lisa Clement at (916) 808-8815 or Donate Now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sumatran tiger cubs have annual physicals

By Jessa Franck, Keeper

Last week the Sacramento Zoo’s three Sumatran tiger cubs had their first annual veterinary exams. They had plenty of vet check-ups as small cubs, but these were first physicals that will now be performed only on a yearly basis barring other problems. The exams were performed behind the scenes in the Rare Feline House because the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital had experienced some electrical issues due to the big storm that hit everyone in the area so hard the first week of January. It takes a whole team of people to successfully coordinate these events to ensure the animals recieve anesthesia for as short a time as possible. We had two vets, a vet tech, a veterinary resident, two veterinary students, and several carnivore area keepers helping out. Each of the cubs received vaccinations including rabies and distemper. The vets also drew blood samples to check for problems and to use for a baseline comparison in the future. Weights were taken, too, ranging from 190 to 205 pounds! They still have a way to go to catch up to their dad at 305 pounds. Some of the cubs’ deciduous, or baby, teeth were still in evidence. They were gradually being pushed out by what will become four inch canines, but the vets decided to speed the process along. Our lions had the same problem with retained baby teeth when they first arrived, too. The cubs recovered well and were back on exhibit with their mom the following day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Kids that Give

by Lisa Clement, Development Coordinator
North Country Elementary arrived at the Zoo this morning with smiles on their faces. Why are they smiling? Well, the obvious reason is they are at the Zoo. But that’s not why. These kids have been busy helping our giraffes a penny at a time! This group has been busy collecting their change to help the giraffes get a new barn. I must say they were successful. I was presented with a heavy container that held $104.65! Way to go North Country Elementary! These kids should feel proud of what they have accomplished! North Country Elementary wants to challenge other schools to collect those pennies, nickels and dimes for the Sacramento Zoo’s Giraffes. A BIG THANK YOU to North Country Elementary!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Love of Giraffes as a Birthday Gift

by Lisa Clement, Development Coordinator

Since the story about the giraffes appeared in the Bee, my phone has been busy ringing. Animal lovers of all ages are giving. It has been wonderful and I want my phone to keep on ringing! We still have a long ways to go!

One call in particular made me smile. I spoke with a gentleman wanting to do something for his daughter. He told me how she loves giraffes! "It could be an obsession." She has been visiting the Sacramento Zoo since she was a baby. Later, his daughter did her veterinary medicine studies at UC Davis and she and her classmates would visit the Zoo to study our animals. His daughter is now the medical director of a large veterinary practice. So I guess her love of giraffes goes way back.

Today he made a $100 donation to the giraffe exhibit renovation project, in honor of her for her upcoming birthday! He must be one proud papa!

If you would like to donate to the giraffe barn project, please contact Lisa Clement at (916) 808-8815 or Donate Now.

Adak, the Polar bear

by Brenda Gonzalez, Membership Supervisor

Some of our visitors may remember Adak, the Polar bear. He left our Zoo and moved to the Detroit Zoo in March of 2000 to live in their new Arctic Ring of Life exhibit. This exhibit was the PERFECT place for Adak to spend his twilight years- he had the option of swimming in fresh or salt water pools, lots of room to roam, many different bears to interact with AND, since he was in Detroit, SNOW- every Polar Bear’s dream!! Adak was 30 years old and the veterinary staff at the Detroit Zoo knew that he had congestive heart failure. They were keeping a close eye on him and after much consideration, he was euthanized this week to prevent any suffering.

Check out the link below to find out more about Adak’s home:http://www.detroitzoo.org/Attractions/ARL/Arctic_Ring_of_Life/

Monday, January 7, 2008

Giraffe exhibit expansion

by Mary Healy, Director/CEO

I would like to take this time to respond to giraffe article in todays Sacramento Bee.

The response and community calls to the January 7th article in the Sacramento Bee has been overwhelmingly positive. It is obvious that our community cares about our Sacramento Zoo and our wonderful giraffes.

Many of you have asked how you can help. The plans for the barn are well underway. As you can imagine, designing a barn for giraffes that will allow us to bring in new animals and start a breeding program is very complex. Nacht and Lewis Architects are working closely with John F. Otto Inc. on this design–build project and both companies have invested well over a year’s time working with zoo staff. Where we clearly need assistance is in the funding. It is estimated to be a $1.5 million dollar project.

One of the steps we have taken to increase our fund-raising efforts for the Zoological Society is to hire a Director of Development. This is a new position for us, and one that shows the non profit Sacramento Zoological Society Board is committed to keep improving our Zoo to make it better for the animals and for you, our loyal supporters.

In the meantime, I can assure you, the health of the giraffes is stable. However, we know the proposed block building will be much easier to heat, it will be more energy efficient, it will allow us to better maintain our giraffes as they get older and allow us to initiate a breeding program in the future. A solid block building will also ensure better rodent control

I would also like to add that we have a great partnership with the City of Sacramento. I realize the City Council has many difficult decisions that come before them. Ultimately, what is good for Sacramento is good for the Zoo.

If you would like to donate to the giraffe barn project, please contact Lisa Clement at (916) 808-8815 or Donate Now.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Weathering the Storm

by Jaime Wilson

Friday’s storm was nothing short of awesome! Driving in to Land Park was quite the adventure, with traffic lights out, large debris in the road – it really became a slow moving free-for-all as folks tried to avoid branches, sometimes even driving the wrong way to get around them.

We all congregated in the entry way to the Administration office and by candlelight, started to hear what was going on. A huge oak tree fell in the lake, thankfully not injuring any animals. People had heard transformers blow early in the morning out on Sutterville Road, so we weren’t surprised our power was out. The noise spooked some of the hoof stock, but they were still doing okay.

It was pretty clear that we couldn’t open, for the safety of our staff, the animals and the visitors.
But the behind-the-scenes work went on. The keepers were prepping the animal diets by flashlight – their routine stays the same no matter the weather. They also kept some of the animals in their dens to keep them safe. Office staff was trickling in, but after a near miss with a tree branch, most people headed home and the people who stayed went outside in pairs and only when they had to.

We were lucky. Our power was restored later in the morning, so a skeleton crew of people stuck it out the rest of the day to assess the damage. Saturday dawned with every surface and walkway covered in debris and the decision was made to stay closed so it could be cleared from the public pathways.

The Zoo is open again, but the clean up continues. We are just happy to have one day off from the rain to get thing sorted out. Wow, that was a big one!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 is going to be GREAT!

Kick off the New Year with a trip to the Zoo. Jump start those resolutions: get outside, walk the park, and spend quality time with your family.

The Zoo is open from 10 am to 4 pm.