Thursday, March 27, 2008

Triumphant Return of the Ring-tail Lemurs

By Jessa Franck, Keeper

The Ring-tail lemurs returned to their exhibit this week after a month and a half absence. One of the females had a medical issue that required close supervision and frequent bandage changes. In order to maintain group dynamics, all three lemurs were moved to the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital. With the lemurs off display, I took advantage of the chance to renovate their exhibit. I talked to several other keepers who work in the primate department about what they liked and disliked about the exhibit as well as what features the animals used. I kept a few limbs that seemed to be favorite sitting spots and also added some new wooden platforms that can double as feeding stations. One of these platforms is at the very front of the exhibit, allowing Zoo visitors an extra close look at the lounging Ring-tail lemurs. The Ring-tails were very excited to be back in their newly redecorated home. They spent a lot of time scent marking the limbs and enjoying the warm sunshine. The injured female has recovered well although she may have a permanent limp. Please stop by their exhibit near the Sumatran orangutans to say “welcome back.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

1250 Gallons

By Jessa Franck, Keeper
If you visited the Zoo recently and walked past the koi aquarium by the Claire E. Mower Red Panda exhibit, you may have noticed something extra inside: me! Algae builds up inside the tank faster than the Chinese sucker fish can consume it, so a few times a year we drain the aquarium and give it a good scrubbing. I remember thinking it was a big chore to deep clean my 20 gallon aquarium. Now imagine cleaning a 1250 gallon aquarium. It takes about 2 hours plus the time needed to put on chest waders and deal with all the double takes from seeing a person where only fish should be. So the next time you’re at the Zoo, join me in cheering on those sucker fish so I can stay out of the tank a little longer!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Attack of the Giant Frog

Ahhhh.... Leslie are you OK?
Come out and celebrate Leap Year with the Zoo. See if you can spot our newest frog out in the Zoo. Here's a hint: Look Up :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Green Team Tips

Green Bites
Green Ideas You Can Digest

Question: How do I use less water and chemicals while still keeping my landscaping and garden beautiful?

Solution: Go Native!
Why: California native plants are basically made to grow here, so they need less water, less maintenance, less fertilizer and are more pest resistant. They even benefit our native wildlife!
How: Ask your local nursery which plants are native to California and especially our area here in Northern California. Or search out a nursery that specializes in native plants like Cornflower Farms in Elk Grove. Visit

Quick Bite: Get inspired and learn more by visiting the UC Davis Arboretum or check out the botanical gardens in San Francisco or at UC Berkeley. Find more information from the California Native Plant Society at

Friday, March 7, 2008

When Life Gives You Lemons...

by, Renee Towan, Zoo Horticulturist

When mother nature unleashed her fury on January 4th we lost a large old oak tree on the lake. The tree was trimmed and left in place. Looking a bit odd with it's limbs newly cut back, I pondered how to make it a great looking focal point.

Moss it! I special ordered Spanish Moss from a source in Florida. With the help from Jason, lead bird keeper, we hung the moss.The moss has helped to achieve the effect that the tree has been in place for a very long time. It is the new backdrop when viewing the Flamingos from their nesting area and their feeder near the Bateleur Eagles. You can always find a guest taking photographs of the Flamingos. Now their permanent memories have a dramatic new background.

Landscape design always has challenges. It is the job of the designer to find solutions to problems. This solution was fun and adds a new element to the Flamingos and other waterfowls habitat. So when mother nature gives you a downed tree, make it a focal point!

In the southern United States, Spanish Moss provides a home for amphibians and birds. Because we all know, Frogs Matter! Be Green!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Does anyone know a good barber?

The Interpretive Center (IC) staff getting ready for show season.