Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Baby Lemurs on Exhibit

By Zoo Blog Keeper

The three baby Black and white ruffed lemurs that were born on May 4th, are now on exhibit with their older siblings and parents. Visitors can see them exploring the different ropes and hammocks while testing out their hanging and climbing skills.

Before they went out on exhibit, the newborns got to know the other lemurs by interacting through mesh fences. “It is exciting to see three sets of offspring, nose-to-nose at the door, learning each other’s smells and personalities,” said Leslie Field, Animal Care Supervisor. “It is important that they were all familiar with each other so that when we opened the doors to let the new lemurs out on exhibit for the first time, the older siblings showed the three babies the ropes,” said Field.

Come out to the Sacramento Zoo and see them!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Orangutans with Fabric

By Leslie Field, Lead Zoo Keeper

In the media chimps get all the glory when it comes to intelligence. And yes I have to admit they are very bright but orangutans are the deep thinkers. It's like your kids - one is great at algebra and the other loves geometry. Orangs love "geometry". They are always thinking about how to make one thing from another, how can they use it if turned "this way" and how can they manipulate it. Sheets, clothes, blankets, towels are the things they love to manipulate because the possibilities of creating, changing or making something from those items is endless!

Orangs in the wild also manipulate the things they have in their environment - large leaves and fronds become umbrellas for the sun or rain, chewed up plant matter become sponges to extract rain water for drinking from tree cavities and branches and foliage become beds at night.

The orangs at the Sacramento Zoo love their "fabric" and with it they create covers to cool them in the summer, a cushy cushion to rest on, a sling around a tree branch to use as a hammock and sometimes just to play and roll in.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ice Cream Safari

By Zoo Blog Keeper

Today is the big day! Our annual Ice Cream Safari starts at 4 pm. It is an amazing event with all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins ice cream, Coca-Cola drinks - and of course, you get to wander around the Zoo and see all the animals! There will also be a raffle for great prizes, hot dogs and veggie burgers for sale, face painting, and live entertainment.

Because this is such a large event, we are closing the gates at 1:30 pm to set up and prepare!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ground Hornbills Thank the Anonymous!

By Christine Bui, Zoo keeper

The Zoo keepers in the bird area would like to thank an anonymous donor for our new Hand-Rearing Birds book. We are using this book as a reference to help us hand-raise a new Ground hornbill chick.

Our Ground hornbills laid two eggs and one was a successful hatch! Hooray! We gave the hornbills an opportunity to parent raise the chick, but we found they were not doing a successful job keeping it warm. The bird keepers removed the chick from its nest and brought it down to the incubator room where the small chick is now warm and well fed.

This book has given us tips and important information on how to successfully raise a hornbill chick. So, thank you so much anonymous donor, the bird keepers are truly thankful. Chirp chirp! The hornbill chick thanks you too!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Blog Birthday!

By Zoo Blog Keeper

We can't believe it - It's already been a whole year since we started the Sacramento Zoo blog!

Looking back, we are very proud of the 118 posts we have done, and are very thankful that people from every corner of the Zoo have contributed.

We started the blog to share some of the more personal stories, the inside scoop, and the weird things we do and still call a job. I am constantly amazed at the talented staff we have and thier ability to take on new projects. Writing for the blog has been one of those projects.

So, thank you to everyone who reads our little blog, and to everyone who has contributed! It's great fun and reminds us that sometimes the more informal and personal communication is very worth while.


Now, let's start another year of blogging!

Friday, July 18, 2008

King of Feasts was a Great Party!

By Zoo Blog Keeper

King of Feasts, our food and wine tasting event on June 28, was just a ton of fun! With just about 50 vendors serving up food, beer, wine, sake and much more, everyone seemed to have a great time. After being stuck inside due to the fires and smoke in the air, you could tell people just wanted to get out and have a good time. Over 700 people attended this year! Take a look at the slideshow...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Car Wash to Battle the Heat

By Zoo Blog Keeper

Last week was miserable! With triple digit heat and poor air quality, everyone hated being outside. The volunteer teen counselors from Summer Camp usually do public education in the afternoons, offering up crafts and activities for the visitors. But with no visitors in site because of the weather, another idea was hatched... a car wash!

They signed up Zoo employees for 10 minute time slots all afternoon and took donations to fund their end-of-camp party. It was a great success, and it looks like they enjoyed themselves!

Monday, July 14, 2008

From the Kitchen - Blood Pops

You Won’t Find These Frozen Treats at Your Local Grocery Store!

When the thermostat hits 90 degrees, in most homes the popsicles start to fly out of the freezer. It’s pretty much the same at the Zoo, except that your treats are considerably different than the “pops” we have in our freezer!

In the carnivore area, blood pops are all the rage! The Zookeepers (or BETA volunteers) take the blood from the meat diet, dilute and freeze it in pans or balloons. Once frozen, the balloon is removed leaving a ball or the pan is heated off the popsicle. Just about every one of the carnivores enjoys this cool treat. A twist to this recipe uses tuna juice and water to create pops that the River otters particularly love.

The primates, birds and hoof stock enjoy a more vegetarian food fare. The keepers freeze pieces of their diet with water in shallow pans or Bundt pan rings for hanging. A variety of items can be tossed into these popsicles – sunflower seeds, nuts, berries, melon, raisins, grapes, veggies, flowers … even bamboo and other edible plant materials.

Sometimes it is just as refreshing to freeze fresh food items without putting them in water. Keepers have frozen entire diets or just a few items. A pan of ice-cold fruits, veggies and plants provides frosty variety to the animals’ summer diet.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Styrofoam Recycling - Sacramento

By Jaime Wilson, Sacramento Zoo Green Team Member

Over the last six months, I have received quite a few phones calls asking about how to recycle Styrofoam in the Sacramento area, and if the Zoo collects it. This has been one of our biggest challenges at the Zoo, but I couldn't figure out why everyone was calling us for advice!

Then I googled "Styrofoam recycling Sacramento", and I had my answer... Our blog from September 2007, Styrofoam Recycling Event at Cal Expo, was the third result! And our Green Team page of our website was fifth!

We seem to be an accidental authority on Styrofoam recycling in the area - So we are going to embrace it! Here is an update and there is good some news.

Styrofoam Recycling - ROSEVILLE
The City of Roseville started a pilot program in November 2007 in which they partnered with local buisinesses to offer Styrofoam recycling for the public. There are four locations according to the Rocklin & Roseville Today article:

  • Maidu Park at 1550 Maidu Drive, Roseville
  • Washington Boulevard at 800 All American City Blvd., across from Placer County Fairgrounds.
  • Mahany Park at 1575 Pleasant Grove Blvd., next to Bear Dog Park.
  • Berry Street off of Galleria Boulevard.
Styrofoam Recycling - STOCKTON
Timbron International is a company that takes all that #6 Styrofoam and upcycles it into paintable moldings for your house - what a cool idea! They recycle your Styrofoam at their location in Stockton.
  • 4331 Pock Lane, Stockton, California 95206

Styrofoam Recycling - SACRAMENTO
There aren't any location that I could find to take Styrofoam in Sacramento, but Sacramento Waste Management has some other resources to explore, including a mail back program. I use there website as a resource all the time for recycling information.

  • I know from speaking with Department of Conservation, Division of Recycling people, that business that have large quantities can find a bailing machine and get on a program - but regular folks and small producers, like us, don't have too many options at this point.

So, now you know! Keep collecting all that #6 EPS Styrofoam - and when there is another Sacramento area recycling event, we will be sure to let you know! So far there have been two in the last year (and none before that), so it seems like it is just starting to catch its stride.

UPDATE: I drove to the Roseville location at Maidu Park, and the Styrofoam is collected in a large white dumpters - plenty of room!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lemur Eating - Video Blog

By Zoo Blog Keeper

Lemurs have a unique way of eating - take a look at the Black & white ruffed lemurs. Keeper Janine talks about some of their favorite foods.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Savannah Snacks

By Zoo Blog Keeper

As many of you may know, our Ice Cream Station Zebra concession stand (near the River otters), is pretty old. We have wanted to replace it for quite some time and plans have been in the works for about a year now.

The building will be demolished and a new concession stand, named Savannah Snacks, will replace it. We are hoping it will be all ready to go by the end of summer. Since the new building will have more up-to-date appliances, we will be able to offer a better menu of foods. It will also tie into the renovation of the giraffe exhibit that live behind the area.

Here is what the new Savannah Snacks looks like, although I think the surrounding area will look more picturesque when it's at the Zoo!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Ice Cream Safari Promo

By Zoo Blog Keeper

Last week our favorite weatherman, Dave Bender from CBS13, came out to do a promo for the annual Ice Cream Safari on July, 26. Dave has hosted our Wild Affair in the past (and again this year), and he is always such a good sport. What most folks don't know is that he has a background in exotic animals!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pirate Ship with Teens

By Zoo Blog Keeper

When these videos first made their way around the Zoo, we just couldn't stop laughing. Every year there is a group of great teen volunteers that come in to work Summer Camp and be the kids Camp Counselors. Before camp starts they get together for some get-to-know-you activites and team building.

That's where Pirate Ship comes in.

Basically, you set out the boundries of your ship and one person calls out commands like "Captians coming", "Shark attach", "Man the lifeboats", etc and everyone runs to follow the command. Some commands take teams of people and if you don't find a team, you get kicked off the ship. But you can always come back on if "Mutiny" is called.

Take a look!

Check out the full set of Pirate Ship rules, if you want to have some fun. If the teens are having this much fun, Summer Camp must be a blast!