Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bags from old Zoo banners? YES!

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

I am so excited to write about this! For years now, we have been hording away all of our vinyl banners that the Zoo makes for events, exhibits and other stuff. We obviously didn't want to throw them away, but recycling vinyl is problematic so we were looking for another way to use them. In a perfect world, we would create something even more durable and useful with them - something a lot of folks call "upcycling".

Last year we finally found our answer and now have a very limited number of reusable bags made from our old Zoo banners! They are extremely durable and really cute. Since each one is handmade from parts of old banners, they are usually one-of-a-kind and most have animals on them. There are also notepads and portfolios available.

They will be on sale to the public for one day only! Come out to Bloomin' Crazy on Saturday, March 7th and the Green Team will be hosting a booth with all of our available bags for sale. We can accept cash, checks & credit cards.

If you have any questions, just post a comment and I will get right back to you!

Update 3/5/09: There have been quite a few questions about who makes these bags for the Zoo. The answer is Jenny Hurth in Berkeley, CA.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

IMAX: African Adventure in 3D

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

The Esquire IMAX Theatre in downtown Sacramento has graciously offered the Zoo a special preview screening of the new movie, African Adventure: Safari in the Okavango in 3D. All the proceeds will benefit the Sacramento Zoo.

Join us at the Esquire IMAX Theater at 12th & K Street on Thursday, March 5 at 6:30 pm for the Zoo's special screening. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for children and Sacramento Zoo Members can purchase tickets for half off!

To purchase tickets, call the Zoo Membership Office at (916) 808-5888 or visit the Zoo's IMAX Movie webpage to order online.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ask a Vet: Zoo Vet Exams

By Dr. Ray Wack, Sacramento Zoo Veterinarian

Reading Between the Lines: What Happens at a Routine Vet Exam?
One of the ways that the Veterinary Department at the Sacramento Zoo provides quality health care to the animals is through routine health exams.

Many of these procedures can be viewed by Zoo visitors through the windows in the veterinary hospital. These exams are similar to routine physicals performed by your own primary care physician. A complete physical exam includes body weight, determination of body condition, ophthalmic exam, dental exam and cleaning, checking the transponder microchip, careful palpation of the limbs and abdomen, routine X-rays are taken, and auscultation (listening with a stethoscope) of the heart and lungs.

A blood sample is often collected for a complete blood cell count and serum chemistry panel, as well as banking a sample in our ultra-cold freezer. Any vaccines needed are given at this time. For those animals prone to specific diseases, additional screenings are done to identify these conditions when early treatment can make a difference. For example, heart disease is common in many species of great apes. As a result, more in-depth cardiac exams are performed during the routine examination of our older chimps and orangutans. During these cardiac exams, additional testing such as electrocardiograms (ECG) and echocardiograms are conducted.

Veterinary specialists from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital travel to the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital at the Sacramento Zoo to lend their expertise. This strong collaboration with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine enables the Sacramento Zoo to provide a high quality of health care to the resident animals at the Zoo.

Note: Ask a Vet is recurring column in the Zoo's newletter, Maagizo. Check back soon at for the complete Spring issue under About Us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Giraffe Groundbreaking Video

By Zoo Blog Keeper

If you couldn't make it to the groundbreaking ceremony last week for the Giraffe Habitat Renovation, here is a 9 minute video with the highlights.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Giraffe Groundbreaking & Demolition

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Last week, the Zoo hosted the official groundbreaking for the new Giraffe Exhibit Renovation project that will open in early 2010. Zoo Director Mary Healy was joined by SZS Board President Terry Kastanis, and Councilmember Robert King Fong to welcome the guests and thank the many, many supporters.

Work started right away, but the real excitement happened the next day when demolition of the old concrete elephant barn that was being used for storage, was knocked down by the huge excavator. After punching holes into the walls and roof with a jackhammer attachment, the building came down in a single afternoon.

Thanks to all the donors for helping us get this project started! Make sure to check out our progress the next time you are at the Zoo. There are even some bleachers if you want to stay a while.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bring Your Valentine to the Zoo!

By Meagan Edwards, Membership Specialist

Valentine's Day is always a fun day to bring your sweetie to the Zoo. We have seen many couples on first dates or 50 year anniversaries celebrating, including those who love the lemurs or are crazy about chimpanzees. Bundle up and bring your Valentine out for an unforgettable day.

Love is definitely in the air at the Zoo right now. The lions are curled up together on their rock, the Snow leopards are playfully frolicking together, and even some of the snakes are twining themselves together! You and your mate can join this love-filled atmosphere…and maybe even find a new animal to adore.

Can’t make it to the Zoo on the 14th? Show your Valentine you love them all year long by giving them the gift of becoming a Zoo Parent! If you sponsor a lion for $80 you even get an adorable plush lion that proclaims your love, and a Zoobook all about lions.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Flamingo Round Up

By Jaime Wilson, Quiet Observer

Once a year the Zoo gets ready to gather up all 40 Flamingos and do routine checks. We affectionately call it the Flamingo Round Up. Over the years, participants have even received commemorative cups for contributing. But since it is such a delicate operation, not everyone is invited. This year, there were a couple of press folks from KFBK & KXJZ, myself and our PR person who were allowed to be around - kind of far away, and very, very quite.

Since the lake is an open exhibit, it presents some challenges to rounding up the Flamingos. Our staff have become very good at orchestrating the whole operation. First, a corral is build up on land with an open side for the Flamingos to get in. Then about 2 dozen staff take up posts around the lake to make human barriers. Of course, the birds go into the water but that's where a kayaker comes in. She slowly urges them towards the land with the corral. Once they are up on land, a wall of keepers with tall shade cloth start to surround the birds and get them into the corral. The actual round up takes about a half an hour of very quite, slow moving dedication.

Once the Flamingos are corralled, the dozen vet staff and vet students set up stations to do weight checks, identification, blood tests, physical exams and inoculate against West Nile Virus. They do a kind of assembly line, with one keeper carrying one bird throughout the process and then releasing them back into the lake when they are done. The exams take about 10 minutes to complete.

If you want to see the fabulous staff in action, check out the video below!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Zoo P.I. Critter Caper returns!

It’s that time again. Time for the new Zoo P.I. critter caper! Zoo P.I. is back, along with his wife in her first ever stage performance. Our favorite animals are back as well, aiding Zoo P.I. and his wife on their “staycation.” After President’s day, you can catch our show on Saturdays and Sundays, then Zoo P.I. hits the stage Tuesday through Sunday on April 6th. Check our daily calendar for dates. While I could tell you how good the show will be, it’s better to read the following review:

The Zoo P.I.’s ‘Wow’ Critics and Audiences Alike
By Brooke Webber, Fake reporter/pretend critic

For the first time ever, gracing the stage in her debut performance, Mrs. Zoo P.I. stuns audiences from all over the globe with her ability to capture the character of “Mrs. Zoo P.I.” in this year’s critter caper. “It’s as if this role was written FOR her,” says one satisfied guest.

Playwright Laurie Todd is thrilled with the casting, having seen her play come alive on stage. “The characterization, the interplay between Zoo P.I. and his wife, the animal antics…it’s exactly what I envisioned when writing this masterpiece,” says Todd.

Alongside Mrs. Zoo P.I., playing the role of “Zoo P.I.” is a well known actor and private investigator by the name of Zoo P.I. He has the aura of a seasoned actor about him. Audiences loved him; they related to him, they knew him! Like Shirley Temple and musicals, Zoo P.I. just fits in critter capers.

Also up for the roles of Zoo P.I. and Mrs. Zoo P.I. were Samuel Curtis and Lara Kirkendall, both veterans of the Sac Zoo stage. They were unavailable for comment after the rejection from the play.

When asked about the choice, Casting Director Evelyn Parks says, “You know, those two were good, solid actors, but what can I say? The Zoo P.I.s ‘wow’ed us.”

But let’s not lose sight of the true stars of the stage; the animals! Featured are some familiar faces, but don’t let that discourage you! Like always, they are filled with unpredictability and fun! The play is an excellent portrayal of a modern day “staycation” that so many Americans are partaking in. Overall, this play is family friendly, entertaining, and funny. It’s a great venue and show to visit again and again!

***Please remember that this "review" is compeletly made up, and meant in fun! Although the facts and animals shared in the actual Zoo P.I. Critter Caper show are true and real - it comes with a helping of campy fun.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scooping Poop with Fox40

By Lauren Kraft, Public Relations Specialist

Have you always wanted to know more about scooping poop at the Zoo?

Check out the story with Fox40 from Tuesday morning. Search "zoo" just below the videos to find "Fox40 Live: Darsha - picking up Zoo poo"

If someone you know would like this exciting task, they could be a Keeper Aide volunteer. For more information visit the Volunteer webpage.