Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tiger Cub, 8 Month Update & Video

The Sumatran tiger cub Jingga is now 8 months old and topping the scales at 90 lbs. She is still much smaller than mom and has some baby fluff to her coat, not quite the smooth coat like mom's. Mom still rules the territory so from time to time there will be brief arguments – all learning how to be a tiger! To keep her active and happy, the zoo keepers give various enrichment items such as pumpkins and boomer balls.

Watch below as Jingga plays with a pumpkin or view it on Youtube.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spirit of Giving: Food & Toy Drive

By Marisa Hicks, Marketing Coordinator

During the holiday season bring a non-perishable food item or a new and unwrapped toy when you visit the Zoo and receive $1 off your Zoo admission!

Partnered with 101.9 The Wolf the Zoo will raise donations for Toys for Tots and Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. The Zoo won the 2009 “Holiday Spirit of Giving” award for most pounds of food raised by a small company!

Through visitor donations in 2009 the Zoo raised 4,295 lbs. of food for the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and contributed to the 34,371 toys collected by Toys for Tots in Sacramento. We hope to do it again with your support!

The Zoo is proud to partner with two organizations that make such an impact on our community. The Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services provides free emergency goods and services to nearly 20,000 men, women and children every year. The Toys for Tots program ensures that families in need will be able to provide Christmas gifts through their annual services and toy donations. In 2009 they distributed 54,262 toys within Sacramento County from monetary donations and toy drives like the Zoo’s.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SPLASH! Otter Project

By Pam Williams, Development Director

SPLASH! North American River Otter Habitat
Help us renovate the exhibit!

One of the older exhibits at the Zoo, the otter pool and holding area are in need of a facelift. Plans are on the drawing board for renovation of the current exhibit to enlarge the usable space, provide more adequate off-exhibit dens and keeper area, and allow for a more visually-pleasing habitat for visitors to observe and enjoy the daily antics of the Zoo’s two North American river otters.

Details of the new Splash! exhibit:

  • The overall renovation will increase the land to water ratio, providing more usable space for enrichment and training activities;
  • Plans call for a terraced planter at the back of the exhibit, allowing the inclusion of new plants and substrate for digging;
  • Glass at the front of the exhibit will allow for close contact between otters and guests, encouraging visitors to the zoo to connect with these amazing animals, while newly designed barriers at the sides and rear of the exhibit will showcase the otters in a much more natural setting;
  • Installation of a filtration system will allow us to maintain higher levels of water quality in a more ecologically sustainable fashion;
  • The renovation will enclose three mature live trees ;
  • There will be two tunnels leading into the back holding area from the enclosure for use by the otters;
  • A major goal will be to include an interactive animal training experience combined with educational points;
  • The renovation has a strategic, multi-species design that would serve other animals in the future if warranted; i.e. if an expanded otter exhibit was built elsewhere in the Zoo at some point to accommodate an additional number of otters, other species could then be easily transitioned into this renovated space;
  • Construction is scheduled to begin Fall 2010 for an anticipated Spring 2011 opening.

Fundraising is currently underway to support this renovation. If you have questions, please call the Zoo’s development department at (916) 808-3713. For contributions of $1,000 or more, your name will be included in a special recognition area at the newly expanded exhibit, sending a message of your commitment to the Sacramento Zoo.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Big Cats & Plastic Bobbins

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Each year at our Wild Affair fundraiser in October, the animal care staff puts together a wish list of items that they would like to purchase for the animals. They are all enrichments that are something out of the ordinary to stimulate and entertain the animals.

As part of the thank you to the donor, we take pictures of the animals with their sponsored item. Last week it was all about the big cats and plastic bobbins and thought you might enjoy a play-by-play!

First stop: Tigers
Two bobbins were placed on exhibit and mom was the first to find one! Jingga the cub was fairly cautious of the new item and kept creeping up to mom and then running away to observe it from a safe distance. Meanwhile mom was rubbing her head on the scent covered bobbin and carrying it around.

Jingga finally found the other bobbin near the viewing window and after a few rounds of creep up and runaway, she settled into batting it around and following it as it rolled downhill.

Second stop: Snow Leopard
Shanti is notorious for rubbing on anything with an interesting scent so it was no surprise that she promptly hunkered down on a grassy area and proceeded to rub her head, chin and neck all over the bobbin leaving behind a trail of saliva. She would even hold it still with both of her huge paws to get better rubbing leverage.

Third stop: Lions
The lions were non-stop action! After quickly running out on exhibit and claiming their toys the male and female moved to opposite sides of the exhibit to explore their enrichment. He started by licking the bobbin and puncturing it so he could carry it around. He was the only one of the big cats that did that easily!

She took a more playful approach and took turns between rubbing and licking the bobbin and batting it around between the rocks and tree limbs. That made quite a lot of clatter which piqued the interest of the male. After claiming her bobbin for his very own, the female went in search of his abandoned toy and they settled in again to continue their routine.

It was a fun morning at the Zoo and the next time you visit, look around the exhibits for things like cardboard boxes, large boomer balls, burlap sacks and even tree limbs. Those are all enrichments that zoo keepers place to help keep the animals active.

And as a bonus, watch the video of the lions below or view on Youtube!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Volunteer of the Year

By Lisa Hetherington, Education Manager

On Friday, October 29th the 10th Annual Volunteer Spirit Award luncheon, celebrating a decade of volunteer spirit, was held in the Sacramento Grand Ballroom. The Volunteer Spirit Awards is Sacramento’s largest volunteer recognition ceremony based solely on the volunteers who change and improve our community.

One of our own Zoo Teen Volunteers was nominated and we are thrilled to announce won “Volunteer of the Year” 2010. Kristen who has logged more than 300 hours in the past two years is the first youth to win the award!

Three cheers for Kristen, you are “Wildly Inspiring” and we are so proud you are a part of the Sacramento Zoo family!

Zoo Teens are out in the zoo every weekend with activities for visitors. Stop by and see Kristen and the rest of the Zoo Teens to become wildly inspired!