Thursday, March 31, 2011

Say farewell to the Addax

By Harrison Edell, General Curator

Based on recommendations from the Addax Species Survival Plan, our remaining Addax will be leaving us soon for a zoo in Kansas. As the Addax exhibit will soon be vacant, we are planning for some renovations, and the exhibit will be home to two new West African forest antelope species: Yellow-backed duiker and Sitatunga. We’ll keep you updated as details come in!

In the meantime, come visit the Addax before he leaves in early April and say a fond farewell.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Jingga!

A year has passed since zoo staff came into work to hear the news from keepers that our tiger had given birth overnight. Although the keepers were not expecting the birth (no pregnancy seen on last exam, no weight change for the dam nor any behavioral changes as they saw with the last birth) they jumped into action!

The mother received a cozy den box in the back area where she could concentrate on her new arrival. In the first week Jingga was not gaining weight as fast as keepers had expected based on weight data from cubs in the last litter, so Animal Care gave some extra formula feedings with mom watching from the next den. After a few days of that, Jingga wanted nothing more to do with the bottle – and we have never looked back!

Now, one year later, Jingga the Sumatran Tiger Cub is looking a lot more like her mother. Her fluffy cub fur is growing into her adult coat, and well over 100 lbs now, she will soon be the same size as her mother at 190 lbs.

Although Jingga was born on March 18th, the Sacramento Zoo will be celebrating her 1st birthday on April 2nd in collaboration with Earth Fest! We hope you will come out and wish Jingga a Happy Birthday as she celebrates with special toys and treats made by Zoo Teens and animal care staff. And make sure to sign her giant birthday card!

It has been a joy for employees and visitors alike, to watch her grow up right here at the Sacramento Zoo. Happy 1st Birthday Jingga!

Slideshow of Jingga's first year.

Day 30 - grooming by mom. View on Youtube.

Week 12 - playing with a ball. View on Youtube.

8 months - playing with a pumpkin. View on Youtube.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"I helped preen an Electus parrot!"

By Charlene Lee, IC Intern
As a student interested in working with and around animals, I’ve had some great opportunities interning at the Sacramento Zoo. I get to go home after a day’s work and say, “Today I gave a bath to a California desert tortoise, talked to Zoo visitors about the Blue-tongued skink, and helped preen an Eclectus parrot,” – all great perks of being an Interpretive Center Intern at the Sacramento Zoo.

In the seven months of interning, I have become an expert at cleaning the exhibits of animals like the White-faced whistling ducks, the Madagascan tenrecs, and the African serval. In addition to that, learning from Zoo staff about all of the animal ambassadors housed in the Zoo’s Interpretive Center has been a great opportunity. To then take that information and teach it to Zoo visitors has been a highlight of my internship experience.

Participating in ZooMobiles has been one of my favorite parts of the internship, and having my own role in the Wildlife Stage Show performed inside the Sacramento Zoo’s Amphitheater has helped me overcome my initial bouts of stage fright! For college students pursuing a career in animal care, and who enjoy educating the general public about the animals they work with, an Interpretive Center Internship at the Sacramento Zoo can be a satisfying experience.

The knowledge gained, and the special bonds formed with the animals in the Interpretive Center, are unforgettable! So during your next visit, be sure to catch a stage show, a Keeper Chat or an Animal Encounter, and meet the docents, staff, interns, and animal ambassadors of the Sacramento Zoo!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tamandua Enrichment Video

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Our newest species of anteater, the Southern tamandua, recently received an enrichment of honey inside a clear plastic tube. You can find out more about this new species in our last blog post about this interesting animal, including a video of his first day on exhibit.

In the video below you can see his prehensile tail in action and how he uses his very long tongue and sticky saliva to get all the honey. Or view the tamandua enrichment video on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Zoo Saddened by Loss of Bongo

The Sacramento Zoo is saddened by the death of the Eastern bongo, “Scotty.” At 17 years old, he was the second oldest male Eastern bongo in the U.S. Animal keepers arrived Sunday morning to find Scotty unresponsive and unable to stand. Veterinary staff had recently been treating Scotty for age-related illnesses. However, upon evaluation by veterinary staff, the decision was made to humanely euthanize him.

“Even when an animal is aged, the loss is still painful for those that worked closely with them,” Zoo Curator Harrison Edell said, “We did not want Scotty to suffer.”

A gentle giant, Scotty was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in July 1993, and came to Sacramento in 1994. Scotty sired six calves at Sacramento Zoo, one of whom (“Binti,” born in 2001) was sent to Kenya as part of a reintroduction program for this critically endangered species. Scotty will be missed by Zoo staff and visitors.

The Eastern bongo is a large, African forest antelope found in Kenya with a beautiful chestnut colored body, white body stripes, banded legs, large ears and two spiral horns. They mostly live in isolated populations in montane forests. The bongo’s natural range has been drastically reduced over the past few decades. The largest threat to this species is the loss of habitat caused by growing civilization.

The Sacramento Zoo works to increase awareness of conservation issues that affect the Eastern bongo and other large animals in African habitats.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baby Whistling Ducks

By Harrison Edell, General Curator

Recently, in an artificial incubator, a clutch of ten Fulvous whistling ducks hatched under the watchful eyes of the bird keepers.

Ideally, mom would incubate and care for them but in this case the nest was built in an unsafe spot and mom, (who is a first-time mother) wasn’t interested in keeping the nest. Since she abandoned the eggs the keepers started artificial incubation which includes close monitoring of heat, humidity and weight. They also turned the eggs five times a day until they hatched.

On the morning of February 24th, the first egg started hatching and by the end of the day ten ducklings were hatched, checked by the veterinarian and were cozy with their artificial mom, the feather duster.

Here is video of some of the ducklings within a couple hours of hatching. Or view the video on Youtube.

The baby ducks will stay indoors for a few more weeks, warm and safe, then will start to venture outdoors to a safe, off-exhibit outdoor yard. Once they’re a bit bigger and have received all of their vaccinations they will likely be introduced to an adult “buddy” or two before moving back up to the lake when they are two to three months old.

In the picture and video below you can see the ducklings are having bath time and are learning to preen, swim and dive underwater. Or view the video on Youtube.

If you are at the Zoo, try to find the young White-faced whistling ducks that were hatched last year. They're faces are just a bit darker than the older ducks.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Flamingo Flocking?

Here is a fun and colorful fundraiser for the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK), Greater Sacramento Chapter.

Flamingo FlockingYou’ve seen them flock on TV. You’ve seen them flock at the Sacramento Zoo. Now you can see them flock to your neighbor’s front lawn! Sacramento’s chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers (Greater Sac AAZK) is helping a flock of bright pink, plastic flamingos move along their migratory path through the greater Sacramento area, and you can choose which residences they stop at! Surprise your friends, relatives, or neighbors with a bright flock of flamingos covering their lawn. Flocking makes every occasion humorous and special, and it can turn an ordinary day into something a bit more whimsical.

How it WorksFor a $25 donation (new price of $40 in July 2011 and after) to AAZK, the Migration Management Team will release a flock of plastic flamingos onto the lawn of your intended recipient. These flamingos migrate under the cover of darkness, meaning they will go unnoticed at their current roost until morning. They will typically roost for 48 hours and then, with the assistance of Sacramento Zookeepers, continue along their migratory route. A large greeting sign along with a personalized message from you will accompany the flock. The recipients will also receive an explanation of the flocking, care instructions, flamingo fun facts, and the number to the Plastic Animal Control Hotline.

For more information and to schedule your flocking, contact Greater Sac AAZK at

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bags from Zoo Banners, Sale on 3/5!

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

For the past few years the Green Team has been taking old vinyl zoo banners and making durable bags, wallets, notepads and checkbook covers. We have a fresh shipment and will be selling them at Bloomin' Crazy on Saturday, March 5th from 9 am to 4 pm. You'll see our booth near the lake at the front of the Zoo!

Since they are made from Zoo banners they are colorful, unique and most of them have animals or animal print on them. Because they are mostly one-of-a-kind, come early to get the best selection! Our next batch of bags will be considerably smaller and arrive closer to the holidays.
  • Bags range from grocery totes for $28 to shoulder bags (pictured below) for $45.
  • Large and small notepads, wallets, checkbook covers and folders range from $12 to $18.
  • We take cash, check and credit cards.
These fabulous bags are made in locally in Berkeley, CA by Elbow Grease Designs.