Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's a Boy!

Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator

The results are in! The Abyssinian ground hornbill that hatched in May is a boy. In order to determine his gender a blood sample was sent to UC Davis to be analyzed.

He may look full grown but he is still a baby. At 62 days old he weights 4,420 grams (9.7 pounds) and is beginning to move about and test his feet. This is typical for a ground hornbill, in the wild they do not go outside of the nest until they are 80-90 days old.

Read the first ground hornbill blog to see more pictures and video of his development.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Zoo Night at the Sacramento River Cats

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Join us at the Sacramento River Cats on Friday, August 12th at 7:05 pm for a Zoo Night as you watch your hometown team take on the Round Rock Express from Texas.

Zebra Jerseys
Your River Cats will be wearing special zebra print jerseys for the evening’s game. And you can even get your paws on some since they will be auctioned off at the game! Bids close at the bottom of the 6th inning. Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Sacramento Zoo for care of the Grevy’s zebra.

Check Presentation
The Zoo Education Department will be presented with a $5,000 check from the River Cats before the game and our very own Gus the Green tree frog mascot will be there! And Lara the Outreach Coordinator will throw the first pitch!

Discounted Tickets
Purchase advanced discounted tickets here! Select “Sacramento Zoo Night” and enter code “ZOO”.

Visit us on Game Night
The Zoo will have a kiosk set up to answer questions and share information about upcoming events, membership, group rentals and much more. Come say hello and pick up a coupon for discounted Zoo admission!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Unplanned Reunion at Twilight Thursday

By Laurie Hensley, Zoo Supporter


Sacramento Zoo’s last Twilight Thursday of the summer, So 70’s, created the perfect venue for an unplanned mini-reunion. About 20 former students from McClatchy H.S., classes 1971 and 72, gathered under the oak tree on July 28, inspired by the Q-Balls concert at Twilight Thursday.


Our dear friend Bruce Leino is in the band. And the chance to see him, the band and enjoy old friends was too good to pass up. It didn't disappoint a bit!


The Q-Balls put on a great concert, as always; the conversation and camaraderie were wonderful. We even got a shout-out from the stage when Roy, the Director of Marketing at the Zoo, introduced our informal reunion group to the crowd. Fun! Can't wait 'til next summer's show.

Most of the reunion group

Bruce Leino of the Q Balls
More of the reunion group

The Q Balls

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Baby Ground Hornbill!

By Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator


The Sacramento Zoo is pleased to announce a rarity in the zoo world – an Abyssinian ground hornbill chick has successfully hatched. Currently, there are only four other pairs of this hornbill species successfully breeding at zoos in the United States, and no other captive hatches have been reported in the last year.

The egg was discovered on May 8 and incubated until it hatched June 15. A second egg was also found, incubated and hatched; sadly, that chick did not survive. The Zoo has one pair of Abyssinian hornbills that have been together for six years; unfortunately, they have not yet, up to this point, successfully raised any chicks. Based on that history, staff decided to incubate and care for the chick themselves using protocol developed by the San Diego Zoo. Since the chick hatched, it has continued to grow and grow and grow!

At the moment the sex of the chick is not known, but in the next few weeks blood work will be done to determine if it is male or female. Check back to find out what the sex of the chick is and when it will go on exhibit!

Ground Hornbill Parents

Ground Hornbill Chick, Day 3


Ground Hornbill Chick, Day 9


Ground Hornbill Chick, Day 27



Ground Hornbill Chick, Day 47
Video of day 15 and day 23 during feeding time






The Zoo supports the Mabula Ground Hornbill Research and Conservation Project in South Africa. In addition to conducting research on genetics and behavior of Ground hornbills, this important project has launched awareness campaigns to educate the public on the dangers to hornbills such as unintentional poisoning, secondary trapping and snaring. Part of the project also includes hand-rearing some second-hatched hornbill chicks for release back into the wild or to join the captive breeding program. This is done because ground hornbills usually only raise one chick at a time. If two chicks are hatched, one must be removed from the nest to improve its chance of survival.

Like all 54 different hornbill species, the Abyssinian ground hornbill wild population is vulnerable. Ground hornbills from Sub-Saharan Africa are the largest of the hornbills. They have a bony horn on top of their bill called a casque, which makes their calls louder and easier to hear over great distances. Abyssinian ground hornbills fly only when disturbed or when crossing areas of dense brush, preferring to walk or run from danger. The greatest threats to the hornbill are human-related and include habitat loss and illegal hunting.