Friday, November 18, 2011

Zoo Teens Paper Mache Contest

By Sarah Musser, Teen Coordinator

Zoo Teens are a group of dedicated youth that love animals, the earth, and our community who volunteer their time on weekends at The Sacramento Zoo. Zoo Teens develop their own ideals, views, and passions, to help encourage zoo patrons to become better stewards of the Earth.

The 2011-2012 Sacramento Zoo Teens started their year off with a Paper Mache Contest! The teens were split into four groups to develop and create the most unique Paper Mache project for our Lions. The completed projects included; a pair of Zebras, T-bone steak complete with knife, fork, and plate, a Gummy Bear with a Tootsie Pop, and a carrot.

Selecting only two was difficult but the project winners were the Zebras and the T-bone steak (utensils and plate included). The winning two were selected based on creativity and most appetizing to the Lions, and voted on by the Education Staff.

Two zebras taking shape

Steak and knife looking good!

Steak, fork, knife and plate ready for the lions.

The winning pair of zebras

Monday, November 14, 2011

Keeper Profile, Kayla in Birds

Learn more about the talented and dedicated individuals that take care of the zoo animals in our newest installment of the Keeper Profiles series. Missed the first ones? Check out all the past blogs here.

Kayla Hanada

What area do you work?
I am one of the primary bird keepers.

How did you become a keeper? Did you get a degree? Did you volunteer or intern. etc?
I got my degree in environmental science, technology, and policy from CSUMB (Go Otters!). I also volunteered and interned at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a couple of years in the temporary river otter exhibit, and then in the aviculture department.

How long have you worked at the Sacramento Zoo?
It has been a little over a year now.

When did you know that you wanted to be a zookeeper?
I had always known I wanted to work with animals, but I was never quite sure how until I became a volunteer at the aquarium. Then I really understood that I wanted to work in the animal care field.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I think my favorite part of the job is getting to work so closely with exotic animals. I love handing our keel-billed toucan her medication in the morning, or trying to station train our lady ross’ turaco. I also love being involved in incubating eggs and hand-raising chicks. It is such a fascinating process.

If you were starting a new zoo, which animal would you choose first to put in it? (Can be based on your favorite or conservation need)
I really enjoy all of our hornbill species because they are very intelligent. Visitors have a great time watching them get enrichment. I would also add himalayan monal pheasants and keel-billed toucans. If I had to pick a non-bird species, I would put in southern tamanduas (the one at the zoo is one of my favorite animals here!), mongoose lemurs, leaf-tailed geckos, or yellow-backed duikers.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a zoo keeper?
My advice would be to get as much experience as you can. Volunteering at a facility with animals is always a good way to figure out what animal care staff does on a daily basis. It also gives you a chance to talk to the people that work there and learn as much as you can. Also, never give up! If you want to volunteer at a facility and don’t get it the first time, keep trying. It might take a while, but if it is something you are really passionate about, it is totally worth it once you start.

Tell us something interesting about one of the animals in your area. It can be factual or a personality quirk.
Although we have many ducks on the lake, most of them do not quack! Two species we have, White-faced whistling ducks and Fulvous whistling ducks, whistle instead of quack. It sounds like a cute squeaky toy when they whistle.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

International Red Panda Days

By Amanda Mayberry, Carnivore Keeper

International Red Panda Days are coming up on Saturday and Sunday, November 12-13th from 10 am to 4 pm.

What is a Red Panda you ask?
Well, Red pandas are the cute fluffy things you will find next door to the Australian outback! But, don’t let them fool you. They have sharp claws to help them climb and sharp teeth to help them chew. They are considered the first true “Panda” as they were discovered prior to the Giant Pandas. Red Pandas are not actually related to the Giants but are unique unto themselves. The two species however share a love of bamboo and come from the same region. Come to our International Red Panda Days and find out more!

How do we take care of the Pandas?
In the morning, we call all of the Pandas in for their breakfast. Each Panda gets fed in a separate den space so we know how much they are eating (One of our females likes to eat ALL of the food so we have to make sure the others get enough). She is a funny panda, that one. Sometimes you will find her sleeping in a little hole in the back wall, upside down hugging a piece of bamboo. Next time you are at the zoo see if you can catch her in this amusing position! There's also a photo below!

While the Pandas are eating inside, we go outside and clean the exhibit. Once the exhibit is clean, we put out fresh cut bamboo and fresh water. When the Pandas are done eating we let them back outside to enjoy their bamboo shoots and lounge around for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, we give them the rest of their food for the night and do one last check to make sure everyone is alright. The Pandas are very mellow animals and only get excited when they are threatened or scared. Luckily that doesn’t happen often so you will see our 3 sleeping in their favorite spots. When you visit, see if you can find all three!

Red Panda Days
Take advantage of extra Keeper Chats at the Red panda exhibit, this Saturday and Sunday during Red Panda Days! The Sacramento Zoo will be hosting International Red Panda Day, which is an interactive and educational event developed to raise awareness about Red Panda conservation.

Kids (and adults too!) can become “Red Panda Rangers” after stopping at the various Red Panda Stations and completing the Panda activities. Any and all donations from this event are given to The Red Panda Network, a conservation group working directly with community-based organizations in Nepal.

There will be five Red Panda Stations around the Zoo, each with a different panda activity. Begin your journey at the front of the Zoo, where you can pick up a passport containing the five Himalayan territories where Red Pandas are found.

Red Panda Keeper Chats will be at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm at the Red panda exhibit.