Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Take a Photo, Help Save Orangs

Leslie Field, Supervisor of Mammals

The Sacramento Zoo is currently supporting the work done by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) and we need your help!

The SOCP and a coalition of other NGO’s are currently fighting a last ditch battle to save the remaining Sumatran orangutans and forests of the Tripa peat swamps, on the West coast of Aceh Province, Indonesia. These forests probably contained up to as many as 3,000 orangutans in 1990, but today only around 200 are thought to remain. It is also considered that as many as 100 perished in the 12 months prior to April 2012, due to rapid forest clearance and fires, especially in March this year.

Tripa’s forests are being converted by just a handful of companies, owned by a relatively few extremely wealthy people, for large-scale oil palm plantations. The legality of the concession of one of the companies, PT Kallista Alam, is being contested in a high profile legal case since it contravenes National Spatial Planning Laws. This company and the others in Tripa are also being challenged for illegal clearance and illegal burning within their concessions, which continues even now, and for the illegal establishment of huge drainage canals that drain this unique wetland ecosystem of its principal life force.

To stop these crimes, the SOCP and its partners have been working hard on media campaigns and publicity to push the authorities to enforce Indonesia’s National Laws. Thanks to the support of thousands of people around the world, we are now at last starting to see real progress, but there is a still a long way to go.

What can you do?
Join our International Day of Action which calls on the Indonesian President SBY to enforce the law and save the Sumatran orangutans and protect the unique ecosystem, the Tripa Peat Forests.

On Thurday, April 26 TAKE A PHOTO by noon of you and your friends in front of a local landmark holding a sign with a message to President SBY calling on him to enforce the law and save the orangs and the peat forest. Email the photo to with info about where the picture was taken and all images and info worldwide will be combined into a global press release. This global action will be given to SOCP partners, Indonesian government officials and stakeholders.

For more information visit SOCP at or End of the Icons at

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quarters for Conservation Program

By Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator

Earth Day is a time to reflect on ways to make a positive impact through everyday decisions. At the Sacramento Zoo, visitors make a difference every time they visit by participating in the Quarters for Conservation Program. Through the collection of quarters, the Zoo provides funding for local and global wildlife conservation projects. The Quarters for Conservation program is replicated at other zoos throughout the U.S.

As guests enter the Zoo, they receive a token representing their contribution to conservation. The token enables visitors to vote for one of three conservation projects at the wishing well in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza. Votes determine how much funding each project receives; every vote makes a difference. Each project is guaranteed $5,000 annually with additional funding based on the number of votes received.

The three conservation projects, selected by the Zoo’s Conservation Committee, are the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, the Mabula Ground Hornbill Conservation Project and, locally, the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society. The funds raised for the three organizations will help protect the endangered species and their natural habitats in the wild.

As you consider how you can make a difference this Earth Day, remember that every time you visit the Zoo you do make a difference. Learn more by visiting the Quarters for Conservation webpage or the Conservation Action webpage.

Monday, April 16, 2012

An Empty Lake?

By Leslie Field, Supervisor of Mammals

Have you seen our lakes while empty? Well, that's because our two lake exhibits are periodically drained and cleaned. Although the system has a lake filter, it does require us to drain it from time to time for liner maintenance, to ensure that the sewer lines are running freely and to get better access to plants we want removed.
It’s quite the production as the maintenance department, zoo keepers and sometimes volunteer groups like Americorps get involved to help get the job done. Not only do we have 13 species of birds living on the two lakes but we also have a population of Western Pacific Pond turtles living there as well. While we cleaning, any turtles found are weighed and measured, their IDs are recorded and back into the lake they go.

As you wander around the lake exhibits make sure you check out the native wildlife that come in to enjoy the insects, worms, frogs, snails, etc! Various species come and go all year long, so if you are a birder, check out our visitors!