Thursday, October 18, 2012

Notes From the Field: Sea Otters

By Ray Wack, DVM, ACZM, Senior Veterinarian, Sacramento Zoo

This past week, I was invited to participate in a field project which aims to monitor behavior and health of sea otters off the coast of California. The California coast is the southern extent of the otter’s range and the otters face many natural and man-made impacts. The monitoring project is part of a long term effort to assess the health of the otter population and determine the influence of human activities and diseases on the population.

This project is truly a huge team effort! Over 40 professionals from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Monterey Bay Aquarium, Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), and many other organizations have joined together to help the otters.

Otters are captured in the ocean and brought to a dock side veterinary lab. Each otter is anesthetized and then numerous blood samples, hair samples, saliva, and measurements are taken to determine the health of the otter, exposure to toxins, and population genetics. I helped collect blood samples, intubate anesthetized otters and instrument them. Each otter is outfitted with a radio transmitter which allow its movements to be followed and records their diving activity.

Within a few hours of its capture the otter is released where it was found. Another whole team is responsible for tracking each of the otters on a daily basis. The information we learn helps us make decisions which benefit both people and otters living along California’s coast. This is just one of the many conservation projects that the Sacramento Zoo supports.

Your membership and support of the Zoo makes a difference!

Southern sea otter in Monterey Bay. Photo Credit: USFWS

Thursday, October 11, 2012

AAZK "Animals in Art" Show

By Brooke Coe, Greater Sac AAZK Member

The Sacramento Zoo’s chapter of The American Association of Zookeepers, Greater Sac AAZK, is embarking on an exciting new partnership with the Kennedy Art Gallery. This month they are hosting an “Animals in Art” show and paintings by Sacramento Zoo animals will be featured along with many other talented artists. The show will be open to the public at Kennedy Art Gallery’s starting on the Second Saturday event, October 13th.

Acting as agents for our talented animals, Greater Sac AAZK has collected masterpieces from a wide variety of different animals around the Zoo, including Orangutans, River Otters, Red Pandas, and Giraffes, just to name a few! The paintings will be on sale at the gallery, and all proceeds will go to supporting animal conservation in the wild.

Come out and visit Kennedy Art Gallery on Second Saturday, October 13, beginning at 3pm to see the beautiful collection of animal-themed art! To celebrate the new exhibition, there will be live animals from the Sacramento Zoo, as well as biofacts to see and zookeepers to speak with!
Visit the Kennedy Art Gallery website to read more about their artists.

Animals in Art
October 13, 2012 - 3 to 9 pm
Kennedy Art Gallery
1931 L Street