Sunday, January 27, 2013

Baby Wolf's Guenon Born

Early morning on January 26 the Sacramento Zoo’s female Wolf’s Guenon gave birth to her first infant. Currently there are fewer than 35 of these African monkeys, housed at 11 zoos in the United States that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Mimi, the mother, was born at the San Diego Zoo in 2007 and Eddie, the father, was born at the San Antonio Zoo in 1995. Both moved to the Sacramento Zoo last fall. In both the wild and in zoos, parenting can be difficult, especially for first-time mothers; while animal managers are hopeful that this pair of guenons will have learned valuable parenting skills from their parents, preparations are in place should any difficulties arise.

“Little is known about Wolf’s Guenons because of their small population in zoos. In the wild, the dense forests in which they live make them hard to spot,” said Harrison Edell, Sacramento Zoo General Curator. “This birth is significant to the Sacramento Zoo; with every birth, we learn more about this species’ biology, contributing to our overall knowledge about this species.”

Wolf’s Guenons are native to central Africa where they inhabit forests and forage for fruits, seeds, and an occasional insect. Forming loose family groups in the wild, these monkeys are even known to spend time with other primate species including Bonobos, colobus monkeys and other guenons. A larger mixed-species group may mean that there are more eyes on the lookout for predators, and many guenons have learned to recognize other monkeys’ alarm calls so that they know how to respond correctly if a neighbor spots a leopard or eagle.

The guenons are currently on exhibit at the Zoo’s Lower Monkey House awaiting the completion of Small Wonders, a soon-to-be renovated habitat across from Tall Wonders (the giraffe deck). Small Wonders will encompass three distinct animal living areas and will house exciting new species to the Sacramento Zoo. In addition to the Wolf’s Guenons, the Zoo will welcome Straw-colored Fruit Bats, Aardvarks, Banded Mongooses and several African birds, including Red-billed Hornbills and Crested Guineafowl.

Radiograph of the baby Wolf's Guenon

Monday, January 7, 2013

Animal Profile, Bing the American Alligator

Animal Profiles are a closer look at some of the education outreach animals that are part of the Zoo's Interpretive Center.

Bing, the American Alligator was born in the fall of 2010 and spent his early days in a civilian’s bathtub. He was then confiscated from that individual by Fish and Game because it is illegal and dangerous to have them as pets.

There are many different species of crocodile but only two species of alligator, the Chinese Alligator and American Alligator. Bing helps raise awareness about legal and illegal pets and how pet owners can make informed decisions. Due to recent hurricanes and disasters American Alligators are not doing well in the wild. They are generalists for food, meaning they will eat anything, but are specialists for habitat and the water they reside in. When those waters are polluted or changed in any way they have a difficult time surviving.

Bing is very calm and does not mind being touched. He will grow about a foot a year and will lose his baby yellow by about the age of five, by which time he will be solid black. When Bing becomes too big for his home at the Sacramento Zoo he will move to another Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facility and may one day be released into the wild.

Photo by Mike Owyang