A Call to Action
Conservation means different things to different people. At home, it may mean energy efficient light bulbs, reusable shopping bags, biking more and driving less, buying organic and locally grown food, or diligently recycling. At the Zoo, conservation means all that and more, with efforts extending to preserving endangered species, safeguarding wildlife and wild areas, and motivating others to be responsible stewards of the earth.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) helps endangered species through the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program—a long-term reproduction and conservation plan which provides species with an insurance policy against extinction. The Sacramento Zoo is involved in 22 SSP programs and successfully welcomed a newborn Sumatran tiger, a trio of Red river hog piglets, four White-faced whistling ducklings, five Fulvous ducklings and seven Burrowing owlets within the last year.
The Zoo’s Conservation Committee supports global and local conservation projects that sustain the preservation of wilderness areas and biodiversity, supporting over two dozen different projects worldwide. To that end, two percent of your annual membership is directed to the Zoo’s Conservation Committee. One of the Zoo’s largest conservation efforts is focused on protecting Grevy’s zebras in Kenya. The Grevy’s Zebra Trust raises awareness of conservation issues in local communities, monitors populations, coordinates productive partnerships with local organizations and secures resources for Grevy’s zebras through holistic management of community rangeland.
In addition to assisting on-going global projects such as the International Snow Leopard Trust and funding hornbill nest boxes for the Thailand Hornbill Project, the Conservation Committee supports the local International Bird Rescue and Research Center in Cordelia, California. The Zoo also provides veterinary care for injured snakes through the Giant Garter Snake Recovery Program and assists biologists by surgically implanting radio transmitters in Giant garter snakes. This enables the researchers to track the snakes’ use of available habitat throughout the central valley of California.
The Zoo is also proud to partner with the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the Seafood Watch Program, providing educational materials on sustainable seafood and marine ecosystem threats. The Seafood Watch guide offers recommendations on which seafood to buy or avoid, helping consumers to become advocates for environmentally friendly seafood. (Free Seafood Watch guides are available at the Member & Visitor Services office; stop by and pick one up the next time you are visiting.)
Conservation is everywhere at the Sacramento Zoo. Donations to our education department support onsite and outreach programs that inspire conservation-minded awareness and action in young people as well as adults. With a nudge from our Green Team, Zoo employees pledge to reduce their environmental impact in personal, meaningful ways. Conservation messages teach us the importance of treading lightly and protecting our natural resources for the sake of ourselves today and our world tomorrow.
Be moved. Be active. Be the solution.
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by Mary Healy
Eye of the Tiger
As zoo professionals, we are fortunate to have an opportunity to champion and connect with animals. This past October, I was invited on an excursion to India hosted by Classic Escapes. The trip promised 14 days of unforgettable experiences.
To be honest, India was not on my “bucket list,” but the dates worked and the description of the visits to India’s national parks made the trip too good to pass up. I was excited about seeing tigers, the flagship species and the focus of conservation in all three parks on our itinerary.
But, just as death and taxes are certainties in life, travel and wildlife are the opposite. Rain prevented us from visiting Panna National Park. At Kahna National Park, we had two game drives seeing numerous long-tailed monkeys called langurs and the massive Indian bison known as gaurs … but no tigers. Bandhavgarh National Park was our last chance to see the secretive feline. As we headed out for our third and final game drive, we realized just how rare a tiger sighting actually is. Here we were in the park with the largest density of Bengal tigers in the world and we might not actually see one! Time was running out and just as we were about to head back to camp, we heard the sound of rustling bamboo and then a rumbling roar filled the air followed by a burst of tiger! It was a brief but powerful experience I will always remember.
While I was fortunate to see a tiger in the wild, I was reminded just how important zoos are because most people won’t get the opportunity to see a giraffe or a lion or their
favorite animal in the wild. Zoos offer a special experience for a personal connection with wildlife that can last a lifetime. Come see for yourself what the Sacramento Zoo has to offer!
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When the flowers bloom and the trees turn green, animal residents at the Zoo chow down.
That’s right – weeds in the garden and buds on the trees mean delicious treats for most of the animals. Keepers prune back the blossoming rose bushes to feed the kangaroos, trim bamboo for the primates, weed the flower beds to fill up the giraffe, and snip mulberry leaves for the skinks in the reptile house. In the wild, it’s trees, grasses, shoots and bushes that make up the bulk of many creatures’ diets. To keep them healthy and happy in captivity, keepers provide as much plant matter as possible – what Zoo keepers call “browse.” It takes a strong stomach to digest all that fiber, but most animals are specially designed to thrive on tough leaves and even sharp thistles. The porcupines will gnaw through whole branches while the addax will nibble off just the leaves, (then use what’s left as a sparring partner!) An important part of working in the Zoo is learning which plants are safe and which can be toxic. In order to provide all these leafy greens, our horticulture staff works hard to keep the grounds planted with edible trees and safe plants – and we get donated browse from tree trimmers, parks and guests. Next time you visit the Zoo, you’ll notice the grounds are beautifully maintained for your enjoyment ... and the animals’ delight!
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Flamingo RoundupAs part of the ongoing preventative health care for the animals, each of the Sacramento Zoo’s 40+ flamingos is given a complete physical examination and vaccinated against West Nile Virus each year. The flamingo round-up requires extensive planning, employing the skills of over 20 staff members and lots of shade cloth to create “walls” and visual barriers. After the flock is corralled, each bird is picked up by a keeper, taken to a medical station where it is examined and vaccinated, its information recorded, then the bird is released back into the lake exhibit. This year, all flamingos were given a clean bill of health from the attending veterinarians. Flamingo round-ups have been happening each year since 2002, and the Zoo staff has the event perfected to a minimum amount of time required to alleviate unnecessary stress on the birds.
Mongoose lemurs are housed across from the Tall Wonders giraffe deck. This animal is one that guests might walk by without taking much notice—brown fuzzy lemurs with either a white or rust-colored chin and throat. The Sacramento Zoo is one of only a few zoos that house these unique primates and we are proud that they have been part of the Sacramento Zoo since 1977. As per the Species Survival Plan recommendation, we have exchanged females with the Lemur Conservation Foundation in Florida, and the Zoo’s new two-year-old female will be on exhibit shortly. Please stop by and enjoy this new addition—she’s the one with the white chin and throat.
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Otterly Wild for Zoo Camp
Each year as summer approaches, the education department gets ready for another exciting summer camp season. There are many details in designing and coordinating over 70 camp classes for 1,000+ eager campers: logistics, schedules, program content, art projects … and what to wear! This year, the animal that will be adorning camp t-shirts is the North American river otter. These inquisitive and fascinating mammals mirror the campers’ enthusiasm as the children explore their natural world and learn about the animals at the Zoo.
Campers learn not only facts about animals, but also about nature conservation. Counselors highlight simple things everyone can do to ensure there are animals in the wild for generations to come. Effortless activities such as turning down your air conditioner at home, using a reusable water bottle and picking up trash can make a difference. Small steps like these help provide a clean and pollution free environment for animals like River otters living in the Sacramento waterways.
You can register for a family Overnight Safari or a Sacramento Zoo Camp class starting March 15th for Zoo members and April 1st for non-members. Check out the Summer Class Registration Guide to find out about the rgistration process. We hope to see you at the Zoo for what should be an “otterly” fantastic summer!
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Meet the Board Members
Wednesday, March 9, 5:30 to 8:30 pm
The Sacramento Zoological Society will hold a town hall meeting for members on Wednesday, March 9 at 5:30 pm in the Kampala conference room.The SZS Board will discuss topics of interest and give a preview of new activities for 2011. RSVP to 916-808-5888 if you would like to join us.
Not a member yet? Sign up Now!
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Green Ideas You Can Digest
Question: What’s for Dinner?
Did you know that an average meal travels 1,500 miles to get to your table? That’s a lot of fuel and storage time for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Solution: Buy Local
Why: Locally grown produce tends to ripen on the plant, not in the storage truck, which gives you fresher, more flavorful foods. Plus, you’re supporting your local growers and economy!
How: Plan your meal around seasonal fruits and vegetables. Shop farmers’ markets for the freshest, seasonal produce from your area. At your grocery store, look at labels, ask where your food comes from and try to buy locally. We are fortunate that California produces everything from rice and wheat, poultry and beef, to fruits, vegetables and olive oil.
Quick Bite: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is becoming a big trend in eating locally. You can subscribe to a farm of your choice and pick up a box of assorted fruits and veggies weekly from a convenient drop-off location. Each box is a surprise of fresh-off-the-farm foods!
Check out localharvest.org for more information on eating locally.
- Sacramento Zoo Green Team
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Estate Planning Safari
Protect your Nest Egg
Saturday, April 9, 2011
10 am – 12 pm
This free informative seminar will navigate through a jungle of estate planning topics presented by local attorney Mark S. Drobny, California State Bar Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Mr. Drobny is widely regarded as one of the top experts on estate planning, providing information on a variety of topics in an entertaining manner that will help you design a plan that fits your needs.
Topics will include, but are not limited to:
• Living Trusts vs. Wills
• Probate – How Can it be Avoided?
• Who Needs Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management and Advance Health Care Directives?
• Charitable Gift Annuities
Seating is limited. Email Pam Williams or call 916-808-3713 by Wednesday, April 6th to guarantee your seat.
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