Looking back to the Future
2012 marks the 85th birthday for the Sacramento Zoo, and, with such a momentous occasion, comes an opportunity for reflection and an exciting look toward the future of the “little zoo in the park.”
As with many zoos at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Sacramento Zoo (formerly William Land Park Zoo) began in 1927 with a very small collection of exotic and domestic animals. In 1956, a group of committed community members formed the nonprofit Sacramento Zoological Society. The primary role of this organization was to raise funds for construction of newer, improved exhibits for the animals in the Zoo.
A decade later, 1967 marked the beginning of a partnership between the Sacramento Zoo and UC Davis Veterinary School that advanced the Zoo’s commitment to providing quality care to the animals. This partnership also provided opportunities for innovative study in the field of exotic animal medicine under the supervision of Dr. Murray Fowler, a pioneer in zoo medicine at UC Davis. Most notable of the zoo’s accomplishments in past years has been accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1974. Only zoos and aquariums with the highest standards in animal care, public education, and conservation awareness can be certified by AZA, and must undergo rigorous inspections every five years to maintain accreditation.
People are the heart of any nonprofit organization, and the Sacramento Zoological Society is no different. Staff and volunteers at the Zoo work tirelessly to care for the animals and continually improve both the facility and the guest experience for over 500,000 visitors every year. A cadre of 153 dedicated docents share their enthusiasm and passion for animals and can be seen daily through the Zoo grounds.
Sharing a message of conservation and educating Zoo visitors, volunteers George and June Reiner began their long commitment in the 1970’s. Three generations of family members have continued the practice, and the Zoo is the better for it. Both George and June were active docents for 25 years; June continued her involvement with the docent group and celebrated her 33rd anniversary this year. George was on the board of directors in the l980’s, and then became president of the board in 1984-1985. During his tenure as board president, the new orangutan habitat was opened and construction began on an improved chimpanzee exhibit. George and June witnessed many positive changes at the Zoo over the years and their dedication never wavered.
George passed away in 2006, and June continues to support their love of the Zoo. Daughter Cathy is now an active docent at the Sacramento Zoo and granddaughter Kristin was a summer camp counselor for three years. June, Cathy and Kristin all attended the recent opening celebration of Splash!, the new river otter renovation.
When asked about her favorite docent memory, June replies, “It has been a real family affair from the beginning. I used to do Zoo tours with my grandson, Patrick, in a backpack when he was a baby. He went where I went!” She adds, “I just loved working with others with the same interest: animals. Helping children to learn about all animals is just wonderful!”
As we look to the future, supporters like the Reiner family are a driving force in preserving the Sacramento Zoo as a viable community treasure in Land Park. The mission of the organization “…to inspire appreciation, respect and a connection with wildlife through education, recreation and conservation” will continue to lead us forward, making the world a better place for both people and animals.
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Seeing the Forest Through the Trees
by Mary Healy
“All you have done is tear down stuff and fix up bathrooms” were the glowing words of praise from my loving husband somewhere around the first anniversary of my 1999 arrival at the Sacramento Zoo. It did seem like that first year was focused on some rather mundane tasks, but I had my sight set on a loftier goal that would take a few more years to complete: a full-scale veterinary hospital to elevate the level of care for the Zoo’s animals.
Over the past decade, renovations or new habitats have been completed for lemurs, Thick-billed parrots, Giant anteaters, Ground hornbills, Burrowing owls, Yellow-billed magpies, numerous reptiles and amphibians, tamanduas, giraffes, and most recently, river otters. We have added a trackless train, a carousel and two smaller rides. We expanded indoor seating at Kampala (the main dining and catering site) and replaced a smaller snack bar. Our annual budget has grown from $3.5 million to $5.1 million. We have passed two accreditations by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and are gearing up for next year’s inspection.
As we enter 2012, we applaud the community friends that have made these accomplishments possible and invite everyone to join us in celebrating 85 years of memories at the Sacramento Zoo.
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Our two North American River otters have been in their newly renovated habitat for over a month now and they appear to be having a great time. During the day you can find them swimming in their pool, carousing through the plants and sleeping in their cozy logs. Stop by and see them the next time you are here!
Hopefully you have had time to wander through the Reptile House hall in search of the new species on exhibit…. Spider tortoises, a Jumping pit viper, Henkel’s leaf-tailed geckos and Green crested basilisks! The keepers are continually renovating exhibits and improving environments for the animals.
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How Do You Look in Yellow?
The Sacramento Zoo is taking applications for the 2012 Docent Training class. Zoo Docents are volunteer educators who have a love for wildlife and enjoy people. Docents conduct station talks at the Zoo and, with additional training, can also give tours and participate in live animal presentations, both on and off-site.
An orientation meeting will be held on January 7th. The mini-course in Zoology begins the first Saturday in January and runs every saturday through mid-March. For more information on becoming a Docent and to receive an application, please contact the Education Department at (916) 808-5889 or email Serina Perez.
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85 Years of Memories at the Sacramento Zoo
Help the Zoo Celebrate its 85th birthday by sharing your memories of the Zoo.
We are looking for:
• Written Stories
• Oral Stories
Click here for more information or to share your memories
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Keepers on the Move
This summer, I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Malaysia with a group of zoo professionals from the United States. Our trip began at Zoo Negara, Malaysian National Zoo, in Kuala Lumpur. For four days, we conducted workshops focusing on orangutans; topics included training, general husbandry, enrichment, population management and zoonotic disease prevention. Along with the Ministry of Forestry, more than 100 people from various Malaysian zoos and rehabilitation centers attended. We spent much of our time creating durable enrichment devices for Sun bears, orangutans and chimpanzees; one favorite project was the construction of an artificial termite mound for chimps.
The second leg of the trip was to the island of Borneo to see the Bornean Sun Bear and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centers. We were thrilled by the sight of baby orangutans learning how to climb and witnessed released adults using a feeding platform in the forested sanctuary. A large quantity of medical supplies donated from zoos in the U.S. was delivered to a very grateful staff at the Matang Orangutan Rehabilitation Center.
Next was a visit to a palm oil plantation, and we traveled along the Lower Kinabatangan River to help restore a corridor of degraded forest left by the logging industry 40 years ago. On the boat trips, we spotted a wide variety of wildlife – from proboscis monkeys and hornbills, to Bornean pygmy elephants and (my favorite!) a female orangutan with her baby.
This trip was an awesome experience. As a zookeeper, it is sometimes difficult to feel you are contributing to the preservation of a species from one’s tiny corner of the world. This visit allowed me to play a small role to help the animals that mean so much to me and provided fresh insight on the struggle to preserve their habitats.
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Important Membership Bulletin
Renew Now and Save!
Effective February 1, 2012, prices will change in two membership categories:
Member Duo - $60
Member Family Pack - $85
If you choose to renew before February 1st, you will receive the current rate regardless of when your current membership is due to expire! Don’t wait … renew now! Call the Membership Office at 916-808-5888 or renew online.
Remember, membership in the Zoo provides days of fun all year long for your entire family!
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Estate Planning Safari
Protect your Nest Egg
Wednesday, January 25, 2011
1:00 – 2:30 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 to guarantee your seat.
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