Vol. 51, No. 4, Winter 2012-13
Welcome to the Neighborhood
An animal addition to the Interpretive Center (IC) is very exciting for Zoo visitors as well as staff and docent volunteers. It adds a fresh element to stage shows and off-site ZooMobile visits, while challenging staff and volunteers to develop innovative training techniques. It may also be unsettling for current animal ambassadors who are now close neighbors to a new face.
The newest member of the team, Lando the Grey Fox, has certainly challenged staff and IC neighbors in many ways. Being a member of the Canid family, he has an excellent sense of smell. Therefore, staff need to be very sensitive to changes in his environment, especially when he may become overwhelmed with new sights and smells. His first weeks in the Interpretive Center were spent getting accustomed to his new home without contact with his new neighbors. Trainers presented Lando with scents from other IC residents such as ducks, tenrecs, snakes, armadillos and especially Tolomaa the Bobcat. Lando was able to acclimate himself to the smell of his neighbors without being overstimulated.
At his own pace, Lando was given the opportunity to walk on-leash out of his house, past the enclosures of the two hawks and bobcat. Nervous at first, Lando would immediately run back to the safety of his own area, he would quickly turn around to venture out again. He is now very comfortable seeing the others and he will walk confidently past or even stop to touch noses with Tolomaa. While the entire process is very slow, it is important to allow new animals ample time to adjust to their new surroundings and new neighbors.
Even individuals of the same species can present difficulties during introductions, as with three of the White-faced Whistling Ducks. Spritz, a long time animal ambassador, had the webbing of one of his feet removed as well as the last digit on his center toe after sustaining a serious infection. Because ducks are flock animals in the wild and an individual with an injury or disability could potentially bring harm to the flock, this individual is often ostracized from the group. When the other ducks in the Interpretive IC began to exhibit this behavior by picking on Spritz and his only duck-friend, Arthur, they were both separated from the group.
Recently, Arthur passed away and staff made the decision to re-introduce Spritz to the other two male White-faced Whistling Ducks, Jaime and Magellan. They moved all three ducks to a different enclosure to change the environment and introduced them one at a time to mitigate any aggression they might have exhibited. Now all three ducks live happily together, preening and bonding with each other.
In a department where many different species cohabitate, it is important to allow each animal to feel comfortable with their house and neighbors. A smooth introduction is the first step towards creating a healthy, happy environment for all of the animals that find themselves part of the Zoo’s education family.
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The September 21st issue of the Sacramento Business Journal ran a commentary written by yours truly reaching out to the business community explaining the challenges we face when making significant improvements to the Sacramento Zoo.
The article mentioned Small Wonders of Africa, the Zoo’s next renovation project. At an estimated cost of $500,000, it is certainly not the biggest project in the region, or even the biggest at the Zoo in recent years, but it will take support from the community to make it a reality. Small Wonders of Africa will bring six new species of animals to the Zoo. Animal Care staff have been evaluating the choice of species for well over a year as part of the long range planning for the animal collection. When we consider a new kind of animal (species), we look at many criteria, not the least of which is space requirements. The choices of guenon monkeys, fruit bats, mongooses, guineafowl, aardvarks and hornbills will thrive in this new habitat and provide a great experience for you as a visitor and for the conservation of these engaging animals.
P.S. A copy of the Sacramento Business Journal article can be found here… feel free to pass it along to others that may be interested in the future of the Sacramento Zoo!
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There have been many new and exciting changes at the Zoo in the last few months:
- A female Masai Giraffe joined the herd at Tall Wonders
- A Grevy’s Zebra joined three other females in the African Grasslands exhibit
- There is a new male Coquerel’s Sifaka who has settled in with the female
- New Ruddy Ducks are meandering around the lake
- A number of frog species, including Lemur Tree Frogs, are new to the Reptile House
- Two new Spur-winged Lapwing sisters have joined the White Faced Owls
There never seems to be a dull moment at the Zoo!
Currently the building across from Tall Wonders, the Small Mammal House, is almost empty. This is in preparation for construction of the Small Wonders of Africa project, expected to begin in early 2013. The renovated exhibit will become home to the two Wolf’s Guenon monkeys, Straw-colored Fruit Bats, Aardvarks, Banded Mongooses, Red-billed Hornbills and Crested Guineafowl. Donate here to help bring these six new species to the Sacramento Zoo.
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Sponsor Your Favorite Zoo Animal in the 2014 Sacramento Zoo Calendar
We all have favorites at the Zoo – some people feel a rapport with reptiles while others have a fondness for felines. With a contribution of $500, you can choose your favorite animal and we’ll do the rest! Staff will photograph your choice and you will be able to pick which photo you would like to see highlighted in one of the months of the 2014 calendar. Your name will appear as a generous sponsor in the calendar and, subject to availability, you may even select which month will feature your sponsored Zoo animal.
Looking for something even more special? For a $1,000 donation, your selection will grace the cover of next year’s calendar! Staff photographers will capture the uniqueness and beauty of your favorite jaguar, lemur or pelican; the final photo selection will be yours. Each sponsor will receive 10 complimentary calendars; the cover sponsor will receive 20 calendars to send to family or friends.
For more information or to reserve your animal and month, call 916-808-3713 or email Pam Williams.
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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 5th. 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 Romero.
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Estate Planning Safari
Protect Your Nest Egg
Thursday, January 24
1 – 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 by Friday, January 18, to guarantee your seat.
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