HomeKeepers Connecting with Animals – Big Day of Giving
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Keepers Connecting with Animals – Big Day of Giving

Categories: Animal Ambassador, BIG Day of Giving, Support the Zoo
Zookeeper and Tamandua
Zookeeper Erik and Izzy the Southern Tamandua

Animal welfare is of the utmost importance at the Sacramento Zoo, and this takes shape in a variety of ways. Not only is the Zoo a leader in animal conservation efforts locally and around the globe, but our daily practices also ensure that the animals we are so privileged to work with are receiving the very best care. From providing world-class veterinary care from a team of skilled UC Davis veterinary staff and technicians, to making observations about individual animals’ preferences, zookeepers and staff are constantly monitoring the animals to aid in their daily care. Fueled by passion and care for each individual animal at the Sacramento Zoo, staff are constantly striving to do more to ensure that the residents of the Zoo have the best possible quality of life.

For Izzy, the Southern Tamandua, this means receiving foot rubs from zookeepers, to keep her feet and toes healthy. Izzy experiences dry skin, and to prevent the skin on her feet and heels from cracking she receives this regular “spa” treatment. For tamanduas, who dwell in trees and amongst the scrub in the rainforests and scrub forests of South America, having healthy feet is crucial to their way of life. To acclimate Izzy to this very close contact (and to avoid ticklish toes!), keepers keep her occupied with treat tubes filled with her favorite snack – sugar-free jam!

Zookeeper and Laughing Kookaburra
Zookeeper Sam and Foster the Laughing Kookaburra

At the Interpretive Center (IC), the animals and Education Outreach staff work very closely together – they even share office space! Staff are not only in charge of the animals’ daily care, they are also continually working with the animals. This creates a strong bond and establishes trust amongst one another so that the animals are comfortable in front of people, demonstrating their amazing adaptations for visitors. One of the most notable of these bonds is between Education Specialist, Sam Curtis and Foster, the Laughing Kookaburra. Foster has a particular fondness toward Sam, welcoming Sam to his enclosure with a soft chitter and hopping to the front of the enclosure to get as near to Sam as possible. You will often find him sitting atop Sam’s head and trying to share his delicious mice with his favorite human. In the warmer months, Sam gives Foster daily baths, since he knows how much Foster enjoys them. This behavior, while adorable, also allows Sam to work with Foster to create positive associations with training – an otherwise annoying nail trim is now something that Foster accepts, as long as it is Sam is doing the nail trimming. Ultimately, this makes for a more positive relationship with Foster and all of his caretakers, enabling them to bring him along on ZooMobile presentations and bring him out during the Wildlife Stage Shows, to demonstrate Foster’s unique adaptations that make him such a wonderful ambassador for his species.

Every single one of the animals at the Sacramento Zoo has a unique personality. Not only are they special individuals, they are also incredible ambassadors for their species in the wild. We hope you stay tuned to learn more about the animals who call the Sacramento Zoo home. And we hope you will help support the Zoo and the animals on the Big Day of Giving – Thursday, May 4th, from 12:01 am to 12:00 midnight. Visit the Big Day of Giving page for more information and ways you can help the Zoo continue in its mission to inspire an appreciation and respect for all animals.

Here is how you can help!

Schedule Your Donation Today

  • Donations can be as small as $15 or as large as $10,000.
  • Everyone who donates $100 or more will have a chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of the Interpretive Center and a chance to meet some of the amazing Animal Ambassadors!

Make your donation count even more!

Spread the word – Your help makes a BIG impact

Your contribution of any amount will help the Sacramento Zoo continue to care for the amazing animals that call the Zoo home.

New this year, make a donation on the Big Day of Giving and receive FREE admission to the Zoo on May 4th! Just show your donation confirmation at the Front Entrance and you will get to visit the Zoo free of charge. Limit one entry per donation. Admission only valid on May 4th.

Thank You!!