Newsletter Archives
print version

Maagizo Header
Vol. 52, No. 2, Summer 2013

Zoo Families Directors Den Estate Planning Safari
Being Green Animal Chatter A to Z - Your Guide to Summer Fun
Calendar of Events    

Zoo Families
by Harrison Edell, General Curator

As I recently discussed plans for Small Wonders, the exciting renovation Wolf's Guenon mom and baby at 2 weeksof the old Small Mammal House, a young guest asked: “Straw-colored Fruit Bats are from Africa; how will the Zoo trap them?” I told him that the bats would not come from Africa at all, but from Florida. Needless to say, he looked surprised.

Very few of the animals that you meet at a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) originated in the wild; more than 90% of them were born in a zoo. At the Sacramento Zoo, there are many examples of animals that were born wild but at some point were injured and unable to survive, as well as others who were brought from the wild in a time when it was deemed acceptable. For example, our American White Pelicans came to the Zoo from a wildlife rehabilitator after both birds sustained wing injuries in the wild that prevent them from flying. Others, like our 40-year old White-handed Gibbon, came to Sacramento Zoo many years ago when the capture of wild animals was common practice. Since that time, the AZA and zoos have critically examined their practices and actively work to promote the long-term sustainability of zoo animal populations.

In 1981, the AZA created the first Species Survival Plan program (SSPs), whose mission is to cooperatively manage specific species’ populations within AZA-accredited zoos. These programs “coordinate conservation breeding, habitat preservation, public education, field conservation, and supportive research in an effort to ensure survival for many of the planet’s threatened and endangered species.” Currently, AZA zoos are involved in 591 breeding programs. More than 50 of the animal species that call the Sacramento Zoo home (as well as all six of the species that will soon inhabit Small Wonders) are part of these cooperative conservation programs. In addition, 11 dedicated Sacramento Zoo staff members serve as SSP Coordinators and Vice Coordinators, managing the health and genetic diversity of 16 animal populations.

Genetic diversity is important to the overall health of any population, but in order to avoid inbreeding and keep a group of animals as diverse as possible, it may be necessary to move animals from one zoo to another. As a result of these moves, an animal’s family tree often involves relatives living at other AZA zoos. With the birth of CJ, our most recent tiger cub, Sacramento Zoo’s tiger family tree has grown yet again. One brother, born here in 2006 and currently living at San Francisco Zoo, recently fathered his first cub, making San Francisco Zoo’s newest cub CJ’s niece!

While it’s often romantic to imagine our giraffes and lions roaming the Kenyan savanna, the giraffes that make up our herd were born in San Diego, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs and Milwaukee, while our lions were born in Escondido and Fort Worth. No matter where they were born, each animal at the Zoo represents not only an individual with a unique character, but also a branch on a complex pedigree. In addition, each plays an important role in the future of their species. On your next visit to the Zoo, we hope that you’ll take the time to appreciate the individual animals at the Sacramento Zoo while taking some time to learn more about what makes each species unique.

back to top

Directors Den

Board Member Healy“I haven’t been to the Zoo since my kids were little.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone share that comment, I’d be playing Pebble Beach right now. As a Zoo member, I suspect you hear that as well when you share news about your Sacramento Zoo.

We all know the Zoo is a great place for kids, but it is also a wonderful place for adults to spend a few hours without children. One of the best ways to enjoy the Zoo this summer is at the weekly Twilight Thursdays. As a member, your admission is free, but for the small cost of a regular admission you can bring friends and neighbors for an evening of live music, special menu offerings, wine and beer – and full access to the entire Zoo until 8:00 p.m. As a special bonus, there is a different car show each week adding to the festivities. Enjoy a different theme each week: Hot Rods, Eighties, Across the Pond, Blues and more! To check out weekly schedules, visit

All the fun starts on Thursday, June 6th, and is held every Thursday in June and July, excluding the July 4th holiday. You are welcome to pack a picnic (no alcoholic beverages, please) and enjoy your evening relaxing under the beautiful oak trees. I hope to see you there!

back to top


Estate Planning Safari
Protect Your Nest Egg

Tuesday, July 9
5:30 – 7 pm
Kampala Center

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 Lisa Clement or call 916-808-8815 by Thursday, July 4, to guarantee your seat.

back to top


Being Green

Green is the Zoo’s favorite color. Since its formation in 2003, the Sacramento Zoo’s Green Team continues to keep a keen eye focused on ways to reduce waste, conserve energy and create positive change at the Zoo and in the community.

Ongoing Green Team activities include an annual recycle rummage sale; hosting Bike to Work Day; a recycling program that includes styrofoam, fluorescent bulbs, e-waste and techno-trash; and upcycling vinyl event banners into durable shopping bags. In addition to the mountain of recycled items, Zoo staff offset 51,000 pounds of carbon emissions for vehicles and flying, while the Membership Department reported 7,700 green members in 2012, saving $26,800 and 3,400 pounds of paper, all of this in the last year alone.

On site, Service Systems Associates partners with the Sacramento Zoo to provide environmentally responsible items at both food and gift shop concessions. Sustainable food containers produced from biodegradable corn plastics and plates made from sugarcane fiber are now offered with all food purchases, and the gift shop is stocked with environmentally preferred merchandise such as organic cotton t-shirts.

back to top


Animal Chatter

Sumatran Tiger Cub - CJ at 3 monthsCarnivores
Our Sumatran Tiger cub CJ, continues to grow and develop right on track. He was born March 3rd and weighed about 3 lbs., as an adult he will weigh around 300 pounds. Make sure to check the Zoo’s website as new videos are posted weekly so you can watch how this youngster is changing!

Next time you visit the Zoo, take a look at the lake exhibits … there are new residents! Four Orinoco Geese are now living with the Screamers, mergansers, redheads and pintail ducks on the lake exhibit closest to the Thick-billed Parrots. This beautiful South American gang of four stand out with their pale heads and neck with beautiful brown and black plumage on their bodies. Another wonderful note about these lake exhibits is how dynamic they are – blooming plants, basking pond turtles and native wildlife such as bitterns, song birds and butterflies can all be seen along the shores. 

As you enter the Reptile House, the first exhibit you see houses a pair of Fiji Island Iguanas. The Sacramento Zoo had this species back in the 1970’s and now they have returned. These are striking lizards with beautiful coloration. They like to hide in plants, so it may be difficult to spot them.

It seems as though we have waited a long time for this animal to make its debut – but the Sitatunga has finally arrived and is on exhibit! This 2 ½ year-old male came from the San Diego Wild Animal Park and has joined the Yellow-backed Duikers in the hoof stock exhibit nearest the carousel. This central and western African species has elongated hooves and flexible toe joints that help them walk through wet terrain.

back to top

A to Z
Your Guide to Summer Fun
A American Alligator
American Alligators are one of only two species of alligator in the world. They can grow up to a foot each year, reaching 10-15 feet and weighing as much as 1,000 pounds.
American alligator
B Buton Hornbills
The Sacramento Zoo is one of seven zoos in the United States that houses Buton Hornbills.
C Conservation
The Zoo supports conservation programs both locally and around the globe.
An Eastern Bongo born at the Zoo was released in the wild in Kenya in 2003.
Quarters for Conservation
D Donors
As a nonprofit organization, the Zoo relies heavily on donors, the superheroes of the Zoo. Visit to find out how you can help!
E Events
Summer is a great time to check out the Zoo while enjoying a variety of events for families, adults, foodies, car lovers and so much more!
F Food
The total yearly animal food budget is $130,000. $30,000 of that is spent on fruits and vegetables which are delivered twice a week.
G Gus
Gus the Green Tree Frog is an ambassador for being green. He can often be seen at events reminding people to be green like him!
Gus the Green Tree Frog
H Hot Spots
There are 34 unique Biodiversity HotSpots on earth that support 60% of the world’s plant, mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species.
I Interactive
Interact at animal encounters, stage shows and at ZooTeen and EdZoocation stations.
J Jacobson’s Organ
Reptiles and mammals have a Jacobson’s organ located in the front of their mouth that senses chemicals. This organ helps animals know when to mate and helps snakes track their prey.
K Kookaburra
Laughing Kookaburras are native to Australian and are famous for their “laughing” vocalization that is used to strengthen family bonds and ward off predators.

Laughing Kookaburra

L Legless Lizard
European Legless Lizards may look like a snake, but are in fact a lizard without legs. In an emergency they have the ability to drop their tail and then grow it back months later.
M Matriarch
There are many animal species in which females rule the roost including bees, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, Spotted Hyenas and elephants.

Black & White Ruffed Lemur

N Nocturnal
Many animals that are nocturnal can be seen active and awake during Twilight Thursdays and on Overnight and Starlight Safaris.
O Ossicone
The hornlike structures on a giraffe’s head are bones called ossicones that are derived from ossified cartilage and are covered in skin and fur.
P Parthenogenesis
Parthenogenesis is a form of reproduction in which an unfertilized egg develops into a new individual. The Rainbow Boa in the Reptile House was the first known boa to give birth via parthenogenesis.

Brazilian Rainbow Boa

Q Quarantine
All animals that come to the Zoo go through a quarantine process so the veterinarians can make sure they are healthy and animals can get to know their zookeepers.
R Red Panda
Red Pandas were discovered before Giant Pandas and were named “panda” from a Tibetan word meaning “eater of bamboo.”
S Small Wonders
Small Wonders, the Zoo’s latest improvement project, will update an old exhibit space and bring six new species to the Sacramento Zoo.
Wolf's Guenon baby at six weeks old
T Training
All animals at the Zoo are trained through positive reinforcement. They train for husbandry behaviors that help veterinarians and keepers keep them healthy and treat them when they are sick.
U Ungulates
Ungulates are hoofed mammals; the Zoo is home to many including giraffes, zebra and the
Yellow-backed Duikers.
V Vacation
The Zoo is a great place for a mini-vacation; on your visit learn about exotic lands and the animals
that live there.

W Weddings
Get married near the lions or host your reception with the giraffes. Weddings at the Zoo offer a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience for guests and the happy couple.
X X-rays
Many animals at the Zoo receive x-rays at the Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital during their yearly check-up.
Y Yellow-shirted Docents
Docents can often be found around the Zoo in their yellow shirts sharing animal facts and showing off animal ambassadors.

Interpretive Center Staff with the ZooMobile

Z Zoomobile
Let the Zoo come to you through the Zoomobile program that visits schools, retirement homes and other education programs.


back to top



The Sacramento Zoological Society  // 501(c)(3) nonprofit
3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822  //  916-808-5888
© 2016 Sacramento Zoo, All Rights Reserved

Sacramento Zoo's home page button