Newsletter Archives

Vol 48, No. 2, Summer 2009

In this Issue of the Zoo's Quarterly Newsletter

Around the World to Sacramento... 35 New Animals Join the Zoo Directors Den From the Kitchen
Animal Chatter Education Bulletin Ask the Vet
Wish List Member's Bulletin     Wildlife Heritage Guild
Social Media - We are all a Twitter Zoo Parent Calendar of Events

Around the World to Sacramento... 35 New Animals Join the Zoo

Seeing animals from different areas of the world is inspiring, but riding on their wooden counterparts can be thrilling! Although the Zoo recently welcomed a female Giant anteater and will soon be adding two Red river hogs, by far the largest addition is our group of 32 hand-carved animals on the new Conservation Carousel.

The Conservation Carousel features endangered animals as well as children's favorites. Carousel animals include an anteater, chimpanzee, flamingo, jaguar, ladybug, snow leopard and a peacock chariot designed to accommodate people with disabilities. Each carousel animal is carved from wood, then hand painted to create a truly unique piece. Education and conservation messages inspire visitors as they ride. 

Giant anteaterAfter riding on the carousel’s Giant anteater, make your way down to the anteater exhibit to meet our newest living addition to the Zoo. Amber, the Giant anteater, came to the Sacramento Zoo from the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.  Born in 2002, Amber raised three offspring in Fresno and the AZA Species Survival plan recommended sending her to Sacramento as a companion to our young male anteater, Beata. The Giant anteater, native to South America, is a favorite of visitors who are surprised to see how large they really are, and two anteaters are twice as exciting as one. Seeing the anteaters interact together at the Zoo gives visitors a chance to view their natural behaviors.

It is interesting to see multiple animals in an exhibit because you can observe first-hand how they respond to each other. It is even more exciting to watch different species interact together. The newest mixed species exhibit in the Zoo will feature Bongos and the Red river hogs. Both species are found in the dense tropical jungles of Central to West Africa and are mostly nocturnal animals.

The two new Red river hogs joining the Zoo family are the first of the species to come to Sacramento. Daisy is coming from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, and the male, J.D., is traveling from the Bronx Zoo. Their arrival is imminent and after 30 days of quarantine in the veterinary hospital, they will be out enjoying the summer weather.
Come visit all the newcomers and spend a day at the Sacramento Zoo!

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Directors Den

Mary Healy

We know our community values the Sacramento Zoo and we’re proud to continue offering an affordable place for families and friends to have fun together. This year, in place of the Music in the Zoo series we will host Twilight Tuesdays, a series of themed family fun evenings with music, entertainment, food and drinks. For the regular weekday price of admission, you can extend your visit at the Zoo until 7:00 pm on Tuesdays, June 16 through July 28. (Of course, if you are a Zoo member, you can visit at no charge; another member perk!)

We know it’s hard for busy families to find time to share a meal together, and we hear more and more that quality family time helps children do better in school and develop healthy habits. Just think, for the price of admission, you can enjoy the Zoo ambience and give dining out a whole new experience!

From Blues & Brews to an Asian adventure, each Tuesday evening will feature an affordable dinner special, live music and entertainment, so mark your calendar now and bring your family and friends to the Sacramento Zoo. Check here for details on Twilight Tuesdays; make each week a new experience for your family.

We look forward to seeing you here!

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From the Kitchen
What Goes Up and Down but Stays in One Place?

We spend a considerable amount of time ensuring that the food products we order for our animals are high-quality (human-grade). Our produce comes in fresh twice a week, our meat is top of the line and even our hay products are the best in the Valley.

Conservation CarouselEven before a new animal arrives at the Zoo, we make sure we know what their diet will be and make arrangements for those items to be here on grounds. Luckily living in California, we can get almost any food item year-around.    

When the Animal Care Department was told we were getting a mixed species exhibit that would include a praying mantis, lady bug and dung beetle, as well as a peacock, dolphin and a variety of land mammals – we were quite perplexed! This was not a normal exhibit!

Thankfully, there was no need to scramble to find aphids or squid to feed this motley menagerie of animals. The creatures in this exhibit are self-sufficient, require a negligible portion of the food budget and are very friendly towards our guests … we hope you enjoy riding in circles!

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Animal Chatter

During the construction of the giraffe exhibit, some of the birds will be moved to other parts of the Zoo or behind the scenes temporarily. Birds are susceptible to respiratory issues when there is or smoke blowing around them. Noisy construction near their exhibits can also be nerve-racking. To keep all our avian species happy, you may find them in a new location from time to time.

The new female anteater is getting comfortable in her new exhibit.  During the introduction to the male, we start by allowing the female to smell, hear and see him. Then we let her roam the exhibit on her own before we physically put both animals together. We switch or swap the animals in the exhibit (one out during the day and one out overnight) until we feel it is time to put them together.  This process can sometimes take one day or a full month; we let the animals decide when they are ready to be introduced.

Lake Exhibit
When you look at the waterfowl in the lake exhibit, make sure you pay attention to other species! This time of year (especially when it is warm) you will see Western Pacific pond turtles basking or wild migratory birds, like bitterns or kingfishers, which visit the area each year.

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Education Bulletin
Tails from the Dark Side 

Evening is one of the busiest times of the day for wildlife. The diurnal animals, those who are awake and active during the day, are taking advantage of the break from the afternoon heat and trying to gather as much food as they can before they settle in for the long cool night. At the same time, the nocturnal animals are just beginning to wake up and start their day as the sun begins its descent. There is even a type of animal, called crepuscular, that is only awake and active at dawn and dusk. When you put all of these animals together, you can see why sunset is always bustling in the wild!

Two-toed slothSo what are wild animals doing that keeps them so busy in the evening? Do they take a bath and brush their teeth and lay out their clothes for the next day? Not quite, but they are using this time to prepare. Many insectivorous animals are busy gorging on as much food as they can gather. Anyone who’s been out enjoying a midsummer evening can attest that there is no shortage of bugs! Many wild animals like birds and mice are also gathering nesting materials to get ready before the temperature drops at nightfall.

Most people never get to see all of this activity at the Zoo because we close well before the summer sunset begins. That’s what makes the Overnight Safaris such a special experience. Groups and Families who come to the Overnight Safaris get to enjoy that busy time of the day with our unique and very wild family!

Sign up for an Overnight Safari today


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Ask the Vet
Dr. Wack, What is the largest animals you have worked with in the veterinary hospital?

Zebra Veterinary ExamThe largest animal would be one of our Grevy’s zebras, Mara.  One of the things I enjoy most about zoological medicine is the opportunity to work with a team of people and solve a problem. We recently experienced a good example of this at the Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital. Mara had a problem with a sole abscess (a bacterial infection on the bottom of her hoof). It just would not heal well. She had been on antibiotics and stall rest (typical treatment for a horse with a sole abscess) for two months and the abscess was improving but not completely healed. The veterinary staff decided that a more aggressive treatment of Mara’s infected foot was necessary.

Our first problem was getting Mara to the hospital from her exhibit as it’s somewhat of a challenge to move an 850-pound animal. Mara was anesthetized and staff slid her onto a low platform built by the maintenance staff. The platform was then picked up by a forklift and Mara was slowly moved to down to the hospital.

After a quick weigh-in, she was transferred onto the hydraulic surgery table. Having designed the hospital and table to accommodate large animals, it was easy to wheel Mara down the hospital hallways and into the treatment room. A team of specialists from the UCD Equine Medicine Service and a farrier waited. Mara’s hooves were trimmed, another culture of the abscess taken, then the farrier created a custom-fitted steel plate and horseshoe to support her foot while it healed.

Mara, while still asleep, was transported to her new stall in the hospital. She recovered calmly from the anesthesia and settled into her stall and small outdoor paddock. We are hopeful that at her next checkup the infection will be gone and she can return to the zebra exhibit.

The next time you visit the Zoo, ask the front gate staff which procedures are scheduled in the Zoo’s hospital on that day … you never know what you might be able to see!

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Member's Bulletin

You’re invited to a special “Members-Only” Evening!
Saturday, August 8th
5:30 to 8:30 pm

Call 916-808-5888 for more information

Spend an evening with your fellow members and meet the Zoo keepers!

Admission: Free to Zoo members. Bring your membership card & ID
Members’ guests: $6 Adults and $4 Children (age 3-12)

Activities: Face painting, discounted train & carousel rides and much more!
Kampala Café will be open for you to purchase dinner or you may bring your own.

Not a member yet? Sign up Now!

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Wish List

Newer, color laser printer and/or scanner

Microwave or fax machine, less then 2 years old

Animal Care
New box fans
Verikennels or Skykennels
Heavy-duty outdoor extension cords

Metal-cutting chop saw
Leather work gloves
Mantis, 2-chamber composter tumbler

Veterinary Hospital
Blankets with no filling
Blank CDR disks

Don't have any of these items? The Zoo is always in need of gift cards to Home Depot, Raley's, Smart & Final and Target. There is also a wish list on, just search lists for Sacramento Zoo. Your purchase will be delivered right to the Zoo.

Call (916) 808-7329 to make in-kind donation arrangements.

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Wildlife Heritage Guild
Counting on the Future

There are many ways to show you care about education, conservation and the animals that share our world. However, very few opportunities offer the same comfort and sense of pride as contributing to the long-term security of a favorite charity.

By providing a charitable gift to the Sacramento Zoological Society in your estate plan, you ensure that its essential programs and indispensable work will continue for years to come.

The Wildlife Heritage Guild is a group of special individuals who have remembered the Sacramento Zoological Society in their estate plans. Our nonprofit depends on the generosity of private contributions from those who value the Sacramento Zoo and its role in their lives and the community.

Leave a legacy that will make a difference in the future of your Zoo. If you would like to add your name to the prestigious group of supporters who value the work of the Sacramento Zoo, contact the Development Department at 916-808-3713.

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Social Media - We are all a Twitter

If you’ve just begun social networking we invite you to join the Sacramento Zoo! Most of you have probably spent time on our website but you also have other web-based options that help the Zoo keep in touch with our supporters and visitors while giving you “insider” information!
Featuring stories, videos and updates from all over the Zoo, the blog gives a more informal look into how the Zoo works with personal stories and insights updated throughout the week.
While you are finding your family and friends on Facebook, find us too! Become a fan and we will send you invites to our upcoming events and keep you posted on news about the Zoo. Search for Sacramento Zoo and become a fan or a friend.

Updates of just 140 characters makes sure we are getting to the point! Follow us on Twitter and get daily updates of what’s happening! We “tweet” about vet procedures, special events, breaking news, discounts and, of course, animals! You can even have updates sent straight to your phone!
Our own YouTube channel showcases videos of Zoo events, animals and people. See a kookaburra calling, flamingos doing courtship behavior or lemurs getting an afternoon treat.
Jump in, start sharing and stay informed wherever you are!

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3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822  //  916-808-5888
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