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SUMMER

19 ISSUE


contents

DREAM JOB

LOS ANGELES ZOO ADMINISTRATION Denise M. Verret, Interim Zoo Director Beth Schaefer, Director of Animal Programs Mei Kwan, Director of Admin. and Operations Tom LoVullo, Director of Construction and Maintenance Dan Keeffe, Director of Learning and Engagement Darryl Pon, Director of Planning and Development Denise Tamura, Executive Assistant

Meet Our Keepers

THE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE OF THE GREATER LOS ANGELES ZOO ASSOCIATION

Kim Garcia, shown training greater flamingo chicks, is one of about 100 keepers who care for the Zoo’s animal residents. Like many of her colleagues, Garcia got her start at the Zoo as a volunteer.

ZOO BRIEFS

4 4

Photo by JAMIE PHAM

EDITOR Brenda Scott Royce

GLAZA OFFICERS Beth Price, Chair Brian Diamond, Vice Chair Laura Z Wasserman, Vice Chair Phyllis Kupferstein, Secretary Gregory D. Fuss, Treasurer Tom Jacobson, GLAZA President

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Sandy Masuo EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Kait Hilliard, Dan Keeffe, Beth Schaefer, Eugenia Vasels, Denise M. Verret

GLAZA TRUSTEES Cathy Arkley, James K. Bray, Alexis Miller Buese, Michael Bustamante, Jillian Romero Chaves, Richard Corgel, Wendy M. Denham, Rob Ellis, Cassidy Horn, Tyler K. Kelley, Diann H. Kim, Anthony Kitchener, Richard Lichtenstein, Alan G. Lowy, Betty White Ludden, Beth McClellan, Marc L. Sallus, Patricia Silver, Slash, Jay Sonbolian, Erika Aronson Stern, Madeline Joyce Taft, Franco Terango, Ellia M. Thompson, Jennifer Thornton Wieland, Angela Yim-Sullivan

ZOO PHOTOGRAPHER Tad Motoyama PHOTO EDITOR & PHOTOGRAPHER Jamie Pham

POSTMASTER send address changes to: ZOO VIEW, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1498

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ZO O V I E W

GREVY’S ZEBRA CONSERVATION BY THE NUMBERS MEERKAT BABY

DATA SAVES LIVES

DEPARTMENTS

6 23

19

ZOO-M IN

Members’ photo gallery

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS

News and updates for GLAZA members

S U MME R 2019

Photo by JAMIE PHAM

S U MME R 2019

THE CALL OF THE WILD

Caring for the Zoo’s 1,400 animal residents is truly a labor of love for our dedicated crew of animal keepers.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A KEEPER? PLANTING THE SEEDS

Sue Ivanjack’s devotion to the L.A. Zoo runs deep.

LEADING THE WAY

Zookeepers unite to advance their profession and support conservation.

20 AA trioMEMORY OF ELEPHANTS of teens comes up with a creative way to help elephants.

JAMIE PHAM

10

PROFILE: TENREC

22 FROM THE FIELD: FLAMINGO RESCUE

PROOFREADERS Lynne Richter, PJ Repond

ON THE COVER A pair of Siberian eagle-owls arrived from the Netherlands in early 2019. The birds were imported as part of a cooperative breeding program under the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 to help with repopulation of this declining species.

8 10 16 17

HABITAT HEROES

PRINTING LithoGraphix

GLAZA ADMINISTRATION Eugenia Vasels, VP, Institutional Advancement Kait Hilliard, VP, Marketing Lisa Correa, Director of Membership Dawn Petersen-Amend, General Counsel Sara Rodriguez, Director of Special Events

Copyright © 2019 Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents of this publication without written permission is prohibited.

A TWO-FOALED CELEBRATION

DESIGN & PRODUCTION Lisa Brink, The Brink Creative

TRUSTEES EMERITI Willard Z. Carr, Jr., Richard Corgel, Ed N. Harrison, Mrs. Max K. Jamison, Lloyd Levitin, Mrs. John F. Maher, William G. McGagh, Dickinson C. Ross, Shelby Kaplan Sloan, Thomas R. Tellefsen, Polly Turpin

ZOO VIEW (ISSN 0276-3303) is published quarterly by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association as a benefit to members. For information about membership, visit www.lazoo.org/membership

4 5 5

F E AT U R E S

4

The Zoo joins efforts to save abandoned flamingo chicks in Africa.

JAMIE PHAM

LOS ANGELES ZOO COMMISSION Karen B. Winnick, President Bernardo Silva, Vice President Margot Armbruster Christopher Hopkins Daryl Smith Richard Lichtenstein, Ex-Officio Member

SUMMER 2019 VOLUME LIII // NUMBER 2

JAMIE PHAM

MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES Eric Garcetti

8

20 ZO O V I E W

3


contents

DREAM JOB

LOS ANGELES ZOO ADMINISTRATION Denise M. Verret, Interim Zoo Director Beth Schaefer, Director of Animal Programs Mei Kwan, Director of Admin. and Operations Tom LoVullo, Director of Construction and Maintenance Dan Keeffe, Director of Learning and Engagement Darryl Pon, Director of Planning and Development Denise Tamura, Executive Assistant

Meet Our Keepers

THE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE OF THE GREATER LOS ANGELES ZOO ASSOCIATION

Kim Garcia, shown training greater flamingo chicks, is one of about 100 keepers who care for the Zoo’s animal residents. Like many of her colleagues, Garcia got her start at the Zoo as a volunteer.

ZOO BRIEFS

4 4

Photo by JAMIE PHAM

EDITOR Brenda Scott Royce

GLAZA OFFICERS Beth Price, Chair Brian Diamond, Vice Chair Laura Z Wasserman, Vice Chair Phyllis Kupferstein, Secretary Gregory D. Fuss, Treasurer Tom Jacobson, GLAZA President

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Sandy Masuo EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Kait Hilliard, Dan Keeffe, Beth Schaefer, Eugenia Vasels, Denise M. Verret

GLAZA TRUSTEES Cathy Arkley, James K. Bray, Alexis Miller Buese, Michael Bustamante, Jillian Romero Chaves, Richard Corgel, Wendy M. Denham, Rob Ellis, Cassidy Horn, Tyler K. Kelley, Diann H. Kim, Anthony Kitchener, Richard Lichtenstein, Alan G. Lowy, Betty White Ludden, Beth McClellan, Marc L. Sallus, Patricia Silver, Slash, Jay Sonbolian, Erika Aronson Stern, Madeline Joyce Taft, Franco Terango, Ellia M. Thompson, Jennifer Thornton Wieland, Angela Yim-Sullivan

ZOO PHOTOGRAPHER Tad Motoyama PHOTO EDITOR & PHOTOGRAPHER Jamie Pham

POSTMASTER send address changes to: ZOO VIEW, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1498

2

ZO O V I E W

GREVY’S ZEBRA CONSERVATION BY THE NUMBERS MEERKAT BABY

DATA SAVES LIVES

DEPARTMENTS

6 23

19

ZOO-M IN

Members’ photo gallery

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS

News and updates for GLAZA members

S U MME R 2019

Photo by JAMIE PHAM

S U MME R 2019

THE CALL OF THE WILD

Caring for the Zoo’s 1,400 animal residents is truly a labor of love for our dedicated crew of animal keepers.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A KEEPER? PLANTING THE SEEDS

Sue Ivanjack’s devotion to the L.A. Zoo runs deep.

LEADING THE WAY

Zookeepers unite to advance their profession and support conservation.

20 AA trioMEMORY OF ELEPHANTS of teens comes up with a creative way to help elephants.

The Zoo joins efforts to save abandoned flamingo chicks in Africa.

JAMIE PHAM

10

PROFILE: TENREC

22 FROM THE FIELD: FLAMINGO RESCUE

PROOFREADERS Lynne Richter, PJ Repond

ON THE COVER A pair of Siberian eagle-owls arrived from the Netherlands in early 2019. The birds were imported as part of a cooperative breeding program under the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 to help with repopulation of this declining species.

8 10 16 17

HABITAT HEROES

PRINTING LithoGraphix

GLAZA ADMINISTRATION Eugenia Vasels, VP, Institutional Advancement Kait Hilliard, VP, Marketing Lisa Correa, Director of Membership Dawn Petersen-Amend, General Counsel Sara Rodriguez, Director of Special Events

Copyright © 2019 Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents of this publication without written permission is prohibited.

A TWO-FOALED CELEBRATION

DESIGN & PRODUCTION Lisa Brink, The Brink Creative

TRUSTEES EMERITI Willard Z. Carr, Jr., Richard Corgel, Ed N. Harrison, Mrs. Max K. Jamison, Lloyd Levitin, Mrs. John F. Maher, William G. McGagh, Dickinson C. Ross, Shelby Kaplan Sloan, Thomas R. Tellefsen, Polly Turpin

ZOO VIEW (ISSN 0276-3303) is published quarterly by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association as a benefit to members. For information about membership, visit www.lazoo.org/membership

4 5 5

F E AT U R E S

4

JAMIE PHAM

LOS ANGELES ZOO COMMISSION Karen B. Winnick, President Bernardo Silva, Vice President Margot Armbruster Christopher Hopkins Daryl Smith Richard Lichtenstein, Ex-Officio Member

SUMMER 2019 VOLUME LIII // NUMBER 2

JAMIE PHAM

MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES Eric Garcetti

8

20 ZO O V I E W

3


briefs DATA SAVES LIVES

CONSERVATION BY THE NUMBERS

T

A Two-Foaled Celebration

he birth of a female Grevy’s zebra on April 2 made headlines as it was the Zoo’s first zebra birth in three decades. Then, just a few weeks later, the zebra herd expanded once again with the birth of a male foal. Zoo staff were doubly thrilled with the new arrivals. “Grevy’s zebras are the largest and most threatened of the three zebra species,” says Curator of Mammals Alisa Behar. “When this herd came to us a few years ago as part of a species survival plan, it was with the hope that they would get along and produce offspring.” The L.A. Zoo has participated in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Grevy’s zebra since the 1980s. The effort to preserve and increase the global population of this species became necessary after it was classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction, reduced access to watering holes, and competition with livestock. Grevy’s zebras inhabit semi-arid and open scrub grasslands of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. This species has the skinniest stripes of any zebra, which run all the way down to a white belly and backside (other zebra species have stripes on their bellies). Foals are born with brown stripes and fuzzy coats. Within about a year, their stripes darken and their coats become sleeker. Safari Society donors at the $5,000 (Jaguar Jamboree) level and higher are invited to a special early morning event on August 14 highlighting the new additions to the zebra herd. “Being able to talk to keepers and hear about the unique personalities of the babies is a real treat,” says Safari Society Associate Director Robin Savoian. “It’s fantastic to see people connect with these amazing animals and learn more about the L.A. Zoo’s role in wildlife conservation.” For more information or to upgrade your support to attend this event, phone at 323/644-4717.

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GREVY’S ZEBRA POPULATION DECLINE IN THREE DECADES

,800 ~2 REMAIN IN THE WILD 13 MONTHS

GESTATION PERIOD NEW MEERKAT BABY MAKING ITS DEBUT recently was a meerkat pup born sometime this spring. The exact birthdate is unknown because pups are born in burrows and don’t emerge until three to four weeks of age. The meerkat mob is taking excellent care of the new addition.

SU MME R 2019

JAMIE PHAM

JAMIE PHAM

54%

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, and in the

Party for the Planet

R

ecognizing the importance of taking direct action to help preserve our planet, this spring several AZA institutions committed to hosting family-friendly events designed to encourage volunteerism and help the environment. The Los Angeles Zoo organized two projects, both focused on restoring habitat for native California species. In May, 13 community volunteers (including two of GLAZA’s own) worked with the Friends of Griffith Park on a plant restoration project in Griffith Park. Two separate groups of Zoo-recruited volunteers ventured to Santa Cruz Island on June 4 and June 5 to assist the nonprofit Channel Island Restoration in restoring crucial habitat for island fox and other endangered species. Thanks to everyone who participated!

LET’S BE SOCIAL! FOLLOW us @LAZoo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TheLosAngelesZoo on YouTube SHARE your memories and photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using #LAZoo

S U MME R 2019

ongoing struggle to conserve the world’s biodiversity, amassing data about as many species as possible is vital. A scientific paper published in April 2019 showed that critical information was missing from global data for more than 98 percent of known species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Fortunately, we live in the information age. The challenge is sharing the data and interpreting it. The mission of Species360— a nonprofit that manages a network of more than 1,100 aquarium, zoo, university, research, and governmental members worldwide—is to improve animal welfare and species conservation. Its members curate the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), the world’s most comprehensive database of species information and individual records for animals in zoos and aquariums. To understand the gap in information, researchers developed a Species Knowledge Index (SKI) that classifies available demographics for 32,144 known vertebrate species. Incorporating ZIMS boosted the SKI eightfold for information—e.g., lifespan, reproductive data, and juvenile survival rates—used to assess populations. Filling these gaps is game-changing when it comes to formulating conservation strategies. The Los Angeles Zoo has been contributing data on its animals since 1972. Since then, the Zoo has added information on 18,568 individuals and groups of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals representing 1,565 species—making a huge impact on the understanding of these animals’ life histories. “Keepers should be congratulated for the impact that the detailed data they gather has, and I hope they understand how every little bit of info they put into the system has its benefits,” comments Zoo Registrar Karen Poly. “All the daily notes add to the global knowledge bank, and they are helping to better the lives of animals in human care and in the wild.” — SANDY MASUO

ZO O V I E W

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briefs DATA SAVES LIVES

CONSERVATION BY THE NUMBERS

T

A Two-Foaled Celebration

he birth of a female Grevy’s zebra on April 2 made headlines as it was the Zoo’s first zebra birth in three decades. Then, just a few weeks later, the zebra herd expanded once again with the birth of a male foal. Zoo staff were doubly thrilled with the new arrivals. “Grevy’s zebras are the largest and most threatened of the three zebra species,” says Curator of Mammals Alisa Behar. “When this herd came to us a few years ago as part of a species survival plan, it was with the hope that they would get along and produce offspring.” The L.A. Zoo has participated in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Grevy’s zebra since the 1980s. The effort to preserve and increase the global population of this species became necessary after it was classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction, reduced access to watering holes, and competition with livestock. Grevy’s zebras inhabit semi-arid and open scrub grasslands of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. This species has the skinniest stripes of any zebra, which run all the way down to a white belly and backside (other zebra species have stripes on their bellies). Foals are born with brown stripes and fuzzy coats. Within about a year, their stripes darken and their coats become sleeker. Safari Society donors at the $5,000 (Jaguar Jamboree) level and higher are invited to a special early morning event on August 14 highlighting the new additions to the zebra herd. “Being able to talk to keepers and hear about the unique personalities of the babies is a real treat,” says Safari Society Associate Director Robin Savoian. “It’s fantastic to see people connect with these amazing animals and learn more about the L.A. Zoo’s role in wildlife conservation.” For more information or to upgrade your support to attend this event, phone at 323/644-4717.

4

ZO O V I E W

GREVY’S ZEBRA POPULATION DECLINE IN THREE DECADES

,800 ~2 REMAIN IN THE WILD 13 MONTHS

GESTATION PERIOD NEW MEERKAT BABY MAKING ITS DEBUT recently was a meerkat pup born sometime this spring. The exact birthdate is unknown because pups are born in burrows and don’t emerge until three to four weeks of age. The meerkat mob is taking excellent care of the new addition.

SU MME R 2019

JAMIE PHAM

JAMIE PHAM

54%

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, and in the

Party for the Planet

R

ecognizing the importance of taking direct action to help preserve our planet, this spring several AZA institutions committed to hosting family-friendly events designed to encourage volunteerism and help the environment. The Los Angeles Zoo organized two projects, both focused on restoring habitat for native California species. In May, 13 community volunteers (including two of GLAZA’s own) worked with the Friends of Griffith Park on a plant restoration project in Griffith Park. Two separate groups of Zoo-recruited volunteers ventured to Santa Cruz Island on June 4 and June 5 to assist the nonprofit Channel Island Restoration in restoring crucial habitat for island fox and other endangered species. Thanks to everyone who participated!

LET’S BE SOCIAL! FOLLOW us @LAZoo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TheLosAngelesZoo on YouTube SHARE your memories and photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using #LAZoo

S U MME R 2019

ongoing struggle to conserve the world’s biodiversity, amassing data about as many species as possible is vital. A scientific paper published in April 2019 showed that critical information was missing from global data for more than 98 percent of known species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Fortunately, we live in the information age. The challenge is sharing the data and interpreting it. The mission of Species360— a nonprofit that manages a network of more than 1,100 aquarium, zoo, university, research, and governmental members worldwide—is to improve animal welfare and species conservation. Its members curate the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), the world’s most comprehensive database of species information and individual records for animals in zoos and aquariums. To understand the gap in information, researchers developed a Species Knowledge Index (SKI) that classifies available demographics for 32,144 known vertebrate species. Incorporating ZIMS boosted the SKI eightfold for information—e.g., lifespan, reproductive data, and juvenile survival rates—used to assess populations. Filling these gaps is game-changing when it comes to formulating conservation strategies. The Los Angeles Zoo has been contributing data on its animals since 1972. Since then, the Zoo has added information on 18,568 individuals and groups of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals representing 1,565 species—making a huge impact on the understanding of these animals’ life histories. “Keepers should be congratulated for the impact that the detailed data they gather has, and I hope they understand how every little bit of info they put into the system has its benefits,” comments Zoo Registrar Karen Poly. “All the daily notes add to the global knowledge bank, and they are helping to better the lives of animals in human care and in the wild.” — SANDY MASUO

ZO O V I E W

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MEMBER PHOTO GALLERY

m

IN

ZOO-M IN

The Eyes Have It

Thank You

to all of our members who submitted photographs to this column, and congratulations to the featured photographers. Keep those photos coming!

One essential requirement to a successful wildlife image is to have the eyes sharp and in focus. That is equally true whether using single or continuous autofocus (AF). When using single autofocus mode, make sure to lock focus on the eyes prior to recomposing. In continuous AF mode, move the focus point directly over or near the eyes. Without proper AF placement on the eyes, the camera will tend to hone in on what is closest to the lens, which oftentimes will be the animal’s nose or muzzle—resulting in an image with a sharp nose and softer eyes. When shooting with a shallow depth of field (to maximize shutter speed and decrease distractions), it’s okay to have the nose/muzzle slightly out of focus, as long as the eyes are sharp. — Jamie Pham, GLAZA Photographer & Photo Editor

SUB MIT YOUR PHOTOS To be considered for inclusion in future installments of Zoo-m In, submit your best images taken at the L.A. Zoo. No more than two images per member per month, please. Include your name in the file name for each photograph (e.g., Giraffe-John Smith). Do not send images that include people unless you will be able to provide a signed release from all parties pictured in the event your photo is selected for publication.

LEFT PAGE Those big ears may be hard to resist, but focusing on fennec fox Radar’s eyes enables a more personal connection. Photo by: JAMIE PHAM

SUBMIT BY EMAIL photos@lazoo.org

RIGHT PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Flamingo by DEBBIE LEFEVER; Tasmanian devil by JAY C. CHRISTENSEN; mandrill by KERI KILGO; lemur buddies by MICHAEL ELLIOTT; eagle owl takeoff by MICHAEL ELLIOTT; howler monkey by LYNN HEYDENREICH

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MEMBER PHOTO GALLERY

m

IN

ZOO-M IN

The Eyes Have It

Thank You

to all of our members who submitted photographs to this column, and congratulations to the featured photographers. Keep those photos coming!

One essential requirement to a successful wildlife image is to have the eyes sharp and in focus. That is equally true whether using single or continuous autofocus (AF). When using single autofocus mode, make sure to lock focus on the eyes prior to recomposing. In continuous AF mode, move the focus point directly over or near the eyes. Without proper AF placement on the eyes, the camera will tend to hone in on what is closest to the lens, which oftentimes will be the animal’s nose or muzzle—resulting in an image with a sharp nose and softer eyes. When shooting with a shallow depth of field (to maximize shutter speed and decrease distractions), it’s okay to have the nose/muzzle slightly out of focus, as long as the eyes are sharp. — Jamie Pham, GLAZA Photographer & Photo Editor

SUB MIT YOUR PHOTOS To be considered for inclusion in future installments of Zoo-m In, submit your best images taken at the L.A. Zoo. No more than two images per member per month, please. Include your name in the file name for each photograph (e.g., Giraffe-John Smith). Do not send images that include people unless you will be able to provide a signed release from all parties pictured in the event your photo is selected for publication.

LEFT PAGE Those big ears may be hard to resist, but focusing on fennec fox Radar’s eyes enables a more personal connection. Photo by: JAMIE PHAM

SUBMIT BY EMAIL photos@lazoo.org

RIGHT PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Flamingo by DEBBIE LEFEVER; Tasmanian devil by JAY C. CHRISTENSEN; mandrill by KERI KILGO; lemur buddies by MICHAEL ELLIOTT; eagle owl takeoff by MICHAEL ELLIOTT; howler monkey by LYNN HEYDENREICH

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PROFILE

Totally Tenrec by DIANE TUCHMAYER

ten·rec

SPECIES SPECIFICS

IF YOU THOUGHT THIS SMALL, SPIKY MAMMAL WAS A HEDGEHOG, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The tenrec has one of the most

NOCTURNAL MOSTLY SOLITARY OMNIVOROUS BARBED SPINES GRASPING TOES HOOKED CLAWS

frequently misidentified faces in the Zoo. Just ask the docents in the Animals & You program who have the privilege of introducing this unusual species to Zoo guests—usually for the first time. They’ll tell you that despite their superficial similarities, tenrecs and hedgehogs aren’t even closely related. (But to add to the confusion, the species in residence at the Zoo has the word “hedgehog” in its name!) Tenrecs hail from the island of Madagascar, where they have lived for an estimated 60 million years. During that time, they diverged into about 30 different species. The lesser Madagascar hedgehog tenrec—the type seen at the Zoo—is found in the southern and southwestern part of the island. Individuals weigh four to seven ounces and grow to about seven inches in length. Their backs are covered in spines that range from white to black, and they have fine, light-colored hairs on their bellies and paws. When threatened by predators such as snakes, birds of prey and fossa, tenrecs will rattle their spines, hiss, and roll into balls to

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TENREC

protect their soft bellies. They may also push themselves backward to stick their spines into an attacker. These nocturnal creatures have tiny eyes and poor eyesight. They rely on their keen sense of smell and hearing to forage for food at night. To conserve energy when food is scarce, tenrecs will go into torpor, a hibernation-like state lasting from three to five months, during which their temperature, heartbeat, and respiration decrease. Similarly, in summer the tenrecs may go into a dormant stage to get through periods of high heat. The Zoo’s tenrecs, siblings Midge and Rex, are nearly two years old. They live in a temperature-controlled environment of 70 to 80 degrees that matches Madagascar’s subtropical climate. They are not on daily view but appear in regular rotation in the Animals & You program, in which docents facilitate close-up encounters between guests and some of the Zoo’s smaller residents. “They are really curious,” says Animals & You docent Liz La Dou. “They march around the plexiglass enclosure they’re placed in, putting their noses into the air. I love taking them out because they’re so small, and they’ll cling to your finger. No one’s ever seen them before, so they’re amazed. People love them!”

SUM M E R 2019

Tenrecs Midge and Rex joined the Zoo’s animal ambassador program in September 2018. Photos by JAMIE PHAM

SU M M E R 2019

ZO O V I E W

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PROFILE

Totally Tenrec by DIANE TUCHMAYER

ten·rec

SPECIES SPECIFICS

IF YOU THOUGHT THIS SMALL, SPIKY MAMMAL WAS A HEDGEHOG, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The tenrec has one of the most

NOCTURNAL MOSTLY SOLITARY OMNIVOROUS BARBED SPINES GRASPING TOES HOOKED CLAWS

frequently misidentified faces in the Zoo. Just ask the docents in the Animals & You program who have the privilege of introducing this unusual species to Zoo guests—usually for the first time. They’ll tell you that despite their superficial similarities, tenrecs and hedgehogs aren’t even closely related. (But to add to the confusion, the species in residence at the Zoo has the word “hedgehog” in its name!) Tenrecs hail from the island of Madagascar, where they have lived for an estimated 60 million years. During that time, they diverged into about 30 different species. The lesser Madagascar hedgehog tenrec—the type seen at the Zoo—is found in the southern and southwestern part of the island. Individuals weigh four to seven ounces and grow to about seven inches in length. Their backs are covered in spines that range from white to black, and they have fine, light-colored hairs on their bellies and paws. When threatened by predators such as snakes, birds of prey and fossa, tenrecs will rattle their spines, hiss, and roll into balls to

8

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TENREC

protect their soft bellies. They may also push themselves backward to stick their spines into an attacker. These nocturnal creatures have tiny eyes and poor eyesight. They rely on their keen sense of smell and hearing to forage for food at night. To conserve energy when food is scarce, tenrecs will go into torpor, a hibernation-like state lasting from three to five months, during which their temperature, heartbeat, and respiration decrease. Similarly, in summer the tenrecs may go into a dormant stage to get through periods of high heat. The Zoo’s tenrecs, siblings Midge and Rex, are nearly two years old. They live in a temperature-controlled environment of 70 to 80 degrees that matches Madagascar’s subtropical climate. They are not on daily view but appear in regular rotation in the Animals & You program, in which docents facilitate close-up encounters between guests and some of the Zoo’s smaller residents. “They are really curious,” says Animals & You docent Liz La Dou. “They march around the plexiglass enclosure they’re placed in, putting their noses into the air. I love taking them out because they’re so small, and they’ll cling to your finger. No one’s ever seen them before, so they’re amazed. People love them!”

SUM M E R 2019

Tenrecs Midge and Rex joined the Zoo’s animal ambassador program in September 2018. Photos by JAMIE PHAM

SU M M E R 2019

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by BRENDA SCOTT ROYCE photography by JAMIE PHAM

The Call of the Wild

ALL IN A D AY ’ S W O R K CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Chandra David assists with a California condor medical exam; Jonnie Greslie-Stroud trims an okapi’s hooves; Greg Pontoppidan (center) participates in the release of Zoo-bred mountain yellowlegged frogs to native habitat. Photos by JAMIE PHAM

For these professionals, caring for the Zoo’s animal residents is a labor of love

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by BRENDA SCOTT ROYCE photography by JAMIE PHAM

The Call of the Wild

ALL IN A D AY ’ S W O R K CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Chandra David assists with a California condor medical exam; Jonnie Greslie-Stroud trims an okapi’s hooves; Greg Pontoppidan (center) participates in the release of Zoo-bred mountain yellowlegged frogs to native habitat. Photos by JAMIE PHAM

For these professionals, caring for the Zoo’s animal residents is a labor of love

SU MME R 2019

ZO O V I E W

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“I always say, ‘The quality of our work is the quality of their lives.’ And it had better be the best. They deserve the best we can give.”

MICHAEL JENKINS

L’OREAL DUNN

“Otters are intelligent animals. You can teach them to do exactly what you need to help monitor their health.”

“It’s

so much more than a job; it really is a lifestyle,” says Stephanie Zielinski, lead keeper for the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ carnivore string—a group of animals that includes tigers, bears, and snow leopards. “As a frontline animal keeper, you affect the day-to-day lives of the animals. You have the ability to create a really joyful life for them. It’s a tremendous responsibility, and it’s also incredibly rewarding.” Zielinski’s words are echoed by her colleagues throughout the Zoo. Asked to describe their job, rather than recite a list of duties, most keepers speak of a greater purpose—a calling that for many was evident in early childhood. Hoofstock keeper Mallory Peebles recalls a pivotal moment when, at age seven, she removed a splinter from her dog’s paw. “I wanted to be a ‘let me help you, let me heal you,’ type person, and so I got it out,” she recalls. “It was that moment that put the idea in my brain that I wanted to work with animals in some way.” Each of the Zoo’s current contingent of keepers (currently numbering 82 full-time and 25 part- or half-time) has a unique backstory. Many, like Peebles, were bitten by the animal bug at a young age, while for others, zookeeping was a second career. For one, the journey began with a bear.

DIFFERENT ROADS

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.” GEORGE R.R. MARTIN A GAME OF THRONES

FRANCISCO MORAN Francisco Moran loved animals growing up but hadn’t considered channeling it into a

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career. “I didn’t even think that was an option,” he says. Then a professor at Riverside Community College nudged him in the right direction. “He saw that I was a little more focused in science, and he told me, ‘Oh, you’re going to go to Cal Poly Pomona to study ecology.’ I took that advice and started looking into Cal Poly Pomona, and that’s when I realized they had a zoology program, which not many universities have. That shifted my focus.” “I wanted to be an architect until I took drafting in high school and found it boring,” says L’Oreal Dunn. “What was I thinking?! Working with animals I can be part of something bigger—a part of conservation work and spreading the word of why we need to save these animals and conserve natural habitat. I can do something that actually affects the globe.” By her early twenties, Zielinski was already making good money as a retail store manager. Then she had an epiphany. “I realized, ‘This isn’t my passion. I can’t imagine doing this my whole life.’” She credits her mother with helping her identify her life’s purpose and research zoo careers. “I’ve always loved animals but never thought about it as a career until I was in my early thirties,” says Kevin Copley, who had previously studied business law. “I was in the Angeles National Forest, having dinner one night, when I was bluff-charged by a bear.” Bluff charges are meant to frighten, and the bear’s ploy worked. “It scared the heck out of me!” The adrenaline-charged encounter sparked a lifelong fascination with the species. “I wanted to learn all about these animals, so I started taking classes,” Copley says. “Pretty soon I was a bear guide in Alaska, working with wild bears for many years.” When he longed to transition into “something a little more civilized,” he set his sights on the Zoo.

CARING What most people think of as a zookeeper’s daily duties—feeding animals and cleaning up after them—is just the beginning. Keepers also educate guests, assist with veterinary

care, provide enrichment, conduct research, monitor animal health and behavior, maintain records, and more. For some, the job involves odd hours and off-grounds excursions—from gathering eucalyptus for picky koalas to rappelling down mountains to check on California condor chicks nesting in cliffside caves. The job is so all-encompassing that Moran equates it with parenting. “The animals are kind of like our children, where, just as you take care of every aspect of your child’s life, we take care of every aspect of our animals’ lives,” he says. “We make sure that they are happy and healthy to the best of our abilities. We have a routine but there’s a lot of unpredictability, too; you have to be able to adjust and figure things out on the fly.” That’s not to downplay the importance of feeding and cleaning, which can take up the bulk of a keeper’s day depending on their area or specialty. “Elephants eat a lot of dry food,” says Copley, one of their six full-time keepers. “So, let’s say we give Billy 150 pounds, and the girls—Tina, Jewel, and Shaunzi—each get 100 pounds of food every day. That doesn’t mean we pick up 450 pounds of poop. They also drink a lot of water, which is absorbed by the hay. So, we may put out 450 pounds of food, but we’re picking up close to a half ton of poop every day! You’ve got to be in good physical shape to do this work.” Cleaning takes up a smaller percentage of Lori Rogalski’s day. “For me, it’s a lot of observations, a lot of research, and a lot of calculating,” she says. Rogalski oversees the Zoo’s Avian Conservation Center, an offexhibit facility that focuses on breeding and rearing rare birds. “If the blue-throated macaws are laying eggs, you need to figure out when they’re going to hatch. You’ve got to adjust their diets. Figure out what the hatchling needs. Figure out what a fledgling will need. “You have to get the perching just right for every species. Make a lot of nesting material. They have to have nontoxic plants, so you need to know your plants. You have to figure out what type of nest box is best— should it be a box or a tree or a basket? Do they need grass, do they need twigs?

ZO O V I E W

13


“I always say, ‘The quality of our work is the quality of their lives.’ And it had better be the best. They deserve the best we can give.”

MICHAEL JENKINS

L’OREAL DUNN

“Otters are intelligent animals. You can teach them to do exactly what you need to help monitor their health.”

“It’s

so much more than a job; it really is a lifestyle,” says Stephanie Zielinski, lead keeper for the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ carnivore string—a group of animals that includes tigers, bears, and snow leopards. “As a frontline animal keeper, you affect the day-to-day lives of the animals. You have the ability to create a really joyful life for them. It’s a tremendous responsibility, and it’s also incredibly rewarding.” Zielinski’s words are echoed by her colleagues throughout the Zoo. Asked to describe their job, rather than recite a list of duties, most keepers speak of a greater purpose—a calling that for many was evident in early childhood. Hoofstock keeper Mallory Peebles recalls a pivotal moment when, at age seven, she removed a splinter from her dog’s paw. “I wanted to be a ‘let me help you, let me heal you,’ type person, and so I got it out,” she recalls. “It was that moment that put the idea in my brain that I wanted to work with animals in some way.” Each of the Zoo’s current contingent of keepers (currently numbering 82 full-time and 25 part- or half-time) has a unique backstory. Many, like Peebles, were bitten by the animal bug at a young age, while for others, zookeeping was a second career. For one, the journey began with a bear.

DIFFERENT ROADS

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.” GEORGE R.R. MARTIN A GAME OF THRONES

FRANCISCO MORAN Francisco Moran loved animals growing up but hadn’t considered channeling it into a

12

ZO O V I E W

SU MME R 2019

SU MME R 2019

career. “I didn’t even think that was an option,” he says. Then a professor at Riverside Community College nudged him in the right direction. “He saw that I was a little more focused in science, and he told me, ‘Oh, you’re going to go to Cal Poly Pomona to study ecology.’ I took that advice and started looking into Cal Poly Pomona, and that’s when I realized they had a zoology program, which not many universities have. That shifted my focus.” “I wanted to be an architect until I took drafting in high school and found it boring,” says L’Oreal Dunn. “What was I thinking?! Working with animals I can be part of something bigger—a part of conservation work and spreading the word of why we need to save these animals and conserve natural habitat. I can do something that actually affects the globe.” By her early twenties, Zielinski was already making good money as a retail store manager. Then she had an epiphany. “I realized, ‘This isn’t my passion. I can’t imagine doing this my whole life.’” She credits her mother with helping her identify her life’s purpose and research zoo careers. “I’ve always loved animals but never thought about it as a career until I was in my early thirties,” says Kevin Copley, who had previously studied business law. “I was in the Angeles National Forest, having dinner one night, when I was bluff-charged by a bear.” Bluff charges are meant to frighten, and the bear’s ploy worked. “It scared the heck out of me!” The adrenaline-charged encounter sparked a lifelong fascination with the species. “I wanted to learn all about these animals, so I started taking classes,” Copley says. “Pretty soon I was a bear guide in Alaska, working with wild bears for many years.” When he longed to transition into “something a little more civilized,” he set his sights on the Zoo.

CARING What most people think of as a zookeeper’s daily duties—feeding animals and cleaning up after them—is just the beginning. Keepers also educate guests, assist with veterinary

care, provide enrichment, conduct research, monitor animal health and behavior, maintain records, and more. For some, the job involves odd hours and off-grounds excursions—from gathering eucalyptus for picky koalas to rappelling down mountains to check on California condor chicks nesting in cliffside caves. The job is so all-encompassing that Moran equates it with parenting. “The animals are kind of like our children, where, just as you take care of every aspect of your child’s life, we take care of every aspect of our animals’ lives,” he says. “We make sure that they are happy and healthy to the best of our abilities. We have a routine but there’s a lot of unpredictability, too; you have to be able to adjust and figure things out on the fly.” That’s not to downplay the importance of feeding and cleaning, which can take up the bulk of a keeper’s day depending on their area or specialty. “Elephants eat a lot of dry food,” says Copley, one of their six full-time keepers. “So, let’s say we give Billy 150 pounds, and the girls—Tina, Jewel, and Shaunzi—each get 100 pounds of food every day. That doesn’t mean we pick up 450 pounds of poop. They also drink a lot of water, which is absorbed by the hay. So, we may put out 450 pounds of food, but we’re picking up close to a half ton of poop every day! You’ve got to be in good physical shape to do this work.” Cleaning takes up a smaller percentage of Lori Rogalski’s day. “For me, it’s a lot of observations, a lot of research, and a lot of calculating,” she says. Rogalski oversees the Zoo’s Avian Conservation Center, an offexhibit facility that focuses on breeding and rearing rare birds. “If the blue-throated macaws are laying eggs, you need to figure out when they’re going to hatch. You’ve got to adjust their diets. Figure out what the hatchling needs. Figure out what a fledgling will need. “You have to get the perching just right for every species. Make a lot of nesting material. They have to have nontoxic plants, so you need to know your plants. You have to figure out what type of nest box is best— should it be a box or a tree or a basket? Do they need grass, do they need twigs?

ZO O V I E W

13


“It’s great to be part of such an amazing team. We all have the same goal: to help animals and help conservation.” LORI ROGALSKI

i ONLINE EXTRA Meet Thorn, the blue-throated macaw chick raised by L.A. Zoo keepers: www.LosAngelesZoo.org/bluethroatedmacaw

Andrea Delegal feeds sea lion Buddy; Scott Haist gives an elephant a pedicure.

What size twigs, what size sticks, what kind of shavings are safe? I have to figure out their natural history, see what makes them comfortable. Because if they’re not comfortable, they’re not going to breed. It’s basically solving puzzles here.” Puzzle-solving also takes up a good chunk of koala keeper Krissy Parada’s day. Her animals will only eat very specific types of eucalyptus, and Parada spends 15 to 20 hours of her work week collecting, trimming, and bundling branches in hopes that they’ll find at least 75 percent palatable. Parada equates another aspect of her job to psychology, and indeed, managing social animals sounds somewhat like group therapy. “You need to be able to observe the dynamics in a group, to learn individual behaviors as well as the species’ behaviors,” she says. “A big part of our job is looking out for signs of illness or incompatibility— anything that’s out of the normal routine.

14

ZO O V I E W

Are they getting along, or is someone getting picked on? You wouldn’t think koalas would be different, but they all have very distinct personalities and preferences.”

CONNECTING As the public face of animal care, keepers often serve as spokespeople, imparting information about zoo animals and their role as ambassadors for vanishing species. “One of the best parts of our job besides caring for these amazing animals is sharing them with the public,” says Copley. Daily elephant care demonstrations give keepers the opportunity to show guests how they use positive reinforcement to bond with and care for the elephants. “I’ll tell anecdotes about the elephants,

and explain what’s going on with the species in the wild and what makes elephant care so unique here.” He especially enjoys discussing the various forms of enrichment the staff and volunteers provide for the elephants. “I love explaining how we’re always coming up with new puzzle-feeders and other ways to challenge them. ‘Here’s one that they have to blow into to get the food out of; there’s one that’s like a cube they have to turn over and sideways.’ It helps people understand what we do and how much we love these animals.” Until recently, Peebles was assigned to the World of Birds Show, which gave her ample opportunity to interact with guests. “You do have those moments, those heartfelt moments, that are just like ‘boom,’” she says. “You’re telling someone more about their favorite animal, and you see their face light up. It sparks their interest and ultimately, that’s why we’re here.”

SU MME R 2019

SU MME R 2019

ZO O V I E W

15


“It’s great to be part of such an amazing team. We all have the same goal: to help animals and help conservation.” LORI ROGALSKI

i ONLINE EXTRA Meet Thorn, the blue-throated macaw chick raised by L.A. Zoo keepers: www.LosAngelesZoo.org/bluethroatedmacaw

Andrea Delegal feeds sea lion Buddy; Scott Haist gives an elephant a pedicure.

What size twigs, what size sticks, what kind of shavings are safe? I have to figure out their natural history, see what makes them comfortable. Because if they’re not comfortable, they’re not going to breed. It’s basically solving puzzles here.” Puzzle-solving also takes up a good chunk of koala keeper Krissy Parada’s day. Her animals will only eat very specific types of eucalyptus, and Parada spends 15 to 20 hours of her work week collecting, trimming, and bundling branches in hopes that they’ll find at least 75 percent palatable. Parada equates another aspect of her job to psychology, and indeed, managing social animals sounds somewhat like group therapy. “You need to be able to observe the dynamics in a group, to learn individual behaviors as well as the species’ behaviors,” she says. “A big part of our job is looking out for signs of illness or incompatibility— anything that’s out of the normal routine.

14

ZO O V I E W

Are they getting along, or is someone getting picked on? You wouldn’t think koalas would be different, but they all have very distinct personalities and preferences.”

CONNECTING As the public face of animal care, keepers often serve as spokespeople, imparting information about zoo animals and their role as ambassadors for vanishing species. “One of the best parts of our job besides caring for these amazing animals is sharing them with the public,” says Copley. Daily elephant care demonstrations give keepers the opportunity to show guests how they use positive reinforcement to bond with and care for the elephants. “I’ll tell anecdotes about the elephants,

and explain what’s going on with the species in the wild and what makes elephant care so unique here.” He especially enjoys discussing the various forms of enrichment the staff and volunteers provide for the elephants. “I love explaining how we’re always coming up with new puzzle-feeders and other ways to challenge them. ‘Here’s one that they have to blow into to get the food out of; there’s one that’s like a cube they have to turn over and sideways.’ It helps people understand what we do and how much we love these animals.” Until recently, Peebles was assigned to the World of Birds Show, which gave her ample opportunity to interact with guests. “You do have those moments, those heartfelt moments, that are just like ‘boom,’” she says. “You’re telling someone more about their favorite animal, and you see their face light up. It sparks their interest and ultimately, that’s why we’re here.”

SU MME R 2019

SU MME R 2019

ZO O V I E W

15


So You Want to Be a Keeper?

Do you have a passion for animals, an exemplary work ethic, and an insatiable curiosity about the natural world? If so, a career in zookeeping might be right for you. The path to becoming a zookeeper isn’t set in stone. Most of the Zoo’s keepers have college degrees, and nearly all logged significant volunteer hours prior to ever collecting a zoo paycheck.

THE HIRING PROCESS

VOLUNTEER

Because the Los Angeles Zoo is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles,

To volunteer as an animal keeper at the L.A. Zoo, you must first have at least

the hiring process for full-time animal keepers is a bit more complex than at

100 hours working with exotic animals. There are a number of facilities in

most zoos. Candidates must pass a civil service examination, which is only

Southern California where you can earn those hours, including the California

offered every few years. To qualify, you must have the equivalent of one year

Wildlife Center, Exotic Feline Breeding Compound, and the Santa Ana Zoo.

of full-time paid zookeeping experience or training at an approved, accredited

For more information, visit www.lazoo.org/volunteer/keepers.

school such as Moorpark College’s two-year Exotic Animal Training & Manage-

“Volunteer. Wherever you can,” says Lori Rogalski. “Even if it’s not at the L.A. Zoo.” While she was earning her degree in Environmental Science,

ment (EATM) program. Though it’s not a written test, the keeper “exam” is scored numerically, and applicants are placed on a list in order of their scores. As

Rogalski logged hours at a wildlife rehab center, where a highlight was hand-raising baby raccoons. “You’re building up a resume, and you’re helping—so it’s a win-win.”

full-time positions open up at the Zoo, candidates are interviewed in order of ranking. This ranking is so important

PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT

to a prospective keeper’s career prospects that even years or decades after they took the civil service exam, most keepers remember their exact number.

“My first job at the Zoo was part-time, which is a pretty typical pathway to full-time employment

GET A FOOT IN THE DOOR

here,” says reptile keeper Greg Pontoppidan. Working part-time gives keepers a chance to prove themselves to higher ups, he says.

For some people, getting a foot in the

“It’s also a matter of timing. That civil service

door—any door—of the Zoo can make all the

exam might have just happened.

difference. “Once I decided I wanted

You might be the most quali-

to work with animals, I started

fied candidate on the planet,

taking classes here,” says koala keeper Krissy Parada. One of

and you still have to wait

those classes was a behavioral

two years.” Pontoppidan

studies course offered by the

survived the wait by cobbling together

Zoo’s Research Division. “After

multiple

that, I volun-

part-time

teered and

jobs. Thanks

eventually

to the

got hired in

skills he

Research. I was here every day—either working in Research or volunteering as a

developed through those pursuits, he landed a part-time

keeper. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity and try

position in the Zoo’s condor department.

to learn as fast as I could.”

WORDS OF ADVICE “One thing I would suggest to anyone who wants to be a keeper is, don’t wait for the Zoo to develop skills for you,” says Pontoppidan. “Come to the Zoo with skills. Have something you’ve already worked on, whether it’s fieldwork or other forms of professional development. Maybe you’ve published something or worked in different industries that have given you a collage of talents.” “Don’t give up,” adds Rogalski. “So many people who start out on this career path switch to something else when they don’t get a job at the first place they apply to. It took me eight years to get hired at the Los Angeles Zoo, which was my ultimate goal. You have to be passionate, and you have to be persistent. But you can do it.”

16

ZO O V I E W

SU MME R 2019

DONOR SPOTLIGHT CONSERVING Animal keepers are not only committed to the individual animals in their care, they are also deeply concerned about the welfare of those species in the wild. Whether through the Zoo or on their own, many travel near and far to participate in conservation projects. These efforts are usually fueled by a twofold desire: to assist wild populations and to acquire skills or knowledge to benefit the animals in their care. “I went to Bali to study Bali mynahs,” says Rogalski, whose 2016 trip was funded by GLAZA’s Ornato Advanced Field Studies Grant. “I learned so much, not just about Bali mynahs, but breeding in general—and I apply everything I learned to the birds here.” A recent success was raising a critically endangered blue-throated macaw chick whose parents were unable to care for it due to illness. Great ape keeper Megan Fox has done extensive fieldwork with orangutans in Borneo throughout her career, work she says exponentially expanded her perspective. “It opened my mind to the severity of the situation that a lot of these animals face in-situ, and what our work here does to help highlight these species for the general public.” Fox says the partnership between zoos and outside conservation agencies has strengthened over her 20-year career. “There’s much more of a marriage between zoos and conservation now, not only in the effort to educate people as to what’s going on in the wild, but also to support bootson-the-ground field work.” “The conservation aspect of the job is what made me decide to work at the Zoo at all,” says reptile keeper Greg Pontoppidan. “That’s probably the most fulfilling part.” Working with the U.S. Geological Survey and other organizations, Pontoppidan and other members of the Zoo’s herpetology team have assisted in landmark efforts to restore mountain yellow-legged frogs to areas of the San Gabriel mountains where the species had nearly been wiped out. Releasing zoo-raised tadpoles marks the fruition of a great deal of effort, he says. “It’s a direct link to a good, positive outcome.”

SU MME R 2019

Planting the Seeds ZOO DONORS COME IN ALL STRIPES. Some contribute money and much-needed resources. Others give generously of their time and expertise. Some gifts may be hard to quantify but their impact can be profound and far-reaching. Sue Ivanjack has been a GLAZA docent for 21 years, logging more than 4,400 hours of volunteer service. She and her husband Larry are members of the Safari Society, GLAZA’s premier giving program. They’ve donated to numerous conservation appeals and special projects. Their biggest gift to date funded a commemorative bench near the jaguar habitat. But long before she became a docent and donor, Sue was an unofficial Zoo booster. “I’ve been visiting the Zoo since it opened at this location,” she says, “and all through the years I’ve encouraged people to go and see all it has to offer.” She organized numerous zoo outings for kids and parents from her church community. By sharing her beloved zoo with others—especially young people—she hoped to spark in them the same love of nature that she’d harbored since childhood. Little did she know that one of those youngsters would one day make his own mark on the Zoo. “Sue brought me to the Zoo when I was a kid, so it’s interesting to see her name on things here now,” says Animal Keeper Greg Pontoppidan. “She was a really great ambassador for animals in general, and for the L.A. Zoo specifically.” While he always knew he wanted to work with animals, those early visits may have helped steer Pontoppidan toward a zoological setting. After graduating from the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College, he held a series of wildlife-related jobs before landing a part-time position at the Zoo. He’s now been a full-time keeper for more than 10 years. “I couldn’t be prouder of Greg,” Sue says, praising his calm, confident manner of interacting with wild animals. Though illness has caused her to cut back on her docent activities, she still keeps tabs on Greg’s career. And she and her husband continue to participate in the life of the Zoo in myriad ways. Pontoppidan says, “The Ivanjacks really put their mission into practice, bringing people here and showing them the Zoo. I like to thank them any chance I get.” The Zoo thanks them, too.

PICTURED ABOVE: Sue and Larry Ivanjack (far right) with their daughter Rebecca, son-in-law Peter, and grandchildren James and Grace at a Zoo event in 2017. Photo by JAMIE PHAM

ZO O V I E W

17


So You Want to Be a Keeper?

Do you have a passion for animals, an exemplary work ethic, and an insatiable curiosity about the natural world? If so, a career in zookeeping might be right for you. The path to becoming a zookeeper isn’t set in stone. Most of the Zoo’s keepers have college degrees, and nearly all logged significant volunteer hours prior to ever collecting a zoo paycheck.

THE HIRING PROCESS

VOLUNTEER

Because the Los Angeles Zoo is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles,

To volunteer as an animal keeper at the L.A. Zoo, you must first have at least

the hiring process for full-time animal keepers is a bit more complex than at

100 hours working with exotic animals. There are a number of facilities in

most zoos. Candidates must pass a civil service examination, which is only

Southern California where you can earn those hours, including the California

offered every few years. To qualify, you must have the equivalent of one year

Wildlife Center, Exotic Feline Breeding Compound, and the Santa Ana Zoo.

of full-time paid zookeeping experience or training at an approved, accredited

For more information, visit www.lazoo.org/volunteer/keepers.

school such as Moorpark College’s two-year Exotic Animal Training & Manage-

“Volunteer. Wherever you can,” says Lori Rogalski. “Even if it’s not at the L.A. Zoo.” While she was earning her degree in Environmental Science,

ment (EATM) program. Though it’s not a written test, the keeper “exam” is scored numerically, and applicants are placed on a list in order of their scores. As

Rogalski logged hours at a wildlife rehab center, where a highlight was hand-raising baby raccoons. “You’re building up a resume, and you’re helping—so it’s a win-win.”

full-time positions open up at the Zoo, candidates are interviewed in order of ranking. This ranking is so important

PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT

to a prospective keeper’s career prospects that even years or decades after they took the civil service exam, most keepers remember their exact number.

“My first job at the Zoo was part-time, which is a pretty typical pathway to full-time employment

GET A FOOT IN THE DOOR

here,” says reptile keeper Greg Pontoppidan. Working part-time gives keepers a chance to prove themselves to higher ups, he says.

For some people, getting a foot in the

“It’s also a matter of timing. That civil service

door—any door—of the Zoo can make all the

exam might have just happened.

difference. “Once I decided I wanted

You might be the most quali-

to work with animals, I started

fied candidate on the planet,

taking classes here,” says koala keeper Krissy Parada. One of

and you still have to wait

those classes was a behavioral

two years.” Pontoppidan

studies course offered by the

survived the wait by cobbling together

Zoo’s Research Division. “After

multiple

that, I volun-

part-time

teered and

jobs. Thanks

eventually

to the

got hired in

skills he

Research. I was here every day—either working in Research or volunteering as a

developed through those pursuits, he landed a part-time

keeper. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity and try

position in the Zoo’s condor department.

to learn as fast as I could.”

WORDS OF ADVICE “One thing I would suggest to anyone who wants to be a keeper is, don’t wait for the Zoo to develop skills for you,” says Pontoppidan. “Come to the Zoo with skills. Have something you’ve already worked on, whether it’s fieldwork or other forms of professional development. Maybe you’ve published something or worked in different industries that have given you a collage of talents.” “Don’t give up,” adds Rogalski. “So many people who start out on this career path switch to something else when they don’t get a job at the first place they apply to. It took me eight years to get hired at the Los Angeles Zoo, which was my ultimate goal. You have to be passionate, and you have to be persistent. But you can do it.”

16

ZO O V I E W

SU MME R 2019

DONOR SPOTLIGHT CONSERVING Animal keepers are not only committed to the individual animals in their care, they are also deeply concerned about the welfare of those species in the wild. Whether through the Zoo or on their own, many travel near and far to participate in conservation projects. These efforts are usually fueled by a twofold desire: to assist wild populations and to acquire skills or knowledge to benefit the animals in their care. “I went to Bali to study Bali mynahs,” says Rogalski, whose 2016 trip was funded by GLAZA’s Ornato Advanced Field Studies Grant. “I learned so much, not just about Bali mynahs, but breeding in general—and I apply everything I learned to the birds here.” A recent success was raising a critically endangered blue-throated macaw chick whose parents were unable to care for it due to illness. Great ape keeper Megan Fox has done extensive fieldwork with orangutans in Borneo throughout her career, work she says exponentially expanded her perspective. “It opened my mind to the severity of the situation that a lot of these animals face in-situ, and what our work here does to help highlight these species for the general public.” Fox says the partnership between zoos and outside conservation agencies has strengthened over her 20-year career. “There’s much more of a marriage between zoos and conservation now, not only in the effort to educate people as to what’s going on in the wild, but also to support bootson-the-ground field work.” “The conservation aspect of the job is what made me decide to work at the Zoo at all,” says reptile keeper Greg Pontoppidan. “That’s probably the most fulfilling part.” Working with the U.S. Geological Survey and other organizations, Pontoppidan and other members of the Zoo’s herpetology team have assisted in landmark efforts to restore mountain yellow-legged frogs to areas of the San Gabriel mountains where the species had nearly been wiped out. Releasing zoo-raised tadpoles marks the fruition of a great deal of effort, he says. “It’s a direct link to a good, positive outcome.”

SU MME R 2019

Planting the Seeds ZOO DONORS COME IN ALL STRIPES. Some contribute money and much-needed resources. Others give generously of their time and expertise. Some gifts may be hard to quantify but their impact can be profound and far-reaching. Sue Ivanjack has been a GLAZA docent for 21 years, logging more than 4,400 hours of volunteer service. She and her husband Larry are members of the Safari Society, GLAZA’s premier giving program. They’ve donated to numerous conservation appeals and special projects. Their biggest gift to date funded a commemorative bench near the jaguar habitat. But long before she became a docent and donor, Sue was an unofficial Zoo booster. “I’ve been visiting the Zoo since it opened at this location,” she says, “and all through the years I’ve encouraged people to go and see all it has to offer.” She organized numerous zoo outings for kids and parents from her church community. By sharing her beloved zoo with others—especially young people—she hoped to spark in them the same love of nature that she’d harbored since childhood. Little did she know that one of those youngsters would one day make his own mark on the Zoo. “Sue brought me to the Zoo when I was a kid, so it’s interesting to see her name on things here now,” says Animal Keeper Greg Pontoppidan. “She was a really great ambassador for animals in general, and for the L.A. Zoo specifically.” While he always knew he wanted to work with animals, those early visits may have helped steer Pontoppidan toward a zoological setting. After graduating from the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College, he held a series of wildlife-related jobs before landing a part-time position at the Zoo. He’s now been a full-time keeper for more than 10 years. “I couldn’t be prouder of Greg,” Sue says, praising his calm, confident manner of interacting with wild animals. Though illness has caused her to cut back on her docent activities, she still keeps tabs on Greg’s career. And she and her husband continue to participate in the life of the Zoo in myriad ways. Pontoppidan says, “The Ivanjacks really put their mission into practice, bringing people here and showing them the Zoo. I like to thank them any chance I get.” The Zoo thanks them, too.

PICTURED ABOVE: Sue and Larry Ivanjack (far right) with their daughter Rebecca, son-in-law Peter, and grandchildren James and Grace at a Zoo event in 2017. Photo by JAMIE PHAM

ZO O V I E W

17


“Presenting animals to the public is about telling a story— especially with young kids, which is where I think you can be the most impactful.”

working on a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences through Oregon State University’s distance learning program. “You’re constantly learning. Every day. The animals teach you something, or your coworkers teach you something.” Though she has earned associates degrees in equine science, animal science, and wildlife management, hoofstock keeper Jonnie Greslie-Stroud says her thirst for learning will never be quenched: “You reach a stage where you say, ‘I need to keep learning, and I’m never going to learn enough.” She attends conferences relating to okapi and other species she works with. “You want to know what’s going on out there, so you can grow and evolve.”

BRYAN MARTINEZ

Chandra David studied primatology in college but her career took an unexpected turn when a spot opened up on the California condor team. “I thought, ‘Well, I’m not into birds, but this will be good for my resume.’ I planned to do it for a little while but I totally fell in love with this program. Not just the birds themselves, but to be involved in the effort to bring back a species is incredibly inspiring.”

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

COOPERATIVE CARE

Keepers are quick to

“We train certain animals to participate in their own health care,” says Zielinski. “We use that term a lot, participating, because it’s true. It’s pretty hard to take a 400-pound tiger to get his tooth looked at or get a vaccine. You’d have to put them under anesthesia. But if you train them to open their mouth or present their tail for a blood test, you make their lives so much easier.” “There are so many creative ways to use positive reinforcement training to enhance how we care for the animals,” Fox adds. For example, some of the great apes have been trained to present their chests or abdomens for ultrasounds. “In cardiac care, doing an ultrasound while an animal is awake can provide valuable information, since anesthesia can potentially alter readings.”

concede that they do not work in a vacuum. A vast group of employees and volunteers in various roles throughout the Zoo contribute directly or indirectly to the well-being of the animals. “We collaborate not just with the veterinarians and our animal colleagues, but also the construction force that helps us to maintain the facilities and exhibits, education, fundraising, the list goes on,” Zielinski says.

18

ZO O V I E W

That kind of training can be time intensive, says Zielinski. “There’s a tremendous amount of relationship building involved. The animals get to know you, they get to trust you, and if you don’t break their trust you can create strong pathways to understanding them and caring for them.” The strength of the bonds keepers form with the animals brings not only joy but heartbreak. “You love these beautiful animals, and it’s wonderful to be close to them, but you deal with the heartbreak, too,” Parada says. “All living things have a life span, and sometimes it’s tragic and sometimes it’s natural—and it’s not easy either way. But the rewards of doing this far outweigh that.”

CONTINUING EDUCATION While it may be true that a zebra never changes its stripes nor a leopard its spots, caring for exotic animals is an ever-evolving discipline. Keepers constantly strive to expand their knowledge base, whether through formal education programs, independent research, or networking with other wildlife professionals around the world. “That’s one of the things that creates job satisfaction,” says Pontoppidan, a Moorpark College grad who is now

SU MME R 2019

The nature of the job means that for most keepers, it doesn’t end when they clock out. “On my days off, I think about these guys,” says Copley of the elephant quartet. “What are they doing? It’s two o’clock—I wonder if Billy is exercising now. I wonder if they got their browse yet. They mean the world to me; I think it’s the same for every keeper.” Being on call for emergencies means sleep is sometimes interrupted. A recent power outage brought David to the Zoo hours before her shift was scheduled to begin to check on incubating condor eggs. Moran sums it up: “We all work really hard for the Zoo’s mission. Conservation, caring for our animals, the education of the public, and everything the Zoo and the keepers value. It may be challenging, but it’s definitely worth the work.”

ONLINE EXTRA

NATIONAL ZOOKEEPER WEEK

JULY 21-27, 2019 Visit our keeper photo gallery at www.lazoo.org/zookeeperweek

SU MME R 2019

LEADING THE WAY FOUNDED IN 1967, THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF ZOO KEEPERS (AAZK) is composed of more than 60 chapters in the United States and Canada. The AAZK and its members are dedicated to advancing the profession of animal care and contributing to conservation globally. The history of AAZK in Los Angeles goes back nearly as far, with the Zoo’s first chapter forming in 1968. After a period of dormancy, the Los Angeles chapter (LA/AAZK) was relaunched in 2007, and today it is stronger than ever. In the last 10 years, LA/AAZK has raised $450,057.86 for rhinoceros conservation in Africa and Asia through AAZK’s flagship fundraiser, Bowling for Rhinos. This record-setting amount has set our chapter on a path of leadership in our association that has steered us to host next year’s national AAZK conference. Approximately 400 keepers will be hosted at the Glendale Hilton for a week of professional development and networking. We look forward to showing off what Los Angeles has to offer— especially our Zoo. The conference planning committee is working hard to organize the program and fundraise for the catering and hotel costs. To accomplish this, we’ve planned a number of events, including a bowl-a-thon on July 27 at Jewel City Bowl in Glendale. Everyone is welcome to bowl and/or participate in the raffle or silent auction! Beyond hosting the conference, our chapter is still striving to expand our impact. Thanks to the generous donation of docent Carlton Dudley, we are able to fund keeper conservation and professional development projects for the next 10 years. These projects give keepers the opportunity to further their education and professional growth, whether through conferences, classes, or participation in field projects. In 2018, the chapter designed a unique T-shirt to commemorate International Vulture Awareness Day, raising nearly $2,200 for vulture conservation. Thanks in large part to Laughs for Giraffes—a fun-filled evening of stand-up comedy—we’ve raised more than $18,000 for giraffe conservation over five years. Three of the nine giraffe subspecies are classified as endangered or critically endangered. In April, the chapter rallied to raise funds for Asian elephants in their range countries by holding a three-day California Pizza Kitchen fundraiser. Other LA/ AAZK fundraisers have benefitted wombats, red pandas, cheetahs, orangutans, and gorillas, to name just a few. LA/AAZK is also trying to step up our social game! Board members are organizing break-out sessions, guest speakers, and after-hours events to bring the chapter together outside of fundraising and conference planning duties. Between promoting better animal care practices nationally, sending keepers on projects around the world, and fostering unity among chapter members, keepers at the Los Angeles Zoo are leading the way for the American Association of Zoo Keepers. — SAMANTHA DERMAN, LEAD BIRD KEEPER

i

LEARN MORE AT www.losangelesaazk.org

ZO O V I E W

19


“Presenting animals to the public is about telling a story— especially with young kids, which is where I think you can be the most impactful.”

working on a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences through Oregon State University’s distance learning program. “You’re constantly learning. Every day. The animals teach you something, or your coworkers teach you something.” Though she has earned associates degrees in equine science, animal science, and wildlife management, hoofstock keeper Jonnie Greslie-Stroud says her thirst for learning will never be quenched: “You reach a stage where you say, ‘I need to keep learning, and I’m never going to learn enough.” She attends conferences relating to okapi and other species she works with. “You want to know what’s going on out there, so you can grow and evolve.”

BRYAN MARTINEZ

Chandra David studied primatology in college but her career took an unexpected turn when a spot opened up on the California condor team. “I thought, ‘Well, I’m not into birds, but this will be good for my resume.’ I planned to do it for a little while but I totally fell in love with this program. Not just the birds themselves, but to be involved in the effort to bring back a species is incredibly inspiring.”

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

COOPERATIVE CARE

Keepers are quick to

“We train certain animals to participate in their own health care,” says Zielinski. “We use that term a lot, participating, because it’s true. It’s pretty hard to take a 400-pound tiger to get his tooth looked at or get a vaccine. You’d have to put them under anesthesia. But if you train them to open their mouth or present their tail for a blood test, you make their lives so much easier.” “There are so many creative ways to use positive reinforcement training to enhance how we care for the animals,” Fox adds. For example, some of the great apes have been trained to present their chests or abdomens for ultrasounds. “In cardiac care, doing an ultrasound while an animal is awake can provide valuable information, since anesthesia can potentially alter readings.”

concede that they do not work in a vacuum. A vast group of employees and volunteers in various roles throughout the Zoo contribute directly or indirectly to the well-being of the animals. “We collaborate not just with the veterinarians and our animal colleagues, but also the construction force that helps us to maintain the facilities and exhibits, education, fundraising, the list goes on,” Zielinski says.

18

ZO O V I E W

That kind of training can be time intensive, says Zielinski. “There’s a tremendous amount of relationship building involved. The animals get to know you, they get to trust you, and if you don’t break their trust you can create strong pathways to understanding them and caring for them.” The strength of the bonds keepers form with the animals brings not only joy but heartbreak. “You love these beautiful animals, and it’s wonderful to be close to them, but you deal with the heartbreak, too,” Parada says. “All living things have a life span, and sometimes it’s tragic and sometimes it’s natural—and it’s not easy either way. But the rewards of doing this far outweigh that.”

CONTINUING EDUCATION While it may be true that a zebra never changes its stripes nor a leopard its spots, caring for exotic animals is an ever-evolving discipline. Keepers constantly strive to expand their knowledge base, whether through formal education programs, independent research, or networking with other wildlife professionals around the world. “That’s one of the things that creates job satisfaction,” says Pontoppidan, a Moorpark College grad who is now

SU MME R 2019

The nature of the job means that for most keepers, it doesn’t end when they clock out. “On my days off, I think about these guys,” says Copley of the elephant quartet. “What are they doing? It’s two o’clock—I wonder if Billy is exercising now. I wonder if they got their browse yet. They mean the world to me; I think it’s the same for every keeper.” Being on call for emergencies means sleep is sometimes interrupted. A recent power outage brought David to the Zoo hours before her shift was scheduled to begin to check on incubating condor eggs. Moran sums it up: “We all work really hard for the Zoo’s mission. Conservation, caring for our animals, the education of the public, and everything the Zoo and the keepers value. It may be challenging, but it’s definitely worth the work.”

ONLINE EXTRA

NATIONAL ZOOKEEPER WEEK

JULY 21-27, 2019 Visit our keeper photo gallery at www.lazoo.org/zookeeperweek

SU MME R 2019

LEADING THE WAY FOUNDED IN 1967, THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF ZOO KEEPERS (AAZK) is composed of more than 60 chapters in the United States and Canada. The AAZK and its members are dedicated to advancing the profession of animal care and contributing to conservation globally. The history of AAZK in Los Angeles goes back nearly as far, with the Zoo’s first chapter forming in 1968. After a period of dormancy, the Los Angeles chapter (LA/AAZK) was relaunched in 2007, and today it is stronger than ever. In the last 10 years, LA/AAZK has raised $450,057.86 for rhinoceros conservation in Africa and Asia through AAZK’s flagship fundraiser, Bowling for Rhinos. This record-setting amount has set our chapter on a path of leadership in our association that has steered us to host next year’s national AAZK conference. Approximately 400 keepers will be hosted at the Glendale Hilton for a week of professional development and networking. We look forward to showing off what Los Angeles has to offer— especially our Zoo. The conference planning committee is working hard to organize the program and fundraise for the catering and hotel costs. To accomplish this, we’ve planned a number of events, including a bowl-a-thon on July 27 at Jewel City Bowl in Glendale. Everyone is welcome to bowl and/or participate in the raffle or silent auction! Beyond hosting the conference, our chapter is still striving to expand our impact. Thanks to the generous donation of docent Carlton Dudley, we are able to fund keeper conservation and professional development projects for the next 10 years. These projects give keepers the opportunity to further their education and professional growth, whether through conferences, classes, or participation in field projects. In 2018, the chapter designed a unique T-shirt to commemorate International Vulture Awareness Day, raising nearly $2,200 for vulture conservation. Thanks in large part to Laughs for Giraffes—a fun-filled evening of stand-up comedy—we’ve raised more than $18,000 for giraffe conservation over five years. Three of the nine giraffe subspecies are classified as endangered or critically endangered. In April, the chapter rallied to raise funds for Asian elephants in their range countries by holding a three-day California Pizza Kitchen fundraiser. Other LA/ AAZK fundraisers have benefitted wombats, red pandas, cheetahs, orangutans, and gorillas, to name just a few. LA/AAZK is also trying to step up our social game! Board members are organizing break-out sessions, guest speakers, and after-hours events to bring the chapter together outside of fundraising and conference planning duties. Between promoting better animal care practices nationally, sending keepers on projects around the world, and fostering unity among chapter members, keepers at the Los Angeles Zoo are leading the way for the American Association of Zoo Keepers. — SAMANTHA DERMAN, LEAD BIRD KEEPER

i

LEARN MORE AT www.losangelesaazk.org

ZO O V I E W

19


A MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS

CELEBRATE WORLD ELEPHANT DAY AUGUST 10-11, 2019

H

ow did a trio of teens raise more than $1,000 for the Zoo’s conservation efforts? It all started with a cute animal video. On an otherwise ordinary day, 15-year-old Erin Chang (right) was scrolling through social media when a video of a baby elephant caught her attention. “It was so cute,” she says, her voice squealy at the memory. “The baby tripped and it fell, and then it ran to its mother.” After repeated viewings, she was inspired to learn more. Researching elephants online, she read a prediction that African elephants would be extinct in the wild by 2020—the year Erin will graduate from high school. The thought of a world without elephants stunned and saddened her. “I thought, ‘How am I going to see an elephant in the wild if they go extinct?’ I brought this up to my writing teach-

20

ZO O V I E W

JAMIE PHAM

by BRENDA SCOTT ROYCE

er, and she said that I should do something about it. So, I wrote a poem.” Erin credits that teacher, Clarissa Ngo, for encouraging her to not only act on her inspiration but to think big. What started as a solo effort soon turned into a group project. Erin recruited two classmates, Andrea Chang and Bella Pettengill (left), both artists. Together they turned Erin’s poem into a book, Seven Toes. Andrea created the cover art, while Bella illustrated the interior. “The hardest part was wrapping my brain around the fact that I was actually making a book,” Bella recalls. Though she’s been an artist for as long as she can remember, Bella had never drawn an elephant, so she did a great deal of research. Each illustration took two to three hours to complete. Now, she says, “if you ask me to draw an elephant, I can do it by heart!” The girls created elephant-themed T-shirts, hats, and other merchandise to go along with the book, with all profits going to elephant conservation. In addition to the L.A. Zoo’s World

S U MME R 2019

SEVEN TOES Erin Chang and her classmates turned compassion into action by publishing a book to benefit elephant conservation.

S U MME R 2019

Elephant Day celebration, they’ve participated in fundraisers for Thailand’s Save Elephant Foundation and other charities. “One day in a quiet suburban town,” the book begins, “A memory of elephants walked on down…” (“Memory” is the collective noun for elephants, like a gaggle of geese or a murder of crows.) It’s a fitting start for a book written to help ensure that elephants won’t be relegated to memory. Since watching the cute video that prompted her book project, Erin has not only learned about threats to wild elephants but also ongoing efforts to preserve them. She and her friends now feel confident that elephants will continue to roam the Earth for a long time—especially if more young people find creative ways to get involved. “People our age think they can only make a difference once they’re adults and have a stable job,” Bella says. “They see what’s going on with wildlife and think, ‘Oh, that’s sad.’ But with enough ambition, determination, and hard work, they can actually do something.” “You can make a difference,” Erin agrees. “However small. Everything helps.”

This year’s L.A. Zoo World Elephant Day Celebration will take place on Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11. Festivities include educational activities, conservation crafts, and exclusive behind-the-scenes barn tours (available to the public just once per year). Come tour the state-of-the-art Elephants of Asia habitat and learn more about elephants Billy, Tina, Jewel, and Shaunzi—and the ways the L.A. Zoo and others are working to safeguard elephants in the wild.

LEARN MORE AT

www.lazoo.org/worldelephantday

ZO O V I E W

21


A MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS

CELEBRATE WORLD ELEPHANT DAY AUGUST 10-11, 2019

H

ow did a trio of teens raise more than $1,000 for the Zoo’s conservation efforts? It all started with a cute animal video. On an otherwise ordinary day, 15-year-old Erin Chang (right) was scrolling through social media when a video of a baby elephant caught her attention. “It was so cute,” she says, her voice squealy at the memory. “The baby tripped and it fell, and then it ran to its mother.” After repeated viewings, she was inspired to learn more. Researching elephants online, she read a prediction that African elephants would be extinct in the wild by 2020—the year Erin will graduate from high school. The thought of a world without elephants stunned and saddened her. “I thought, ‘How am I going to see an elephant in the wild if they go extinct?’ I brought this up to my writing teach-

20

ZO O V I E W

JAMIE PHAM

by BRENDA SCOTT ROYCE

er, and she said that I should do something about it. So, I wrote a poem.” Erin credits that teacher, Clarissa Ngo, for encouraging her to not only act on her inspiration but to think big. What started as a solo effort soon turned into a group project. Erin recruited two classmates, Andrea Chang and Bella Pettengill (left), both artists. Together they turned Erin’s poem into a book, Seven Toes. Andrea created the cover art, while Bella illustrated the interior. “The hardest part was wrapping my brain around the fact that I was actually making a book,” Bella recalls. Though she’s been an artist for as long as she can remember, Bella had never drawn an elephant, so she did a great deal of research. Each illustration took two to three hours to complete. Now, she says, “if you ask me to draw an elephant, I can do it by heart!” The girls created elephant-themed T-shirts, hats, and other merchandise to go along with the book, with all profits going to elephant conservation. In addition to the L.A. Zoo’s World

S U MME R 2019

SEVEN TOES Erin Chang and her classmates turned compassion into action by publishing a book to benefit elephant conservation.

S U MME R 2019

Elephant Day celebration, they’ve participated in fundraisers for Thailand’s Save Elephant Foundation and other charities. “One day in a quiet suburban town,” the book begins, “A memory of elephants walked on down…” (“Memory” is the collective noun for elephants, like a gaggle of geese or a murder of crows.) It’s a fitting start for a book written to help ensure that elephants won’t be relegated to memory. Since watching the cute video that prompted her book project, Erin has not only learned about threats to wild elephants but also ongoing efforts to preserve them. She and her friends now feel confident that elephants will continue to roam the Earth for a long time—especially if more young people find creative ways to get involved. “People our age think they can only make a difference once they’re adults and have a stable job,” Bella says. “They see what’s going on with wildlife and think, ‘Oh, that’s sad.’ But with enough ambition, determination, and hard work, they can actually do something.” “You can make a difference,” Erin agrees. “However small. Everything helps.”

This year’s L.A. Zoo World Elephant Day Celebration will take place on Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11. Festivities include educational activities, conservation crafts, and exclusive behind-the-scenes barn tours (available to the public just once per year). Come tour the state-of-the-art Elephants of Asia habitat and learn more about elephants Billy, Tina, Jewel, and Shaunzi—and the ways the L.A. Zoo and others are working to safeguard elephants in the wild.

LEARN MORE AT

www.lazoo.org/worldelephantday

ZO O V I E W

21


FLAMINGO RESCUE by SANDY MASUO

600 RESCUED FLAMINGOS

UNDER 65,000 LESSER FLAMINGOS ARE FOUND IN SOUTH AFRICA AND MADAGASCAR 22

ZO O V I E W

SU MME R 2019

IMPORTANT UPDATES FOR GLAZA MEMBERS

MATTERS

LET’S BE SOCIAL! FOLLOW us @ LAZoo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TheLosAngelesZoo on YouTube SHARE your memories and photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using #LAZoo

JAMIE PHAM

FROM THE FIELD

they directly helped imperiled EARLIER THIS YEAR, reports birds in the wild. about severe drought and water “Starting at the beginning of rationing in Kimberley, South April, they slowly began sending Africa, attracted attention from chicks back to Kimberley,” says social media and news outlets, Kirk. “I was there for two intakes— especially in water-conscious we had a little over 100 birds come Southern California. But the huin for the first one and about 50 for man residents of the area weren’t the second one. At the time that I alone in feeling the impact. About left, we had about 500 birds that five miles south of the township, could possibly be released to the on the shores of the Kamfers Dam wild. A few more have been idenReservoir, lesser flamingos were tified as not good candidates for retreating with the water line in release, and they will be sent back order to find food—abandoning to National Zoo in Pretoria.” their nests and leaving behind The incoming birds had all thousands of chicks. been weaned and no longer Concerned Kimberley resineeded syringe or tube feeding by dents and animal care profescaretakers. Kirk emphasizes that sionals from wildlife agencies and zoos around the globe stepped up the success of this project relied on a host of dedicated people, into assist with rescue efforts. Aircluding zoo and rehab professionlifts were organized to transport als, volunteers, government agendehydrated chicks to zoos and cies, the Pan-African Association wildlife rehabilitation facilities of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA), across South Africa. Nearly the Kimberley Society three months after for the Prevention the initial rescues, WINGING IT of Cruelty to juvenile flaminAnimals (SPCA), gos deemed and Dr. Donohealthy L.A. Zoo Keeper Ana Kirk makes the van Smith of enough best of limited resources while the Kimberley to travel tending to rescue flamingos in South Africa. Veterinary were being Clinic. She returned to Photo courtesy of is gratified to Kimberley. ANA KIRK have contributed That’s when her knowledge and Los Angeles Zoo experience to the effort Animal Keeper Ana and says she returned to L.A. Kirk—who helped raise the Zoo’s with a new appreciation for the ambassador flamingo flock— resources available to her and her stepped in. Kirk is one of more Zoo colleagues. Pools, plumbing, than 50 animal care and veterand food pans are just a few of inary professionals from AZA the items she will never take for institutions who have traveled granted again. to South Africa in recent months “I feel like I’ve grown a lot to assist with lesser flamingo from doing that,” she comments, rescue and release efforts. Her “and learned how to be more trip was funded by the L.A. Zoo flexible and adapt and work with through contributions to the the resources you’re given. That World of Birds Show donation was a huge thing. It was an awebox—dollars earmarked for avian some experience, but I’m very conservation efforts. Yes, those excited to be home.” dollars add up—and in this case,

membership

Save the Date ZOORIFIC PICNIC The fourth annual members-only Zoorific Picnic is scheduled for Friday, August 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. Join us for an exclusive evening of keeper talks, discounted dinner options, and fun activities, including face painting and an artistry paint party. Some of our animal residents will be on exhibit during the event, including elephants, gorillas, zebras, orangutans, and the LAIR. Reservations are required; visit www.lazoo.org/zoorific to learn more or reserve your spot.

MEMBER APPRECIATION MORNING Be the first to experience the Zoo as it wakes up! The next MEMBER APPRECIATION MORNING takes place on Sunday, August 4, from 8:30 to 10 a.m., giving our members a special opportunity to explore the Zoo before it opens to the public. To RSVP for this exclusive morning, call 323/644-4770. Please bring your membership card and photo ID. No guest passes will be honored.

MISSING OUT? TO RECEIVE UPDATES ABOUT EVENTS and other news from the Zoo—including the monthly digital newsletter Zooscape— make sure we have a current, valid email address on file. Visit www.lazoo.org/connect to provide or update your email address. If you’ve signed up but haven’t been receiving our emails, check your SPAM or JUNK folders (or the “Promotions” tab in Gmail) and add the Zoo to your email program’s “safe senders” list.

Thanks to all our members for supporting the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. In buying a membership, you’ve helped make the Zoo’s achievements in animal care, conservation, and education possible. Your membership matters—and we thank you!

SU MME R 2019

ZO O V I E W

23


FLAMINGO RESCUE by SANDY MASUO

600 RESCUED FLAMINGOS

UNDER 65,000 LESSER FLAMINGOS ARE FOUND IN SOUTH AFRICA AND MADAGASCAR 22

ZO O V I E W

SU MME R 2019

IMPORTANT UPDATES FOR GLAZA MEMBERS

MATTERS

LET’S BE SOCIAL! FOLLOW us @ LAZoo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TheLosAngelesZoo on YouTube SHARE your memories and photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using #LAZoo

JAMIE PHAM

FROM THE FIELD

they directly helped imperiled EARLIER THIS YEAR, reports birds in the wild. about severe drought and water “Starting at the beginning of rationing in Kimberley, South April, they slowly began sending Africa, attracted attention from chicks back to Kimberley,” says social media and news outlets, Kirk. “I was there for two intakes— especially in water-conscious we had a little over 100 birds come Southern California. But the huin for the first one and about 50 for man residents of the area weren’t the second one. At the time that I alone in feeling the impact. About left, we had about 500 birds that five miles south of the township, could possibly be released to the on the shores of the Kamfers Dam wild. A few more have been idenReservoir, lesser flamingos were tified as not good candidates for retreating with the water line in release, and they will be sent back order to find food—abandoning to National Zoo in Pretoria.” their nests and leaving behind The incoming birds had all thousands of chicks. been weaned and no longer Concerned Kimberley resineeded syringe or tube feeding by dents and animal care profescaretakers. Kirk emphasizes that sionals from wildlife agencies and zoos around the globe stepped up the success of this project relied on a host of dedicated people, into assist with rescue efforts. Aircluding zoo and rehab professionlifts were organized to transport als, volunteers, government agendehydrated chicks to zoos and cies, the Pan-African Association wildlife rehabilitation facilities of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA), across South Africa. Nearly the Kimberley Society three months after for the Prevention the initial rescues, WINGING IT of Cruelty to juvenile flaminAnimals (SPCA), gos deemed and Dr. Donohealthy L.A. Zoo Keeper Ana Kirk makes the van Smith of enough best of limited resources while the Kimberley to travel tending to rescue flamingos in South Africa. Veterinary were being Clinic. She returned to Photo courtesy of is gratified to Kimberley. ANA KIRK have contributed That’s when her knowledge and Los Angeles Zoo experience to the effort Animal Keeper Ana and says she returned to L.A. Kirk—who helped raise the Zoo’s with a new appreciation for the ambassador flamingo flock— resources available to her and her stepped in. Kirk is one of more Zoo colleagues. Pools, plumbing, than 50 animal care and veterand food pans are just a few of inary professionals from AZA the items she will never take for institutions who have traveled granted again. to South Africa in recent months “I feel like I’ve grown a lot to assist with lesser flamingo from doing that,” she comments, rescue and release efforts. Her “and learned how to be more trip was funded by the L.A. Zoo flexible and adapt and work with through contributions to the the resources you’re given. That World of Birds Show donation was a huge thing. It was an awebox—dollars earmarked for avian some experience, but I’m very conservation efforts. Yes, those excited to be home.” dollars add up—and in this case,

membership

Save the Date ZOORIFIC PICNIC The fourth annual members-only Zoorific Picnic is scheduled for Friday, August 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. Join us for an exclusive evening of keeper talks, discounted dinner options, and fun activities, including face painting and an artistry paint party. Some of our animal residents will be on exhibit during the event, including elephants, gorillas, zebras, orangutans, and the LAIR. Reservations are required; visit www.lazoo.org/zoorific to learn more or reserve your spot.

MEMBER APPRECIATION MORNING Be the first to experience the Zoo as it wakes up! The next MEMBER APPRECIATION MORNING takes place on Sunday, August 4, from 8:30 to 10 a.m., giving our members a special opportunity to explore the Zoo before it opens to the public. To RSVP for this exclusive morning, call 323/644-4770. Please bring your membership card and photo ID. No guest passes will be honored.

MISSING OUT? TO RECEIVE UPDATES ABOUT EVENTS and other news from the Zoo—including the monthly digital newsletter Zooscape— make sure we have a current, valid email address on file. Visit www.lazoo.org/connect to provide or update your email address. If you’ve signed up but haven’t been receiving our emails, check your SPAM or JUNK folders (or the “Promotions” tab in Gmail) and add the Zoo to your email program’s “safe senders” list.

Thanks to all our members for supporting the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. In buying a membership, you’ve helped make the Zoo’s achievements in animal care, conservation, and education possible. Your membership matters—and we thank you!

SU MME R 2019

ZO O V I E W

23


The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association 5333 Zoo Drive Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Profile for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association

Zoo View - Summer 2019  

Award-winning quarterly magazine of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. This issue features an in-depth look at the zookeeping professi...

Zoo View - Summer 2019  

Award-winning quarterly magazine of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. This issue features an in-depth look at the zookeeping professi...