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inside august 2014

Gorilla Birth: It’s a Girl! Imani’s first baby, a bundle of hairy joy, joins the Safari Park troop.

wildlife

Sibling Revelry: Growing Up with Lion Cubs Dixie and Ken It’s nonstop feline fun at the Park as this dynamic duo debuts at Lion Camp.

Stars of Stage and Sky: The Zoo’s Talented Troupe of Bird Ambassadors These irrepressible performers wouldn’t dream of waiting in the wings!

Cycad-elic! Once food for dinosaurs, cycads are living fossils.


more PHOTO BY KEN BOHN, SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

conservation

What’s in Store

Burrowing Owl Conservation from the Ground Up Get the latest updates on a land-loving, den-dwelling local owl.

explore

Support

Through the Lens Fancy Footwork: Mani-Pedis at the Zoo and Safari Park

 ild Ways Animals W Keep Cool

Keepers go to great lengths to keep animal nails and feet healthy.

There’s a limit to how much heat a bird, mammal, and reptile can take—and interesting ways they keep their cool.

on the cover: Western lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla gorilla ©Ken Bohn, SDZG Photographer

Chairman’s Note You Said It From the Archives


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CHAIRMAN’S NOTE

SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL OFFICERS Richard B. Gulley, Chairman William H. May, Vice Chairman Sandra A. Brue, Secretary Robert B. Horsman, Treasurer

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Exciting Progress in Conservation Projects

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an Diego Zoo Global’s new vision is to lead the fight against extinction, and our new mission states that we are committed to saving species worldwide by uniting our expertise in animal care and conservation science with our dedication to inspiring passion for nature. Species conservation is a vital part of all we do, and there have been some exciting gains recently that I’d like to share with you. One is a huge step forward in saving the critically endangered mangrove finch, which is native to Isabela Island in the Galápagos. This bird species is important in its forest environment as a seed disperser, but there are only about 80 of them left. Together with our partners, the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galápagos National Park, researchers were able to collect eggs from the wild in February 2014, and bring them to the Charles Darwin Research Station to be hand raised. The biggest threat facing this species is a high chick mortality rate from an introduced species of parasitic fly. By raising the chicks in a safe environment, they could be protected until they were old enough to survive on their own. Fifteen chicks were successfully raised, and then researchers reintroduced them to their native forests, observing them and providing supplemental food until they became independent. The addition of 15 birds to the wild population is a success to celebrate. An important part of wildlife conservation efforts is to understand how a species uses its habitat. Until recently, it was difficult to track animals in the wild to find out. The use of GPS biotelemetry tracking technology made this easier byproviding more accurate data. And now, San Diego Zoo Global researcher James Sheppard, Ph.D., has worked with collaborators to take that to the next level: tracking animals in three dimensions, rather than just flat distances in two dimensions. Using supercomputers, James and his colleagues can program in GPS data tracking an animal in its habitat and combine that with data of elevations and topography of the area. The result is a 3-D model of the home range and where the animal moves within it. James is applying this technique to track California condors in Baja California, Mexico, and researchers are now able to see where the condors spend their time, how they are interacting socially, and where remote cliff nests are located. That is vital information that can be applied to conservation manage-

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M. Javade Chaudhri Berit N. Durler Clifford W. Hague Nan C. Katona Patricia L. Roscoe Steven G. Tappan Judith A. Wheatley

TRUSTEES EMERITI Frank C. Alexander Kurt Benirschke, M.D. Thompson Fetter Bill L. Fox Frederick A. Frye, M.D. George L. Gildred Yvonne W. Larsen John M. Thornton Albert Eugene Trepte Betty Jo F. Williams James Lauth,General Counsel Douglas G. Myers,President/CEO Charles L. Bieler, Executive Director Emeritus

THE FOUNDATION OF SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL OFFICERS Murray H. Hutchison, Chair Maryanne C. Pfister, Vice Chair Susan N. McClellan Secretary Richard M. Hills, Treasurer Mark A. Stuart, President Richard B. Gulley, Ex officio Douglas G. Myers, Ex officio

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Christine L. Andrews Joye D. Blount Rick Bregman Lisa S. Casey Douglas Dawson Berit N. Durler, Ex officio U. Bertram Ellis, Jr. Arthur E. Engel Craig L. Grosvenor Judith C. Harris Michael E. Kassan Susan B. Major Michael D. McKinnon George A. Ramirez Thomas Tull Margie Warner Ed Wilson


ment of condors in the wild. These techniques can also be used for a variety of species, including giant pandas that live in steep, mountainous forests. A third project with new developments is San Diego Zoo Global’s participation in conservation efforts for koalas. Much of the work our researchers have conducted with wild koalas to date has taken place on St. Bees Island off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Now our researchers will be collaborating with Australian colleagues to study the koalas of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. The Blue Mountains is a World Heritage Site and was once home to large koala populations, although they are much more scarce now. This is very different habitat than on St. Bees, with rough, mountainous terrain, long distances, and even snow in the winter. Finding koalas here is more challenging, so San Diego Zoo Global researcher Jennifer Tobey and her colleagues are now developing an innovative technique: using koala scents to train tracking dogs to find and point out koalas. Our own koalas at the San Diego Zoo even have a role, since their scents will be used to determine the scents that will work best in the field. Once koalas are located in this new field site, they can be fitted with radio tracking collars, and researchers can learn more about them for conservation management. These are exciting advances in what can be the very challenging field of species conservation, and I am proud to share them with you. You are, after all, the reason that this work can continue, and we are grateful for your support. To find out more about what we can accomplish together, look for our new Wildlife Conservancy website, launching soon, which shares conservation stories and shows how you can become a Hero for Wildlife. It’s the collaborative efforts of all of us together that will make a difference in fighting against species extinction.

Rick Gulley Chairman

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YOU SAID IT

Oh, you made my day. I love the big cats. Thank you for the Tiger Cam. Dee

By @jklingphotos I work in a school in the UK. One of the children I work with came to visit you in the school holidays. I lost count of the amount of times he said San Diego Zoo today! He is only 5 but he has come away with so much new knowledge. He had all the other children enthralled with his story of your hippos’ toilet habits! You have certainly made an impression on this young man. Sue Gilfrin

By @au_gram

By @erinlynnl

Had an awesome first zoo experience/Mother’s Day for our baby boy! @Kanejohnson

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I really enjoy going to the Koala [Cam] at the San Diego Zoo…I enjoy watching the Koalas sleeping, eating, and of course sleeping….I watch on my computer from Prattville, Alabama…I even have my grandkids watching with me when they visit…Thank you for a great website…I also watch the Panda [Cam] too. Donna Whittle


BTW my husband and I traveled 2,000 miles to the SDZ and the Safari Park because of our connection to the animals through your webcams. Thanks for all you do to educate us and to care for the animals. Ellie M.

Had to share! #CareerDay at school. @sandiegozoo #jrzookeeper @_akamedia_ I’ve been happily supporting the San Diego Zoo for about 20 years. Dropping by for a few hours to roam around the beautiful grounds and see the well-cared-for animals brings me peace and joy. Connie Govier

I love this new [Tiger] cam! While I know it will not be easy spotting them in all of the brush and trees, I figure this is just part of the experience. They hide for a purpose and we get to enjoy the game of finding them. I look forward to the daily activities of the beautiful Tigers. Swayze

The highlights of our visit to @sdzsafaripark was feeding the birds and the safari ride, amazing! @SalmaDinani

Had an amazing time at the zoo and park. Thanks for the memories. @jdavishalton Watching Indah with her Aisha demonstrates what “living in the moment” could mean for us humans, too. Indah shows her attention and love for her daughter as though it’s their first day together. Watching them always makes the day brighter and more meaningful to me and, I think, for many orangutan viewers. So happy SDZ provides this Ape cam. My heartfelt thanks for the care you provide to these wonderful beings. That goes for all the animals at SDZ. Rebecca

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THROUGH THE LENS

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Mountain coatimundi Nasuella olivacea

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African serval kitten Leptailurus serval

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Masai giraffe mother and calf Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi

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GORILLA BIRTH

IT’S A GIRL!


By Karyl Carmignani STAFF WRITER

Photos by Ken Bohn SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

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rom the minute she arrived at the Safari Park, western lowland gorilla Imani seemed smitten with resident silverback Winston. Her come-hither looks were unmistakable as she eyed him coyly. Apparently, her charms worked, and following an eight-and-a-half-month gestation period, Imani was in labor mid-March with her first baby. In addition to a 24-hour birth watch, keepers were prepared with an incubator and baby formula in case the little one needed extra attention. Imani’s mothering skills weren’t in question, though, since she had eagerly taken over young gorilla Frank’s care at the Zoo when his own mother wasn’t able to nurture him properly, and Imani and Frank had come to the Park together. So it was time to let nature run its course. With her contractions two minutes apart, the birth should have been immi-

nent. But after hours of prolonged effort, it was clear the 18-year-old mother-to-be was in distress, and intervention was needed.

TEAM WORK Female gorillas are large animals, often weighing over 200 pounds, yet they give birth to a small 4- to 5-pound infant. “Typically, gorilla births are pretty easy,” explained Peggy Sexton, a lead keeper at the Safari Park with decades of experience with these apes. “When we have a 24-hour birth watch, I tell the volunteers that if you miss the birth, you haven’t failed, because they give birth so quickly.” Gorilla mothers deftly deliver their own baby, clean it up, and begin nursing. “We intervene as little as possible, since it can create problems later,” said April Silldorff, senior keeper. For instance, intervention

Imani’s baby had to be cared for in the Safari Park’s medical center after her birth by C-section.

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Recently, the youngster was named Joanne, in honor of Joanne Warren, the first chair of The Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

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Relaxing with Mom is a great way to spend an afternoon. Like humans, gorilla babies learn from watching their elders. Lower left: Not-so-little Monroe tries to hitch a ride on Imani’s back as she carries her daughter, Joanne.

can be stressful for the animals, and the offspring may not bond with its mother and troop mates properly. But this time, Imani was in trouble, so staff sprang into action. They formed a medical team that included a local veterinary surgeon and human neonatal specialists from UC San Diego Health System, as well as Nadine Lamberski, D.V.M., Safari Park associate director of veterinary services. “We thought the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer,” she said. Imani was sedated and whisked to the Safari Park’s Harter Veterinary Medical Center for an emergency Cesarean section. As the surgical razor began to buzz over Imani’s belly, April noted that, unlike with humans, the baby gorilla would need the mother’s fur to hang on to, so plenty of it was left intact. In fact, even if a gorilla infant has to be hand raised, caregivers wear a faux fur vest so the little one can hang on. As the procedure unfolded, a tiny black leg poked out, and the baby girl made her debut on March 12, 2014, weighing 4.6 pounds. Still sedated, Imani was stitched up with dissolving sutures on the inside and skin glue applied to the incision on the outside of her belly. Unlike pet dogs and cats that need to wear a cone collar for a period of time as a wound heals, Imani did not require such awkward assistance. “Gorillas are cautious and consciously ignore change,” said Peggy. Upon waking up, Imani touched the incision area once and had the good sense to leave it alone. She was returned to the gorilla bedrooms to recover. SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Hang on! Gorilla infants grip their mother’s fur, safe and warm on her body.

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There’s a lot to learn about the nuances of proper gorilla behavior. Watching and learning is key!

The fragile baby, however, needed to stay at the hospital for round-the-clock care. The infant was having trouble breathing, so she received oxygen and supplemental fluids. Caregivers resisted the urge to swaddle her, as would be appropriate for a human baby, because, as April noted, “It’s the gorilla’s instinct to hang onto their mom, so baby gorillas need their arms free.” After examining her, the veterinarians determined that she was in respiratory distress due to a collapsed lung and pneumonia, likely from the prolonged labor. The medical team of experts once again joined forces to help her. Happily, they were able to reinflate the baby’s lung and treat her pneumonia. As she showed continuing signs of improvement, the team was cautiously optimistic regarding the youngster’s health. After eight days, the baby was breathing on her own—and it was a great sign that she began to gulp down bottles of formula and was showing typical baby gorilla behavior. “There are two things that differentiate her in how she acts compared to most babies that I take care of,” explained Dawn Reeves, M.D., a neonatologist at UC San Diego Health System. “First, she’s a lot stronger when she grabs your hand. It’s very difficult to release her grip, because that’s her instinct—to grab her mom. Second, she can grab you with both her hands AND feet, which can be a little troublesome when trying to do procedures or exams! Otherwise, she behaves very well.”

TWO PATIENTS, BEST OUTCOME While the baby gorilla’s plight captured attention around the world, her mother was receiving antibiotics and analgesics, and the keepers hoped she’d stay out of the trees. “Gorillas are self-limiting,” said April, so they can be trusted to not overdo, and Imani did indeed stay on the ground recovering. Meanwhile, keepers were bringing

blankets and stuffed animals with the baby’s scent to Imani and letting her smell them, and vice versa. They also recorded the baby’s vocalizations to play for Imani, so they could stay in touch. “It was day-by-day,” said April. “We didn’t know when the baby would be released from the hospital, and we wanted to make sure Imani would be prepared to get her infant back.” Once the infant was healthy, she was visually presented to Imani and the rest of the troop. This was the first of several “baby steps” before staff could physically unite her with her troop. Then, 12 days after her birth, the baby was laid in a nest of soft hay in the bedroom area. Imani was let in, and she immediately went to the baby. She sniffed her­—and scooped her right up to cradle her. Soon the baby nursed, and keepers let out a collective sigh of relief. It was exactly the happy outcome everyone had hoped for. Mother and daughter were separated from the other gorillas to give them time to bond. But six-year-old Frank seemed disgruntled at this arrangement, apparently missing his surrogate mom. “Imani also seemed to miss him, indicating that perhaps we were micromanaging them,” said April with a smile, “so we let them all out together, and it was, happily, a nonevent.” Youngsters Frank and Monroe were most curious about the newcomer, but Imani was protective of her baby, permitting only occasional touches and sniffs by other gorillas. The first night the troop was together, everyone started building a night nest, and Frank wandered around, a bit forlorn, until Imani welcomed him into her nest with the baby. “Gorillas are subtle in their behavior,” explained April. “Their sleeping arrangements reveal the social nuances going on.” Now, thanks to the healthy bundle of joy, now named Joanne, after Joanne Warren, the first chair of The Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global, everyone can have sweet dreams at the Safari Park! n SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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In the early days, most of their time was spent cuddling.

Sibling Revelry Growing Up with Lion Cubs Ken and Dixie By Peggy Scott ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Photos by Ken Bohn SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

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othing says brotherly love like a flying body check or a diving tackle. But whatever Ken the African lion cub unleashes on his sister, Dixie, he knows his sassy sibling is going to give as good as she gets. “The wrestling matches and games of chase are wild,” says Amy Whidden-Winter, a senior keeper at the Safari Park and primary lion keeper. “But they’re like most siblings. They might fight over the baby blanket, but they’ll end up cuddling together.” The tale of these two cats had a rough beginning, but it is now turning out to be a feel-good story—for the cubs,

their caretakers, and the legion of animal lovers who have followed the little lions’ saga.

Precious Pair The cubs’ close bond began soon after their birth on December 6, 2013, when their mother, Oshana, wasn’t giving them the attention they needed to thrive. The tiny, mewling bundles found themselves in the more-than-capable hands of keepers at the Safari Park’s Animal Care Center (ACC), where they received lion-size bottles of kitSAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Bright-eyed Dixie doesn’t miss a thing.

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During wrestling matches, the cubs seemed to be evenly matched.

ten-starter formula every 2 hours and plenty of beauty sleep, snoozing up to 20 hours a day. The TLC paid off big-time, with the cubs growing steadily. At about 2 weeks of age, Ken weighed 5.5 pounds, and Dixie was close behind at 3.5 pounds. The cubs’ development included the emergence of distinct personalities. When the cubs were just two weeks old, Sandy Craig, senior keeper, noted that the little female was already feisty, while the male seemed more laidback. She added that although keepers could meet most of the cubs’ needs, there were instances when human help simply wouldn’t do. “They learned from each other how to be a lion,” Sandy explains. “The pawing and the nestling together, it’s what they would do with their mother.”

Getting Up and Growing What a difference a month (or two) makes—not to mention a lot of good food! By the time Ken and Dixie hit 2 months of age, Ken

weighed 20 pounds, and his sister weighed 16 pounds. The still-feisty Dixie was maturing and turning into the hunter of the two, while Ken continued with his mellow ways. That is, until something new and exciting happened, such as the introduction of a new enrichment item into the cubs’ play area at the ACC. “They were getting into everything, and the plush animals didn’t stand a chance,” says Eileen Neff, lead keeper. “They knew what their teeth and paws are for!” Knowing it wouldn’t be long before the cubs outgrew their nursery, keepers began taking them on short visits to Lion Camp at the Safari Park, where they became accustomed to the sights and smells of other lions. Although the pair won’t become part of the pride there, they will remain together and alternate going on exhibit with the other lions. Dixie developed an independent-but-cautious side, while Ken grew more adventurous. Certain habits, however, remained. “When they napped, they were always snuggled together,” recalls Jennifer Minichino, a senior keeper at the ACC. Amy is parSAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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In the exhibit at the Safari Park’s Lion Camp, tag is a favorite game.

ticularly fond of one of Ken’s holdover behaviors from kittenhood. “When he sleeps, he still sucks his ‘thumb’!” she says, referring to the lion’s dewclaw.

Happy Campers By five months of age, the cubs were full-time residents at Lion Camp and on exhibit from 9:15 a.m. to noon most days. They were no longer roly-poly babies: Ken was a solid, muscular, 70-pound lion, and Dixie had blossomed into a 53-pound lioness. The baby spots on their coats were disappearing, but much of their playfulness remained, and stalking and pouncing on each other was a favorite pastime. Life at Lion Camp brought new adventures and experiences, like training for exams and daily moves on and off exhibit. “They have learned to sit, lie down, target, and move station to

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station, which helps us do health checks,” Amy says proudly. “Ken is very focused during training and tries very hard to please.” And Dixie? “She has to race around and get all that energy out before she can settle down. She’s bright, but not that interested in concentrating on work. She has her own ideas.” One thing that continues to be of great fascination to both cubs is other youngsters—the human kind. “They really like the kids at the glass window at Lion Camp,” Amy says. “They see adults—keepers—all the time. Kids are something new.” And it seems the cubs are making other exciting discoveries each day. Amy adds, “From the minute they started exploring it, they loved the Range Rover inside the exhibit yard. They people-watch from its roof and climb all over it.” The way kids grow, they’ll probably be asking for the keys before long! n


Stars of Stage and Sky

The Zoo’s Talented Troupe of Bird Ambassadors

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Toco toucan Rico adds color to a lucky guest’s photo op.

By Peggy Scott ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Photos by Ken Bohn SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

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here’s quite a cast of rising stars at the Zoo whose careers are taking off, and visitors can catch these amazing avian performers in the act. “These are great encounters for guests and the birds,” says Cari Inserra, lead trainer. “People get to see how cool birds are, and the birds love the enrichment they get from interactions with people.” Jabu, a male Abdim’s stork, regularly helps start the day during the Zoo’s opening ceremony. Even though this species is the smallest of all storks, Jabu makes a big impression as he glides effortlessly from the second level of the Zoo’s bus depot to a trainer on the Joan Embery Stage on Front Street. The twice-daily bird show also takes place in this spot, perfect for guests beginning their Zoo visit. “You can start connecting with wildlife right away,” Cari explains. “Each show lasts 10 to 12 minutes, and usually 3 of our 14 birds take part

in each performance. This way, both the guests and the birds get a nice variety.” The show entertains and educates. Bella and Jacob, red-tailed black cockatoos, delight visitors as they get caught red-handed (taloned?) while working the crowd for a buck or two! Don’t worry— the dollars are returned to their rightful owners. Another aspiring star, Lulu, is an acrobatic female trumpeter hornbill who catches grapes tossed in the air. To help spread the word about conservation, “wicked smart” Calvin and Hobbes, two rare keas, lend a wing to share the importance of recycling, as does eco-minded flyer Linus, a white-necked raven. The show offers big stars, like hyacinth macaw Blueberry, who is the longest parrot species and has a four-foot wingspan, or Eurasian eagle-owl Benjamin, who represents the heaviest owl species. SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Calvin and Hobbes, a pair of supersmart keas, take turns demonstrating the proper way to recycle.

Left: No one makes an entrance quite like Jabu, our amazing Abdim’s stork.

Smaller stars—such as Owly, a four-ounce burrowing owl—have huge personalities. Rico, a male toco toucan, creates a special photo opportunity for a lucky youngster in the audience. There are treats for the eyes, including handsome Rafiki, a rare great blue turaco, who is in training for his debut. And you’ll see the rainbow instead of taste it when Skittles, a scarlet macaw, appears in all her multihued glory. Some of the performers are in fine voice, like crowd favorite Taylor, a yellow-naped Amazon parrot. He puts Jimmy Fallon to shame with his impersonations of human voices. Taylor is also quite the singer, but, as is the case with many artists, he has his demands. “Parrots like to pick their one person, and Taylor only works with animal trainer Marco Zeno,” Cari says. “That’s his partner.” Perhaps Taylor’s directing debut can’t be far away? With each performer sharing his or her special quality, there is a star for everyone to like—and a flock of positive messages. If someone asks you what inspired an interest in conservation, you might just say it was something a little bird told you. n


Red-tailed black cockatoos are incredibly smart birds with big personalities.

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By Wendy Perkins STAFF WRITER

Photos by Ken Bohn SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

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ycads have populated the planet since before the dinosaurs. In fact, the period of time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth is often called the Age of Cycads, because these plants were such a dominant feature of the landscape. Cycad fossils are commonly found in the same rocks as dinosaur bones, likely because they provided food for many of the giant herbivores. To the uninitiated, a cycad seems to be something it is not: a short palm tree. For many people, their first, and sometimes only, exposure to this botanical group is a single species: the sago palm Cycas revoluta, the type of cycad most commonly sold in garden centers. Fringed fronds sprout concentrically from the top of the trunk, eventually relaxing into graceful arcs. It is these fronds that give this particular species its common name—and lead people to think cycads are indeed palms. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the term cycad comes from the Greek word kykas, meaning palm-like. Yet while these prehistoric plants may look like palms, they are more closely related to conifers like pine, spruce, and fir trees.

Life in the Cone Zone Like conifers, cycads reproduce through cones, but with a difference. A conifer bears both male and female cones on the same tree. Each individual cycad, however, is either male or female and produces only a pollen or a seed cone, respectively. It generally takes cycads 10 to 15 years to reach maturity and begin producing cones. If that makes them seem like late bloomers, keep in mind that these primordial plants have a timescale all their own. During warm weather, female cones release an odor that appears to attract crawling and flying insects that act as pollinators, as does the wind. Once pollen has been transferred to a female cone, fertilization may not occur for as long as seven months! SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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1. Some trunk-forming cycads develop a branching habit over time, as seen on this sago palm Cycas revoluta. 2. Sago Palm Bearing fine, closely spaced leaflets on each frond, sago palms Cycas revoluta are a popular landscape element and houseplant. 3. Encephalartos Female Cone Female cycad cones, as seen on this Encephalartos specimen, are generally shorter than those found on males.

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4. Species Diversity Frond appearance varies among cycad species. The cardboard palm Zamia furfuracea in the foreground has broader leaflets than that of the chestnut dioon or virgin palm Dioon edule seen in the center. 5. Microcycas calocoma A significant specimen in the Zoo’s collection, the Cuban cycad Microcycas calocoma is considered to be one of the most endangered cycads. Native to Cuba, the few individual plants remaining in the wild have not been reproducing, possibly because pollinators have been decimated by pesticides used in nearby farms. 6. Sporophyll The fine, hairlike growths, called trichomes, covering sporophylls (sporebearing leaves) may serve as a deterrent to hungry animals. 7. The San Diego Zoo is home to an accredited collection of 108 cycad species, including endangered and critically endangered species.

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Left: What keeps tender new growth from being eaten? A central location, surrounded by seriously spiky fronds, and a fine fuzz that may have an unappetizing taste get the job done. Above: The almond-sized seeds of a sago palm Cycas revoluta are covered by a thin, bright-red skin.

Distinctive Details There are two different types of trunks among cycads—but unless you know what you’re looking for, you’ll only see one. Arborescent, or tree-like, trunks are the most obvious. Yet some cycads don’t seem to have a trunk at all—the fronds appear to sprout from the ground itself. What lies beneath, however, is a subterranean main stalk. In some cases, one can see just the crown above the soil’s surface. The many leaflets making up each mature cycad frond are hard and sharp enough to prevent modern-day animals from eating them. They are also the main reason homeowners should carefully consider where to put the cycad in their own landscape—these are “pokey” plants! Many African cycads, including Encephalartos ferox, have hooked leaves that also discourage nibbling from curious creatures. But defensive structures aren’t just for mature cycad leaves: emerging leaves are covered with short, fine hairs called trichomes. Growing in a mass that forms a velvety cloak, trichomes protect the tender new growth from both insects and weather. In addition to having the same primary and secondary roots found in most plants, there is a third type of structure, unique to cycads, called coralloid roots. These highly specialized lateral roots grow up toward the surface of the soil and then divide repeatedly and develop into coral-like structures at the surface. Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) live within the coralloid roots in a symbiotic relationship. The cyanobacteria bring nitrogen from the atmosphere to the roots and receive carbon in return.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow? When cycads first appeared over 200 million years ago, Pangea was the only landmass in existence. During the breakup and drift of the

continents, cycads went along for the ride but didn’t always survive. Cycad fossils have been found in areas where historic and current climatic conditions are inhospitable to cycads, such as Alaska, Antarctica, and Russia. Today, botanists recognize 11 genera with 180 known cycad species found worldwide. Most inhabit the subtropics, with a handful in equatorial habitats. For millions of years, these ancient plants have managed to adapt and survive, becoming even more widespread in modern times. Yet, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Cycad Specialist Group, cycads today represent one of the most threatened plant groups in the world. Urbanization and the resulting concentration of the human population have affected cycads in much the same way as other wildlife. In addition to loss of habitat, people with limited economic means have turned to harvesting wild cycads for food—which isn’t easy, since the seeds and trunk flesh are toxic and require much leaching and processing to make them safe to eat. Because cycads mature late and grow slowly, keeping pace with human hunger seems impossible. It’s interesting that while these plants survived voracious dinosaurs, comet collisions, and some extreme climate changes, some species may not survive the age of humans. The Zoo nurtures an accredited cycad collection of more than 810 plants representing 108 species. Among them are 23 endangered and 15 critically endangered species, as well as another 40 species listed as either vulnerable or near threatened. In partnership with other botanical institutions, San Diego Zoo Global is dedicated to conserving the diversity of cycads and promoting the preservation of cycad habitats through public awareness, education, and research. As far as we’re concerned, keeping gardens “cycadelic” is a groovy thing. n SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Dexterous and patient, Lori Hieber, senior keeper, works with the tigers on various husbandry behaviors, including rewarding them for presenting their claws for a quick trim.

Fancy Footwork Mani-Pedis at the Zoo and Safari Park

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It takes a village! Keepers work together to keep Nola’s nails in check. Fortunately, she seems to enjoy the interaction (and the brush massage).

By Karyl Carmignani STAFF WRITER

Photos by Ken Bohn SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

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ome animals at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park need a little extra TLC where their feet are concerned. While many animals’ nails are kept in check by their usual activities, some equids (horses, donkeys, and mules) need regular nail trims by a farrier. Some animals, including nonhuman primates, only get mani-pedis while sedated for something else, but many animals consciously cooperate, even after the clippers come out. Animal care staff go to great lengths to manage animal nails in a safe and stress-free fashion. These “spa treatments” may not involve Cotton Candy Frost nail polish, but they often include lanolin or coconut oil moisturizer, a soothing foot soak recipe, and some pretty patient pampering. Getting an animal to go along with fussing over its feet entails finding something an animal finds irresistible or years of effort getting an animal desensitized to having its toes touched. Other times it requires a team of talented individuals who can catch a goat by the horns and hang on. Whether it’s a pachyderm pedicure, a tiger nail trim, or a hoof-pruning job, keeping feet healthy is a surprisingly interesting feat!

Nola: At Home on the Range She’s friendly, 40 years old, really thick skinned, and loves her pedicures. Sound like a colleague? Meet Nola, one of only seven northern white rhinos left on the planet, who lives in a spacious field exhibit at the Safari Park. “Nola is a special rhino,” said Jane Kennedy, lead keeper. “Since she was a calf, keepers have had to monitor her nails, despite the long distances she walks each day. Fortunately, she enjoys the interaction.” Every three weeks or so, a team of keepers drives out into the South Africa exhibit to find Nola and give her a nail trim. Not surprisingly, she has to be in the mood. “It is easier to do her nails on a hot day, as she just lies down in the shade,” said Jane. Once she reclines on her side, one person serves as spotter to read Nola’s body language in case she gets startled and to watch out for other animals that may approach. A stiff-bristled deck brush is used to rub Nola’s skin as two people wielding clippers take care of business on her front and back feet. “While brushing her haunches, Nola has a big rhino grin,” said Jane. The bliss from the brushing makes SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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During their daily pedicure, the elephants are given tasty, low-calorie rewards for cooperating.

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the pedicure go smoothly. When the mighty rhino decides the pedicure session is over, she blithely heaves up onto her feet and ambles away in a cloud of dust. “We are honored to be her keepers for the rest of her life,” Jane asserted. Nola seems to be in complete agreement.

Claw Spa for Tigers The new Tull Family Tiger Trail at the Safari Park provides many a creature comfort for the Sumatran tigers. Keepers work with individual cats on husbandry behaviors, using hand signals to ask them to sit down, rise up, open the mouth, and hold still for a blood draw. To monitor the condition of their footpads and nails, the cue “rise up” provides keepers a good look at the cat and the chance to inspect the paws. “Each cat has its own personality,” said Lori Hieber, senior keeper. “Some of the tigers are fine with us touching their feet, others take a bit more coaxing.” The adult tigers Teddy and Delta can manage their own claws, using tree trunks and other substrates to keep them groomed. But, Lori explained, the younger ones get rambunctious in their wrestling, so keepers take off the little sharp points on their claws so they don’t cause injuries while being rough-and-tumble cats. This tiger treatment requires the dexterous keeper to have either a “bloodshake” in a cup or a bucket of beef heart in one hand, a whistle between her lips, and the nail clippers in the other hand. After the cat rises up, she waits until its retractable claws emerge, approves the behavior with the whistle, and gives the nail a snip. The cat is rewarded with a slurp of the red shake or a handful of meat. The process takes some time, but “it’s one more way we can take care of them without needing anesthesia,” said Lori. Visitors may observe this and other husbandry behaviors at Tiger Trail’s interactive training wall.

Pachyderm Pedicure If you’re the heaviest land mammal on Earth and walk on your toes, your nails better be in tip-top shape. Elephant keepers at the Zoo and Safari Park adhere to a stringent toenail protocol and foot care calendar with their charges. “Footrelated issues are the number-one natural threat to an elephant’s life,” said Mike Langridge, lead keeper at the Zoo. “We are proactive in our elephant foot care.” Each keeper is responsible for a set of feet on an elephant to prevent any conSAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Nubian ibex are sturdy, desert-dwelling goats from Africa. Two females in the Safari Park’s herd have especially fast-growing hooves, so they must be caught, secured, and trimmed every few months.

tradictory treatments; each year they are assigned a different set of feet to care for. This ensures elephant feet are getting personalized, comprehensive care, and changes or cracks in their pads or nails can be swiftly dealt with. There are several foot-soak recipes and medications to treat any foot ailment. Individual pachyderm personalities and idiosyncrasies are also factored into foot care. For instance, Ranchipur scuffs his rear feet, which can wear down his nails and pads unevenly. Devi can be a bit ticklish when work is done on her cuticles, but it helps if the keepers rub her feet as they trim. Each elephant calmly stands in place for 15 to 40 minutes per foot for his or her daily pedi treatment. While the elephants get a good foot scrub, keepers look closely at how the nails are shaped, each cuticle’s smoothness, and the thickness of the footpad, which resembles the broad palm of a human hand, with deeper lines and thicker skin. As one keeper uses a hoof knife to clean out crevasses on the pads and a rasp to shape the nail, another keeper is feeding the elephant low-calorie rewards like celery and lettuce. The Zoo’s Conrad Prebys Elephant Care Center was built with foot maintenance in mind, and it features adjustable bars an elephant can rest a leg on while keepers complete the pachyderm pedicure. Even guests get an up-close view of this important process! The elephants also have a padded floor (instead of concrete), which serves as a buffer from the cold, and plenty of soft, natural substrate of various thicknesses out in the yards, which benefits foot health as they walk around. “This is an amazing facility with access to care for these animals and their special needs,” said Ann Alfama, animal care supervisor. “It has made our lives easier, and the elephants’ lives much better.”

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Taking the Goat by the Horns The Nubian ibex is a species of desert-dwelling goat. It is on the small side for an ibex but still strong, fast, and nimble—just ask the keepers at the Safari Park who monitor the herd in an off-exhibit field enclosure. Two of the ibex have some fast-growing hooves, so the keeper team separates them into a holding pen. “You can’t always trim when you want to because they are pregnant or have young kids,” said Fred Myers, lead keeper and 36-year Safari Park veteran. Fred explained that they have a good setup, because the catch pen is small enough so the animal cannot overheat from running; other animals can’t approach; and keepers don’t have to rope the ibex (except for the dominant male). But they do have to grab the robust goat by the horns! A female is carried out to a stump where one keeper sits, holding her securely, another holds her horns, and two more keepers work on her front and back feet. The toenail toolbox includes clippers, a rasp, hoof pick and knife, and pad scrapers. Fred explained that for “heavy feet,” like those of giraffes and Cape buffalo, keepers use a grinder on their hooves, which is done while they are anesthetized. But for the ibex girls, pruner-like clippers get the job done. The dewclaws, located a few inches up from the hooves, are also trimmed. The whole process requires less than 30 minutes per animal. “It takes teamwork and a great crew,” said Fred. An experienced team makes catching the animal up, working on its feet, and releasing it back to the herd as soon as possible go well. The freshly groomed ibex shake it off and trot back to their herd, hooves in check for another few months. n


Wild Ways

Animals Beat the Heat

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By Wendy Perkins STAFF WRITER

Photos by Ken Bohn SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

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hen you’re hot, you’re hot, but every living thing has its limit. Critical thermal maximum (CTMax) is a term used to describe the highest temperature a particular type of organism can tolerate. Above that limit, cells can suffer damage and biological processes are disrupted, resulting in death. While some animals have adapted to high-temperature habitats, every creature, including humans, has ways to beat extreme heat and stay on the right side of its CTMax. These adaptations range from physical to behavioral and from familiar to surprising.

No Sweat

Perspiration may be the bane of many people’s existence, but it’s vital to cooling the human body. As the moisture evaporates off of our

skin, heat is also released. Yet, not all mammals sweat, and those that do tend to do so in limited fashion. Dogs and cats—whether it’s your domesticated pet or its wild counterpart—sweat through the bare pads on their feet. Canines and some big cats also take advantage of evaporation by holding their moist mouth open and panting. Kangaroos don’t sweat; they lick their forearms instead. The fur on a kangaroo’s forearms is short and thin, and numerous fine blood vessels are found just under the skin’s surface. Once the animal’s forelimbs are soaked with saliva, air moving over the surface dissipates heat carried by the blood, and the cooled plasma circulates through the body. Vultures have a startling way of taking the edge off when they become too hot. They don’t sweat or lick themselves; instead, they def-

During the hottest part of summer, desert tortoises descend into deep burrows for a period of estivation.

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Elephants seem to take great delight in cooling off with water, be it by soaking or spraying—or both!

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Tempo and Temperature

Crickets chirp at different rates, depending on their species and the temperature of their environment— the rate increases as the temperature rises. A.E. Dolbear, a professor at Tufts College, first noted this relationship, and in 1897, he published the first equation—called Dolbear’s Law—for using cricket chirps to calculate current temperature. However, since chirping rates of crickets and katydids also vary by species, each has a modified formula. The equations below show the calculations for two common cricket species in the United States. The letter T stands for temperature and N represents the number of chirps heard in one minute. Field cricket Gryllus sp.: T = 50 + [(N - 40) ÷ 4] Snowy tree cricket Oecanthus fultoni: T = 50 + [(N - 92) ÷ 4.7] Not sure which species is in your neighborhood? Why not work backward? Use both calculations, then compare your results to what the known temperature is in your area.

Above: A large surface area lined with sparse hair makes a fennec fox’s ears a “cool” tool, indeed. Right: A koala presses its body against relatively cooler tree trunks to avoid overheating. Although a hot koala may also lick its fur to cool off, every bit of moisture—including saliva—is precious to this animal that gets its water from the leaves it eats.

ecate on their legs in a behavior called urohydrosis. Because a bird’s feces are watery (and expelled with urine), the moisture deposited on the legs in this way has an evaporative effect. Although it’s not a very “neat” behavior, it does the job!

Size Matters

Take a minute to think of as many desert animals as you can. Now size them up, and you’ll probably find most aren’t very large. Petite animals have a large surface area compared to their volume, so they lose body heat more quickly than a larger animal does. Quite simply, small is cool if you live in a hot environment. Consider the slender-horned gazelle of the Sahara Desert. Measuring a mere 39 to 43 inches long, its small size is one of the adaptations that keeps it from overheating in its scorching surroundings. Color plays a part, too. Mostly pale brown, slender-horned gazelles have a white belly that reflects heat radiating from the ground.

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The large surface area of a toucan’s beak is one of this bird’s adaptations for staying cool.

The fennec fox is another Sahara species that can count small size as one of its secrets to success. Yet this desert dweller has another adaptation that handles any excess heat that may build up: big ears. And it’s a feature shared with a much larger mammal: the African elephant.

Let It Go

Big ears are not only great at capturing sound; they can also help keep their owner from overheating. Circulating blood carries heat from the body’s core to the extremities. The animal’s brain signals its blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow in response to increasing internal temperature. Thin skin on the ears of both fox and elephant allows excess body heat—through circulation—to dissipate into the surrounding air. Temperatures can reach toasty levels on the savannas of Africa. African elephants handle the heat in a number of ways, and their ears are part of the plan. Their large size and increased surface-areato-volume ratio means their body cools more slowly than smaller animals, but radiating heat from the ears helps pick up the pace. Elephants also fan their ears back and forth to increase the amount of air passing over them, speeding the cooling process. Among birds, bare skin allows for heat transfer as well. The long, bare limbs of an ostrich not only help it race away from predators but help keep the bird cool, too. And those lengthy limbs also keep most of the bird’s body above the heat-radiating ground during the day. The toco toucan has the largest bill relative to body size of all birds. It’s a great tool for plucking fruit from trees and helps the bird keep its cool. A 2009 study using thermo imaging uncovered evidence that a toucan can lose the majority of its body heat through

its beak. That’s a great aid to keeping cool in hot, humid rain forests (and no doubt why a toucan tucks its bill under its wing when it sleeps).

The Art of Avoidance

There’s an old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” It makes sense (whether taken literally or figuratively), and many animals take this approach to keep well away from their CTMax threshold, such as settling in a shady spot to wait out the heat of the day. Wombats, like koalas and many other animals, are crepuscular—active during the cool hours of dawn and dusk and sleeping through the hottest hours. Have you noticed vultures soaring high above on hot days? They have moved to a higher elevation where temperatures are cooler. And when the heat reaches critical levels, some animals just go dormant through a behavior called estivation, the heat-and-drought counterpart to hibernation. The word comes from the Latin aestas, meaning summer, the season the phenomenon occurs. During estivation, animals like desert tortoises take shelter in burrows or a space under a rock and go into torpor. The animal’s breathing becomes shallow, and its metabolic rate slows. It needs neither food nor water as it escapes the stress of coping with extreme heat. Some crocodilians also estivate, as do certain frogs, toads, salamanders, snails, and insects. Summertime is known for its sizzle, and the modern-day human response is usually to crank up the air conditioner. Yet, as we become more aware of how precious our energy resources are, perhaps we can look to nature for some more efficient ways of keeping our cool. If you’re going to follow the kangaroo’s lead, though, it’s probably best to use a wet towel instead of your tongue. n SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Burrowing Owl Conservation from the Ground Up

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Though burrowing owls live in grassland habitat, they also make use of highly urbanized landscapes such as vacant lots and airports.

By Susanne Marczak, Senior Research Technician, and Colleen Wisinski, Research Coordinator, Applied Animal Ecology Photos by SDZG

While kids have put their school backpacks away for the summer, we are outfitting burrowing owls in San Diego County with backpacks of their own. Backpacks on owls? That’s right! But more on that later.

Whooo’s There? Burrowing owls Athene cunicularia hypugaea, also called ground owls, are a small owl species distributed across the western United States. They rely on the burrows that fossorial (digging) animals like ground squirrels and prairie dogs construct, in which they lay their eggs and raise their young. While they primarily live in grassland habitats, the little owls are also found in urban areas like empty lots and airports. But despite their adaptability, burrowing owl populations are in decline, due to habitat loss and the eradication of the fossorial animals they depend on for burrows. While burrowing owls used to live in much of San Diego County, the majority of the local population is now restricted to a small range near the border with Mexico. With dwindling habitat to provide homes for burrowing owls, one solution has been to install artificial burrows. However, these are not self-sustaining like natural squirrel burrow systems are, and they require periodic maintenance to ensure they remain accessible. Although owls use the artificial burrows, we know little about how

they compare to natural ones. Differences in temperature and humidity within the different types of burrows could impact egg or chick development. And because artificial burrows are sometimes placed in areas where burrowing owls do not naturally occur, we may be creating population “sinks,” meaning we attract owls to places where they will not ultimately be successful. If there is not enough prey found near the nest, adult owls have to travel greater distances to feed their young.

Owl You Need Is Love We start the field season by taking inventory of which burrows owls are using for breeding, and then follow their progression throughout the breeding season, visiting each burrow about once a week. When we arrive at a burrow, we observe from the truck, which acts as our blind, to see what is going on and document our sightings. The males tend to be lighter in color than the females, because they spend more time outside, and the sun bleaches their feathers. As the SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Researchers catch as many owls as possible to place an identification band on their legs. Blood and feather samples are also collected for genetic studies.

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where they move from season to season and year to year. While we have the birds in hand, we take blood and feather samples, which can be used for genetic studies in the future. One question of interest is how much movement there is between the burrowing owls in San Diego County (with a small population) and Imperial County (with a large population). That could have big implications for the species’ conservation in San Diego. Some lucky adult owls get those cool backpacks mentioned earlier. These high-tech backpacks contain GPS loggers that are able to tell us the exact location of the owl multiple times in a night, providing us with valuable insight into where the owls

Above: Owls with leg bands are identified individually over time, providing information about the animals’ survival rates, burrow use, and mate choice. Camera trap images augment the monitoring of burrowing owls. Right: “Whooo” are you? Also called ground owls, burrowing owls are watchful, dappled creatures that hunt other small animals to feed their brood. Their numbers are in decline locally, largely due to habitat loss.

PHOTO BY KEN BOHN, SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

females spend more time foraging for their hungry, growing chicks over the summer, however, it can be difficult to tell the males and females apart. Once a pair selects a nest burrow, we usually only see the male. He often keeps watch over the nest entrance from a nearby burrow, where he spends much of his time—we call it the man cave. At this point, the female spends most of her time in the nest burrow incubating the eggs. After about a month, the eggs hatch, and the young begin to emerge from the burrow about two weeks later. The female’s behavior gives us good clues about whether or not there are chicks. If she is protective or stays close to the burrow when we approach, it’s a safe bet that there are babies inside.

Banding Together The main objectives of this project are to learn more about the nesting and spatial ecology of burrowing owls in San Diego County and to compare artificial and natural burrows. We use different research techniques, depending on the specific question we are trying to answer. Camera traps, which we aim at the burrow entrances, allow us to see what is going on while we aren’t there. We can collect an amazing amount of data that would otherwise require people to sit and watch each burrow for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 2013, we collected almost 2 million photographs from 18 burrows! From the camera trap photos, we can learn how many chicks are produced at each burrow, what types of prey the owls are feeding to their young, and what species are preying upon the owls. We also catch as many of the owls as possible and put numbered leg bands on them, allowing us to identify them individually. By resighting banded owls, we can determine survival rates and see

get food for their chicks. We can then tie this information to nest productivity to better understand what areas provide higher-quality foraging habitat. All of the knowledge gained from this project will help local land managers make better decisions about which areas of the county should be conserved or restored for this iconic grassland species. Hopefully, our work will keep burrowing owls grounded in San Diego County for generations to come. n San Diego Zoo Global would like to thank its valuable partners and supporters: The San Diego Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, County of San Diego, City of San Diego (Airports and Public Utilities divisions), CalTRANS, and the Federal Aviation Administration. SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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SUPPORT

Bai Yun is a “super mom,” bearing six cubs at the Zoo, and she also adores peppermint-scented oils. She had a great time wrestling with an enrichment cube, then rubbing the oil on her paw and enjoying the scent for hours on end.

By Mary Sekulovich SENIOR EDITOR, DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

Photos by Ken Bohn SDZG PHOTOGRAPHER

Just Imagine, a Wish List for Animals...

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hen they have a spare moment, this is exactly what our San Diego Zoo and Safari Park keepers dream about for animals in their care: a Wish List of enrichment items. From small, plush animal lures for Shiley’s Cheetah Run to scents and oils for big cats and bears, and from toys for all the animals (tiger cubs love piñatas!) to special food treats for every species, our team gets creative when thinking about what would make a giant panda—or a parrot, or a jaguar—happy! Here’s just a short list of what our generous donors recently purchased via our online Wish List (sandiegozoo.org/wishlist) for animals at the Zoo and Safari Park, as well as for our hardworking field researchers. Some may

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make you smile and some may surprise you, but we’re thankful for every gift that benefits animals here and in the wild.

Big Cat Surprises Tiger and lion cubs love to play, and pouncing on toys is a great way to encourage natural behaviors. Sometimes they chase after basketball-size piñatas, running with them and then dunking them in their drinkers. Our keepers also add frozen “meatsicles” inside for double enrichment. Once lions and tigers and bears grow up, they like to chew on treats like whole and half femur bones—we call them caveman’s


Some donors search the Wish List for their favorite species, and one of our donors loves giraffes. While giraffe cushions may not seem glamorous, they are exactly what the keepers ordered and what our giraffes needed. These vinyl-coated pads are 2 inches thick, measure 195 square feet, and give giraffes extra hoof protection when our veterinarians need to do a health checkup. Gary and Robena Cornwell also bought sod for our giraffes, helping to cushion the ground in the Zoo’s exhibit. The giraffes have friends in Gary and Robena, indeed! “Why do we support giraffes on the Wish List? The love of giraffes started when Robena’s grandfather gave her a 3-foot-tall Steiff giraffe over 50 years ago, and our interest in the San Diego Zoo goes back to watching Joan Embery on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show. When we were finally able to visit the Zoo, it was everything we had hoped for and more. Our donations are just a way of remembering nature and animals, hopefully making life in their natural habitats more comfortable and recognizing them for enriching and making everyone’s lives a little brighter!”

bones. These colossal bones are a great way to exercise the large carnivores’ jaws and keep their teeth clean. Believe it or not, our tigers love the smell of Clinique’s “Happy” eau de parfum spray: it happens to be Delta the Sumatran tiger’s favorite scent. Keepers at the Safari Park spray it on her toys as well as on the ground, leaves, and logs to encourage her to explore. Actually, all our big cats love the different scents keepers add to their exhibits for enrichment, whether it’s oil, perfume, herbs, or

spices. They might put a few drops of scented oil on anything from Boomer Balls® to bedding. Scents include rosemary, spearmint, clove, peppermint, orange, and citronella.

Even Fossas and Condors Need a Fridge Where can you store perishable food for species as diverse as Isa the fossa, Shani the serval, Diego the ocelot, Phu the binturong, Hakuna and Matata the meerkats, and even Xena the sloth? Keepers in the SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL

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Animal trainers at the Safari Park had a special request for cheetahs sprinting after lures during Shiley’s Cheetah Run. It seems these cats prefer small, plush animals to chase as they make their daily 330-foot dash. Keepers have learned that the world’s fastest land mammal can be fussy: each cat has a favorite, and they won’t chase other types of lures.

“One of the things I love about supporting the Wish List program is that every month there is an item listed that fits my budget. Sometimes it’s feeding the animals, buying special toys for animal enrichment, or helping the conservation projects around the world. Granting a wish for the animals we love so much is just one more way we can make a difference.” —Michelle Fryer and her son, 11-year-old Dylan

Take a Peek at Our Wish List Children’s Zoo at Discovery Outpost requested a new fridge when theirs went on the fritz. A generous donor bought an industrial, oversized refrigerator to store all the animals’ goodies. Down in Baja California, Mexico, our research team had a request for the California condor release site: they needed a deep freezer to store food for the young condors being acclimated to their surroundings before release to the wild. Newly released condors return to the field site for supplemental food, dining on carcasses provided by our team. It’s not easy learning to be a wild condor and finding food in these rugged mountains!

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Our Wish List is just like a shopping list with a variety of items requested for our animals by their keepers. Whether you purchase a small bag of treats or a refrigerator, you can make a big difference in enriching the lives of our animals. It’s easy to donate by going online to sandiegozoo.org/wishlist. We appreciate your support! Tap here to donate today!


Irresistible! After seeing our three polar bears rolling in the snow or watching Bai Yun and her cub frolicking on a snow day, who can resist contributing to so much fun? Early-morning visitors can enjoy seeing their favorite bears smiling—and yes, we believe they are smiling!

Our Fieldwork Is Never Done

the lives and behaviors of elusive animals so we can better protect Just like housework, we rarely say our field projects are finished: each them and their habitats. After installing 40 remote camera traps in one is unique and has special equipment needs. In Peru, our team is China in 2011, we still need 50 camera traps for all 3 countries. Just studying Andean bears—and there isn’t a hotel nearby! That’s why think of all the species your gift could help! they are so grateful to donor Nancy Robertson, who funded two Always Making Animal Wishes Come True backpack stoves, three down sleeping bags, a tent, and one external We most certainly appreciate all the wonderful, generous friends hard drive. These are all essential to the field researchers collecting who think of our animals each day and want to improve their health data on these endangered bears. Nancy shared this with us: “It is and well-being by contributing to enrichment items on our monthly great fun and very rewarding to fund conservation items from the Wish Lists. Please know that we couldn’t do all we do without your Wish List. I like to purchase items that help our researchers either help. We’re excited that you browse the Wish Lists each month looklocally or in the field as they investigate ways to conserve both habiing for new items for your favorite species—we thank you, and the tats and precious species. I tend to be drawn to unique items that animals most definitely thank you! n perhaps others might not fund, like lawnmowers and backpacks, or even stoves and wet-weather gear for researchers in the field.” In China, Madagascar, and Vietnam, there are ongoing projects to save species such as rare snub-nosed monkeys, lemurs, and a variety of birds. Since it’s difficult to track animals in the forest, our team now relies on camera traps, By creating a Charitable Gift Annuity or including the Zoological Society of San Diego in your will which are attached either near the or trust, you can help protect wildlife. To receive more information, please call ground on a tree trunk or higher up in 619-557-3947 or visit our website at zoolegacy.org. the canopy. We get amazing data from this technology, giving us insight into

You can help secure the future for wildlife!

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WHAT’S IN STORE

Rhino $39.95

Masks $68 each

Local artisans in Zimbabwe, Africa, hand craft recycled tin and metal scraps into stunning, multi-hued masks and animal figures that add splashes of color and African flair to any dĂŠcor! Visit our stores at the Zoo and Safari Park to purchase these featured items. Items and prices may vary based on availability. Available in select stores.

Giraffe $39.95

Cheetah $42.95

Lion $39.95

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

Foster Mother: Got Milk? What do you do when a mother sambar deer does not care to take care of her baby? Send in a goat! Sambar deer are large, with a rough, shaggy coat and a bushy tail that earns them the nickname horse-tailed deer. In the late 1940s and early ’50s, the Zoo had a small herd of Malayan sambar deer, descendants from a trio imported in 1936. The adult female gave birth to a fine, healthy fawn each year. But she proved to be, in the words of keeper Roger Good, “a remarkably poor mother.” Soon after each birth, the fawn had to be removed and turned over to a maternal substitute: a domestic milk goat. Brownie was one such surrogate. Twice each day, she patiently allowed a sambar fawn to nurse while she stood on a milking stand. Pictured above is Brownie with little Tash-ma, who was born in July 1950. Tash-ma found the goat a satisfactory mother, as far as mealtime was concerned. And you’ll notice that Brownie got to enjoy a meal, too—a win-win! n

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PUBLISHED SINCE 1926

AUGUST 2014

MANAGING EDITOR

KAREN E. WORLEY

ASSOCIATE EDITORS

PEGGY SCOTT DEBBIE ANDREEN

STAFF WRITERS SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL™ PHOTOGRAPHER DIGITAL IMAGING TECHNICIAN DESIGN AND PRODUCTION

SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL™ VIDEOGRAPHERS

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WENDY PERKINS KARYL CARMIGNANI KEN BOHN TAMMY SPRATT DAMIEN LASATER CHRISTOPHER MARTIN HEIDI SCHMID-ROMERO STEPHANIE BEVIL-PAGADUAN DENNIS CORBRAN KAMBIZ MEHRAFSHANI KRISTIN NIELSEN TIM REAMER LISA BISSI JENNIFER MACEWEN LEE RIEBER MARIA BERNAL-SILVA DUSTIN TRAYER

The Zoological Society of San Diego was founded in Octo­ber 1916 by Harry M. Wegeforth, M.D., as a private, nonprofit corporation that currently does business as San Diego Zoo Global. This digital edition of ZOONOOZ® is currently published every month. Versions are available for download on iPad and Kindle Fire, and a PDF version is available for viewing on desktops, Android devices, and smartphones. Publisher is San Diego Zoo Global, at 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92103, 619-231-1515. Copyright® 2014 San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved. “ZOONOOZ” Reg. U.S. Pat. Office. All column and program titles are trademarks of San Diego Zoo Global. Annual Memberships: Dual $119, new; $104, renewal. Single $98, new; $86, renewal. Membership includes unlimited entrance to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

SAN DIEGO ZOO HOURS: August 1–31: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK HOURS: August 1–17: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; August 18–31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about our animals and events, visit sandiegozoo.org or call 619-231-1515.

August 2014 ZOONOOZ  

Gorilla Birth: It's a Girl!

August 2014 ZOONOOZ  

Gorilla Birth: It's a Girl!