ZOONOOZ August 2015

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inside august <strong>2015</strong><br />

Mammal of Mystery:<br />

Devi the Hippo Calf<br />

Boy or girl? Funani knew,<br />

but everyone else would<br />

have to wait to find out!<br />

wildlife<br />

A Pollinator<br />

Problem: How Do<br />

You Value a Bee?<br />

Honeybees, native bees,<br />

and other pollinators are<br />

under threat. Find out<br />

what you can do to help!

conservation<br />

more<br />

From the Archives<br />

New Digs for Dholes<br />

A pack of Asiatic wild dogs has taken up residence in the Safari Park’s<br />

former tiger exhibit, and to their pleasure, they have the run of the place!<br />

explore<br />

Support<br />

Through the Lens<br />

Keeping Flamingos<br />

in the Pink at the Zoo<br />

The once-a-year flamingo roundup<br />

is carefully choreographed to make<br />

sure the flock stays healthy.<br />

Furniture Makes the Home<br />

—Even for Animals!<br />

From logs to tree trunks to root<br />

balls, the Horticulture Department<br />

provides animals with the best<br />

seat in the house.<br />

Chairman’s Note<br />

You Said It<br />

on the cover: East African river hippopotamus calf Hippopotamus amphibius kiboko<br />

©Ken Bohn, SDZG Photographer

chairman’s note<br />



Robert B. Horsman, Chairman<br />

Sandra A. Brue, Vice Chairman<br />

Judith A. Wheatley, Secretary<br />

Steven G. Tappan, Treasurer<br />


we at San Diego Zoo Global continue to do our part and place an emphasis on recycling and<br />

reusing water. Overall, our organization recycles more than 16 million gallons of water annually, and we<br />

have an active employee task force that continues to seek ways to increase that amount.<br />

At the Safari Park, we have an onsite water treatment plant that processes and recycles 100 percent of<br />

the Park’s wastewater, which is then reused for irrigation in the large field exhibits. We are currently applying<br />

for funding to upgrade this system from secondary treatment of wastewater to tertiary treatment,<br />

which will make the water available for even more uses. We use direct site drip-line irrigation in watering<br />

our plant collections, landscaping, and browse sources, which brings water directly to the base of the plants<br />

where it is needed.<br />

At the Zoo, we collect rainwater in reclamation gutters and in 6 rain barrels located strategically<br />

throughout the grounds, which can capture 3,500 gallons for various uses. You can see one of the rain<br />

barrels at the Queenslander House in Australian Outback and read information about the importance<br />

of water conservation. The Zoo’s ponds and pools are equipped with extensive filtration and recycling<br />

units, so they rarely need to be drained and refilled. For instance, the hippo pool has only been drained<br />

twice in the last 20 years. During the month of June this year, the Zoo reduced its water use by 17.1 percent,<br />

exceeding the 16-percent reduction goal from the City of San Diego.<br />

All of our facilities implement a wide variety of ways to conserve water, including cleaning with tools<br />

rather than hoses, installing low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and motion-detecting sink faucets in<br />

restrooms, and tracking and quickly fixing any leaks. We use drought-tolerant plants, mulching, and<br />

xeriscape methods in our general landscaping, and our employees practice conscientious water use in all<br />

our office areas. Signs and graphic panels also inform visitors about what San Diego Zoo Global is doing<br />

to reduce and reuse water.<br />

On grounds and in education programs at the Zoo and Safari Park, we share water conservation<br />

information and techniques with our guests that they can use at home, such as sweeping and using<br />

blowers to clean patios and sidewalks instead of hosing them with water. The Safari Park’s Biofiltration<br />

Wetland serves as an outdoor classroom, where thousands of schoolchildren participate each year in<br />

hands-on water programs that teach the importance of preserving this precious resource. San Diego<br />

Zoo Global partners with the San Diego County Water Authority to promote the “When in Drought”<br />

communications campaign, which gives San Diegans tips on how to save water. We have also hosted<br />

water conservation workshops for local water agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public.<br />

Everyone needs water, and it will take all of us working together to conserve it. Every drop counts,<br />

now more than ever.<br />

Robert B. Horsman<br />

Chairman<br />

Every drop<br />

counts<br />


M. Javade Chaudhri<br />

Berit N. Durler<br />

Richard B. Gulley<br />

Clifford W. Hague<br />

Linda Lowenstine, D.V.M., Ph.D.<br />

George A. Ramirez<br />

Patricia L. Roscoe<br />


Frank C. Alexander<br />

Kurt Benirschke, M.D.<br />

Thompson Fetter<br />

Bill L. Fox<br />

Frederick A. Frye, M.D.<br />

George L. Gildred<br />

Yvonne W. Larsen<br />

John M. Thornton<br />

Albert Eugene Trepte<br />

Betty Jo F. Williams<br />

James Lauth,<br />

General Counsel<br />

Douglas G. Myers,<br />

President/CEO<br />

Charles L. Bieler,<br />

Executive Director Emeritus<br />




Murray H. Hutchison, Chair<br />

Maryanne C. Pfister, Vice Chair<br />

Susan N. McClellan, Secretary<br />

Richard M. Hills, Treasurer<br />

Mark A. Stuart, President<br />

Robert B. Horsman, Ex officio<br />

Douglas G. Myers, Ex officio<br />


Christine L. Andrews<br />

Joye D. Blount<br />

Rick Bregman<br />

Lisa S. Casey<br />

Douglas Dawson<br />

Berit N. Durler, Ex officio<br />

U. Bertram Ellis, Jr.<br />

Arthur E. Engel<br />

Craig L. Grosvenor<br />

Michael Hammes<br />

Judith C. Harris<br />

Michael E. Kassan<br />

Susan B. Major<br />

Michael D. McKinnon<br />

Thomas Tull<br />

Margie Warner<br />

Ed Wilson<br />

4 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

Members get up close<br />

FREE all year long!<br />

Start your membership today. Call 619-718-3000<br />

or visit sandiegozoo.org<br />



through the lens<br />

Photo by Ken Bohn<br />


Caribbean<br />

flamingo<br />

Phoenicopterus<br />

ruber ruber


you said it<br />

Join our friends @sdzglobal & write “Stop<br />

Killing Rhinos” on your hand & tweet it<br />

using #rally4rhinos. Please RT. @Chargers<br />

Where’s the tiger Dada<br />

@sdzsafaripark fun!<br />

pablo_law<br />

Another wonderful visit to the park yesterday.<br />

Your staff was helpful and so knowledgeable<br />

about the animals, as usual. So glad to be a member and<br />

able to visit often. Best investment!!! Beverly Hilton<br />

Another beautiful day @sdzsafaripark! Big thanks<br />

to Aaron for a great behind-the-scenes tour.<br />

#stopkillingrhinos @CAO916<br />

6<br />

<strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

Most amazing experience<br />

at San Diego Zoo, saw this a<br />

mazing animal #soSweet #orangutan<br />

@sandiegozoo @actornicole<br />

Backstage Pass was awesome, during our son’s Make-A-Wish trip last year. His<br />

favorite animal was a tiger and we got to meet Connor, and his mom is Mek from the<br />

Fresno Chaffee Zoo. We loved the zoo it’s so beautiful can’t wait until we go again someday.<br />

Nancy Navarro<br />

Feeding a giraffe called<br />

Wanda was a highlight of our<br />

visit to @sdzsafaripark #sandiego<br />

@motherofalltrip<br />

Since I was a wee lad, watching<br />

Sat. morning nature shows, I’ve<br />

wanted to come here. Dream come true.<br />

@sandiegozoo @brandoncozart<br />

Feeding the giraffes! #socool<br />

#giraffe #sandiegozoo<br />

brittanyking31<br />



10 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong><br />

MAMMAL<br />


DEVI THE<br />


Funani is<br />

always ready<br />

with an<br />

encouraging<br />

“nudge.”<br />

By Peggy Scott<br />


Photos by Ken Bohn<br />


A<br />

s mysteries go, it wasn’t so much a case of<br />

“whodunnit” as “what is it?” It was pretty<br />

clear to keepers on March 23, <strong>2015</strong>, that<br />

Funani the African river hippo had given<br />

birth to a calf. They also knew Otis,<br />

the father, had definitely played a role<br />

in the arrival. But it would be more<br />

than two months before anyone<br />

could answer, with any certainty, whether the pair<br />

had produced a son or a daughter. Funani, of course,<br />

had the information, but she wasn’t telling. Nor was<br />

the notoriously protective mother letting anyone<br />

close enough to get a good enough look. Inquiring<br />

minds—and camera phones—would have to wait.<br />



Funani is a famously<br />

protective hippo mom,<br />

and keepers respect<br />

her wishes.

Funani keeps<br />

Devi, her “mini-me,”<br />

right by her side.<br />

Game Changer<br />

With the baby’s birth, hippo keepers knew<br />

that things had just become cuter—and a<br />

bit more complicated. “The arrival of a calf<br />

changes everything,” explains John Michel,<br />

senior keeper. “With a male and female pair,<br />

the routine is for them to go on and off exhibit<br />

together. But add a calf, which must be<br />

kept separate from the father, and the situation<br />

completely changes.”<br />

The youngster’s arrival turned life at the<br />

Zoo’s hippo barn into a game of musical<br />

chairs of sorts. “Otis is out on exhibit in the<br />

pool Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,”<br />

John says. “Funani and her calf go out Tuesdays,<br />

Thursdays, and weekends.” One aspect,<br />

John notes, did not change. “Funani<br />

runs things. If she doesn’t want to shift off,<br />

she doesn’t,” he explains. “She and the calf<br />

were out in the main exhibit for about two<br />

weeks after she gave birth. Otis moved from<br />

the barn to another outdoor area and back<br />

again during that time. You don’t want to<br />

stress a mother hippo.” John adds that Otis’<br />

personality is a big help during a change of<br />

routine. “He is a laid-back, go-with-the-flow<br />

guy,” John says. “You couldn’t ask for a more<br />

mellow fellow.”<br />

Mom Said No<br />

With Funani, however, “mellow” isn’t usually<br />

the first word that comes to mind. “She<br />

has always been a doting mom,” John says.<br />

“But with this calf, she’s been super protective.”<br />

One reason for her hyper-vigilance, he<br />

muses, might rest with the calf’s size. “Funani<br />

has had 7 calves here at the Zoo in 20<br />

years,” John says. “This calf was the smallest<br />

and a little bit wobbly at first, so maybe<br />

she’s just being extra careful.” During the<br />

early days, Funani kept the calf tucked protectively<br />

under the elephant ear plant at the<br />

edge of their pool, always positioning herself<br />

between her baby and the viewing glass.<br />

She would frequently nurse the baby up on<br />

the beach toward the back of the exhibit,<br />

keeping one wary eye on her adoring public.<br />

The only individuals deemed acceptable,<br />

besides her keepers? A mother mallard who<br />

was also raising a family in the hippo exhibit.<br />

“One afternoon, the ducklings were napping<br />

on Funani’s back, which was the only<br />

part of her showing above the surface of the<br />

pool,” John recalls. “It was quite a sight.”<br />

Funani’s sensitivity, combined with her<br />

species’ natural behaviors, made the gender<br />

guessing game even more challenging. A<br />

14 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

Funani kept<br />

her baby safely<br />

tucked under<br />

the elephant<br />

ear plant at the<br />

pool’s edge.<br />

Play fighting is one<br />

way calves learn<br />

about hippo life.<br />

water-loving creature, the hippo’s habit of<br />

spending up to 16 hours a day submerged<br />

earned it its name, a Greek word that means<br />

“river horse.” Well, you may be able to lead<br />

a horse to water, but you can’t make a river<br />

horse show you its calf! By the time keepers<br />

started looking for “clues,” the calf was<br />

already able to push up to the surface of the<br />

pool. This meant the chance for a good look<br />

as Funani nudged the baby upward against<br />

the exhibit glass had already passed them<br />

by. “It was pretty funny to see us trying to<br />

get a peek,” John recalls. “There we were,<br />

crouched along the glass with our cellphone<br />

cameras, trying to get a definitive photo.”<br />

And as senior keeper Jen Chapman noted<br />

in a blog about Funani’s baby, sometimes<br />

nature works against you. Those wrinkles in<br />

a baby hippo’s skin? Yes, they’re adorable—<br />

but they can also “often hide certain characteristics<br />

we are looking for in determining<br />

gender!” she wrote.<br />

It’s a Girl—and an Honor<br />

Once “Bellywatch <strong>2015</strong>” finally paid off, the<br />

calf was at last determined to be female.<br />

Picking a suitable name was the next step.<br />

The hippo crew had wanted to pay tribute<br />

to David Smith, a much-beloved fellow<br />

keeper, but when the calf turned out<br />

to be a girl, his coworkers researched the<br />

feminized version of his name: Devi. The<br />

name fits in more ways than one. “Devi<br />

also means ‘goddess’ in Hindi, which is<br />

very fitting— since many of us were kneeling<br />

in front of the viewing glass, as if<br />

genuflecting, while we’d try to get a glimpse<br />

of her belly!” Jen wrote.<br />

These days, Devi has grown into her own<br />

and filled out nicely. She follows her mother<br />

around and willingly approaches her keepers.<br />

Funani has relaxed a bit, but she still<br />

tries to stay in front of Devi and guide her.<br />

Mother and daughter are interacting with<br />

their neighbors, the okapis and duikers, and<br />

Devi’s confidence grows each day—along<br />

with her personality. Jen calls the connection<br />

Devi has with her mom “amazing,”<br />

and the little one is developing into a wellrounded<br />

hippo—in every sense of the word!<br />

There’s a new routine at the hippo barn<br />

these days, one that brings smiles to the<br />

keepers’ faces. “We open the gate for Funani<br />

and Devi to come in and here they are, trotting<br />

toward us, looking like the Clydesdale<br />

and the Chihuahua,” John says. “How could<br />

it be cuter?” n 15<br />


16 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

By Paige Howorth<br />


Photos by Tammy Spratt<br />


istory holds many lessons; bits of knowledge that can be applied to situations seemingly unlike<br />

the original event. Take Black Tuesday, the day of the catastrophic crash of the stock<br />

market in 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. I remember learning about that<br />

in history class, and it was also presented as a warning and a caution to be vigilant—not<br />

just regarding stocks and bonds but as a metaphor for paying attention to signs of trouble<br />

in any situation before there’s a crash. Well, entomologists are seeing that it’s almost Black<br />

Tuesday for bees. I can’t help but wonder: are we writing the script now for a future without them, and how<br />

will humans deal with the consequences?<br />

Pollinators are not as big a concern for<br />

most people as their stock portfolios, but<br />

they should be. Since we have not “hit bottom”<br />

yet—and there’s no index to tell us<br />

how close we are—it is easy to leave the<br />

worry for another day. But rest assured, the<br />

warning bells are ringing. Pollinators like<br />

bees, butterflies, beetles, and flies are in<br />

crisis worldwide, suffering from pesticide<br />

exposure, habitat loss, and disease. Pollinators<br />

make fertilization possible for many<br />

plants; without them, food as we know it<br />

would simply not exist. No fruits, veggies,<br />

peanut butter, or chocolate—and that’s just<br />

a start. If this sounds like the same old story<br />

you hear about humans and nature all<br />

the time, stay with me a little longer. This<br />

is more than another wildlife-in-crisis story,<br />

and I guarantee that it will affect you<br />

personally—and definitely financially—if<br />

people stay on the current course.<br />

What is the cause of this alarming decline?<br />

Most of the reasons have to do with<br />

urbanization and agriculture. While those<br />

may seem only marginally related to you<br />

and me, the reality is that our culture results<br />

from our choices—and the market<br />

always follows demand.<br />

Pesticides<br />

ll insects are affected by contact<br />

with insecticides. A newer class<br />

of systemic insecticides called<br />

neonicotinoids has been shown<br />

to severely affect bee health. In agriculture,<br />

this type of insecticide is most often<br />

applied as a seed coating, and the insect<br />

nerve poison subsequently shows up in<br />

The last pair of hind legs on a honeybee is adapted to shape and carry a pollen pellet as<br />

the bee goes about its daily foraging.

The pollen caught among<br />

the tiny hairs on these<br />

honeybees’ bodies will<br />

be brushed off when<br />

they visit another flower,<br />

effectively crosspollinating<br />

the plant.

every tissue as the plant grows: leaf, stem,<br />

pollen, and nectar.<br />

As a result, though the insecticide is<br />

targeted at “pest” insects, there can be<br />

serious consequences for any insect that<br />

visits the plant for nectar or pollen. Some<br />

need only be present when the planting<br />

occurs, since some of the chemical seed<br />

coating is released as crop “dust” in agricultural<br />

plantings. The effects of these<br />

pesticide exposures include immediate<br />

death by contact, but some are sublethal,<br />

meaning that the animal does not die<br />

right away but experiences disorientation,<br />

loss of navigational ability, paralysis, and<br />

even memory loss as the result of contact.<br />

This is not just an agricultural issue;<br />

many products containing this type of<br />

insecticide can be found in local home<br />

improvement stores for landscaping use.<br />

Federal regulations govern the concentrations<br />

of these poisons used in agriculture,<br />

yet there are no restrictions for home use,<br />

and that sets up a dangerous scenario.<br />

Consumers often do not follow the instructions<br />

for application and the concentrations<br />

can be many times higher than<br />

federal regulations allow. This means<br />

more of the poison finds its way to bees<br />

and other animals through gardens and<br />

runoff from irrigation.<br />

It is important to note here that the<br />

majority of research on pesticide effects<br />

in pollinators has been conducted in honeybees<br />

because they are managed commercially,<br />

making them more accessible<br />

and measurable. Since their biology is<br />

very similar to that of native bees, we can<br />

assume that the damaging effects from<br />

pesticides are also suffered by native bees.<br />

Why are native bees important? Because<br />

no pollinator serves our plants better.<br />

Native bees have evolved alongside<br />

the flowering plants that they pollinate,<br />

and they are usually much better at it<br />

than non-native honeybees. It’s easy for<br />

honeybees to get all the attention, because<br />

they are used in commercial agriculture<br />

and are relatively easy to study.<br />

But native bees such as mason bees, mining<br />

bees, and leafcutter bees have been<br />

quietly carrying their weight in our ecosystems<br />

for millennia.<br />

Some bees have a different way of transporting pollen. This female masked bee, Hylaeus<br />

sp. is about to concentrate a drop of nectar to make it easier to carry back to her nest.<br />

By drawing the droplet in and out of her mouth repeatedly, moisture evaporates and the<br />

nectar becomes more of a pellet than a drop. She will then swallow it and regurgitate it<br />

back at the nest. Masked bees are a solitary species that often uses old burrows of other<br />

insect species for a nest.<br />



Measuring a mere 13/64 inches (5 millimeters) long, sweat bees Lasioglossum sp.—a native bee—are the largest group of bees; small<br />

but mighty indeed!<br />

Habitat Matters<br />

s human populations grow, less<br />

space remains for native pollinators<br />

to thrive. Overgrown spaces<br />

with wildflowers, weeds, and nesting<br />

sites are disappearing, banished in favor<br />

of manicured lawns that eliminate key nectar<br />

and pollen sources—like dandelions—<br />

and encourage pesticide use. Agricultural<br />

practices also alter land that was once suitable<br />

pollinator habitat. Instead of a diversity<br />

of nectar and pollen sources, acreage is<br />

filled with insecticide- and herbicide-laden<br />

monocultures as far as the eye can see.<br />

Two types of genetically modified (GM)<br />

crops are routinely used in agriculture.<br />

One is an insect-resistant type, in which a<br />

bacterium that is lethal to certain chewing<br />

insects is incorporated into the genome of<br />

the plant, and the target insect species are<br />

killed when they feed on the plant. The second<br />

is an herbicide-resistant variety, which<br />

is definitely a problem for pollinators, especially<br />

butterflies and bees. In herbicide-resistant<br />

GM crops, the plants are engineered<br />

to be resistant to applications of certain<br />

herbicides. They can withstand repeated<br />

applications of herbicide, which kills all the<br />

flowering weeds surrounding the planted<br />

area—the ones the pollinators depend on.<br />

This is of particular concern for monarch<br />

butterflies, whose larval host plant is<br />

milkweed. Milkweed thrives in disturbed<br />

habitats and has historically been found<br />

adjacent to crops. Most people are familiar<br />

with the epic migration of the eastern monarch<br />

butterfly population to the oyamel fir<br />

tree forests of Central Mexico. Over the past<br />

few years, the count of overwintering monarchs<br />

in the protected reserves has revealed<br />

a catastrophic drop—down an incredible 90<br />

percent from the 20-year average and standing<br />

at an all-time historical low since the<br />

migration was discovered in the 1970s. Lack<br />

of available host plants due to GM-related<br />

herbicide application has been identified as<br />

a key factor in this staggering decline.<br />

Disease<br />

here are a great many parasites<br />

and pathogens that burden pollinators,<br />

and the ones causing<br />

the most damage are introduced<br />

species. Native bumblebees suffer from a<br />

20 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

The estimated<br />

percentage of the<br />

animal and plant<br />

products in our<br />

diets that can be<br />

traced, both directly<br />

and indirectly, to<br />

insect pollination.<br />

Direct pollination includes everything from<br />

cucumbers to squash, coffee to basil, strawberries<br />

to cantaloupes, cashews, and everything in<br />

between. Indirect pollination includes the insectpollinated<br />

foods like alfalfa and clover that we<br />

feed to our livestock (from which we get milk,<br />

eggs, and meat).<br />

The percentage of<br />

decline in overwintering<br />

monarch butterflies in<br />

the Central Mexican<br />

butterfly preserves<br />

from the 20-year average,<br />

as measured in the winter<br />

of 2013-2014.<br />

The percentage<br />

of the Earth’s<br />

flowering plants<br />

that depend<br />

on insect<br />

pollination<br />

to set seed or<br />

produce fruit.<br />

The dollar<br />

value of insectpollinated<br />

crops in the<br />

United States.<br />

The percentage of<br />

managed honeybee<br />

colony losses<br />

experienced<br />

by beekeepers in<br />

the US in<br />

the April 2014-<br />

April <strong>2015</strong> year.<br />

Beekeeping is a tough business, and the rewards<br />

grow smaller each year. At this time, there are only<br />

about 2.5 million commercial honeybee colonies<br />

in the United States. For perspective, it takes 1.6<br />

million colonies to pollinate the annual California<br />

almond crop alone.<br />


The native bee house<br />

at the Zoo shows a<br />

number of ways humans<br />

can provide nesting<br />

habitat for bees.<br />

A bundle of cut<br />

bamboo culms<br />

makes a good<br />

nesting option for<br />

some bees.<br />

22<br />

<strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong><br />

Different types of bees seek<br />

out holes of various diameter<br />

and depth. Use the Internet<br />

to determine which species<br />

you may have in your area and<br />

what their preferences are.<br />

A log with holes<br />

drilled into the end<br />

is another way to<br />

invite native bees to<br />

nest in your yard.<br />


non-native fungal disease, while honeybees<br />

struggle with introduced ectoparasites such<br />

as varroa mites and fungal infestations from<br />

nosema spores.<br />

A combination of all these—and probably<br />

other—factors has created the phenomenon<br />

known as Colony Collapse Disorder,<br />

which is decimating honeybee colonies in<br />

the United States. The precise cause is still<br />

unknown because the bees simply disappear,<br />

taking the evidence with them. But<br />

one thing is clear: life is hard for honeybees<br />

these days.<br />

Choose and Tell<br />

he magnitude of the problem<br />

makes it seem like there is no<br />

stopping it, but the reality is that<br />

a steady stream of small choices<br />

can help turn the tide. Once the threats to<br />

pollinators are understood, everyone can<br />

contribute to the solution by making different<br />

choices.<br />

At the San Diego Zoo, we are committed<br />

to helping pollinators recover. We’re spreading<br />

the word about the pollinator crisis in our<br />

education programs and through advocacy<br />

of the Pollinator Garden, which is located<br />

at the entrance to Elephant Odyssey. This<br />

beautiful space is dedicated to helping sustain<br />

bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, flies,<br />

and beetles by providing a steady supply of<br />

pesticide-free nectar and host plants, as well<br />

as suitable living spaces for native bees.<br />

The Pollinator Garden also hosts a monarch<br />

waystation. This area includes a dedicated<br />

section of native milkweed available for<br />

monarch butterflies to lay eggs from spring<br />

through fall, helping to boost the West Coast<br />

population. Monarchs have deservedly been<br />

in the spotlight recently; they have been advocated<br />

for endangered species protections due<br />

to their alarming decline and the potential<br />

threat to the eastern population. In one response<br />

to the 2014 Presidential Memorandum<br />

“Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the<br />

Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators,”<br />

the federal government has recently set aside<br />

almost $2.5 million for monarch butterfly<br />

habitat restoration and educational outreach.<br />

The monarch is a highly recognizable,<br />

iconic species—and many more species<br />

need our help. As a result, we have just fin-<br />

Pollinators need more than<br />

just one organization’s<br />

efforts: they need<br />

your help, too. Just<br />

as numerous bees<br />

contributing a bit<br />

of nectar to a<br />

hive creates an<br />

abundance<br />

of honey,<br />

each seemingly<br />

small choice and<br />

effort an individual<br />

person makes builds<br />

momentum in pollinator<br />

conservation.<br />

BUY ORGANIC: If you don’t currently buy any organic foods or clothing,<br />

think about picking even one item the next time you visit the store. You could<br />

potentially lower the demand for crops produced using pesticides and reduce<br />

the overall application (over one BILLION pounds yearly in the US) of these chemicals.<br />

STEM THE GM: Even if you don’t care whether or not you eat genetically<br />

modified crops, buying GM food supports the practice of widespread<br />

herbicide application in agriculture and the resulting decimation of pollinator<br />

habitat. Organic items cannot intentionally include GM crops; those labeled “Non<br />

GMO” have been positively determined not to contain them. One non-GM item in<br />

your basket is a small step in the right direction for pollinators.<br />

BUILD YOUR WAYSTATION: Create a habitat in your yard, garden, or<br />

flowerbox that invites pollinators. Plant some milkweed for monarchs and<br />

include other plants that attract and sustain pollinators. Some great planting<br />

information can be found online; just search for “pollinator garden.”<br />

AVOID PESTICIDE USE AT HOME: See aphids on your outdoor plants?<br />

Wait a few weeks, and you are likely to see them disappear into the mouths<br />

of hungry ladybugs! Hold off on the pesticides, and give the natural system<br />

a chance to find its balance. If you must use pesticides, read the manufacturer’s<br />

instructions for the recommended concentration and only use it at or below that level.<br />


overgrown grasses create a perfect habitat for nesting and overwintering<br />

native bees, and flowering weeds are a staple nectar and pollen source for<br />

bees and butterflies. Keep in mind that most native bees are solitary and do not sting<br />

readily. They are good, safe neighbors—especially if you have a garden.<br />

HELP SPREAD THE WORD: Most people have no idea that the<br />

sustainability of food as we know it is so tightly linked with the health of<br />

pollinators. Share what you know!<br />


When a beehive was<br />

discovered in an irrigation<br />

box on the Zoo’ gorilla<br />

habitat roof, the bees<br />

were carefully relocated.<br />

The sweet reward of<br />

honey straight from the<br />

comb went to the gorillas<br />

and other primates!<br />

24 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong><br />


Monarch butterflies have been in the spotlight lately due to an alarming decline in their numbers.<br />

ished construction on a facility for rearing<br />

lesser-known imperiled San Diego butterfly<br />

species. We are working collaboratively<br />

with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in<br />

giving some of these endangered pollinators<br />

a population boost in the near future. If you<br />

have never heard of the quino checkerspot<br />

butterfly, the Hermes copper, or the Laguna<br />

Mountains skipper, it is our hope that you<br />

will learn about them through the efforts of<br />

the San Diego Zoo’s Butterfly Conservation<br />

Lab—stay tuned!<br />

Beyond butterflies, honeybees also get a<br />

hand here at the Zoo. They gather in swarms<br />

while looking for a new home, and when<br />

they swarm in undesirable spots at the Zoo,<br />

we find them a more suitable place to go.<br />

For the past two years, we have been maintaining<br />

honeybee colonies on grounds and<br />

do live removals of swarms and established<br />

hives in problem places wherever possible.<br />

Raising Voices, Rising Action<br />

ollinators are at a crossroads, and<br />

it seems that their advocates are<br />

being heard at long last. In 2013,<br />

This female leafcutter bee Lithurgopsis<br />

apicalis has already gathered<br />

a good load of pollen but still seeks more.<br />

A honeybee Apis mellifera and a green<br />

sweat bee Agapostemon texanus share the<br />

bounty of a cactus blossom.<br />

the European Union banned the use of<br />

certain neonicotinoid pesticides for two<br />

years, pending further evaluation of their<br />

effects on pollinators. In our own country,<br />

tireless invertebrate conservation advocates<br />

have facilitated state legislation in<br />

Oregon requiring pollinator education<br />

and testing as part of the pesticide applicator<br />

licensing process, to avoid indiscriminate<br />

use. And there is now a tremendous<br />

focus on the monarch butterfly and<br />

government-wide attention to the pollinator<br />

crisis in general.<br />

Most importantly, pollinators have<br />

YOU. From The Great Sunflower Project to<br />

Bumblebee Watch to Journey North, citizen<br />

science projects for these vital creatures<br />

abound. There has never been a better time<br />

to get involved and help underscore the value<br />

of pollinators. Your choices matter, and<br />

the vibrant, flowering world that we live in<br />

depends on it.<br />

Black Tuesday for bees? Not on our<br />

watch. So find your pollinators, make<br />

your contribution, and help bring back the<br />

buzz! n<br />


The pack of eight<br />

dholes is settling<br />

in nicely to their<br />

spacious exhibit at<br />

the Safari Park.<br />

NEW<br />

DIGS<br />

FOR<br />

DHOLES<br />

26 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>



Asiatic wild dogs, also called dholes, are energetic and highly social animals.<br />

By Karyl Carmignani<br />


Photos by Ken Bohn<br />


With a mixture of grace and curiosity, the pack lopes effortlessly throughout its<br />

new three-acre exhibit. Last spring, a family pack of eight Asiatic wild dogs<br />

Cuon alpinus, also called dholes (pronounced “doles”), moved into the former<br />

tiger habitat in the Asian Savanna area at the Safari Park. This is the first time<br />

that Park visitors have been able to see these beautiful wild dogs on exhibit at<br />

the Park. The auburn-colored dholes have erect ears, a dark tail, and a creamy<br />

white underbelly and leg accents, making them both camouflaged and striking<br />

in the grassy, light-dappled exhibit.<br />

Dholes are super-sensitive animals, skittish to the point of potentially overheating under stress. But “this pack surprised<br />

us with their hardy way of adjusting to their new environment and different keepers,” said Tina Hunter, senior<br />

keeper at the Safari Park. Made up of one female and eight males, including Lucius, who is the father of the rest of<br />

the group, the highly social pack has been added to the Park’s Behind-the-Scenes Safaris. “Dholes are unique animals<br />

that most people have never seen before,” said Tina. “They will be an exciting addition to our safaris.”<br />

28 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

Dhole House<br />

Once the tigers moved into the new Tull<br />

Family Tiger Trail, their former exhibit was<br />

found to be a great habitat for the dholes. The<br />

six separate indoor bedrooms are arranged<br />

in a horseshoe shape. “The tigers, as a solitary<br />

species, weren’t so keen on this arrangement,<br />

but the highly social dholes like to<br />

keep an eye on each other,” explained Tina.<br />

There is a feed chute on each door that was<br />

used to dispense bones and other treats for<br />

the tigers, which also works for dhole treats.<br />

The vast outdoor area of the dhole habitat<br />

needed a few adjustments. “Dholes are great<br />

diggers, so the underground, three-foot barrier<br />

along the fenceline was closely inspected<br />

and reinforced before they moved in,” said<br />

Tina. Dholes are also devoted water lovers,<br />

so the existing pool is a favorite hang-out<br />

spot. “We built a shelter over part of the pool<br />

so the dholes can spend more time in the water,<br />

even when the sun is strongest.”<br />

Dhole Drama<br />

While the keepers are still getting acquainted<br />

with each dog, there is a clear hierarchy<br />

in the group that must be adhered to. “We<br />

always feed them in order of dominance,”<br />

said Tina, which avoids conflicts later. For<br />

instance, Lucius recently lost his top-dog<br />

status to one of his sons, Sanuk, so he is<br />

now fed second. Each animal gets a special<br />

ground-meat canine diet daily and a rabbit<br />

and femur bone weekly. “We hand-feed<br />

them so each animal gets its fair share.” It<br />

can be difficult to tell the dogs apart, aside<br />

from Lucius missing a piece of his ear and<br />

the youngsters lacking white fur on their<br />

chest and feet. But the individuals reveal<br />

themselves in other ways. “We go by behavioral<br />

differences more than physical differences,”<br />

explained Tina. Even that can be<br />

challenging, as “they rarely want to be separated<br />

from one another.”<br />

Dholes are pack-driven animals, and<br />

their keepers are learning the etiquette of<br />

the pack dynamics while also working with<br />

individuals for husbandry purposes. To<br />

maximize animal welfare and healthcare<br />

and minimize stress to the animals, each<br />

dhole—Sanuk, Lucius, Beni, Jetsan, Katsu,<br />

Torma, Kono, and Yoshi—will be schooled<br />

in practical behaviors like station (staying in<br />

Dholes use water<br />

to stay cool and<br />

hydrated. They<br />

enjoy their pool at<br />

the Safari Park!<br />

a particular spot), down, sit, target, rise up,<br />

present paw, and open mouth. This training<br />

is accomplished through positive reinforcement<br />

with rewards, which deepens the<br />

animals’ relationship with their keepers and<br />

keeps the sessions upbeat and constructive.<br />

Dhole Talk<br />

Despite the dholes’ resemblance to domestic<br />

dogs, they are still wild carnivores that deserve<br />

a wide berth. “They can be aggressive,<br />

so we only go in with the young ones,” said<br />

Dholes are unusual animals that few<br />

people have ever seen. They are a part of<br />

the Behind-the-Scenes Safaris at the Park.<br />

Tina, “and always with two keepers.” She<br />

explained that the dhole’s greeting includes<br />

snapping at each other—an expression of<br />

endearment for them, but not so endearing<br />

for humans. Dholes can be quite vocal, too,<br />

calling to keep in touch over short or long<br />

distances, which is handy when they are<br />

cooperatively hunting. Living in close-knit<br />

packs of 5 to 12 dogs—there is one breeding<br />

alpha pair and the rest help tend to the<br />

pups—communication in the form of whistles,<br />

barks, growls, alarm calls, and other<br />

chatter is key.<br />

The International Union for Conservation<br />

of Nature estimates that there are fewer<br />

than 2,500 dholes remaining throughout<br />

their range in Asia, with a downward trend<br />

continuing. Threats include loss of habitat<br />

and prey base (mostly deer and other<br />

hoofed animals), and dholes are listed as<br />

endangered. Besides the Safari Park, only<br />

two other facilities in the US have dholes:<br />

The Wilds in Ohio and the Minnesota Zoo.<br />

San Diego Zoo Global has been breeding<br />

dholes since 2001 in an off-exhibit breeding<br />

site; 20 pups have been born there to 4 different<br />

mothers. Our newest litter of dholes<br />

was born in January <strong>2015</strong>, bringing our<br />

current off-exhibit pack population to 12.<br />

Because of the breeding success, the animal<br />

care staff was able to form the non-breeding<br />

group that has taken up residence in the<br />

Asian Savanna exhibit. So take a Behindthe-Scenes<br />

Safari and check them out. I<br />

double dog dare you! n<br />



Keeping<br />

Flamingos<br />

in the Pink<br />

at the Zoo<br />

By Karyl Carmignani<br />


Photos by Ken Bohn<br />


30 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>



Athena Wilson<br />

carefully holds a<br />

flamingo on its<br />

way to its exam.<br />


Keepers Mike Touch and<br />

Rhonda Bennett confirm<br />

the bird’s tag number.<br />


F<br />

or decades, Zoo visitors have been greeted on the front plaza by a flurry<br />

of pink-feathered, high-stepping, long-necked, boisterous birds whose<br />

avian drama unfolds each day like a soap opera. To ensure these beautiful<br />

Caribbean flamingos are “in the pink,” the Zoo’s flamingo roundup is<br />

organized and orchestrated each spring. Instead of cowboy boots and<br />

lassos, this roundup requires catchers, handlers, flock monitors, and a<br />

brigade of devoted staff, all working to make sure each bird gets topnotch<br />

care during its annual exam at Flamingo Lagoon. The Bird Department and veterinary<br />

staff coordinate with other departments to make sure this three-hour event goes<br />

off without a hitch.<br />

There are about 40 staff members in with the birds, while numerous other employees<br />

assist on the outside. They deliver bubble-wrap-covered barriers to protect the birds,<br />

whisk away sandbags when the roundup is completed, and transport young birds to<br />

the lower duck pond. “This is the one time of year when each and every flamingo gets a<br />

hands-on physical exam by our veterinarians,” explained Amy Flanagan, animal care<br />

supervisor. “We couldn’t do it without the help of many other departments!”<br />

32 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

A vaccination is<br />

administered by<br />

Brian Opitz (right)<br />

while Jessica Theule<br />

keeps the bird still.<br />





After the bird’s checkup, it happily<br />

spreads its wings and returns to its<br />

flamboyant flock.<br />


6 and 11 pounds) and gets a West Nile virus<br />

vaccination. A blood sample is collected and<br />

a physical exam is conducted, which includes<br />

inspecting the bird’s beak, legs, toes, wings,<br />

feathers, eyes, and ears. The process is thorough,<br />

since the birds are only handled once<br />

a year. Zoo veterinarian Meg Sutherland-<br />

Smith, D.V.M., explained, “The information<br />

and experience gained by getting our hands<br />

on the flock once a year helps us manage any<br />

medical conditions that the birds may develop<br />

throughout the year.”<br />

Amelia Suarez holds the flamingo on the scale while Jessica Theule notes the weight.<br />

Team Roundup<br />

Flamingo Lagoon was designed with this<br />

health-care process in mind. Five keepers<br />

form a line, gently herding the birds toward<br />

the holding area. As the barricades approach,<br />

other bird species (ducks, geese, and<br />

crested screamers) that may have been included<br />

in the group dart out of the way past<br />

the keepers. The flamingos are corralled<br />

past cushioned barriers in the deep end of<br />

the lagoon, while one spotter is stationed on<br />

the bridge to observe the birds for signs of<br />

fatigue. If any are noted, that bird goes to<br />

the front of the line.<br />

A few birds at a time are funneled into<br />

a smaller area to be calmly caught by three<br />

catchers and then handed off to a handler,<br />

who holds the bird throughout the process<br />

of visiting each health station. Amy explained<br />

that the birds are held “like a football<br />

under the arm,” with the head and neck<br />

supported by the keeper’s other hand. The<br />

legs are folded underneath the bird. “They<br />

are pretty docile while we’re holding them,”<br />

she said, “but they can grab your hair or<br />

nose on occasion.”<br />

Once a bird is secured, it is taken to various<br />

stations on the lagoon shore. The bird’s<br />

leg band number is matched with its information<br />

card and its microchip is checked.<br />

Each bird is weighed (most weigh between<br />

Foot Map Journey<br />

Each bird’s information card includes a<br />

“foot map,” similar to a fingerprint for<br />

humans, so animal care staff can monitor<br />

each flamingo’s feet for any cracks or lesions<br />

that may develop. Flamingos are long-lived<br />

birds, with a possible lifespan of more than<br />

50 years in zoos! Since they spend a great<br />

deal of time with their feet submerged in<br />

water, it’s important to monitor their webbing<br />

and toes and those famous long legs.<br />

Monitoring foot condition allows animal<br />

care staff to decide if any changes need to be<br />

made in the birds’ environment.<br />

Since there are usually between 6 and 12<br />

young birds that hatched the previous year,<br />

they will need a follow-up booster vaccine<br />

34 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>


It takes a village for the annual flamingo roundup! A few key players (left to right): Amy Flanagan, Athena Wilson, Mike Grue, and Anne Clayton.<br />

in a few weeks. They are gathered up and<br />

taken to the African Marsh Pond located<br />

at the bottom of Hippo Trail, which avoids<br />

causing stress for the rest of the flock when<br />

booster shot day comes. Amy explained that<br />

cart drivers with carriers are ready to safely<br />

move these birds.<br />

Each bird is carefully and efficiently<br />

handled. After the health checks, the flamingos<br />

are released back into their lagoon,<br />

where they shake it off and get back to the<br />

leggy business of being a flamboyant flamingo.<br />

“This year we were able to process<br />

78 flamingos in just over 3 hours,” said Amy<br />

with pride. “Each year we refine the process<br />

and get better and more efficient. The annual<br />

flamingo roundup is truly the biggest collaborative<br />

avian health care project at the Zoo!”<br />

That’s a bright feather in the Zoo’s cap. n<br />

Special care is paid to flamingo feet, and each bird has a “foot map,” similar to a<br />

fingerprint, that is used to monitor changes over time.<br />






The beauty of a branch is that the animal has a choice of ways to use it.<br />

By Judy Bell<br />


Photos by Ken Bohn<br />


W<br />

hen people find out I work for the San Diego Zoo, they almost always say,<br />

“How cool! You get to work with all the animals!” Well, yes… and no. As a<br />

horticulturist, I use my knowledge of plants to try to make the animals’ habitats<br />

enriching, fun, safe, and, more than anything else, a comfortable home.<br />

Creating a new exhibit from scratch or even remodeling an existing space<br />

takes teamwork. Through multiple meetings, horticulturists, arborists, keepers, behaviorists, architects,<br />

construction and maintenance staff, curators, and operations personnel work together toward<br />

a common goal: an excellent home for the animals. The questions in the design phase are many.<br />

What should the habitat look like? What does the animal need to thrive, physically and mentally?<br />

How can we foster the animal’s expression of natural behaviors? These questions help us define<br />

what “furniture” will be needed. Huge tree stumps, logs, large trees, shrubs, tall grasses, specialty<br />

plants, and more are supplied by the Horticulture Department.<br />



A tangle of thick branches adds important elements to a gharial’s zoo home and gives Zoo visitors a glimpse into what its natural<br />

underwater surroundings are like.<br />


any of the Zoo’s exhibits have massive<br />

logs for the animals to climb on, over,<br />

and under. One way to get furniture<br />

like this is to have a big storm. Then we gather<br />

up any downed trees that fit the bill as candidates<br />

for placement inside an exhibit. The<br />

best trees to use are eucalyptus, because they<br />

have hard wood and many natural oils that<br />

make them water repellant and resistant to<br />

rot. Other tree species can be used, but they<br />

may have to be replaced in a matter of years,<br />

a costly aspect to “re-furnishing.” I used to<br />

feel a bit sad when a tree was felled, until I<br />

realized that no tree in the Zoo could have<br />

a better “afterlife” than to be a jungle gym<br />

for a young orangutan or gorilla. No tree,<br />

branch, or rootball is ever wasted here at the<br />

Zoo. Many of the original pieces of eucalyptus<br />

wood placed in the gorilla exhibit when<br />

it was built in 1991 are still there. They are<br />

M<br />

considered “antique furniture” at this point!<br />

Moving these pieces takes teamwork and<br />

the right kind of equipment. A crane lifts<br />

logs into a big truck for transport to a holding<br />

area and unloads them. Cranes come into<br />

play again when it’s time to place the furniture<br />

in an open-topped exhibit. If the exhibit<br />

has a roof or netted top, we also need a door,<br />

at least as wide as a Bobcat® (the tractor-type<br />

bobcat, not a feline). Sometimes we just use<br />

good ol’ muscle—and a lot of it!<br />


n occasion, an exhibit getting a “remodel”<br />

already has some plant material<br />

in it to work with. However,<br />

if there are large trees positioned close to<br />

the exhibit’s perimeter, we determine if they<br />

need to be relocated. Trees in such a spot<br />

may provide an avenue for escape as they<br />

grow—especially for arboreal primates. Such<br />

O<br />

huge trees pose another problem in a closed<br />

exhibit if they press against the wire barrier.<br />

In either case, the Zoo’s tree crew uses<br />

their abundant skills to artistically “reduce”<br />

the canopy. And they continue to do so on a<br />

regular basis for the lifetime of the exhibit.<br />

In addition to taking steps to ensure the<br />

trees don’t harm the exhibit structure, we<br />

also consider and plan for ways to protect the<br />

flora from the fauna. Barriers to guard trees<br />

from inquisitive and diligent chewing critters<br />

come in all shapes and sizes. Large rocks<br />

placed around the base of a tree are one way<br />

to prevent root damage from animals that<br />

like to dig. Wire mesh covering branches<br />

and tree trunks discourages chewing and<br />

bark removal that, if continuous, could eventually<br />

cause the death of the tree. These solutions<br />

work well with most hoofed species and<br />

small primates.<br />

Creating naturalistic habitats for great<br />

38 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

Unlike most pet<br />

domestic cats, zoo<br />

felines are encouraged<br />

to use the furniture as a<br />

scratching post!

apes provides a completely different challenge.<br />

By nature, they are in a constant state<br />

of “eating their environment,” and as a result,<br />

they need regular reminding that the<br />

landscape is not their lunch. This reminder is<br />

usually reinforced by a protective “hot wire,”<br />

which sends a mild electric pulse to discourage<br />

contact. The large trees will continue to<br />

provide shade as long as the protection is in<br />

place and the animals don’t figure out how<br />

to get around it. In the case of many primate<br />

exhibits, we use fake trees or metal armatures<br />

with rope hammocks for convenient<br />

and comfy places to hang out and relax. We<br />

have also created faux ficus trees by using<br />

cuttings of ficus rooted in manmade structures.<br />

These are placed within arm’s reach of<br />

the primates, so they can browse on the material<br />

at their convenience.<br />

T<br />

Carefully selected and installed furniture<br />

provides a safe environment in which zoo<br />

animals can exhibit natural behaviors.<br />


he overall selection and placement of<br />

plant material is critical to the ultimate<br />

success of an exhibit. A plant’s<br />

roots stand a much better chance of survival<br />

if they can be sheltered by a deadwood log<br />

or tucked away between rocks. If plants that<br />

are not typically used as browse are used as<br />

exhibit plantings, the inhabitants may not<br />

see them as edible and pass them by.<br />

Regular replanting and reseeding of exhibits<br />

is a way of life for our horticulturists.<br />

By using a variety of grasses —clumping<br />

and running, warm season and cool<br />

season—there will always be something<br />

green to prevent erosion and compaction<br />

from the pitter-patter and heavy footfalls<br />

of the animals. Any plant material with the<br />

ability to reseed and naturalize within the<br />

exhibit holds a distinct advantage in these<br />

tough conditions.<br />

The best strategy is to plant early and<br />

often, hoping to engage the animal inhabitants<br />

with many types of plant options, including<br />

enrichment in the form of browse<br />

(cut material and leafy branches, sometimes<br />

with fruit or flowers). We seek to keep animals<br />

occupied by climbing on deadwood,<br />

swinging on ropes, and munching on<br />

browse that has been tossed into a hammock<br />

by a keeper, rather than destroying<br />

the landscape plants. All of these strategies<br />

work wonders to keep animals away from<br />

the live plants inside an exhibit.<br />

From big statement pieces to the small<br />

flourishes, plant material has a positive effect<br />

on our animals’ homes, and it’s a part<br />

of being a zoo horticulturist that brings a<br />

great deal of satifaction. On your next visit<br />

to the Zoo or Safari Park, watch for the<br />

ways we use logs, branches, and plantings<br />

to help the animals thrive. Who knows,<br />

you might even get some ideas for your<br />

own pets at home! n<br />

40 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

Clockewise from top left: A dead tree stump<br />

makes an excellent nest site for many cavitynesting<br />

bird species; in their native range,<br />

cheetahs often perch atop low tree branches<br />

(and termite mounds) to get a better view of<br />

their surroundings; a massive tree trunk in<br />

the Safari Park’s cheetah habitat gives the<br />

cats there the same ability; trees add a<br />

veritcal element to an animal’s habitat; large<br />

boulders placed around the base of a tree<br />

protects the plant’s roots from the curious<br />

snouts and hooves of these peccaries; a stout<br />

tree trunk, also called deadfall, makes a<br />

perfect perch for this Andean bear.<br />


support<br />

A plush toy<br />

might just be a<br />

cheetah cub’s<br />

best friend.



Orangutan Indah explores her creative side with paper and nontoxic paints.<br />

By Mary Sekulovich<br />


Conversations with keepers at the San Diego<br />

Zoo or Safari Park often begin with<br />

“What if. . . ” or “Did you know. . . ?” Stay a<br />

little longer and you might hear what they<br />

use to help enrich the lives of animals in<br />

their care. It could be a favorite scent for<br />

giant pandas, a giant bone for jaguars,<br />

large balls for elephants, tigers, and bears,<br />

or a veggie ladder for parrots. Even new<br />

mulch or plants in a habitat can interest<br />

animals and encourage them to investigate<br />

their home. They may also look for<br />

new—and often yummy—surprises, like<br />

raisins strewn among leaves for the bonobos<br />

or meatballs hidden for big cats.<br />

Our keepers may not have a fairy godmother<br />

who grants wishes, but they do have<br />

Photos by Ken Bohn<br />


an amazing group of generous Zoo and Park<br />

donors who check out our Wish List each<br />

month. These supporters purchase items as<br />

diverse as Panda Cam equipment, a clock<br />

radio to entertain great apes, or hammocks<br />

for marmosets and clouded leopards. You<br />

can even feed a gorilla or lion for a day or a<br />

week. And don’t forget “snow day” enrichment<br />

for polar bears and giant pandas: one<br />

snowball is just $5 and fits most budgets.<br />

Looking back to November 19, 2006,<br />

when our first Wish List debuted on the<br />

Zoo’s website, we added up the numbers<br />

and realized that we’ve raised over<br />

$900,000 for our animals. More than 6,500<br />

donors have purchased close to 26,000<br />

items for the species they love! In the first<br />

10 minutes after the Animal Enrichment<br />

Holiday Wish List program went live that<br />

first year, we received 2 donations. Our first<br />

purchase was for an enrichment food puzzle<br />

for gorillas: $42. Great apes and other<br />

primates love manipulating the feeders until<br />

the treat falls out or they scoop it out—<br />

providing hours of stimulation and fun for<br />

these intelligent animals. Our most expensive<br />

item back then was for a necropsy table<br />

for the Zoo hospital: $25,000.<br />

So if you have ever wanted to buy a gift<br />

for your favorite cheetah, macaw, orangutan,<br />

or meerkat that will help them live a<br />

healthy lifestyle, you can visit the Wish List<br />

on the Zoo’s website at sandiegozoo.org/<br />

wishlist. Each month you will see who is<br />

celebrating a birthday and can choose from<br />

items that will make them and their keepers<br />

smile. And, yes, we do believe that animals<br />

can smile! n<br />

You can help secure the future for wildlife!<br />

Heritage Guild<br />

By creating a Charitable Gift Annuity or including the Zoological Society of San Diego<br />

in your will or trust, you can help protect wildlife. To receive more information,<br />

please call 619-557-3947 or visit our website at zoolegacy.org.<br />


from the archives<br />

Be Fruitful...<br />

Arriving in San Diego as a pair from the Calcutta<br />

Zoo in 1940, Rube and Rubie the African river hippos<br />

quickly became popular with visitors and staff—not<br />

to mention the stork! Their first calf, a “little” lady named<br />

Lotus, was born in 1943, and over their 40-plus years at<br />

the Zoo, they produced 10 more offspring together.<br />

One of Rube and Rubie’s favorite things was watermelon,<br />

and watching them enjoy the juicy fruit became<br />

a “must-see” among Zoo visitors. The pair would scoop<br />

up the whole melons and chomp down, popping the treat<br />

like humans would a grape. Rube also impressed anyone<br />

within earshot with his vocalizations. Cued by a keeper<br />

mimicking the sound, Rube would open his mouth, lift<br />

his chin, and let loose with what sounded like a cross<br />

between a bellow and a snore. The sound reverberated<br />

throughout the canyon where the hippo pool stood. It<br />

caused more than a few people to cover their ears!<br />

Hippos have an average life span of 25 to 30 years in<br />

the wild, but Rube’s 51 years made him one of the oldest<br />

hippos in zoos. The legacy of this beloved “power couple”<br />

lives on—today, the pair have been immortalized as two<br />

of the Zoo’s popular costumed characters! n<br />

44 <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> n AUGUST <strong>2015</strong>

PUBLISHED SINCE 1926 AUGUST <strong>2015</strong> n LXXXVIII–NO. 8<br />











KEN BOHN<br />
















The Zoological Society of San Diego was founded in Octo ber 1916 by Harry M. Wegeforth, M.D., as a private, nonprofit corporation that<br />

now does business as San Diego Zoo Global.<br />

This digital edition of <strong>ZOONOOZ</strong> ® is currently published every month. Versions are available for download on iPads and a PDF version is<br />

available for viewing on Kindle Fire, desktops, Android devices, and smartphones. Publisher is San Diego Zoo Global, at 2920 Zoo Drive, San<br />

Diego, CA 92103, 619-231-1515.<br />

Copyright ® <strong>2015</strong> San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved. “<strong>ZOONOOZ</strong>” Reg. U.S. Pat. Office. All column and program titles are<br />

trademarks of San Diego Zoo Global. Annual Memberships: Dual $125, new; $110, renewal. Single $102, new; $90, renewal. Membership<br />

includes unlimited entrance to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.<br />


<strong>August</strong> 1–31: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; September 1–7: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.<br />

September 8–25 and 27–30: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; September 26: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.<br />


<strong>August</strong> 1–16: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; <strong>August</strong> 17–31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.<br />

September 1–6: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; September 7–30: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.<br />

For more information about our animals and events, visit sandiegozoo.org or call 619-231-1515.

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