Archive for 2008

Cold Condors

Posted at 5:05 pm December 19, 2008 by Suzanne Hall

It’s the end of the year and time for a new cohort of California condors to begin the mentoring process at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Four youngsters, fresh out of their nest boxes, have been selected to prepare for eventual release to the wilds of Baja California, Mexico. They are currently sharing a small enclosure with a mentor bird while the group adjusts to communal living, and shortly the group will be given access to a large flight pen where they will live for the next eight months. During this time, researchers from the Zoo’s Applied Animal Ecology Division will be documenting their behavior as a continuation of a study we began a few years back. The goal of our research is to determine any social or temperamental factors that might help us to predict which individual birds are going to be successful when released to their native habitat.

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Time for Reindeer to Shine

Posted at 12:59 pm December 19, 2008 by Brent Clohesy

G’day everyone!

Now, most of our visitors to San Diego Zoo will be familiar with our polar bears. They are incredible, powerful, and very beautiful animals that are always popular with our guests. (Read blogs about the polar bear trio.) But what you may not have noticed is behind the polar bears, in the San Diego Zoo’s Polar Bear Plunge habitat, in a very cleverly designed exhibit that blends into the background are two Siberian reindeer.

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Brother and Sister Bear

Posted at 5:55 pm December 17, 2008 by Kelly Murphy

Well, it’s going on two months since I’ve returned to work from maternity leave. I can’t believe how fast time goes by. Thanks to everyone who sent their warm wishes and kind words. As much as I love being a mom, this was it for me. I now have one of each: a boy and a girl. I sometimes wonder what their relationship will be like, and I refer to another brother and sister pair I know, Kalluk and Tatqiq at the San Diego Zoo’s Polar Bear Plunge.

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Tiger Cubs at the Wild Animal Park

Posted at 12:01 pm December 17, 2008 by Kym Nelson

Delta's three newest cubs

Delta's three newest cubs

The tiger keepers at the Wild Animal Park are so excited to share the news of our newest little additions. On November 13, our female Sumatran tiger, Delta, gave birth to three cubs! Damai is the little girl and her name means “peace” in Indonesian; her two brothers are Kucing, meaning “cat,” and Harimau Kayu, meaning “tiger woods.”

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Andean Bears: Still Elusive

Posted at 10:24 am December 16, 2008 by Russ Van Horn

The cloud forest is, as you might expect, often cloudy.

The cloud forest is, as you might expect, often cloudy.

Russ Van Horn is studying Andean bears in Peru. Read his previous blog, Andean Bear Symposium.

I’m in Lima now, on my way to San Diego from the eastern slope of the Andes. I’ve spent most of my time since my last blog entry looking for evidence of Andean bears in the forests of eastern Peru. I began this search by returning to a mountainside where we’d earlier seen the leftovers of a bear’s meal and where we’ve had a camera “trap” in place for several weeks. Unfortunately, the camera did not take any photos of Andean bears, but it had snapped additional species of birds and mammals. There’s clearly quite a diversity of wildlife at that site, but it doesn’t appear to be used much by bears, at least at this time of year.

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Meet Our Staff: Gardener Mike Masterson

Posted at 5:05 pm December 15, 2008 by Mychael McNeeley

Mike Masterson began working for the San Diego Zoo in August of 1972. Although the job was supposed to be temporary working the Skyfari ride, Mike ended up staying on while going to college (he referred to himself, at the time, as a “Skyfariologist”). In 1977, Mike took two consecutive temporary positions in the Zoo’s Horticulture Department. Just as the second stint was about to end, a full-time position became available at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park and he secured that just in the nick of time. Mike worked at the Park until December 2006, when the Zoo hired him back.
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Meet Our Staff: Gardener Mike Masterson

Posted at 5:05 pm December 15, 2008 by Mychael McNeeley

Mike Masterson began working for the San Diego Zoo in August of 1972. Although the job was supposed to be temporary working the Skyfari ride, Mike ended up staying on while going to college (he referred to himself, at the time, as a “Skyfariologist”). In 1977, Mike took two consecutive temporary positions in the Zoo’s Horticulture Department. Just as the second stint was about to end, a full-time position became available at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park and he secured that just in the nick of time. Mike worked at the Park until December 2006, when the Zoo hired him back.

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How to Handle a Hedgehog

Posted at 11:12 am December 15, 2008 by Kimberly Carroll

So, how DO you learn to handle a hedgehog? Very carefully! Despite their spiky appearance, these prickly little critters just happen to be incredible animal ambassadors for the San Diego Zoo. (Animal Ambassadors are creatures that can get up close and personal with our guests, helping people learn about their species and the habitat they come from. Read a blog about one of our ambassador programs, Zoo Express.)

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Sun Bears: Growing Up Great

Posted at 4:32 pm December 12, 2008 by Suzanne Hall

I am pleased to report that the San Diego Zoo’s sun bear mother Marcella and her two cubs are doing very well. (Read Suzanne’s previous blog, Sun Bear Cubs: Multiple Personalities.) Now six weeks old, the youngsters have pudgy, round bellies and rolls of flesh that indicate mom is feeding them well. They are big enough that Marcella cannot cover them both completely at the same time, so their increased bulk should act as a buffer against the cold weather.

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An Aussie in San Diego

Posted at 11:24 am December 12, 2008 by Brent Clohesy

Brent with a lesser kudu

Brent with a lesser kudu

G’day! My name is Brent, and I am one of the Sumatran tiger keepers from the Melbourne Zoo in Australia. For the next three months I am lucky enough to be working at the San Diego Zoo, participating in a keeper exchange with a great guy named Adam. I’m working in the San Diego Zoo’s hoofed animals team, while he looks after our native animals at the Melbourne Zoo. It has been an outstanding experience so far! (Read Adam’s previous blog, Hopping along the Exchange.)

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