Archive for the 'Default' Category

China Trip Diary: Part 2

Posted at 11:17 am December 2, 2010 by Gaylene Thomas

Tracy, left, and Gaylene pose on the truck with the pandas on moving day.

Giant pandas Su Lin and Zhen Zhen moved to Wolong, China on September 24, 2010. Gaylene accompanied them on their journey and is sharing the trip with us through blog installments. Be sure to read China Trip Diary: Part 1.

The day of departure arrived, and the keepers and I did our best to focus on the tasks we had to accomplish rather than the goodbyes we had to say. Su Lin and Zhen Zhen entered their crates and settled in. I buckled my seatbelt on the bench seat directly in front of the pandas in the cargo section of the truck, and we departed for the land portion of the journey.


China Trip Diary: Part 1

Posted at 2:47 pm November 29, 2010 by Gaylene Thomas

Keeper Juli Borowski offers bamboo through the traveling crate.

Giant pandas Su Lin and Zhen Zhen moved to Wolong, China on September 24, 2010. Gaylene accompanied them on their journey and is sharing the trip with us through blog installments.

I did my best to suppress some of the excitement in my voice as I answered “Yes” to the question put before me by San Diego Zoo Associate Curator Curby Simerson in August 2010: “Would you be willing to accompany the pandas on their trip to China?” My efforts to minimize an overly eager reply manifested into a short, quick, loud, “Yes!” It was an honor and privilege to be offered this unique assignment. The many details of it had yet to be worked out, resulting in several months of anxiety and hesitancy to make any personal travel plans.


Training Andean Bear Field Crew

Posted at 11:29 am November 29, 2010 by Russ Van Horn

Meg, at left, conducts a field training session.

I recently spent several days in the dry forest of Lambayeque in Peru working with our collaborator Robyn Appleton and her field crew from the Spectacled Bear Conservation Society and with Dr. Meg Sutherland-Smith, a veterinarian from the San Diego Zoo. Our goals were to reinforce and enhance the field crew’s training in bear immobilization and, with luck, to illustrate everything by immobilizing a female Andean (or spectacled) bear and placing a GPS collar on her. The field crew had recently discovered the den at which a female bear (Pepa) had given birth. This is the fourth den found at this field site, and only the fifth ever described of wild Andean bears (one den was recently discovered in the cloud forest of Ecuador).


Panda Surprises

Posted at 9:57 am November 26, 2010 by Alyssa Medeiros

On a lovely afternoon, the pandas were doing their usual activities: Yun Zi was playing around on the branches of his exhibit, while Bai Yun sat and munched on bamboo for a good amount of time. A few times I could see the little wheels turning in Yun Zi’s head, trying to decide what to investigate. I love to watch him while on the job because he never seems to bore me.


Quolls: Critically Endangered and Remote

Posted at 3:23 pm November 24, 2010 by Bill Ellis

Bill holds a northern quoll.

I spend almost all of my time working in Australia on the San Diego Zoo’s koala project (see previous post, Koala Fieldwork: Helping Hands), but I have recently been introduced to other unique Australians. This week I traveled to east Arnhem Land in northern Australia to the home of the Wanindilyakwa people: Groote Eylandt. This large island (about 30 miles or 48 kilometers across and 50 miles or 80 kilometers long) lies in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and it is some of the most remote country in Australia. The island is home to the unique local indigenous people as well as one of the only intact natural populations of the critically endangered northern quoll Dasyurus hallicatus.


Late Harvest Winemaker Dinner featuring Stags’ Leap Winery

Posted at 4:11 pm November 23, 2010 by Matt Steele

When I arrived a few minutes before the reception of last Saturday’s 2010 Late Harvest Winemaker Dinner featuring Stags’ Leap Winery at Albert’s Restaurant, I caught Chef Chris Mirguet standing behind the beautiful, plentiful buffet table waiting to sauté some duck. I asked him how everything was coming together, and he smirked confidently—a response I’m getting used to at this point. Chris launched into a brief history lesson on Albert’s special dinners, noting that they have been hosting winemaker dinners for at least a decade. “Of course we’re working hard to make sure everything’s good to go, but there’s never a feeling of uncertainty, like we can’t execute and provide a great meal.” I would fault Chris for his unabashed confidence if his meals didn’t deliver. As one of many satisfied diners, I can tell you that they do.


Thank You, Panda Fans!

Posted at 12:37 pm November 23, 2010 by Kathy Hawk

Yun Zi and Bai Yun enjoy their remodeled digs.

Friday’s reopening of our giant panda exhibits was a huge success! It was so nice to see Bai Yun, Yun Zi, and even Gao Gao exploring their new areas.  Gao surprised us with his climbing skills: he really seemed to enjoy the new furniture!

Bai and Yun Zi were hysterical; we put out some loamex mulch in their cave, and they had so much fun rolling in the pile and getting very dirty! But that was not all: they entertained us by playing on the new climbing logs and exploring the new plants. I held my breath thinking little Yun Zi was going to go on a plant attack!


A Prescription for New Ideas

Posted at 11:21 am November 23, 2010 by Jon Prange

In past blog posts we have shared our views on why the San Diego Zoo finds biomimicry so exciting (see previous post, Butterfly Sparks Industry Revolution). Recall that our attempts to save species are increasingly compromised by their loss of habitat in the wild. Habitat is disappearing due to the depletion of resources. Biomimicry is learning from nature. If we could look to nature for inspiration for future innovations, it is quite possible that the plants and animals might “speak to us” about new technologies, designs, and products. All could be more sustainable, efficient, effective, and, from their perspective, take strain off of the environment.

How could a trip to the San Diego Zoo be part of a prescription for new ideas and game-changing innovations?


Park Elephant Answers

Posted at 2:12 pm November 19, 2010 by Curtis Lehman

Impunga takes a nap.

Here are some answers to questions posed by our elephant fans about the African elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!

Calves, in general, start eating solid food around their fourth month. By seven months they’re eating it all, including the pellets that we use to train them, which become their favorite item.


So much for Teflon…

Posted at 12:37 pm November 19, 2010 by Suzanne Hall

Bai Yun has long had the nickname of “Teflon bear,” because she always looks so white and clean. In their early days at the San Diego Zoo, our male Shi Shi would be dirty and covered with grit, while our then-young female appeared freshly bathed. It didn’t much matter if it was raining or if the yard was mostly dirt or if she had just finished a play bout. Grime just never seemed to stick to our girl. Bai Yun was always camera ready.

Well, so much for that.