Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Noon Year! Huh?

At Como, we like to ring in the New Year with our guests. So today we hosted our second annual Noon Year's Eve celebration. Kids danced and played games with Radio Disney, participated in some activities and then at noon....a beach ball drop!

Even the organutan's got into the fun.

Happy New Year's Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chino is growing!

Chino is a 4 year old California sea lion who came to Como Zoo in April,2007. He came from the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, California after suffering permanent jaw damage from being tangled in garbage in the ocean. Once Chino reached a healthy weight, they determined through x-rays that his jaw damage went all the way to the bone and he would never be able to hunt for live fish in the wild. He has been a fast learner from the moment they started training him, and has made leaps and bounds in his training over the last year.

One behaviors we trained was to allow us to measure how wide he can open his mouth. As you can see his scar runs almost completely around his head, and veterinary staff want to document how his growth affects his injury. His injury could potentially cause him problems if if the scar tissue doesn't stretch as he grows which could further restrict his range of motion. As a young male, Chino still has a lot of growing to do. When he came to Como he weighed about 160 pounds, and he's gained over 100 pounds since then! He could easily grow to weigh between 500 and 900 pounds! We were not sure how his jaw would respond to this growth, but it appears he is doing very well! When we first measured his mouth, it opened about 4.7 centimeters and now he is opening it 6.3 centimeters! Way to go Chino!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Jaya!

December 13th marks a day that the zoo keepers at Como Zoo won't soon forget. Last year on this day Jaya, a male orangutan was born via C-section, a first for Como and one of only 9 successful births in this manner for orangutans in zoos worldwide. After being raised by zoo keepers for the first 12 days of his life, he was reintroduced to his mother on Christmas Day. To celebrate his first birthday, enrichment volunteers prepared a special cake for Jaya and all his fellow primates in the building. Party hats and banners were in abundance and the enrichment volunteers all sang him happy birthday. It was a successful celebration for all involved.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A new show for Sparky

You couldn't tell by the look of it, but right now we're doing important work getting ready for anther season of Sparky Shows! Even though the stage is covered with snow, we are inside working hard to create a new Sparky Show for next year. This means we are busy writing a new script and coming up with new behaviors Sparky can do in the show. A lot of people are surprised to know that Sparky's training continues year round, not just during Sparky Shows. There are several reasons we train her year round. First, we train her to perform a number of medical behaviors that make visits with the vets not scary and just a normal part of her day. Second, training is an important way to build a trusting relationship between Sparky and her trainers. Finally, depending on how challenging the behavior is, it can take weeks to years to learn new behaviors. That means that some of the behaviors we are teaching her now, you won't see in a Sparky Show until 2010! And on that note, I must get back to work because Sparky is ready for her afternoon training session!