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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Animal-Themed Podcast!

I've started a new animal-themed podcast with my friend Nicole! The podcast is called Animal Facts and Animal Snacks. In each episode, we discuss an animal and eat a yummy snack themed to that animal. In future episodes, we will talk about animal careers, conservation projects, and crises facing animals all over the world. The first episode is about pigs and just officially went live. In this episode, we eat fondant pigs sitting in dark chocolate pudding mud wallows. Check it out!

Listen to Episode 1 on Anchor
Check out Animal Facts and Animal Snacks on Facebook

Sunday, July 30, 2017

World Elephant Day 2017

Have You Herd? World Elephant Day is Here!

Photo Courtesy of Kim Mcleod
Get ready for World Elephant Day on August 12, 2017, in celebration of the world’s largest land mammal! Global Conservation Force is celebrating both African and Asian elephants with brewery nights at Pacific Plate Brewery Taproom in LA on August 12th and Intergalactic Brewing Company in San Diego on August 13th. Join us in support of our conservation efforts to save these magnificent animals...
To continue reading, visit

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Global Tiger Day 2017

Get ready for Global Tiger Day 2017 on Saturday, July 29, in celebration of these incredible, endangered animals! At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, we will celebrate our nine Sumatran tigers with enrichment releases, keeper talks, training demonstrations, and conservation displays throughout the day at Tiger Trail...

To read the rest of this blog post, visit San Diego Zoo Global ZOONOOZ.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Global Tiger Day!

Thomas, the Sumatran tiger, cooling off on a hot day.
Photo courtesy of SDZG.
Get ready for Global Tiger Day 2016 on Friday, July 29th in celebration of these incredible, endangered animals! At the Safari Park, Tiger Trail will celebrate our nine Sumatran tigers with enrichment releases, keeper talks, training demonstrations, and conservation displays throughout the day. We would love to have you join us in support of our conservation efforts to save these magnificent animals. To help get you in a tiger frame of mind, here are some fun and fascinating tiger facts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Older Gentleman Seeks Classy Lady

Langka, the newest Sumatran tiger at the San Diego Zoo
Safari Park. Courtesy of SDZG.
11 year-old male seeks younger female companion who wants to start a family. He likes cardboard boxes, bamboo, bloodsicles, and might enjoy long walks on the beach (although he has never tried that particular activity). Interested?
To continue reading this blog post, please visit the San Diego Zoo Global Blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trio of Tiger Cubs

Nelson, 16 days old.
Great news! Three new Sumatran tiger cubs were born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on January 28, 2016, to parents Joanne and Teddy. Since female tigers are nocturnal, they typically give birth in the middle of the night. But luckily for me, Joanne gave birth in the middle of the day! Nelson was born at 11:54am, Cathy followed soon after at 12:57pm, and Debbie was last but not least at 2:56pm. So as not to disturb Joanne, we keepers watched the LIVE birth on an HD monitor in the keeper office. For your viewing pleasure, here is a time-lapsed version of the birth:

 Video courtesy of San Diego Zoo Global

Although the cubs were 2-2.5 pounds at birth, they are growing fast! They made their public debut on April 26th, and they now spend part of every day exploring one of our three Tiger Trail exhibits. 

Video Courtesy of San Diego Zoo Global

Although these three cubs appear very similar, they are surprisingly easy to tell apart once you get to know them. Nelson is the calmest tiger in the streak. He is often the first to eat and the first to try new operant conditioning behaviors. You can recognize him by the check-mark his stripes make over his right eye. Cathy is the fiesty, territorial cub of the group with a three-sided box over her right eye. Debbie is the most independent and is often the first to explore new toys and plants in her environment. Debbie's stripes come to a peak above her right eye and she is the smallest of the litter.

Giving Debbie a treat on exhibit
Joanne is a very patient, devoted mother and she is doing a wonderful job with this litter. She is still nursing the triplets multiple times each day, and she is also sharing a portion of her meat diet with them. The other day, senior keeper Lori Hieber and I briefly separated Joanne from the cubs and sent her by herself out on exhibit in order to offer her a shank bone (her favorite treat). She wanted desperately to bring the shank bone in the bedroom with the cubs, but it is still too big of a treat for those tiny baby teeth. Lori and I thought Joanne would eventually give up and eat the shank bone. But she outsmarted us! We called her back into the tiger house and went out on exhibit to retrieve the bone leftovers before sending out the cubs with Joanne. We looked for 20 minutes before we found the bone! She had dug a hole, buried the bone, and dragged her heaviest toy on top of the pile. Clearly, she wanted to save this giant treat to share with her cubs. What a great mom! Lori and I still couldn't give such a large treat to the cubs, so we cut off pieces of the shank meat and hand-fed Joanne and the cubs together. I guess mom knows best!

This new litter is getting along surprisingly well with eight-month-old cub Suka. Since Joanne rejected Suka when he was four days old, he was hand-raised and is thus unable to be reintroduced to Joanne. But while Joanne enjoys "mommy-time" by herself on exhibit, the three newest cubs "howdy" with Suka through a mesh barrier. They are able to see each other and touch noses, but they are not physically together. This allows all four young cats time to socialize. The tiger house is full of contented chuffing when the cubs howdy!    

As a keeper, I am obviously excited for these births because of the myriad training and tiger-cub-babysitting opportunities they provide. But I am also excited for the cubs from a conservation standpoint. These births are vitally important for the survival of the Sumatran tiger subspecies. There are fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers in the wild. Therefore, the Safari Park is home to about 1% of the global Sumatran tiger population; every birth bolsters the genetic diversity of this incredible subspecies. Scientists estimate that this subspecies could be extinct in Sumatra by 2020, due to poaching and habitat loss, unless measures are taken to protect and preserve it. 

Cathy (left) and Debbie (right)
You can be a hero for Sumatran tigers and help save the Safari Park's wild counterparts from thousands of miles away. Tiger habitat is threatened by palm oil, a product found in cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, and processed foods, like chips and candy. Palm oil is often grown unsustainably, using slash-and-burn agriculture, which results in the destruction of tiger, orangutan, and rhino habitat in Southeast Asia. You can actually help these wildlife species just be being more conscientious about the products you are purchasing. Download a free app for your smartphone to learn more about sustainably-grown palm oil products. You can even use these apps to scan the bar-codes of products the next time you are out shopping. Sustainably-grown palm oil can save tigers!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Giant Panda Hearing Test

The giant panda keepers at the San Diego Zoo have accomplished an incredible training feat! Watch the video below to see how they test the giant pandas' hearing. For the full article, visit ZOONOOZ.

Video, photo, and article courtesy of SDZG