Monday, January 23, 2012

Saturday January 21, 2012 - Breakfast with the Big Cats!

My friend Lee bought us tickets to the Zoo's event Breakfast with the Big Cats.  Thank you!  ... Even though there was probably nothing that would be new to us, there were several reasons we wanted to be there, foremost for our Big Cat friends!  We also wanted to support our Keeper friends, and see how events in the Lion House are.   

The event was fun, all the Cats were inside at the same time, except Miss Shastyuh who decided she would rather nap in the yard.  I think she would have liked it, but she didn't know there would be treats!  The Cats were all given whole Chickens and Pinatas :)  This was part of their Enrichment (the event also included a training demonstration).  I think this may have been the first time they have gotten Chickens that still had the head, necks and feet.  Always a bit too graphic for me to see :(  but I've learned to watch them eat things that I would also befriend, Chickens, Rabbits, and Sheep.  The Pinatas were cute, I'm glad they got some toys, but I have to admit that when I heard about this event I wished I was still doing Enrichment toys as I imagined Paper Mache' Waffles and Berries!  It would have been in theme and that would have rocked!  But the Cats enjoyed themselves no matter!  A toy is a toy and a treat is a treat :)

The Keepers did a great job in presentation.  Kudos!  The Operations and Catering Staff did a good job in organization and with the seating arrangement :)   Thank You!  ... The only thing I'd like to have seen  different was the food set-up.  The line was too long and would have been better managed if there were two serving stations.  So, I grabbed all five pieces of French Toast in one round OINK!  but Yum!  

Tunya spots his Chicken and Soccer Ball Pinata!
see the video here
Amanzi already enjoying her colorful Horse Pinata!

Padang stops to say Hi, even thought
she is mid-chomp with her Chicken!

Sukari is done with her Football Pinata!
see the video here

Jahari watching the peoples :)

Leanne checking out her Rainbow Pinata!

And then having a go at trying to bring it down!
see the video here 

My event topper!
All Big Cats on a Waffle :)

Wednesday January 18, 2012

Interesting sightings this visit, as usually there is never enough "staff" presence on the grounds especially during the busier days, like holidays and weekends. Today, mid-week I saw at least 10 different Docents.  I'd even say a dozen, which I'm sure it was, but that would sound made-up.  First one I saw (at Lions) I heard answer a Visitor question about "What do they eat?"  with, "Well all the Animals get some sort of chow."  Good Grief.  The Big Cats don't eat chow lol!  ... Then at Bears two came by with a Visitor and stopped at Pike and yelled out, "Ulu why don't you play with your toys?"  I couldn't help myself, "Because she's not Ulu."  ...  At least the Docents are consistent with misinformation.  UG.   As Zoo Ambassadors I wish they would talk to Keepers (or read my resident bio blog and learn a bit about the Animals and which ones are which.  

Lucky for one Visitor who was visiting from Houston, she asked me questions at Snow Leopards as they are her favorite.  I gave her a quick 411 on the Cats, Gauhati, Goober, Orkney, the friends at the Puente and the Bears.  

Immature flamingo (born summer 2010)
among adult flock.

Wishy daydreaming for grass ;(

Pike's day in the meadow!
And they said she doesn't like it much HA!
Cute little dirty faces do not lie!

Amanzi and Jahari side by side :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Saturday January 14, 2012

Good grief was it packed today!  I don't think I've seen more people at the Zoo except for on an old Members Night.  Great for the Zoo, I just wish they would better organize Security.  There is not enough Security.  They aren't organized optimally.  As, well the Docents should be used to aid in the lack of Security.  There needs to be a presence on the grounds and there just isn't, no matter how big the crowds are.  I don't get it.  I was there for about four hours and never saw a Security guard except for the one in the Lion House.

As I was leaving I noticed the Zoo now has up their banner for the annual Lunar (Chinese New Year) event.    As a San Francisco native I love the Lunar events.  As well I used to love the one at the Zoo.  A few years ago I was in the Children's Zoo, which runs along the side of the Playfield path where the Lunar event activities take place.  I was standing at Prairie Dogs when the Lion Dance started and the drum banging sound level was insane.  All the Dogs (Prairie) and Kats (Meerkat) were going nuts and running for underground cover.  I asked the keeper about it and he said that he had told Management and they didn't care.  The next year, I wrote to the Zoo and noted this story, requesting they rethink having the Lion Dance, which really is unnecessary as so many places in the City have it and it has no place at the Zoo because of how loud it is.  The Zoo is supposed to be a quiet environment for the Animals who live there.  Anyway I got no reply and was there at Chimps right before the first Lion Dance show was scheduled.  A Keeper was there and I had told her about the previous year, as well my email.  She said she asked to be told when it would start so she could call the Chimps in.  It started out of the blue and the Chimps went insane.  Needless to say, last year which was the following year, nothing had changed and the animals just had to suffer through the noise.   Maybe 2012 will bring a change?  I guess we will see.

I watched Pike for a half hour and took 237 photos of her!
I love the grin on this one :)

She just laid on her bed of hay,
rolling about,...

cleaning her footies,...

and daydreaming!  
it was adorable!

seven pea hens were out strolling the grass together by the train barn

Suki  was deciding what to do while Tunes was trying to nap :)
Check out what happened next here

I missed the capture, but right before this Tallulah spotted a visitor 
eating fries and stretched out her arm in his direction 
motioning her hand "gimme some of that"!

Thursday January 12, 2012 - Welcome Niya!

Today was all about hopefully getting to see the new female Snow Leopard!  She was out of quarantine a few days ago and today was her second day out in the yard :)  First few rounds about the cats, she wasn't out, but got lucky on the last round and saw the gate open.  No sign of her at first, but I could sure hear her!  She was vocalizing to Rigel while both were in their bedrooms.  After about 20 minutes of this she came out!  

Welcome Niya!
She seemed to like this tree 
and went to it for a scratch a few times.  
The first time she tilted her head back in my direction 
and upside down smiled :)

She was intrigued with the fencing above.  
Maybe birds or leaves.

Pretty little thing :)

I loved this.  You can't see it, 
but she is on a bed of hay that Rigel had been on previously!  
This is a great sign for their future :)

Angelo was out having a walk about in the sun :)

Miss Thang Leanne was grooming near the window

I like this one with a lick of under fluff :)

and of course some cute tongue!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday January 10, 2012

I think it was a low key visit, I'm writing in hindsight.  Oh wait, of course it wasn't.  While at Snow Leopards a group of adults and the senior guy was whistling at Rigel trying to get his attention, despite there being a universal "shoosh" sign at the exhibit.  When I said, "They don't really want you doing that".  Old dude followed up what I said by whistling again even louder.  Guess he was trying to prove a point.  Just made him a bigger A-hole.

Cobby enjoying the moment :)

Rigel, staring at his reflection.

Shastyuh being tong fed in the Lion House.  
There are no scheduled feedings during open hours, 
but sometimes the cats will get a treat for training or enrichment.

Cutest Lion ever!  Tunya enjoying the afternoon sun!

Saturday January 7, 2012

Wore my Amanzi Birthday fascinator today, and as usual was the most fascinating person at the Zoo ;)  

Not fascinating was once again seeing little Security presence except for one sighting of two together.  For me, this is ridiculous.  There is no need for two of the few guards on duty to be walking about together, while whole areas go un-monitored for misbehavior.    But alas, that is just my opinion.

Capybara sisters were out enjoying the sun!
I still have a hard time telling them apart, 
but their names are Kyme and Ria :)

Silent Knight was trying to take a nap :)

Sukari was meditating,...

then had a  nice stretch!

Shastyuh is getting more and more comfortable 
being inside the Lion House :)  
She even rolls over and does the Tunya!
FYI the Tunya is a footie int he air pose
originated by Tunya the Lion :)

Leanne isn't having any of it lol!  
She is trying to see what Shasty is up to!

Cobby was thankfully having a peaceful time
in the afternoon sun :)

so was Miss T (Tallulah) :)

Zebra tried to sooth a bum itch on this boulder ;)

Little Miss Kudu always makes eye contact :)

Wednesday January 4, 2011 - Happy Birthday Amanzi!

Having my Membership back ( Yes, I do!  More on that win soon!  Stay tuned to the blog san francisco zoo crime) means that as time permits I have the luxury of visiting my Zoo friends more often.  It not only makes me happy to see their faces, but it is a great place to be able to stop at to get in a good walk.  Walking is important to me, because I'm not a fan of other types of exercise.   The Zoo and the Park are pretty much it.

Mid week visits are good for my soul.  There are less people, which equals less chance of witnessing misbehavior, which really upsets me.   Right now, my time is flexible, so I'm often able to swing by and wish my friends a Happy Birthday! on their actual special day :)

Today's visit was just that kind of visit.  Amanzi turned 15 today!  I have been lucky to have been a Zoo visitor when she and Tunya came to the Zoo in 1997 as cubs.   I remember their arrival along with Kita very vividly.  She is pretty activity orientated, which I guess is a blanket statement for most Lions.  Unless there's something going on they are nappin'!   If they don't think there's the possibility of food or toys, you might not get to see their faces.  Thankfully, I got some great face time with the pretty Birthday girl!  

Right place, Right time as the Keeper was just about to shift them from grotto B to grotto A.  In case you don't know, the Big Cats are rotated between grotto's for Environmental Enrichment.   

Amanzi and her mate Jahari came into the yard more cautiously than I've seen.   He let her take the lead, she stood solid, almost posing for sometime, long enough for me to sing her a little Happy Birthday :)  He slinked about the edges sniffing for messages.   They both spent much time investigating, which lent to getting some great captures!

I didn't see what she was looking at,
but I love when the light lends to 
really highlighting how beautiful their eyes are.

On the heated rock and saying hello to the people's,
hoping no one bangs on the window to her home.

Happy Birthday Amanzi!

I actually wore my topper the following Saturday
to be festive with my friend.

Jahari, the California tree hugger!
I love this capture!

(Jahari picking up a message left by Leanne)
I got a whole series of these,
I call them the Feline Vamp!  
He's very silly lol!

Female Patas Monkey

Shastyuh is the only Big Cat who really loves 
and makes use of the grotto pools!
I love that she has this option so it distracts her from pacing,
which she often still does along the edges.

I also captured a cute video clip of Gauhati the Indian Rhino getting hand fed some nom nom's!

Monday January 2, 2012 - Happy Birthday Grizzly Girls!

Today we visit in honor of the Grizzly Girls Birthday!  The sisters turned 9 years old yesterday!  They stayed put the whole visit, lounging in front of their waterfall, while we sang them alittle greeting :)

Happy Birthday Kiona and Kachina!

Happy Birthday to you!
They were very impressed lol!

My fascinating topper for the event!

Captured a unique pose by Sureshot

Walter (Maguari Stork) being bashful
or plotting his next move ;)

Shastyuh relaxing by the pool!  
So good to see her at ease.

Tallulah in her finest

Minnie and Cobby after an intense conversation

This interaction was interesting.  Cobby and Minnie have been hanging out alot together lately, but on this day they both went up to the level above where Tallulah was and after a bit Tallulah started vocalizing at them from below, then moving to the upper level as well and watching them from the opposite corner.  See the video of what happened next!