Saturday, April 28, 2012

Natural Living Space = Enrichment?

I've had this photo for a couple weeks now, just wasn't sure in what way to post it.  I've been working on a post regarding the Zoo's "Enrichment" efforts, so I'm just going to post this as a stand alone post that will precede the other one.

I noticed this sign less than a week after Padang's passing.  This was the grotto/yard she lived in.  The Big Cats sometimes rotate yards for Enrichment.  It gives them a change of scenery and the enriching opportunity to smell the other Cats.  Padang was a part of this rotation, until it was necessary for her to live in a yard that was modified so she could no longer have access to the moat areas, for safety reasons in connection with aging.

The modification made was adding a fence that ran along the edge of the upper surface.  Aside from that all the yards have basically consisted of the same landscaping for almost twenty years, possibly longer.  There is also one other yard that has bamboo as part of the landscaping.  

These grottos prior to adding natural landscaping, mirrored how three of the Bear grottos still look today.  Point is, the landscaping was added to update concrete living spaces, to create  a more natural environment for the animals to live in.  

I have two things to say about this sign.

1. It appears that the Zoo now trying to say that an already established living space is now being "exhibited" as an Enrichment?   I've read alot about Enrichment and providing a captive animal with a natural living space is not Enrichment, its humane. 

I feel like they have done this to make the public think they are doing more Enrichment than they actually are. 

2.  In my crusade to get the Zoo to recognize that Andean Bear Wishbone needed grass (a natural surface to live on), I once wrote in a post that adding grass to his home would "enrich" his life.  So, even though I think touting this yard as Enrichment is malarky, going with the basic premise that YES a natural living space is enriching, why did the Zoo never add such "enrichment" to Wishbones's home?  Instead letting his bones pound to death literally on concrete?  Why has no one of authority ever green lit upgrading those Bear grottos in the past two decades?

UPDATE 4.29.12

So, the Zoo caught my tweet in regard to this post and tweeted back.

from @sfzoo:
@leo811 Regular rotation of exhibit space is "environmental enrichment"; one of the most powerful/natural forms. eg: Denver's Predator Ridge

I replied:
@sfzoo its not the rotation i refered to,its calling that particular yard "enrichment" after all these years as if something different now.

then they further offer:
@leo811 Not sure when the last time the Lions were in that yard, so very different for them, which then makes it different for the Tigers.

@leo811 Thus creating what is referred to as "environmental enrichment." Just one of many different enrichment strategies.

I replied:
@sfzoo You are missing my point, but it doesn't really matter. ... As well I understand what enrichment is, I research it constantly.

I can't bat the issue back and forth with people who don't get what I'm saying.  Regardless of whether they think my opinion is wrong, they just don't get the point of the post.  They can justify what they do, but I maintain the opinion I have in regard to this issue. They must have missed the part that I wrote "The Big Cats sometimes rotate yards for Enrichment." Obviously I know this. The Big Cats have been on yard rotation for years, that's why I noted it.  The point is, the yard is not new, so to "tout" is as such to make it seem this individual yard is an "Enrichment" yard, is worded as such for public perception. If anything, the sign notes bamboo "forest" and the forest is less than it was a few weeks ago when Padang was still living there. The only other change made is to the walk way, an area that allegedly was a problem area and how Padang injured herself prior to her passing.

I appreciate they had a response.  After all the things I've blogged about for over a year, this is the first time they've had anything to say.  Interesting that they choose to be defensive about this.  What about the kid that was laying across the barrier at the Anteater.  I tweeted them a photo about that but they had nothing to say about that or any of the other Security issues I've noted.  It appears something is a brew in the Enrichment "department."

@andiecattt added the comment:
@leo811 exactly right, nothing has changed. It's just a lazy way to not have to be creative and really come up with excitement for the cats

I replied:
@andiecattt the main issue is nothing has changed. rotation/not new - yard/not new. i think a couple keepers try to be creative.

additionally, Penguin Keeper Anthony Brown responded.  I am posting his posts as I not only like to keep the subject fully detailed, but I think what he says on Enrichment is informative to those who aren't familiar with it.  I was going to post a breif Enrichment guideline in the original post, but decided not to because educating about Enrichment really wasn't what the post was about, but, via the twitter exchange, its become that in part.

from @anthonybrown:
@leo811 @andiecattt What you're missing, is each day that the Lions enter an exhibit that smells fresh of Tiger, it's very new for them.

@leo811 @andiecattt Enrichment doesn't have to be "new" to us to be effective - it needs to be "new" to the animals.

@leo811 @andiecattt Studies have shown that animals will interact with objects they've encountered as much as "new" ones after only 2wks.

@leo811 @andiecattt So if an animal loves a boomer ball, reintroducing it every 2 weeks creates "something new" for them.

@leo811 @andiecattt With that said, some individuals love certain toys, and will engage with them everyday - ie: Gauhati and his ball/keg.

I replied:
@anthonybrown @andiecattt anthony, i know & understand all that you've said. I'll also note that i always appreciate your comments.

@anthonybrown @andiecattt my issue is that in this particular situation, it seems written for the sake of appearance, not education.

more from goober day

Poor Miss Elly.  Still sitting there looking for Gene.  Its heartbreaking.  I can't believe (well yes I can) the Zoo can be so cruel as to let her just stare in there continuously.  Is this how they plan to let her live out her life? They should open up that area to her as well or take one of the screen suggestions I listed below.  Maybe even opening that area to Tucker so she had a mesh to mesh companion?  Just thought of that, wonder if it would be an option?  The barrier spacing is kinda wide.  Its just sad that it looks like she is always looking for Gene.  She has seen another animal her whole life and now she see's none :(



 Screening suggestions, bamboo fencing (top)/mesh runner (bottom)

Angelo emerging from his tree doorway :)

Miss Maggie snuggled up in a blanket 
that my friend Lee had originally given to 
Padang for her 21st Birthday :)  
So happy to see Maggie getting use out of it!  
She looked happy and cozy :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday April 27, 2012 - World Goober Day!

Every April 27 is World Tapir Day, 
which for me is World Goober Day!

Love you Goob!  Its your day :)

Goob had some salad in the sun :)

 happy goober day! goobie!

 then sniffed out a good spot for a nap!

found one :)

and enjoyed the rest of his day in the sun :)

Thankx for the visit Goobie, I love you!


Child: "What kind of animal is that?"
Grandparent: "It looks like a Bear."
Me: "Goobie how stupid are people?"
Goob: "Very!"

Tuesday April 24, 2012 - Happy Birthday Chimp Girls!

According to the Zoo's own Animal List, the Chimp Girls Birthdays are all listed as today April 24th!  Some of the Animals birthdates are estimated like this one, because they came from the wild.  The dates are often based on when they arrived at the Zoo and the year give or take a couple in regard to estimated ages.  ... Of course there was no Zoo celebration :(  for these wonderful girls, all of whom have lived at the Zoo for over forty years!   but, I was there wearing my fancy pin and singing Happy Birthday to them :)  XO!

 Happy Birthday Tallulah (57)!

 Happy Birthday Minnie (49)!
Happy Birthday Maggie (49)!

 I feel horrible for Elly.  Since the passing of her companion Gene, she has shown her grief visibly as I often see her with her head down on the ground and almost every visit I see her like this, looking to his area probably hoping to see him.  From my perspective the humane thing to do would be to run a bamboo fencing along his area so she doesn't just stare there, but instead they have now hung her browse there, forcing her to stand there and stare into his area.  UG <head shake>  I didn't see her even eat the browse, she just stared thru it.  top photo time stamped at 12:23p, bottom at 1:04p

Howler Monkey juveniles playing in a burlap sack:)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meet the Sheeps!

I spent some extended time with my Barnyard Friends
last week, and caught
this precious moment with Hazel, the female Jacob Sheep

 Hermosa came over to see what Hazel was doing :)  
I wish I had gotten a pic of them from the front
would have been soooo cute!

 Hazel laughed :)

 Then she looked at the Duck pond :)
It was cute.  She could go around up to the pond
but chose to gaze at them from there :)

 One eye on the Ducks and one on me :)

 Hi Hazel! I love watching you :)

More Duck watching :)
It was  very sweet :)

The Barbados Girls 

Hermosa :)

 Balboa :)

Marina :)

There are three types of Sheep on the Farm,
Jacob, Barbados and Navajo Churro.  
All the Goats are Nigerian Dwarf.  

Monday April 16, 2012 - Happy Birthday Rigel!

Apologies to Sir Rigel for not posting his Birthday post timely.  With the event of last week, I have been quiet and haven't caught up.  ...  You know I love you Rige!

Happy Birthday Rigel!

 Gorgeous Birthday Boy!

 Jahari Saying Hello :)

 Greeting Gauhati :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

RIP Seamus - Patriarch Nigerian Dwarf Goat Passes

Forever Loved
Forever Missed

Sadly we have lost another Zoo Friend.
Our Sweet Seamus, passed on Tuesday.
RIP Precious Friend XO!

I woke up Tuesday morning and knew I had to visit Seamus.  I am thankful I was guided to see him and was able to spend some of his final moments visiting with him.  You will be missed special friend.

The Barnyard Keepers are awesome and I am sorry for their loss.  He was the Patriarch of the Farm and Father to many :)   His Farm Family put out this loving memorial for him.   

You can view my Memorial Video for Seamus here:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saturday April 14, 2012 - the head shake

Last Monday (April 9), less than forty-eight hours since Padang (Sumatran Tiger) passed, it appeared the Keepers were taking down her fence and less than an hour later they had Shastyuh in Padang's yard.  To me that was just plain disrespectful.  Don't get me wrong, I love Shasty, I just think there could have been a "moment of silence" so to speak.  As well, there was a sign up, explaining about the passing of Padang, yet there was a Tiger in the yard.  To anyone who doesn't know the difference, it wouldn't make sense. 

Since the January passing of Tunya and the merging of the Lions, there has been enough yards for the amount of Cats, none had to be on rotation.  That said, with Padang now gone, there is an extra yard.   There was no reason for Padang's yard NOT to be left empty out of respect, at least for a few days.  It would have been nice if they had put out some flowers also.  When we lost Tony (Siberian Tiger) in 2010, the Big Cat Keeper who had been there at the time, let Lee and I bring flowers and she kept them in front of Tony's room inside the Lion House for two weeks.  There has been an obvious change in respect for the Cats since that.

Today, one week to the day of Paddy's passing, I also noticed that there has been a change to the entrance to her yard.  

Logs now add a buffer to an area that a hazard cone had been covering.  There are wood chips on the ground creating a covering as well.   I have to wonder if this wasn't the area that was causing the injuries Padang had to her limbs in the two weeks prior to her passing?  If so, this makes me upset because I saw her in the yard before these alterations were made. I was shocked to see she had access outside to the yard.  Curiously, there was an orange hazard cone covering part of the yard entrance.  I thought it odd, as I could only think it was to cover possibly the problem area she had been rubbing against?  But, really, if that is why, she should have just been kept inside til it was fixed, I'm pretty sure a Tiger doesn't know the meaning of a hazard cone.

I also saw her in the yard four days before her passing, with no bandages on her limbs, which really upset me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday April 14, 2012

Today's visit provided some smiles, but also some head shaking.  I'll share the smiles, these cute photos of the precious friends and then write a separate post about what made me shake my head.

 Welcome pretty little Sable :)

 Goober getting a euphoric brushing :)

 Rhea gals


 Sea Gull visiting the Penguins

Mallard visiting the Penguins

RIP Padang - Sumatran Tiger Passes

Forever Loved
Forever Missed

 We have lost another Zoo Friend. 
Our Precious Paddy, passed over Easter Weekend. 
RIP Sweet Girl XO!

You can view the Memorial video I made for her here:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday April 7, 2012 - It was Easter weekend, wasn't it?

Well, for it being Easter weekend, a Zoo Easter event going on, and a ton of people, unless you saw me, you wouldn't know it was Easter.  Granted it was the day before, I doubt the place got anymore festive today (Easter Day).  It was uneventful photo wise, except I did take a snap of what I guess was supposed to be an Easter enrichment toy for Ulu???  I had seen over the past couple days some wonderful Easter themed Enrichment toys from other Zoo's, unfortunately none were seen here.  For SFZoo Easter fun provided by my friend Lee and I in 2010, check out this link   


Happy Easter Ulu! (2010)

Last but on the fore front of my mind,  the festiveness of my hat was just that.  Before even getting thru the gate,  we heard that our precious Paddy (Female Sumatran Tiger Padang) wasn't well and then saw the sign noting the Lion House was closed.  She has had some limb scrapes the past couple weeks and not knowing what was going on with her in the LH put a damper on the visit.  Hopefully they were just cleaning her wounds and she will be back in action tomorrow when I go to check on her.  Say a prayer for this sweet girl :)  Love you Paddy!

Padang picking her first bunny!
Happy Easter Paddy! (2010)