Whenever possible I try to Visit the Zoo when one of the Friends is having Birthday. To wish them Happy Birthday, a simple Honoring of the day they were born and their life. It comforts my Soul.
I have written before in posts regarding Enrichment and other related topics, about my feelings regarding celebrating the Animal Residents Birthdays. In short, like stated above, its a way to Honor them and Celebrate their lives. Its Respecting them. When I have witnessed Birthday Celebrations, it is wonderful. Foremost the Animals love it! But, its also Fun and Joyous for the Visitors. I would think the Animal Staff would find Joy in seeing the Animals in their care Happy.
In the case of the Chimps, I think any extra activity is essential. These Animals are closest to Humans with brains that need constant stimulation. I'm not about to preach to those educated about this, I am giving my opinion based on what I've learned and what I've seen. The San Francisco Zoo Chimps are very often bored. They have lived in the same situation for over 40 years. They literal crave these activities. When they have gotten plentiful Enrichment activity like Birthdays and Holidays, they go crazy watching the Keeper put stuff out. A couple weeks ago, they got Ice Treats which I hadn't witnessed in a very long time, and they were Happy as can be, with just something that simple. They should have it everyday.
I visited the Chimps and saw nothing special had been put out for Cobby's special day :( I knew there wouldn't be, but it would have been a nice surprised to see remnants of fun. I wished Cobby a Happy Birthday and watched them for awhile. Cobby was restless and kept moving almost the entire time, up and down the structure, into the night quarters, over to the other grotto, and back again. He literally seemed to be looking for something. Alas there was no celebration for this precious guy, who has given the Zoo over 40 years of his life.
I once had a discussion about Birthdays with the Primate and Carnivore Curator Corinne MacDonald whose response was, "I'm not interested in celebrating Birthdays." That is a miserable and selfish attitude.
Skylar/Leanne was not out in the yard today, so I couldn't wish her a Happy Birthday. ... Maybe her party was private? NO! There was no party for her either.
It was interesting (one word for it) that there was not one, but two signs on the windows to her yard, saying she would be off exhibit, yet we still after a couple years of calling attention to the need, have NO signs on these same windows, asking Visitors not to Tap on them. ... Didn't that recent article about the new "Visionist" say they would be putting the Animals above the Visitors now?
As well, we continue to have additional barriers at Inti's home. Yet, Angelo remains wide-open and vulnerable.
And no "Shoosh" signs, even tho Inti's little sensitive Cat ears can obviously hear the high-pitched Visitor voices.
Gorillas was closed today and I could hear work being done. I truly hope this is not the work of the new "Visionists" vision and an area such as Gorilla's which is lush and green = natural, is not the priority fix.