Monday, July 27, 2009

new mandrill in the family!

meet jesse, the new male mandrill! he's been out of quarantine for three days now and making himself right at home. he didn't seem to be much interested in the ladies. i mostly saw him eating, pulling up grass and grabbing on tree branches. in fact he looked up and was like "eh, don't bother me while i'm eating!" i was lucky to get these pix as i find it hard to get good ones of them (and most of the small primates). that's why i don't have many to post and (worse) have never been able to ID the females and tell them apart. i don't see their faces enough to distinguish between them, but its something that i want to know. hopefully soon! ... the male mandrill is one of the most gorgeously colored creatures in nature. this guy is cute and i love his little mohawk! ... jesse is 11 years old and came to sfzoo from rolling hills wildlife adventure in kansas. ... i think it will be good for the family to have a new member after the losses of jaho and pearl. ... (add) since jesse's arrival, i have been watching the mandrills more and more. the dynamic is really interesting as i have found out that in his previous home he lived in a bachelor group, so coming here to live with a group of females, seems to be a curious thing for him. he is on recommendation to breed with cleo, who from what i've witnessed is the least interested in him. lulu and tatu seem to be the ones who buzz about him most. i saw him chase lulu and it reminded me of kindergarten kids who don't know how to admit they like each other. he still seems to like eating best, and was eyeing my corndog! i felt bad and turned when i took a bite.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

i'm a zoo parent!

today was zoo parent day at the zoo. my friend andie who is also a docent and zoo parent invited me as her guest. she also surprised me with my own adoption for my upcoming birthday! thankx andie! very thoughtful and generous gift! so i am now a zoo parent to goober!!! he was the obvious choice since i love him so and his birthday is the day after mine and he is this blog's namesake! yay goober do! ... (added) pix of me admiring the goobster today while he had a snack! and of him giving andie (thankx for the pix!) and i some eye contact and a big ol smile! love ya goob!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

meet keeper's and learn more!

in my welcome post i said that part of what's made my zoo visits richer is the information i have gotten from talking to keepers and learning more about the residents. i have had a suggestion list intended to share with the zoo for almost a year, i've just not gotten to organizing it yet. during my time of procrastination, a few of my suggestions are coming to fruition, one being the new "keeper connections" events happening daily thru july and august. if you are planning a trip to the zoo, please make sure to be at these special events, to learn more, ask questions and for some of the residents, see their enrichment's!

its all in the family pt 2

yesterday's post was mostly about george and leanne's family, except for one bit i was going to put in about tatiana's. i decided to make it a separate post since last night i got abit more info and i know there are alot of tatiana fans and supporters out there. mostly, tatiana deserves her own post. ... first two photo's above are of tatiana's brother waldemere and his new girlfriend koshka. you can see tatiana when you look at him as i think they have the same eyes. and in this photo the same pose i have in a photo of tatiana. he is beautiful! in some pix he looks fluffier than a siberian, but then you see his big arms and know he's all siberian! she is gorgeous and huge! this is one massive cat!... waldemere still lives at the denver zoo where he, tatiana, and their sister mariette were born in june 2003. their parents still live there as well, but i hear they are not on exhibit. (edit note: sadly mama katrina passed away a couple yrs ago.) mariette lives at the louisville zoo. they call her etta and her photo (courtesy of lousiville zoo) is the last one. she looks alot like brother waldemere and like him, abit sumantran. she hasn't had any babies. koshka came to denver from beardsley zoo in connecticut. she is on breeding loan so hopefully they will have babies and carry on his and tatiana's lineage! ... thankx to connie for the pix and the koshka info! you can see more photos @

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

its all in the family!

i've been doing zoo history and resident research for over a year now. after posting the cublet update i thought i'd post some links to cool sites i've found with some great photos and/or info, for those who are interested in knowing more about the families of the zoo residents.

*the pic above is of our george's (bali) brother java. he lives at the point defiance zoo in tacoma. he lives with a female named jaya, but they haven't had babies yet. he looks like his brother!

*video of george's sister delta's newest cubs (they look so much like their cousins!) born at the san deigo zoo.

*pix of two and a half yr old kemala and rojo, taken at the topeka zoo. they are two of delta's three (including sari) cub first litter, born at the san deigo zoo.

*more of delta's first litter, while they were still living at the san deigo zoo.

*cute pix of leanne (skylar) and her siblings, chelsea and kougra when they were cubs, plus one of chelsea and their mama, while still living at the toronto zoo.

cublets in their new home!

Jae Jae

Jae Jae

Kami Sambol

Jae Jae

Jae Jae

sfzoo enthusiasts and goober's blog followers will know that george and leanne's triplet boys moved to their new home at the akron zoo the first week in may. they moved there to live in the zoo's tiger valley exhibit. the zoo thankfully has provided a home where all three can continue to live together! ... i have been in contact with staff member machelle and she generously sought out and provided me with some great photos of them in their new home! i've had the photos for sometime, but have had to wait for the zoo to do their official press release before i could share them. got the go ahead this am, so here they are! she said, "they are doing great and are loving their new home!" ... they look happy and huge! these boys were the stockiest (chubby!) tigers i've ever seen! i'm glad they still have their big bellies and arms! hope you enjoy this update on our precious cublets! ... all photos courtesy of the akron zoo (thankx machelle!) ... the boys new names are Jae-Jae, Burung and Kami Sambol!  These are the names given to them by their SFZoo Keeper.  In SF their names were auctioned off, so they were referred to by those names.  Thankful that the Akron Zoo is using their given names.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

zoo etiquette

one would think that if someone was coming to an animal park, that visitors would respect the residents. sadly this is not the case. it is also not my intention to soap box on this blog, even though i have strayed from the happy bio info posts a couple times. i feel like after today i should just make some statements so those who might visit or be in the company of such visitors who don't conduct themselves in a respectable way towards the residents can maybe gain some insight into actions that just aren't right when visiting a place that wildlife calls home. this not only applys to behavior in zoo's, but parks and anywhere else there are animals. ... after the tatiana (tiger) event in 2007 i have had heightened sensitivity to behavior. as well you would think after that much publicized event that more thought would go into folks actions, but unfortunatley it doesn't. there have been too many times i have stopped and asked visitors to alter their behavior or called security to come and deal with it. today i was at the gorilla's and the guy next to me spit into the enclosure. who does this? not only is that just not right, that is their home. ... in short, it is not ok to project anything (including spit) into an enclosure. its not its not ok to knock on the glass. its not ok to vocalize at the residents, this includes roaring at big cats (yes i've seen this). i know in the hopes of getting folks more passionate about the zoo and its residents, part of that is getting to know who they are, thus knowing them by name. be mindful that because you know their name, please don't yell out to them. the animals are here to be observed, not interacted with, unless you visit the petting zoo or nature trail. ... if you see someone behaving badly please allert a staff member or call the number on one of the respect the animal signs.

small primates

there are nine other small primate species that live around the primate center with the patas monkeys. other than enjoying watching them, i don't know alot of bio bits on too many of them. some time in the future i will find out and update this section. ... across from the patas monkeys, live the colobus monkeys. i've heard there was a birth a few months ago, but becuz of the enclosure position, i have never seen the baby. ... the patas indoor neighbors are the pied tamarins. ... next to them are the emperor tamarins. both familys have new babies. you might see the babies riding on the mamas backs! ... outside neighbors to the patas are the mandrills. since the passing last year of the male (jaho) there have only been females living there. one of the oldest females (pearl) also passed recently. there is currently a new male in quarantine, so he should be making his debut to the group sometime within a month. ... across from the mandrills in the two story primate enclosures are the lion tailed macaque monkey. ... their neighbor to the right is the siamang monkey. ... their neighbor to the right is the black howler monkey family. there are four living here, papa bosco, mama diamond, daughter lupe and baby girl baya (whose name has since been changed to linecum). ... neighbor to the right is the francois langur monkeys. there is a mixture of males and females, different ages including the new baby and a few juveniles (think teens) who you can tell by not only their size but the level of activeness. .. across from the francios langur's is the aye aye forest where who else, the aye aye's live. this exhibit recently reopened, though note for now on limited hours. this exhibit used to also house a bush baby back in my day, but in recent times had been closed off to encourage breeding. it was very successful as the sfzoo had the first baby aye aye in captivity in north america! baby is about a year old now. ... behind the primate center is the lemur forest where yes, the lemurs live. there are at least four different types of lemurs (black, ring tailed, red ruffs, and black and white ruffs) living in this huge space, but they often don't get along as i am told in the wild the different types don't usually live together. so, you might experience two things. you might hear very loud noises of them arguing, which most think are the monkeys. you may see one group in what i call the time out area, on the opposite side of the forest. note that while lemurs are primates they aren't monkeys. primates are three groups, monkeys, apes and prosimians (lemur category). ... something else i have recently learned that it seems like alot of people around me don't/didn't know either is that monkey's have tails, apes don't. so not only are the gorilla's apes, so are chimpanzee's! ... photos are pretty tough of the small primates because they tend to stay in the upper areas of the exhibits, which are enclosed by fencing. here's one of bosco and a couple of the lemurs.

patas monkeys

yesterday the primate keepers introduced two new females to the patas monkey group. the existing group consisted of one male and two females. admittedly i don't know al their names and just yesterday was reminded the male's which is leland. he is most noticeable so we wil start with his and i'll get the others and add them. leland is 24 and came to the sfzoo after a stint as a potential (was never used! yeah!) test monkey for the navy. there have been many other residents, so i don't know all the details. the two existing gals came about the same time and that was after leland. there has been no babies, so the two new gals were brought in. they are approx. 4 years old, not siblings, but possibly share the same grandparent. it was interesting to watch them in the inital mixing. the existing gals seems to right away be like "oh no you don't" while leland seemed to just be checking them out. having wandered by a bit after the first intro the keeper said that leland definietly put the new gals in their place and defended his old gals! they will figure out the heirarchy and it should all work itself out! ... will post photo soon!

Friday, July 10, 2009

more birthday wishes!

after cobby's party ended, we went to visit all the other zoo friends and made special hello's to the rest of the residents who are celebrating bdays this wk. happy birthday to leanne (tiger) 10th, ginger (goat) 11th, gene (rhino) 12th, slash (cassowary) 13th and bawang 13th.

happy birthday cobby!

today was the celebration for cobby's birthday! earlier in the week when i got to doing the chimp bio's, i notice that the date listed for cobby's bday was 7.10.58. i emailed a zoo contact and asked if there would be a special celebration during enrichment that morning since it was his 50th bday! got a reply after she checked with the primate staff and yes there would be! so my friend andie and i decided to make cobby a big bday card. it turned out really cute, she did the lettering and photo framing, i did the photo and 3D balloons. when we got there we were able to put it in front of the tree thats in front of the north chimp grotto. the keepers were still putting out the party goods, so the chimps were in the west grotto watching and vocalizing about it. they are sometimes so funny to watch. it truely seemed like cobby knew it was all about him! he had a big ol smile on his face and he was telling the girls "look, its my birthday, don't horn in on my goods!" the girls just looked at him and went "whatever." the photos of that scene just make me laugh. all four chimps had a grand time looking thru all the boxes for the bday treats (fruits and veggies). cobby took apart his boxes straight off, got in one and then retreated to his usual spot on the very top. as the party was winding down, the gals were cleaning up the place, maggie was slurping up the melting icee cake, minnie and tallulah were emptying the boxes, miss tallulah not only cleaned off all the fruit roll up dots that decorated one box, she made sure not to leave any frosting on the pole! ... there was a nice little gathering there for the festivities, so that was cool. people seemed excited to be a part of it. ... i will add this to the bio section as well, but since it relates to his bday i'll note here as well. i found out that the date is an estimate of his actual bday and that he is probably a few years older than 50!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Jonesy (Oscar Jonesy)





the gorilla's are the giraffes nieghbors. possibly the most well known baby gorilla at this moment in time is hasani the 7 month old western lowland gorilla. he belongs to the jones family troop, headed by his papa oscar jonesy (named for his papa oscar and his mama jonesie), they call him OJ, but i prefer to just refer to him as jonesy. he is easy to spot being the only male (silverback) in the troop. he's a big impressive guy, very interesting to watch. he has a pretty intense stare, although i don't think he likes to make eye contact! this is jonesy's second time calling the sfzoo home. he first came here in 1982 from the columbus zoo where he was born on 7.31.81. he was moved to buffalo in 1987, but returned in 2005. ... zura, who is jonesy's half sister came to the sfzoo from the columbus zoo in 1982 with him. she celebrates her birthday on 9.13.81. you can tell zura as she's the gal with the high hair! ... bawang is the oldest on the troop celebrating her 28th birthday next monday (born on 7.13.80 at the cinncinati zoo). she came to sfzoo in 1981 at just over a year old. bawang is a treasure as she has stepped in and learned what it took to be hasani's surrogate mama. BRAVO! bawang and staff for making this happen! you can most likely spot bawang as the one closest to hasani. you can also see him with his auntie zura, who hangs close by him too. ... monifa is hasani's birth mom, but for a first time mom (jonesy's first born too!) didn't have any mothering reference and unfortunately decided it wasn't her thing. monifa came to sfzoo maybe two years ago from seattle on a breeding recommendation with jonesy. she celebrates her birthday on 1.3.98 i tell her from the other gals by the reddish color her hair sometimes has in the sun. ... nneka is the youngest girl born at sfzoo on 9.23.98. her mama is bawang. her papa was kubi, the troop leader before jonesy. he and bawang had three babies together (son's shango and barney were moved to sedgewck zoo in 2004) and were companions for over 20 years. kubi is the brother of the world famous sign language gorilla koko (who just celebrated her 38th bday!). they were both born at the sfzoo. nneka is not only the youngest, but the smallest of the adult girls. i also can tell her from the others as to me her face is rounder. ... photos are, jonesy (i like this one cuz he looks like he is smiling), zura, bawang, monifa (a couple days before hasani was born) and nneka.

find out more about the sf zoo gorilla troop at this is a great site by someone who has spent many hours observing and documenting their behaviors. there are pix, bios, and video clips! thankx joanne for this site and for letting me share it here!


i think the streets giraffe scene is the perfect lead in ...

still very bummed that my boy bulldozer has gone to safari west, but we still got two babies on the savanna. the giraffe family is gorgeous to watch. they are so graceful and attentive, making eye contact if you get a chance to be that close. i miss that there are no longer public feedings on member night. that was one of my favorite life experiences. i wish i could have had some face time with dozer before he left ;(

the family is one male, floyd (given name samson, called sam). floyd is papa to all the babies in recent years! he is quite the romeo and sometimes has to be separated from the girls to give them a break! there always seem to be baby giraffes, so floyd obviously knows how to get the job done! floyd came to sfzoo from albuquerque where he was born on 6.11.02 you can tell floyd as he is a big guy! ... mama to bulldozer and current resident baby girl camilla is bititi. she came to sfzoo from oakland where she was born on 5.11.03 you can tell bititi from the small bump she has on her left hind area. ... mama to current resident baby boy niklas is kristin (given name carolina). krisitn came to sfzoo from ohio where she was born 4.13.02 you can tell kristen from the marks that look like surface cut scars on her left (i think) stomach area. this is how i tell them apart. telling the babies apart is easy for now as camilla is still abit taller than her baby half brother. photos are sam, bititi and camilla, kristin and niklas

Sunday, July 5, 2009

streets zoo locations, current view

were you able to figure out what parts of the zoo they shot in? here are some "now" photos of the "then" locations. ... clip one- gas station (no longer) at corner of fulton and 7th ave. ... clip two- zoo locations. the area where the police cars were parked is where the flamingos are now. wide shot of same scene is in area of old monkey cages which now house birds (located across from the chimps north grotto). the front cage the shows monkeys swinging now houses parrotts. the character being chased stops in front of the north chimp grotto where the corner turns to the right. the map is no longer there, either is the eating area across from it. there is now a snack stand that borders the koalas. when they take off running they route down long the pond toward the kangaroos, then circle around monkey island, and down the path from the otters (not there at the time) past camels (not there now). chase continues down path between big cat grotto's and giraffes. big cat grotto's still there, but giraffes have moved and new rhino enclosure is under construction. chase ends at the end of the giraffe enclosure, which now houses the giant eland although the path ends to public access, where at one time it was accessible and i think was the area where the medium cat cages were. ... stay tuned for current photos of the locations.

the streets of san francisco on location at the sfzoo

during the second season of the tv series, the streets of san francisco, the episode "the victims" (original air date 11.29.73) was shot partially on location at the sfzoo. streets is my absolute favorite tv show for alot of reasons, you could say i'm slightly obsessed! i love my city, sf history and the zoo, could this be anymore perfect? streets has preserved a time that i think showcases what san francisco is all about. unfortunately a time that's very much in the past now. ... when i found there was an episode filmed at the zoo i dug into my archives and watched it. either i had never seen it or hadn't in a very long time. here's a clip (i shot off tv using a flip video camera) see if you can recognize any of the zoo locations of the past.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


maggie was wild born and like the other chimps, caught to be sold as a pet. her estimated birthday is 4.14.63, just ten days older than minnie. you can tell maggie as she has a sparseness to her hair on her forehead. ...stay tuned for more on maggie


minnie was wild born and also brought to the states to be someone's pet. her estimated birthday is on 4.24.63. you can tell minnie as she is the next in size to cobby and also has a bit of white hair on her face. minnie and cobby had two babies, one didn't survive and the other amy, sadly died at age 7 of pneumonia.


tallulah is my favorite chimp, and one of my top zoo fav's. like goober and ulu, she has a personality that shines. all the chimps have personality, but there's something about tallulah. i think i was first drawn to her when i saw her reading a magazine! i thought i love her, she loves magazines too! i was told that her fav kind are fashion and food. she is also very into material, bedding, clothing,... she can be seen wrapped up in a sheet sleeping in the sun whenever she has the opportunity. one day she had a bandanna and she was holding it, then all of a sudden took it and blotted her brow. the keeper told me it was his and that when she saw him with it earlier she motioned to have it. he gave it to her. she brought it outside with her and then mimicked what she'd seen him do with it earlier. she's a smart one miss tallulah! i've also seen her claim a tutu that was part of enrichment and lay out a sheet perfectly on the ground as if she was about to have a picnic. she was a pet before coming to the sfzoo, so that probably explains some of her likes and behavior. ... you can tell which one she is by her face which is darker than the other three and really has a different look to it as well. she was the model for the star wars character yoda. the folks from lucasfilm came to the zoo to sketch her before making the initial model. she was wild born, caught and brought to the states. her birthday is celebrated 4.24.55, which made her 54 this year! ... i have learned that tallulah came to the sfzoo in 1967, making her the oldest sfzoo resident!


the grizzly girls are prob the most recent big animal rescue for the zoo. the oldest would be the two wild born chimpanzees.

cobby is the only male. he was born in the wild and captured for pet and entertainment purposes. he had his own tv show called cobby's hobby's, before coming to the sfzoo to live. he celebrates his birthday on 7.10 and being born in 1958, this year (next week) marks cobby's 50th birthday! you can tell which one cobby is as he is the biggest and has the most white hair around his face. i'm told that cobby is very meticulous about his sleeping area and will make a new bed every night. he gathers up all his bedding materials and makes a comfy mound and tucks in the whole sheet around it so it perfect. one keeper also relayed a cute and funny story, that once cobby was motioning a lot and when the keeper looked to see what the fuss was about, he was pointing to a spider. after the girls saw the spider they started wiping their bodies frantically as if "get it off me!" we can all relate to that! ... i have learned that the date listed is an estimate of when cobby may have been born. his actual age is probably even a few years older than that. he came to the sfzoo in 1968 at approx ten years old. that makes him the second oldest resident at the sfzoo!

kiona and kachina

these two grizzly sisters came to the sfzoo in 2004 at just over a year old. they were orphaned in the wilds of montana and were mischief makin' for the second time when authorities decided they either had to find a home or be euthanized. sfzoo came to their rescue and gave them a home. their story prompted donations to build a new enclosure for them, grizzly gulch. they can been seen swimming in their pond, catching live fish (when available) during their enrichment or just wrestling with each other. if you watch them long enough they always seem to do something silly, or at least you can put silly dialog to their actions like in these photos. ...."what time is tea served?" and "i thought i saw the waitress..." or the drive thru window "you forgot my shake" and "the service here sucks" (its all in fun, these gals and all the other residents have feeding schedules.) ... you can tell them apart as kiona is the brunette and kachina is the blonde. ... the sisters are the first grizzlies to live at the zoo in almost fifteen years. the grizzly bear is a symbol not only of california but the roots of the sfzoo. one of the first animals to be part of the zoo when it was initially housed in golden gate park, was monarch the grizzly, who's image graces the state flag and whose decendants were residents at the zoo for a very long time.