Thursday, February 25, 2010

water dance

the zoo was gorgeous today and i was again over dressed! there were a couple moments i wished i was cooling off in grizzly gulch too! ... kachina was having another time of her life, enjoying the warm sun by playing in the pond with a stick and a corn husk. its as simple as that to make this girl happy! and those cute feets were up in the air most of the time! just watching her play will fill you with joy. its simply precious. see more of her fun in the sun here >

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

cobby gets physical

San Francisco Zoo's geriatric chimp passes physical with flying colors

Doctors from the University of California San Francisco, and Veterinary... ( Maria J. Avila Lopez )

For an old guy, Cobby did well on his physical exam.

A cardiac ultrasound showed mild hypertension, but his body X-rays showed no surprises. His doctors were thrilled. There had been no fast food binges for this chimpanzee.

At age 52, Cobby is the oldest male chimp in an accredited zoo in the United States and Europe and Jacqueline Jencek, chief of veterinary services for the San Francisco Zoo, where Cobby lives, wasn't about to do just any old exam on him Wednesday. His was on a par with those performed on humans.

"We're pretty proud he's the oldest," she said. "If he makes it to 60, that will be the equivalent of us making it to 100 or 105."

For the geriatric workup, a cardiologist and an ultrasound technician from the University of California, San Francisco, volunteered to assist so he could have a complete heart workup. Siemens Medical Solutions USA donated the use a state of the art cardiac ultrasound machine for the day, one they use for demonstrations and won't be used on humans. And Jencek used the zoo's digital X-ray machine, made possible for them by a matching grant from the HEDCO Foundation.

Using the digital X-ray machine is much safer for the animals," Jencek said.

It allows them to have an image in nine seconds, far faster than the 10 to 15 minutes needed by older machines that used film. And it means the animals are under anesthesia for a much shorter period — the scariest part of the exam.

"I won't be happy until he's back in his house and is wide awake today," Jencek said before the exam started mid-morning.

The physical only took about an hour and a half but meticulous planning preceded the process. Cobby had to be sedated and then moved by a cart from the primate house to the zoo hospital, which immediately set off a screaming fit by his worried female roommates, Tallulah, 53, Minnie, 40 and Maggie, 47. They calmed after awhile.

Jencek has started training the zoo's animals to be injected by hand but Cobby has not yet had the training and had to be darted with a drug often used for children, an amnesiac that calms them down and makes them forget all about what happened later.

"This morning, he was alert enough to be angry at me when he pulled the dart out of his leg but he won't remember I darted him when he wakes up," she said.

At the zoo's hospital Cobby was weighed — 107.8 pounds — measured — 4 feet tall and then moved across the hall to the X-ray room. A staff of seven or eight humans hovered in scrubs.

Once Cobby was placed on an X-ray table, intubated as they say on TV, and hooked up to oxygen and a gas anesthetic, a variety of procedures got underway. He received three liters of fluids, "a little Chimpanzee Gatorade," Jencek said.

Then Cobby had X-rays. Blood and urine samples were taken. Dr. Dana McGlothlin, medical director of the cardiac care unit at UCSF hospital and Hillary Rubin, cardiac ultrasound technician at UCSF hospital, made the ultrasounds. Jencek and her staff joined them in watching Cobby's heart beat on the monitor.

"When I heard about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance," said McGlothlin, who's used to working with human patients. Rubin had a similar reaction: "it's a once in a lifetime experience," she said. "It's amazing."

A chimp's heart, she said, "looks just like a human heart. With a gorilla's heart, you cannot distinguish between it and a human heart." Not only that but "they tend to have the same cardiovascular diseases."

The whole time, Cobby's worried human keepers were watching through a glass window. After everything was done, they took turns going in to hold and rub his hand.

Just before noon, Cobby was bundled back up, placed on the cart and driven back to his quarters, where Jencek checked to make sure everything was OK and then tucked him in.

"He actually looked good for a geriatric chimp," McGlothlin said.

Contact Linda Goldston at 408-920-5862.

Cobby"s bio

Origin: Rescued from the exotic pet trade, birthplace unknown
Age: 52
Height: 4-foot tall
Weight: 107.8 pounds
Results of physical exam: Mild hypertension and thickening of the left ventricular wall.
Claim to fame: Oldest male chimp in an accredited zoo in the United States and Europe

article source San Jose Mercury News

yay! cobby! so glad that one of my fav guys is in top shape! although its no wonder the poor guy has hypertension, i recently saw another disturbing video posted by a visitor who thinks its funny to keep disturbing the animals when they are obviously upset. UG. ... interesting article, please check the link and view the series of pix from the procedure. i thought it was cool info on the similarities to the human heart and the pic of his hand is most incredible! i also loved how the keepers held his hand! i would love to hold his hand that would really be something. and his gal pals being upset when he left, sad but precious. thankx to dr jacqueline for all she and her staff do for the zoo friends!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


i am now calling gorilla world zuraland. during recent visits i have been most drawn to zura. it started when i went to the zoo for the first time with nica (a new friend then) and she was trying to photograph zura doing "her tongue thing." i had never noticed it before, but started noticing that she did it every time i'd go. first mostly when she saw nica, then she started doing it to me. its very cute, but i wondered what it meant. i wanted to make sure we weren't upsetting to her and that it wasn't a sign of aggression a a result. we asked a keeper and as well i asked my friend joanne who knows the troop well and both said zura does it for attention. the last couple times she has paid alot of attention and is just very sweet and fun to watch. she really is quite a character. i now call her princess zura ;) i like thee two pix of zura, one where she's literally laughing and smiling right after! ... i also recently saw a photo that looked like jonesy was smiling. a keeper looked are me like i was crazy to think this of the big guy, but its true. chk the turned up corners of his mouth in this pic. thats a smile!... the other day monifa was sitting against the wall near the entry to the night quarters. she looked very sad, a visible frown. i felt horrible and said softly, monifa don't be sad, give a smile. after a bit she walked over to where we were standing and looked up and smiled! its incredible that they really do understand. i missed the full capture but got a 3/4 smile snap!

bear feet

i love me some animal feets! kiona was so cute just rolling on her back doin' a tunya and then she started to play with her feets! this one is my fav! she just released her toes and feets are in the air! she's just smiling and enjoying the sun!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

wrestling grizzlies

the sisters were having their typical rumble. they are so cute when they play together like this :) kachina was the instigator yesterday. sometimes kiona would pull back and just play with her feets and a log (really cute when feets are in the air!) and then kachina would run up and challenge a tussle! ... the first photo is my fav tho, and since today is valentines day its perfect! one sister reaching for and lightly touching the other's hand! so sweet! you can tell they love each other, they are always smiling at each other :) when i was watching this interaction my narrative was card playing, since they were leaning on the rock and it looked like a table. poker anyone? they are cute to watch. check out more rumble pix on the photo site >

a bloody valentine treat!

i interrupted jahari having his valentine treat! i think he knows my voice as he often turns his head when he hears it! i put my camera thru the fencing and he was licking the blood sickle and i said to myself (yes i talk to myself cuz i'm crazy like that!) come on jarjar turn around and this is what i got :) thank you sweet kitty! ... you can see he's got blood stains on his mouth :)

painted polars

yesterdays zoo visit came with many surprises! so much eye candy with the bears! painted polars! wrestling grizzlies! lion treats! and a new couple (tunya and sukari can now be seen in the yard together! yay!)! ... the grizzly girls were doing their sister wrestle, but it was the polar girls who such a colorful time with their special valentine treats, that i couldn't pull myself away from them! they were soooo cute and happy, and ended up painted polars after rubbing themselves on the deco'd boxes with their icy faces! pike had blush that reminded me of a vaudeville gal and andy bear ended up looking like a 60s pink poodle! ... they also got fish treats in snow and live ones in the pool! i don't think i've ever seen either of these two gals in the pool, but andy dove right in and got to fishin'! pike dug into the snow looking for what was left after the gulls stole some of her loot ;( ... see my collection of snaps for the play by play on the photo site >

Sunday, February 7, 2010

super birthday sunday!

today the lions celebrated birthdays! amanzi whose thirteenth bday was on jan 4 and tunya whose thirteenth bday was on jan 26, celebrated a combined birthday with seven year old jahari, whose bday was today! jahari and amanzi got their treats first! on one side the keeper put a party favor that was filled with a knuckle bone and a big wrapped box filled with rhino scented hay and another favor on the opposite site, filled with a knuckle bone and a blood sickle! when she let them out they came running! amanzi to the one with the blood sickle and jahari to the one with both the favor and the box! amanzi ripped the favor open so fast i only got one pic! jahari went for the favor first and savored it. after he was completely done he went for the box and got his groove on with his big cat nip! ... tunya was sleeping in the sun and not budging, so the keeper went up on the roof and tossed the favor down to him :) it was very cute, he was looking up and then wow gifts from the sky! and off he went, running over to it! i didn't get a good pic of him with the favor becuz i was standing in the wrong spot for pix. not sure what i was thinking, i think i was just waiting to see him run to it, i didn't plan right ;( he loved it! his favor was filled with rhino hay and he was rolling in it, having a big ol' tunya time! then he just sat on the hay and the wrapping and looked over and smiled :) ... sukari was hiding in back, so her favor, filled with meat was left in the doorway. we stood and waited but nothing. then we walked away and when we looked back the favor was gone! sneaky little thing went and pulled it in with her! we saw her in the back sitting up enjoying her treat :) ... it was a fun day with the lions! they all had a good ol' time! ... BIG thanks to keeper barb for indulging us with a lion birthday celebration! you rock! ... more pix on the photo site > ... thankx to lee for donating some of her awesome pix to the blog! she got the one of tunya that shows part of the favor!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

football or food?

today the zoo had a go at seeing if cobby would predict a superbowl champ by picking one of the teams shirts. i think they all were just interested in the food! i'm with you guys! ... there was no one at the chimps when i got there about ten minutes before the event was supposed to happen. i heard a keeper who was behind the cafe talking to the chimps in waiting and all the girls came over to her. i could hear her say, "are you guys going to be on tv today?" and tallulah shook her head yes!!!! soooooo cute! cobby was being cobby and getting all excited with that huge grin of his, knowing something was up! when they let them out cobby did go for the main box first, the one that had the shirts and pennants in it. he pulled out the saints one first but threw it aside and just looked for food. maggie ended up holding up the colts one, taking out the stuffing and fishing thru it for food. minnie didn't seem to care about much of it. tallulah grabbed a blue sheet and tugged it around behind her, using her foot. she eventually went up to the main box and touched the saints shirt, which i thought she might put on, but then just grabbed the sheet and went inside the main box for a nap! these chimps are always fun to watch, becuz they have so much fun with the special enrichments! ... more pix on photo site! > ... make sure to look at tallulah's face in all of them, she has the greatest expressions!

bear sense

annie the spectacle bear was having a good ol' time while her mate wishbone slept cozy in the corner den. there was a small barrel with holes that had treats (probably bear chow) in it. it was fixed so that it spun and annie was spinning that thing til there was nothing left! then keeper deb came out, after chatting and telling us about how much annie loves perfume, she called them in so she could put some out for us to watch her! i had my eye on annie at first, but wishbone came right over to the front stump that was scented and was loving it! he was rubbing his head and neck all over it! his little pink feet were facing towards me! they are both the sweetest looking bears! annie eventually came over to one of the closer stumps and was loving herself some chanel no. 5! ... was all soooo cute! thankx deb!