Zoo Day, 03-31-17

Around 8:30 am I headed over to the Sacramento Zoo, hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of their new tigress Jillian.  I didn’t see her, but I did get to see a lot of the other big cats including the Snow Leopard, Lions and Jaguar.  It was sunny, bright and in the 50’s, but a stiff wind was blowing so it felt a little colder than it was.  I put on an extra t-shirt to keep my insides warm…

CLICK HERE to see the entire album of photos and video snippets.

I got to the zoo too early, so I walked around the middle  pool at the William Land Park.  Whatever restoration the city was doing there is finished, but the big pond is still empty and surrounded by a fence.  I finished the walk around the pool right around 9 o’clock so I went into the zoo – just as a busload of ferrets showed up. Eew.  I tried to avoid their group as much as possible, but one group figured out that I had a good eye for finding the animals, so they hung around me no matter how hard I tried to lose them.  “Just watch where she points the camera,” one of the moms kept telling the kids.  Hah!

I was at the zoo for about three hours, just walking around at a leisurely pace, taking photos… Around 11:00 I stopped and got some lunch: a club sandwich with fries and a beer, and a package of cotton candy, too, of course. I can’t have a zoo day without cotton candy.

Most of the giraffes were out including the Masai dad, who was playing kick-ball with a barrel, and the baby who was feeling his oats and jumping around.  He would crouch down on his long legs and then pop up and bounce around – so cute. I got photos and videos of them.

When I got to the lions, papa decided to start roaring and I was able to get video of that, too. All of the cats seemed to be really enjoying the fresh cool weather, and posed for photos… except for Jillian. There was a zookeeper sitting out in front of the tiger’s enclosure, and pointed out where the tiger was supposed to be: in the dark under a cave-rock. I couldn’t see anything.  Jillian is new to the zoo, so she’s not habituated to her enclosure yet. I’m sure all the screaming children running around wasn’t helping her any…

There was a female Mallard who already had a brood of about seven ducklings with her; early season babies… and when I got to the chimpanzee enclosure, near the end of my walk, they were all sitting on the ground eating leaves or dozing in the warm sun…  I think I ended up with over 1400 photos!

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Mary K. Hanson is an author, nature photographer and Certified California Naturalist living with terminal cancer.