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February 13, 2009
Jungle Jeff here!

A soggy Jungle Jeff here!

Wind and rain are often things that people shy away from here in southern California, piling on their jackets and hiding within the shelter of the homes and offices. Yet, here at the Zoo, it's just another part of life.

Being in southern California, many of our guests live in a relative paradise, experiencing moderate temperatures year round, and getting only occasional, gentle rainfall. Most of our animals here at the Zoo, on the other hand, are from climates that are much more extreme than our own; most of the Monkeys in our collection, for example, hale from the tropical rainforest regions of South America, and experience rain day after day, year-round. The primary difference, obviously, would be that our rainstorms are a good 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the ones they are used to.

Other mammals react differently to rain than us humans. Some people are known to run out and frolic in the cold rainfall, myself being among this group, though this is primarily the exception, and not the rule, as most people would prefer to remain indoors. Watching our animals here at the Zoo throughout a rainstorm can teach us many things about the world around us as well as about ourselves.

Animals react the way in which nature intended: either negatively or positively. Sometimes a simple change in speed of movement, or a difference in eating habits, can occur when the rain starts coming down; however, most of time, the average animal will go about their daily business, as though nothing has changed. We used to fall into this same boat, as we did not have the comforts of our heated buildings, yet lately more and more people do not appreciate every little bit of brilliance that Nature throws at us. Standing in the rain watching the animals continue their routines uninterrupted shows us that deep down, we have the ability also; we too can continue going about our normal lives, appreciating that rain is just a part of the world we live in, and it's just one more little thing that Nature can use to show that we are always at its mercy. Even here in the bubble of southern California, Nature can reach in her steely fingers and let us know we're no exception to her power; she just goes easy on us.

Happy Trails
-Jungle Jeff

September 5, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

It's been a very exciting time here at the Zoo, as so many wonderful things have been happening. Out of nowhere there popped out a brand new, beautiful, endangered-species carousel!

There are also some new little critter buddies in the back of the Zoo that are tons of fun to watch; the red-footed Tamarins. There are five of them, one male, and four females, and boy are they ever fun to sit and look at. I just sat for a good half hour and watched as they chased each other from branch to branch, jumping on each other's tails, squeaking away. They're like a bunch of little kids that just learned how to run and met their first playmates. They can be seen at the back of the Zoo, at the end of Monkey Row, next to the Margay exhibit.

The Capuchin baby is doing great too! Matteo (named by a contest winner after the monk who started the order that the monkeys are named after) is jumping around all day, and is a joy to watch. He leaps and grabs, swings and hollers, and occasionally he'll miscalculate and take a comical little tumble; after all, he is still learning how to get around!

The Zoo seems so full of life lately! All of the animals seem so happy and it's the season for them to lounge around or play their little hearts out. So come by and take a look: I promise you'll have just as much fun as I'm having (well, maybe not that much!).

Hope to see all you little explorers out there soon on the pathways of the Santa Ana Zoo!!

-Jungle Jeff

May 16, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

I really wish I could explain to people just how much affection animals really can show. Just yesterday I was out by the train depot and decided to stop and pay a visit to Ralphie, the great big American Cream Draft Horse. I spent a good 30 minutes out there (and could have spent even more) just petting him, giving him some scratches, and just chatting.

Some of these animals are more than just examples of great species that are in danger; rather, a lot of them are shining reflections of just why animals intrigued us as kids, and still do. Just 30 minutes with a huge horse made me sit back and mellow out amid a life of hustle and bustle, and that's what's so great about a zoo. So next time you're here, take your time. Stroll, don't hurry, through the Zoo and marvel at the miracles that are these sweet and intelligent creatures on display. They are reflections of endangered species, glimpses into styles of life in other areas of the planet that we have only heard of, and most of all: they are reflections of us.

I hope to see you all enjoying and appreciating our furry friends soon.

-Jungle Jeff

April 25, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

I'm pretty sure baby animals are a universal soft spot, and I am certainly no exception. A new bundle of joy has arrived recently here at the Santa Ana Zoo that has only reiterated my affinity for babies; it's a baby Crested Capuchin, born to Romeo and Juliet, two proud and loving parents.

When I first heard about this wonderful occurrence I was overjoyed, then, I found out just how spectacular it really is: there are only 12 of these rare monkeys in the United States, and now 3 of these amazing creatures are here at the Santa Ana Zoo.

I am just elated when I got out there to see them and the baby is clutching tightly to the mother's back, just looking around, exploring it's new world. The sex of the baby is still unknown, as the keepers do not yet wish to disturb the happy family, but either way he/she is showing promise to be a healthy and beautiful addition the capuchin family.

It's especially heartwarming when I walk out there and the second I turn the corner toward the enclosure, Romeo lunges forward at the side of the enclosure, protecting his baby. Once he realizes I'm just there to watch, he backs off and goes back to grooming the baby and Juliet, which is so adorable considering when the pair was first introduced to each other, Romeo seemed anything but interested in Juliet.

All in all, I would say I'm actually proud, because here at the Zoo, the friendly, neighborhood Santa Ana Zoo, we have a beautiful rare Capuchin baby, and it's oh so precious.

So come watch in awe with me the wonders of the animal world, exhibited in this tiny furry gift.

I hope to see you all soon.

Jungle Jeff

March 28, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

I apologize for not having updated in a while; it's just too easy to get distracted by all of our wonderfully wild friends here at the Zoo!

Unfortunately, an event occurred recently at the Zoo that reminded me just how precious these creatures are; Elvis, our Black Howler Monkey, has passed away. Although this is tragic, I don't find myself grieving. Instead, I find myself remembering how personable and lovable this little guy was. I remember the first time I met him, walking up to his enclosure, calling his name, and watching him come over to say hello and smile at me. Almost every day I've been here at the Santa Ana Zoo, I have taken the time to go over and say hello to this extremely responsive and friendly animal, and I know I speak for many who knew him when I say we will miss our dear friend Elvis, but may his friendly memory live on.

In another area of our Zoo, the residents have been getting haircuts! That's right; the sheep-shearing festival was a couple of weekends ago, and boy was it fun to see our sheep getting trimmed down to their summer coats! I just love seeing how feeble and adorable sheep look without their thick wool. I bet you would too! Come on over to the Santa Ana Zoo to see their new do's!

The last important tidbit I wanted to share with all of you is about our next great event; Membership Appreciation Day- Party for the Planet! Taking place April 26, 2008, this event is similar to all of our other membership appreciation days, save one important fact: this one will take place the weekend after Earth Day! So I hope to see you all here at the Zoo to celebrate all things planet-friendly.

Again, thank you all for reading, and I hope to see you little animal lovers really soon!

-Jungle Jeff

February 22, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

Recently I wrote a brief post about the arrival of some new golden lion tamarins here at the Zoo. Well, they're here! I was just out checking out how the residents are holding up with the wet weather, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how active the new golden lions are!

The minute I got back to their new enclosure, one of the tamarins leaped out of nowhere on the front grating and starting jumping across it. I have never seen such energy out of such a little critter! They're definitely excited to be here, and they love their new exhibit. They can be seen leaping from branch to branch, hiding behind the leaves and ropes, and sometimes you will even see them do a sort of "cuddle" on top of the little house they have inside the enclosure.

The really fun, cute, and interesting part about them is how they know Joey (the other golden lion tamarin) is somewhere in the Zoo. Every few minutes, the bigger of the two new tamarins (with the black spot near the tail) leaps to the front of the cage and starts to do his adorable (yet still loud for those little lungs) call across Monkey Row towards Joey. Joey would respond with his own call, and when I walked over to his enclosure, he was all the way in the corner, close to his new friends, calling back over and over. It really is fascinating to see how they react to each other, and how they know there are other golden lion tamarins in the area.

So stop on by and see our new little buddies jumping from limb to limb and calling their little hearts out.

I hope to see you all soon!

-Jungle Jeff

February 15, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I can't help but love the sound of the animals here at the Zoo! Today as I was walking through on my daily round of "hello's" and "how are you's" to the animals, I heard one of the strangest, yet most familiar and inviting sounds you can hear at the Zoo: the song of the Gibbons.

There are two White-Handed Gibbons here at the Zoo, named Mycah (the blonde one), and Princess (the black one), and boy do they sing loud! I can hear their calls all the way towards the front entrance! The "song" is more of a series of "whoops" at alternating speeds and pitches than an actual song, but boy is it cute.

Mycah and Princess are the only apes we have here at the Zoo. An ape is defined as any primate lacking a tail (that includes us!!), however, there are some exceptions and rules, as well as different variations of apes. I won't go into too much detail with all those rules here, but I will tell you that Mycah and Princess are known as "lesser apes", meaning they're not quite in the same family as us humans, but they're close!

It makes me smile knowing that I can hear them from all the way up at the front of the Zoo, but their singing is something that needs to be seen as well. They can be found near the front of Monkey Row, across from Joey the golden lion tamarin, and behind the Black Howler Monkeys (who are another pair of characters themselves). If you happen to catch them at a time when they're singing, you're in for a treat. Mycah usually likes to swing around the cage in an impressive display of speed while getting progressively louder, and Princess joins in the fun every now and then!

So next time you're here at the Zoo, be sure to stop by and say hello to Mycah and Princess, and hopefully you'll hear a note or two of a beautiful song from a beautiful creature.

I hope to see you all soon!

-Jungle Jeff

February 1, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

Guess what I just saw! New lambs! That's right, I had heard a while back that Raindrops, one of our Navajo Churro sheep, was pregnant, and that she was due sometime in January. To my surprise, on Monday, January 21st, I walked over to the farm to see two beautiful little lambs sitting there with momma Raindrops!

Navajo Churro sheep are more than just your average sheep! Their wool can be seen in a variety of colors, including White, Black, Brown, Tan, and even a hint of Red. They are a small to medium size breed with ewes weighing form 85 to 120 pounds and rams ranging from 120 to 175 lbs. And the lambs...well, they're tiny!

I don't know about you readers, but I sure am a sucker for baby animals, and these little critters are no exception! I could spend hours just watching them lay there, and I bet you could too!

Apparently they were born late Sunday night/early Monday morning. They don't have any names yet, but I would call them both adorable.

I hope to see you little farmers out there checking out the lambs soon!

-Jungle Jeff

January 18, 2008
Jungle Jeff here!

Great news everyone! If you've been walking through monkey row and seen Joey, our golden lion tamarin, you know how beautiful and lively a creature he is. Well, Joey's mate is here and will be on exhibit soon! We also have just acquired two others; one more male and female pair.

If you have never seen a golden lion tamarin and are interested in coming to see them at the Santa Ana Zoo, here are some fun facts:

Golden lion tamarins are tiny monkeys that can weigh a maximum of about 1.5 pounds and grow up to 30 inches in length from head to tail! Golden lion tamarins are an Endangered Species and are extremely rare, with an estimated wild population of 1,500 individuals and a captive population of approximately 450. They are Native to the coastal rainforests and swamp forests of Brazil, and are currently only found in preserves and select areas in the wild, as their habitat is threatened by deforestation for plantation farming, cattle, and industry.

You can do your part to help! Come see Joey and his new mate in Monkey Row across from the gibbons at the Santa Ana Zoo, and the two new golden lions in the back of Monkey Row by the emperor tamarins. Here you can find more information about these beautiful creatures and ask how you can help protect their homes!

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you little adventurers hiking the paths of our Zoo very soon!

-Jungle Jeff

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