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Must See Rare Species in California Zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by jayjds2, 29 Nov 2015.

  1. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Hello, people of Zoochat. I have been lurking for a while and posted a few pictures, but this is my first thread. I am going on a crazy trip to California (which will probably get really rained on), but I have very limited time at some of the facilities that I am visiting. Because of this, I am requesting that you, fellow Zoochat Members, would tell me which species are the rarest at the facilities I am visiting. I am going to 10 facilities in 9 days, in this order: Aquarium of the Pacific, Los Angeles Zoo, Oakland Zoo (2.5 hours to see), San Francisco Zoo (2.5 hours to see), California Academy of Sciences (limited time to see, must be at nearby Aquarium of the Bay by 1:30), Aquarium of the Bay, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seaworld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Wild Animal Park). I will also be visiting Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. I am very pressed for time, but am also very excited (the nights of little sleep have begun). I am leaving by plane on December 19th. So far, these are the animals that I have noted (I am not just asking for rare species, but also uncommon species such as sable and roan antelope).

    Aquarium of the Pacific: Black Banded Sea Krait, Dragon Sea Moth, Sea Otter (seen before but they're so cute <3), Lion's Mane Jelly, Flower Hat Jelly, Southern California Steelhead, Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (I'll have seen every sea turtle species but Flatback and Leatherback!), Guam Kingfisher (interesting that they have this species).

    Los Angeles Zoo: Red Uakari (am already cringing about the exhibit), Mountain Tapir, Japanese Mountain Hawk Eagle (anyone know where it's at or what show?), Japanese Serow, Tadjik Markhor, Panay Cloud Rat, Chinese Water Deer, Tufted Deer, Calamian Deer, Chinese Goral, Buff Cheeked Gibbon, Sclater's Blue Eyed Black Lemur, Peninsular Pronghorn, Chinese Giant Salamander.

    Oakland Zoo: Hamadryas Baboon, Sika Deer, Indian Muntjac, Malayan Flying Fox, Island Flying Fox

    San Francisco Zoo: Wolverine.

    CA Academy of Sciences: Chinese Giant Salamander, Pacific Larger Striped Octopus (is it on exhibit), Gorgonian Sea Fan/Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse (are they on exhibit?).

    Aquarium of the Bay: Broadnose Sevengill Shark.

    Monterey Bay Aquarium: Skilfish, Pelagic Red Crab, Snowy Plover, Bigfin Reef Squid, Hawaiian Bobtail Squid, Pharaoh Cuttlefish, Stumpy Cuttlefish, Day Octopus, Mimic Octopus, Laysan Albatross, Pacific Bluefin Tuna, Crystal Jelly, Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Pelagic Stingray, Egg Yolk Jelly, Purple-Striped Jelly, Monkeyface-Eel, Red Octopus, Wolf-eel, White Sturgeon, California Halibut, Big Skate, Spiny Dogfish, Pacific Angel Shark, Sea Otter.

    Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery: Elephant Seals! What Else?

    Seaworld San Diego: Beluga Whale, Orca, Emperor Penguin, Adelie Penguin, Guadeloupe Fur Seal, Commerson's Dolphin, Short Finned Pilot Whale, Any Dolphin Other Than Bottlenose, Sea Otter.

    San Diego Zoo: White Bellied Tree Pangolin, Giant Panda, California Condor, Peninsular Pronghorn, Bontebok, Kagu, Talaud Red and Blue Lory, Collared Lory, Coconut Crab, Australian Freshwater Crocodile, Ratel (does anyone know where I can find it), Aye-Aye (where?), Soemerring's Gazelle, Tasmanian Devils, Southern Hairy Nosed Wombats, Congo Buffalo, African Spotted Necked Otter, Cape Clawless Otter.

    SDZSP: Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Onager or Kiang (whichever it was, I'm bringing binoculars on a caravan safari), Cape Buffalo, Ugandan Kob (is it still there), Steenbok, California Condor, Somali Wild Ass, Shoebill, Arabian Oryx, Beisa Oryx, Rothschild's Giraffe (pure hopefully), Dhole (someone please tell me where the old tiger exhibit was so I can look for them), Nile Lechwe, Red Lechwe, Barbary Sheep.

    Random San Diego Things- I know that they are in San Diego somewhere, but I do not know if they are at the zoo or park: Mariana Fruit Dove, Blyth's Tragopan, Dalmatian Pelican, Pink Backed Pelican, Great Blue Turaco, Niuafoo Scrub Fowl, Forster's Imperial Pigeon, Grey Imperial Pigeon, Ornate Fruit Dove, Capuchin Babbler, Royal Antelope, Caspian Pelican.

    Thanks in advance to everyone who helps me locate animals. Please tell me if the facilities do not hold whatever species, or if I got one wrong (i.e. a bird I listed in San Diego Zoo actually being at the Safari Park). Also, in the case of San Diego Birds, please tell me where I can find them. San Diego has 3 aviaries, and my mom can only take so many birds in one day. I want to find all the species quickly. Also, feel free to request species for me to put in the gallery after I'm back from my trip. Happy zoogoing, everyone!
     
  2. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    I visited some of these facilities in October 2014 so hopefully my recollections are still relevant and somewhat up to date.

    In Aquarium of the Pacific I had no problems seeing and photographing sea otters (they were actually hard to photograph due to foggy windows, but very easy to see and very active, also had a dedicated training session), olive ridley, and Guam kingfisher. I have seen a sea krait but barely - it was on exhibit but curled in the corner with only one coil visible. I did not pay much attention to jellies, but there was one more rare species I remember well: crested auklet (sharing an exhibit with horned and tufted puffins and pigeon guillemots). They also had some shorebirds, which I never before saw in captivity (sanderling, Kentish plover, black-bellied plover, killdeer, dowitcher)

    I visited LA zoo with a friend who is a curator from a foreign zoo, therefore we pretty much had a VIP tour and saw almost all there is to see. Here is what I remember regarding the species that you are interested in: Uakaris can be seen on exhibit, but not up close, and are very hard to photograph in their exhibit. Mountain tapirs, markhors, gorals, pronghorns, gibbons, Sclater's lemurs, giant salamanders are all on exhibit and if you are luck you should see them all. Serow, tufted deer, and Kalamian deer are also on exhibit but we're very hard to see from public walkway - we only got to see them because we were allowed to go in the keepers' walkway. We did not se Japanese hawk eagle anywhere on exhibit, and we did not go to any bird show (I am not even sure if they have any?). Panay cloud rats had an exhibit in the children zoo, but that exhibit is not nocturnal, so they were hidden each time we came to their exhibit, and we did not see them. Water deer were also on exhibit (together with Sarus cranes, near elephant exhibit), but their exhibit has a lot of cover and we never saw them.
     
  3. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    They no longer have Onager or Kiang or Beisa. The Dholes are there, but I'd put it at a 90% chance you cannot see them.
     
  4. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Luckily, this is not a zoo that I have limited time on, so I have no problem going to the uakari exhibit 5 times if that is what it takes to see them. I was only going off of what I had seen from others about the Japanese eagle, but according to them L. A. Was the only place with them because the sister city of Los Angeles is a city in Japan (hence the serow). Thanks for the information again.
     
  5. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    That's a shame. It will be a long time before I can get to other places and see any of these.
     
  6. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    Besides the species you mentioned, I also saw the following rare species on exhibit in LA: many rare snakes in the reptile house (Boelen's Python, rough-scaled Python, mangshan viper, various pit vipers), Gray's monitors, Fiji iguanas, Meller's chameleon, tomistomas, many native lizards and snakes, koalas, echidna, yellow-footed Rock wallabies, hairy-nosed wombat (it was off exhibit when I visited but I believe that nocturnal house where I saw it is now open to visitors), Chacoan peccaries, Speke's gazelles, Anoa, babirusa, Visayan warty pigs, bighorn sheep, black duikers, yellow-back duikers, Sichuan takins, gerenuks, Coquerel's sifakas, steenbok, African fish Eagles, Steller's sea eagles, moustached guenon, Francois langurs, collared mangabeys, crested capuchins, pakas, giant otters, Baird's tapir, Harpy eagle, and others
     
  7. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    In SeaWorld San Diego I am afraid you won't see Commerson's dolphins. They were off exhibit when I visited. You will have no problems with Orcas, belugas (Wild Arctic, where walruses and polar bears are also found), penguins, and sea-otters. Guadalupan fur seals were also on exhibit when I visited, but they were not labeled. To see the pilot whales you would need to attend the Dolphins show. Also, they have two different subspecies of bottlenosed Dolphins at Sea World - Atlantic and Pacific, and the latter is supposedly rare in captivity. Unfortunately you pretty much cannot tell them apart:) - at least I couldn't. Besides the species you listed, there were no other species of dolphins there.
     
  8. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I probably should do a little research....but what American zoos are best, in your opinion, for wild Horses, Asses, and Zebras. I remeber the Catskill Game Farm had a good collection. Where would you recommend now?
     
  9. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Miami might be the best bet now.
     
  10. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    At San Diego Zoo, the best way to see a pangolin was to catch a scheduled demonstration at the children zoo (around 1 pm or so). The pangolin exhibit is also in the children zoo, but it was always asleep - and we could only really see it during the demonstration.
    The following species were on exhibit and relatively easy to see: California condor (elephant odyssey), pronghorn (elephant odyssey), bontebok (hoof stock paddocks near the polar bears), Kagu (aviaries behind the polar bears), freshwater crocodiles (outdoor reptile exhibits beside the reptile house), Soemmering's gazelles (near giraffes), Congo buffalo (Ituri forest exhibit, they only have 1 left I believe and we only saw it in the morning), spot-necked otter (Ituri forest exhibit, together with Allen's monkeys)
    The following species were on exhibit but you would need to catch them at the good time - otherwise they were asleep and hidden: giant pandas (saw them awake in the evening), Tasmanian devils (saw them awake in the early morning in Australian exhibit)
    At the time of my visit they had two species of wombat in exhibit: hairy-nosed and common. They were exhibited between Tasmanian Devils and Kopje exhibit, and I saw both active early in the morning. However I believe that their exhibit is now closed due to African Rocks construction. The same goes for ratel - it was on exhibit in an old cage in the Cats canyon, which is now closed due to construction.
    Aye-ayes were exhibited in the old monkey cage - one of 4 old cages lose to old bear canyons. I believe that area is also blocked now, but we did not see aye-ayes anyways -they were always asleep and hidden, both early in the morning and late in the evening.
    I do not recall coconut crabs, but I usually do not pay much attention to invertebrates.
    Cape clawless otter I think was taken off exhibit shortly before my visit. It used to be on exhibit in the children zoo but when I visited their exhibit was occupied by African penguins.
    As far as lories go, you can see several species in the Wings of Australasia aviary, as well as enormous Owens' Aviary. In general the bird collection is overwhelming but the aviaries are so large that it is impossible to guarantee that you see all the species that you want to see on your visit. Also there are many aviaries hidden everywhere with some true rarities. There is an aviary in the bus loading area with some South American species (including cock of the rock), more aviaries in the children's zoo (also with rare species), hummingbird aviary near reptile house, aviaries near polar bears (with Kagu, birds of paradise, Niuafoo scrub fowl, etc.), Wings of Australasia aviaries, numerous aviaries on the Tiger Trail and near Bonobos and Gorillas, 2 aviaries with northern waterfowl in the polar bears area, flamingo lagoon, large birds of prey aviaries, several aviaries in the Australian section, aviaries in the Kopje section, 3 large walk through aviaries (Owens', Scripps', and Parker's), and I am sure I am still missing a few.
     
  11. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the great list. Although I can see many of these in my home zoos, I can't wait for the amount of hoof stock, reptiles, and birds I'll be exposed to. I always loved the Speke's gazelles at Saint Louis and I am surprised to hear that this zoo has steenbok.
     
  12. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    I can still hope for the Commerson's dolphins! Sadly, their last walrus passed away and they probably will not receive another for quite some time. I was hoping their dolphin show would be like the one here, at Seaworld San Antonio. Here, the main stars are Atlantic bottle nose, but there are appearances from pacific white sided Dolphins and common Dolphins. As for identifying between Atlantic and pacific bottle nose, I actually found it quite easy. Here at the truly horrendous dolphin exhibit of our Seaworld, there is a group of Atlantic and one pacific. The pacific is much larger and more aggressive, and has actually fought with the Atlantic. It also had a much darker tint to its skin. The size and aggression is most likely what makes them more uncommon.

    As to the info about the San diego zoo, thanks a ton. That is certainly a lot of aviaries.
     
  13. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    At San Diego Safari Park beisas are gone, but they still had gemsbok and fringe-eared oryx. They still had Uganda Kobs at the time of my visit, but I did not see any red lechwe (but Nile lechwe were there). I only saw Arabian oryxes in the off exhibit area, and the dholes were also in the off exhibit area - not sure if they are on exhibit now. The rest of the species it should be possible to see, though with steenbok you will need some luck. Of course you just missed the northern white rhinos:(
    Some other rare species that I saw in the Safari Park last year: giant eland, red-fronted gazelle, bontebok, gerenuk, red-flanked and yellow-backed duiker, bighorn sheep
    Also if you manage to go to the Asian safari are you will see Indian rhinos, gaurs, bantengs, nilghai, blackbuck, urial sheep, Sika deer, Malayan sambar, barasingha, oriental red sheep, Bactrian wapiti, etc. I also saw white-lipped deer, Przewalski's horses, and markhors, but they were in separate enclosures and I only saw them from afar.
     
  14. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    And as previously mentioned, onagers and kiangs are also gone, but the Somali wild asses were still there last year
     
  15. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    They did not have any white-sided or common dolphins - just bottlenosed and pilot whales. Good luck with Commersons, but last time I visited they had no plans to put them on exhibit. They have them on exhibit in Orlando (at SeaWorld Aquatica) where they were very easy to see last year. I was also told by the staff that their Pacific bottlenosed dolphins are darker than the Atlantic ones (they did not mention any size differences though) but even after they pointed out the Pacific one to me it was hard for me to reliably tell it apart from Atlantic ones:) but maybe that's just me.
    I was not aware that their walrus has died. It was a very impressive specimen with good tusks - uncommon for captive walruses.
     
  16. zoo_enthusiast

    zoo_enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    They had steenboks in one of the over-grown hoof stock exhibits at the top of the zoo (where gorals, lesser kudus, serows, etc., are) but they were difficult to find.
     
  17. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    When you visit the elephant seal colony see if you can take a side trip to the town of Morro Bay nearby. There are always wild sea otters in Morro Bay. You will also likely see them off the deck at the Monterey Aquarium.
     
  18. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. It will depend on how long it takes to thoroughly tour the aquarium if I get to see those otters (or the elephant seals). However, I will try my hardest to at least see the elephant seals.
     
  19. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    All you have to do to see the sea otters at Monterey Aquarium is go outside and look off the back deck. There are usually docents out there with spotting scopes and binoculars to help people find them. There also might be migrating gray whales passing by.

    I would highly recommend the elephant seals. You aren't going to see that anywhere else probably, certainly not in a captive situation.
     
  20. Cetacean_lover

    Cetacean_lover Member

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    You mentioned that the San Diego Zoo has an Aye Aye, but I think the San Francisco Zoo has a better Aye Aye viewing experience (guided tours of the exhibit every 45 minutes). The Monterrey Bay aquarium also has rare ocean sunfish and bluefin tuna, which I don't think are in captivity anywhere else. They are in the open ocean tank. As the far as the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, I highly recommend a caravan safari tour, where you go out into the main plains exhibit and hand feed giraffes and possibly the Greater One Horned Rhinos by hand.