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My Daydream About San Francisco Zoo

Discussion in 'Speculative Zoo Design and Planning' started by Zoo Birding, 11 May 2023.

  1. Zoo Birding

    Zoo Birding Well-Known Member

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    Elk Grove, CA
    Hello ZooChat:

    This thread is kind of a wishlist / daydream about what I would like to see happen at San Francisco Zoo. I do invite anyone with insider knowledge about what the zoo plans to do.

    Outside of Sacramento Zoo, I remember visiting San Francisco a handful of times. I do remember a visit sometime around 2014-2015 and the memorable things from that visit was seeing lesser vasa parrots in "Bird / Aviary" Row. I started keeping records of bird collections after my first avicultural conference in 2019, and have consistently visited San Francisco Zoo since 2020.

    I understand and have been to the zoo during the pandemic and see the reason why certain protocols were taken to ensure the safety and health of the animals. However, since California is now letting go over pandemic measures and as we move past the avian flu period, I can envision / dream up certain changes to help utilize empty space through the zoo and make improvements.

    I would love to see the Madagascar exhibit up and fully realized but the whole project has all but came to a standstill (more like going at molasses pace).

    I'll go through each section and my latest visit about what I can see in certain places. The map needs another update since certain animals have either passed away or are not in the areas they're supposed to be.
     

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  2. Zoo Birding

    Zoo Birding Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA
    Before I begin, I would like to indicate bold are new species and italics indicate current species into the zoo.

    Exploration Zone

    The pond across from the petting zoo and the education center need to be utilized. I know it is quasi being used to show off freshwater turtles but maybe expand the area to include more turtles and let it be the place in the zoo for letting native waterfowl hang out and congregate. Micke Grove Zoo has an open pond exhibit specifically for their turtles. On the opposite end, you can make that section more of a botanical garden showcasing more California native plants.

    Tear down the enclosures where (currently) the great horned owl resides and where the agoutis and white-cheeked turaco used to reside and replace it with a single large aviary for a large raptor like a golden eagle or for the current great horned owl.

    Remove the flight where the guira cuckoo is currently placed entirely (and move it to Puente al Sur). I know it used to house peach-faced lovebirds but even then, I feel that the current flight would be too confining even for a most flock of lovebirds. The area where the Yosemite toads are located can be a another "California Conservation Reptile Outpost" (like their current California Conservation Corridor with terrariums of native snakes like the San Francisco garter snake, Pacific rattlesnakes, and California kingsnakes, along with Yosemite toads and perhaps even the Pacific pocket mouse.

    I don't know what that large building by the Sculpture Learning Plaza was but maybe utilize that building and repurpose it as a "translocated" Primate Center, but revamp it in the style of Lincoln Park Zoo's Helen Branch Primate House. I seem to recall as a kid the zoo having golden lion tamarins. It would be great to reintroduce tamarins and other smaller primates back into the zoo. Move the Fran├žois' langurs
    in there with an expand habitat.

    I would want to see the Red Panda Treehouse get a revamp to include a viewing platform a la like what the siamang and orangutan exhibit at Fresno Chaffee Zoo has, and another low level viewing area. Maybe include an additional, compatible species that like Reeve's {Chinese} muntjacs? The red panda / muntjac idea I recall at Charles Paddock Zoo.

    I would leave the Animal Resource Center, Family Farm, Insect Zoo, and the meerkat and prairie dog enclosures alone as they are.
     
    Last edited: 11 May 2023
  3. Zoo Birding

    Zoo Birding Well-Known Member

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    Outback Trail

    The only thing here I would change is perhaps include short beak echidnas in the outdoor koala exhibit, and incorporate saltwater crocodiles habitat across from the Australian Walkabout. I know it's suppose to pay homage to prehistoric plants, and it can still retain it but with an addition to give more of a prehistoric feel.

    South America
    Since the South American Tropical Rainforest & Aviary was a "recent" refurbishment, the only thing I'd change is incorporate actual birds that are native to South America. There's an unused pond that was meant for the scarlet ibises that I have never seen any of the birds utilize. I can see that area be another tall aviary for a larger toucan species (I know the zoo used to have keel-billed toucans, so may be return that species). Move and introduce more scarlet ibises back into the exhibit.

    The large plot outside the aviary next to the supposed new home for the Andean condor can be utilized as another aviary. Maybe use that space to showcase a harpy eagle or perhaps either an ornate or black hawk-eagle. Conversely, make a habitat for the recent ocelot.

    Make Puente al Sur a walkthrough aviary with their resident black-necked swans, giant anteater, and guanaco. Keep the flight where the spectacled owl is currently at, remove the netting across from the aviary there since the whole exhibit would be an aviary. Reintroduce capybaras back to the area and move their black-faced ibises and guira cuckoo in the area. Introduce elegant-crested tinamous, puna ibises, puna teals, red shovelers, ringed teals, and reintroduce white-faced whistling-ducks back in (their last one passed away not that long ago). You can place the green-winged macaws either in Puente al Sur or the South American Tropical Rainforest Aviary.
     
  4. Zoo Birding

    Zoo Birding Well-Known Member

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    Bear Country

    I think this area of the zoo is overall, pretty well rounded but could do with adding a couple of species and using of space.

    What used to be Pelican Beach can be a North American beaver habitat. You can place the remaining American white pelican in this habitat.The area across from the Station Cafe could be turned into a pronghorn habitat since pronghorn's do inhabit California. Maybe create a section for a habitat and move the wolverine to this area of the zoo since it's appropriate.

    Cat Kingdom

    Since the pygmy hippo inhabits the old hippo habitat and has been renovated, transfer out the eastern bongo and let the current eastern black rhinoceros habitat absorb that habitat. To diversify the space, client a "watering hole" and move the pair of pink-backed pelicans and add either Grant's or Soemmerring's gazelles and vulturine guineafowl.

    Since I would want to see the wolverine in the Bear Country section, reintroduce Aldabra giant tortoises in place of the wolverine.

    The Lion House and the species that are currently and are planned to be in rotation there will remain unchanged for the time being, although if they bring tigers back that would be great, especially when the whole outdoor exhibit gets a much-needed revamp.
     
  5. Zoo Birding

    Zoo Birding Well-Known Member

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    Lemur Forest

    I would love to see the zoo's original vision for this area become a reality. In the original roster, since Madagascar plovers aren't being kept in any zoo inside or outside the United States, I would perhaps swap out that species for Malagasy turtle-doves and Madagascar grey-headed lovebirds.


    Great Ape Passage
    More room and viewing areas for their Bornean orangutans. Let the current mandrill habitat absorb the area that was the former Patas monkey (also the area where Sureshot the bald eagle used to reside) area and let it be a mixed species exhibit with mandrills and bay duikers.


    African Region
    While the African Savanna habitat was a revamp, I think it could do with another refurbish. I think San Francisco Zoo could be the first zoo to net the entire area and make it both a savanna habitat and walkthrough aviary. While I understand the practice of pinioning large birds, I'm strongly against it and wish more American zoos will stop trying to pinion their large flighted birds. It would be more realistic and awe-inspiring seeing either saddle-billed or marabou storks that are fully flighted and able to move between habitats. While I know that one of their East African grey crowned-cranes passed away, bring in a pair and let them be able to fly and move about the habitat. To utilize the "creeps" that are scattered on both sides of the walk path, let that be an area were Kirk's dik-diks can retreat when the larger animals give them trouble. What a spectacular first look before getting your ticket to get into the zoo. The zoo's current roster of hoofstock and their ostriches would do just fine. The zoo could even reintroduce a pair of either Abyssinian or southern ground-hornbills.

    The "African" Aviary feels more like a "West African" Aviary. If San Francisco Zoo wants to really make you feel like you're seeing birds from across Africa, include a handful of colorful species like superb or golden-breasted starlings, bring in another, opposite-sex African open-billed stork for the resident, white-headed buffalo or Taveta golden weavers, and a pair of red-crested turacos.
     
  6. Zoo Birding

    Zoo Birding Well-Known Member

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    Elsewhere in the Zoo

    As I mentioned in another thread, I would love to see the Chilean flamingo habitat be fully netted and expanded to be another walk-through aviary. Inhabiting the area with them could be grey gulls, Inca terns, Peruvian pelicans, and ashy-headed or upland geese.

    I would love to see a larger aviary for Hercules the great hornbill and see the zoo pair him up with a female since great hornbill numbers in the U.S. are depressingly low.

    Put the Bali mynahs in the aviary next to the California Conservation Corridor and but the resident pair of red-sided Eclectus parrots in there along with a pair of Malayan great argus pheasants, Nicobar pigeons, and Pekin robins {red-billed leiothrix}, making it close to an Asian-themed aviary.
     
  7. Zoo Birding

    Zoo Birding Well-Known Member

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    What does everyone else think? What would you want to see in San Francisco Zoo? How would you change things around and what kind of species would you want in the zoo?
     
  8. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    They used to be in the African Aviary just a year or two prior - I saw them there.

    I'm not sure precisely which exhibits you're referring to but there did use to be a Golden Eagle over there.

    I doubt Pronghorns would be successful in that climate unfortunately.

    Sureshot previously was on the island the pelicans now inhabit - I'm guessing that was a bird flu change?

    Not gonna happen. The area is simply too big and the zoo lacks the funds to even think about doing that.

    There previously were Marabou in the Savanna exhibit - they were phased out at some point.

    I don't believe there's a female to pair with him currently.

    As a whole, good enthusiasm but given the zoo's financial status and the distinct decline over the last few years in particular I doubt any of this would be likely to happen other than some of the transfers. They really should finish what they've already started before tackling any new projects. In terms of exhibits the zoo has barely changed since my last visit a decade ago - some facelifts and upgrades to house different species, but nothing truly updated except for perhaps the orangutan exhibits.
     
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