How quickly spring turns to summer out here in the hills of Sonoma County! It seems like just a few days ago the rains were pattering down and the fields were erupting in green. Now here it is June already and all that verdant green grass is quickly turning to gold. The bright blue skies are cloudless and it’s growing warmer by the day.
Summer is our busiest season here at Safari West and we’re gearing up for another great one. The guide department is energized and their ranks have swelled with eager new recruits, excited to share our fascinating collection with you. Several new faces have also joined our keeper department, bringing with them valuable experience and skills from wildlife facilities and schools around the country. The tents are full, our Savannah BBQ Grill is bustling, and every day we are welcoming old and new wildlife friends.
Within the last few weeks, the flow of bright yellow buses has trickled to a stop as schools around the county wrapped up their year and released the kids to summer vacation. Now those same kids are showing up with parents in tow, eager to share with their families the wild experiences they had with their classmates. So much has changed with the shift from spring to summer. Our baby giraffes are graduating to the larger enclosure and they’re a joy to watch as curiosity overcomes trepidation and they shyly investigate the tour trucks. As the days grow warmer we also get to watch more and more animals wallow. The rhinos and red river hogs are year-round mud-pit fanatics but once the temperatures climb to the high eighties, we also find the ostriches and cape buffalo taking a lap or two.
Summer is our favorite time here at Safari West and we’re excited to invite you to come experience it for yourself. Exploring our large enclosures and fascinating wild animals is an adventure not to be missed. Come to Safari West, we can’t wait to meet you!
Nancy & Peter Lang
Founders of Safari West
Remembering Suzie and celebrating World Giraffe Day
Just a few days ago Safari West said goodbye to one of our oldest residents. Suzie, a beautiful and petite giraffe passed away at the ripe age of 23. Suzie Q, as we loved to call her, was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in December of 1992. In 1994 she arrived at Safari West as a sprightly two-year-old. Suzie was a Masai giraffe, a sub-species know for their leaf-shaped spots and generally dark color. Masai giraffes are the most common kind of giraffe found in Africa but are very unusual in captivity. Guests lucky enough to meet Suzie face-to-face were always surprised by her gorgeous coloration and calm demeanor. As an animal who’d been walking the hills of Safari West almost since we opened, she was very at ease with the trucks and the excited people within. While we miss Suzie fiercely and mourn her passing, we take some measure of happiness from what she leaves behind. Suzie was a proud mother giraffe many times over and Safari West is home to several of her descendants, including two of her great-grandchildren, youngster Ringo, and one of our newest babies, Dubs. We love you Suzie.
The passing of Suzie happens to coincide with the annual celebration of World Giraffe Day. In her honor and to help secure the future of her species, Safari West is pleased to announce this year’s World Giraffe Day event. This year, we are celebrating it in two ways. Those of you with reservations to join us on Father’s Day (June 19th) will be able to explore the many exhibits, displays, and activities for kids taking place on our main lawn in between chowing down at our “Beers and Bratwurst” event and taking a ride on our Nairobi minibus trek. For those of you unable to come to that sold-out event, we’ll be holding an additional event on World Giraffe Day which lands only a few days later on June 21st.
World Giraffe Day is an annual event designed to bring attention to the plight of these most graceful mammals. Wild giraffe populations are plummeting and organizations like the Giraffe Conservation Foundation are working hard to help this ailing species. The theme for 2016’s World Giraffe Day event is “Putting people at the center of giraffe conservation”. The goal this year is to help wild giraffe populations at risk but also to illuminate the needs of people who live side-by-side with these magnificent animals. As the Giraffe Conservation Fund points out, we need unique approaches to conserve animals living in close proximity to humans.
“While we all love seeing these amazing animals in the wild, sharing your living space with wild animals on a daily basis is not always fun – even though giraffe are some of the more pleasant co-habitants when compared to elephant and lion.”
On World Giraffe Day we’ll hold a special presentation in the Elephant Room after dinner service. The presentation will focus on the majesty of giraffes and their struggles in an increasingly human dominated world.
For more information on World Giraffe Day or to donate to the work it finances, please visit www.worldgiraffeday.org. Thanks and we’ll see you there!
Warthogs and Hoglets!
Safari West has long been the home for three beautiful warthogs. Beautiful is not a word that many would use to describe a warthog but beautiful they are and, we recently learned, they have absolutely adorable babies! On May 5th, Lulu, one of our females, gave birth to four tiny piglets.
When we noticed that Lulu appeared ready to give birth we shifted her into an enclosure separated from the other two warthogs. Shortly thereafter she gave birth to one little girl and three squealing baby boys. For the last month, we’ve been giving the new mom and her increasingly active brood some much needed privacy but recently the piglets have been out and about. They’ve even been spotted by a couple of eagle-eyed guests already!
Because of where the enclosure is, the warthogs won’t always be visible on the classic safari tours but they are a big part of the Behind the Scenes tours. Any day now Lulu, her daughter Agave, and her sons Cactus, Mojave, and Aloe will be on display for our behind the scenes guests. Good luck telling the four scampering, squealing bundles of joy apart, but if you feel like a challenge, Agave has slightly redder hair, Mojave is the biggest and wartiest, Aloe the tiniest, and Cactus, the one you’ve got left.
Come visit Safari West and join us in congratulating our proud pig parents, Lulu and Pig Newton. While you’re here maybe you can say hello to their grunting grey bundles of joy too!
Conservation Corner: Prescribed Burns
By: Jared Paddock
Safari West is home to nearly one hundred individual species, each one sporting its own unique set of adaptations. Our cheetahs depend on fleet-footed prey to survive and have adapted to this challenge by becoming the fastest runners alive. Likewise, our many flying birds have adapted to life in the air with rigid feathers, lightweight skeletons, and impressive respiratory systems. Adaptations come in many forms, from the giant ears of the fennec foxes, to the synchronized breeding of the wildebeests, to the defensive social structures of the cape buffalo. Whether physical or behavioral in nature, life excels in adapting to the many and varied challenges of living on this planet.
The adaptations discussed above all have one thing in common. They are the adaptations of individual species. In this edition of Conservation Corner, we’re going to widen our scope. Rather than look at how one species adapts to a particular challenge, we’re going to explore how an entire ecosystem can adapt. Specifically, we’re going to focus on fire adapted ecosystems which, believe it or not, are far more common than you may think. Chances are, you yourself are part of a fire adapted ecosystem.
A primary reason why I want to address this topic is because Safari West is situated in a region famous for frequent and destructive wildfires. The Mayacamas Mountain range contains several fire-adapted ecosystems, including chaparal and oak woodlands, two distinct habitats present inside the fences of Safari West. Last year, the famous valley fire raged through these habitats in the hills just to the east of us, missing Safari West by a matter of miles. The second reason I want to discuss this topic has to do with one of our neighbors. The Pepperwood Preserve (Link to www.pepperwoodpreserve.org) shares a border with Safari West and is dedicated to advancing the health of Northern California’s land, water, and wildlife. They are currently engaged in some very interesting fire related projects.
On June 10th, Pepperwood held a prescribed burn. With weather conditions conducive to a safe and controllable burn, the Pepperwood team (in partnership with Cal Fire) ignited a small patch of land in a very specific place on their property and with a very specific goal in mind. In this case, it was to experiment with a novel method of controlling medusahead grass. Medusahead is a famously detrimental invasive which has proven extremely difficult to combat. According to Michael Gillogly, the preserve manager at Pepperwood, the goal was to start this fire just as the medusahead plants were forming seeds. Many of our local grasses have already seeded and become senescent (turned brown and gone dormant). Their dry stalks provide an excellent fuel supply and a resulting fire should ideally have burned hot enough to kill the developing medusahead seeds, thereby preventing next year’s germination and reducing competition for our local grasses.
Later this fall, there are plans in motion to hold another prescribed burn, this one in the Pepperwood Preserve’s oak woodlands. In our particular region of Sonoma County our oak forests are increasingly invaded and overtaken by stands of Douglas Fir. There is a theory that suggests that in an uncontrolled environment, regular fires would surge through these forests, clearing out the young fir sprouts and saplings and helping to maintain the oak-dominant status quo. The proposed Pepperwood burn will not only serve to test the theory of fire as a naturally occurring stabilizing force but will also clear the understory; the buildup of dead brush and debris that accumulates between fires. This burn will serve to reduce fuel loads, limiting the risk of a more intense, hotter-burning, and likely out of control oak-killing wildfire later.
With that in mind, let’s return to the idea of ecological adaptation. We’re well aware that species adapt to meet the needs of their environment. If certain conditions are universally applied to all the member species of an ecosystem, it follows that the ecosystem itself would need to adapt as well. This concept can be readily identified in extreme environments. In deserts we find plants that are capable of storing tremendous amounts of water and animals that consume those plants rather than waste energy searching for surface water. The interplay of many arid adapted organism makes for an arid adapted ecosystem. Likewise, ecosystems found on mountaintops are generally composed of plants that can bear up under the heavy loads of snow or go dormant beneath it, and animals which either leave the area when winter approaches, or store up supplies to survive it (either in caches or in the case of bears and bats, in their own bodies). The details of fire-adapted ecosystems may be less obvious but in many cases they are far more fascinating.
Long before humans came on the scene, fires were scouring the landscape. The most frequent sources of ignition were likely lightning strikes although volcanoes, sparks caused by rock-slides, and spontaneous combustion can also start fires. In a truly wild environment either without humans or without our ability to fight these fires, they burn unchecked, moving where the fuel supply and wind take them and consuming what there is to be consumed. It’s important to note that naturally occurring fires wouldn’t often have looked like the raging wildfires we’re used to watching on the news. They would have burned less intensely, covered less ground, and in forested areas at least, left much unburnt.
Trees and other plants grow and die at fairly predictable rates meaning that the fuel load of dry plant material in the environment increases at a fairly predictable rate as well. While naturally occurring fires are less predictable, there is still a degree of regularity in their occurrence. This regularity means that while truly devastating stand replacement fires (fires that completely clear a region of standing plant life) would still occur, they would occur less frequently.
Many plants have adapted to this historical fire regime. In our own backyard we find knobcone pines which depend on these relatively cool-burning and fast-moving fires to reproduce. When the knobcone produces seeds they are contained within a tightly bound pinecone that is coated in a waxy resin. These cones drop to the forest floor where they wait, more or less dormant. Should one of these fast-moving understory fires burn through during the up to half-a-century in which those seeds are viable, several things will happen. Competing low level growth will be burned away, adding some fertilizer to the generally poor soil the knobcone thrives in and allowing more sunlight to reach the ground. At the same time, the heat of the fire will have melted away the waxy coating on the pinecone and caused the scales to spread away from one another, releasing the seed into a freshly fertilized and relatively competition free environment.
In the case of tall, mature pines, they usually sport a thick layer of insulating bark and a tall expanse of trunk between the understory growth and their lowest branches. Both of these features serve to protect the tree from the semi-regularly occurring low to medium intensity fires. But what about plants that can’t grow so tall or thick? In the chaparral regions of the Sierra foothills we find many fire adapted plants of a different type. From the manzanitas we’re familiar with in the back acreage of Safari West, to ceanothus, chamise, and scrub oak, there are numerous plants that are both highly flammable and low growing. Chaparral areas in California often grow so dense and thick we can’t walk through them except on cut trails. Manzanita burns readily and usually to the ground. Ceanothus have beautiful glossy leaves that are coated in a flammable resin. For these plants and their fire-prone and fuel rich environment, the goal is not to survive fire but to burn away and make space for the seeds left behind. These seeds are often dropped by their parent plants and lie dormant in the soil until a fire burns through. The high heat of the fire wakes the seeds from dormancy and the first spring after a fire will see a surge of new manzanitas pushing through the ash coated soil. As humans with homes at risk, we tend to think of wildfires as forces of unrelenting destruction but it’s important to recognize that destruction and creation often go hand in hand.
At least under normal circumstances. What happens if that pattern of burning is interrupted? Thanks to well-meaning but misguided fire prevention policies in place over the last several decades, the fire regime in many if not most ecosystems has been disrupted (Smokey the Bear, you may share some blame in this). Right-minded, but ill-conceived policies had our fire fighters snuffing out every possible blaze in order to prevent ravaging, expensive, and sometimes deadly wildfires. The problem with this system is that it has allowed nearly unrestricted buildup of flammable debris. In forest ecosystems this can be seen in the dense buildup of carpets of pine needles accompanied by fallen logs and the desiccated remains of low shrubs starved of light by overgrown stands of mature trees. In grasslands, this same buildup is present though generally less obvious. Most grazing animals prefer tender green shoots of grass and will avoid eating the dried stalks of senescent plants. Without fire, those stalks compost and decompose but at a slower rate and accumulate in dense mats of highly flammable material. In the long run, the very act of preventing fires raises the near inevitable probability of a catastrophically intense fire occurring later on.
Besides the dangers posed by accumulated fuel, the occasional fire has numerous additional benefits in a fire adapted ecosystem. It tends to restrain the incursions of non-fire-adapted invasive species (an idea being tested with the Pepperwood burn), and recycles nutrients back into the soil. This second point is familiar to those of us from agricultural areas. The burning of fields after the annual harvest is still widely practiced and while there are downsides in the form of air pollution, there are clear benefits as well. As the left over vegetation is rendered into ash, the nutrients extracted from the earth by the growing plants are recycled and reintroduced into the soil. If you’ve ever stumbled into a recent burn area a few months after the fire, you no doubt noticed the eruption of greenery pushing through the ash. Sudden sunlight reaching freshly fertilized soil triggers abundant growth. That sudden growth attracts wildlife; herbivores to nibble the succulent shoots and carnivores to stalk the herbivores.
Humanity has a long, involved history with wildfire. Many if not most tribes of native Americans have a history of prescribed burning. The fires started by these pre-columbian civilizations were used for many reasons, among them to improve soil for crops just as we do today, but also to drive game, clear trails, fireproof settlements (by clearing the land around them), and create areas of sprouting greenery that attracted deer, elk, bison, and other animal sources of food. For thousands of years, human beings have understood the importance and utility of fire in the environment. The mistake of the last century has been to treat every fire the way we treat those sparked by a discarded cigarette of fallen power line.
When the Pepperwood Preserve sparked their fire June 10th, they added new data to our increasing understanding of the role of fire in our ecosystem. We’ve come a long way from the days of viewing fire as intrinsically and exclusively destructive, but the science still has a long way to go. As Californians, we have a tense and anxious relationship with fire. While the occasional catastrophic fire will undoubtedly occur just as they did in the pre-human world, a few simple changes in practice and policy can both reduce their occurrence and increase the health of our fire adapted ecosystems. Fires caused by humans, those started by a car crash or neglected campfire, those should be fought and brought under control. Fires that we had nothing to do with, the lightning started fires that typically occur when winds are low and humidity is high, those we should let burn unless there’s undue risk to life and property. Difficult though it may be to watch a stand of trees burn or to witness a herd of panicked antelope fleeing a brushfire, the trade off is the beauty of a forest reborn and the site of those same antelope nibbling on bright green shoots a month or more later. Fire, not always our friend, is nonetheless and ally in keeping our ecosystems healthy, stable, and viable.
Safari Spotlight: Crested Porcupines & Jr. Keepers
Rodents, famous for being numerous, disease-carrying, and nearly impossible to kill are possibly the most misunderstood and fascinating of the mammalian orders. The defining characteristic of rodents are the sharp and ever-growing incisors made famous by rats, mice, and beavers. On the whole, the order accounts for nearly forty percent of all the mammalian species and includes in its ranks; the aforementioned rats, mice, beavers, as well as hamsters, guinea pigs, capybaras, prairie dogs, squirrels, and perhaps most interesting of all, porcupines.
The four crested porcupines making their homes at Safari West make up the entirety of our rodent collection. Unlike the ground squirrels, gophers, and field mice scurrying through our open spaces, the crested porcupines are huge. Among the largest rodents on the planet, crested porcupines can grow to be the size of a dog and weigh anywhere from 25 to 60 pounds. While their size alone is startling, the feature that makes them famous are those scary, spiny quills.
Rather than the soft fur we’re used to seeing on their rodent cousins, the porcupines are covered with a menacing coat of long, thick, viciously sharp quills. These quills are technically hairs as well, except that they are significantly harder, thicker, and sharper than any hair we’re used to seeing. Quills serve a valuable defensive purpose, protecting the porcupine from potential predators. Generally speaking, it’s unwise to attack a creature covered in a coat of needles.
While porcupine quills cannot be fired from their bodies and aren’t poisonous, that doesn’t detract from their efficacy as a defensive weapon. When threatened, the crested porcupine lives up to its name. The black and white banded quills which up until now have been lying down along its back crest up and out, opening like an umbrella to transform the porcupine from a really big guinea-pig-like creature into a spiky mass of intimidation and threat. In many cases, this sudden increase in apparent size and added scariness of appearance serve to discourage a potential predator, but if they don’t, the porcupine has a few other strategies up its sleeve. First they will shake and stamp, causing their quills to rattle together, a technique you may recognize from the rattlesnake. It’s an unnerving sound and draws attention to the bristling armory sprouting from the big rodent’s back.
As a last ditch move, the porcupine can scurry sideways or backwards, angling the much sturdier and scarier quills on its sides and back toward the predator. They are fast and agile creatures and an unwary leopard or lion runs the risk of a paw or face full of deep, penetrating wounds. Stab wounds to the face are no laughing matter, especially in the wild where the risk of infection is high. Porcupine encounters that go this far can be fatal.
In spite of this intense and ferocious defense, crested porcupines are generally peaceful creatures. Their quills are defensive in nature and the big rodents are primarily herbivores. A day in the life of a porcupine is oft times fairly uneventful. They tend to inhabit burrows (some of which they dig themselves, though they will readily take over another animals burrow given the chance). During the day, they are typically at home and asleep, venturing out at night to forage for bulbs, tubers, fruits, and grains. Although they survive mostly on vegetation, it is not uncommon to see porcupines gnawing on the bones of other animals. This behavior has several motivating factors, one of which is that, just as with rats and beavers, the gnawing wears down and sharpens their endlessly growing incisors, keeping one of their primary tools for survival in pristine order. The chewing of bones also has the added benefit of introducing important minerals into their diet. Calcium is a major component in bones and helps keep them rigid and strong. Porcupines, by ingesting calcium-rich skeletal matter can repurpose that calcium to grow rigid quills as well.
The Junior Keeper program sponsored by the Safari West Wildlife Foundation has deep ties to our four crested porcupines. The prickliest members of our collection do a phenomenal job of demolishing their enclosure. Between their burrowing activities, the constant gnawing on branches and bones, and the ongoing shedding and regrowing of quills, they generate a lot of mess. Every weekend, our intrepid Junior Keepers show up to go in with the porcupines and help clean their room. The cresting behavior the porcupines do to startle predators, they also do when excited and a common sight here on property is of four giant spike balls scampering around a small army of rake bearing Junior Keepers. As part of the housekeeping, the Junior Keepers also collect and sanitize the dropped quills which are then brought to the trading post where they can be purchased by inquisitive guests.
While the housekeeping is important for the health and well-being of the porcupines, the experience is also an educational one for our Junior Keepers. As they interact with the animals, they learn to identify behavioral cues and watch for potential concerns. They develop skills which allow them to monitor changes in the enclosure environment which may indicate health issues, territorial disputes, potential pregnancies, and so on. They also spend a great deal of time generating enrichment for the porcupines. Enrichment can consist of puzzles, toys, and other activities created to stimulate mental engagement and problem-solving in our animals. It’s not enough to feed and house them appropriately. Physical health has little value if mental and behavioral health aren’t accounted for as well.
Working with the porcupines and other animals grants our Junior Keepers small-scale experience with the kind of work done by our keeper staff at large. It is our hope that with this introduction the passionate youngsters of the Junior Keeper program will be inspired to continue down this path. The experience they gain here at Safari West coupled with an education in biology, ecology, animal husbandry, or a related field will equip the up and coming generation to join us as professionals. Conservation and wildlife science are dynamic and constantly evolving fields of exploration and we need all the bright, young minds we can get.
Come to Safari West and see some of the weirdest, wildest rodents on the planet and some of our inquisitive and hard-working Junior Keepers at the same time, and possibly even in the same enclosure!
Butterflies in Bloom
Some months back, we here at Safari West started to get really excited about monarch butterflies. The monarch is an easily recognized and charismatic little insect. Fabulously beautiful with broad orange and black wings the important pollinators are famous for the grueling, multi-generational migrations they make up and down much of North America. For the last several decades, monarch populations have been in a state of steep and sustained decline. The situation has grown so critical that state and federal governments (in both the US and Mexico) are now involved.
Monarch butterflies are native to Sonoma County. They pass through our backyards twice a year, once in the spring as they travel north toward the higher latitudes of the United States and into southern Canada, and again in the fall as they head south to their overwintering grounds in the pine and eucalyptus groves surrounding Monterey Bay. This annual migration is completed not by individual butterflies but by several generations throughout the year. This means that the monarchs arriving in Sonoma County in early spring will lay eggs as they pass through. The caterpillars born here will enjoy a brief infancy with us before maturing into butterflies themselves and continuing north. The butterflies that return here later in the year will be the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of those we see each spring.
Merle Reuser, monarch aficionado and long-time friend of Safari West, as well as our resident landscaping genius, Sergio Ramirez, kicked off our monarch mission. For several weeks the two men could be found hard at work on the hillside behind our main office, planting native milkweed to serve as our butterfly nursery. Monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed, an unassuming little plant that we humans hold in pretty low regard, and their caterpillar babies grow up munching on it. It is suspected that a key factor in the decline of the monarchs has been the steady disappearance of this critical plant; victim of our heavy use of industrial herbicides and aggressively weeded from our yards and gardens. Butterflies that would otherwise have flown right through Safari West now regularly land and lay eggs on our clusters of healthy milkweed.
It’s important to note that there are many different species of milkweed and if you’re going to undertake some milkweed planting of your own, it’s important to pick a species native to your area and that will actually be utilized by the butterflies. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Petaluma is a great resource for this.
As our milkweed plants were taking root and growing, our Junior Keeper program joined in on the action. These dedicated kids, guided and supported by Corrine Bishop, Ben Crabb, and Kait Nevers went to work in the butterfly garden. Over the course of several weeks, they created a lush landscape of flowers in and among the sprouting milkweed. They planted lavender and sage, rosemary and pipevine, wildflowers of varied color and size. These flowers and the nectar they produce provide a food source for adult butterflies and an additional invitation to stop by our garden. With established food supplies for monarchs in every stage of life, the monarch team moved on to the next phase; building butterfly boxes.
Monarch butterflies and their caterpillars have numerous predators, including ants, spiders, and birds. Lowell and Ryan of the butterfly team constructed wooden-framed screened-in enclosures that could be nestled securely over patches of milkweed, protecting the growing caterpillars within. On a sunny day in early spring, couch sized boxes composed of wooden frames and window screens began arriving on property. As soon as the boxes were in place, the Junior Keepers went back to work, scouring the milkweed plants for little quarter-inch-long, black, white, and green striped caterpillars. Once located, positively identified, and documented, the larvae were relocated to the boxes where they lived free from predation, feasting on milkweed and growing.
As the collected caterpillars grew, the Junior Keepers found a way to make use of old asparagus boxes and half-and-half containers from the Savana Cafe. The monarch crew converted them into butterfly houses; simple shelters from the weather and the wind. Left to their own devices, butterflies typically roost high in the trees at night, counting on the cover of leaves to protect them from the elements. Since any butterfly emerging from a cocoon at Safari West would be restricted to a box at first, it is necessary to provide shelter for the young adults until they can be documented and released.
When monarch butterflies emerge from their cocoons, they rest for an hour or more while their wings unfurl and dry. Once they are ready to take flight it is critical to release them from the butterfly enclosures or risk the determined insects damaging their wings against the screen. Because of this need for regular observation, Merle, Sergio, and the Junior Keepers kept up a steady watch. Each morning Sergio could be found checking the enclosures for adult butterflies and releasing those that were ready to go. Merle made his rounds at noontime and then again around six pm. The Junior Keepers filled in at other times throughout the days and weeks of this project.
On June 9th, Merle released the last three adults from this crop. Of 86 total caterpillars collected and transferred to the enclosures, 42 made it through pupation and were released as adults. A success rate of nearly 50% is incredible for this species (in comparison, a 10% survival rate is typical in the wild). Of the 42 adults we documented, roughly half were female, each one of them carrying some 300 eggs to be deposited along their flightpath. At this point, most of the adults released here are likely in Nevada or Idaho, continuing the long journey north. This August, as the butterflies return, we’ll begin scouting our milkweed for eggs and larvae again. The butterfly enclosures will be repopulated with feasting caterpillars and glossy green chrysalids. Utilizing what we’ve learned from this first go-round, Merle expects a success rate closer to 75% with this next breeding cycle. The butterflies resulting from that generation will leave Safari West and head south where they and thousands of others will spend the winter in the eucalyptus groves of Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove.
Not long ago, monarchs could be found in the millions throughout California. Though this important pollinator has declined in number throughout the country, our garden, along with many others, is helping these amazing creatures begin to recover. Safari West invites you to join us in this project. Come visit our garden, check out the Safari West Wildlife Foundation’s Junior Keeper program at www.safariwestwildlifefoundation.org, and think about maybe starting a garden of your own.