The Sequoia Park Zoo
WINTER HOURS: Monday 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM for the Sequoia Park Zoo & Gift Shop; 12:00 PM – 3:30 PM for the Sequoia Park Zoo Cafe . Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM for the zoo and gift shop; 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM for the cafe.
CHRISTMAS DAY (Dec. 25) Open 11:00 AM-3:00 PM.
Established in 1907, Sequoia Park Zoo is the oldest zoo in California and one of the smallest accredited zoos in the country. Situated next to the magnificent old-growth redwoods of Sequoia Park, the zoo is truly a jewel in the heart of Eureka. It’s a major draw for tourists and locals, schools and families, students and researchers – anyone with an interest in animals, conservation and education.
Farewell to Bono, Sequoia Park Zoo’s White-handed gibbon
Sequoia Park Zoo staff wishes to notify the community and friends of the Zoo that a
longtime resident will be leaving us soon. Bono, a White-handed gibbon who has lived at the Zoo since 1984, is getting ready to head to the Santa Barbara Zoo next month. Bono was born at Yerkes Primate Lab at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and came to Eureka at the age of two, for the purpose of pairing with Joh-leen, a young female who was born and raised here. Gibbons live in lifelong monogamous pairs, and these two gibbons were closely bonded. They shared their exhibit and lived together for 35 years, along with a core group of dedicated animal caretakers, fellow zoo residents and many zoo visitors over the decades. Regulars and residents of the neighborhood enjoyed hearing them sing their duet most mornings, watched them play and groom with one another, and swing about the exhibit in their powerful yet graceful way, which is so unique to gibbons.
In August, Joh-leen passed away after many months of illness and treatment. When it became apparent that she might not survive her condition, Zoo staff reached out to the zoo community about the likelihood of finding a new mate for Bono, which is no small task given the nature of their social structure. White-handed gibbons are a species which is cooperatively managed under the auspices of a Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, in which select species are managed among member zoos for long term genetic viability and welfare. The Gibbon SSP responded to the death of Joh-leen rapidly, and helped us determine that the best option would be to send Bono down to Santa Barbara Zoo, where an older female there recently lost her companion as well.
While this is a significant loss to Sequoia Park Zoo at this time, his welfare is our top priority, and Zoo staff are excited for the next chapter of Bono’s life with a new companion to live with, in the beautiful and expansive natural habitat at Santa Barbara Zoo. His exact departure date is still to be determined, but will likely occur the second week of December. Bono received a thorough physical exam this week in preparation. Pending review of lab results by veterinary teams at both zoos, a clean bill of health should result in approval for transfer and we will make final preparations for his departure. Animal care staff in Eureka are in touch with his future caretakers, and will be traveling with Bono to ensure a safe journey and smooth transition to his new home.
Future development phases in the Zoo’s master plan will focus on replacing the oldest exhibits with modern habitats, including a new gibbon exhibit where the old bear grotto currently sits. The current gibbon exhibit will be evaluated for use by a different species that fits within our Institutional Collection Plan.
Community members who would like to wish Bono a farewell are encouraged to visit him at the Zoo in the coming days. For more information and to view the Sequoia Park Zoo Master Plan, visit sequoiaparkzoo.net.
Sequoia Park Zoo inspires conservation of the natural world by instilling wonder, respect and passion for wildlife.
Farewell Joh-leen, Sequoia Park Zoo’s Female White-handed gibbon
Sequoia Park Zoo staff sadly announce the passing of one of our oldest and best known zoo animals, our female White-handed gibbon Joh-leen. She had been under intensive veterinary treatment since December of last year for a series of health problems. With the help of the amazing veterinary team at UC Davis Veterinary Hospital and our zoo veterinarian, along with our dedicated animal care staff, she was treated successfully for these conditions and seemed to be on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, she developed a new life-threatening condition in the last couple of months and despite our best efforts to save her, Joh-leen passed away during an emergency procedure.
Joh-leen was born at Sequoia Park Zoo on July 12, 1982 and was reared by zoo staff after the death of her mother when she was an infant. In 1985 she was paired with her lifelong mate Bono and they have remained a closely bonded pair ever since. Zoo visitors for the past 4 decades have delighted hearing the two sing their pair-bonding duets most every morning, which often included Joh-leen showing off her remarkable acrobatic skills. The pair could be seen grooming and playing together every day. She will be sorely missed by her mate, her loving animal keepers and volunteers, and by visitors who came to know and love her. Those who wish to leave remembrances of Joh-leen are welcome to do so at the Zoo’s gibbon exhibit.
Zoo officials are working with the national Species Survival Plan program, which coordinates a cooperative captive breeding program among AZA accredited zoos, to find a suitable new mate for Bono. Gibbons under human care generally live relatively long lives, on average 40 years, with longevity records of 57 years old. White-handed gibbons are endangered in their wild habitats in Asia, primarily due to habitat loss from human activities such as logging, and agriculture including palm oil plantations. The Zoo’s gibbons and other animal ambassadors help connect people to the wonder of wild animals and promote their protection for future generations.