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What smells so bad?

We can all be grateful that our computers are not yet "Scratch and Sniff"! The Safari West LIVE program team engaged young minds this month with Corpse Flower footage. The team strives to create new and interesting program content for children interacting with the live program during their long-term hospital stays. Program content is about wildlife and habitat conservation, and at times incorporates subjects in science and biology.

February marked the arrival of “Mirage”, the first Corpse Flower bloom at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Kyra Ortiz, one of Safari West Live’s field guides and a biologist at the Academy, is a part of the team that took care of Mirage over the last several years.

Corpse Flower at the Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Video footage was taken to incorporate into the Safari West LIVE program just as Mirage started blooming.  The species (Amorphophallus Titanum) is very rare and endangered with less than 1000 individuals left in the wild. This plant is endemic -- meaning it is found nowhere else in the world -- to tropical Western Sumatra in Indonesia. Well-known for its foul scent, the Corpse Flower is a very special plant with some unique adaptations. For many flowering plants, their strategy is to bloom once a year or even several times a year. However, this plant has stored up energy for about 10 years and bloomed for the first time on February 27, 2024. The Corpse Flower is capable of thermogenesis, meaning it can create its own heat, up to 100 degrees. This heat helps the smell reach far up into the tree canopy, enticing flies and carrion beetles to come pollinate it.  The Safari West LIVE team is grateful for the opportunity to share this exciting experience with thousands of children across the United States.

February was an exciting month for Safari West LIVE's Spanish speaking audience, with the introduction of a new Spanish speaking program. The arrival of a Spanish speaking program opens a new world to hundreds of young children to learn about wildlife and habitat conservation.


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