Hawk, Opossum and Rabbit make their Home at the Randall Museum

Media Contact:
Genevieve Antaky, Randall Museum Friends
Public Info: 415-554-9600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (SAN FRANCISCO, August 19, 2012) –The Randall Museum, a facility of the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department, is happy to announce the arrival of three new animals. A wounded Swainson’s hawk, a misplaced opossum, and a wayward desert cottontail rabbit have all found safe haven in the Randall Museum’s Live Animal Exhibit joining more than 100 animals that can no longer survive in the wild.

“They may sound like a group of misfits, but we are proud to welcome these three critters to our museum,” said Nancy Ellis, Randall Museum’s Animal Exhibit Coordinator. “Each of them will now take on the role of Randall Animal Ambassador to help visitors learn about and appreciate California’s diverse wildlife.” Many of the animals that come to the Randall Museum are injured so they cannot hunt for food or protect themselves from predators. Others were born in captivity or kept as pets so they never learned how to live in the wild.

The hawk came to the Randall Museum from a rehabilitation center in Utah with a broken wing and unable to survive on its own. Swainson’s hawks have one of the longest migrations – 12,000 miles round-trip each year from northern Canada to the pampas of Argentina. This hawk will eventually participate in the Randall Museum’s weekly live animal presentations “Meet the Animals” held on most Saturdays. The hawk will join a special selection of animals that, with the help of a docent, venture from their cages, pens, and perches to greet museum visitors up-close.

The opossum’s story is a familiar one to urban animal rescuers. The Randall’s new marsupial was found orphaned and kept in a home. When trying to reintroduce him to the wild a year later, he wouldn’t be released. He has now found a safe spot in the museum’s Live Animal Exhibit. Opossums have been around since the Cretaceous period. With opposable thumbs on the hind feet and a prehensile tail used for climbing, this creature looks exactly the same as his ancestors did in the age of dinosaurs.

The desert cottontail rabbit shares a story similar to that of the opossum. The rabbit was found as an infant and kept too long in captivity. These rabbits are named for their cotton-ball tails. The desert variety has tall ears for heat evaporation. They live in arid areas where desert tortoise would roam, often seeking shelter in a tortoise burrow to escape the extreme heat. This rabbit has taken up residence in the same pen as the Randall’s desert tortoise and appears to be right at home.

“We hope the new animal inhabitants will delight Museum visitors of all ages and enhance their experience at the Randall” —Nancy Ellis, Randall Museum Animal Exhibit Coordinator

About the Randall Museum & the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department:

The Randall Museum, located at 199 Museum Way at Corona Heights Park, is owned and operated by San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department with a mission to inspire creativity, curiosity, and a love of learning about the world around us. In fulfillment of this mission, the Museum offers an integrated program of arts and sciences to children, youth and adults through opportunities for hands-on learning and recreation, focusing on the cultures and environment of the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information about the Randall Museum the public may call 415-554-9600 or visit www.randallmuseum.org.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of our diverse community. For more information about SF Rec and Park please visit www.sfrecpark.org.


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