Health + Behavior

Kinkajous, porcupines and sloths, oh my!

Kids at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital celebrate launch of San Diego Zoo Kids TV

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UCLA Mattel and San Diego Zoo - Tamandua
Nick Carranza/UCLA Health

A tamandua from the San Diego Zoo visits kids at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.

The San Diego Zoo transported a menagerie of exotic animals — including a kinkajou, tamandua, porcupine and giant sloth — to entertain young patients and their families at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. The March 7 event kicked off the launch of San Diego Zoo Kids — a new closed-circuit TV channel that will allow sick children to watch wildlife without leaving their hospital rooms.

“If our kids can’t go to the zoo, then the zoo can come to them,” said Karen Grimley, chief nursing executive for UCLA Health. “This initiative dovetails beautifully with our mission to provide children with a healing environment where they can experience the joys of childhood, even while they’re in the hospital.”

Costumed performers brought to life an enormous lion, flock of flamingos and two giraffes, delighting the crowd and making room visits to the children too ill to leave their hospital beds.

The event was organized by the Chase Child Life Program under guidance from the hospital’s infection control and security teams.

Porcupine at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital
Nick Carranza/UCLA Health
A porcupine struts its stuff at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.
 
A Kinkajou from the San Diego Zoo at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital
Nick Carranza/UCLA Health
A child makes friends with a kinkajou.
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