Remembering Banana Sam
Banana Sam, the Twitter-savvy squirrel monkey who made headlines two years ago when he was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo and later found, died last week. He was 19. According to zoo spokeswoman Abbie Tuller, Banana Sam died after complications from heart disease. He was known as a staff favorite and a total "cutie" who became a local celebrity after he was snatched from the zoo in December 2011. They immediately issued a call for help and put up $5,000 for his safe return, noting that squirrel monkeys are high on the exotic pet trade list. The following day, a man spotted Banana Sam in Stern Grove, about two miles away from the zoo. He managed to lure the little guy (he was 2 pounds!) into his backpack and carry him back to the zoo. Afterwards, kids, parents, hipsters, drunks, Republicans, and even the cold-hearted among us became instant fans of Banana Sam and his 24-hour adventure. He turned to Twitter where he amassed 2,018 followers, giving his fans witty snippets of his short adventure outside the zoo. Some of our favorite tweets: "The security at the zoo was laughably simple to breach. Anyway, STILL WAITING for the goddam L Taraval," and "Went to monkey bars in Golden Gate Park playground, left disappointed. #nobananadaiquiri." We're just glad he got to see a little bit of the world before he left it.
If you don't tend to make it to the beach when it's cold and rainy, then you definitely missed seeing some craziness this week as a shark washed up on Ocean Beach. It was no Jaws: The animal was a salmon shark, which often strand themselves. "Almost every shark that has been necropsied carefully and examined in detail has suffered from a massive case of meningoencephalitis [bacterial brain infection], which likely is the proximate reason for the stranding," says Aaron Carlisle of the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. Salmon reading this will bubble a sigh of relief at having one less thing to worry about.