Die hard local music fans know of the rich musical scene here in Bakersfield, ranging from rock & roll, blues, country (the Bakersfield sound), classical, and, of course jazz. From the jazz programs at Bakersfield College, Cal State University Bakersfield, and local middle and high schools, to the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, the city offers a rich variety of opportunities for the jazz fan to learn and enjoy the great American art form known as jazz.
Apparently, jazz can also do more than satisfy the needs of humans, as patrons of the Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia have discovered. One of the elephant keepers there, a jazz saxophonist named Steve, plays his sax for animals at the zoo as part of its “environmental enrichment program,” which is designed to make the zoo habitats more interesting to the animals.
One particularly enthralled animal is a leopard seal named Casey, the only one in the world under human care. According to Steve, "I've played for my dog and I have actually played for the elephants once or twice. The elephants don't really get in our face, whereas Casey, he seemed to be coming around. He seems to be interested."
One of the reasons may be that leopard seals are particularly responsive to audible stimuli, and are thought to sing to attract mates and possibly mark territory.
“They are certainly aware of new noises, so something like the saxophone was a great way of giving our leopard seal some different environmental enrichment,” said the zoo's marine mammals supervisor Ryan Tate.
Perhaps the folks at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, with their own Steve (Eisen, the CEO and a jazz trumpeter) will now consider opening up a branch office at the Long Beach Aquarium?