Maria Trenary, a senior veterinary technician at Oakland Zoo, describes an anesthesia mask meant for larger animals like lions, at the grand opening of the zoo's new veterinary hospital on Thursday.

The veterinary facility at Oakland Zoo was once so small and cramped that during one surgery, senior veterinary technician Maria Trenary had to crawl under an operating table, navigating beneath the dangling limbs of an anesthetized tiger, just to get to the other side of the room and continue working.

Now, at the zoo’s new veterinary hospital, which celebrated its grand opening Thursday afternoon, a camel, a bison or even a juvenile giraffe can be easily accommodated in one of the hospital’s revamped surgery suites.

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An Alameda County Superior Court judge today denied the request to issue a temporary restraining order to halt the Oakland Zoo’s expansion project. The request, filed jointly by Friends of Knowland Park and the California Native Plants Society (CNPS), called for a three-week suspension of the zoo’s project, which the groups say will damage the natural habitat for endangered native species living in the city-owned Knowland Park.

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