Archive for the ‘rhinoceros’ Category

The Philadelphia Zoo is a Series of Tubes   Leave a comment

Tiger in the Tube

Our summer vacation took us eastward this year. Our first stop was Philadelphia. There, we checked out the Philadelphia Zoo, the nation’s oldest zoo. I was rather impressed by their animals, as well as the enrichment they were afforded.

One of the neatest bits of enrichment was Zoo360 Animal Exploration Trail, a series of enclosed paths for animals to meander. They had it for primates, but I first encountered some goats.
Goats on a Bridge

But the coolest was yet to come: Big Cat Crossing. This path allowed their lions, jaguars, leopard, cougars, and snow leopards to explore the zoo. When we were there, a pair of tiger brothers, born at the Columbus Zoo, were watching the crowds.
Tiger Tube

Looking Down on Us

They really are handsome cats.
The Sun is Too Bright!

In the big cat area, we also got to see lions.
Makini the Lion

Maya, a female snow leopard was there with her two (older) cubs, Buck and Ranney. The cubs were quite active, pouncing and wrestling with each other.
Tag! You're It!

Teasing a Sib


Tusslin' Flurry

Pondering the Next Pounce

Though her kids tried to get her into the mix, Mama Maya decided to stay above the fray.
Happy Maya

Such a pretty snow leopard!
Pretty Maya

The tiger girls were in their enclosure, stalking.
Stalking Tiger


One came right up to the glass I was crouching by to take pictures, and sprayed right next to me. At first I was disgusted, until my daughter pointed out by “marking” me, she was claiming me. I was…honored…really.
Contemplative Tiger

There were black-footed kittens!
Sleeping Like a Log 2

Of course, they were all asleep. Still quite cute.
Cats Love Boxes (Whatever Kind They Are)

Was this one getting up?
Wrong Side of the Bed

Nope. Just shifting.
Sleeping Like a Log

A Canadian lynx sat in the sun.
Sunny Lynx

There was a cheetah nearby. A keeper gave a talk, discussing his encounters with different cheetahs who passed through his care. The cheetahs had a lure system, which the keeper seemed surprised was good enrichment for the worlds fastest mammal.
Philly Cheetah

Cheetah Trot

The series of tubes proves to be enrichment for homo saphiens, too.
Rebecca in the Tubes

My daughters new favorite animal is the red panda, which I’m a fan of, too.

Quite cute and fluffy!
Snack Time

On the Platform

Tony is a southern white rhino with a big horn!
Tony, the Southern White Rhino

Ever see a Galapagos tortoise cuddle puddle?
Tortoise Cuddle Puddle

Serious close-up!
Snugglin' Tortoise

I liked watching the maned wolf. Such striking color.
Maned Wolf

Having obsessed over their pens lately, it was nice to see brown pelicans Crackle and Snap.
Snap and Crackle

Overall, I really enjoyed the Philadelphia Zoo. It was a good size for walking around and spending a day, and they clearly cared a lot about their animals. And the animals seemed to enjoy each other.
Changing of the Guard

Bouncy Snow Leopard   Leave a comment

The Marvin Lewis Community Fund sponsored Learning is Cool. Cincinnati Public School students who were on the “A” honor role twice were invited to an evening at the zoo, and receive a medal, given by members of a local sports team. Once again, my daughter was on the “A” honor role four times. Of course we would go to the zoo!

John the lion has a new pal, Imani.
John and Hiding Imani

She’s pretty!

John must think so, too, as he’s trying to look his best.
John's Bath

They do make a cute couple.
John and Imani

Nearby cheetahs were looking like bookends. No runs were scheduled that evening.
Cheetah Bookends

Gizmo, an African white-faced owl, was out. We saw him before. He’s quite cute.

A red panda was in the tree, grooming.
Firefox Bath

One of the Malayan tigers was demonstrating his camouflage in the tall grass.
Tiger in the Grass

A cougar was relaxing in a less-than-camouflaged fashion.
Lazy Cougar

The highlight for me was Nubo and Renji.
Handsome Nubo

The snow leopard duo were bouncing off the walls!
Bouncing Off the Walls

Who says cheetahs are the only cats who can sprint.
Who Says Cheetahs are the Only Sprinters?

We got to see a baby flamingo.
Flamingo Baby

Later, they paraded by.
Flamingo Parade

Before we left, we said “hi” to Louisiana girl Sayia.

It was an enjoyable evening at the zoo.

Seyia and Kilua at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

The Cincinnati Zoo made a couple of announcements since my last visit, neither of which involved cats. It was, however, for two of my favorite non-felids animals. We had a gorgeous day, so I decided to go check it out.

The first was Seyia, a black rhino. She just moved here from the Baton Rouge Zoo. Like most Louisiana girls, she’s very cute*.
Seyia, the Black Rhino

I confess I haven’t watched too many rhinos interacting with people. This time, I was there when her keepers were having a session with her. It was clear that she had an interest–even a fondness–for her people. It was quite cute.
Sitting with Her Peeps

The keepers train the animals behaviors that will help them in the animal’s care. In this case, Seyia has learned how to present her foot for examination.
Put Your Right Foot In

She seems to really like watermelon.

The other new arrival was Kilua, a baby okapi. She was born on November 30.
Kilua and her Mom, Kuvua

She is a very active girl!
Okapi Trot!

The black bear was enjoying the sun.
Snoozin Bear

As was this penguin.
Penguin on the Rock

Of course I stopped by the cats! Techumseh the cougar was being active.
Techumseh on the Rocks

They fed the caracal while I was there. I remind myself that, in the wild, small birds are commonly their prey. Today, they gave her a chick. It wasn’t alive, but a bit odd to see. I’m not posting the picture here, but I did link to the picture.

Renji and Nubo, the snow leopards, were relaxed. Nubo did raise his head to say “hi.”
Nubo's stare

The tigers were even more relaxed, melting into a puddle. Not the tongue.
Tiger Puddle

*Louisiana girls are cute, but I do find myself partial to women from the Midwest. :)

World Rhino Day at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

Last Sunday (September 23) was World Rhino Day. Rhinoceroses are critical endangered, in no small part due to poaching.
World Rhino Day Banner
The Cincinnati Zoo was in the headlines recently, as they are attempting to breed the only two Sumatran rhinos in North America. So of course, on World Rhino Day, they were hanging out in one of areas in the back. In their defense, we were there rather late in the day.

The Indian rhinoceros, however was not only out, but playing with some bamboo. Rhinos are among my favorite zoo animals (outside of felids, of course).
Indian Rhino, Playing with Bamboo

Coincidentally, Saturday (the twenty-first) was International Red Panda Day, another favorite zoo animal (outside of felids, of course).
Dozing Red Panda

The Bactrian camel really doesn’t care what day it is.
Bactrian camel

A takin is goat-antelope, native to Himalayas. They are regarded as a vulnerable species.

We went to check out Woodstock, a manatee.

He did rolls near Betsy, another manatee.
Woodstock Rolls

Prom season is in the spring, isn’t it?
Mob of Penguins

We went to go say “hi” to Renji and Nubo. When we walked up, it almost seemed like there was only one snow leopard out.
One Snow Leopard or Two?

But, it became apparent that they were both in there (Nubo is on the right).
Nubo is Annoyed

Heart-shaped snow leopards!
Renji and Nubo Snuggle

The pallas kittens are still hanging around–one up on some rocks; another was down low. He wanted to go up to see his pal.
Pallas Kitten, Pondering a Jump

So he jumped!
He Made It!

It was quite impressive!
Pallas Kitten Siblings

It is sometimes hard to imagine these little pallas kittens are smaller than adult black-footed cats.

The sand cat was dozing–love how his paws were arranged.
Sand Cat Toes

We haven’t seen the caracal all summer–I’ve been worried. She wasn’t there this visit, but we did see scat in her enclosure. This made me feel a little comforted.

Ever since they remodeled the Cat House into Night Hunters, it’s been very difficult to get a good picture of the fishing cat. Usually, it takes pulling every light-gathering tick I have, manual focussing, and anticipating where she’s walking. Today, she was still, and I pulled out my 50mm f/1.8 for the first time in a while. And, got a really good shot.
Mamma Fishing Cat!

It was a great afternoon to spend learning and supporting one of the great animal treasures of this world.

All Over the Toronto Zoo   1 comment

A six hour drive westward brought us from Montreal to Toronto, where Canada’s largest zoo is located. The Toronto Zoo has a large collection of animals, as well as visitors in the parking lot.
Birds on Cars

In terms of area, this is the largest zoo I’ve seen with the exceptions of the Wilds and the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. Most of the large animals had enormous enclosures. For example, the bison practically had a prairie.
Bison in the Field

The Bison were in the Canadian Domain section. Half of the small cats we saw were there. Two Canadian Lynxes were hanging out in the drizzle. One was trying to hide from the rain.
Lynx Hiding from the Rain

The other didn’t let it deter him.
Lynx in the Rain

They also had a pair of cougars. When we were standing there, we learned that a government agency released a couple of cougars to take care of an overpopulation of fishers, a fierce member of the weasel problem.
Relaxed Cougar

We saw plenty of “moose crossing” signs as we drove through Quebec, but never saw a moose (or a deer, for that matter). We watched this gentle giant enjoy his lunch.
Moose (No Squirrel)

The big thrill in Canadian Domain was the grizzly. One appeared to be juvenile.
Romping Young Grizzly

The boisterous youngster seemed to be intent on playing with an older bear. Personally, I wouldn’t mess with her.
Mama Bear

Adjacent to the Canadian Domain was the Tundra Trek, showing the animals of the Arctic.
Peeping Wolf

Our favorite was the Arctic wolves.
Arctic Wolf

The Arctic fox was displaying his summer coat.
Arctic Fox, Summer Coat


I liked the snowy owl.
Snowy Owl

The polar bear was having a lazy afternoon.
In a Cave

One thing I found interesting was an inuksuk, a marking stone used by the Inuit.

The America’s section was home to the otters.
Underwater Otter

We always love the antics of river otters.
Otter on the Float

Waving Otter
Hi there!

The spectacled owls watched us as we entered.
Spectacled Owls

One enclosure had parrots and capybaras. A capybara got a bit too curious about the parrots’ goings on.
Nosy Capybara

He was escorted off their perch.
Pushy Parrot

The Toronto Zoo has two jaguars. One is tawny, taking a bath.
Bathing Jaguar

The other was melanistic. It looked a little like Luna.
Black Cat

The cheetah keeper was giving a talk at 1:30. We got there at 1:27, and saw no cats. Right as my watched hit half-past, we saw a head.
Peeking Cheetah

Zeek the cheetah knew when he’d get a snack.
Zeek Looks for His Snack

Happy Cheetah

Such a handsome cat.


Next door was a white lion pride. A male.
Lion Meatloafing

…and two females.

We watched them for a bit. I think we bored him.
Dreamy Lion

Obviously, this was in the Africa section, also home to Southern white rhinos.
Rhino Butt!

The antelope played in the drizzle.

And African elephants. African elephants have larger ears than their Asian counterparts.
African Elephant

I’ve seen plenty of pictures of sugar gliders, but I don’t think I’ve seen one in person before.
Sugar Glider

This was in the indoor Australia exhibit. I liked the reptiles, such as a one year old emerald tree boa.
Juvenile Emerald Tree Boa

The bearded dragon just watched.
Bearded Dragon

A sign indicated that their clouded leopard was an older cat, and the zoo keepers were trying to keep her comfortable. She simply dozed as an older feline should.
Tired Cloudie

The gaur is a fairly rare species–from what I can tell, the Toronto Zoo is the only one in North america who has them. Also known as the Indian Bison, it is the tallest species of wild cattle.

The spider tortoise is one of the smallest of the tortoise species.
Spider Tortoise

Only one of the two subspecies of tiger, the Sumatran tiger, was visible when we went.
Relaxed Tiger

A reindeer was sprinting around his enclosure. It was fun to watch him run.
Reindeer Sprint!

The Toronto Zoo is getting two giant pandas on a five-year loan.
Panda, from Above

There was a large “Interpretive Center” on the way in, speaking about these creatures. It left me perplexed: they eat only one species of bamboo, but only get nutrients from about half of what they consume. They eat all of their waking life. Have they become overspecialized?
Panda with Bamboo

The Eurasian exhibit was, for the most part, closed. A tram went through part of it. We were told we could see the snow leopard, and given a series of wrong directions, leading us to circumnavigate much of the zoo, only to finally find out that, while the snow leopards were still at the zoo, they could not be seen while we were there. This exhibit is being remodeled, set to open in 2014. This was a major disappointment to me.

However, it was still a very impressive zoo. We were there pretty much from opening to close, and I’m not entirely sure how we would have fit in another section during our time there. The exhibits were well done, and there was a lot of space for the animals living there.

Indianapolis Zoo with my Father-in-Law   4 comments

Last Saturday, my mother-in-law has a tradition of taking my daughter to the Nutcracker in Indianapolis. It’s a very involved thing, including a pre-performance tea with the dancers. This year, they invited my wife, as we were planning on being in town for the first night of Hannukah. I suggested that my father-in-law, also an amature photographer, and I go to the Indianapolis Zoo.

When we got there, there was a California sea lion being very loud.
Loud Sea Lion

I mean, very loud.

He got in the face of a harbor seal. I thought it would be a confrontation.
The Confrontation

The harbor seal barked back, causing the seal lion to leave. Otherwise, the harbor seal was rather zen-like.
Harbor Seal Meditates (corrected)

The keepers came out and fed the seals and sea lions. I really like watching the interaction between the keepers and their charges.
Seals Can Hax Fishies?

One grey seal was paralyzed, and a decision was made to amputate the lower flippers. She seemed to get around fairly well, however.
Grey Seal Amputee

Indianpolis’s zoo has a significant aquatic section. They had some rays floating around.
Ray, Head-On

Ray Swims Away

The rockhopper penguins perhaps inspired Bobak Ferdowsi.
Rockhopper Penguins

Judgemental walrus disapproves.
Walrus Judges You

The Asian small clawed otters were rather noisy.
Asian Small Clawed Otter Chorus

Otter Complaint

And scattered away.
Run Away!

I liked watching the staw colored fruit bats hang out together.
Straw Colored Fruit Bats

The Alaskan brown bear slept. Look at those claws!
Alaskan Brown Bear

They had an enclosure with a raven and a bald eagle. I wonder what they talked about.
Raven and Eagle

As we moved to the Plains section, we observed some southern white rhinos telling secrets, probably talking about us.
Rhinoceros Secrets

When we were at the Wilds, we learned that Rhinos use a common latrine. You actually could see it in Indianapolis (though I realized when I got home I neglected to take a picture of it).
Slogging in the Mud

I need a price check. Anyone got a bar code reader?

In the Desert Biome, they had a blue iguanas and a radiated tortoise.
Blue Iguana and Radiated Tortois

Breeding rare iguanas is one of the specialties of the Indianapolis Zoo.
Blue Iguana on a Rock

I decided to play with the macro feature on one of my lenses in the snake area. So, I was able to get quite close to a northern copperhead.
Northern Copperhead

The Florida pine snake was somewhat plainer.
Flourida Pine Snake

Finally, I took a good picture of the eastern massassagua rattlesnake.
Eastern massassagua rattlesnake

Only three cats. I think this is an amur tiger.
Sleepy Amur Tiger

The signs did not specifically say they had an amur (or Siberian) tiger on exhibit, but it did speak extensively of a field project about the largest member of the cat family.
Relaxed Amur Tiger

I said this female lion had “bed head.”
Lovely Lady Lion

Her mate took offense to that.

Such a handsome cat. I was trying to describe something specific to my father-in-law, and couldn’t think of the word. I started with “he’s so…” Someone standing next to me chimed in with “incredible.” Fair enough.
King of the Hill

The only small cat was a cheetah.
Cheetah Approach

The Indianapolis Zoo appears to have partnered with the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The signage had a cartoon image of their founder, cheetah expert Laurie Marker, explain the efforts to save the worlds fastest land animal.
Cheetah in the Grass

The cheetah was the only small cat at the Indianapolis zoo.
Lounging Cheetah

I had a good time at the zoo, and shooting with my father-in-law.

Louisville Zoo   1 comment

On our way back to Cincinnati, we stopped by the Louisville Zoo. They had a lot of interesting animals, though I think the mom showing these kids around were guests, not residents.
Baby Ducks
Louisville is a fine zoo, though there were a few things I found odd. Most zoos ban smoking on the entire grounds, for the health of all animals (including the hairless primates visiting). Louisville actually had designated smoking areas. I found this to be extremely disappointing. Another factor was the walking path was very limiting–there were few cut-throughs to get to other areas quickly. This made doubling-back to see if an animal was awake difficult. Finally, they rotated some animals among enclosures, as enrichment. This is a good thing, however, it does make it difficult to see all the animals–this could likely be remedied by improved signage.

One area had both vampire bats…
Vampire Bats

…and fruit bats.
Fruit Bat

I liked this spotted turtle.

And this guy tried to sell me some insurance.
Insurance Salesman

Our first cat was a jaguar.
Jaguar Stare

She was busy doing her nails…
Jaguar Pedicure

Jaguars are the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere–only lions and tigers are bigger among felids. This one was a bit…ahem…fluffy.
Pretty Jaguar

I suppose it’s not nice to say such things about a lady.
Silly Kitty!

Next door was an ocelot. She was the only small cat out (the snow leopard and cougar were staying in cooler spots).
Dozing Ocelot

They had two juvenile bears (about a year or two old).
Bear Cub Fight!

They were playing around in their pool.
Bear Cub Fight 2!

Amur Tiger PropogandaOf the nine subspecies of tiger, six remain among us. All of them are endangered in the wild, mostly due to poachers (who sell their parts for “traditional” medicine) and habitat lose.

The Cincinnati zoo has the Malayan tiger, the second smallest subspecies. The largest tiger is the Amur tiger, who, at 320 pounds, is about a third heavier. They were more commonly known as the Siberian tiger. “Amur” has become preferred as it more accurately reflects its habitat, which includes parts of China.

(That doesn’t stop me from referring to Beso, my largest cat, as a “Big Sigh-beer-ee–ann Tiy-grrr,” in a cheesy fake accent. He is just a big orange cat.)

The tiger exhibit at the Louisville Zoo is perhaps the best tiger exhibit I’ve seen. It allows the cats plenty of space, including a small pool to jump in, and a small slope. People can observe from two different angles, one of which has two stories, allowing good vantages on the animals. The signage is great. They also have some great murals, reflecting the art of the region. My personal favorite was the Soviet-style propaganda poster to the right. I would have loved a t-shirt with that design (perhaps in an earth tone, with the logo slightly distressed). Alas, they didn’t sell them.

The tiger was quite handsome.
Big Siberian Tiger

Also, he was quite clever, moving under a sprinkler (note the upper left corner of the picture). It was a hot afternoon in Louisville.
Cooling Off

The tiger decided to vocalize a bit. I was able to catch the last one on video (it seems slightly delayed relative to mouth movement). The tiger even gave a half-hearted encore.

Pretty cat!
Lazy Tiger Afternoon

The African section was actually rather good. They had a pigmy hippopotamus.
Caitlin & the Pigmy Hippo

Did I mention it was a hot day?
Camel Down!

More Masai giraffe!
Sitting Masai Giraffe

They had a vulture hanging out with them.

The lions were in the shade.
Lions in the Heat

Big yawn!
Lioness Yawn

Fang close-up!
Lioness Teeth

They had two species of elephants–one African, one Asian. The African elephant was on the left (with the larger ears).
Two Continents of Elephants

Overall, it was a decent zoo with several very interesting exhibits.

At The Wilds   6 comments

Zebra on the Hill
The Wilds is a fourteen square mile zoological park in Central Ohio. For about fourty years, this land was strip mined for its coal. Once complete, the American Electric Company donated the land so that a conservation site could be established.

It is a very large place. A variety of tours are offered–we took an open-air bus, similar to the one pictured above. The tour takes about two-and-a-half hours, with two stops.

Wide View of the Prarie

One of the first new-to-me animals was the Persian Onager. They are donkey-like creatures native to Iran and Iraq. This one seems to think I owe him money or something.
Persian Onager, Looking Annoyed

They foal in August. This one was born either the night before or the day we were there.
Persian Onager Family

This one the day before we visited.
Persian Onager and Foal

And this one was a bit early–a few weeks old.
Persian Onager Foal

A similar animal was Przewalski’s Wild Horse, native to Asia. These have the most impressive manes.
The Mane Thing

They, too, had babies.
Baby Przewalski’s Wild Horse

Foaling Around

Three different subspecies of giraffe were represented. There was the Reticulated Giraffe.
Reticulated Giraffe

The Rothschild Giraffe.
Rothschild Giraffe

And my personal favorite, the Masi Giraffe
Masi Giraffe

Though I’ve seen plenty of emu, I don’t think I’ve seen ostriches that often in person.
Who Are You Calling Birdbrain?

Who are you calling birdbrain?

I feel the need to pull out a bar code scanner…
Lone Zebra

The Wilds is dedicated to conservation. Our guide told us of efforts to save ospreys and butterflies, all very successful. Currently, there is a study with bees.
Bee Experiment
You can sort of see a bee near the second hold from the right, bottom row (green and white box).

There were many species of antelope, including the fringe-eared oryx.
Fringe-Eared Oryx

The banteng is a wild cow, native to China. The Wilds has one of the few pure herds in the world–they have been mostly cross-bred with more domesticated subspecies.

Rhinos use a common latrine, which is also a marking technique. We drove by one.
Rhino Poo

Which led to their herd of Southern white rhinos.
Southern White Rhino

They had a baby rhino, which was cute…for a rhino.
Baby Rhino!

One of the stops was the Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center, which was more appropriately the Mid-Sized Carnivore Lounge Center, as these African wild dogs demonstrate.
Painted Dog Day Afternoon

The Dhole is a dog-like Asian animal that I had never heard of before. It preys on bantengs, and has a very bush tail.
Bushy Dhole Tail

Happy Dhole

Of course there were cats! Specifically cheetahs. In one enclosure was a mom and two eight-month-old cubs.
Dozing Cheetah Family

Mom enjoyed rolling on her back.
Silly Cheetah Family

The cubs demonstrated camouflage. See them?
Cheetah Cub Camouflage

How ’bout now?
Lazy Cheetah Afternoon

In the next enclosure was Steve, a handsome, two-year-old cheetah.
‘Sup, ladies?

All-in-all, we had a great time. It is an amazing facility which is committed to conservation, both through action and education.
The Barilleauxs at The Wilds

Rhinopoluza and a Snow Leopard   1 comment

I went to the Cincinnati Zoo this afternoon to see Renji and Nubo. There was only one snow leopard in the enclosure. At first, I thought it was Nubo, but later learned it was Olga, the snow leopard who’s been at the Cincinnati Zoo for a while. She was taking a nap.
Sleepy Snow Leopard

I decided to walk around a bit, and come back to see if she would be awake later.. The Cincinnati Zoo has three of the five species of rhinoceros. They were all beating the heat in a different way. The Sumatran rhino was having a mud bath.
Sumantran Rhino

Meanwhile, the Indian rhino was having a dip in the pool.
Indian Rhino

Finally, the black rhino was in some half-shaded area…I’m not quite sure what he was doing (there were shadier spots in his enclosure).
Black Rhino

Back at Cat Canyon, Olga was up.

She seems happier in the new space, strutting around.
Strutting in the Gras

Snow leopards have large paws, in order to help them move on the snowy, rocky terrain that comprises their native range.
Big Paw!

She was quite interested in her fans.
Pretty Olga

I really think the new enclosure is a great place for both all three of our snow leopards.
Relaxing Olga

I popped into Night Hunters, if only to enjoy the air conditioning for a moment. The aardwolves where hiding.
Cuddling Aardwolves

Otherwise, it was business as usual, with the clouded leopard napping…

…the black-footed cap ignoring…
Back of a Black Footed Cat

And “Miss Lop-Ears” the caracal looking gorgeous!
Miss Lop Ears

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