Archive for the ‘black-footed cats’ Category

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina   1 comment

Our path back to Cincinnati from Florida took us through South Carolina. We took a break at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, in Columbia. It was a smaller zoo, but had some wonderful exhibits. The first thing we saw was one of my wife’s long-standing favorites, koalas.
Sleepy Koala

We saw two, each in their own tree. We looks a bit closer, and realized our count was off.
Mom and Joey

One of the koalas had a joey, a little baby, sleeping snuggly with its mom.
Snug Little Baby

Neither did much other than doze. We talked to a keeper, who showed us a video on her phone of the joey riding around on its mother’s back. Cute!

The koalas weren’t the only antipodal animal.
Who's Looking at You, 'Roo?

Dragons were hanging out.
Dragon Pile

One thing I did not like, at least in th aquarium/reptile area, was the lack of signage. I’m not sure if this is an alligator or crocodile. He looked happy either way.
Croc Grin

Perhaps because they were playing “dogpile on the turtle.”
Crocpile on the Turtle

One of the many things I learned reading Bill Nye’s book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, is that a group of giraffes is called a “column.”
Column of Giraffes

They had a pretty good cat collection, divided between large and small cats. In fact, they had the largest cat, the Amur tiger.
Amur Tiger

They had two lions, this handsome male…
Perched Lion

…and this shy female (actually, she was just washing her face).
Embarrassed Lion

WINK!
Winking Lion

The website indicated they had black-footed cats. Other sources didn’t mention BFCs, but did allude to fishing cats. We weren’t sure what we’d get to see. We first came across a pair of fishing cats.
Fishing Cat Profile

They are among my favorite felids. We got to see a surprising number of different cats on this trip: snow leopards, jaguars, cougars, leopards, tigers, lions, servals, caracals, lynes, bobcats, fishing cats, sand cats, and black-footed cats. Fourteen in all (fifteen if you include a felis silvestris catus we saw at a bookstore).

Perched Fishing Cat

I like to take pictures of cats yawning.
Big Yawn!

As I mentioned, they had a representative of the largest of the cat family, the Amur tiger. The black-footed cat is the second smallest cat.
Black Footed Cat in Front

They are fierce predators–I wouldn’t want to meet one in a dark alley. These two, however, were having fun peeking around their log.
Peek-a-Boo!

BFC Stalks the Feather

It was a fun stop, and we enjoyed seeing some of our favorite animals.
He's Looking Right At Me

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2014 Cheetah Run at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

Labor Day weekend brings the Cincinnati Zoo cheetah run. My wife did the 5K for the second year, this time with my daughter doing a good chunk of it with her.
Caitlin and Rebecca Run 1

I’m quite impressed with their running. I only run if something is chasing me (or I’m late for the bus).
Caitlin and Rebecca Run 2

After the run, we decided to walk around the zoo. Remember Gladys, the orphaned baby gorilla? She’s getting bigger.
Gladys and Friend

But she’s no longer the baby! Asha was born this year. I’m sure when she gets bigger, she’ll be a great playmate for Gladys.
Baby Asha

We stopped to say “hi” to Renji and Nubo. Renji was wondering what was with all the smelly(-er-than-usual) people.
Renji Wonders What's With All the Sweaty Humans

Nubo just set about making sure his paws were clean.
Cleaning the Toes

Inside, I got some good pictures of the black-footed cats. They were quite active that morning.
Pondering BFC

BFC Watching Me

Lounging BFC

The sand cat took a great leap!
Jumping Sand Cat

The caracal’s enclosure was quite fogged over that morning, creating a cloudy view. However, she just looked so cute, I had to take get the best shot I could of her.
Dreamy Miss Caracal

Dobby the pygmy owl saw us out.
Pygmy Owl

We had a great morning! The Cheetah Run is a wonderful fundraiser for one of the best zoos in the country!
Caitlin and Rebecca Run 3

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

Peek-a-Boo

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

Sniff!


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.
Peeking

Quite cute and fluffy!
Snack Time

O HAI!
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

Catnaps at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

As I mentioned, until last week, I hadn’t been to a zoo since right around New Year’s Day. I had to look: it had been since late NovemberNOVEMBER–since I had been to my beloved Cincinnati Zoo.

The Polar Vortex really put a damper on our fun this year.

We made it out this weekend, to make sure we got to see Zoo Blooms. However, the blooms had come up yet.

The Polar Vortex really put a delay on our fun this year.

We did make a point of saying “hi” to the cats. Renji and Nubo were taking a nap, foreshadowing the day.
Snow Leopard Naps

Nubo did pick his head up to greet us. What a handsome boy!
DSC_5279

Naps were the theme inside, whether you were a fishing cat…
Dreams of Sushi

…sand cat…
Sand Cat Ball

…or ocelot.
Ocenap

The fennec fox was even catching a few Z’s.
All Ears

Even the animals that were awake were mellow. I’ve never seen a black footed cat on top of this log before this visit. It’s tinyness was obvious.
Cat on a Log

The caracal, another favorite of mine, was taking a bath. Her camouflage is…um…obvious.
Miss Lop-Ears Takes a Bath

Outside, cougar Tecumseh was also napping.
Snoozing Puma

His brother, Joseph, saw something and made ready.
Crouching Puma

He gave chase, only to have his prey, a squirrel, run outside the fence.
Stalking Puma

Better luck next time!

Cat Tour at the Birmingham Zoo   5 comments

Our journey south continued through Birmingham. When we woke up in Huntsville, I googled the Birmingham Zoo, mostly out of curiosity. It turns out they have perhaps the best small cat collection I’ve seen outside of Cincinnati. It was also close to a restaurant where we thought would make a good lunch stop. Cheap admission through a reciprocal arrangement with the Cincinnati Zoo sealed the deal.


When we arrived, it was a dreary day–cooler temperatures with a drizzle. Cold for Birmingham, but my family are zoo geeks, tough, and slightly crazy. We decided to check it out anyway.

We were the only guests at the zoo–the only other people we saw were staff. The bald eagles looked at us as if to say “primates be crazy.”
"Why are you here in this weather?"

We entered the predator house, and started a conversation with the staff, asking about the cats, their names, and where they came from. They seemed to dig that we knew so much, and, as it was near closing and there was no one else around, they walked us through and answered questions.

The first cat we saw was an ocelot named Toby.
Ocelot on the Ledge

Next was a pallas cat (I was told all the names, but for many, I can’t quite read what I wrote).
Fluffy Time

They had two fishing cat brothers.
Gone Fishing

I started fishing around to see if they were descendents of Cincinnati fishing cats. They weren’t, but they were Ohio fishing cats–they were born in the Columbus Zoo. They were the third, fourth and fifth cutest kittens in Ohio born in 2011.
Fishing Cat Crib

They’ve grown to be handsome cats.
Fishing Cat March

Katie is their African wildcat. Wildcats were neat to see for a couple reasons. The African wildcat (felis silvestris libyca) is a subspecies of wildcat (felis silvestris). Another subspecies is felis silvestris catus, better known to me as “Eddy, Luna, and Beso.” Like all members of her species, she viewed humans skeptically, especially ones out on a rainy, drerey day.
Stink Eye


What was cool about Katie in particular (aside from her wild good looks) was that she is a clone, produced at the Audobon zoo, to find ways to save endangered species. This is the first time I have (knowingly) seen a clone in person. Even though my morning was spent looking at rocket ships, it was the most SciFi thing I did that day. Katie mated with another clone, and produced a litter of wildcats, who I was told lived up to the wildcat name.
Hiding Wlidcat

There were two black-footed cats.
Black Footed Strut


Tut was the male.
Black Footed Profile

He watched Mica, the female, walking around.
Stalking Black-Footed Cat

He’s a handsome cat!
Black Footed Portrait

Sand cat Toby seemed eager to see us.
Bart the Sand Cat

The female, Angsa (but I may have that wrong), just wasn’t feeling sociable.
Won't Get Out of Bed

At 3:30, they do a demonstration of feeding the lions, and how they have been trained behaviors to help facilitate their care. The keepers who do that were walking through, “come on. Let’s go feed the lions.” Though it was rainy and we hadn’t intended to see the lion feeding, we followed our new friends–we were the only guests, and we couldn’t let Aquila and Kwanza down.
Aquila and Kwanza

Kwanza is a nine-year-old male lion, born on the first day of Kwanza that year.
Handsom Kwanza

Back inside, we saw the non-cats such as the mongooses (mongeese?).
Mongoose

We are big red panda fans. They had two adults and two cubs.
Nom!

Sniffin' Bamboo

We made one last stop, to see the giant otters.
Swimming Giant Otters


They were huge.
What's Up There?

We enjoyed our day at the Birmingham Zoo. In spite of the cold, rainy day, it was a great experience, and it was neat to have an unofficial private tour of their predators. Thank you so much!

Checking in on Santos the Ocelittle   1 comment

Santos, the ocelot cub (“ocelittle”) at the Cincinnati Zoo is about the size of Eddy when I first met him. I have to remind myself that he was only two weeks old, and will sleep a lot more than he plays. I decided to check on him today, at the three-week mark. He was still a sleepily little boy.
Sleepy Santos

Love the chin!
Ocelittle Chin

But he did start to wake up a bit. I got to see his eyes!
Santos the Ocelittle

Santos Profile

Clearly, he’s more capable. I got to see him walk around a bit…
Sittin' Santos

And even play with a keeper, and the plush animals in his enclosure.
Ocelittle vs. Clouded Leopard

That Tickles!
That tickles!

I was a bit crazy going out to the zoo–the temperature never saw above thirty. I stopped into Night Hunters, in part to warm up. A black footed cat was in plain sight.
BFC Meatloaf

And a sand cat fell asleep on top of his hill.
Sand Cat Nodding Off

The bobcat looked like he had some news for me…
Bobcat

Miss Caracal was back!
DSC_3118

I hadn’t seen her since at least the spring. I don’t know where she was, but I was getting a bit worried. It was really good to see her again!
Miss Caracal is Back!

While humans weren’t fond of the cold day, snow leopards live for it. Renji and Nubo were up front, and happy to have a chat.
Renji and Nubo Enjoy the Brisk Day

Nubo was a bit of a show-off.
DSC_3140

Renji maintained her mysterious composure.
Pensive Renji

While there are plenty of unusual animals in the official collection, there are “wild” animals that pass through. The problems squirrels were causing made news lately. Today, I saw a domesticated cat, probably a stray, on the grounds.
Stray at the Zoo

I had mentioned I didn’t get to see puffins too often. My wife pointed out the Cincinnati Zoo had them, we just don’t go in the exhibit that often. I was passing it, it looked warm, so I popped in.
Cincinnati Puffin

I also got a family picture of all three red pandas!
Red Panda Clan

While cold, it was a good day to see the zoo, and I am glad to see little Santos growing up.
Sweet Santos

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.
Takin

We went to check out Woodstock, a manatee.
Woodstock

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.
DSC_1977

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.
Lift!

Cheetah Run and Running Cheetahs   2 comments

Caitlin, Rebecca, and a CheetahMy wife took up running this year. She started running on a treadmill at the gym. Some mornings this winter and early spring, I’d go to ride a stationary bike (as conditions didn’t support going out riding), I would see her run on the treadmill. She gradually started to incorporate the indoor track, and increasing her endurance. We had an exceptionally nice summer this year, encouraging her to run outside–that’s something, given the hills in our neighborhood.

I’ve been very proud and impressed by her dedication to this.

She decided to do her first 5K run (3.1 miles), which happened this weekend at the annual Cheetah Run at the Cincinnati Zoo. This is an annual fundraiser for the zoo. The course runs both throughout the zoo and it’s beautiful gardens, to outside, looping the perimeter of the zoo.

The run was at 8 AM, but we got a tip from one of my wife’s coworkers that the parking would fill up quickly. This meant that, on a Sunday morning, we were waking up at 6:30. We made sure everyone had their gear, and headed out. It turns out it was good advice. While the lot still had plenty of room when we got there, there were a lot of runners trying to get in to the lot. Complicating matters, some streets were being closed in anticipation of the run. We got parked OK, and had plenty of time to get to the start (at the other end of the zoo).

Still, it was very early, even for a brown bear.

6:30 is Too Early for Bears

My daughter and I were there to cheer her on (and take pictures). My daughter made a sign, which got lots of compliments.
Go Mom Mom Mom!
Notice that my wife is ahead of the cheetah in this drawing.

My wife did great, completing the course in 0:40:25. I’m particularly impressed given the terrain. I’ve taken my bike on a loop around the zoo, and there is a pretty significant climb she had to go up.
DSC_1488

I know that, on foot, I could not do nearly as well.
Down the Hill

She said she pushed hard, as she wanted to watch my daughter run in the kids’ event, the Cheetah Cub Run.
DSC_1526

After the run, the Cat Ambassador Program had a special Cheetah Encounter Show, where we got to watch the cheetahs run. I somehow feel watching a cheetah run after doing a 5K is a bit like watching a house cat stretch after doing yoga: it’s a bit as if the cats are flaunting their superiority. One-year-old Savanna did the first run. I remember seeing her as a cub–it’s amazing to see what a fast, beautiful cat she’s turning in to.
Savanna's First Attempt

But then she stopped.
Savanna Looks for the Lure

The lure is pulled by an electric motor. Mid-run the motor broke down, leaving a very confused cheetah. Watching her confused pacing reminded me of when Beso loses track of a toy he’s playing with.
The Lure was Here a Minute Ago...

The backup-up rig was brought out, and the lure restrung. Savanna got a second go at it.
Savanna Tries Again

She had a great run.
Savanna Flies

Sarah, the world’s fastest mammal, shows everyone what true running speed is.
Sarah Shows Everyone What Really Running Is

The Cheetah Encounter involves other cats. Jambo the serval came out.
Sitting Jambo

Servals are to jumping what cheetahs are to running–the NBA has nothing on Jambo.
Like Floating in Space

Usually, Minnow the fishing cat jumps into the pool, however, she wasn’t there today. For that matter, she wasn’t there the last time we saw the cheetahs run. I asked afterwards–it turns out her trainer was on vacation, so Minnow wasn’t participating. They said they brought a small pool with fish in it for her. Minnow is a favorite of mine, and I was glad to hear that she is OK.

John the Lion’s enclosure is right near the Cathryn Hilker Running Yard. He was finding a shady place.
John in the Shade

I wanted to check on Nubo, my favorite zoo animal. He was asleep, like any reasonable person (or snow leopard) would be on a Sunday morning.
Napping Nubo

His friend Renji was relaxing, and simply looking beautiful. She could be Queen of the Zoo.
Renji, Queen of the Zoo

One of the black footed cats disapproved of me. I have no idea why.
Disturbed BFC

The sand cats were sleeping. One up on top of the hill.
Tails Keep Noses Toasty

The other was off in a corner.
Sand Cat in the Corner
I’m proud of this shot. I got in close, and manual focused to get a good look. However, the lighting in Night Hunters is very difficult to work with, and I suspect the shot would be in the discard pile. However, I think the lighting caught him quite well. A few adjustments in Aperture, and it became one of the best of the day.

Joe the cougar was taking time to smell the flowers.
Taking Time to Smell the Flowers

We checked in on the baby skunk. He’s gotten big!
Li'l Skunk

One animal that was surprisingly lively was the red panda, otherwise known as a firefox.
Red Panda in the Tree

Ironically, he said he tended to use Safari.
Panda on the Ground

It was a great morning at the zoo. I’m very proud of my wife for her run, and look forward to her next accomplishment.

Meeting the Lion at the Cincinnati Zoo   3 comments

The Cincinnati Zoo opened up their new “Africa” section while we were on our trip. One of the older parking lots was converted to a large exhibit space, between the rest of the zoo and the Cathryn Hilker Running Yard. Some parts of Africa, such as the flamingos and giraffes, have been there for a while. Other parts, such as the hoofed animals, will be joining next year. This year, we got tawny lions. The first to come out was John.
John and the Donut

He was one of the “Magnificent Seven” born at the National Zoo in 2010. No word on if he knew Rusty.
John from the Front

He’s still exploring his enclosure, and making it his. Here is an example of some of the marking behavior he did to some trees.
Lion Scratches
Could someone get a kitty a scratching post?

This handsome young man will be joined with a female from another zoo, as part of a Species Survival Plan. As I keep telling Renji and Nubo, Cincinnati is a great place to raise kids.
Afternoon Snooze

Or just spend an afternoon dozing back-to-back.
Back to Back</a
The snow leopards are still in Cat Canyon…I just had a good segue.

While there have been cheetahs running continuously, since they closed the old cat canyon, none have been on exhibit until the new Africa section.
My Head!

Paws up, y’all!
Paws Up Y'all!

Speaking of kids, the nursery had a baby skunk!
L'il Skunk

Baby skunks are cute.
Baby Skunk Needs a Hand

Pygmy Falcon Babies are cute, hanging out next to the skunk. Are they plotting an escape?
Pygmy Falcon Babies

Are they consulting with the red panda? Probably not–looks like he’s getting his nap on.
Plotting Panda
…Or that’s what he wants us to think!

We stopped by Night Hunters to check on the little ones there. The pallas kittens were dozing in a “bowl,” showing how their coats camouflage them.
Pallas Kitten, Sleeping in the Rock

The ocelittle was being groomed by his mother.
My Ears are Clean Enough, Mom!

Mom! Not in front of the primates!
Perched Ocelittle

Sand cats aren’t worried about it.
Emergency Sand Cat Bath!

The black footed cat didn’t care, and was right up in front to let us know he didn’t care.
BFC Back

Another day with a bobcat but no caracal. I hope “Miss Lop-Ears” is OK.
Lazy Bobcat

We enjoyed checking out the Africa section, seeing old friends, and making new ones.
Lion Family and My Family

Zoo Blooms at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

Colorful Field
We went to the zoo today, for the annual Zoo Blooms event. Where last year, where a mild winter left us without blooms, it was a colorful spectacle.
Purple, Pink, White

Peach and White Flowers

Tulip Field

Field of Red and Yellow

Of course, the main reason I go to the zoo is to see the animals. The first animal I took a picture of was a little wallaby.
Wittle Wallaby

The black bear was having a nap.
Dozing Bear

The Siberian lynx, however, was watching everyone.
Siberian Lynx

One of the clouded leopards was on a pedestal.
Resting Cloudy

She was bathing herself, in the “cello” pose.
Cloudie Cello

A black-footed cat was watching what we were doing. He seemed concerned about what was up.
Concerned BFC

Miss Lop-Ears the caracal napping on top of some rocks.
Caracal Dreams

Mama fishing cat was, too.
Dozing Fishing Cat

We went outside to see what was going on. I’ve been fascinated with tigers a lot lately.
Tiger Glare

Springtime is when snow leopards usually have cubs. I have no information, and snow leopard Renji has been dozing the last few times I’ve been to the zoo. Fortunately, Nubo makes a great pillow.
Nubo Makes a Great Pillow

Two reptile animal ambassadors were out today. Periwinkle was a blue tongue skink in the Night Hunters building.
Periwinkle the Skink

Tallahassee the alligator was hanging out in the gift shop. We’ve seen him before.
Tallahassee the Alligator

It was an absolutely gorgeous and colorful day at the Cincinnati Zoo!
Colorful Field 2

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