Archive for the ‘cougars’ Category
Tampa is home to Big Cat Rescue, a rescue for, well, big cats. Big Cat Rescue is home to cats that have retired from circuses or part of the exotic pet trade. We took the opportunity to join one of the tours of their facility.
Big Cat Rescue got its start when rescuing bobcats from a fur farm. It takes forty bobcats to make a fur coat, and they are usually kept and killed in a brutal fashion. There really is no humane fur.
Their cougars (or, as they are known in Florida, panthers) were having a mellow afternoon.
Bengali was a circus tiger, moved from city to city. He seems quite relaxed here.
He keeps it clean.
Big Cat Rescue’s odd couple are also retired circus cats: Zabu, a female white tiger, and Cameron, a male lion.
Cameron had to be neutered to ensure he and Zabu wouldn’t create a hybrid (a liger). Because of the reduced testosterone, he no longer can grow a mane.
Hybrids are a serious issue: usually, they are caught between competing sets of instincts, and have health issues. Jojo, a caracal/serval hybrid, has serious digestive system issues. While I would not want to create hybrids, I do think he’s a very striking cat.
Sabre is a melanistic leopard. He was a pet, but abandoned by his owner. Fortunately he made his way to big cat rescue.
Why do I find myself drawn to silly black cats?
He does have striking eyes.
Frosty is one of their many servals.
Many of these cats were pets, who, well, aren’t domesticated animal. they have no reason to be in someone’s house.
When such animals are surrendered by their owners, they sign a contract to never own another exotic cat.
My personal favorite was their caracal pair, Sassy…
Big Cat Rescue is a great organization, committed to the welfare of their cats. They advocate against the many ways wild cats, when put in inappropriate settings, are a problem. We need more folks looking out for animals in these circumstances. The humans are at fault, as they expect the cat to act in a tame fashion, millenia of instincts to the contrary. Unfortunately, too often, it’s the animal that is punished.
Winter Break came after merely a month of winter-ish weather, but we were ready for a break. Driving south sounded like a good idea, so that’s what we did. As is our tradition, we mixed driving with lots of fun stops, putting reciprocal agreements with many great Cincinnati facilities to good use. The first stop was a second visit to the Chattanooga Zoo.
I like the Chattanooga Zoo because, even though it is small, it is comfortable in its skin. It tries to make great presentations of its collection, while ensuring the animals are well cared for. It’s also the birthplace of Renji, the female snow leopard at the Cincinnati Zoo. Czar, her dad, was out on the day we were there.
My daughter is a huge fan of red pandas.
They were spending the afternoon in one of the interior enclosures. They have access to one outside; they just wanted to be in.
They coyotes opted to be outside.
There was also a beautiful pair of cougars out. We loved watching them.
One thing I like is that some of the older enclosures remain to show how zoos used to be. A cage for a big cat, really too small for such an animal, is more appropriate for a bobcat.
We must have missed the desert exhibit the first time we visited. We missed several animals, including a road runner, a favorite of my wife’s.
It shared an enclosure with a rock hyrax. Something I learned on Winter break: rock hyraxes are closely related to manatees and elephants. You’d never guess looking at these three critters.
There were fennec foxes there.
Some just wanted to relax.
One was being extremely talkative. I’d never heard a fennec fox vocalize before. There was a keeper, who explained she wanted a bit of attention, and was never shy about making that known.
It was close to closing time–you could forgive the sand cat for being tired…
…having a quick bath…
…and calling it a day.
We were able to get a good view of the jaguars.
We stopped for only a couple hours, but we really enjoyed our time at the Chattanooga Zoo.
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 must think so, too, as he’s trying to look his best.
They do make a cute couple.
Nearby cheetahs were looking like bookends. No runs were scheduled that evening.
Gizmo, an African white-faced owl, was out. We saw him before. He’s quite cute.
A red panda was in the tree, grooming.
One of the Malayan tigers was demonstrating his camouflage in the tall grass.
A cougar was relaxing in a less-than-camouflaged fashion.
The highlight for me was Nubo and Renji.
The snow leopard duo were bouncing off the walls!
Who says cheetahs are the only cats who can sprint.
We got to see a baby flamingo.
Later, they paraded by.
Before we left, we said “hi” to Louisiana girl Sayia.
It was an enjoyable evening at the zoo.
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*.
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.
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.
She seems to really like watermelon.
The other new arrival was Kilua, a baby okapi. She was born on November 30.
She is a very active girl!
The black bear was enjoying the sun.
As was this penguin.
Of course I stopped by the cats! Techumseh the cougar was being active.
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.”
The tigers were even more relaxed, melting into a puddle. Not the tongue.
*Louisiana girls are cute, but I do find myself partial to women from the Midwest. :)
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 November—NOVEMBER–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.
Nubo did pick his head up to greet us. What a handsome boy!
Naps were the theme inside, whether you were a fishing cat…
The fennec fox was even catching a few Z’s.
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.
The caracal, another favorite of mine, was taking a bath. Her camouflage is…um…obvious.
Outside, cougar Tecumseh was also napping.
His brother, Joseph, saw something and made ready.
He gave chase, only to have his prey, a squirrel, run outside the fence.
Better luck next time!
At Hueston Woods State Park
I was surprised to realize that, in 2014, I haven’t been to a zoo. I’ve been to the Newport Aquarium, but the last time I saw non-fish was when we went to the Birmingham Zoo just before New Year’s Day. The Polar Vortex played a large role in that. With Spring and Zoo Blooms upon us, I’m sure we’ll be rectifying that, but it really had been far too long. When we had an opportunity to visit the Saint Louis Zoo, we were excited.
The Saint Louis Zoo is among the oldest zoos in the country, and has many of the original buildings (at once an interesting and depressing point). It’s also notable that, for what many regard as a top zoo, admission is free. If you look hard enough and/or don’t mind walking, the whole day can be of no charge to you.
The first animal we encountered was a Malayan sun bear. I confess I thought this small bear was a cub until someone clued me in.
Next door, a grizzly bear appeared to be sleeping one off.
We set out towards the big cats, making a stop to say “hi” to one of our new favorites, the red panda.
He climbed up to some of his favorite treat, bamboo.
A nearby prairie dog seems to have picked up the bamboo habit from his neighbor.
Some of the enclosures are historic. This isn’t uncommon in many zoos, though they do try to house species which are a better match to the space by modern criteria. There was one indoor area for some animals, such as the giraffe, where the age showed, and was retro in the sense that it wasn’t generally done. In there, I didn’t want to take pictures. I’m sure the animal welfare is considered–the Saint Louis Zoo is AZA accredited (the gold standard, in my opinion), and participates in Species survival Plans–but it seemed some upgrades were needed.
Another place this seemed to come out was in the big cat area. The animals did have plenty of space, but it did not seem to have the modern attempt at habitat like, say, Cat Canyon. The Amur tiger, largest of the felids, had plenty of space, but the area had an artificial bent.
He was able to confer with a next-door jaguar, again, in a seeming unnatural fashion. Neither cat seemed to be bothered by the presence of the other. Personally, I worry when two cats have too many conferences.
As you can see, the jaguar is melanistic–a panther! I couldn’t see spots from the distance, but I always love how light plays on a black cat’s coat.
I have a soft spot in my heart for black cats.
The lioness seemed to be having a chat by a gate.
The snow leopard took an afternoon nap.
The Amur leopard was also taking a nap.
Amur leopards are among the rarest cats in the world. There are 176 are in captivity, and less than thirty believed to be in the wild.
There were only three small cats on display, mostly due to their position on the purr/roar line. The snow leopard, cheetahs (who weren’t out on this dreary day), and cougars. They were also hanging out in a cave.
However, for some reason, they had a Bobcat in the black rhino’s enclosure.
The zebra grazed a bit.
One of the non-cats I always love is the okapi.
The oakpi are related to giraffe, which seems obvious from their tongues.
Two cow-like critters were represented. The bantang…
…and the takin. Not sure if he’s been promoted to Grand Moff.
A small herd of red kangaroos was munching on grass.
The sea lions were having an argument.
The Asian elephants kept their distance.
Hyenas always strike me as awkward looking.
My daughter is a huge otter fan.
A river otter surveyed his domain.
In the bird exhibit, a rhinoceros hornbill ate lunch.
I had never seen a bateleur eagle before, but was taken by his colors.
The crested wood partridge also had some great color.
The Bali mynah is a rare bird, with only sixty left in the wild.
The tawny frogmouths were hanging out.
A burrowing owl took a break from lunch to say “hi.”
Outside, there was a bald eagle.
His wings were impressive.
Overall, we had a great time at the Saint Louis Zoo.
I saw a video on Friday morning: there is a new ocelittle at the Cincinnati Zoo! I texted my wife, who replied that zoo just got added to our to-do list.
Santos come to the Queen city from the Arlington, Texas, zoo. He will be joining the cat ambassador program next summer. While we were there, he mostly just slept.
But, when you’re only two weeks old, and a cat, what more is required of you?
Even big cougars are known to take cat naps.
The snow leopards, on the other hand, had a serious game of chase-and-pounce going on.
Running all over their enclosure!
I was going to mute the sound, of only to not have to hear the kid call them “cheetahs,” but I liked hearing their footsteps.
They took turns. Here, Renji is preparing to pounce on Nubo.
Nubo, sitting unaware she’s behind a rock. Look at the tail on this handsome cat!
I fond one break in some trees along their enclosure, and Renji looked right at me. I talked to her a bit, and I’m afraid that, right after I took this picture, Nubo pounced. I guess I distracted her.
Eventually, Nubo wound down and yawned. I suspect a nap was forthcoming.
The zoo also had a baby red panda. I think this his him.
He was ups tree with his mom–the opposite reaction I have when I see my daughter up that high.
I’m sure we’ll be back to see Santos, hopefully, when he’s awake.
The Cincinnati Zoo wrapped up HallZOOween this weekend. We always enjoy going. My daughter went as Hello Kitty.
We got to see Gizmo, the African white-faced owl, again. He had just come to Cincinnati last time we got to meet him. He’s really a cool bird.
Nearby, we got to see all three members of our giraffe family.
John the lion looked increadibly regal.
He was very interestedin what we were doing.
The artic foxes are changing from their summer to winter coats. Still, there were a fwe spots of grey.
The black bear was taking a nap.
I’m really not sure what this cougar was looking at (I can’t tell if it was Joseph or Techumseh without seeing their face). Watching them, I could see my cats’ moves in them.
Nubo was looking for something, too.
It simply bored Renji.
Nubo then wandered off.
We’ve become quite taken with red pandas–they’re definitely towards the top of my non-cat list.
The zoo has a baby red panda, but he wasn’t out. I suspect this was one of his parents, eating bamboo.
Overall, it was a great day at the zoo.