Archive for the ‘cougars’ Category

Big Cat Rescue   Leave a comment

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.
Bobcat Yawn

Their cougars (or, as they are known in Florida, panthers) were having a mellow afternoon.
Lazy Cougar

Bengali was a circus tiger, moved from city to city. He seems quite relaxed here.
Bengali the Tiger

He keeps it clean.
Clean Toes are a Tiger's Friend

Big Cat Rescue’s odd couple are also retired circus cats: Zabu, a female white tiger, and Cameron, a male lion.
Cameron and Zabu

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.
Lion Strut

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.
Serval/Caracal Hybrid

Sabre is a melanistic leopard. He was a pet, but abandoned by his owner. Fortunately he made his way to big cat rescue.
Panther Up High

Why do I find myself drawn to silly black cats?
Enrichment Ring

He does have striking eyes.
Pretty Black Cat

Frosty is one of their many servals.
Frosty Paws

Many of these cats were pets, who, well, aren’t domesticated animal. they have no reason to be in someone’s house.
Lounging Serval

When such animals are surrendered by their owners, they sign a contract to never own another exotic cat.
Serval in the Ferns

My personal favorite was their caracal pair, Sassy…
Sassy

..and Rusty.
Rusty

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.
Bobcat Silhouette

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A Second Visit to the Chattanooga Zoo   Leave a comment

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.
Czar on Alert!

My daughter is a huge fan of red pandas.
Red Panda Banner

They were spending the afternoon in one of the interior enclosures. They have access to one outside; they just wanted to be in.
Bamboo Snack

They coyotes opted to be outside.
Coyotes

There was also a beautiful pair of cougars out. We loved watching them.
Mountain Lions on the Rock

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.
Bobcat Watches...

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.
Alert Road Runner

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.
Hyrax

There were fennec foxes there.
Fennec Pair

Some just wanted to relax.
Snoozing Fennec Fox

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.
Fennec Pettins

It was close to closing time–you could forgive the sand cat for being tired…
YAWN!

…having a quick bath…
Quick Wash of the Paw

…and calling it a day.
Sand Cat Nap

We were able to get a good view of the jaguars.
Stalking Jaguar 2

OH HAI!
Jaguar Grin

We stopped for only a couple hours, but we really enjoyed our time at the Chattanooga Zoo.

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!
Imani

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.
Gizmo!

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.
Seyia

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.
Mmmmmm...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. :)

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!

30 miles: Timber Takes in the Sun   1 comment

At Hueston Woods State Park

Posted 2014-04-05 by Mr. Guilt in cats, cougars, Cycling, Route Tracking

Saint Louis Zoo   2 comments

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.
St. Louis Zoo Statue

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.
Malayan Sun Bear

Next door, a grizzly bear appeared to be sleeping one off.
Passed Out Grizzly

We set out towards the big cats, making a stop to say “hi” to one of our new favorites, the red panda.
Amblin' Red Panda

He climbed up to some of his favorite treat, bamboo.
Climbing to Bamboo

A nearby prairie dog seems to have picked up the bamboo habit from his neighbor.
Prarie Dog with Bamboo

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.
Amur Tiger

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.
Cat Conference

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.
Stalking Jaguar

I have a soft spot in my heart for black cats.
Black Cat

The lioness seemed to be having a chat by a gate.
Girl Talk

The snow leopard took an afternoon nap.
Snow Leopard Nap

The Amur leopard was also taking a nap.
Leopard 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.
Sleepy Eyes

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.
Cougars in a Cave

However, for some reason, they had a Bobcat in the black rhino’s enclosure.
Bobcat in the Rhino Enclosure

The zebra grazed a bit.
Zebra

One of the non-cats I always love is the okapi.
Okapi

The oakpi are related to giraffe, which seems obvious from their tongues.
Okapi Tongue

Two cow-like critters were represented. The bantang…
Bantang

…and the takin. Not sure if he’s been promoted to Grand Moff.
Grand Moff Takin

A small herd of red kangaroos was munching on grass.
Red Kangaroos

The sea lions were having an argument.
Sea Lion Argument

The Asian elephants kept their distance.
Asian Elephants

Hyenas always strike me as awkward looking.
Hyena

My daughter is a huge otter fan.
Caitlin at the Otter Statue

A river otter surveyed his domain.
Master of 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.
Bateleur Eagle

The crested wood partridge also had some great color.
Crested Wood Partridge

The Bali mynah is a rare bird, with only sixty left in the wild.
Bali Mynah

The tawny frogmouths were hanging out.
Tawny Frogmouths

A burrowing owl took a break from lunch to say “hi.”
Burrowing Owl

Outside, there was a bald eagle.
Bald Eagle

His wings were impressive.
Big Wings!

Overall, we had a great time at the Saint Louis Zoo.
Family at Saint Louis Zoo - 5x7

Silly Snow Leopards and a Sleepy Ocelittle at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

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.
Ocelot Dreams

But, when you’re only two weeks old, and a cat, what more is required of you?
Sleeping on the Plush

Even big cougars are known to take cat naps.
Joe's Catnap

The snow leopards, on the other hand, had a serious game of chase-and-pounce going on.
Snow Leopard Stand-Off

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.
Renji, Planning a Pounce

Nubo, sitting unaware she’s behind a rock. Look at the tail on this handsome cat!
Nubo, and his Tail

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.
Happy Renji

Eventually, Nubo wound down and yawned. I suspect a nap was forthcoming.
Yawn!

The zoo also had a baby red panda. I think this his him.
L'il Red Panda

He was ups tree with his mom–the opposite reaction I have when I see my daughter up that high.
Mom and Baby Red Panda

I’m sure we’ll be back to see Santos, hopefully, when he’s awake.
Sleepy Santos

HallZOOWeen Twenty-Thirteen   Leave a comment

DSC_2673

The Cincinnati Zoo wrapped up HallZOOween this weekend. We always enjoy going. My daughter went as Hello Kitty.
Tail

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.
Gizmo!

Nearby, we got to see all three members of our giraffe family.
DSC_2630

John the lion looked increadibly regal.
Golden John

He was very interestedin what we were doing.

John on the Ridge

The artic foxes are changing from their summer to winter coats. Still, there were a fwe spots of grey.
Getting Out His Winter Coat

The black bear was taking a nap.
Practice 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.
What Does He See?

Nubo was looking for something, too.
What Does Nubo See?

It simply bored Renji.
Renji Sings!

Nubo then wandered off.
Nubo Stalks

We’ve become quite taken with red pandas–they’re definitely towards the top of my non-cat list.
Firefox Strut

The zoo has a baby red panda, but he wasn’t out. I suspect this was one of his parents, eating bamboo.
Nomming Bamboo

Overall, it was a great day at the zoo.

27.9 miles Kitty Break   Leave a comment

Y’all remember Timber the Mountain Lion?

Posted 2013-10-13 by Mr. Guilt in cats, cougars, Cycling, Ohio, Route Tracking

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