Archive for the ‘pallas cats’ Category
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.”
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.
Next was a pallas cat (I was told all the names, but for many, I can’t quite read what I wrote).
They had two fishing cat brothers.
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.
They’ve grown to be handsome cats.
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.
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.
There were two black-footed cats.
Tut was the male.
He watched Mica, the female, walking around.
He’s a handsome cat!
Sand cat Toby seemed eager to see us.
The female, Angsa (but I may have that wrong), just wasn’t feeling sociable.
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.
Kwanza is a nine-year-old male lion, born on the first day of Kwanza that year.
Back inside, we saw the non-cats such as the mongooses (mongeese?).
We are big red panda fans. They had two adults and two cubs.
We made one last stop, to see the giant otters.
They were huge.
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!
Last Sunday (September 23) was World Rhino Day. Rhinoceroses are critical endangered, in no small part due to poaching.
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).
Coincidentally, Saturday (the twenty-first) was International Red Panda Day, another favorite zoo animal (outside of felids, of course).
The Bactrian camel really doesn’t care what day it is.
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.
Prom season is in the spring, isn’t it?
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.
But, it became apparent that they were both in there (Nubo is on the right).
Heart-shaped snow leopards!
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.
So he jumped!
It was quite impressive!
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.
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.
It was a great afternoon to spend learning and supporting one of the great animal treasures of this world.
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.
He was one of the “Magnificent Seven” born at the National Zoo in 2010. No word on if he knew Rusty.
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.
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.
Or just spend an afternoon dozing back-to-back.
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.
Paws up, y’all!
Speaking of kids, the nursery had a baby skunk!
Baby skunks are cute.
Pygmy Falcon Babies are cute, hanging out next to the skunk. Are they plotting an escape?
Are they consulting with the red panda? Probably not–looks like he’s getting his nap on.
…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.
The ocelittle was being groomed by his mother.
Mom! Not in front of the primates!
Sand cats aren’t worried about it.
The black footed cat didn’t care, and was right up in front to let us know he didn’t care.
Another day with a bobcat but no caracal. I hope “Miss Lop-Ears” is OK.
We enjoyed checking out the Africa section, seeing old friends, and making new ones.
Yesterday (June 3) was my birthday. My mom had come up, and wanted to see the zoo. It’s such a hardship for me…
The key reason she wanted to go was to see Gladys, an infant gorilla.
Her mother, a first-time mom, wasn’t taking good care of her, so the folks who run the gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) met. They determined that the Cincinnati Zoo, with a long track record of baby gorillas, would be a great place for her. Right now, she is being raised by a team of human surrogates. They treat her as a gorilla mom would, so they can eventually hand her off to a gorilla mom. They are taking great pains to ensure that she is not overly bonded to humans.
She was sleeping when we first got there. The head of the gorilla department (and on the SSP) gave a talk, and they listened.
Then Gladys decided it was time for climbing practice.
As I said, the keepers in no way see Gladys as a pet. Still, it must be an incredible experience to be part of saving an animal like her. I admire the keepers who take the time to do this, and make a point of doing it right.
This is a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, who was watching us.
My mom has always liked elephants.
The male is named Sabu. We spent a good while watching him, and talking to a volunteer. He clearly loved this animal.
Dunbar was greeting guests with a keeper. He’s a plated lizard. She said that his ear holes are connected–you can actually see through his head when the light is right.
Lulu, the baby giraffe was out.
She seems big to me…until I look at her parents.
Going with my mom meant I went to parts of the zoo I don’t normally go to. For instance, I don’t often see this clever Sumatran orangutan.
Or Kenneth, the large spotted genet.
It was my birthday, so, of course that meant cats! We went to go see the cheetah run, where serval Jambo showed his jumping ability.
Chance had a great run (and I got artsy with my photography (what do you think?)).
Baby cheetah Savanna ran–the first time I got to see her go.
She’s grown a lot. What a beautiful cat!
Of course, when running on as even a nice day as we had, it’s important to stay hydrated.
While at the Cheetah Encounter, we saw two zoo celebrities. Thane Maynard, the director of the zoo, was talking to some folks as we came in. Sitting two rows in front of us was Catheryn Hilker, who established the cheetah program, as well as the person who had the idea of zoos taking animals to schools. She’s one of the reasons we have cheetahs in the world today. I thought about saying “hi,” but got embarrassed, and didn’t.
I wanted to see the snow leopards. Renji was being a bit lazy.
What was really cool was they were giving Nubo a snack! We got to be relatively close to him, and watched him dine. He is an amazing cat–look at those paws!
Nubo was in a very playful mood, pouncing at Renji, in a game of tag I’ve seen my cats play. The things she has to put up with!
What a gorgeous girl!
What about the Pallas’ kittens?
They were following their mom around.
As is the ocelot mother, whose ocelittle was thought her tail was a great toy.
The bobcat watched us. Miss Lop-Ears the caracal wasn’t there…hope she was OK.
It was a great day, with great weather. I’m glad my mom got to spend my birthday with me and my family at the Cincinnati Zoo.
I’ve been trying to see the baby ocelot born at the Cincinnati Zoo on New Year’s Eve all year. On the last weekend of Zoo Babies, I got to see her, and her mom.
Sometimes she wandered around looking for her mother.
Other times, as cats are want to do, they wrestled.
Such a pretty little girl.
The bonus was down the hall.
Three sleepy pallas’ cat kittens.
Who weren’t asleep for long!
Adorable balls of fluff! Of course, pallas’ cats stay fluffy.
One even came close to the window.
I love when sitting cats wrap their tails around them like that.
A sand cat was sleeping up on top of some rocks.
Miss Lop-Ears the caracal was up on the rocks, too.
The bobcat, since he couldn’t see the caracal, decided a nap was in order, too.
…and someone must have clued in Nubo.
However, the tiger was stalking in the grass.
I watched some snow leopard videos last week, that left me jonsing for a trip to the zoo. I made it out that this last weekend. On the way to the Night Hunters, I saw an Andean condor.
Next door was a stellar sea eagle.
Once at night hunters, one of the Pallas cats was hanging out on a rock checking out everyone who came in. He seemed quite interested in me.
The clouded leopard was having a bath.
How many cat owners know what I mean when I describe something as the “chello” pose?
I got my best shot of the bobcat! Such a handsome cat.
The fishing cat is in the hardest spot to get a picture. There are computer screens immediately opposite her glass, giving everything a very blue light. Black and white, unfortunately, is the only way to go.
The sand cat, always a favorite, seemed quite pensive up against the glass.
Outside, the Siberian lynx was out–it was a cold enough morning for it. I hadn’t seen her in a while.
Tecumseh the cougar was sleeping in a ball.
His brother, Joseph, had to photobomb him!
The tiger area wasn’t too crowded, so I could spend some time looking at these amazing cats.
The Cincinnati Zoo has Malayan tigers, the second smallest tiger subspecies. They weigh in at just under two hundred pounds. In contrast, the Amur tiger, the largest cat, weighs nearly twice that. I’ve been reading a book about Amur tigers, titled Tiger: A true Story of Vengeance and Survival. I’ll probably post more about the book once I finish it, but the author cites a description of tigers having a “heavy grace.” I think it is quite apt.
Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a quiet Sunday morning, relaxing in the sun.
I have no idea what Renji saw.
Nubo wasn’t that interested.
It must have moved. She’s such a pretty cat!
Yes, Nubo, you’re cute, too.
The arctic fox was in his vantage way up high.
I walked up to the otter enclosure. One walked right up to me.
Could someone please clean this window?
Finally, the Mexican wolves were enjoying their morning.
I had an afternoon off, and went to the Cincinnati Zoo. I heard they had two arctic fox pups.
Cute little guys.
While not the Arctic, it was a chilly day.
Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a nice day. Renji walked with her tail high.
Nubo just laid in the sun.
Renji thought laying in the sun was a good idea.
Joseph the cougar surveyed his domain.
Inside Night Hunters, the Pallas cat practically insisted I take his picture.
The black-footed cat was posing, too.
So cute for a cat known as the ant-hill tiger.
I have no idea what he’s doing back there.
For whatever reason, there were a lot of toys out. Sand cats aren’t that much bigger than house cats. It stands to reason, they might have the same taste in toys.
Mama Fishing Cat was pondering deep thoughts.
I also took a few pictures of Miss Caracal…but more on that later.
It’s an annual tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo: the Festival of Lights. The zoo stays open late, with hundreds of LEDs strung throughout the zoo.
Obviously, a yuletide theme was used on many of the lights.
Of course, some were suggesting warmer climates.
Being dark and after their typical hours, many animals weren’t out. However, the polar bear seemed quite appropriate to say “hi” to.
Apparently, the Cincinnati Zoo is one of the places a team of reindeer hang out. Will they be there tonight?
The iconic Elephant House at night.
The turtles weren’t out, but they were represented in lights…
…and in bronze.
The cougar brothers were being quite active, and had quite the crowd. It was difficult to get a good photo of them. Still, it was neat to see them romp and tackle each other, much like Eddy and Beso.
Cat Canyon, where snow leopards Renji and Nubo are, was closed. Perhaps they were busy helping the Christmas Snow Leopard?
Inside the Night Hunters building, however, the pallas cat kept watch. They look warm and fuzzy.
Most cats were asleep, including the clouded leopard…
…and the black footed cat.
Even Miss Lop-Ears the caracal was sleeping. Can you find her?
However, Mama Fishing cat was up and active.
Good to see her up and about.
The fennec foxes kept watch as well.
It was a great night to go to the zoo.
After the problems of the previous day, we decided to get an early start, and go to the zoo. I was in full cat-geek mode, complete with a t-shirt from the Snow Leopard Trust.
We’ve been enjoying the Galápagos tortoises. One was eating leaves and walking among the visitors with on the path. I asked the keeper–her belief was the tortoises get in moods when they want the attention.
There was also a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo nearby. He was enjoying the mist.
I was very excited to see Renji, the female snow leopard we saw as a cub in Chatanooga, and her new pal, Nubo. They reminded me that cats spend about two-thirds of their lives sleeping.
And, you really don’t want to disturb a kitty.
The enclosure is fairly large–much larger than where they kept the snow leopards before. Lots of room to run around, and mountain like rocks to blend in with. Perfect place to raise a family–Just sayin’
I wasn’t able to get many really good pictures of the Malayan tigers. They also have an upgraded enclosure, and glass the can walk right up to.
We also got to got to the Cheetah Encounter. This year, Sihil, an ocelot, got to demonstrate her climbing skills. Sihil is noteworthy not just because she is an absolutely stunning cat, but because she was the first ocelot born from a frozen embryo. This was done at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW).
Truth be told, ocelots always look a little to me like they are wearing pajamas. Of course, if you sleep two-thirds of your life, it would make sense.
Ocelots are one of three cat species that can descend a tree head-first–a fairly useful adaptation.
They discussed how house cats can be trained. Perhaps Luna has career options other than hacker ninja princess.
Cleo the serval demonstrates their amazing leaping ability.
Minnow the fishing cat came out, and shows that some cats like water.
I caught a video of her high dive.
Which required a quick spin dry.
…and a snack.
Fishing cats are so cool!
This was my first Cheetah Encounter with my new camera. It can shoot at six frames per second, twice what its predecessor could achieve. So, when Bravo made his run, I was able to get some great shots.
They said Bravo was their slowest cheetah. My wife wondered how he felt about being called that. I figure his attitude is, “I’m still faster than you, primate.”
Sarah, the world’s fastest cheetah, also ran. Overall, I got great shots of the floating phase of their stride.
Cheetahs use their high-speed to hunt. Unfortunately, this precludes a pouncing attack, like with other cats such as a lion or a black-footed cat. Instead, they use a claw on their wrist to trip their prey, which they then suffocate. This means that in addition to their tremendous speed, they have to have excellent brakes. Their are pads up their forearms for this, allowing a skidding stop. Both cheetahs demonstrated this impressively, with dust flying everywhere. Sarah overshot her lure, but the brakes allowed her not to get too far from it.
Probably my favorite picture of the set.
At first, she wouldn’t give back the lure.
But, eventually, she settled in to the shade.
My neighborhood, Columbia-Tusculum, was ground zero for the introduction of the European Wall Lizard, which is a cute but invasive species. They have been spreading throughout Cincinnati. This is the first one I’ve noticed at the zoo, about five miles away from my house.
It’s a horrible picture, but I had to share. This was the first time I’ve seen the pallas cat up close to the glass. He seemed less fluffy than normal.
The caracal, which my friends at ISEC have nicknamed Miss Lop Ears, was in a very relaxed position.
She has amazing eyes.
Her bobcat friend was actually up high. Still handsome.
At that point, we wanted lunch and to be out of the heat. Still, it was a great way to make up for the day before.
Last week, we made a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo, to see the tail end of Zoo Babies. We also wanted to check out their new Galápagos Tortoise exhibit.
Their life span is in excess of a hundred years, with one individual reaching 170. These tortoises were only four years old, so they were actually relatively small.
They have a statue to demonstrate just how big they will get.
Another relative youngster was Tallahassee, a two-year-old alligator. When we left, we said “see you later, alligator.” Tallahassee’s keeper laughed politely.
Flamingos were out in force.
Kimba the giraffe looks, well, bored.
While Tessa tries to get a cracker.
The otters were playful.
Though neither really looked like Benedict Cumberbatch.
Many animals, such as this black rhino, dozed.
As did the clouded leopard (taken just for @ColeImperi):
The lions were more lounging.
Which the ocelot thought was a good idea.
Whenever I get a chance, I like to take a picture of the bottom of the sand cat’s foot, to see the fur on the bottom. This helps them walk across the hot desert.
The pallas cat was as camouflaged as ever.
Joseph and Tecumseh were keeping an eye on the yard.
Such big paws!
Every trip, one cat seems to capture my attention in particular. Miss Caracal was the cat of the day. And, for good reason. Like servals, they are able to jump up and catch birds out of the air. However, they have a more muscular build and shorter tail. We think she was looking at a bobcat across the hall.
The tufts on the tips of their ears are long, and usually stand straight up. Via ISEC, I heard from a former keeper of this animal. Apparently hers have dropped since she was a kitten. Just a fashion statement, I suppose.
We always like catching cat tongues.
Miss Caracal was very active that day, bouncing all over her enclosure. I really enjoyed watching her.