Archive for the ‘sand cats’ Category
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.
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.
I’m quite impressed with their running. I only run if something is chasing me (or I’m late for the bus).
After the run, we decided to walk around the zoo. Remember Gladys, the orphaned baby gorilla? She’s getting bigger.
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.
We stopped to say “hi” to Renji and Nubo. Renji was wondering what was with all the smelly(-er-than-usual) people.
Nubo just set about making sure his paws were clean.
Inside, I got some good pictures of the black-footed cats. They were quite active that morning.
The sand cat took a great leap!
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.
Dobby the pygmy owl saw us out.
We had a great morning! The Cheetah Run is a wonderful fundraiser for one of the best zoos in the country!
From Philadelphia, we went south to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Our first stop there was the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, otherwise known as the National Zoo. There were several animals we wanted to see, and was an amazing campus.
On entry, a prairie dog peeked up to greet us.
But, let’s face, it, I was there to see cats. The National Zoo did not disappoint. There were two sets of lion cubs, for a total of seven.
They were getting into everything!
…and on to everyone!
There dad is Luke, a very handsome dude.
If I’m reading this right, he’s the father of John, the new African lion at the Cincinnati zoo. Good looks clearly run in the family. And he knows it.
But, seven cubs can be exhausting!
There were also two tiger cubs and their mom. The cubs are right at a year old.
They like to stalk…
…have a drink…
…and, of course, take a nap. They are cats, after all.
I was excited to see a caracal, a cat they don’t have at very many zoos.
He was a bit shy.
The caracal decided to wander off. As a cat geek, I understood, even if I think I was one of the few who was most excited to see them.
As is often the case, the caracal was positioned near a bobcat.
We got to see a snoozing sand cat.
And a snoozing clouded leopard. Like I said, they’re cats; they sleep.
Another sleeping cat we saw was an old friend. Lek is a fishing cat, born in Cincinnati. I have pictures of him and his brothers as cubs.
This Queen City boy has fathered four cubs with Electra, a female.
We like cheetahs.
My daughter has also started taking photos at zoos, getting her own perspective on the animals.
There were seven Asian small clawed otter pups.
Some were busy constructing something.
I’m always amused at zoos when there are animal “tourists.” Usually it’s a squirrel or some birds. The elephants appeared to have a pet deer.
The keepers seemed to indicated this was an ongoing problem, but didn’t really pose a danger to either species.
Meet the Ruppell’s griffon vulture. While this one was hanging out on the ground, these are the highest-flying bird on the planet. They are typically cited as flying in the thin air at 20,000 feet, though there are records of them being as high as nearly 40,000 feet.
Lots of turtles on a log.
Degu are small rodents native to South America.
I’m becoming quite the fan of the burrowing owl.
We had a great day at the National Zoo, and walked over its great expanses.
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!
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!
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.
Love the chin!
But he did start to wake up a bit. I got to see his eyes!
Clearly, he’s more capable. I got to see him walk around a bit…
And even play with a keeper, and the plush animals in his enclosure.
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.
And a sand cat fell asleep on top of his hill.
The bobcat looked like he had some news for me…
Miss Caracal was back!
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!
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.
Nubo was a bit of a show-off.
Renji maintained her mysterious composure.
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.
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.
I also got a family picture of all three red pandas!
While cold, it was a good day to see the zoo, and I am glad to see little Santos growing up.
It’s National Cat Day! Let’s celebrate cats both wild and domesticated.
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.
My 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.
My daughter and I were there to cheer her on (and take pictures). My daughter made a sign, which got lots of compliments.
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.
I know that, on foot, I could not do nearly as well.
She said she pushed hard, as she wanted to watch my daughter run in the kids’ event, the Cheetah Cub Run.
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.
But then she stopped.
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 backup-up rig was brought out, and the lure restrung. Savanna got a second go at it.
She had a great run.
Sarah, the world’s fastest mammal, shows everyone what true running speed is.
The Cheetah Encounter involves other cats. Jambo the serval came out.
Servals are to jumping what cheetahs are to running–the NBA has nothing on Jambo.
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.
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.
His friend Renji was relaxing, and simply looking beautiful. She could be Queen of the Zoo.
One of the black footed cats disapproved of me. I have no idea why.
The sand cats were sleeping. One up on top of the hill.
The other was off in a 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.
We checked in on the baby skunk. He’s gotten big!
One animal that was surprisingly lively was the red panda, otherwise known as a firefox.
Ironically, he said he tended to use Safari.
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.
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.