Archive for the ‘servals’ Category
I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a Cincinnati Zoo post. Time to rectify that. I believe I posted about John and Imani, the zoo’s power couple.
They had kids! Three female cubs, named “Huruma,” “Kya,” and “Willa.”
I’m afraid that, in spite of good guidance, I can’t tell them apart. One was sitting close to her parents.
The other two stayed by the fence.
…until one of them decided it was playtime!
Nearby, were Imara and Brahma, the African painted dogs.
They had ten pups, all with “Batman”-themed names.
The “Batman” theme started with one, Joker, who seems to have a question mark on his back.
They had paper Easter eggs in their enclosure as enrichment.
It was fun to watch them scamper about.
Just watching them wore the bat-eared fox out.
As we left the Africa area, we watched a cheetah take a bath.
We stopped by the nursery to see Zeke, a serval cub. He was about eleven weeks old when we saw him.
It was late in the day, so mostly, he wanted to groom himself…
…and take a nap.
We had to stop and say “hi” to Nubo and Renji, the snow leopards.
Our visit began as a lazy afternoon.
But Nubo saw something.
He stalked towards it. I was confused, and fixated on the cats.
Renji joined him. Some idiot kids jumped a barrier, and went to a side of the enclosure not accessable to the public. Not cool!
It did stir them up a bit.
Nubo jumped up on an off-camber…he handles them so much better than I do.
He’s such a handsome cat!
On the way out, we saw a peacock, who wanted to show off.
It was fun to see all the cats, dogs, and babies!
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.
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.
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.
We went to the Cincinnati Zoo, in part so my daughter could participate in HallZOOween, their annual trick-or-treating at the zoo event. She went as a black cat.
However, there were two babies we wanted to see. First, Lulu was a baby giraffe born on October 12. She stayed in her stable, close to the wall. All we could see was her head.
We keep talking about how cute and tiny she is, even though she was taller than me when she was born. However, when she stands next to her mother, Tessa, you can tell. Again, she didn’t do that, but Tessa was in full view, having a snack.
The other baby we were interested in was Savanna, the cheetah. She’s been hanging out in the running yard prior to Cheetah Encounters. Such a pretty girl!
She chased her dog pal, Max.
Mostly, she did what cheetahs do best: she ran a bit.
Perhaps as inspiration, Nia, the second youngest cheetah in the Cat Ambassador program ran. She really embodies the grace and power of these animals.
Note the serious cheetah running form: head low and she’s starting to pin her ears back. Even captive cheetahs treat running after prey as serious business–even if the prey is just a fuzzy dog toy.
Chance did the second run.
This is the first year I’ve gotten to see Sihil, the occelot, in the Cheetah Encounter. Her climbing ability is amazing! Also, they have such lovely coats (though, at times, I think she’s wearing pajamas).
Cleo the serval shows how to get the last chip out of a Pringle can…somehow, I don’t think I can do it as well as she can.
OK, Pringles aren’t enough justification for this adaptation. It’s actually how servals can reach into burrows for rodents.
Another pretty cat.
Note the malor strips on the pumpkin (you can see these as the black stripes running from a cheetah’s eyes (near the notes) to the corner of the mouth. These function similar to the black pain football players put under their eyes to reduce glare. You can see them on Savanna below.
Minnow the fishing cat made an appearance.
And I still wonder why I can’t get Luna to do this:
We went to go say “hi” to the snow leopards. On the way, George, a six-month-old bat eared fox was taking a walk.
We also passed a ball’o’cougar.
Renji and Nubo were being quite playful. They also appeared to have secrets.
Renji is so pretty. Another photographer pointed out she has “Cleopatra” eye liner–I never noticed it before.
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.
I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to go see the cat ambassadors at the Cincinnati Zoo. Yesterday was the first official show we got to see. They made a few tweaks, but it was fun.
For starters, they talked about training a house cat, and the difficulty in that…all while a house cat demonstrated its skills. Looking at this, I wonder if Luna has a second career?
One of the cheetahs sneaked out prior to the show.
One of the new additions was not a cat, but a porcupine named Quilliam.
Cleo the serval demonstrated their impressive leaping ability.
My best picture was of Minnow. Fishing cats are my second favorite type of cat. You can see her diving in after a fish (follow her eye line to where it was thrown in to the pond).
She got it!
Two cheetahs ran. First, Chance took off!
It’s easy to talk about the adaptations that allow a cheetah to run at 70 miles an hour–long, flat tail, big nostrils, a springy spine, and semi-retractable claws. However, you also have to stop. Cheetahs have “brakes” in the form of skid spots up their legs. Chance demonstrates his ability to brake to catch the lure.
Sarah, the world’s fastest cheetah, ran second. She was able to catch the lure half-way through her run. The lure seemed to catch her as well–the line got wrapped around her leg. This wrapped up the show as the trainers had to get her to walk her way out of the line.
Still, she is a beautiful cat!
We went to the
awesome cat house mediocre Night Hunters exhibit. Still can’t get good pictures there. I got a tip that if I go early, they are still in “day” phase. I’ll try that some time. Still, I got a picture of a pallas cat, with lots of processing.
And this overprocessed ant hill tiger (black-footed cat).
In non-cat news, Illusions the manatee will be released into the wild soon.
For some reason, I think there people are either hippo people or rhino people. I’m a rhino person.
It’s also “Halozooween,” so many animals, such as the polar bears, got pumpkins.
And kids, such as my daughter, were running around in costume.
Last Friday night was Members’ Night at the zoo. Naturally, my family and I were anxious to go check it out. We got to see the second Cheetah Encounter of the season. Minnow was there!
She is quite the lovely fishing cat…
As always, she made quite the splash
Jambo demonstrated the serval’s ability to leap high, to catch birds.
One thing I love about the felidae family is that they are simultaneously so different, yet so similar. I can often see the sameness between Eddy and the cats at the zoo. For instance, isn’t this a quintessential cat look?
The cheetahs ran. First, Chase, who is almost seven.
I’ve been following Nia Faye since she was six weeks old. She’s coming up on her second birthday, and boy is she getting fast!
Her trainers mentioned she keeps getting faster.
I still think she is the world’s cutest cheetah.
The new exhibit this year is the first phase of their revamping of their cat area. They started by merging the cat house with the nocturnal house, to create “Night Hunters.”
I don’t like it.
They took out a good number of cat species–snow leopard, bobcats, lynxes (Eurasian, Canadian, and Siberian), and I think the geofroy’s cat. In the new room, they now have bats, bintarongs, and aardwolfs. I find this sad, as the Cincinnati Zoo was known for its small cat collection. In the long term, this may be resolved, but I don’t like it.
Further, I find the exhibit too dark. Perhaps when the animals have some time to adapt, it will be better. Facebook opinion was mixed, including more than a few complaints about how dark it is (even accounting for the notional aspect of the exhibit). Everything had a blue tint to it.
In some areas, I was able to tweak my white balance, and get a better look, such as with this black footed cat.
My plan is to go back on a less crowded day and after they’ve had a chance to tune the exhibit. Still, I’m still skeptical about the change.
I had put up a preview post about our day at the Chattanooga Zoo. It’s probably the smallest AZA accredited zoo I’ve been to, but they do seem to be growing. It was certainly a nice place to stop on our way home from Atlanta.
We were greeted by one of the most active servals we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was quite cute.
They several peacoks.
This one seemed to be a pal of a Scottish cattle.
My daughter made fast friends with a crane. They played a game of peek-a-boo.
They had a cougar out. It’s hard to imagine our cougars growing up to be that big.
At least he laughed at my jokes.
A sleepy jaguar represented the zoo’s sole big cat.
However, what took us off our path was a baby snow leopard.
Snow leopard cubs are perhaps my favorite baby animal*. They are like stuffed animals come to life.
Of course, mostly this little girl was interested in napping.
Except for one time mom climbed up a rock.
Mom…you up there?
What’s over there?
Mom–I think we’re being watched.
I think her mom had a common parental dilemma: the need (or desire) to go do something else, but not wanting to disturb the sleeping baby.
I know where you are coming from, Momma Snow Leopard.
Snow Leopards are endangered in the wild, with only an estimated 3,500-7,000 snow leopards in the wild. The Snow Leopard Trust is trying to reverse this through education and research.
*save, of course, for when Eddy was a kitten.