Archive for the ‘Cincinnati Zoo’ Category

Cheetah Run and Running Cheetahs   2 comments

Caitlin, Rebecca, and a CheetahMy 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.

6:30 is Too Early for Bears

My daughter and I were there to cheer her on (and take pictures). My daughter made a sign, which got lots of compliments.
Go Mom Mom Mom!
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.
DSC_1488

I know that, on foot, I could not do nearly as well.
Down the Hill

She said she pushed hard, as she wanted to watch my daughter run in the kids’ event, the Cheetah Cub Run.
DSC_1526

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.
Savanna's First Attempt

But then she stopped.
Savanna Looks for the Lure

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 Lure was Here a Minute Ago...

The backup-up rig was brought out, and the lure restrung. Savanna got a second go at it.
Savanna Tries Again

She had a great run.
Savanna Flies

Sarah, the world’s fastest mammal, shows everyone what true running speed is.
Sarah Shows Everyone What Really Running Is

The Cheetah Encounter involves other cats. Jambo the serval came out.
Sitting Jambo

Servals are to jumping what cheetahs are to running–the NBA has nothing on Jambo.
Like Floating in Space

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.
John in the Shade

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.
Napping Nubo

His friend Renji was relaxing, and simply looking beautiful. She could be Queen of the Zoo.
Renji, Queen of the Zoo

One of the black footed cats disapproved of me. I have no idea why.
Disturbed BFC

The sand cats were sleeping. One up on top of the hill.
Tails Keep Noses Toasty

The other was off in a corner.
Sand Cat in the 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.
Taking Time to Smell the Flowers

We checked in on the baby skunk. He’s gotten big!
Li'l Skunk

One animal that was surprisingly lively was the red panda, otherwise known as a firefox.
Red Panda in the Tree

Ironically, he said he tended to use Safari.
Panda on the Ground

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.

Meeting the Lion at the Cincinnati Zoo   3 comments

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.
John and the Donut

He was one of the “Magnificent Seven” born at the National Zoo in 2010. No word on if he knew Rusty.
John from the Front

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.
Lion Scratches
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.
Afternoon Snooze

Or just spend an afternoon dozing back-to-back.
Back to Back</a
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.
My Head!

Paws up, y’all!
Paws Up Y'all!

Speaking of kids, the nursery had a baby skunk!
L'il Skunk

Baby skunks are cute.
Baby Skunk Needs a Hand

Pygmy Falcon Babies are cute, hanging out next to the skunk. Are they plotting an escape?
Pygmy Falcon Babies

Are they consulting with the red panda? Probably not–looks like he’s getting his nap on.
Plotting Panda
…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.
Pallas Kitten, Sleeping in the Rock

The ocelittle was being groomed by his mother.
My Ears are Clean Enough, Mom!

Mom! Not in front of the primates!
Perched Ocelittle

Sand cats aren’t worried about it.
Emergency Sand Cat Bath!

The black footed cat didn’t care, and was right up in front to let us know he didn’t care.
BFC Back

Another day with a bobcat but no caracal. I hope “Miss Lop-Ears” is OK.
Lazy Bobcat

We enjoyed checking out the Africa section, seeing old friends, and making new ones.
Lion Family and My Family

Birthday at the Zoo   5 comments

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.
Happy Surrogate

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.
Humans Make Great Beds

She was sleeping when we first got there. The head of the gorilla department (and on the SSP) gave a talk, and they listened.
Gladys and her Surrogate Listen

Then Gladys decided it was time for climbing practice.
Eating the Rope

"I'm Getting the Hang of This"

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.
Climbing Practice

This is a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, who was watching us.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

My mom has always liked elephants.
Asian Elephant in the Bushes

The male is named Sabu. We spent a good while watching him, and talking to a volunteer. He clearly loved this animal.
Sabu, the Asian Elephant Bull

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.
Dunbar, the Plated Lizard

Lulu, the baby giraffe was out.
Lulu Gets a Snack

She seems big to me…until I look at her parents.
Giraffe Family

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.
Sumatran Orangutang in the Shade

Or Kenneth, the large spotted genet.
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.
Jambo Jumps

Chance had a great run (and I got artsy with my photography (what do you think?)).
Chance's Run

Baby cheetah Savanna ran–the first time I got to see her go.
Savanna Runs!

She’s grown a lot. What a beautiful cat!
Savanna Taking Off

Of course, when running on as even a nice day as we had, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Thirsty Girl

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.
Yawning Renji

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's Snack

“Cheeze!”
CHEEZ!!!

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!
Tag!

What a gorgeous girl!
Dreamy Snow Leopard

What about the Pallas’ kittens?
"Where We Going, Mom?"

They were following their mom around.
"Where's Mom Going?"

So patient.
Huddling Around Mom

As is the ocelot mother, whose ocelittle was thought her tail was a great toy.
Mom's Tail Makes a Great Ocelittle Toy

The bobcat watched us. Miss Lop-Ears the caracal wasn’t there…hope she was OK.
The Bobcat is Awake!

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.

Ocelittle and Pallas’ Kittens   3 comments

Lounging Ocelittle
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.
Ocelittle Wakes Up

Sometimes she wandered around looking for her mother.
"Mommy, Where Are You?"

Other times, as cats are want to do, they wrestled.
Wrestling with Mom

Going Under Mom

Such a pretty little girl.
In the Stump

The bonus was down the hall.
Pallas' Kitten Cuddle Puddle

Three sleepy pallas’ cat kittens.
Pallas' Kitten Cuddle Puddle 2

Who weren’t asleep for long!
Eh!

Adorable balls of fluff! Of course, pallas’ cats stay fluffy.
A Pallas' Kitten Ponders

Pallas' Kitten Bokeh

One even came close to the window.
Black and White Pallas Kitten
I love when sitting cats wrap their tails around them like that.

A sand cat was sleeping up on top of some rocks.
Sand Cat Nap, Disturbed

Miss Lop-Ears the caracal was up on the rocks, too.
Miss Lop Ears Wall-Paper

The bobcat, since he couldn’t see the caracal, decided a nap was in order, too.
Bobcat Nap

…and someone must have clued in Nubo.
Nubo Naps

However, the tiger was stalking in the grass.
Tiger in the Weeds

Zoo Blooms at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

Colorful Field
We went to the zoo today, for the annual Zoo Blooms event. Where last year, where a mild winter left us without blooms, it was a colorful spectacle.
Purple, Pink, White

Peach and White Flowers

Tulip Field

Field of Red and Yellow

Of course, the main reason I go to the zoo is to see the animals. The first animal I took a picture of was a little wallaby.
Wittle Wallaby

The black bear was having a nap.
Dozing Bear

The Siberian lynx, however, was watching everyone.
Siberian Lynx

One of the clouded leopards was on a pedestal.
Resting Cloudy

She was bathing herself, in the “cello” pose.
Cloudie Cello

A black-footed cat was watching what we were doing. He seemed concerned about what was up.
Concerned BFC

Miss Lop-Ears the caracal napping on top of some rocks.
Caracal Dreams

Mama fishing cat was, too.
Dozing Fishing Cat

We went outside to see what was going on. I’ve been fascinated with tigers a lot lately.
Tiger Glare

Springtime is when snow leopards usually have cubs. I have no information, and snow leopard Renji has been dozing the last few times I’ve been to the zoo. Fortunately, Nubo makes a great pillow.
Nubo Makes a Great Pillow

Two reptile animal ambassadors were out today. Periwinkle was a blue tongue skink in the Night Hunters building.
Periwinkle the Skink

Tallahassee the alligator was hanging out in the gift shop. We’ve seen him before.
Tallahassee the Alligator

It was an absolutely gorgeous and colorful day at the Cincinnati Zoo!
Colorful Field 2

Nice Day at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

Just when it looked like we’d go the whole month of March without getting out to the zoo, we had some of the best weather we’ve had in a while. The zoo also had some things going on for Easter. We caught the tail end of it, when cougars Joseph and Tecumseh were given melons to roll around.
Pounce on the Melon

They rolled them around like toys our coalition plays with.
Lounging with the Melon

Such handsome cats.
Climb the Trunk

We wanted to see if the ocelittle born New Year’s Eve was out. We couldn’t find her, but did see an ocelot.
Not an Ocelittle

I was playing with my camera, trying to use my manual focus in some of the darker enclosures, where it seems to struggle. One result was a decent shot of the fishing cat. They had put some fish in her enclosure to chase after.
Mama Fishing Cat Looks for Fish

I also got a picture of the black-footed cat at the far end of the enclosure.
BFC on the Ledge

The other one stood up top and judged me.
BFC on a Cliff
U haz no skillz.

Miss Caracal, on the other hand, was posing, and looking gorgeous.
Miss Lop-Ears Watches

The Snow Leopard Trust was pointing out that snow leopard mating season has been going on. I have no official word, though I did want to check on Renji. She and Nubo, however, were having a cat-nap.
Renji and Nubo's Naptime

I thought it was birds of a feather that flocked together.
Birds of a Feather

The February Trip to the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

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.
Andean Condor

Next door was a stellar sea eagle.
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.
Manul on the Rocks
So fluffy!

The clouded leopard was having a bath.
Cleaning the Toes

How many cat owners know what I mean when I describe something as the “chello” pose?
Cloudie Chello

I got my best shot of the bobcat! Such a handsome cat.
Handsome Bobcat

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.
Lounging Fishing Cat

The sand cat, always a favorite, seemed quite pensive up against the glass.
Sand Cat Daydream

Outside, the Siberian lynx was out–it was a cold enough morning for it. I hadn’t seen her in a while.
Siberian Lynx

Tecumseh the cougar was sleeping in a ball.
10.8, in Sleep Mode

His brother, Joseph, had to photobomb him!
Joseph Photobombs His Brother
Phpppt!

The tiger area wasn’t too crowded, so I could spend some time looking at these amazing cats.
Tiger Face

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.
Tiger on the Ledge

Phppppt!
tiger Tongue

Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a quiet Sunday morning, relaxing in the sun.
Snow Leopard Sunday

I have no idea what Renji saw.
Renji Sees…Something

Nubo wasn’t that interested.
Nubo Yawns

It must have moved. She’s such a pretty cat!
Renji Looks Beyond the Fence

Yes, Nubo, you’re cute, too.
Relaxed Nubo

The arctic fox was in his vantage way up high.
Arctic Fox

I walked up to the otter enclosure. One walked right up to me.
Approaching Otter

Could someone please clean this window?
Will Someone Clean this Glass?

Finally, the Mexican wolves were enjoying their morning.
Sitting Wolf

Lazy Wolf

Ocelittle at the Cincinnati Zoo   2 comments

Sihil ClimbsThis week, the Cincinnati Zoo announced the birth of a baby ocelot. The baby was born on New Year’s Eve, making it the last of Cincinnati’s zoo babies. What’s special about this baby is that it is the result of a new artificial insemination process developed by the zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife.

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the leaders in the conservation of small cats. Sihil, pictured to the right, is the first ocelot born through a frozen embryo. She makes regular visits to the Ocelot Conservation Festival in South Texas.

The baby (whose sex hasn’t been published as of this writing) will be in the Night Hunter’s exhibit this spring. I suspect I’ll post a picture or two once that happens…assuming I can limit myself to that many.

Posted 2013-01-16 by Mr. Guilt in animals, cats, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Zoo, ocelots

Caracals and Bobcats as Friends   2 comments

Miss Caracal’s enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo is at an angle to another wall.
Ms. Lop-Ears Watches.

She has a view across the way to another enclosure.
View from Ms. Caracal's

It’s the bobcat enclosure.
Bobcat Watches Ms. Lop-Ears

The bobcat also spends a fair amount of time looking at Ms. Caracal. I’m not sure if it is some unrequited or unrealized affection, aggression, or simple curiosity of what’s going on over there.

I thought of them when watching a video that ISEC put on their twitter feed, about a bobcat and a caracal who where friends. The bobcat was losing his site, and the caracal took care of him. It was a really sweet story, though unfortunately the bobcat recently passed away (due to old age from what I can tell).

Interspecies friendships are common–I live in a house that contains both homo sapien and felis silvestris catus members. However, when the friendship doesn’t include a human, it seems especially remarkable. Perhaps it is because these animals who’s instinct is to be solitary choose to go against it in the name of friendship. It makes me happy to think that friendship can overcome something so innate.

Sorry for the bad pictures. As noted, the light in the Night Hunter’s exhibit is not the best for photography. To get the shots I wanted, there was only so much that could be done.

Afternoon at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

I had an afternoon off, and went to the Cincinnati Zoo. I heard they had two arctic fox pups.
Fox on the Rocks

Cute little guys.
Fox Pup in the Sun

While not the Arctic, it was a chilly day.
Penguin

Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a nice day. Renji walked with her tail high.
Renji, Tail High

Nubo just laid in the sun.
Nubo in the Sun

Yaaaaawn!
Nubo is Bored

Renji thought laying in the sun was a good idea.
Snow Leopard Tongue

Joseph the cougar surveyed his domain.
Joe's Lookout

Inside Night Hunters, the Pallas cat practically insisted I take his picture.
Take My Picture, Please

The black-footed cat was posing, too.
Staring BFC

So cute for a cat known as the ant-hill tiger.
Standing BFC - Version 3

I have no idea what he’s doing back there.
I Have No Idea What He's Doing.

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.
I Haz a Toy

Mama Fishing Cat was pondering deep thoughts.
Curious Fishing Cat

I also took a few pictures of Miss Caracal…but more on that later.
Stalking Caracal

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