On a lovely afternoon, the pandas were doing their usual activities: Yun Zi was playing around on the branches of his exhibit, while Bai Yun sat and munched on bamboo for a good amount of time. A few times I could see the little wheels turning in Yun Zi’s head, trying to decide what to investigate. I love to watch him while on the job because he never seems to bore me.
Archive for the 'Animal Stories' Category
Friday’s reopening of our giant panda exhibits was a huge success! It was so nice to see Bai Yun, Yun Zi, and even Gao Gao exploring their new areas. Gao surprised us with his climbing skills: he really seemed to enjoy the new furniture!
Bai and Yun Zi were hysterical; we put out some loamex mulch in their cave, and they had so much fun rolling in the pile and getting very dirty! But that was not all: they entertained us by playing on the new climbing logs and exploring the new plants. I held my breath thinking little Yun Zi was going to go on a plant attack!
Here are some answers to questions posed by our elephant fans about the African elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!
Calves, in general, start eating solid food around their fourth month. By seven months they’re eating it all, including the pellets that we use to train them, which become their favorite item.
Bai Yun has long had the nickname of “Teflon bear,” because she always looks so white and clean. In their early days at the San Diego Zoo, our male Shi Shi would be dirty and covered with grit, while our then-young female appeared freshly bathed. It didn’t much matter if it was raining or if the yard was mostly dirt or if she had just finished a play bout. Grime just never seemed to stick to our girl. Bai Yun was always camera ready.
Well, so much for that.
Once a month I have the great honor of visiting the children’s ward at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Diego as part of the San Diego Zoo’s outreach program. It is truly a heartwarming experience for my colleagues and me. One month we had a great time and some extra help from our friend, Yvette McClain, who works in the Zoo’s Merchandising Department.
See Kim’s previous post, Reindeer Baby Boris Grows Up.
The next big step in Boris’ social introduction was encouraging him to live in the main exhibit with the herd. To help make his move successful, we set up a “creep” for Boris. A creep is a small, safe pen, similar to a “howdy pen,” where a young animal can go to escape the herd and also meet his keepers for bottles.
It is not always easy for me to convince people that what we are doing is hard work. Our island site is warm and pleasant at this time of year, surrounded by beautiful ocean and inhabited by wonderful koalas. Fortunately, I am having many visitors to my study site, which means I have many more hands on deck, which means we can do even more!
It’s hard to believe summer is a distant memory, and fall is quickly passing. Can we already be into the middle of November? Six months ago we were all so sure our Chinook would be caring for cubs. We’ve not yet given up, but the wait and uncertainty is almost un”bear”able. We will just have to wait a bit longer to know if we will be welcoming any cubs to our family.
Here is what we do know: as of the last analysis of hormones, October 12, Chinook had not yet had any embryos implant, but her levels were still close to what we would expect of a potentially pregnant polar bear. So if she is pregnant, we would now not expect to see any cubs until late November or early December. We must still keep in mind that these tests are not a perfected science, and we still have many things to learn.
The next time you travel down Big Cat Trail at the San Diego Zoo, be sure to check out our upgraded mountain lion, or cougar, habitat. Thanks to a generous donation, we were able to add features to the exhibit that should stimulate the lives of our cougars while improving the experience of our guests.
Our cougar exhibit is home to two animals: a male, Yakima or “Kima,” and a female, Koyama, or “Koya.” They both came to the Zoo after they were found orphaned in the wild at an age where they were much too young to care for themselves. Now they give our visitors a chance to experience cougars, which frequently roam the hills just east and north of San Diego.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has two new, adorable additions to our cat family! In the wee hours of October 5, two 4½-pound Sumatran tiger cubs were born to our female, Delta. This is Delta’s third litter, and she continues to show us what an excellent mother she is.