This was a very important birth within the population of North American Masai giraffes. Mstari was the number one most valuable female genetically (as far as I can tell, she still is) and I believe Kiko was number three or four. Add to that the fact that the new baby is a third-generation Toronto Zoo kid (her mom, Mstari, and grandma, Twiga, were each born in Toronto as well) and you have a very highly anticipated event.
I have surprisingly few photos of Kanzi in my collection, all things considered. The main reason for this is because she’s almost always right up against the glass when I go to see her, purring away and trying to catch my scent. Most of the time I am far too focused on chatting with Kanzi to even think about taking a picture; besides, it’s too close to get a decent shot with my DSLR, but every now and then I manage to grab a quick snap of her with my phone.
Sometimes he will be front and centre on a perch; sometimes in amongst the foliage looking for bugs or some food that has been hidden for him; you can also often find him on the ground near the front of his exhibit; or he could be very high up near the pavilion roof, surveying his domain and possibly having a long, involved conversation with our male white-handed gibbon, Lenny.
There are couple of things that set sheep apart from goats, but an easy one to spot is whether their tails stand up or hang down (check out the photo above to see which applies to sheep). But something they have in common are amazing, rectangular pupils.
The photo was taken as the Zoo was about to close and I was on my way out, exactly one week before the first lockdown hit us, in March of last year.
I had gone to the Zoo for an entirely different purpose when I happened on Matilda in the indoor pool by herself, either just before or just after she had been given access to the outdoor pool for the very first time. She was having an awesome time cavorting about and grooming herself and I stayed for quite a while with her.
It was wonderful to have such charismatic animals back on the Tundra Trek and their exhibit was a great place to hang out for a while when the Arctic wolf cubs were sleeping; as I visited the cubs many, many times during the spring and summer of 2018, I had lots of opportunity to spend time with the lads, whom our exceedingly English-speaking Keepers had taken to calling “Thunder” and “Storm.”
There were also two new kids on the block: Arthur and Millie. They were very young having arrived the previous November from Australia via Brookfield Zoo in Chicago as orphans after their mothers had been killed in South Australia.
I visited Crystal often over the next few years and often enjoyed just standing in front of her enclosure, watching her react to the world around her. Grooming, listening, eating, playing, snoozing, whatever she did was of interest to me and, when I was alone with her, it was almost Zen-like.
Click individual photos for larger view: