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.
Even in the realm of these impossibly cute animals, Suva is next-level photogenic. I have yet to take a bad photo of him that cannot be blamed on “user error,” and I call tell you that he is even more handsome up close.
Vasili remained at Assiniboine with his brother until he and Kira – who had stayed in Calgary her whole life to that point – arrived in Toronto to populate the Amur tiger exhibit once again with the departure of the panda family.
From my very fist visits to the walk-through I was able to view at least a piece of the joey’s anatomy (most often a leg or tail) protruding from the opening of Tori’s pouch, indicating that it wouldn’t be very long before the entire beautiful little creature would emerge and show himself to the world.
Outside, they have a spectacular exhibit just south of the main entrance to the pavilion. There is a sun shelter (the cave you see in this photo), a pond, some interesting nooks and crannies to explore, and lots and lots of very tasty grass! This is an awesome place to view these amazing creatures, as the railing around the exhibit is very comfortable to lean on and quite close to the tortoises.
Of all the times I’ve been to see Stevie, however, far and away the most memorable was the time represented by this month’s photo. That browse she has just taken a bite of is being offered to her by yours truly.
Lenny and his partner Holly are getting up there in years, but still going strong. Lenny was born on December 2, 1975 while Holly’s birthdate is estimated as sometime in 1972 (she was wild-captured).