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).
Makepeace was born (hatched) on June 13, 1986, which makes him well over 33 years old! This site lists their life expectancy at 12-14 years in the wild and, for some inexplicable reason, shorter in captivity; I don’t imagine that second part to be true, but still: for Makepeace to outlive his normal life expectancy by a factor of nearly 2.5 is absolutely incredible.
At the very end of May, Philip and Tisa were “re-re-re-introduced” to each other and they began to breed the very same day. They bred again the next day, too; and when they went out on exhibit together on Day Three Tisa had had enough of Philip’s advances, but no problem: they just lay down a few feet apart, rooting and nibbling on whatever they dug up.