Puppe (which means “little doll” in German) and her ilk have lots of issues in the wild, including poaching and climate change, but by far the single biggest threat to the global orangutan population is the destruction of rainforests for palm oil plantations. I will spare you here the several paragraphs I could write about the horrors associated with this industry; in lieu of that, however, I urge you to please do your own research and educate yourselves on this issue.
I used to especially love wandering around the Zoo with my camera in the wintertime, either after I had finished a shift or on an “off-day.” Often I would have a meal bar with me for lunch and I would pop into a pavilion to eat it while my camera lens defogged. I discovered quite quickly that the very best place to do this was in the free-flight aviary of the Americas Pavilion, for in those days the plush-crested jay made its home there and would always come and join me while I ate.
I’ve been blessed more than once to have my hands on the head and haunches of both Vishnu and Ashakiran, and I can tell you they feel warm and quite malleable to the touch, especially near the folds.
From the very beginning, Kiko hit it off with Mstari (and Twiga) which is terrific news, because their genes are very important to the North American breeding program (known as the SSP: Species Survival Plan). Any offspring they produce will be very important to the future success of the Masai species in AZA-accredited Zoos.
This is the very first photo I’ve ever featured in one of my calendars that was not shot at the Toronto Zoo. There will be more to come throughout this year for each of the two calendars: “Adult” and “Baby.”
It then became a matter of waiting as long as I could to get a shot with the most snow possible on Da Mao before he inevitably yawned or stretched or shifted or moved in any way that would disturb this perfect “Still Life with Panda.”
I did learn a few more interesting tidbits while researching the chamois for this post. First of all, I confirmed that pronouncing it “sham-wah” is the most correct, but saying “shammy” as in the cleaning cloth which used to be made from the hide of this animal is acceptable as well. “Sham-wow”, on the other hand, is not acceptable, as that is an “As Seen on TV” cleaning product from Germany, and “you know the Germans always make good stuff” according to Headset Vince.