Chimpanzees and bonobos are the closest living relatives to human beings. The common feeling has usually been that chimps are most like us, in social behaviour (bad) more than anything else. But recent studies seem to be challenging that long-held perception.
There are three distinct species of zebras: the plains zebra (which contains the subspecies “Burchell’s zebra”, also known as the Damara zebra), the mountain zebra, and the Grévy’s zebra. All three belong to the genus Equus (which also includes horses and donkeys), but the Grévy’s is the sole member of its own subspecies, Dolichohippus, as they more closely resemble donkeys than horses.
Cheetahs have a gestation period of 90-95 days; the earliest Laini could have cleared quarantine was January 22nd; and on April 30th, she presented her delighted Keepers with five tiny, adorable floofballs, just 98 days after she was introduced to her potential baby daddies.
I think it may just have been a stroke of luck that I was able to spend so much time watching the buffalo from my car. They were spending their mid-morning hours swimming and splashing about in the creek and, consequently, were far from the road on which I was parked.
The family I have featured this month make their home in the High Park Zoo in Toronto, and the parents were minor celebrities in this city a couple of years ago.
The very first glimpse I got of the babies was actually a fluke. The brand-new Wildlife Health Centre was being prepared to be open to the public on the Canada Day weekend last summer, and before that happened there were preview days – first for Staff and Volunteers, then two days for Members leading into the weekend.
When I led tours at the Zoo, I enjoyed catching sight of a peacock (usually, but sometimes a peahen) on the roof of a building such as the African Rainforest Pavilion (seen here) or at the back of the Indomalayan Pavilion. I would then turn to the students in my charge – who most often had not noticed the bird – and ask them if they thought peacocks could fly.
The drive-through portion of Parc Safari features only herbivores and no meat-eaters of any kind. This made the experience rather like being on a farm, or perhaps an exotic petting zoo.
When I drive into the Zoo’s parking lot, I patiently wait for them to cross the road. Sometimes I lean out the window and say, “You guys do realize you can fly, right?” but that’s just a running joke between us. When I exit my car and head into the Zoo proper, I find myself always saying “hello” to the nearest geese. And I worry about them in the winter; not to the point where I have ever fed them myself – I stop short of that – but on the bitterly cold days I do keep an eye out to see if any are particularly struggling.
The success of the Toronto Zoo’s breeding program for these adorable but endangered little birds is fantastic and speaks volumes for the incredible work the Keepers do there. As I have mentioned before – and which any of you who have known me longer than just a couple of years already knew – penguins have been my favourite creatures for most of my life and watching the interactions between all of the Keepers who work with them and the tiny denizens of the Zoo’s penguin exhibit is always heart-warming, to say the least.
You must be logged in to post a comment.