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.
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.
When the babes finally did reappear, they must have sensed that the hammer was about to fall, because they did not come completely out of the den a second time, preferring instead to watch the funny-looking creatures staring back at them for as long as they could. And they almost overstayed their welcomes, because…
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.
I can’t remember another time when they were all relaxing this much as they were on this day in April 2017. The shot I chose for June’s calendar photo was just a small part of a much bigger “nap fest”, part of which I have shown in this photo, at left. I decided to just focus on the one meerkat as I really felt it was a better shot for a full-page photo; I don’t think the group picture would really carry much weight if viewed from, say, a table halfway across the kitchen. But I’ll post several of the other shots from that day here.
I walked around to the viewing window at the north side of the enclosure and watched this big fuzzy goofball trot towards me, then walk away more slowly, then turn and trot a bit faster back toward the window again. I got the feeling this was a show he was putting on exclusively for me, because I was the only one there and he seemed to lock eyes with me each time he began to canter. It was quite an experience!
Finally I was able to get a glimpse – and a photo! – of a tiny beak protruding just above the rim of the nest as the adult swallow deposited its treasure into the waiting mouth.