When I chose my featured subjects for 2020’s calendar, I tried to work in as many animals as I could whom I had never written about before. With a few days left before my self-imposed deadline to compose and print the calendars, Puzzle made her debut on exhibit in the Australasia Pavilion, and immediately began to steal the hearts of everyone who visited her.
Early in my time as a Volunteer at the Toronto Zoo (probably 2014 or so) I signed up to help out with a “Scent Study” with the polar bears. A grad student from Guelph, whose name I have sadly long forgotten, was doing some research for her thesis…
It wasn’t that long ago that one could see the Himalayan tahrs at the Toronto Zoo all year round as there was foot access to the path that runs past their enclosure. Nowadays, these cute ungulates are only really visible from the Zoomobile (at the very beginning of the route) which doesn’t run through the winter.
I now find I have not very much to say about black tree monitors. (In fact, they’re not even currently listed among the Australasian animals on the Zoo’s new website, even though I know I saw them there the last time I visited the pavilion.) I think I will talk about the Australasian pavilion in general, and I will continue first with more about Kiki.
I was hoping to go with one of the new Amurs this year, but a long delay in access to their exhibits for the viewing public meant any great shots of them would be snapped too late for my publishing deadline, so it looked as if I’d be “tigerless” for one more year. But at the 11th Hour – while my friend, Lynda, and I were at the Zoo hoping to finally catch a glimpse of the huge cats – lightning struck.
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…
Dora was an amazing first-time Mom. Six is quite a large litter for an Arctic wolf and there were times when she looked so impossibly thin I didn’t know how she was going to survive until the cubs weaned. But survive she did, and a good portion of that credit goes to her sister, Auntie Vera.