I had gone to the Zoo for an entirely different purpose when I happened on Matilda in the indoor pool by herself, either just before or just after she had been given access to the outdoor pool for the very first time. She was having an awesome time cavorting about and grooming herself and I stayed for quite a while with her.
It was wonderful to have such charismatic animals back on the Tundra Trek and their exhibit was a great place to hang out for a while when the Arctic wolf cubs were sleeping; as I visited the cubs many, many times during the spring and summer of 2018, I had lots of opportunity to spend time with the lads, whom our exceedingly English-speaking Keepers had taken to calling “Thunder” and “Storm.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.