Saturday, December 31, 2011

Columbus Zoo Update - Dec 18, 2011

Sorry, I meant to post this awhile ago but I've been busy for the holidays. Here are a few pictures to go along with our latest blog post (

The zoo has installed two large viewings windows along the front side of the aviary for those who want to view the beautiful birds but don’t want to walk through aviary.

They have also installed a huge mesh roof over the zoo’s master escape artist’s yard, the markhors, also located within Asia Quest.

The new reindeer yard outside of Polar Frontier (where the wolves used to be, behind the OSU solar house). Looks to be a temporary seasonal exhibit only. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Zoo Tails Top Posts from 2011

It's that time of year when we look back and reflect on our the great memories from the past year and look forward to the future. Here is a list of some of the most popular zoo news from 2011:
  1. Columbus Zoo Map from 2000
  2. Cleveland Zoo 2011 Map 
  3. Columbus Zoo Pictures from July 2011 
  4. Columbus Zoo Polar Bear Exhibit Model 
  5. Amazon River Dolphin 
  6. Vintage Zoo Pictures: San Diego Zoo 1984 
  7. Coyote+Bison Picture 
  8. Brochure Spotlight: SeaWorld Cleveland 
  9. Busch Gardens’ Baby Cheetah Gets a New Puppy Pal
And here are some of the zoo or animal related videos I put together in 2011:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Zoo Exhibit Design Interactions: Sniff Port

While at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium today I discovered a very cool interactive feature at the brown and polar bear exhibits in the Polar Frontier section. The bear enclosures feature a "Sniff Port", a small covered hole in the exhibit wall, located on the far left side of the polar bear's above-water viewing space. It allows the bears to easily smell you, and if you look through the tiny holes you can see their noses and hear them smelling you!

Here's a tip a zoo volunteer gave us to lure a polar bear over to the sniff port - eat some peanut butter! At the sniff port, you can breathe out and the scent that wafts through to the other side often lures the polar bears over. And peanut butter is the smell that seems to be the most alluring.

Are there any other exhibits that you know of that have such exciting and innovative features?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Columbus Zoo News Update - December 13, 2011

Zoo Chat forum member Team Tapir gave us an update today about a few of the ongoing projects at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. You may have noticed some working taking place in the pheasant aviaries over in Asia Quest. The zoo has installed two large viewings windows along the front side of the aviary for those who want to view the beautiful birds but don’t want to walk through aviary. They have also installed a huge mesh roof over the zoo’s master escape artist’s yard, the markhors, also located within Asia Quest. Another juicy tidbit, according to some unknown sources preliminary work on the massive African Savannah expansion has begun. However, no details on the finalized project plans are available at this time. Hopefully, we’ll know more about these plans when they become public, rumored to be revealed this spring. It’s a great time to be a fan of the Columbus Zoo!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Help Name Tampa's New Baby White Rhino!

At Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, a Southern White Rhinoceros calf was born in the early morning hours on Wednesday, December 7, to second-time mother “Kidogo” in the African Rhino boma (barn) which houses the animals overnight. The birth marks the second Rhino born at the Zoo this year, preceded by an Indian Rhinoceros (also known as the greater one-horned rhinoceros) born in July.

The white rhino calf is not yet named, but the Zoo has launched a naming contest on its Facebook page for the online community to participate.  A selection of African names selected by the Zoo’s animal care team -- starting with the letter K in honor of mother Kidogo -- are below (in alphabetical order).
·         Kafi – “quiet”
·         Kande - “first born daughter”
·         Kato – “second born”
·         Kwaku – “born on Wednesday”
The female calf will receive her name just in time for the holidays with the most votes through Friday, Dec. 23.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Asian Elephant Arrives at Columbus Zoo

What is there to do in Columbus, Ohio? Go to the Columbus Zoo, of course! Hank, a 23-old male Asian Elephant, arrived at the zoo this morning from Riddle's Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary in hopes that he will breed with their breeding cow, Phoebe.

Press release:

Powell, OH – Hank, a 23-year-old Asian elephant, arrived at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium early this morning and brought with him hope for a genetically diverse population of Asian elephants within zoos.

“Hank has previously sired a calf.” said Harry Peachey, Assistant Curator at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. “He was brought to the Columbus Zoo based on a Species Survival Plan recommendation to breed with our females, Connie and Phoebe.”
Hank was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 1988 and also lived at the Bronx Zoo and in California at Have Trunk Will Travel. He came to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary in Arkansas.
According to standard procedure, Hank will be kept in quarantine before being introduced to the other Columbus Zoo elephants and Zoo visitors.
With the arrival of Hank, the Columbus Zoo elephant experts now care for four elephants.  In the past ten years only 13 Asian elephants have been born successfully in nine AZA zoos in the U.S. including Beco and Bodhi at the Columbus Zoo.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s elephant facility has more indoor space than any other North America zoo. Although there is space for more than one bull elephant, seven-year-old Bodhi was moved to the Denver Zoo last month to better position him to one day sire a calf and contribute to the elephant population.
An endangered species, Asian elephants are represented by an estimated 38,000 to 51,000 individuals in range countries. Fragmented wild populations, agriculture, deforestation and conflict with humans pose a constant threat to wild Asian elephants.
“The elephants at the Zoo inspire people to care and take an active role in conservation” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium CEO and President Dale Schmidt. “Their contributions enable the Columbus Zoo to be a leader in conservation. We provide $1 million of privately raised revenue each year to fund field projects and conservation organizations in more than 30 countries.”

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas for Zoo Fans

The holiday gift giving season is upon us. Here are a few gift ideas for zoo fans and their kids.

World of Zoo is the only life sim game that pushes you past the fences and into a word of your own zoo. Create and customize your zoo experience and develop hands on relationships to earn the trust and love of your animals.

Zookeeper DVD. The animals at the Franklin Park Zoo decide to break their time-honored code of silence and reveal their biggest secret to zookeeper Griffin Keyes (Kevin James): They can talk!

GORILLAS IN OUR MIDST: THE STORY OF THE COLUMBUS ZOO GORILLAS has an honest approach to the evolution of the captive gorilla program at the Columbus Zoo. Easy and enjoyable read for anyone interested in the preservation of the species.

Pulled from the pages of the wildly popular ZooBorns blog, this picture book presents the most charming critters ever: baby animals, ranging from the adorable to the zany! Featuring full-color photographs on every page and a cozy text perfect for reading aloud, this book is bound to become a must-have for animal lovers of all ages.


"Beco's Big Year: A Baby Elephant Turns One" is a Columbus Zoo and Aquarium book about a real baby elephant born in the Columbus Zoo. Celebrating Beco's first birthday, "Beco's Big Year" features month-by month chapters with stories and pictures that show early elephant development milestones, and related facts about elephants.  

Opening day, September 18, 1875, dawned sunless and chilly, a shaky start for the second zoological garden in the United States, The Cincinnati Zoo. Exhibits were unfinished, and animals remained crated. The polar bear had not arrived, and the collection on display included a feeble tiger, a blind hyena, an elephant rescued from a bankrupt circus, a talking crow, eight small monkeys, and 400 birds. 

Wild Republic Bucket Zoo

What are your holiday gift ideas for zoo fans?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zoo Tails Image of the Week: Playfull Polar Bears

The polar bears of Polar Frontier at the Columbus Zoo were in rare form during our latest visit in November 2011. The exhibit is one of the best due to the pools being stocked with live trout which the bears love to eat. The underwater viewing area is also a great touch, especially when one of the bears decides to sit on top of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Zoo Image of the Week: Lowland Gorilla

Checkout these hilarious facial expressions of the gorilla ad the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Classic!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Map of the Minnesota Zoo 2009

Russia's Grizzly Coast is an exhibit complex at the Minnesota Zoological Garden in the United States of America where visitors can see various animal species from the Russian Far East. Above is a map of the Minnesota Zoo from 2009. Pictured below is the site plan diagram for Russia's Grizzly Coast exhibit.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Image of the Week: Wandering Wolverines

After a brief hiatus the image of the week feature is back! Today we bring you a few images of a species which has not been studied as intently as other North American predators: the Wolverine!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pictures of Pixie the Manatee at the Columbus Zoo

We took a short trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium today and took some pictures of Pixie, one of the three new rescued manatees from Florida. A zoo staff member informed us that they believe Pixie is between one and two years old and weighs one hundred something pounds. She is certainly the smallest manatee I have ever seen! Did you know the manatee exhibit has a retractable roof- just like a football stadium. How cool is that!

Don't forget to join our new Facebook page to see even more images!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SeaWorld sued for slavery

According to an Associated Press report, PETA has just filed suit in federal court against SeaWorld stating that the Marine Park is in violation of the 13th Amendment for “enslaving its five performing whales,” by claiming that while the Amendment prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, “it does not specify that only humans can be victims.”

While SeaWorld has denounced the move as baseless, PETA’s general counsel, Jeff Kerr contended that plaintiffs orcas, Tilikum and Katina based at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., and Corky, Kasatka and Ulises at SeaWorld San Diego “were kidnapped from their homes, kept confined, denied everything that's natural to them and forced to perform tricks for SeaWorld's profit,"  In addition Kerr stated that "the males have their sperm collected, the females are artificially inseminated and forced to bear young which are sometimes shipped away."

The lawsuit asks the court to order the orcas released to the custody of a legal guardian who would find a "suitable habitat" for them, and alleges “that captivity in the ‘barren tanks’ of a marine park suppresses the orcas' abilities and relationships, and subjects them to stress. This sometimes leads to instances where the orcas injure themselves, other orcas or humans that interact with them.”

Read the full article here.

I think this is ridiculous and way over the top. The animals live arguably live a better life at SeaWorld than they would in the wild. I like to think SeaWorld does more good than harm. Aren't there better business to sue? How about those sea food companies killing thousands of wild dolphins and whales?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update: 49 Loose Exotic Animals Killed in Ohio

Forty-nine animals are killed and six were rescued after the owner of an animal preserve released his exotic animals and killed himself. It played out Tuesday evening at the 73-acre Muskingum County Animal Farm at 270 Kopchak Road in Zanesville. Deputies found wild and exotic animals on the loose and the farm's owner dead in the driveway from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. NBC4 and will provide live coverage on-air and online.

Officials said the owner, Terry Thompson, opened pens and cages before he committed suicide.

The farm housed animals including Bengal tigers, mountain lions, grizzly and black bears, primates and wolves. A total of 56 animals escaped. Six black bears, two grizzly bears, nine male lions, eight lionesses, one baboon, three mountain lions, 18 tigers and two wolves were killed by authorities.

Six animals were caught and transported to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: one grizzly bear, three leopards and two macaques (a breed of monkey).

One animal remains loose: a monkey that is carrying the Herpes B virus. According to Jack Hanna, the director emeritus of the Columbus zoo who was working with the emergency communications group, the monkey may have been eaten by another animal. Officials are still asking the public to be on the lookout for the monkey. Consultants recommended to law enforcement that the monkey be shot and killed. The Herpes B virus is not harmful to the monkey but is considered extremely dangerous to humans. A bite wound by the monkey would be considered very dangerous.

"I'm sorry for what happened to these animals. But also for what could have happened to people. Let's hope this never has to happen again in any state. This is a tragedy for the animal world. It could have been a bigger tragedy for the human world," Hanna said.
"You cannot run from it. It doesn't see you as a human. It sees you as something fleeing, or something to play with," Hanna said.

There also were horses also being kept on the farm and officials said Wednesday afternoon that some of the wild animals were charging at the horses when deputies arrived.

Hanna said the animals that were captured will go into quarantine before being brought into the zoo.
The Columbus zoo reached out to other zoos for possible placement, but the animals still belong to Thompson's wife legally.

The zoo called in extra security after reports of death threats from people who are pro-animal rights. The Zanesville Chamber of Commerce also received a few emailed threats. The Wilds, a conservation center in Zanesville, was helping out as well, Hanna said. No human injuries were reported.
Schools in the area were closed at the recommendation of Lutz Wednesday. Lutz said he would recommend to districts that they can open school for Thursday.

Someone attempted to steal the carcass of one of the big cats Tuesday night. The animal was recovered, and the person was taken into police custody. Charges will be filed, the sheriff said.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baby Animals at The Wilds

October turned out to be a GREAT time to visit the Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. There were numerous baby animals out and about at the safari wild animal park. The star of the show and one of the cutest animals I've ever seen was a Southern White Rhinoceros calf which was born on October 2nd, less than two weeks ago! This is the second 4th-generation calf born at The Wilds.

 They also had four baby Persian Onagers (at least, might have been a fifth one), two baby Fringed-Ear Oryx, a baby Rothschild's Giraffe, and a baby Grevy's Zebra. Check out the pictures and stay tuned for more updates from the Wilds!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update from the Cleveland Zoo

Cleveland Zoo News

The two new Grizzley bear cubs from Wyoming (Cheyenne and Jackson) have joined the two from Montana (Cody and Cooper). A baby capybara was born too. We'll have to go soon to see these new additions!

I've got some great pictures to share from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and I will hopefully be visiting the Wilds for the first time this year this weekend. Let's hope the weather forecast isn't too bad!

Monday, September 26, 2011

SeaWorld fights OSHA findings in trainer's death

Nineteen months after an animal trainer was killed by one of its killer whales, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment heads to court next week to fight for the future of its iconic Shamu shows. SeaWorld is challenging the results of a federal investigation triggered by the Feb. 24, 2010, death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was pulled underwater and killed by Tilikum, a 6-ton killer whale.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Frankly, I think OSHA is out of its league here. These are not machines with well defined points of danger and risk, they're animals. There will always be an inherent danger in working with the animals, and it's a risk that frankly the trainers understand and accept.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A third Kiwi has been born at the zoo!

A third Kiwi chick hatched at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Jul. 17, marking the first time an institution in North America has successfully hatched three kiwi in one year. The Columbus Zoo’s first hatching of the North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) occurred less than four months ago on March 23, while the second hatched on June 25, 2011.

This newest little chick, a female, is currently being cared for behind-the-scenes. The first two chicks are both males and have been given names reflecting their native New Zealand; “Ariki” (ah-ree-kee), meaning first-born or chie,f and “Toa” (to-ah) meaning warrior. The oldest of the chicks, Ariki, can be seen in the Zoo’s Roadhouse nocturnal habitat for a few hours each day.

See pictures here. They're so cute!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Image of the week: Camel

This guy is called "Elvis Camel". I love the way his lip curls up! This was taken during the fall of 2009 at the Detroit zoo.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vintage Zoo Pictures: Columbus Zoo 1985

Next in our vintage zoo pictures series is from probably my favorite zoo. These pictures of the Columbus Zoo were taken in 1985. The zoo has changed so much since then. It's amazing to see the transformation. What along way it has come.Check out the giraffe exhibit which is where the current Asia Quest area sits. I also spy some goats in the petting farm which used to be on the opposite of the zoo. The back of the gorilla pictures says the animal is actually a twin!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Image of the week: Gorilla

This could be my favorite picture, "Smiling Gorilla". This picture was taken at the Detriot Zoo in the fall of 2009.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Image of the week :Lion-tailed Monkey

This Lion-tailed monkey was taken at the Detroit Zoo in the fall of 2009. This one is titled "Wise monkey". I hope you enjoyed the image of the week.!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vintage Zoo Pictures: Denver Zoo 1979

Our vintage zoo series continues, this time with a few great shots from the Denver Zoo taken in 1979. It looks like you can see a few giraffes, bison, and what looks to be maybe elk or caribou or reindeer. Be sure to subscribe to the site via RSS feed or Google friend connect for the latest updates and more old zoo pictures coming soon!