Monday, February 27, 2012

SeaWorld Orlando veterinarian removes lodged fishing hook from throat of loggerhead sea turtle

Press release from SeaWorld Orlando:
Feb. 27, 2012 (Orlando, Fla.) -- This morning SeaWorld Orlando’s senior veterinarian performed surgery on a rescued sea turtle, removing a large fishing hook from its throat. 
The animal was found by the Inwater Research Group - an organization committed to the research and conservation of coastal species and habitats – who also assisted in the animal’s transport. The turtle, a sub-adult weighing approximately 100 pounds, was rescued from the intake canal at the St. Lucie Power Plant in St. Lucie County, Fla.

The turtle arrived at SeaWorld Orlando last night (February 26) and underwent surgery this morning following x-rays and blood work procedures. According to the veterinary team, the 4-inch-long hook was successfully removed. The turtle’s behavior will continue to be monitored over the next several weeks, but is doing well following the procedure.
So far this year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued nine sea turtles. It is the intent that upon recovery, this animal will be released back into its natural environment.
For 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need -- ill, injured and orphaned.  More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by our experts. SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chincoteague Island Zoo Model Tour

I recently found this video of the Chincoteague Island Model Zoo's New Orangutan Exhibit for 2012! See more pictures of their model zoo exhibit models here. I also emailed the creators of this extraordinary zoo model and found out this information from the creator:

"...have been working on our miniature zoological garden since 1997.  We have created a pretty unique layout that has grown to a size we can no longer easily accommodate in our home.  It's a large collection consisting of items found, modified, recycled, and fabricated by us, and includes a zoo train that slowly winds its way around the zoo.  It also contains a collection of pressed pennies, from zoos across the country, placed by their respective exhibits..."

See more pictures of the Chincoteague Island Model Zoo here.

Check out our other zoo model posts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gorillas Escape at Kansas City Zoo

Some exciting events happened at the Kansas City Zoo on Sunday when two gorillas were able to wander away from their habitat after zookeepers forgot to lock two interior doors. The public was never in any real danger but were required to go indoors until the all clear was given. The two male gorillas were herded back into their cages with water hoses and were not injured. All in all, its really just a non-story as no persons or animals were injured and proper procedures were followed. Move along now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Zoo Miami Map - 2012

What is there to do in Miami, Florida? Go t the Miami Zoo! Zoo Miami's 327 developed acres are home to over 2,000 animals including the harpy eagle. Also known as the American Harpy Eagle, this bird of prey is the most powerful raptor found in the Americas but is almost extinct in Central America. The harpy eagle is featured in the Amazon and Beyond section of Zoo Miami. Below is an overhead map of Zoo Miami and the location of the harpy eagle encounter.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chessington Plans Safari Trail

Chessington World of Adventures (in the UK) is planning a new jeep safari attraction called Safari Trail. The tour is planned to feature giraffes, rhinos, and flamingos. The ride concept sounds similar to Busch Gardens Tampa's Rhino Rally attraction (minus the failed water feature). What makes this interesting to me is that in the UK, whenever a new attraction is built plans have to be submitted to the city or government or whoever detailing what the theme park or zoo is planning on building and these blueprints are available to the public to view. This is good news for people like me who want to know more about the design and planning aspect of zoo exhibit design. View the Safari Trail planning details here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Interview with a Zoo Photographer

Welcome to another Zoo Tails interview feature! We recently had the opportunity to talk to Nick Varvel, a zoo photographer. Thanks to Nick for answering our questions and sharing some of his zoo tails with us!

ZT: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from and what do you do?

Nick: I am a 15 year old high school student. I live in Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, and have for most of my life. Most of my time is taken up with school, or my various jobs throughout the year. It is a pretty short story so far, but I figure I have time to expand.

ZT: What zoo do you consider your "home" zoo?

Nick: My home zoo is the wonderful Kansas City Zoo, best known for their great Africa exhibit.

ZT: Where did your love of zoos or animals originate?

Nick: I've always been somewhat interested in animals since I was a child. I've always enjoyed hiking around in remote parts of local woods, looking for birds. I have had a number of pets over the years, from cats and dogs to guinea pigs and fish. My parents have been a big help in this as well. Neither of them are animal lovers as I am, but they have both supported and encouraged me in the field. My interests have certainly grown to dominate my life, through both constant zoo visiting, and traveling across the countyside searching for interesting birds.

How did you get involved in photography? Do you do it just for fun or commercially for profit?

Nick: The main reason I started up photography was to help record both what animals zoos I visited were keeping, as well as the wild birds I see. My earlier photos were of extremely poor quality, but I continued to improve, gaining an intrest in photography for something other than record keeping. I have experimented in all types of photography, from people to landscapes to abstract. However, I find that I both enjoy and do my best work with animals. I still occasionaly take photos of non-animals when I think it is interesting, but I usually stick to the same thing I started out with.

ZT: Someone on the Zoo Chat forum mentioned you were an "award winning photographer." What award did you win?

Nick: The award I won was for the Kansas City Zoo photo competition. The person who mentioned me as an award-winning photographer certainly makes it sound much more glamerous than it truly is. I am definatly happy to win it though, as I got a $60 zoo membership for free.

ZT:What advice or tips do you have for anyone interested in getting into zoo photography?

Nick: Well, I'm not sure if I'd be the best person to give advice, but the best I can think of is to photograph what you're interested in and what you're good at. If you don't like reptiles, then don't photograph them. If you cannot figure out how to get good photos through glass, maybe you should try photographing across moats. I've had trouble with both of these things in the past, but I finally figured out what I like and what I'm okay at. And another thing is to always take a lot of photos! You don't have to keep them all, but the more you take, the higher chance you have of getting a good one! Honestly though, there are so many better photographers out there , many of whom I've learned from.

ZT: Which is the best (or your favorite) zoo, exhibit, or animal to take pictures of?

Nick: I always prefer outdoor exhibits, mainly because I suck at dealing with indoor lighting. I suppose by favorite are the large primate exhibits, such as baboons or great apes. They are always active and doing something, they are large and easy to follow, and they don't get up in the trees like other primates. I also love to photograph birds as well, as they are my favorite animals. They are also very active, and the number of species found in any zoo is outstanding. But I also like large carnivores and ungulates! I suppose I'm an opportunistic photographer, taking photos of anything hoping they might turn out good.

ZT: Of course I have to ask, what is your favorite zoo that you've been to?

Nick: I suppose my favorite would be the Saint Louis Zoo. It has standards in both exhibitry and education that I haven't seen matched anywhere else. They have a fantastic collection with many rare and interesting species, as well as a plethora of world-class exhibits.

I also like the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, best known for its massive immersion exhibit and nearly unrivaled collection. I feel that it is the extreme ups and downs that make it second to Saint Louis.

Sedgwick County in Wichita and Brookfield in Chicago are both outstanding too. Sedgwick County relies on its lack of poor exhibits and Brookfield relies on their collection and huge number of exhibits.

I also love Kansas City with their outstanding Africa exhibit, Lincoln Park and their Great Ape Complex, Cheyenne Mountain's giraffe exhibit, National Zoo's Asia Trail, and Philadelphia's great cat complex.

Honestly, with a few roadside exceptions, I love all zoos, and though some may rank higher than others, they are all still wonderful places.

ZT: I certainly agree with you there about loving all zoos. Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How To Draw Zoo Animals Step By Step

Do you like to draw animals? I recently found this beginners book on how to draw over 200 animals complete with step by step lessons. One interesting aspect is the book showcases two different methods of drawing for each animals, that way you can learn to draw each with at least two different looks. In fact, most animals only take 6 steps to draw! This fundamental book is a great resource for elementary children and art classes. How to Draw Animals is guaranteed to improve your animal drawing abilities.

Click here to learn how to draw zoo and farm animals!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Picture of the Week: Monkey Hair

The picture of the week comes to you from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio. I like to call this one "monkey hair."