You can be a hero for wildlife by visiting the Zoo or Safari Park, or by joining the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, which supports our tiger project in Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Having one offspring of a legendary pair is special. Having THREE is something else altogether. Mek and Paka, a breeding pair of Malayan tigers, are heroes in the fight against extinction. The latest in their long line of offspring, Cinta and Berani, are a pair of 18 month old sub-adult males that just sauntered into the Lost Forest at the San Diego Zoo. Cinta and Berani, aka “the Boys,” were born January 4th 2014 in a four-cub litter that also included two girls.
The addition of the youthful teenagers has been both joyful and a bit nerve-wracking! One particularly heart pounding moment came in the first few weeks of the boys exploring the recently renovated exhibit. At the end of May, Cinta and Berani were wading in the large pool in the lower exhibit when one decided to try to jump up the wall. Easily clearing 10 feet in a single bound, he gently fell back on his feet in the pool and wandered off to explore something else. Even though there was never a chance he could get out of the exhibit, it was still surprising to see how easily he leapt up a sheer wall. This was a true testament to how athletic and powerful these majestic creatures really are.
The exhibit was not the biggest adjustment the boys had to make. Their brother Conner, twice their age and a quarter larger in size, is an imposing and dominant male. Connor made it his mission to scent mark the entire exhibit thoroughly. This marking can last for a month. While the boys are never in the same exhibit as Connor, they know he is around and they had to adjust to seeing and smelling a much larger male. This certainly put the boys in a nervous state, leading to some funny interactions and behaviors early on. Both Berani and Cinta were on high alert the first day they and Connor were out on their exhibits for the first time. They could see Connor through the double fence and never once turned their backs on him the entire day. All the while, Connor just sat on his rock, welcoming the new kids to the block.
Once things settled down and all the tigers were getting comfortable with their surroundings, we all moved on to the next phase, exhibit swapping. Both Connor and the boys have now had time in each of the two sections of the redesigned tiger exhibit and they are noticeably calmer as a result. Connor, still a relatively young male himself, continues to show his youthful attitude and exuberance for life. On the first night of Nighttime Zoo, Connor decided to put on a show. He managed to create his own version of The Bellagio water show by ripping up a water line to his drinker. Water sprayed everywhere and one happy tiger got to play in it. The repairs were made the next day and after a short test, Cinta and Berani were swapped into the previously flooded exhibit. They decided to team up and proceeded to tear the water line out of the drinker, just after it got repaired! I guess the boys think imitation is the best form of flattery.
Connor has reclaimed his renovated digs on Tiger Trail in the Lost Forest. #caturday (Pic by Mike Wilson) A photo posted by San Diego Zoo (@sandiegozoo) on
Just two months in with our rambunctious family of brothers, Connor, Cinta and Berani are all adjusting. The family fun and adventure shall continue!
Aimee Goldcamp is a keeper at the San Diego Zoo.
Summer is in full swing and you know what that means–pool parties! And not just for us; many animals also enjoy the life aquatic. Enjoy this roundup of animals who take to water like moths to flame.
Hippos are water fiends. They’re actually adapted for life in the water and are found living in slow-moving rivers and lakes in Africa. With their eyes, ears, and nostrils on the top of the head, hippos can hear, see, and breathe while most of their body is underwater.
Our behemoth pachyderm friends also don’t hate water. Elephants often spray themselves with water or roll in the mud or dust for protection from the sun and biting insects. They can also use their trunks as periscopes to breathe underwater, which is quite possibly one of the coolest adaptations ever.
Polar bears practically live a perpetual pool party. The taxonomic name for polar bears is Ursus maritimus, which means sea bear, a fitting name for these champion swimmers. They have been known to swim more than 60 miles without rest in search of food, using their broad front feet for paddling and their back legs like rudders to steer.
Jaguars would show you up at any pool party with their swimming prowess, helped along by super muscular limbs and large paws to paddle with. In fact, they typically live near water and have a taste for aquatic creatures. Jaguars have even been observed sitting quietly at the water’s edge, occasionally tapping the surface with their tail to attract fish.
Otters are the only species in the weasel family that enjoys constant pool parties. They spend most of their lives in water, and they’re built for it. Their streamlined bodies are perfect for diving and swimming. They also have webbed feet and can close off their ears and nose as they swim underwater. Otters can also see just as well underwater as they can above, and can stay submerged for five to eight minutes.
Most birds are masters of the skies, but penguins prefer the sea. Penguins are fast swimmers allowing them to catch a variety of prey including sardines and anchovies, as well as squid and crustaceans.
Much like jaguars, tigers don’t shy away from a good dip in the water. Excellent and powerful swimmers, tigers are often found during the day relaxing or waiting to ambush prey in ponds, streams, and rivers.
Gharials, like all crocodilians, are born knowing how to swim. As they grow older they become incredibly agile swimmers, moving through the water with ease by using their powerful, oar-like tails and strongly-webbed hind feet.
Can you think of any other animals who love water? Let us know in the comments.
Matt Steele is senior social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, Myths About Rhino Horn That Need To Go Away.
Disclaimer: These are wild animals, and must be treated as such. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend.
You know you really want to rub this little spotted belly…
and this meer belly…
and this Andean bear belly…
and this polar pot belly…
and this panda paunch.
Aisha’s little red tummy is just asking for a good rub.
Jaguar cub Maderas (born at the Zoo in 2012) had perhaps the most rub-able belly of all.
But Nindiri’s latest cub definitely gives Maderas a run for her money in the belly department.
When Mr. Wu was a cub had the cutest panda pot belly ever.
And he still does.
Joanne’s fuzzy little tummy is just screaming “rub me!”
Just look at it.
Lion cubs Ken & Dixie were not lacking in the cute belly department.
Izu seems to disagree.
But seriously, Mr. Wu just might be the winner of cutest belly ever.
Case in point.
Actually, maybe it’s a tie.
Yep, definitely a tie.
Matt Steele is senior social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, 7 Animals That Look Like Star Wars Characters.
Look closer. That’s not Master Yoda, it’s an aye aye. “When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmmm?”
Remember the cantina scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope? This white-faced saki belongs in it.
Chewie? Is that you? Oh no, it’s just Satu the orangutan. Remember, “It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.”
This baby pygmy loris looks like its straight from a galaxy far far away.
No, these aren’t ewoks from the forest moon of Endor, they’re pygmy marmosets from the forests of South America.
Watch out Han Solo, this African toad is Jabba the Hut’s doppelganger.
Saiga antelope look like they live alongside womprats in the deserts of Tatooine.
Judging by that long snout, Saiga antelope also may have been the inspiration behind the most polarizing Star Wars character, the infamous (gasp) Jar Jar Binks.
Have any animals to add to the list? Let us know in the comments. May the 4th be with you.
Matt Steele is senior social media planner. Read his previous post, Best of Vine: Zoo.
Nindiri, an 7-year-old jaguar at the San Diego Zoo, is a mother for the third time. She gave birth to a single cub on March 12, 2015. Mom and cub have been spending most of their time off exhibit while the cub’s eyes open and it starts to become steadier on its paws. The sex of the cub is not yet known.
The 15-day-old jaguar cub and its mother were given access to the cave bedroom this morning before the San Diego Zoo was open to the public. Animal care staff have been giving the mother access to this third area so the cub has a chance to explore different terrain, an important step in its development – the keepers have filled the cave area with hay and there is a rock for the cub to investigate.
Guests at the San Diego Zoo may spot the mother and cub in the cave viewing area during Play Days, which starts Saturday. This year, the event focuses on plants and animals with spots. The spotted markings on a jaguar are called rosettes.
During Play Days, animal keepers, horticulturists and Zoo staff will help connect the dots about spots and share information about the importance of these markings for camouflage or as diversions from predators, and how sometimes the spots serve as a warning to other creatures.
Dr. Zoolittle will debut his new show exploring spots and dots, and the Zoo’s costume characters will be at the Koalafornia Boardwalk for meet-and-greets with guests. And new this year, The Sand Band will keep toes tapping with their musical fun.
Say carrots! The Easter Bunny will also be returning to the San Diego Zoo, March 21 through April 5, 2015, and guests can hop on the lap of Peter and Paula Cottontail, who will trade off taking photos in the basket-shaped photo booth in front of Skyfari East.
While guests are visiting during Play Days, they’re encouraged to interact with the Zoo on social media by taking their photo at designated “selfie spots” located around the Zoo and tagging the photos with the hashtags #sdzselfiespot and #sandiegozoo. Or visitors can enter the Spotted Photo Challenge by submitting their best photos of the Zoo’s spotted animals on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #sdzspots.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.
While birds don’t feel emotion like we do, it sure seems like they do sometimes. If birds could feel human emotion, these would be the angriest.
This secretary bird is tired of your lame secretary jokes.
This burrowing owl just can’t believe it.
This kingfisher doesn’t want to have to tell you again.
This ornate eagle hawk kind of wants to have you for dinner.
This scarlet macaw thought he had seen it all.
This secretary bird really, really needs anger management classes.
Matt Steele is senior social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, 13 Animal Phobias for Friday the 13th.
Because Tardar Sauce isn’t the only one with grouchy facial expressions…
This mountain lion is ready to pick a fight.
And this tiger wants your kid to stop tapping on the glass.
Benzy the honey badger just doesn’t care.
And guess what? This lemur is not impressed with your fancy camera lens.
Did they seriously just call me a bear? Ugh.
Don’t these hairless primates know it’s rude to point and stare? Lettuce eat.
This vulture chick doesn’t care about Internet stardom.
And Nindiri has the grumpy cat look down.
But this white-faced saki owns it.
No feline is more upset than Oshana trying to raise four cubs.
Except maybe this cougar.
This is a capuchin’s “happy face.”
And this lion-tailed macaque is smiling for the camera… j/k.
Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 9 Exotic Mating Rituals of the Animal Kingdom.