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Category — Animal Sciences

Still Pregnant! Aardvark Update

We’ve been waiting for Padmae’s bundle of joy for weeks!  I stopped asking the keepers if anything was new with her after hearing “still waiting” 20 or 30 times.  Today, nursery keeper Dawn Strasser sent me this video update that shows the baby moving!!  This is certainly good news…but we’re still waiting!

May 22, 2013   1 Comment

Klyde’s Crate Training Update

Klyde has access to his crate every morning.

Klyde has access to his crate every morning.

Klyde’s crate conditioning is going very well!  Since my previous post, keepers have continued to work with him daily.  To start, each evening they would close off access into the crate, giving Klyde a break from seeing it through the night.  Then, in the morning, they would re-open it and he would find it contained his breakfast and extra treats.   Each day keepers moved more and more of his breakfast into the crate, creating an inviting space that allowed Klyde to feel comfortable and confident.  After several days, everyone felt they were at a point when no food needed to be offered in his other stalls except for in his crate.  This was no issue for Klyde, as every crate experience he has had thus far has been very positive.  He had no problem with his new designated feeding area.  Each morning the food would appear an inch further back in the crate, from the day before.  And every day, Klyde never even thought twice about his advancement into the crate.

Margie feed Klyde in the crate.

Marjorie feeds Klyde in the crate.

By day nine, keeper Marjorie was able to stand outside the crate, toward the front and encourage him to come in as she tossed treats into his food pile to make every inch of progress as smooth as possible.  Days 10 and 11 were breakthrough days for Klyde’s progress – he decided that his crate was  really positive place to be and confidently walked in until he had all four feet in the crate!  He was still not quite close enough to hand feed but having all four feet in, making that step up into the crate was a HUGE progression and his keepers were thrilled.  Later on day 11 of training Marjorie decided to try one more quick session and attempted to get Klyde to walk in far enough to hand feed.  He finally did it!!  Marjorie was able to reach his lip and give him some of his favorite cookies for entering that far.


Box lunch?

We are all so excited about Klyde’s progress moving forward!  In the first 11 days of training it has gone far better than ever expected, but that’s what happens when keepers and animals have such a wonderful and positive relationship!  Klyde is willing and wanting to work with his keepers and his keepers are allowing him to move at his comfort level… setting him up for success is the most important part of training!

May 8, 2013   No Comments

Binturong, Bearcats and Bite Sized Snacks

During the course of my day, I have the privilege of being around Binturongs. As a former University of Cincinnati student, and a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, I am also very familiar with the Bearcat mascot. Furthermore, being a snack food fan, I am also well aware of the satisfaction of a good bag of popcorn. So, you probably understand some of this, my experience with animals and mascots, but are a bit confused about what the topic of snack foods has to do with me working at a Zoo.

Lucy the bearcat (with trainer Eddie Annal peaking around)

Lucy the bearcat (with trainer Eddie Annal peaking around)

First, a bit of information on Binturongs for you; Binturongs (Arctictis binturong), are also known as Bearcats. They are found in the forests of Southeast Asia where they easily climb trees, using their prehensile tails for balance and to hold onto branches, as they search for the small animals and fruit they eat. When they are not moving around, which is about half of the day, these viverrids prefer to curl up over a branch or fork in a tree to rest and relax. While active at night, they don’t have a set pattern of activity and can be found foraging for food during the day too. Binturongs communicate with each other by leaving scent markings. These olfactory signals (scents/smells) are great, since these “messages” last for days and even weeks. The messages can say that this is their territory, a good keep out sign, or be similar to a posting on one of the dating services we see on the web; SBw/WFB seeking SBw/WMB (Single black and white haired female Binturong seeking Single black and white haired male Binturong!)

Mike and Alice

Mike Dulaney and Alice in the 1980s

A quick note about the mascot, before we talk snacks. The University of Cincinnati, “Bearcat” originated in 1914 while folks were cheering during a football game. UC was playing the Kentucky “Wildcats” and we had a fullback named Leonard Baehr. The cheerleaders encouraged the crowd to repeat, “They may be Wildcats, but we have a ‘Baehr-cat’ on our side.” So after many years the Bearcat became the official mascot of the school. In 1985, Mike Dulaney, Curator of Mammals for the Cincinnati Zoo (CZBG) began taking “Alice” our Bearcat to UC games, for the fans to enjoy. Today, Alice’s successor “Lucy” can be seen walking along the sidelines at football and basketball games. [Read more →]

March 25, 2013   4 Comments