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Category — Conservation

Dog Log: Chapter 9 – Updates from Cincinnati and Tanzania

Co-written by Dana Burke & Shasta Bray

Here at the Zoo

It’s been six months since our African painted dog boys made their way south, and they are doing great. They especially love watching all of the different hoof stock they get to see while on exhibit. Their keepers tell me they really enjoy watching the waterbuck, but I digress.

Imara and the girls, who are now 15 months old, have been doing well as an all girl group. Imara still tends to let them rule themselves, but will step in if she feels it is necessary. There have been some rumblings among the ranks within the juveniles (as you would expect with all females), but nothing major. Selina is still the alpha with Quinn as her second. These two have been the top two dogs since the females developed their hierarchy when they were very young. Next is Ivy and Lucy follows as the bottom dog.

Selina (Photo: Dana Burke)

Selina (Photo: Dana Burke)

Quinn (Photo: Dana Burke)

Quinn (Photo: Dana Burke)

The plan to move three of the juveniles is finally moving forward. As per the African Painted Dog Species Survival Plan, Selina and Quinn will be transported to the Wilds in Columbus. It is our hope that Selina will breed with a male that they are getting from another zoo. Ivy will be shipped to Honolulu to breed with a male that they house. That leaves Lucy here with Imara.

The reasons why we are shipping which dogs where is a well thought out process that takes into account the status, relationships and personalities of the individuals. Since Selina and Quinn have been bonded for most of their lives, we feel that their best chance for success is to move them together. Quinn has the capability of being a great helper and babysitter if Selina produces a litter. Of course, moving the dogs to a new facility could cause change between the sisters, but with Selina being a true alpha, we expect her to retain her status. Quinn has never really challenged her and moving to a new space will most likely result in her looking to Selina for guidance. All of these factors should lead to a smooth introduction to the male in a best case scenario.

Ivy (Photo: Dana Burke)

Ivy (Photo: Dana Burke)

We chose to move Ivy as a single dog because of her personality as well. In the last few months, Ivy has become a more confident dog. That being said, with her increase in confidence, she has also become more of a trouble maker and has challenged all of her sisters at some point. Ivy likes to stir the pot so to speak. Again, because of these traits, we feel that she would make a great alpha all on her own with a single male.

That leaves Imara and Lucy here in Cincinnati. Imara, who did a beautiful job raising the 10 pups we had in January last year, is not the most confident when it comes to being alpha. Lucy on the other hand, even though she is the bottom dog at this point, has the potential to be a pretty good alpha herself. Truth be told, Lucy is a bit of a wild card.

Lucy (Photo: Dana Burke)

Lucy (Photo: Dana Burke)

Within the next couple months, we will be receiving two male dogs. They will be quarantined and then we will set up for introductions. This is where things can get tricky. An introduction with two males and two females is one of the more challenging scenarios you can encounter with this species; however, the pay-off is a truly social pack that reflects those in the wild. Still, this is where things can get tricky. The keepers and animal manager will plan out each step of the process in order to set up the dogs for ultimate success. There will most likely be some fighting, whether it’s between the males or the females or each other, is impossible to guess. There’s even a chance that Lucy could end up alpha over Imara. Genetically, she is technically more valuable than her mother due to being Brahma’s offspring so we are fine with any outcome.

We collected information about the males from their current keepers, but it will be very important to observe them while in quarantine to confirm their hierarchy with each other. The introductions themselves will be done inside the building and once started will be complete in just a few hours. It may take them minutes or days to settle their social structure, but once they do, only the alphas will breed and produce pups. We have a lot of changes coming and are all really excited for what the future holds for this species. We will be sure to keep everyone updated on what is happening and how things are progressing.

Across the Globe in Tanzania

We may be wrapping up with our April showers here in Cincinnati, but they were nothing like the rains that El Nino dumped on our field partners with the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) over the past few months.  Flooding of the Ruaha River caused all kinds of transportation problems.

The Ruaha River overflowed its banks and made travel dangerous in the region. (Photo: Ruaha Carnivore Project)

The Ruaha River overflowed its banks and made travel dangerous in the region. (Photo: Ruaha Carnivore Project)

The good thing about using remote-triggered cameras to monitor wildlife in the region is that the cameras continue to take pictures even when you have trouble reaching them. Fortunately, only a few of the cameras floated away during the heavy flooding.

Painted dogs caught on camera (Photo: Ruaha Carnivore Project)

Painted dogs caught on camera (Photo: Ruaha Carnivore Project)

RCP works to secure a future for large carnivores such as African painted dogs, lions and hyenas in and around Ruaha National Park in Tanzania. This region is home to the third largest population of painted dogs in Africa. Check out RCP’s latest update from the field to learn more.

May 4, 2016   2 Comments

Taking Root: Nearly 200,000 Trees Planted So Far

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – African proverb

girls hug treeIt’s Arbor Day, the day to take notice of all the wonderful things our leafy green neighbors provide us – beauty, shade, clean water and oxygen, just to name a few. Planting a tree isn’t just about what it can do for us today; it’s an investment in our future.

Join us in support of the Taking Root campaign, a region-wide initiative to plant one tree per person (two million) in the Tri-state by 2020. Last year around this time, nearly 85,000 trees had been planted and registered with Taking Root. This year, that number is approaching 200,000 and growing fast as the campaign gains momentum.Taking Root logo

Greening the Flying Pig

Last year, Taking Root teamed up with the Flying Pig Marathon to plant trees along marathon route that will offset the carbon footprint of the event. The goal is to plant 26 trees for 26 miles. If you’re running the Flying Pig Marathon this Sunday, look for several trees that have already been planted along Victory Parkway and Pete Rose Way.

Tree planted along the Flying Pig Marathon route (Photo: Taking Root)

Tree planted along the Flying Pig Marathon route (Photo: Taking Root)

Make a Difference Day

Taking Root also kicked off its first annual, region-wide tree planting event on National Make a Difference Day on October 24, 2015. On that day, 29 teams in 22 different Tri-state communities planted 1,100 trees! This year, Taking Root plans to make an even bigger difference on National Make a Difference Day on October 22, 2016.

make a difference day planting

(Photo: Taking Root)

Connecting People with Resources

If you can’t plant a tree in your own yard, consider joining a tree planting event at your local park or organize a tree planting at your church or school. In fact, if you have a project in mind, Taking Root is happy to help connect you with the resources you need. That’s what the Cincinnati Recreation Commission did when they needed help planting trees at the Olden Recreation Area in East Price Hill last week. Taking Root was able to connect them with expertise from Holscher Hackman Garden Center and volunteers from Macy’s to get the job done. Submit your project application here.

Planting trees in East Price Hill

Planting trees in East Price Hill (Photo: Taking Root)

Wherever you find yourself on this Arbor Day, take a minute to appreciate the trees around you and consider supporting the Taking Root campaign to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.

April 29, 2016   No Comments

Celebrating Earth Day with a Party for the Planet!

Happy Earth Day! While we encourage our community to be earth-friendly all year round, we’ll take the opportunity to really drive the message home during our 7th annual “Party for the Planet” next Thursday, April 28 from 4-8:30pm. It’s a celebration of the Earth, and a festival for all things “green” in Cincinnati. Businesses and organizations from around the region will be on hand at the Greenest Zoo in America to share their expertise and resources about living more sustainability within our communities. Topics include solar energy, composting, recycling, energy efficiency, green building, rain gardens/barrels, sustainable food, green products, beekeeping, and many more.

Excited to learn how to help our planet! (Photo: Fia Cifuentes)

Excited to learn how to help our planet! (Photo: Fia Cifuentes)

In addition to learning ways to go green, also visit the Go Green Garden for the 4th Annual Rain Barrel Painting Event, hosted by the Cincinnati Zoo, Save Local Waters and the Regional Stormwater Collaborative. Rain barrels are an easy and inexpensive way to conserve water and save money, and for homeowners to take one small action that collectively will have a major impact on our local environment. Local artists have done their part to motivate area homeowners to save rainwater in dazzling beautiful rain barrels. The typical dull green or drab rain barrel has been revamped into a creative and colorful accent piece that will make any homeowner proud to use in their landscaping. Participate in the People’s Choice Award and vote for your favorite painted rain barrel online.

Check out some of the beautifully painted rain barrels that will be up for auction.

Check out some of the beautifully painted rain barrels that will be up for auction.

Guests will be able to bid on their favorite barrels for purchase during a silent auction from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Bids start at $90, increasing by $10. This year, we are also offering a “buy it now” price of $450. Cash, checks, and credit cards will be accepted. All proceeds benefit Save Local Waters and the Cincinnati Zoo for environmental education and sustainability projects.

Party for the Planet takes place during Tunes & Blooms, a weekly concert Thursdays in April, featuring local musicians. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful tulips and other spring flowers the Zoo has planted, listen to some great, local music, learn about ways to go green, and enjoy the spring evening with your family and friends. And, enjoy Zoo Blooms all around.

The Party is free with Zoo admission. Admission to the Zoo is FREE after 5pm and parking is $10.

Even the peacocks love the blooms! (Photo: Deb Simon)

Even the peacocks love the blooms! (Photo: Deb Simon)

April 22, 2016   No Comments