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June 9 to 13, 2014, Summer Camp Podcasts

Learn about cheetahs, red pandas and tigers from our 6th – 8th grade Working with Wildlife Summer Campers!

Cheetahs

Red pandas

Tigers

 

June 18, 2014   1 Comment

El Zoologico Experiencia (The Zoo Experience in a Zoo Academy Student’s Words)

Guest blogger: Zoo Academy student, Keri Cross

Hello everyone! My name is Keri Cross, and I am a Zoo Academy senior!!!!!! I started attending the Zoo Academy last year, and the experience has been absolutely AMAZING!!!!!! I have evolved a lot since I first started attending the Zoo Academy, and the journey has been very impactful for me. I have met so many nice people here at the Zoo, and the keepers are the funniest people I have ever been around. They are always in good high spirits, and they keep me wanting to come back and help them the best I can.

As far as picking which department is my favorite, I really don’t have a favorite area. Every area I have worked in has something great about it, and it makes it hard to pick which one would be my absolute favorite. I have picked up skills from each lab, which I carry throughout not only the future labs, but also in my personal life as well.

My favorite animal that I have worked with has actually been the screaming hairy armadillo. They are one of the cutest animals I have seen since I’ve been at the Zoo. Bonnie, which is one of the screaming hairy armadillos, is actually my favorite. She lets me pick her up and hold her. She has made working with the screaming hairy armadillos a real pleasure. The screaming hairy armadillos are used to educate the public about the species. The Zoo usually socializes them, so they are use to human contact, but they really wouldn’t make good pets in someone’s home. The reason is mainly because they are pretty messy, and they are wild animals. The screaming hairy armadillo usually lives in desert, grassland, scrubland, and forest areas. Their diet includes plants and tasty bugs. They have an excellent sense of smell, and they are amazing diggers, too. Usually when it’s very hot, the screaming hairy armadillos dig burrows, which measure up to several meters in length, so that they can be protected from those hot, sunny days. Surprisingly, in the winter, they are very active during the day. Want to know an interesting fact???? Baby armadillos are called “pups”. A female is called a “zed” and the male is a “lister”.

Bonnie, the screaming hairy armadillo

Bonnie, the screaming hairy armadillo

My favorite animal overall would have to be the cheetah. The cheetah is one of the most beautiful animals I have ever seen. They have interesting patterns on their back, and they have big, beautiful brown eyes. Cheetahs usually come from the plains of Africa, wandering the savannas. Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on the planet!!!!!!!! With their extremely fast speed and good eyesight, they are able to spot their prey and immediately catch it. They are actually a species that is endangered right now. At this point, dedicated people are working hard to try to restore these beautiful creatures in the wild.

My favorite animal is the cheetah. (Photo: Dave Jenike)

My favorite animal is the cheetah. (Photo: Dave Jenike)

One experience from the Zoo so far that has been my absolute favorite has been actually being able to work with the reptiles. Reptiles are some of my absolute favorite animals, and I have been able to handle different types of reptiles. Crystal, a ball python, has actually been my favorite snake to handle. She comes from Africa. Her scientific name is Python regius, and she belongs to the python family. Ball pythons are also called royal pythons, and they are actually the calmest snakes that I have ever worked with.

Crystal, the ball python

Crystal, the ball python

Crystal is talking to me.

Crystal is talking to me.

With my experience so far this year, I’ve realized that this journey has been absolutely amazing. I take classes actually at the Zoo, which is pretty amazing, so I get to come to the Zoo every day, and work with the different types of animals. I’ve met a lot of great people who want to see me do great things in the future, especially with helping animals. My desire in life is to help animals, and I feel like I’m doing that every day I come to the different areas in the Zoo. My job right now may not be that much, but it all goes a long way in the end. I’m glad that I chose the Zoo Academy because I feel like I’m doing something that will stick with me forever. This experience will help lead me to bigger and better things in the future.

October 10, 2013   10 Comments

My Trip to Africa!

Guest blogger, Interpretive Media Intern, Crissi Lanier:
     It’s no secret that of all the animals at the Zoo, some of my favorites are the big cats.  So when I found out that there would be a new cheetah exhibit and an African lion, I was counting down the days until the new exhibit opened.  AFRICA IS NOW OPEN!!!  I went to see Africa a few days after it opened and was so excited I almost ran to the entrance.  First, I saw the cheetahs in their brand new home that brings them closer to visitors with a beautiful waterfall and lush landscape. Now I can see how beautiful their eyes are!
Cheetah-Photo:Crissi Lanier

Relaxing in the shade (Photo: Crissi Lanier)

     As I left the cheetah exhibit, in front of me was a beautiful landscape stretching out that truly made me feel like I was in another country! This spacious grassy area, complete with cliffs and waterfalls, will be home to zebra, gazelle,  and other savannah wildlife next summer.
     On my right was a great hands-on area for all visitors, big and small. Zoo staff had various African animals here throughout the day to learn about and touch, putting Africa at everyone’s fingertips.
Photo:Crissi Lanier

Meeting a yellow-billed hornbill (Photo: Crissi Lanier)

East African Pygmy Hedgehog-Photo:Crissi Lanier

A unique chance to touch a hedgehog! (Photo: Crissi Lanier)

     Finally, I found the king of the jungle – an African Lion named John. He was truly impressive when he finally walked out from the back. That was a sight I won’t soon forget. He had been a little shy since coming to Cincinnati from the National Zoo. John is almost three years old and weighs about 300 pounds. His keepers say every day he’s getting braver and coming closer to the glass that separates him from the visitors. With all the rocks and trees and his magnificent presence, I certainly felt like I was in my very own Lion King!  If only I had Timon and Pumba singing…
John-Photo:Crissi Lanier

It’s good to be king! (Photo: Crissi Lanier)

     After my African adventure, I stopped by the newly renovated Base Camp Cafe at the entrance to Africa. Here I had lunch while overlooking the African landscape and listening for John in the distance.
Overlooking Africa

Overlooking Africa

     So come take a little trip, like I did, to Africa. Bring your camera and prepare to be transported!

July 23, 2013   1 Comment