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Three Little Pigs!

Meet Cinder, Thatcher, and Magnolia – our three little pigs. Domestic pigs bred for their small size, they are mini Juliana pigs and will only grow up to about 50 lbs. Thatcher is the spotted male with the blue harness. Magnolia is the spotted female with the purple harness. Cinder is a reddish-brown male.

Thatcher and Magnolia

Thatcher and Magnolia

The pigs live in the Children’s Zoo and can be seen walking around the park with their trainers. At just about 10 weeks old, they are still learning what it’s all about. I’m lucky enough to be on Cinder’s training team.

Giving Cinder a good scratch on the rump

Giving Cinder a good scratch on the rump

This morning we took them for an early morning walk before it got too hot. We stopped to play on the central lawn where the pigs discovered a sprinkler.

Magnolia and Thatcher get a drink from the sprinkler.

Magnolia and Thatcher get a drink from the sprinkler.

Pigs are social by nature. They are curious, intelligent, and easy to train.

Here Eunice is cueing Magnolia to sit. She is rewarded with grain pellets.

Here Eunice is cueing Magnolia to sit. She is rewarded with grain pellets.

Thatcher and Magnolia will soon be showing off their skills in the Barnyard Bonanza show, and Cinder will be out and about meeting and greeting guests. Keep an eye out for them next time you’re at the Zoo!

June 28, 2012   5 Comments

Thursdays with Don & Tom

When Dawn Strasser, head of the Zoo’s nursery, asked me to hold and cuddle  two baby wallabies on my lap every Thursday morning, I said “yes” without hesitation.  Two and a half years ago, when I started my job here as online communications manager, I would have said “no” because I had too much work to do.  I have my boss to thank for actually MAKING me get out to do things that I’ll “remember on my deathbed.”

Today, I jump at the chance to do cool things like see a rhino get an ultrasound, go behind the scenes with the king penguins, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, camels, and a Komodo dragon, hold an African penguin, and touch a red river hog, a porcupine, etc… It’s a long list, but sitting in the nursery with baby wallabies on my lap is right at the top!

BONUS, I can actually get my work done while I hold the babies.  I’ve already tweeted (about the wallabies) answered emails, and now I’m blogging!  Don, the wallaby with the darker face, likes my iPad (see photos below.)  He also likes to play with my camera strap.

Several staff members are also volunteering to help “socialize” Don & Tom.  They will eventually be moved to Lorikeet Landing and will interact with the public, so our “job” is to make sure they learn to like people!  According to Dawn, this is a crucial age for the babies to have positive experiences with humans.  So, I’m thrilled to part of the love team.

I’ll be posting Don & Tom updates each week.  This week they just stayed on my lap all morning. Tom never even poked his head out of the pouch.  Don was curious about everything. I’m probably not supposed to have a favorite, but I’m pretty fond of Don!!

April 6, 2012   4 Comments

Cougar Cubs are in the Nursery

It doesn’t get any cuter than this!

Two eight-week-old Cougar Cubs are now on display in our Children’s Zoo Nursery.  The brothers, named “Joseph” and “Tecumseh” are here to help the Zoo tell a great story about this legendary cat that once lived in all our back yards.

The brothers, born September 19, 2010, will soon join the Cat Ambassador Program in preparation for roles as Animal Ambassadors in the future Night Hunters exhibit.

They weigh approximately 8.5 pounds and are eating meat, four to five times a day, for a total of roughly four pounds daily.  As adults these two males will weigh anywhere from 140 to 200 pounds. Also known as a Mountain Lion, Puma, or Panther, the cougar is the largest of the small cats.

You can see them in the Children’s Zoo now and throughout the PNC Festival of Lights.

November 19, 2010   8 Comments