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Top 10 Zoo Stories from 2010

In 2010 we opened a new exhibit Dragons!, a new and improved Children’s Zoo and a brand new Cheetah Encounter facility.  We mourned the loss of Akilah, our beloved giraffe, and Nikki’s rhino calf, who lived less than one day (read rhino pregnancy blog posts.)  We celebrated the birth of two bonobos, the release of two rehabilitated manatees, the arrival of three new manatees, scientific achievements and the remarkable success of our cell phone recycling program!

Thanks to our fantastic videographer, Pat Story, we captured most of the year’s highlights on video.  Here are my picks for the top 10 zoo stories of 2010. What were your favorite zoo experiences this year?

1. Bonobo Babies – Outside for the first time!

2. Greenest Zoo in America – Thane Maynard narrates this “green” tour of the Zoo.

3. Manatee Released in Florida – Former resident of Manatee Springs, Slip, swims off with his new tracking gear!

4. Cincinnati Opera Returns to the Zoo – Wonderful voices in Wings of Wonder amphitheater.

5. Nikki’s Pregnancy - Historically significant as the first live birth of an Indian rhino using frozen sperm to AI the mother. Sadly, the calf lived less than one day.

6. New Cheetah Encounter – Thane & Cathryn Hilker show us around the new facility.

7. Dragons! Exhibit Opens – Featuring Hudo the Komodo dragon.

8. New & Improved Children’s Zoo – Home to Little Penguins, Goats, Llama, Alpaca, the Nursery & a play area where kids can pretend to “be the animal!”

9. Cell Phone Recycling Program – We collected 10, 355 phones!!

10. New Silverback Gorilla, Kwashi, meets the Females in his Group

January 6, 2011   2 Comments

Lounging Poolside During the Homestretch of Pregnancy

Like most pregnant women in late summer,  Nikki can be found lounging in her private pool daily as her pregnancy comes to an end.  At 4,100 pounds, you can easily imagine the weight water’s buoyancy takes off Nikki’s aching bones.

relaxing in water

relaxing in water

Indian rhinos are the most aquatic of the five rhino species, so Nikki would normally enjoy dips in her 40-inch-deep pool.  The water is more appealing than usual when she’s carrying a 100+ pound rhino calf!  And, with temperatures outside reaching record highs in Cincinnati, and the pool set to a cool 55-60 degrees, Nikki finds herself spending more and more time in the soft waters of her hideaway.

Beginning October 1, Nikki will no longer have access to her pool, due to her approaching due date,  but for now you can stop by the Zoo and see Nikki daily, lounging by the pool and counting down the days to her due date.

What was your favorite way to stay comfortable during pregnancy?

September 9, 2010   2 Comments

What a “Cool” Rhino Baby

While we don’t provide the daily husbandry and care for the father of Nikki’s calf on Cincinnati Zoo grounds, because he lives at the Bronx Zoo, we do care for his contribution (frozen sperm).  Here is a picture of the Indian rhino sperm bank after one of our CREW team members tops it off with liquid nitrogen.

The “bank” is shorthand for a set of insulated tanks (eg. high quality thermoses).  We top off all the tanks in CREW’s CryoBioBank every Friday to ensure they are maintained at minus 320°F.  While we don’t have male Indian rhinos at the Cincinnati Zoo, we have the genetic potential (sperm) of the most valuable males cryopreseved for use in artificial insemination procedures.  You can imagine just how hard it would be to ship a male Indian rhino around, especially one that lives in another state or another country.

August 30, 2010   No Comments