Monday, May 10, 2010

Adios Cinco!

After a little over a year, Cinco, the male giraffe that was born under less than ideal conditions will be leaving Como Zoo and traveling to Texas to be a part of a new Savanna exhibit at the Dallas Zoo where he will be in a herd with 13 giraffe as well as other African species. Cinco had a rocky start to life, having to spend a week at the University of Minnesota's Intensive Care Unit due to complications at birth.

He later took another trip to the U of Mn via police transport when he required surgery to correct the growth plates in his legs. Since then, Cinco has grown by leaps and bounds, nearly equal in height to his mother Clover. He is going to be missed by zoo staff and visitors alike. Cinco was always willing to take a cracker from his trainers or nibble their shirts or hair and slime them with his long tongue.

Safe journey Cinco. Adios!

When Chino met Subee

A fountain of water splashed up towards the zoo keepers as Chino the California Sea Lion made his way from his transport crate into seal island last Tuesday morning. At 562 pounds, he makes quite a splash!

After nibbling a few fish that trainer Julie dropped in for him, he went off to explore the island. To Chino's surprise, he was greeted by a petite, 100 pound sea lion named Subee. Subee had been on the island for about a week and a half exploring her new exhibit and she appeared quite excited to meet Chino. As soon as she saw him, she went up and nuzzled noses with him, then proceeded to follow him around the island.

Subee and Chino seem to be getting along swimmingly. Both are eager to eat the fish the trainers offer them, but are just as happy to swim along next to eachother in their free time. In a few weeks, they will be joined by Harbor Seals, Max and Ginger and the island will be full for the season.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tortoise training

Since 2001, a formal operant conditioning training program has been going strong at Como Zoo. Initially the program started with the seals and sea lions, but over the years has blossomed to include primates, large cats, hoofstock and even Galapagos Tortoises. The tortoises are fast learners if not fast movers and have an excellent ability to retain their training skills even if they are not trained every day. This year, we added some of the smaller tortoises to the training program. Like their larger relatives, they are highly motivated and quick learners. They will be displaying their training skills in this year's "Creature Feature" show which begins in June and runs Monday through Friday at 12:30 and 2:00 and weekends and holidays at 12:30. I hope you can make it out to see them, they are so cute touching their little beaks to the target and opening their mouths wide for their treats.