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May 31, 2018

It's All Happening At The Zoo

by Steve Winogradsky


As big fans of the the Animal Planet program "The Zoo", which gives a behind the scenes look at the Bronx Zoo, we knew we had to visit. Jim Breheny, director of the Zoo, has said that if you asked a child to draw a picture of a zoo, it would be animals behind bars. He and his staff have worked to change that image.

Just outside the Zoo were some public restrooms, which had some interesting information.

Who knew?
Just inside the gates, you get a great view of a section of the Bronx River, which flows for 24 miles through southeastern New York.

A river runs through it.
One of the first animals we saw was the bison, which was recently named the national mammal (no, I didn't know we had a national mammal, either).


Next came the World of Birds, with many exotic species of birds from around the world.

Guira Cookoos

Western Caspercaillie



We saw some Pere David's Deer, who were almost extinct but have made a remarkable comeback.  They have an interesting habit of using their antlers to throw mud on themselves for cooling.


Next, on to Tiger Mountain, where we saw a tiger romp in a pond and come right up to the glass window, putting his huge paw on the glass as children on the other side put their hands up to try to touch it. This went on until the tiger left the pond and walked around the enclosure.

Who said cats don't like water?



Often times, the male and female of a species will have different coloration. A good example is the Ebony Langur, from Java. Despite the name, these are not black, but reddish brown.



Meet the Gharial, a crocodile-like creature from Nepal.


The big cats like lions are always a popular attraction. As it was a hot day, they were kind of lazy.

Let sleeping cats lie.


The Nubian Ibex has an impressive set of horns.

Who said size is not important?
We felt safe in the zoo, protected from the animals, until we saw these creatures running wild throughout the park.

"Born Free"
We also saw Grizzly Bears playing in their pond and romping with each other. These guys are huge!



Note the differences between the Cuban Crocodile (top) and the American Alligator. Despite these differences, these two species will sometime mate with each other.



On our trip to Tanzania over 15 years ago, we saw some Colubus Monkeys. Saw them here also. Just a coincidence, or are they stalking us?


One of the more unusual animals we saw was the Okapi, which is a species of giraffe, despite the hind quarters looking like a zebra. But note the shape of the head and you can see the resemblance to a giraffe.

What committee created this animal?
There are several species of guinons in the world, but this one is the Wolf's Monkey, named after the naturalist who discovered them.



From small to large, we moved on the the gorilla enclosure. From large male silverbacks...



...to younger animals, they are always fun to see.

Hitchin' a ride.

A little "me" time


Jim Breheny has said that they thought that they were building an exhibit where people could see the gorillas, but soon realized that it was for the gorillas to see the people.

Up close and personal
We spent a whole day at the zoo, leaving just before it started to rain. Another "don't miss" if you get to NYC.




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