Tag Archives: cheetah

San Diego Zoo—Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Nice kitty.

San Diego Zoo logo

The oldest part of the San Diego Zoo, Cat Canyon, built in 1915, used to house the big cats. Over the past couple of years all the cats were moved out of Cat Canyon as it was destroyed to make way for the new Africa Rocks! natural habitat exhibit. After Flamingo Lagoon, which was at the Zoo entrance, Cat Canyon was always #2 on our list. The only thing better than big kitties is little household kitties. While Africa Rocks! was being built, one had to trundle all over the Zoo hoping to see the big kitties. Sometimes the big kitties were nowhere to be found, having been loaned to other zoos. Uprooting animals from their homes of 10, 20, 30 years and sending them off to a strange zoo with strange smells, perhaps even colder weather, just seemed so wrong. It’s still difficult to find all the big kitties since there is no Cat Canyon anymore, so here, dear readers, just for you, are all sorts of big kitties in one place, my blog!

Mountain lion at the San Diego Zoo

African lion at the San Diego Zoo

Lion tongue at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Lion paw at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Tiger at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Snow leopard

Mountain lion

Mountain lion

Cheetah at the San Diego Zoo

Snow leopard

Rarely is the snow leopard (last picture) visible so well, either because he’s wandering around or hiding. I had never noticed that he only has one eye, and didn’t notice that until just now when I was processing these pictures. This is one reason why having a nice 150-600mm telephoto lens is useful, to get up close and personal, to see things one has never seen before.

In today’s world, all of the animals residing at the San Diego Zoo come from four sources: (1) born at the Zoo; (2) rescued from a failing zoo somewhere else, like eight of elephants that were rescued from a zoo closing in Oklahoma and a “backyard zoo” in Texas; (3) rescued from the illegal animal trade; or (4) brought here as part of the Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research or the Global Wildlife Conservancy program.

California CondorThe latter two programs are why we still have California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus). In 1987, the California Condor was declared extinct in the wild due to the effects of DDT, which resulted in defective egg shells, and hunters’ lead bullets. When hunters killed wildlife that the condors feasted on, the condors would often ingest lead bullets as well, which killed them.

California Condor at the San Diego ZooBecause of the Zoo’s breeding program, as of December 2016 there were 446 condors living in the wild or in captivity. The ones living in the wild, about 170 of them, were re-introduced to California, Arizona, Nevada, and Baja California because of the Zoo’s Captive Breeding Program.

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Should we not release our dogs and cats back into the wild?

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I freely admit that I support zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and even SeaWorld to the max, 100%.

I even support circuses when it is done right, and I’ll define “done right” as using positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement.

To me, it’s pretty obvious when animals in our care have been trained with positive reinforcement.

It’s no different from you teaching a dog to roll over, sit, play dead, shake.

It’s done with treats, not whippings.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t like horse racing. I have been to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Races twice with a Photographer All Access pass. A total of twenty hours on two different occasions two years apart. I have yet to see anyone give a horse a treat. Rather, they prod them, poke them, whip them…….. Why are people not protesting that instead of SeaWorld? I don’t understand.

Do animals in our loving care remember those who care for them? I submit that they do:

Here’s another one:

Did zoos, aquariums, SeaWorld, and circuses abuse animals in the past? I believe they did. I believe taking animals out of the wild can, in many circumstances, be considered abuse.

However, I would rather have some of these animals in Zoos to save them than in the wild where they get slaughtered by poachers:

100,000 elephants killed by poachers in 3 years

I would also submit that in today’s world, if you were able to ask these animals if they would prefer to be in the wild struggling to find food each day, fighting for their lives each day…. or in a zoo or aquarium where they get love, attention, food, and medical care…. I believe I know the answer.

Without the leadership of the San Diego Zoo in getting other zoos and sanctuaries to sign on to its California Condor Conservation program, the California Condor would now be extinct. It actually was extinct in the wild as recently as 1987. Through the successful breeding programs of the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos, the California Condor was re-introduced to the wild beginning in 1991 in southern Utah, northern Arizona, central and southern California, and northern Baja California, Mexico. Here are a few of the California Condors at the San Diego Zoo:

Andean condor at the San Diego Zoo

California Condor at the San Diego Zoo

California Condor at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a northern white rhino as a resident. Northern white rhinos are functionally extinct, which means that the seven rhinos that exist in zoos throughout the world are beyond breeding age and that none exist in the wild. When these seven remaining rhinos die, there will be no more unless we can figure out cloning.

Northern white rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Many times each year the Zoo and Safari Park announce the arrival of big babies: orangutans, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, and gorillas. If not for the Zoo, I would never have had the opportunity to see orangutans, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, and gorillas. And my annual membership supports the Zoo’s conservation and breeding programs, to ensure that the California Condor continues to exist in the wild.

The Zoo also re-introduces wildlife to other parts of the world when possible. Unfortunately, people in other countries don’t have the economy that we have in the United States, so they don’t mind slaughtering animals for food and other products.

I try to go once a week to SeaWorld, the Zoo, and Safari Park because one never knows what’s going on each week and which animals will be photogenic for me.

Without Zoos, many millions of people, including me, would never have had the opportunity to see these beautiful creatures:

Mom and baby gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sumatran tiger at Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Himalayan Monal at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Burmese Python at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Black mangabey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camel at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Elephant at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giant Panda at the San Diego Zoo May 2013

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Male lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mama koala and her joey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Forest buffalo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Caracal at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Desert bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Johnston's crocodiles at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fishing cat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zebra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Secretary Bird at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cheetah at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar Bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Knobbed Hornbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red kangaroo at the San Diego Zoo

(Got the kangaroo in there for you, Laurie!)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingos at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I can cite no research to support me, I firmly believe that people who have visited a zoo, sanctuary, or aquarium are more likely to contribute to conservation efforts to save these beautiful creatures from extinction in the wild.

For those who want to release all of these creatures back into the wild, that cannot be done with many of them because they are injured and would not be able to survive. The two bald eagles at Safari Park come to mind, both injured in the wild and rescued, and both unable to fly.

Bald eagles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If we take this to its logical conclusion, then all dogs and cats should be released back into the wild. After all, both species adapt quite quickly to life in the wild, so why are we keeping them penned up in our homes and teaching them tricks? For our entertainment, pleasure, and companionship….

Spoiled dog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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African Lion at the San Diego Zoo

Caturday — Big cats

Cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some recent big cat pictures from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.

1
Jaguar

Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2
Snow Leopard

Snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

3
African Lion (male)

African Lion at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

4
African Lion (female)

African lion at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

5
Cheetah

Cheetah at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

6
Fishing Cat

Fishing cat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

7
African lion (female)

Africa lion (male) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

8
Caracal

Caracal at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

9
Siberian Tiger

Siberian Tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

10
Black Jaguar

Black Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

11
Jaguar
This is a mommy with two cubs,
which might explain the look on her face.

Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Bakka and Miley, cheetah and dog, at the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo — Bakka & Miley, BFF

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Zoo logo

 

I’m back with another series: San Diego Zoo.

There’s just too much at the San Diego Zoo and its sister Safari Park not to have a series, especially since there are thousands of animals and thousands of plants. This way, regardless of whether I feature animals or plants, you’ll always know that I saw them at the Zoo.

For my first post in this series, I thought I would feature Bakka and Miley. Bakka is a male cheetah born in April 2008 and is an Ambassador for the Zoo, meaning that he gets to go to schools, conventions, shows, and the like. Bakka is always accompanied by Miley, his buddy. Miley is a female husky-mix — yes, a dog — born in January 2008.

Bakka and Miley have been raised together so they have no idea that they are supposed to be aggressive towards each other, probably with Bakka winning.

Here’s Bakka and Miley together:

Bakka and Miley, cheetah and dog, at the San Diego Zoo

 

Miley was barking and wanting to play, but Bakka was not in the playing mood, and eventually gave Miley a few slaps to the forehead, visible in this picture:

Miley from the San Diego Zoo

 

Interesting household in that the male (cheetah) rules over the female (dog). lol

Two pictures of Bakka:

Bakka, cheetah ambassador of the San Diego Zoo

 

Bakka, cheetah ambassador of the San Diego Zoo

 

For a couple of hours, usually each day, the San Diego Zoo cheetah and wolf Ambassadors, and their best buddy dogs, are featured in a special Ambassador exhibit area. See the San Diego Zoo map; look for the Urban Jungle just right of front center, and the Ambassadors will be at the northeast in Urban Jungle.

San Diego Zoo location:

San Diego Zoo map

View Larger Map

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Golden eagle at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park

Picture of the momentI have been a member of the San Diego Zoological Society for many years, mostly because the cost of an annual membership is just twice that of a one-day visit. Just one visit a year, then, to the Zoo and to the Safari Park pays for the membership.

More important than that, though, is that I can go anytime I want and spend just a couple of hours, not feeling it necessary to try to see everything and do everything to get my money’s worth.

I have found that by going at different times of the day at different times of the year, I can see things that often are missed on just a one-day visit, specifically the various Ambassadors. Ambassadors are not what you might think; they are not human. They are various animals that the Zoological Society uses for educational purposes at schools and various other events. At any specific visit, you don’t know whether or not you’ll see an Ambassador, or which Ambassador it will be.

At various times I have seen echidnas, alpacas, cheetahs, and mccaws. At a recent visit I was privileged to see a golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Ambassador and got some great pictures which I share with you today.

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

This golden eagle was rescued from the wild where it had been injured. Although it has been rehabilitated, it has also been imprinted. Imprinting happens when people feed a wild animal with the result being that the wild animal no longer understands that it needs to hunt for food. Instead, it sees a human and believes that the human will give it food. That, of course, makes it dangerous for an imprinted bird to be out flying about where it might see humans.

Interesting facts about golden eagles:

  • The highest density of nesting golden eagles is in Alameda County, California, where Oakland is located.
  • Golden eagle territories can be as large as sixty square miles.
  • They are monogamous, usually mate for life, build huge nests, and lay one to four eggs, although only one or two birds survive.
  • Its wing span in the wild can be up to 7.7 feet, up to 9.2 feet in captivity. Captive birds also usually weigh more, up to 27 pounds.
  • The female is the larger of the sexes.
  • The only known predators of golden eagle nests are wolverines and brown bears.
  • The golden eagle is the most common national animal in the world.
  • It is the eighth most depicted bird on postage stamps throughout the world.

Scot #4198b - Golden Eagle

Find other posts in my Picture of the Moment series by clicking on the logo at the upper right.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat