"" Writer's Wanderings: Cleveland's Countdown to RNC - Sprucing Up The Zoo

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Cleveland's Countdown to RNC - Sprucing Up The Zoo

Sporting a new set of antlers.
On our visit to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo last week we checked up on all the projects that were going on over our warm winter. We thought the new tiger exhibit would be done. It's close but still has a ways to go.

The Rosebrough Tiger Passage will be home to the Zoo's two Amur tigers, Dasha and Klechka. Their species of tigers is found in the Amur River region of Russia and sometimes in nearby China. The new exhibit which replaces the old 1960's one will more than double the space the tigers had. It will also allow for vertical space-areas where the tigers can climb. The vertical spaces are designed to allow the tigers to actually pass over the heads of the visitors below. Heated rocks and pools of water will provide a respite in winter although the tigers are a breed that survive the cold Russian winters. Dasha and Klechka however were born in captivity so perhaps they need a little extra pampering. Opening of the exhibit should be an exciting event for both animal and visitor. Projected finish date is in June.

The seals have a refurbished habitat with clear windows for viewing. There is a main pool and a smaller one. A hot tub? Who knows. They did look quite comfortable but then they usually do gliding through the water and turning somersaults.

One of the greenhouses has been removed and in it's place is a small 4-D theater which according to the zoo volunteer will be an immersion into the movie that will be shown. I'm guessing it will be something like an IMAX only on a much smaller scale. There will be an extra charge for it as there is for some of the other special features in the park.

Also new to the Zoo is Doc. No, he's not a new veterinarian in the animal hospital. He's a new addition to our lion pride. I thought when I looked at him he was just a teenager and the article I found in my Cleveland Zoological Society magazine confirmed it. He is a two year old male African lion which explains why his mane is not full yet. We saw several male adolescents in the pride that we followed on our Safari in 2015. He comes to Cleveland from Texas where he needed to be moved away from any conflict with his father.

The Sarah Allen Steffe Center for Zoological Medicine is always an interesting place. We have watched several procedures on animals large and small through the observation windows--even a root canal on a Mandrill monkey. This day they were set up for something and when we asked, it turned out they were offering some sort of free testing to volunteers and zoo personnel. There is always an animal or two out and about for you to get a closer look and we made friends with a kookabura. He was in the hospital to try to get his beak straightened and the point fixed. Don't know what he ran into but it had to hurt.

Amid the smell of fresh mulch, flowers and trees were blooming and budding out. When it comes time for the RNC in July it will provide a nice retreat from all the activity downtown. And if what we saw on our visit is any indication, there will be some new hatchlings and the promise of a few new animal babies in the months to come.

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