My pal John Curley, the multitalented bassist in the Afghan Whigs and Plastic Ants, took this incredible photo of Harapan the Sumatran rhinoceros at the excellent Cincinnati Zoo. Sadly, Sumatran rhinos are one of the world's most endangered animals with around 100 left on Earth. John says:
Harry is friendly, good-natured and adored by everyone at the zoo. He loves bananas and quiet walks on the beach at sunset (I'm kidding about that last part). Thanks to @mdcurley my amazing wife, for the unique opportunity to see this rare and beautiful creature up close.
Sumatran Rhino Project (Cincinnati Zoo)
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Painted dogs, also known as African wild dogs, are some of the most successful large predators. They are more effective than the other large, African carnivores—lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas—when it comes to hunting.
Unfortunately, that hasn't saved the species from decline, and it is now listed as an endangered species. Many zoos and other conservation organizations are working to save the painted dog.
So when a litter of painted dog pups was born at the Oklahoma Zoo, it was cause for excitement. Sadly, things didn't look good for the pups when Xena, their young mother, proved ineffective at caring for and feeding them.
That's when Lily the golden retriever, a retired rescue dog, saved the day. She adopted the pups of her wild cousin and is doing a bang-up job as a foster mom.
Here's another video of the adorableness.
I have this great teenage memory of standing next to my father at the Baltimore aquarium, as we both attempted to stridently ignore the gigantic walrus penis that was flopped out right in front of us. I assume a lot of people have similar zoo memories. But, if Lisa Britton has her way, children of the future will at least have some interesting facts to go along with the familial awkwardness. She's the new "birds and bees consultant" at England's Chessington World of Adventures zoo. Her job: Explain copulating animals to kids (and help their parents get past the deer-in-the-headlights response). The Guardian has a short profile.
Why is this owl on a scale? Because of science.
Tracking the growth of captive animals isn't just about making sure the captive animals are well taken care of. It's also an important part of understanding animal life cycles and how life in captivity differs from life in the wild. Data on millions of animals is stored in the Zoological Information Management System—a database used by zookeepers, aquarium officials, and researchers. In order to have that database, though, zoos and aquariums must do annual inventories of their charges—measuring height and weight, and recording data on details like egg-laying patterns. And this is where the cute comes in.
The Guardian has a slideshow of images taken last week during the London Zoo's animal inventory. If you've ever wanted to see somebody stretch a tape measure around a penguin's chubby belly, or coo over meerkats climbing around a scale, this is your chance.
See the rest of the photos