Sunday, October 27, 2013

Faces of Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

 Having more fun than a barrel of monkeys seems to be an "every day" thing at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.  I had the good fortune to be their guest this weekend at an AMAZING  Native Plant Symposium.  A lot of my heroes were on the speaking docket and the attendees were an enlightened and gracious group of individuals.

But before we get to that, let me show you a few photos from a little behind the scene VIP tour I got on Friday, thanks to Brian Jorg.

Easily a character from Dr. Seuss' imagination!
I forgot to write down what this is!  Goodness it must be some sort of monkey, perhaps the "Handlebar Moustache Monkey."  I think his photo belongs here.

 Naked-mole Rat.  Seriously, never in my life did I dream I would see the real thing, much less two.  The wonders that can be found in Cincinnati!

Butterfly house?  Why yes, please.  I would love to see a hundred Passion Flower Butterflies, Heliconius melpomene.

Mexican Wolf has been extirpated from its range in Arizona and New Mexico.  Unfortunately, some folks in those states don't want him back.  What not to like about this incredible canine?

 Red Panda.  This animal is just drop-dead cute.  I know I am gushing and not being very scientific.  But seriously, ADORABLE.  I want two.

The architecture at the elephant house was a delight to behold.  Certainly you have seen Asian Elephants before, but the detailing of the building, the beautiful plants and fencing really captured my eye.

A real thinker.  Perhaps this Low-land Gorilla has more going on in his brain than most of our elected politicians. Side view is the same guy close up. He was fascinating to study.

Scott Beuerlein, Cincinnati Zoo staff 

Just so you are not confused, he is also deep in thought, but this is a different guy.  Scott Beuerlein gave a fabulous program on Native Trees. He also made all the arrangements for the speakers and was a kind and gracious host.

Steve Foltz and Brain Jorg
 Two more incredibly talented staff members from the Zoo and Botanical Garden.  Steve and Brian both gave excellent programs as well. Honestly, there was so much talent on this program, I felt like I was breathing rarefied air.  Their work paid off big, as this was an excellent symposium which I would highly recommend.  They are doing conservation and restoration work of both animal and land.  I was truly inspired.

Passenger Pigeon, now extinct.
 Moreover, this is the real work of zoos.  Creating safe-havens for endangered species, scientifically gathering the best genetically diverse material for the preservation of species, and educating the public.

Zoos have come a long way from the scary places of my youth, where caged animals paced and panted.  If our visitations help to pay for all the good this dedicated group of people are working to produce, then let us visit, and learn.  Thank you Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.  It was an amazing weekend.

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