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August is, in many parts of the country, a miserable month. The weather is hot, humid, and - if you're lucky - punctuated by thunderstorms. But it still counts as summer, which means summer travel, which means zoo travel. All of which is a roundabout way of saying here are some U.S. zoos with baby elephants that you can go visit:
· The Fort Worth Zoo's social media people have been having a lot of fun with their new baby elephant, Belle. We've embedded a couple of videos below that showcase the newborn. The first is a news video with footage of Belle playing in a kiddie pool. The footage was produced by the zoo and published by the Associated Press. It quickly went viral, mostly on account of how it's a video of a baby elephant playing in a kiddie pool. The second video is an ad produced by the zoo, and if you watch it through the end you'll see even more baby elephant footage.
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A few years ago, Asha and her sister Chandra were temporarily transferred from their Asian elephant home at the Oklahoma City Zoo to the Tulsa Zoo, where they could hang out with Tulsa's bull Sneezy.
The goal was two-fold. First, the OKC Zoo needed the sisters away while the zoo constructed a new Elephant Habitat. The exhibit was completed and opened to the public last month, covering 9.5 acres of the parkone of the largest Asian elephant exhibits in any US zoo. There are three yards, a pool, and multiple display platforms for the public, plus specific areas where the elephants can be viewed while they're cared for. Task completed.
Second, the hope was that Sneezy would get the girls pregnant. Here the success was 50/50, with Asha but not Chandra coming back knocked up. Fast forward to last weekend, and the zoo got to announce their first ever elephant birth, a 304-pound girl who has yet to be named. There's actually a naming contest open to the public that should launch some time tomorrow or Friday, where zoo-goers will get to pick among three choices selected by the keepers.
Zoos / Animals / Pandas / Elephants / Thailand Travel / → All Tags
The very happy nation of Thailand joined the panda-monium craze this week as the Chiang Mai Zoo in Bangkok introduced the country’s first every baby panda. After six years of feverish attempts to mate their two adult pandas, including a mock wedding and widely circulated “panda porns” of the pair attempting to reproduce, the country finally became just the fourth in the world to ever breed a panda cub in captivity.
Eager Thais finally got to see the six-week-old cub this week, and the cuddly critter has proved so popular that there were more than 500,000 entries in a contest to name it, and the zoo is building a pricey new snow house for the happy new family.
But not everyone is psyched about the panda craze. Zookeepers in the elephant kraal have grown incensed that no one is stopping by to see their pachyderms—Thailand’s national animal—and in protest this week they took to watercolors and painted the elephants in panda garb. Hilarious, until Peta hears about it. Maybe they’d have more luck if they made some elephant porn?
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Take three San Diego Zoo elephants, add four Wild Animal Park elephants, and what've you got? A herd of elephants that apparently needs a $45 million enclosure.
It's pricey but pretty cool. The new Elephant Odyssey at San Diego Zoo opens on May 23 and includes a 120,000-gallon pool in a 2.5-acre yard. Interesting for us but perhaps a bit embarrassing for the elephants, it'll also have a publicly visible vet facility so we can watch their check-ups.
The seven elephants – Ranchipur, Mary, Cookie, Cha-Cha, Sumithi, Devi and Tembo – might get confused by some of the eight life-size replica statues that will also be part of the Elephant Odyssey exhibit. They include a mammoth, giant sloth and a saber-toothed cat, all representative of the wildlife of southern California thousands of years ago. Just remember that while the concrete ones don't bite, the elephants might, especially if you laugh at them while the vet's doing any sensitive check-ups.
· San Diego Zoo Elephant Odyssey [Official Site]
· San Diego Zoo Adding $45 Million Elephant Odyssey [LA Times]
· Where to Placate Our Future Animal Overlords [Jaunted]
· San Diego Travel Guide [Jaunted]
[Photo: San Diego Shooter]
Southern Africa opened an auction of existing ivory stockpiles Tuesday, selling off more than 220,000 pounds of what's ordinarily contraband in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The nations plan to sell the confiscated, poached tusks to approved Chinese and Japanese entities, and return the funds they earn to existing environmental conservation efforts.
The whole things strikes us as a bit counter-intuitive, like PETA hosting a pig roast fund raiser to promote vegan lifestyles. But if the pig’s already dead, then why not right? No point in letting good tusks go to waste.
Opponents say the sales could reignite a dying trade, and warn that the ivory could eventually end up in the wrong hands, particularly in China where the rules appear particularly lax. The potential bounty from the sales could be as high as $30 million: We hope our surviving trunked friends see a chunk of the cash.
Grab a coffee and start your weekend off with a few minutes of wild animal safari and ambient techno. This groovy new clip from Boing Boing tv was shot in the northwest corner of Benin, near the border with Burkino Faso, and it takes you out into the wilds of the Pendjari Biosphere, one of a dwindling number of places in Western Africa where indigenous wildlife still thrives. Kick back as a big female elephant takes serious offense at the correspondent's proximity to her youngsters, and try not to chuckle as a frisky baboon touches a colleague most inappropriately at a watering hole. Yuks aside, it's a nicely produced video that will make you want to take off to the savannas of Africa yourself.
Sir, you can't beg for coins here, put your trunk away! The New York Times reports on the phenomenon of domesticated elephants begging on the streets of Bangkok. It's technically illegal to sell elephant treats to tourists, but the rewards are great: In four nights of begging an elephant handler can make the same amount of money the typical Thai worker makes in a month.
We remain mystified by the type of animal lover that would leave an entire loaf of stale bread out for every city pigeon to consume or spend his last quarter in the zoo feed machine. But being approached by an elephant--no matter how pushy the human handler--must require incredible stamina. How could you possibly resist the cuteness?!
[Photo: Robin Thom]
We love adventure travel, particularly when it involves wildlife. And for some good stuff right now Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa is the place to be because October is the start of the high season for guided game drives.
This ecologically diverse park on the Eastern Cape is home to 400 bird species as well as the big seven: elephants, rhinos, lions, buffaloes, leopards, whales and great white sharks. It's the perfect spot to head out on safari and see some beasts.
Sunrise guided game rides are perfect for hunting buffalo and spotting kudu, while afternoon jaunts prove a good chance for catching elephants, antelope, zebra, warthog and ostrich. Addo Elephant National Park also caters to those who prefer night to noon with sunset and evening drive options, too. Wild game fanatics can catch a glimpse of black rhino, buffalo, lions, springhares, genets and polecats.