The New Rocky Shores Exhibit and More From Hogle Zoo
My local zoo recently opened a new “Rocky Shores” exhibit, which was enough of an excuse for me to go again and take some more pictures. The new exhibit, which houses the sort of animals you might see at various points on the Pacific coastline, including otters, seals, and polar bears, is a pretty sweet set-up, particularly with the various underwater views it offers. Hogle Zoo is a very small zoo and I remember it from my childhood with a kind of horror — it wasn’t that awful and I remember the animals being in good shape, but it was a small zoo of its era, complete with big cats in little cages, the elephants on a nearly featureless concrete pad, and other habitats completely unsuitable, and going there on school field trips kind of put me off zoos in general for the next ten years — but I’m incredibly pleased with the efforts they’ve made since to update the zoo and improve the exhibits for the animals. Rocky Shores is a step in the right direction, and the concept drawings for the African Savannah exhibit they’re planning to open in 2014 looks quite good, as well. I have very little commentary to offer, but I did take a lot of pictures of the new exhibit and around the zoo in general, so I should like to present them without further ado:
One of the zoo’s extremely handsome tigers.
A golden lion tamarin
I seriously like golden lion tamarins. They look so silky and cuddly.
OH NO LOOK OUT SEAL YOUR FRIEND IS GOING TO EAT YOUR FACE
Yeah, I think the underwater seal viewing at Rocky Shores is pretty freaking sweet.
I don’t actually know what sort of animal this is. Maybe that’s why he was making that face at me.
The polar bear likes to entertain himself by diving into the water and swimming up right where the little kids gather at the glass to watch him. It’s obviously an incredibly compulsive repetitive behavior so it’s kind of simultaneously adorable and depressing.
I could’ve gotten some seriously sweet photos if it weren’t for reflections on the glass. So much regret. So much.
OTTERS. YOU GUYS. OTTERS.
The bald eagles now live in what looked like a slightly bigger enclosure than their old one, and they’ve been relocated to the Rocky Shores exhibit. Otherwise they’re basically the same as always. I can’t really remember from the interpretive signage but I’m fairly certain both are in the zoo because they’re severely injured in some way and won’t ever fly again.
The spoonbills live in the bird exhibit at the center of the small animal building. I just love them for some reason. They’re very photogenic.
Another of the birds in the small animal building. This one is apparently building something, or else he’s planning to use that leaf to repair somebody’s radiator or something like MacGyver.
Bighorn sheep are just kind of awesome. I was wondering about those things in front of his eyes so I looked them up and apparently they’re preorbital glands which the sheep use to secrete pheromones and other chemicals that they use for marking and communication. Rad.
This extremely large seal lives in the new Rocky Shores exhibit and is in fact larger than their resident polar bear. (To be fair, the polar bear is on the small side and I think he’s just a youngster still.) He’s blind and spends his day swimming in the same circle over and over again, since he knows the dimensions of the space.
Finally, I’ve managed to see the Amur Leopard! She’s beautiful. Or he. I don’t actually know. But beautiful, still.