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Showing posts with label Toronto Zoo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toronto Zoo. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Scenic Safari

Scenic Safari At The Toronto Zoo

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  May 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Since the Toronto Zoo was closed due to COVID-19 we have missed our visits.  The zoo finally reopened. Due to social distancing you can not walk around the zoo but must drive your car through instead.  We were one of the first to sign up for this unique opportunity.  We followed a long line of cars as we slowly made our way towards the front gate and then drove right inside.

Indian Rhino Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari.

  The zoo normally has a zoomobile that circles the grounds.  We mostly followed the same path that it takes with a few added diversions due to there being no pedestrians to worry about.  The first animal we drove towards was the Indian Rhino.  They were outside ready to greet us as we slowly rolled past.  An Indian Rhino can weigh over 1600 kg which is the same as our car.

Long Bridge At Toronto Zoo Over Rouge Valley.

  The next step was a highlight.  We got to drive on the long bridge that crosses over the Rouge Valley.  We kept the car straight and steady as we rumbled across.

White Rhino Scenic Safari Toronto Zoo

The next animal we encountered was the Southern White Rhino.  We had now entered Africa.  We were glad that the rhino was behind a fence as we forgot to check if our insurance would cover us for collisions with a giant mammal while driving on zoo property.

Zebra At Toronto Zoo.

  Usually if you come across something black and white on the road it means to slow down and watch for pedestrians.  One type of pedestrian crossing is called a zebra crossing.  On our Scenic Safari we didn't have to worry about people on the road, but there were a few black and white Grevy's Zebras nearby.

Kopje At Toronto Zoo.

  A kopje is a small, rocky hill that sticks up from the African grasslands.  The Toronto Zoo has one that you can walk through.  Since this is the Scenic Safari that means this time we drove through.

Lion's Den Toronto Zoo.

  It was a bit of a tight fit, but we made it through the lion's den.  We didn't see any lions.   That doesn't mean the lions didn't see us.

Common Eland At Toronto Zoo.
Ankole-Watusi At Toronto Zoo.

  After we emerged from the kopje we passed a group of large antelope called Elands.  We also passed Ankole-Watusi Cattle which have some of the biggest horns of any animal.

Scenic Safari At The Toronto Zoo.

  We still couldn't get over the weird feeling of being in a traffic jam where we usually walked amongst crowds of people.

Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari Traffic Sign.

  There were traffic signs and arrows directing us where to go as we crept around the zoo grounds.  5 km per hour was the maximum speed and no passing allowed.

Scenic Safari Toronto Zoo Flamingos.

  We curved around through the Americas section of the zoo.  We passed a flock of flamingos enjoying the sun.

Fake Coyote At Toronto Zoo.

  We drove around in behind the Australasia Pavilion.  A fake coyote was stationed near where the kangaroo indoor home is located.  This possibly helps keep away other curious creatures.

Red Panda House Toronto Zoo.

  Our safari wound its way into Eurasia where we saw this red panda relaxing in the shade.

Thank You Frontline Workers.  Thank You Toronto Zoo.

  It wasn't much longer until we reached the end of our tour and exited near the zoo's administrative offices.  The whole tour took about one hour and gave us a new view of the zoo.  The only view these days.  Thank you Toronto Zoo and thank you to all the frontline workers.  Here's hoping we will be able to walk through the zoo next time.


Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 287

Friday, 15 May 2020

Orchid Oasis

Orchid Wall At Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  Feb 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Once a year the Toronto Zoo hosts Orchid Oasis in their greenhouse.  It usually happens during the coldest part of the winter and is a nice change of warmth and colour.

Orange & Yellow Orchid Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

  Once our camera adjusted and defogged from the warmth of the greenhouse we took a closer look at what was in bloom.

Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.
Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.
 Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.

  There was an endless variety of patterns and colours.

Lady Slipper Orchids At Toronto Zoo.

  One of our favourite flowers is known as the lady slipper orchid.  They usually have petals that stick way out of each side and a pouch (or lady slipper) in front.

An Orchid Mantis At Toronto Zoo.

  While orchids are beautiful they can also be deadly.  Look closely as the orchid mantis hunts its prey by disguising itelf as an orchid.  When unsuspecting insects come too close they get snatched in its outstretched arms and quickly devoured. 

A Green Frog In Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

Another greenhouse resident was this green frog who had found a better way to spend the winter.  Instead of hibernating in the pond nearby it had snuck into the greenhouse to spend the winter.

Toronto Zoo Orchids.

  In the cold of February it is always enjoyable to go into a greenhouse or pavilion to warm up while visiting the zoo.  It's even better to do it while the orchids are in bloom.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo Greenhouse

Post # 286

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Leaping Cats

A Serval At Safari NIagara.

Location: San Diego, California, USA
Address: 2920 Zoo Dr.
Date: Feb 2014
Website: www.sandiegozoo.org

    The year 2020 is a leap year.  This February 29th we celebrate one of the animal world's greatest leapers.  The serval is a cat that can jump over 9 feet into the air and over 11 feet distance horizontally.  This allows it to snatch a passing bird right out of the sly.

A Leaping Caracal At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

  We witnessed the serval's jumping skills first hand at the San Diego Zoo.  At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park another cat showed off its skills.  In the photo above a caracal launched itself and twisted upside down so it was parallel to the ground.  It did this to catch a little fuzzy toy that was spun around by a string.

A caracal at Toronto Zoo.

  A caracal (above) can also leap over 9 feet into the air. The caracal wins the beauty pageant and ties in the high jump but the serval is the better hunter.  Both cats are relatively small and weigh up to 18kg.

A Serval At San Diego Zoo Backstage Pass.

  The serval has the biggest ears of any cat and the best hearing.  It also has the longest legs in proportion to its body.  Not to mention that it has black stripes that resemble those of a tiger.  Its long legs let it snatch rodents down tunnels and its curved claws let it hook fish right out of the water.


   It is said that when a serval pounces at prey it makes a successful kill 50 percent of the time.  In the video above it looks like it grabbed the toy 2 out of 3 times.  A leap year success rate is 1 out of every 4.

Map of Our World
San Diego Zoo (Backstage Pass) , San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Cheetah Run)

Post # 279

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Australia Day

Australia Day At The Toronto Zoo.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  Jan 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Australian wildlife is being affected by wildfires.  The Toronto Zoo pledged to donate all the income from their Australia Day tours to help support the animal rescue efforts.  We took advantage and felt this was a great time to take an Australasia Pavilion behind the scenes tour.

A Matschie's Tree Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

  Our tour started with the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo.  These kangaroos spend the majority of their time up in the trees and are more agile moving through the branches than down on the ground.  The kangaroo pictured above is a female called Puzzle.

Victoria Crowned Pigeons At The Toronto Zoo.

    The next section of the pavilion features free flying birds.  One of our favourites is the Victoria Crowned Pigeons.  They have white tips on the feathers that stick up from the top of their head like a crown.  If you are lucky you might hear the drumming whooping sound they make when they wish to attract attention.

A Macleay's Spectre At The Toronto Zoo.

  Next we went through a Staff Only door for a behind the scenes visit.  The tour guide opened a wooden door and we found ourselves at the back of the Macleay's Spectre exhibit.  We half expected insects to come flying out to make their escape.  Nothing happened as the usual defense mechanism for this stick insect is to cling to a branch and gently sway in order to make us think it is a leaf.

Kangaroos Behind The Scenes At The Toronto Zoo.

  We travelled down a small hall and were taken into the kangaroo winter home.  There were a few holding areas where the kangaroos were all lying around just relaxing.  Once we arrived and lettuce was offered things picked up.


   The Toronto Zoo has a mob of Western Grey Kangaroos.  A mob is what you call a group of kangaroos.

A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.
 A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

    The kangaroos have big teeth for munching.  The kangaroo above on the left was a new mother about three months ago.  The baby joey will not leave the pouch for almost six more months.

Senior Kangaroos At The Toronto Zoo.

  One enclosure contained what the keepers called the old timers.  This is where the senior kangaroos were kept.  They often get annoyed by the constant hopping about of their more youthful family members.

A Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  There was a Bennett's Wallaby in with the older kangaroos.  Wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos so despite being thirteen years old this wallaby appeared very young.  Thirteen is an upper age for a wallaby but hanging around kangaroos keeps it looking youthful.

A Swamp Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  Another wallaby was in an enclosure by itself.  It was called a Swamp Wallaby.  The keepers ensured us that it was not alone and behind a piece of wood a bettong was sleeping waiting for dark.  A bettong is still a marsupial but more of a kangaroo rat than a kangaroo.

The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.
 The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.

  After leaving the kangaroo area we travelled through the pavilion to the Great Barrier Reef tank.  This tank is filled with various Australian fishes.  We went through another Staff Only door and up some steps to the top of the tank.


   We enjoyed feeding the fish in this tank.  Two of our favourites were the Clown Triggerfish and the Scribbled Angelfish who make a snapping sound when they bite down on the seaweed we dropped into the water.


    If you wish to identify the other fish in these videos above you can check out our Toronto Zoo page and scroll down to the Australasia Pavilion (Great Barrier Reef) section.  We enjoyed our tour and hope the money donated helps Australian wildlife. You can always go "down under" anytime if you visit the Toronto Zoo.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 276

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Washed Ashore

Sebastian James The Puffin at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date: May 2019
Website: washedashore.org

  Each year thousands of pounds of plastic wash ashore on one Oregon beach.  A group of volunteers have been cleaning this debris from the beach.  This plastic has been made into artwork that reminds us that we need to stop our plastic consumption.  We visited the Toronto Zoo to see the giant animal ambassadors created by Washed Ashore.  The exhibit runs until November 2019.

Angela Haseltine Pozzi talks about Washed Ashore at The Toronto Zoo.

  On the day we visited, Angela Haseltine Pozzi was there to talk about the organization.  She founded Washed Ashore in 2010 and is one of the main artists.  Since 2010 she has worked with volunteers to put in countless hours, collected over 40,000 pounds of plastic from the ocean and turned it into over 70 works of art.  There are eleven sculptures on display at the zoo.  Angela is standing beside Sebastian James the puffin.

Flash The Marlin at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  This sculpture by the zoo entrance is Flash the marlin.  Marlin are one of the fastest swimming fish in the ocean and travel many miles through the water.  They need the water to be clean and free of plastic that gets in their way.

Water Bottle Jelly at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  Sebastian James the puffin stands outside of the zoo's main gift shop.  Just inside the doors to the gift shops hangs a jellyfish made out of water bottles.

Australian Water Bottle Jelly at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  Outside of the Australasia pavilion is another jellyfish.  This jellyfish is also made from plastic water bottles.  We should try to drink from reusable containers and at home drink Brita filtered water from glasses.  The large packs of bottled water are a huge plastic waste, not to mention breaking your back by lugging them home.  Sea turtles like to eat jellyfish and sadly cannot tell the difference between floating plastic and a swimming jelly.  They end up filling their bellies with plastic instead of food.

Grace the Humpback Whale at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo.

  Just around the bend from the Australasia jellyfish is Grace the humpback whale.  Humans almost hunted humpback whales to extinction but today they can be found in all of the world's oceans.

Grace the Humpback Whale at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo.

  A closer look at Grace shows some of the plastic from toys, umbrellas and other items.  Sadly, the real humpbacks are forced to swim through this garbage every day.

Poly The Polar Bear at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  Poly the polar bear was made with the help of staff from the Toronto Zoo.  Poly's name comes from polyethylene, polystyrene and other names for plastic.  Poly is supporting the idea that we all try to reduce, reuse, recycle and refuse when dealing with plastics.  The best option is to refuse single use plastics.

Poly the Plastic Polar Bear at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo.

  Poly is also made from plastic trays, containers and more garbage which came from the Rouge Valley surrounding the zoo.

Nora The Salmon at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

    Nora the salmon is found near the Kid's Zoo.  Salmon travel up streams to mate and spawn.  The new salmon swim back to the ocean.  Unfortunately, millions of pounds of plastic polution also head downstream into the ocean each year.

Octavia the Octopus at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  Octavia the octopus was sitting outside the Americas pavilion.  One of her arms was around the neck of a plastic Canada goose, but it should be trying to shake some sense into people who don't realize the consequences of their actions.

Sylvia the Silvertip Shark at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  In the African savannah you can find Sylvia the silvertip shark.  Sharks eat other small fish who eat plastic and this means the sharks end up eating the plastic too.

Rufus the Triggerfish at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  Rufus the triggerfish is near the Indian rhino house.  He is made up of children's beach toys, flip flops and even parts of chairs.

Rufus the Triggerfish at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  Triggerfish have sharp teeth and strong jaws that let them eat urchins and mollusks.  Plastic has been found with their bite marks, which means they are also eating this harmful human product.

Gertrude the Penguin at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo.

   Oil pollution is the main threat to penguin populations.  Next to the black-footed penguin exhibit is Gertrude the penguin.

Gertrude the Penguin at Washed Ashore Toronto Zoo

  Gertrude looked down on us as if to say "You can do better!".  We all need to think about how we can help the animals.  Washed Ashore vows to keep on spreading their message as long as there is debris floating up on their beach.  They dream that they will one day run out of supplies for their art.
 

Click here to take a virtual tour and see our collection of Toronto Zoo animal photos.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 256