“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon.” - Dr. Seuss
by Chason Gordon
- The Capitol Hill Times -
Hey everybody! Welcome to this week’s episode of Zoo News, your one stop shop for all things zoo-related, including info on animal droppings, cage textures, and a continuously updated list of which animals are okay to pet, and which ones are not (apologies to readers of last week’s list, which mixed up the categories). In today’s world, zoos are more important than ever; in yesterday’s world, not so much. But what is a zoo? Well friend, a zoo is like a library with animals instead of books, except you can’t take the animals out, even if you’re paying (zing?). Modern zoos do far more than cage up animals and tase them into action when a crowd approaches; they also make those animals have sex, which is probably bad for at least one of them.
Seattle’s own Woodland Park Zoo has had a busy time with animal fornication, far outpacing Seattle residents. Once these animals are born, they aren’t thrust into the spotlight right away. They typically spend three to four months in reprogramming, where they learn all the tricks of the trade, like how to look cute, how not to kill or maim the public in vengeful anger, and how to find the bathroom. During this time, they are completely primped and prepped, and shown a version of “Jurassic Park” where everything goes fine. Let’s meet a few of the cute little bastards!
The Lion Cubs
Born of 3-year-old South African lion named Adia (like the Sarah McLachlan song!), these cubs were born in November, after spending 109 days in a gestation period (like my editor). Their names are Busela, Rudo, Nobuhle, and Pelo, which is odd considering their father’s name is Hubert (true). Sources at the zoo confirm that the lion cubs are indeed cute. Zookeepers tell them apart by shaving little marks on certain parts of their body. Apparently, nametags were not an option.
The Tree Kangaroo
Did you know that there are over 54 species of kangaroos? That’s a far cry from the one I have pictured in my head as a result of a coloring book I saw when I was 4. In the wild, tree kangaroos primarily eat tree leaves, which accounts for the name (if we name animals because of what they eat, shouldn’t we do the same thing with vegetarians?). The zoo recently welcomed Joey (Joey?). He was born in 2012, but zookeepers didn’t notice him until a few months ago because he had been laying low in his mother’s pouch, along with some guys who committed a heist. Tree kangaroos do not look anything like the kangaroos from Disney movies. They probably get that a lot. It’s like meeting Adam Baldwin, or a better analogy.
The Sloth Bear Cubs
I’m not going to lie, these twin sloth bear cubs are not the most attractive creatures in the world. If their mother gestured toward them, and said something like, “Aren’t they cute?” I’d have a very hard time faking a response, and then the mother would get insulted and tear me apart. But I would die an honest man, and that’s what counts. Sloth bears are far lankier than regular bears. It’s kind of like the difference between Christian Bale in “Batman Begins” and Christian Bale in “The Machinist.” They love climbing trees and eating insects and are frequently used as performers in circuses (circusi?) because of their tamable nature. I have three sloth bear interns working for me right now. Where’s my coffee?
Porcupette is either the name of a baby porcupine or a delicious snack treat. Born in April, zookeepers were a little surprised when he arrived, because the father was not thought to be sexually mature, but he showed them (that’s my boy!). Prior to mating, a male porcupine will urinate on a female porcupine, though the females haven’t received an explanation as to why. This porcupine is named Gavin, because he wants to be a character on a British reality show. Apparently, porcupettes are born with soft quills (the pointy things) that harden a few hours after birth. You can tell when because the zookeepers go “Ouch!” and drop them.
There isn’t room here to give each of the new animals their own headline, because the publishing world is even harsher than nature. That being said, the Woodland Park Zoo also saw the birth of a tawny frogmouth, eight penguin chicks, an endangered red-crowned crane (that crane has a lot of pressure on him), jaguar triplets, a pair of small-clawed otters, and the most recent birth, a baby giraffe, who was already 5.5 feet at birth (most of that is neck).
Well, that’s your Woodland Park Zoo fornication roundup. This is what happens when it’s a slow news week.