Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Wilds, Part 2

Yawn! Are you as tired as this Cheetah is of waiting for my next post about the Wilds?

Sorry. Lots of pictures, and lots to share, but sitting in front of a computer to gather and organize the photos and make the posts is not terribly appealing most days of the week. I've made Wednesday's my dedicated posting day, and I may try to build up a cache of posts that I can throw out there on other days as well. We'll see how that goes.

But back to the topic at hand. At this point I'm still just giving species highlights, with plans to go into more detail (and to show more photos) of certain species in later posts.

The Cheetah and the African Wild Dog are 2 species that have been added to the mix at the Wilds in the last several years. They live in their own very separate, very fenced in area at the Carnivore Center.

There are several signs reminding you that the animals housed there are dangerous. Interestingly, this is the only place where you can walk around and see the animals at the Wilds. Transport to all other species is by bus only.

Most observation at the Carnivore Center is done via catwalk above the animals, but you can also observe them at ground level, as you can see here with the African Wild Dogs.

The problem with being on the catwalk and getting good, close-up photos is that you need a really big, long lens, like these fellas have. I don't have one of those.

There's also a nice wildflower area at the end of the catwalk, where I found this dead but still beautiful Bee Balm (as identified by one of the staff there).

Despite the fact that there are lots of little bodies of water scattered about the Wilds, I didn't see too many water birds. This Great Blue Heron was in this same exact spot almost every time we drove past it (which was several times a day). Thankfully I got good focus on this shot, so that a crop/zoom gives you a very clear look at him.

One of the staff members told us that the dock (s)he is perched on got blown quite far away from its usual spot when the remnants of Hurricane Ike made their way through Ohio about a month ago; however, the heron still perched on that exact same corner of the dock, even though it had moved well away from its normal location. The bus drivers are very good about giving you neat little tidbits like that about the animals. I think it's great that the staff have such intimate knowledge of the animals.

Here is a Scimitar-horned Oryx. I learned is that horns don't grow back (but antlers do, which I did know).

Doesn't this one have kind of a crazed look in its eyes?

Here is a pair of Southern white rhinoceros, mamma and baby (although the bus driver said that the female may not necessarily be this baby's mother - sounds like they do some communal child-rearing). I only just noticed in looking at this picture how very pointy and sharp-looking the mother's horn is!

Here's another look at the Southern white.

And now a baby/maternal unit pair of the Greater one-horned rhinoceros. I have other great feeding-time photos of this species that will get their own post.

Here is the Sable antelope.

We noticed several of them had birds riding along on their backs (sorry, I don't know what kind of bird it is!).

This was my favorite of all the Sable antelopes we saw. I loved her chocolate coloring. Apparently that is an indicator of her age. I also noticed while examining the photos that her horns are WAY longer than any of the rest of these girls, which would also be an indicator of her age.

This is the Common Eland. They never came very close to our bus, so this is the best photo I got of them.

This is a Fringe-eared Oryx. A beautiful animal with beautiful markings.

They also didn't get very close to our bus, but I was able to zoom into one photo to get this image.

Well, I think that's enough for one day (if you haven't already lost interest). Stay tuned for more species photos and accounts.

1 comment:

Julie Zickefoose said...

Brown-headed cowbirds, just using exotics instead of cows (or bison, to which they were originally adapted). That's a juvenile. Very cool to see them taking the natural slot at The Wilds! They wait for the insects that the big animals stir up, and probably do a bit of tick-picking, oxpecker style, as well.