Category: Zoos/Aquariums

National Zoo Lover Day–A day late.

The mighty king of the jungle: the lion.

Yesterday was Zoo Lover Day—and I wish I could have spent the day at a zoo watching the animals instead of being inside working. But alas, that didn’t happen this year (maybe next year). I’ve realized that I’ve only been to probably five zoos over the years since I was a kid. I’ve been to a couple of these zoos yearly growing up, as they were part of our vacation—but since then I’ve only been to one new zoo. Which is why I have on my 101-goal list—visit at least one new zoo and aquarium at some point over the next 1001 days.

Zebra and Giraffe

What are a few zoo facts?

Zoos have been around since the 1700s. With the Vienna zoo being the oldest existing zoo—it’s been open since 1765. The first public zoo in the US was opened in 1874—Central Park Zoo.

There are 350 zoos in the US alone.

~175 million people visit a zoo each year. Over 3.2 million people visit the San Diego Zoo each year & over 9.8 million people visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom each year.

Giant Anteater

Out of the 350 zoos in the United States, I’ve been to the following zoos: Oklahoma City Zoo, Tulsa Zoo, Como Park Zoo (in St Paul MN), Henry Vilas Zoo (Madison WI), and the Franklin Park Zoo (Boston MA). All pictures that are in the post today came from my one trip to the Franklin Park Zoo when I was living in Boston quite a few years ago.

Andean Condor

I would love to again see one in the wild—but going through the forests of the Andes to try to find an elusive scavenger that is endangered—I’ll just have to be happy trying to get a good picture of it in zoos. Though it might be a bonus if I ever do make it to South America and travel through the rainforests.

Kookaburra

I would love to see one in the wild—but I don’t think that I’d be traveling in the western part of Australia (unless I did some type of group tour). While Australia is on my list of places I want to visit–I’m currently planning on staying on the more populated side of the island.

While I would love to see most of the animals in their natural habitat (at a very safe distance mind you), I understand that they’re in zoos due to human behavior. We (humans) have yet to figure out how to live in harmony with the rest of the planet; we take and destroy without thinking of the long term consequences of our actions. Most of these animals now have to be in zoos to survive, if not they would be extinct due again to human nature.

One goal/bucket list item may be to see how many other zoos in the US I can visit over the years–I’ve been to five, and that means that there are at least 345 more zoos that I should try to visit.

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Fishy Friday: An edition from the New England Aquarium. Photography Challenge Day 47: The bonnet-head shark

Today’s Fishy Friday photo is brought to you by the bonnet-head shark, which is the smallest member of the hammerhead genus. At first I thought I was just seeing a young hammerhead shark, but then realized (after looking at different information plaques) that it was actually a smaller member of the hammerhead family.

The bonnet-head shark is native to the waters off the coasts of North America, and can be found as far south as Ecuador.

Bonnet-head shark swimming in the large tank.

What are some cool facts about sharks in general?

They are fish that are characterized by having a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the side of their heads, and their pectoral fins aren’t fused to their heads.

They can see colors and have very good night vision.

Sharks have been around at least 455 million years.

The two largest fish belong to the shark family: whale sharks (can weigh up to 40 tons) and basking sharks (can grow 32 feet & weigh over 5 tons).

Bonnet head shark from “below”

Some interesting facts about the bonnet-head shark:

This is the only shark species known to be omnivorous (they eat sea grass along with crustaceans).

If they quit swimming they’d sink to ocean floor.

The females can reproduce via asexual reproduction (parthenogenesis).

Usually the female gives birth to eight to twelve baby sharks. The survival rate of the young depends on their size and what predators are in the area.

They forage during the night, and during the day they’re swimming in the deeper waters.

They’re usually in small groups; though they can get together into larger groups ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand.

They’re not aggressive towards humans (mainly due to their small size and shy nature).

Now I need to go back through some older pictures to see if I’ve managed to get pictures of any other sharks that were also in the tank (and within other exhibits). Another goal is to go to other aquariums and see what sharks they are housing. I’d love to be able to see a whale shark in the wild.

References:

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rspb.2018.1583

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/12-shark-facts-may-surprise-you

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/bonnethead_shark

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