Archive December 2011
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Elephants, attendance make 2011 a very 'big' year for Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo had a very 'big' 2011. With the May grand opening of the $25 million African Elephant Crossing, the addition of four new grizzly cubs to the Zoo's Northern Trek and ending the year with more than 1.3 milion visitors, the Zoo has lots of reasons for enjoying 2011!
Of course our success would not be possible without the support of the people of Northeast Ohio. You help us consistently outdraw zoos in metropolitan areas much larger than Cleveland, and we are incredibly grateful for your support and enthusiasm. Next year marks the 130th anniversary of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, making us one of the longest continually operating institutions in the city. We have some great surprises in store that we know you’re going to enjoy. We hope you’ll check us out in 2012 and be with us for the next 130 years!
Happy New Year!
Who's Who: Meet Guest Operations Manager Weldon Maples
The Game's Afoot at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (Contest)
The 2012 Noon Year's Eve ball has gone missing! The ball was last seen in the Zoo's Welcome Plaza prepping for the big day. Whoever took it left a trail of clues behind and we've managed to narrow it down to a list of suspects. We hope you can don your best Sherlock Holmes hat with us and help us sort through the clues and figure out who it was.
Answer to our First Elephant's Eye View (Originally posted February 10, 2011)
Originally posted February 10, 2011.
Thanks for all your guesses (and creative answers) to our very first entry in the Elephant's Eye View. Many of you knew what the image was, and I suspect that some of you knew but chose to make up whimsical answers just to make us smile. And smile we did! But now, for the answer...
The object in the photo is a Nelson waterer - but, wait! There is more to this device than meets the eye. The waterer is surrounded by concrete which protects it from the elephants, specifically their tusks. It also has an internal heating element that keeps the water ice-free. And at this time of year in Cleveland, the elephants may not be drinking much water outside, but they have been given outside access to their "Night Range" during warmer days. And the final thing to tell you about this waterer is that it is self-refilling - so it's never empty and we don't waste water. Here's a photo from January of one of our elephants helping herself to a drink of fresh water from the Nelson waterer.
The Elephant's Eye View (Originally posted February 8, 2011)
Originally posted February 8, 2011.
Hey everyone, sorry to keep you waiting so long for new articles and photos, but we've been busy here at the Zoo making plans for a great 2011 with the opening of African Elephant Crossing on May 5! I bet you're all anxious to see what it's like inside the new exhibit -- and we're just dying to show you! So today I'm going to introduce a new feature here on the blog. I'll be posting photos of things you'll see once the exhibit opens, things that might relate to conservation, animal care or education (or all three). But, you know, it's always better when we can have a little fun, right? So I'm making it into a game (remember those "Eyeball Benders" from Games magazine?).
I'm calling it "The Elephant's Eye View," and here's how it works. I'll regularly post a close-up photo of something in the exhibit landscape -- in the building, in the village or out in the elephant yards. Then I'll ask you to tell me what you THINK it is in the comment section. If you know what it is, great! If not, feel free to get creative! A few days later, I'll reveal the answer with another photo and a detailed description. I hope this will further whet your appetite for African Elephant Crossing. And don't you know that any chance I get, I'll be throwing in shots of our elephants (or the other animals you'll see at African Elephant Crossing).
Without further delay, here's the first photo in the Elephant's Eye View series. What do you think it is? Let us know in the comments section below. We will reveal the answer later in the week, so please check back.
Elephants Jo, Moshi and Martika Return to Cleveland! (Originally posted December 1, 2010)
The Zoo's three African elephants, Jo, Moshi and Martika, have returned to Cleveland from their two year stay at the Columbus Zoo and got the first look at their new home - African Elephant Crossing - late yesterday. The three female elephants were transported via a specially equipped tractor-trailer. Martika and Jo rode together first and Moshi was driven separately later.
It's been two years since I saw the elephants here at the Zoo, and even though I had "forgotten" how big elephants are, they actually look rather small in the huge indoor space of African Elephant Crossing. We will be giving you updates throughout the coming months leading up to the May 5, 2011 opening of African Elephant Crossing. Just remember to save that date!
There's Big News at African Elephant Crossing - and he's 11 Feet Tall! (Originally posted November 22, 2010)
Completion of South Pool Features (Originally posted November 4, 2010)
It's been a while since I posted photos of African Elephant Crossing's South Pool. The first set of photos showed the construction process. They were taken when the rebar was still being laid for the pool and waterfall. At that time, I couldn't really make out what the walls of the pool and the waterfall were even going to to look like. I also didn't have a good feel for the size, shape or placement of the "nose-to-trunk" viewing area at the east end of the pool.
But that has all changed now. Today we can show you some spectacular views of the South Pool, exactly how impressive the waterfall will be and where you will have the opportunity to get up close to elephants in the pool.
Unlike the North Pool, which features a swim channel, the South Pool at the far end of the Savanna Range will be shallow and wide and will feature a waterfall at one end. At the other end will be a large "kopje rock" structure featuring a "nose-to-trunk" viewing area on the lower level - where visitors look out on elephants in the South Pool through windows. At the top of the rock will be a feeding station for the elephants that allows them to exercise their trunks in reaching for food.
What is the
The focal point of African Elephant Crossing is the actual "Crossing" -- the only place in the exhibit where African elephants and humans will commonly tread, albeit not at the same time. It's the feature that gives the exhibit its name and also the visitor entrance into the exhibit (see schematic at right). Upon entering African Elephant Crossing, Zoo visitors will pass through the "Crossing," a gateway that will be periodically closed to allow the elephants to migrate between the two large elephant habitats of African Elephant Crossing -- the Savanna Range and the Mopani Range. Once through the "Crossing," visitors will be immersed in a cultural environment reminiscent of the river valleys of Botswana. The main gathering area, called the Kgotla, will serve as a meeting place for families and field trips and contain activities such as storytelling, dance and music to illustrate the role of wildlife in African culture. While taking photographs of the construction, I can say that I felt a sense of awe at seeing this final structure now taking shape.
Meerkat Exhibit Takes Shape (Originally posted August 4, 2010)
The newest structure taking shape in the African Elephant Crossing construction landscape is the meerkat exhibit. You can locate it by spotting what looks like mounds of mud or dirt topped with "spires" or conical protrusions. These mounds, known as "sentry rocks" or "sentry mounds," are designed to resemble termite mounds. In the wild, meerkats forage for food (termites) in these mounds and also use them as lookout areas. The meerkat "sentry" sits atop a mound as a guard while the rest of the colony is foraging or playing. The sentry mounds for the Zoo's meerkats surround a singular small round building with a thatched-roof in front of the entrance to the elephant building at African Elephant Crossing. As visitors enter the African village, one of the first exhibits they'll enjoy is a playful meerkat colony.