Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kalim: The Ornery One

Kalim Peeking in the Window at Me

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

While Auntie Evelyn and Glenda may be the stars of Campo Gorilla Reserve, Kalim, along with her daughter Berani, are no doubt the stars of the Red Ape Forest, which houses the orangutans of Los Angeles Zoo. Kalim was born at the LA Zoo, and is about 27 years old now. Kalim is the mother of Bosco Orangina Berani, but is also the half-sister of Rosie. She has been a good mother, and is very intelligent and often mischievous. She is often seen grabbing for or using her inventions and "tools" to reach leaves or branches on the outside of the enclosure. But, she has a habit of spitting at guests if they irritate her or attempt to take things from her or hand them to her. (Btw, NEVER do that!) Of course, she'll also spit at you if she likes you.

I decided to blog on Kalim today because early last week she suddenly took an interest in my husband. While he stood by quietly and watched her, she suddenly went wild ... shaking the netting and spitting at the other guests nearby. Then, she went and hid. While she hid, she peeked at my husband. But, from time to time, she would display her wild streak, and then go back into hiding as she kept an eye on my hubby. It became very apparent that Tom was the reason for her outbursts, and so I told him to leave for awhile, and then go to the observation window and calmly sit and watch her. He did just that. Suddenly, she caught site of him from across the exhibit, and she quickly made her way over to the window, spitting and shaking the netting as she came. After she got to the window, she swung on the fire hoses and put on quite a show for him, and then quietly sat in front of him. After a short time, she began kissing his hands that were on the glass, and his forehead. It was obvious, she was quite smitten by him. So, since then, Tom has made several visits to her. Every visit, she has come to see him, and has made some type of display ... usually shaking the nettting and spitting, but sometimes more subtle displays. When we leave, she'll follow him until she can no longer see him. He seems to have become quite an enrichment activity for her, to say the least.

Please understand, though, that Tom does not call out to Kalim. He stands quietly and respects her. When he is at the glass, he sits quietly and observes her displays of affection ... only placing his hands and forehead on the glass as he sits and watches her. When he is at the netting, he warns others nearby of her possible actions, and removes himself when she becomes too ornery. Even when she attempts to play with him, by trying to feed a firehose to him, he only watches ... he doesn't attempt to interact other than by observing. For, he knows that he holds germs that Kalim or the others may not be able to handle. And, to interact with the orangutans other than observing would be a poor example to the young children nearby. Orangutans are very strong and could easily hurt anyone trying to touch them or come too close to them. And, playing tug-a-war or catch with them is a very dangerous feat, and should never be attempted. If orangutans, which are highly endangered, are to survive, it is important we allow them to be orangutans and not interact too much with them.

Kalim - Taking it Easy:
Kalim - Taking it Easy

Kalim loves treats, and will often find "contraband" or gather her daughter's "contraband" in order to trade with the keepers for treats. Contraband includes sticks or rocks that are too large or items like cell phones that visitors have dropped nearby. Below is a picture of Kalim begging for more treats:
Kalim Begs for More

Kalim is very intelligent and able. The following picture shows Kalim catching one of her treats (yes, she caught it):
Kalim Catching Her Monkey Chow

Kalim watching her visitors and the others in the other exhibits from high above:
Kalim Watches from High Above

Kalim getting some love from her daughter, Berani:
Berani Brings Mama Kalim Some Love

Kalim checks to see if I'm still taking pictures:
Kalim Checks to See if I'm Still Taking Pics

Kalim checking on her audience:
Kalim Peers In

Kalim notices a young girl wavaing at her, and reaches out:
Kalim Reaches Out

Kalim waves back to the young girl:
Kalim Waves

Silly Kalim:
Kalim ...

Kalim debating about what project she wants to begin next:
Kalim

Kalim - Gone fishin':
Gone Fishin'

Kalim shielding Berani from the noisy news helicopter:
Cuddling

Kalim is ready to turn in:
Kalim Ready to Turn In

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Forget Stalling ... On to the Orangutans

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Ok, I've been informed that the Alafia debut may not be until May or June. :( I suppose the gorillas have others things to keep them occupied while we fans are eagerly anticipating the new family debut. Oh, well.

So, on to the Red Ape Forest where the Orangutans of the LA Zoo reside. I've become very fond of the zoo's orangs since I started volunteering for Orangutan Watch several hours a week. Orangutans are very interesting animals with great intelligence and problem solving skills. I've heard it said at times, "Give a chimpanzee a problem to solve and it will work on it a couple of hours, get about 90% of it accomplished, and then give up. Give a gorilla the same problem, it will work on it a couple of days, get about 90% of it accomplished, and then give up. Give an orangutan the same problem, and it will work on it for a couple of weeks, but will get it accomplished." Not only are orangutans intelligent, they are skilled at making and using rudimentary tools to accomplish what they want done. If they don't have a project that they are doing, they are thinking about one, or else observing for more ideas.

Whereas adult gorillas usually stick to the ground and chimpanzees are both on ground and in the trees, the orangutans in the wild are more arboreal ... spending most of their time in the trees. According to an orangutan researcher with whom I spoke, in the wild, though the orangutans cannot move their arms as quickly nor their wrists in order to reach and climb as the chimps can, the orangutans are resourceful and will use their weight to move the branches closer together for reaching and other resourceful methods of climbing.

The gorillas live in small family units with a single silverback leader. The chimps live in large units with several males who often vie for alpha position. But, the orangutans live solitary lives in the forests of Borneo or Sumatra. Only the mothers live with their children for about 7 to 8 years. When mating is wanted, they make long calls to help them be found.

Ms Eloise

At 40 years old, Eloise is the oldest LA Zoo Bornean Orangutan. Eloise was born at the Los Angeles Zoo (Old Griffith Park Zoo) in November 1968. Her mother didn't know how to remove the afterbirth, and, for 20 minutes while the keepers tried to get her from her mother, she went without oxygen. They worked hard at reviving her, and succeeded. As a result, she now suffers from cerebral palsy and mental disabilities, but she does incredibly well. Her right eye droops, her bottom lip hangs out awkwardly often with her tongue in sight, her feet are not nimble, and she moves very slowly. Instead of "walking" as the other orangs, Eloise normally rolls to get from one place to the other since her feet do not work well. But, Eloise does most everything the others do. She climbs and visits with visitors often. She's even had art sold on auction. Actually, Eloise was the dominant female for awhile because she didn't try to get away from the males, and they couldn't resist. So, she's had several offspring, including the resident Rosie. She often plays happily with 4 year old Berani. Or, the others, like Bruno or Rosie will bring her some love and care from time to time. Bruno is very fond of Eloise, and they can be quite the lovebirds at times.

Eloise looking up at her sweetheart, Bruno:
Eloise Looks Up At Her Sweetie ...

Bruno assisting Eloise up the wall to see the keeper:
Assisting the Disabled

Eloise climbing up the netting and over to go in for the evening:
Eloise Climbs Up to Come in for the Night

Eloise finishing her breakfast:
A Happy Eloise

Eloise eating a snack:
Dear, Sweet Eloise

Eloise is shot a look from Kalim when Kalim thinks Eloise is stealing her attention:
Silly Women

Eloise bonding with a small child:
Eloise Bonds with a Child

Eloise loves my oldest son, and comes to visit him every chance she gets:
My Son Spends Time With Eloise

Stalling for Alafia

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on the animals. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The animals grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Alafia is the final Los Angeles Zoo gorilla that will be introduced to my readers. But, she has not yet made her public debut. Alafia came to the LA Zoo from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington a few months ago, but she has been in the back being introduced to the family group one by one. The last to be introduced to Alafia were Rapunzel and Glenda, who just disappeared from the public on the 24th so that they could meet the new girl. Since the final introductions are in the process of being made, I figured I'd stall a bit before I went on to another exhibit to introduce its animals to my readers.

So, today I will share some of my favorite zoo moments. To see more of them, you can go to My Favorite Zoo Pics page. Below are some of these pics.

Lionel, the king of the LA Zoo:
King

Cookie, Lionel's queen:
The Face of a Lioness

A Lionel and Cookie tender moment:
Nuzzles of Love

A Portrait of a 2 year old Tiger:
Sumatran Tiger Cub Portrait

A Tiger in Los Angeles Snow:
Portrait of a Tiger Checking Out the Snow

A Bear's Nap Time:
Nap Time

A LA Zoo Jag:
Jaguar

A Grevy Zebra:
Los Angeles Zoo Grevy Zebra

A Young Female Giraffe:
Giraffe

Otis Yawns:
Open Wide!

Chimps:
At the Playground

Chimp Chowtime:
"Ooo ... Oooo ... Ooo! Pick Me, Mr. Kotter!"

The gentle giant:
The Gentle Giant

Little Berani:
Little Miss Acrobat

A Mustached Guenon looks into the light:
Looking into the Light

Ring-tailed Lemur:
Ring-Tailed Lemur

Coquerel's Sifaka:
Surprize!

Bongo:
Bongo at the Zoo

Gerenuk:
"Hello, Earthling!"

Desert Bighorn Sheep Ram:
King of the Hill in LA

Aldabra Tortoise:
Say, "Cheese!"

Flamingo:
Flamingo in Los Angeles Zoo

Ostrich:
Hello, Ostrich!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hasani: The Other Bachelor

How to Get Attention

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

I mentioned Hasani in my blog about his younger half-brother Jabari. He and Jabari live in the Bachelor Pad of the Campo Gorilla Reserve in Los Angeles Zoo. Hasani, born October 12, 1994 at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, just became Silverback about January 2008, and is very handsome (as his Swahili name means) indeed. Hasani was born to father Gino (born in 1980 in Rotterdam and now located at the Disney Animal Park) and Benga (born April 21, 1971 in Chicago LP and now located at the Disney Animal Park). Gino is a great Silverback and was in high demand for awhile. His parents were wild born Ernst who resides in Spain's Fuengirola Zoo and wild born Salome who died November 24, 1999 at the Givskud Zoo. Benga's parents were wild born Kisoro, who died September 24, 1986 at the Denver Zoo, and wild born Helen who resides at the Louisville Zoo.

Hasani often treats visitors at the window with his appearance, and sometimes looks at the children or those sitting there with direct looks in the eye. He also likes to stand erect and try to glance over the exhibit wall between the bachelors and the family troop, or look through the window to see a peeking Glenda at her window or even Silverback Kelly.

Lately, Hasani has been very interested in the new family troop member, Alafia, who recently arrived from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. But, Alafia is for Kelly. Hasani's nearby presence will be good for Kelly since it will make him more interested in Alafia. Anyway, because the family members are being introduced one by one to Alafia in the back, Hasani has been spending a lot of time trying to look in the back windows.

This big guy has a beautiful pink inner, lower lip that he likes to show off often ... which makes him look to some like his is pouting. He's not. But, it sure gets him some attention ... and he knows it.

Hasani gathering breakfast:
Hasani Checks Out the Breakfast Bar

Hasani showing off his pretty pink lower lip:
Hasani Giving Us Lip

Hasani contemplating:
Contemplating

Hasani, the thinker:
Hasani

Hasani, the handsome one:
Hasani Sulks