The carnivore keepers are again getting to normal with their animals in their exhibits. The two Snow Leopards, Sabu and Kamala, are the 5 year old offspring of Samarra, the breeding female which stayed in the usual exhibit during the work.
Snow Leopards are mainly active during the evening and night time, so in the Sun Bear exhibit most people saw them basking lazily in the sun during the winter months. Sabu and Kamala made themselves at home and appeared very calm and relaxed during their stay there. We were glad to see them adjust to the change as it will benefit all of our Snow Leopards as Samarra wants her own space and the cubs also prefer theirs. The three leopards are now time-sharing the Snow Leopard exhibit. We have the luxury of having an large adjoining yard with all the things snow leopard love in it so they can take it in turns alternating between the yard and the exhibit. This will also benefit all of them when Sabu and Kamala leave for other zoos as part of global efforts for this endangered species.
Meanwhile the Sun Bears also have said goodbye to Bethyl the Kodiak bear’s exhibit and returned to theirs. We have given the exhibit a mini-make-over with some new bamboo climbing branches and a refurbished hammock. Most people know the Sun Bears are extremely challenging animals to care for, as in the wild they spend much time foraging and climbing. Our Sun Bears came to us with some behaviours like pacing because of their traumatic start to life. We think it may be because of the terrible beginning to their life in Cambodia after they were taken from their mothers. Mr. Hobbs and Victoria were going to be a part of the cruel restaurant trade where bear paw soup is served as a delicacy! They were rescued by an Australian business man who gave them to Free The Bears founder Mary Hutton. Mary contacted Taronga Zoo and we have been their lucky carers since 1997. We will continue to add interesting changes to their exhibit.
Bethyl is now back in the Kodiak exhibit every day. She would notice that the days are getting longer and she is becoming more active as the warmer weather approaches. We think she appreciated the sleep-ins while the Sun Bears were taking over her exhibit, but Bethyl being Bethyl, the giant animal will now take it all in her stride, find her food, make a soft spot in her exhibit and have a snooze. She is still enjoying life and has become our gracious gentle giant quietly enjoying her twilight years.
By Keeper Lesley