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Wildlife World Zoo, Part 3

Even my little five-year-old buddy, Johnny, can identify this animal — a Zebra. Unfortunately for them, crocodiles can identify them too. If you saw National Geographic's Great Migrations, you saw how the crocks know when and where the zebras migrate each year across the river inhabited by the crocks. They then attack the young since they are less likely to deliver a painful, possibly injurious kick to the crocodile. As a species, they are not endangered.

Here we encounter a warthog — the other half of Timon and Pumbaa from Disney's Lion King. This one did not sing and dance like Pumbaa, so I guess he is not a star.

In Africa, warthogs are found in the central and southern areas of the continent. They suffer from poor eyesight but make up for it with a strong sense of smell.

They are quite fast and usually run to escape predators — although they will fight when cornered, particularly a female defending her young. Warthogs are capable of inflicting severe wounds on lions, sometimes resulting in the death of the lion from loss of blood. They are not endangered (just ugly).

Next we encountered a camel — one hump means it is a dromedary or Arabian camel (Bactrian camels have two humps). They were domesticated some 4,000 years ago — and today almost 14,000,000 are domesticated and provide, milk, food and transportation. They are not endangered.

Look at that face. Ain't it a cutie? It must be the long eyelashes — which are actually an adaptation to help keep blowing desert sand out of their eyes.

Most of us know that camels can go a long time without water, storing fat in their hump that yields water when the fat is metabolized. But did you also know that a camel's urine has so little water that it is more like a syrup. And its feces are so dry that they can be used as fuel for fires. Amazing critters these.

Moving on, we find a small herd of Beisa Oryx (AKA East African Oryx). They are found in east Africa living in small herds of two dozen or more individuals led by a dominant male. Both sexes carry their distinctive horns. They are considered near threatened.


Oh, here is a cute little baby Arabian Oryx (AKA White Oryx). It seemed afraid of the adults who were all enjoying lunch nearby. I would have expected it to seek out its mother for its own liquid lunch. Note that the horns are just beginning to form.

Arabian Oryx are native to desert and steppe areas of the Arabian peninsula. The species became extinct in the wild during the early 1970s because of over-hunting with modern firearms and aircraft. They were saved in zoos and private preserves — now with a large enough population to re-introduce them into the wild.

In the next enclosure, we find Thomson's Gazelle — one of the best known gazelles. They are native to east central Africa where they form herds of up to 200 individual animals. They must be constantly alert to predators and react with vertical jumps (pronks) while running — this is thought to be an attempt to confuse predators. Thomson's Gazelle is considered near threatened due to tourist impacts, habitat modification, fires and roads.

Moving on, we encounter an Addax Antelope. This species is native to the Sahara Desert as well as adjoining semi-arid regions. They are known for the corkscrew shape of their horns which has been prized by hunters leading to the species' near extinction in the wild. There are fewer than 500 Addax left in the wild although some 860 are alive in captivity.

Oh look, a cute little doggie. Well, actually a Maned Wolf, the largest canid of South America. It rather looks more like a fox than a wolf, in my opinion. In the wild, it inhabits a wide range of open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees.

Unlike most large canids, it does not form packs, preferring to hunt alone — although monogamous pairs may share a territory. Like many related animals they mark their territory with their urine which has a very distinctive smell which some people describe as like hops or cannabis (According to Wikipedia, "In the Rotterdam Zoo, this smell once set the police on a hunt for cannabis smokers".)

The species is considered near threatened due to killing by farmers and ranchers (to protect chickens, sheep and cattle), loss of habitat and vehicle traffic. They are also susceptible to diseases carried by domesticated and feral dogs.

And next, a cute little kitty — in reality a Serval, a medium size cat found in southern Africa. They prey on small animals and fish. They are very agile and can catch birds in mid-flight. They were once widely distributed throughout much of Africa but their numbers have been reduced by hunting for its fur and by farmers defending livestock. The zoo contends they are endangered but Wikipedia says least concern.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com