Most of my regular readers are aware of the floods that destroyed large parts of Calgary and our zoo in June 2013 (here is the relevant post). Since then, the zoo has been busy fundraising, repairing and introducing changes. Part of that change is the move of our elephants (again, post on this can be found here) to warmer climes, but with that we are also able to welcome new animals. The first ones are the pair of one year old Eurasian Lynx, the male Kazan and female Anastasia. The two arrived from the Elmvale Jungle Zoo in Ontario.
Eurasian Lynx are the largest lynx species and can be found from western Europe through to Russia, the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia. Estimates show a population of around 40,000 animals in the wild. One thing I did not know about the cats is that their coat patterns can vary from spotted, to striped and even solid. Most notable on these cats are their black tufts at the tips of their ears. Our female will not be sexually mature until she is 2 years old, so we will have to wait a while yet for a chance of cubs with this pair.
The name “lynx” is thought to stem from Lynceus in Greek mythology, who was said to be so sharp-eyed that he could see through the earth. This is in reference to the keen eye-sight of a lynx.
The lynx is the national animal of Romania and Macedonia (who knew? I certainly didn’t).
The other new kid on the block I want to draw your attention to is much smaller than the Lynx, but by no means less interesting. In fact, these were much more fun to watch, due to their high activity compared to the resting lynx.
Meet our new brood of African Golden Taveta Weaver Birds!
They were recently introduced to the TransAlta Rainforest building a few weeks ago and their arrival transformed this part of the building. As part of the change a lot of the dead fauna was removed, letting in the lovely light from all around.
The birds have brought a new excitement to this area and everyone was just happy to stand and watch these little birds fly all around and watch them build their extraordinary nests. Their nests are just wonderfully woven by the males in order to attract a female. Each strand is carefully woven and meticulously placed. The tight construction of the nest makes it very difficult to pull a strand out. They usually nest in colonies and their nests sometimes fill entire trees in the wild.
This particular weaver bird is usually seen in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania and is only 5.5 inches long.
For something so small they sure make a lot of noise! It is one of the chattiest birds I have come across and a very active one too, making photographing this beautiful bird rather difficult.
I must say, the transformation of this part of the rainforest building was a pleasant surprise. I could have stayed there all day, and next time I might just do that!