Things got wild on “The Rhode Show” on Thursday morning, as Brendan Kirby stopped by the Roger Williams Park Zoo, for a live look at the Marco Polo Trail.
The zoo’s executive director, Dr. Jeremy Goodman, and Al D’Ercole, an animal keeper took Brendan – and viewers! – on a journey to meet:
• Moon Bears
First, Brendan fed Sasha, the camel!
• Sasha is a Dromedary camel.
• Camels are made for desert living. They have nostrils that can close independently of each other, heavy eyebrows and long eyelashes, a third eyelid, and hairy ears, all of which help protect them from blowing sand.
• Sasha’s long legs and large feet help her walk in the sand, and her fatty hump allows camels in the desert to go weeks without food. A camel retains fluid when necessary by urinating very little water and stores water in almost every cell of its body.
• The Dromedary camel’s domestication was most likely in Somalia or the Arabian Peninsula about 4000 years ago.
• One of the exciting adventures we offer each spring and summer are our camel rides – not on Sasha of course – the rides begin in our new Explore and Soar area next to Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard on Saturday April 7. Tickets are $6 or $5 for Zoo members. Purchase tickets at the Explore and Soar booth.
• Sasha is 23 years old and weighs approximately 1500 pounds
• Mainly active during daylight hours
• Sasha’s diet consists of:
– Carrots we are feeding her today
– Foliage, dry grasses and desert vegetation like thorny branchesThen, Brendan fed the zoo’s Red Crowned Cranes
• The red-crowned crane is also known as the Japanese crane or Manchurian crane.
• The crane generally breeds in East Asia and northern Japan, and spends winters in Japan, China, and the Korean Peninsula.
• This animal is among the rarest cranes in the world. It is listed as endangered.
• In some parts of Asia, the red-crowned crane is a symbol of luck, longevity, and fidelity.
• In China, the red-crowned crane is often featured in myths and legends. In Taoism, the red-crowned crane is a symbol of longevity and immortality.
• In Japan, this crane is said to live for 1,000 years, and is the symbol/logo for Japan Airlines (see-attached logo for reference).
• In Korea, the red-crowned crane is called durumi and it is considered a symbol of longevity, purity, and peace.
• The zoo’s two cranes are Manuka, which means “the most beautiful angel” in Nepalese and Angelene. Both weigh about 20 pounds.
• These cranes will begin mating in early April into May. They are monogamous for life.
• It is very interesting to watch the actual mating dance, almost like a ballet, they bow to each other and each has a part in the dance with a variety of calls to each other.
• They produce a wide variety of calls ranging from low-pitched purrs to the loud unison calls involved in courtship and pair maintenance. The calls of male and female cranes differ in pitch.Finally, Brendan got to see the Moon Bears
• Visit Roger Williams Park Zoo anytime of the year, and you will see moon bears George and Gracie on the Marco Polo Trail enjoying the sun or playing in the water in their habitat.
• The species is native to the Himalayas, in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, Korea, northeastern China, the Russian Far East, the Honshū and Shikoku islands of Japan, and Taiwan.
• You can see their round ears that pop up to capture subtle noises. When they stand on their hind legs, their ears are erect and they sway their arms for balance.
• They are good climbers of rocks and trees, and will climb to feed, rest, sun, elude enemies, and hibernate.
• Half of their life is spent in trees and they are one of the largest arboreal mammals.
• These bears do not hibernate over most of their range. They may hibernate in colder, northern ranges, though some bears will simply move to lower elevations. When the female bear is pregnant, she may hibernate.
• The moon bear is vulnerable, mostly because of deforestation and hunting for its body parts. This bear suffers terrible exploitation at human hands. Caught from the wild, thousands of Moon bears are kept in cruel bear ‘farms’ to be painfully ‘milked’ for their bile. The bile is said to have medicinal benefits.
More info on the Moon Bears:
• George and Gracie are brother and sister. They are named after George Burns and Gracie Allen the famous husband wife comedy team.
• This species is recognizable by its medium length jet-black fur that is shaggy in the front and sides, and displays a magnificent white crescent moon pattern on the chest.
• Sometimes the area around the animal’s muzzle and near their nose is white.
• The females are often dominant – which Gracie is – and can be distinguished by a thick ruff of fur around the neck. Highly intelligent, Moon bears have a large vocabulary of sounds.
• The bear will eat almost anything including leaves, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, termites, crickets, rodents, small mammals, and lizards. They will also eat nesting birds and their eggs as well as honey and eagerly raid bee nests.
Guests may see all of these animals daily 10 am – 4 pm for the next few weeks. As of Friday, March 30, the Zoo will be open every day from 10 am – 5 pm. Our Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and train in our new Explore and Soar area will be operating daily (weather permitting) as of March 30. Get more information at rwpzoo.org.