Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Life at Dakota Zoo

We spent some time this afternoon at the Dakota Zoo here in Bismarck. It has been awhile since we last visited. There have been some changes at the zoo so there were some new things for us to see.

Prairie dogs are always entertaining.We stopped to check out the prairie dog town for awhile. These little guys are always entertaining to watch. There were lots of babies to enjoy. We had the opportunity to hear one of the adults make their warning call for attention. It's fun to hear the animals once in a while along with watching their funny antics.

The prairie dog babies were so little and cute.These babies were really quick. If they wanted to run away they would certainly get away from me.

Prairie dogs are always fun to watch.The enclosure at our zoo has underground areas for the kids to go into to see the prairie dogs a bit closer.

Many types of pheasants make their home at our zoo.We have many different types of pheasants at our zoo. This is one of them. I liked the color combinations of this white bird with black and red features and feathers. One of the pheasant enclosures had white doves as well.

This squirrel found a pleasant lunch in a pheasant cage.This squirrel found a way into one of the pheasant cages to enjoy a pleasant spot of lunch. He seemed quite content to sit in the bowl and dine while the pheasant sunned himself below on the ground.

Two raccoons cooperated for a great photography session.Two raccoons were outside their den enjoying the sun. They seemed completely absorbed in watching some kids near us goofing off. Their interest in the the kid's antics gave me the opportunity to capture some great photos on them against the lovely green of the grass.

The grizzly bear was munching on a leaf.It always seems surprising to me to see how big these grizzly bears really are. They have such huge paws and claws to go along with their big heads and mouths. They would certainly be formidable to come across a grizzly bear in the wild.

The male antelope got his horn stuck in the fence.We came upon this antelope enclosure toward the end of our zoo visit. As we walked up it was evident the male was stuck in the fence. One of the females looked concerned and stayed nearby. We watched for a little while to see if, with all it's pulling, pushing and tugging, the animal might manage to get untangled on its own. It was getting fairly out of breath, seemed to be panicking with calling out and breathing harder as it became more agitated. It became evident he was not going to manage on his own. We had our cell phones and found the phone number of the zoo printed on our zoo map, so we gave them a call. By this time the small horses in the adjoining enclosure came over whinnying and running about when they saw all the commotion.

Zoo workers come to this antelope's aid in freeing it from the fence.Zoo personnel soon drove up in their little golf-cart type vehicle to assist. It didn't take long to free up the antelope, and then all the interest was directed at the baby lying on the ground nearby. We had not seen the baby from our vantage point due to the tall grass by the fence obscuring our view and all our attention being drawn to the male stuck in the fence. It's surprising the baby did not get trampled. Perhaps the concern the female that was standing around was more for the baby and less for the papa with it's horns caught in the fence.

Zoo workers assist in freeing the horns from the fence.The zoo personnel did a quick search through the tall grass in the rest of the enclosure. Apparently these animals usually deliver two babies and they were looking to see if she had the other one hidden somewhere in the tall grass. They concluded the second one had not been born yet. Mama was munching on grass nearby.

A baby was lying near the male's feet, surprisingly it was not injured during the struggle with being entangled in the fence.It wasn't until the male was freed from the fence, that we were able to see this little girl was not trampled. Zoo workers checked on its well being, than tagged her ear and gave her a shot. It was very good at lying still without moving. The zoo workers said it laid so still as an instinct for protection whenever other animals or humans were nearby. They said it thinks others cannot see it if it doesn't move.

Zoo workers attend to the baby and give it an ear tag and and an immunization shot.Once the male antelope was free and out of the way, all the female antelopes came closer to take a look at the baby, as well as the horses in the adjoining pasture and other human onlookers.

Proud papa with his small herd of females.Here's a view of proud papa standing among his small herd of females. The mama was not one of these, she was off by herself, munching on grass when we left.
It will be fun to go back again later this summer to see how the babies are doing.

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