Tag Archive | cats

Going, Going, Gone?

The Amur leopard, whose natural habitat is in the southeastern part of Russia and northern China, is listed as Critically Endangered and is probably one of the most rare cats alive today, with only about 90 animals surviving in the wild, which means that zoos like Brookfield are almost literally the last, best hope for these beautiful creatures.

Brookfield appears to have a successful breeding program. Their 10-year-old female leopard has produced four cubs in the past five years so, although the numbers may be dwindling in the wild, there is still hope that these magnificent cats may be saved from extinction. As with many such creatures, poaching and loss of habitat is largely responsible for their demise.

It took many hours and a lot of clicks to get these pictures but it was worth every second. Only by studying their behaviour and understanding the danger that these creatures face in the wild can we ever hope to prevent the disappearance of the Amur leopard.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Your Inspiration

This week, Patti looks for our take on Inspiration for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I recently spent some time with the lions at Brookfield Zoo and looking through the resulting images, I was inspired to write this little poem.

With thoughtful gaze and stealthy stride,

Behold the monarch of his pride,

Awaits the dawn with stoic grace

And measures out the time and place,

A kingdom of a lesser space.

What long forgotten freedom lies

Within the memory of these eyes?

To rule again, his roar imparts,

The plains of home from which life starts.

Your realm lies here, within our hearts.

Following the sad and untimely death of their two lions, Isis and Zenda, in 2020, Brookfield Zoo acquired two 4 year-old male African lions, brothers named Titus and Brutus, from Utah’s Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. It certainly is interesting to see how they are adjusting to their new home.

Brookfield Zoo is a participating institution in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Lion Species Survival Plan. African lions are listed as ‘vulnerable’ according to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, due to hunting and loss of habitat.

Snow in the Forecast

Snow leopards, that is. Here are a few of the images that I captured at Brookfield Zoo recently, when I spent some time with two of their snow leopards. It’s estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 mature individuals surviving in the wild and the numbers are expected to decline due to habitat destruction and poaching. As much as it saddens me to see these beautiful creatures confined to such a limited space, I fully recognize the need for conservation and the importance of the work that Brookfield and other places do to ensure that such endangered species survive.

Hello Kitty!!

This is the first time in over 40 years that I’ve managed to get a half-way decent picture of the leopards at Brookfield Zoo. Just in the right place at the right time the other day.

I’m pretty sure, if you zoom in on the next picture, you can see a reflection of me, leaning against the fence, in his eyes. Possibly sizing me up as the next meal.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Distance

This week, Tina has chosen Distance as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Let me say right up front that I can’t take credit for this picture, but I thought it was so cute that I wanted to share it. My daughter sent it to me. They just arrived at their new house this week, the move having been planned long before all this virus business got going. There’s no social distancing between these two. They are best buddies and have lived in three different US states together so far. For the past year or so, the only view they had from their 10th-floor apartment window was the offices across the street. Now they can look out at a garden and even see bunnies if they’re lucky. The distance between us is further than it was, but long distances mean nothing now that we can no longer visit. All I can do is pray that they stay safe. I can’t wait for the day when I can look out of this window with them.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Man’s Best Friend…….A Salamander?

We don’t have any pets now, nor likely to have in the future.  So what to do for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge which Tina has designated as Precious Pets this week. I gave it some thought and decided to re-submit an article that I wrote many years ago for our camera club newsletter, with a few updates and some new pictures.

Many years ago, when my child’s teacher asked the angelic tots in her classroom whose mother would be willing to baby-sit the class pets over the summer vacation I was immediately volunteered, and before I knew what was happening or could lodge any kind of protest, a garter snake and salamander were installed in our living-room. They weren’t the first pets to find their way into our home and the family albums, but they were certainly the most unusual.  Up until then we had merely shared our living quarters with a giant white rabbit called Snowy who considered the wallpaper and my best lace tablecloth as a legitimate part of its diet, and a tank-full of sex-crazed guppies – not the easiest things in the world to capture on film.

The only time we’d had a dog in the house was on the occasion when, in a fit of desperation, I’d borrowed my in-law’s terrier – a feisty animal that had forced its way, on more than one occasion, to the forefront of our family’s group photos – in the hopes of quelling an unexpected insurgency of mice brought about by the clearing of an empty lot two doors down from us. The perfidious creature took one look at what it took to be an exceptionally belligerent mouse, promptly threw up on the carpet and was instantly sent home in disgrace.

There eventually came a time, however, when we were pet-free, which was when our youngest child asked if we could get a monkey.  “You could take pictures of it,” I was told magnanimously.
My reply, if I remember rightly, went something like this.  “If you bring anything else into this house, it will immediately be slung out on its ear. When you kids grow up and move out you can get whatever you want.”


Strange the way things work out. The kid who brought home the class pets and wanted a monkey eventually moved out and for several years never kept anything more demanding than a houseplant, and even that was handed over to me with a request to “make it better.”   Now, as well as a 15 month-old daughter, she has a 15 year-old cat called Sugar.

Our second-born was slightly more adventurous and at one time shared rooms with a friend who owned a Doberman, a ferret that learned how to open the fridge door, and an electric eel.
Some years later she branched out on her own and bought an aquarium, but as she traveled extensively on business and her home was too far for me to conveniently visit on a regular basis…. you guessed it. Other children come back home with laundry. Mine came back with a glass tank and two buckets full of tropical fish, all of which took up large amounts of space in the family room. Not wishing to let the opportunity go to waste, however, I took so many pictures of fish swimming about that I could have probably given Jacques Cousteau a run for his money. Now that she has a family of her own she is getting to experience the joys of dog, cat, fish and hamster ownership. The kids may say they’re going to take care of them, but don’t hold your breath!

Our eldest daughter, on the other hand, took me at my word. When she moved out, got married and had kids of her own, their home took on all the characteristics of Noah’s ark.  Dogs were just the beginning. Everything from a hyper-active Chihuahua to a deaf Great Pyrenees found its way to their door. They bred boxers (dogs, not fighters or shorts) and gave house-room to a variety of waifs and strays including a St. Bernard, a Basset hound, a Neapolitan Mastiff, and a Shih Tzu.  Cats were soon added to the mix and from then on, every visit became an adventure.

 

A Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, that in a burst of porcine exuberance blundered into the pantry and consumed an entire loaf of bread before it could be apprehended, was introduced into the family, much to the boys’ delight and after a while a lame Shetland pony and a blind horse quickly joined goats, ducks, chickens, boa constrictors and iguanas.

It was a far cry from those early days when a rabbit took center stage in our house but even then, with all that great variety of livestock on hand, when we got together to discuss the latest antics of the gerbils, guinea pigs, monitors and bearded dragons, someone invariably said wistfully, “Remember that salamander we used to have?” I wish now that I’d taken a picture of it. Now that the boys have grown up and have homes of their own, my daughter’s own menagerie has dwindled once more to a very large rabbit, although I did see her looking rather longingly at some Westie puppies that were being sold at the flea market other day.  My eldest grandson, who already has a cat and a Great Dane, has a son of his own now, and if things run true to form I’m sure there will be many more pets to follow in the years to come.

Cats

From meerkats to cats. Big cats! Zoo animals are very much creatures of habit, doing more or less the same thing at the same time every day, so I knew exactly where to find the snow leopard. He was taking a snooze on the ledge right by the viewing window.

Both the lions and tiger were also taking their morning siesta. They can sleep like this for hours so I decided to walk around for a while and come back later in the hopes that they might actually be moving around.

This plan paid off, at least as far as the tiger was concerned. He was on the prowl having taken a dip in the pool (something that I just missed) and appeared to be looking for something. He padded around the enclosure a few times and settled down to chew on some grass.  Eventually, feeling that he’d fulfilled his obligation to entertain the customers, he returned to his ledge and went back to sleep.

 

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Letters C or D

Continuing the alphabet theme for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, this week’s letters, C & D provided several images from the nature photo files.

The king of the cats; a lion catching a few rays at Brookfield Zoo.

cautious chipmunk, ready to run at the first sign of danger.

We always stop off to visit the contented cows in Volkening Heritage Farm when we go walking at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.

A darting dragonfly taking a break at Springbrook Nature Center in Itasca.

A rescue dog visiting the old Randhurst Shopping Mall in Mount Prospect; part of a winter festival that also featured snow sculptures.

A daring duck paddling in the fast-flowing waters of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/03/09/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-letters-c-or-d/

 

 

Travel Theme – Eyes

It’s been a while since I participated in Ailsa’s Travel Theme photo challenge but this week’s subject really caught my eye.  For more on Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack go to https://wheresmybackpack.com/2017/02/12/travel-theme-eyes/

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I’ve got my eye on you; a frog sunning himself on a rock at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Iowa.

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Soft kitty; our daughter’s cat Sugar with her odd-colored eyes is enjoying her new surroundings in Utah. She was always used to apartment living in Chicago and has now become accustomed to the joys of roaming about in the garden.

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A bald eagle giving us the eye at Brookfield Zoo.

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Just for fun; a dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I gave him the eye!