Visiting Gus, Belle and Bowie at the Fort Worth Zoo 4-27-2016

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First of all, I noticed that I haven’t written anything for many many months!  I have thought about it, but just haven’t had the chance to sit down and write.

As usual for this time of year, I am immersed in flamenco. I can’t say that I’m a flamenco dancer, I’m more of a stage flamenco performer.  If someone asked me about any of the different flamenco palos, I would not be able to answer.  I am familiar with them, but other than knowing some of their counts, I could never identify them.  So I can’t say that I’m a real flamenco dancer, I just do flamenco choreography.

Right now we are getting ready for our Spring performance and our rehearsal schedule is at it’s max.  The first performance is April 30, at Mayfest in Fort Worth.  Our main performance will be on May 14 at the Scott Theater in Fort Worth.  I am also doing an Argentine tango performance group and learning 3 and possibly 4 routines for that.  I have had to put one of the tango routines, sort of on the back burner until flamenco is finished.  I am trying to keep up with it (it’s a ladies tango routine), but right now flamenco has to take priority.  I am hoping that I will be able to catch up with that once flamenco is finished.  I am keeping up with the tango partnering routines.   IN addition to the rehearsals and practice schedule, I am also working on costumes for flamenco and working on the remixing music (which seems to change every week, but I think it’s finalized now).    I am also making the costumes for one of our tango routines.  So my schedule has been hectic, to say the least.  I’ve put most of my photography on hold for now. I am reconsidering what I’m doing with my photography, but that’s another blog for another time.

I have been very stressed about the flamenco choreography and getting it all done and right because I’ve been working on costumes and not spending as much time as I should be with practicing.   This morning I went over the music for the other flamenco class with my instructor, she needed it slowed down in parts.  She also needed her skirt to be repaired,  The waist was too high on her, so the zipper needed to be removed and I needed to shorten the waist by about 4″.  We went over some video so she could give me some corrections (the performance is in 2 days).  My instructor left around 1and I needed to get away from everything, so last minute, I thought about taking a trip to the Fort Worth Zoo.  The zoo is my stress free happy place, I go there and the minute I get through the gates, a calmness comes over me.

I headed over to the gorillas to see the new baby Gus, well, he’s almost 5 months old, but still a new baby.   He and his parents weren’t out, so I thought that I’d go visit my elephants and then go back to see Gus and his family.

When I got to the elephants, Belle was in the back of the pool playing with water with her trunk and Rasha was in the front of the pool..  Bowie was somewhere in the back, I didn’t see him right away, he was in back. When he came out he was all muddy, so I’m assuming that he was swimming earlier and got wet.  I have to say that it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve been able to visit them and they have grown dramatically!   They are both very filled out now, Belle is still larger than Bowie, but from what I understand he will grow larger than her.  Bowie’s little tusks are growing and he still has that cute little devilish look that he’s always had.  Bowie started walking towards me and stayed with me for at least 20 minutes.    Belle came over by him and so did Bluebonnet.  I made a fun little video about my visit with them.

 

As usual, I spent at least an hour with the elephants, but I needed to get over to the gorillas to see baby Gus, but when I got there, he and his family were still not out.

I started talking to one of the zoo interpreters (Claire) that was standing there to answer questions, she said that they weren’t out all day today, there were only two gorillas outside while I was there.  She pointed them out and identified them to me.  Winifred was the one against the wall.

Winifred (Fred)

Winifred (Fred)

She told me that Winifred (see some stats below of her, she was born in the Cincinnati Zoo, was the daughter of two other gorillas that are inside, Ramses and Amani). There are two sections for the gorillas and they are separated, Claire told me why, but I can’t remember the details, so I won’t put any suppositions in here. There’s Elmo’s troop (more about them below) and they are both inside and outside, but their inside part is behind the glass. The other two gorillas, Ramses and Amani, are inside in a man made  mountain area  under a large skylight roof.  

The interpreter started telling me about Winifred and her parents.  Winifred (aka Fred) is part of Elmo’s troop.  The troop consists of Elmo and the females to simulate what it is like in the wild There are about 4 or 5 females in Elmo’s troop and that is how they live in the wild, one male and a bunch of females that he will normally mate with. The only two that were outside yesterday when I was there were Jackie (female) and Winifred.  Winifred (Fred) came from Cincinnati and she was born of Ramses and Amani. It seems that Amani didn’t know how to take care of a baby and she rejected her, so Fred was raised by humans.   Even though Fred and her parents are all in the Fort Worth Zoo, she has no recollection or connection with her birth mother, so they didn’t put her with her parents when she came here, it was just a coincidence that she ended up in the same zoo.  Her family (troop) is Elmo and his girls now and they are all a strong and close group.

The zoo controls pregnancies, I guess that’s something that’s understood, but I don’t think I ever really thought of it. The females are all on birth control (the same medications that people use) and they like it crushed up in their juice. The zoo didn’t want to mate Elmo with Jackie or Fred because they didn’t know their full genetic lineage. They brought Gracie here from the Oklahoma City Zoo for breeding with Elmo.  They knew her genetics and that she would be a good match with Elmo for the species.  It seems that Elmo was very shy and didn’t know how to approach Gracie, so Gracie took the initiative and eventually she became pregnant and birthed little baby Gus.
Elmo is a very attentive dad.  The first time I was there, Gus (who had no name at the time, the Fort Worth Zoo held a contest to select his name) was only about a month old.  Gracie just held him, fed him, she would lay down next to him and stroke his little head, it was all very tender and touching.   Elmo would sit watch and when Gracie and Gus went into the caves, he would go in with them, and then come back out and keep watch.   These photos are from March 4 of Gracie, Gus and Elmo.

It was all very interesting talking to Claire, she told me that they will be feeding Gus, Elmo and Gracie at 4:15 (it was about 4pm). After I was finished talking with Claire, I went inside and saw Ramses and Amani.  I don’t have any photos of Amani (I’ll get them next time) but I do have some of Ramses.

I went inside to look for where Gus was going to be for their feeding, I saw Ramses and Amani in the middle, then decided to look down by glassed in area to see if Gus and his family would be there… Just when I got there, Gracie, Gus and Elmo all came out together… The minute they came out, one of the zookeepers came up behind me and told me that she saw me with the nice camera and let them out early for their feeding for me. That was so nice of her!  They were behind glass and it was nice to watch how they interacted with each other close up.

 

That was my day at the zoo. It was a perfect escape from the stress of the past few weeks.

I hope you enjoy the photos and some of the information about the animals at the zoo.   I am looking forward to watching little baby Gus grow up, the way I have watched Belle and Bowie.

 

Thank you for stopping by and reading this!

Laura

Info from Zoochat.com

Name: Winifred
Sex: Female
Date of birth: Oct 17, 1990
Place of birth: Cincinnati
Location: Fort Worth Zoo
Parents: Ramses I and Amani
Siblings: Bawang, Muke, Ndume ½, M’Linzi, Unnamed ½, Rapunzel, Rumple’Skin ½, Rwanda ½, Penelope II½, Kubatiza, bo ½, Babuka
Offspring: none

SIRE: Ramses I #0430 (1971- ), born at the Cincinnati Zoo, currently resides at the Fort Worth Zoo 
DAM: Amani #0472 (1973- ), born at the Cincinnati Zoo, currently resides at the Fort Worth Zoo. 
REARED BY: Hand