Visitor & Tickets
Animals & Exhibits
Learning Adventures
ANIMAL
OF THE WEEK
Each Amur tiger has a unique pattern of stripes, which acts as an identifier for other tigers. read more >

ZooKeepers’ Journals < back

02-28-2011

The Ferocious Kitten

Sometimes when you pass by the Amur Leopard exhibit you might think the exhibit is empty. Look again, because this beautiful cat is more camouflage than you might think. Nia can hide in plain view and sometimes our staff still can’t see her right away.

In October 2008 Nia moved to her new home here at the Sedgwick County Zoo. She is three years old now and weighs 77lbs. She has adjusted very well to her new home and to her new keepers. You may think that 77lbs seems small for a leopard however; this is an ideal weight for her. Leopards are actually one of the smaller of the big cats. But don’t let that number fool you, Amur Leopards can lift up to three times their own body weight into a tree. This incredible animal can run at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour, and has been reported to leap more than 18 feet horizontally and 9 feet vertically.

Amur Leopards are critically endangered with only 30 to 35 remaining in the wild and around 200 in captivity. They live to be approximately 20 years old in captivity and 10 to 15 years old in the wild. Amur leopards are native to the mountainous areas of the taiga as well as other temperate forests in Korea, Northeast China and the Russian Far East. So as you can probably guess she is at her best during our Kansas winters and spends a lot of time sleeping in the summer months. In the wild Amur Leopards are typically solitary so she has no complaints about having her exhibit to herself.

Nia is very playful and active; she really enjoys stalking people in bright colored clothing. Most of the time you will find her sitting on or near the big rock in the back of her exhibit. From here she can stalk the Burmese brow-antlered deer or the ducks in the Asian forest exhibit. I like to call her the ferocious kitten because when she appears to play she seems almost kitten like but deep down she still has the ferocious predatory big cat side as well. Overall she is spunky and ornery and sometimes even a little clumsy. She really enjoys different scents like human perfumes and colognes sprayed around her exhibit. She will clumsily rub on the surfaces where the new smell has been sprayed. Being so young she is a total goof ball. So the next time you pass by and can’t see her take a second glance because chances are she’s there and just blending in to her surroundings.

03-19-2009

Sad Days Sometimes Happen

On Saturday March 14, 2009, the baby Malayan tapir “Boris” died while keepers and the zoo veterinary team tried to save his life.

He was unable to stand up on Saturday morning and zoo veterinarian, Dr. Bryant came to check him immediately. His temperature was very low and he was weak. Keepers covered him in their coats and sweaters and set up heat lamps to warm him while preparations were made to transport him to the vet hospital. Sadly, Boris died shortly upon arrival at the hospital.

Whenever an animal dies at the Sedgwick County Zoo, a necropsy is performed to determine the cause of death. Two problems were identified during the examination. Boris had congestive heart failure, which had caused fluid to build up in his liver, abdomen and lungs. He also had intestinal problems, which caused a blockage.

Boris was a favorite among his keepers and other zoo staff. We will all miss him very much.

Entry by: Norma, Zookeeper

01-30-2009

Baby Boris Weighs In

During the evening hours of November 10, 2008, our Malayan tapir, Ally, gave birth to her first calf. Ally proved to be a great mother to her new baby, Boris, and he is thriving and gaining weight rapidly.

He first weighed in on November 13th at a tiny twenty pounds. By November 24, he was far too strong and wiggly to be held by a keeper while the keeper stood on a scale, so he was conditioned to climb up onto a wooden platform under which scales would later be placed. He’s a fearless little tapir and stepped right onto it with his reward being verbal praise and lots of attention from his trainer. On December 8th he was up to 54 pounds and as of January 26, 2009 weighs in at a whopping 137 pounds!

With adult Malayan tapirs weighing on average between 550-750 pounds, Boris is off to a pretty good start.

Entry by: Norma, Zookeeper

Hours of Operation
Summer Hours8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(Beginning March 1)
Winter Hours10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(Beginning November 1)
Open 364 Days a Year!*
*The Zoo will be closed one day only, September 6, 2014 to facilitate the preparation of the annual Zoo fundraiser, Zoobilee. For Zoobilee ticket information please call 266-8APE (8273).
E-NEWSLETTER SIGNUP