This past summer we welcomed a baby Watusi to our family. Watusi, also called Ankole Cattle, are native to Africa. Their horns can reach up to 8 feet and some males can weigh up to 1600 lbs! This means that we have to be very careful when feeding and cleaning with these beautiful creatures. We especially have to be careful when momma Watusi has a new calf. Watusi cattle are very protective of their young and in the wild you will find most calves in the middle of the herd. Adults defend the herd by using their impressive horns and “stare” down tactics against intruders…and it can be very intimidating! Momma Watusi right now is especially protective of her baby and will show signs of agitation if people get too close to her calf. The calf is a little adventurous and momma is always right there for protection. We ask that you please stand back when the calf is close to the front of the exhibit, this is for your protection and momma’s peace of mind!
There is a lot of activity at the zoo this week. We are opening on Saturday and it takes a zoo wide effort to make sure we are ready. As Zookeepers, it is our job to see to all the animal habitats, transfer animals from their winter quarters to their summer habitats while documenting and adjusting to their physical, behavioral, and social needs. Enrichment activities continue and we are always looking for some new ideas..we’d be happy to hear your enrichment suggestions. Some of our new animals have started to arrive and we are very excited. The Brazilian tapirs have arrived and they are currently adjusting to their new home. We are not sure if they will be on exhibit right away…we’ll keep you posted. Brazilian Tapirs are native to South America and a distant relative to the rhinocerous! They are very good at diving and swimming. They live along the water and will occasionally run into the water to evade predators. They can grow to 550 lbs and to around 6 feet in length! Here at Southwick’s Zoo the capybaras and tapirs will be co-existing in an exhibit like in their native habitat! Here is a sneak peek!