Warm enclosures and new residents: autumn changes at the Moscow Zoo

October 23
Parks and pedestrian areas

With the autumn onset, the rhythm of life of the Moscow Zoo slows down. Before the cold weather begins, many animals are relocated from outdoor enclosures to indoor ones. To keep the pets from getting bored, keepers entertain them using various items and treats, including pumpkins, corn and sunflower heads brought by Muscovites as part of the traditional autumn harvest campaign.

Sable, steppe and Far Eastern cats, who arrange fun games with pumpkins, are especially glad to see new items in the pavilion. Small rodents use pumpkins as shelters. And while some migrants habitually settle down for the winter in their warm pavilions, animals that have only recently settled in the metropolitan zoo are engaged in exploring new territories.

Moving and changing the food spectrum

Meerkats were among the first animals in the zoo to leave the outdoor enclosures. Now these agile representatives of the mongoose family can be seen in the ‘Ungulates of Africa’ pavilion.

Igor Tsarev

"In the pavilion, meerkats do not have a natural enrichment of the environment (that is, the surrounding space does not fully satisfy their physical and psychological needs), so the keepers have to work hard for the animals are not to be bored. Among the favorites of meerkats are a pool with plastic balls, as well as toys in which we hide treats," Igor Tsarev, Head of the Ungulates Department at the Moscow Zoo.

Animals are fed in a very diverse way. Their diet includes cottage cheese, chicken meat, quail eggs. But especially meerkats love mealworms and insect larvae.

Five land turtles — Seychelles, two Galapagos and two spur-bearing — were also relocated. They have comfortably settled in the ‘Birds and Butterflies of the Tropics’ pavilion, where they will spend the next few months.

To move the reptiles from place to place, the zoo specialists had to work hard. The fact is that the weight of the largest individuals reaches 200 kilograms. Five specialists lifted each turtle onto a stretcher and carefully shifted it onto a special cart, on which it was carried around the territory. Then the reptiles were put back on the stretcher and lifted up the stairs to the pavilion, where a pool and a delicious treat were prepared for them in advance.

Alexandra Studilko

"In the autumn-winter period, we feed the turtles twice - in the morning and in the evening. Light breakfast — fresh and juicy salad, apples, pumpkin and a variety of vegetables. The evening meal consists exclusively of salad. In their natural habitat, they also mainly eat plant food," Alexandra Studilko, a zoo technician at the ‘Terrarium’ department, said.

The female giraffe Lipa (Linden) has already moved into the winter enclosure, and her tribesman Samson is just getting ready for a seasonal change of residence. According to Mikhail Bragin, Head of the Mammals Department, Samson will leave the open air around the beginning of November.

There are a lot of interesting things in the animals' premises, including various backrubbers and specially designed feeders in the form of pipes, from which Samson and Linden extract food with their tongues. This creates an imitation of the eating behavior of giraffes in nature.

"In autumn, the diet of animals becomes different. We exchange green branches for dry ones and grass for alfalfa hay. In general, the amount of food is slightly reduced, concentrated compound feeds prevail. Our giraffes eat more than 12 kilograms of feed a day," Mikhail Bragin said.

Mikhail Bragin

Updating enclosures

Most recently, the zoo has completed the reconstruction of the Japanese macaques enclosure.

"Male Apel’sin (Orange), female Vishnya and Chereshnia (Cherry and Bird Cherry) and their babies Grape and Mandarin are already actively settling into a new territory: testing the strength of a wooden climbing structure with air paths from fire hoses, swinging in a hammock, frolicking in the play area and swimming in the pool," Natalia Astakhova, a leading zoologist of the Primate Department, said.

Natalia Astakhova

It has become much more comfortable for Japanese macaques in the inner premises, inaccessible to the eyes of visitors. The animals have additional sources of drinking water and new places to rest.

Changes are also expected in the enclosure for lynx. After the reconstruction, a pair of Chip and Gaika, as well as their grown-up kittens, will be placed in spacious separate rooms.

"The new enclosure will be higher and larger in area. It was decided to abandon the bars in favor of glass, so that it would be more convenient for zoo guests to admire our predators," Mikhail Bragin said.

While the lynxes are waiting for changes in their inner enclosure, zoologists continue to entertain them: they bring them game balls, hang rope swings, and also come up with different ways of serving food.

New Residents

In recent months, the Moscow Zoo has been replenished with several new inhabitants. Among them are the arboreal anteaters Pancho and Lola, who arrived from Germany and Belgium. The male is comfortably housed in the ‘Primate House’ next to the monkeys. And the female is still waiting out quarantine in a separate enclosure.

Arboreal anteaters are solitary by nature. In the wild, they converge with representatives of their species only during the breeding season. The zoo has prepared for them everything necessary for a comfortable stay, including cozy enclosures and a balanced diet.

"Our new residents Lola and Pancho are 9 and 11 years old, respectively. Basically, we feed them with special compound feed for insectivorous mammals, as well as vegetables and fruits, which we give them in small quantities. In the autumn-winter period, the diet of anteaters does not change," Natalia Astakhova explained.

According to her, these animals are characterized by a calm temper and lead a regular lifestyle. In their natural habitat, they spend most of their time on trees, clinging to them with long claws and balancing with the help of their tail.

Other "foreigners" who arrived at the Moscow Zoo are a couple of honey badger from the Czech Republic. Unlike anteaters, these animals are very active. Their new home became the ‘Ungulates of Africa’ pavilion.

"Now the animals feel great. We haven't given them names yet," Igor Tsarev said.

In the enclosure, the animals have everything they need for an interesting pastime: hollow logs for climbing inside, cozy houses and logs suspended on a chain. The basis of the honey badger diet is meat. They prefer beef, chicken, horse meat and lamb. For variety, they are also offered vegetables and fruits.

Following the honey badgers, a potto male and a female arrived at the zoo — primates from the lorises family, leading a nocturnal lifestyle. They don't have names yet. And zoo guests can see them in the ‘Night World’ pavilion of the ‘House of Primates’.

"To make potto's life as comfortable as possible, we have placed natural and artificial trees, bamboo trunks, lianas, as well as special houses in the enclosure. And since these primates are very timid, additional shelters of bamboo and willow branches were made for them," Natalia Astakhova explained.

Animals are fed on taking into account all biological needs: their diet includes crickets, locusts, mealworm and other insects, as well as acacia gum, unsweetened fruits and root vegetables.

Another newcomer to the zoo is a six years-old tiger Stepan. He came to Moscow from the state rehabilitation center near Veliky Ustyug. The tiger got there after it was taken from smugglers.

Stepan is a hybrid of Amur and Sumatran tigers. He has already managed to prove itself as an excellent swimmer: once in the enclosure, the beast chose the pool and shifted barrels and cones there prepared by keepers. According to Igor Anpilov, the leading zoo technician of the ‘Aquarium’ Department, the animal has an excellent appetite.

"Stepan gets 11-12 kilograms of meat a day. One day a week he has a hunger day, and the other six he gets different meat food: he eats horse meat, beef, rabbit, turkey, chicken and more," he said.

You can admire the tiger on the ‘Island of Animals’ in the new territory.

Changing the opening hours

Since October 1, the opening hours of the Moscow Zoo have changed. Now you can walk around the territory and watch the animals from 09:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. (Monday to Sunday). The entrance closes at 05:00 p.m. When visiting, you should not forget about the observance of security measures: be sure to wear a mask and keep a distance from other visitors.

Source: mos.ru

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