Saturday, December 12, 2009 Mill Mountain Zoo welcomes feisty felinesBy Kevin Kittredge981-3323 Chin-Li was shy. Alexey was cranky. “If you want to breed, you’re going to have to be a little nicer,” advised Lisa Uhl, Mill Mountain Zoo’s public relations manager. Say hello to the two newest cats at Mill Mountain Zoo. Chin-Li and Alexey are Pallas cats. They look quite a bit like house cats, with more fluff. If the animals seemed a little overwhelmed by their surroundings last week, well, they had reason. The 7-year-old cats arrived here recently from the Denver Zoo, which is undergoing renovation, said Dave Orndorff, Mill Mountain Zoo director and general curator. They are expected to breed here as well — assuming Alexey gets over his attitude. From the zoo’s off-exhibit holding area, where they will remain until the zoo completes the cats’ new exhibit space in the spring, Alexey glared at a photographer Friday morning. He bared his teeth. He made a variety of sounds, some distinctly catlike, others not so much. The mating call of a Pallas cat is said to resemble a cross between a dog barking and the hoot of an owl. “They have some very bizarre vocalizations,” Orndorff said. Chin-Li, meanwhile, stayed mostly in her box, peeking out with one eye from time to time. Despite her shyness, she can take care of herself. When Alexey tried to come in, she swatted him away. Pallas cats are named after German naturalist Peter Pallas, who discovered them in 1776. Also known as manuls and steppe cats, they are native to central Asia, and live in high altitudes on...
Animal deaths prompt criticism of Topeka Zoo By Associated PressPosted on Fri, Oct. 23, 2009 TOPEKA — Two groups investigating the deaths of several animals at the Topeka Zoo criticized zoo officials for lax veterinary care and poor record-keeping. A Sept. 28 inspection report cited the zoo for several noncompliance issues related to the death of seven animals from January 2007 through July 2008. That investigation was followed an August report by the USDA that cited the zoo for several noncompliance issues. Among other problems, investigators found that two animals died after being infested with maggots. Also Wednesday, a separate review by Kansas State University veterinarians discussed some of the animal deaths including the 2006 death of a hippopotamus, which was left in 108-degree water. Zoo director Mike Coker said the facility implemented new policies on animal care record-keeping that he thinks will alleviate problems noted by the USDA. “It’s important to have as complete a picture as possible,” he said. “We’re just reminding our folks to be more detailed, document everything.” The two critical reports coming so soon after the USDA report in August prompted City Council member John Alcala to question the competence of zoo officials. “There are serious issues happening out there, and they need to be addressed,” he said. “Things are getting let go.” The USDA inspection on Sept. 28 found noncompliance related to the deaths of seven animals — a Pallas cat, a rabbit, an antelope, a mouse deer and three bats — from January 2007 through July 2008. The Pallas cat died in January 2008 after being ill for several days. A necropsy...
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