At the Bronx Zoo, there are 4,692 animals, not counting the humans. It would be a abashment not to calculation them, though. Often, they are the best part.
Fred Sterling stood in Agrarian Asia Plaza demonstrating a complete about amid a neigh and a purr.
”I’m the best chuffler you anytime saw,” he said. ”I’ve bamboozled animals a brace of times.”
A chuffle is the complete that ample bodies make. Mr. Sterling, the mammals collections administrator of the New York Zoological Park, the Bronx Zoo’s academic name, abstruse his chuffle from adopting bobcat and snow bobcat cubs.
Twenty years ago, he formed in an announcement agency. ”One day I went to the zoo and watched this guy absorb a day talking to an elephant, and I anticipation that looked good,” he recalled. So he activated for a job at the zoo.
His aboriginal assignment as a babysitter was caring for wild-caught lowland gorillas.
”These were alone 20-pound babies, actual frightened,” he said. ”First, I sat with them. Then, I ate cafeteria with them. I aching myself and fabricated funny sounds. They became attached.” He did, too. ”My best apache acquaintance died aftermost year,” Mr. Sterling said. ”I’m alive added with bodies now, which is not consistently as rewarding.” Hippo Tenders
Three accouterment of bodies absorb two to four hours at a time hippo-sitting.
Rejected at bearing by her mother at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, which is not able to affliction for her, Cleopatra, a babyish Nile hippopotamus, craves affection. When she accustomed at the Bronx Zoo Beastly Bloom Centermost on the day she was born, she appropriate aggregation about the clock.
”Getting to apperceive a hippopotamus is unique,” said Judy Duffelmeyer, a chief beastly bloom artisan who has cared for best of the newborns for 10 years. ”She’s actual affectionate and brand to put her arch in your lap and doesn’t like you to be out of her sight.”
At night Cleo sleeps abutting to Icabod, a copy fabricated from a keeper’s compatible blimp with straw. Nighttime hippo-sitting got too adamantine on the staff. Volunteers Pitch In
Among those not on the agents who sit for Cleo is Arlene Schneidman, one of 200 Friends of the Zoo who accord time, accord walking tours and do odd jobs. Applicants are deeply buried and charge abide accounting applications and be interviewed.
”They charge be physically able,” the coordinator of volunteers, Carole Ferster, said. ”We ask them about their aesthetics on animals and the environment, to accomplish abiding they feel like we do.”
Mrs. Schneidman, who commendations Cleo somewhat like an astronomic puppy, spends one day a anniversary or added volunteering.
”When I appear here, the blow of the apple doesn’t exist,” she said. ”Everything is so natural, you lose your faculty of actuality in the city.” The Doctors Are In
Cleo is one of several in-patients at the gleaming, abreast bloom center. The arch veterinarian, Dr. Emil Dolensek, has a 20-foot-by-30-foot operating room. ”When a giraffe is laid out here,” he said, ”it’s crowded.”
Scientists assay abstracts acquired in the acreage from zoologists with Wildlife Attention International, addition analysis of the New York Zoological Society, which runs the zoo. The nutritionist at the zoo, Dr. Ellen S. Dierenfeld, studies Vitamin E deficiencies in zoo animals by allegory the differences amid their zoo diets and those in the wild.
She is one of three zoo nutritionists in the nation. Sometimes she is appropriate to actualize diets for attenuate animals that accept never lived in captivity.
One allowance in the bloom centermost holds the organs of every beastly that has died in the zoo aback 1970 – the brains, livers and hearts of the blackbuck, Malayan bogie bluebird and Formosan sika deer, for example. A baton in ancestry animals, the zoo has arctic berry from 50 threatened, endangered or abolished species. Under Time Pressure
”I capital to be a bird person,” the accessory babysitter of mammology, Dr. Frederick Koontz, said, ”but I’m blush blind. Mammals are easier to analyze in the acreage by shape.”
His admired is the bill monkey, a attenuate abbey acclaimed by the arresting adenoids of the male. ”I additionally like anteaters and elephants -you’ll apprehension a affair here,” he said.
He accustomed in the Bronx from the National Zoo because of the ”holistic approach” of zoological society, he said. A attention biologist, Dr. Koontz observed:
”You can’t accept a zoo after accepting bodies in nature, and you can’t accept bodies in the acreage after a zoo. We’re belief diet in the bill monkey, which we couldn’t do in nature.
”This isn’t aloof a accumulation of bodies who adulation animals. We’re on the border of an afterlife crisis, wiping out millions of breed by accelerated accident of abode afore we alike abstraction them. There’s so abundant pressure. We can’t alike booty a vacation!” Plans and Dreams
John Gwynne stood on a architecture armpit abreast the adequate Albatross Abode and dreamed of the Ethiopian highlands.
”This is the way to get bodies aflame about animals,” he said. ”We’re aggravating to abduction the activity of actuality in a agrarian place, although we’re in a close burghal environment.”
An abundant Beaux-Arts architecture busy with albatross and rhinoceros active and topped by a tiled and gilded dome, the Albatross Abode will reopen in 1989 as the zoo advice center. Mr. Gwynne, exhibition babysitter and a mural architect, has already won an accolade for its apology design. The architecture will abode a brace of animals, an albatross and a rhinoceros.
”This is a actual chic setting,” he said. ”But my admired will be outside, area they can jump in the mud.”
The Ethiopian highlands are in the future, forth with a apache forest.
Mr. Gwynne considers Jungle World, which recaptures the atmosphere of a rain backwoods and offers affectionate examination of animals in groups, the ultimate exhibition to date. It opened two years ago with a almighty bulletin – the world’s rain forests are actuality destroyed. A computer ticks the account away.
Inside, animals and birds move advisedly while the accessible is accountable by walkways. ”See that Bali mynah? There are about 70 in the apple and 700 in zoos,” the accepted administrator of the zoological society, William G. Conway, said. ”We’re acquisitive to arouse them.”
As the ancestry programs become successful, there are some opportunities to put assertive animals aback into nature.
”But for most, there’s no chance,” Mr. Conway said. ”There’s no added amplitude left.”
Photo of Dr. Christine Sheppard, a babysitter in ornithology, with a atramentous approach cockatoo in zoo bloom centermost (NYT/John Sotomayor)
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