Friday, April 12, 2013

"Cubbie" Proofing - Tiger Yard Adjustments Made

I've been meaning to post progress updates on this and never got to it.  It might be moot at this point but since I documented it and its relevant to both learning how adjustments can be made adn how they worked out, I'm posting it.

As the weeks moved on from the Cubs birth, I have kept an eye on the Yard at Grotto A, what will be the Cub and her Mama's outside home.   In my first post after the Cubs birth I noted concerns I had about this Grotto and scratched my head at what the Zoo would do to "Cubbie proof" it.

The main concern I noted was the ledge at the window viewing area, where the heated rock is.  The other perimeter edge at least has a gutter lip, the rock is a straight drop.

Soon after my blog post I noticed the Zoo placed a good amount of hay down the concrete below it and along the ground.

As the weeks continued and we were reaching the point of time when Leanne started bringing her previous Cubs out, I wondered what the plan was.  Then last Friday I saw them building a platform to act as a stair.

 It looked fine in theory, but I wondered if some wires and such bolted into the rock was enough to hold an adult Tiger, who may or may not use it while in leap force.

 Watching Leanne use it yesterday at least nine times, I can see that it does indeed hold her and she did not use it to leap down or as a way back up.  Only to bring the Cub down.  I will note that it did seem a bit fluid and moved while she was on it.  That made me a bit nervous, so hopefully this route doesn't need to be used too often.

The Cub doesn't seem to go near it or the other edges on its own.  It was funny, every attempt Leanne made to bring the Cub down, as soon as she got her to the moat, she ran to the stairs and went back up!  It was very cute!  ...  It did appear the Leanne was teaching her to go down the stairs.  She must have decided that is the way she wants her to go down.  She was almost forcing her at one point to learn.  You could see her vocalizing to the babie in a coaching manner.

I think the proofing done will be fine and safe.  The only other thing I can say is I hope they add some additional hay to the rest of the rock siding and area below.  The Cub is a feisty one and was very wiggly.  One time Leanne picked her up the Cub wiggled free while at the ledge and fell.  I couldn't see, but from what I could it appeared that Leanne picked her up about half down the rocks.  Staff was watching so they saw and i hope they will get some extra hay in there.

Much to photographers dismay, the Zoo added trees to block the fencing part of the upper viewing area.  I actually give them kudo's for this because I think the fencing is dangerous.  I have blogged endlessly about Visitor misbehavior.  I want all the Animals safely enclosed.  Recently while at Snow Leopards I thought there needs to be plexiglass over the fencing, not only at them but everywhere it can be. So to avoid people "bothering" the Cub I think this is a great idea.  I would even suggest the plexiglass add.

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