Friday, August 23, 2013

Your weekend cuteness overload

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Earlier this week, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo debuted three Canada Lynx kittens born at the zoo May 8.

And with their tufted ears and huge paws, they are freakin' cute.

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper

Lead Animal Keeper for the zoo's Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit, Rebecca Zwicker, says that mom Majina and dad Kajika have been together since 2007. That they took to one another is a bit unusual because Lynx are normally solitary in the wild — which is also why success in breeding within zoos is not super-common, adding to the local excitement about this little family. (Canada Lynx are considered "threatened" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.)

click to enlarge Dad's still not quite sure what to make of the kittens. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Dad's still not quite sure what to make of the kittens.

Zwicker says in general, zoo staff are "pretty hands off" with the kittens. It's mom's job to raise them, she says, and right now staff only get involved when it's time for physical examinations, vaccinations and the like. As the kittens grow, the keepers will start doing some training with them, as public relations manager Erika Meyer says, primarily "to help facilitate positive veterinary care." They'll also be trained to get used to crates, because they'll likely be transferred to another zoo in a few years. 

In the meantime, Zwicker and the other staff are having fun with the kittens. "We're seeing personalities," she says, adding that "they're pretty avid climbers" but "still have their clumsy moments." 

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Mom watches her playful bunch, a trio including two boys and one girl. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Mom watches her playful bunch, a trio including two boys and one girl.

It should be noted that now's a good time to get in your squee quotient at the zoo — they've had a huge baby boom. A porcupette was born the same day as the kittens; a Red River hoglet arrived the day after; a baby giraffe arrived Aug. 1 (the third in the past year); and seven peachicks have taken over the ground in the past few months.

click to enlarge One of the seven "little peas" born this year. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • One of the seven "little peas" born this year.

And one more completely unrelated "cat" note, if you'd like to add your own kitten (albeit domestic, not Lynx), to your family, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is at "cat-pacity" and waving all adoption fees this weekend.

You know you need more cuteness in your life.

click to enlarge kitty-closeout-8-22-25-13final.jpg

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