SHU goes behind the scenes at Pittsburgh Zoo

Seton Hill students meet Louis the giraffe at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Photo by O.Schultz/Setonian.

The Seton Hill Biology Club sponsored a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo on April 29 that included a behind the scenes tour. Thanks to the Biology Club, we got to visit three different animals on this tour: the tigers, the lions and the giraffes. The trip cost $14 and even though the weather called for rain all day, the rain missed and only downpoured for about a half hour.

The group was split into two smaller groups to go visit the tigers and lions, and then we met back up to meet the giraffes. My group started off at the tigers. The only tiger behind the enclosure was further back taking a nap so we didn’t get to see them up close. We did however learn some interesting facts about the
zoo’s tigers.

The tigers at our zoo are Amur tigers who come from an area near Russia, and the climate they come from is a lot like the one here is Western Pennsylvania, only a bit harsher. Since the tigers are used to the weather, their sleeping area is outside because they love this climate. The sad thing is that there are less than 400 Amur tigers left in the wild.

The tigers may not have been backstage, but they were napping out in their yard. Photo by O.Schultz/Setonian.

The zoo has two males and two females, and they are currently trying to breed the two younger tigers. However, the female tiger has not had any attraction yet to the male.

After the tigers, my group went to the lions. We first went and looked at the two males who were in the yard. They are brothers named Reggie and Johnny, and like all siblings they love to mess around. Here’s a fun fact: the big rock in the lion’s yard is artificial and it can be heated, so that is why they love to sit on it.

After learning about the two crazy brothers, we got to learn about the lovely lady lion who was napping inside. The female lion that the zoo has, Katie, was rescued when she was still a little cub.

The lions, Johnny and Reggie, take a nap on their rock. Photo by O.Schultz/Setonian.

Someone had bought her and her sister as pets but could no longer take care of them because big cats are not meant to be pets, so the zoo stepped in to look after them. Unfortunately, Katie’s sister passed away, leaving Katie by herself.

Katie wasn’t meant to be a pet; she still thinks she is a house cat so much that she loves to get cuddles from her zookeepers. Unfortunately, she cannot be with the two males because she does not know how to act like a lion. Some of the things that she does that resembles a house cat is loving to get cuddles and pets from her zookeepers. She also loves to play with all of her toys.

Katie the lion, lying around, perks her head up with interest in all of the new people. Photo by O.Schultz/Setonian.

The last stop was to meet the giraffes. We got to go behind an “employees only” gate and get up close and personal with the giraffes. One of the giraffes named Louis loves attention, so everyone got to pet him, and some even got a selfie with him. Louis took a liking to my Aunt Linda who went on the trip with us and kept trying to lick her.

After we met the giraffes, we got to explore the zoo on our own. I went off and headed towards the aquarium where I was treated with a show by the polar bear. He was getting some fish for snacks and he jumped in the water while I was in the tunnel. The zoo is always one of my favorite places and getting to go on this tour was amazing. I am hoping that the Biology Club continues to do this trip because I would say it was successful.

 

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