Apparently, only in zoos, where the animals are constantly monitored by specialists, it is possible to determine with confidence the age of an animal. It is no secret that animals live here much longer than their counterparts in nature. There are many reasons for this: the lack of natural enemies and the need to find food, as well as, most importantly, the constant care and attention of loving employees. Only here weak and defenseless babies have a better chance of survival than in the wild, and "retirees" live their lives in peace thanks to the care of professionals.
We offer you to get acquainted with the long-lived animals of our zoo.
The oldest inhabitant of our zoo is the well-known American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) Vasya, who is already 73 years old, while the lifespan of these animals in the wild is not longer than 45 years. Vasya the crocodile arrived to us in 1952 in exchange for the lion cubs born in Mykolaiv zoo (memories about it are found in city archive). At the time, the five-year-old crocodile was only 57 cm long, but is now about 3 m long.
Vasya has already lived in our zoo for 68 years. He was the only one to get into the book of records of Ukraine twice: in 2012 and in 2017 in terms of life expectancy. Despite his respectable age, our crocodile is in good physical shape and has a good appetite, he is a real gourmet (the favorite dish of our alligator is pork heart). Has a calm and non-aggressive nature.
The oldest pair of our zoo is a pair of steppe eagles (Aquila nipalensis): a female named Baba-yaga and a male Lysy, they were born in 1975 and came together from Moscow Zoo in 1980. For more than a year, their couple gave birth.
Grandma Ambi, a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), who turned 52 this year, continues the ratings among animals of respectable age of our zoo. She was born in 1968 and came to us in 2004 from Holland. She is a very calm, caring mother and grandmother, she has daughter Aliti and three grandchildren: Chilina, Ramina and Sherman.
Among the large land animals, the real giants of the zoo, there is also an old hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphíbius) named Kazimir. It has been almost 42 years since he came to us from Kharkiv in 1978 at the age of eleven. He has been accustomed since childhood to the kind and caring attitude of our employees, so he is very obedient and contactable. For example, on command, he can open his mouth wide and he can easily be given medication.
Kazimir is not the only representative of the ungulate department among the old-timers.
We present to your attention the following animals of respectable age of the ungulate department:
Shetland pony (Equus caballus dom.) Gnom was born on May 9, 1987. He was tiny, so he was called Gnom, dwarf in English. Most of his life he worked in the department of domestic animals, riding children. He took part in various holidays of Mykolaiv. He even took part in one of the performances of the Mykolaiv Academic Ukrainian Drama and Musical Comedy Theater. With his help, young ponies were taught.
Llama (Lama glama) Arab was born on August 1, 1997 in Mykolaiv Zoo. For most of his life, he, like pony Gnom, rode children. Arab lives in the same enclosure with Gnom. They even eat from one feeder. And by the nature Arab, according to the words of the zoo staff who directly care for him, is "mannered intellectual."
Markhor (Capra falconeri heptneri) Riepka was born on May 11, 2001. She came to our zoo from Askania-Nova Biosphere Reserve in 2002. She gave birth to more than 20 kids during her life. She is one of the founders of the entire collection of markhors of our zoo.
Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) Lora came to us from Tallinn Zoo in 2002 at the age of three. Despite her respectable age, she is in good physical shape.
A pair of Siberian ibexes (Capra sibirica) was born in 2005 in our zoo, they were named Oriekh and Hurma. In 2006, Oriekh and Hurma were sent to Kharkiv Zoo. There they changed their names to Vulcan and Lastochka. And in connection with the global reconstruction of Kharkiv Zoo, Vulkan and Lastochka were returned to our zoo, but not by themselves, but with their children. The children were named Kizil and Lukasya. This is such an incredible life story of our animals.
Among predators of Mykolaiv Zoo there are also long-lived:
Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica), male Kashtan was born in 2001 in Cherkasy Zoo, came to our zoo on July 3, 2002. He currently lives with his son Orieshek, who was also born here at the zoo on September 22, 2004.
Brown bears (Ursus arctos) Myron and Vakula are two brothers who were born in our zoo on January 9, 2000. Their parents Shaitan and Shata were born in nature on Kamchatka. Because our animals were born together and lived together all their lives, they get along well with each other. Now, due to their respectable age, most of the day life, namely when it is hot outside, is spent in a den. And in the backpack they like to take water treatments.
Raccoon (Procyon lotor), male Venik was born in Kharkiv Zoo on April 10, 2008. Despite his respectable age, he feels good, active, has a good appetite and looks younger than his age.
Lion (Panthera leo), male Skif was born on August 22, 2008 in Mykolaiv Zoo. His mother Mona was born in our zoo, was also long-lived, lived 20 years. Skif left behind a large offspring.
Jaguar (Panthera onca) Sheba was born on May 3, 2001 in our zoo. She is feeling well. She left behind many descendants. She always raised her children herself.
The collection of turtles of Mykolaiv Zoo is also famous for its oldest inhabitants, such as the radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) born in 1983. This male, despite his respectable age, is actively looking for a girlfriend. The Indochinese box turtle (Cuora galbinifrons) born in 1998 and the yellow-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulata) born in 1996 are also ancient. They are all in a summer turtle enclosure, sunbathing and feeling very comfortable.
The oldest and longest snake in the zoo is the African rock python (Python sebae) named Lavrentiy, which is 3 meters long. He was born in 1996 and came to Mykolaiv Zoo in 1999 from Holland as a gift. Aquaterrarium workers are proud to have found an understanding with this reptile during all these long years of work.
Stable family pairs of birds also have the status of respectable and long-lived individuals, such as the pair of white-naped cranes (Grus vipio). The female Olvia, born in 1996, also came from the Netherlands in 1997. Male Borisfen, born in 1998, came from Moscow Zoo in 1998. In 2002, they gave birth to their first offspring.
We also have a pair of white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). The female Frez, born in 1990, came to us in 1995, and the male Floks was born in 1991, arrived the same year. Eagles also repeatedly gave offspring.
Among the inhabitants of the aquarium are also specimens of respectable age. These are red-bellied pacu (Piaractus brachypomus), born in 2002, and silver dollar (Metynnis hypsauchen), born in 1999.
Long-lived animals have a good appearance thanks to the zoo staff, who provide excellent care and feeding.
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