Harry Potter at the Zoo

August 8, 2008

Every single day I walk past the Cheetah Conservation Station to get to and from the parking lot. Usually I’m in a hurry so I don’t stop and visit with the animals. And they tend to nap along the back wall where it’s hard to see them anyway. But this week, the cheetahs have been really active, or at least more visible, every time I’ve gone by.

Male cheetahs

They are such amazing creatures – built for speed and so lean. I never thought polka dots were a good form of camouflage,  but I was wrong. Those napping cheetahs blend right into the dirt and grass in their enclosure. Their looks are deceptive too. They seem to me to be big house cats and I always have the urge to pet them when I see them lounging around flicking their tails back and forth. It’s hard to remember that they are wild animals.

One of my favorite things about the cheetahs is their names. The three brothers are all named after Harry Potter characters – Draco, Granger, and Zabini. I just love the Harry Potter books and next to pandas, cats of all sorts have always been my favorite animals. (Until I got to the Zoo and met the giant anteaters and the elephant shrews, etc. at which point my list was greatly expanded though it did not cause me to bump any of my previous favorites off the list.) The female cheetah also has a beautiful name – Amani – that I really like even if it isn’t from a great novel.

Female cheetah – Amani

As for ZooGoer this week we continued to push ahead with the calendar. I’m amazed at just how long things like this take to complete. It seems to me that it should be a relatively quick process of choosing photos and then plugging them in to a design. But there are so many people who need to give input on the photo selection,  OK the animal facts we’ve included in the captions, OK the dates we’ve listed as Zoo events, double-check the masthead to make sure the membership information is correct, send us advertisements that have to be included in the calendar, etc.

Then once it’s gone through several other people and been copy edited as well, we still have to agree on a design. There are all these minute details that I never thought of when it comes to putting a calendar together. Do you include the previous and the latter month in small form on each page? Do you include the scientific names of the animals? And, if so, where? in the caption? alongside the photo itself?

Despite all this, I’m fairly certain that we are ready to move ahead and send the calendar to the printers next week. Whew.


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