Photos courtesy of the Memphis Zoo
Ape for Heart Month
February goes red each year as the year’s most romantic holiday is plopped right in the middle of it. But the Memphis Zoo is going red this month for another reason — heart health.
February is American Heart Month, and zoo visitors will find the animal statues on the entry plaza ablaze with red lights. The zoo has partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to “Go Red” the first week of February.
The zoo is also a partner in a national initiative to promote the heart health of its great apes. As a part of the Great Ape Heart Project, the Memphis Zoo shares the data its veterinarians collect during annual heart check-ups of four western lowland gorillas, three adult Sumatran orangutans, and four adult bonobos.
“This cardiac workup includes radiographs and a full ultrasound of each animal’s heart,” says Dr. Felicia Knightly, senior veterinarian at the Memphis Zoo. “This workup allows us to measure the hearts, listen for murmurs, and look for specific heart-related diseases and conditions like that that affect humans, such as aortic aneurysms, cardiomyopathy, or valve deformities. It’s always good to get checked out.”
That data is shared with zoos nationally to establish baseline data for specific species of great apes.
The Panda Predictor
Once again, Le Le, one of the zoo’s giant pandas, will predict the winner of the Super Bowl.
In the past, zoo officials have hung the competing teams’ banners in the panda enclosure. Le Le would “predict” the winner by pulling down one of the team banners.
This year, two boxes with the teams’ logos will be placed in the enclosure. Whichever box Le Le knocks down first, will lose this year’s Super Bowl.
So how well does Le Le pick? Well, in 2014, he picked the Broncos. They lost (big time). In 2015, he picked the Patriots. They won. Last year, he picked the Panthers. They lost.
So, panda predictions aren’t precise. But they’re fun.
Join in the fun Thursday, Feb. 2nd at 10 a.m. Head to the China exhibit at the Memphis Zoo at 2000 Prentiss Place.
Watch Le Le’s 2014 prediction here: