T U R T L E  T A L L Y  O N  T H E  B R O N X  R I V E R

Kayaking on the Bronx River in search of turtles with top herpetologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has to be one of the highlights of my job as staff photographer.

WCS set out to gather baseline data on reptile and amphibian populations in the river that runs alongside the Bronx Zoo. We trapped and then released the herps that included snapping turtles (below) and red-eared slides. Species, location, age, and gender of the animals were recorded, and our vets collected blood samples for testing of disease and pollutants. This information will help to assess reptile and amphibian health in these local waters.

My role was to photo-document their work while staying upright in a kayak!

Today’s NY Daily News has a bigger story on our efforts.

TIP: If you are working on the river, take a waterproof bag and large, plastic ziplock bags to keep cameras dry, and wear OLD shoes!

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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L E T  I T  S N O W !

At least that is what our snow leopards think!

If it looks like a good snowfall is coming, grab your down jacket and camera, and head to our Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) zoos. We are open all year.

For some animals at the WCS parks, the colder, the better. Wildlife like snow leopards (find them at the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo,) polar bears, Amur tigers, baboons, snowy owls, and cranes are at their best when the temperatures fall below freezing.

Remember to bring extra batteries, and store them in your pocket where it is warm. The cold zaps battery life quickly!

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

 

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J U N G L E  I N  T H E  W I N T E R

As the weather turns colder in New York, good photo ops turn up at the Bronx Zoo.

JungleWorld, with its river otters, tree kangaroos, gibbons, and langurs, is open year round. Even when it’s snowing outside, the ebony langurs are at home inside in their mangrove swamp.

The noon hour brings good ambient light to JungleWorld for best pictures.

In the wild, langurs are threatened due to overhunting and destruction of their rainforest habitat.

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

 

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G I V I N G  G I F T S 

Gift giving is fun.

Our Andean bears at the Queens Zoo get to unwrap presents filled with food treats from their keepers—a form of enrichment where our bears participate in the spirit of the holiday season.

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s parks—the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium (drop off at Tom’s Diner) are doing more than presents to the animals. We are accepting new toys to give to local veterans’ families in the Bronx and some communities hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy in the New York area. Gift donors will received a free ticket (click for details) to the Bronx Zoo.

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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I N  T H E  P I N K

After weeks of severe weather for New York and its neighbor states, sunshine broke across the region that pushed temperatures into the mid-and- upper 60′s.

It was a better day for travel and for time to restore all that is broken. Our wildlife at the Bronx Zoo, like this Caribbean flamingo, welcomed the change with a ruffle of appreciation.

Hey, we’re in the pink, at least for Monday!

When weather warms up to the 60′s and 70′s in a colder season, expect to see animals out that might otherwise be inside.

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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S H O U L D  Y O U  G E T  Y O U R  K I D  A  C A M E R A?

Yes!

My daughter Megan teethed on my DSLR camera as she grew up around photo shoots at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s zoos and aquarium. In high school, during her science research on the Bronx Zoo lions, she stepped it up and took her own photos of animals in action (lion cubs, below.)

Nowadays, she is a freshman at Quinnipiac University taking sports and events photos with the Nikon D7000, a camera with nice capacity for stills and video that capture motion (a recent QU Bobcat hockey game, below middle.)

So, is a camera a good investment for your kid? I think so!

Photo credits: Megan Maher, Julie Larsen Maher

 

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T I G E R  T R I P L E T S

Taking a picture of three of anything is tricky—and getting the Bronx Zoo’s tiger triplets in a single photo? Nearly impossible.

At their young age, our curious cubs enjoy each other’s company as they explore their exhibit in leaps and bounds—and usually right out of my frame.

I spent many an hour waiting for just the right moment over the last few months—then on a recent bright autumn day, there they were in unison—first one, then two, and finally, the third (on the right) joined them .

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

 

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M A K E  T I M E  F O R  T I G E R S

Tigers are killed for their pelts, bones, and other body parts, even though selling them is illegal. Overhunting and habitat destruction have caused an alarming drop in tiger numbers. Today, tigers occupy only 7 percent of their historical range.

This Amur tiger lives at the Bronx Zoo, an ambassador for those in the wilds of Russia. He started out about the size of a house cat and could grow to 9 feet in length.

Best time to take the Bronx Zoo tigers’ pictures? First thing in the morning. There are fewer crowds, and the tigers are more active.

Conservation measures are underway to protect these big cats before their numbers and their wild lands shrink any further.

 Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Source: wcs.org

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V O T E  F O R  O U R  M O M  A S  T H E  C R E E P I E S T

She’s the tailless whip scorpion on the Bronx Zoo’s Creepiest Crawler Poll.

“Baby” tailless whip scorpions (the little greenish guys) ride around on their mother after they hatch, but the kids have to hold on tight—those that fall off before their first molt can be eaten by mom.

I take lots of insect photos at work, and trust in the wisdom of our animal staff.

A tip: always ask an expert before getting up close!

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

 

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