Audubon Zoo

Audubon Zoo

Up in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow, sending shivers down many a meteorologist’s spine and presaging six more weeks of winter — but here in New Orleans we have more, er, refined methods of predicting the weather.

Mark Gstohl / Flickr

Local geographer Richard Campanella has spent the last 20 years studying the city's topography and says that, unlike other cities, New Orleans' highest and lowest points are man-made creations.

Jason Saul / WWNO

Bonnie the rhinoceros, a 15-year-old Southern White Rhino weighing more than two tons, is the latest new arrival at the Audubon Zoo.

Bonnie, who was born and raised at the Lion Country Safari in Florida, joins the one male and two female rhinos already living at the Zoo. Bonnie arrived in late April and has been acclimating herself to her new surroundings.

“The hope is she will breed with our male Saba and produce much needed new blood into the captive rhino population,” says Bill Smith, Audubon Zoo's Curator of Hoofstock.

Jason Saul / WWNO

Panya the elephant celebrated her 50th birthday at the Audubon Zoo last week, and scores of people came out to celebrate.

Panya, a 9,500-pound female Asian elephant, was presented with a birthday cake and presents, as well as a special AARP card. A gaggle of children in party hats serenaded her with toy horns, signed a giant birthday card, and shared in some cake of their own.

She was joined by 7,500-pound Jean, a 41-year-old female Asian elephant who has been Panya's sidekick at the zoo for over 30 years.

Jason Saul / WWNO

The Hornets have played their last game under that team name. Next season they become the Pelicans. The change is meant to tie the team more closely to New Orleans, but it also means the team has a whole new brand, and a new feel to it.

WWNO’s Eve Troeh sat down with two animal experts to take a literal approach to the change from Hornets to Pelicans. Carolyn Atherton is assistant curator of birds at Audubon Zoo. Zach Lemann directs programs at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.

Sam DCruz / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/">Shutterstock.com</a>

A 33-pound monkey escaped its enclosure at the Audubon Zoo Friday morning, prompting an hour-long shutdown of the facility while zookeepers wrangled the animal back into captivity and made sure the area was safe.

The monkey, an 11-year-old black-and-white African Colobus named Kivuli, was spotted on the loose at about 10:17 a.m. Zoo officials ushered park-goers indoors and shut the gates of the facility, according to Audubon spokespeople and eyewitnesses.

Kivuli is a Swahili word meaning "Ghost." The monkey was born on Halloween, according to the zoo.

New Orleans police have issued arrest warrants for two men suspected of stealing a bin of baby alligators from the Audubon Zoo gift shop.

Police say Audubon Security discovered the gift shop’s doors pried open, and a broken window near the shop’s bottom door latch, around 7:30 a.m. last Wednesday, just over three hours after receiving an alarm from the location. A check of the shop revealed 10 baby alligators missing from a tank within.

The Audubon Zoo is marking a milestone birthday for a tapir called Melon. He's the second oldest of his kind in zoo captivity.