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People Top 5
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- October 20, 2008
- Vol. 70
- No. 16
Knut the German Polar Bear May Be Cute, but He's Got Nothing on These U.S. Fan Favorites
LOVES TO SNORKEL
Just over a year old, Scotty the African elephant already has his face adorning the cover of the Louisville phone book. And the playful calf knows how to work the crowd: The biggest kick Scotty's fans get is when they can't see him. These days he's learning to swim, and he delights the ever-present throng around his watering hole by diving down and using his trunk as a snorkel. "He's adorable," says the Louisville Zoo's Kara Bussabarger, "like a little cork." Scotty's other favorite pursuits include chasing ducks in the yard and digging in mud holes. When he turned 1 in March, his mother, Mikki, who plays the harmonica—well, she blows on it, anyway—led the 3,000 or so well-wishers in a rendition of "Happy Birthday." His huge "cake" was a confection of hay, fruit and veggies—with a touch of whipped cream.
CAPRON PARK ZOO
A BREED APART
Thousands of visitors turned up to welcome Ramses—one of only about a dozen white lions in U.S.-accredited zoos—when he made his debut at the Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro, Mass., in April, and they've been flocking back ever since. Nancy Manning, a retired teacher, is so enchanted with the 2-year-old Ramses that she visits the zoo at least once a week. "You go to other zoos and the lions are just sleeping," says Manning. "Ramses loves to play. He has star quality." A favorite treat: empty pizza boxes. Evidently it's the smell.
COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM
LOVES TO PLAY THE DIVA
She is the first gorilla ever born in captivity, making Colo the grande dame of zoo apes—and she certainly knows how to act the part. "She senses she is very special," says her trainer Debby Ames. In fact she can be a bit of a diva. "When Colo doesn't feel like training, she doesn't train that day," says Ames. In honor of her extraordinary life—she has been the reigning attraction at the Columbus Zoo for the past 51 years—Colo has already been given the ultimate accolade: a full-size bronze statue.
HIS OWN PANDA CAM
"Whoever created panda bears created the cutest bear ever!" says Craig Salvas, who regularly visits Tai Shan in Washington, D.C. In the three years since Tai Shan, a giant panda, was born, he and his parents had 5 million visitors, with another 9 million logging on to watch the zoo's online Panda Cam. "People ask if flashbulbs bother him," says zoo director John Berry. "I say, 'Yeah, when they stop.'"
SAN DIEGO ZOO
Janey, who was captured in Borneo in 1962, "definitely doesn't think she's an orangutan," says one of her keepers, Juan Carlos Fernandez. She has even begun painting—when she's not leafing through magazines, that is. She's also perfectly groomed. Each morning she takes a few moments to run a hairbrush through her fur.
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