A full episode of “Secrets of the Zoo”: The Stingray Stunner – Documentary

A full episode of “Secrets of the Zoo”: The Stingray Stunner – Documentary

Stingray Stunner (Full Episode) | Secrets of the Zoo

The episode titled “Stingray Stunner” from the YouTube series “Secrets of the Zoo” takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes look at the Wallaroo section of the zoo. Viewers get to see the adorable wallabies and koalas that call this section home, including the laid-back and friendly male koala, Heathcliff, and the spunky female koala, Ceduna. The zookeepers are hoping to see some koala breeding, so they keep a close eye on Ceduna’s pouch for any signs of a joey.

In addition to the koalas, the episode also features the Aldabra tortoises, particularly a 57-year-old tortoise named Bruce. The zookeepers are concerned about Bruce’s weight loss and decreased mobility, so they enlist the help of a veterinarian to perform an electrocardiogram to check on his heart health.

The episode also introduces viewers to Mentari, a Sulawesi babirusa who is reaching sexual maturity. The zookeepers are looking to find Mentari a girlfriend in hopes of increasing the population of babirusas.

Overall, the episode provides an intimate and heartwarming look at the care and conservation efforts put into preserving and protecting these unique and beloved animal species.

Watch the video by Nat Geo WILD

Video Transcript

AMANDA: Hello, girls. I have snacks for you. Come here. The Wallaroo section of the zoo is Australian themed, but you do not need an Australian accent to go in. We have a lot of playgrounds for the kids to play on. There’s a water park. We have wallabies and koalas.

I would say my favorite is wallabies. Hello, Lovebug. You want to come over for a peanut? Good job. They really like to use their hands; they’re super inquisitive and friendly. Good job, lady. She’s like, bye. Also in Wallaroo we have two adult koalas. It is relatively rare to have koalas in zoos in the United States. ANGELA: Came to see Heathcliff. AMANDA: We have Heathcliff, who is the male koala. He is pretty laid back, super chilled. ANGELA: You want some of this, buddy?

AMANDA: (laughs) He’s like, just put it in there, we’ll see what happens. And then we have Ceduna who is the female. She’s a little spunkier. ANGELA: Ceduna doing yoga poses today? AMANDA: She is. She’s been doing some silly stuff. Oh, my gosh, we brought you snacks. KATIE: That’s like me in front of a bowl of ice cream. AMANDA: Oh, yes. (laughs) We have not seen a ton of interest between Heathcliff and Ceduna as far as breeding goes. She seems to be very protective of her pouch today,

So I’m not sure what’s going on. ANGELA: Oh, really? OK. Ceduna wears the pants in that relationship. They have two different bedrooms; she is welcome to go to his room, but Heathcliff goes to her room, and she’ll usually move him out. So what’s going on? KATIE: She’s just kind of hanging out.

ANGELA: We could try to do a pouch check now. We do a pouch check every 30 days, just to make sure that there’s not a joey in the pouch, looks OK. KATIE: I mean, she’s looking pretty relaxed. So I think if we want to give it a shot.

ANGELA: I think I could probably stick my finger in there now, but… KATIE: Give it a shot. ANGELA: No, I don’t think so. Nope, she doesn’t want me touching it. KATIE: Lately, when we kind of touch near that area, she’s a little bit sensitive; she’ll draw back, where normally she would be completely fine with it. ANGELA: We might wait until Monday to do this. KATIE: OK.

ANGELA: Just so that she’s not stressed out. KATIE: She is due for her two-year checkup. ANGELA: My fingers are crossed. I really, really, really hope we have a joey. You know, it just doesn’t seem like we do, from looking at her from the outside, but it’s very possible that it’s at an angle

That it’s tucked to the side and we just don’t know. KATIE: Knowing if a koala is pregnant can be difficult, because when they’re born they’re only 30 days old and they’re super tiny, and they crawl into the pouch and attach to one of the teats.

When they’re that small and inside kind of a cushy pouch, you can’t tell. ANGELA: We’ll just wait to see what we see in the pouch on Monday. KATIE: Cross our fingers. ANGELA: Alright. Koalas aren’t endangered. However, it’s always good to be on top of genetics, so we’d like to keep that number growing.

But the big picture is not about the zoo’s family, it’s about the potential of that species living on for generations to come. KATIE: Bye, Ceduna. You be a good girl. I’m really excited. ALEX: Welcome to Zoo Tampa. My name is Alex. And off to the right-hand side we’re gonna see the Aldabra tortoises. When fully grown, they can reach weights of up to and around 500 pounds on average. JASON: Alright, we need a length and width on this shell here. SPENCER: OK.

JASON: Bruce is an Aldabra tortoise, which comes from the Aldabra Atoll off the east coast of Africa. SPENCER: 41 and three-fourths. JASON: They are the second largest tortoise species in the world. Brice is actually 57 years old, but currently there’s one that’s about 187 that’s living on an island in the Atlantic.

So he could potentially live another hundred years or more. You got to get that sweet spot. SPENCER: You can feel the weight difference. JASON: Yeah, I’ve noticed that over the last few weeks, too. What’s concerning about Bruce this year is we’ve started to notice weight loss

As well as Bruce isn’t moving around as much. Every winter he does tend to lose a little weight, and he does seem to go into shutdown mode, but this year we kind of saw a little bit more than we’re used to. So we’re just concerned that more is going on.

We want to make sure we bring him back to full health so he can live with us for a very long time. DR. NICO: OK. Hello. JASON: Hey, Nico. DR. NICO: Here we have Mister Bruce? JASON: Yep. He’s been eating pretty well for us, but it’s not…

SPENCER: It’s not where we want it. JASON: Not where it’s been in the past. DR. NICO: Bruce is amazing. He is really cool. Some of them have different personalities; some of them are more shy, but Bruce is a really nice guy. I just want to make sure that he is OK.

I’m hoping that his heart is OK, so the plan is to get an electrocardiogram on him. If we can have some food that we can offer him while we’re doing this, that will be great. SPENCER: Alright. DR. NICO: Alright. JASON: I got him these flowers. Here you go, buddy.

I won’t even give my wife flowers. DR. NICO: This instrument is an electrocardiogram, and it gives more information about the electrical activity of the heart. It will probably give us a really good idea of what his heart might be doing. SPENCER: It’s so hard working under a 300-pound tortoise. JASON: This year we’re also seeing him have a more difficult time supporting his body. We’re worried that we’re on kind of a slope downhill. DR. NICO: Ryan, I’m not getting the reading that I want. I think the machine is having trouble, ’cause his heart rate is so low. JASON: He’s officially a rock. DR. NICO: That’s it. That’s one. We got a good, we got a good one in here. RYAN: OK. DR. NICO: I think it’s a challenge for any veterinarian that deals with this kind of species; ’cause he’s not a dog, he’s not a cat,

There’s not all this research out there that we can understand. Oh, let’s just try Mr. Al. I would love to have Al. JASON: We’re gonna go and do Al. We want to get a good baseline of what a healthy tortoise would have for a heart rate,

And we can then compare that to Bruce’s to indicate if there’s problems. DR. NICO: I think that’s probably right then, Ryan. ‘Cause I’m getting… RYAN: About 12 beats per minute? DR. NICO: Yes. So we’re getting a more normal beating on Mr. Al here. Bruce was a lot slower. There might be something going on.

What I want to make sure is that you guys keep feeding him, feeding him, feeding him, and report of any kind of little change. JASON: Hopefully it’s not something major with his heart, because that’s something that we’ll have a really difficult time rectifying

And I don’t want to say bye to Bruce anytime soon. JACKIE: Who wouldn’t love that face? Look how cute he is. Mentari is a Sulawesi babirusa. Babirusa literally translates to “pig deer” in Indonesian. I love Mentari, I really do, with all my heart. He could do this all day long. I’ve raised Mentari since he was a baby.

Oh, he was about this, this big. He’s coming up to be about two years old now, and reaching sexual maturity, so that means we’re gonna need to start finding him a girlfriend and increase the population of babirusas around the world. The female that Mentari is getting paired with

Is actually at another facility, so sometime soon we’re gonna actually have to say goodbye to him. Why are you fascinated with my ring today? But we do have two weeks left with Mentari, where I’ll get to spoil him before he actually gets transferred and hopefully start a new family of his own. It’s definitely gonna be bittersweet to see him leave. I don’t have any food for you right now. Before he goes, he is scheduled

For a full exam at the vet’s office, which includes trimming his tusks back. In the wild, there’s actually been cases shown where the male babirusa’s tusks grow back into their skull and kill them. Alright. Almost ready, little man. In order to get Mentari to hold still for the tusk trim,

We’re gonna have to give him a sedation. You’re alright, sir. Today we are gonna be doing a mock session of a hip inject with Mentari. You want to get some scratches? Katie, do you want to try scratching him with that brush? KATIE: Mentari loves a rubdown. JACKIE: Oh, what is that, sir?

There we go. KATIE: Oh, yeah. JACKIE: Good job, Mister. We walk through this several times, in hopes that when he does get the regular injection, he shouldn’t react at all. You ready for a stick? KATIE: He’s ready. JACKIE: Sticking. KATIE: Good job. JACKIE: What a good pig! He has a slight reaction;

Basically just a little bit of a butt twitch. But besides that, he’s reacting perfectly to it. JACKIE: We’re done. KATIE: All done. JACKIE: He said no. KATIE: We’re done. JACKIE: He wants us to keep going. In the next session, he’ll actually get the real deal, he’ll get an actual needle. Piece of cake, or grape. I’m very confident that he’s gonna do very well. ♪ ♪ JASON: What song would a stingray like? “Under the Sea?” KATIE: Ooh, maybe. Watch, they’re like AC/DC fans. KATIE: Hi, Lauren. JASON: Hey, welcome. DR. LAUREN: One of the joys of my job is I get to work with aquatic species, and I love working with stingrays. And it’s always really exciting to me to be able to work hands-on with these species

That I know live in our backyard in the state of Florida. KATIE: Here, you want one? JASON: You just got snubbed. KATIE: I did. DR. LAUREN: So, Katie, on the two girls, have you seen any more distension or anything different? KATIE: No. DR. LAUREN: OK. ‘Cause last time we ultrasounded them,

We didn’t see any fetuses, right? KATIE: No. We do have a male, but because he likes to keep breeding with our females, we had to remove him and put him in our quarantine area. It gives the females a little bit of a break, because after doing pregnancy after pregnancy,

It’s a lot of stress on their body. DR. LAUREN: We don’t actually want these animals to be pregnant at this point. JASON: How can you tell which one’s which? KATIE: Darker one’s Tracy, lighter one is Martha. Come on, Tracy. DR. LAUREN: The staff has been working very hard

On getting the stingrays to actually station voluntarily for some ultrasound images. KATIE: Come on. Yay! Target training is basically asking the animal to come up. Good girl. When we first started doing this stingray training with them, they actually got it right on the spot. Here we go. DR. LAUREN: Yeah, no babies.

KATIE: No babies. DR. LAUREN: No babies. KATIE: Come on, Martha. Come on. No, don’t follow your sister. Come here. Good girl. DR. LAUREN: There you go. KATIE: The stingrays are just basically goofballs. They’re, honestly, they remind me of a golden retriever. They have so much personality. I know.

They know when to purposely splash a guest to get their attention. They will slap the wall sometimes. I love them. Ooh, that’s my hand. DR. LAUREN: Alright. I didn’t see babies on any of them. KATIE: That’s a good thing, though. Well, cool! DR. LAUREN: Alright, cool, thank you.

So no stingray pups at this time. That’s OK, that’s what we were hoping to find. And for now we’re gonna actually keep the lady stingrays and the male stingray, Stuart, separated for a couple of weeks; give them a rest from breeding until we introduce him back into the main pool. ♪ ♪

ANGELA: Hi. DR. RAY: Morning. DR. RAY: Alright, are you ready to get this girl? ANGELA: I’m ready to go. DR. RAY: Alright. ANGELA: So this morning, we are going to sedate our female koala. We’re going to pouch check her, we’re gonna pull some blood, and do some hip and shoulder checks for dysplasia.

DR. RAY: She can be a little… ANGELA: Yeah. DR. RAY: …cranky, so, we’ll give her a little something. One of the things that mislead people the most about koalas is that yeah, they’re cute, they’re adorable, but they can be ornery. Alright, sweet girl. Ready? Alright. We’re gonna give her a little sedation.

I want her nice and calm for this procedure. DR. RAY: Got her? KATIE: Yep. DR. RAY: Alright. She doing the Superman? Could you call animal duty and the clinic, please? ANGELA: You got it. DR. RAY: Thank you, ma’am. ANGELA: Koala en route. WOMAN ON RADIO: 10-4.

DR. RAY: You comfy? KATIE: Yep, we’re good. DR. RAY: Alright, Michelle, we’ve got a flying koala. We want to get a set of radiographs, we’re looking at her shoulders and we want to really document her as she’s growing, ’cause she’s still a pretty young girl.

ANGELA: Before we do anything, can we check the pouch? Just to double check. DR. RAY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. ANGELA: We want to just confirm there’s not a joey before we continue on. It’s dirty in there. KATIE: It’s dirty. ANGELA: It’s really dirty. DR. RAY: Yeah, it’s kind of gunky in there, but…

KATIE: It’s kind of stinky. DR. RAY: Ooh, it’s very gunky. ANGELA: It’s very dirty. DR. RAY: Wow. ANGELA: It’s weird. DR. RAY: It is a bit moist. ANGELA: Yeah, it is. DR. RAY: That’s… ANGELA: Strange. DR. RAY: That’s odd. That’s a little unusual

When there’s not supposed to be a joey in the pouch. Have you actually seen them breed yet? They’ve been courting a little bit, but… ANGELA: Some here and there, but no. DR. RAY: Yeah, I didn’t think so either. ANGELA: I feel a…wait, something. Is that? DR. RAY: Yep, yep, look at that.

DR. RAY: Ooh it’s very gunky. ANGELA: It’s very dirty. DR. RAY: Wow. ANGELA: It’s weird. DR. RAY: Yeah, that’s not…huh. ANGELA: We are doing a workup on our female koala Ceduna. I feel a…wait, something. I’m putting my hand in Ceduna’s pouch and it’s much deeper than it has been in the past.

ANGELA: Is that? DR. RAY: Yep, yep, look at that. ANGELA: It’s a joey. DR. RAY: That’s why we got him. DR. RAY: He’s big. ANGELA: It’s a joey! DR. RAY: That’s why there’s so much gunk in there. ANGELA: That’s amazing! Oh, my god. This is so exciting. I’m so happy about this, ’cause I didn’t expect for there to be a joey. I was preparing for something to be wrong. DR. RAY: We found a baby koala, to everyone’s surprise. KATIE: Good job, Ceduna. ANGELA: Should we put the gunk back? HEATHER: It’s probably joey poo. DR. RAY: It turns out that brown material that we found in her pouch was actually joey poo. Yeah, this joey is this big. Yeah, between here and here. This little joey I would guess is probably a little less than 60 days old.

Few more months, and maybe we’ll start to see a nose kind of pop out. ANGELA: Heathcliff did it. KATIE: (laughs) Who would have guessed? ANGELA: Good job. DR. RAY: Heathcliff is a little bit of a sluggish boy. So, no one’s seen any breeding,

So for them to have pulled it off, that surprised us. OK. Now let’s wake her up. KATIE: Yep. DR. RAY: We don’t need to do this. ANGELA: Oh, my god. We’re calling off the exam, we’re reversing her, and we’ll take her back to her house. DR. RAY: This is very exciting.

KATIE: Very exciting. DR. RAY: You know, we don’t mind pleasant surprises. This is the first koala joey this institution’s ever had. Alright, a little reversal there. Sometimes you never know these animals are pregnant until you actually get your hands on ’em, and getting your hands on ’em a lot of times involves anesthesia.

They’re just gonna be a little sleepy and then they’re gonna wake up together. Good morning, sunshine, you back? KATIE: Hi. There you go. DR. RAY: This is what we’ve been hoping for, for a while, but we really didn’t have any strong indications that they even liked each other, to be honest with you.

How you doing, sweetheart? KATIE: There you go. (laughs) Heathcliff’s like, “What is happening?” ANGELA: Oh, are you serious? KATIE: They’re kissing. ANGELA: It’s super rewarding to have a pregnancy, but beyond growing our zoo family, it’s gonna have a bigger, global impact in the future. Ceduna, you had us all fooled, acting like you didn’t like him. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ SPENCER: Herps to all animal staff, can somebody give us a hand lifting a tortoise? It’s been about two weeks since we’ve tested our Aldabra tortoise Bruce. He hasn’t really recovered from his winter funk yet. He hasn’t been eating as much as we’d prefer, and he’s been kind of lethargic.

Today we’re gonna do a weigh-in for Bruce. Last time we weighed him he was just under 290. So we’re hoping that he’s at least held that weight if not gained some weight. JASON: Alright, one, two, three. There you go. DAN: Watch your step. SPENCER: He’s always been

Kind of a slower-to-move tortoise, you know? He’s more reluctant to get up and move around. But he’s been just slower than normal. JASON: 287. DAN: So about the same? JASON: Alright, we’ll go set him down in the pool. One, two, three. DR. NICO: Maintaining weight is a good thing,

And that’s why we want to check his weight and make sure that he stays steady weight-wise. JASON: Alright, cool. And we can just fill up. SPENCER: Alright. DR. NICO: So he’s at least maintaining, well, that’s a good sign. JASON: Yeah. DR. NICO: But he’s still weak.

I don’t have a good grip on what is his actual problem. Any other animal, you would have done surgery, you would have opened him up, you would have collected some sample, but he’s not strong enough to go under sedation. The EKGs that we did haven’t got anything to say,

His cardio condition is off or not. His condition could be cardiac, his condition could be cancer, his condition could be immune system. JASON: Working so closely with these animals for a long time, you get to learn their personalities and you can tell when something’s off. So with Bruce we definitely are seeing

A big personality change with him. DR. NICO: We’re gonna continue to do the research on him, we have him on antibiotics, but we’re concerned about him. DR. LAUREN: Clinic to Asia. JACKIE: Hey, what’s your ETA over for Mentari? DR. LAUREN: We are ready to head over.

JACKIE: 10-4. We’ll see you when you get here. Today, we are going to be doing a sedation on Mentari so that we can transport him up to our clinic. We’re gonna be trimming back his tusks a little bit. DR. LAUREN: Pigs are notoriously difficult at times to sedate

’cause they’ve got a lot of fat on them and you really want to make sure you get a nice intramuscular injection. JACKIE: Dr. Lauren is on her way. DR. LAUREN: We love Mentari, he’s such a sweet boy. JACKIE: We’ve been practicing a hip inject procedure training

With Mentari for several months now, so today is the big day. Hopefully everything goes well. You want your scratches? Oh, yes. KATIE: It’s the best. DR. LAUREN: How’s he doing? KATIE: He’s good. DR. LAUREN: The minute Jackie and Katie scratch him down, I mean, he’s down for the count.

JACKIE: Alright, you got him? DR. LAUREN: Yep. JACKIE: Alright, cover your eyes, sir. DR. LAUREN: When I first do the injection, Mentari, you know, he kicks his leg a little bit, kind of like, “What was that? Something stung me.” And then goes right back into “Just scratch me down.” Good boy. KATIE: Good job, mister. JACKIE: I’m very happy, that went like… KATIE: That went awesome. JACKIE: …that went amazing. DR. LAUREN: He seems really nice and sleepy, in a good, safe plane of sedation to move him up to the clinic so that we can continue with his exam. Alright.

RYAN: En route with babirusa. DR. LAUREN: Let’s keep his head up, elevated somewhat. While Mentari is under full anesthesia, we’re gonna give him a complete physical exam. We’re gonna take some x-rays, we’re gonna collect some blood on him. JACKIE: He doing OK? DR. LAUREN: We’re doing well.

And I’m gonna trim up his tusks, and get him set to go on to another facility. Alright. Someone got that? Right there, watch his head. RYAN: Got it. DR. LAUREN: Oh, yeah. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ KATIE: We did it. JACKIE: Yeah. KATIE: Good job. JACKIE: I think the training definitely helped.

DR. LAUREN: Alright, he seems pretty deep. I think we can try. RYAN: A little twitch on that leg. DR. LAUREN: Little twitch? OK. RYAN: Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. DR. LAUREN: Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. RYAN: A little twitch on that leg. DR. LAUREN: Little twitch? OK. RYAN: Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep.

DR. LAUREN: Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. RYAN: Somebody grab the mask, please. DR. LAUREN: Let’s just go ahead with this real quick. He’ll be OK. Piggies are zero to 60. KATIE: He had us all fooled. DR. LAUREN: Oh, yeah. He’s like, “I’m fine, I’m alive.” KATIE: Just gonna wait.

DR. LAUREN: Good job, guys. KATIE: Yay. JACKIE: He basically fooled us. We thought he was sedated. I just want to like be able to help them. KATIE: Yeah. JACKIE: Go to sleep. It’s fine. DR. LAUREN: Alright, so we’ve got a Dremel.

So, ladies, I don’t want you guys to get shot in the eye. KATIE: Yeah. JACKIE: Yeah. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ RYAN: Nice. DR. LAUREN: I like power tools. RYAN: Yeah. (laughs) DR. LAUREN: He didn’t have a whole lot that I needed to take off, I only had really a couple of centimeters that I needed to remove. Wanna check it out, Jackie? JACKIE: I saw the tusk fly.

DR. LAUREN: Oh, you want to save a piece? JACKIE: Yeah. KATIE: She’s like, “That’s mine.” DR. LAUREN: Alright, I think we’re wrapping up. JACKIE: Yep. He looks handsome. RYAN: Steering’s up on the other end there. KATIE: We got it. DR. LAUREN: Plan for transport. Y’all’s den is ready to go. JACKIE: Already ready.

DR. LAUREN: The staff has made him a nice, comfy hay den. They’ll move around quite a bit during their recovery process, so we want to make sure he doesn’t harm himself. Alright, I think that’s good. So I know this is good progress. We just got to give him time.

He’s starting to get all his motor function back together. KATIE: Yeah, you’re doing much better. JACKIE: And down again. (laughs) Mentari’s looking very handsome with his new tusk trim. In a few days Mentari’s gonna go to his new home and get paired with his new female lady friend,

And producing baby Mentaris of his own. We’ll miss him, but we know it’s best for our boy. KATIE: You’re doing good. You’re doing good. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ AMANDA: Hello, everyone. How are you guys today? BRYCE: Yeah, I’m good. AMANDA: Here to do koala photo experience? JESSICA: Yep. AMANDA: Perfect.

AMANDA: We just started a new photo experience with our male koala, Heathcliff. People get the chance to pose for a little photoshoot. ANDREA: Ready to say hi to Heathcliff? BRYCE: Yeah. ANDREA: Alright. Let’s do this. AMANDA: Andrea from the marketing team is the brains behind the koala encounter. She is obsessed with Heathcliff. ANDREA: I love them so much. Koalas are my favorite animal here at the zoo.

I think they smell divine, they smell like angels. Look, he’s walking. (gasps) Did you ever think you’d be so close to a koala? Koalas are one of the most expensive animals to feed at the zoo. They have a very expensive diet. They eat a super toxic plant,

It’s the only thing they eat, eucalyptus. We get it shipped in from a farm a few hours south in Florida, so it costs a lot to feed the koalas. Oh, my gosh, did you see that jump? I’m freaking out.

We wanted to come up with a way for people to get close to them and take a great photo. TIFFANY: Can everyone turn around and look at Heathcliff? ANDREA: That was a way for us to help pay for them to be here, help pay for that food. Yay, Heathcliff, you did it!

ANDREA: What a stud. He’s such a star. When do you think the joey’s gonna pop out? AMANDA: I don’t know. It does seem like it’s pretty big right now. ANDREA: Heathcliff has no idea he’s gonna be a dad. MADISON: Hi. Good morning. Do you want some breakfast? KATIE: Hey, Stuart, time to go see your ladies. You ready? I think we’re gonna be good to lift. JENNA: OK. KATIE: Going. Stuart is our male southern stingray. You got him in? He’s been in quarantine for about four or five months.

The reason why we moved him was so then we didn’t get the females pregnant. However, he is starting to get a little bit of discoloration on him. Today he’s getting his checkup, which he’s gonna get his checkup regardless, but we just kind of made it a little bit more a priority. Hey.

DR. LAUREN: Hey, good morning, Katie, how’s it going? KATIE: Good. We’re just moving him. DR. LAUREN: He definitely has some abnormal discoloration. Southern stingrays are usually kind of a tannish to gray color, and he looks very abnormal to me. KATIE: Oop, OK, let’s go.

DR. LAUREN: So we’re gonna put Stuart into an outside pool, we’re gonna let him soak up some sun. KATIE: Here you go, buddy. DR. LAUREN: We’re gonna check on him in a couple of weeks and hopefully everything is back to normal. ♪ ♪ SPENCER: So how much did he eat?

RACHEL: He ate a little bit of the lettuce, he ate some bananas. SPENCER: OK, I’m glad he ate. Oh, Bruce Bruce. RACHEL: How you doing, buddy? Did you enjoy your breakfast in bed? SPENCER: Breakfast with Bruce. Bruce has basically just slowed down. He’s been waking up a little bit more grumpy.

So Rachel sat inside today and hand-fed him, but the problem is, he’s not eating as much as we want him to. DR. RAY: They’re very stoic, they’re very tough. You know, you’re not gonna know when there’s something wrong with them. If they have some subtle illness or they’re just not feeling right.

Those things are very, very hard to pick up on. So when we do see some things that catch our eye, that bring us to our, you know, attention, you know it’s probably very significant. SPENCER: Dr. Ray’s coming. He’ll check him out. RACHEL: OK. SPENCER: We’re gonna physically move Bruce into the pool.

One, two, three, up. And then we’ll go through soaking him to make sure he doesn’t get dehydrated. Alright. That’s the hard part. RACHEL: Alright, I got three sizes for you. SPENCER: Three sizes, alright. Hi, buddy. I know, we’re just gonna sneak this under your head.

Tortoises hold their breath for quite a long time. They still have lungs just like a human does. So they can still take in water and drown. So we’re gonna use a pool noodle so that if he does feel weak, that something else will keep his head above water. There you go, buddy. Perfect.

RACHEL: Looking good. DR. RAY: Nice noodle. SPENCER: It works, right? DR. RAY: It does work. No, that’s perfect. ♪ ♪ See his eyes are rolled up like that? SPENCER: Uh-huh. DR. RAY: You know, he doesn’t, he doesn’t look good. SPENCER: Oh, Bruce Bruce. DR. RAY: See his eyes are rolled up like that?

SPENCER: Uh-huh. DR. RAY: You know, he doesn’t, he doesn’t look good. He needs some strength, there’s no doubt about it. But the way he’s just carrying himself is not as vigorous as we obviously hope to see with him outside like that. I’m very worried. I’m very worried about it. SPENCER: One, two, three.

It’s nerve-racking when an animal’s not doing good, but I believe we’re gonna pull through this. I have 100 percent confidence we’ll come through with him. He’s gonna get better. OK. One step at a time. You’re alright, buddy. VICTORIA: Alright, Tiziri. Be good, we’ll see you later. JULIE: See ya. No. (laughs)

No, you’ve got to stay in here. Oh, Tiziri. VICTORIA: Do you want to come with us? Wendy, too, huh? JULIE: Yeah, come on. Alright, come on, everybody. VICTORIA: Come on. JULIE: Let’s go. JACKIE: Let’s go check on Mentari. I’m like so proud of him, he did so well for that procedure. KATIE: I know.

JACKIE: He just had his tusks trimmed a couple days ago. We were worried that they were gonna be penetrating his nose. We caught it just in time though and just trimmed them up a little bit. He’s actually looking really good. Mentari! Come on, I want to see your tusks. KATIE: Yay!

JACKIE: Good job. Look how awesome he looks now. His new girlfriend will be really impressed with him now. KATIE: Really impressed, ’cause he’s so handsome. JACKIE: Any girl is gonna be lucky to have him as a boyfriend. Since he’s gonna be leaving soon, I definitely… I’m gonna cry. I’m gonna miss him.

KATIE: Really? Aw. JACKIE: I’m excited for him to be leaving because he’s going to be with another babirusa, but when they walk into that crate, and you lock it, and you know it’s that last time, it’s definitely… sad. He’s a great pig. KATIE: It’s always bittersweet when they go. JACKIE: Ooh, careful, bud.

KATIE: He’s definitely full of personality. JACKIE: Yeah. KATIE: We’re gonna miss you, big guy. But we know you’ll be happy. JACKIE: See you later. KATIE: Bye! KATIE: Ladies’ man. JACKIE: Yeah. (laughs) MELINDA: The macaw flyover is really one of our signature encounters that we do here at Zoo Tampa. You’re very fluffed. I think it’s just the idea that the birds are out free, and that they can go wherever they want, and people are pretty blown away that they don’t just leave the zoo

And that they stick around and hang around with us. Don’t be sassy with each other. Rude! They will fly out and they’ll go to one perch, and then they wait for a cue and they have another trainer waiting at the next perch. Then they fly at head level,

So they zip right by people as they’re walking along, looking at animals in their habitats. MAN: Waaah! (laughs) MELINDA: Magoo! Are you ready? The grand finale of our flyover is that all of the birds do a big, beautiful flight around the outside of our manatee fountain. …from five, four, three, two, one.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ KATIE: He’s right here. He just blends so well. Stuart, he’s kind of got some discoloration on him. We were hoping that it’s just because he was inside, and he’s always been outside. However, the discoloration, the lines on him really haven’t gone away.

So today we’ll be pulling bloods on him and then we’ll just do an actual physical, external checkup on him. Watch, he’s just gonna come straight up to the side, and you got changed for nothing. That’s how it always goes. RYAN: And, you know, had he not changed,

Then he’d be in the middle of the pool. KATIE: I know, that’s what he was talking about. Which direction is he headed? Oh, Tyson! Right here. He’s really fast compared to the females. DR. LAUREN: He’s like, “Not today.” KATIE: He’s like, “Suckers!” DR. LAUREN: He was savvy to our exam today,

He was trying to avoid Tyson. KATIE: Come on, Tyson. Woo. Good job. He’s gonna be so angry. DR. LAUREN: They’re like, “Glad it ain’t me.” KATIE: It’s not aquatics if you don’t get wet. Here you go. DR. LAUREN: I still think he looks pretty yellow. KATIE: Yeah. DR. LAUREN: Being outside in the sunshine has not helped. I’m very worried. I want to get to the bottom of this.

KATIE: It’s scary. Like if your own child gets sick, you start getting super worried. DR. LAUREN: I still think he looks pretty yellow. Stuart has some very abnormal coloration. I want to get to the bottom of this. Slowing down a little bit. KATIE: Mm-hm. DR. LAUREN: We have him in an induction system,

And so this is where he’s going to become very sedate, and then we’ll move him over to our anesthesia cart which we will do all our diagnostics. DR. LAUREN: Alright? KATIE: Yep. DR. LAUREN: Hey, little friend. KATIE: Hi, bud. Hi. KATIE: We have a pump with a hose going up,

And it’s just pushing that water over their gills to make sure that we’re able to keep them out of the water a little bit longer. DR. LAUREN: He’s a little leaner than the other guys. There’s his heart. Alright. Very good. We can try and get some bloods.

RYAN: Be the vessel. DR. LAUREN: Be the vessel. RYAN: Be the ray. DR. LAUREN: I can see it right there. OK. Alright. Sweet. Let’s flip him over, let’s just check him out. KATIE: Like a pancake. What does it mean if it’s like elevated like this?

DR. LAUREN: So we’re noticing these kind of like brown, you know, squiggly lines throughout his entire back, and I’m able to pick it off, and it kind of looks like slime. So when I have increased mucus or slime on any type of fish, that’s got me concerned

’cause they will do that when they don’t feel well. I’m gonna do a skin scrape. This is a common practice that we do in all kinds of fish to pick up on any type of parasites, you know, see if there’s any cells that we can find. It tickles, it tickles back there.

He definitely has some excessive sliming on him. We need to look at it under a microscope to see what we have. I’m gonna go back and see if there’s something that we can potentially treat or maybe we need to take the next step and pursue a biopsy.

KATIE: We’re good to put him in? DR. LAUREN: We’re good. KATIE: He’s so sweet and I don’t want anything to happen to him. Come on, buddy. I’m hoping that it’s just something simple ’cause I love these stingrays so much, I consider them my kiddos. See, he’s moving his tail. There you go.

Go, Stuart, go! ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ JASON: Bruce has had ups and downs his whole life, so we were hoping that this was another one where he would bounce back from it. It was just too much, too much to overcome. Unfortunately Bruce passed away. We were trying to do everything we could,

But unfortunately that wasn’t enough this time. This was something that he’s probably been developing for years, and it was problems with the heart, problems with the lungs, problems with the liver. Just like people, sometimes… sometimes we get taken too early. DR. RAY: It’s always very difficult

When you get to know these animals, day in and day out, especially an animal that lives as long as an Aldabra tortoise. But you know, when they do pass, sometimes that’s actually the most compassionate thing that can happen, and I definitely think that’s the case for Bruce. JASON: He was an amazing ambassador.

He touched a lot of lives. He, he was a great tortoise even when he didn’t want to cooperate. Yeah, I will miss Bruce. We’ll all miss Bruce. ♪ ♪ TIFFANY: Look at Dira. DEVON: Oh, my gosh. TIFFANY: How many times a day do we say, “Look at Dira?” DEVON: Oh, one million. (laughs) TIFFANY: Oh, my gosh, you’re so cute. SUSAN: You’re so cute. KAELA: Hello. AMANDA: Hi. AMANDA: So Ceduna’s joey has started to emerge more from the pouch.

KAELA: Can we see its face? AMANDA: We want to see your baby. KAELA: It’s moving. AMANDA: The gestation for koalas is only 30 days before the baby comes out and moves into the pouch, so it’s extremely underdeveloped. And then it stays in there for close to six months before it starts venturing out.

We’re probably at the 170-ish day mark based on the development we’ve seen. So we should be seeing more and more of it. Uncross your leg. KAELA: I know. Put that leg, straddle that pole. AMANDA: Can you like just do this? KAELA: Lay like this. AMANDA: Can you move? KAELA: Ugh, you’re giving us nothing. Ceduna is being one stubborn mom today, so we are gonna see if we can maybe, just maybe, bribe her with some delicious eucalyptus branches to show us her joey. Alright. Want some more food? You hungry? ♪ ♪ Is that an eye? KAELA: Is than an eye? (gasps) I see its face! Look at that little cute nose! We’ve just been waiting and waiting patiently, or impatiently. Oh, it’s so cute. We see a little face peeking out, a little eye. It looks bright-eyed and very healthy, so we’re very excited. It’s our first time getting to see a little joey. Looks just like Ceduna. Like a little miniature koala. AMANDA: We’re assuming it’s maybe that big.

It looks like it might have a head like the size of a squirrel. KAELA: Eventually it’ll start riding on mom’s back and will start eating the eucalyptus and we’ll get to see more and watch it grow up. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ KATIE: Good morning. You ready for your checkup?

DR. LAUREN: Today we’re gonna go check up on Stuart. He’s our male southern stingray. His coloration was off, he looked yellow, he had a really nasty, thick mucus layer on him, and he had lost some weight. KATIE: Stuart’s actually right, ready to go. DR. LAUREN: OK, perfect.

We’ll bring him up over here, we’ll get a weight on him, and I’ll just do a quick look on his skin. Stuart has been on a couple of weeks’ worth of antibiotics so I’m gonna see how he did. KATIE: OK, I’m gonna go behind him. Going forward. Ah! DR. LAUREN: You got him.

KATIE: Nope. DR. LAUREN: Nope. KATIE: He slid underneath. He knows. (laughs) Ah. Ah, he saw it. DR. LAUREN: Stingrays are really fast swimmers and Stuart’s evading us, which is actually a really good sign. KATIE: I’ll try this one. This one’s a lot lighter. DR. LAUREN: OK. KATIE: OK. OK, I’m gonna lift up.

DR. LAUREN: And scoop. Perfect, nice job. KATIE: There you go. DR. LAUREN: Alright. His skin is much better. He’s not as yellow. KATIE: No. DR. LAUREN: Every stingray will have a little bit of variation there. So what I’m seeing today is nowhere near what I saw

On the day when we had our first concerns. And all those tracking lesions, the slime layers, I don’t see anymore. KATIE: Yeah. DR. LAUREN: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. So, I mean, we definitely want to back up my impression that he’s looking better, I want to get a weight on him.

KATIE: Oh, dear god. DR. LAUREN: If Stuart hasn’t gained weight then that means we haven’t fixed the issue. KATIE: 6.5. Oh, god. He definitely gained weight. DR. LAUREN: So he’s gained a whole kg. So that’s awesome. Super excited, he’s gained a kilogram, so a little over two pounds.

I think he was immune suppressed, and what happens is that leaves them open to secondary infections. So I think using antibiotics was a combination for success. I think he looks fantastic. Really nice job. KATIE: I am ecstatic for the good news that Stuart is looking so much better and he’s gaining weight.

It’s a very good day for all of us. CHRISTI: Mbali! Mbali! Come on, pretty girl. Let’s come inside. Let’s get inside, get some breakfast. Look at the enthusiasm. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! Is it too hot? You gonna hang in the shade? Yeah, I see you peeking. She’s really not moving. I’m talking to a log. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ AMANDA: Hello. Good morning, gorgeous girl. We brought you a snack for you and your baby. ♪ ♪ It’s so cute now. It’s like a mini koala. His head is so round and furry. ANGELA: It’s perfect. AMANDA: It is perfect. ANGELA: The joey’s out. Very exciting. We did find out that the little joey is a male and his name is Sydney, and it’s adorable. Just in love with this baby. AMANDA: (laughs) I know. I think everyone is. ANGELA: Oh, it’s just too much. It’s perfect. AMANDA: It is perfect.

ANGELA: It’s a perfect koala joey. AMANDA: Looks a lot like Ceduna. ANGELA: Let’s come back later today. AMANDA: OK. Twist my arm. ANGELA: OK. (laughs) We’re really excited about the joey, and it’s great to grow our family, but in a bigger picture, it’s fantastic for conservation.

What we’ve done on our part is producing one more koala to meet that goal of genetic diversity. It’s incredible. It feels really good. I’m proud to be part of the team that helped make this happen. Captioned by Side Door Media Services

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Video “Stingray Stunner (Full Episode) | Secrets of the Zoo” was uploaded on 12/28/2020 to Youtube Channel Nat Geo WILD