This week on THE ZOO, you watched as our ornithology keepers attempted to breed pink pigeons. It's important work as this species once faced extinction due to habitat loss. Luckily they were brought back from the brink thanks to concerted conservation efforts.
Learn more about the history of the pink pigeon from Maddeline Thompson, WCS Archivist, on our WildView photo blog.
Since the show aired the male pigeon, Stud, has successfully bred with another female. But there's a twist! The chick is being raised by a pair of ring-necked doves. The pink pigeon is gaining size rapidly and has quickly out-grown the surrogate parents. We've photographed the process, check out a few pics below.
Update on Patty’s Tuberculosis Diagnosis
Tuberculosis (TB) was diagnosed in Patty, an Asian elephant at the Bronx Zoo, in 2017 through routine health monitoring. TB is a common disease around the world that most frequently affects people in urban areas like New York City and other major cities, and is an infrequent but known disease in elephants.
Patty’s story was told on the Animal Planet docu-series, THE ZOO, in an episode entitled “An Elephant’s Trust” which premiered March 31, 2018. This episode highlights the expert care given to Patty and the trust and bond between her and her keepers as she receives treatment.
The good news is that Patty, who is about 47 years old, is showing no symptoms of the disease and is accepting treatment well. Months after her diagnosis she is her normal, robust self. TB is curable and we are hopeful Patty’s treatment will be successful. All of the subsequent weekly tests we have done with Patty have showed no presence of the TB bacterium.
Our two other elephants, Happy and Maxine, are tested every three months and have not tested positive for TB.
After Patty’s TB was detected, all staff who had close contact with the zoo’s elephants were tested and no one tested positive, including those who have spent the most time with our elephants.
TB is transmitted by close contact over a long time with an infected person or animal so there is no risk to the visiting public as the elephants can only be viewed from a distance while riding on the monorail. There is no opportunity for direct contact between zoo guests and the elephants. Also, the TB organism cannot survive for long in the open environment and sunlight.
At this time, it is not known how Patty acquired TB. Elephants exposed at a young age can wall off the TB bacterium in their body for decades before becoming ill or testing positive. It’s possible that Patty, who was born in India, contracted the disease there before coming to the Bronx Zoo.