Premieres Sunday, July 29 at 9 PM ET/PT on Nat Geo Wild
This new series treats us to a behind-the scenes adventure at Ohio's Columbus Zoo & Aquarium with legendary Jack Hanna. "Secrets of the Zoo" has filmed unique things that you may never have seen, along with showcasing the the bonds between the animals and their caretakers.
For instance, it's probably more difficult than you might imagine to breed American flamingos and raise their young. These iconic birds, which are found throughout the Caribbean region, will not breed if their flock isn't larger than about 20 in number, or if sex ratios are skewed one way or the other.
At the Columbus Zoo, handlers had difficulty getting the animals to reproduce for several years, before increasing the size of their flock. It now numbers 35, and over the past few days the zoo has welcomed the arrival of five new chicks.
One chick, the smallest—weighing in at about three ounces—can be seen hatching in a time-lapse video that was filmed over the course of 24 hours on June 19.
The flamingos live in an open-air enclosure, which by its nature can be infiltrated by aerial predators like hawks that wouldn’t hesitate to raid a flamingo nest. For that reason, keepers took the eggs from the nest mounds and will raise them indoors until the animals are big enough to fend for themselves. The zookeepers placed fake eggs in the flamingos’ nests to keep the parents from becoming upset about their disappearance.
Each chick weighs around 100 grams, which is about as much as an (unpeeled) banana. It will be a couple months before they are ready to fend for themselves and are returned to the flock. Then, they'll be visible to the public. But their journey to adulthood will be filmed and featured in this new series.