Our beloved Michelle was the friendliest barn owl of all the barn owls in the colony that we look after in our laboratory.

She hatched in the Zoological Garden in 2004 and was hand-raised by our lab members, who fed her every three hours (including nights). Michelle stood out for her easy nature and beauty, which caused everyone who saw her to fall in love with her. She was very friendly, ate from our hands and let everyone enjoy her soft and pleasant feathers, while surrendering to our petting with her eyes closed. Due to her easy nature we used to take her out to meet important guests who arrived at the Garden. She also appeared in several television programs, among them the comedy series Polishuk and various children's programs, and she starred together with a model in a fashion magazine. 
Michelle died of old age when she was nearly 14. 
Wrote: Pazit Zadicario

Lilo and Stitch, our two male mongooses, have died of old age within a few days of one another. They arrived at the Zoological Garden 15 years ago as orphan cubs, after being found at Pick Junction in the Golan Heights. The two were about 10 days old, their eyes still closed. They were hand-raised and tended to day and night by the students who worked in the Zoological Garden at the time. The devoted care proved its worth and the two grew up successfully.   

 

Lilo or Stitch in an enrichment box, photo: Noga Perry

Lilo or Stitch in an enrichment box, photo: Noga Perry

In mid-September, Guru, our honey badger, died at the age of 27. The life expectancy of this species in zoos is 24 years, so there's no doubt that Guru had had a long life. She was one of six honey badger cubs that were born in our Zoological Garden in the late 1980s, a rare occasion in zoos. Shimon Arbiv, an animal keeper at the time, tells us that after several incidents in which a cub was born and then disappeared within a day or two, it was decided that the next cub to be born would be separated from its parents and hand-raised. Guru grew up in Shimon's home and is seen in the photograph with Shimon's daughter, Rotem Arbiv, who was about 2-3 years old at the time.
Of the six cubs that were born in the Zoological Garden, two were transferred to Haifa Zoo, two to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, and two stayed here – Guru and her brother. The two spent some of their time here in problem solving: climbing up on wooden boxes in order to get to the food that was hanging from the ceiling, opening coffee tins, and more. In the last two years, as part of an enrichment program in the Garden, Guru also enjoyed licking the honey from the holes that were made in the wooden logs given to her. The two honey badgers in Haifa and the two in Jerusalem died around the age of 16-17, two of them due to a thyroid tumor. Guru's mate also died during the same period and Guru herself was ill and the animal keepers thought that she too would die, but happily she recovered.After the death of her mate, Guru herself, who had never given birth, started to show maternal behavior towards stones. She would pick them up and treat them as if they were cubs, taking them into her burrow and taking them out again and guarding them protectively all the time. Guru was the last honey badger to live in a zoo in Israel. At the beginning of September this year her health deteriorated and in mid-September we sadly said goodbye.

Guru and Rotem Arbiv

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