The exhibit Asia Quest at the Columbus Zoo houses even more animals than we’ve already touched on. In what looks like a large Japanese-style room you find large bats, giant fruit bats and golden mantled bats. Of those who have a fear of bats these particular bats are some of the most charming looking, with friendly dog-like faces and a diet of fruit, they are a good start to help bring the fear to fondness. The only flying mammals, bats are truly fascinating creatures. It was amazing to see them up close as they hung from the rafters before me and one even, from out of a slumber, stretched out its large delicate wing showing off its veined artistry.
The Vanishing Giants building is where the zoo houses its Asian elephants and black rhinos. The family of Asian elephants, including 2 year old Beco, were relaxing indoors when we visited, munching on browse and enjoying dust baths. This indoor facility is the largest indoor exhibit of its kind in North America at 41,000 square feet. The hope with their expanded exhibit is to extend their herd to include mostly all females that are related, mirroring their natural matriarchal herds in the wild. A large herd with this dynamic helps to enrich the lives of the elephants and reduce stereotypical behaviours.
The Columbus Zoo was once home to one of the longest living rhinos in captivity, Clyde, at almost 50 years of age, a pretty impressive achievement for a large and endangered animal. I was even able to speak with one of his keepers who said he was “a great animal” and sorely missed.
Another feature of Asia Quest is the pleasant Pheasant Aviary, an exhibit where you can stroll through what appears to be an abandoned Asian garden filled with beautiful pheasants in a variety of brilliant colours.