The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. is a sprawling 163 acres and is home to a total of 2,700 animals of over 390 species including giant pandas, bison, and even swamp monkeys. Most interesting of all there resides feminist icon 20-year-old Walnut, the white-naped crane. According to legend, Walnut is somewhat of a blackwidow, having murdered the last two mates she had been paired with at previous zoos.
This is a bit of an issue; one, because murder is not cool and two, because white-naped cranes are endangered. As difficult as Walnut may be at times, she cannot be given up on. Afterall, in order to save her species, she needs to reproduce, and in the words of Taylor Swift: “no one likes a mad woman.” That is until she met Chris Crowe, a bird keeper at the Smithsonian.
Yikes, right? Well yes, but hold on, she can explain! It’s theorized that when Walnut was born under human supervision, she may have received too much human interaction (don’t touch the wildlife!), and she may just now have a preference for humans over other cranes. When Crowe came into her life as her keeper, she immediately took a liking to him, even displaying some behavior one might see when cranes are trying to mate.
As uncomfy as it was, it was quickly realised that Crowe needed to do what’s best for the animal kingdom: he needed to, ahem, artificially inseminate Walnut. Now, don’t be alarmed, if Walnut was not happy to oblige, she would attempt a third murder, but after 14 years of this pairing, there have been no recorded attempts. Walnut has laid 5 eggs via this process.
All in all, Walnut is just a simple gal who knows what she wants, and by golly, she’s gonna get it! Why Crowe? Maybe it’s his baby-blues; unfortunately, we’ll never know. From what we know right now, Walnut may be going into retirement very soon, as her children take over the job as baby-makers. Obligatory inseminations have their end points, but love never dies.