All about animal magnetism

You've heard of the "birds and the bees" talk; this is the "rhino hormones" talk. The Lincoln Park Zoo has discovered it has a Valentine's Day hit on its hands with "Wine & Wildlife: Animal Attractions," an adults-only lecture about the mating habits of animals that has expanded into two shows this year. Champagne and sweet treats included. Lincoln Park Zoo is the national headquarters of sorts for animal dating; it founded and runs the Population Management Center, an antiseptic name for what's really a computer matchmaking service for animals at accredited zoos across the country. Animals all get profiles in the database and are matched with compatible mates (by genetic background, hormone levels and, yes, personality) nationwide. Among the subjects in this 90-minute event is when two animals are brought together, how zoo professionals make the magic happen. "How do we introduce these two rhinos in such a way to get the juices flowing?" says spokeswoman Tiffany Ruddle. "What are they eating? What is their area like?" What about mood lighting? "Not for rhinos," Ruddle said. "Their vision is pretty bad in the first place." Singles: Much to learn here about the chemistry of attraction. Couples: If this puts you in the mood, great, but let's hope it was the champagne. Details: 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive. $40-$45; 312-742-2000 or
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