Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium Welcomes Three Significant Births
With over 600 different species on display, there’s always a new arrival at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. And while every baby animal is special, this past month has seen the arrival of 3 truly significant births: reticulated giraffe, tapir, and jaguar cub.
Jaguars are the largest variety of feline found in the New World and third in size behind lions and tigers. Males can grow to about 200lbs and are known to have the strongest bite of any feline species. Their stocky build helps them climb with ease in their preferred rainforest habitat enabling them to stalk and ambush prey animals. While most jaguars are yellow with black spots, a sizable fraction of the population, like this new cub, is black with black spots. Jaguars have an extensive range throughout Central and South America and were once found throughout the desert Southwest, including Arizona. While not yet listed as threatened, like many large vertebrate predators across the globe, jaguars face an uncertain future due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Many are killed as a result of increasing human-animal conflicts over space and resources.
Another species found throughout the Amazonian rainforest is the Brazilian or South American tapir. A distant cousin to the horse and rhinoceros, the tapir has a notable prehensile snout used to forage for plants and leaves near sources of water. There are three subspecies of tapir found in South America and one from Asia; each species is listed as threatened due to poaching and habitat loss. Both the jaguar cub and tapir are currently on display inside the Wildlife World Baby Animal Nursery.
Visitors can see Wildlife World’s tallest baby animal on display with the rest of the reticulated giraffe herd. So far, the nearly six foot high male giraffe is doing well under the close watch of his attentive mother. Young giraffe grow rather quickly—this young male should nearly double in height within about one year.
Giraffes originate from sub Sahara Africa. They hold the distinction of being the tallest land animal. Males can reach heights of 16-17 feet whereas females are usually a little shorter. Their long necks enable them to browse tree limbs for leaves. In addition, their foot long tongue is sticky and helps to extend their reach! Despite their height, giraffe have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as most mammals, seven. The individual bones are simply elongated compared to other mammals such as humans.
So far Wildlife World zookeepers have nicknamed the giraffe “Radar” and the male cub “Fitz” after Arizona Cardinals superstar wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald. They are still working on a name for the tapir! All three animals will likely figure prominently in the facility’s expansion projects, which include a new Safari park expected to open in late 2013 and an all-new Americas adventure land the following year. A fourth aquarium building featuring endangered sea turtles and Amazon “River Monsters” is due to open this October.
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ. Open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays. Zoo exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5:00 p.m.) Aquarium exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Daytime admission includes access to the zoo and aquarium. Special reduced evening admission to Aquarium-Only is available after 5:00 p.m.
For more info: 623-935-WILD (9453), visit us them Facebook, or at www.Wildlifeworld.com.