New critters arriving in numbers at North Carolina Zoo
Contact: Rod Hackney
ASHEBORO—It will be a busy week for the Animal Division at the North Carolina Zoo as 19 new animals representing 11 different species including one never exhibited at the zoo before arrive over the next few days.Among the new critters expected to arrive this week are: three male red wolves from the Henson Robinson Zoo Springfield IL; two female bison from The Wilds in Cumberland OH; four female fringe-eared oryx also from The Wilds; and eight snakes and a lizard representing eight different species from facilities in New Mexico and Arizona. According to Zoo Curator of Mammals Terry Webb the three wolves are being transferred as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums AZA Red Wolf Species Survival Plan. The N.C. Zoo has since 1993 participated in the Red Wolf SSP which has partnered AZA institutions with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service USFWS in an effort to save North America’s most endangered species of canid member of the dog family. The largest wild population of red wolves a total of about 120 animals is managed by the USFWS in a five-county area near North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The new bison and oryx are part of a zoo effort to augment current herd numbers and exhibit needs in the North American Prairie and African Plains exhibits Webb said. Native to the arid savanna areas of Somalia and eastern Africa the fringe-eared oryx is a striking antelope with long straight horns that draws its name from the distinctive tufts of long black hairs on its ears. Although related to the gemsbok another oryx previously exhibited in the zoo’s 40-acre African Plains habitat the new arrivals will be the first of their species at the N.C. Zoo.According to John Groves curator of reptiles and amphibians the zoo will also be receiving nine new reptiles in the coming week including black-necked garter snakes Western hognose snakes banded rock rattlesnakes tiger rattlesnakes and a banded gecko. All are slated for exhibit in the zoo’s Sonora Desert exhibit and were obtained from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson AZ. and a private collector in New Mexico. It will be at least a month before the public will see any of the new acquisitions as all new animals arriving at the zoo must go through a mandatory 30-day quarantine before being placed on exhibit.The N.C. Zoo is located on Zoo Parkway N.C. 158 six miles southeast of Asheboro off U.S. 64 and U.S. 220. Open year round zoo operating hours from November through March are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is 10 for adults 6 for children 2-12 and 8 for seniors 62-plus. The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources William G. Ross Jr. Secretary; Michael F. Easley Governor.