Introducing the Animals of AFRICA!

Wild Dog_AndyWithersThe Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is excited to announce the grand opening of the next phase of its AFRICA exhibit! Here, visitors will immerse themselves into the African Savannah, featuring East African architecture, landscape, and natural elements, while taking in the sights and sounds of one of the most majestic countries in the world, right in their own back yard.

The Cincinnati Zoo’s new signature exhibit, Painted Dog Valley, is the featured exhibit in this phase of the opening. The exhibit highlights one of the most predatory and endangered species in all of Africa—the African painted dog. Known for their famously large, round ears and beautifully “painted”, multi-colored coats, the African painted dog exhibit will have a crystal clear waterfall, a large eye-to-eye viewing window, and multiple vantage points. At the turn of the 20th century there were more than 500,000 painted dogs in 39 countries. Today, there are only 3,000 dogs in Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa combined, making them the rarest species on the African continent.

impala_Christian SperkaIn addition to African painted dogs, visitors will enjoy the breath-taking beauty of a new open-vista exhibit, featuring, impala, Thomson’s gazelle, ostrich, pink-backed pelican, and Ruppell’s vulture, to name a few! Visitors will watch as a variety of species graze on tall grasses, make stops at the watering hole, and laze about under the summer sun.  Over the summer this herd will continue to grow, as animals are added in phases to ensure a calm and safe introduction to each other and the exhibit space.

This systematic approach is a necessary precaution needed when introducing multiple species in one exhibit. These precautions ensure the animal’s comfort and safety, while also allowing keepers the time needed to carefully evaluate each step along the way.

Phase one, the addition of pelicans, vultures, and cranes, is currently underway and Zoo guests could see them together this weekend.  Toward the end of next week, once those animals are acclimated, the Zoo hopes to start the second phase with the addition of the ostrich.  Once the animals are settled, the Zoo will then add guinea fowl. And finally, the impala, gazelle, and lesser kudu will be introduced. This final phase could happen late summer or early fall, depending on the time frame for earlier introductions and each individual animals temperament.

A third exhibit space has also been completed during this exhibit opening – the future site of meerkats.  Currently,  this exhibit will be home to the Zoo’s bat-eared foxes, with meerkats arriving Summer 2015!

The Zoo hopes visitors will enjoy meeting the new painted dogs, seeing the bat-eared foxes in their new home, and watching the phased introduction as the herd grows.

Africa is now open!