The African Savanna gives visitors the impression that they are walking along a riverbank through the plains of East Africa. In this area can be found African elephants weighing more than two tons; Masai giraffe, which reach 16 feet in height; zebras;the slender, critically endangered dama gazelle, native to the Sahara Desert; ostriches; flamingos; critically endangered black rhinos, which are actually brown or grey, and a trio of African big cats: lions, leopards, and cheetahs. The cheetahs have their own separate habitat, called Cheetah Valley; the habitat is encased in glass and allows zoo visitors to examine the cheetahs from several different angles.
The Islands is home to the most seriously endangered species among the animals at the zoo. In this recreated tropical island habitat, complete with a sandy shore and beach chairs, visitors may view the Galapagos tortoises, which weigh up to 900 pounds; clouded leopards from the Himalayan mountains; Philippine crocodiles; Visayan warty pigs from the central Philippines, and siamangs, which are tree-dwelling gibbons native to the rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
The Tropical Forest is a 16-acre indoor habitat housing animals from tropical climates around the world. A crowd favorite is the rare Sumatran orangutan, and the Western lowland gorillas are also very popular. The Tropical Forest has two types of lemur; colobus, howler, capuchin, and blue monkeys; the small, shy two-toed sloths from Central and South America; gibbons, and poison dart frogs. Also at home here are the saki, a South American monkey that lives in the trees and only rarely comes to ground level, and the tamarin, which is a squirrel-sized monkey native to Central and South America.
The Water's Edge is designed to look like a coastal fishing village in the Arctic, and illustrates how humans and animals interact. Here zoo visitors will find the polar bear, native to the cold wilderness of the Arctic Circle; sea otters, the thick-furred adorable marine mammals native to the North Pacific Ocean, and sand tiger sharks, docile nocturnal creatures of the world's deep oceans. Tunnels through The Water's Edge allow visitors to view the animals as if immersed in the water themselves. The Pittsburgh Zoo is working to obtain walruses to add to this habitat.
The Asian Forest is dedicated to animals from Eastern and Southeastern Asia, and represents a journey from the Himalayas to Indonesia. The exhibit houses Asia's most critically endangered wild cats: the Amur leopard, the Amur tiger, and the snow leopard. Other Asian species are present as well, including the 10-foot long Komodo dragon, a huge species of lizard; the red panda, and the Chinese muntjac, a small deer native to southeastern China. The exhibits are fun to visit with the whole family.
Fun things to do in: New Haven, Anaheim, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Baton Rouge Photo: Pittsburgh Zoo
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