© Courtesy of The Virginia Zoo
Popular mammals live at the zoo for your viewing pleasure. Here are a few.
The zoo’s female, Zola, weighs in at 344 pounds, while her mate, Mramba, is sized at 364 pounds. Mramba is more reserved, but Zola has a quick temper. The lion’s roars are thunderous and can indeed be heard across the zoo. In 2009, Zola had four cubs: one female and three males. These lions call the south Sahara Desert and parts of southern and eastern Africa home. Lions are considered the only cats to live as large families called prides.
Asian Small-Clawed Otter
The zoo shows two of these animals: a female and a male, and is hopeful the two will breed. Their zoo habitat includes a viewing area through which visitors can watch the otters swim under water.
Asiatic Black Bear
These bears are also known as moon bears, due largely to a white patch of fur that is said to look like a crescent moon. The zoo has two of them: Chai and Thai, who are brothers. At 450 pounds, Chai weighs more.
Moon bears call Southern Asia, Korea and northeastern China home and, while sized similarly to the North American black bear, the thicker mane of fur around their necks distinguish these bears at the zoo.
The zoo boasts two binturongs: Suzy, its female; and Rungus, its male. Binturongs are not related to cats or bears.
Bongos, generally considered timid, are the heaviest type of forest antelope. Its bright chestnut color grows darker as the animal ages so that old males are nearly black. The body is highlighted with 12 to 14 narrow white stripes on the shoulders, flanks and hindquarters. They have particularly big ears, which are thought to heighten their sense of hearing. Bongos hail from the Lowland Rain Forest of West Africa and the Congo Basin to the Central African Republic and Southern Sudan.
Tapirs are endangered. Often, people think anteaters and tapirs are the same, or that the tapir is a cousin of the elephant. In fact, Tapirs are considered a primitive herbivore, and are most closely related to the horse and rhinoceros. The zoo has two of them – a male and female. They prefer aquatic vegetation, grasses, buds, leaves, soft twigs and fruits of low shrubs.
Christopher and Api are the zoo’s Malayan tigers, an endangered species. It is said there may be as few as 600 in the wild – that is the tropical forests of the southern and central Malay Peninsula. These tigers are perhaps the smallest subspecies of tiger; adult males weigh about 300 pounds; females weigh in at about 200 pounds. In their natural habitat, they feed primarily on wild boar and deer.
Four giraffes call the zoo home. Giraffes are known to be the tallest among land mammals, and their height gives them the advantage of seeing danger from afar. In addition, their eyesight is excellent. This combination of height and superior eyesight makes them the first to run if they are aware of danger, giving other animals the signal that they should run, too.