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Reid Park Zoo Expansion

African Wild Dogs are one of the newest additions to the Reid Park Zoo. If you haven’t seen them yet, they’re easy to find — just to the left of the main plaza as you enter the zoo, and they’re always fun to watch!

Rover’s relatives

These animals are also known as “painted dogs,” and their striking coloration tells you why. Their short fur has a beautiful patchwork of brown, white, red, black, and yellow splotches. Each dog has its own unique pattern, like the stripes on a zebra — a sort of “fingerprint.” They’re slender and about the size of larger…


The mystery, beauty and ferocity of the Jaguar has always had a central role in the culture of many South and Central American societies; the name Jaguar probably comes from the languages of the Guarani and Tupi people, whose term yaguarete is translated as, “true, fierce beast.” In fact, jaguars were considered gods in many ancient cultures in Mexico, Central America and South America, including the Mayans and Olmecs. The big cats’ images appear prominently in the art of architecture of these and other pre-Columbian cultures. …


Giraffes tower over the plains of Africa, the tallest land animals on earth, gentle giants, the watchtowers of the savannah, beautiful to behold. They are awkward but strangely graceful. And their striking appearance is matched by striking adaptations in their anatomy and physiology.

Giraffes are known for their long necks and long, spindly legs. Adult male giraffes are about 16–17 feet tall — way higher than a basketball hoop! — and weigh about 2600 pounds — as much as a small car! Females are about 2 feet shorter and about 800 pounds lighter than the males. …


Did you know that Reid Park Zoo (RPZ) is so awesome that it even has its own bachelor pad? Sharing the Rhino habitat are male Speke’s Gazelles, no ladies of the species welcome. While not involved in breeding the Speke’s Gazelle, The Reid Park Zoo is actively involved in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this species. They provide a space where males can live until needed at another zoo for a breeding match that ensures offspring are healthy and genetically diverse.

This small gazelle is named after the English explorer, John Hanning Speke. In 1858 he discovered that Lake…


Almost Gone

The pair of Malayan Tigers expected to come to Tucson once the Reid Park Zoo expansion is complete will be some of the most stunningly beautiful, most beloved, and most endangered creatures on the planet. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has honored our Zoo by selecting them to receive a breeding pair of these amazing animals. The male and female will live in lush adjoining habitats, with plenty of room to climb, to swim, to hide, to stalk, and loll about. Tigers are solitary in the wild, so the pair will meet only during breeding season, and there are…


BORN FOR THE NIGHT SHIFT

As our group entered the cave-like area from bright summer sunlight, I stumbled slightly, allowing my eyes to adjust to the dimming light. Without any prompting, our laughter dissolved into cautious whispers. The glass panel we faced was slightly obscured by condensation-on our side, a cool summer breeze, on the other, a moist tropical atmosphere. There they were, hanging upside down, like furry brown birds in long trench coats, nibbling on pieces of nectarine and mango: my first glimpse of Rodrigues Fruit Bats, up close and personal. I was mesmerized. No, enraptured.

It was like peering into another universe. Our…


Excellence and innovation are hallmarks of the care that the animals at the Reid Park Zoo receive every day from the Zoo’s Animal Care Staff. Whether it’s training a rhinoceros to allow a staff member to draw blood for the animal’s health and veterinary care, inventing a life-saving technique to treat a congenital kidney problem in an African lion, or hundreds of things staff members do to enhance the animals’ lives, the Zoo and its staff are guided by deep care, excellence, and innovation.

A good example of excellence and innovation in the animals’ care is what is called “…


Imagine you’re Charles Darwin, feeling you have a pretty good handle on the earth’s amazing biodiversity after exploring for four years and filling your ship, The Beagle, with a multitude of live animal specimens for further study. Then, off the coast of Ecuador, you and your crew come upon an archipelago called the Galapagos. You realize then you most certainly haven’t seen it all! And it’s no coincidence that Galapago is an archaic word in Spanish meaning tortoise.

Amazing Creatures

Greeting Darwin and his crew in 1835 were creatures such as the marine iguana, literally half of the Blue-Footed Boobies on earth…


ONCE UPON A TIME OUR RIVERS FLOWED . . . .

Once upon a time cottonwood trees and riparian plants lined the river banks. Fish swam in the waters, and wildlife thrived.

Over 12,000 years ago early nomadic people found our desert to be rich and welcoming as they paused here in their hunter/gatherer lifestyle. Around 4,000 years ago people began to settle permanently and plant their crops at the base of Sentinel Peak (A Mountain), along the Santa Cruz River. The agrarian community grew. And the rivers flowed.

The mid-1500s marked the beginning of the Spanish influence, from explorers and gold seekers to missionaries and their accompanying military presidios. By…


Animal Spotlight: African Lion
Animal Spotlight: African Lion

The King of Beasts! The Queen of Beasts! Symbol of Africa and of the wild. Symbol of power and strength. Top of the food chain. Fierce. Playful. Gentle. Ferocious. Majestic. Sleepy. Lions have fascinated people from the beginning of recorded history. They have starred in books, movies, songs, and art. Fans of the Lion King know that Simba, the Swahili word for lion, also means “king,” “strong,” and “determined.” In English, to call someone “lionhearted” means that he or she is courageous and strong.

Physical description.

You have seen pictures of lions in books or movies, and maybe you have seen living…

Reid Park Zoo Expansion

Advocating for the Reid Park Zoo expansion. Not affiliated with Reid Park Zoo, The Reid Park Zoological Society, or The City of Tucson Parks and Recreation.

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