New Safari Park home to baboons, jackals, rare white lion

New Safari Park home to baboons, jackals, rare white lion

Credit: Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium

New Safari Park home to baboons, jackals, rare white lion


by Christina O'Haver

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 8 at 1:11 PM

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LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. -- The Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium  is marking its 30th anniversary with the addition of several species at its new Safari Park.

The new animals include three Olive baboons, two African jackals, and the only white African lion in the Southwest.

Over the next year, zookeepers will help the young female lion become acquainted with the zoo's older lion pair with whom she shares the exhibit.

Zoo visitors can see the lion from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

The once-plentiful African lion species has significantly declined in population over the past quarter century. The "king of the jungle" could face extinction if prey and habitat loss and human conflict are not reversed, according to zoo staff.

The white lion is not albino but a rare color variation.

Olive baboons, however, are considered one of the most versatile and successful species of Old World monkeys. They can be found in various types of habitats from dry grasslands to rainforests.

They have an almost dog-like appearance with larger snouts and a tendency to walk on all four legs.

Olive baboons have grown as large as 100 pounds, and mature females are distinguished by their prominent, reddish-colored backsides.

While the Wildlife World Zoo is home to about two dozen primate species, these are the zoo's first baboons.

Canine cousins to the Southwest coyotes, African jackals are small predators often found in arid grasslands.

They survive by hunting various small animals and foraging on plant matter.

Jackals can be recognized by their slender legs and large ears, which help them keep cool in warm climates.

Visitors can explore the half dozen exhibits in the 15-acre Safari Park on foot or by tram for a fee.

Entrance to the Safari Park is included with general zoo admission.