Photos: Baby boom at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. -- With the Fourth th of July holiday near it seems appropriate to announce an explosion of new births at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium, including a Caribbean flamingo chick. It is the first time a resident pair of nesting flamingos has successfully given birth in the zoo’s 26-year history.  Visitors can easily see the graceful new addition on display at the Aquarium or while guests enjoy a cool refreshment at the adjacent Flamingo Lounge patio.
 
Also new to the Aquarium is a one month old litter of small clawed otter pups. At birth, otter pups are completely dependent on their parents; their eyes are closed for the first several weeks. Over the next few weeks once their eyes open, the pups will become more active and will learn how to swim with help from the adults.
 
Not to be outdone, many of the animals on the zoo grounds have also welcomed newborns over the past few weeks, including two species of primates-- patas and spot-nose monkeys. Patas monkeys are an Old World species of primate found in semi arid regions in north central Africa. Patas are generally terrestrial animals built more for speed and running on four limbs rather than tree climbing.  As a result, they tend to inhabit open grasslands and even semi desert regions.  Males are significantly larger than females, weighing an average of nearly 30 lbs to 15lbs, respectively.  Patas have a reddish-brown dorsal coat with a white underbelly.  The spot-nose monkey, named for its white colored nose, also has a distinctive “handlebar moustache.”  Unlike the patas, spot-nose monkeys spend much of their time living in trees. 
 
There are also larger additions, including several varieties of hoofed animals such as a Beisa Oryx, a Grant’s zebra, and a highly endangered addax. This is the second Grant’s zebra to be born at Wildlife World in 2011. Grant’s zebras are distinguished by wide black and white stripes.  The purpose of the zebra’s unique striping--like human fingerprints, no two zebras have the same pattern-- is still the subject of some debate.  In addition to helping young zebras identify their mothers, the striping probably serves as useful camouflage for those species that live in tall grassland habitats.
 
The addax is one of the most endangered of all antelope species with less than a few hundred individuals left in the wild.  They are uniquely suited to living in the harsh conditions of the Sahara desert.  Fortunately, zoos such as Wildlife World have raised many addax and made financial contributions in support of conservation efforts to reintroduce this species to its native habitat.

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ. We’re open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including the Fourth of July holiday.  Zoo exhibits are open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5 p.m.) Aquarium exhibits are open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Daytime admission includes access to the zoo and aquarium.  Special reduced evening admission to Aquarium-Only is available after 5 p.m.

For more info: (623) 935-WILD (9453) or visit www.Wildlifeworld.com