See adorable baby animals at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park in Litchfield Park
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LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ (Arizona State Parks and Arizona Highways TV) - The nursery at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is a favorite for staff and visitors alike. Who doesn’t love baby animals?
“What a lot of people don’t realize is how important this building is and how it helps ensure the survival of so many of the animals we raise inside here,” Kristy Hayden said.
She showed off the adorable baby warthogs and explained why the species is often misunderstood.
“When people think of warthogs, they don’t give them the credit they really deserve,” she said. “They think they’re smelly and they’re not that smart, and actually people are completely wrong. Warthogs are extremely intelligent. If anyone’s ever owned a pig or worked with a pig, they know that firsthand. Warthogs are no different, and they’re actually fairly clean. They prefer their restroom far away from where their place where they eat, which not all animals can say that, so very cool indeed.”
Another interesting thing is that they can survive in places with little or no water for several months of the year. Arizona is a perfect place for them because it mimics their natural habitat in Africa.
Baby big cats
Everybody loves the big cats – tigers, lions, and jaguars.
“Jaguars are the third-largest cats in the world,” Hayden said. Jaguars can get a couple hundred pounds. You’re going to find them down in Central and South America, Mexico. And they’re very special to all of us here in Arizona because this is their historical range. At one time, jaguars roamed the lands of Arizona, especially down by the border near Tucson and the different areas and the mountain ranges down there. But, sadly, they have been almost completely eliminated. There are only sporadic sightings of them every couple of years.”
“Jaguars are endangered,” she continued. “That’s due to poaching, because they have that gorgeous skin and fur, and also due to habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. So, it’s a really big deal that we have a successful jaguar breeding program. That’s why we have two little jaguar cubs in here right now. By hand-raising them, we can better ensure their survival, and people can see the around-the-clock care that these jaguars are getting.”
Hayden moved on to one of her favorite animals at Wildlife World – the black-backed jackals.
“They’re so cool,” she said. “They’re actually Africa’s version of the coyote. They look so similar that when people come through, they think that they’re coyotes.”
Black-backed jackals are a bit smaller than our coyotes, and like warthogs, they get a bad rap.
“People sometimes refer to other people as jackals, and they are insinuating that it’s negative. However, that is a huge compliment. That actually comes from, back in Africa, the locals would sometimes refer to the jackals as being a little mischievous, a little sly, smarter than lions, so they’re sometimes outsmarting lions and stealing the prey. So, these guys are really cool.”
Hayden said the population of Wildlife World’s nursery changes week to week, even day to day, so you never know what you will see.