Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo Opens New Aardvark Habitat

Bronx, NY- June 4, 2009 – When searching for the word “aardvark” many of us usually find it as the first noun in the dictionary. Now, you can find two aardvarks at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo.

The zoo is debuting its aardvarks this week. They are from Tanzania and can be seen living in a habitat much like their African homeland.

The nocturnal aardvarks live in a habitat that simulates nighttime with enough light for visitors to observe these unusual creatures when the animals are active.

“We are excited to be able to present new exhibits this year,” said Jim Breheny, Director of WCS’ Bronx Zoo. “Our in-house team worked very hard to create an environment that is visually pleasing, comfortable for the animals, and that lets us continue our mission of conservation and of educating the public.”

The aardvarks are a male and a female, and approximately two years old. The male weighs about 100 lbs, and the female is about 115 lbs. Females have a wider head than males and are generally lighter in color.

The aardvarks are living with a breeding pair of white-faced scops owls in the in the zoo's Carter Giraffe Building.

Fun Facts:

  • Despite its porcine name (Afrikaans for earth pig), the aardvark is more closely related to an elephant than it is to a pig.
  • To recreate their sub-Saharan diet of ants and termites, these aardvarks are fed moistened insectivore chow and meat slurry.
  • Although the aardvark is a species classified as least vulnerable, its habitat is still subject to human encroachment, and the animal is sometimes hunted for its meat and for its claws and snout, considered good luck by some indigenous people.

WCS in the Field
WCS has been working in Tanzania for 50 years to help safeguard this unique global heritage. More than 130 projects have been supported, encompassing training, research, monitoring, institutional support, education, and the establishment and extension of Tarangire, Ruaha, Serengeti and Kitulo National Parks.

To learn more about WCS conservation efforts in Africa and around the world, visit www.wcs.org for more information.

The Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays through November 2, 2009. Adult admission is $15, children (3-12 years old) $11, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $13. Parking is $12 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.


Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to www.wcs.org/donation.


Contact
Danna Goldman Schoenberg – 718.220.5182 / dschoenberg@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild - 718.220.5189 / sfairchild@wcs.org


All photos taken 5/12/09 at Aardvark habitat in the Carter Giraffe House at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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