There are two new mouths to feed at ZooAmerica and they are adorable! Nib and Bean, 1 year old Ocelot brothers have arrived at the zoo. To make them feel welcome the zoo is hosting a “house-warming” party on July 3 and 4. There will be animal encounters for children to enjoy all over the zoo. These activities include:
- Saturday, July 3, a carnivore activity at the Gray Wolf exhibit
- Sunday, July 4, a carnivore activity at the American Black Bear exhibit
- Reptile program at the Woodland Patio
- “Paws, claws, and tails” program at the Woodland Patio
- Keepers Corner talk at the Prairie Dog exhibit
- The new “Ed-ZOO-cation” team will give a strolling program on recycling
- ZOOTUBES kiosk which is now open allows visitors an interactive experience while learning about conservation.ZOOTUBES is part of a partnership between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and Animal Planet.
Nib and Bean come to ZooAmerica courtesy of the San Francisco Zoological Society’s breeding facility which is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that helps ensure the survival of threatened or endangered species at zoos and aquariums.
Ocelots are medium-sized wild cats that inhabit South America, Central America, Mexico, and southern Texas. Estimates put the number of Ocelots in the wild in Texas at 50, making this species perilously close to extinction in the United States. Also living in the same habitats as Ocelots are cacao trees from which we get the beans to make chocolate. Once the cocoa beans are roasted and the shell removed, what is left is referred to as the “nib” and is used to make chocolate. Nib and Beans names are in honor of Milton S. Hershey.
To visit Nib and Beans come to the nocturnal wing of the Great Southwest Building. ZooAmerica describes their habitat:
The exhibit is comprised of rocky ledges, similar to the species’ natural habitat. In the wild, these animals create dens in rocky bluffs, hollow trees or thickets. They like the water and swim well, so the Zoo also installed a trickling waterfall.
The addition of Nib and Bean to the zoo is just one part of ZooAmerica’s Centennial Celebration. The zoo will be open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. both days. On July 4 stay in Hershey to enjoy the Hersheypark fireworks display at 10:15 p.m. Regular admission to the zoo is $9.50, Junior admission (ages 3-8) is $8.00, children 2 and under are free. As always admission is free for ZooAmerica members and Hersheypark season pass holders.