A new meerkat breeding group has arrived and can now be seen in their habitat bonding with each other, establishing a community structure, and digging their habitat’s intricate maze of holes and tunnels. Four males, ranging from two to three years old, arrived from Zoo de Granby in Granby, Quebec in September 2017 while three females, all six years old, came from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas in January 2018. The grouping was a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) program after the Zoo’s elderly meerkats passed away. See the meerkat mob, as they’re called, in their habitat across from the trumpeter swans. To learn more about the introduction process, see the video below.
Recent births at the Zoo include a lowland paca. This large rodent is known by many names throughout its extensive range in the tropical and sub-tropical Americas. “Paca” comes from the Tupi language and means “awaken” or “alert,” which is fitting for a wary species that is a prey item for many other animals. Though it is known as the paca in most of its range, in most of Mexico and Central America it is known as tepezcuintle, pisquinte in northern Costa Rica, jaleb in the Yucatán peninsula, conejo pintado in Panama, guanta in Ecuador, majás or picuro in Peru, jochi pintado in Bolivia, and boruga, tinajo, or guartinaja in Colombia. It is also known as the gibnut in Belize, where it is prized as a game animal, labba in Guyana, lapa in Venezuela, and lappe on the island of Trinidad. You can find the most recent paca baby with mom in the Winnick Familly Children’s Zoo.
Other arrivals to the L.A. Zoo include a red-legged seriema. This large, terrestrial bird inhabits grasslands from Brazil south of the Amazon to Uruguay and northern Argentina. Because they are highly territorial and predatory, farmers sometimes house them with their poultry flocks to kill snakes and sound off when strangers or potential predators approach.