S. African zoo’s genet, wild cat have been "adopted"

Zoo’s nocturnal animals have new parents

With a sizeable adoption sponsorship, six of the zoo’s night rooms are to be upgraded for their nocturnal inhabitants.

April 19, 2007

By Tabisa Mntengwana

THE nocturnal animals at Johannesburg Zoo will have cosy night rooms to keep them warm before the winter chill sets in, thanks to a sponsorship from Knowledge Objects Healthcare.

An amount of R40 000 was handed over on Tuesday, 17 April, as part of the company’s adoption of the honey badger, porcupine, small spotted genet and African wild cat, all of which live in night rooms.

“The money will be used to revamp six night rooms and sponsor a disadvantaged school for an educational day out at the zoo,” said one of the zoo’s educationists, Teresa Slacke.

That day out is part of the zoo’s sponsor-a-school Vukuzenzele Project.

Knowledge Objects Healthcare received an adoption pack, which includes species information sheets, entrance vouchers, free parking and adoption certificates.

“We thank the company for the donation and we are happy to get the opportunity to make the night rooms beautiful and cosy for the animals, just in tome for winter,” said the marketing manager, Louise Gordon.

After the formalities, the zoo’s curator, Dominic Moss, took Knowledge Objects Healthcare representatives on a walkabout, explaining each animal’s habitat and eating habits. The first stop was the honey badger, or ratel, enclosure. These animals eat scorpions, spiders, insects, mice, lizards, frogs, bee larvae and fruit.

They originate from countries in Africa, namely Morocco, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as from several parts of Asia, such as Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal and Turkestan. “The upper part of the honey badger is grey with a white border, while the lower part is black,” Moss said.

Moving on from the ratel enclosure, the tour stopped off at the sleeping porcupines. One of the largest rodents southern African, a porcupine can weigh 17 kilograms and reach a length of 84cm. “They feed on bulbs, fruit and tubers,” Moss explained.

Next up was the small spotted genet enclosure. These animals have a whitish or brownish-grey coat, with rows of spots and dark rings on their tails. They eat rats, mice, birds, insects, frogs, snakes and fruit.

“The small spotted genet originates from south of the Sahara and some parts of the north coast of Africa, as well as some parts of Europe.”
Offering a helping hand: Knowledge Objects Healthcare presents a donation to the Johannesburg Zoo

Offering a helping hand: Knowledge Objects Healthcare presents a donation to the Johannesburg Zoo

Finally the group visited the African wild cat enclose. The African wild cat had similar habits to domestic cats, Moss explained, making it a popular animal to visit. Their coats are sandy, from light grey to dark grey in colour, with paler underparts. They also have stripes along their bodies and long legs, and are rusty red behind the ears.

The African wild cat feeds on rodents, small birds, insects and lizards and lives in a variety of habitats, from semi-desert to bush, savanna to forest.

Revamping of the night rooms is expected to start on Monday, 23 April.

http://www.joburg.org.za/2007/apr/apr19_zoosponsor.stm

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