Sloth Bears, Tigers and Other Animals Coming to Akron Zoo
By David Barnhardt
Akron, OH – Big changes (and animals) are coming to the Akron Zoo this year. The zoo will be acquiring at least seven new animals including three tigers, a snow leopard, red panda, and for the first time ever, sloth bears. Some of the new animals are expected to arrive, and be on exhibit, as early as May.
Although exact dates are awaiting confirmation, sometime this spring, three tiger cubs will be arriving in Akron. The three brothers, born March 2008, will be arriving from the San Francisco Zoo. The one-year old tigers should be on exhibit at the zoo together shortly after they arrive. The zoo’s current male tiger, Rojo, will be moving to the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, IL.
For the first time ever the zoo will have sloth bears on exhibit in the former sun bear exhibit. The zoo’s female sun bear, Muffin, who has cancer, will be moved to the zoo’s Animal Care Facility for closer observation and treatments. Sloth bears are similar in size to sun bears, weighing about 150 – 300 pounds and standing 5-6 foot tall. These bears are mostly black in color and have shaggy coats. Ironically, they have a similar marking to the sun bears, with a cream colored “V” shaped marking on their chests. A male will be arriving from the National Zoo in Washington D.C. and a female will be coming from the San Diego Zoo.
A female snow leopard will also be coming to the Akron Zoo this summer. The zoo’s female snow leopard, Hannah, which had been at the zoo since 2005, left the zoo in December to be paired with a male at the Santa Barbara Zoo. The new female will be arriving from the Binder Park Zoo in Michigan and she will be paired with Hannah’s brother, Roscoe, on exhibit sometime this summer.
The zoo will also be welcoming a new red panda. A one-year old male from the Erie Zoo will be arriving in late spring. The zoo’s current male, Nong Ren will be leaving for the Toronto Zoo at the same time.
Updated announcements will be made when the animals are expected to be on exhibit. People may also check the Akron Zoo’s website, www.akronzoo.org, for current updates on the status of these acquisitions.
Sumatran tigers and snow leopards are listed as endangered species. Sloth bears and red pandas are classified as vulnerable species.
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