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Arbordale Zoo
Topic Started: Apr 7 2013, 01:31 PM (43,804 Views)
Sheather
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Thank you for the set, Azrael!

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Arbordale Zoo is a large AZA accredited zoological park located close by the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. Winding through miles of uninterrupted forest wilderness, Arbordale is among the finest zoos in the United States and houses and breeds a large collection of animals both exotic and domestic. Established in 1929 and open every day of the year, our zoo was among the first to make use of large, naturalistic environments as opposed to small concrete cages and today is a leader in conservation.

Table of Contents
Edited by Sheather, Feb 13 2018, 12:51 AM.
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Sheather
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Thank you for the set, Azrael!

Arbordale zoo has several entrances. We begin our trip at the south entrance, which takes us into the zoo through an indoor viewing area for a spacious exhibition with both an indoor and outdoor accessible area, it has housed a few different primate species over the last few years but currently houses lemurs - playful primitive primates from Magagascar, who were introduced here just this spring.

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As we enter the entrance hall there is to our right the indoor viewing area for the lemur compound, which houses ring-tailed, red-ruffed, and white-ruffed lemurs. This is one of the newest enclosures in the zoo, having been completed in 2009 when the entrance was remodeled. The lemurs, previously housed in an aging concrete island setup further back in the zoo, now have this spacious, planted indoor enclosure as well as access to a smaller outdoor enclosure when weather permits.

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The indoor section of the lemur compound viewed from either side from outside.

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And a few shots taken from within the enclosure.

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An overview of the lemur compound.

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Directly ahead of the lemur compound, we have another indoor/outdoor exhibit complex known as Cats of The World. Completed in 1984, it housed leopards and other larger cats until the late 1990's. However, the building is now used only to house the zoos smaller cat species and perhaps should more accurately be referred to as the "small feline house".

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The left hall takes us to a small room with an exhibit on either side. All of our cats have a climate controlled indoor shelter and a fully enclosed outdoor area.
Straight ahead is our serval pair, Heather and Jack, and to the right our unnamed bobcat sisters. The bobcats, however, are not permanent residents. Found huddled by their roadkilled mother on the side of the street several months ago, they were brought to the zoo to be rehabilitated. Now almost fully grown and rapidly becoming competent hunters (the zoo typically does not feed live prey to its animals, but as these cats will have to survive in the wild, an exception has made in their case), they are set soon to be released back into the wild.

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Serval habitat, from the elevated viewing area.

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And their outside enclosure.

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And our two bobcats, practicing the skills they'll need in the wilderness.

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Following the other hall takes us to another room with our purebred European wildcat enclosure to our left and the jungle cat enclosure directly ahead. We keep a pair of the wildcats, Fred and Penny, and have had thus so far two healthy litters which were moved off to other breeding programs around the country.

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Our two female jungle cats - only nine months old and still very much kittens - are actually only half jungle cat - their mother was a domestic Siamese. Originally coming from a breeder who produced exotic cat hybrids as pets, the breeder soon went out of business and had to rehome dozens of animals, both purebreds and hybrids. From her we also ended up with our male serval and several serval/domestic hybrids we've since found other homes for. As Jenny and Jane are house cat crosses, the pair are useless for any breeding program, though they are as sweet as can be and very friendly towards everyone they meet. Even so, we are trying to find this pair a new home with either another zoo or possibly an experienced private owner in order to to open up the space for animals of greater conservation value, and we currently have several possible applicants already.

The zoo is also currently applying for a pair of unrelated Spanish lynx, which will most likely be brought in within the next year and will likely house in the bobcat's enclosure to start a breeding program of this highly endangered subspecies.

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Our next installment will feature our cheetah habitat.

Note: This update is several months old: Arbordale Zoo no longer exhibits the hybrid cats and the bobcats have since been released. Their enclosure now houses Asian golden cats.
Edited by Sheather, Jan 9 2018, 05:28 AM.
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Sheather
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Thank you for the set, Azrael!

Welcome to Arbordale's Cheetah Experience. This building was initially built in the 1980's and was renovated in late 2004, incorporating a much larger indoor environment with living foliage.
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Please note the taxidermied animal in the center display was not shot as a trophy for this display but is rather a very old mount that a local patron donated after inheriting it from his father, who procured it on a hunting trip to Africa in the 1930's. While the animal was shot as a trophy, it was long ago and what's done is done - it might at least now serve an educational purpose. This is true of several other taxidermies found throughout the zoo. The zoo does not condone the sport hunting of any animal.

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The cheetah enclosure features a very large outdoor yard and a climate controlled indoor area complete with acacia trees as well as an out of view enclosed area where the animals may seek privacy from guests.

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Arbordale zoo currently houses 2 male cheetahs, Apollo and Stanley, siblings bred right here at our park in 2004. We are part of the national breeding program for the species and our males have sired several cubs at a few other zoos nationwide. Since their mother was transferred to San Diego in early 2007, the zoo does not house a female of its own due primarily to the fact that cheetahs housed in mixed gender settings rarely breed in captivity and our zoo does not at this time have the finances to construct a second enclosure.

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There is also a third animal housed in Cheetah Experience, one that often surprises zoo patrons when they first see him.

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Rocket is a domestic dog, more specifically a malamute x border collie cross, who has lived with the cheetah brothers since they were all only two months old. Rocket was adopted from a local animal shelter to serve as a companion to the cheetahs. Though unusual, there is a reason behind this odd mixed exhibit. Cheetahs are generally shy and timid animals, and dogs quite the opposite. Once bonded, the dog's calm and unworried demeanor encourages the cheetahs to be more outgoing as well. It's a proven method and is employed by several other zoos in the United States as well, most notably the San Diego Zoo.

Having lived together for close to nine years now the trio is inseparable.

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Rocket and his cheetah companions are walked around the grounds every morning before the zoo opens. Well trained, he is permitted to run loose during these times, but the cats are leashed. The trio are also the zoo's most famous ambassadors and along with a few other special animals regularly visit various events, schools, and educational seminars statewide to educate the public on conservation, nature, and animal welfare.

Several other shots of the enclosure.

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Next Update: Small Mammals: Africa
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Francis
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Give me all the bacon and eggs you have

Wow that animal list is huge xD
Good job on the exhibits xD
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Sheather
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Thank you for the set, Azrael!

Arbordale zoo has several small mammal houses throughout the grounds, each specializing in animals from a specific geographical area or family. The first of these buildings on our tour is Small Mammals: Africa, located just past the small feline house. This is also an old building from the zoo's beginning, though like the majority of our exhibits it has since been heavily renovated in recent years. It operated as the zoo's original primate house until 1955.

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As with the majority of animals on display here at Arbordale, every creature in the building has both indoor and outdoor access in their enclosures.

The first exhibit in Small Animals: Africa is the indoor area for the zoo's two aardvarks Waffles and Lucy. Lucy arrived just this month from Chicago's Brookfield Zoo where she was born last summer while Waffles has been in our collection only a little bit longer, a gift from New York's Bronx Zoo in 2009. It is hoped the pair will mate.


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Outdoor accommodations.

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Just a few feet beyond the aardvark's area inside the building, we find the exhibit for the zoos three African crested porcupines. These three animals, most likely siblings, were seized by fish and game wardens at an exotic animal expo in Tennessee, where they were being sold as exotic pets. Presumably, they were smuggled from the wild.

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Outside.

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Sheather
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Thank you for the set, Azrael!

I notice I forgot to post an image of the building's entrance.

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Directly across from our porcupine's indoor housing are the enclosures for the zoo's small spotted genet and African civet. Being nocturnal, neither of these small viverids would come out for their picture. The genet was also seized by officials from a private owner without proper licensing and the civet came from another zoo in Kentucky. These two animals also have outdoor areas, visible in the overview in the lower right.

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Civet:
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Turning the corner, we have our two sibling honey badgers, Bagel and Brutus, an infamous animal exhibited at only four other zoos nationwide. True to their reputation, the badgers are ferocious - with their dinner. The pair are actually very tame and are very friendly with their keepers, who hand raised the animals when their mother wouldn't nurse them.

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Outdoors:

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Next to our honey badgers is the indoor habitat for the zoos six bat-eared foxes, mother Bella, father Dash and their four pups in the off-view den. The pups were born just this week and haven't yet opened their eyes, and will not leave the den for several more weeks. Both parents are very attentive of their family and only leave the den for quick trips for food and water.

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Outdoor yard:

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Finally, to the left of the civets we have our meerkats. Fifteen of these little mongooses are exhibited in this enclosure, though at the time of photography only two were out of their burrow. Many of these came to us from many other zoos throughout the eastern US and the others were born at our facility.

Inside:

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Outside:

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Inside the outdoor yard:

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Sheather
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Thank you for the set, Azrael!

Arbordale Zoo has exhibited red kangaroos since the day it opened its doors in 1929 and immediately had success breeding this iconic species. In fact, the majority of captive kangaroos exhibited in the US can trace their ancestry back to the first group of animals exhibited in our park.

Today the zoo houses ten red kangaroos (including two young still in their mothers' pouches), four agile wallabies and nine emus in the Australian Outback paddock. The zoo has exhibited gray kangaroos and Bennet's wallaby here in the past, though the last of the zoo's gray kangaroos died in 2004 and the zoo now houses its Bennet's wallabies in a newly-opened walkthrough exhibit near the zoo's north entrance (the entrance shown so far is our east entrance)


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The animals' indoor enclosure makes up half of a much larger complex which also houses several other Australian species and serves as indoor quarters for some of the zoo's African hoofstock, to be profiled later. Even as seasonal temperatures may rise into the high nineties or fall into the teens, the climate controlled building stays at a tolerable 80 degrees in summer and a comfortable 72 degrees in winter. On a stiflingly hot day such as this the kangaroos can usually be found snoozing the day away in the shade of the several large ficus trees maintained in their indoor enclosure, though the more heat-tolerant emus will rarely venture indoors for long except in periods of intense cold or prolonged rainy weather. The animals usually have constant access to both their indoor and outdoor areas but are confined indoors during periods of extreme cold to prevent frostbite, a common issue with tropical animals housed in cold climates.

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Sheather
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Thank you for the set, Azrael!

Just outside the building there are two small enclosures. The left houses the zoo's four short-beaked echidnas. The zoo received its first pair of echidnas from Australia's Perth Zoo in 1999. The female turned out to be pregnant and only a week after her arrival surprised everyone and made headlines upon being found to be carrying two eggs in her pouch. The eggs hatched without issue and Arbordale Zoo became the first American zoo to successfully breed the species. Initially many people wondered why such a small animal had such a large enclosure. As it turns out, this is required for successful breeding of the species. As of 2012, Arbordale Zoo has bred seven echidnas, now exhibited in several other zoos nationwide.

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Next to the echidnas are our three Tasmanian devils, Tony, Tina, and Tessie, who arrived at the zoo in 2006, orphans from the wild. Hand-raised, all three animals are very tame and enjoy belly rubs and scratchings behind the ears. Along with the cheetahs, the devils are taken around as animal ambassadors to help educate the public about nature and conservation.

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Back inside the building, from the kangaroo's indoor enclosure it's only a few feet around the corner before we come to the koala habitat, home to the zoo's two koalas Bernie and June. These two are the first koalas exhibited at the zoo in over 30 years. In the 1980's Arbordale briefly exhibited two wild caught animals but due to the stresses of shipping and a new foreign environment they didn't thrive and both died within a few months of first arriving. The zoo tried off and on throughout the years to locate another pair but it wasn't until early 2011 that we were finally able. Bernie and June are currently on loan from the San Diego Zoo (which actually owns the majority of koalas in the United States), though it is likely they will live out their lives in our care.

Unfortunately, neither Bernie nor June were currently out on exhibit when our photographer was photographing the enclosure this morning, but when they are out and about the high vantage point of the exhibit means you can see eye to eye with the animals as they climb through the trees. A better photograph with the animals will likely appear in a future update.

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There is also an entrance into the complex that leads to a lower pathway. From this viewing area guests can see the koalas from ground level.

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Continuing along this path takes us into the African Hoofstock indoor habitat, and along the way takes us past several more Australian icons.

The devils' indoor area to the right (which due to lack of space is built beneath the pathway and thus not particularly well lit, but seemingly adequate for the animals), and the frilled lizard enclosure to the left. We have five of the lizards, mostly unwanted or illegally obtained pets.

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The lizards have a good-sized, well lit environment with lots of logs and trees to climb through.

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The koalas are one of the only mammals in the zoo that do not have an outdoor enclosure. This is mainly because koalas are very sensitive to cold weather and fall ill very easily. We feel it is best to house these sensitive animals permanently indoors where the climate can be maintained to a degree ideal for them.
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Fireplume
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Snok Snok Snerson

Gosh I love this zoo! It's hard to not love it. :D
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Nicolas
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This is amazing! I loved your zoo!
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Furka
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this is amazing !
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Francis
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Give me all the bacon and eggs you have

Wow man just wow :o
Can't wait to see more xD
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Tyler
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-- Somehow still here? --

Looks great Sheather. I love the way all of your buildings look. :)
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Imp
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This... IS... SO AWESOME!! :D I love your foliage and rock placement!
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Michael
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Your benevolent ruler

Why didn't I see more of this earlier!?! You are a fabulous zoo builder Sheather! There isn't anything I don't absolutely adore about this zoo. Question, do you use statues or posed animals?
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