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Species Survival Program

Love Is In the Air... and on the Ground, and in the Water

It's spring and animals are on the move. It may not be the Baby-Boom that we were hoping for, but steps taken today may see the fruits of its labor in the future. photo of Red Panda Spring is a busy time for moving animals from one institution to another. Weather conditions make it safer for the transfer.

The Greenville Zoo is excited to present "Collette," our new female red panda. She will join Firecracker and Scarlett in their enclosure in the Asian area of the Zoo. Collette came to the Greenville Zoo from Sioux Falls, South Dakata. She was born on June 11, 2012 and should be old enough to breed during their next breeding season. Scarlett, our older female is post-reproductive and will remain with the other two as an aunt for future offspring. Breeding season starts in January, so the zoo won't know if this is a successful transfer until early summer of 2014.

photo of Amur Leopard

Another big move in the Asian area of the zoo will be the transfer of one of the Amur leopards. Clover has been designated to be moved to Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, ND where she will eventually be introduced to a male. Later this summer we fully expect another recommendation to come about for one of the remaining two females, opening up space for the Greenville Zoo to receive a new male and a future breeding recommendation.

Another less mentioned but very important breeding program for the Greenville Zoo are the Prevost's squirrels. Believe it or not, the male squirrel is very valuable photo of Prevost Squirrel to the captive population. Over the next two weeks we will be transferring a male and a female born last year to two other institutions and a female will be transferred to Greenville for breeding purposes

Besides the Asian area of the zoo, love can be found in South America as the sun conures prepare for chicks for the first time. The female is currently sitting on three eggs in her nest box in the aviary. Down the row, the Brazilian ocelots have been getting to know one another since they were introduced earlier this year. While they are still getting acquainted, staff is keeping a watchful eye on their behavior as they mature.

Amorous behavior is not limited to the terrestrial animals; spring becomes a busy time in the alligator exhibit. Not so much for the alligators, but for the snapping turtles. The staff goes to great lengths to be aware of breeding season in order to locate nests as soon as possible to prevent unwanted hatchings on exhibit. Those eggs are pulled and incubated in a separate location.

photo of Walter and Autumn, the zoo Masai giraffes

The biggest love affair, in more ways than one, is occurring at the top of the zoo in the giraffe exhibit. With Kiko getting out on his own, Walter and Autumn are renewing their relationship and with hope, will provide a new sibling for Kiko in the future.

The Greenville Zoo participates in breeding programs for a majority of its animals. It sometimes is a holding space for same sex animals or in other cases animals paired for breeding purposes. Most of the animals in the zoo are part of an organized and cooperative breeding program that makes thoughtful recommendations as to where animals need to be placed for breeding purposes and which animals should be bred.

These Species Survival Programs are closely monitored and all have a goal of maintaining the captive population of a species at a genetic variability of over 95%. This is the main reason that animals are moved from one location to another. The success of a captive breeding program relies heavily on participation by all stakeholders. As an AZA accredited institution, the Greenville Zoo works with zoos across America and around the globe to ensure that captive populations of animals are properly managed to protect them for future generations.

Be aware during the spring that love is truly in the air. On your next visit, you may find animals throughout the zoo displaying courtship behaviors. Whether on land, under water or in the air, love seems to find its way. The Greenville Zoo is truly the "wildest" place to visit in the Upstate.