In conjunction with a Party for the Planet event this Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Reid Park Zoo will be celebrating birthdays with two animals at the Zoo. Both geriatric females have well outlived the median life expectancies for their species.
Yebonga, a southern white rhinoceros, is celebrating her 42nd birthday! She was born in 1973 and has resided at Reid Park Zoo since 1976. The median life expectancy of southern white rhinos is just over 34 years. Staff will meet guests at the rhino habitat at 10:30 a.m. for crafts and to sing “Happy Birthday!” Staff will be available to discuss Yebonga’s geriatric care for arthritis and other age-related issues.
Sophia, a female giant anteater, is turning 21. While that might not seem “old,” the median life expectancy for a female giant anteater is only 11 years, making this, and every birthday, a reason to celebrate! Join staff at the anteater exhibit at 11:30 a.m. for special enrichment treats for Sophia.
Yebonga and Sophia are two examples of many geriatric animals living at the Zoo. With advances in veterinary medicine, nutrition, and husbandry techniques, animals are living longer in zoos around the country. Veterinarians and Keepers are developing new ways to address the unique needs of older animals, and staff will be available at both celebrations to discuss the animals’ age-related medical issues and geriatric care.
Reid Park Zoo is located in central Tucson within Reid Park and hosts over half a million visitors each year. The Zoo is home to a diverse collection of over 400 animals, many of which are rare or endangered. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children ages 2 -14. The Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. For information, call (520) 791-4022 or visit the Reid Park Zoo website at https://reidparkzoo.org/.