Zoo Atlanta Welcomes Patagonian Maras
Lilo and Stitch are the newest additions to the Zoo’s complement of South American wildlife.
Zoo Atlanta welcomes a new mammal species to its animal population: Lilo and Stitch the Patagonian maras. Female Lilo, 4, and male Stitch, 2, arrived at Zoo Atlanta on December 9, 2019.
Although they are rabbit-like in appearance, with long legs and large ears, Patagonian maras are rodents and are among the larger members of the order Rodentia. Adults are 24 to 32 inches long and weigh 16 to 20 pounds.
The species, which is also known as the Patagonian cavy or Patagonian hare, is native to the Pampas biome in central and south Argentina. Currently classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Patagonian mara populations are declining and becoming fragmented. Their primary threats include habitat loss for agriculture, hunting for their skins and competition with introduced herbivores.
“We are always excited to introduce a new species at Zoo Atlanta. A key aspect of our mission is to inspire value of and appreciation for our planet’s biodiversity in all its many forms,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “This is an especial opportunity when a new species is one with which our Members and guests may be less familiar. We look forward to introducing our visitors to Lilo and Stitch and the important ecosystem they represent.”
Lilo and Stitch are currently exploring the large corner habitat adjacent to Zoo Atlanta’s Complex Carnivores zone and are the newest additions to the Zoo’s population of South American species. Others include but are not limited to Chilean flamingos, giant otters, golden lion tamarins, Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths, Huacaya alpacas and king vultures.
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About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, home to more than 70 species in the world’s first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian complex. Experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African lions, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and lemurs. Zoo Atlanta is open year-round with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper Talks, interactive wildlife presentations, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.
NOW OPEN: the all-new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs and meerkats. The African Savanna is part of the Zoo’s landmark Grand New View transformation. Future elements include Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination, and a new grand entry plaza, opening in early 2020. For more on the Zoo’s mission and conservation programs and partnerships, visit zooatlanta.org/conservation or download the 2018 conservation report, Beyond the Zoo.
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