If you’ve seen a stinking cute skunk whiz past you while on your trip around the Rainforest Revealed loop, don’t worry. It’s not an adorable intruder. It’s either Oscar, Deedee or Dexter the striped skunks exploring their new habitat! That’s right. The habitat near our king vultures has been transformed into a new experimental space for five animal residents: the skunk trio, Shelley the prehensile-tailed porcupine, and Lorenzo the two-toed sloth. This is part of our continued effort to provide our Ambassadors with even more comfortable, natural habitats while also creating more opportunities for you to get to know our Ambassador Animals.
Did you know our Zoo is home to more than 50 Ambassador Animals? These special Zoo residents voluntarily star in public events or programs to help spread awareness of their species and encourage visitors to take action to save wildlife. You may have gotten to know a few from pop-up encounters or educational events, but likely not from their habitats. That’s because most of them live behind-the-scenes, but this is slowly changing.
Curator of Animals Mack Ralbovsky has long wanted to give these exceptional animals a more public-facing home. This new space now gives visitors the opportunity to make stronger connections with even more species and understand how important they are to conservation.
The Rainforest space will also function as a bigger training space and offer a more naturalistic and complex environment for the animals to call home.
Once the animal residents get comfortable, Mack hopes to add more features to the habitat to allow curious guests to experience these amazing creatures up-close and personally.
While there’s lots to be excited about for guests and staff alike, Mack is most excited about how this change will benefit the Ambassador Animals themselves.
“This is a large step forward in terms of animal wellbeing. Typically, Ambassador Animals are managed individually, so that they are successful in their role. But this will help us push forward a more unique approach and gives opportunity for more complex spaces.”
Along with this habitat, Higgins the two-toed sloth is another Ambassador that has been given additional access to a new space. He can climb over into the Barnyard at-will, perch above the goats, and be spotted by visitors. Keep an eye out across the Zoo for even more Ambassador Animal changes that offer a win-win – special experiences for you and more comfortable living spaces for our residents!
Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.