Legends of the Wild at Akron Zoo in Akron, Ohio

Legends of the Wild at Akron Zoo in Akron, Ohio

Start at Penguin Point

Akron Zoo starts with the Penguin Point.

Humboldt Penguin

Humboldt penguins are warm climate (Peru and Chile) penguins, unlike their Antarctic relatives. Their flipper-like wings help them "fly" in the ocean in search of food.

Humboldt penguins are also called Peruvian or Jackass penguins, due to where they are found (Peru) and the noise that they make (which sounds like a donkey). They nest in guano, piles of accumulated bird droppings. The Humboldt penguin is currently an endangered species. This is due primarily to commercial harvesting of guano for agricultural fertilizer.

"Think pink" Chilean flamingos

Chilean flamingo

Flamingos will lock their “knees” (which are really their ankles) and stand on one leg. Standing in this manner helps them to conserve heat. These birds are social, usually living in flocks numbering in the thousands.

Flamingos are filter feeders, eating aquatic invertebrates, seeds and algae from shallow water and mud.

Waterfall Lake

Legends of the Wild is the new section of the zoo, and it starts with the waterfall lake

The lake, black neck swans and Japanese koi fish

Visit the Andes

In the Andes with lamas and condors.


Llamas are gentle, curious and independent yet shy. Their intelligence and calm nature make them good work animals as well as good family pets. They serve other purposes such as being used in animal facilitative therapy, because of their calming effects.

See more: Machu Picchu's modern day residents - The Big Picture photography competition: round 150 - Telegraph.

The condor legend: "Condor Lifts the Sun."

Andean Condor

With an adult wingspan of about 10 – 12 feet, they are the largest flying bird in the world. Their heads are nearly featherless because when feeding on a carcass they stick their head inside the animal to retrieve the meat and having no feathers on their head makes it easy to keep their heads clean.

Due to their relatively large weight they soar on warm air currents. Soaring is the act of controlled falling through the air currents. This type of “flying” is very effortless and energy efficient.

They can fly over 200 miles a day while searching for food. They can live without food for at least a week or two.

The Incas of Peru thought the Condor flew the sun into they sky every morning. They thought it was a messenger to the gods.

Jaguar Legend

The Jaguar legend: "How the Jaguar Got His Spots." See the videos of jaguar cubs at the bottom of this page.


Jaguars are the largest cats in the Americas. Although jaguars seem to be identical to leopards, there are several ways to distinguish between the two. The coat of the jaguar has larger and darker rosettes in smaller numbers. Leopard rosettes are usually smaller, more faint and more abundant.

South American Indians call the jaguar ‘yaguara’, meaning ‘a beast that kills its prey with one bound’. They are excellent swimmers and love the water. Jaguars and tigers are the only two cats that like to be in water. Jaguar is the only big cat that does not roar.

During the Mayan civilization, the jaguar was thought to communicate between the living and the dead.

Capybaras are jaguar's favorite food but they live as neighbors at the Akron Zoo.


Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world. They do not have a tail, their limbs are short and they have partially webbed digits with strong claws. They are very social and gather near water in groups of up to 20 individuals. Capybaras are preyed upon by jaguars, caimen, ocelots, harpy eagles and large snakes such as the anaconda as well as humans that eat them. They go into the water to escape from predators because only their eyes, ears and nostrils show above the water. Capybaras are farmed commercially for meat and leather.

The jaguar legend lives on.

The bat legend: "Bat Lets Out the Dark"

Macaw parrots.

Hyacinth Macaw

As the largest parrot in the world, these birds measure about 40 inches and weigh about 2 ¾ pounds. Their predominant color is a deep cobolt blue but they have a golden eye ring and a golden stripe on their lower mandible.

These birds are sold in the pet trade for $7,000 - $10,000. There are only an estimated 2,500 to 5,000 left in the wild.

Snow Leopard

Snow leopard legend: "Snow Leopard Rules the Animals." Leopards in the rain (behind the glass). There is a great attention to details at the Akron Zoo.

Snow Leopard

Due to their excellent camouflage, elusive behavior and small numbers snow leopards are rarely seen in the wild. A snow leopard is able to kill prey three times its weight. It has been estimated that there are about 3,500 to 7,000 left in the wild. There are about 600 – 700 in zoos around the world.

Jaguar Cubs at Akron Zoo, part 1
Jaguar Cubs at Akron Zoo, part 2

The Akron Zoo jaguar cubs, Nayla and Caipora, were born at the zoo on October 4, 2005. They were on exhibit with their mother Naom. Chack, their father, was on exhibit when the cubs are not.

The cubs remained at the Akron Zoo until they reached a year old. After that, the Jaguar Species Survival Plan (SSP) relocated the cubs to another accredited zoo. The jaguar SSP is a captive breeding program sponsored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

References and links:
Akron Zoo - There is only one inch between you and the tiger
Video: Leopard vs. Hyenas, Lion. National Geographic.
YouTube - Amur leopard cubs http://goo.gl/2DMx

Published: 07/01/2005
Updated: 04/20/2011

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin