Park Zoo, Portland, Oregon
1,029 specimens representing 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians
and invertebrates. Of these, 21 species are endangered and 33 are threatened.
The zoo is currently active in 21 Species Survival Plans.
Photography by Rakin
Essentials on the natural
world from Enchanted
Penguins are birds that swim
very well and spend most of their lives in the sea. The Emperor Penguin
lives in colonies on pack ice in Antarctica.
It is kept warm in the harsh environment by a thick layer of blubber (fat)
and by insulating down.
||Birds are warm-blooded
vertebrate animals that have wings, feathers, a beak,
no teeth, strong,
hollow bones, a skeleton in which many bones are fused together or are
absent, powerful flight muscles, and an extremely efficient, one-way
||Birds have adapted
to their environment by flying, which makes them efficient hunters, lets
them escape from hungry predators (like cats), and takes them away from
harsh weather (migration).
Birds sing beautiful and
diversified songs. Songbirds have a vocal organ called the syrinx located
in the throat. The muscular syrinx has two halves that each vibrate to
produce songs, so the bird can sing two notes at a time.
All penguins have a big head,
a short, thick neck, a streamlined shape, a short, wedge-shaped tail, and
tiny, flipper-like wings. Penguins have shiny,
waterproof feathers that help keep their skin dry. They have more feathers
than most other birds - about 70 feathers per square inch. Each year,
penguins molt, losing their old feathers and growing new ones.
||Bird locomotion is
quite varied; most can fly, some can run very well, some swim, and some do
combinations of these. Birds have two relatively small
lungs. These air sacs keep the lungs perpetually inflated (even when the
bird is exhaling). Our lungs alternately fill and empty out. The bird's
respiratory system takes up 20% of a bird's volume (our respiratory system
takes up only 5% of our volume).
||Not all flying
animals are birds; and not all birds can fly. The ability to fly has
developed independently many times throughout the history of the Earth. In order to fly, birds need a
lot of oxygen, which they get by breathing air using lungs. They also need
a strong circulatory system, including a powerful heart. A bird's heart beats much faster than our heart
Peacocks are beautiful birds
that are native to India and Sri Lanka. In the wild, they live in
deciduous tropical rainforests. The peacock has a long,
brilliantly-colored train of feathers that grow from its shimmering blue
back. He can raise the train of feathers, forming a stunning display.
|The Bengal tiger
is a large, striped cat from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Burma. Tigers are threatened with
extinction due to loss of habitat. There are 5 surviving subspecies; 3
other subspecies have gone extinct in the last 70 years. There are
estimated to be about 5,000 to 7,400 tigers left in the wild.
||Snow Leopards are
solitary wild cats that live in the snowy central mountains of Asia. They
are in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat, loss of prey, and
over-hunting; few Snow Leopards are left in the wild. Leopards are fast
runners, good swimmers and excellent climbers. They often hide their food
in trees. The leopard's call sounds like a raspy cough, not a roar.
Reindeer are strong runners
and very good swimmers. This deer is found in Arctic tundra,
forests, and mountains in Russia, Northern China, Canada, Alaska, and
Scandinavia. Some reindeer migrate in huge herds from the coastal Arctic
to the tundra.
|Reindeer were domesticated in
northern Eurasia roughly 2,000 years ago. Today, reindeer are herded by
many European and Asian Arctic people. Reindeer have very wide hooves, a
broad muzzle, and thick brown fur. The thick fur traps air, which
insulates the reindeer from the cold and helps the reindeer float in
||Black Bears are good swimmers
and can also climb trees. They have a good sense of smell but have poor
eyesight. They are afraid of Grizzly
Bears and stay far away from them. Two to three cubs are born
during the winter while the mother hibernates.
Cubs stay with the mother for about one year.
The White Rhinoceros is up to
6 1/2 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs roughly 5,000 pounds. It is a
thick-skinned mammal that roams hot, grassy
plains in Africa.
Rhinos are perissodactyls,
(hoofed mammals), related to horses.
The rhino is nocturnal,
it is most active at night and during sunrise and sunset. During the hot
African day, it lies in mud or dust.
|The only animals that can kill
adult rhinos are people. Poachers sell rhino horns to use in folk
medicine. Rhinos are in danger of extinction because of hunting and the
loss of habitat. The nose horns are made from a hairlike substance that
grows throughout the rhino's life. If the horn is broken off, it will grow
back. The longest-known rhino
horn was over 5 feet long!
||Zebras are large, fast-running
mammals that live on African grassy
plains (savannas). They can run up to 40 mph in short bursts in order
to escape from predators (like lions
and hyenas). Zebra fur has distinctive white stripes on a black
background. No two zebras have the same pattern. These stripes may help to
confuse predators chasing the zebra, making them misjudge distances.
Zebras are very social
animals and live in large, stable family groups which are led by females.
They can run up to 40 mph (65 kph) in short bursts in order to escape from
predators (like lions
and hyenas). Stallions (males) watch the rear of the group in order to help protect
them from predators.
|Monkeys eat leaves, fruit,
seeds, nuts, grass, roots, eggs, insects, spiders, and small mammals.
Adult monkeys range from about 2 to 4 feet long. Most also have a
long tail - up to 3 feet long. They weigh from 4 ounces (the pygmy
marmoset) to 100 pounds (the mandrill).
|The Ring-tailed Lemur is a
noisy mammal that lives in Madagascar. The ring-tailed lemur spends most of the time on the
ground but it is a good tree-climber (other lemurs spend most of their
time in trees). Lemurs live in troops
(groups of lemurs) in many environments, including: rain
forests, scrub (areas with low trees and shrubs), and rocky
|The Asian Elephant
(also known as the Indian Elephant) is a huge land animal that lives in
India, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Sri Lanka. This elephant
is used extensively for labor; very few are left in the wild. Their life
span is up to 70 years. Elephants are excellent swimmers. They are in
danger of extinction due to loss of habitat and poaching (they are killed
for their ivory tusks).
|Giraffes can go for days
without water. In order to drink water, the giraffe has to spread its
front legs and bend its long neck to the water. This is a dangerous
position for the giraffe since it can't see its enemies and can't get a
fast start running. Unlike many animals, the giraffe's front legs are
longer than the hind legs. These long front legs make it easier to reach
||The giraffe is up to 19 feet
tall and weighs up to 2,800 pounds. Even though the giraffe's neck is
extremely long, it has only seven neck vertebrae, the same number that
people and most other mammals have. The hind legs are shorter than the
front legs. A tough hoof protects each foot. Males have knobbed, hairless
horns, females have thinner, tufted horns.
Polar Bears have thick, woolly fur close to the skin that keeps them warm.
They also have hollow guard hairs that stick up and protect the bears from
getting wet. These hairs are like drinking straws and are
clear-colored (not white). The white-looking coat camouflages them well in
the snow and ice. Under the fur, Polar Bears have black skin.
|Hippos are herbivores
who spend most of the day resting in water. Hippos can stay underwater for
up to 30 minutes. They are nocturnal (they are most active at
night); they emerge from the water at night to eat grass. Bulls
(adult males) often roar; they also fight each other, using their long
canine teeth as weapons.
|Polar Bears are
large, meat-eating bears who are well-adapted for life in their frozen
Arctic environment. They are powerful
swimmers who hunt seals in the water. Polar bears can run in bursts up to
25 mph. Females (called sows) build snow dens in which they give birth to
twins. Male polar bears (called boars) do not hibernate.