A new spectacle in Sóstó Zoo
From 20 June 2016, visitors can enter the renewed lemur forest where new curiosities, the Mayotte monkeys can be seen.
The biggest fascination of Sóstó Zoo may be that animals of the World are exhibited in natural enclosures within an oak forest. Besides the special programs like seal and parrot show, the lemur forest is attended the most where brave visitors can have a walk among prosimians.
In addition to the lemur forest of the Tarzan trail where ring-tailed lemurs known from the film Madagascar can be visited, the older monkey forest was rebuilt and altered this year in a way that primate lovers can get to know the brown-furred Mayotte lemurs.
The scientific name of the species (Lemur fulvus mayottensis) tells a lot since they are named mayottensis after their natural habitat at the Mayotte island situated at about 400 kilometres from Madagascar. The genus name, lemur, is from the Latin word lemurs meaning “spirits of the dead” because the first European discoverers thought them and the other lemurs to be ghosts hearing only their loud calls and seeing their yellow eyes in the darkness of the forest. Lemurs are real acrobats, they move among tree branches easily not being afraid of getting from one tree to another by big jumps. They feed primarily on fruits but sometimes eat flowers, nectars, leaves and seeds. The breeding group which is the only one in the country is really successful. A baby was born again last year with whom the group number increased to six.
The specialty of the rebuilt forest is that monkeys live together with big terrestrial reptiles, the African Sulcata Tortoises. In addition, the biggest terrestrial mammals of the world, African elephants can be seen by looking out from the forest to the neighbouring enclosure where the youngest member of the elephant group, Kito celebrates its first birthday this week.
The forest can be approached from the Tropical house passing by the palm trees of the also renewed Mediterranean garden where the special pomegranate, the currently yielding citrus plants like citron, orange and mandarin and also bougainvillea and Chinese oleander can be observed.
Biodiversity day in Sóstó Zoo
Entertaining tasks, planting and interactive programs waited for adults and children in Sóstó Zoo on the occasion of the International Biodiversity Day.
The attention was driven to the variety of living creatures (biodiversity) and the risks threatening it because biodiversity – the variety of species – is in danger. Everybody heard already about the threats to tropical rain forests or coral reefs but this day the main emphasis was put on to get acquainted with the living world surrounding us. Native plant and animal species of Europe are also seriously endangered due to urbanisation and increasing intensity of agriculture.
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria initiates awareness raising and fund collection campaigns in the field of nature conservation since 2000.
This year, Sóstó Zoo joins the 2 year long “Let it grow” campaign and therefore its educational activity is focused on animals and plants living in people’s direct vicinity. In the frame of it, visitors could get to know the secrets of native plant and animal kingdom and could get a view of the hidden life of reptiles and amphibians of Hungary and secrets of the birds living next to us.
The techniques of basket and cornhusk doll making could be studied and the meaning of wasp garage was explained.
On this special day, the work of the instructors was helped by the local branch office of the Hungarian Bird and Nature Conservation Association, the Amphibian and Reptile Protection Department, Nyíregyháza Forestry of Nyírerdő Zrt. and the ethnographic Kiss family.
Planting was part of the program and the plants could be taken home while tree species of the Hungarian forests were shown for the people interested.
The bird of the year, the landrail was presented and tree of the year which is Field Elm in 2016 has been planted at the educational trail of the zoo by the children and the foresters together just as it is done every year.
Interested visitors can become familiar even with Australia’s fauna and flora
Bennett kangaroos are kept in our zoo from the very beginning but this is the first time that emblematic animals of the continent could be exhibited in one enclosure according to the usual geographical theme.
Among others, visitors can meet the largest marsupial of the world, the giant red kangaroo which is the largest marsupial living today on the Earth. Its scientific name (Macropos rufus) means red big-footed as it really has large, long hind legs. Males and females of our breeding group can be easily distinguished since males have red coat while females who are smaller in size are grey. They live together with emus who are the second largest running birds in the world. The distinctive drumming sound which can be heard from a long distance in the mating season is produced by their inflated air pouch.
In the opposite enclosure, black swans and strange looking cape barren geese are living who are characteristic species of wet habitats. The black feathered animals are the national birds of Western Australia and prefer to stay in the pond made for them. In the contrary, the cape barren geese living in the same place are not fond of water even though they belong to the Anatidae family.
Next to them, Australian wild dogs, the red-coated dingoes can be seen. Ancestors of the dingoes are probable those domestic dogs who were brought to the island by the Aboriginal Australians settling there 10000 years ago. Dingoes live in family groups in the wild at a centred territory what they protect from the intruders. Being the killer of sheep flocks, farmers hunt them ruthlessly.
The bigger cockatoos, which are characteristic birds of Australia like Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, rose-breasted cockatoo and sulphur-crested cockatoo live in the outside aviaries of the park. In a separate aviary next to the Australian house exhibit, the smaller broad-tail parrot species are displayed.
Beside the colourful parrots, voice of the biggest kingfisher, the laughing kookaburra can be heard from a long distance. The peculiar laughter-like call of the bird gives its name both internationally and in the Hungarian language, the kookaburra, which is an imitative word from the vocabulary of native Australians.
Inside the Australian house, photos are displayed and also characteristic plants species like eucalyptus or tea tree can be seen.