By Kelsey Burr, Naples Zoo Marketing Associate
There are eight adorable reasons to become a Naples Zoo Member this year! We’ve had quite the baby boom: two clouded leopard girls born in February, three red-ruffed lemur brothers born in early May, and three lion brothers born May 14.
After a community-wide naming contest, the lion cubs were named Karoo, Ruaha, and Chobe, after three national parks in Africa. While all of our zoo babies this year were exciting, these lion cubs were especially memorable because it’s the first time lion cubs have been born at Naples Zoo in over 30 years. We’ve also waited for these cubs for a long time. The cubs’ parents, Masamba and Shani, had been genetically matched for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® for the past six years before these cubs.
The clouded leopard sisters, born February 22, are named Jean and Janet. Their names were selected for an anonymous donor that supported the clouded leopard exhibit. Their parents, Tika and Masala, were also specifically matched by the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) based on their ancestry.
The red-ruffed lemur brothers were born May 5 to mom, Ruby, and dad, Indy. The keepers named the boys Chip, Jalapeno, and Pico due to their spicy personalities. This was Ruby’s second litter, so she’s a seasoned mom. As with all the births at the zoo, Ruby and Indy were also specifically matched by the SSP to create sustainable populations of threatened and endangered species.
The babies are not only adorable, but they are also important ambassadors for their species. African lions are classified as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Red-ruffed lemurs are one of the World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates and considered critically endangered by the IUCN. Clouded leopards are listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the United States Endangered Species Act.
By seeing these animals up close and learning about them, we hope guests feel a connection to them and want to do their part to save the species. One way to do that is by becoming a Zoo Member. Unlike many zoos, Naples Zoo doesn’t receive any funding from the city, county, or state. It’s memberships, ticket sales, and donors like you who help us take the best care possible of our animals, as well as animals all around the world through our conservation efforts.
Becoming a Zoo Member means you can visit Naples Zoo for free all year long and watch all the babies grow up. Florida Resident Family Memberships are just $99 for the year. Individual memberships are just $50 for the year.
Other benefits to Zoo Membership include discounts on our education programs, discounts on most items in the Zoo Gift Shop and Wynn’s Café, and discounts at other businesses around the state through our Affinity Program. Plus, guests who visit with you will receive $4 off adult admission and $2 off child admission prices.
For more information on becoming a Naples Zoo member, click here.