January 29, 2016
Gem of the Jungle
- as seen by -Lisa Walker
This precious addition to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo Victoria crowned-pigeon population hatched days before Christmas and could hardly be any cuter than she is right now with her tiny mohawk. In her natural habitat, northern New Guinea, she could be facing habitat destruction from loggers or potentially hunted for someone’s dinner. But here snuggled under her parents, the squab has a bright future where she will grow and hopefully produce offspring of her own.
Multispecies exhibits are a great way to demonstrate how different animals co-exist as they might in the wild. From the nest, the young bird can see a white-cheeked gibbon swinging through the trees. Below on the beach, she can watch a lapwing run around catching crickets and a pair of Malaysian tapirs snoozing through the afternoon. Fortunately for us, since the nest is placed strategically on the edge of the tree line, we can also see her. Now a few weeks old, she is frequently spotted being fed by her parents or stretching her newly-feathered wings. As I walk through the building, I stop and redirect visitors’ gaze upwards and watch the realization cross their face that there is an entire dimension of life they were missing when just looking straight ahead.
The next time you visit the Bronx Zoo’s Jungle World, don’t forget to look in all directions because there are many treasures – dozens of species including birds, bats, squirrels, reptiles, invertebrates, and fish that are often overlooked. Come and see if you can find our newest “Gem of the Jungle.”