Brevard Zoo ‘s New “Rainforest Revealed” Boast Diversity with New Perspectives
Home to majestic jaguars, spunky spider monkeys, curious tapers, vocal river otters, slithering snakes, amphibians and other enchanting tropical creatures—the Brevard Zoos newest project, Rainforest Revealed—graphically demonstrates animal interconnectedness and independence.
Opening last fall, the newly transformed exhibit aims to provide visitors and the animals—ways to view each other in new perspectives!
The spider monkeys and jaguars are now able to roam freely and enjoy living in multiple spaces thanks to the newly constructed wooden overhead sky trail systems. The four connected tunnel-like pathways span the majority of the new exhibit and feed into ground habitats where the animals are fed.
“They all seem to be enjoying the views from above, while adapting nicely to their new fission-fusion lifestyle,” said David Quavillon, zoo curator. “Now these animals have choices to get away from one another, just like we humans can do. It can certainly be a good thing sometimes” he laughed.
In addition, visitors now have an opportunity to view the rainforest animals from a landing walkway, or see them face-to-face while climbing about on the Tree Top Trek adventure.
A new elevator has also added access for handicapped visitors to enjoy a 360 degree view of the new transformation.
The upgraded Le Selva loop that debuted back in 1994 when the zoo opened has been described as “a radical change.”
From the addition of giant “River Monsters” to new, colorful birds that live in the 4,000 sq.ft. Aviary, the biodiversity of animals now residing in the new Rainforest Revealed is certainly very different from most traditional zoos.
Felix and Ophelia, giant and charismatic, 3-5 year-old river otters, which arrived from the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens last fall, now frolic in the Flooded Forest. They were received as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival plan and seem to have settled in quite nicely according to Andrea Hill, Marketing Director.
“We hope to see them reproduce in the future. They are extremely vocal and considered endangered, as fisherman often see them as competitors to their livelihood. They have at least nine different types of distinct sounds, from growling to high-pitched screams,” added Quavillion.
A dozen different fish, representing three new species, occupy the 5,300 gallon aquarium with 26 ft. of visuals. River stingrays share space with gigantic arapaima fish.
“The arapaima species can grow up to 10 ft.,” Hill said.
Around the corner, the Venom House that showcases poisonous snakes, including the eyelash vipers, emerald tree boas, and tiger rats, affords views up to 12 ft. from behind a safety glass enclosed display. Golfodulcean poisonous dart frogs dwell among the slithering snakes, adding interesting color to the mix.
“Rainforest Revealed” is everything you loved about the former La Selva loop, cranked up to 11,” said Keith Winsten, the Brevard Zoo’s director.
By: Sue DeWerff Photo Credit: John Phillips