Chattanooga Zoo Welcomes New Animal Arrivals

Chattanooga, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Chattanooga Zoo is proud to announce its collection of animals has once again expanded.

These recent animal acquisitions and hatchings have added to the Zoo’s number of Species Survival Plans (SSP) and increased interactive offerings for guests.

Through the Zoo’s partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’s (AZA) SSP, the Zoo has acquired 2 sand cats from the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound’s Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond, CA. These solitary creatures are native to the sandy and stony deserts of northern Africa and central Asia. The conservation status of the Sand cat is classified as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Rameses, a 9 month old male, and Bastet, a 1.5 year old female, are a recommended breeding pair. They are currently on-exhibit in the Deserts of the World building.

The Chattanooga Zoo has expanded its reptile collection by acquiring 3 tomistomas from the San Antonio Zoo. The 3 tomistomas were hatched by seasoned parents approximately 10 months ago and arrived at the Chattanooga Zoo last month. Commonly known as the “false gharial,” the tomistoma is a freshwater crocodilian native to the areas of Malaysia, Sarawak, Indonesia, and Thailand. The tomistoma is classified by the IUCN as “Vulnerable.”

Although their genders are not determined yet, the 3 have been named Zaheer (meaning blossoming/flourishing), Batari (meaning goddess), and Malik (meaning king) by Zoo staff. The 3 are currently on-exhibit in the Zoo’s Himalayan Passage exhibit building.

The Warner Park Ranch petting area has expanded by 6 goats, which includes 3 different breeds. The Chattanooga Zoo has acquired 2 male Nigerian dwarf goats, 2 female Saanen goats, and 2 female Nubian goats.

These goats are 5 months old, except for the 2 Nigerian goats which are 4 months old. After a 30 day quarantine period, the goats will be exhibited in the petting area of the Warner Park Ranch exhibit, where they will interact with guests.

In addition to the animal acquisitions, the Chattanooga Zoo has also strengthened its conservation initiatives through the hatching of 2 spotted turtles. Spotted turtles are native to the east coast of North America from Quebec, Ontario, and Maine down to the eastern US and Florida. Spotted turtles are classified by the IUCN as “Endangered.”

The two turtles, Freckles and Speckles, hatched on July 6th to first time parents, Spot & Dot. The Zoo plans to have them on-exhibit in the Forests of the World building soon.

“We are thrilled to share these new zoo residents with our visitors through our engaging exhibits and educational offerings. The Zoo is constantly seeking to expand its collection and engage in conservation programming, and we are very excited about our recent growth and honored to be such a community asset and continue to share our mission,” says Darde Long, CEO of the Chattanooga Zoo.

The Chattanooga Zoo invites the community to visit and interact with these new additions. The Zoo is open daily from 9am – 5pm.

For more information on our conservation initiatives, please visit

*Photos from The Chattanooga Zoo

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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