Fascinating Fossa Debuts at the Greensboro Science Center

"The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is excited to announce the debut of a new animal in Animal Discovery Zoo, a fossa (pronounced FOO-sah), named Rano. The 2-year-old male came to the Center from Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.

Rano is currently on exhibit part-time in the old Howler Monkey enclosure as keepers continue to enhance his new home. The exhibit space was chosen because of its proximity to the lemur exhibit.

Jessica Hoffman, Curator of Birds and Mammals, explains, "They're the primary carnivore on the island of Madagascar. Their main diet is lemurs. Being exhibited next to lemurs shows the behaviors associated with a common predator/prey relationship."   Even though these particular animals were all born in captivity, there is a certain amount of instinct which tells them to be wary of each other. 

With a weasel-like body and cat-like face and tail, fossa are a unique-looking animal most closely related to members of the mongoose and civet families.  They prefer a solitary existence and will only briefly come into contact with other fossa during short breeding seasons.   They are currently classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and are most affected by habitat loss.  Fossa are also managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Fossa are cathemoral animals, meaning that instead of being nocturnal or diurnal, they are active at completely random times. When awake, Rano is a very active climber, spending much of his time performing acrobatic feats throughout his exhibit. Native to Madagascar, fossa are well-adapted to humid environments, so visitors coming to the Center in the next few months are likely to witness Rano in action.

Currently, there are several research activities going on in Madagascar concerning wild fossa and conservation initiatives. Zookeepers hope to assist these projects by either purchasing a tracking collar for a wild fossa or submitting hair samples for genetic study."
A press release

No comments: