|10/1/2012 9:59:00 PM|
Editorial: It's all happening at Heritage Park zoo
|The Daily Courier|
When tragedy strikes in the animal kingdom, the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary often comes to the rescue.
It happened again this past week, when a pair of bear cubs came to the Prescott sanctuary after their mother was killed by a car in the Flagstaff area over Labor Day weekend. At the same time, the sanctuary adopted another Mexican Gray Wolf, continuing its participation in the re-habitation project that benefits one of the world's most endangered - and often controversial - large mammals.
This particular wolf is special. A female, she gave birth to many of the pups that have been released into the wild.
These three guests - at least one of the bear cubs may be leaving soon for a new home at the Navajo Zoo in Window Rock - join a cast of characters that for various reasons may not have survived without locations such as Heritage Park.
There's a tiger that came from a Nebraska zoo that lost its permits; Shash the bear, who is the star of a regular breakfast performance; a mountain lion, who was once an illegal pet; and a wide assortment of other crawling, slithering, hopping and flying members of the animal kingdom.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the sanctuary is that, along with the exotic animals from far away, the facility maintains a wide assortment of the wildlife that populates our own area, making it an ideal place to learn about the animals we share our space with.
It's not all suited for the faint of heart; the Tarantula Grotto, dark and full of large and lurking furry spiders, is enough to give even the stoutest person a bout of nightmares.
Over the years, the sanctuary has grown to depend on the support of the community, both financially and for volunteer help, and has returned donations of both time and money with an equivalent amount of satisfaction.
Animals, as far as we can tell, don't always know how to judge whether they are doing well. If we could get them to understand us, we'd probably tell these newcomers, and the rest of the population as well, just how lucky they are to have landed in Prescott, every animal's hometown.
Just about as lucky, we'd guess, as we are to have the sanctuary as part of our community.
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