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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


15 new bird species added to annual springtime event

Spring has landed at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park as blue morphos, orange-barred tigers, zebra longwings are among thousands of butterflies emerging during Butterfly Jungle, the annual springtime event that runs through April 18.

New this year are 15 species of African birds. The purple-crested turaco spends much of its time in a large ficus tree calling loudly, while the male paradise whydah may fly by displaying its beautifully long tail. A pair of African gray parrots charm guests entering the aviary with their playful antics, as finches and lovebirds add lovely sounds to a colorful display of plants and butterflies.

Butterfly Jungle celebrates mimicry in the animal world. Some species of butterflies use toxins to deter predators from eating them. Other species have evolved to mimic the patterns or colors of toxic butterflies to protect themselves. The giant owl butterfly, on the other hand, has a large spot on the underside of its wing that looks like the eye of an owl. It flashes this “eye” at potential predators to confuse them.

Butterfly Jungle is included with admission to the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Admission is $37 for adults and $27 for children ages 3 to 11. Children 2 and younger receive free admission.

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park is operated by the not-for-profit San Diego Zoo and includes a 900-acre native species reserve. The organization focuses on conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

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