CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, NJ --The Cape May County Zoo is excited to announce two new, but familiar arrivals ‘Budette’ a 5-year-old female Capybara arrived from Cleveland Metropark Zoo arrived in July and ‘Mikey’, a 6-year-old male arrived last week from Sedwick County Zoo in Kansas. The pair were Species Survival Plan recommended and they seem to be getting along very well.
Capybara is one of the largest and longest-living rodents in the world. The Capybara is native to South America and its closest relatives include the guinea pig and rock cavies. Capybaras have adapted well to urbanization in South America. They can be found in many areas in zoos and parks and may live for 12 years in captivity, more than double their natural lifespan. Capybaras are docile and usually allow humans to pet and hand-feed them, but physical contact is normally discouraged.
Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Alex Ernst, announced the arrival of the two capybaras and hopes they will produce pups next spring. "The pair have been slowly acclimating to their new home and they have been released into public view. They can be found every day in our newly refurbished Capybara habitat at the foot of the Savanna Bridge", Ernst said.
Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, liaison to the Parks and Zoo, reported the new addition to the zoo and encouraged the public to come out and see the new arrivals. "The Cape May County Zoo is AZA and ZAA accredited and our staff works closely with other zoos as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) to aid in worldwide conservation efforts.
While the Capybara is not a threatened species, they are hunted in some areas for their skin. We were pleased to add ’Budette and Mikey’ to our mammal collection and know they will be a favorite of many", Hayes said.
The capybara inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water. They are considered semi-aquatic and are strong swimmers. Their pig-shaped bodies are adapted for life in the waters found in forests, seasonally flooded savannas, and wetlands. Their toes are partially webbed for swimming and their fur is long and brittle for quick drying when on land The Capybara is a highly social species and can be found in herds as large as 100, but usually live in herds of 10–20. The Capybara’s life span in the wild is about 7 years. They can range in size from 77 to 143 lbs and grow to approximately 4.6 feet and measure about 2 feet from the shoulder to the ground.
The Cape May County Zoo is open daily from 10 am until 4:30 pm. The Cape May County Park is open from 7 am until dusk. Visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear masks or face coverings and everyone is expected to follow social distancing practices for the protection of the staff, animals, and other Park and Zoo guests. The Zoo is free and donations are greatly appreciated. For more information on the Cape May County Zoo go to www.cmczoo.com