North Carolina Zoological Park
All photos contained in this site, © 2001-2007 Wilmoth Photography.  Images and text may not be used from this website without written permission.
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African Lion (more photos)

Known as the “King of the Beasts,” lions live in the open grasslands of the African savannah.  Male lions generally weight between 300-500 lbs while the females are smaller, weighing between 250-400 lbs.  A lion's normal lifespan in the wild is 12-15 years, but can live up to 30+ years in captivity.  Lions also have the distinction of being the only cats that with one quick glance, one can determine their sex.  The bushy mane that grows around their neck distinctively marks the males and is believed to make them look larger to rivals and for added protection if they are in a fight with other males.
Grant's Zebra (more photos)

Grant's Zebras are most commonly found along the open grasslands and savannahs of east Africa.  Generally smaller than most domestic horses, zebras can weigh between 500-600 lbs and live around 40 years in captivity, but have a much shorter lifespan in the wild.  Grazers by nature, they feed on the coarse grasses commonly found in their habitat, and are quite dependant on sources of water.  Zebras generally roam the plains in herds ranging from 5 to 15 members and their distinctive stripe patterns are unique to each particular zebra, just like each person has a unique fingerprint.

Well known for being the largest birds on the planet, ostriches stand between 7-8 feet tall and can weigh as much as 400 lbs.  Although they can't fly, they can run between 30-40 mph for up to 30 minutes to avoid their natural predators.  Their ability to be fast runners comes from a specialized foot that has two toes with a tough flesh underneath their feet, allowing them to get a good grip on the ground.  With their good eye-sight, spotting predators is easy and their strong powerful legs are useful in defending themselves against predators.  While they mainly eat a diet of grasses and leaves, they sometimes eat small lizards and fruits.
Reticulated Giraffe (more photos)

The tallest of all mammals, male giraffes grow to a height of 15-18 feet tall, while females are just a bit shorter, standing between 13-15 feet in height.  Males normally weigh in around 4,000 lbs and females usually weigh around 2500 lbs.  They are most commonly found in the woodlands of Africa and tend to avoid the forests and deserts of the continent.  Their long necks allow them to reach high into the trees and their long muscular tongues allow them to pluck leaves from the trees, which make up their diet.  There are three types of these graceful creatures:  reticulated, masai and rothschild.  Each type of giraffe has a different pattern on its fur, which helps to determine its type.
Wart Hog

Wart hogs are found living along the savannah and grasslands of sub Sahara Africa.  Primarily eating a diet of grasses, roots, fruits and berries, and tree bark, wart hogs have also been known to occasionally eat small mammals and carrion.  Reaching adult hood at two to three years of age,  male wart hogs generally weigh between 120 to 350 lbs.  Males possess two pairs of warts, one on either side of the eyes and the other pair are lower down on the snout.  These fleshy patches help protect their eyes and jaw bones in the event the animal gets into a fight.

***  A sad note:  On 12/7/06, after a battle with inoperable tumors that were causing suffering and extreme discomfort, she was euthanatized by veterinary staff at the zoo.  ***
Red River Hog (more photos)

Red river hogs are most commonly found in the central and western parts of sub-Sahara Africa.  Their habitat can range from swamps, forest thickets, and are even found in grassy savanna areas.  Their diet consists of grasses, water plants, roots, fruits and occasionally they will eat carrion when available.  With an average lifespan of about 20 years, red river hogs grow to a length of 3-5 feet, a height of 1.5-2.5 feet, and weight between 100-285 pounds.  Their distinctive reddish brown coat is highlighted by a crest of white fur that runs the length of their spine that stands on end when they get alarmed.  Their long ears also have long white hairs at their tips.  Their long snout and short, sharp tusks assist in rooting for food.  Main predators include lions, leopards, hyenas and humans.