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New Zoo Exhibit Features Zipline, Pygmy Hippos And Giant Anteaters

Paul A. Selvaggio
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Ocelots are one of five new animals joining the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium's Jungle Odyssey exhibit, which opens this weekend.

Pygmy hippopotamuses, giant anteaters and a zipline are all part of the newest attraction at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Jungle Odyssey.

The exhibit is the second of the zoo’s four-phase “Top of the World” project, with The Islands opening in 2016. Dr. Barbara Baker, President and CEO of the zoo, said the latest area will educate visitors about some of the world’s most vulnerable animals.

“Jungle Odyssey really focuses on endangered and threatened species,” Baker said. “It’s an opportunity to see animals that really are animals of concern and animals that have never been there before.”

The 150-foot zipline will run from the top of the exhibit to the base and is expected to open later this summer.

Credit Paul A. Selvaggio / Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Baker said she’s most excited about the pygmy hippos, especially 3-year-old male hippo Jahari, who they expect to pair with a female for breeding soon. A 15,000 gallon pool will allow visitors to see the 300-600-pound hippo swimming underwater.

“He’s very active in the exhibit,” Baker said. “He does love the graze and they do graze a lot in the grass.”

Fossas, which are related to the mongoose, and capybaras, the world’s largest rodent, have also made their home at the zoo. 

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm