Zoo

The Zoo at Chehaw is home to 238 specimens representing over 125 different species. Enjoy natural, outdoor exhibits including Cheetahs, Black Rhinoceros’, Meerkats, Black Bears, Alligators, and many more, while you stroll through our scenic boardwalks and cypress swamp. Participate in animal feedings and keeper talks every weekend. Chehaw’s African Veldt Ride is free with admission, and will take you through our largest exhibit where seven different species roam in natural herds. The Zoo at Chehaw is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). To be accredited, zoos must undergo a thorough investigation to ensure that they have met, and will to continue to meet, ever-rising standards. These standards encompass animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years.

Camelus bactrianus

Bogart and Audrey at Chehaw Park. Photo from Facebook.
Bogart & Audrey 2016

There are two types of camels in the world: Bactrian camels and Dromedary camels. Chehaw is home to a pair of Bactrian (two-humped) camels named Bogart and Audrey. Bogart was born in April 2012 at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden; Audrey was born in March 2015 at the Dakota Zoo and was purchased with money graciously donated by the Darsey Family Foundation. We introduced these two camels in February 2016 and you can now see them both on exhibit.  If you come to Chehaw on a Saturday or Sunday, you might even have the chance to feed them their favorite treats. 

In the wild, Bactrians can be found in the rocky deserts and mountains of East-Central Asia where resources are scarce and conditions are harsh. The temperatures in this habitat can range from less than -20ᵒ F in the winter to over 100ᵒ F in the summer.  In order to handle the extreme changes in temperature, camels grow a thick winter coat that can be shed quickly when temperatures begin to rise.  Camels are well known for the humps on their back that allow them to go several days without food or water.  The humps are made up of fat and can be utilized when resources are limited, but when a camel is thirsty, it is possible for it to drink up to 30 gallons of water in only 13 minutes!

Bactrian camels are the only truly wild camels there are at this point and there are less than 1,000 wild individuals remaining.  They are listed as critically endangered due to their small population size and declining population trend.  The biggest threats to this species are habitat loss and competition for food with introduced livestock.  While the wild population is steadily declining, there is a large population of domesticated Bactrians.  However, the introduced livestock that compete with the wild Bactrians for resources include these domesticated Bactrian camels.