Three sunis at Hogle Zoo and a baby ostrich at Tracy Aviary are among Salt Lake City's newest residents.
The ostrich, only the second ever hatched in Utah, was in protective care Friday at the aviary, in Liberty Park. The first was hatched about 10 years ago at the aviary, but did not survive."It got too much attention. It was just loved to death. We're going to take better care of this (ird)," said Mark Stackhouse, Tracy Aviary education coordinator.
Sunis are miniature antelope less than 16 inches tall. Two females and a male, recently purchased from a zoo in Texas, were put on display Friday in a new exhibit at Hogle Zoo.
Nesotragus moschatus is the suni's scientific name, but it is commonly called the musk antelope. Well-developed glands near the eyes give out a powerful, musky scent.
Sunis are found primarily in Africa, in Zanzibar and on the Chapani, Bawane and Mafia Islands. They have been located on dry ground, along waterways and in forest and mountain regions up to 9,000 feet.
The animals feed on leaves, buds, fallen fruit and grass.
Because the diet contains considerable moisture, the suni drinks little water.
Hogle Zoo Director LaMar Farnsworth said the zoo's sunis are offspring of imported parents, which makes their breeding line more pure than most other sunis exhibited around the country.
Probably only 10 other zoos in the country have sunis, which cost about $4,000, said Lynn Davis, zoo public relations and marketing director.
The baby ostrich at Tracy Aviary will receive a lot of pampering and will not be displayed until it is stronger.
"We'll try to minimize public contact with the bird until it is past the danger point," Stackhouse said.
Hatched in an incubator and called Ollie by aviary personnel, the ostrich first cracked its shell about 2 p.m. Thursday. About six hours late, the bird tumbled out of its shell, which was about the size of two softballs and approximately an eighth of an inch thick. Normally it takes 24 to 48 hours for most birds to emerge after the first crack appears.
Stackhouse said most of the ostrich eggs laid this year at the aviary have not been fertile. Those in the incubator Friday looked like they might be fertile, but "they haven't been there long enough to tell for sure."
Ollie's parents are displayed at the aviary.
When the new bird is raised it will be sold to another zoo or aviary.
The bird weighed about 2 pounds Friday and was about an inch high. When it reaches full size in about 10 months, the bird should be about 8 feet high and weigh 300 to 350 pounds. At maturity, such birds are worth about $1,000.