The Gladys Porter Zoo unveiled a brand new outdoor exhibit: Tropical Americas & El Mundo Huasteco Totonaco. The completion of this pair of exhibits is phase one of a larger plan to bring a bit of Tropical America to Brownsville, Texas. El Mundo Huasteco Totonaco features a newly constructed exhibit that will be home to be some of the rainforest’s most recognizable little faces, tufted capuchin monkeys. In an adjacent exhibit will be another eye-catching mammal, a pair of capybaras, which have easily earned the title of the world’s largest rodents.
Aside from the attention-grabbing animals, the exhibit also features custom work by local artists. This exhibit is inspired by the rich culture of the huastec and totonac people as well as the landscape of Tropical America.
“The Zoo’s goal is to enhance every zoogeographic area. We are pleased to begin the redevelopment of the Tropical America section, highlighting the culture of our neotropical region,” says Zoo Director, Dr. Patrick Burchfield.
Phase one was made possible through the generosity of a special zoo donor and friend, who chooses to remain anonymous, as well as longtime board member and zoo friend, Paula Smith, who is responsible for the capybara exhibit. A very special thanks goes out to artists, Carol Demoss, Mark Clark, and Gustavo Gonzalez, who created the trees, vines and amazing culturally-inspired displays.
The next phase of construction for Tropical Americas will eventually bring forth even more rainforest animals, including tapirs, river otters, leaf cutter ants and eventually jaguars.