Our Animals

fox3Animal residents at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary do not tell the typical zoo story. All animals at this sanctuary have been rescued from other locations and have a lesson to teach. They include a tiger who was rescued from a facility that closed; a black bear who came to the sanctuary as a cub when his mother was mistakenly shot by a hunter; a mountain lion who was kept as a pet; and a gray fox who was rescued from a pool.

Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary also has a prestigious role as participant in the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Species Survival Plan for the critically endangered Mexican Gray Wolf. After a 20-year absence in the wild, this animal is being reintroduced to its former range following a successful captive breeding program. The sanctuary is a housing facility for wolves not yet ready for release.


(Canis latrans)

 Jake came to us in spring of 2007 as an orphan.Jake was from an urban population outside of Phoenix, AZ. He could not be re-released because coyotes from urban areas have shown little success in relocations.

  • Coyotes are found from Alaska , south as far as Costa Rica . They live in grasslands and forests, but are very adaptable and often occupy urban areas.
  • Squirrels, rodents, and rabbits are their preferred prey, and are hunted alone. Larger animals like pronghorn and deer are hunted by packs. They also eat fruit and insects. Here they are fed dog kibble and a variety of meats.
  • A typical pack may consist of about 6 closely related adults, yearlings, and young. The young disperse in their first year, and may travel 100 miles before settling into their own territory.
  • The familiar howl of the coyote popularized in Western movies, is just one of their many vocalizations. Their high-pitched yelps, barks, wails and howls make it difficult to tell how many are in the group.
  • Coyotes are very important in helping to keep rodent, rabbit, and some other herbivore populations in check.



Common Genet

(Genetta genetta)

 MG 15948X10GenetKanu arrived in 2004 after a pet store tried to sell him as a ferret.  It is illegal to own genets in Arizona.

  • Genets live in the forests of East Africa. 
  • Genets eat mice, insects, and reptiles.  
  • Even though they look like weasels, genets are closely related to civets. 

Gray Fox

(Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

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Monsoon was found in a pool in Phoenix in 2008 and was rescued by Arizona Game & Fish.
  • The gray fox occurs throughout most of the southern half of North America from southern Canada to northern Venezuela and Colombia. It does not occur in portions of the mountainous northwestern United States, the Great Plains and eastern Central America.
  • Grey foxes are found in deciduous woodlands, but are occasionally seen in old fields foraging for fruits and insects. Unlike the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), they do not prefer agricultural habitats.
  • Where red foxes and grey foxes occur together, grey foxes breed 2-4 weeks after the red foxes. Gestation lasts about 53 days; the average litter size is three to four, but can be as many as seven! By 3 months, pups begin to hunt with their parents. After four months, the young have their permanent teeth and can forage on their own. The family group remains together until autumn when the young reach maturity and disperse.
  • Grey foxes are unique among canids in their ability to climb trees. They have strong, hooked claws that allow them to scramble up trees to avoid predators or to get fruit. They descend primarily by jumping from branch to branch. Grey foxes are nocturnal and den during the day in hollow trees, stumps or abandoned burrows. They are assumed to be monogamous; radio tracking data suggest that family groups maintain separate home ranges.


(Erethizon dorsatum)

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Quilber the porcupine came to HPZS in 2003 after being found near Phoenix.

  • Porcupines are herbivores and eat leaves, twigs and green plants.  Ms. Quilber's favorite foods at the Sanctuary are strawberries and roses.
  • Contrary to common misconception, porcupines do not throw their quills, but rather back up into potential predators.


(Oryctolagus cuniculus)

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All the rabbits at HPZS came from private donors.

  • Most of the rabbits that come to HPZS are former pets that owners can no longer care for. Rabbits are popular pets, but require much more care and space than most people realize. HPZS strongly encourages people to fully research any animal before considering them as a pet.
  • While the rabbits at HPZS are domestic breeds, their ancestors are endemic to Northwest Africa; introduced to the rest of the western Europe 2,000 years ago and then Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
  • They prefer sandy terrain with scrub and bushes; coniferous woodland.
  • In the wild, rabbits eat grass, herbs, roots, bark, and cultivated plants. At the sanctuary they eat fruits, vegetables, alfalfa pellets, alfalfa hay, and hardwood sticks for chewing.
  • Rabbits have long ears, long hind legs, and large eyes placed on the sides of their heads (give them a better view for danger).


(Procyon lotor)

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"Lilly" and "Huck" arrived at HPZS in 2005 at age one.  "Scamp" arrived in 2010 and "Stella" arrived in 2011. "Hotshot" was rescued from the Yarnell Fire in 2013 and is currently off-exhibit.

  • Raccoons are found in North, Central and South America . They have been introduced into parts of Europe and Asia . Some other members of the raccoon family include the coati, ringtail, and even the red and giant pandas of China .
  • Raccoons live in many habitats, from desert to mountain forests. They are often found in urban areas. Large groups of raccoons have been observed. They are thought to be family members, with no more than one adult male.
  • They are omnivores and will eat anything from frogs, crayfish, fish, birds, eggs, small rodents, insects, fruits, and vegetables. Their hunting style of feeling through water for aquatic prey has led people to the mistaken belief that they wash their food. Here they are fed dog kibble, fruits and vegetables, an occasional egg or goldfish.

Ringtailed Lemurs

 (Lemur catta)

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Crash, Fio, Bungee & Kinsa.


Our collection began from surplus lemurs living at another zoo that no longer had room to keep them. It has grown from there.

  • Lemurs are prosimians, which are primitive primates. They are only found on the island of Madagascar off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Their name in the local language means "spirit of the forest."
  • Ring-tailed lemurs are gregarious, which means that they like to live in groups. These groups range from 5 to 30 individuals. Males and females maintain their own dominance hierarchies, but females are usually dominant over males.
  • They have scent glands which they use to mark territories and even each other. In aggressive encounters, they will wave their scent-smeared tails at their rivals.
  • Lemurs are vegetarian and eat a wide variety of plants and fruits. We feed them commercially prepared primate biscuits and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Since the arrival of humans on the island, about 2000 years ago, as least 14 species have become extinct. 22 species of lemurs remain. Habitat destruction is their greatest threat.


(Lynx rufus)

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  Kenny and Cleo arrived in 2009.  They were each in separate litters that were both abandoned. Dena Lee and Sir Daphne were both rescued in 2010.

  • Bobcats eat rabbits, ground squirrels, gophers, mice and rats.
  • Bobcats have the greatest range of all cats in North America.

Cotton Top Tamarin

(Saguinus oedipus)

 MG 6014 8X10 MG 6022 8X10 MG 6037 8X10Quik  arrived in 2008.  They were part of a study at Wisconsin University that was closing down. 

  • Tamarins eat fruits, vegetables and insects. 
  • Unlike most primates, tamarins have claws instead of nails.

Red fox

(Vulpes vulpes)


Rusty arrived in 2011.  Rusty was raised by a family and was destined to be an animal actor in commercials until the loss of his tail as a baby to a raccoon. 

  • Red foxes are omnivores, which means they eat meat and plants.
  • Red foxes are found over most of the northern hemisphere.

Swamp Wallaby

(Wallabia bicolor)

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Swamp Wallabies tend to be solitary in the wild, but
tend to gather with other wallabies at foraging sites.
They have adapted well to the rise of agriculture,
sometimes being considered a pest for eating crops.

Like all masupials, baby wallabies are not fully
developed when they are born and move to their
mother’s pouch. New born wallabies are about the size
of a jelly bean. Swamp Wallabies stay in the pouch
for 8 or 9 months, but will continue to nurse until they
are 15 months.

These wallabies came from an institution that closed its doors.


(Nasua narica)


Coatimundi or Coati are closely related to raccoons and are very
adaptable. They are good climbers and use their tails
for balance. They are most often found on the ground
during the day foraging. This highly intelligent animal
can communicate vocally and live in bands. Coati predators
include birds of prey, cats, and large snakes. In areas
where they are common, coati are appreciated by people
because they often eat tarantulas and bugs considered
pests by many.

Chloe was a surplus from another institution. Gunther was a rescue.

Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

(Cynomys ludovicianus)


Prairie Dogs are members of the squirrel family native to grasslands in Central and Southwestern United States.  They are very social animals and live in family groups called coteries. Prairie dogs are keystone animals and around 150 animals in the areas where they live are dependent upon the Prairie Dogs for survival.  The black footed ferret almost went extinct when prairie dog populations plummed due to poisoning by humans and disease.  Due to conservation efforts, their numbers have started to recovery.

Poppy arrived at HPZS in 2012 and Rosemary arrive in 2013. Both serve as an animal ambassador for the Education Department.

African Dwarf Hedgehog

(Atelerix albiventris)


Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Asia and Africa.  Their backs are covered with spines and when they are threatened, they roll into a ball to protect their face and stomach. They eat insects and other small animals.

Hans the Hedgehog came from a private owner in 2013 and serves as an Animal Ambassador for the Education Department.

Guinea Pig

(Cavi porcellus)


Guinea pigs were domesticated as early as 5000 BCE in South America for food.  They are related to the cavi.  They are rodents and eat grasses and plant matter.

The Guinea Pigs at HPZS are animal ambassadors for the Education Program.

Norway Rat

(Rattus norvegicus)


Norway rats are also called Brown Rats, Common Rats, Street Rats, Sewer Rats, Hanover Rats, Norwegian Rats, Wharf Rats and Hood Rats.  They originated to Northern China, but now inhabit ever continent except Antarctica.  They can live anywhere food and shelter may be found.

the Norway Rats at HPZS are Animal Ambassadors for the Education Program.

Kit Fox


(Vulpes macrotis)

Range: Southwestern United States, Northern and Central Mexico

Habitat: Arid regions; scrub, chaparral and grasslands

Diet: Carnivore; rodents and rabbits

Kit Foxes are the smalles member of the Canidae or Dog Family in North America, weighing just 3 to 5 ½ pounds as adults. Kit Foxes have large ears and excellent hearing. They are primarily carnivores, but have been known to eat tomatoes and fruit when food is scarce and will sometimes scavenge carrion.

Kit Foxes are nocturnal. To avoid the heat of the day, they spend much of the day in their underground dens. Kit Foxes will either dig the dens themselves, or take them over from Prairie Dogs.

Diego arrived at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary in 2013 after being rescued in Southern Arizona.

African Serval


(Leptailurus serval)

Range: Sub-saharan Africa

Habitat: Grasslands near water and wetlands

Diet: Carnivore: rodents, birds, frogs

Servals are solitary animals that are crepuscular, or active at dawn and dusk. Although Servals prefer to live in wetlands in the wild, they can sometimes be found in forests, grasslands and bamboo thickets. They are mostly terrestrial, liking to stay on the ground and hide in tall grasses, but can climb trees to escape danger.

Servals are excellent hunters. They can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour when chasing their prey, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “little cheetahs.” Servals will wade into water after their prey and their large ears allow them to hear rodents underground. Servals have a 50% success rate when hunting prey as compared to other cats, which have a 20% success rate.

Populations of native Servals have declined due to them being hunted for their pelts.

Natasha came to Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary in 2013 as a surplus from another institution.

Common Marmoset


Range: South America

Habitat: Scrub and Forests

Diet: Omnivore; Fruit, Insects, Eggs, Tree Sap

Marmosets are the smallest of the true monkeys. They use their nails to scrape tree bark in order to eat the sap that flows out. They have scent glands and use scent marking to communicate with each other. Both parents care for the offspring, with the young usually clinging to the father’s back.

Gizmo arrived at HPZS in 2014 from private ownership.

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Mexican Wolf Website


Celebrate Lobo Week and the 17th Anniversary of releasing the Mexican Grey Wolf back into the wild March 23rd through 30th.  sentry-of-the-southwest-1998-2015-fin


It's the Best Deal in Town!


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You can join both Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary AND Highlands Center for Natural History for only $90!  That's a $30 savings!  Along with supporting two great institutions, you receive full Family Membership benefits to both HPZS and HCNH.  CLICK HERE or call (928)778-4242 for more information.  To learn more about the Highlands Center and their programs, visit

Easter Eggstravaganza!

Join Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary on Sunday, April 5th, 2015 for Easter Egg Hunts, Games, Animal Encounters and More! Gates open at 10am. Egg hunts will start at 10:30 with the 0-3 year old age group, followed by the 4-6 year old egg hunt at 11:00, the 7-9 year old egg hunt at 12:00 and the 10-12 year old egg hunt at 1:00. Animals will receive their own special Easter Egg hunt with treats and pinatas.  Click Here for more information.

Concessions will be available for purchase. Event is FREE with paid admission.

 Cassie  Easter Bunny cropped 2011