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.


Toy Baby Loki 2

Jake & Loki, Common Coyote (Canis latrans)

We currently have two Coyotes on grounds. Jake came to us in spring of 2007 as an orphan. He was from an urban population outside of Phoenix. He could not be re-released because coyotes from urban areas have shown little success in relocations. Loki came to us in the spring of 2015. She was only a few days old when she was rescued - found abaondoned on a trail near Phoenix - and cannot be re-released into the wild because she has no wild instincts.

  • Coyotes thrive in a variety of habitats and climates, in everything from Alaskan forests to Costa Rican beaches. 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 six 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.

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)

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  • 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.

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 Gray Wolf SSP Website:

Gray Wolf

Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary currently houses two incredibly rare Mexican Gray Wolves. This species is dwindling in the wild, but thanks to the Species Survival Plan (SSP), captive breeding programs and reintroductions into the wild have helped turn the tables. Please visit our partner website (by clicking on the photo) for more information on this amazing animal and what you can do to help!