Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview While many facilities recommend saw-whet owls as an “easy” or “beginner” owl, it is important to be extra vigilant with these small species that are more easily, albeit unintentionally, dominated. Despite their diminutive size and apparent ease of handling, in order to provide good welfare,…

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview Although often readily available through wildlife rehabilitation sources, previously wild, adult great horned owls can be challenging to manage while maintaining good welfare, even for the most experienced handlers. To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs,…

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture Coragyps atratus Order: Accipitriformes Family: Accipitridae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Hooded vultures are an SSP species so if you are an AZA zoo it is recommended that you first contact the SSP coordinator. With good training, this species can be reliable in both flighted and non-flighted…

Spectacled Owl

Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview Raised correctly, spectacled owls are reported to make excellent glove birds for educational programming. To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs, and as such be exposed to close contact with humans and a variety of stimuli that…

Black Vulture

Black vultures can be great ambassadors in the hands of the right trainer.

Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura Order: Accipitriformes Family: Cathartidae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Turkey vultures can be acquired from rehab and rescue centers. With good training, this species can be reliable in both flighted and non-flighted situations. Turkey vultures are a little more sensitive to large crowds and chaos than some…

Poison dart frogs (Green & Black)

Poison Dart Frogs (Green & Black) Dendrobates auratus         Order:    Anura        Family: Dendrobatidae Overview Green and Black poison dart frogs are relatively easy to care for and have many programming messages, making them a wonderful addition to an ambassador team. At Akron Zoo, our frogs are set up in bioactive housing, which takes…

Barred Owl

Barred owls can be great ambassadors when started in a training program at a young age and exposed to a wide variety of stimuli.

Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis Order: Accipitriformes Family: Accipitridae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Red-tails can be acquired from rehab and rescue centers. Parent reared birds can be reliable in both flighted and non-flighted situations. With good desensitization, these birds are good around large crowds of people. They are also calm in…

Diamondback Terrapin

Malaclemys terrapin Order: Testudines Family: Emydidae Natural History Information Range and Habitat Diamondback terrapins occur along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Cape Cod to Texas, and also the Florida Keys. They live in brackish (half salt/half fresh) water, coastal marshes, tidal flats, coves, estuaries, and lagoons behind barrier beaches. Longevity Average lifespan for this…