Opportunities to come face-to-face with an anaconda or alligator are fairly rare in Northwestern Ontario.
Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo gave people a chance to get that experience.
The travelling zoo from Ottawa was in the city this weekend for their Swamp Thang- Creatures of the Swamp exhibit at the CLE Coliseum.
General curator Matt Korhonen said this visit to Thunder Bay brought some new attractions and a different focus.
“This exhibit is about creatures of the swamp and a completely different set of animals. We have a green anaconda, there’s a big alligator and we’re focusing on wetlands conservation,” Korhonen said in between shows on Sunday.
“We do two different shows that rotate through the day. One focuses on water conservation and the importance of protecting wetlands and then our other presentation features animals that are going extinct.”
One of the points of emphasis in the shows was the plight of endangered plants and animals living within the borders of Canada.
Korhonen introduced a wood turtle named Seymour to demonstrate a Canadian animal that is currently endangered.
“The average Canadian can’t name two Canadian endangered species but there are 454 plants and animals in Canada that are threatened with extinction right now that are on different watchlists,” he said.
“It’s an important message because especially with children, if you can get them passionate about this, if they know it’s there we can teach them some fun ways to help.”
Among the most popular exhibits was the cage housing a pair of lemurs. They delighted the crowd by bouncing and swinging around their enclosure and engaged in target training with one of the staff members.
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Other attractions included a turkey vulture, a tarantula, scorpions, turtles, tortoises and snakes.
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