Because of their hardy nature and high availability from India, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is usually the animal of choice to conduct research on human- and animal- health-related topics. They are commonly used in vaccine and other pharmacological research, which was the case with the three rhesus macaques who retired from biomedical research at a University (the University did fund the building of their enclosures) to Noah's Ark in early 2015. Rhesus macaques are an extremely adaptable and broad-ranging primate, inhabiting many diverse habitats including snowy regions, semi-desert areas, dense forests, and especially urban areas throughout China, India, Pakistan, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, and Thailand. They are very social and intelligent primates and in many places have learned to use human encroachment and deforestation to their advantage by surviving on scraps of the cities they live in. They are opportunistic foragers and will consume everything from flowers and grass to bird eggs and bugs. They usually weigh anywhere from 10-20 lbs depending on geographic region, sex and age, have a lifespan of roughly 25 years old, and are not considered a threatened species.
Did you know parrots are the third most popular pet in America? Their long life span, complex diet, tendency toward aggression and mate guarding (bird sees owner as the "mate" and will protect it as such), messiness, extreme loudness, and need for high levels of enrichment due to their extreme intelligence mean parrots are NOT ideal pets for most people. Noah's Ark provides a refuge for 350 parrots, most of which were former breeding animals for the pet trade, brought to us by animal control as confiscations or strays, or surrendered by owners who didn't want to or were unable to keep them. They live in natural, enriched aviaries according to size, species, or personality.
Did you know that Noah's Ark is home to over 50 reptiles, from tiny snakes to massive alligators? Although certain species of reptile can be good companions for the right person, many species of reptile should not be kept as pets. Those animals include giant pythons, venomous snakes, giant tortoises, and large lizards such as monitors and crocodilians. Our rule of thumb at Noah's Ark is "if you can't buy a cage it can live in forever, or if it will outlive you, then you probably shouldn't own it". We have to turn so many reptiles away each year simply because we don't have the resources to care for them and although some people don't love our cold-blooded friends as much as we do, all animals need respect, compassion, and protection!
Kinkajous are small (roughly 5-10 lbs) mammals native to parts of Mexico and Central and South America where they live in tropical forests. They have a conservation status of “least concerned” but deforestation is becoming a growing threat to the future of this species. Although kinkajous are cute and usually docile animals, they are strictly nocturnal, which makes them a difficult animal to have as a pet. They have sharp teeth and claws, consume a specialized diet, and can carry roundworm, which can be transferred to the uneducated owner causing extreme illness. Still, kinkajous continue to be one of the most popular exotic pets in the United States and more and more sanctuaries are trying to find room to house them after they didn’t live up to their owner’s expectations of being a good “pet”.
Llamas are in the same family as camels and they do not have top teeth. Noah's Ark is home to 25 llamas, who were either personal pets or farmed for their fiber (hair). When bottle raised, llamas and other livestock can become dangerous, seeing humans as members of their own species and treating them as such as they age. Many of our llamas were "bottle babies" that became aggressive, some were in need of a home after losing their farm, and others were no longer producing quality fiber as they aged so farmers surrendered them to us. They share the 80 acre pasture with the other livestock but tend to stay to themselves in tight knit groups.
Lions are native to Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and although their distribution area is massive, they have a conservation status of vulnerable because of the introduction of disease, habitat loss, and hunting.
Black bears are native to many parts of North America and are skilled at foraging, hunting, climbing, and swimming. Despite habitat loss and the increasing number of human/bear conflicts, they continue to have a conservation status of “least concerned”. They are omnivores and although they are named “black” bears, they can sometimes have brown or blonde coats. American black bears have a lot of variability in their sizes, ranging from 150-800 lbs depending on their geographic location and the availability of food sources. The average adult weights are 250-400 lbs for females and 400-550 lbs for males. Their claws are shorter than most bear species, but are extremely sharp and perfectly designed for climbing trees.
The silver fox is a melanistic (black) version of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and is native to much of the Northern Hemisphere although they are not as common as the typically colored red fox. There are over 40 sub species of the red fox with weights ranging from 5 to 30 lbs. although most weigh around 15 lbs. They are omnivores and in the wild prey on a variety of animals but also consume plant material. At Noah’s Ark they eat organic, grain-free dog food as well as a variety of meats, bugs, and some fruits. Commercially, foxes are produced for their fur or for the pet trade although they are illegal to own as a pet in Georgia.
Baloo the American black bear (Ursus americanus), Leo the African lion (Panthera leo), and Shere Khan the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris); known as "The BLT" came to Noah's Ark in 2001 after they were discovered by police officers in a basement of an Atlanta home during a drug raid. At only a few months old, all three cubs were frightened, malnourished, and infected with internal and external parasites when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources brought them to Noah’s Ark.
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