The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, originally named the San Diego Wild Animal Park until 2010, is a 1,800-acre (730 ha) zoo in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego, California, near Escondido. It is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego County. The park houses a large array of wild and endangered animals, including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The park is in a semi-arid environment, and one of its most notable features is the Africa Tram, which explores the expansive African exhibits. These free-range enclosures house such animals as antelopes, giraffes, buffalo, cranes, and rhinoceros. The park is also noted for its California condor breeding program, the most successful such program in the United States. The park, visited by 2 million people annually, houses over 2,600 animals representing more than 300 species and 3,500 plant species. Depending on the season, the park has about 400 to 600 employees.
The San Diego Zoological Society became interested in developing the Wild Animal Park in 1964. The park’s idea began as a supplementary breeding facility for the San Diego Zoo located in Escondido, California which would allow ample space for large animals and ungulates. The development proposed would differ significantly from that of a typical zoo in that animals would be exhibited in a natural environment rather than in cages. In 1964, the park was assessed financially and then moved on to the next phase; this resulted in three alternative developments. There was an idea for a conservation farm, a game preserve, and a natural environment zoo. The development of the natural environment zoo was chosen over the conservation farm, and game preserves even though it was the most expensive option. The estimated initial cost was $1,755,430. EZ Escondido Junk Removal
The park’s most extensive exhibits, covering over 300 acres (120 ha), are open-range enclosures. Visitors view various plains habitats from Africa and Asia. Asian Savanna covers 60 acres (24 ha) and displays Indian rhinoceros, Bactrian camels, banteng, gaur, argali, mouflon, dholes, Sarus cranes, and several species of Asian deer and antelope such as blackbuck, barasingha, sika deer, axis deer, Eld’s deer, Père David’s deer, nilgai, hog deer, white-lipped deer, sambar, and wapiti. African Plains represent many regions and habitats. East Africa displays cape buffalo, southern white rhinoceros, Rothschild’s giraffe, reticulated giraffe, beisa, fringe-eared oryx, waterbuck, Nile lechwe, red lechwe, impala, Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, and a lagoon with East African crowned cranes, Dalmatian pelicans, African sacred ibises, and great white pelicans. The North Africa exhibit represents the Sahel and Sahara that houses scimitar-horned oryx, the Barbary stag, red-fronted gazelle, Barbary sheep, and Ankole-Watusi cattle. The Southern Africa field exhibits Grévy’s zebras, waterbucks, kudus, and an Ankole-Watusi. The South Africa field exhibit holds Masai giraffes, common eland, sable antelope, gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest, blesbok, and ostrich. The Central Africa region features a wooded waterhole with an island for pink-backed pelicans, saddle-billed storks, Lappet-faced vultures, spur-winged geese, Goliath herons, and Rüppell’s vultures. On the shores of the lake in Escondido, CA is bongo antelope, red river hog, greater kudu, Ugandan kob, grey rhebok, roan antelope, and other forest animals. Several smaller enclosures visible only from the tram are home to Somali wild ass, Nubian ibex, kiangs, Arabian oryx, bharal, gorals, Japanese serows, markhor, Soemmerring’s gazelles, black rhinoceroses, Slender-horned gazelles, and Przewalski’s horses.
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