With its anteater’s tongue, piggish snout, and bear-like claws, the aardvark draws many easy comparisons. Its name means “earth pig” in the Afrikaans language, and it has also been called the “ant bear.” However, the aardvark is neither anteater, nor pig, nor bear. It is the only species within its order, Tubulidentata.

African Wild Dog

African wild dogs are also known as "Cape hunting dogs" or “painted dogs” for their unique mottled coats. These highly social animals share some qualities with domestic dogs, wolves, and other canines, but are not closely related to our four-legged best friends. In fact, they are in a distinct genus from domestic dogs and wolves.


Asian Elephant

As the largest land animal, elephants come in two types: African and Asian. Asian elephants have smaller ears and only one “finger” at the end of their trunks. The trunk is actually the elephant’s nose, which it uses like a hand and a straw, inserting food and squirting water into its mouth.


American Bison

The American bison, or buffalo, is a national icon and the largest land mammal in North America. Millions of bison once roamed great distances across the continent. But over-hunting reduced the population to fewer than 1,000 individuals by the end of the 19th century. Since the founding of the American Bison Society at the Bronx Zoo in 1905, the species has been the subject of a great—if still incomplete—conservation success story.



The fossa, pronounced “foosh,” is one of Madagascar’s top predators and its largest mammalian carnivore. A relative of the mongoose, it looks a lot like a miniature puma. Local folklore has given fossas a bad rap—but perhaps they’re feared most by the lemurs, their favorite prey!

Gelada Baboon


Geladas wear their hearts on their sleeves, or rather, their chests. A pink, hourglass-shaped patch of skin on their chest changes color with their hormone levels to display their readiness to mate. These highly social primates are closely related to baboons.



For many Africans, giraffes symbolize fertility, rain, strength, and prosperity. This strange and shy, spotted mammal is the tallest living terrestrial animal. One giraffe reached a record 19.3 feet high!



The largest of all primates, the peaceful, family-bound gorilla is considered Africa’s “gentle giant.” The four gorilla subspecies include western lowland gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla, mountain gorilla, and Cross River gorilla.