12:16 PM

ZooAmerica Recognizes First Pennsylvania Native Species Day

Central PA Zoo is home to dozens of species native to the state

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park is celebrating the first Pennsylvania Native Species Day on Friday, June 17. The 11-acre zoo in Hershey, Pa., is home to more than 200 animals native to five regions of the North American continent, as well as more than a dozen species found right in our own backyards in Central Pennsylvania.

In fact, all of the animals in the Eastern Woodlands region of ZooAmerica are native to Pennsylvania. Zoo guests can see white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys and more. In the wild, these animals forage for buds, twigs, and nuts provided by the oak and beech trees that dominate the landscape.

Other ZooAmerica animal residents native to Pennsylvania include the porcupine,  peregrine falcon, barn owl and red-tailed hawk*. ZooAmerica also cares for some ambassador species native to the state, like the Eastern rat snake, Eastern box turtle, skunk, screech owl and big brown bat, but these animals are not typically visible to the public on a regular zoo visit.

*Please note that given the potential risk of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) to birds, the bird species were temporarily relocated to enclosures that are roofed or to covered outdoor locations for close monitoring and to prevent contact with wild birds on our zoo grounds.

About Pennsylvania Native Species Day

The Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council has established June 17 as the first Pennsylvania Native Species Day to increase Pennsylvanians’ knowledge of native plants, trees, insects, and fish and other animals and understanding of the pressures that invasive nonnative species are exerting on their survival.

Pennsylvania is home to diverse species that originated thousands of years ago and thrive in mutual dependence. This native ecosystem provides with outdoor experiences that increase quality of life natural resources for a variety of Pennsylvania industries—agricultural food production, recreation, fisheries, timber, and more—and the livelihoods they support. 

As humans have increased worldwide commerce and travel, nonnative species have begun crisscrossing the world in tandem. When they're transported to areas outside their native range, they invade, because they outcompete native species and increasingly threaten their survival. 

Comprising seven state agencies and 14 organizations, the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council works to identify invasive nonnative plant, tree insect, and fish and other animal species that are threatening the survival of Pennsylvania's natural and agricultural resources and the industries they support. 

Celebrate with a Visit to ZooAmerica

ZooAmerica is open daily this summer from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bring the family for visit to explore the wild and see and learn about animals native to Pennsylvania.  Regular admission for guests ages 9-61 is $13. Admission for juniors ages 3-8 and seniors ages 62+ is $11. Children 2 and under are free. ZooAmerica is included with a Hersheypark ticket only by accessing the zoo through the Hersheypark bridge during posted Park hours.