The Akron Zoo is introducing a new species to the zoo, Patagonian mara. The zoo welcomed two females, Bonita and Bettina, who are now in their new habitat in the zoo’s Legends of the Wild area.
Bonita and Bettina are six-year-old sisters who were born on May 13, 2017 at the Alexandria Zoological Park in Louisiana. The duo moved to Akron from the Toledo Zoo.
Patagonian mara are one of the largest rodent species native to Patagonia, which is a region of South America that includes Argentina and Chile. They have short grayish-red fur, long ears, long hind legs and short front legs with strong claws for digging. Mara average 17 – 35 pounds and are around 27 inches long.
Mara are classified as near threatened by IUCN Red List. Populations are decreasing due to habitat loss, hunting and the transitioning of grasslands to agricultural pastures.
The Patagonian mara will reside in the zoo’s former capybara habitat.