• Two tropical lettered aracari birds make debut at Prospect Park Zoo
  • Lettered aracaris are a small species of toucan
  • WCS works in the aracari’s native South American range to protect wildlife and restore ecologically fragile habitats

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Dec. 31, 2014 – The Wildlife Conservation Society's Prospect Park Zoo is now home to two lettered aracaris (Pteroglossus inscriptus). There are approximately 40 species of toucan. The lettered aracari is one of the smaller species, weighing approximately four ounces and reaching about 12 inches in length as adult.

Their strikingly colorful plumage, compact bodies, and large bills are a signature of the toucan species. They are social animals that generally roost in hollowed out trees with other adults and their fledging offspring.

The lettered aracari is native to the moist, lowland forests and swamps of Ecuador, Brazil, Columbia, Bolivia, and Peru. While not endangered, the bird’s natural habitat is facing serious threats from habitat fragmentation, climate change, and other factors. WCS’s Latin America and Caribbean Program is working in the field to mitigate these challenges and protect the area’s most ecologically intact wild places, including the Amazon Basin where toucans live.

The Prospect Park Zoo is home to several other tropical birds, including Victoria crowned pigeons, scarlet ibises, and peafowl. The lettered aracaris live in the zoo’s Animal Lifestyles building.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428; brusso@wcs.org
Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org


The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo – $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. weekdays, and to 5:30 P.M. on weekends and holidays, April through October. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. November through March. The Prospect Park Zoo is located at 450 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. For further information, call 718-399-7339 or visit www.prospectparkzoo.com.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; www.facebook.com/TheWCS; www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to wcs.org.