Buffalo Zoo's Amphibian and Reptile Center Re-Opens Doors

25 exhibits part of nearly $4 million investment

Mike Baggerman
May 24, 2019 - 3:00 am

Buffalo Zoo's Donna M. Fernandes Amphibian and Reptile Center at the Buffalo Zoo. May 22, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Friday marks the official re-opening of the Buffalo Zoo's Amphibian and Reptile Center.

The exhibit, named in honor of former President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo, Donna Fernandes, was closed for all of last year for renovations.

"This has been a very, very long and wonderful process," Buffalo Zoo President Norah Fletchall said. "We're looking forward to welcoming everyone to the new amphibian and reptile center where you can see the state of the art micro-environments that have been created with the animal's needs in mind."

PHOTOS: CHECK OUT THE NEW DONNA M. FERNANDES AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE CENTER

Among the new exhibits at the zoo include Kadal, a four-year-old komodo dragon from Texas. Kadal weighs 50 pounds and is going to double his size. There's 25 different exhibits where zoo visitors can learn about the animals and overcome misconceptions about them.

Komodo dragons also face misconceptions of their own.

"They are apex predators in their environment but each one of them have their own unique personality," Fletchall said. "So the keepers have done a wonderful job working with Kadal. He's responsive to training, which many people think would be unusual for a reptile but these are very intelligent creatures. They have to exist in their environment in the wild and our team does a wonderful job working with these animals on a daily basis."

She also said snakes face a lot of misconceptions and said while people can be startled by one, but they control rodent population in the world.

Aside from upgrades to the exhibits, most zoo visitors won't notice the changes to the building. Fletchall said many of the upgrades addressed water systems, plumbing, heating, and other behind-the-scenes work.

"The individual exhibits themselves have been designed specifically for the myriad of species you see in them," she said. "Some of these exhibits have two, three, or four different species of animals."

New exhibits at the zoo this year also include the "OMG Dinosaur" exhibit, where electronic modeled dinosaurs provide a further education to children and adults in the community.

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