Jabari sees his shadow, hunkers down until spring
It might be nice outside now, but don't pack those snow tires and chains away just yet. Jabari, the Oregon Zoo's African pygmy hedgehog, saw his shadow today, indicating six more weeks of winter could be in store. Or not.
"Last year, Jabari predicted an early spring, which was not all that accurate here in the Northwest," Smith said. "But our hedgehog does have about the same success rate as Punxsutawney Phil."
According to records from StormFax Weather Almanac, Phil's predictions have been correct about 39 percent of the time. Oregon Zoo hedgehogs have been slightly less successful with a 38 percent accuracy rate.
"Hedgehogs are the traditional weather-prediction experts," said zoo director Kim Smith, who oversaw the zoo's Hedgehog Day festivities. "The groundhog is actually a latecomer to the game. It was only when immigrants to the United States realized their new home didn't have hedgehogs that they turned to the groundhog. Jabari is bringing the holiday back to its origins."
Considering the track record of the zoo's hedgehog though, tradition — and cuteness — might have to count for a lot.
The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.
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