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Juanita Spalding’s Habitat Fund

Wildlife Habitat Protected through Bequest from Juanita Spalding

In 2011, with remarkable foresight and generosity, Juanita Lamport Spalding left the NC Zoo Society a bequest of $1.2 million for acquisition and management of wildlife habitat in North Carolina. Since the primary purpose of land acquisition with this fund is to benefit wildlife, Zoo staff has been looking for high quality wildlife habitat to purchase. Lands with especially high potential include parcels that are adjacent to wildlife habitat the Zoo already owns, especially those that have the presence of rare or unusual species or habitat types and a location that will enhance, restore or maintain connectivity between habitats in danger of isolation. Areas of potential geographic interest include lands near the Zoo itself, Ridges Mountain & surrounding lands, and other important wildlife areas that have strategic significance.

In 2012, Spalding bequest funds were used to purchase the 28-acre Middle Mountain tract of monadnock and oak-hickory forest along the northern boundary of the Zoo. This preserves the best remaining wildlife corridor link between the Zoo’s natural areas on and around Purgatory Mountain and the Richland Creek corridor. This tract can also be used for a hiking trail linking the Zoo’s recently opened Purgatory Mountain Trail to the proposed Randolph County Greenway.

The Zoo Society also purchased 45 acres of land on High Pine Church Road from a conservation-minded seller who wanted to see the land preserved. This tract of forested land includes a clear rocky stream and a variety of wildlife habitats from moist ferny stream banks to hardwood and conifer forests and small grassy openings. The land supports a small population of Piedmont Indigobush (Amorpha schwerinii), a rare shrubby legume that is only known from the Piedmont of the southeastern United States, where it generally likes to grow on rocky outcrops.

The original Uwharrie Trail passed through this area and the LandTrust for Central North Carolina, the US Forest Service and other conservation organizations are working to complete this trail system so that it once again extends from NC 24/27 in Montgomery County to Tot Hill Farm Road in Randolph County. Eventual plans for the High Pine Church Road tract include a trail head with some basic amenities in an existing clearing with a view of the Uwharrie Mountains to the west, and a trail that will link up with several other properties, adding another four miles to the Uwharrie Recreational Trail. The rest of this tract will continue to be wildlife habitat.

In addition, over 90 acres of land have been purchased near the Zoo itself. These areas will be managed for wildlife habitat and incorporated into the Zoo’s trail system.

The Zoo Society is exceptionally fortunate to have this financial resource for protection of native wildlife habitat. It enables the Zoo Society to move quickly to protect desirable lands while real estate prices are relatively low and will help secure living space for some of our native wildlife in the years to come.

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Aviary Bird Guide

African Pygmy Goose

Amethyst Starling

Bali Mynah

Birds in the Aviary

Blue Poison Dart Frog

Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot:

Blue-grey Tanager

Blue-winged Leafbird

Chilean Flamingo

Common Shama Thrush

Crested Coua

Crested Wood Partridge

Eclectus Parrot

Emerald Starling

Fairy Bluebird

Golden- crested Mynah

Green Woodhoopoe

Mandarin Duck

Masked Lapwing


Nicobar Pigeon

Panama Golden Poison Dart Frog

Paradise Tanager

Pekin Robin

Purple Glossy Starling

Red-capped Cardinal

Ringed Teal

Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet-faced Liocichla


Victoria-crowned Pigeon

White-faced Whistling Duck

Yellow-banded dart frog (bumblebee frog)

Yellow-rumped Cacique

Africa Bridge Art

African Gates

African Savanna

Agama Lizard

Ant Bear

Arctic Fox Art

Arctic Turns

Bald Eagle with Salmon

Ball Python

Billy Goats Gruff

Black Dog


Cattail Gate

Elephant Rubbing Tree

Elephant Tracking Game

Elephants Art

Follow the Pollen Path

French Beans


Garden Friends

Harbor Seal Sculpture

Hippo Pod

Hummingbird Garden

Lisa’s Dragonfly



Nature’s Recyclers

Ola, The Water Bearer

Ostrich Egg Interactive

Piedmont Totem

Polar Bear Art

Prairie Geyser

Preening Heron

Stalking Little Blue Heron

Stone that Stands in an Empty Sky

The Critics

Uwharrie Vision

Watani Cooling Station

White Rhino Art

Zoological Egg Rest