Flushing, N.Y. – May 27, 2014 – A young, one year old North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) born at the Bronx Zoo rests on a tree branch at it’s new home in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo.

Porcupines are known for their sharp quills that cover the majority of their bodies. Although a porcupine will first try to flee or climb its way out of danger, it will use its quills if cornered.

A common misconception is that porcupines throw their quills. Instead, they raise the quills in defense, turning their backs to strike at potential predators. The quills have a small barb at the tip, causing them to stick in a predator and cause great pain.

The North American porcupine is a rodent native to much of Canada, the western United States, New England, and northern Great Lakes states. It is North America’s second largest rodent, only surpassed in size by the beaver.

The Queens Zoo’s North American porcupine lives in the zoo’s aviary, which also houses birds native to North and South America including macaws, egrets, quail and many species of ducks.

The aviary is a remnant from the 1964 World’s Fair. The geodesic dome design is an original structure that was on display during the historic exposition held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park 50 years ago. In 1968, the dome was rebuilt and repurposed, becoming the aviary it is today.

Barbara Russo – 917-494-5493; brusso@wcs.org
Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220- 5189; sfairchild@wcs.org
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park in Queens. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit www.queenszoo.com

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
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; facebook.com/TheWCS; 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 www.wcs.org.