VOA Special English TV – The Arizona-Sonoma Desert Museum

The mountain lion is the largest cat native to North America. It is not often seen in the wild. But it can be found at the Arizona-Sonoma Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona. This realistic-looking area was build with man-made materials. The museum is home to more than three hundred animal species and one thousand two hundred kinds of plants. Craig Ivanyi works at the museum.

CRAIG IVANYI: “The Sonoran Desert region is a very special place. Its the lushest desert on the planet. Instead of being in an urban environment, youre immersed in the desert we represent.”

More than five hundred thousand people visit the museum each year. This woman is from Canada. Many coyotes live in Arizona. This one looks like it is in the wild, not surrounded by a fence.

CRAIG IVANYI: “All of the exhibits are designed with barriers, moats, walls or fencing, quite often fencing thats difficult for visitors to see.

Some parts of the museum have barriers made from glass, like this one for a prairie dog. Visitors can see animals like a bobcat, a pig-like creature called a javelina and the black bear. Common desert creatures like scorpions and snakes also can be seen. This Harris Hawk can fly where it wants to, but has been trained to come back for food. Bird trainer Dillon Horger says the birds consider the museum their territory.

DILLION HORGER: “They want to come back with us, they want to go back into their enclosures, and spend the night in a safe, secure area where they know they get food and water and shelter.”

Craig Ivanyi hopes the museum will influence people to protect the Sonoran desert.

CRAIG IVANYI: “So they are aware of what kinds of plants and animals are out there and, hopefully, give them some sort of passion for wanting to save it.”