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The Brandywine Zoo’s pudus are getting a home makeover

Brandywine Zoo
Delaware Zoological Society

The next phase of the Brandywine Zoo’s “Zoo Re-Imagined” campaign is focusing on animals from South America - creating a new entrance to the over 100 year old zoo with them as the stars.

“More immediately though, we’re looking to expand our pudu home, which is already in the zoo,” explained Mark Shafer, Executive Director of the Delaware Zoological Society.

The southern pudu is the second smallest species of deer in the world, hailing from the rainforests of Chile and Argentina.

Clover and Ande, the Brandywine Zoo’s resident pudus, are 2 of about 200 in zoos across the world. And the inseparable pair may welcome a third sooner than later.

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

That’s the hope of the Brandywine Zoo and the American Zoological Association, which is responding to a rapid decrease in the pudu population.

To handle the expected growth, the zoo is planning a $340,000 pudu habitat expansion - relying on the public and business community to raise those funds.

Shafer says the pudus will eventually move to the new entryway, but that phase of the project is still 3 to 4 years away from completion.

The pudu habitat will take the space of the existing enclosure, along with its neighboring space, currently hosting the zoos burrowing owls.

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

The owls will be moved to another enclosure in the zoo.

The new pudu habitat will house Clover and Ande and their offspring, along with Pablo and Julio the toco toucans, and their tortoise companions.

The space will include indoor winter housing with viewing windows so the animals can be seen during cold weather, a stream and small pool, new plantings, and increased vertical space.

While not an official part of Phase 3 of the “Zoo Re-Imagined” project, this habitat expansion keeps up with the overall vision of the plan.

Phase 1 saw the introduction of new animals, updated enclosures, and new educational programming. Phase 2 brought the expansive Madagascar habitat to the zoo, as well as an on-site animal care facility.

Shafer says anyone visiting the zoo can see the value in their mission.

“Coming here and really understanding it's not just seeing a beautiful little red panda. It’s about understanding what goes on in their lives, how they’re cared for, and what’s happening in the wild,” said Shafer. “The whole notion of education and conversation is really important, and we’re really trying to promote that. So it’s not just about the cute little animals, we have them, but it’s really the broader conversation on conservation that I think is so important.”

For more information on the zoo’s conservation efforts, visit

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021