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Niabi Zoo makes pandemic comeback with new animals and exhibit

The zoo welcomed three new animals in the last three months, all with intentions of breeding. They're also featuring a new exhibit, Spineless Wonders.

COAL VALLEY, Ill. — With pandemic restrictions rolled back and new additions settled in nicely, the Niabi Zoo is ready for guests! 

The zoo opened their new exhibit, Spineless Wonders, in July. 

According to zoo director Lee Jackson, Spineless Wonders explores the life of invertebrates. The exhibit houses animals like black widow spiders, giant robber crabs, sea anemones, and tarantulas. 

The zoo has also welcomed three new animals within the last three months. Most recently, a 7-year-old black and white Colobus Monkey named Kenna. 

"Kenna came to us as part of a captive management plan that oversees the population management of all Colobus monkeys in North America," said Jackson. "Our goal is that she eventually becomes a mom and helps assure the continued strength of the population.”

Credit: Niabi Zoo

And Kenna isn't the only new addition they hope becomes a mom. In June, a rare, female Amur Leopard named Iona was added to the family.

RELATED: Niabi Zoo welcomes female Amur Leopard

Amur Leopards are considered critically endangered. 

On Monday, July 12 Iona was introduced to the zoo's male leopard, Jilin. The zoo hopes the pair can be used in a breeding program that will help sustain their species. 

As for fathers, Keto, a Southern White Rhino, was introduced to the public on May 28. 

RELATED: Meet the Niabi Zoo's first rhino, 'Keto'

He's not a dad yet! But the zoo has said previously they do have plans to add a female rhino during the summer of 2022 and hope to breed that pair as well. 

These new additions and their plans to expand are an exciting step towards conservation efforts.

If you're interesting in visiting some of these new animals, click here for zoo hours and ticket pricing.