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Rare and endangered species on display at Sequoia Park Zoo

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EUREKA- Sequoia Park Zoo is the oldest zoo in California.  Now it is also the only zoo in California with Bush dogs. 

The Bush dog is an endangered species found in South America.  Mato and Perito are brothers who were brought in from Palm Beach Zoo in Florida.

"I think they're really cute and I want to take one home," said Ashley Karanopoulos, who lives in Eureka.

"They're so adorable, I want one," said Brittani Carns of Eureka.

"They kind of remind me of a little chihuahua dog I used to have. They're really cute and fluffy but when they open their mouth you can see they've got big ol' bear like teeth," said Nicholas Colbrunn, who lives in Arcata.

Guests at the zoo aren’t the only ones entertained by the duo.

"They really play with each other a lot so they're constantly running around, playing chase. And any time we give them enrichment, which is larger toys for them to play with, they play with them, which is really fun to watch," said Natalie Parchman, one of the zookeepers.

Zoo officials say the small size of bush dogs and the fact that they do activities during the day makes them a perfect fit for sequoia park zoo. They only recently became available.

"What we're trying to do here is see how the males will do, see if this exhibit is good for them and how they do with our climate and our whole area and if they do well then our plan is to bring in some females down the road and increase the size of the bush dog pack here," said Gretchen Ziegler, the zoo manager.

Scientists do not know how many there are in the world.  There are only about 25 total in captivity in the United States.

"I think it's pretty cool to find something that not every zoo has and maybe it will bring a lot more people here," Karanopoulos said.