An Overly Elaborate Animal Suggestion List

Each suggestion features:
  • the animal name, its latin name, and a picture. The animal's name is a link to its wikipedia page.
  • its continent and biome
  • its conservation rating
  • some species details, usually just paraphrased from Wikipedia.
  • comments on integration and justification for pick

I have made a conscious effort to prioritize animals with lower conservation ratings over popular fanpicks that are Least Concern or already likely to be added (leopards, koalas, etc). These are my personal top picks for adding to the game and I tried to balance the regions and variety of animals presented.

Enjoy and comment :)

Chinese Alligator - Alligator sinensis


Conservation Status: Critical
Biome: Aquatic, Temperate
Details: The Chinese Alligator and the American Alligator are the only two surviving members of their genus. However, unlike its well-populated cousin, the Chinese Alligator is critically endangered. Also known as the “muddy dragon,” this animal is believed to be the inspiration for Chinese “Long” dragons.
Justification: We have crocodiles and gharials; not only would an alligator would round them out nicely, but the model can probably be tweaked from either of them. While the American Alligator is a common suggestion, the focus of Planet Zoo is conservation. I think if we had to choose an alligator, it should be the one who needs more awareness, and the one I can build cool dragon statues around.

Chinese Giant Salamander - Andrias davidianus

Continent: Asia
Biome: Aquatic
Conservation: Critical
Details: Also known as “the living fossil,” the world’s largest amphibian was hunted near to extinction due to its use in traditional medicine and cuisine. It can grow to more than three feet and weigh up to 70 lbs. It is very vocal; some of its noises sound like a human child crying.
Justification: We need more amphibians that aren’t frogs. I think species that distinguish themselves from others (i.e. the __est x, the least __ y, etc) are good candidates for Planet Zoo. Also look how happy he is :)


Dhole - Cuon alpinis

Continent: Asia
Conservation: Endangered
Biome: Temperate, Taiga, Grassland
Details: Dholes are a small wild dog weighing up to 45 lbs. They are highly social and live in large packs with a less stringent hierarchy than other canines. They have a distinct scream when attacking and can make a whistle noise like foxes.
Justification: we all want more dogs. This lesser-known canine is also known as the Asian Wild Dog; obviously the African Wild Dog’s model could be easily modded. Their dashing red coats serve as appropriate replacements for fan-favorite red foxes, who are Least Concern as far as conservation goes.

Eurasian Lynx - Lynx lynx


Continent: Europe, Asia
Biome: Tundra, Taiga
Conservation: Least Concern
Details: Despite its name and conservation rating, the Eurasian Lynx is extinct in much of Europe today, and twenty years ago only a few hundred remained in the wild. After losing much of its natural range, the lynx retreated to isolated mountains and began to recover. There are efforts to reintroduce extirpated populations in but not limited to the French and Swiss Alps and the Scottish Highlands.
Justification: A very popular suggestion and a good one. Habitat loss, climate change, and hunting makes these animals vulnerable. They only recovered from extinction a decade ago and there are many places in the world where this cat can still be reintroduced.

Giant Muntjac, Muntiacus vuquangensis

Continent: Asia
Biome: Taiga, Temperate
Conservation: Critical
Details: Muntjac or “barking deer” are small deer with protruding tusks. They have a large range across Asia and have recently become an invasive species in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, the Giant Muntjac -- twice as large as its common cousin -- has a very small range in Vietnam and Central Laos. It is critically endangered and conservation efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
Justification: According to speciesonthebrink.org, there are no known breeding programs for the giant muntjac. Including this animal in Planet Zoo would actually be quite a gesture, or say, a new frontier? lol

But the cool thing about these dudes is they’re fanged deer which is just very metal


Great Spotted Kiwi, Apteryx haastii

Continent: Oceania
Biome: Grassland, Temperate
Conservation: Vulnerable
Details: A popular flightless bird from New Zealand. Despite their small size, kiwis are very aggressive and require a large range for one breeding pair. They have a fantastic sense of smell and are very vocal birds who growl, whistle, warble, and hiss.
Justification: The need for a large range makes habitat loss especially brutal on these unique birds, and colonization in New Zealand has left local populations vulnerable.

Guam Rail - Gallirallus owstoni


Continent: Oceania
Conservation: Critical
Biome: Grassland, Temperate
Details: A small flightless bird. Profoundly shy and private, urbanization has been a constant threat. Habitat loss and domesticated cats devastated them from Guam half a century ago.
Though breeding programs exist, only 100 rails have been released to the wild in the last twenty years, and none of them to Guam.
Justification: Not only do I want more birds, I want more shy animals that are difficult to keep in captivity. I enjoy the challenge of making a picky animal happy.

Note: I realize that kiwis and guam rails are similar picks. I like them for similar reasons: small flightless birds in need of conservation from Oceania, and they’re picky animals who can be difficult to keep in captivity. The kiwi is probably more notorious, but the guam rail could use more awareness. imo Frontier should include either one or the other. But… why not suggest both? Pick your favorite in the comments :)

Przewalski’s horse, Equus przewalskii

Continent: Asia
Biome: Grassland, Desert
Conservation: Endangered
Details: Once extinct in the wild, successful reintroduction has brought this equine’s numbers to the thousands. Its closest relative is the Mongolian horse, who it split from over 100,000 years ago. It is considered the last true wild (not feral) horse.
Justification: A huge conservation success story. It can be difficult to breed Przewalski’s horse in captivity, but being true wild horses, they are popular at zoos.

Red Wolf, Canis rufus


Continent: North America
Biome: Grassland, Desert
Conservation: Critical
Details: A tawny-colored wolf. Centuries ago they roamed across the U.S. and Mexico, but now they’re limited to a sliver of the southwest. Argument has raged for a hundred years over whether red wolves are a gray wolf and coyote hybrid, or their own unique species.
Justification: Again, we all want more canines, and the red wolf can easily take from the timber wolf’s model. I already think there should be more color variants in some animals other than albino, so I’d like this smaller, shorter-haired wolf. Plus there are only a dozen or so red wolves left in the wild, and any reintroductions are often killed being mistaken for timber wolves and coyotes.


The red wolf is slightly larger, has longer legs, and has a larger muzzle and ears. Coyotes also have much smaller paws.

Tasmanian Devil - Sarcophilus harrisii


Continent: Oceania
Biome: Grassland
Conservation: Endangered
The largest extant carnivorous marsupial and famous inspiration for the Looney Tunes character. Tasmanian devils are aggressive toward everything, including other devils. They fight vigorously during their frequent mating seasons. Outdated and embellished myths suggested that these creatures were maneaters who enjoyed hunting humans.
Justification: I personally enjoy small habitat animals like the red panda and think there could be more. Also I’m assuming Planet Zoo will release Kangaroos and Koalas, so I don’t want them to forget this little guy :)

Whooping Crane - Grus americana


Continent: North America
Biome: Aquatic
Conservation: Endangered
Details: One of two native cranes to North America. At one point, Whooping Cranes numbered just 23 total, wild and captive. Now there are more than 500 wild cranes thanks to aggressive conservation efforts.
Justification: More birds! More birds!!! And we need more North American animals, and I really want more pretty Aquatic habitats like Flamingos.

Wild Yak - Bos mutus

Continent: Asia
Biome: Tundra, Taiga
Conservation: Vulnerable
Details: The ancestor of the domestic yak. A wooly bovid with thick hair that can reach the ground. They have gone extinct in many of their historic ranges and number a couple hundred in the wild. Wild yaks very shy and flee from humans at a great distance.
Justification: More tundra animals? Also, African Buffalos are quite appealing, so I think more bovines would be nice.

Total Habitat Suggestions: 12
Breakdown:
Three avians (two if you choose between kiwi and rail)
Two canines
One feline
One bovine
One ruminant
One equine
One marsupial
One amphibian
One reptile

-------

Exhibit Species

I enjoy exhibits a lot and I would be thrilled to see new additions. So.... these are animals I think would fit, and I emphasize “fit,” because exhibits are pretty limiting as far as size goes. I wouldn’t want hawks or snowy owls in an exhibit of the current size.

Yes I include the biome in these because some people like theme zoos

Arctic Lemming - Dicrostonyx groenlandicus


Continent: Asia
Conservation: Least Concern, but listed as Vulnerable in Russia since 1998 (which is… where it lives… i feel like that should count more but w/e)
Biome: Tundra
Details: Now extinct in the UK, Arctic Lemmings are only found in the arctic biomes in Russia. The local wildlife is so dependent on this rodent that the population of lemmings can indicate the population of wild geese and terns.
Justification: Contrary to popular belief, lemmings do not commit ritualistic suicide. Correcting this misconception is good enough reason for adding them to the game, but in addition to birds, we also need rodents. Also… we got Arctic habitat animals… but no exhibit? I will fix this

Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum

Continent: South America
Biome: Aquatic
Conservation: Critical
Details: Wild Axolotl populations have been decimated by urbanization and invasive species, as well as their use in limb regenerative research. A once iconic species in Mexico, only a handful of wild individuals have been noted since 2010.
Justification: some non-frog amphibians would be nice. And Axolotl are adorable. If this is added i want murals also.

Chattering lory - Lorius garrulus

Continent: Oceania*
Biome: Tropical, Temperate
Conservation: Vulnerable
Details: Usually observed in pairs, these colorful birds have an even more colorful personality. They are very rambunctious and prone to causing mischief in captivity. Despite mass habitat loss and between 2,500 and 5,000 poached birds per year, there are no strong conservation efforts in place.
Justification: The Chattering lory is a popular target for the exotic pet trade due to its intelligence and distinctive orange beak and eyes. I imagine a lot of them are caught in customs seizures and other in-game justifications for obtaining animals.
* Its country of origin is Indonesia, and there is debate over whether this constitutes Asia or Oceania. I put the latter since the bird is found on the Maluku Islands, which is (while Indonesian) specifically part of Oceania. It’s quite a rabbit hole; go down it some time.

Collared Pika, Ochotona collaris

Continent: North America
Biome: Tundra
Conservation: Least Concern/Special Concern*
Details: An arctic rodent that does not hibernate. Instead, it spends almost the entire summer foraging and storing food. It has been known to eat dead birds. Collared pikas are diurnal and prefer to live alone, though they do steal food from other pikas.
Justification: Though not currently endangered, the collared pika is exclusive to very cold regions. It is considered an indicator animal of the effects of climate change. This means its population is being closely watched, as a sudden decline would be indicative of a climate event. This is why it’s considered *special concern.
We also need more rodents, more arctic, and more North American animals. Boom: this is all of those.

Echo Parakeet - Psittacula eques

Continent: Africa
Conservation: Vulnerable
Biome: Tropical
Details: Once called “the rarest parrot in the world,” this reclusive bird is now 750 strong thanks to international conservation efforts. It is only found in the jungles of Mauritius, a series of islands east of Madagascar.
Justification: if it hasn’t been made clear yet, I really like to focus on the conservation aspect of Planet Zoo. Showcasing animals who have made real comebacks in the wild thanks to irl animal conservation sounds like the thing to do!

Forest Owlet - Athene blewitti


Continent: Asia
Conservation: Endangered
Biome: Tropical, Temperate
Details: Believed to be extinct for 100 years, this small species of owl was rediscovered in 1997. Fewer than 1,000 wild owls exist today in central India. Unlike many owls, it is mainly diurnal.
Justification: I argue that most owls are too large for the present sized exhibit, but a tiny owl might fit with a cap of 2 animals per exhibit. This one could certainly use the awareness.

Honduran White Bat, Ectophylla alba
bat2.jpg


Continent: South America
Conservation: Near Threatened
Biome: Tropical
Details: One of five bat species to be all white. It creates tents by cutting Heliconia leaves and folding them down. While it is currently Near Threatened, a significant population decline has it headed toward Vulnerable.
Justification: There are a lot of animals who would fare well in exhibits, but small bats would be particularly appealing imo. Most people never really see bats irl.
Also. Look at this thing.
bat.jpg

You don’t just need it for your zoo; you need it for your soul.

Kaiser-i-Hind, Teinopalpus imperialis


Continent: Asia
Biome: Taiga
Conservation: Near Threatened
Details: Literally “Emperor of India,” the Kaiser-i-Hind is a swallowtail butterfly who thrives in the high altitudes of the Himalayans. Its shimmery 3D wings contain photonic crystals, which is inspiring loads of research.
Justification: It is something of a national treasure, but its stunning beauty and iridescence makes it a pricy collector’s item, making it vulnerable. Also we need more bugs.

Kitti’s hog nosed bat, Craseonycteris thonglongyai

Continent: Asia
Biome: Temperate, Taiga
Conservation: Near Threatened
Details: The world’s smallest bat and arguably also the smallest mammal, this miniscule creature is only found along a small strip of Thailand’s Tenasserim Hills where its colonies can number the hundreds. It is normally about an inch long and just 2 grams in mass, giving it the nickname “bumblebee bat.”
Justification: tiny bat………

Mangrove Hummingbird- Amazilia boucardi

Continent: South America
Conservation: Endangered
Biome: Tropical
Details: This four-inch long bird is native only to tea mangroves in Costa Rica. Despite its protected status and habitat, illegal cutting and trade have brought its numbers low. It builds a small, cup-shaped nest from lichen and cobwebs.
Justification: Four sounds like enough exhibit birds to introduce considering there are currently none. With two parrots and an owl already, I think a hummingbird checks off the variety angle, and they are very appealing to watch.

Monarch Butterfly - Danaus plexippus

Continent: North America
Biome: Grassland, Temperate
Conservation: Apparently secure
Details: An iconic milkweed butterfly. It is the only butterfly to migrate long distances and in large groups for the summer and winter. It ranges between southern Canada and Mexico, where overwintering has made it a target of concern the last few years.
Justification: While not currently listed as endangered, there has been a significant downward trend in Monarch numbers, and there have been efforts to change its status in Canada.

Bonus Suggestion: I think the game would greatly benefit from walk-in exhibits. Perhaps the animals can be placed in a regular exhibit, but with research you can place (or even build) a larger exhibit that small amounts of guests can enter. What I’m saying is please let me build a butterfly garden :)

Of these suggested exhibit animals, the following can easily be open to guests:

Chattering Lory
Echo Parakeet
Kaiser-i-Hind
Monarch Butterfly

Anyway

Number of Exhibit Suggestions: 11
Breakdown:
Four avians (as stated… two parrot, one owl, one hummingbird)
Two lepidopterans (butterflies)
Two chiropterans (bats)
Two rodents
One amphibian

As the avians, bats, butterflies, and rodents would be new additions to the game, I think it’s important to offer at least two choices. Variety is the spice of life! <3

This is about 2,500 words so I really need to stop here. Feel free to add your two cents to this suggestion list. If you like the suggestions, add your support! You never know when it might count.
 
Nice list and info!

I would love to have kiwi bird, tasmanian devil and bats. Building a nocturne house would be fun.
 
Frontier has already stated they won't be making mammals into exhibit animals, so that could be a 'no' for the Arctic lemming (not sure what this would mean for bats, if they every introduce aviaries). I like to think it's because mammals often don't do well when kept in glass boxes - the surface of glass can cause stress for very active mammals and the greenhouse effect makes it hard to properly regulate body temperature (not such a big deal for ectotherms, i.e. reptiles/amphibians/invertebrates, which often rely on the greenhouse effect).

In truth it's probably because small mammals are very active due to their higher metabolism and Frontier doesn't want to have to animate the exhibits anymore than they already have (which is to say, the bare minimum).

As an aside, I don't see the need to introduce the monarch butterfly as an exhibit animal. They have an enormous range outside of North America and aren't really at risk. They're a common sight all over the planet in your average household garden. One idea I had and shared a good while ago was to make butterflies a 'special effect' in the same vein as the waterfalls and fountains and such. That way you could place the effect under, say, a flowerbush, and butterflies would randomly spawn around that bush. It would fill the need and make the zoo feel more dynamic.

I'd like to see the Tasmanian devil appear in an Australian DLC. I'm not hopeful, because there are a bunch of Australian animals that would be far easier to make (crocodiles, monitor lizards, and so on - more clones means a quicker release, a quicker release means faster profit), but they really are wonderful little animals.
 
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