Animal Junction

An entertaining and educational wildlife presentation featuring three exotic animals


Fields of Knowledge
  • Pedagogy
  • Performance


RBSL Bergman Foundation Curatorial Seminar

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


25% Formal - 75% Informal

  • Sloth

Slought is pleased to announce a public presentation by professional wildlife educator Jungle Joe featuring a kinkajou, owl, and two sloths on Friday, November 9, 2007 from 7:00-9:00pm intended for all age groups.

Jungle Joe will talk about the animals' survival instinct, natural history, physical geography, natural behaviors and conservation education. The program is structured and conducted with two objectives in mind: to entertain and hold the interest of our audience members, and to provide participants with basic information about exotic animals and their role in our environment. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions during the program. The interactive programs allow people to discover for themselves why these animals are so unique and why we must protect and preserve them.

The event will be introduced by Becca Starr and Devan Jaganath, students in the RBSL Bergman Foundation Curatorial Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania. This event, combining entertainment with education, has been organized in conjunction with "In Defense of Sloth," a two-day symposium organized by Slought and Cabinet Magazine that will explore histories and metaphors of sloth.

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Joe Fortunato, aka Jungle Joe Pet Detective, who saw the need for a professional wildlife education service in southeastern Pennsylvania that was fun, educational and affordable. In 2005, Joe decided to trade his long and prosperous career as a police officer for his dream of turning a lifelong hobby into an educational experience for people of all ages to enjoy. He is now sworn to "protect and preserve." Joe began his career as a Philadelphia police officer in 1989 after graduating second in his police academy class. He was assigned to the 22nd and 35th Districts, where he was filmed by the infamous television series "COPS."

Animal Junction is a traveling wildlife education company founded by zookeeper and wildlife educator, Joe Fortunato. They introduce children and adults to the fascinating world of exotic animals by providing zoology enrichment programs. Animal Junction enjoys the challenge of combining entertainment with education, thus providing an "edutainment" experience.

Sloths are medium-sized mammals that live in Central and South America belonging to the families Megalonychidae and Bradypodidae, part of the order Pilosa. Most scientists call these two families the Folivora suborder, while some call it Phyllophaga. Sloths are omnivores. They may eat insects, small lizards and carrion, but their diet consists mostly of buds, tender shoots, and leaves. Sloths have made extraordinary adaptations to an arboreal browsing lifestyle. Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrition and do not digest easily: sloths have very large, specialized, slow-acting stomachs with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria break down the tough leaves. As much as two-thirds of a well-fed sloth's body-weight consists of the contents of its stomach, and the digestive process can take as long as a month or more to complete. Even so, leaves provide little energy, and sloths deal with this by a range of economy measures: they have very low metabolic rates (less than half of that expected for a creature of their size), and maintain low body temperatures when active (30 to 34 degrees Celsius or 86 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit), and still lower temperatures when resting. Sloths mainly live in Cecropia trees.

Sloths move only when necessary and even then very slowly: they have about half as much muscle tissue as other animals of similar weight. They can move at a marginally higher speed if they are in immediate danger from a predator (4.5 m / 15 feet per minute), but they burn large amounts of energy doing so. Their specialized hands and feet have long, curved claws to allow them to hang upside-down from branches without effort. While they sometimes sit on top of branches, they usually eat, sleep, and even give birth hanging from limbs. They sometimes remain hanging from branches after death. On the ground their maximum speed is 1.5 m / 5 feet per minute. They mostly move at 15-30 cm (0.5-1 feet) per minute.

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