Brooklyn, N.Y. – Nov. 26, 2013 —  Just days before ThanksgivingFranklin the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) happily struts at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoowhere he lives with several female companions. 

 The wild turkey is native to the Americas.  In 1776, in search of a national bird, Benjamin Franklin nominated the wild turkey as our national symbol. The turkey was domesticated in Mesoamerica, and brought to Europe in the early 16th century by Spanish conquistadors. It was transported to England and throughout northern Europe.  The English ten brought the domestic turkeys back with them when they settled the colonies.                                            

 Franklin will be trotting around the barn area on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the season. In the field, the Wildlife Conservation Society is monitoring the abundance of ocellated turkeys, a close cousin of the wild turkey, in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala.

 The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo – $8.00 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. weekdays, and to 5:30 P.M. on weekends and holidays, April through October. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. November through March. The Prospect Park Zoo is located at 450 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. For further information, call 718-399-7339 or visit

 The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

 Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to

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