Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
English creator A. A. Milne, creator of the Winnie-the-Pooh tales, as soon as mentioned, “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
If Winnie have been a resident on the ABQ BioPark Zoo, there can be no complaints about individuals not listening. Zoo employees and directors are notably happy with the care they provide their animals, and lots of the ongoing projects on the zoo are designed to enhance the animals’ lives and supply a extra satisfying experience for guests.
Chief amongst these projects are the Asia exhibit, which is anticipated to be accomplished by February 2023, and the primary section of the Australia exhibit, which needs to be finished by spring 2023.
Because of the distinctive consideration supplied to animals, they usually dwell far longer than their common life expectancy, mentioned zoo supervisor Lynn Tupa.
Among the zoo’s long-lived residents are 40-year-old male orangutan, Tonka; 35-year-old feminine golden eagle, Maya; and 55-year-old feminine Asian elephant Irene.
“The animals get really good care here, and it’s not just one area, it’s the devotion of the staff, the vets, it’s everything about the facility, which encourages the longevity of our animals.”
Of course, animals die from outdated age or sickness and within the final yr a shigella bacterial outbreak took the lives of three siamangs and a western lowland gorilla, and elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus claimed two younger elephants.
The 5-acre Asia exhibit can have habitat and holding areas for Malayan tigers, snow leopards, Steller’s sea eagles and primates, together with orangutans and siamangs.
One of the extra participating issues for among the animals within the new Asia exhibit is that the orangutans and siamangs, which might share the identical house, can have rotating habitats to enhance their curiosity and maintain their minds sharp – what is commonly known as “enrichment.” Likewise, the Malayan tigers may also have entry to completely different habitats.
“They’re never going to know where they’re going to be,” Tupa mentioned. “So this is really new for us here at the BioPark and how we’re going to be managing the animals.”
As guests take a look at animals from the bottom, the primates might look down on the guests from above, she mentioned.
The Australia exhibit will function giant saltwater crocodiles in an indoor habitat that permits friends above- and below-water viewing areas.
“What had been our sea lions pool is going to be changing into a Little Blue penguin habitat,” Tupa mentioned. “These are a completely different species than those in the Penguin Chill exhibit. They are smaller and live in warm climates. There will be a deck allowing the public to walk partway into the exhibit, because the penguins are little and we do want you to be able to see them. But just the space that these birds are going to have, a 310,000-gallon tank, is going to be phenomenal. They’re going to actually swim around like our sea lions used to do and we hope to breed them.”
And like the ocean lion exhibit, there can be above- and below-water viewing areas for the general public, she mentioned.
The Australia exhibit may also have room for jap and western grey kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, koalas and a number of birds, together with emus, lorikeets and cockatoos, Tupa mentioned.
Numerous different enhancements are happening or being deliberate all through the assorted BioPark elements.
Final planning is being accomplished to increase the house for horses and cattle at Heritage Farms, positioned on the grounds of the Botanic Garden, mentioned Bob Lee, the BioPark’s affiliate director. Those plans embrace a observe prepare that can make a loop across the Botanic Garden and Heritage Farm.
That’s one among two trains the BioPark will function. The different one, he mentioned, is a tram prepare, basically a prepare with wheels, which is able to run from the zoo to the Botanic Garden parking zone. The objective is to have that prepare up and working by Memorial Day weekend, Lee mentioned.
Over on the Aquarium, additionally positioned on the grounds of the Botanic Garden, guests can watch divers every Saturday engaged on the ground of the Pacific Reef Tank. “It’s going to look more natural with a fresh new bottom,” Lee mentioned. “Divers go down for like six hours changing out the substrate.”
In addition, some behind-the-scenes tanks, the place aquarists have been rising coral, can be introduced out for the general public to see earlier than the top of this yr, he mentioned.
Future plans name for updating among the aquarium piping and altering out skylights to enable extra ultraviolet mild to enter for the well being of the aquatic creatures, Lee mentioned.
“Our water quality team continues to work on the ponds at Tingley and a comprehensive plan will be discussed during the three-to-five year planning process,” Lee mentioned. Those plans name for updating the filtration system on the 4 ponds.
“These are natural ponds and the water is OK, but it isn’t blue,” Lee mentioned. “The idea is to add some filtration and remove some of the organics so it looks better.”