The Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls just lately opened two new displays with two more openings to return in the following few weeks.
One of the openings would be the newly reworked black bear exhibit whereas the opposite will characteristic a rescued bobcat.
Already, the new “Americas” exhibit, which options animals from North and South America, and Natasha the Komodo dragon’s new exhibit have been well-liked with visitors.
“Our zoo is going through a really exciting transition right now,” stated Denise DePaolo, director of PR and engagement for the zoo, stated. “And the kids just love seeing everything.”
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New Americas exhibit
The Americas exhibit is in the little inexperienced constructing the place the Creepy Crawlers exhibit was once. Those animals have been redistributed to different habitats in the zoo.
There are two purple tail boa constrictors, that are non-venomous snakes discovered in tropical South America and the Caribbean, in the Americas exhibit. One will keep there full-time and the opposite is an academic animal, that means it will likely be concerned in packages just like the Zoomobile for youngsters to see, contact and find out about.
The Americas exhibit may also characteristic an armadillo, bats, a black and white tegu, and the zoo’s Gila monster.
“Most of these animals have lived behind the scenes for a little while now, and we’ve been waiting for this exhibit to be finished,” DePaolo said.
The exhibit is the work of zoo staff, who had a strong hand in developing the concept, choosing the animals and creating the exhibit.
Katie Cochiti, one of the zoo educators, even painted a mural for it.
“Having the exhibit be 100% from our staff makes it really special,” DePaolo stated.
Komodo dragon exhibit and new bobcat
Natasha is the zoo’s 11-year-old Komodo dragon. While she’s been on the Great Plains Zoo since 2010, she by no means had her personal exhibit till now. Her exhibit opened final Saturday.
“The weather this spring set us back on quite a few things, including having Natasha out,” DePaolo stated. (*2*) DePaolo stated. “He’s just adorable, and we know everyone else will love him, too.”
Bobby’s exhibit will go in the previous big anteater exhibit and will open in a couple of weeks.
Black bear enclosure transform
A ribbon chopping on July 1 will unveil the newly-remodeled $1.1 million black bear exhibit. What used to simply be a easy canyon will now embody a glass viewing space, new caging, an HVAC system and a custom-designed area in order that the bears can higher take part in their healthcare.
The design will assist the zoo workers prepare the bears to be more cooperative for exams, which incorporates instructing them to open their mouths for a check-up or elevating their paws for inspections.
The zoo at present has three black bears: Charles, Jenny and Marshmallow. Jenny and Marshmallow are mom and daughter, and the 2 have been discovered scavenging round Grand Teton National Park and obtained too comfy round people.
All three of the bears have been thought-about “nuisance animals” and wanted a new dwelling.
“So one thing you’ll see with zoos is that they don’t have a lot of bear cubs because we’re not trying to actively breed bears,” DePaolo stated. “We mostly serve as a sanctuary for those needing to be relocated.”
COVID-19 animal vaccines and hen flu
Over the previous week, 57 animals throughout 18 susceptible species on the zoo acquired their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine was developed by Zoetis, a veterinary well being provide firm. A TikTok video posted by the Great Plains Zoo exhibits animals like meerkats and singing canine receiving their first dose.
Big cats and primates are additionally notably vulnerable to the virus, so Bobby the bobcat nonetheless wants his second COVID-19 vaccine earlier than his exhibit opens.
The Great Plains Zoo continues to observe the animals main as much as their second shot, which they are going to obtain three weeks after their first dose, however thus far there have been no antagonistic results from the vaccine among the many animals.
Right now, the main target is giving the vaccine to at-risk species solely, and there aren’t any plans presently to vaccinate the remainder of the animals.
Zoo-goers may also discover a lot of the zoo’s birds aren’t out proper now. Migratory birds are spreading the hen flu throughout the nation, so for the security of all of the birds in the zoo, they aren’t being stored in the outside displays.
More:Great Plains Zoo now administering COVID-19 vaccine to at-risk species
This shouldn’t be a lot of a change for the birds, who spend the winters indoors already.
“It’s a little less than ideal, but their safety is very important to us,” DePaolo stated. “Every single bird is an individual, and it’s our job to give them the best possible care.”
She talked about that visitors can nonetheless see flamingos and penguins as a result of their displays are indoors.
Future displays, Zippity Zoo Day occasion
The zoo is engaged on constructing a hoop backyard for butterflies and introducing the Dakota skippers, that are an endangered species of butterflies native to prairies, as a part of a conservation effort in collaboration with the Butterfly House.
They additionally plan to develop the African exhibit in the following few years to incorporate lions and meerkats, and an thought for a face-to-face farm youngsters’s space is in the works.
DePaolo stated the zoo can be frequently making common updates to among the oldest buildings.
“We’re focusing on trying to give our zoo a face lift and refresh it in a way that not only meets AZA standards for our animals but exceeds them,” she stated.
In the meantime, the Great Plains Zoo is having a Zippity Zoo Day occasion July 25 from 9 a.m. to five p.m. that can characteristic face paint, bounce homes, yard video games and a bubble machine.
“There’s all sorts of fun activities, and I think what people love is that when they come, they get to support all these amazing animals,” DePaolo stated. “This is their dwelling, and we wish folks to make nice connections and study as a lot as they will in regards to the zoo.”