Animals at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo have a new way to beat the heat. This week the staff is adding misting systems to all of the exhibits.
Water will be pumped through the perforated tubing from 1-4 p.m. daily, Zoo Director Scott Gregory said. The effect is the same as misters found at fairs or even backyard patios; it lowers the perceived temperature by several degrees.
This has been a busy week at the zoo. On Wednesday, an aging serval cat was sedated for a thorough medical exam. Gregory said no one is certain how old the African cat is, as it was purchased at an auction some time back. However, many of the zoo’s animals are in their senior years.
Although he appeared healthy at his last physical, the serval cat has had trouble walking lately, and has gained weight.
"His hips are sticking out and we don’t know what’s wrong with him," Gregory said. Dr. Mike Malone, veterinarian to the zoo, used a blow gun to administer a tranquilizer dart so the serval cat could be delivered to the Great Bend Raptor Center, which is the entrance to the zoo and has an exam room. Zoo visitors stopped to watch the procedure from a large window provided for that purpose.
Malone, along with his colleague Dr. Jackie Corbett, and the zookeepers, performed the exam and shaved matted fur from the cat’s back. "He may have a hygiene problem," Malone said. The cat weighed in at about 50 pounds.
Because of the hip problem, the veterinarians also planned to take an x-ray Wednesday afternoon.
Also this week at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo:
• The expansion to the black bear exhibit was completed on Tuesday.
• More security cameras are being added, and the zoo is getting new locks on all of its enclosures to improve security.
• The first Summer Keeper Talks were offered this week. The free programs are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Zookeepers talk informally about the animals in the collection, gearing their presentations to their audiences. The 10 a.m. program will start at the reptile garden. The 2 p.m. "cat walk" starts at the lion cage, and the 4 p.m. program on North American animals starts at the black bears’ enclosure.
• The second annual Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo Pig Roast fundraiser will be held this Saturday at Great Bend’s American Legion Argonne Post 180, 1011 Kansas Ave. A meal will be served from 5-8 p.m., followed by a dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The menu includes roasted pork and dressing, baked beans, coleslaw, corn on the cob, dessert and iced tea or coffee. Carryouts will be available.
The band Ronnie and the Rockits from Hoisington will play classic rock music.
Tickets are $8 if purchased in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets for the band only will go on sale at the door at 8 p.m. on Aug. 6, and will cost $5. Advance tickets are available at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo and Raptor Center and at Sanko’s Service, 1600 10th St., Great Bend, or by calling Daniel Cannon at 620-617-8859 or Joe Cannon at 786-0048. The Cannons will deliver tickets to homes or offices in Great Bend.
All proceeds will be donated to the zoo.