This week at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo, three chinchillas in clear plastic exercise balls were running around inside a pen while zookeepers cleaned their exhibit in the Raptor Center. Nearby, a colorful Jamaican boa named Dotty was taking an interest in her surroundings. Through a window to the right, zoo staff and veterinarians could be seen with Zito, the male lar gibbon, who was receiving his annual physical exam.
Outside, animals are enjoying the warm afternoons this week and about 1,000 Canada geese are hanging out on the south pond.
There’s always something to see at the zoo, but Alicia Boor, president of the Great Bend Zoological Society, said there’s also a lot going on behind the scenes. The Zoo Society supports the zoo with projects that are often not seen by the public. Most recently, the Zoo Society purchased two stainless steel cages than can be used for animals that need to be temporarily housed at the Raptor Center. These include actual raptors — birds of prey — that come to the zoo if they are injured.
Since they are stainless steel, the cages can be disinfected and used again as new needs arise. It may sound like a small item, Boor said, but equipment isn’t cheap. In this case, two cages cost $891, plus shipping.
The Zoo Society has made several purchases over the year, including paying for the Parrot House under construction, a commercial refrigerator for food preparation and storage, and a lead tester that can determine if an injured bird has lead poisoning.
With Christmas coming up, Boor said the public can support ecologically friendly efforts by purchasing certain items at the zoo’s gift shop. There are also some pieces of artwork for sale made from alligator scale prints.
Or, the public can purchase an enrichment item for the animals or “sponsor” an animal with a monetary donation.
The public can also learn more about the zoo and support its work by joining the Zoo Society. Information is available at the front desk and members meet in the Raptor Center at 5:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month.