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Zoo News: Construction of bison exhibit has begun
Thank a keeper/intern
zoo Intern Jessie Stowers
Intern Jessie Stowers works on animal food preparation.

Construction of the future bison exhibit is underway at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo!

Eby Construction of Wichita was awarded the $443,820 contract this spring for the construction/renovation of the former bison exhibit at the western edge of the zoo. This is the same firm that renovated the grizzly bear exhibit.

The City of Great Bend’s Public Lands and Public Works departments will also be doing some of the work.

The Dorothy M. Morrison Foundation has been a significant financial contributor to both projects.

Happy campers

The zoo held its first Zoo Camp in July, in cooperation with the Great Bend Recreation Commission. Zookeeper Ashley Burdick said 19 kids signed up for the program where they learned about all the different types of animals. They participated in several activities.

“We made bird feeders and houses, life cycle stacking cups, beeswax candles and more,” Burdick said. “We also met a few animals during the week, dissected owl pellets, played games and went on a scavenger hunt.”

Thank a keeper/intern

Last week was National Zookeeper Week. Visit the Great Bend-Brit Spaugh Zoo Facebook page to meet some of the keepers.

“We completely revamped our internship program this year to make sure we are teaching these young people as much as we can to prepare them for a career in a zoological facility,” Burdick said. “They assist in all aspects of animal care from cleaning, diet prep, enrichment, kitchen and other cleaning chores and even grounds maintenance.”

Interns are Vashti Waldschmidt, a Barton Community College student working on an Associate Degree in Animal Science; Kayla Thornton, who is taking classes for Zoo and Aquarium Science through the Animal Behavior Institute and completing a bachelor’s degree in general studies at Fort Hays State University; and Jessie Stowers, a high school student who is considering a career in animal care.

Like the zoo on Facebook

Facebook is one way to keep up with animals that aren’t currently available for public viewing. If you scroll back to the July 19 Facebook post, there is a video of the Lar Gibbons, Zito and Rerun, singing.

The gibbons are housed in the quarantine section of the zoo until an exhibit in the center of the zoo can be renovated for them. The staff hopes to have them moved in by next spring.

The section of the zoo that houses Toby the leopard is also closed to the public at this time. Toby had a portion of his tail amputated earlier this year and his part of the zoo has been closed while he recovers. This week zoo staff reported that the tail continues to heal, slowly. He is under close supervision and the keepers and veterinarians are happy with his progress. They are hoping to open that section of the zoo in a few weeks.