The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo is planning activities from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, in honor of Earth Day. There will be booths set up with crafts, interactive stations and a scavenger hunt. This free event is geared for kids but is open to all ages.
The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo’s pair of trumpeter swans, Bella and Swanson, were returned to their pond on March 19. The swans were removed from the pond last fall during the migration due to the threat of avian influenza.
The zoo also stopped the sale of fish food at that time because as it attracts wild birds. This put the zoo’s birds at a high risk of contracting the fatal disease. Now visitors may again purchase limited quantities of fish food.
Curator and Zoo Supervisor Sara Hamilin said this particular strain of avian influenza was the biggest threat during the winter months as it thrives in cold temperatures. With the warmer weather zoo staff checked with the zoo veterinarians and returned the swans to their pond.
“By getting the swans back on their pond now we are allowing them time to settle in before breeding season,” Hamlin said. “Because the trumpeter is an endangered species, we want to give them the best chances possible to successfully reproduce.” Breeding season is typically a courtship process between the pair; they will nest and females typically lay eggs from April to June.
Hamilin also wants to remind the public that no one is allowed to bring to the zoo to feed to the birds. Bread can be very harmful to birds as it can cause a deformity commonly called “angel wings.” This deformity makes birds unable to fly, causing them to fall prey to predators and be more likely to be hit by cars.
More animal safety
Zoo staff aren’t certain what happened back on March 6, but the next day keepers started finding pieces of red fabric in the stools of both of its cougars, Tommie and Tanner. The remnants of a red sweatshirt were found in the exhibit.
“We believe that someone visiting the zoo on Sunday allowed the cats to have access to that item,” Hamilin said. “We hope that it was a simple accident but it could put our cats lives at risk.”
Tanner appeared to have consumed the most fabric and was sedated for a physical exam and X-rays. There was a possibility that the fabric could bind up his intestines and require surgery to fix, but after a couple of weeks both animals were in the clear.
Additional security measures have been taken to protect the animals