Great Bend’s Brit Spaugh Zoo underwent an inspection Wednesday from the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners, and Zoo Director Scott Gregory said the facility “passed with flying colors.”
The inspector looked at veterinary equipment and checked for cleanliness and record keeping.
The inspection was a high point in a week that began with sadness when the timber wolf passed away on Sunday.
“He was in his teens (14 or 15 years old), which is a very old age for a large canine,” zoo staff posted Monday on Facebook. “A necropsy was performed and several internal problems were found. We will reveal the exact cause once we receive pathology results from KSU.
“On a brighter note, as the older generation of animals (is) passing on, plans are in the works to bring in a newer younger generation of animals, so please bear with us through this transition as we progress into a newer modernized facility.”
Gregory has noted the aging population of zoo animals before. In March, Spirit, a white bengal tiger, died. He was about 15 years old, and while tigers often live to 20 in captivity, white tigers are more prone to health issues because of genetic problems. The Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine also performed lab tests after Spirit’s necropsy and the results were as Gregory expected; the tiger had cancer of the spleen.
A female lion that died in 2011 also had cancer, Gregory said. In fact, he estimates 95 percent of the animals that die at the zoo have some form of cancer.
In other zoo news, Spidey the spider monkey has been moved to his new habitat, in the exhibit area formerly occupied by Phoenix, the panther on loan from Panthera Research.
This Saturday, members of the Zoo Society will be allowed to fish at the zoo from 1-5 p.m.
The Nex-Tech Zoo Fest returns on June 8. As always, a crowd is expected for educational shows, bounce houses and other entertainment, with free food for the first 1,500 people.