Great Bend’s Brit Spaugh Zoo received eight new animals in 2012, not counting rehabilitation birds. The year-end report from Zoo Director Scott Gregory also notes that three agoutis were born at the zoo. An agouti is a burrowing rodent.
The newest animal is an arctic fox from Assiniboine Park Zoo in Canada, which arrived in December. It will be several weeks before it is ready to move to a public exhibit area, Gregory said. Other new animals include an American alligator from the Emporia Zoo and another alligator from Barton Community College, a trumpeter swan from the Hutchinson Zoo and two Solomon Island ecectus parrots from Cameon Park Zoo in Waco, Texas. Critter Corner in Great Bend provided the zoo with a carpet chameleon and a Senegal chameleon.
Several animals left the zoo in 2012. Two coatimundi were sent to a Texas zoo, a tawny owl and a barn owl went to Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in New York, two agoutis went to the Hattiesburg, Miss., zoo, a spur thigh tortoise went to Como Zoo in Minnesota, two bobcats went to the Binghamton, N.Y., zoo; an emu went to the Great Plains, S.D., zoo; an African crown crane went to the Mesker Park, Ind., zoo and another agouti went to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. One alligator snapping turtle was released.
Animals that died were a Mordax scorpion, crocodile gecko, plated lizard, red eye tree frog and a day gecko, along with the binturong (bearcat), which died of cancer. The zoo also euthanized a goat, a jaguar and a red tegu lizard, all of which had cancer.
The zoo’s visitor count for 2012 was around 54,498 (numbers were approximated after Dec. 18), compared to 42,563 in 2011 and 57,741 in 2010. Zoo income was $31,720, and the Zoo Society income was $9,429, with 138 memberships. There were more members (180) in 2011, but the Zoo Society income that year was less at $6,382. Sources of income for the zoo included birthday parties, education programs, facility rental, animal sponsorship and other donations. The zoo also sold 4,708 bags of bird food for $1 each, and the gift shop’s income was $18,553.
The guest count at two annual events grew last year. Zoo Fest attendance went from 1,400 to 2,100, and the Zoo Boo attendance went from 3,500 to 4,200.
With no one filling the zoo educator position in 2012, the number of programs dropped from 48 to 34, and the number of guests seeing animals at outreach programs dropped from 3,790 to 1,375. Income from programs also dropped from $2,100 to $1,005. A new zoo educator, Danielle Ricklefs, was hired in December, Gregory noted, “so it will be interesting to see the results this time next year.”