Transitioning animals at the Zoo

October 23, 2017

Signs of change are all over the Zoo.  Guests are seeing the foundation of the new snow leopard and red panda habitats starting to take shape.  And a peek through the fencing by the elephant barn will show the exciting progress on the expansion of A Step into Africa that will open next summer.

Our Zoo curator is busy at working planning for and identifying the animals that will be coming to the Zoo next year, including red pandas, giraffes, zebras and much, much more.

Likewise, he’s busy at work finding homes for the animals in the Main Zoo Building.  While some of the animals will move to the new Animals of the Savanna building next summer, many animals will go to other zoos, either permanently or temporarily, as the building will be demolished in 2018 to pave the way for a modern tropics complex in a few years.

Some of our first moves are underway.  Janice, the female sloth, will soon move to Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, MO.  And Lookout, the meerkat has departed to be with a companion at Zoo Boise, Boise, ID. Neither of these species are slated to return as part of the Master Plan, so we were very happy to find great homes for these animals.

Janice the two-toed sloth. Photo by Marie Kraus.
Lookout the meerkat. Photo by Wayne Smith.

Some of the new animals for the future Animals of the Savanna building will be arriving at the Zoo this year, and will be temporarily housed in the Main Building.  Watch as we add some small African species over the coming months. By bringing in new species and individual animals we will be doing our best to ensure a smooth transition to the new habitats being constructed. This will benefit the animal care staff and most importantly, the animals in our care.

Transitioning animals to their new homes is a complex endeavor, so as new homes are identified, we will coordinate with these institutions to plan for these moves. We will be working hard to minimize the impact this will have on our guests, but to ensure you have the opportunity to visit a favorite animal, visit often and be sure to check back regularly to see the progress.

– Larry Sorel, Zoo Director