By Susan Thacker/530News –
Members of the Great Bend Zoological Society were able to view Zito, the newest resident at the Brit Spaugh Zoo last Saturday.
Zito is a 22-year-old lar gibbon who moved here last November from the Lincoln (Neb.) Children’s Zoo. Like all new animals acquired by the zoo, he is spending his first weeks in quarantine. Members of the Zoo Society are routinely offered behind-the-scenes opportunities for first viewing of new animals.
Lar gibbons are native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia and are cons
idered endangered due to deforestation.
Good and bad
Zoo Curator and Supervisor Sara Hamlin always mentions how grateful she is for the community support. That includes visitors who report anything that shouldn’t be happening. Even if 99 percent of the humans who visit the zoo are on their best behavior, the bad behavior of 1 percent can create real problems.
During Spring Break, for example, a group had to be escorted from the zoo because one of its members had brought in an air horn and was disturbing animals with its loud noise.
Also that week, a guest noticed a lemur with a penny in its mouth and reported it to the greeter in the Raptor Center. Zoo staff found several coins had been tossed into the exhibit.
Animals, like young children, tend to put things into their mouths and coins can present a hazard to both.
Earlier this year, a sea turtle at a mall in Thailand had 915 coins removed from her stomach and intestines.
The turtle was thought to be recovering following a seven-hour surgery in March, but she died a few days later from blood poisoning.
Earth Day is April 22. One topic being discussed at www.earthday.org is the need to reduce the amount of disposable plastic to decrease pollution worldwide. This year the National Capital Territory of Delhi in India has banned the use of various forms of single-use plastic such as cutlery, bags and cups. In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 67, a statewide ban on single-use plastic carry-out bags at stores.
Great Bend’s zoo is moving toward a goal of only using biodegradable bags at its gift store, Hamlin said.
The zoo periodically posts environmentally friendly information on its Facebook page. A recent suggestion from The Story of Stuff Project:
Use the reusable pods in single-cup coffee makers. One coffee pod takes 500 years to break down, and more than 55 million coffee pods are thrown away every single day.