TX Zoo Trades Tigers to Busch Gardens for Baboons

Avatar BCR | May 22, 2007 41 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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Texas Zoo undergoing transformation


New structures, animals and programs set for Victoria zoo

May 21, 2007 – Posted at 12:00 a.m.



The times they are a-changin’ at the zoo.


Texas Zoo animal curator Angie Killough walks through the zoo pointing to areas where animal exhibits will be changing, but one doesn’t have to look very far to see the transformations. Construction seems to be ever-present as enclosures are being taken down and new structures are going up throughout the zoo, located in the heart of Riverside Park.


The first big change will be the loss of the two tiger cubs on display, she said. They will be shipped off to Busch Gardens in the next month. Taking their place will be their parents, who have been off display while the cubs have been in the enclosure.


In exchange for the tigers, Busch Gardens will be sending the zoo nine Hamadryas baboons, she said. The baboons will have to remain in quarantine for a couple of months before they can go on display, but that gives the zoo plenty of time to complete their new home. The baboons will be located in part of what used to be the zebra exhibit.


The baboon exhibit, opening some time in July, will have a small house at the back with three rooms, she said. The rooms will be used to separate any dominant baboons from the less aggressive for feeding or to keep the primates away from the keepers while cleaning.


"You don’t actually want to go in with a baboon," she said.


The baboons will also have an air conditioner and heater in their house to keep them comfortable during the ever-changing Texas weather.


"They’ll be better off than we are this summer," Killough joked.


The rest of the old zebra exhibit, to the right of the baboon exhibit, will house giraffes, she said. "This whole section will eventually all be African animals," said Killough, gesturing to the northeast side of the zoo.




Directly across from the construction site, former home of the white and black ruffed lemurs, are two red ruffed lemurs. The white and black ruffed lemurs are getting up there in age, she said, and will eventually be housed in the Animal Kingdom Building.


The red ruffed lemurs came to the zoo in the fall from Wayne‘s World Safari in Mathis, she said. This is the same location that the zoo’s tigers came from. However, due to strict quarantine regulations on primates, the animals have been off display until now.


Another addition to the lemur exhibit will be two more ringtail lemurs, said Killough. There is one female and one male currently on display and two females will be joining them in hopes of producing offspring.


"Because of social structure, they haven’t produced any offspring," she said. "Males tend to like more females around, so we’ve brought him two more."


Killough said that the zoo is also looking to add salt water and fresh water aquariums to the Animal Kingdom building.


"That’s one of the only things we really don’t have," she said. The aquariums would replace the showcase displays that run down the middle of the Animal Kingdom building.


Zoo summer camps


If just visiting the zoo isn’t enough, Killough said there is still space available for children who want to participate in the zoo’s summer camps. Animals All Around will include games, activities and animal encounters for first- and second-graders June 18-22 and for third- and fourth-graders June 25-29. Running July 9-13, Zoo Tales will include stories, crafts and activities for Pre-K and kindergarten-aged children. Zoovivor will teach kids how animals have adapted to their environments in order to survive. First- and second-graders will participate July 16-20, and third- and fourth-graders will get their turn July 23-27. Fifth- and sixth-graders will get to explore Zoo Careers July 30-Aug. 3 with hands-on experience.


For more information on the zoo, its coming attractions or its camp, call 361-573-7681.


Rebecca Holm is a reporter for the Advocate. Contact her at 361-580-6516 or rholm@vicad.com, or comment on this story here.



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