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Monday, December 8, 2008

Part Two: Did You Know?

And now for Part II of our Did You Know blog series tackling some of the most frequently asked questions from zoo fans and visitors about how the zoo works.

Keep this one in mind over the holidays before you purchase any animals as gifts that may not be wanted or easily cared for:
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Did you know? We can’t accept donated animals

Many times throughout the year, we are contacted by members of the public, requesting that we “adopt” their unwanted animal, mostly birds and reptiles such as boas, pythons, lizards and others. For the most part, we cannot accept these animals for a variety of reasons. First is the sheer number of animals; if we accepted every green iguana we were asked to take, we would quickly be an iguana-only zoo! Second is health. Every animal that comes to the zoo must enter a quarantine period to ensure they are in general good health and are not exhibiting any symptoms of potentially contagious diseases. This not only affects them, it could affect the health of animals (and people) already at the zoo. And third is provenance. We make every effort to know the origin of the animal in our care so that we have an idea of genetic background and health. Many animals, particularly reptiles and birds, may have come to this country through the illegal pet trade, or from unethical breeders. Without firm knowledge of their background, animals could harbor disease or genetic problems that could affect them, and potential progeny, down the line.

So what should you do if you have an animal you need to give away? Start by contacting your local animal shelter or see if your local vet keeps a list of people interested in adopting animals.

Photo by Ryan Hawk.

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