Red River Zoo Provides Geriatric Animals with Quality Care

Zoo staff monitor blood, body fluids, and watch for any changes in the animals

FARGO– Red River Zoo staff do their best to provide their geriatric animals with proper care.

Shelley, a 36–year–old box turtle, is the Red River Zoo’s oldest resident.

“Domestic animals are living longer,” Red River Zoo attending veterinarian Tom Colville said. “Dogs, cats, they’re living longer than they used to. So, geriatric medicine has become just a feature of everyday veterinary medicine, and zoos are the same as that.”

They monitor their blood, body fluids, and watch for any changes.

“We’re making sure we can provide the best medical care we can, the best veterinary care we can for them,” Red River Zoo director of finance and business development Jeremiah Gard said. “It’s a responsibility, but it’s a responsibility we gladly take.”

At the Animal Health Center, the zoo’s attending vet dispenses medication for some of their older animals.

“We just pay real close attention to what’s going on and we don’t assume that everything is fine,” Colville said. “We do a lot. A lot of what we do is preventive maintenance.”

Zookeepers and Colville, check up on their older friends daily like Sadie, their 22–year–old Camel, and Luan, their 17–year–old Takin.

“We’ve gotten much better at keeping our animals with low stress, enriched, fulfilling lives,” Colville said.

Colville says one of the advantages of working at a small zoo is the one–on–one attention he is able to give to the older animals.

“When it comes time to do something, like draw a blood sample, or give them a vaccination, it’s not a big deal because they trust me,” Colville said.

“Caring for all of our animals is a tremendous privilege and an honor,” Gard said. “It’s one of the reasons a lot of our staff work here. We take it very seriously.”

You can now visit the animals at the Red River Zoo throughout the winter on both weekdays and weekends.

Categories: Health, North Dakota News