New at the zoo! Get an inside look at the Animal Health Center opening soon

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Inside the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, construction workers are busy building a brand new Animal Health Center. Despite the pandemic delaying materials nationwide, they are on target to open in the fall.

When they do, the Zoo Director tells NewsChannel 9 it will put the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on the map and help support the next generation of zoo medicine.

When it opens, visitors of the zoo will be able to watch more wellness checks and procedures and learn about what goes into caring for the animals.

“All the diet sheets will be up on the wall so you can tell what different animals eat. The kids seem to really, really enjoy that,” said Ted Fox, the Zoo Director.

When new animals arrive at the zoo, they go through a 30-60 quarantine period to make sure they’re healthy and acclimating well. Visitors of the Animal Health Center will be able to see the animals in the quarantine area.

A few short steps down the hall will put you in from of the new surgical suite.

The zoo has had a partnership with Cornell University for more than 20 years. Cornell vets come to Syracuse to handle annual healthcare while teaching and educating the next generation.

In the current procedure room, these vets and interns are only able to work on one animal at a time. When this surgical suite opens, the staff will be able to help three animals at once.

“Even if we had a young rhinoceros or something on a table, we’d be able to get into this space turn it around, have space for the residents and interns and vets and vet students.”

ted fox

One of the other exciting aspects will be a new research lab.

Staff will be able to study diseases shared by animals in the wild so they can find better treatment methods and, hopefully, vaccines and cures for diseases like the herpes virus that recently killed two young elephants at the zoo.

Our Asian elephants, they’re down to under 40,000 in the wild now and it’s not increasing, it’s decreasing all the time. Most of the diseases we experience here at the zoo, the wild populations are experiencing too. This is our ultimate goal, is to figure out how to make them better until there is protected space for them to thrive in the wild.

Ted Fox, Zoo Director

Near the research lab, visitors will also find the Junior Vet Program. They’ll have the opportunity to be a veterinarian, working on stuffed animals.

“We’ll have the vets come in and check on their work. There will be microscopes for children, they’ll be little surgery tables, they can put lab coats on and stethoscopes,” said Fox.

They don’t have a set target date to open the doors of the new facility, but it will happen this fall.

The Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo launched a campaign to furnish the new Animal Health Center with $1.1 million in medical equipment.

Anyone who wants to make a donation can click here.

If you’d like to sponsor part of the Animal Health Center, you can also contact the Friends of the Zoo Development Director at (315) 435-8511 x8526.

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