Say ‘Boo!’ to zoonosis
Just in time for spooky season, you can now catch a glimpse of Casper at Zoo Atlanta! No, not that Casper. He’s not a friendly ghost, but he represents a species that was once frightfully close to extinction. You can learn about the conservation story of bonteboks here, but I want to tell you about part of the process of his relocating here from another accredited zoo.
At Zoo Atlanta, the health and well-being of the animal ambassadors, our team members, and our guests is our top priority. That’s why we take many precautions when animals transfer between Zoo Atlanta and other AZA facilities. Depending on the species, there may be pre- and post-travel health exams, blood work, immunizations, and quarantines completed. These practices help to protect the health of the individual animal, their new neighbors, and the people working with them to facilitate a smooth transition to a new home.
The animal ambassadors aren’t the only ones who follow protocols when traveling. Since our team members work closely with species across the animal kingdom, we need to be mindful of potential exposure to zoonotic disease (illnesses that can spread from animals to people and vice versa) when we travel, too. That’s why our amazing Veterinary Team helps us understand any risks associated with international destinations and advises if/when we should temporarily avoid contact with any species at Zoo Atlanta when we return.
Speaking of our amazing Veterinary Team, did you know that National Vet Tech Week is coming up soon? Join us at the Zoo or on social media during the week of October 16-22 to give some extra appreciation to the Veterinary Technicians who help provide world class health care to the over 1,000 animals at Zoo Atlanta. Their efforts not only enhance the well-being of the Zoo’s animal ambassadors; they also help protect our team members and guests from zoonotic disease.
The entire Zoo Atlanta community works together to create a healthy environment for every species that lives at or visits the Zoo. It’s an excellent example of the concept of One Health on a small scale. The Horticulture Team cares for and cultivates the plants on Zoo grounds, helping to provide clean air and shaded relief from the summer sun. The Grounds Quality Team regularly cleans common areas to reduce the spread of germs to our team members, guests, and animals. The Green Team organizes recycling events and programs to help reduce the Zoo’s contribution to landfills and greenhouse gas emissions. The Food Services Team helps reduce litter and prevent wildlife from consuming plastic by refraining from distributing lids and straws with fountain beverages. And you help us maintain clean, safe habitats for wildlife by using the trash and recycling bins while you’re here. It takes a community to maintain a healthy environment – thank you for being part of ours!