Zoo-goers question animal warning signs at BioPark

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Some animals at the Albuquerque Zoo are dealing with medical problems and visitors are starting to notice as more signs appear on exhibits.

At least four different animal exhibits have the signs up now, which tell people that an animal is receiving medical treatment. News 13 found out most of the sickness are considered minor, others attributed to old age after living a long life at the BioPark.

Carol Bradford is in charge of caring for many of the 1,200 animals living in the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo. As she pointed out to News 13 on Wednesday, few animals have added the medical warning signs to their cages recently.

“So if people see that, we don’t want them to be concerned that, you know, it’s not something that we’re monitoring,” said Bradford.

One of the latest areas with an additional signs up is the Aldabra tortoise exhibit.

“What we noticed was a mass, a growth on his front leg so he [had] surgery to remove the mass, so he has an incision with sutures,” said Bradford.

The tortoise is doing okay, but he’s not the only zoo resident that’s recovering.

“That is one area,” said Bradford.

Several other animals, like this female spider monkey have warning signs as well. A noticeable red spot under her arm is a simple skin rash.

There are also signs up in the zoo’s CatWalk. Cosmo, the male lion, was off exhibit on Wednesday, but should be back soon. Zoo keepers say that Cosmo is approaching the end of his life.

“He’s certainly a favorite animal to both keepers and visitors,” said Bradford.

In addition to Cosmo, a male jaguar has a sign on his cage. Zookeepers say he’s also getting up there in his age and has chronic arthritis.

“We don’t want somebody to wonder about it and not really know,” said Bradford

The zoo says while it may seem like a lot of signs, the signs are common.

“So there’s a few older animals but fortunately babies are born, new animals come in all of the time, said Bradford.

They say the signs aren’t for scares, but to let people know they’re aware the animals are sick and that they’re caring for them.

“We’re happy to either answer questions or go check out the animal to make sure that it’s OK,” said Bradford.

While zookeepers are always watching out for health issues with the animals, they also rely on volunteers to keep an eye out. In fact, it was a volunteer who first noticed the hippo going into labor this April only a minute before the calf popped out.

The zoo did unexpectedly lose one of its young elephants recently because of a virus. Despite around-the-clock care, Daizy died three days after she started showing symptoms.

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