ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – After a tragic loss at the Albuquerque BioPark, the zoo is getting a new member.
A year later, people still think about the Tasmanian devil, Jasper’s death.
“What happened to the Tasmanian devil was pretty disgusting to hear about,” said Stephanie Fellers.
Originally, they thought someone hit Jasper with a chunk of asphalt. Now investigators think he was likely killed by a falling log.
The Rio Grande Zoo is ready to put the past behind it.
“These accidents can occur at any wildlife park around the world, and that’s all it was, a tragic accident. there’s no blame, and we’ve moved on,” said Androo Kelly, Director of Trowunna Wildlife Park.
They’re moving on with the addition of Mia, their soon to be the fourth member of the zoo’s Tasmanian devil family.
“This is not a replacement devil for Jasper. This is a continuation of the confidence shown in the BioPark by the Zoo Association of Australia, the Tasmanian government, the Australian government,” said Kelly.
Jasper’s death wasn’t only a loss for the zoo. The Tasmanian devil population is rapidly shrinking and Albuquerque’s zoo is one of only two in the US entrusted to keep them.
“The Tasmanian devil could be extinct within five to 15 years,” said Kelly.
Despite the tragedy with Jasper, the Tasmanian government is still sending Mia here and zookeepers say they will do their best to make sure she’s well taken care of.
“That’s part of the job of animal keepers, observation, relationship with their animals, so to be prepared or be aware of something that you would not expect to happen,” said Kelly.