Green Guide

New Omaha zoo exhibit sees some animals moved out of state

Posted November 26

— Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium moved many animals around while it constructed its new African Grasslands exhibit, including those permanently moved to zoos and wildlife centers in Iowa, Texas and other states.

Beginning in 2014, zookeepers began training animals to move to new and temporary homes, both within and outside of the city's zoo, the Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2ggwR0Y ) Saturday.

African penguins, Stanley cranes and several other birds stayed in Omaha, finding new homes at the zoo during construction of the grasslands exhibit, which opened earlier this year.

Two of the zoo's female addax — a type of desert antelope — were sent to the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa. The other 12 in the zoo's herd were sent to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas to join a herd of about 50 in 400 acres of the center's drive-thru park. The zoo's dama gazelles were sent to Columbus, Ohio.

Neither species aligned with the geographic theme of the African Grasslands, said Dan Cassidy, the zoo's general curator.

Grévy's zebras, which have larger ears and narrower stripes than plain zebras, were sent to zoos in Miami and St. Louis.

"Male Grévy's zebras can be aggressive to other species," Cassidy told the World-Herald. "Since we wanted to do a mixed species exhibit, we decided to switch species."

Bongo, sable antelope, ostriches and cheetahs were trucked about 25 miles southwest to the zoo's safari park in Ashland.

"It went really smooth," said Jack Hetherington, hoofstock supervisor. "I think everybody worries when you're moving animals, you hear stories of bad things happening, but I think we were mindful, we took our time and we didn't rush anything."

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