|SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 8) – Hogle Zoo’s animal care staff are making a daily difference in the lives of the animals for whom they care. And a couple of them have just received national recognition for the job they’ve done.
Small Animal Building-Temperate Zone Primary Keeper Nathan Strong and Primary Relief Keeper Kimber Clark were the recent recipients of the American Association of Zoo Keepers Certificate of Excellence in Exhibit Design Renovation for the work they did to renovate the black-footed cat habitat at Hogle Zoo.
"It is an honor to win this award on behalf of Utah’s Hogle Zoo. I feel that Hogle Zoo has some of the most dedicated animal care staff in the country. I am very excited that our work is starting to get recognized on a national professional level," Strong said.
Native to South Africa, black-footed cats are species of small feline that are endangered due to habitat loss and accidental poisoning from bait traps set for jackals. As such the species has been designated a Species Survival Plan animal by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
Strong and Clark, with the help of Animal Care Supervisor Jane Larson and the animal care staff of the Small Animal Building, assessed what they saw as flaws in the design of their old black-footed cat habitat.
In the spring of 2008 the Zoo began construction to make improvements that would provide the black-footed cat visual barriers, more open space, room for live vegetation and multiple dens, which serve as homes and sleeping places. In addition, the new habitat configuration would enable the animal care staff to constantly change the look of the habitat, providing a changing scenery and enrichment for the cat.
"It is my hope that by winning this award our Salt Lake community can continue to take pride in their Zoo and be more aware of the conservation work that we do. Our work with the black-footed cats has assisted those doing field work in helping preserve this endangered species," Strong said.
The public can see the black-footed cat in its award winning habitat daily at the Small Animal Building at Hogle Zoo.
|Utah’s Hogle Zoo is one of only 223 accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information visit www.aza.org.