Although our local zoo has made the news for its community events and conservation efforts, last week they released a much more somber announcement: one of their long-time members, Ozzie the pot-bellied pig, died at 19 and a half years old.
We reached out to the Greenville Zoo to ask about what goes on behind the scenes when one of their animals passes away. Jeff Bullock just finished his 10th year as the administrator at the Greenville Zoo, and he gave us this insider’s view.
Do you have any notice or memorial at Ozzie’s enclosure? “No, we do not have any type of acknowledgement at the enclosure. Zoo staff is still discussing the future use of that space and currently discussing several different options.”
Where was Ozzie before he came to the zoo in 2000? “He was captive-born and purchased from a member of the public.”
What happens to the zoo’s animals when they pass? “Every animal that passes at the zoo has a necropsy done to determine the cause of death, or to determine if there is any disease present that may cause harm to other animals in the collection. This is true for all collection animals as well as native animal species that are found on the zoo campus. Following the post-mortem examination, the remains of the animals are cremated.”
How do you network among zoos or wildlife refuges or other conservation organizations to help animals? “The zoo works with a variety of organizations and helps animals in a variety of ways:
- Through the cooperative breeding programs, sometimes referred to as SSP (Species Survival Program), we work with other zoos around the country and sometimes the world to preserve endangered species by managing the captive population at the highest possible genetic diversity level.
- We raise funds and contribute money to conservation efforts both here and abroad to support conservation of species and ecosystems.
- We work with rehabilitation facilities by taking in animals that cannot be released and utilize them as ambassadors for their species to educate the public.”
How often does the zoo get new animals? “How often is really a difficult question to answer due to a number of factors. The zoo gets new animals when:
- Something is born.
- We receive a recommendation from an SSP to move an animal to our campus for breeding or just to hold.
- Sometimes we seek out new animals from other zoos to meet the needs for educational programming.”
In 2018, the Greenville Zoo welcomed Adira, a baby orangutan whose parents both also live at the zoo. This week, the Zoo announced they will be renovating and expanding their onsite veterinary hospital to help serve their animals better.
According to the Zoo’s Facebook statement, the new facility will open in April 2020 and will “provide additional quarantine space along with specialty areas such as a surgical suite, lab, instrument prep, pharmacy and [an] expanded treatment room.” Click here to read the full announcement.
We would like to thank all of you for sharing photos and memories of Ozzie. Your kind words have meant the world to our staff. Here are some photos of Ozzie shared by our guests! Thanks to Riley Garvin, Courtney Huggins, Julie Kay Bell and Ashley Elrod for sharing! pic.twitter.com/b1dOjykR1D
— Greenville Zoo (@greenvillezoo) October 7, 2019