FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When new animals come to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, they first have to go into quarantine. It’s to ensure the animals are healthy and don’t bring any diseases into the zoo’s population. The quarantine area is a place few people are allowed to go, but Wild on WANE was granted exclusive access.
The quarantine building has five different areas for different species of animals. Each zone is also independently temperature-controlled so they can be tailored for the animal that’s staying there.
“You change into full scrubs and depending on the species, masks and then always gloves. Once you’re done in that room, you come back and you take those scrubs off and put another pair on so sometimes it’s like you change clothes four times a day. It’s just to make sure that we’re not carrying any potential diseases or anything in between rooms,” Brooke Stowell, a Zoo Hospital Keeper, said.
There’s a hoof stock area which can hold animals like wildebeest, zebra and larger birds. There are also access points outside which also allows staff to load an animal into a trailer easily which allows for easier transport into the rest of the zoo.
There’s a carnivores room where the gates are a bit more reinforced because they might hold bigger animals like lions and tigers.
“We also have front-access points where we can move a crate and pull the guillotine door up and the animal could be released into there without any safety concerns at all. We’re separate and they’re separate,” Stowell said.
The aquatic room is for birds or mammals that are more on the aquatic side of things. Otters and penguins have been in quarantine in that room since Stowell’s been at the zoo. There are three stalls that have doors on the inner wall – so they can be sectioned off or opened and connected.
“It allows the animals to interconnect between the different stalls. So a lot of animals when we are cleaning with them or whatever, we don’t enter that space with them and so this allows us to shift one from one stall into another,” Stowell said.
The reptile room is the most plain because most of those animals are in smaller habitats in a tank sitting on the large table in the middle of the room. What stands out in that room is the electrical outlets lining the walls.
“We do have all of the extra outlets. Most of those animals need some sort of additional lighting source or heat source,” Stowell said.
The last area is called the small mammal room and will house animals ranging from birds to small primates. Like the aquatic room, the different spaces can be connected or separated and tailored to the animal staying there.
“Currently we’re setting up to have a couple of birds come in. They have their sticks and stuff so those birds can fly and perch and do what do what birds would normally do,” Stowell said.
Care for the animals at the Fort Wayne zoo starts from the moment they arrive.
“We really put our heart and soul into making sure that those animals are happy and healthy. It starts day one when they come in, we start monitoring what they’re eating, how they’re moving and enriching them to keep their their mind happy and healthy or making sure that everything looks good that they’re happy and they’re healthy before before they make their public debut,” Stowell said.