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New animal care clinic planned for Syracuse Zoo

Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Some of the elephants at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse

Big animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse will be getting a new medical treatment facility in the next few years.

Right now, zoo director Ted Fox says the biggest animal that can be treated in the current clinic is the snow leopard.

“So the tigers, the lions, the elephants, the bison, the white lipped deer have to be treated in the field,” said Fox.

The bigger animals could need a variety of treatments without the proper setting to do them.

“It could be a simple knock down for a physical exam or radiographs, or it could be surgery or something else, so it’s not ideal,” he said. “It’s like triaging a farm animal in the field, instead of taking it to Cornell or a facility where you can get into a sterile environment.”

So the zoo is planning construction of an animal medical care center, with projected costs between $6-7 million. Onondaga County lawmakers have approved half a million dollars for design of the center, which is expected to be built in 2019.

The facility will also include a quarantine space. The current clinic was built in the 1980s, and is out of date, according to Fox, noting that  zoo accreditation agencies have urging zoos to update their veterinary settings.   

“There are about 230 accredited zoos in the country. Most have either done a new hospital in the last ten years, or have plans to in the next few years, just like us,” he said.