Hogle Zoo opens new animal care center

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Officials at Hogle Zoo cut the ribbon Tuesday for a new multimillion dollar animal health center. It will help the zoo's nearly 900 creatures as well as the environment.

The L.S. Skaggs Animal Health Center is Hogle Zoo's way of going green, as its first-ever environmentally friendly building.

The health center is equipped with solar panels, eco-friendly ventilation systems and sky lights that provide animals with the feeling of being outside. What's more, the floors are stain-proof, non-toxic and radiate heat so the animals won't have to lay on a cold floor.

Hogle Zoo Executive Director Craig Dinsmore said the building will reach some of the highest requirements for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, also known as LEEDS.

"We are a conservation organization. We're not only trying to save wild animals and habitats throughout the world, but we want to be good stewards of the environment locally as well," Dinsmore said.

Animals will visit the health center for everything from surgeries to quarantines, and new animals will be able to have complete physical exams before entering the park.

The building covers 8,000 square feet--twice as much hospital space as the zoo used to have. The extra room will be more efficient for veterinarians and more comfortable for the patients.

"We do have to make decisions as to whether the equipment we have can work in the spaces we're provided in the past. Well, now we have plenty of room to do all of the different things that we want to do," said Dr. Nancy Carpenter, associate director of animal health at Hogle Zoo.

Now the health center has enough room to quarantine great apes, polar bears and large carnivores--something the old hospital couldn't do.

Visitors of the zoo will not be able to go to the new health center because the animals need privacy while they recover.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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