When looking back at 2019, Chief Zoological Officer Matt Thompson beams like a proud papa.
In September, Memphis Zoo welcomed two Jaguar cubs. A moment that allowed the big cat keepers to shine. “The keepers have done a fantastic job socializing them and preparing them for their physical exams, as well as preparing them to be outside for the public to see. It has all gone extremely well,” said Thompson.
Another shining moment for the zoo in 2019, the rehabilitation of Allie the reticulated giraffe. Days after her birth in April, Allie fractured her ankle twice. A total accident, but also a learning lesson for Memphis Zoo. Ali was taken to Kentucky for surgery where she had two stainless steel plates and nearly two dozen bone screws placed to fix the fracture. Allie was then cared for behind the scenes for nearly 7 months. With the guidance of Memphis Zoo veterinarians and outside expertise, as well as the Zookeepers, Thompson says it was a team effort to get Allie back on her hooves. “To be able to open the door and release her onto exhibit and have her walk out was just incredible,” Thompson said.
Memphis Zoo also successfully introduced rhinos, zebras and oryx into a single space. That allowed the zoo to give the elephants more room in their exhibit.
Memphis Zoo also spent 2019 helping save the Dusky gopher frog and the Louisiana pine snake from extinction. “Being a part of the program to successfully reproduce them and to work with the U.S. Government and to reintroduce them into the wild is one of the most gratifying, exciting things we can do” said Thompson.