Slowly, the animals that used to call the Roosevelt Park Zoo home are returning to their respectful exhibits , and the latest animals to make their return to the zoo are the primates.
Lana Erickson, zookeeper at Roosevelt Park Zoo, said the primates returned to the zoo Oct. 3 and had been staying at the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck. In total, there are five animals in the primate family that are owned by Roosevelt Park Zoo, including two Siamang gibbons, two white-handed gibbons, and one lemur. One of the lemurs passed away from old age between the time of the flood and bringing the primates back to the zoo, Erickson noted.
It's standard procedure to keep an animal in quarantine when arriving to or returning from another zoo. Erickson said the primates are quarantined for 60 days, so they'll be out of that at the beginning of December. The quarantine center is at the zoo clinic on the zoo grounds with an area for the primates, she added. Animals are held in quarantine so the zookeepers can keep an eye on them to make sure they don't have any diseases or parasites, Erickson explained. "We try and put them all in our quarantine area, but if their exhibit is far enough away from the other animals, then they can go back to their exhibits instead."
During a normal winter, the primates are kept in the zoo's clinic, Erickson said, and right now they are the only animals in there. Precautions for entering the quarantine area include a foot bath as well as wearing masks, gloves and eye protection, she said.
There have not been any problems with the primates' return to Roosevelt Park Zoo, Erickson said. "They've been eating and we've given them enrichment (foods)," she noted. "They're just doing what they normally would be doing inside for the winter."