Zoo assessing whether animals lost to fireworks

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Green monkeys have lunch at the Emperor Valley Zoo, Port of Spain in December, 2021. File photo/Ayanna Kinsale

THE Emperor Valley Zoo in St Ann’s is doing an assessment to determine if any animals were lost because of a noisy fireworks display at the nearby Queen’s Park Savannah on Wednesday night.

THe fireworks were part of the celebrations of TT’s 60th anniversary of Independence. When Newsday visited the zoo on Thursday at about midday, a member of staff said, “Workers and vets are still doing an assessment.”

He urged Newsday to contact the zoo’s board for more details.

Otherwise, on touring the zoo, Newsday saw several small family groups of visitors plus a small youth group with church elders in identical jerseys bearing the group’s name.

One small boy threw a tantrum upon leaving, only to be reassured by a woman that the rest of the family was now coming out too.

The turnout was low to medium, facilitating a comfortable visit in the absence of crowds.

While Newsday could not tell if animals had been disturbed during the previous night’s fireworks, by midday they generally looked quite content. A tiger and a lion were spotted asleep in each of their cages, as were most of the snakes, semi-indoors in their tiny glass enclosures.

A kangaroo was half asleep, sheltering in deep shade in a corner of its yard under a broad-leafed tree against the sun beating down from a virtually cloudless sky over the capital city.

Several quenk sporting coats of black bristles, plus an agouti and her cutest-ever baby (being lovingly groomed by its mother’s tongue) stood contently in ample shade. Two ocelots were fairly mellow, the first with a slightly swollen belly possibly marking pregnancy, in their small spaces.

However, one fellow paced his small enclosure very impatiently, almost to the point of being perturbed, although such moodiness might characterise males of the cat family at mating time.

The zoo had an abundance, possibly over-abundance, of macaws displaying their red and aquamarine plumage, in two cages, one of modest size.

Two giraffes and a zebra seemed content in their enclosures. Also spotted were monkeys, flamingoes, several scarlet ibises and a small otter swimming joyously in his/her outdoor pond.

Noisy fireworks at Independence celebrations two years ago were blamed for the death of a young male kangaroo, Joey, who had recently arrived at the zoo.

On August 17, 2019 the zoo acquired four red kangaroos – two males and two females – bred in captivity at a facility in Texas. Sadly, Joey died just weeks later, after the fireworks display nearby for Independence.

In a statement the zoo squarely blamed his death on the “shock and trauma” caused by the fireworks.

Otherwise, a number of people complained this year and in past years on social media of domestic animals, chiefly cats and dogs, being panicked by fireworks into running away and ending up on roads where they may be knocked down and killed by traffic.

Newsday understands that the fireworks display at the Savannah had a large turnout. Some reports suggested its location was closer to the zoo than in the past.