Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Friends of the Zoo Launches Animal Health Center Capital Campaign

SYRACUSE, NY, March 15, 2021 — The Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo has launched a capital campaign to furnish the new Animal Health Center under construction at the zoo with $1.1 million in medical equipment.

The One Health | One Mission capital campaign seeks support for animal health care items from microscopes to anesthesia machines and offers naming rights to important features of the health center -- from $10,000 for the pharmacy up to $1 million to put your name on the entire facility.

While Onondaga County is paying for the design, engineering, construction, infrastructure and landscaping of the Animal Health Center, Friends of the Zoo has pledged to raise $1.1 million to outfit it with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment.

“When the county allocated $7.5 million to build the Animal Health Center, we agreed to raise the funds needed to equip it as a 21st century veterinary hospital,” said Friends of the Zoo Executive Director Carrie Large.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Central New Yorkers, especially those involved in health care, to be part of something that will put us on the map when it comes to care of our animals and leading research,” she added.

Zoo Director Ted Fox said the new 20,000-plus-square-foot complex will be 10 times larger than the in-house clinic the zoo has relied on for animal health care since the 1980s. It will also have a separate quarantine facility with four specialized areas to meet the needs of carnivores, primates, aquatic animals and birds.

Onondaga County broke ground for the project on a site adjacent to the zoo’s parking lot last fall, and the health center is slated for completion in September 2021.

The new health center will bring the zoo up to standard to maintain its accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) for many years to come, Fox said.

It also will serve the zoo’s 22-year partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, which brings Cornell veterinarians to practice at the zoo while their residents, interns and students receive hands-on experience in zoological medicine.

The animal health center will be a teaching hospital in other ways, too. Its size and design will greatly increase the zoo’s ability to provide educational experiences for the public, including the zoo’s youngest visitors, Fox said.

“The new health center will have floor to ceiling windows that look in on the lab, the nursery, animal kitchen, treatment rooms and surgical suite -- so you won’t have to lift little kids up for them to be able to see animal health care in action,” Fox said.

“We also will have video screens in the lobby, and new technology will allow us to share everything we do for animal health – from nutrition to routine exams to radiology to surgical procedures – with our CNY community and beyond,” Fox said.

Large said her favorite aspect of the plan is a youth veterinary clinic where children can engage in imaginative play using toy medical equipment and plush “patients” to enhance what they learn about veterinary care on zoo visits.

“When I take my kids to the Strong Museum in Rochester, their favorite part is going to the Wegmans Super Kids Market there and pretending they’re running the store,” she said. “Our youth clinic will provide the same kind of experience for children who dream of working in health care or with animals when they grow up.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor an aspect of the Animal Health Center at the zoo may contact Friends of the Zoo Development Director Heidi Strong at (315) 435-8511 x8526 or [email protected]. Those interested in making a donation of any amount may also visit rosamondgiffordzoo.org.

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