ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque BioPark responded to an attack made by a city councilor earlier this week, accusing it of neglecting animals in its care. This week’s city council meeting came as a shock to the BioPark team.
That includes Master Farmer at the Heritage Farm Janel Titzl who says the BioPark is a special place for her. “Just.. this place is beautiful. And it is always held a held out strong place in my heart ever since I started working here,” she says.
The BioPark says they want to dispel any rumors that the animals are not cared for. “We don’t want folks to think that we’re not here taking care of them, because that’s absolutely our mission and duty every day,” says Associate Director of the BioPark Bob Lee.
Earlier this week, Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn brought up the concerns, showing damning photos of what appeared to be animals in poor condition including the heritage chickens and turkeys – almost all of them missing feathers.
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KRQE News 13 went out Friday to see the conditions the animals were in. Some of the birds were still missing some feathers but were growing back. The sheep were seen running and looking healthy.
KRQE News 13 asked the BioPark why some of the animals were missing feathers. They say it is just the animal’s attitude this time of year and the heat.
Dr. Carol Bradford, a senior veterinarian at the BioPark, says, “In terms of the feather loss, they are pretty broody this time of year, they do pick at each other a little bit. A lot of it’s normal molting that they’ll go through and those feathers will grow back.”
Another factor for missing feathers is stress from being inside as a precaution to the nationwide Avian Flu outbreak. As for other concerns like the animals not having water, they did inside the barn
“We like to do this because the water temperature stays cooler, obviously, in the shade. And it also helps prevent algae growth in the water,” says Titzl.
The staff who care for the animals say they treat them like family. “We love them like our own and we come in every day and they, our goal is to make them as happy as possible,” says Titzl.
News 13 reached out to counselor Fiebelkorn for a response, and she says she still stands by her previous call that the animals be released to a sanctuary. She says “That if the city puts animals on display, then they should be receiving the absolute best care we can offer and not what is being provided by the BioPark.”