Seals likely to leave Rio Grande Zoo as Australia exhibit takes their place

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Big changes continue at the BioPark’s Rio Grande Zoo, and that means a long-time exhibit will soon be replaced as every continent gets its own area filled with native species.

It was a quiet Friday at the zoo, but it was a little too quiet at the seal exhibit. A sign has been posted informing visitors that the bouncy, fun-loving animals are not there at the moment. However, they won’t be coming back, at least not to this enclosure, any time soon — if ever, in Albuquerque.

The zoo shared a recent video of Gracey, Baby and Fiesty moving behind-the-scenes, to an enclosure out of view. They’re very good listeners, as seen in the one-minute YouTube video.

“The seals get daily interaction with their keepers so they respond very well to interacting with people so that always helps when we’re trying to train the animals,” Tim Van Loan, the zoo’s behavior and enrichment manager.

KRQE News 13 has learned the trio will likely leave Albuquerque.

“That is a 30-year-old exhibit where the seals have been and it really was not the best space for them,” Shelle Sanchez, director of the city’s Cultural Services Department, said.

Sanchez says big changes are coming to the zoo thanks to the gross receipts tax that voters said ‘yes’ to a few years ago.

“Where the seals are now, that space is part of what will become the Australia exhibit,” she said.

All of the Australian animals already at the zoo, along with some new ones, will take the seals’ place. Those new animals may include rock-wallabies and dingos.

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