November 17, 2017 – Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo students and staff had to say goodbye to a longtime resident, Fred the peccary. Over the past few years, Fred began exhibiting arthritis due to his geriatric age. University of Florida vets exhausted all efforts to make his remaining years as comfortable as possible. Through diligent observations and discussions about quality of life by his caring zookeepers and managers, it became clear that euthanasia was the most humane choice. Fred passed away Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
Fred was born at the SF Teaching Zoo June 30, 1990. SF Zoo Curator, Kathy Russell, fondly remembers finding him with his mother the morning after he was born. During his 27 years at the zoo, he lived with various family members. The collared peccaries were fan favorites and many guests adopted them through the SF Teaching Zoo’s “Adopt-an-Animal” program. A few years ago, he and his sister, Ethel, welcomed new Visayan warty pig neighbors, which was an exciting change to their routine. They enjoyed sniffing them and laying side by side between enclosures.
Zookeepers in the Zoo Animal Technology program had many wonderful memories of Fred. In his later years, students had to get very creative to find tasty treats to give with his arthritis medication. If it took one second too long to deliver the treat, he would stomp his feet to urge them to speed up. In his final days, students spent extra time giving him special enrichment items like pumpkin and other delicious goodies, as well as playing music. Kali Wolf, a senior in the SF Zoo Animal Technology program is grateful for the short time she was able to work with him. “Not only did he teach us about working with peccaries, but he taught us about caring for an animal in his old age,” she said.
Fred will surely be missed by students, staff and guests. You can visit his warty pig neighbors and the many other incredible animals at the Teaching Zoo every day from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.