Improvement: Principal curator at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, Dr Ian Walker, tends to a turtle at the new animal treatment room. The lab is one of the best on the island allowing staff to conduct blood analysis, enzyme testing and X-rays. *Photo by Simon Jones
Improvement: Principal curator at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, Dr Ian Walker, tends to a turtle at the new animal treatment room. The lab is one of the best on the island allowing staff to conduct blood analysis, enzyme testing and X-rays. *Photo by Simon Jones
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1: Whether it’s releasing a shark back to the wild or removing a fishing hook from a turtle’s throat there’s rarely a dull moment at the zoo.

And with more than 2,000 swimming, crawling and swinging creatures to keep tabs on there is seldom a spare moment for those charged with looking after the residents.

The more eagle-eyed visitor may have already noticed that Osbourne, who is out in the Atlantic somewhere making the most of his freedom, has been replaced by a new dusky shark in the main tank.

And there are plans afoot to bring in more llamas as well as creatures to the Madagascar exhibit later this year.

Keeping on top of this blossoming population was made much easier last year thanks to Bermuda’s Aquarium, Museum and Zoo’s (BAMZ) new onsite animal treatment room.

It has meant that more than 150 annual check-ups and routine operations have been able to be conducted in house.

While specialist vets have been able to be drafted in for the more intricate and complex procedures.

Principal curator Dr Ian Walker told the Sun: “The treatment room has been a big addition to us here.

“It means as soon as we detect a problem with an animal, we can deal with it straight away on site.

“We are very fortunate to have one of the best labs on the island where we can conduct X-rays, blood analysis and enzyme testing.

“Much of the specialized equipment we now have in the treatment room has been paid for through donations by BELCO as well as the Government and the whole process has been a great example of public-private partnership.”

Dr Walker added: “Almost every animal has an annual check-up and these can now be done with minimum disruption.

“And of course we can deal more effectively with the rescued turtles and birds that are brought into us by members of the public.

“The new treatment room has made a big difference.”

The current population at BAMZ recently peaked at just over 2,300 and includes 25 mammals, 140 birds, 81 reptiles, five sharks and over 650 invertebrates.

Almost all of the resident creatures, apart from the free flying birds, are subject to annual check-ups by Dr Walker and his staff.

This means everything from toads to bats are X-rayed and checked at some point to ensure they are fit and healthy.

The next big project on the agenda at BAMZ is the new restaurant, which is due to open later this year.

But staff will also be keeping an eye on the aquarium’s latest addition, a juvenile dusky shark, to make sure he is adapting to his new surroundings.

Dr Walker added: “We always planned to replace Osbourne as sharks are such a popular attraction, especially with children,

“Back in November we were able to get out into Castle Harbour and capture a young Galapagos shark on the end of a line.

“It’s around three years old we believe and is just four feet long.

“So far everything is looking good; the new shark seems to be settling in well in the North Rock tank. And we will be keeping a close eye on him.

“The only thing we need to do now is think of a name.

“We may let the public decide that at a later date.”