BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Brevard Zoo is creating home for its animals of “retirement age” to relax and live in added comfort.
Every species of animal at the Florida zoo lives in a custom habitat, but “retirement homes” for some of its residents are designed by the animal care team with the older animals’ needs in mind.
According to the Brevard Zoo’s website, an animal is considered “geriatric” when it reaches around 80% of its expected lifespan.
“As part of our preventative approach to animal care, our older animal residents receive routine quality of life assessments, specialized diets, tailored medications, enrichments and adjustments to their habitat,” the zoo says.
On its website, the zoo highlights three retirement habitats for three different species of animals.
“Flounder” the flying fox is the only member her of species, as well as the only bat, at Brevard Zoo. She has lived at the zoo since 2001.
The zoo says at 29 years old, Flounder has “far exceeded” the median life expectancy of her species.
Flounder lives in a habitat behind-the-scenes at the zoo, which features climbing structures so she stays active, as well as stuffed animals to help keep her cozy. Brevard Zoo says the habitat also has hideouts as well as a night house, where she spends the day sleeping before becoming active and exploring at night.
Brevard Zoo is also home to a 28-year-old Baird’s tapir named Josie, who lives in its “Wild Florida” section. She has been a zoo resident since 1994.
Though Josie’s species isn’t found in Florida, the zoo thought this section would be perfect for her, with access to different areas and lots of water to swim and the ability to socialize with the other residents of “Wild Florida.”
Josie has also been on “vacation” within the zoo, visiting another habitat that houses other Baird’s tapirs.
Two islands within Brevard Zoo house lemurs, including one known as “Little Madagascar.” There, two ring-tailed lemurs live: a 28-year-old male named “Kamots” and a 15-year-old female named Matilda.
Brevard Zoo says the two are not a breeding pair but enjoy each other other’s company. Their habitat has been modified with lower-hanging vines and lowered night houses the lemurs can access easily.
The zoo offers other retirement homes for other species of animals, including “Pepper” the cheetah, “Pete” and “Sapphire” the siamangs and “Mania” and “Fancy” the Visayan warty bigs.
“Taking care of animals is a lifelong commitment, no matter the species. Here at the zoo, we strive to provide the best possible care for the entirety of all our animals’ lives, including those who have surpassed their median life expectancies,” the Brevard Zoo says.