Chehaw curator opens up about wrongful animal feeding

Chehaw curator opens up about wrongful animal feeding
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
Samantha Sassone is the assistant curator at the zoo. (Source: WALB)
Samantha Sassone is the assistant curator at the zoo. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Facebook post, shared more than 1,200 times, sparked some conversation on social media this week.

It shows a picture of on of Chehaw's largest alligators with pieces of bread thrown on top of it.

"They are very food aggressive," explained the assistant curator at Chehaw's Zoo, Samantha Sassone, as she fed the meerkats a typical snack.

Their food ranges from bugs to small chopped fruits and vegetables.

"In the wild they are constantly forging and they are only finding little bits and pieces here and there and they don't normally get large amounts of food," explained Sassone.

Sassone and her staff typically feed the animals early in the morning and again at night. It's at that same time when Sassone checks on all of the animals.

As mentioned in the Facebook post, earlier this week, one of those checks left her emotions high.

"The first thing we saw was an alligator laying beside the boardwalk with piles of bread all around him. On the ground around him actually on his body and his tail," explained Sassone.

As Sassone moved on with her checks, she found the alligators weren't the only ones who had been fed the bread.

"We get to meerkats and piles of vomit everywhere," said Sassone.

Then another staff member found marshmallows with the monkeys. Sassone said the animals are okay now, but feeding them too much, or food they can't metabolize can have negative effects.

"When they are physically ill it's a very different feeling. You worry a lot more about them," explained Sassone.

The zoo offers times when the public can watch or even help feed the animals.

Sassone doesn't think anyone fed the animals with intentions to hurt them but wants the public to know there could have been worse consequences for the animals.

"I don't believe people come here wanting to hurt anything, they just accidentally hurt sometimes," said Sassone.

Sassone said she was overwhelmed by the positive feedback that came from her Facebook post.

There are some ways you can help buy goodies for the animals that can be fed to them the proper way.

Click here to purchase food on Amazon, through Chehaw's page.

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