Great Bend prepares its farewells to revered zoo director

Leopard
Leopard - Great Bend Zoo

GREAT BEND, Kansas – The zoo in Great Bend has gone through a lot of changes the past five years with zoo director Scott Gregory.

But now, he is making his departure from Great Bend.

Five years ago, the Brit Spaugh Zoo was in Great Bend was in bad shape.

“When I got here five years ago, the zoo wasn’t safe and a lot of people know the zoo had a lot of bad history with animal escapes and people getting hurt and one of the first things we worked on was getting the zoo safe,” said director Gregory.

The zoo has come a long way since then, but now Gregory is leaving Great Bend for a job in Miami at the end of the year.

“Even though I won’t be here I’ll still be a part of the zoo, I’ll still be a phone call away, my heart is still in Great Bend, but you know opportunity knocks and you have to take that.”

Gregory said he has brought the zoo as close as he could to getting accredited by the American Zoo Association.

“We’re not in a situation right now where we can hang with the big boys out there and so I’m very confident that one day we’ll be able to. As of right now, I’ve brought the zoo personally as far as I can get it, with what I have available.”

The zoo has started an AZA certified conservation and breeding program which they’re going to start with their servals in a new exhibit that they’re building hoping to get them one step closer to AZA accreditation.

“As these animals pass away, we’re looking to bring in not just young animals, but animals with a conservation purpose, with an educational factor behind it.”

More improvements and animals will come in the future. Gregory said he will miss more than the animals

“There’s so much passion here in town, I’m really going to miss that the most.”

Gregory’s new job is with an animal rehab facility and he leaves Great Bend at the end of the year.

Video of a serval taking flight – courtesy Youtube

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