Sedgwick County Zoo

Sedgwick County Zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo could in 25 years be unrecognizable from the zoo visitors know today.

A new master plan unveiled Wednesday lays out a vision for the zoo's future, including expanded exhibits, a concert venue, an aquarium and an African savanna-themed hotel and resort.

The plan aims to take the zoo, now nearing its 50th birthday, to "the next level."

Carla Eckels / KMUW

The senior veterinarian at the Sedgwick County Zoo is hanging up his stethoscope Saturday.

Jonathan Huber

The Sedgwick County Zoo has sheep from various regions of the world, but they all share at least one thing in common: They get warm as temperatures climb into spring.

On one March Saturday, the zoo shears the sheep’s wool, while also providing necessary veterinarian examinations and vaccinations. The zoo makes a day of it, and demonstrates what happens to the wool after it’s shorn. It must be washed and dried, cleaned, brushed, and spun. KMUW’s Jonathan Huber visits the noisy spectacle in this Audio Postcard.

Courtesy Sedgwick County Zoo

A rare Amur leopard cub is in intensive care at the Sedgwick County Zoo after staff members determined its mother couldn’t care for it.

Sedgwick County Zoo Names New Executive Director

May 3, 2017
Sedgwick County Zoo / Facebook

The Sedgwick County Zoo has selected a new executive director.

Jeff Ettling was most recently the curator of herpetology at the Saint Louis Zoo. He served in the same role at the Sedgwick County Zoo from 1991-1995.

Ettling has 29 years of experience, including in zoo curating and management. He is also a professional fellow with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Ettling replaces Mark Reed, who headed the Sedgwick County Zoo for 37 years. Reed retired at the end of 2016.


Sedgwick County Zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita welcomed another baby gorilla Wednesday morning.

The lowland gorilla was born to 23-year-old Matt and 22-year-old Kigali; it's their first baby together.

The zoo says that the baby has been observed nursing, and is clinging well and looks strong. They haven’t said whether the new baby is a boy or a girl.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Zoo will be transitioning to new leadership in 2017: Mark Reed, the longtime executive director, has just retired from his 37-year career at the zoo.

Reed recently shared some of his memories with KMUW’s Deborah Shaar for this sound portrait.

Travel KS / Flickr

The Sedgwick County Zoo is expected to reach a major milestone this month.

A lot of people visited the zoo this year, so much so that it's on track to set a new annual attendance record.

Zoo director Mark Reed says they’ll hit 700,000 visitors for the first time by the end of the year.

"If the weather is nice on Christmas Day, that afternoon, we could have a lot of people here because it’s not always easy to find that everybody likes football or likes to go to a movie, but everybody enjoys coming to the zoo," Reed says. "A lot of memories are built out here."

Update: According to the Sedgwick County Zoo, it has been verified that a zoo guest had physical contact with the orangutan. The zoo guest stated that she "never felt that she was in danger or in any way threatened by the orangutan." According to a press release, the woman has asked to remain anonymous. The zoo says it will respect that request.

The investigation into the circumstances of the escape is ongoing.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Zoo is losing its longtime director. 

Executive Director Mark Reed came to the zoo in Wichita in 1979 for what was supposed to be a short stint as assistant director before moving on to another zoo.

Instead, he stayed 11 years and then was promoted to director, and he never left.

When he retires on Dec. 31, Reed will have spent 37 years at the zoo.

"I look at all zoos as a reflection of the community, and this community loves the zoo," Reed says. "It’s been a great time here doing something for this community."