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Editorial: Even rhinos use their potty

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Apparently, six sets of public restrooms at the Albuquerque BioPark zoo aren’t enough. At least twice a month, zookeepers have to power wash the zoo to clean up after the humans who come to see the animals.

Even that’s not enough. On a recent weekend, the stench of urine in the underwater viewing area at the polar bear exhibit was so strong, visitors hustled through rather than stay to watch the 2:30 p.m. daily feeding.

How would Dr. Doolittle say “yuck”?

The idea that visitors are so lazy they simply allow their children to pee on the walls or in dim areas of the zoo isn’t a place BioPark Director Rick Janser wants to go. “I’m hoping (an accident is) what it is,” he says.

But would a toddler wetting his/her pants cause a stink so strong it clears an outdoor viewing area? If unhappy accidents are the cause, the offending odor should leave with the toddler. And it doesn’t.

It’s unfortunate that, instead of investing in infrastructure maintenance and new exhibits, taxpayers and zoo supporters should have to pay to wash down human waste on a regular basis. Even the lumbering endangered white rhinos make it to their midden pile.

What’s next, portable toilets at every exhibit because the six sets of restrooms – at both ends of the restaurant, near the train station, next to the raptors and at the entrance – aren’t convenient enough?

Albuquerque’s BioPark is a multimillion-dollar public investment that has become the No. 1 tourist destination in the state. And while it is home to species that mark their territories, it’s a sad comment that some human visitors are among them.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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