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Incubator gets a second life at Zoo Boise

By Chris Langrill, News and Community
August 1, 2018
David Williams, St. Luke’s biomedical equipment technician, demonstrates the features available on the incubator St. Luke’s donated to Zoo Boise.

As a non-profit and city-run organization, Zoo Boise is constantly concerned about budgetary issues.  

As such, the staff finds creative ways to care for the zoo’s animals.

“We use a lot of things that people think are garbage,” said Dr. Holly Holman, the zoo’s veterinarian. “I have an anesthesia mask for a tiger that is made out of a laundry detergent bottle.”

So, when St. Luke’s had an incubator that was being phased out of production, Holman jumped at the opportunity of having it donated to the zoo.

“The incubator had presumably lived its useful life at St. Luke’s,” said Matt Stephens, the Supply Chain category director over purchase services. “What better way to extend its life than to give it to the zoo? We were excited to help them out.”

St. Luke’s donated the incubator in June and could serve multiple functions.

“The incubator will be used for sick animals, and we’ll be trying some egg incubation in there,” Dr. Holman said.

Who knows? Some members of the next generation of penguins at the zoo might call the incubator their first home.

“We have a colony of about eight penguins … and we’ve had a couple of successful births here,” Dr. Holman said. “But one way you can increase their success is by actually pulling eggs from birth.”

The penguin then may lay a second egg, which is called re-clutching.

One of the resident penguins at Zoo Boise painted this picture as a gesture of thanks to St. Luke’s for the incubator donation.

“That way you can leave one egg under the bird and one egg in the incubator, and you can basically double your efforts every time,” Dr. Holman said. “We will probably try it with one or two pairs this year and see how it goes.”

Whether that experiment proves to be a success or not, Dr. Holman said the zoo will find ways to use the incubator.

“It makes total sense for us to re-use this equipment,” she said. “It makes sense for (St. Luke’s) and it makes sense for us.”

Stephens said, to his knowledge, the incubator was St. Luke’s first equipment donation to Zoo Boise. But he said it made so much sense that he can’t imagine why it would be the last.

“We hope this is the beginning of a long-term relationship,” Stephens said. 

About The Author

Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.