Colorado zoo welcomes newest animal, a Bobcat loader
Horticulture specialist Scott Myers finds many uses for the zoo’s Bobcat S570 skid-steer loader and attachments, from digging holes to transporting landscape rocks, and snow removal in winter.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was one of the first customers to take possession of a new 500-frame-size loader. Employees depend on their Bobcat® loader to help maintain the mountainside zoo and complete projects associated with animal exhibits.
One of the newest wild animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is white with a streak of orange and has four wheels. Unlike the other animals at the zoo it’s not alive, yet it packs plenty of power. It’s a new Bobcat S570 skid-steer loader.
Scott Myers is responsible for the day-to-day horticulture and grounds maintenance department at the mountainside zoo, located in Colorado Springs, Colo. Its total area includes more than 140 acres and more than 800 animals representing more than 200 species. Myers and his staff take care of small and big projects alike, often operating a Bobcat skid-steer loader and attachments.
Myers says a generous donor provided the zoo’s first new Bobcat skid-steer loader several years ago. Ever since, the zoo purchases a new Bobcat loader each year through a rollover program with its dealer, Bobcat of the Rockies, in Colorado Springs.
Myers and staff operate the Bobcat S570 skid-steer loader with a pallet fork to move landscaping features like this rock.
“The new cab-forward design and improved visibility are huge for us because we’re often working in tight situations,” he says. “The better visibility gives us a 360-degree view from inside the cab. Some of our smaller pathways that we take the Bobcat loader on are about 6 feet wide, and there are no problems getting through. The maneuverability makes it a perfect machine for us.
“Inside the cab, it seems like everything is right at my fingertips and it’s definitely more comfortable. I can sit in the machine all day and I’m comfortable. It’s quieter and keeps the operators and me cleaner. You can feel it when you shut the door; it’s like a pressurized cab.”
Open to visitors 365 days a year, Myers and his crew are expected to have the zoo in top shape every day, including removing snow during winter. He says his operators often spend many hours inside the machine to clear snow from up to 70 percent of the zoo.
“The enclosed cab with heat is excellent,” Myers says, “and it makes all the difference when you’re plowing snow. We have a V-blade and bucket for bigger snowfalls, or the angle broom for lighter snow. With the Bobcat loader, we’re done clearing snow by noon. If we didn’t have the loader, it would take us a day and a half to clear the snow by hand.”
Keeping paths clear of debris is a year-round effort. A Bobcat sweeper attachment and loader provide the means to efficiently keep paths clean, while operators are protected inside the cab.
“We use a gravel/salt mix during winter, and once the snow melts, the gravel needs to be removed,” he explains. In the summer months, operators use the sweeper to remove dirt and debris, too. “It gets pretty dusty, but inside the air-conditioned enclosed cab, the operator stays clean and comfortable.”
Maintenance made easy
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff dig new fence post holes with an S570 loader and auger attachment.
“The fuel filter is easier to get to when we need to drain a little bit of water out of the bottom of it,” he says. “Also, it’s easier to grease. I’d say 10 times faster because the grease points are easier to get to. Everyone who operates the Bobcat loader knows it’s their responsibility to perform the daily checklist, including greasing the machine every eight hours, and checking fluids and filters. Overall, our Bobcat loaders have been very reliable.”
Landscaping projectsAs you might expect at a zoo, there are always landscaping projects that need to be done, including those associated with a new exhibit. This spring the zoo will unveil a new elephant exhibit. Having a Bobcat skid-steer loader and attachments will reduce the time required by Myers to complete the landscaping tasks.
“We move a lot of rock with the Bobcat skid-steer loader, since we do our own landscaping,” Myers says. “We are on the side of a mountain and we have access to quite a bit of natural stone, so we use it throughout our exhibits and planting beds. Also, we haul a lot of soil throughout the zoo, putting it in with different substrates for animals.”
Digging holes is a regular task for the horticulture department, and a Bobcat auger with three different bits has been exceptional for Myers.
“We use the auger attachment with a 6-, 12- or 15-inch bit to complete a variety of fencing and landscaping projects,” he says. “We recently installed some new upright posts in the elephant exhibit, so they can scratch and push on them … things the elephants do every day. We also use the auger and bits to install natural barriers, made of wood, and sturdy enough for a hippo to hit it.”
Myers feels so strongly about the Bobcat brand of loaders that he won’t even consider operating another brand. “I love Bobcat loaders,” he says. “It’s my machine … I’m a Bobcat man.”