BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — After a tumultuous year in mayoral politics, the Beardsley Zoo is now picking a new animal executive. The mayor elected last year suspiciously died in office. Now, five new candidates are vying for the office.

Kallisto the Amur leopard is the current mayor of the zoo, but she was not elected. She was the runner-up last year. Wiggles, the chinchilla who won, died in office. Some find that very suspicious.

“Well, we couldn’t pin it on her, because we couldn’t quite spot her at the scene,” animal care specialist Chris Barker said.

So, the Amur leopard is now a lame duck. Voting to replace her began last week. Barker thinks an actual duck is the right choice.

“So, Jolene is a fulvous whistling duck,” Barker said. “She is 14 years old, so while she is not a spring chicken, she has outlived her wild contemporaries, but she’s not an old coot yet.”

The different parts of the zoo get to nominate candidates. The rain forest thinks the cold-blooded are best suited for politics, so they are backing K-Man the caiman.

“He would make a great mayor because he is willing to take a bite out of crime,” animal care specialist Emma Carney said.

Instead, maybe it should be someone who knows pork-barrel politics like Harry the guinea hog, who does not hog the spotlight.

“He’s cute, and he’s really got a good personality. He’s just kind of even-keeled with the girls,” animal care specialist Tracey Kosa said, referring to Harry’s two sisters. “He doesn’t bully anybody.”

Or maybe you should vote for Clara the American bison, a single mother who is thrown her horns into the ring.

“I mean, look at her. You can’t stop her,” senior animal care specialist J.T. Warner said. “She’s 1,600 pounds. You can’t stop her if you wanted to.”

The voting is all done online and it’s a fundraiser. Each vote costs $1. The election is open to the general public and can vote for a candidate online by making a $1 donation for each vote. Each donation goes towards the conservation programs at the zoo.

So, money talks. Speaking of talking, African grey parrots are known for speaking their minds, although Zari is a little camera shy.

“She can speak for herself, but she actually prefers to speak to me, and then I will speak for her,” zoo educator Chrissy Shore said. “She can be very shy in crowds, but she is very sassy and has a lot to say.”

You have another week to cast your vote. The polls close at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18. Cast your vote at