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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The closures of the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park were extended indefinitely Monday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but officials said all employees will be paid through at least April 19.

“We continue to have essential and dedicated staff on grounds at both parks, ensuring that the remarkable wildlife in our care continue to thrive. The urgent nature of our work to save species is unchanged, even in the face of this pandemic,” park officials said in a prepared statement.

“San Diego Zoo Global takes its role as a leader for the larger San Diego community seriously. We understand the trust our audiences have placed in us over the past 103 years. To serve our community responsibly, we have put the interests of our employees and the wildlife in our care at the forefront of our approach at this unprecedented time in our history.”

The parks and animals will continue to be maintained and cared for, ensuring that the zoo and safari park will be ready to open when the health crisis has passed, according to the statement.

San Diego Zoo Global launched an education program Thursday to keep parents, teachers and zoo fans connected to their favorite animals through free online content, entertainment and educational tools.

The #WereHereTogether program allows visitors to the site to check in on animals and receive daily updates from livestreaming wildlife cameras as coronavirus prevents in-person visits.

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