SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park assured guests that the parks’ animals are still being well-cared for during the coronavirus pandemic, sharing a sneak peek and making sure families know about resources they can use from home.
“Animals never take a ‘day off,’ so their wildlife care specialists are here, too,” the park wrote in a news release. “Habitats still need to be cleaned, individual diets still need to be prepared, animals need to be fed, specialty care still needs to be provided to those animals that might need it, plants still need to be tended to and enriching activities still need to be provided for the wildlife at both the Zoo and Safari Park.”
Many residents have reached out to the parks since they announced their temporary closure in mid-March, San Diego Zoo Global CEO Paul Baribault said.
“We are humbled by how many people have reached out to us, asking how the wildlife and team members are doing during this closure,” Baribault wrote. “We are providing glimpses inside both parks with photos and videos shared online, showing how our dedicated wildlife care specialists and horticulturists continue to provide quality care for the millions of animals and plants that rely on us every day.”
Park leadership said they are taking steps to make sure staff members stay safe while caring for the animals amid the virus outbreak. Teams are staggered so that employees don’t have to work in close proximity, for example.
Many people have asked how the animals are responding to the sudden lack of guests at the park, staff said.
“Our wildlife care programs are based on our animals having a strong relationship with each other and their environment, so we have not had to make any significant changes to their daily routines,” explained Greg Vicino, the leader of the zoo’s Applied Animal Welfare program.
“The care we always provide at both the Zoo and Safari Park is based on the different experiences the animals have every day, and how those experiences require choices, activity, rest, exploration and sensory cues. By placing emphasis on the animals making independent choices about how to spend their time, it creates less reliance on external factors.”
Until visitors can return, they should check out live cameras and other resources on SanDiegoZoo.org, the parks’ news release said.