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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park began furloughing non-essential workers Monday, as both parks remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are saddened that we must take this step, which we recognize may place a hardship on some members of the San Diego Zoo Global family,” management said in a news release.

“We value all of our team members, and we appreciate that our success over the years is due to their enthusiasm and dedication. San Diego Zoo Global expects to welcome furloughed staff back to work once our parks are able to reopen.”

The company said that furloughed employees will continue to receive health benefits.

The parks did not release specific numbers on how many workers were laid off, but they assured that team members providing essential care for animals are not among the furloughed employees.

The parks have been closed to public visitors since March 16. San Diego Zoo Global has started a fundraising campaign to continue funding wildlife care and preservation efforts at a time where the parks are losing the revenue from vistors.

The zoo is also offering online learning resources and live cameras around the park while families are stuck at home.