Coronavirus: Will Lock down Have a Negative Impact On The Zoo Animals?
While the zoo and aquariums have shut down, animals still need the same level of care. Some keepers have been staying near animals on the site at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire. While at Sealife Center in Birmingham staff is storing salt in case the seawater shipment is stopped.
Weeks earlier Twycross Zoo started implementing social distancing measures on staff and stocked up on bedding and dry feed.
But the unknown time period of the lockdown is making everything difficult.
“We all have contingency plans in case of snow which means we are closed for a week and we had to do that the year before last,” said Dr. Sharon Redrobe, Chief Executive of Twycross Zoo.”A number of years ago we were shut for a few weeks for foot and mouth disease. But this is a whole different ball game, we are shut but don’t know when it is likely we can reopen so it is difficult to plan for, apart from saving as many costs as possible.”
From April onwards the staff will only comprise of essential keepers, vets, and a few maintenance crew working.
“Then we have to have a view about when it is safe to reopen or when we reopen, whether people will be willing or too scared to come out, or if we will be in a recession and will people be able to afford to come out,” Dr. Redrobe said.
“Our message to all our staff is that we are going into a little period of sleep and we do have a wake-up plan so we need to be able to bounce back and be ready to welcome visitors back.”
She praised the keepers and staff’s dedication who continued to work throughout the lockdown.
“They have proper accommodation at the far end of the site, further away from the animals, and they are not working with the animals overnight but they are ready for every eventuality,” said Matyas Liptovsky, zoo’s head.
Birmingham’s Sea Life Centre is greatly dependent on tankers of south coast seawater to ensure a natural habitat for its aquatic inhabitants.
The aquarium has stored the stock of salt to make its own seawater in case the tank deliveries are impossible, said Jonny Rudd, the curator.
The staff is working four days on and off in shift patterns, and deep clean in between the changeovers to ensure staff is healthy to continue working for these animals.
“It is business as usual but we really miss seeing people already, it is odd being in the building without guests,” said Mr. Rudd.
“The team are so dedicated, they are not worried about getting sick but what they will do if they can’t work.
“The whole industry is dedicated to its animals and making sure everyone is getting the care they need.”
Chester Zoo welcomed the people On Friday, to see zoo animals through Facebook page’s live feed.
Mark Pilgrim, the CEO of Chester zoo, said: “Many businesses can kind of ‘shut down’, furlough staff and mothball at very little cost.
“Although we can furlough some staff, the costs of heating and feeding the animals are big but we have zero income.”