- Title: Oakland Zoo looks for new revenue while protecting its wildlife from coronavirus
- Date: 11th April 2020
- Summary: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (APRIL 9, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ALLIGATOR IN WATER VARIOUS OF TIGER TAKING NAP WATER SPLASHING IN POOL TIGER EXHIBIT DUCKS VARIOUS OF FLAMINGOS VARIOUS OF JOEL PARROTT, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF OAKLAND ZOO, LOOKING AT EXHIBIT (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOEL PARROTT, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF OAKLAND ZOO, SAYING: "When the pathways go totally quiet, it's just so much different because the animals are fine. They are living within their own worlds. And they basically just notice that the pathways are empty and our folks are gone. So our passion is to first be with wildlife and then teach people about wildlife, and when we can't do that, it's a much lonelier experience." VARIOUS SIGNAGE FOR OAKLAND ZOO SHUTTERED ADMISSION WINDOWS (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOEL PARROTT, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF OAKLAND ZOO, SAYING: "You know, the Oakland Zoo is managed by a nonprofit organization. We are 91 percent dependent on being open for business as a small business. We only receive about 9 percent of our finances from the tax support from the community. That puts a lot of pressure on us to financially manage the zoo and manage through a time like this." GONDOLAS TOP OF CONDOR GLIDE ZIPLINE MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND SEAT FOR CONDOR GLIDE ZIPLINE IN PLAYGROUND PELICAN ROCKER IN AWESOME OCEAN CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND SEEING SEABIRDS IN AWESOME OCEAN CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND BIRD CHIRPING ON ZIPLINE VARIOUS OF EMPTY PATHWAYS VARIOUS OF PARROTT ON GOLF CART VARIOUS OF ADAM FINK, THE ZOOLOGICAL MANAGER AT THE CHILDREN'S ZOO SECTION VARIOUS OF LEMURS (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADAM FINK, THE ZOOLOGICAL MANAGER AT THE CHILDREN'S ZOO SECTION, SAYING: "This re-invigorated all the focus of the PPE around our mammals. So in the case of our lemurs, we weren't wearing face masks around our lemurs all the time. That really reinvigorated it. We wear masks now around the majority of our animals just to prevent the potential of our animals spreading disease to us and us getting our animal sick." VARIOUS OF ZOOKEEPER FEEDING LEMURS LEMUR EATING SNACK OFF BRANCH (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADAM FINK, THE ZOOLOGICAL MANAGER AT THE CHILDREN'S ZOO SECTION, SAYING: "So for animals, if we're looking for signs of a respiratory issue, we're looking for things like coughing, potentially sneezing, nasal discharge. Animals being lethargic is a really good key that they may not be feeling OK. And the other big thing is dehydration. If an animal's dehydrated, it's it often can be a sign that they could be showing some signs of respiratory issue." MORE VARIOUS OF ZOOKEEPER FEEDING LEMURS AFRICAN SAVANNA EXHIBIT EMPTY PATHWAY IN FRONT OF AFRICAN SAVANNA EXHIBIT VARIOUS OF ELAND RESTING AFRICAN SAVANNA EXHIBIT JESSICA CHAPMAN, SUPERVISING PRIMARY GIRAFFE KEEPER, LOOKING AT EXHIBIT GIRAFFE MORE OF CHAPMAN LOOKING AT EXHIBIT (SOUNDBITE) (English) JESSICA CHAPMAN, SUPERVISING PRIMARY GIRAFFE KEEPER, ON LEARNING ABOUT THE TIGER AT THE BRONX ZOO TESTING POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS, SAYING: "It was a little scary, but we know that this is a zoological, a zoonotic disease. So a lot of diseases start from animals and it's something that we know in our field and we take very seriously. So it wasn't a huge shock, but it's a little scary not knowing that we don't know what else could happen. So, you know, we're taking a lot of extra precautions for a lot of the species. And I think we're just going to continue to be safe and see what happens. I'm hoping that it's an isolated case, but we'll have to just wait and see and be safe." CHAPMAN DURING INTERVIEW CHAPMAN HOLDING FACE MASK (SOUNDBITE) (English) JESSICA CHAPMAN, SUPERVISING PRIMARY GIRAFFE KEEPER, ON SOCIAL DISTANCING AND ON ANIMALS AT THE ZOO DURING CORONAVIRUS, SAYING: "For these species, the giraffe and eland, we do not think that they'll be an issue. But we have our PPE for any of our staffing. So I always work with another person. And so we're very careful about being six feet apart and always having our mask and anything that we need when we're together. But these species, we haven't identified as a high risk. So that hasn't changed. A lot of it has just been focusing on our contact with each other and making sure that that stays safe because we do, you know, work in different areas. So I might work with a coworker that will then work with the cats tomorrow. So it's really important that people to people we maintain our distance and our protocol." VARIOUS OF GIRAFFES AND ELAND IN AFRICAN SAVANNA EXHIBIT MOUNTAIN LION IN HAMMOCK TREE WITH MOUNTAIN LION ANOTHER MOUNTAIN LION IN HAMMOCK ANOTHER TREE WITH MOUNTAIN LION VARIOUS OF WHITE-HANDED GIBBONS IN TREE HOWLING (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOEL PARROTT, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF OAKLAND ZOO, SAYING: "A number of animals do seem to enjoy the public being here because they it helps keep them engaged and people passing by on the pathway. And the white-handed Gibbons are a good example of that. You know, they'll come right to the edge to see who's coming up the pathway many, many times throughout the day so it's almost a form of enrichment for them." MORE OF WHITE-HANDED GIBBONS IN TREE TREE AT ZOO
- Keywords: COVID-19 Oakland Zoo animals coronavirus coronavirus coverage wildlife zoo
- Reuters ID: LVA001C91PYKN
- Location: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:08:30
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: The walkways at the Oakland Zoo are normally bustling with tourists and animal lovers of all ages, but ever since California's Alameda County issued a shelter-in-place order last month to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, those pathways have emptied out and fallen silent.
Now the only noises are crows cawing, white-handed gibbons howling, and the occasional buzz and hum of maintenance equipment run by its few remaining essential employees.
For Oakland Zoo president Joel Parrott, it's a sobering reminder of the coronavirus's impact on their everyday mission.
"Our passion is to first be with wildlife and then teach people about wildlife, and when you can't do that, it's a much lonelier experience," he said.
On paper, it's even more troubling. Parrott said about 90% of the zoo's finances come from being open for business - primarily through admissions.
During summertime, the zoo sees an average of 6,000 daily visitors. With general public admission fees from $20 to $24 depending on the age group, admissions can bring in roughly $120,000 a day.
But without that much needed revenue, the zoo has been forced to lay off about 110 part-time employees, Parrott said. That group includes mostly cashiers, ride operators for the gondolas and restaurant workers.
To try to recoup some of that money and pay for essential services during the shelter-in-place, the zoo started a subscription-based behind the scenes video series.
The remaining employees include public safety workers, veterinarians, and zoologists, all of whom must comply with social distancing measures and in certain cases wear personal protective equipment, or PPE.
Adam Fink, the zoological manager at the children's zoo, said the PPE requirements vary between animals. They're wearing at least a face mask for lemurs, bats, and pigs, among others, he said.
The measures took on even more importance after a tiger tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo in New York last weekend.
"This re-invigorated all the focus of the PPE around our mammals. So in the case of our lemurs, we weren't wearing face masks around our lemurs all the time. That really reinvigorated it. We wear masks now around the majority of our animals just to prevent the potential of our animals spreading disease to us and us getting our animal sick," said Fink, who added that they're actively watching the animals for respiratory illness symptoms like coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, dehydration and lethargy.
Fink said currently all animals are healthy, a status they hope to keep as long as the coronavirus is spreading.
Parrott said he's trying to stay hopeful and just look forward to the day when visitors can return.
"A number of animals do seem to enjoy the public being here because they it helps keep them engaged and people passing by on the pathway, the white-handed Gibbons are a good example of that," Parrott said. "They'll come right to the edge to see who's coming up the pathway many, many times throughout the day so it's almost a form of enrichment for them."
(Production: Nathan Frandino)
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