For three months the zoo has remained closed to the public. As we anticipate getting chance to head back inside, the staff are waiting as well as the animals.
For 20 years Roo Kojancie has taken care of animals at the Erie Zoo. She says the pandemic has been challenging not only for the staff, but the animals as well.
” One of the things we’ve never sacrificed is level of care for the animals,” said Kojancie
During normal operations, visitors provide much needed stimulation to entertain the animals. Without humans, keepers have had to change things up to ensure the animals are still getting some social interaction.
“The animals really do love interacting with visitors and the guest here. We’ve had to get a little creative with what we do,” said Kojancie.
To entertain the animals, staff will eat lunch with them and even walk some animals around the park to visit other exhibits.
Inside the exhibits, the staff have added things like blankets, toys and even play Disney movies.
” To try and keep some level of interruptions. It’s not the level we would normally have when we have visitors here. We’re trying to do somethings to keep them active and busy.,” said Scott Mitchell, president of the Erie Zoo.
Mitchell adds some of the animals seem to enjoy the lack of visitors. On the other hand, animals like the orangutans miss the interaction with visitors.
” We sometimes have to be careful as we approach exhibits, we might startled something because they’re not use to someone being on the public side of things. It’s going to be a little bit of a transition when we open things,” said Mitchell
Coming up tomorrow, JET24 will partner with the Erie Community Foundation for a “Pandemic Relief Telethon” on behalf of the Erie Zoo.
You’ll have the chance to call in and donate to the phone bank starting bright and early on Good Morning Erie and Good Day Erie.
Lines will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.