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What’s it like when the Zoo’s closed?

With all the uncertainty going on in the world right now, one thing that is certain is that COVID-19 is not stopping the gorillas from living their best life! Hi everyone, Hayley here! As the Zoo had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close to the public, teams across the Zoo had to come up with a strategy of how we can continue our superior care for the animals, all while keeping our team members safe. In order to reduce the risk of exposure by limiting the number of staff on grounds at a time, the animal care teams around the Zoo have broken up into two teams, Team A and Team B, and are starting a rotational schedule. That means we work seven days on, seven days off. While it is weird to not get to see the smiling faces of our awesome Members and guests, it’s basically business as usual for the gorillas and other animals around the Zoo. All animals are still receiving the same level of care as they would if the Zoo were open. That means they are still going out on habitat to enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having, still getting lots of fun enrichment, and still being monitored as closely to ensure their optimal health.

We are still adjusting to this new schedule ourselves and trying to adapt with all the changes that come our way. One thing that we know is working seven days in a row, maintaining our Team A and Team B strategy, is no easy feat, so the Primate Team has come up with ways to keep our spirits up and our motivation strong. Our first idea was to make our seven day stretch a “spirit week.” This included themed days such as crazy hair day, Disney Day, and funky sock day. These have been really fun and give us an opportunity to dress a little differently than we would if we were still open to the public. We have brought in footballs, frisbees, and hula hoops to get outside and be active during our breaks. Last but not least (and I’m sure everyone at home can relate) we have been eating a lot of snacks. The snacks have not been in short supply for Team A, and we definitely need it!

While it has been difficult to adjust our schedules, we are all so thankful to be able to continue working to take care of all the amazing animals here at Zoo Atlanta. We are looking forward to welcoming you all back to the Zoo, but until then, stay safe, stay home, and stay tuned for more updates!
Hayley T.
Keeper II, Primates

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl