Zoos are starting to reopen in Canada and here's what's different now
Zoos in Canada are slowly starting to reopen, but you won't be able to interact with the animals just yet.
On Wednesday, the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg became the first zoo in Canada to reopen it doors after closing down for eight weeks — and it's made some pretty major changes in that time.
Visitors will now find hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo, shields at food stations, and yellow floor markings to encourage one-way pedestrian traffic.
Play structures, gift shops, and dine-in services will all be closed, although visitors can grab take-out food from the zoo's grill and ice cream shoppe.
The zoo has also scapped high-contact experiences such as stingray feeding and horse wagon rides for the time being.
We are excited to announce that the Zoo will re-open to the public on Wednesday, May 13! We have made modifications for the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, visitors, and animals. Before you visit, please read about these changes on our website: https://t.co/DBnYXLvsF9 pic.twitter.com/mi7po2WxRN— Assiniboine Park Zoo (@assiniboinezoo) May 11, 2020
Meanwhile, the Toronto Zoo will offer Canadians a "drive-thru" safari experience when it eventually reopens.
Visitors will be able to drive along a designated pathway, enjoying the zoo's animals from the comfort of their own vehicle — and maintaing a safe distance from others.
#Exclusive @TheTorontoZoo will become a temporary Zoo Drive-Thru once it gets the OK to reopen. Rehearsals for driving through the zoo property were held today. @globalnewsto pic.twitter.com/7hRvzG031c— Tom Hayes (@TomHayesNews) May 13, 2020
The Calgary Zoo is also gearing up for some major changes.
Last week, the zoo sent out a survey asking people how they felt about a number of social distancing measures, including time-controlled entry, a one-way pedestrian system, and limiting visitors to outdoor exhibits in the early stages.
Over 8,000 people filled in the survey, with many indicating that they would feel comfortable returning to the zoo immediately, so long as adequate social distancing measures were in place.
Help inform our re-opening approach! As we explore re-opening options, we want to hear your thoughts #YYC. Please help us by taking three minutes of your time to answer eight questions here: https://t.co/YCqkNI4v8I. We appreciate your input to the process! #Calgary #YYCfamily pic.twitter.com/wM2rf3qOAX— Calgary Zoo (@calgaryzoo) May 6, 2020
Canadian zoos and aquariums have been particularly hard hit by this pandemic, primarily because they rely on revenue from a steady flow of visitors to feed their animals.
On Tuesday, the Calgary Zoo was even forced to send both of its Giant Pandas back to China due to a bamboo shortage.
After months of overcoming barriers to transporting fresh bamboo to feed its giant pandas, the Calgary Zoo announced today that it will be relocating giant pandas, “Er Shun” and “Da Mao”, back home to China where bamboo is abundant and local. Read More: https://t.co/mVPOINd4U2 pic.twitter.com/Tpl7zpxSvc— Calgary Zoo (@calgaryzoo) May 12, 2020
Most zoos in Canada have yet to announce an official reopening date, but if you're missing spending some quality time with animals, you can always check out the gorillas at the Toronto Zoo virtually while you wait.
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