Zoo animals keeping busy despite no guests for entertainment

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Humans aren’t the only ones missing in-person interaction these days, so are the animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

With the gates closed to visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, zoo staff has been digging into their bag of tricks and treats to keep animals like the elephants and Amur leopards preoccupied.

“We are so proud of our staff. They have really stepped up and found all these unique ways to keep the animals really interested and engaged… and make their lives as good as they can be without people around,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox.

Without their usual entertainment watching guests, black and white ruffed lemurs are getting extra snacks. Other animals like Naga the komodo dragon and Mortoise the Tortoise are being allowed to roam the usually busy lobby, with supervision of course.

Naga the komodo dragon sunning herself under a heat lamp.

Fox said other aspects of the zoo have also been affected. With Cornell University mostly shutdown, the zoo’s usual veterinary care has been slightly impacted and animal transports have been pushed back.

“The Amur leopard cubs were supposed to be leaving sometime right around now same with the snow leopard cubs who are two years old now, so they’ll stay with us for a little while longer,” Fox said.

Despite these temporary inconveniences Fox said the animals are receiving everything they need The zoo has also upped their presence on social media, posting small clips of animals being fed or new babies trying to keep the public connected at home.

Until they reopen, the zookeepers are also holding weekly question and answer sessions on Facebook to keep animal education alive as well.

One thing is for certain, everyone at the zoo, including the animals are eager to get back to normal.

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For more local news, follow Rob Hackford on Twitter @Robert_Hackford.

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