Dear Zoo Friends,
This week has seen the Sacramento Zoo in the news of several local affiliates discussing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our nonprofit zoo, and making our community aware of critical work being done at the zoo each and every day. As a nonprofit organization we rely on admission and membership fees and program revenue from concessions, special events and programs to support the zoo. This is typically our busiest season of the year with school field trip groups visiting on weekdays, and weekends filled with family visits and special events. Without any of these activities, we had to make the difficult decision to lay-off and/or furlough about half of our employees. Despite what we hope at this time is a temporary setback, I want to assure you that our animals are being well cared for and our 93-year-old zoo is being maintained.
In regards to animal care, over the weekend I’m sure many of you saw the story coming out of the Bronx Zoo reporting that one of their tigers tested positive for COVID-19. It is believed that the virus was transmitted from the animal’s keeper to the big cat. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA), we were made aware of this development and in light of this news; the Sacramento Zoo has taken additional precautions while working with our cats and other potentially susceptible species that are designed to keep both the animals and our staff healthy and well.
For over 50 years, the zoo’s veterinary care has been in partnership with University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. UC Davis is the top rated veterinary school in the world and many principles of zoo veterinary medicine were pioneered at the Sacramento Zoo by Dr. Murray E. Fowler (1928-2014), who not only served as the zoo’s veterinarian but later the board president of the Sacramento Zoological Society. We honor his legacy every day as our veterinary hospital on grounds is named after him, and his pioneering work continues through the zoo’s veterinarians working to provide excellent health care to our animals today. The zoo’s veterinarians are in contact with public health officials and work in tandem with our animal care professionals to advise and care for our nearly 500 feathered, furred and scaled residents on a daily basis.
If you wish to assist the animals during these unprecedented times, please consider a donation to the zoo’s Emergency Relief Fund.