Earlier in the pandemic, the Oakland Zoo and San Francisco Zoo were financially devastated after being shuttered for months — with the East Bay zoological institution at one point in danger of permanently closing. Now those same hardships could come back.
Outdoor recreation has emerged as a source of respite for many across the Bay Area amid most of our usual indoor activities being put on pause by COVID-19. Like we've mentioned before: slow strolls through our region's zoos have offered a small sliver of pre-pandemic normalcy. However, those walks — gawking at large pachyderms and neon-pink flamingos — will cease to exist for at least a few weeks starting tomorrow.
Penguins galore! We are proud to maintain the largest and most successful breeding colony of Magellanic penguins under human care since 1985 🐧🐧🐧 pic.twitter.com/UFRBEa2wbK— San Francisco Zoo (@sfzoo) December 5, 2020
Zoos and aquariums also rely heavily on ticket sales from visitors, as well as in-park purchases, to sustain their operations. And those revenues streams will dry up overnight.
The Oakland Zoo recently put out a statement about tomorrow’s closure.
We will be closed 12/7-1/4, and that sadly includes Glowfari.— Oakland Zoo (@oakzoo) December 6, 2020
Anyone w/existing reservations for Glowfari will be contacted by email with info on how to reschedule their booking.
We appreciate your patience at this time & will keep you updated!
More: https://t.co/USD9IkmV33 pic.twitter.com/tNtDshNHGL
"While we are sad to be closing our doors, we know it is only temporary and we are happy to do our part to keep our community healthy," reads the statement on the zoo's website, adding that people who’ve already purchased tickets in advance will have the opportunity to reschedule their visits. "If you have tickets to visit the Zoo during our closure, either during daytime hours or to experience Glowfari, we will reach out via email in the coming weeks to reschedule your current reservation to visit Oakland Zoo."
The San Francisco Zoo has yet to release a formal statement on its impending closure. Though on its website, the wildlife park noted they "[will] close starting Monday, Dec. 7."
During this uncertain time for these two lauded zoological establishments, consider donating to their ongoing conservation and public education efforts. Both the SF Zoo and Oakland Zoo are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, meaning a donation toward each is a tax-deductible act of charity; monetary contributions will also go toward supporting veterinary work and other animal care services.
Image: Courtesy of Twitter via @sfzoo