ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - It’s been over 100 days since the coronavirus pandemic hit Albany, and for Chehaw Park and Zoo, the pandemic meant that operations would have to change for the time being.
“You’ll notice some arrows on the ground that will take you through the zoo, so you’re not getting as close to people as you normally would. We are disinfecting up to three times a day, certain high touch areas. So the viewing glass on the reptile house and on the meerkats because we know children like to touch it. We are not doing the interactive feedings and educational programs, but we hope to find a way to bring that back soon,” Morgan Burnette, Chehaw director of guest and public relations.
Despite the new protocols, Director of Living Collections Samantha Sassone said their goal to protect their zoo animals has been the same since day one.
“As of right now, everything is going to continue as is at this point, the animals are still going to get the same level of care as they’ve always gotten. We do ask that if you do have symptoms at all, please decide to stay home. We still don’t even know what kind of species can get this disease,” said Sassone.
And as the temperatures continue to climb, a new set of health concerns continue to rise across the attraction — heat stroke.
But zoo workers are prepared to prevent that health risk too.
“So it is August, and it is really hot out here. Luckily, a lot of the zoo is in shady areas. We encourage people to come early in the morning because the animals are a little cooler and more active,” said Burnette.
“Every day, every animal gets fresh water. Sometimes multiple times a day. You may see some sprinklers going on the exhibits for enrichment for the animals, so they can choose to get into the water. You may see some of the animals in the wallows. The emus particularly really enjoy getting into their wallows,” said Sassone.