July 28, 2020 – As the closures and restrictions from the COVID-19 global pandemic stretch past the four-month mark, many of us are longing to participate in the activities that bring us joy. The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo prides itself on being an enriching, educational resource for our community. As a spacious outdoor zoo, many people have expressed their hopes of visiting us soon so their families can see the animals they miss and enjoy nature. While zoo staff understands that it may be unclear why the zoo remains closed, zoo officials want to offer insight on that decision.
Santa Fe College continues to consult daily with key health and emergency personnel and closely monitors guidance from federal, state and local health agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Zoo staff communicate daily with our veterinarians at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Zoological Medicine Service. In determining plans for re-opening, zoo staff considers the advice of all of these experts. They also consider what is at stake and their responsibility to protect those that cannot protect themselves.
They think of Eddie, the 38-year-old white-handed gibbon and his family. They worry about our Asian small-clawed otters and their six-month-old pups. They consider the risk to Emma and Zeus, their geriatric ocelots. And they remain concerned for the safety of the student zookeepers, who work every day to give exceptional care for the animals. The student zookeepers trust in college administration and zoo staff to create a safe environment where they can obtain a singular education experience.
The SF Teaching Zoo also is thinking of the families here in the community. They are working diligently to make adjustments to the zoo, so when the zoo does reopen, the animals, staff, students and community are protected as much as possible.
Until then, the SF Teaching Zoo is still #BringingTheZooToYou on Facebook and Instagram so you can remain connected with the animals. They look forward to a day in the future where your family can once again spend time with the SF Teaching Zoo family. For updates, you can follow along on social media and check the Santa Fe College COVID-19 webpage.