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Beardsley Zoo asking public for financial helping during coronavirus pandemic


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Springtime is usually busy for Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, but the coronavirus is decimating the zoo’s budget.

In April, the business usually rakes in $500,000 from school groups and guests, so none of that will be coming in. It only has a $5 million budget per year.

So, by the time it reopens, the business could easily lose more than 20 percent of their income.

The zoo had to cut back on staff, except for those caring for the animals. Beardsley Zoo Director, Gregg Dancho, said they’re protecting themselves and practicing “professional distancing.”

“Because they all have to keep moving forward with their professional attitudes around working with our animals, making sure their health and welfare are still top of their priority,” Dancho said. “Second priority is keeping them healthy, so they’re all wearing masks and gloves of course.”

The staff is doing more enrichment with the animals to make up for not seeing guests.

To make up for not seeing guests, Dancho said the animals get to play games and have treats.

To keep the money flowing in, Dancho is applying for grants and asking folks to sign up for a membership to help give them some revenue. He said those who sign up could visit as much as they want when the zoo reopens.

“We’re looking at grants. We’ve got an appeal out to the people we know who love the zoo to help us with this emergency. We have our finance people. We’ve cut back, of course.”

More information can be found on the zoo’s website.

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