174 laid off, Cincinnati Zoo asks for financial help to feed & care for animals

Director Thane Maynard talks economic impact of coronavirus on Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden says its closure due to the coronavirus has caused an “elephant-sized impact on operations".

“We still have mouths, beaks, jaws and maws to feed and care for,” Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said. “Our animal and plant care team, veterinarians, and essential facilities crew all remain on grounds to maintain the excellent care that we provide each and every day of the year, while practicing social distancing to keep our teams healthy.”

As a result of the loss of revenue, zoo officials say they were forced to lay off 174 people, all part-time and seasonal staff, earlier this week. Volunteers had already been asked to stay home.

“All employees are part of the Zoo family, and losing them is the last thing we wanted to do,” Maynard said. “People love this place and we will welcome them back to help us rebuild when we are able to do so.”

To help bridge the economic gap, the zoo is asking members to renew their membership and encouraging social media followers to buy a membership for themselves, a friend or a family member.

People can also donate directly to the zoo’s Emergency Operating Fund online or send a check made payable to the Cincinnati Zoo (with Emergency Fund in the memo), to Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Development, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45220.

Another way to help the zoo is to adopt an animal.

The zoo says it welcomes 1.8 million visitors each year and provides a $143 million economic impact.

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