Local zoo makes adjustments for safety of guests--and animals--due to COVID-19

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:02 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Apparently it’s not just the humans who need to worry about COVID-19.

The Cameron Park Zoo is taking extra precautions to protect animals from the virus.

“Some of our animals are susceptible to COVID through human transmission, so there are some outdoor areas that we ask people to wear a mask out of an abundance of caution to keep our animals safe," said Terri Cox, Executive Director of the Cameron Park Zoological and Botanical Society. “The big cats have been known to catch COVID via human transmission, and all of our primates, some of those areas will have signage asking people to wear their masks, so we want to keep those areas open and so we’re hoping that people will do that."

Face masks and individual tasting glasses were distributed to every attendee of the 9th Annual Brew at the Zoo which kicked off Thursday night.

“So far, everyone that’s come in, they’re so excited about the event," Cox told KWTX Thursday. "I think people are just so happy to get out and do things, especially with this wonderful Fall weather that we’re having tonight.”

To allow for more social distancing, the event has been scaled-down but extended from one to three nights with 250 people per night allowed to come in and taste local beer while supporting the zoo’s educational efforts.

"It’s really important for us to raise funds,” said Cox. “We are the support society for the zoo, so we offset a lot of costs for the zoo and we want to be able to keep doing that.”

In honor of social distancing, the motto for this year’s event is “six beers apart.”

Cox says proceeds from the event help programs which fund some of the zoo’s endangered species who act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts.

“Special events help fund our animal enrichment programs and global conservation efforts, they support special projects for animals and guest services," said Cox. “So having these events is really important to us.”

The COVID-19 shutdown put the zoo, one of Waco’s biggest tourist attractions, more than $1.2 million behind in revenue.

However, since they fully re-opened in August, officials say attendance has been higher than last year at this time.

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