Coronavirus Chronicles: Behind the Scenes at the Phoenix Zoo

Mirelle InglefieldApril 22, 2020
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Highly intellectual but typically more reserved, Teeny and Queeny have begun greeting Phoenix Zoo's Director of Communications, Linda Hardwick, with a
Highly intellectual but typically more reserved, Teeny and Queeny have begun greeting Phoenix Zoo’s Director of Communications, Linda Hardwick, with a “moo” each day she passes by their digs since the COVID-19 closure.
Some operations staff members have added riding to their repertoire to help keep these horses conditioned for public riding classes, as well as exercised and stimulated.
Some operations staff members have added riding to their repertoire to help keep these horses conditioned for public riding classes, as well as exercised and stimulated.
Primates, who are particularly sociable, have taken the closure especially hard. Like Jax here, who misses the attention from guests, and sticks close to the window, hoping for people to see him.
Primates, who are particularly sociable, have taken the closure especially hard. Like Jax here, who misses the attention from guests, and sticks close to the window, hoping for people to see him.
These orangutans sit close to the window while they rendezvous with their dates, the elephant caretakers who bring their lunches over to visit with them while they nosh.
These orangutans sit close to the window while they rendezvous with their dates, the elephant caretakers who bring their lunches over to visit with them while they nosh.
Also accustomed to daily pets from guests, stingray keeper Mari Belko and staff from Guest Services & Membership team up to feed and caress the irresistibly slippery and soft skin of the stingrays, who are each named after a country-western singer. Here's Mari in the serenade of Dolly Parton.
Also accustomed to daily pets from guests, stingray keeper Mari Belko and staff from Guest Services & Membership team up to feed and caress the irresistibly slippery and soft skin of the stingrays, who are each named after a country-western singer. Here’s Mari in the serenade of Dolly Parton.
I think this quote by animal rights activist and author Cleveland Amory sums it up nicely: “As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the humankind.”
I think this quote by animal rights activist and author Cleveland Amory sums it up nicely: “As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the humankind.”
While Phoenix Zoo is a nonprofit organization, it's earned revenue (read: admission sales and ticketed events) account for 80 percent of its operating expenses and like many Valley businesses, rely on high season (October-May) to support them throughout slower summers. At present, there are less than 40 percent of the zoo's staff working and all or most of them are taking on additional duties, making sure the the animals are happy and healthy, giving this sign's tagline
While Phoenix Zoo is a nonprofit organization, it’s earned revenue (read: admission sales and ticketed events) account for 80 percent of its operating expenses and like many Valley businesses, rely on high season (October-May) to support them throughout slower summers. At present, there are less than 40 percent of the zoo’s staff working and all or most of them are taking on additional duties, making sure the the animals are happy and healthy, giving this sign’s tagline “There is no zoo without you” quite a literal meaning. If you’d like to help, visit phoenixzoo.org.
 Farm animals are especially gregarious, like these goats who are quite used to getting pets throughout regular visiting hours. Each day, members of various departments make it a priority to stop by to recoup some of those lost strangers' strokes.
Farm animals are especially gregarious, like these goats who are quite used to getting pets throughout regular visiting hours. Each day, members of various departments make it a priority to stop by to recoup some of those lost strangers’ strokes.
Primates, who are particularly sociable, have taken the closure especially hard. Like Jax here, who misses the attention from guests, and sticks close to the window, hoping for people to see him.
Primates, who are particularly sociable, have taken the closure especially hard. Like Jax here, who misses the attention from guests, and sticks close to the window, hoping for people to see him.
This southern ground hornbill named Aja is what the zoo staffers call an “animal ambassador,
This southern ground hornbill named Aja is what the zoo staffers call an “animal ambassador,” meaning this feisty fella is representin’ all over the Valley – in TV and radio studios, educational facilities, resorts and day cares and on zoo grounds and making face with the public in general any chance he gets. Here he is making his COVID-induced placebo rounds with Josh Crabtree, Manager of Animal Ambassador Resources perhaps wishing there were more people around to behold his majestic red gullet and feathery banks of eyelashes.
Also an
Also an “animal ambassador,” this Patagonian cavy was described to me as a hybrid of a few different species including rabbit, deer and guinea pig and, might I please add, nuzzler?
Nichole Grosser, keeper, interacts with Odin, also an animal ambassador, to keep him cheerful and fit for his next close-up.
Nichole Grosser, keeper, interacts with Odin, also an animal ambassador, to keep him cheerful and fit for his next close-up.
The usual crowds and daylight tend to make his nocturnal little guy run for the cool comforts of his dark den, but as we slowly passed by, to our delight, his suspicion let up just long enough for us to sneak this snapshot. Perhaps he was thinking,
The usual crowds and daylight tend to make his nocturnal little guy run for the cool comforts of his dark den, but as we slowly passed by, to our delight, his suspicion let up just long enough for us to sneak this snapshot. Perhaps he was thinking, “Take a picture, it will last longer.”
Pre-COVID-19, at 9:30 each morning, zookeepers would host a backstage adventure tour called Flamingle where guests would interact, feed and walk with these sassy chicks in their lush, lagoon-like habitat. Keepers are doing their best to keep the routine going, ensuring the birds remain social and well-walked. Get a chuckle out of their dramatic dealings by checking out the new blog series, Hot Pink, at https://www.phoenixzoo.org/flamingocove.
Pre-COVID-19, at 9:30 each morning, zookeepers would host a backstage adventure tour called Flamingle where guests would interact, feed and walk with these sassy chicks in their lush, lagoon-like habitat. Keepers are doing their best to keep the routine going, ensuring the birds remain social and well-walked. Get a chuckle out of their dramatic dealings by checking out the new blog series, Hot Pink, at https://www.phoenixzoo.org/flamingocove.

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