National zoo staff locked up to prevent Covid from entering | The standard

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Like everywhere in Canberra, the National Zoo is very different this week with the wildlife staff locked in while the ACT is locked down. Several key wildlife and maintenance staff took refuge in the area, spending nights away from friends and family tending to the animals. Closed to the public since the start of the epidemic and suffering from diving into the tourist trade long before, the zoo has kept its lights on and the animals have been fed thanks to the federal government’s program of support for exhibiting zoos and aquariums of Australia, which is scheduled to end in September. . Following a push by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to the national cabinet on Friday, executive director Russell Jackson said he had just been informed that the program would be extended until June 2022. ” Zoos and aquariums are in a somewhat unique position because they can’t just turn off the lights, lock the doors and go, “Jackson said. Most overheads stay the same whether they’re open or not. . This program has been critical in maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare throughout the pandemic. “We are very grateful for the support of the ACT government and the initiative of the Chief Minister to speak to the federal government as he is evident that the situation in NSW and now ACT will have a major ripple effect after September. ”Pier of another lifeline, life inside the zoo will continue throughout the lockdown, although a little quieter. D ince the doors closed to the public last week, staff have taken it upon themselves to provide additional stimulation to the animals in the absence of outside visitors. “The wildlife team go out of their way and even give of their time to make sure the animals receive additional enrichment and activities,” Jackson said. He said that for more social species such as primates, meerkats and otters, not seeing many faces around the zoo was odd. READ MORE: “They certainly miss them. Big cats like lions and tigers also look forward to interaction with the public, so they are given special attention,” Jackson said. “Those who typically have direct interaction with the public, such as cheetahs, also need extra attention.” Anticipating that the animals will be missed by the public as well, the zoo will regularly host live events on Facebook during the lockdown to give everyone a chance to check out what’s going on inside the enclosures. “Considering the very special nature of our animals and our staff, we need to take an extremely careful approach to keeping them safe and healthy, as we have done since the start of the pandemic,” said M Jackson. He said access to payments in the event of a Covid disaster meant staff who usually took care of the animals would take care of them as well. “While we had to drastically reduce our staffing for the Zoo and Jamala Wildlife Lodge due to the restriction on entry to essential workers, we have taken steps to ensure that all staff are financially protected during the three-year period. weeks, ”Jackson said. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this COVID-19 outbreak in ACT and lockdown is free to everyone. However, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism. If you can, subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also subscribe to our newsletters for regular updates. Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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