No visitors at Australian zoo, but animals train for when lockdown ends

No visitors at Australian zoo, but animals train for when lockdown ends

The show must go on at Sydney's Taronga Zoo... eventually.

Operations continue at Taronga Zoo Sydney amidst public closure due to the coronavirus disease in S
Operations continue at Taronga Zoo Sydney amidst public closure due to the coronavirus disease in Sydney

There are no visitors at Australia's biggest zoo due to the coronavirus restrictions, but training and feeding times must keep to schedule, keepers say, particularly for animals that perform in live shows like sea lions and birds of prey.

"Animals don't seem to react differently, however they would definitely notice that there are no crowds out here when we are doing training sessions on stage," said Danielle Fox, supervisor of marine mammals at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.

Operations continue at Taronga Zoo Sydney amidst public closure due to the coronavirus disease in S
A sea lion named Pepper practices a show routine in front of an empty seating area, the result of a zoo closure to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Taronga Zoo Sydney in Sydney, Australia, April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Australia has largely avoided the high numbers of casualties which have beset other countries as the coronavirus officially called COVID-19 leaves a path of destruction around the world, with about 6,600 infections and 71 deaths.

That has been put down to heavy restrictions on public movement including border closures, shuttering most businesses that rely on paying visitors – like zoos – with no end date given.

Operations continue at Taronga Zoo Sydney amidst public closure due to the coronavirus disease in S
Bird show keeper Brendan Host practices a show routine with a barking owl in front of an empty seating area, the result of a zoo closure to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Taronga Zoo Sydney in Sydney, Australia, April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

But the absence of crowds does not affect the needs of animals, and their keepers said they are sticking to routines including keeping the same feeding times, cleaning of enclosures and training, albeit with the option to roam around the deserted waterfront park.

"One day when the zoo does open back up again we don't want them to have gone through a such a big period of change ... and for them to have to adapt back into their routine," said Fox.

Operations continue at Taronga Zoo Sydney amidst public closure due to the coronavirus disease in S
An Australian brush-turkey walks through an empty seating area, the result of a zoo closure to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Taronga Zoo Sydney in Sydney, Australia, April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Brendan Marcos, a falconer at the zoo, said it was hard to say if the performing birds were affected by the empty seats, but he definitely was.

"It's kind of like there's a void," he said. "It just feels empty."

(Source: Reuters)

Source: Reuters

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