Hogle Zoo Accumulating Thousands In Expenses During Coronavirus Closure

Apr 23, 2020, 1:38 PM | Updated: 6:46 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s Hogle Zoo has been closed for over a month due to the novel coronavirus. Officials said the closure has hurting the zoo financially.

“It’s been rough,” said marketing director Brad Parkin.

April has historically been the start of the busy season for the zoo. They’ve been closed since March 17.

“It’s a daily struggle. Unlike a lot of other businesses, we have 500 mouths to feed,” said Parkin.

Those mouths, big and small, require a lot of food, attention and veterinarian care.

“It costs between $40,000 and $45,000 per day to operate the zoo, whether we are open or not. If you do the math, over the course of the last 30 days we’ve been closed, that’s well over a million dollars, and we have no cash flow coming in,” Parkin said.

With no revenue coming in, the zoo has had to make some sacrifices, including cutting a community favorite – the famous bird show – in an effort to maintain staff and daily needs.

“The bird show is a victim of COVID-19,” Parkin said. “Desperate time’s call for desperate measures. We had to take a hard look at all our existing contracts.”

He told KSL with no known end date to the pandemic, it’s hard to plan for a reopening – and changes will be necessary once they can reopen.

“I expect we’ll need to open with some social distancing measures in place, and we are well prepared to be able to do that,” said Parkin.

In the meantime, zoo keepers said some of the animals have acted a little different, maybe even confused because it’s been routine to see groups of people.

“I think people have missed our animals, too. Our animals have certainly missed them,” said Parkin.

He said he’s never seen anything like the situation before. The zoo has always been open, except New Year’s and Christmas Day.

“(These are) unprecedented times. I’ve been at the zoo 17 years, and obviously, nothing like this has ever come around and it’s just impacted us.”

Hogle Zoo officials were hopeful to open and recover, but also looking at financial relief programs for help, as well as donations.

“We’re doing the best we can. That’s all I can say, and what the future holds, we don’t know,” said Parkin.

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Hogle Zoo Accumulating Thousands In Expenses During Coronavirus Closure