A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Cincinnati Zoo bringing animals into your homes via Facebook during COVID-19 closure

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden closed to the public Sunday to do its part to curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

During the closure, the Zoo plans to offer Home Safari Facebook Lives seven days a week.

Recent video of Fiona splashing and running

“We’re bringing the Zoo to people who are stuck at home,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “This Zoo is so important to the community and not being able to visit will create a void that we’re trying to fill.  The goal with the daily live sessions is to provide fun and educational content to people who are stuck at home.”

The Home Safaris started at 3 p.m. Monday.

The first one featured the world’s most famous hippo, Fiona.

To watch live, just visit the Zoo’s Facebook page at 3 p.m. The Zoo will also post the safaris on its website and on YouTube so everyone can view.

“We announced the safaris on Facebook Sunday, and the response was phenomenal.  That post has reached more than 18 million people and has been shared 283,000 times,” said Maynard.

“I’m not a social media expert, but I’m pretty sure those numbers are off the charts.”

The Zoo also picked up 400,000 new Facebook followers after it announced the lives.  It plans to bring the Zoo into peoples’ homes via its other social channels throughout the day as long as it remains closed.

As a non-profit organization, the Zoo relies on ticket sales, zoo visits, memberships and donations to operate. Being closed will have a significant impact on its overall operating budget.

“Please consider donating to our emergency operating fund to assist us with the care of our animals and team members,” said Maynard. “Your support now is more critical than ever,”“Other ways to support the Zoo during this difficult period is to purchase or renew existing memberships, ADOPT animals or send a personalized Cameo message from Fiona to someone you love.”

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

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