COVID-19: this is not so simple to close a zoo

COVID-19: ce n’est pas si simple de fermer un zoo

SAINTE-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE – The temporary absence of visitors to the Ecomuseum Zoo in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue can be felt on the finances of the establishment of the west island of Montreal, but also on the behaviour of certain animals.

For example, the red foxes are often camouflaged to visitors in their forest of 900 square metres in normal time. “Now, as soon as there is someone who is there, they come and one feels that they get bored of people,” said the director general of the zoo, David Rodrigue.

The place is located in an air corridor, much less attended than usual because of the pandemic. Little noise disturbs now the quietude of the animal, a peace which is reflected in their behavior.

“We see animals use portions of their area of life that they had never used,” said Mr. Rodrigue.

One-way, and posters

Still no set date for reopening, the benchmark for lovers of animals of the greater Montreal region, is presently finalizing its plan for health care for welcome to new customers.

They should get used to a route in a single direction. The pavilions visit the interiors will remain closed and the educational program will be largely cancelled.

“There are also a lot of displays to remind people of the measures in place. It is a collective responsibility. It is a world changed. Organizations need to implement standards, but it is necessary that people participate,” said Mr. Rodrigue.


Closed since march 16 because of the pandemic, the zoo has seen its income go down by the arrow. “All of the income sources are lost in time. Our source of majority of income, it is the traffic,” says Mr. Rodrigue.

In the wake of this closure, 60 % of the employees have been temporarily laid off. Only a small team provides on-site care and maintenance of animals according to strict standards.

Mr. Rodrigue is pleased however to see the support of the community. “In the last month, we traveled to near $ 60, 000 which is returned in donations. It is the people of the general public and 95 % are new donors.”

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