COVID-19 Update

April 22, 2020

As a nation, this past week was filled with good news and tragic news. While we are hearing encouraging news that shows our shared efforts and sacrifice are flattening the curve, we cannot ignore the tragic loss of life which has taken place. Our thoughts go out to all those who have been impacted by this terrible disease. With the flattening of the curve, we are beginning to hear many people talk about opening things back up. We wish we could open our gates tomorrow, but we recognize the importance in staying the course to ensure the safety our of visitors, staff, volunteers, and animals. We continue to implement CDC recommendations and enhanced safety protocols for all staff on grounds and are happy to report all of our staff and animals remain healthy and safe.

We are doing our part to slow the spread and we are planning for our eventual re-opening. Over the past several weeks we have been putting additional safety measures into place. When we re-open we want our visitors, volunteers, and staff to feel safe and want to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals in our care. This includes the installation of additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the zoo, additional signage on social distancing and preventing the spread of the virus, and new bathroom signage on hand washing.

Planning for our 145th season will not be without its challenges. This month we saw the cancellation of our annual Eggstravaganza, the first cancellation in the history of the event. April 18th was our planned grand opening and our first Scout event of the season, but sadly our gates remain closed. While we may be closed, we are working to help keep you connected to our zoo. I encourage you to visit our website and follow us on social media for videos of some of your favorite animals here at the zoo, information about this season’s new arrivals, and activity ideas to keep your kids busy and learning.

We are fortunate to receive government support as a nonprofit organization but over 60% of our revenue comes from admissions, gift shop sales, concessions, and program fees like our Scout events and Zoo School. With our gates closed, these revenues are nonexistent while our costs remain.

Please consider making a gift to support the animals here at the zoo.

Your gift of $300 will feed our colony of African penguins for a month.
Your gift of $200 will supply our red pandas with bamboo for a month.
Your gift of $100 will feed our Amur leopard for a month.

Your support is more important than ever. I encourage you to visit our website and show your support by contributing to our emergency fund. Thank you for your continued support!

Sincerely,
Phillip Ginter
Executive Director

zooU Online
Emergency Fund

April 6, 2020

This week is going to be challenging for many of us as the impact of the virus hits its peak during a time of the year which is sacred for so many. Our thoughts go out to all those with loved ones affected by this virus and to all of those who have lost loved ones. We know it is going to get worse before it gets better but we know it WILL get better.

Among the troubling news emerging this week was the recent confirmation a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus. Our dedicated animal care staff have been in touch with colleagues around the country monitoring this situation. While we have implemented a number of safety protocols to limit the spread of the virus at the zoo we are implementing additional measures as recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Felid Taxon Advisory Group and the US Centers for Disease Control. This includes enhanced screening of all zoo employees prior to beginning their shift to monitor for symptoms, additional physical distancing with all animals at the zoo, and the use of face coverings for all employees when on grounds.

As we all work hard to maintain physical distancing to combat the spread of the disease, it is more important than ever that we remain socially connected. During the coming weeks we will be increasing our efforts to help connect you with the zoo and with each other. This includes hosting a digital egg hunt on Facebook this weekend in lieu of our annual Eggstravaganza event, and continuing to build out our digital content through zooU, offering fun and engaging ideas and activities to support learning with your children while they are home from school. I encourage you to visit our website and follow us on Facebook to stay connected.

The support we have received from the community during these challenging times has truly been an inspiration. We are here because you care and that has never been clearer. Thank you to everyone who has supported our emergency fund and a special thank you to those who have sent words of encouragement. Our staff are working tirelessly to maintain the health and wellbeing of the animals in our care. We all look forward to welcoming you all back to the zoo soon!

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay connected!

Sincerely,
Phillip Ginter
Executive Director


March 28, 2020

A year ago I joined the team here at the Ross Park Zoo. Just a month ago we were making plans for the arrival of new species, working on renovating existing habitats, and building new ones. We had just wrapped up a successful Winter Zoo School series with WSKG featuring the Wild Kratts, which served more than 100 area youth. We were open weekends allowing visitors to see their favorite animals year-round. We were working with our friends at the City of Binghamton, Community Foundation for South Central New York, and the Discovery Center on the development of a new master plan for Ross Park. Then the world got turned upside down and everything got put on pause.

While the world may be on pause, our animals continue to need our care and we continue to need your support. The response to our Emergency Fund has truly been humbling and we are extremely grateful for the support of the community. With the Governor’s announcement that the virus will likely apex in the next three weeks, we are preparing to remain closed through the end of April and have cancelled our Eggstravaganza event and have pushed back our Grand Opening. While we receive some government funding to support our operations, the majority of our funding comes from the support of our community through memberships, animal adoptions, admissions, concession sales, and programs like our ZooMobile. With these revenue streams on hold, your support is more important than ever before.

We recognize we are not alone in facing these challenges which is why we are encouraging our supporters to think about how they can support us while supporting local businesses. We invite you to support local businesses by purchasing gift cards from some of our local vendors. You can purchase gift
cards for Creature Comforts and Kovarik True Value Hardware online using the links below, or you can call Harpursville Farm and Garden at (607) 693-1461 and purchase a gift card over the phone.

Kovarik True Value Hardware
Creature Comforts

Other options for purchasing gift cards are listed below:

Amazon
Chewy
Lowe’s

During this crisis it is important for us to come together and support one another. Whether you contribute to our Emergency Fund, buy a gift card, or purchase from our Amazon Wish List, you can make a difference and help us continue to ensure the health and well-being of the more than 175 animals under our care at Binghamton’s Ross Park Zoo.

While we are closed don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@rossparkzoo) to keep up on everything happening at the zoo. Thank you to everyone who has supported us during this time, whether it be through a donation or a kind word, your support keeps us going strong!

Sincerely,
Phillip Ginter
Executive Director


March 18, 2020

I am writing to let you know what we are doing at the Ross Park Zoo to keep everyone safe and healthy during these challenging times as well as to let you know about the important work we continue to do on a daily basis. In light of calls for social distancing to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Eggstravaganza is cancelled and we will remain closed until at least April 18, 2020. We have implemented additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols and are making important changes to our staffing patterns to ensure we are able to provide uninterrupted quality care to the animals entrusted in our care. We will be monitoring the situation and will adjust our plans as necessary to support our community’s response to this virus.

While these are challenging times, this won’t stop our important conservation work nor will it prevent us from continuing to provide high quality care to the animals in our care. Our new coyote yard is nearing completion and will allow us to provide a larger yard and a more complex habitat for Magnus and Riley, our current pair of coyotes. Work will soon be complete on a new habitat for our most recent arrivals, Jodi and Ruby, a pair of Pallas’s cats, and our staff are nearing completion of another space which will be home for a pair of animals expected to arrive later this year. We continue to expand our participation in Species Survival Plan programs with the recent addition of the Pallas’s cats and plans to add even more species this season to the 20 plus species we are supporting through these important conservation partnerships with other zoos around the country.

We have big plans for this coming season and while we are closed to the public we want to provide opportunities for you to stay connected and up to date on the happenings at the zoo including renovations to habitats and the arrival of new animals. I encourage you to visit rossparkzoo.org, visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on all the great things happening at the Ross Park Zoo.

There are great things happening, but I cannot deny the next several months will present challenges and we will need your help in order to continue the work we have started. I would ask you to consider making a contribution today to support this work by visiting our Emergency Fund. Your gift today will ensure we have the resources we need to continue to provide quality care to our animals including support for our training and enrichment programs which play a vital role in promoting animal welfare; and complete renovations to new animal habitats.

In the midst of this current situation I am reminded of the great things we can accomplish when we come together with a shared vision and a common purpose. We are in uncharted waters, but we are not alone. I have no doubt we will come out of this stronger as a community. I have seen first-hand how our community has stood up to challenges in the past and am comforted in the knowledge when things get tough, we come together.

Thank you for you continued support! I look forward to seeing you at the zoo this summer!

Sincerely,
Phillip Ginter
Executive Director