Please be advised that the Potawatomi Zoo management is taking the news of the COVID-19 coronavirus very seriously. We have been in contact with City of South Bend officials to help direct important decisions that need to be made in the operations of our facility. We are also following recommended precautions from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, CDC, and St. Joseph County Health Departments.
As we are currently not open for the season, we are continuing to operate animal care as normal. However, we are canceling Zoo classes and birthday parties for at least the next two weeks. Education staff will contact class and birthday participants affected by this decision to inform them of our plan and their option.
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to evaluate any other steps that need to be taken to ensure the safety of our animals, staff, and guests. The Zoo management has developed a contingency plan for addressing the season schedule and animal care if this situation escalates.
The health and safety of our animals and animal care staff are always top priorities at the Zoo. The staff is regularly trained on handwashing, minimizing risk of disease transmission, and appropriate personal protective equipment to use for cleaning habitats and public spaces. Additionally, our Zoo veterinarian and animal care management are closely monitoring AZA and CDC guidelines regarding best care for our animals. Although little is known about how this virus affects animals, we are taking precautions for the health of our staff and animals. Any opportunity to eliminate an added risk is necessary.
We will continue to update our members and the public as the situation changes.