Routinely, Logan’s Willow Park Zoo has remained open during the winter months in face of low attendance. This year the zoo will close Friday (December 10) and remain closed through February, 2011. “This is unique,” said Logan Park and Recreation Director Russ Akina. “About a third of the collection of animals in the zoo need to be protected during the winter, so they have not been in exhibit when we have been opened in past winters anyway.” Akina said records show over past years when the zoo is open to the public during the winter there is a significant drop in attendance compared to all other seasons. “For the staff, if they can concentrate their efforts and limited resources on the care of the animals by closing the zoo, we think it is the right direction to take.” Akina said in some cases animals need more care in the winter months when they are off exhibit than the rest of the year when they are on exhibit. “Between that and other maintenance duties the staff has because of the time of year, during the winter, it really stretches their resources. We think this might be a way to provide the care the collection requires until we get through winter.” Animals that will be taken off exhibit and moved to “winter” housing are the monkeys, tropical birds, hyraxes, crowned cranes, reptiles, chipmunks and wallabies. Akina said Willow Park Zoo’s collection still requires care during the public closure period and the staff will continue to work normal hours. The zoo expects to re-open in mid-March, depending on weather conditions.
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