Effects of COVID-19 on Oglebay Good Zoo

Local News

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF )- COVID-19 closures have created similar reverberations worldwide—a loss of commerce. And for some that may mean permanent closures and for others having to make do the best they can. 7News scaled it down locally, and discusses what one facility is undergoing.

An economic downturn, a resounding result of COVID-19. And for a business that is self-funded and does not receive local, state, or federal tax support, people provide the revenue.

The Director of the Oglebay Good Zoo, Dr. Joe Greathouse, told 7News “we’re still providing the animals with great care each day, still doing enrichment, still doing training with everybody, but it’s not quite the exceptional level that we’re used to where we have the students from the West Liberty University zoo science major here observing and interacting with the animals and 100 team volunteers or 20 interns or apprentices at one time.”

There are 400 animals at the Oglebay Good Zoo, costing $1200 a week just to feed them, and that doesn’t include the costs of their keepers, or medicine and veterinary care.

Dr. Greathouse said “when we’re closed during periods like this, we take a little bit of a hit. The best way that folks can help right now is by purchasing memberships or by making philanthropic contributions to the Oglebay Foundation because that helps support us as well. We’re one of only about a dozen self-sustaining zoos that are AZA accredited in the country.”

The animals are missing human interaction, and when they finally re-open, it will be slow-phased to ensure safety.

He added “what’s great about our facility is the vast majority of the zoo is outside and we’re typically not like the big zoos that are just slammed with guests so you can naturally social distance at the zoo and have a great educational and recreational experience with your family pretty much anytime of the year.”

Dr. Greathouse says there will be new exhibits for guests when they re-open.

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