Riverside Discovery Center has been closed since late March when the Covid-19 began closing schools, businesses, and entertainment avenues.
The animals are managing through the pandemic shutdown, but Anthony Mason, executive director of the Center, said they could always use donations.
In eastern Nebraska, there have been reports of hog farmers facing the difficult task of maybe euthanizing their hogs. While the zoo could use the pigs as meat, if offered the opportunity, the distance between the two makes a possible donation, not likely.
“If someone was interested in donating an animal like that, we would just ask them to call the zoo directly to arrange a drop-off. We’re a pretty small operation and can’t travel too far to pick those kinds of things up,” said Mason.
The zoo does have a food supplier for their animals, but Mason said donations are an excellent way to keep expenses down, and they can always use other feedstuffs.
“We also need grass hay or grass alfalfa mixtures right now, if anyone has any extra. I know that tends to last longer, and they (ranchers) can always use it, but we’re always in need of it for the animals,” he said.
Other types of food donations could be canned or fresh vegetables.
It’s almost been a month since RDC closed to visitors, and the animals, especially the chimpanzees and tigers, miss the guests.
For the staff, it’s also a trying time. One of the primary activities is to educate and interact with the public on the animals and their environment.
“So, it’s difficult on everyone involved right now,” Mason said.
RDC, like other businesses, is hoping to re-open in mid-May, with safety measures in place for visitors. The Center will do a phased-in re-opening with traffic flow lines painted and social distancing guidelines, so the staff and visitors are as safe as possible.
For more information or to donate, call the Center at 308-630-6236.