The closure has had a major economic impact on the zoo but a Bay Area bluegrass band, Dirty Cello, has stepped in to help the animals during the pandemic.
"It has been a huge toll financially," Adam Fink, Zoologic Manager at the Oakland Zoo. "The majority of our funds come from the gate. We don't have a gate right now so that has been a huge impact."
Today’s office view: 🐢🐢Spoke with Zoologist Manager, Adam Fink from the @oakzoo about how the coronavirus has impacted the animals.— ABC7 Melissa Pixcar (@MelissaABC7) July 1, 2020
Wait! There’s more. A Bay Area Bluegrass band has stepped up to perform a musical number to help enrich the animals.
Full story coming soon! pic.twitter.com/VxpuJeyjmk
During the pandemic, the zoo has had to rely on donations and has had to defer payments to ensure that animals have not felt the financial impact. The zoo is relying on their marketing team to create content for Oakland Zoo's social media pages.
"It is really the only way that the zoo can really connect the animals to the public," said Fink. "It has been a lonelier place at the zoo. Most of the animals here do kind of miss the people. They are used to the attention and to the activity."
CORONAVIRUS IMPACT: Oakland Zoo tries to stay afloat while caring for, feeding animals with zero ticket revenue
Rebecca Roudman, band member of a Bay Area bluegrass band, Dirty Cello came across an article about zoo animals missing human interaction from visitors and decided to reach out to the Oakland Zoo to offer a free concert for the animals.
The zoo has had musical performances in the past but Dirty Cello would be the first band to play for the Oakland Zoo animals.
"When the band showed up we didn't know what to expect," said Fink. "We had them play for some animals that we thought might show a reaction."
The bluegrass band performed at seven different animal exhibits and all had varied reactions.
RELATED: Here's what East Bay hair salon had to do to reopen amid coronavirus pandemic: 'It is so overwhelming'
"Dirty Cello helped these animals during the pandemic to provide a unique enrichment opportunity for the animals and an extra stimulus while the zoo was closed," said Fink. "We provide enrichment to all animals. This is something that the animals don't really get to experience. Novelty to their environment and having that novel sound is something that the animals really enjoyed. It was providing them extra stimulus while the zoo is closed."
"The otters were really friendly," said Roudman. "We played bluegrass for them and they started swimming and making bubbles. They seemed to really enjoy it. Then we saw the lemurs and they had a three-second attention span."
The Dirty Cello performs by reading the crowd and that didn't change for their four-legged audience.
"We took a guess on what kind of music they would like," said Roudman. "We were right on some and wrong on the others but I think we nailed it with the amazon parrot."
Brock the Amazon parrot had one of the most memorable reactions and took over as the lead singer.
"This would be a wonderful thing to do to get the word out that animals still need support and money to keep the zoo going," said Rebecca Roudman
COVID-19 RISK CALCULATOR: Quiz yourself on the safest, most dangerous things you can do as California reopens
For more information or to donate visit the Oakland Zoo website.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- From salons to dinner parties: Experts rate the risk of 12 activities
- California reopening: Here's what's open, closed in the Bay Area
- Watch list: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse
- When will the San Francisco Bay Area reopen? Track progress on 6 key metrics to reopening here
- Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like
- Here's everything allowed to open in CA (and what we're still waiting on)
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Experts compare face shield vs. face mask effectiveness
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- WATCH: ABC7 Listens 'From Anger To Action: A Bay Area Conversation'
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US