Saint John’s Cherry Brook Zoo to close permanently in fallout of COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Cherry Brook Zoo goes digital during COVID-19 pandemic'
Coronavirus outbreak: Cherry Brook Zoo goes digital during COVID-19 pandemic
With so many of us at home during the pandemic, the appetite for online entertainment is increasing every day. As Travis Fortnum reports, a New Brunswick zoo has found a unique way to entertain children while ensuring they can make ends meet at a time when its gates are closed – Mar 29, 2020

Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John is shutting its doors permanently.

The board of trustees for the facility made the announcement in a news release on Thursday.

READ MORE: Saint John zoo to provide ‘Virtual Field Trip’ during coronavirus crisis

Cherry Brook Zoo has been closed to the public for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The conditions we find ourselves caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have placed the Zoo under severe financial pressures,” said Norm McFarlane, chair of the board of trustees, in the release.

“However, we are still in great need for donations and financial aid to bridge the gap while the animals are still in our care.”

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Martha McDevitt, the zoo’s executive director, said they are working with Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) to find new homes for the animals.

“The uncertainties of this pandemic prevent us from executing a new strategic direction for the zoo, to provide a sanctuary and rescue for animals that need a permanent home,” said McDevitt.

Click to play video: 'Saint John’s zoo celebrates 45th birthday amidst animal cruelty allegations'
Saint John’s zoo celebrates 45th birthday amidst animal cruelty allegations

The animals will remain at Cherry Brook Zoo until those homes are found, she said.

“This is an extremely heartbreaking decision,” McDevitt added. “We know that the community will understand this is about the well-being of our animals.”

READ MORE: Judge rules not to release report on alleged animal cruelty at N.B. zoo

Cherry Brook Zoo had planned to mark its 46th anniversary in Saint John this summer.

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Following its temporary closure last month, the zoo began offering what it called “virtual field trips.”

Different animals were featured in education-style videos posted on the zoo’s Facebook page.

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