New York City’s Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan wildlife preserve in the United States, is being hit hard by the economy. To prevent a $15 million budget shortfall, zoo officials are closing four exhibits and evicting all their occupants, estimated to number in the hundreds of animals.
Zoo officials admitted in a New York City Cultural Affairs Committee meeting today that they are forced to relocate the suddenly homeless deer, bats, foxes, antelopes and other animals to zoos around the country.
“We had decisions that needed to be made about old exhibits, and at the same time we needed to deal with the fiscal reality which is upon us,” said John Cavalli, of the Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo).
The zoo will close the World of Darkness exhibit, which houses bats, porcupines, sugar gliders, and several primate species, including lemurs, bush babies (pictured below), and night monkeys.
Another exhibit scheduled to close is the Rare Animal Range, home to the Arabian oryx and blesbok, two types of antelope. The other two exhibits that are slated to close are homes to foxes, lemurs, caimans, Formosan deer and guanaco (pictured below), a close relative of llama.
A wild Guanaco, Lama guanicoe.
Guanacos are one of the species being relocated by NYC’s Bronx Zoo due to fiscal deficits.
Image: James Parker (courtesy Trek Nature
Zoo officials chose which exhibits to close based on maintenance costs and popularity among visitors.
Last year, the Bronx Zoo attracted more than 2 million visitors and is home to roughly 4,500 animals on 265 acres of land. It is 114 years old and is one of the oldest zoos in the United States.