OTTAWA (April 30, 2020) –
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the board of directors to make three important decisions: postpone all 2020 planned accreditation visits, postpone 2020 self-attestations and institute a monthly survey. We have just completed the second survey.
An analysis of each survey and comparing answers to similar questions reveals a continued commitment to animal health, high standard of overall care yet a concern for the duration of the restrictions.
In the April survey we asked respondents to tell us if they have taken advantage of the different government programs and we also measured the extent to which financial pressures impacted their operations. Almost 66% of respondents told us they have, or will, access some form of government assistance. This assistance will be critical going forward regardless of any provincial re-opening plan. The financial pressure has yet to impact animal welfare, however after two months there is a 10 percent drop in financial comfort at the four-month mark and another 10% drop at the 6-month mark.
Since the Bronx zoo tiger was diagnosed with COVID-19-2 86% of those survey have reviewed or added to current protocols, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment since the Accreditation Commission issued its advisory. Some restricted access to cats, many made greater use of masks for all felid species. As at the time of writing, no animal at an accredited zoo or aquarium has tested positive for the CORONA virus.
The survey also highlighted 40% of the respondents have modified the provision of medical care to the animal population scaling back non-essential veterinary visits with some making use of virtual visits when possible. All respondents reported veterinary services are available for emergency situations.