Topeka Zoo will keep its mask policy to protect animals from getting COVID-19

Coronavirus

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Even though the CDC and the state of Kansas are loosening up on their mask policies, the Topeka Zoo will keep its current policy.

Right now, employees have to wear masks, while guests are allowed to take masks off outside, they have to put them on if they go to any indoor exhibit. That’s because the animals are still at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“All of these animals are super valuable on every shape that you can imagine,” said zookeeper Shanna Simpson. “They are valuable because we love them, and they are part of our family. They are also valuable because some of them are endangered and it’s very important that we maintain these species until they go extinct in the wild.”

While none of the animals at the Topeka Zoo have tested positive, there are cases in other zoos of animals getting the virus. Topeka Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said there are different risks for different species. The big cats, dogs, and apes are at high risks. The giraffes and elephants are at low risk and Wiley said there are zero concerns for birds and reptiles.

Wiley said there are vaccine trials for the animals, but he doesn’t expect any advancements with those for the next six months to a year.

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