Zookeepers, Animals Press On In Brookfield

Brookfield Zoo’s reticulated giraffes, Arnieta and Potoka, enjoy the spring weather today as they stretch their legs in their outdoor habitat for the first time this season.
Photo credit Kelly Tone/Chicago Zoological Society
By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Like so much else, the coronavirus pandemic has shut down Brookfield Zoo in the western suburbs, but not without a struggle.

Conservationist Stuart Strahl is president of the Chicago Zoological Society, which runs Brookfield Zoo.

The facility usually stays open year-round. Strahl says they first tried to shut down only the indoor exhibits, but then a week later closed entirely to the public. 

The animals are still there, so the animal keepers are coming in, caring for their charges.

“You may know that animal keepers are not really a profession — it’s a calling,” Strahl said. “It’s very much an individual keeper working with their animals. So, we’re giving the best care that we always give.” 

Officially Brookfield is closed until April 30, but really it’s until further notice, Strahl said. 

He’s the guest on “At Issue,” which runs 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Sunday.