Rebuild. Replant. Continue Roaring Forward.
Friday, September 11, 2020
It’s a beacon that has shined in our community for nearly a century. Transformed from a small menagerie of cages in the 1920s into thematic trails with waterfalls, giant rocks, and natural landscapes, Alexandria Zoo has bloomed into a wondrous community treasure and a home and haven for both creatures great and small.
This profound transformation did not come easily or quickly. It was forged through the tireless dedication and perseverance of countless individuals. Now more than ever, we are counting on that continued support.
As we continue to clear the mountains of debris from Hurricane Laura, we are uncovering the vast scope of the damage. The cougar, cassowary, and Australian Walkabout habitats will require extensive rebuilds. The lowland anoa, Chinese alligator, iguana, maned wolf, howler monkey, muntjac, giant anteater, Andean bear, red river hog, Australian waterfowl, and cavy/agouti habitats all suffered structural damage.
Many of these habitats have been temporarily fixed to get our animals’ lives back to normal as quickly as possible, but will require permanent repairs. The cougars, Jack and Diane, will be at the Baton Rouge Zoo until their habitat can be rebuilt, and others like the cassowary, howler monkey family, and Chinese alligator have been relocated into other habitats around the zoo. Another devastating casualty of the hurricane’s fierce winds was the loss of countless mature trees, one of the most defining aspects of our lush, shady landscape.
Community has always been at the heart of our mission. Alexandria Zoo is unceasingly dedicated to animal care and conservation and providing fun, engaging educational and recreational opportunities for our citizens. It is that community, despite facing its own challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic and Hurricane Laura, that has rallied together to aid our beloved zoo with this enormous endeavor.
It is with sincere gratitude that we thank both our Central Louisiana community and our zoo community for their assistance during these trying times. Staff from Audubon Zoo, Baton Rouge Zoo, Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo (New Braunfels, TX), San Antonio Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, Zoological Disaster Response, Rescue and Recovery (ZDR3), and Petron, L.L.C. have worked tirelessly alongside our team with the clean-up and restoration efforts. The City of Alexandria’s Utility Department helped repair downed powerlines and restore power as quickly as possible and the Recreation Department cleared our parking lot driveway of a large fallen tree. Hemker Park & Zoo (Freeport, MN) donated funds and Atwood’s Bakery, Outlaw’s BBQ, and Alexandria Coca-Cola Bottling Company have provided some of the meals and product to help feed and sustain our workers.
We have also received $7,500 in online donations, plus a $10,000 commitment from Alexandria residents Shaun and Nina Sanghani. “No other single place in Central Louisiana has brought joy and wonderment to more children than the Alexandria Zoo,” said Shaun Sanghani. “The zoo is a cornerstone of our community and an educational retreat for all children, regardless of their race or income. Everybody from all walks of life come together at the zoo and I was one of those kids many years ago and now my kids are among those same children.”
“Between Covid and the hurricane this has been a tough year for families and businesses and it's apparent that our zoo now needs the support of the community it has served for so many years and we wanted to help preserve one of the jewels of our city so it could continue to enrich the lives of our children in Central Louisiana. It doesn't matter how much someone can give but I urge all the local folks who have enjoyed the zoo at one time or another to give whatever they can because as a community, we can make a real difference. We can end this year on a positive note. There are so many compassionate people in this community who took care of one another during Covid and then the hurricane and that says a lot about who we are. I'm proud and happy to be a part of this great community and all these caring folks. I think it's apparent the zoo needs our help and I think it's one of the most important destinations and educational facilities we have for the children of Central Louisiana.”
Alexandria Zoo is accepting tax-deductible donations through our support organization, Friends of the Alexandria Zoo (FOTAZ), a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations can be made online (www.thealexandriazoo.com) through FOTAZ’s PayPal Giving Fund charity page. Checks can be made out to Friends of the Alexandria Zoo and mailed to 3016 Masonic Drive, Alexandria, LA 71301.
With your help we will rebuild, replant, and continue roaring forward.