Some animals at Riverview Park and Zoo might be lonely during the pandemic

Riverview Park and Zoo in Peterborough would typically see 250,000 visitors between May and October, but this year the gates have been closed since March due to the pandemic.

Staff have been offering limited guided tours, but those are now also on hold. Cathy Mitchell, program supervisor for Riverview Park and Zoo, said some of the animals have noticed the lack of visitors.

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“Not all animals will miss having people around,” Mitchell said. “But for certain species like our camels, our lynx, our otters, and our meerkats, seeing people and visitors is part of their enrichment.”

Mitchell said the zoo has remained closed to keep both the visitors and the animals safe during the pandemic.

“We have over seven species here that could be susceptible to COVID-19,” she said. “So that includes our pigs, our reindeer, our feline species, our otters and our meerkats.”

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Mitchell said the exhibits offer close and personal experiences with the animals and in order to reopen, they would have to invest in significant infrastructure changes.

Mitchell said they have been offering guided tours during the fall, but those are now on hold.

Instead, Mitchell said you can visit the zoo virtually on the Riverview Park & Zoo facebook page. She also said staff have been involved with schools to offer virtual sessions during online learning.

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