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This place is a zoo!
This place is a zoo!
Ken Hamblin III

Reader: Is There Any Logic to Keeping the Denver Zoo Closed?

With the Denver Botanic Gardens now open, will the Denver Zoo be next? The zoo has filed applications with both the city and the state to get a variance that would allow the facility to reopen, with strict social distancing and other rules in place to help keep visitors safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Denver Zoo CEO Bert Vescolani is hoping to get good news soon. “I thrive on people’s excitement, and their having fun and a lot of enthusiasm and the excitement of seeing animals and being at the zoo," he says. "That is all gone. That’s been tough for all of us, including the animals who seem to be wondering where everyone is.”

Readers wonder a lot of things. Asks Bev: 

Is there any logic whatsoever in keeping the zoo closed? That's the easiest place to practice this 'social distancing.'

Suggests Craig: 

The animals are antsy because they are held in captivity, not because they miss snot-nosed kids yelling and pointing at them.

Notes Josie: 

They need to reopen so they can continue to take care of the animals. Not cheap to feed them all. Love the zoo.

Responds James:  

They were not taking care of the animals BEFORE this. They were locked in cages.

Counters Tessera: 

The Denver Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country, the provide a lot of space and enrichment for the animals. They conserve animals that are endangered by habitat encroachment and participate in breeding programs to maintain genetic diversity among animals at risk of extinction like rhinoceros, polar bears, and giraffes. They also have veterinary specialists that help define medical science for animals all over the world.

You don't know shit about the Denver Zoo.

Replies Chris:

Ask yourself, do you like not being able to go anywhere right now? No? Animals feel the same. Close the zoo.

Adds James: 

I’m tired of being locked up and not able to go anywhere. I want to go watch animals be locked up and not be able to go anywhere?

Explains John: 

Most of the animals are on the extinction list and are a major risk to poachers in their natural environment. Some of the animals were rescued and the zoo charges a fee in order to take care of them. It’s no different than a person keeping their cat locked inside or a dog on a leash.

Concludes David:

 Businesses need to open. Americans need to remember our rights and freedoms. Do your business. The government should not be able to stop you. This is nonsense.

When the Denver Zoo is allowed to open, there will be a cap on how many people can come in — about half of what the facility used to see on a busy day. Foot traffic will be allowed to flow in just one direction, and barriers will be in place to keep people away from the COVID-19-vulnerable animals. Everyone over two will be required to wear masks, and every day, staff will receive health checks, according to the zoo's proposed plan.

"The good news is we are really, really close to having that finalized," Vescolani says. "In the next day or so, we will have the signage in place, the directional flow in place, and all the elements."

What do you think of the Denver Zoo? Do you think it should be allowed to reopen? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com.

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