Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced that the Oregon Zoo is receiving $459,655 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to support the care of the many animals and endangered species at the zoo.
“The Oregon Zoo is a critical local resource, doing research and education on local species, and leading important conservation efforts for endangered species like the California condor,” Merkley said. “The COVID-19 pandemic hit places like the Oregon Zoo particularly hard with a decrease in revenue while having to maintain care for animals, including endangered species. This funding will allow the zoo to keep their animals safe and healthy while ensuring future generations are able to experience the excitement of the animal world.”
“Zoos and aquariums are great places for families to learn about animals, and they also play a crucial role protecting and conserving endangered species,” Wyden said. “While the pandemic brought the herds of visitors temporarily to a halt, I’m gratified that the Oregon Zoo earned this funding to fill the revenue gap so that Oregonians can continue to experience the magic of the Zoo for generations to come.”
The FWS and AZA announced nearly $6.5 million will be awarded to 28 facilities for reimbursements under the Endangered Species COVID-19 Relief program, funded by the American Rescue Plan. This is the third wave of reimbursements and is intended to support zoos and aquariums with things like food, veterinary care, animal care staff time, transport, and holding space.
“These funds, along with the Shuttered Venues Grant program, have been a lifeline for zoos and aquariums forced to close during the Covid-19 crisis,” said Heidi Rahn, Oregon Zoo director. “The Oregon Zoo’s work to advance the conservation and well-being of a wide range of endangered species, from California condors to black rhinos, has been able to continue uninterrupted.”