Audubon Zoo laying off and cutting salaries for staff due to Covid-19 closures

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) – With no one being able to head on down to the Audubon Zoo— the Zoo, along with the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and The Butterfly Garden & Insectarium are struggling right now because they rely on ticket sales for revenue.

Because of the Covid-19 crisis, zoo officials project that by June they would’ve lost $21-million dollars in revenue, so to cut costs they’ve unfortunately had to make cuts.

“Unfortunately we have to lay off part-time staff, over half of the full-time staff has been placed on unpaid leave and most of the remaining full-time staff have taken 25 percent pay cuts. Additionally our CEO has taken a 50 percent pay cut,” Rebecca Dietz, Executive VP of Public Affairs and General Counsel at Audubon Nature Institute said.

Audubon didn’t get anything from the CARES Act, which helps small businesses get back on their feet. It omits any zoos or museums who employ more than 500 people.

“Audubon wasn’t eligible for the federal stimulus funding, but we’re hopeful there are opportunities for large zoos in the future,” she said.

The zoo has many expenses like feeding the animals which costs about $70-thousand dollars to feed them each month.

“We don’t have concerns about the welfare of our animals who are being well taken care of at all of our facilities. People can help by donating to the Audubon Recovery Fund. The money raised will be spent to help feed the animals as well as take care of the park spaces,” Dietz said.

by: Kenny Lopez

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