Like all Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo has been closed to the public since March 15, with nearly all of its non-animal-care staff working from home. Behind the scenes, the animals are continuing with their usual daily routines, just with fewer people around.
“All of our provisions of food and medicine and supplies are secured and being provided, so we’re in good shape,” the zoo’s director, Steven Monfort, tells Washingtonian. “This isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve had many other situations where we’ve had to plan ahead, for instance, during prolonged government shutdowns. … When it comes to the animals, I doubt they’re missing a beat.”
Well, at least for the most part: During other closures, Monfort says keepers have noticed some of the great apes and the elephants “seeking a little bit more TLC from their caretakers. So, yes, we know that some of the animals enjoy having more people there.”
Until the rest of us can visit again, keepers have been capturing photos and videos of the animals during the coronavirus closure. You can find more snaps like these on the Zoo’s Instagram. And you can always visit its webcams.
Athena, a two-toed sloth, enjoys some kale.
Mom Victoria, with the newest addition to the Small Mammal House, a baby Bennett’s wallaby.
Howie, a two-toed sloth, hanging out.