ALEXANDRIA, La. (April 7, 2022) — The Alexandria Zoo has been awarded $42,316 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) under the Endangered Species COVID-19 Relief program, funded by the American Rescue Plan. 

“The Alexandria Zoo was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as the facility was ordered closed for a period and then had to limit the number of visitors for more than a year, which significantly impacted revenue. At the same time, we still incurred the costs of caring for and maintaining the animals and the facilities,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall. “Our commitment to meeting the needs of our animals and to maintaining the standards set by AZA has never wavered. We are very grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and to AZA for providing this much-needed funding so that we can continue to do the important animal care, education and conservation work at the Alexandria Zoo.” 

Alexandria Zoo Director Dr. Max Lakes said the money will be used to cover expenses for feeding and care of specific endangered animals at the zoo, such as the black bears, the cougars Jack and Diane, the Louisiana pine snake and bald eagles as well as rescued animals that can’t be released back into the wild such as a barn owl the staff is caring for. “This funding is amazingly important,” Lakes said. “It helps offset the cost of the amazing conservation work we do at the Alexandria Zoo.” 

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As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress recognized the dedication of zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, and other facilities across the nation in helping save animals and plants from extinction by appropriating $30 million to reimburse expenses related to the care of captive species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as rescued and confiscated wildlife that are at risk of extinction.  

 “As we reviewed the applications for this funding, it was clear that despite the pandemic, zoos, aquariums and other facilities continued to provide extraordinary care for federally protected species and a critically important service to the agencies dedicated to endangered species recovery. That is why we are so grateful to partner with the Service to direct this funding to provide some relief to facilities who need it,” said Dan Ashe, president and CEO of AZA.