ST. LOUIS — Peace and quiet.
Those are two things you normally can't find this time of year at the Saint Louis Zoo. What you can always find however, even when there are no visitors, is a care staff focused on the needs of the animals.
"We refer to them as keepers but these are really very passionate scientists that have spent years of their life training," explained Luis Padilla.
Padilla, who is the Vice President of Animal Collections at the zoo, said the animals are doing fine during this pandemic. They have the same routines they are used to.
"But it sure feels sometimes eerie without our guests and our families that are coming to see our animals," he said.
Keepers, veterinarians and veterinary technicians are all among the essential personnel, putting aside their own health concerns to take care of these animals. Doing their jobs, while practicing social distancing.
"If there's a task that can't be accomplished by one person without violating social distance, we have practices that are very similar to what health care workers would be doing," Padilla told us.
And they have to be careful around the animals as well, especially after a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for coronavirus.
"There's a lot of things we don't know about this virus," said Padilla.
You can still connect with the Saint Louis Zoo animals on YouTube, where you can even find a video of orangutans demonstrating proper hand washing.
The zookeepers will be there and look forward to the day when you can be there, too.
"We're going to be ready to welcome everybody with open arms, hopefully clean hands, maybe gloved hands. We can't wait for that to come," Padilla said.