Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo.
I do believe it.
I do believe it’s true. – Simon and Garfunkel
Back in March, like just about every other place of interest, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo closed to the public because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Zoo is among the District’s most joyful spots, and its absence was sorely felt. Thankfully, as of Friday, July 24, the Zoo is once again open to visitors, though new safety measures are now in place. These include: a limit on the number of daily guests, a face covering requirement for visitors six and older, one-way paths, and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the park. The Zoo website has details on safety protocols, timed passes and more.
Last week, during a Smithsonian family day, I was able to visit the Zoo and spend time with some of its beloved animal residents. Here is some of what I saw.
Orangutans Redd and Batang were out on the O-line. Redd was born to Batang in 2016 and he will be dependent on his mom until he’s around eight, but he seems bigger and more independent than he did pre-lockdown.
As a point of comparison, here’s a photo of Batang and Redd from two years ago.
Moke, a western lowland gorilla who was born at the Zoo in 2018, has also grown during the COVID shutdown. (For photos showing Moke’s earlier adorableness, see our April 2019 post Happy birthday, Moke!)
The prairie dogs popped their heads up during my visit as well.
Meanwhile, a lioness took a nap. Male lions sleep 18-20 hours a day but females, who are responsible for most of the hunting and raising of cubs, get by on 15-18 hours of down time.
Some of the other animals that were out during my visit…
All images copyright to Miki Jourdan