Animals get a play date as Jacksonville Zoo remains closed to visitors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Humans aren’t the only ones missing interaction during the time of self distancing.

Animals at the Jacksonville Zoo are also wondering where all the people have gone. On Friday, a few of the animals got to have a play date.

In the video above, you can see Frizz the aardvark, as well as CJ and Sharky, the penguins, got to meet the gorillas.

“The gorillas and monkeys that live in that habitat -- they’re animals that are probably as aware as any of the residents here at the zoo,” said Dan Maloney, the deputy zoo director for animal care and conservation.

First came Frizz, and she definitely caught the attention of those watching.

“They were definitely interested,” Maloney said. “They don’t typically see an aardvark in this area."

Next came the two little penguins, ready to steal the show.

“It’s the first time they’ve even been in this area,” Maloney said.

Engagement with other animals is crucial for their wellbeing as the zoo is closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re trying to preserve some kind of normalcy, not only for the animals, but for our guests, our members, our patrons,” Maloney said.

The Jacksonville Zoo is hosting a live auction on its website this weekend to help raise money. It runs through Sunday.

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