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Zoo-A-Thon helps Jacksonville Zoo keep the lights on

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For most businesses, the loss of millions of dollars in revenue could mean turning out the lights, cutting back on staffing and taking other drastic measures to make ends meet. But that’s not an option for the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Tony Vecchio, the zoo’s executive director, joined other zoo staff, along with Mark Payton and Eden Kendall from River City Live, for the first ever Zoo-a-thon, which was televised Sept. 20 on Channel 4.

The goal of the broadcast was to encourage the public to donate to support the care, feeding, and general well-being of the zoo’s many residents. The broadcast, produced by Gemstone Media, featured fascinating segments highlighting some of the zoo’s stars. Buddy, the blind otter and patriarch of his family, a baby gorilla named Gandai, and some extremely curious lemurs were just a few of the scene-stealers that evening.

Although the zoo set out to raise $250,000 initially, your generosity helped staff surpass that benchmark by raising roughly $350,000.