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Zoo Knoxville asks for support getting federal emergency relief funding

Officials said that zoos face a unique challenge: retaining staff and supplies to care for exotic animals.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Officials with Zoo Knoxville asked fans of the zoo for support in getting federal emergency funds, to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

They made a post on Facebook linking to a webpage by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums urging Congress to include them in federal relief packages. They said that accredited zoos face a unique challenge of retaining staff and supplies to care for exotic animals.

They wrote out a template letter that people can fill out and automatically send to Senators and Representatives. In it, they ask Congress to change the Paycheck Protection Program and the Main Street Lending Program to give zoos and aquariums access to loans.

"We are #AlwaysOpen, working on conservation, education, and providing specialized care for our animals because we believe connecting people to nature is important," officials with Zoo Knoxville said in their post.

Anyone who wants to fill out the template letter can go to the AZA's website.

Welcome to The Wild Life! Our new series goes behind the scenes of o... ur conservation mission to meet the animals we love and the people who care for them. Knoxville native, Brad Carpenter, along with a cast of diverse friends and characters takes us on a journey into the wildest parts of East Tennessee.