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Buffalo Zoo Plans for Loss of County Funds

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Uncertainty over pending budget cuts for Erie County leaves cultural and human services organizations with few options in their own fiscal planning. Groups have been told to expect either nothing or, in the best case, perhaps decreases in current support from the county.

The question marks for most mean the difference between budgeting to stay open, close a few days a week or cut back services. In the worst case, it could mean closing up shop. That would be easier said than done for places, such as the Buffalo Zoo. Zoo President Donna Fernandez says they'd have to find new homes for the animals.

"The difference between us and some of the others is that we have a living collection. We can't sort of close down three days a week - we can't shut down a wing and then not worry about it for six months or a year, because al the animals would be dead," said Fernandez. "We have to, every day, feed and clean over twelve hundred animals."

Fernandez says, if the zoo's $1.5 million in county funding is cut, it would take at least six months to find new homes for all the animals. And Fernandez says she's not sure how they'd take care of them until then.