Guardians in the Storm

January 30, 2019

Animal Care staff working on a cold winter day

While the city shuts down due to the winter storm, Lincoln Park Zoo’s keepers and grounds crew braved the negative temperatures and gusty winds to head in to care for the animals and the zoo. While photos can’t quite do their dedication justice, here’s a roundup of what’s been happening at the zoo this week:

Each day, the bird keepers gear up and enter the freezing waters to break up the ice that has formed overnight. Keeping open water at the pond is crucial to helping the resident and local visiting birds stay safe as the water temperatures are much greater than that of the air in the winter.

The keepers use their hands, feet, and sledgehammers to remove the ice each morning. Once they exit the water, their gear instantly freezes. So much so that it even stands on its own…

A “little” snow and wind won’t stop our keepers from a positive reinforcement training session and body check of the harbor and grey seals!

The animals still have to eat! Nutrition Center staff braved the cold to deliver all the essentials to the various habitats.

Speaking of food, the goats inside Farm-in-the-Zoo are getting some extra attention (and calories) this week inside the barn.

Who keeps the zoo itself clear and safe? That would be the incredible grounds crew! They’ve been outside nearly every day the last two weeks clearing snow, melting ice, and ensuring the zoo stays accessible for staff and visitors alike.

A closed zoo also means a big family lunch at Park Place Café…and a chance to warm up!

As for the animals? Many are staying inside until the storm passes, but several species can be found in the snow.