When the Maryland Zoo closed its gates in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, zookeeper Ransom Livingstone didn’t notice much change in his team’s routine, except that it was easier.
Without the hustle and bustle of eager crowds, the zookeepers could effortlessly maneuver around the zoo’s 135-acre grounds to feed and care for their animals. The lions, elephants, and penguins, which Livingstone tends to, didn’t seem to notice that the public had ceased coming to see them.
Still, zoos are meant to have visitors, so when word came down that they would reopen on June 24, Livingstone was ready for families to explore the grounds again.
It was all hands-on deck cutting the grass, tidying the exhibits, marking pathways, and arranging barriers for one-way traffic to ensure visitors could wander safely.
Even with new mask requirements and some exhibits still closed, Livingstone is grateful that the animals can return to acting as ambassadors for their species.
“Having people in the zoo shows how important your job is,” he says.