LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -
Bonnie the Bobcat has been neighbors with the other animals at Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center for the past year. The Bobcat moved in next to her buddy, Moriah the Coyote, who came to the park after transferring out of the Fort Sill Department of Natural Resources.
But, COVID-19 hit the park hard. The park and aquarium had to close for 40 days. Even when the park is closed, animals still need care and have to eat. Officials say that can get expensive when there are no guests spending money.
“We’re totally dependent upon our admissions. We’re a 501 c three, not for profit organization, and we receive no tax dollars no direct general foreign tax dollars from any government entity. We do receive some grants and sponsorships from time to time, but mostly yes from the private sector. So those 40 days were pretty devastating to our budget. " said Doug Kemper, Executive Director for the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center.
Most park buildings stand far apart and are outside, which can help with social distancing, according to aquarium staff. While the humans start to get excited about unveiling Moriah and Bonnie, the animals hardly notice the difference.
”I’m pretty excited. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and I think they’re gonna enjoy it.. not a lot of people have seen bobcats, especially not in the essential wild,” said Biologist at the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center Sarah Angiel.
These creatures mark the beginning of phase two where the park plans to install a new animal exhibit every two years until 2070.