The El Paso Zoo will close early today, April 23, to improve animal and guest comfort and everyday experience. The closure set for 2:30 p.m. will allow crews to address an insect problem.
According to zoo officials, the facility has an “unprecedented high number of biting black flies, which have been seriously disrupting the behavior and comfort of zoo animals, as well as guests and staff.”
The biting flies are more than a minor nuisance. They have led to the hospitalization of two zoo birds, cancellation of several Wildlife Theater bird shows, and restriction of a few zoo animals to their indoor quarters.
Officials add, “Despite treatments aimed at repelling the flies and protecting the animals, the black fly population has persisted. In order to provide a more thorough treatment zoo wide, we will be closing early on Monday to allow our pest control contractor to fog service areas and guest pathways where the biting insects are the most active. The fogging schedule may be modified due to weather as the treatment is not as effective under windy conditions.”
The insecticide will be a short acting local fog that will not have lingering effects. Dr. Vikki Milne, Zoo Veterinarian, has been working closely with our pest control service to ensure safe application of the insecticide, and hopefully some relief for our animals, staff, and guests.
The Zoo will reopen at normal hours on Tuesday and through the week.