Don Hutchinson shares tough reality of Maryland Zoo during coronavirus pandemic

April 12, 2020 | WNST Audio

We were pleased that Don Hutchinson was able to join Nestor and Don for a Baltimore Positive chat centering around the Maryland Zoo and how they are faring during this coronavirus crisis. Much like many of the business leaders that we have had on in the past month, it is not going well for Don and the folks at the zoo.

“It’s almost impossible to fathom,” Hutchinson said. “I walk the campus three or four times a week. I do it when people are here, and now I do it when people aren’t here. It’s interesting – the animals as I walk by actually try to approach me and walk up close. It’s obvious that some of them, not all of them, but some of them are very, very aware that there are no folks around to interact with them.”

While the animals are not in the best of spirits, needless to say the financial impact of this pandemic has been even worse for the Maryland Zoo.

“It’s heartbreaking for us as you can imagine on a financial basis because this, literally right now – April, May and June – are our three primary months of interaction with people,” Hutchinson said. “In May alone we expect almost 100,000 people to come through the gate and we won’t have it this year. April is our second biggest month when it comes to attendance. We will lose around two and a half to three million dollars just in the next two months. And the irony is of course it doesn’t matter if one person shows up at the zoo as a visitor or if 4,000 people show up as visitors, it still costs us almost $60,000 a day to operate this place. So the income that we receive from the paying customer is really remarkably important.”

Nestor, Don, and Don chatted for over 45 minutes and we encourage all of you to give it a listen, and to support the Baltimore Zoo in anyway possible once this pandemic is behind us.

To hear Don Hutchinson’s full conversation with Nestor and Don, listen here: