89.1 WEMU

COVID Crisis Impacts Ann Arbor Animals Due To Changes To Curb The Virus

Aug 25, 2020

An alligator at Ann Arbor's Creature Conservancy.
Credit Patricia Billette / Creature Conservancy

With more than 300 animals of some 80 species, Ann Arbor's Creature Conservancy is struggling to keep them fed and cared for, due to several impacts from our current global health crisis.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks to Creature Conservancy founder "Steve" about losing more than 50% of its annual income as the Ann Arbor nonprofit struggles to stay open to keep the rescued exotic animals cared for at this difficult time.


When the reality of the potential spread of the coronavirus became more obvious last March, schools in Michigan shut down, and that meant no field trips or outside activities.

A sloth at Ann Arbor's Creature Conservancy.
Credit Steve Marsh / Creature Conservancy

Ann Arbor's Creature Conservancy, a nonprofit educational organization promoting conservation through education, lost 25% of its income from that and took a big financial hit from the cancellation of summer field trips as well.  Founder "Steve" says they are down to about four employees from 12 and rely on dozens of volunteers to help care for the animals that really have nowhere else to go.  Because many of them were given to the Ann Arbor conservancy as a last resort, Steve says they really have no choice but to stay open, because there is really nowhere else viable for the animals to go.  

One of Creature Conservancy's workers with a dingo.
Credit Patricia Billette / Creature Conservancy

They, like many other struggling organizations in Washtenaw County, are hoping donors and supporters can help sustain them until they can return to business as usual.

A sloth at Ann Arbor's Creature Conservancy.
Credit Steve Marsh / Creature Conservancy

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu