Will the 4th of July fireworks show harm zoo animals?
The 4th of July fireworks show at Nelson Park is a crowd favorite, but will it affect the neighboring zoo animals?
The animals come from several, unique environments. But their Abilene environment has helped them adapt to Independence Day celebrations.
"The animals are used to loud sounds," Bill Gersonde, Director of the Abilene Zoo, said.
Gersonde said the animals do not scare easily and he is not worried about the 4th of July fireworks show.
He said the zoo's location near the Abilene airport and the train tracks--along with frequent West Texas thunderstorms--has desensitized the animals to loud noises.
But they still want to make sure the animals are comfortable.
"We provide them with areas they can go into. Their night dens which they can go into every night which are dark and secluded." Gersonde said. "That makes them more comfortable."
The zoo staff also monitors the animals and said the show has not caused any problems yet.
Gersonde also said he has already outlined a plan to protect the animals if any grass fires occur on the holiday.
He said he is not worried, however, since the Abilene Fire Department will be on standby during the fireworks show.
"We have not seen any issues with the animals being concerned by the fireworks," Gersonde said.
The zoo holds regular business hours on the 4th of July. The firework show's proximity helps the zoo attract more visitors.
"A lot of people come out to the park and it's a great family day," Gersonde said. "We expect to have a great turnout here at the Abilene Zoo."
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