Moncton — Citing the high cost of heating, a lack of revenue due to a sluggish summer season and insufficient provincial funding, the Magnetic Hill Zoo is looking for people in the Greater Moncton area to temporarily adopt some of its 436 animals for the months of November to the end of March. “We’ve gone over a number of options,” said manager Alan Thibodeau, “and after careful consideration, we’ve concluded this is our most viable solution to stay operational.”
From apes to otters, yaks and zebras, Atlantic Canada’s largest zoo is hoping people in the area will temporarily open up their homes to provide shelter and sustenance to these exotic animals during a cold Canadian winter they’re not adapted to.
So far, and just days into the campaign, there’s been a significant amount of interest. “We already have a number adoptees,” said Thibodeau. “And there’s already a long waiting list of people hoping to take in nearly every one of our monkeys and all of our wallabies.”
“They can be a bit of a handful,” said Moncton man Todd Miller, who recently took in 17 ring-tailed lemurs. “Initially I just wanted to adopt 1 or 2,” he said amid the sounds of shrieks, scampering, and falling objects caused by the wily primates. “But I was told it would be best to keep the clan together. So I thought, well, the more the merrier.” In response to a loud thumping noise that could be heard emanating from a wall just behind Miller’s head, he said: “Looks like one of the little dickens got into the walls again.”
Riverview couple Shawn and Lisa Hughes, who are currently housing an 8-year-old lioness, said they couldn’t be happier with their decision. “We go through about 60 cans of cat food a day, which can be a bit pricey, but we love having her around the house,” said Mrs. Hughes of the 280-pound feline predator, adding: “And she’s great with the kids.”
Of course, zoo staff charged with finding homes for the animals aren’t just looking for anyone. “Depending on the kind of animal you’re looking to adopt,” said Thibodeau “we’re going to need to know you’re qualified. If you’re hoping to adopt something like a mountain lion, timber wolf or water buffalo, we’re asking you have at least 1 to 2 years experience owning a pet, such as a dog or cat.”