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People take photos of grizzly bears in the Oakland Zoo on July 29. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Multiple zoos and aquariums across the U.S. face budget shortfalls after the coronavirus pandemic forced closures at the start of the busiest season for most animal parks, AP reports.

Why it matters: Hundreds of zoos are resorting to layoffs and pay reductions to respond to the pandemic’s impact. Though some zoos and aquariums have reopened, they are seeing fewer visitors, leaving administrators to ask their communities for support.

  • Closing zoos and aquariums is expensive because administrators have to find new homes for animals and coordinate transportation to another location.

What they're saying: “Members are hitting 20% to 50% of their normal revenue targets,” said Dan Ashe, president of the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums, told AP.

  • Roughly 75% of the 220 U.S. zoos and aquariums represented by the association reopened, but they’re still having to make “very difficult decisions about further furloughs or layoffs and then ultimately about their survival,” Ashe said.
  • Six in 10 members received federal assistance from the coronavirus relief package but that support runs out this month.
  • “We have already lost the bulk of our summer revenue and are living off whatever reserves we have left, but they are going to run out at some point,” Joel Parrott, president of the Oakland Zoo, told AP.

The big picture: The Oakland Zoo, which houses 750 large animals, laid off at least 100 employees. 200 employees who care for animals are still working and contribute to the zoo’s $1.2 million a month in costs.

  • The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden in laid off 40% of its staff, cut leadership salaries and launched a campaign to raise $1.5 million by December to restore the zoo’s operating budget.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

2 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.