Ardastra Gardens and Wildlife Conservation Centre announced Monday, March 23, its indefinite closure to the public in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The centre is acting in accordance with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ COVID-19 Emergency Powers Order which have shuttered most businesses until March 31. “Over the past weeks, we have monitored the spread of coronavirus and developed plans to keep our animals safe and healthy through the biggest crisis ever to disrupt our operations,” said Katherine Solomon, Ardastra’s director.
The native wildlife residing on more than four acres of lush tropical gardens include the national bird of The Bahamas, the Caribbean flamingos, Bahama parrots and Bahamian boas. Other popular species among the 200-strong menagerie are the rainbow lorikeets, accustomed to being hand-fed by guests, and preening peafowls who roam the rescue and rehab facility to visitors’ delight. “Although we have closed our doors to the public, a small complement of our animal-care specialists will continue to work onsite, feeding and caring for our beloved national treasures,” said Mrs Solomon.
“This skeletal, dedicated staff will continue to follow world health authorities’ guidelines relating to hygiene and social distancing while carrying out their duties.” Due to the catastrophic revenue loss associated with the closure, Ardastra said it is uncertain when it will reopen its doors. “We know these are trying times, financially and emotionally, such is the case for us as well. We are doing everything within our power to weather this crisis and be in a position to reopen at some point, once this health crisis has blown over,” said Mrs Solomon. “Certainly, the animals look forward to the return of our guests.”