You can’t go to the San Diego Zoo right now, so we went for you

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The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are home to more than 6,500 animals, but one species has been noticeably absent: people.

Both facilities closed to the public on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Life goes on within the Zoo and Safari Park, of course. Animals are feeding and breeding, squabbling and squawking, regardless of whether or not there are any guests to watch them.

We went behind the scenes to see what we’ve been missing — and to see, perhaps, whether the animals were missing us.

A siamang sits on a structure at the San Diego Zoo on May 19, 2020. The zoo has been closed during the coronavirus pandemic but workers have been caring for the animals.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Benbough Amphitheater, which hosts the Frequent Flyers Bird Show, sits empty on May 19, 2020, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Benbough Amphitheater, which hosts the Frequent Flyers Bird Show, sits empty on May 19, 2020, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Jennifer Roesler, a wildlife care specialist, holds Omeo, a koala joey, as he holds onto a stuffed panda bear at the San Diego Zoo on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
The flamingo area is normally one of the most crowded areas at the San Diego Zoo but not on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Amahle, an African river hippo calf, swims at the San Diego Zoo on May 19, 2020.
Amahle, an African river hippo calf, swims at the San Diego Zoo on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
The San Diego Zoo entrance sits empty on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
A ring-tailed Lemur carries a baby at the San Diego Zoo on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
The Outback area at the San Diego Zoo on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Satu, an orangutan, chews on a stick at the San Diego Zoo on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Center Street, home to some of the bears who live at the San Diego Zoo, is empty on May 19, 2020.
Center Street, home to some of the bears who live at the San Diego Zoo, is empty on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Edward, a baby southern white rhino, walks around at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on May 19, 2020.
Edward, a baby southern white rhino, walks around at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Animal training manager Susie Ekard sits with Kasten, a caracal, who is one of the animal ambassadors at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)