Animals embrace winter snowfall at Reston zoofari

Fallow deer are seen on snowy ground at Roer’s Zoofari in Reston (Courtesy Roer’s Zoofari)

Many animals at Roer’s Zoofari had a chance to frolic in the winter landscape change that recently and suddenly overtook the region.

While the storm caused crashes, power outages and dangerous conditions, video showed a group of llamas running over the snow-covered ground at the Reston landmark near Lake Fairfax Park last week.

“Most of the animals at the zoo don’t even mind the cold, they’re frolicking and going about their business as usual,” Roer’s Zoofari CEO Vanessa Roer said.

Llamas, native to South America, can handle extreme colds, and Roer’s Zoofari animals have seen similar cold spells, but they’re unusual.

“It’s a little cold and wet, but it’s all worth it to know personally that the animals I care for are warm, well-fed, and healthy,” lead zookeeper Eliott Hamblin said last week, adding that it seemed better than the heat.

In a warning about the weather not related to the zoo, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals noted that pets are especially vulnerable in the cold and could die if left outside.

PETA said dog owners should take precautions when walking their pets outside in the cold.

“[Booties] will protect their sensitive paw pads from the frozen ground,” PETA spokesperson Megan Wiltsie said. “Keep walks short in cold weather, especially for shorthaired dogs.”

Virginia law prohibits leaving dogs tethered outside when the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or amid certain weather hazards.

Many of the animals at the zoofari were seen following a hay tractor, while a red kangaroo and cheetah appeared a little apprehensive to the winter wonderland.

Hamblin noted that the majority of animals find the snow very enriching.

“Our bison love frolicking through it while kicking up their hooves,” Hamblin said.

Photo courtesy Roer’s Zoofari/Facebook

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