Porcupines, monkeys and hundreds of other animals will have to find new homes after the Bronx Zoo sends them packing because of the poor economy.
"We plan to close four exhibits, four areas of the zoo . . . and we will have to reduce our collections in order to handle the cuts that we already know about," Bob Cook, executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, told the New York Post.
Cash-strapped zoo officials told a New York City Council committee Thursday they need to send away deer, bats, foxes, antelopes and other creatures to zoos around the country.
The closing of four exhibits is expected to help the zoo make up for a $15 million budget shortfall, officials said.
The 114-year-old institution is the country's largest city zoo. More than 2 million people visited last year.
The exhibits that are closing include World of Darkness, which includes bats, porcupines and primates including night monkeys. Three other exhibits that are home to antelope, deer and a South American relative of the llama are also going away.
The loss of "hundreds" of animals would be permanent move rather than a temporary fix tied to the poor economy.
"It's much, much more serious than what I even thought it was going to be," said Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia, who chairs the City Council Cultural Affairs Committee.