TORONTO -- As you look for the next distraction to momentarily escape the information and updates barreling at you at lightning speeds during this global COVID-19 pandemic, consider turning to the comforts of animals.

Those of you with pets already understand these joys.

But if you’re not lucky enough to have a cat or dog nearby to snuggle up to during self-isolation, the next best thing could be making time for a virtual hangout with your favourite zoo animal.

With almost every zoo around the world shut down or operating in a limited capacity due to the coronavirus outbreak, many facilities are making sure they can bring the zoo to you.

Whether you want to log on to the Miami Zoo’s aptly named MeerKam set up in its meerkat enclosure, check in on the lion-tailed macaques at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai, India, or have a peek at the otter livestream from inside the Detroit Zoo, there is no shortage of feeds offering up live zoo animal content 24/7.

Zoo livestreams could also come in handy for parents looking for ways to entertain kids at home by sending them on a virtual safari or animal scavenger hunt.

The zoo-based conservation organization Zoos Victoria has a plethora of animal livestreams on offer, including penguins, giraffes, zebras and snow leopards.

Or maybe the tiger, condor, elephant or baboon cams at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are more your speed.

While closed, the Toronto Zoo is offering daily live sessions on its Facebook page where participants can see wildlife staff interacting with animals or attend live educational zoo school sessions.

And if livestreams aren’t on offer, many zoos have YouTube accounts or other social media pages where their animal content is readily available with the click of a button.

There’s nothing like watching giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiangat the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. chomp on bamboo and wrestle like they haven’t a care in the world to remind you to enjoy life’s lighter moments when you can. is introducing a new series of uplifting stories as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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