NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Rouses Markets has partnered with Audubon Nature Institute to provide nutritious meals for the animals of Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas for a month and is inviting the community to also help feed their favorite animals.

Audubon Nature Institute is facing a financial crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and needs assistance from the community to help care for more than 15,000 animals and aquatic species.

“We provide some of the highest quality, nutritious diets for the animals in our care including a wide variety of fresh produce, quality meats, and sustainably harvested seafood,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “Feeding animals such as giraffe, sea otters, lions, and gorillas is a significant cost—nearly $70,000 a month.”

Rouses Market understands the importance of healthy eating and is not only committed to feeding the people of the community, but also animals in need.

“The monkeys, tigers, elephants — they didn’t even have to ask,” said Rouses Marketing and Advertising Director Tim Acosta. “We have a tremendous supply of fresh produce today and more to come. You can help feed the animals, too, by scanning a coupon at any Rouses register, to add to your bill. You can also donate online at rouses.com/your-animals-need-you.”​

Shoppers to Rouses Markets will be surprised to learn about the variety in diets for Audubon’s animals. The sea otters enjoy restaurant-quality seafood including clams, mussels and shrimp, while the gorillas enjoy a wide-variety of greens.

There’s a lot to learn from eating like an animal and the hope is by highlighting the healthy diets of Audubon’s animals, more Rouses customers will Eat Right with Rouses by making wise shopping choices.

Families can help feed the animals by visiting their neighborhood Rouses Market and purchasing a $1, $5, or $10 donation at checkout or can support feeding the animals by visiting www.youranimalsneedyou.org to make an online contribution.

Audubon is one of a handful of the nation’s top nonprofit zoos and aquariums that are ineligible to benefit from any of the forgivable COVID-19 relief packages because of its pre-COVID number of employees and annual revenue.

Audubon typically welcomes 750,000 visitors over the summer months and is estimating nearly an 80% decrease this year due to limited capacity, pausing groups and field trips, and decreased tourism visitation. Audubon’s estimated loss of revenue directly related to its facility closures from March to June was approximately $21M. Audubon has reduced its staff by close to 75 percent, laying off over 500 full time and part time employees.