HALIFAX -- After almost 46 years in operation, New Brunswick’s Cherry Brook Zoo will be closing its doors for good.

The Saint John zoo has been hosting “virtual field trips” on its Facebook page during the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to educate viewers about the different animals at the facility and also raise money for their care.

However, in a statement released Thursday, the zoo says the COVID-19 pandemic has placed the facility “under severe financial pressures.”

“The uncertainties of this pandemic prevent us from executing a new strategic direction for the Zoo, to provide a sanctuary and rescue for animals that need a permanent home,” said the zoo’s executive director, Martha McDevitt.

Officials say they had hoped to take the zoo in a new direction, positioning the animals as “educational ambassadors” on issues such as conservation and animal welfare.

Management is working with Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums to ensure that the animals are cared for and are relocated to suitable future homes. The animals will remain at the Cherry Brook Zoo until new homes are found.

“However, we are still in great need for donations and financial aid to bridge the gap while the animals are still in our care before finding them new homes,” said Norm McFarlane, chair of the board of trustees, in a statement.

The Cherry Brook Zoo would have celebrated its 46th anniversary this summer.