SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Saint John's Cherry Brook Zoo closed to the public last June, but several animals continue to be cared for on its grounds.

"We found homes for all the animals to go to," says zookeeper Erin Brown, who was assigned to lead the task.

Brown says the process has been remarkably seamless, considering it's all happening during a pandemic.

"It's a big endeavour to move animals at the best of times," says Brown. "But with the pandemic going on, of course, that's restricted some of the movements across border, whether it's provincial or international."

Animals still living at the zoo include two tigers and two lions, as well as a couple of snakes and rats.

"The big cats, they do have a home to go," says Brown. "We're just waiting on permits because they are going to the U.S."

All of the zoo's other animals -- including wallabies, goats, llamas, and alpacas -- have been sent to locations around the Maritimes, as well as Ontario and British Columbia.

"We were worried about a few animals. We had some that were very elderly, like our Shetland sheep, that we thought, 'Oh, I don't know if anybody is going to want to take these guys in'," says Brown. "But we found a lovely couple in the Fredericton area that were looking to just basically have a retirement home for animals."

It's still unclear what will become of the Cherry Brook Zoo property once every animal has left. Norm MacFarlane, chairman of the zoo's board of trustees, says it may be an ideal setting for the local SPCA.

"The fencing is up, all the buildings are there," says MacFarlane.

The zoo has five employees who are taking care of the remaining animals and maintaining necessary operations.

"I'm kind of stuck in an odd position of working myself out of a job," says Brown. "Since it's been my job to find homes for all the animals and we only have a job here at the zoo while there are animals on the grounds, I'm kind of in a weird position."