NORWALK - Officials at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport say the zoo is facing a deficit for the first time in 12 years.

According to Gregg Dancho, the zoo?s director, a third of the budget comes from the city of Bridgeport, which is also struggling. Dancho says the zoo has also struggled to find corporate sponsors during the economic recession.

?The problem with a zoo is that you?re working with a living collection, and a living collection means you can't short-change how we take care of our animals,? Dancho says.

Dancho says the zoo has scratched its plan to build a new exhibit called Andes Adventure. Additionally, the zoo's $100,000 marketing budget could be on the chopping block.

The one silver lining due to the economic downturn, Dancho says, is that attendance at the zoo has gone up, because of the affordable admission fees and convenient location.