Bristol zoo warns it may never recover from coronavirus impact

One of the world’s oldest zoos has said it may never recover from the impact of the UK government’s decision not to allow it and other zoos to reopen as lockdown eases.

Bristol Zoological Society, which was founded in 1835, has said its reserves have run out and it will lose GBP2.6m in July and August if it cannot open Bristol Zoo Gardens. It said staff, volunteers, visitors and supporters were outraged and perplexed at the government’s stance, which it called “ridiculous and shocking”.

London and Whipsnade zoos also warned on Tuesday that they faced permanent closure if the government decision is not reversed, pointing out that it cost GBP1m a month to care for its animals.

MPs are due to discuss the issue in parliament on Thursday after lobbying from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

[embedded content]

Justin Morris, the chief executive of Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “We have reached a point where the future of zoos, including Bristol Zoo Gardens, is seriously at stake. We are watching other venues and shops reopening and it is absolutely heartbreaking that we are not allowed to welcome our visitors back as well. We simply can’t believe this is happening.

“Like any responsible charity we had financial reserves in place to mitigate against the immediate effects of being closed and have made the most of the government measures to offset costs.

“But there is only so much we can do. We have a living collection of animals to continue to care for and all of the costs associated with that. We cannot furlough all of our staff and we must also ensure that our sites are secure and maintained. The reality is that the cash has now run out.”

[embedded content]

Other English zoos that have expressed their growing concern include Chester, which argues that it can make its grounds much safer than beauty spots or large stores.

The director general of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which runs London and Whipsnade zoos, said: “Unlike shops, museums and pubs, we couldn’t just shut the gates, press pause, and wait for the green light to return.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “We understand the challenges faced by zoos and aquariums during these unprecedented times but it’s vital that we do not move too quickly in reopening to ensure public health is protected.

“We have provided a GBP14m support fund to ensure smaller zoos are able to continue to care for their animals. We are continuing to engage with some of the larger zoos to discuss their concerns around reopening and the need for further funding.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Enter Your Information Below To Receive Free Trading Ideas, Latest News, And Articles.

Please Enter Your Email Address:




Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Changes of Trading Sessions from March 8, 2020

Dear TeleTrade Customers, Daylight saving time in the United States will begin on Sunday, March 8, 2020. As a result, trading sessions for certain instruments...

Stock markets give up weeks of gains in major selloff

After powering higher in recent weeks, stock markets fell backwards on Thursday, with the S&P 500 down 5.9% and the FTSE 100 ending the...

Wildlife Conservation Society’s stance on meat clarified | Letter

John Vidal's story ('Ban on bushmeat' after Covid-19 but what if alternative is factory farming?, 26 May) suggests that calls by the Wildlife Conservation...

In the midst of an economic crisis, can ‘degrowth’ provide an answer? | Lola Seaton

Amid the misery and chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there are some short-term consolations. The precipitous drop in road and air traffic has...

Millions in US at risk of ‘water shutoffs’ amid layoffs triggered by pandemic

Millions of Americans risk losing running water if they fall behind with bill payments in coming months, as mass layoffs triggered by the coronavirus...