Chester Zoo officials concerned any further COVID-19 restrictions will impact already stretched finances
Bosses at Chester Zoo are concerned that any further COVID-19 restrictions will further impact their already stretched financial position.
The zoo has monthly outgoing costs of £1.6m, even with the furlough of many staff.
They care for over 35,000 animals, whose feeding and welfare totals almost £500,000 per month.
Without earning income since late March, Chester Zoo turned to the public for help in the form of a campaign titled ‘Save Our Zoo’.
In an update on their ‘Save Our Zoo’ campaign, a spokesperson said the zoo had received over £3m in donations via JustGiving, a further £200,000 in other donations and £800,000 in animals adoptions, totalling at least £4m as of now.
The spokesperson said: “Thanks to the huge media attention, public support and our work behind the scenes with politicians, the decision to reopen zoos in England came more quickly than we expected and by 15 June we were able to open our doors again.”
The zoo has been unable to access the UK Government’s £100m ‘Zoo Animals Support Fund’ due to the ‘restrictive criteria’ for applications and are restricted on visitor numbers to around half capacity.
The spokesperson said the zoo was “sadly not out of the woods” and has been left with a £5m ‘shortfall’ in finances, but they are ‘determined’ to cut costs and make decisions vital to their survival.
“We’ve moved from a perilous position to one where we can continue to operate,” the spokesperson said.
“But, with the restrictions on visitor numbers to around half of our capacity, putting a strain on our ability to raise money and with our costs increasing back to the normal , now that we are open, the pandemic has left us with a huge £5 million shortfall in our finances. ”
“We’re determined to find ways to cut our costs and make good decisions that will lead to a return to financial health but for now our plans are on hold and we are vulnerable to the real possibility that further coronavirus restrictions will impact our finances yet again.
“There is no doubt that without your ongoing support we simply can’t deliver against our mission of preventing extinction through our conservation and education work.
“We feel passionately that this mission is more crucial than ever before.”
For ways to help out, visit https://www.chesterzoo.org/support-us/ to find out more.
By Jordan Adams
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