ZSL Whipsnade Zoo needs YOUR help to raise £25m cash injection
- Credit: Archant
One of the region’s most popular tourist attractions is desperate for help in order to survive at this “very challenging time”.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is struggling after experiencing massive revenue losses as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, according to chief operating officer Owen Crafts.
Since government lockdown measures came into force, they have been unable to open to the public and their income has substantially reduced.
It costs the zoo £500,000 a year to care for their herd of Asian elephants and ZSL says it could be forced to close permanently because the coronavirus crisis is costing it around £2.3million every month.
Whipsnade needs a £25m cash injection just to stay afloat.
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With key staff still working at the zoo to ensure the continued care and welfare of the animals, 280 staff have been furloughed.
This government scheme is controlling some element of the hardship faced but the centre still has high costs - which are continuing as normal - including vet bills, food and heating.
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The zoo was established in 1931 as a one-of-a-kind open-range environment where animals could roam in their natural habitat.
Spanning 600 acres, the site is the largest zoo in the UK and is a long-standing centre in the heart of the community; popular with families, schools and visitors from across the globe.
Owen Craft said: “These are very challenging times for ZSL. Our primary source of income is generated by our visitors.
“We of course don’t compromise on animal welfare because people are not here looking around. The situation is severely challenging, having lost out on two months of busy periods including Easter and two bank holidays.
“We have a captive breeding programme to preserve some of the worlds most endangered species. We need people’s support. We are a charity and we need the money to make up for the direct loss of income. I think as a local visitor attraction so close to everybody’s hearts people will get on board with this fundraising effort. To not have Whipsnade Zoo would be unimaginable - unthinkable in fact. We need help and we need help now.”
You can help by buying - or renewing - your annual membership, making a one-off donation or setting up a monthly direct debit.
To help them out go to www.donate.zsl.org/support-zsl-london-whipsnade-zoos/?_ga=2.139999094.4930077.1590142630-2109891641.1590142630