Chester Zoo receives 97% of its income from visitors. Although it’s currently closed to the public, the keepers and conservationists are still hard at work caring for over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals.
But now, the future of the UK’s most-visited zoo is at stake – and it urgently needs your help.
“We’ve tried to stay positive during this pandemic,” said the zoo in a statement on their website and social media platforms.
“Our conservationists have continued to prevent extinction, our virtual days have cheered up the nation, our learning resources have helped thousands of home-schooling families.
“We wanted to remain a beacon of hope. We really tried.
“But now, as the government has ordered that we may have to stay closed indefinitely, it hurts us to say that this crisis has literally left us fighting for our future.”
Not being able to open, despite being a huge outdoor site with all the necessary safety measures in place, is having a devastating impact on the much-loved zoo.
“We’re heading towards debt in excess of £24m by the end of 2020 – this will financially cripple us. We need to raise £1.6m each month to keep going.
“Meanwhile, we’re having to sit back and watch as people are piling onto beaches and into public parks, where there is no way of controlling numbers, no way of guaranteeing people are socially distanced and no way of ensuring safety. We can do all of this.
“We look on as, from this week, private gardens open up, while our own 128 acres of gardens and 16km of pathways remain closed, and under enormous financial pressure.”
There are several ways you can help, from donating money and becoming a member to adopting an animal.
“These are difficult times for everyone, so make sure you and your family come first,” says the zoo.
“After that, if the lack of your daily take-out coffee means you have a bit spare to donate to your favourite charities, then please do. Charities need your support more than ever.
“And if that happens to be #TheZoo – amazing!”