Zoos and wildlife parks have been hit hard by the pandemic, only reopening in the UK on 15th June nearly three months after lockdown began. The majority of their income is generated by ticket sales, which has seen COVID-19 dramatically reduce the funds available to feed and house the animals, as well as pay their staff. Dr Redrobe commented that zoos can’t furlough their keepers, as you can’t ‘furlough’ animals – they are still there and still need care. Opening the zoo has not recouped the lost funds either as they are not able to run at full capacity, meaning that the £12million annual turnover Twycross usually sees is currently out of reach.
Twycross is home to 7 critically endangered species, 10 endangered species and 15 vulnerable species, and with all the other animals the zoo costs £950,000 per month to run – even closed, the cost was in the region of £650,000 per month. The loss of species on the brink of extinction would be disastrous in a natural context, so the scenario presented by Dr Redrobe is unthinkable.
Many zoos and wildlife sanctuaries are running campaigns to save their centres. If you would like to support them, please Google your local animal park and visit their websites to donate.