Leicestershire zoo’s desperate plea for post-coronavirus funding to save animals


    The chief executive of Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, Dr Sharon Redrobe, said a the government may need to step in and help fund the zoo’s running costs totalling £650,000-a-month. Animal parks were allowed to reopen this month thanks to the easing of certain lockdown rules, but Twycross Zoo is still at risk as social distancing measures have hindered the number of visitors allowed in at the same time.

    Dr Redrobe spoke to a board of the all-party parliamentary group for zoos and aquariums in order to discuss the dangers zoos are currently facing.

    At the meeting, she cautioned that zoos may have to resort to mass cullings to reduce costs, according to Leicestershire Live.

    She said: “Failing animal welfare and the rundown of facilities, we all know is another road to closure.

    “The loss of a large collection of endangered species unique in the UK such as Twycross Zoos’ would be devastating and when I say loss, dare I say it, potentially a mass cull as we are all in the same boat.

    “No other zoo worldwide has the funds to create new enclosures immediately as they cost millions.

    “We are all facing the same ending.”

    It comes after Twycross Zoo found out it did not qualify to access a share of the £100million government rescue fund for zoos and aquariums.

    The zoo’s grounds are also to extensive to be eligible for an earlier rescue fund.

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    It comes after, earlier this month, Torquay zoo warned that animals it could not re-home would have to be euthanised.

    The animals were all re-homed as the Wild Planet trust’s Living Coasts site in Devon could not face the running costs of reopening.

    The Mirror reported that Simon Tonge, Executive Director of Wild Planet Trust said: “I am pleased, but not surprised, that we have found homes for our animals so quickly.

    “The zoo community is very networked and mutually supportive.

    “Thank you to all our members and friends for sharing your concerns and I hope you are reassured that our animals are in the best possible hands.”

    A statement on the Living Coasts website read: “Wild Planet Trust would like to thank the many people who have visited and supported Living Coasts over the years, and the many businesses, and grant giving trusts which have support our vital conservation work.”

    Thanks to the lifting of some lockdown restrictions, other animal parks had better prospects and were able to reopen.

    Kathryn England, chief operating officer for ZSL London Zoo, said that it was “glorious” to be able to open their doors once again to visitors.

    “It’s been really quiet here so to be able to see (people) coming back with absolutely enormous smiles all over their faces really is a special moment for us all here.

    “We’ve really reconfigured the whole zoo so that people feel and are safe…there’s lots of signage around to remind them to keep a lion’s length apart, a tiger’s length apart.”


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