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Zoo boss fears struggle to feed animals after losing 99pc of income

PUBLISHED: 16:55 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:55 06 April 2020

David Field, chief executive of Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! Pic: Archant

David Field, chief executive of Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! Pic: Archant

Archant

The chief executive of two of the region’s zoos has made a plea for support after fears were raised it will struggle to feed the animals after losing 99pc of its income.

David Field, CEO of the Zoological Society of East Anglia, with their own rhino. Pic: ArchantDavid Field, CEO of the Zoological Society of East Anglia, with their own rhino. Pic: Archant

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, Banham Zoo, in Banham, and Africa Alive, near Lowestoft, both operated by the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), were forced to close their gates to the public.

But only a couple of weeks into lockdown, David Field, chief executive of the ZSEA, has called for more support so keepers can continue to care for animals.

Mr Field said: “We have hundreds of animals that rely on daily care from us but 99pc of our primary income comes from the people that come through our gates.

“That is what pays for the animal’s care, veterinary bills and the zookeeper’s who look after them.

Every year Banham Zoo have to count their animals, from every single bug to their tigers. Deboarah Harris Team Leader of hooves counting. Pictures: Brittany WoodmanEvery year Banham Zoo have to count their animals, from every single bug to their tigers. Deboarah Harris Team Leader of hooves counting. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

“We also have to pay our incredible suppliers, like the fish for our sea lions and fruit and veg for our monkeys. But our reserves will be gone by the end of April.”

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Both zoos have already been receiving support from animal lovers across the county and Mr Field has been informing members of the public some of the ways they can get involved.

He said: “There are a few options how people can help, by renewing their annual passes or taking out an annual pass, we will make sure we extend any period not valid until zoos open again.

Giraffes at Banham Zoo. Pictures: Brittany WoodmanGiraffes at Banham Zoo. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

“[They can] sponsor or adopt an animal and we are also launching a wish list so people can give donations for specific things, for example the meat for the lions.

“Not forgetting our amazing zookeepers that are going above and beyond at the moment, you can even have the chance to sponsor one of them.”

MORE: Zoos closed by coronavirus appeal for help with costs of looking after animals

As it remains unclear when business will return to normal, the zoos hope to open their gates again so visitors can see the animals they have helped to support during this crisis.

Mr Field said: “Once this crisis is over, connecting to nature and being close to animals is going to be a huge healing process for us all, and Banham Zoo and Africa Alive will be at the heart of that.”

For more information, Banham Zoo’s site is here, while Africa Alive’s is here.


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