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‘It’s devastating’ - Zoos worried about ‘serious detrimental effect’ of longer lockdown

PUBLISHED: 06:24 04 November 2020 | UPDATED: 06:24 04 November 2020

Entrance to Africa Alive! Suffolk. PHOTO: Ben Thomas Photography

Entrance to Africa Alive! Suffolk. PHOTO: Ben Thomas Photography

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A joint managing director of two major zoos in the region is worried about the “serious detrimental effect” a longer lockdown will have on business.

Entrance to Banham Zoo in Norfolk. PHOTO: Ben Thomas PhotographyEntrance to Banham Zoo in Norfolk. PHOTO: Ben Thomas Photography

In line with government guidelines, zoos will be forced to close from Thursday November 5 to Wednesday December 2.

It has left management at the the Zoological Society of East Anglia that owns both Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk “devastated” after confirming they will now lose more money on top of the £2m already lost during the first lockdown.

Claudia Roberts, joint managing director of the charity, said: “This is devastating news for everyone at our zoos. All our staff and volunteers have worked so hard to ensure our zoos are Covid safe so we could safely welcome our visitors back since we reopened in July.

“If the lockdown is extended past December, the further loss of income will have a serious detrimental effect on the business from January 2021.

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“We again will be furloughing the majority of our staff and focusing on only retaining our animal keepers and maintenance staff, who continue to undertake work on key animal enclosure maintenance, as well as a skeleton head office staff.”

Joint managing director Gary Batters highlighted how the care of the animals who continue to live at the zoos won’t be affected during lockdown.

He said: “The care of our animals is of our highest importance during this time and therefore nothing will be changed from our normal operation and will also include full veterinary cover.”

The Zoological Society of East Anglia recently announced their struggle to obtain funding as part of the government’s £100m Zoo Animals Fund. Assistance from this fund is only applicable to zoos facing bankruptcy within 12 weeks, making most zoos in the UK currently unable to receive the funding.

The charity has since looked into re-applying for the Zoo Animals Fund, despite being classed as ineligible back in June.

The Zoological Society of East Anglia needs a minimum of £25,000 per week to care for all of the animals at the two zoos and with the added pressure of not receiving any income for the next four weeks, is urgently asking for donations to its #WildAboutSurvival appeal.

To donate to the zoos #WildAboutSurvival appeal, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/zsea


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