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09th Feb 2021

Zoos risk bankrupcy if Covid funding is not addressed, says charity

Wil Jones

A charity has warned that zoo animals across the UK could face rehoming if the government does not rethink its Covid funding package

The government introduced a £100 million Zoo Animals Fund in order to help licenced zoos in the UK struggling because of the pandemic, to help them feed and care for their animals whilst they receive no income from visitors.

But the BIAZA say that the scheme’s eligibility restrictions mean that many places could face closure.

The BIAZA  has written to Boris Johnson exclaiming their concerns with the scheme.

Only 34 of the 300 licensed zoos in the UK have received the funding so far, which only totals £6 million. The schemes concludes at the end of February, with zoos no longer having access to funding from then.

“The Zoo Animals Fund has been set up with completely inappropriate eligibility criteria, which excludes the vast majority (80%) of organisations,” said Andy Hall from BIAZA.

“Essentially, zoos have to be 12 weeks away from bankruptcy before receiving money from the fund. For most zoos, this is no good, because by 12 weeks, we would already be closing down and trying to rehome our animals.

“The money comes in far too late to help and so most zoos won’t get down to the 12 weeks and aren’t going to receive any financial aid in this time of need.”