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Local zoos devastated by second national lockdown

Tuesday 3rd November 2020

The Zoological Society of East Anglia say they are devastated by the second forced closure of Africa Alive in Suffolk and Banham Zoo in Norfolk, following the government’s announcement of the national lockdown. In line with the government’s requirements, the zoos will be closed from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December.

During the first lockdown, in which the zoos were closed for over three months, the Zoological Society of East Anglia suffered loss of financial revenue of nearly £2million which is set to increase with the second national lockdown forcing the zoos to close.

Claudia Roberts, Joint Managing Director, 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.

“The announcement stated that public gardens, playgrounds and garden centres are able to remain open, which is even more saddening for us as both our zoos can be enjoyed without the need to visit any indoor areas.

“Thanks to our amazing staff and visitors, we have had a positive few months since our zoos reopened following the first national lockdown, however as a charity we rely entirely on visitor income and fundraising. Without being able to welcome our visitors for the next four weeks, we will struggle to survive through the winter months.”

The zoos will be contacting all visitors who have tickets prebooked between Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 2 December and are offering the opportunity to re-book for a later date any time up to 1 July 2021.

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. Claudia Roberts is due to speak on behalf of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums on Tuesday 3 November at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to a select committee made up of members of the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Claudia said “I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak at the APPG to stress the disappointment that the Zoo Animal Fund has been far too difficult to access in the past, as well as stressing the challenges that the Zoological Society of East Anglia have faced so far and still face in light of the recent announcement of a second shutdown.

“We are hopeful that our latest application to the fund will be successful and that other suggestions of how the government can help zoos in the immediate future will be heard”

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.

As well as asking for donations, the Zoological Society of East Anglia has launched an online shop which features a Christmas range with many different gift ideas ready for the festive period. To find out more, visit: https://shop.zsea.org/

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

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