Dublin Zoo faces permanent closure after losing millions to Covid restrictions

Dublin Zoo faces permanent closure after losing millions to Covid restrictions

DUBLIN ZOO faces permanent closure if it does not raise some much-needed emergency funds.

Staff at the capital's zoo have launched an emergency fundraiser after it emerged the popular tourist spot risks being closed permanently after losing millions in revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions.

As a registered charity, the zoo relies on ticket sales for almost 90% of their overall funding-- but their emergency funds are running out, and the care of their 400 animals, at a cost of over €500,000 a month, continues whether or not there are visitors arriving in the gates.

The zoo is in danger of closing permanently, with monthly costs to care for their 400 animals amassing more than half a million euro.  Credit: Dublin Zoo

Speaking at the launch of the Save Dublin Zoo campaign, Director Dr Christoph Schwitzer admitted the zoo is in "serious financial difficulty because of Covid-19 and are launching the Save Dublin Zoo campaign to raise much needed funds to help care for the animals here at the Zoo."

"We have relied on our emergency cash reserves to remain open when allowed, but even then, visitor number restrictions due to social distancing have made it near impossible to generate enough revenue to just break even. Without financial support, we are facing an uncertain future and may have to close."

"At this time of year, we are usually in the middle of Wild Lights and making preparations for the busy Christmas period, but instead we find ourselves fighting for our future and calling on the people of Ireland to answer our call and donate if possible."

In normal times, the zoo would be hosting its annual Wild Lights exhibitions at this time of year, drawing thousands of guests each week. (Credit: Dublin Zoo / Wild Lights)

Dublin Zoo has lost an estimated €8.2 million so far this year due to the ongoing pandemic, but Operations Manager Gerry Creighton insists that despite the financial losses, "our passion, love and dedication to the animals in our care is as strong as ever".

"Our amazing animal care team has continued to deliver a world-class standard of care in tough operating conditions and that will never change. We’ve tried to stay positive by providing a safe and enjoyable environment for the people of Ireland during this awful pandemic.

"However, our situation is very serious," he added.

"For generations, we have been a place where families and friends come together to connect with nature, learn about animals and be inspired together. We can no longer support ourselves under current restrictions and are running out of time.

400 animals call Dublin Zoo home, including rare or endangered animals who have benefited from the zoo's conservation efforts  (Dublin Zoo)

"Please help us Save Dublin Zoo. Even the smallest donations will help see us through these uncertain times so we can all experience the magic, joy and learning of Dublin Zoo again soon”.

Dr Schwitzer acknowledged that " this is a challenging time for everyone", and the Zoo is asking people to donate only what they can afford, adding "every donation counts no matter the size".

Anyone who wishes to donate to help secure the future of Dublin Zoo can do so on the Dublin Zoo website (here).

You can also get involved by spreading the word of the ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ campaign by posting your favourite memory of Dublin Zoo along with your donation or fundraiser on social media with the hashtag #SaveDublinZoo.