Government to award Irish zoos with €1.6 million funding to prevent closures from Covid restrictions

Government to award Irish zoos with €1.6 million funding to prevent closures from Covid restrictions

ZOOS ACROSS Ireland are to be awarded with €1.6 million in funding to help prevent closures from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Irish Government have announced an emergency fund of €1.6 million to the zoo sector after Dublin Zoo last week announced it was in danger of closing permanently.

Covid-19 restrictions has led to Dublin Zoo losing close to €10 million in revenue this year, and with a monthly cost of €500,000 to feed and care for their 400 animals, their emergency finances were running dangerously low.

An emergency fundraising appeal led to the public raising more than 2 million to save the Zoo, and the Governmet has now intervened to help further.

(Dublin Zoo / Instagram)

The country's two biggest zoos-- Dublin Zoo and Cork's Fota Wildlife Park-- will share €1.1 million of the Government funds, with 69 other small and medium size zoos and aquariums to split a further €500,000 between them.

The funding was secured by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien, along with Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan following a week of "extraordinary support" for the sector.

In a statement, Minister Noonan said he was "glad" to confirm the emergency grant, adding: "The State does not ordinarily provide funding to the zoo sector but this has been an incredibly challenging year due to the pandemic.

"Our support recognises the vital role played by our zoos as networks for global conservation of biodiversity, as centres of learning and places where lifelong memories of families and children are made.

"The outpouring of public support sparked by the Dublin Zoo appeal is testament to the great love so many people have for our zoos."

(Dublin Zoo)

Minister O'Brien said he had joined the thousands across Ireland in 'adopting' an animal from Dublin Zoo to help support the sector during the Covid-19 crisis, and said the campaign "shows just how loved our zoos are and how they are an important place for making memories.

"I am delighted that our Department was in a position to help."

The Save Dublin Zoo campaign is ongoing in order to ensure the ongoing care of the zoo's 400 animals; to get involved, you can donate directly or sponsor an animal.

For more information you can visit the Dublin Zoo website (here).