THE GOVERNMENT has announced that €3 million will be put aside as extra funding for both Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park.
Last month, Dublin Zoo made a public appeal, stressing that they were in danger of closing for good because of the havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wildlife parks in Ireland have largely been unable to have any visitors since March, and the entire summer period - which would be the busiest - was lost completely.
While they had next to no money coming in, they still had to feed and look after all the animals.
'You can't furlough a giraffe' read one famous slogan.
It's understood that €2 million will be set aside for Dublin Zoo while €1 million will be given to Fota Wildlife.
"We all know that Covid has had a catastrophic effect on the income of Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park," said Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O'Donovan.
"Both institutions rely heavily on income from gate receipts which provide the means to improve and develop facilities for both animal welfare and for visitors.
Thrilled to announce €3m for Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park for these tough Covid times. pic.twitter.com/llG8S1Y1pY
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) December 15, 2020
"I am delighted to be able to announce that the Office of Public Works will now be able to step in and provide much-needed capital funding to ensure developments which have been commenced to be finalised as planned over the coming years."
The Government had previously only set aside €1.1 million for all zoos and aquariums around the country.
Dublin Zoo costs an estimated €500,000 every month to run.
The Irish public has managed to raise over €2 million since the Zoo made a public appeal for help in November.
Leo Varadkar said of the extra funding: "As you know they both had a difficult year but the public has responded brilliantly to their campaign or donations and the Government is responding too.
"Dublin Zoo is an amazing asset of Phoenix Park in my constituency, I used to go there all the time as a kid and my nephews love it now. We’re determined to make sure that it survives and it prospers in the years ahead."