Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster has welcomed today’s (Saturday 27th June 2020) announcement Zoos and Aquariums in England are set to receive up to £100 million to help mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The news was confirmed by Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith and is a major expansion of a £14million initial relief fund announced in May. It will run until the end of March 2021 to ensure the necessary long-term support is in place to help with Zoos facing severe financial difficulties.
Throughout the pandemic zoos have continued to ensure animal welfare standards are upheld and animals’ health needs are met. This funding will help zoos cover costs relating to animal keeping such as feed, heating and security.
In England, zoos and aquariums have been able to reopen outdoor areas since 15 June, subject to social distancing measures being in place. From 4 July indoor areas such as cafés and exhibits will be able to follow suit. Allowing these businesses to fully reopen is a vital step towards enabling them to cover some of the cost of animal care. Paignton Zoo is due to re-open on Monday 6th July.
Commenting, Kevin Foster MP said:
“Paignton Zoo is one of our bay’s jewels and has for decades not only entertained but educated visitors about the natural world. It is home to many endangered species, but Covid-19 has threatened its own future. The recent announcement Torquay’s Living Coasts will not re-open is a sign of what could happen without support for our Zoos.”
“I welcome this funding and look forward to hearing what support will be offered to Paignton Zoo from it.”
Further details on the scheme and how to apply will be provided to the sector in due course.