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Government steps in to save Dublin Zoo from closure

The attraction faces an almost 10 million euro deficit caused by Covid-19.


Dublin Zoo will be given Government funds to survive (PA)

Dublin Zoo will be given Government funds to survive (PA)

Dublin Zoo will be given Government funds to survive (PA)

The Government is to step in to save Dublin Zoo from closure after the coronavirus pandemic pushed it towards bankruptcy.

The zoo has warned it will have to close its gates for good if it cannot find a way to plug an almost 10 million euro deficit caused by Covid-19.

A fundraising appeal launched on Wednesday has already raised more than 500,000 euro for the Phoenix Park attraction.

The Government has now confirmed it will step in to keep the zoo afloat.

Speaking in the Dail, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said: “The Government does not want Dublin Zoo to close and we will do everything we possibly can to ensure Dublin Zoo stays open.

“In my view given the extraordinary circumstances of a global pandemic, a once in 100-year event, Government has to intervene here.

“Government has to work with Dublin Zoo to ensure that it’s available for generations to come.”

While the zoo does not ordinarily receive capital funding, an exception is being made in the context of the global pandemic.

Heritage Minister Malcolm Noonan said he is considering short-term options to give the required funding to both Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park.

He tweeted: “The outflow of public goodwill in terms of donations is testament to the high regard that these places have in our public consciousness. The loss of Dublin or Fota is unthinkable.”

Dublin Zoo is one of the most popular tourism attractions in the country. It has lost millions in admissions fees in a matter of months after it was forced to close during the pandemic.

However, it is still spending around 500,000 euro every month on feeding and caring for its animals.

Launching the fundraising campaign on Wednesday, zoo director Christoph Schwitzer said the facility faces an estimated loss of 8.2 million euro in revenue so far this year.

He told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “You can’t furlough an elephant, you can’t switch off a zoo at night when you go home.

“Our animals need and deserve 24/7 care and we provide the highest standards of animal care and welfare possible.

“Animal care alone costs us half a million a month, and these are very high fixed costs, and with no income from visitation, of course, we have difficulty meeting them.”

As part of the fundraising initiative, Dublin Zoo has rolled out new adoption packages for its animals.

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Rory Cowan was among those to participate, adopting four animals – a giraffe, elephant, gorilla and penguin.

He tweeted: “Along with my two cats, Pebbles and Bam-Bam, I’ve now got a total of six. I hope they all get on.”

Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu also chipped in, adopting an elephant.

She tweeted: “Have asked the zoo how I can support & in the meantime have adopted an elephant to help #SaveDublinZoo.”

She added: “Ps.Yes I paid for it personally!”

More information on the campaign to save the zoo can be found at www.dublinzoo.ie.

Online Editors