London Zoo, opened to scientists in 1828 and to the public in 1847, is one of the British capital’s most-loved attractions, but like everything else in the city it has been impacted by the ongoing crisis, raising concern about the animals’ welfare.
Unlike a museum or an art gallery, it is not just a case of locking the doors.
Captive animals are needy, whether big beasts such as lions, gorillas, zebras and giraffes or the Madagascan hissing cockroaches, or everything else in between.
It is a costly, and labor-intensive, business, and without the revenue from daily tickets sales — worth 27.8 million pounds ($33 million) last year from London Zoo and ZSL’s Whipsnade Zoo — a prolonged shutdown is a nightmare scenario.
Add in the logistical problems posed for the small army of zookeepers, vets, security and ground staff (none classified as key workers) in getting to the Regents Park site, if they have not been forced to self-isolate, and it is unsurprising London Zoo is appealing for donations.
“Ordinarily, we are entirely reliant on public support, so without people coming through the gates the income isn’t coming in. We are really having to find other ways for people to show their support for us and donate instead.” ZSL’s chief operating officer said