Dublin Zoo has warned that it may have to close permanently because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The facility, which opened in 1830, is closed to the public because of coronavirus restrictions, but must still meet the cost of feeding and upkeep of the animals, which runs to about €500,000 a month.
The zoo has today announced the launch of the ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ fundraising campaign, appealing to the Irish public for help.
Dublin Zoo is a not-for-profit organisation, which does not receive statutory funding.
It says revenue streams, in the form of gate receipts and onsite sales, have all but evaporated because of Covid-19 and to date the zoo has lost €8.2m in potential revenue.
Launching the fundraising campaign Director of Dublin Zoo, Dr Christoph Schwitzer, said: “We are in serious financial difficulty because of Covid-19 and are launching the Save Dublin Zoo campaign to raise much needed funds to help care for the animals here at the zoo.
“We understand this is a challenging time for everyone, so we are asking people to only give what they can every donation counts no matter the size.
“We have relied on our emergency cash reserves to remain open when allowed, but even then, visitor number restrictions due to social distancing have made it near impossible to generate enough revenue to just break even.
“Without financial support, we are facing an uncertain future and may have to close.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Schwitzer said Covid-19 had a severe effect on the zoo.
He said: “In normal times, it costs about €1m a month to run the zoo … you can’t switch off a zoo at night when you go home. Animal care alone costs half a million euro a month.”