On Saturday 27th June 2020, the government announced a zoos fund designed to ensure the nation’s good charitable zoos could not only survive the Covid-19 crisis but also thrive. However, stipulations to this funding means that the UKs largest conservation zoos, including Twycross Zoo are not eligible.
Twycross Zoo CEO, Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE, said: “As a group of large charity zoos we were extremely disappointed to learn that this fund effectively excludes us and is capped at too low a level. Whilst £100 million is indeed a large total fund, we were extremely frustrated to discover that we would be legally constrained from meeting the eligibility criteria as it requires us to have too few months running costs left. Moreover, the 800-thousand-euro cap is less than one month’s running costs and so is woefully inadequate for our needs and places thousands of animals at risk. We urgently call on the Government to work with us on revisiting the criteria for this fund to truly help save our nation’s zoos.”
Dr Redrobe had previously warned the government of a UK animal welfare crisis if sufficient funding was not made readily available to its large conservation zoos.
As a panel speaker at the recent Zoos and Aquariums All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Wednesday 24th June 2020, she said: “Failing animal welfare and the rundown of facilities, we all know is another road to closure. The loss of a large collection of endangered species unique in the UK such as Twycross Zoos’ would be devastating and when I say loss, dare I say it, potentially a mass cull as we are all in the same boat. No other zoo worldwide has the funds to create new enclosures immediately as they cost millions. We are all facing the same ending.”
Twycross Zoo urges the government to rethink these stipulations before it is too late. As a nation of animal lovers, with pioneering world-class animal welfare standards, it is the government’s constitutional remit to prevent an animal welfare crisis and intervene.