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Banham Zoo asks supporters for help to offset impact of Covid-19

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The charity behind Banham Zoo has made an impassioned plea for support as it struggles to counteract the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), which runs the visitor attraction, relies entirely on income generated from gate receipts.

But having closed its doors to the paying public, years of hard work are now under threat, with revenues almost drying up completely.

At its annual animal stock take in January, Banham Zoo had 1,476 individual animals, including this rather cute red panda.
At its annual animal stock take in January, Banham Zoo had 1,476 individual animals, including this rather cute red panda.

Professor David Field, chief executive of the ZSEA, said: “We genuinely appreciate that everyone is facing uncertain and challenging times at the moment, but financial support is critical, now more than ever.

“We do not underestimate that these are desperate times and we are fighting for survival to see us through until the zoo can reopen.”

Banham Zoo, along with Africa Alive, employs approximately 180 permanent staff and relies on a similar number of volunteers in order to operate successfully.

Both sites are running on a skeleton staff of dedicated animal keepers, who are continuing to provide vital care to the animals.

Prof Field said: “We put out this plea for those who are able to and would like to offer any additional support to ZSEA to assist us with the costs of feeding and veterinary care for the animals and paying the incredible keepers who are looking after the animals.”

Banham Zoo opened to the public in 1968 and has become the premier zoological collection in Norfolk, home to many diverse species, a number of which are particularly endangered, such as the Amur tiger, Sri Lankan leopards, Grevy’s zebra and the critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur.

In January, during the annual stock take, where all the animals were counted, Banham had 1,476 individual animals, while Africa Alive had 744 within its care.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a £750 million package to keep struggling charities afloat on Wednesday – a measure which could provide a vital lifeline to the ZSEA.

In the meantime, the charity is calling on supporters either donate money, become a pass-holder or sponsor an animals at the zoo.

For more information on how to help, go to www.banhamzoo.co.uk/visit-the-zoo/we-need-your-help.

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