Posted February 25, 2021 in News
Colchester Zoo’s Managing Director explains why fundraising support is vital for its future
Colchester Zoo operations remain private with a charitable arm, Action for the Wild, connected to the zoo in the field of conservation in many parts of the world. Colchester Zoo is also the only UK based zoo, who run its own private nature reserve in South Africa where only conservation and research is carried out.
Like a lot of zoo’s, we have faced difficult times and 2001 was particularly hard. In 2001, during the last foot and mouth outbreak, due to localised infection, we also experienced being closed down for a period of five or so weeks. Thankfully on this occasion we were able to re-open for Easter.
We scraped, we borrowed, we begged and we survived but we took the wise choice that the future of our animals should never again be jeopardised because of a lack of money. Therefore, we opened an account called the Emergency Fund and faithfully, every month, we allocated whatever we could afford to this so we could reach the target of one years working capital to be able to look after, feed, keep warm & pay every bill to ensure our animal welfare always be maintained.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, the Government first closed us down in March 2020, again in November 2020 and for a third time from January 2021 to present. Hopefully we will be able to re-open in mid-April 2021, so one can argue that we have survived, looked after all our animals, paid all our bills, paid all our wages and continued the super work we have created at our conservation reserve for a period of almost one year which was our target.
We feel this is an immense achievement, a cooperation of everyone involved with Colchester Zoo from staff to suppliers and not forgetting the many people who have joined us with their donations, their help, their warm wishes, their support and making us believe we will do it, we will survive.
Therefore, the reason why we would not qualify for a grant is because we ensured we could stand on our own feet always.
Sadly, the account is now empty, we are running very low on fuel so we need to open but when we do so we need the support of all the people who love Colchester Zoo.
It is disappointing to see HM Government could not think of a way to help all zoos rather than the ones who would qualify, we didn’t want to be closed but understandably we were told to, so why a different tier of help?
We are down but we will survive, we will return with a greater determination to ensure we are at the top and as soon as money comes into our tills a certain percentage will again go into our Emergency Fund to ensure if something like this pandemic happens again, we will be ready.
If you wish to make a donation to our Emergency Fund there are many ways in which you can donate, via our website, bank transfer or text. Please click here for more information. We are extremely grateful for any donation, no matter how much, every little will helps towards our survival.