A GOVERNMENT fund of £14million has been set up to help zoos and aquariums care for animals in the pandemic.
The attractions have lost visitor income but still face costs of feeding, heating and security of their animals.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) also plans to continue working with some of the largest zoos to discuss longer term concerns.
Animal Welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Zoos are facing real pressure and we have made support available, including business rates relief and the business interruption loan scheme.
“This new Zoo Support Fund is designed to help those that need support to maintain the welfare of the animals.”
Individual grants of up to £100,000 will be available for English sites covered by the Zoo Licensing Act.
Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Zoos don’t just provide a family day out but are vital for education, species protection and conservation.”
Dr Madelon Willemsen, chief of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), said zoos and aquariums had gone to “extraordinary lengths” to cope with the pandemic while looking after animals despite the lack of income.
“We are pleased to have worked with Defra in shaping this much needed crisis support for zoos and aquariums.
“We continue to work to ensure those most in need have access to this and other forms of support.”