Chief Executive James Cretney, said:
12 weeks of lockdown during one of our key trading periods has put Marwell Zoo heavily in debt and undoubtedly in a difficult financial position. While we welcome all financial support for zoos, we were disappointed that the previous zoo fund announced by the Government wasn’t relevant for Marwell. We urgently call upon DEFRA to clarify details of the expanded scheme and to confirm for example; the necessary scale, caps on payment, repayment status, eligibility and relevance to the actual needs of the sector and large zoos like Marwell, as has been repeatedly discussed with Government officials.
Marwell Zoo, which is home to more than 140 species, is owned by Marwell Wildlife, a global conservation charity leading programmes in the UK, Africa and across the world. We would ordinarily engage with more than 50,000 schoolchildren through curriculum based education programmes and welcome more than 500,000 visitors each year to our 140 acre site. The charity relies on income from the zoo and fundraising efforts of our loyal supporters to secure the future of wildlife for generations to come.
We will reopen our gates Monday (29th June) for the first time in three months with a host of safety measures in place to protect our guests, staff and animals. These measures mean we will be significantly reducing guest numbers, so whilst we are delighted to be finally welcoming guests again, we predict our road to financial recovery to be a long one.