James Ford

£100m Zoo Animals Fund Goes Live 

Posted: 3rd August, 2020

BIAZA is pleased to have secured additional funds from Westminster, to support animal welfare in zoos and aquariums facing financial hardship but calls for a clear commitment from Defra to reviewing its’ implementation. 

As a result of this decision, funds will also be made available to the devolved nations via Barnett consequentials, and BIAZA is continuing to lobby devolved Governments to ensure these funds are made available to zoos and aquariums in those regions. Today’s [03 August 2020] announcement includes:  

  • £100 million fund to support zoo animals in England providing grants of up to £730,000 for animal welfare costs for licenced zoos and aquariums in financial hardship from Covid-19.
  • A range of animal welfare costs can be claimed for keeper wages, enrichment, feed and maintenance. 
  • Animal transport and rehoming costs for collections needing to downsize or even close will also be covered by the fund.  
  • To be eligible, zoos or aquariums must have a licence under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, individual zoos that are part of a parent company cannot apply. 
  • Payments can be received when an organisation hits 12 weeks or less of financial reserves.  

Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Chair of BIAZA said: “I am incredibly proud that we have secured such a significant envelope of funding to support animal welfare in our zoos and aquariums at this difficult time. However, it is now critical that Defra and Treasury ensure that suitable eligibility criteria are employed and constantly reviewed to allow access to those good zoos and aquariums most in need.”  

BIAZA members have gone to great lengths to adapt and mitigate the impacts of the covid-19 outbreak, while maintaining the very highest standards of animal welfare. This has included furloughing 61% staff and reducing operating costs by 39% on average at surveyed zoos and aquariums.  

Although all BIAZA members are now allowed to reopen, they can only do so under Covid restrictions, resulting in significantly fewer visitors and therefore a reduced income. Most will end this summer season with a worrying shortfall.  

“There is still much to do to meet the unique challenges facing our sector. Although this fund will support animal welfare in some collections, there is currently little to no support available to allow our zoos and aquariums to continue their critical work in conservation, education or research. We will continue to press for further support from Government as this time of need, advising and helping our members during this crisis.”