Covid’s financial strain leaves the zoo unable to afford £ 1 million a year in budget.
When it was forced to close for three months this summer, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which operates Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, faced immense financial pressure. The cost of a lease for a mating pair is 1 million pounds a year.
David Field, the chief executive of the organization, said the charity had to “seriously consider every possible saving,” including the deal for the two giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian. Field said, “The three-month closure of Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park due to Covid-19 has had a huge financial impact on our charity, as the majority of our income comes from our visitors. ” By taking out a government loan, taking workers leave where possible, making redundancies where necessary and launching a fundraising appeal, we have done what we can to protect our charity. The encouragement we got from our members and lovers of animals helped us to keep our doors open, and we are extremely grateful for that. The zoo was not eligible for the Zoo Fund of the government, which was built for smaller zoos.
It’s too early at this stage to say what the result would be. In the coming months, we will discuss the next steps with our colleagues in China. The zoo is part of a variety of conservation initiatives, including a program to reintroduce Scottish wild cats. However, Field said that because of Brexit, certain projects would have to be scrapped and not be able to qualify for EU funding. To support our Saving Wildcats partnership project, which aims to reintroduce wildcats to Scotland by breeding and releasing them, we were awarded a £ 3.2 million grant from the EU Life program.”We have been awarded a £3.2 million grant from the EU Life program to support our Saving Wildcats partnership project, which aims to reintroduce wildcats to Scotland by breeding and releasing them.” And this is the only chance of survival for the species. We have a leading conservation genetics laboratory at the Edinburgh Zoo that supports conservation initiatives around the world, and access to funding and other researchers for this cutting-edge science has suddenly vanished. While the full effect has yet to be seen, we are also facing greater difficulties in transferring animals between zoos, many of which are part of significant European breeding programs for endangered species.
It could be that some of our extremely critical conservation efforts will have to be delayed or even halted, like the crucial lifeline for Scotland’s wildcats. “Yang Guang and Tian Tian have made an enormous impact on our visitors over the past nine years, connecting millions of people with nature and inspiring them to take an interest in wildlife conservation,” he said. “I would love for them to stay with us for a few more years, and that is certainly my current goal.”