East Anglian zoos forced to close due to coronavirus outbreak in 'fight for survival'

Two of East Anglia's leading zoos fear they could go out of business unless they attract "critical" funding soon, their chief executive has revealed.

Both Banham Zoo in south Norfolk and Africa Alive! near Lowestoft have recorded huge losses since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

A significantly reduced team of animal keepers are continuing to look after the animals at the zoos, but money is starting to run out in the absence of any visitors.

The zoos are run by the Zoological Society of East Anglia charity, and CEO David Field has appealed for urgent financial help with the costs of paying staff and feeding the animals.

“We genuinely appreciate that everyone is facing uncertain and challenging times at the moment but financial support is critical, now more than ever," he said.

"We do not underestimate that these are desperate times and weare fighting for survival to see us through until the zoos can re-open.

"We therefore put out this plea for those who are able to and would like to offer any additional support to ZSEA to assist us with the costs of feeding and veterinary care for the animals and paying the incredible keepers who are looking after the animals. Thank you.”

Anyone interested in assisting the zoos can either make a donation, becomea pass-holder or sponsor any of the animals.

Flamingos at Colchester Zoo. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Earlier this week, the directors of Colchester Zoo told ITV News Anglia they "don't know" what the future holds after they were forced to close due to the pandemic.

The zoo employs over 450 people, but is retaining its animal care team and veterinarians to ensure the health of its animals during the outbreak.