Zoos and aquariums trapped in 'desperate situation' as Hull MP calls for access to emergency funds

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy is warning that zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks are trapped in a desperate situation, as they are unable to access vital funds to stay afloat.

The MP has secured an adjournment debate to call for a review of the Zoo Animal Fund which has been in place to support the Zoo and Aquarium sector since last summer.

Critics have accused the Government of failing to understand the sector, with the financial support only available to zoos and aquariums that are 12 weeks from closing – at which point most would have already shut to protect their animals.

Rick Newton, Animal Manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Park said: "Very few zoos have been fortunate enough to get any of those funds.

"You pretty much have to be on the brink of going under before you can even apply, is the way I've understood it. So it really hasn't been that helpful."

Currently just £95 million of the £100 million remains unallocated.

This has led to fears that vital conservation work is being put at risk by a Covid-related funding crisis. Breeding programmes at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park - one of the county's biggest attractions - are being threatened.

The Deep Aquarium Hull Credit: PA Images

She will highlight the problems faced by The Deep Aquarium in the Commons debate. She is asking on behalf of the sector for a revamp of the scheme into something similar to the Culture Recovery Fund which has successfully supported the arts sector and is currently in a second round of funding.