Could Twycross Zoo become extinct?

Twycross Zoo willingly closed its doors on March 23 in line with lockdown and government guidelines.

CEO Sharon Redrode says the zoo expected to be able to open as soon as it was safe, around the same time as shops and other outdoor visitor attractions.

Staff were recently removed from furlough to begin preparations such as installing social distancing regulations which, she thought, would allow visitors back into the zoo.

However, a change in the law this week means zoos are now on a closed business list and Sharon says this means they have been told to stay closed indefinitely.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the zoo have made various appeals for help and have not made their financial difficulty secret.

It is estimated to cost over half a million pounds per month to keep the zoo operating. Sharon says with over 125 species of animals to care for its not as easy for them to cut costs as easily as other businesses can.

Sharon says the zoo have already lost an excess of £5million.

CEO Sharon Redrode says the zoo will not reduce the quality of care they give animals in order to reduce costs. Credit: PA images

She said "we're a charity, we're not allowed to build up huge reserves" adding "we run out of money at the end of June. We have secured a bank loan that will see us a bit further but it was a lot less than we required to survive."

Sharon says the zoo refuse to reduce the quality, and cost, of the care they give their animals, especially endangered species and said "we want to do absolutely what is best for the animals, that's what we're about."

With no income from visitors, there are growing concerns for the future.

She said "its crushing us and it's very worrying".

Sharon says it's frustrating that as of June 15 people will be able to go to shops but they still won't be permitted to visit the zoo.

She says she believes that the zoo could open safely providing the correct measures are put in place.

What measures will the zoo put in place to reopen?

  • Restricted the number of visitors on site

  • Online only bookings with timed arrival slots

  • Closure of many indoor areasImplementing a one-way route around the zoo

  • Enforcing social distancing across the site

  • Placing multiple hygiene stations throughout the zoo

In today's government coronavirus briefing Matt Hancock said that the government hope to get Zoo's opened as soon as possible.

He said: "I know the pressure on zoos."

"Unlike some other shops that can just close, you've still got to be there in the zoo looking after the animals and they are mostly outside."

He added that the reopening of zoos would have to be done in a safe and Covid secure way, without allowing the R rate to increase.