Twycross Zoo warns of 'mass cull' unless government gives more money

Gorilla at Twycross Zoo Credit: Twycross Zoo

Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire is warning of a “mass cull” after failing to meet the requirements of an emergency government fund.

They say a £100m pot being offered isn’t enough to cover them long-term, and the criteria to get access to the funding means zoos have to be dangerously close to breaking point.

As it stands, they must be within six weeks of closing to be eligible.

We were extremely frustrated to discover that we would be legally constrained from meeting the eligibility criteria as it requires us to have too few months running costs left.

The €800,000 cap is less than one month’s running costs and so is woefully inadequate for our needs and places thousands of animals at risk. We urgently call on the Government to work with us on revisiting the criteria for this fund to truly help save our nation’s zoos.

Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE, Twycross Zoo CEO
Baby monkey at Twycross Zoo Credit: Twycross Zoo

Last week, she told a Parliamentary group the problems facing Twycross aren't isolated. 

She warned of a looming welfare crisis across the country’s biggest zoos, unless more was done to make funding easily accessible.  

The loss of a large collection of endangered species unique in the UK such as Twycross Zoos’ would be devastating and when I say loss, dare I say it, potentially a mass cull as we are all in the same boat. No other zoo worldwide has the funds to create new enclosures immediately as they cost millions. We are all facing the same ending.

Dr Redrobe

But, the government have said zoos in England have not only been helped by the fund, but the easing of lockdown measures should now be making things easier. 

Allowing zoos to reopen has taken off some of the pressure, but the coronavirus pandemic has left them facing long-term financial problems. This funding will therefore be a lifeline for our zoos and aquariums and ensure the quality of animal care continues over the coming months.

Lord Goldsmith, Animal Welfare Minister

This extra £100 million of funding will ensure those affected by the outbreak can continue to care for their animals as well as the important conservation and educational work.

Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Twycross Zoo sign Credit: PA Images

The zoo say it is the government’s responsibility to “prevent an animal welfare crisis and intervene.”

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