Covid-19: Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park to get €3m in State aid

Zoo costs €1m monthly to run with cost of animal care reaching €500,000, says director

The Minister of State for the Office of Public Works said the zoo will receive €2m with €1m going to Fota Wildlife Park. File photograph: Getty

The Minister of State for the Office of Public Works said the zoo will receive €2m with €1m going to Fota Wildlife Park. File photograph: Getty

 

Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Co Cork are to receive €3 million in Government funding to cope with the “catastrophic” loss in income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government last month pledged to intervene after Dublin Zoo said it could be forced to close for good if a way is not found to plug an almost €10 million hole in its finances caused by the pandemic.

Zoo director Christoph Schwitzer said it costs about €1 million a month to run the facility, with the cost of animal care alone reaching €500,000 each month. The zoo is open on a limited basis, but was closed during Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions with the commensurate loss in revenues.

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan said the zoo will receive €2 million with €1m going to Fota Wildlife Park.

“We all know that Covid has had a catastrophic effect on the income of Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park. Both institutions rely heavily on the income from gate receipts which provide the means to improve and develop facilities for both animal welfare and for visitors,” said Mr O’Donovan.

“The Office of Public Works will now be able to step in and provide much needed capital funding to ensure developments which have been commenced can be finalised as planned over the coming years.”

Dr Schwitzer thanked Mr O’Donovan and the OPW for the funding.

“This essential financial support will allow us to recommence vital work on capital projects, including the construction of world-class habitats for some of our most endangered species.”

The zoo last month began a public fundraising drive and has raised more than €1 million. Donations can be made at dublinzoo.ie